Andrew Neil presents the latest political news, interviews and debate. With guests David Wooding, Anne Diamond and George Galloway.
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Afternoon, folks, welcome to the Daily Politics.
Spare a thought for poor, poor George Galloway, who was dished
this, at PMQs. Wherever there is a brutal Arab
dictator in the world, he'll have the support of the honourable
gentleman. We'll be talking to the man himself
about parliamentary etiquette, and supporting dictators.
Activism, or slacktivism? We'll be looking at the online organisation
that rallies mass outrage, but nobody's ever heard of it.
It's more like Downton Abbey than it is Parliament at the moment. But
is it really? Shocking new research reveals many
Tory MP are not, I repeat, not born with a silver spoon in their mouth.
And, is the stalking horse gathering momentum? We'll be taking
a look back at the week, in 60 All that in the next hour. And,
with us for the whole programme today, is the broadcaster Anne
Diamond. She rose to fame as part of a TV double act that's been
bettered only by myself and Jo Coburn! And now presents her own
radio phone-in show. And David Wooding, he's never been part of a
double act, as far as we know, but he is associate political editor at
the Sun. Welcome to you both. First, today: A senior counter-
terrorism officer has been sentenced to 15 months in prison
for offering to sell information to the News of the World about the
phone-hacking inquiry. Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn was
convicted of misconduct in public office. The judge at the Old Bailey
told her it was "a corrupt attempt to make money out of sensitive and
potentially very damaging The judge said if she hadn't been
in the process of adopting a baby, she would have got three years, and
not 15 months. Although not directly related to hacking, this
is one of the first sentences now linked to the behaviour and conduct
of the media and the police. That leaves you asking more questions.
Did she actually sell information, or did she offered to sell
information? What was it about, what did it result in? We want to
know more. We are living in an age where we are seeing the results of
the post Leveson Inquiry. But we still need to know more. You worry
that we are actually flagellating our souls too much, maybe people
will be criticised for trivial things and you worry Baby we are
missing the bigger boat. The bigger boat is still coming down the river.
It is an indication, in matters of the conduct of the press and
relationship between press and police, the courts are up for jail
sentences. The areas they will at the top in
the establishment to lock people up. In this case, we have a police
officer who was concerned, in her view, the force was spending too
much time investigating what she thought was relatively, while a
criminal offence, a more trivial offence, more serious things were
being left undone. She rang out of concern, so she said, in court.
jury didn't believe her. I think there is a well among people...
Quite right, the jury did not like the idea a police officer who is
upset about something immediately thinks of ringing the News of the
World. We can't talk about the substance but I suspect it will
send a shiver down the spine of those other journalists and police
officers now being charged on related, similar type offences.
Clearly, the public is in the mind for jail sentences.
The other thing is people who called the police, called the press
as away of getting stories to the open, whistleblowers, maybe more
fearful. It's time for our daily quiz. The
question for today is: Sally Bercow, she's the tweeting wife of Speaker,
John Bercow, told her Twitter followers yesterday that she'd had
her first tattoo. So what do we think it was? Was it:
a) A portcullis? B) John Bercow's coat of arms?
C) The names of her children? D) An anchor?
One of those is correct? At the end of the show, Anne and David will
give us the correct answer. Now, regular viewers of the Daily
Politics may have watched this on Wednesday.
George Galloway. Following yesterday's announcement,
will the Prime Minister described the key differences between the
hand chopping, throat cutting a jihadists, fighting the
dictatorship in Mali, that we are now to help to kill? And the
equally bloodthirsty jihadists that we are giving money, material,
political and diplomatic support to, in Syria? Has the promise de Red Ed
Frankenstein, and did you read it to the end? -- has the Prime
Minister. There is one thing certain.
Wherever there is a brutal Arab dictator in the world, he'll have
the support of the honourable gentleman.
David Cameron's response there caused a little bit of an upset.
Some viewers thought it was a tad rude. The Respect MP George
Galloway, who asked the question, is here.
When you asked that question, did you not think that you were opening
yourself to the response but you got?
If not from that particular pot, when he flew off to pose for
pictures with the dictator of Algeria, and selling weapons to
every brutal Arab dictator that will pay, no.
