15/02/2013 Daily Politics


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Afternoon, folks, and welcome to the Daily Politics.


The horsemeat saga takes another turn as the government hits out at


retailers for remaining silent. They're waiting for the results of


tests on how widespread the crisis is. We'll have the latest.


The Budget is just over a month away. What can George Osborne put


in his red box to stop the economic rot?


Did Karl Marx predict the collapse of the banks and the subsequent


credit crunch? And, speaking of brainwashing, we


ask whether joining a political party alters your brain.


All that in the next hour of public sector Friday broadcasting at its


finest. And with us for the whole programme today are two of


Westminster's finest - Rafael Behr from the New Statesman and Anne


McElvoy from The Economist. First up today, an influential


group of MPs have criticised the government's clever wheezes that


are supposed to be injecting growth into the economy. The Public


Accounts Committee says quantitative easing - that's the


scheme the Bank of England uses to effectively create money - is an


expensive experiment, and that the Treasury has limited understanding


of its role. And they have criticised the Treasury's other


This comes from Margaret Hodge's committee. Is she not in danger of


lashing out at too many targets? I'm a great fan of the way she has


run the committee, made it quite irrelevant. I think this may be a


bridge too far. All of the things you say about quantitative easing -


we don't know what the outcome will be - are true. But anything you do


to stimulate growth is by definition untested. It is how you


test the government. The Americans have done the same thing on a huge


scale. We have done more than the Americans. The American economy is


five times bigger. That is not what she is criticising. She is


criticising the principle. I'm not convinced, given the committee has


come out for quantitative easing, I am not convinced that her committee


has the greater knowledge. One does sometimes want to put the question


back, OK, what would you do? The whole business of policy is


complicated. This is uncharted territory. You do wonder what the


public accounts committee brings to the table in this. Margaret Hodge


has carved out quite a big role. I respect that. You have the


executive doing its thing. There's often an accusation that government


just rubber-stamped what is going on. If you have parliamentarians


out there Making noise, saying, look, let's have this massive


policy experiment, I think that is quite good. It puts in the public


domain the question of the Governor waving a wand and creating all this


money. Nobody knows where it has gone. We do, actually! It is in


Barnes! -- bonds! She has made a number of important changes in her


committee. The criticism the committee makes of monetary policy


are very general. They are not specific. Anne's question - what do


we do next? That is the question. If the Chancellor had a theory


about what would happen to the economy and he pursued a certain


strategy and monetary policy was part of that, clearly it has not


worked. The economy is not growing. You don't know if it worked. You


can't know that. What worries me is that Margaret Hodge comes from the


left of the Labour Party. She is unlikely to come out in favour of a


monetarist conclusion. I would imagine see backs Ed Balls's


strategy. -- she backs. She is a powerful chairperson. She is very


well favoured. I think things do tend to end are being like the


chairperson wants them. -- end up. A lot of her reports have had a lot


of impact. We're only a month away from the


Budget. George Osborne has been in his country retreat of Dorneywood


this week, working on the detail with a small team of senior civil


servants and political advisers. He'll be keen to avoid some of the


issues which dogged last year's statement. Initially, last year's


Budget was well received. But within days the Chancellor was


mired in a series of tax rows. It started with the so-called granny


tax, a freeze in the age-related income tax allowance for pensioners,


which raised howls of derision and an e-petition to Downing Street.


Then there was the pasty tax row Then there was the pasty tax row


Then there was the pasty tax row Then there was the pasty tax row


Then there was the pasty tax row Then there was the pasty tax row


over plans to apply VAT to hot over plans to apply VAT to hot


takeaway food. After a backlash from the media and the backbenches,


there was a U-turn. And then there was the caravan tax,


which aimed to impose VAT on static caravans. Cue more outrage and a


watering down of the policy, He'll be hoping the so-called


omnishambles can be laid to rest on March 20th. But the economic


outlook is not good. The UK economy contracted by 0.3%


in the fourth quarter of 2012. And borrowing is not coming down. In


fact, the Institute for Fiscal Studies says borrowing will be �64


billion higher in 2014-15 than they I'm now joined by the editor of


City AM, Allister Heath, and the Associate Director of the IPPR,


Let me get you to lay out your stores. You are the Chancellor.


