25/01/2013 Daily Politics


25/01/2013

Andrew Neil has all the big political stories of the day with Craig Woodhouse of the Sun and Mary Riddell of the Telegraph.


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Afternoon, folks. Welcome to the Daily Politics. The programme for

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those of you who could not find Yorke remote-controlled and could

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not go to BBC One for the tennis. The UK economy shrank again towards

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the end of last year, and stagnated overall in 2012. Chancellor George

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Osborne has presided over yet another dip in economic growth. At

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minus 0.3%, it's even worse than expected for the final quarter of

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last year. But it's not my fault, guv! Deputy Prime Minister Nick

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Clegg now says the Coalition cut public investment too hard and too

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fast. Boris tells George to stop talking up austerity, and even the

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IMF says it's time to ease up. But will the government really change

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course? Would allowing 16 year-olds the right to vote help bring

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Parliament into the 21st Century? Or is this, as one MP put it

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yesterday, simply a 'pathetic attempt' by his colleagues to look

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'trendy in their constituencies'? All that in the next hour or so. On

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Tuesday the latest borrowing figures are were published with

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December's borrowing coming in higher at �15.4 billion. If that is

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a trend that continues it would see the government overshoot the Office

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for Budget Responsibility's borrowing forecast for the year. On

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Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund cut its growth

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forecasts for the UK, predicting the country's economy will only

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grow by 1% in 2012-13, and by 1.9% next year. That's about a third of

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1% less than they'd been predicting before. But Wednesday did see good

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news for the Government on the jobs front. The number of people out of

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work fell by 37,000 to 2.49 million in the three months to November.

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But this morning there was that really worrying news that the

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economy contracted by 0.3% in the final quarter of 2012, according to

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:03:00.:03:01.

the Office of National Statistics. That's worse than most of the

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forecasters had hoped. If it shrinks again in the next three

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months we will officially be back in recession. Well, in Davos, the

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Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne gave his reaction to

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today's figures. We have a reminder today that Britain faces a very

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difficult economic situation. A reminder that last year was

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particularly difficult. We face problems at home with the debts

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built up over many years, and problems abroad with the Eurozone

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where we export our products which is deep in recession. We can either

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run away from the problems or confront them. I am determined to

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confront them so we can create jobs for the people of this country.

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That was the Chancellor. With this in here is Craig Wood House and

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Mary Riddell. Welcome to you both. First, Danny Alexander joins me now.

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He did not go to Davos, and got to come on hearing stead. What is it

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like to preside over the worst recovery in 100 years? The figures

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are a reminder of the severity and difficulty of the challenges we

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face as a country. They are disappointing figures, but not

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surprising. It is what the OBR forecast in the last month. The two

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is the overall picture I'm looking up. By some calculations, this is

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the worst recovery since the 1830s. There is no recovery, is there?

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recover at -- economy is recovering from the deepest recession and

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worst financial crisis since the Second World War, or some would

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argue before that. We are doing so in eight World Environment, whereas

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you have said before, as the Chancellor said as well, that the

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Eurozone is going through major difficulties. That is the major

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export market and that is slowing the economy down. The impact of the

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banking crisis is deeper than we thought. But where we are also

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seeing, as you fairly observed, not just the deficit falling over the

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first two and a half years. But also employment, over one million

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jobs created. In 2012 it was the most number of jobs created in the

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private sector in the British economy since 1989. There are

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positives as well as the grave difficulties. You talk about

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recovery, but the economy is not recovering. Effectively, the

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economy is no bigger as we sit here today and it was when he formed the

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coalition. It is stagnating. Correct? That is a consequence of

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the severe problems we are dealing with as a country. When we came

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into office, we inherited from the Labour Party a huge mess in public

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finances, and unbalanced economy. All the emphasis had been on the

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banking in the City of London to drive growth, and that is the part

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of the economy that collapsed. We put in place policies, whether it

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was guarantees for infrastructure, or capital spending on transport,

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investing in apprenticeships, things designed to make the British

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economy more competitive. The you knew you had inherited a mess. That

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is why you formed a coalition. But having no new inherited the mess

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you proceeded on the basis that the economy would have grown by 6%, and

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it hasn't grown at all. I don't understand why you knew what was a

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mess but she thought it would grow by 6%. Now you say it is a mess and

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it hasn't grown tall. We set up the OBR. -- at all. They produced an

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economic forecast and that is what we worked on at the time. They