In any case, vulgar abuse does not an answer make. What your viewers
have been saying to his, on a par with what is being said to me,
actually that is an interesting question, I wonder what the answer
is, David Cameron did not give it. All Western governments are
vulnerable to having supported Arab dictators but people can say, you
have your dictators and he has his dictators.
The British state is in the front of marketing weapons, and giving
diplomatic and put a little -- political support to a brutal Arab
dictators and jihadists in Syria. I was really asking, is it a case of
good Al-Qaeda in Syria and bad Al- Qaeda in Mali? We have been down
this road before. You and I equally on this platform are awed enough to
remember when we used to finance other jihadists who later became
Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in the 80s. Whether the British state should be
doing this. BG had this in northern Mali, and fighting the government
in its area. It seems pretty care the jihadists had taken control of
the movement in northern Mali, which had originally been for
autonomy. They were heading south, calling the shots by then. There is
no doubt that the jihadists are part of the uprising in that Syria
but they are not it by any means in control.
The New York Times thinks they are, the State Department talked about
the flicker of Al-Qaeda which has become a flame. But they have been
attacked by the people at the top of the insurgency. Those chaps you
seek on the news every night, especially on Sky News, lining up
prisoners to cut their heads off, video -- videoing themselves. They
sound dangerous to me. This is a Frankenstein monster created in
Afghanistan in the 1980s. If you have read Frankenstein's monster by
Mary Shelley, you'll note it is called a monster because you can't
control it once you have built it. And the Mostar isn't called
Frankenstein either. Does this then lead you to support Bashar al-
Assad? I do not support Bashar al- Assad or the jihadists.
research team has come up with plenty of quotes you being pretty
friendly to Bashar al-Assad, and pretty friendly to the dictatorship
of Syria. That's from 2005, I think. At the time he was riding around in
a carriage with the Queen up the mile and sleeping in her spare room.
No, I support echo fin and Nana. -- support Kofi Annan. And a
transition to democracy. Syria, it is a complicated country with lots
of religious and ethnic minorities and strategically in an explosive
place. What do you make them of it -- of Iran? We are sending the
enemies of Bashar al-Assad support. Britain and its American master. We
are giving their money. Then we are giving them arms. They can do with
the money what they like. Iranians are sending serious
weapons and even Revolutionary Guards have been sent there.
Serious weapons will not do basher macro any good. They are fighting
in the streets hand-to-hand with BT had this. I understand, they are
not arguing with you that there aren't jihad this involved, but you
have to admit they are not the lead this -- the leaders in this. I do
not accept that at all. The Syrian people had plenty to revolt about,
had plenty to rise up about. They have the same right to do so as any
people in the world. But no one who seriously studies this is in any
doubt the fighting is being done by foreign jihadists and in the main
and they will inherit the power. The people who do the fighting
other people who come to power. It is wise you not to dispute that
central point, because the time will come, if they win, when we
will be sitting here talking about their latest atrocity, perhaps
across the border in the UK, and US's favourite country, Israel.
one your by-election, so -- calling it the Bradford spring. Not the
Arab Spring? I am absolutely behind the Arab Spring. I have been
calling for a revolution in the Arab world, and this is a messy
business, you can't make omelettes without breaking eggs. How would
you describe its progress so far in Egypt and Libya? In Egypt, it is
not go well, in Tunisia it is better. In Syria, it is a disaster.
A classic case. We hated Colonel Gaddafi, then we hated him. We
delivered the jihadists to Colonel Gaddafi to be tortured. Then we
backed them to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi. Now they have killed the
American ambassador in Benghazi and we have a back we did all our
people from there. Will you be happy when Bashar al-Assad goes?
Yes, the people of Syria need to choose a ruler who was not part of
the same family as the dynasty they have had for 40 years there. We
need democracy in Syria, in Saudi Arabia, in all Arab countries. You
do not get democracy by bombing countries from a far, neither do
you get it by interposing jihadists of the Al-Qaeda stripe. Final
question. Were the French right to intervene in Marley? No, they are
the last people. Marley used to be called French Sudan. They eluted
Marley, for as much as they could then carry -- looted Mali. 90% of
Malians are Muslim. Then if the French hadn't intervened, it was
quite clear they were going to take the whole of the country.
throat-cutting, hand chopping jihad is you were complaining about. --
jihadists. It is more complicated than that. There are legitimate
demands. But, the point is, the government of the country is a
military dictator, we are backing that. People are against it. We'll
see what happens. When terrible things start to happen, do not
That is the problem, it goes back into history, as to where you think
allegiances should be? What would be the right thing for government
to do? I do not think Mali should be occupying our government at the
moment. It has to! Why? It is a faraway country in Africa. It
contains no threat to us. We have no historical relationships with it,
and we are broke! We can't keep pensioners warm in the winter time
but we are ready to help France set fire to Mali. It does not compute.