Give me two or three of the big things you would do. I would dump


the current policies and embrace a more supply-side policy. I would


cut corporation tax to a level below Ireland, which would reduce


revenues -- increase revenues. I would pursue but of the regulatory


measures. And you were run a bigger budget? The deficit would increase


but I would anticipate spending cuts to anticipate that. And you


are the Chancellor. What would you I think the economy has to be


stimulated. The policies are not working. But differently, I would


look at the OBR and the IMF's analysis. Multiply as for spending


are greater than taxes. The government has only delivered 100


of its infrastructure projects. Let's be that up. Let's improve


energy efficiency in homes. If we are going to have a tax cut, let's


not give it to companies. The Chancellor has tried that. Foreign,


direct investment fell last year. Let's give it to working people.


What do you say to that? problem is, the Chancellor's


tactics have not had a big change effect. I would cut corporation tax


in half. It has already been cut 7%. I would make it 11%. It would make


the UK the most competitive economy in the world. It would send a


message that the UK is open for business. I would/or abolish


capital gains tax. -- I would cut or abolished. It is time for


companies to start investing. The return on investment would suddenly


become larger than it was before. Capital gains tax is a small part


of the overall government revenue. Peanuts. Would it - and it is only


28%. Lots of very smart accountants would start working out how what


was really my income was really a capital gain. It is a risk. We know


how to account for lot of those evasion measures. One would have to


do that. In one day, you would see a recruit -- return to investment


of around 20%. In one day, the bank for the buck was suddenly go up


drastically, making it more worthwhile for them to do that.


would run a big deficit, too? Absolutely. Look at what George


Osborne has done. People warn him about the rate of the deficit


reduction. Borrowing is going to rise this here relative to the


previous year. Of course we have got to bring down the deficit. But


the way to do it is to boost demand. That is the problem we have here.


You are talking about a Keynesian method. If your policy work, Japan


would be the world leader. It would be the booming economy. It has been


trying that for years, and it has not worked. The problem with Japan


is it brought down its interest rates later than we did here. We


were more stimulative on the monetary policy side. We have not


tried expenditure of the same extent. They have not tried the


kind of boost that we are calling for. The Japanese national debt is


around 200% of GDP. Borrowing twice as much has not worked. Japan went


into deflation. Prices started to fall. As a measure of GDP, their


debt rose. That is the reason for it. We have to anticipate that. We


don't want inflation to be too high but we don't want prices to start


slipping back. The problem you budget would face is one of equity


and of a sense of fairness. We live in a country now where people are


on below average earnings and they are suffering. The food prices,


enterprises are taking big chunks of income. There's also a sense


that this is happening because some rich people screwed up the economy.


They are still rich. The poor and the average are suffering. And you


are now going to put in tax cuts which will benefit the rich. You're


right, that is how it would be perceived. Two responses. The most


pro equity measure is to boost growth. If you do it back to proper


levels, you start to create great numbers of jobs and wages will


start to go up. Secondly, the biggest reason for the decline in


real wages, which is a catastrophe, is that inflation is far too high.


I think that is the main issue. Thirdly, we just need to forget


about the short-term distribution effect for once and focus on the


long run. How do we get the economy to grow again? I don't care how it


happens but we have to do it. do you say to me two Chancellor's?


They are good candidates for the job! Better than the incumbent?


That was hanging over the debate. Maybe we should do it, it X-Factor


style. Could be a good programme! Your idea, I fundamentally agree


with that. We are getting too much into distribution. What we really


need to do is get the economy moving and then everyone will


benefit. An interesting thing is you did not have a problem with the


deficit per saved. Your idea is a problem for the Tory government.


They have been saying that the deficit was a big problem. I'm not


surprised that you want to build a bigger deficit. No, it is cutting


the deficit in a different way. well, the Public Accounts Committee


might say that is untested. On the right, you are going in a different


direction to where the government is going. What is your appraisal?


