22/01/2013 Daily Politics


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Good afternoon. They have lasted for centuries but Nick Clegg says


that they are it -- they are arcane and in need of modernisation. MPs


will be discussing just what should be done with the laws on succession.


David Cameron says the war against terror in Africa may last a


generation. That does not stop the government releasing details of the


latest army cuts. Three cheers for France and Germany,


celebrating 50 years since friendship. Do and is David Cameron


really a man of the people? In fact, he makes sandwiches. Not the Prime


Minister, a man from Subway. All that in the next hour. With us


is the Lib Dem president, Tim Farron. Let us talk about the


economy. Figures show that there has been a rise in public sector


borrowing. The figure for December, excluding financial interventions,


was �15.4 billion compared to �14.8 billion in the same month the


previous year. It is the six months in a role that the Government has


had to borrow more than it did the year before. When you think about


how much the Government has made about bringing down the deficit,


borrowing higher in December than last year, and the six-month


running that it has been higher, the board one target is under


threat. What is going wrong? It is not great news for all the weight


statistic only matters in as much as it affects ordinary voters. --


although any statistic only matters. You see the actual reduction in the


deficit, 25%, that is progress. Unemployment is still coming down


and nobody is mentioning, because the Government has plotted a middle


way, a sensible course, our interest rates are still rock


bottom. As a con -- as a consequence, people can afford to


pay their mortgages and businesses pay their loans. But living


standards are continuing to be squeezed. Wages are frozen are


falling and although one upon it is coming down, there are many people


without jobs -- although unemployment is coming down, there


are many people without jobs. You're missing your own targets and


your own projections. Personally, and I have said that before, I do


not take the view that achieving neatness on statistics is the major


objective of government. So why make such a big deal about deficit-


reduction? It helps us to ensure that we have the confidence from


outside which keeps interest rates low and keeps people in jobs.


that confidence is diminishing outside Britain. The economic


rating is out of -- the trouble a rating is in threat. I expect we


will be fine. We are at the strongest and healthiest economy.


You need to look at the situation nationally, or internationally.


Whether you blame the bankers or Labour, the Government inherited a


basket case. Anybody from any party who says there is a sunshine or


option is living in cloud cuckoo land. The Triple A rating is based,


in part, on you being able to fulfil what you promised, to bring


the deficit down. Did you think Britain will be able to hold on to


that credit rating? I think so. But the pressure comes from both sides


and there will be those who say that, yes, the debt is higher than


we would like but we must cut more. Do you agree? Not in the slightest.


We would end up in recession. It would be a stupid thing to do.


would like to spend more? alternative is to pour your way out


of debt. But borrowing figures shows that is what you're doing.


That is below -- that is where the growth you have got has come from.


Tax receipts is going up which shows there is strength in the


economy. If but I am pragmatic. You should not be dogmatic with


people's lives. We have to do what works. We have kept things on an


even keel and have kept the economy strong. The emphasis is on a


sensible strategy. Some of those on the right are saying, cut, cut, cut.


Judge George Koren? He wants to continue -- George Osborne. He


wants to continue austerity. It is not doing what it said on the 10th.


There is a nonsense that there is a government plan to have austerity.


We have austerity. It is not our plan, it is not Labour's plan. It


is something that we have entered into because of mistakes in our


economy. Austerity is what we have got, not what we want. Borrowing is


up slightly, and you are confident of keeping the Triple A rating. GDP


figures out on Friday. Will the economy contract? It is entirely


possible that it will. We might be bumping along the bottom for some


months or years to come. There are alternatives. We could spend more


money, which is tempting. The danger is you end up losing not


just the rating, but all international credibility and


interest rates go up. To go back on the interest rates, and how


important that is, a 1% rise in interest rates would mean �100 a


month extra been spent from the average mortgage holder. If we did


what Ed Balls is calling for, it would be a 5% rise, leading to


massive numbers losing their homes. It is it difficult middle course.


What is something different, our daily quiz. The questionnaires, who


recently bolstered the new David Lloyd George? Was a bridge Forsyth,


Baroness Trumpington or Andrew Neil or Dennis Skinner? At the end of


the show, Tim Farron has the honour of giving us the correct answer. It


is an important day in Parliament. MPs will debate a Bill designed to


give a nip and tuck to the constitution, specifically our


royal succession laws. But is it long-overdue or being hastily


rushed through? Let us look at the detail. Nick Clegg wants to modify


what he calls arcane laws that date as far back as the Treason Act,


pass under Edward the third in 1351. It refers to the elder son and heir.