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produced an assessment of why the forecasts were wrong. The factors

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they cited are the ones I have mentioned. The crisis in the

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Eurozone, and the impact it had on the British economy. The impact of

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the financial crisis on the economy as a whole. High inflation in the

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earlier part of the parliament. All of those things meant that the

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circumstances were even more difficult than we expected. That

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does not mean that the path of repairing the public finances and

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trying to make economy more competitive and investing in the

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things we need, like infrastructure and skills, is the wrong mix. Yes,

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the road is difficult. I think that is the right mix. More of the same

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then? If you think about this coming year, you have the largest

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income tax cut coming through the pipeline in a generation, something

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they came from the Liberal Democrat election manifesto. The guarantees

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put in place for infrastructure and housing coming through the system.

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The it still you say the economy will only grow by 1%? -- but still.

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The Green Investment Bank we have established, all of these things

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are designed to support the economy through these difficult

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circumstances. But it is not growing, Mr Alexander. It is not

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working. You have no recovery. It is not working. As I say, we are

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facing severe challenges in the country. If anything should remind

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us of the severity of those challenges, it is today's figures.

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That mix of policies I have described, we have to get the

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finances under control. But the deficit is rising again, correct?

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For this financial year, April to December, the deficit is �7 billion

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higher than the same period last year. Correct? If you look at the

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financial year we are in, the OBR produced a forecast last month

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where they said the deficit would fall. But the OBR is famous for

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getting everything wrong. That is why you were in a mess. Why don't

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you fire the OBR? They keep giving you the wrong predictions. I think

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it is important we have independent people doing this. Even when they

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are wrong? I think other independent forecasters made

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similar errors for similar reasons. It is a real blow to you if the

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deficit keeps rising. You keep asking me questions and I can only

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get a third of it out as an answer. I'm still trying to answer three

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questions ago. Let me just finish the point. Do you accept that the

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deficit will be higher this year than last year? I accept the

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forecast that the OBR produced a month ago, setting out what they

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expect the deficit to beat. You know as well as I do that the

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monthly figures for all of these things very. I April to December is

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a lot of mums. I want to bring in my guess -- a lot of mums. Do you

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share the regret from at Nick Clegg that he cut the capital spending

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too fast and too deep? We inherited the plans for deeper cuts. If you

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look at the spending review in 2010, we added �2 billion the year to

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capital spending. And in the Autumn Statement there was another 5

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billion. And just last December another 5 billion. I agree that

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extra capital investment is important for the economy. We have

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made decisions that, in the context of the difficulties we face, put

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more capital spending into the system. But did you cut it too fast

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and too deep? We added to it. He's absolutely right to say that the

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cuts Labour had planned were too deep, which is why we added to it

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in the spending review and in the Autumn Statement. But he is saying

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that we still cut too fast and too deep. I don't think he does say

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that, actually. I've read the interview. Lead me just answer the

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point. But - let me. When we came in, looking at the Capital plans we

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inherited, looking at the financial pressures we face, we will try and

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do more. We were able to Addy in in the spending review an extra �2

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billion per year and were able to spend money on more that mattered

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to the economy. For example, we are spending more on transport

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investment, which is one of the best things for the economy than

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our predecessors did in the last five years. Our guarantees on

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housing is something that no governments have done before.

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aren't building them. Which GCSE economics textbook had you not read

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it that if you cut capital spending it would hit the economy? Why is it

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taking so long to realise, when any student with telly, that is what is

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happening? -- would tell you. From 2010 when we set out the parliament

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that view, we had to be prudent and careful. In the end the biggest

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economic problem we faced was the fact we were spending �150 billion

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more than we were raising. In that context, we had to be careful about

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where we put money. But also, subsequently, in the Autumn

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Statement where we made tough decisions about welfare benefits,

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and in the short term, have reinvested some of the money to

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have further investment in transport and broadband and new

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schools and housing. Mary is jumping to ask a question. It would

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seem to me that this is a catastrophic figure. The fact we

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have had a lack of growth for four out of five quarters with the

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exception being the quarter with the Olympic Games. Clearly we are

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not going to have one of those every year. Andrew is right, of

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course, that this is the worst four year period since pre-Victorian

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times. Give him a question. The question is, is not part of the

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problem that you have sucked so much demand out of things with

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welfare cuts, the lack of capital spending, to which Nick Clegg