Firstly, it is easy to say that you should not looked back the -- look


at the short-term impact. But there's an election in a couple of


years. A lot of those arguments were brought to bear on the 50p


rate, and that was a political disaster for the government. You


can understand why the Chancellor might think, actually, I have got a


bunch of people who are suffering and I need to show them that I am


on their side. That is his moral obligation. I also think it is


interesting - I agree there to need some kind of Big Bang and thither,


somebody to say we need something new. -- Big Bang manoeuvre. The


Chancellor has staked his reputation on that his cause was


the right one. It is hard to see $:/STARTFEED. You can bring some of


the cuts in in subsequent years. whole bunch of painful cuts. Very


painful and difficult. It's extremely difficult and painful,


but the economy's not growing, people's wages are falling and we


have a big, big problem. If you look in the international context


or the European context, we are not alone here any more. The figures


are out. Germany in the fourth quarter its economy went down 0.6%.


It's forecast very little growth this year. France in the fourth


quarter down 0.2%. Its economy ended 2012 no bigger than it was in


2011 and it's not expected to grow in 2013. So for two years, more


stagnation, unemployment rises. Italy lost almost 1% of its GDP in


the fourth quarter and is expected to lose another 1% in 2013. Even


the Dutch lost almost 1% of their GDP. The Hungarians 2.7%, the


Czechs 1.7. There's one country that's done something a bit


different. That's America. They took a much longer time to bring


down their deficit, they postponed the cuts and are only now starting


to consider it and as a result they are growing at 2%. That tells you


what you need to know about the untested theory. They also have


something called the dollar which has changed. If you look at the low


cost of borrowing to the pound, there's been a similar effect to


the pound as there has for the dollar and our pound's depreciated


against the dollar. If you are borrowing in dollars, you could


pretty much borrow until the cows come home. Like has been in the


case in the UK, with historically low interest rates. The American


response is different. Different responses to the bank there is too.


Congress won't let them get there yet because state budgets were


skhrashed. -- slashed.


Gentlemen, thank you. I'll call Gideon now. We may have


to cut his salary. Call Simon Cowell first. Simon who? ITV, ssh h.


It's been a month since horsemeat was first discovered in meat


products and the scandal grows by the day. Three men were arrested in


abattoirs in Wales and Yorkshire of offences under the fraud act and


ASDA became the latest to withdraw meat products from its she-sms. We


are expecting results from hundreds of tests on minced beef products


stocked in UK stores. -- shelves. Last night, Downing Street launched


an attack on the smarblgts, saying it wasn't acceptable for them to


remain silent -- supermarkets. The Director General of the British


Retail Consortium is Helen Dick inson. She spoke to the BBC this


morning and defended the supermarkets -- Dickinson. We need


facts. That is why today is important because we'll be able to


see the collated picture of the results of all the testing that's


gone on over the last three weeks, much of which has been at the


instigation of the retail industry itself. We'll be able to see the


extent of the problem. What we do know is that any problems that have


already been identified to date, we have acted on them straightaway,


withdrawn the products and apologised to our customers.


We are joined by our Europe correspondent, Matthew Pryce in


Brussels, where the food safety experts from across the continent


are meeting today. Just mark our card here - what is the meeting


about? They are essentially following up


from the meeting of agriculture ministers earlier in the week of


which it was decided to increase both the testing of beef products


for horse DNA and also to increase the testing for this horse


painkiller which is believed could be -- which it's believed could be


many the food chain. They are looking at ways to efficiently set


up basically a much more faster moving system and far greater test


than they have at the moment. To get that done as soon as possible


with the results coming bay some time in April. I understand the


French company, Comigel, has issued a statement this morning?? It's the


other company. The other one, Matthew, sorry? Yes, the French


Government yesterday pointed the finger of blame at that company,


saying 750 tonnes of horsemeat incorrectly labelled as beef had


been sent out by that company over the last six months. One of our


colleagues has spoken to the sales director at the company today


apologising to British consumers but saying the mistake was not


theirs, that they did not mislead anybody, they did not label


horsemeat as beef and saying they've been unfairly hung out to


dry by the French Government. That is their claim at the moment. I


think what's also clear from the extent of this crisis across Europe,


some 16 countries have been involved in some way, shape or form


at the moment, is that this won't be the only company at the end of


this which finds itself having blame pointed at it.