It refers to the elder son and heir. Also in line for a tidy up his the


Act of Settlement, past Wembley in the third was king in 70 No 1. --


when it won him the third was king. That tidying up exercise,


criticised for being rushed, will end discrimination against female


royals so that men will no longer take precedent over women in the


order of succession meaning that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's


first child can become monarch even if it is Aperol. It will remove the


bar on royal heirs marrying bar on royal heirs marrying


Catholics. -- even it is a girl. We are joined by the Conservative MP,


Mary MacLeod, who used to advise the Queen on policy matters, and by


Paul Flynn, the Labour MP and Republican. Do you support the


reforms? I do. As we only have these bills once every 300 years,


there is a chance to make a decent job of it. I think the main change


that most people would like to see is that we skip a generation,


because the time that -- because by the time that Charles and carrots


in 30 years' time, if the Queen lives as long as her mother did,


Charles will be in his eighties. There are doubts about whether he


is a suitable person to be a monarch. I think we should vote on


the subject. We should be able to choose between Charles, William or


another citizen. What do you think of that? Score in a generation is


ridiculous and it will never happen. -- skipping a generation.


Fundamental to the Royal Family is this sense of service and duty.


Therefore, it will pass from one generation to the next. That will


absolutely happen. But I am excited about today because I think we are


creating history and in an -- in a society we want to get more women


setting up businesses and on to boards, we have had a great female


Prime Minister and a great Queen, let us build on the Jubilee and


make this change. You think it is never going to happen. What


evidence do you have the people would like to see it skip a


generation? If we had a referendum, we would see it. By the time in 20


years' time, it will be much stronger. We have broken the taboo.


People would say that you could not change anything, that these rules


of succession work after a Tim Stone many years ago. Today, we're


going to change that and we can change it in other ways. Is this


not an opportunity to do what he is suggesting? It is an opportunity to


suggest it. So it might be an amendment that is debated? Be it


might be. Do you agree? Not really. I think we should move it forward


in a progressive way with what is on the paper already. My fears are


that what is good about the monarchy is that it is above


politics. And the difficulty is that if we are allowed to elect


somebody through a referendum, that person is going to have the stigma


of being not chosen... situation is that the Queen has


been an exceptional monarch and has behaved faultlessly for all these


years, but the others have not. We have had some that have been mad,


bad and sad and some of them have been all three. The likelihood is


that Charles, who has been meddling in politics for a long time, will


find it irresistible to stay above things. He said he would leave the


country if the hunting Act was passed. It was that he did not. But


he is likely to be meddling in other policies and if that happens,


it will be a constitutional crisis. But you still like the idea of a


monarchy? At would prefer a better system but now is the chance to


institute reform. -- I would prefer. I think it is important for this


bill to keep succinct and focused and let us get something through


Parliament. Let us look at the focus. There are reports that the


Queen was not consulted and that Prince Charles had concerns. What


do you think they are making of the tall? This was put to the


Commonwealth in 20th October 11. -- making of it all. -- October, 2011.


I have not discussed it with Prince Charles, so I'm not sure if he has


concerns. I feel that he will feel, and looking at the work he has done


with the Prince's Trust, promoting female entrepreneurs, and the work


he has done, I do not think he will be against this in principle.


a problem is that it does not get rid of the religious discrimination.


It would still be impossible to get a Catholic as monarch. I think that


is an outrage. That would be a problem, if the child marries a


Catholic. What would happen then? As the rules stand, but would not


be acceptable. And rules should be changed. -- that would not be


acceptable. The difficulty is that the monarch is the head of the


Church of England which is why that is maintained. The answer is to


disestablish the Church of England. It is something that I believe we


should do. I feel passionately that the Queen feels that her role as


head of the Church of England is incredibly important to her. I


think the thing for us to do, going forward, is to keep focused on this


specific part of the Bill which is saying that we should change the


male progenitor issue, let us of that. Across the country, I think


most people think that is a fair way to go. -- let us solve that.


But the religious thing is being changed too. The problem is that


you are not barred from marrying a Catholic but if the child is raised


Catholic, it will not be allowed to take the throne. Are you happy with


that? I think the bill is focusing on changing one thing. There are


three things, but that would take more discussion and decision making.


Is this being rushed through then? In is not to reform. It is


reinforcing prejudice against religion. Most people in this


country are nominally Church of England but the influence is going


down. Muslims, Catholics, evangelicals, they can say, why


should one of us not be head of state? The head of state is a


crucial part of the role. It has not been thought through properly


by Nick Clegg. One thing at a time. It is appropriate we are looking at


the issue of succession. The issue to do with the faith of the mark is


significant only in so far as we have a state church. As it happens,


the Queen is a Christian. Great, but she could be succeeded by


people who were not. It is peculiar that the Church would have someone


at their head who did not share their faith. It is bad for the


Church. They continue to be a prisoner of the Establishment. The


Church would be more effective and a say that as a committed Christian,


if they were let free. That we the government tried to get this


through, without touching the sides, it was an odd coalition. -- the way


the Government tried. But there is not to rush. Why is it being pushed


through? As a new parliamentarian, I am quite relieved that we can


show that we can get things through Parliament in a reasonable time


frame. Most people think that Parliament takes months and years


for anything to happen. But we have started this discussion. I wrote an


article about this in 2002 and people have written before and


afterwards saying that it should happen. I think it is long overdue.