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alluded, with tax rises and so on. We need a question. A what are you

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going to do to remedy that? interrupt your other guests less

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than you do me. I agree with Mary that we inherited the most

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catastrophic series of figures in terms of the deficit we had to deal

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with, the lack of competitiveness and the economy. The competitive

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deficit, if you like. The lack of capital over many years. The

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welfare system that was spending out of control. All those things

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had to be dealt with. In the end, one of the most important things we

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have done as a government is re- establish confidence and

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credibility in Britain's ability to deal with public finances. Getting

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interest rates down benefits millions of people and businesses

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in the country. You mention the international view of what we are

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doing, but the sign is we could lose the triple A credit rating,

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and everything you have bet the farm on has then gone out the

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window. Is there anything you can do? Looking at the figures today,

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are we looking at a depression rather than a recession? These

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figures are a reminder of the difficult challenges we continue to

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face, to deal with the catastrophic mess we inherited when we came into

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office. I think it is important we are clear that we will continue to

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take the difficult decisions that are necessary. I have always said

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that the credit rating agencies are not the be-all and end-all. What

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matters in the end is having the right policy mix to ensure that the

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country continues to be able to command credibility and keep the

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interest rates low. That is what we are determined to do. That is what

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a further difficult decisions be made in the autumn statement

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demonstrated, and we need to continue to demonstrate that to

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maintain the benefits of that credibility to this country. Do you

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wish you had gone to Davos? very glad I came here, Andrew!

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are delighted you came. You would have had fun in Davos. Have you

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ever been? I've never been. Sure we go together next year? We can go

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next year and do the interview there. Thank you for coming in this

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morning. Good to see you. Joining us now from Nottingham is Labour's

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Shadow Treasury spokesman Chris Leslie. When you look at what the

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OBR said in 2010, it said that under Alastair Darling you cut the

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deficit by a quarter, and that is what the government has done, so is

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there that much difference between what the government is doing and

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what she planned to do if you stayed in power? -- what you

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planned to do. I a big gap, and I think the question to Danny

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Alexander hit the nail on their head. They have not cut the deficit

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in the way they have spinning. When you look at the figures and

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performance for this year, the deficit is widening. Borrowing is

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going up and it is adding to the debt burden. Why's that? Because we

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have not got the engine of economic growth to make sure we have revenue

:16:40.:16:45.

coming into the Treasury and to get some of the public expenditure on

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welfare lowered. That is the fundamental problem with the

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figures today. If you have a flat economy, or worse, it shrinks back,

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it will make solving the deficit issue far more difficult. All we

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heard from Danny Alexander was, more of the same, we will continue.

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They claim that is a strong thing to do. Actually, that is the

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cowardly thing to do. If they don't have the strength to say that they

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were wrong and they should not have raised VAT and snub doubt the

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conference in the economy, and should not have been cutting tax

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credits -- snubbed belt. That is what has been partly responsible

:17:25.:17:30.

for the problems with the economy today. Do you agree with Nick Clegg

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that the coalition was wrong to inherit and then implement the

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Labour cuts to capital spending? They like to keep characterising

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the previous Government's plans as somehow a course that they were

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pursuing. In fact, the OBR has said that they have cut capital

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expenditure much further. planned to cut it by 50%? We know

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the figures, they are there, you planned to cut it by 50% and this

:17:59.:18:04.

coalition Wendt and cut it by 50%. Was it wrong to do so? Should it

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have ripped your plans up? I think it is clear we would have taken a

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different course. I have been on your programme, how many times,

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it's becoming far too repetitious, we are coming back, almost year

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after year, to this flat lining economy with growth figures and the

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borrowing figures getting worse and worse. How many more times we are

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going to have to do this? What will it take for the government to wake

:18:29.:18:33.

up and realise they have to change course? This is the most

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frustrating thing. It is not just the Labour Party saying this, you

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have commentators from Right and Left of centre, the IMF, even that

:18:43.:18:48.