Thank you for that. Just while Matthew was talking to us, we got


the latest results of the independent tests commissioned by


the Co-operative Group announced today. They've proven negative for


horse DNA in all of the 59 out of 102 own brand minced beef products


that were separate tested. No horses in them. It says we have had


68 results on Morrisons products as well. So far we have found no


contamination with horsemeat. The latest results there suggesting


that the horsemeat's not in the ones they've been investigating.


I'm joined by the chairman of the environment Food and Rural Affairs


Anne Mackintosh. Meat producers are forced to carry


out meat testing. How did the FSA let us down in this crisis? I think


it was surprising that they were on the back foot when the Irish FSA


informed the British FSA that they were doing DNA testing on a


particular line of products in November. We were surprised that


the FSA didn't ask more questions and perhaps conduct their own tests


at that time and we'd have had more knowledge and been much further


into the food chain than we currently are. You are the expert,


but in the processing plants where a lot of the different kinds of


meats could be brought together, that is not the responsibility of


the FSA is it? That is the responsibility of local standards


officials employed by local authorities? And their numbers have


been seriously cut in recent years? There are various layers that you


have to unravel. Whether the meat originally came from Romania via


France, Poland, Ireland, it's the responsibility of the exporting


countries authorities to test physically the content of that meat


and that the label says what the content is. Then you have


Environmental Health officers for district councils, Trading


Standards officers for county councils, they all have a role to


play. What we were surprised by was to learn that the FSA does not have


a statutory authority saying that they can compel testing to happen.


They can request retailers and normally retailers will be nice and


say yes, we are prepared to test. We are saying they should have a


statutory authority to test, that it's the responsibility of


retailers to share the results of their tests. Will they be able to


do the testing in the food processing plant? The key is in the


words "Food processing". I mean if horsemeat is getting into our meat,


it's probably in the food processing plants? Most processing


takes place in other countries, so it would appear if there has been a


criminal act, it would potentially have been in another European


country. What I think we need to know is, we need to understand


better the whole food supply chain and I had no idea that the


ingredients were travelling quite so many miles through so many


different countries over a long period.


But the supermarkets who're the ones labelling the products, don't


they have a bigger responsibility for testing to make sure that what


the label says is the correct one? The testing regime that is set up


in the country is risk assessed and you are never going... I was


surprised to learn, you might be as well, that to test all the product


lines for one company, Tesco told us that in one year, it would cost


between �1 million and �2 million simply to do DNA test samples. We


also understand that we don't have the facilities in this country to


do all the tests. What's particularly ironic is that we seem


to have reexforted some of the contaminated meat to Germany where


they have the labs to test. You say Tesco claims it will cost �1


million or �2 million... That's just one company. Yes but the


biggest supermarket. Do you want me to tell you what their profits


were? Go on? �1.7 million. They can afford to do that. -- �1.7 billion.


They don't have to do everything. A random test would give you a fair


idea if the food chain was what it says it was or wasn't. So I put to


you again, haven't the supermarkets got more responsibility to take


better care of labelling the food they sell to us? Well, what I think


should happen is that we should source more of our food from the


British farmers where we have clobbered them with animal welfare,


traceability, inspection costs, labelling costs and what do we do?


We undercut them by taking this inferior meat. That would boost


consumer confidence overnights if, as Waitrose have said that they are


going to do, that Morrisons do most of their food that is sold in North


Yorkshire stores, they take from British farming produce. But there


are arrests at two British abattoirs yesterday? I think that


is shocking. It's not free from horses? What emerges there is that


the horse passport was not marked. This bute, it's not harmful to


human health in the quantities we are talking about. It is if you eat


60 Hamburgers a year? struggling at the moment to eat one.


But that passport should have been marked up as being infected with


bute and the horse should never have entered into the human food


chain. You cannot force anyone to buy British. You and I may agree


it's the west thing to do and we should support our own produce --


best thing to do. But under European rules you can't force


anyone to buy British. Until you can encourage us, and the


supermarkets, to source more from this country, I come back to my


point, I'm surprised at your reluctance to criticise the


supermarkets. They need to do more testing and better labelling?


we have learnt, as a country, from BSE and foot-and-mouth, we know


more about how to put your house in order and it seems ironic that


having clobbered our industry with those costs, we then undercut and


don't take their meat. So yes, the supermarkets have a role and I


would expect them to comment when we know the results of these tests.