But this change could last for 300 years and it is doing it in two


days. There are all kinds of problems. That is why I think we


should be the focus. It might work out that the future monarch will


have the job and her younger brother would have all the money.


The Duchy of Cornwall. That is what the questions that was asked. The


rights of -- the rights and privileges go to the male heir. How


is this affected by the new rules? This is an example of the rush to


build. There are so many unintended consequences of the bill but the


Government has not considered. on succession, we can agree and I


think that is why we should do that. But what about the unintended


consequences because constitutionally, they are


important. I think we are dealing with succession right now and these


other issues could come back at a later stage. The this is going to


be incomplete. But if so, we will be left with important questions.


They will be dealt within due course? They need to be. There is a


good issue about the inheritance of property. There is implications on


the hereditary principle. If you look at the House of Lords, I think


it opens an interesting debate about the future of Britain.


sure the House of Lords will listen to these huge implications, for


those who inherit large estates. I am sure they will have a go at that


because they will see the same principle of wine, many of them


will be against it. I think one appeared this weekend, eight


daughters that cannot inherit, but yet they are working the estate. I


What about the issue of the royal veto when it comes to certain laws?


It is monstrous, this is done quietly, in secret. Tam Dalyell...


The Queen still has the right, in theory, to be does some laws.


does. I doubt whether Prince Charles would have signed the


hunting Bill, he was passionately against it, as he said, and if they


do not sign it, there is a constitutional crisis. Tam Dalyell


had a bill, a very sensible built to take the power of declaring war


from the monarch into Parliament, and it was sabotaged, we are told,


by the Queen at the advice of Tony Blair. In 2003, we had a vote


before we went to war in Iraq. Finally, the Lib Dem conference


used to vote on whether to keep the monarchy. What has changed? I think


most of us think in an ideal democratic state, you would not


start with a monarchy, but that is not where we are, but it has


evolved and serves us well. Many people in the UK, they are jealous


of us because we have a head of state who is above politics.


need to look at this year with the Jubilee, how much unity and


excitement and inspiration it created. The royal spin machine has


been going at top speed, and if we had had this discussion at the time


when Diana died... It might have been very different. Nowadays they


are untouchable, the Queen has done a marvellous job, but beware the


future. And let's bring in change for women! Thank you both very much.