Nick Clegg showed us what he really knew to be the truth of how he

:18:48.:18:53.

needed to mobilise public investment. I'm interested in you

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saying that Labour was wrong in retrospect to cut capital spending

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by 50%. The deficit is still currently running at an annual rate

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of around �120 billion, maybe more than that. And it is certainly more

:19:08.:19:14.

than last year. So if we have a deficit of 120 billion and the

:19:14.:19:17.

economy is not growing at all, how much bigger does the deficit had to

:19:17.:19:22.

become to get some growth? How much bigger would you make it? I think

:19:22.:19:27.

it Danny Alexander it had come on the programme today and said they

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would have a change in fiscal policy to stimulate the economy, if

:19:30.:19:36.

that had meant borrowing in order to get growth going, people might

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have given him the benefit of the doubt. But he has not said that. He

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said he would just continue that. did not ask what Danny Alexander

:19:46.:19:52.

was saying. I'm asking what you were doing. If the deficit of over

:19:52.:19:58.

120 billion still results in that no growth, contrary to what most of

:19:58.:20:01.

Keynesian economics tells us, how big does it have to be to get

:20:01.:20:08.

growth? How big would you make it? My point is this. There are some

:20:08.:20:10.

aspects of publics -- bending the contribute to growth, especially

:20:10.:20:16.

with Investment in infrastructure - - public spending. That is not what

:20:16.:20:19.

the Government is borrowing for. Their borrowing will pay the cost

:20:19.:20:24.

of economic failure. It is going on those costs of welfare, keeping

:20:24.:20:28.

people in low-paid jobs. The reason the growth figures matter today is

:20:28.:20:36.

not because of a macro economic statistic. Fire understand that,

:20:36.:20:40.

but you're not answering the question. Could I have an answer to

:20:40.:20:50.
:20:50.:20:57.

Of course, that is a difficult choice to make, but I think it is

:20:57.:21:00.

better to do something, rather than nothing. Whereas Danny Alexander

:21:00.:21:04.

has confirmed to you that it is business as usual, no change. We

:21:04.:21:10.

are now joined by the writer and broadcaster Max Kaiser. Welcome

:21:11.:21:20.
:21:21.:21:21.

back to the programme. What do you make of it all? Well, the UK is

:21:21.:21:27.

screwed. What does that mean? coalition made the wrong bet. They

:21:27.:21:32.

supported the bond market, instead of the real economy. That strategic

:21:32.:21:40.

mistake is now having its after- effects. They could have done

:21:40.:21:42.

something to increase the competitiveness of the country, but

:21:42.:21:46.

instead, they supported the bond market, they supported the bankers,

:21:46.:21:54.

they supported bail-outs. They supported bankers being able to

:21:54.:21:58.

support things like rent seeking. As a result, they have squeezed out

:21:58.:22:02.

the real economy. Here is the joke - the bond market is now on the

:22:02.:22:09.

verge of a major correction. mean British Government gilts?

:22:09.:22:18.

gilt market. It was at a 300-year high. And the cost of insuring

:22:18.:22:26.

British debt is rising. That's correct. And sterling parity is

:22:26.:22:32.

slipping. So, there is a sense that these markets are now saying, hey,

:22:32.:22:37.

this government's fiscal stance has no credibility. Absolutely. The

:22:37.:22:43.

gilt market is starting to move down. Yields are moving up, but the

:22:43.:22:49.

overall trend in this market, when you see a bond market like this,

:22:49.:22:56.

trading at 300-year highs... your view, if the financial markets,

:22:56.:23:01.

the people who lend us money to pay for this huge deficit, if they

:23:01.:23:08.

start to lose... The one thing the Government has always said, is,

:23:08.:23:12.

interest rates are low, people are lending us money, we have got

:23:12.:23:16.

confidence, but if that confidence goes, and as you say, there are

:23:16.:23:21.

straws in the wind. The rating agencies are saying they are going

:23:21.:23:27.

to downgrade British debt. So, what is the consequence? The markets are

:23:27.:23:31.

poised to attack the British pound double what are the consequences?

:23:31.:23:37.

That the cost of funding will be sharply revised upwards by 200 base

:23:37.:23:42.

points, which will mean the cost of funding, a big part of the debt is

:23:42.:23:45.

the interest costs, and that will go up substantially. So, mortgages

:23:46.:23:52.

will go up. Yes, and a lot of people are on tracker funds, which

:23:52.:23:56.

will trigger another real-estate crisis. I wonder whether this is

:23:56.:24:01.

all very theoretical and high and mighty. It seems to me that no-one

:24:01.:24:04.

else in the world is doing much better, so where will the bond

:24:04.:24:09.

market go? If everybody is being downgraded, are we not all in the

:24:09.:24:14.

same place? Welcome what's happening is, every single currency

:24:14.:24:18.

in the world is depreciating against gold and silver. Gold is

:24:18.:24:22.

now becoming the de facto global currency. That's why Germany and

:24:22.:24:26.

the Netherlands are repatriating their gold. And also of France.