I would not give my son's life in Mali and I know you would not be
there but we are expecting other people to send their children there
and fight. These are complex issues. We view it with hindsight. We look
at Afghanistan now and say, if only we had not gone in. But what would
have happened if we hadn't gone in? Do we sit and do nothing? People of
suffering in Syria. I think we probably would go in if we thought
it was safe and if we had the money and the stomach for it, but we
don't after Iraq. Bad things are happening all over the world. We
are a small country off the north coast of Europe that is virtually
bankrupt. It would be better if the British Government concentrated on
six in our own problems at home. George, stick with us. Thank you.
This week it was bees in Europe. The week before it was oil in the
Amazon, and the week before that it was women's rights in India. They
are all campaigns that have been launched on the internet by the
group Avaaz. It means "voice". The biggest political organisation you
have never heard of. They have got 17 million members worldwide who
drive MPs mad by emailing them hundreds of times a day. But do you
know your Avaaz from your elbow? Our Adam does.
In the last year, at any event related to the Leveson Inquiry, you
found these guys. They belong to one organisation called Avaaz.
What? It means "voice" in Farsi and it is like Amazon for protesters.
You sign up and join other uses in whichever of their campaigns that
you fancy, and it has more than 70 million members worldwide, who
provide all the funding from small donations. They UK office is above
this burger bar in the West End. When we dropped in, they were in
the middle of a Skype corner with gay rights activists in Uganda.
Whether it is the future of media in the UK, whether it is bankers
and how they get away Scot free with so many misdemeanours or
whichever issue that members care about, like climate change, we can
jump quickly on to it. We can send messages out on these diverse
topics and find clever strategies to link the citizens on the ground
with the powers that be. Those techniques includes petitions, or
rallies, a newspaper adverts and became its. -- peak it's. A you can
see the detail here, these are mainly people speaking French...
The data about the uses drives what they do. A campaign idea could come
from a member in the UK, Venezuela, anywhere. We look at it and see if
we could make a difference and if it lines up with what members have
told us from their on-line polling that they are keen on, we would
send out a test message to 10,000 people and depending on the results
of that, we will stop in our tracks or go much fervour. Critics of what
they do say that clicking on the internet is not really politics. A
charge I put you Avaaz's found dead in New York. -- I put to Avaaz's
found in New York. Half of our community have just joined us in
the last year it so over time, people deepen their engagement. You
first sign up to it, it is a new community, you gradually build up
trust and engagement and gradually get more deeply involved. That is
what we have seen consistently. This is one of the things they are
most proud of. Many of the pictures that have emerged from Syria were
filmed on cambers provided by Avaaz. -- filmed on cameras.
And George Galloway is still with us. We are also joined by David
Babbs from another online organisation 38 Degrees. You
concentrate more on UK issues rather than global ones. Yes.
you having any influence? Yes. 38 Degrees have 1.3 million members
across the UK. Yesterday you reported on the BBC that the
government had finally confirmed it was cancelling plans to sell off
England's woodlands. That was a campaign that 30 degrees members
started online. -- 38 Degrees. Half a million of a sign that position.
You saw the result yesterday. Government policy completely
changed, thanks to the work of 38 Degrees members. You claim to have
more members than every major political party in this country
combined? That is right, yes. Membership for a 38 Degrees member
is different to a membership of a political party. You do not have to
get involved in it every campaign. It is much more opt in. You have a
choice as to which campaign you take part in but most of our
members are very active, both at home to his neck in their office,
but more and more meeting in their local communities -- both at home
or in the office. They do meet? This week I was meeting members in
Lewisham organising a campaign to save their local hospital, and we
were part of the demonstration that took place on Saturday. Some
members were outside their council buildings in Cumbria yesterday
celebrating the decision they had been calling for to cancel plans to
build a nuclear dump in the Lake District. He starts on internet but
that is not where it ends. Yes, it gets a manifestation on the streets.