A list is published today of the 100 most prominent Bangladeshis in


public life, including a number of prominent figures from culture,


media, sport, business and the professions, but very few senior


politicians. There is only one Bangladeshi MP, but if the number


of MPs work in proportion to the number of British Bangladeshis,


they should be around five. It is a situation reflected across other


communities, too. There are 28 black and minority ethnic members


of parliament, but if that was to match the make-up of the country,


I believe there is enough interest and optimism in the Bangladeshi


community in local government. What I would like to see is a


development, taking that further international politics, so the


talented people that we have on our list, that the mainstream parties


pick them up and encourage them to stand in winnable seats to play a


fully-fledged light in British mainstream politics representing


the wider community. Roshanara Ali, the one Bangladeshi MP in


parliament, and Alok Sharma at, Conservative MP for Reading West,


with responsibility for engagement for engaging ethnic-minority


communities. How do you encourage more people from your background to


stand for Parliament? I set up a charity called Uprising, backed by


the three party leaders, to prepare and support the next generation of


young leaders to get them into politics, into leadership across


the sector, the media and other sectors as well. How? You make sure


they are properly mentored, given training and support, and it is a


10 or 15 year project. You start when they are young, you make sure


they are known in political circles, so that when opportunities come,


politicians can encourage those people within the parties to get


into power. But there is a responsibility among the political


parties as well, which is that they need to take a leadership role to


make sure that happens. Without being too personal, what are you


doing? Are you encouraging people from ethnic-minority backgrounds to


get involved in politics, even if it is employing someone in your


office or whatever it is? We went up in terms of numbers of MPs from


two up to 11 at the last election. There is a long way to go, and


mentoring is one of the ways of doing it. But when you talk to


people from British Britons from ethnic minority backgrounds, second


or third generation, they are looking to succeed on merit. The


way to do that is exactly through mentoring, getting people involved


at grassroots levels. I think it works. Does it work, though? We


always talk about the number of women who came into Parliament


during Tony Blair's time because of the all-women shortlists. His there


still a case to be made for ethnic minority candidates to be put


forward in the same way? Not in the same way, because you have to be


proportionate. Women make up 50% of the population, ethnic minorities


closer to 10%. But there are more things parties can do, for instance


doing more around positive action, setting clear regional targets, for


instance, to say, when you are selecting 30 MPs, make sure a


proportion of those of from minority backgrounds, make sure a


significant proportion are women. Even the parties do not use all-


women shortlists, it is important they set the tone and the leaders


of the parties set the tone. In my case, the all-women shortlist


process was very successful for getting women in, but actually


getting ethnic-minority Owen was a challenge. I won through an open


shortlist, so we need to make sure that ethnic minority groups who


want to go into politics, it is recognised that there are other


barriers, including discrimination. What about targets? Would you


introduce them? I think it is about people succeeding on merit. You do


not want targets at all? Third- generation people want to succeed


on merit, but that is through mentoring, getting people involved


in the political process. That is the way forward, rather than saying,


you know, there ought to be positive discrimination for them or


any other group. I am not talking about positive discrimination. But


there is a responsibility of political parties to take the


leadership role that is required, because otherwise you have a lot of


very impressive, talented people in the communities, and they cannot


get into the system because the system is too close. That has to be


opened up, and there is a real problem. How many MPs from ethnic


minorities from the Liberal Democrats? 0. That is pretty


dreadful. Absolutely, we have fought long as for Racial Equality,


and we have no... Why not? It is a really good question. First of all,


it is an indictment against the party, and we have to be a lot


about it. You are the President. have a leadership programme about


under-represented groups being given training and support. One


thing we have not got, I mean, we do not have any safe seats. The


Labour Party and the Tories have lists, and they have both done a


job. Some seats are safer than others, even in the Liberal


Democrat ranks. If you were really committed... My personal view is


that we should do it. As I say, you have flattered me to say that we


have saved seeds, that is not my view, and I do not want to drop the


ball into seats that look good on paper. -- safe seeds. Far better to


buck the trend by giving support to people on the ground. What I was


going to say, the danger in any high position, even positive


discrimination does not work. I did some shortlisting and found that


the four people are shortlisted work public school boys, white


public-school boys. If you look at the numbers, the Liberal Democrats


time and again put candidates in seats they could not win, ethnic


minority and women candidates. You have got to look at the indirect


practices. We tend to lose nearly 600 of the seats that we stand in!


There is indirect discrimination which needs to be addressed. People


feel... Basically, when they put themselves, talented people put


themselves forward and do not get a fair chance, because they are being


used as fodder. That is not acceptable either. What to think in


terms of numbers for the 2015 election? It is not a question of


people being used as fodder. Historically, it has been.


Conservative associations select people they believe best represent


them. I was a local candidate in Reading, not part of any


affirmative action. A-list. Absolutely, and I was selected for


the first see that I applied for, because my local party picked the


candidate they thought perform the best. What about having ethnic


minority candidates on and a list? I have never called for a third of


action, privately or publicly, and I think it is about succeeding on


merit. Lots of people are coming through the system they will be


coming forward and becoming candidates, I am quite sure,


because they are talented and do it on their own merits. Do you have a


ballpark figure of ethnic minority candidates standing in 2015? We are


in the process of selecting candidates, but let's see where we


end up. The key thing is that people want to succeed on merit,


and that absolutely applies his second and third generation.


Whether the Liberal Democrats? It appears their electoral hopes are


withering on the vine, and recent by-election results suggest that


many voters polled them in withering contempt. Giles has more.


Two and a half years ago, there was a joke that he could not buy a Lib


Dem manifesto because the party had sold out. Now, although the shine


has rolled and Bath -- the shine has rubbed off, they are guaranteed


weather proof until 2015. 1,500 local council has gone, new polling


lows, three by-elections in which three times they lost their deposit,


were behind UKIP and got less than 5% of the vote. The party is


completely asleep. It is in a state of shock, really a trauma as a


result of the coalition. coalition compromise led one Lib


Dem of 10 years to be in his party for Labour, and a long-standing


voters should be door in his face. You are there to fight for society,


a vision of a society, the values of a society which you are


committed to. There's no point and finally getting your grubby hands


on power and the first thing you do is abandon those policies and


values you believe in. But more Lib Dems have stayed. Policy has been


agreed and enacted, the coalition has not fallen apart, and the Lib


Dems trumpets key achievements, the pupil premium, taking people out of


income tax. Will that be enough in 2015? It is important the party


does not fight the election by saying, this is what has happened


in the last five years. That can be part of it, that is inevitable. But


the next election has got to be bought on the future. Principally


the economy, we need to be showing a Liberal Democrat vision for the


economy of the UK, because that is very different from what George


Osborne will be saying, for example. The carrots narrative is that at


the next general election Liberal Democrats will be punished for


their part in the coalition. -- the current narrative. They will be


particularly worried about an area like this, Bren Central, where the


sitting MP as a majority of just over 1,000. But they do benefit


from incumbency, and some in the party think there's something they


can do about it. Working to buck the first past the post system is


something that Liberal Democrats are used to, and people should not


underestimate that resilience within the party. But what many of


those Lib Dems who go out campaigning ones do here is what


Lib Dem policies and manifesto commitments outside the coalition


are going to be, and timing is everything. As a party, we have got


to have at least six or eight months to campaign independently on


our own vision for the future. You cannot do it in three or four weeks.


If it is left to the last three or four weeks, we will be dead.


Jamming! You'll be dead and as you start campaigning independently. --


charming. He is right that if we do not campaign as an independent


force, we will go down with the Tories, that is the correct, but we


have been campaigning since day one, it is a new world for us, being in


coalition government, being in power at all is something that is


only in the lifetime memory of people who did know Lloyd George.