:24:26.:24:29.

Because they do not trust each other. That is why these bond

:24:29.:24:33.

markets are problematic, they do not trust each other, they want

:24:33.:24:43.

their gold back in the vault. That's where these funds are going.

:24:43.:24:48.

I have been saying for five a six years to position in gold and

:24:48.:24:53.

silver, because these policies are completely irresponsible. There is

:24:53.:24:57.

too much kowtowing to the City, too much largesse to the banks. They

:24:57.:25:01.

have squeezed out the real economy, and now, the day of reckoning is

:25:01.:25:11.
:25:11.:25:12.

upon us. It all sounds very apocalyptic. The bond apocalypse!

:25:12.:25:16.

But to get back to your original proposition, where does this end,

:25:17.:25:22.

as far as the ordinary voter is concerned? I was watching The

:25:22.:25:26.

Politics Show last night, and Michael Portillo was talking about

:25:26.:25:32.

the British pound devaluing. Bass already under way. Well, it is

:25:32.:25:37.

going to get shopper. A lot of people think, that is good for

:25:37.:25:43.

exports, but the pound was devalued by almost 20% after 2008, and

:25:43.:25:48.

exports are up nominally. The That's right. That is a misnomer.

:25:48.:25:52.

The cost of imports goes up, and there has been no net gain in

:25:52.:25:59.

exports.. I had better let you go and count your gold. Excellent!

:25:59.:26:03.

Come back and see us. Thank you very much. How old should you be to

:26:03.:26:08.

have the vote? In next week's Scottish referendum, 16-year-olds

:26:08.:26:12.

and 17-year-olds will be allowed to take part, we think. In most other

:26:12.:26:18.

areas of Britain, you have to be 18. There has been a proposal by a Lib

:26:18.:26:23.

Dem MP on lowering the voting age for all citizens. He says

:26:23.:26:32.

citizenship buttons in schools have made young people better-informed.

:26:32.:26:35.

This generation of young people have hard all of the educational

:26:35.:26:39.

opportunities to understand the democratic system, yet we continue

:26:39.:26:41.

to withhold from them the opportunity to put that knowledge

:26:41.:26:46.

into practice. We should not continue to withhold the vote from

:26:46.:26:51.

the best-educated generation of young people. I have been in

:26:51.:26:56.

command of soldiers aged 16 and 17 who are desperate to go on

:26:56.:26:59.

operations, but they are not allowed to do so because this

:26:59.:27:02.

country considers them to be children still. Now, you are

:27:02.:27:07.

suggesting... Forgive me, the Honourable Gentleman is suggesting

:27:07.:27:11.

that a 16-year-old should be able to vote presumably to send soldiers

:27:11.:27:15.

to war, but cannot go to war himself or herself until the age of

:27:15.:27:21.

18. Extraordinary. Extending the franchise has historically always

:27:21.:27:25.

been a good thing, and in a democracy, people should have the

:27:25.:27:28.

right to shake the decisions which affect them, unless there is a

:27:28.:27:34.

really good reason why not. So, my starting point is not why lower the

:27:34.:27:39.

voting age, but actually, why not? Why prevent people from voting at

:27:39.:27:49.
:27:49.:27:52.

the age of 16? The Scottish referendum actually gives us an

:27:52.:27:57.

opportunity to see how this can work. Why don't we use the Scottish

:27:57.:28:03.

referendum as a pilot to make sure that 16, 17, 18-year-olds have

:28:03.:28:07.

their say in that referendum, and then we will have a look back on

:28:07.:28:11.

how that referendum goes. Because actually, I agree, the genie is out

:28:11.:28:14.

of the bottle once you have 16- year-olds voting in a referendum.

:28:14.:28:18.