What do you say to critics that referred to you, it makes people
feel good for the moment as they click but it is not real
engagement? It is the junk food of democracy, I am quoting somebody.
You will always get some elitists in the political establishment who
would rather that ordinary people left them alone to get on with a
complicated business of government but what 38 Degrees members believe,
is that democracy is better if more people getting involved and getting
involved has to start somewhere. The first thing to do for a lot of
people is not to decide to run parliament and joined a political
party, it will be to sign a petition. And it could give them an
appetite? Yes, I was chatting with a member, Ken in the West Midlands,
who is organising a saving of the NHS campaigns in the West Midlands.
He first signed the forest perdition. He is now very active in
the community and is standing up for local health services but it
started with an online petition. Degrees is the critical angle at
which another large can start. did not know that! There we are. We
need to know we do not undervalue the power of the mass clicking on
this. My sons get their news information online and through
Facebook and all of the ways that I know you reach out to people and
one day, we will vote online and when people like 38 Degrees and
other organisations can influence people on screen, we will all be
multi-screen in a few years, you can move your mouse and click for a
particular vote, I think we really have to not call them slack
activists but understand that people sitting in front of a screen
have the same power as we used to have in a queue. There is a danger
that this amount of activity and interest and participation, that it
leads the dead tree press behind. That is why we have to change and
move with the times. We try to embrace the online world. In the
old days, on the local paper, you would go down to the local council
with a sackful of petitions. It is different now. Now, if I write
something I don't like, I hear about it on Twitter! People can
come and interact with you. It has brought the country closer together.
It is amazing. These are very impressive numbers, one win 3
million, 17 million for Avaaz. -- 1.3 million. The eye had never
heard of it. -- I had never. I thought it was something to do with
Keith Vaz! I have over $100,000 on Twitter and Facebook. This is the
future. There is the danger it is a mile wide and an inch deep. This is
the danger of manipulation. I do not know who is behind Avaaz. Is
there an agenda? The big campaign about the child soldiers fellow in
Uganda turned out to be some hopes, some subterfuge. It can happen on
the internet but of course it can happen also in the mass media. But
I would not follow the Times, David, because the Times is going down
even faster than that Sun! The one that Andrew used to, be such a
distinguished editor of us. The Dead Tree Press, as you put it, is
finished. Ten years from now, all TV, everything, it will be on the
internet. Is there not another danger, this is not a pretty word,
but it only encourages opposition- itis. There will always be some
group of people against it, even if what they are doing is right. Let's
take a case of a local hospital. Obviously everybody hate their
hospitals to be closed but not every time a local hospital is
closed is it necessarily a bad thing for the overall health of the
nation. But groups like yours are always against something rather
than for something. That is not true. 38 Degrees members are up for
getting involved in solutions. Last year, hundreds of thousands of
members got in a campaign which we called the Big Switch, about
challenging the power of the gas and electricity companies to get a
better deal, so they signed up to negotiate with the companies and
drive a hard bargain with them. Using our collective consumer power.
Through that, thousands and thousands of members switched
energy power and collectively saved �23 million. It really worked.
are using the collective power art -- against the oligarchy of energy
companies. It is only by consumers getting together that you have the
counterweight of power. Precisely. One of the exciting things about be
internet visitor allows ordinary people to pour resources and level
playing fields, to answer back to journalists. What is next?
Degrees members decide together what is next so it is hard for me
to say. Is at the wisdom of crowds? We regularly ask members on what
issues they want to campaign on. A very big priority is protecting the
NHS. The online community may already be a huge segment of the
population that is already disaffected with broadcasters,
newspapers... With the establishment way of expressing
ourselves. Maybe that community has not been heard for years. Looking
back, have you, Avaaz, similar groups, do you think, that is one
we should not have got involved in, that was a mistake? I don't think
so actually. The it is going to happen. One of the advantages of
having over 1 million people involved in the decision-making
process for what we do is that every decision we take is subject
to a lot of scrutiny. I am not saying that is a reason for not
doing things. It is in the nature of things that one day you were
rushed into a campaign and it will turn out to be not quite what you
thought it was. Hitler's diary. was going to ask you, have you done
one that you regret!? I was certainly surprised when our
members Prix amortised campaign on England's and woodlands. It was not
an issue that I would have prioritised living in London --
prioritise the campaign on England's woodlands. But the more
people you off to campaign, at the higher the quality of decisions you
will get. There was an element of this in the Arab Spring,
particularly in Cairo when people use their mobile phones. The Hosni
Mubarak regime tried to stop broadcasting from cellphones.