And only as a result of going into government with the Tories. You say


the Tories are going down. If we are attached to the coalition and


presenting ourselves as just a part of that and we do not distinguish


ourselves, we will get punished, just like the Conservatives will.


But we must remember that coalitions are a different type of


government, two political parties that things are different things,


and we will be fighting each other perfectly correctly and


appropriately in local elections, seeing very big differences, three


times more Liberal Democrat gains from Conservatives... Right, but it


has been dismal in terms of by- election performances, the worst


ever by-election results, 2% in Rotherham. I mean, you have lost


deposits, come below all the other parties. Let's get back to this


idea that he will go down with the Tories, they are actually narrowing


the polling lead of labour. Perhaps Only if you believe the last poll.


Answer the question about the Tories. If you are so convinced


they're going down, why not split with them now? The point I'm making


is that people will not be voting for the coalition at the next


election. They will be voting for the parties that formed the


coalition. What Britain has got his stable government and something


which many people pretend it would not happen if we had a balanced


parliament, a secure government. It would be foolish for any part of


the coalition to dismantle that before polling day. The coalition


should last five years. That does not mean that Lib Dems should not


be campaigning vociferously for a stronger economy and a fairer


society. So to make this clear, you're not advocating a split, but


you are advocating a separate campaign next year. We should


campaign separately now. You would like a divorce now. There is a


difference between campaigning separately. Lib Dems and Tories


will be fighting each other in the local elections this year and yet


nationally, we will govern together. We have a Labour conservative


coalition in Cumbria, for example, and they will be fighting each


other at the county elections. It is a normal thing in most of Europe


to have two or more parties in coalition that govern together and


fight each other on the doorstep. That is clear, but what about


presentation? Nick Clegg gave a separate report after the Leveson


Inquiry. Do you want to see that happening on everything? I thought


it was a great step and it was something we should have done


earlier. It is important at a time of coalition, something that


England have not seen before, but we demonstrate that a coalition is


not two political parties that agree with each other assimilating.


The arithmetic dictated that we had one choice, to go into coalition


with the Tories. We accept the coalition, but we do not become


less liberal. But the polls suggest that you support has withered away.


Distinguishing yourself has not worked. You have not persuaded


people that the Lib Dem policies that they voted for are still there.


It is hard to be sure what the cause is. It could be that the Lib


Dems went into power for the first time in 70 years and that has


shocked everybody. And you could not keep to you're principles about


conservation -- tuition fees and reform. To be clear, we have only


managed to get 65% of our principles into policies. That is a


pretty good deal. He said you liked Nick Clegg giving a separate review


after the Leveson Inquiry. Would you like him to do a different


speech to David Cameron on Europe? I think it is clear that we have


different views on Europe. Nick Clegg gives different speeches on


Europe. Should he do his own version of this speech on Europe?


He kind of already has done. I'm sure he will again. Yes, it is


important that we clarify that we are in coalition and we believe in


a collegiate approach, rather than just throwing crockery. Nick Clegg


said we have legislation guaranteeing sharing of power in


Brussels. He said it was inadvisable to go further than this.


I agree, but I think there should be an in out referendum. At the


point that there is a substantial treaty change put to us, which is


what he is saying. That is government policy now. But it is


not. A referendum on a treaty change and referendum -- is not the


same as having an in out referendum. What we have all was said and what


Lib Dem policy has always been is that next time we have something


like the Lisbon Treaty, we should not just a referendum on a treaty,


it should be an in out random. It would be a proxy for an in out


referendum anyway. We have always said that it would be mad to have a


referendum now, in the middle of getting out of the worst financial


crisis in living memory. It would be navel contemplation of an


unforgivable level. What would the wording be going into the next


election? And in out referendum? the point that there is a major


change. I think David Cameron's speech is going to be interesting.


It will be the moment when we find out whether he is a leader or a


four. Up until 20 years ago, the Tory party was pro European.


Margaret Thatcher said that the Labour Party the unease would pull


us out. -- Louise. It is clearly a massive net benefit. We will end up


leaving the European Union unless we get leadership from the top that


explains to the public why it is in our interest to remain in it.


Looking up the numbers, you won 57 seats at the last election with a


24% of the vote. The pollsters say that if you remain at 10%, or even


15%, you will be reduced to just 10 MPs. Peter knows better than that.