Then, to say to them, as soon as the general election happens next

:28:18.:28:23.

year, to deny them the vote, that would be very difficult. There is

:28:23.:28:27.

nothing so nauseating and ridiculous as seeing MPs trying to

:28:27.:28:33.

court the youth vote, trying to appear trendy, by wanting to pursue

:28:33.:28:36.

these kind of youth issues. That is what this is all about, MPs trying

:28:37.:28:41.

to look trendy and youthful. It is rather pathetic. It would at least

:28:41.:28:45.

be better if they had some sound logic behind her views, that they

:28:45.:28:50.

really did trust 16-year-old to make decisions. But what we have

:28:50.:28:55.

heard today is, we believe 16-year- olds are capable of voting, but

:28:55.:28:57.

they are not capable of making other decisions which affect their

:28:57.:29:05.

lives. At the end of the debate, MPs voted in favour of reducing the

:29:05.:29:14.

voting age to 16, and they did so by 119 votes to 46. But of course,

:29:14.:29:21.

the decision is not binding on the Government. It is likely to be

:29:21.:29:26.

taken up in the near future. Before we go on, I can tell you, Andy

:29:26.:29:29.

Murray has won against Federer in Australia, and he goes on to the

:29:29.:29:36.

final on Sunday morning. Having caused us problems with The Daily

:29:36.:29:40.

Politics, he will now do so with The Sunday Politics on Sunday

:29:40.:29:46.

lunchtime! We wish him well in the final. With us now, Professor of

:29:46.:29:51.

parliamentary government from the University of Nottingham, Messi,

:29:51.:29:56.

and Rhammel Afflick, from the British Youth Council, who has been

:29:56.:30:01.

on before. I do not detect any great clamour from youths to vote

:30:01.:30:07.

at 16, is there? You will not find young people demonstrating and

:30:07.:30:10.

doing all those sorts of things, because actually, a lot of young

:30:11.:30:17.

people, as has been shown with the younger voters, who can vote at the

:30:17.:30:20.

moment, they may not be as interested in politics as they

:30:20.:30:24.

should be, perhaps. And so this is the reason why some and you would

:30:24.:30:28.

find that sort of thing happening with this issue. And also, there

:30:28.:30:35.

are a lot of other issues at the moment for young people. What is

:30:35.:30:42.

the reason for nut -- not cutting the voting age? There are lots of

:30:42.:30:46.

reasons, but the number one reason from my point of view would be that

:30:46.:30:49.

this is the only bit of the British constitution which people

:30:49.:30:53.

understand and support. There was a survey a couple of years ago which

:30:53.:30:56.

looked at 11 different aspects of the British constitution and found

:30:57.:31:01.

only one which most people said they understood and supported, and

:31:01.:31:07.

that was votes at 18. So, all of this debate yesterday was about

:31:07.:31:10.

reinvigorating politics. That was the argument given by Stephen

:31:10.:31:16.

Williams, who moved the debate. It seems to me to be bizarre to start

:31:16.:31:21.

doing that by taking the one bit that people like and changing it.

:31:21.:31:26.

This is opposed by a 70% to 80% of the public. What a strange way to

:31:26.:31:30.

reinvigorate democracy O. If there is no great clamour for it in the

:31:30.:31:35.

first place, why would giving people something that they are not

:31:35.:31:43.

desperate for reinvigorate politics? My argument is not that

:31:43.:31:47.

giving 16-year-old the vote would suddenly make them want to vote.

:31:47.:31:52.

That is a separate issue, which needs to be tackled. I think that

:31:52.:31:56.

actually, maybe a lot of the older generation might not want 16-year-

:31:56.:32:00.

old to be voting, but at the end of the day, they are not in that

:32:00.:32:04.

position. They are not, for example, living independently in a situation

:32:04.:32:09.

where they have no real say in maybe the local council and what

:32:09.:32:14.

they are doing. At the moment, you can leave school, you can start

:32:14.:32:21.

earning a proper salary from 16. Nobody ever wants the British

:32:21.:32:27.

constitution changed. That is why we are stuck back in the... But we

:32:27.:32:31.

have changed the constitution or the time - Scottish devolution,

:32:31.:32:36.

Welsh devolution, referendum on proportional representation...

:32:36.:32:41.