But these tests will only tell us what's on the Shells now. It does


not tell us where the contamination entered the food chain -- shelves.


I slightly feel for the supermarkets on this one because


you are asking them to take more responsibility for the labouring


but the key labelling question was, it said it came from a cow and it


came from a horse. One might be reasonably expected to think that


if they think they are buying beef, it is actually beef. Now we realise


something's gone dreadfully wrong in the food chain. Cottage pie


delivered to 57 schools in Lancashire has been contaminated


with horsemeat - that's what I've just been told. People will be


feeling anxious. What I find fascinating is that inevitably when


this happens, people want politicians to respond because they


are our elected representatives and have to do something and you notice


from Downing Street, having a bit of a go at the supermarkets, that


actually, political power is quite dispersed here. There's not much


purchase they can get on it. If you are on the left, you could say,


global capitalism, spread accountability and sort of putting


pressure on the bottom line means we have all this junk in the food


chain and if you are on the right you might say the European Union is


taking power away and Brussels bureaucrats force feeding us donkey.


You can configure it whichever way you like, but the politicians, they


are faced with public anxiety and don't have any levers to pull to


make it go away. I have sympathy with Downing Street on this one.


One thing I noticed early was the way the blame was immediately


passed along the line. I didn't get the impression the supermarkets


were saying, we'll stand back and loots mp look at where our


responsibility might lie here. It was like we had a supplier, they


have a supplier and we had another supplier. They all pride themselves


on corporate social responsibility, they have expensively paid people


being employed to do this and yet when push comes to shove, they put


up big signs in the supermarkets saying all the great things they


are doing, the labelling is a farce. It's made to look as if we are


being given information, but when it comes to it, the information


isn't there. I think the supermarkets do bear a lot of the


blame and after this, they will have to do more, whether they


resist it now or not. Anne Mackintosh, this story's


cranked up a notch now that we have found out that horse has gone into


the food chain in schools in Lancashire. Your reaction to that?


It's deeply worrying. I'm not saying there is any health aspects


but it comes to the basic point that we need to find out where in


the food Hain the contamination is taking place. I'm not convinced


it's taking place in the UK. I believe, particularly the evidence


we heard from Tescos, that there was a degree of complacency that


yes, they went to huge lengths when they set up a new supply chain, but


once that supply chain was in place, they didn't revisit it often enough


and I don't think we'll see that Is capitalism doomed to failure?


Marxists have long thought so. But the global financial crisis has


even got some economists wondering whether Marx was right. So can


Marxism do it any better? If the Soviet Union's anything to go by,


probably not, and socialist states like Venezuela haven't been spared


from having financial troubles. Susana Mendonca has been speaking


to one Marxist thinker, though, who thinks the tide is turning.


Meet Alan Woods, a Welshman in east London whose writings have


influenced a nation. He is a founder of a campaign called hands


of Venezuela. He had the ear of the President, Hugo Chavez.


He did not describe himself as a socialist, let alone a Marxist. It


was not in his programme. I think he has evolved. Without wishing to


exaggerate my own role. Venezuela's revolution has not put


an end to unemployment and poverty. Its inflation rate is one of the


highest in the world. There are serious problems of crime, of a


certain dislocation of the economy. But I would say the reason is not


so much that they have preceded too fast and too far with


nationalisation of the economy, but on the contrary, they have not


proceeded far enough. He would like to see them and the rest of the


world go the way this man suggested. Karl Marx. He was buried here in


Highgate cemetery back in 1883. In his lifetime, he argued that


capitalism was unfair and therefore doomed to failure. 130 years on,


the current crisis has led some to wonder whether he was right all


along. The capitalist system inevitably


involves crisis. One prominent American economist, Nouriel Roubini,


said recently that Marx was right. We thought that the market worked.


It does not. The global financial crisis has been met by anti-


capitalist protests. This village outside St Paul's was one example.


A sign, according to Allen, that Marxist ideas are resurfacing.


You have the Occupy movement. You have the events in Spain. Even in


sleepy old Britain, there's the beginnings of a movement. At the


very least, you could say, there is now a question about this system


and its values and the way it is run but was not there before.