On my uniform swing... I would never hold my seat in the first


place. The reality is that Lib Dems exist... How many seats were you


keep Q Matt we were aiming to make games and we hope to hang on to


what we have got now. -- how many will you keep? We hope to hang on


to what we have got now. Any losses are unacceptable. We are digging in


to make sure that does not happen. If you look at by-elections on the


ground over the last few months, Lib Dems are gaining seats, even


some from Labour. I'm not deluding myself. It is a tough time to be a


let-down. But it has been a lot worse within my lifetime. It is


almost enough to make David Cameron feel nostalgic about the EU wrote


debacle. Almost. Only a week ago, Europe was David Cameron's main


preoccupation. But now he is tackling the fall-out from a


hostage drama and the rising threat of terrorism in North Africa. In


the debate in the House last night, he said that Britain would provide


intelligence and counter- intelligence -- counter --


intelligence in counter-terrorism to help the network. First, here


are some highlights from last night. Together with our partners in the


region, we are in the midst of a generational struggle against an


ideology which is in -- which is an extreme distortion of the Islamic


faith and which holds that mass murder and terror are not only


acceptable but necessary. We must tackle this poisonous thinking at


home and abroad and resist the ideologue's attempt to divide the


world into a clash of civilisations. The task is to understand the


nature of the threat, more decentralised, more fragmented,


taking advantage of the uncovered spaces and security vacuums in


parts of North Africa. Does the Prime Minister agree that


eliminating a religious and political ideology is not an easy


thing to do, as evidenced by Iraq and Afghanistan? Can he give a


guarantee that his crusading zeal, in the event of not being able to


get many West African troops, will not lead him to the use of British


troops in the future? I do not believe that the only answer, or


the right answer is security and military action. As I said, and the


Leader of the Opposition said, what we need to do is use all the


elements at our disposal, development response, political


response, working with partners. That does not mean that a tough


security response is not part of what is required. The concept of


containment, when considering these long-term problems, it has served


us well, for 70 years in the cold war and for 38 years in relation to


Northern Ireland. It would help avoid an oscillation of policy from


over involvement on the ground of one extreme, to too little


involvement and over-emphasis on withdrawal at the other. And we are


joined by a Labour defence spokesman, Kevin Jones and Patrick


Mercer, the Conservative MP and former shadow minister for home and


security. Welcome. Do you agree with David Cameron that there has


to be an international response to this terrorist threat? Absolutely.


In exactly the same way that there was an international response to


the threat on the Afghanistan Pakistan border and also inside


Iraq. This is the same problem with a slightly different part of the


world. And they have ruled out boots on the ground. At the moment,


certainly. Do you think we will have to have troops? I do not know.


I have not seen, nor will I see, the latest intelligence. I think


that we have got to be prepared for whatever is required. The people


are quite right that the over use phrase, the Al-Qaeda franchise is


spreading and moving. So we must be prepared to spread that move with


it. Do you agree? We have got to prepare for all eventualities. That


is why the SDSR that took place when the Government came in was


already outdated. It was not even mentioned. We are facing


redundancies today and the Prime Minister as potentially asking the


Armed Forces to do more. There are serious questions about the SDSR


and whether it is now a document that should be shelved.


Strategic Defence Review, let us give it the full names since not


everybody knows what it is. It is bad timing, at best, to be


announcing these cuts to the Armed Forces when, on the other hand,


David Cameron is talking about our response to the threat in Mali and


across North Africa. There is a great irony to it. I'm sure the


Government is embarrassed about it. Is it wrong? I don't think so.


There needs to be savings made in military expenditure. If you look


at what could have happened otherwise, the other two parties


would have spent �100 billion on Trident and there would be more


cuts in army personnel of that had happened. What about the cuts?