Nobody in his ever crying out for it. But on the broader point, I am

:32:41.:32:47.

all for votes at 16. The point made in the debate was quite patronising,

:32:48.:32:53.

that people have better citizenship classes and so on, as if the older

:32:53.:32:57.

voter has some peculiar monopoly on sagacity and wisdom. But also, I

:32:58.:33:02.

think a lot of what goes down in politics is aimed specifically at

:33:02.:33:07.

very young people. In Tony Blair's talent, we had ASBOs, we had all of

:33:07.:33:11.

these statutes which were specifically aimed at children and

:33:11.:33:16.

young people. Now, we have got university tuition fees, which of

:33:16.:33:20.

course affect exactly your generation. Child benefit is aimed

:33:20.:33:25.

at children, we do not give them the vote. Of course, you have to

:33:25.:33:32.

draw a reasonable, pragmatic line. 16 seems to be about right. Many of

:33:32.:33:35.

the arguments Mary has just used would apply to 14-year-olds. So you

:33:35.:33:40.

draw the line somewhere. When you look at the other ages at which we

:33:40.:33:43.

are now beginning to allow people to do things, actually, those ages

:33:43.:33:49.

are moving up to 18, not down to 16. Many people in that debate

:33:49.:33:53.

yesterday in recent years voted not to allow people to buy fireworks

:33:53.:33:58.

until 18, not to be able to go into tanning booths. Ages are going up,

:33:58.:34:05.

not down. That is a crucial thing. This is a solution looking for a

:34:05.:34:09.

problem. You only have to look at the people sat on the green benches

:34:09.:34:13.

to see that. If we are going to tackle this issue, we have to look

:34:13.:34:18.

across the board, what can you do at 16, 17 and 18. We have just

:34:18.:34:21.

spent 20 minutes talking about the state of the economy. That has got

:34:21.:34:25.

to be the priority. So therefore why not let young people have a

:34:25.:34:28.

vote on the state of the economy since their futures will be

:34:28.:34:36.

affected by it? Are we seriously going to spend days, weeks, months,

:34:36.:34:42.

are arguing about this in Parliament? I think it is

:34:42.:34:47.

interesting. It is now more likely to happen, then it was, not because

:34:47.:34:51.

of yesterday's non-binding motion, with only 25% of MPs taking part,

:34:51.:34:54.

but because of the fact that the Labour Party has begun to shift on

:34:54.:35:00.

this. I think that is the key bit about yesterday's debate..

:35:00.:35:04.

Labour form the majority government after 2015, you think this could be

:35:04.:35:08.

on the agenda? I think it is very likely to be in the manifesto..

:35:09.:35:13.

you think they would put it in the manifesto? I would not be at all

:35:13.:35:20.

surprised. It is absolutely right. Miliband was a supporter before.

:35:20.:35:25.

And of course, not even just a majority Labour government, but a

:35:25.:35:29.

deal with the Lib Dems, who have long supported votes for 17-year-

:35:29.:35:38.

olds. Researchers have been digging deeply, and it seems that all the

:35:38.:35:41.

Channel Islands, they have it, Austria might have it, and Cuba,

:35:41.:35:49.

but very few of the world's democracies - Cuba does not really

:35:49.:35:56.

count - have votes at 16. Surprising, in a way. To have no we

:35:56.:35:59.

should lead the way, and actually, if you look for examples within

:35:59.:36:02.

political parties, for example, if it was a member of the

:36:02.:36:06.

Conservatives, I could vote David Cameron to be leader of the

:36:06.:36:10.

Conservatives, but I could not fur his party to be in government. So,

:36:10.:36:17.

there is that argument as well. For me at the moment, I run my own

:36:17.:36:25.

business. I am 18, almost 19. Immaculately dressed, compared to

:36:25.:36:30.

most of the MPs that come in here. Will you come back and see us?

:36:30.:36:34.

Definitely. Nottingham still the best politics department in the

:36:34.:36:39.

country? Of course. Thank you both. It has been quite a week, starting

:36:39.:36:43.

with the most appalling tragedy in the Algerian desert, moving on to

:36:43.:36:47.

the inauguration speech in Washington, culminating with David

:36:47.:36:51.

Cameron announcing the policy which would define his premiership, the

:36:51.:37:01.
:37:01.:37:02.

in-out referendum in Europe. Here it all is in 60 seconds. This week,

:37:02.:37:07.

that long awaited speech on Europe was made by David Cameron, giving

:37:07.:37:10.

Conservative Euro-sceptics of the red meet they had been longing for.

:37:10.:37:15.

To stay in the European Union on these new terms or to come out

:37:15.:37:19.

altogether. It will be an in-out referendum.. However, they will

:37:19.:37:24.

have to wait until after the next election forehead, and get the EU

:37:24.:37:28.

to renegotiate first. Prince Harry headed back from Afghanistan, and

:37:28.:37:32.

the MoD announced plans to cut more than 5,000. But there was good news

:37:32.:37:36.

for UK jobs, with unemployment falling to its lowest level for 18

:37:36.:37:39.

months. The Deputy Prime Minister has been revealing yet more

:37:39.:37:44.

information than he probably wanted to in his weekly phone-in show.