this genie is out of the bottle. Mr Murdoch, Hosni Mubarak, and nobody
can control it. It has to be more democratic than the way the media
was hitherto controlled. The day will come and not far off when
people will vote on elections If I can now access my bank account
online, then surely they can have a system for voting. You do need to
be anonymous when you vote, which can make it difficult. You do get a
Here's your Friday trivia question. What book is now so long that it
would take the world's fastest speaker more than a week to get
through it? No, it's not War and Peace, the collected works of
Gordon Brown, or even Fifty Shades of Grey. It's the UK guide to tax
regulations. Surprised? Probably not particularly, if you've spent
the last week sorting out your tax return. The Tolley's Tax Guide was
quite a read in 2001, at 5,952 pages. By 2007, towards the end of
the Labour years, it was a shelf- creaking 9,866 pages. Now the book
is, wait for it, 17,795 pages. Not bad, when you consider that this
coalition government promised to simplify tax when it took office.
Joining me from our Berkshire studios is the Conservative MP John
Redwood. I remember having a go at Gordon
Brown for over 10 years doubling the size of Tolley's. You're not
have managed to add thousands of more pages in only two years.
Depressing, isn't it? They needed to increase taxes to pay for the
spending Labour had already committed, and then the coalition
decided they wanted to increase spending by 1,500 pounds a year for
every person in the country by the end of their period in government,
and needed to raise taxes for that as well. They have been drafted in
to the same old way as Labour was, thinking, there is a pot of money
out there if only they could deal with the loopholes. I don't
understand how wanting more tax if leads to adding another 6,000 pages
to the Tax Guide. Surely putting up the tax rate doesn't change the
guide itself. Child benefit, other things, the government has
enormously complicated matters. think they would do better to have
lower tax rates and fewer tax breaks. Because they have put the
tax rates up, people are not willing to pay them. And people are
able to find legal ways about them. They have been decided this is
dreadful and have come up with extra anti-avoidance devices which
are themselves very complicated and create more jobs for tax
accountants and lawyers. The result is they are collecting less tax.
The higher rates of tax on income tax and capital gains and stamp
duty has been counter-productive, they are getting less revenue than
planned. Correct me if I am wrong, didn't this government create the
Office for tax simplification? did. I believe it is still working
away. Kenya. Us to any achievement? It is not designed to do what we
have been talking about, to have lower rates, fewer breaks. It is
designed to take the massively complicated finance at and other
legislation, and see if you can rewrite them in a simpler way --
Finance Act. What we actually need is policy changes, George Galloway
in opposition suggested having a flat tax with no exceptions. If you
earn more, you pay more. If you have 18,000 pages in Tolley's, and
understand ours is the biggest in the world, more than the Americans
and Germans. You have immediately created an opportunity for smart
accountants, and for the well be people who can afford these smart
accountants. I honestly, I sincerely believe that this
government thought it could simplify things. The more you
simplify, unless human beings were all the same and equal, there is no
way of simplifying the system because it will always create
injustice for somebody. One of these simplifications that George
Osborne tried was the eve pasty tax, and it blew up in his face. It was
a complicated issue, takeaways were charged at if they were hot.
people, I would suggest, are the average tax payers who do their
PAYE, they have little latitude, tax is taken from their salary.
They don't have fancied deductions, ways of getting around it. The --
fancy. The government is encouraging people to pay less tax
as well as moralising when they succeed in paying less. A pension
fund is a tax deferral which is perfectly legal. You will find that
the idea of tax breaks is embedded in our psychology and tax code. Or
some affect a large number of people who take advantage of them.