Could we actually send troops? Do we have the manpower? Very good


question. Of course, this are predicated on the fact that


Afghanistan is going to nicely end neatly at 2014, with hardly a Tommy


Atkins to be seen in the country. Wrong answer. Secondly, we have to


re- intervene? Who knows? The point is there will not be a bubble of


troops left over, some of whom can be disbanded and some of whom can


be sent to North Africa. It does not work like that. I had been


saying this sense 2010. And on that basis, Labour supporting the


Government in terms of sending intelligence and logistical support


to back up the French. What else can we offer them? If we have the


capability. One of the capabilities is the centre Na Li aircraft, which


is coming out of service and two years. The his capabilities that


have been taken out of the SDSR, now being relied upon. In terms of


redundancies, we have people being made redundant who are surfing in


Afghanistan alongside Prince Harry. They will be getting their P45s


when they come back. That sends the wrong message. What you say to


that? A one to make a point about the intervention -- what do you


want to say about that? I want to make a point about the intervention


anywhere in the world. We should offer support, absolutely, but the


lesson we have to learn from Iraq is that even if you retract --


accept the premise of the Iraq war, two Western nations going in as


liberators, but seen as occupiers, that is going to be a counter


productive mood. -- counter- productive move. And is that


incredible., but you could escalate it if we go in marching like we did


in Afghanistan, but it could be dealt with locally. I am not sure


that it could be dealt with locally but we should put the accent on the


local forces. There has a great phrase, getting your hands stuck in


the mangle. The fact remains, we were attacked lethally, although


not as lethally as we might have been, in 2005, by an African gang


of Islamists. Old people meant our people no good whatsoever. They


intended to kill hundreds on the tube. Anybody that analyses these


things or pays attention to these things must understand that the


threat has been there for a very long time and will take a long time


to be brought to a proper level. the renewed terrorist haven in this


region? It has been there for a while. There is a big question


being asked that the senior military level, are we able to put


troops on the ground anywhere, because of the gamble the


Government has taken to reduce the size of the army? We are going to


take a look at Prince Harry and the interview he made at the end of his


current tour with the army in That is what we revolve around, I


suppose. If there's people trying to do bad stuff to our eyes, then


we'll take them out of the game, I suppose. Should he have been asked


that question in the first place? think the question is in pretty


poor taste. It is one of those unwritten rules that journalists do


not ask that question. It is uncomfortable and difficult, but


I'd do have a sneaking admiration for the Prince, and serene in the


forthright way in which he has. Let's be clear about it, that is


what soldiers are for. Take a life to save a life, should be up and


said in that way or just deflected it? He has been an Apache


helicopter pilot, he will have been engaged in action, so in terms of


the honest way he answered it, yes. He is coming back to this country,


but many of the people he served alongside will be made redundant,


and that is something the government have got to explain.


They cannot even get their message is right today, two different press


releases from the MoD this morning. What was your response when you


heard Prince Harry admitting that he had killed? People presume that


is what happens, but what was your response? If you look at his answer,


it is a third person answer, there was no admission or celebration, so


why would he? Why are we using this language of admitting and


confessing? He is a professional soldier, is a combat officer, it is


what he does. It may not be tasteful, we may not like to dwell


upon it. You are right, it is part of the job. He was thrown a


question, he may not have seen it coming, I thought his answer was


honest without saying his personal involvement necessarily lead to


what we are assuming it did. would be remarkable if it didn't!


It was a dignified response, what to expect from people serving in


the military? What about the security threat? We mentioned in


last dreadful incident here, what about the current or future


security threat? Well, we must be an absolutely no doubt that there


is just as strong a threat of Islamist terror and horror in this


country from those with an African origin, both north, east and west,


as there is with those living on the Pakistan-Afghan border. That


threat has not gone away, this will no doubt intensify, it is bound to,


and I'm very interested to see that the French have taken domestic


measures to secure themselves at home, which as far as I can see, we


are not doing at the moment. Gentlemen, thank you very much.


Mention the word Europe around Westminster these days, and all


anybody talks about his David Cameron's speech, including us, of


course! Not so in the rest of Europe. All eyes this week are on


France and Germany who today are celebrating 50 years of friendship.


On 22nd January 1963, General de Galle and Konrad Adenauer signed


the Elysee Treaty in Paris. Both countries are issuing stamps, coins


and literary awards to commemorate the historic accord that cemented


peaceful co-operation between the former enemies after World War II.


This morning the French President, Francois Hollande, met Angela


Merkel at the French embassy in Berlin, presumably a neutral


location! Later a joint session of the Cabinets both countries is due


to take place. 400 French lawmakers will travel to Berlin to join their


counterparts for a debate in the Reich stag. The day will wrap up


with a concert at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall. Well, we are


joined now from Paris by the French political commentator Agnes Poirier,


and in the studio we have a comedian with German roots who


performs regularly in German, funnily enough! Welcome to both of


you. Tell me, why is it in Berlin, the celebrations today? Is that


because Angela Merkel is in charge? Probably, I don't know. Why is it


in Berlin and not in Paris? I do know, because the 40th anniversary


took place in Versailles of all places, and it went so well that


they want to do some magnificent things in Berlin! I see, I thought


there would be an explanation. When they all meet in the Reichstag, are


they all going to be talking German, Agnes Poirier? I think they will be


speaking in different languages, and I assume a bit of English, too.


Thank goodness for that! Do you love each other, the French and


Germans? I have got the complete set of names. I think the Germans


love the French much more than the Brits feel is right all decent. I


mean, we are stuck in a groove that was established in 1945, and the


French and Germans have long since moved on from that. I think a


recent survey from the German- French television channel showed


that 50% of each nation has lived in the other country, which says a


lot. It does, one might say we are really quite different, if you are


looking at all the stereotypes from language, food, fashion. What do


the French think of the Germans? Well, I mean, it is interesting,


because we went from being hereditary enemies to hereditary


friends, because in a way we do not have any choice. We have to be


friends. I think the fate of Europe is dependent on it. So it is a


false relationship, then. No, it is not, but it can be a difficult


relationship, we all know this, because it is very much dependent


on the personal chemistry between the two heads of state, and usually


it takes a few years for them to get along well, especially if they


do not belong to the same political family. But in the end, remember


Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, after a few difficult years, they


saw each other all the time, and we called it Merkozy. Now Hollande and


Michael did not quite liked each other yet, so we will say after the


September elections, and presumably they were like each other very


soon! I am glad to hear it. Do you agree that Angela Merkel does not


have much time for Francois Hollande? It is hard for me to


comment about that. As with anybody, a new arrival in an established of


this, it is difficult to get your feet under the table. All I know is


that in time these relationships to develop, think of me drop and


Helmut Kohl holding hands in 1984 in front of the modern it. Two


British people, they look like the odd couple, what the hell are you


doing there? The comic in me wants to say, it was the first example of


openly gay presidential relationship, holding hands, it


looks so incongruous. Two people, physically, in terms of their


politics, and their outlook, very different, but they came together


and made a very strong image. They say, we do not care what others may


say, the British may scoff, but this is our statement. I think


Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel look quite good together, something


to do with being the same height, the same sort of age. They do not


look too bad. No, they don't. Perhaps the problem is that


Hollande and Angela Merkel bowled starkly opposite positions on how


to solve the euro crisis and on economic policies. I think it is


going to be quite difficult for them, but in the end, again, France


and Germany have no choice but to be friends, so they will get along.