:37:44.:37:49.

This time he did not rule out sending his son to private school.

:37:49.:37:55.

And it was all stars and Blair as President Obama celebrated his

:37:55.:38:05.
:38:05.:38:10.

So, plenty of political controversy in the week just gone. In the week

:38:10.:38:14.

coming up, there will be a vote on Tory plans to change the

:38:14.:38:17.

parliamentary boundaries, which they are likely to lose, I would

:38:17.:38:23.

suspect. MPs will also be voting on gay marriage. Now, the week is

:38:23.:38:26.

ending badly because of his economic figures. In the middle of

:38:26.:38:30.

it, it was a good week for Mr Cameron, because suddenly, the Tory

:38:30.:38:36.

press was actually on his side! And Labour is slightly, no more than

:38:36.:38:41.

that, but slightly discombobulated by this referendum, are they not?

:38:41.:38:46.

Yes, my guess is that Ed Miliband is not personally discombobulated,

:38:46.:38:50.

but I think there is a very strong strand of opinion in the Labour

:38:50.:38:54.

Party which would dearly have liked him to have announced his own

:38:54.:39:00.

referendum, not on exit but on consent. That feeling that people

:39:00.:39:04.

should be consulted is very strong in Labour, and I think it is very

:39:04.:39:08.

difficult, the line of attack which is building up for them, which is

:39:08.:39:12.

that Labour is the party which does not want to hear what the people

:39:12.:39:16.

once. I think that will be difficult for Labour. I think it

:39:16.:39:20.

slightly through them, and their message was a bit mixed. When you

:39:20.:39:24.

look at the course of the economy, at this moment, you would have to

:39:24.:39:30.

guess that come the election in 2015, the Tories in particular, and

:39:30.:39:34.

a coalition, are not going to have a great story to tell. The economy

:39:34.:39:38.

is hardly going to be in fine fettle, so you need something else

:39:38.:39:41.

which you think will be popular, hence, we will give you a

:39:41.:39:46.

referendum, they built not. Desk, and I think that message is very

:39:46.:39:50.

simple to get across. As soon as Ed Miliband stood up in the Commons

:39:50.:39:53.

and said, we do not believe in the referendum, the Tories immediately

:39:53.:39:58.

said, this is a party which does not trust the people. You're right,

:39:58.:40:05.

they will have to find things, the Tory party. But even for people who

:40:05.:40:10.

may care deeply about Europe, or they may be strongly Euro-sceptic,

:40:10.:40:13.

we have jobs, living standards, economic growth, having money to

:40:13.:40:18.

put food on the table, these things matter more. Of course they do.

:40:18.:40:23.

Europe comes 9th or 10th in the list of people's concerns. So did

:40:23.:40:28.

the Scottish Parliament, but they still got devolution! True, but

:40:28.:40:31.

while it might play well for Cameron in the short term, and buy

:40:31.:40:37.

him some time, nonetheless, he has got boundary changes coming up,

:40:37.:40:40.

discontented backbenchers who will be losing seats, and equally, gay

:40:40.:40:44.

marriage, which will be a knotty issue for the Tories. So,

:40:44.:40:47.

tactically he has played it very well in the short term, but I think

:40:47.:40:51.

in the medium to long-term, all bets are off for him.

:40:51.:40:56.

politically it works for him quite well, because it discombobulated

:40:56.:41:04.

Labour a bit, and it kind of tackles UKIP, but also, he gets

:41:04.:41:08.

nice headlines in the Tory press, including no, in the paper - when

:41:08.:41:13.

did we last see that? That is Drincic, but he has ratcheted up

:41:13.:41:18.

the potential consequences if he fails on it. -- that is true. If he

:41:18.:41:22.

cannot get what he wants, if he comes back with what has been

:41:22.:41:25.

described as a box of tiddly Binks from Europe, then everybody will be

:41:25.:41:34.

unhappy. And he has to win the next election. That's it for today.

:41:34.:41:38.

Thanks to both of you for being with us. Sorry we were a bit late

:41:38.:41:43.

in starting but we got there in the end. And Andy Murray won, and he

:41:43.:41:46.

will be in the final in Australia on Sunday morning. The One O'Clock

:41:46.:41:51.

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