The government has to go for those much lower rates, and make it
easier for everybody. But, this government, with the Conservative
Chancellor, last year it introduced the biggest finance bill in British
history. And it doesn't seem to have a tax reforming bone in its
body. You must be very disappointed? I think he has got
stuck. His forecast assumed this big increase in current spending,
this very large increase in the amount of tax needed to pay for
extra spending and the inherited Sirpa spending. He has discovered
he is not raising the revenue. A tax reforming Chancellor as when he
began, has been blown off course by the magnitude of the task of paying
for all the spending. So, he is back in the trenches, trying to
take away some of the brakes people are using to successfully, and put
in the rates up and finding it is counter-productive.
Ed Milliband's fed up with the middle classes, and says he wants
more working class MPs. Well, perhaps he should look to the
Tories. Not only have they just chosen a former postman as a
candidate but, according to online magazine Political Quarterly,
they're becoming as common as muck. Or are they? Here's Giles.
There is an image not altogether unfounded, but not without
political mischief that a Conservative MP is more usually a
man, wealthy, privately educated, Oxbridge. Nice, big house, likes
the bubbly. In a word, posh. Their opponents have lampooned it, and
used it, even impersonated it ever since an Etonian became PM. We have
had enough of the common herd trying to govern themselves and
failing dismally, it is about time people are probably bread and
dedicated to rule this country, got back in power, today is the day.
Day did current used to prance around the dreamy spires of Oxford
in a �1,000 a jacket. And you're telling me they are not elitist?
Get away. It is irritating but it is good, poor old fashioned, Class
War. The Labour Party seems to have rediscovered its old habits again.
Not long ago, I did and interview with Nadine Dorries and the subject
was whether Posh had become an issue which was toxic in politics.
We got more than we bargained for. Are they still two posh boys who
don't know the price of milk? only are David Cameron and George
Osborne these boys who don't know the price of milk, they are
arrogant posh boys, who show no remorse or contrition or passion to
want to understand the lives of others, that is their real crime.
Now, taking those words as a starting point, Politics Quarterly
has delved into the Parliamentary Party of 2010 onwards, and noted
the public school contingent has declined. Though still half, there
are, in fact, fewer Etonians now, and two-thirds didn't go to
Oxbridge. Most come from business or the law, the latter no different
in Labour ranks. A quarter of the Cabinet are women. Justine Greening,
a wouldn't call her posh. Baroness Warsi, my own boss. Patrick
McLoughlin, he is not posh. What is the definition of posh? An accent
or red background? -- a background. And therein lies the problem. Posh
is one of those things that has no definition, but we think we know it
when we see it, and look at where people have come from. Me it is
true I went to private school, and I got expelled. I do not conform to
your typical Tory woman. But, I think life is about how you carry
yourself, that is what matters. Nobody has accused me of being posh.
A useful metaphor for being out of touch, or in pure class war? The
label of posh is like all caricatures. A splash of truth
exaggerated for effect. It is more like Downton Abbey than it is
Parliament at the moment! We're joined now by Peter York, he's an
author and broadcaster who co-wrote the Sloane Ranger Handbook.
Are you there for clay being you are a high-minded meritocracy in
the Tories, or a low-budget downturn Abbey? The reality is, in
1987 when we had a defeat, we lost a lot of MPs. Over successive
elections, more of us are from what Tony Blair used to call bog-
standard comprehensive education, half of the parliamentary party
comes from state schools. A lot of grammar schools. 84 of us come from
comprehensive schools. The number of public school Tory MPs rose in
this election. The political Quarterly studies over a longer
period. In the recent election, we had a rise of those public-school
MPs, as a percentage. Up to 33%. Equally, 46% is from state schools.
84 of us out of 304 are from competitive schools, many from
council estates, we have learned our living and come to Parliament.
We are reflective of the people out there we represent. Except, that is
not seen by the people who follow the government, the government does
not represent that. The Conservative MPs in the top
positions, from the Prime Minister down, tend to be from public
schools and Oxbridge. For naturally, after the 2010 election, those
people sitting in opposition, speaking on behalf of the party,
have tended to be the Cabinet and ministers. We are seeing people
from the 2010 intake becoming ministers and making progress,
those people come from ordinary backgrounds. Look at the number of
seats we have gained. You are not chock-a-block with people who
represent the north of the country. We are looking to make more games
in the future. We need people from the local community who are
representative of their local community who can then know and
feel what it is like to be a hard- working family. Peter York, D U by
this decline? No, because you would expect it to happen over time. In
2013, the decline from the suit of Eden, Churchill Cabinet's, not
spectacular at all. What comes out of that survey is how
unrepresentative parliamentarians are as a whole. Across every way.