Right, you heard it from Agnes Poirier, very firm about that.


Where are you going to be for that long awaited speech by David


Cameron? Where will you be watching? Probably in front of my


computer, working on jokes about it, whatever comes up, and should they


be appropriate. We look at this thing with the comedy potential,


and the relationship between France and Germany, what strikes me is the


funny things that come out of it. For example, in Germany children


are encouraged to take French pen pals, but you can imagine how many


conversations there have been over the years about how many brothers


and sisters you have got. The type of dog and that kind of stuff, that


is what we look for. Agnes Poirier, is the whole of France sitting on


the edge of its seat waiting with bated breath for that speech


tomorrow? No, they don't even know Cameron is making a speech. I mean,


I do, and I will be back in London, but a lot of people in France hope,


the ones who know, there is going to be a speech, they wish that the


British pantomime about Europe stops soon, because it is really


getting on their nerves. We do not want to get on your nerves! Agnes


Poirier, thank you very much. But why pronounce your name? I speak


German as well! When your name is David Cameron,


life is rarely easy. First to have got lines of people turning up at


your door and you have got to keep everybody happy, whatever their


tastes. There are the arguments about in or out, with gherkins,


that is, and you have to cater for all appetites, even if they are


talking meatballs. Ladled on top of that, you have to make an


appearance at Number Ten. We are joined now by David Cameron, who is


just on his way back from Downing Street, where he has been handing


in a petition to his namesake. Clearly, you're not the David


Cameron, Prime Minister, we have noticed that. What are you doing


today? Well, today, a group of franchisees, including myself, we


have visited Number Ten, and we have dropped off a petition to


really try and get a word over to the government that we want to see


some vendors on the way that VAT is applied to hot takeaway food. --


Venice. Is this your attempt to regurgitate the pasty tax row?


follows on from that. When the government first introduced the new


VAT laws in October last year, from the 2012 budget, we actually


welcomed that, and it brought some transparency to VAT, and ourselves


and our competitors were all going to be treated the same. But when


the government made a U-turn and introduced this clause whereby hot


savoury Products, pasties and sausage rolls, suddenly would be


zero-rated for VAT purposes, it is down to the fact that they are


deemed to be cooling down when they are sold, but our toasted


sandwiches, which we believe fulfil the same purpose for people buying


them, a subject to the standard rate of VAT at 20%. I am sure this


bring back happy memories for you, Tim Farron. You're doing is purely


for commercial reasons, why should you be exempt from tax when your


customers have to pay? Well, we are just after fairness. The fact is


that our competitors are able to sell a product that fulfils the


same purpose. If you go into one of these big high street bakeries, you


can buy a hot product that is exempt from VAT. But if you buy one


of our toasted sandwiches, and we are toasting them to provide the


customer with a product that has a certain texture, not just hot, but


both products are great value, tasty, fulfilling the same purpose.


We believe that we should be treated equally. I am sure your


name has helped in the campaign! Let's see how much you and David


Cameron have in common. David Cameron Prime Minister is going to


Davos, what have you got planned? For the rest of this week, I


actually work in Dewsbury on a daily basis, so from tomorrow


morning I will be back there and I will be making sandwiches on the


counter for part of the week. I have got some recruiting to do,


working at the Jobcentre. Later in a week, I have got to organise some


of our lighting to be converted to an ad to reduce carbon emissions.


David Cameron's first job after leaving university was working for


the Conservative Research Department. For myself, it was


working for Subway, I took a job out of university, I worked as a


sandwich artist, I was there for two ears, and eventually I decided


to take the plunge and go for my own franchise. Good for you!


Quickly, which David Cameron do you prefer? This guy seems very nice!


Just time to find out the answer to our quiz, the question was, who


recently boasted they used to know David Lloyd George? What is the


answer? I would have guessed Baroness Trumpington. Well, here


she is in action, you're right. this historic day, we celebrate the


150th anniversary of the birth of David Lloyd George. I beg leave to


ask the question, in my name of the Order Paper. My Lords, I have to


add that my father met Lloyd We have somewhere a photograph of


my father was Lloyd George and about 3,000 other people in the


picture, but never mind, it is still historic. Is the Minister


aware that I not only knew Lloyd Shut up, everybody! That told them,


that is what I'm gonna do to my guests! Thank you to all of our


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