By it if Marxism is the answer, why did the Soviet Union for? Wife has


China embraced state capitalism? don't defend the Stalinist regime.


But what it did show, as in Russia, was that by nationalising the means


of production, the Chinese people achieved what they never did in the


past. So, Marxist theory lives on. But despite predictions of his


demise, capitalism is still with us for now.


Susana Mendonsa reporting. We're now joined by Dr Madsen Pirie of


the Adam Smith Institute. It may be a long shot to say that


Marxist ideology is making a comeback. But the sense that the


rich are another country, that they have brought a lot of badness in


recent years and that ordinary people are getting a rum deal, that


has taken root. It is prevalent at a popular level. When Marks of


aside that the destiny of capitalism was to of press the


workers, he was wrong. Capitalism has done more to lift the standard


of the common man than any other force. It is one of the most benign


things that people have done. now. In this country, the median


wage is now back to where it was in 2003.


British -- which is further ahead than it was 10 years earlier.


Capitalism has some crisis, but it is flexible. Always, we come back


with an improved version and start to generate wealth again. Even on


the right, you see an awareness of class politics. Mr Cameron is


uncomfortable about talking about having gone to Eton. The Chancellor


is anxious not to be seen as part of a coterie of well-off by public


schoolboys. On the Labour side, you see a class rhetoric. Class in the


Marxist sense is back in our politics. It is not necessarily an


equation with wealth. Class in Britain is not the same as wealth.


It's part of background, education, culture or choices. Britons have


always been obsessed with class. But this is not necessarily anti-


rich. But there and anti- rich movement, isn't there? But when the


rich get richer, the poor get richer too. It is the best thing


that can happen to poor people. the rich are getting much richer.


am not worried about the gap. It is capitalism that allows the advance.


Does the gap not matter at all? When the gap is so large, the


globalised rich live a life and a style just totally beyond most


people. It is part of the process of development that initially, when


a country goes from relatively poor to affluent, part of the process


involves income disparities increasing. This has been happening


in China. There are more billionaires in China than America.


This affects the world figures. The result will be that the ordinary


people in China will benefit, as they have done spectacularly


already in these last two decades. Where are you on this? Capitalism


is not really going anywhere. If you look at the leader of the


Labour Party, who is to the left of Tony Blair, and what he wants is a


kinder, more gentle capitalism. It is not useful to discuss it in


terms of whether anybody is going to junk capitalism. This point


about the super rich is about political consent. It is hard for a


government to achieve things if it is felt to be for the benefit of a


tiny number of people. fundamental question is, do count


conditions lead to a revival of Moxon? -- current conditions.


would be dubious about what will Marxist in the film was saying. He


was saying that Marxism is a good way of articulating discontent. The


problem with relying so heavily on Karl Marx was that he predicted a


lot of things that did not happen. I don't really see where it takes


you. Unless you are prepared to sign up to his agenda or support


deranged autocrats like Hugo Chavez, how do you bring it into the


political system in a democracy? On the other hand, I think you are


complacent to say that it does not matter that you have a massive


wealth gap. It does make life more difficult to put across a good case


of capitalism. To say you are not interested in it is not convincing.


I don't think it is as important as people think it is. The important


thing is to have economic growth. Deeply in an expanding society,


that see their future as being better off than the past are more


likely to be happy. -- people. you don't care about relative


wealth, when a lot of people do. this end of the? I think that is a


reasonable response. I would not dismiss it. If you see a Super


Class pulling away from you, this is going to be a problem. As the


left and regroups after the crash of 2008 and tries to evolve


policies for a post-crash world, are Marxists playing any role in


that? I don't think they are, substantially. The interesting


point about the tented village is not that it existed but that so few


can -- few people rallied to it. If you look at the point about what


makes people cross, the stagnation of ordinary people's wages started


in 2002. That was before the big crash. This disparity, I'm speaking


on behalf of ordinary middle-class people, it is hard to do


politically when you see a small number of people taking more of the


pie for themselves. And that is bought raw anger.


-- that his middle-class anger. Wages have been stagnant for a


while in this country. Some estimates suggest average real


wages today in America are not higher than they were in 1973.