It is a graduate profession, nine out of 10. Fantastically
unrepresentative, whether that is good or bad. Second, that there is
and remains a real difference between the parties. If you look at
the number of privately educated people in the Tory and Labour
parties, it is very different. Much higher in the Tory Party. If you
were to read certain newspapers, you wouldn't think that was true
but it is very much the case, one bird, less than one-third the
numbers of independent school products in the Labour Party than
I think it is a shame we are debating from the few that posh his
bat. Eton provides an incredibly good education for people -- that
posh is bad. I know quite a few parents who got their kids there on
total scholarships. It turns out thinkers. A much scholarships at
Eton... I know somebody who deals with a lot of interns and says the
ones they get from Eton are two or three years ahead of the others.
Don't decry a good education. Don't hold an education again somebody.
Maybe halt against them what they have done after their education.
But I don't think anybody is arguing against a decent education.
Let me finish. All that a decent education is not a good criteria
for being in government. The argument is that that good
education has restricted to a small number of people and that therefore
restricts the number and the kind of people that get into government.
I do not want to discriminate against people because they come
from a state school or a private school. All I care about is whether
they are doing their job well. The problem the Conservatives have in
the Cabinet is that two-thirds of them, of all the ministers, are
from private school backgrounds. About 10% of from Eton. In the
general public 7% go to private schools. There is this via that
they are not in touch with what ordinary people think -- this fear.
Whether that is right or wrong, that is a perception that is out
there. If there is the long march through the tall institutions of
ordinary folk, as Alastair Burnet said, playing folk, which he meant
as a compliment, where is the perception of your party that it
has gone back to the Macmillan years? That it is full of posh
people? That is the perception. Why? The biggest intake of 2010
since the Second World War in 2010. Many people on the backbenches are
from comprehensive schools. They are still be coming to the for.
Gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, it was more about that
and people of ordinary backgrounds. A lot of the women and non-white
Conservative MPs are pretty posh. Even one of the new black intake of
Tory MPs went to Eton. There is nothing roll about being educated.
But where is the huge intake from those who were not lucky enough to
get that education? There is nothing wrong about being educated.
More than a quarter of MPs entered parliament after being researchers
and walking for MPs and we have to get more people from ordinary lives,
not the Westminster bubble. understand this. I did a
documentary about it. But it is easier said than done because
politics is now so professional, and first advantage goes to the
first movers. Be in no doubt about that, we have the three main party
leaders, all of them started life basically as political researchers.
All of them, straight out of Oxbridge. Oxbridge teaches you how
to be a public adviser and the best comprehensive and grammar schools,
because there are different kinds, the kind of comprehensive that Ed
Miliband went to as opposed to other crimes. This is a problem for
Labour, the professionalisation of politics. They may be more diverse
in terms of social background than the Conservatives, and have become
more so now they are not dominated by the unions, though they have
lost a lot of working-class background people, but they also go
for professional people who come straight out of Oxbridge into
Westminster and never leave. Over- educated. How do you change that?
In the old days people went into trade unions, the army, they built
a business, from the City, and then they came into the Commons. One of
the thing that has changes... of them are councillors. Before
they become MPs. They have had a history of representing people,
they have had a history of looking after the work of an MP it and they
have got their hands dirty. Let's see what the next parliament looks
like. You can come back and see us then.
So David Beckham's off to Paris. There's been a bit of a kerfuffle
over a ball boy. Timbuktu made the front pages of a lot of newspapers.
And Prince Charles and his missus travelled by tube. Albeit only one
stop. The Bentley was we did Ed the other end! -- was waiting at the
other end! Let's have a look at the week in 60 seconds with Susana.
High-speed rail says two will go full speed ahead, but not until
2032. The PM went to a jury to talk terrorism but he said this is not
the next Iran. We do not look at this region and think the answer is
purely military. The noes to the left, 334. The Lib Dems joined
Labour in knocking constituency boundary changes on the head.