Corporate profits have gone through the roof. There is something not


functioning for the majority of people here. It is not that the


balance has shifted from wages to profits. The difference has been


made by taxation. It is government share that has increased. That is


what has made the difference between the two. Share of profits


as a percentage of GDP was higher in recent years than in the 1950s


or 1960s. We are in a crisis of capitalism, people say. But nobody


is suggesting we go back to state- controlled planning. Whenever we


have this crisis, everybody says, it is over. But it always comes


back in a different form. On your optimism, we will leave it there.


Now, we all like to think that our views are the right ones. Or the


left ones. But can you tell someone's political views just by


looking at their brains? Well, scientists from the Universities of


California and Exeter observed 82 people gambling. And from the


results they say left wing and right wing people use different


parts of their brains when they make risky decisions. So someone on


the left, like Ed Miliband, would show significantly greater activity


in the left insula - as you all know, that's the region associated


with sociability and self-awareness - and someone on the right - David


Cameron, for instance - would have significantly greater activity in


the right amygdala, which is, of course, the region involved in the


body's fight-or-flight system. The scientists say affiliating with


a political party may alter the brain. Well, we all knew that.


Joining me now are Dr Jonathan Rowson, director of the Social


Brain Centre at the RSA, and Lucy Beresford, who's a psychotherapist.


Do you buy this? Yes, but it is not surprising. I'm not sure what


people think where we would hold our values if not our brain. Your


brain shows activity when you eat horsemeat or think of Karl Marx. It


is not, in itself, news. Is a chance to reflect on where people


are coming from. It is a chance to renew democratic debate. It is a


chance to say that Ed Miliband and David Cameron come from a different


place. Do they come from a different place because of their


brains? The brain is there when you are thinking and walking and


talking. People tend to use the brain as if it is innate and fixed.


The brain is plastic. It responds to experience. Just because it is


in the brain, doesn't mean it is fixed. What do you think? I agree


with Jonathan in that this report is reductionist. It implies that


people can't change their mind. We only have to look at what is


happening in Eastleigh. A whole group of people are descending on


Eastleigh with the sole purpose of trying to change the mind of


another group of people in the idea that people can be swayed in the


political appellations. -- affiliations. They're not entirely


wasting their time. Politics is more than just the personalities.


The desire whole constellation of things that makes people change


their mind. -- There is a whole constellation. Run-through how


joining a political party alters the brain. From early on, Ed


Miliband is left of centre partly because of his father. As that was


happening, his but -- his brain was changing. David Cameron was


undergoing different structures. I don't see why that is surprising.


It is something we have known for a long time. The brain functions as a


kind of touchstone. If Ed Miliband had been born with the same brain


but brought up in David Cameron's household, he would be leader of


the Tory party? Not necessarily, but the point is valid. We have our


brains, which are not just a blank slate. They are organised in


certain ways. But the impact is $:/STARTFEED. This research implies


everything is fixed and never changes and it simplifys the way


that brains work. The problem with this kind of research for me is


that it grabs the headlines and perhaps attracts more money, more


funding for the scientists, but it can be so easily unpicked that it


denigrates really important research, for example, looking at


the way brains function for gamblers in particular, the way


that they are attitude to risk can help clinicians predict relapse for


example. That's really important research. This kind of research


grabs the headlines, states statements that are obvious. I have


top political brains with me. I bet you are a bit sceptical of this?


Funnily enough I disagree slightly because I've seen similar research.


The Economist with whom I work for wrote about this. There's


disposition, some inherited. Jack Straw is his dad. Occasionally you


get a push back against that but there is a grain of preference


against left or right which runs strongly in families. Attitudes to


risk or the big state versus individualism, they seem to get


fixed quite early on many people. But it doesn't mean that they turn


necessarily Labour or Conservative. A Blairite might have a view of a


smaller state and be a bit like a Conservative to that degree and on


other things, they are have been Labour. What is coming out of the


broader mass of research is that political dispositions are possibly


more accounted for by this kind of newer science than we might have


thought a few years ago. question you would have to ask is,


how useful... You were born with the left-wing brain? I very much


doubt it. Were you born with a brain? It's in there somewhere, I'm


very confident about that. If you are practicing politics, how is


this useful to you? As Anne says, there's evidence that there are


arguments that Conservatives are better at appealing to emotion and


fear. You take an argument that there might not be an obvious left


right position on, say Scottish independence, do you frame that


argument in terms of your view that we are terribly afraid that the


country will go to rack and ruin if we go along with this, or do you


build rational arguments about where GDP will fall. That might


tell you whether you are appealing to people on the left better or the


right. That's strategic as to how you frame an argument. Let's assume


this research is right. Where do we go from here? What does it mean?


means politicians are coming at issues from different angles. They


may agree with you because they have a different sit of assumptions.