Should Scotland be an independent country? That is the question
decided, again. Traces of horses have been found in the Conservative
Party food chain! The MP has sent an opportunity and is secretly
plotting to oust David Cameron. it time to say, see you, Dave?
David, you have your ear to the ground. Is this a real stalking
horse or a load of nonsense? doubt there were plots going on to
stand him up as a stalking horse. They wanted this group of MPs, they
looked at some of the more senior MPs who might want to take on David
Cameron, could not get anybody to do it. There is a group of people
chattering away in the background. Who did not get jobs? No. There is
disgruntlement. We were talking about the Cabinet being posh boys
because perhaps David is patronising and they feel they are
left out. But why do they want rid of Mr Cameron? Like you say,
disgruntlement. Originally it was all about Europe. Europe seems to
have, it down. When he said he would have a referendum, it took
the sting out of it. What is also interesting is the fact we found
out the name of Adam. We did not know it at first. We only got that
name on the Friday. That has killed him off now. The kiss of death.
he was a promising looking candidate. I am well aware that
David Cameron is not the most popular Tory leader ever on the
Tory backbenches. I understand that. But he then did give them the
biggest bit of red meat they had been looking for, the in that
referendum on Europe. What puzzled me was the timing. -- Pete in out
referendum. Exactly. Did he sends it coming and say, I would deliver
that speech on Europe? Because that has quelled the disgruntlement.
Safe until 2015, that is where they are saying. Are you in any doubt
that David Cameron will lead his party into the next election?
have no doubt about that, I think he will. Ideas of being knocked
down, a load of nonsense? These disgruntled people are now calling
for George Osborne to be removed. He might be an easier target.
are saying if he can't get growth moving, then perhaps they should
remove him. Ed Miliband says we can sense the moves are hurting us, we
just consents it is healing the economy at the moment and that is
what we need to see -- we just cannot sense. It is only two years
away. If we are agreed that as things stand at the moment, but two
leaders of the two biggest parties will be there on polling day, are
we also in no doubt that the next election will be fought on the old
boundaries? I think so. Boundary reform will not happen. No and that
would have helped the Tories a lot. David Cameron is riding quite high
at the moment with the EU speech and he has done well in Africa, I
think he must be very irritated by that. That would have meant 20
seats for the Tories. And he needs those. The Poles or Labour were not
good at the weekend but they have got better since -- the opinion
polls for Labour. But when we say good, we need 10%. When I speak to
Labour people, I detect they wonder, shouldn't it be a lot bigger at the
moment? It should. Mid-term. They are not having a good time. People
are being hurt in so many ways. Taxes, fuel, benefits. They should
be much higher. I think the pressure is now one George Osborne.
The economy is what is causing the tour is the biggest worry. That
will win or lose them the next election -- causing the Tories.
I cannot get past the fact that he says we are all in it together and
very clearly, he is a toff, he is very rich, and it does not hurt him
up like it hurts us. And he is one of their only northern constituency
MPs. From the posh bit of Cheshire it. I think Mr Cameron will stick
with him, they are a double-act and they have none of the Gordon Brown-
Tony Blair tension. It just too. Luckily, I am far enough West!
- Hs2. I believe we need it and we have to have it. If you look at the
first phase from London to Birmingham, they have listened a
lot. They have created tunnels. They are trying to listen to people
and as long as they have that, it is good news. The Sun readers are
up for this, particularly in the north. It will credit 100,000 jobs
in those cities, good for business, cut travel times. We complained
about the... We take it for granted. As we do the M25. And the M40. My
favourite motorway. There's just time before we go to
find out the answer to our quiz. The question was: Sally Bercow has
told Twitter that she has had a tattoo. So what was it? Was it a
portcullis? John Bercow's coat of arms? The names of her children? Or
an anchor? So what's the correct answer? Names of her children?
dancer. She obviously read the Sun this morning. It was the shape of a
heart. Be it obviously means no more children. Three is enough!
That's all for today. Thanks to our guests. The one o'clock news is
starting over on BBC One now. I'll be back on BBC One on Sunday with
the Sunday Politics. Our guest will be William Hague, the Foreign
Andrew Neil presents the latest political news, interviews and debate.
Andrew is joined by journalists David Wooding and Anne Diamond, and talks Arab politics with Respect MP George Galloway.