To some extent it being lodged in the brain is not the story, the


story is we start from somewhere and we should come from that point


that comes in a good place that's different from ours and not always


assume that they are wrong all the time or immoral.


Never assume that they are wrong or immoral, at least not all of the


time but part of the time. Thank you. A council is introducing �80


pont spot fines for anyone caught spitting or urinating in public.


It's true! David Thompson's been out and about in Walthamstow. That


is the place asking if the new fines leave... I'm not going to say


that, let's just run the tape. Spitting. Bob Carol gees and spit


the dog did it. If they come here, they could be in for a nasty shock.


A quick gob could land you a fine of 80 quid. It will be enforced by


the civil enforcement officers who'll get you for urinating in


public or dropping litter. From the feedback we got when this was


announced yesterday, we think we have tapped into a real national


mood that set, spitting, gobbing in public is disgusting, ruern naiting


up against houses and shops is disgusting and someone needs to do


something and here in Waltham Forest we are doing something --


urinating. Believe it or not, there was a pro-spitting lobby and they


were ready to gob off about the council's plan. It's. Some people


are used to it, you know. �80 is too much. If you are pregnant or


sick and you want to get something out, sometimes it suddenly comes


out, don't it? I would say yes there should be a restriction on it


but I wouldn't agree with charging �80 for spitting on the street.


you think it's a good idea? I spit in the street all the time. She's


from North Carolina, mate. However, North Carolina aside, there were


those who wanted to make Waltham Forest a spit-free zone. What's


next, the world? Not sure if it would work but it's a good idea. It


would be nice if it worked. Spreads germs and looks foul. I don't know


why people do it. It's a good idea. You have to enforce certain things.


Once enforced, people accept them and then there's no reason why


anybody ends up paying an �80 fine. Sadly, the man who was made for


this job, my colleague, Adam phlegming, was made unavailable for


comment! The BBC would like to apologise to


our many viewers in South Carolina if they took offence at the


gratuitous remarks of your lovely state.


A lot of people might say yes, good on Walthamstow Council trying to


raise the level of behaviour and reduce the yobbish behaviour on our


streets? I'm complete lit with them. I can't see what the problem is,


unless you have to be sick if you are pregnant and you are discreetly


sick, you won't be brought to book for that. I like the idea of the


council taking responsibility and saying a lot of people don't like


this and it's a sort of low level antisocial behaviour which builds


into worse behaviour like extreme drunkenness. What do you think?


tend to agree. I question the quif lens of urinating and spitting,


they are not equivalent. Perhaps the councils have different levels


of fines. What about hanging for those who spit chewing gum out on


the pavement? You would probably have to have... Is that too far?


You might need to have... It costs a fortune to clean it up? It does.


The other way you could go about it is a nudge thing where you make it


easy for people to throw away the chewing gum and have more reminders.


There's a lot of chewing gum in some places. I think urinating and


spitting shouldn't be on the streets. Tax the chewing gum


companies and they can have the chemicals put in that make it


easier to get off the pavement. thumbs up for Walthamstow Council


from our panel? Three thumbs from me. Three thumbs you have. Strange!


It's been a week of Popes and pancakes, abattoir raids, political


tirades and an unwanted spaghetti ready-made meal. Here is jiels to


serve it up within 60 seconds -- Giles. Holy smoke, God's elect, the


Pope resigns over failing health, a bold move since the last time the


Pope gave up for lent was 1415. He'll leave at the end of the month


to withdraw from the world. Glory glory, President Obama gave his


State of the Union address saying his second term will focus on


immigration, gun control and the economy.


Holy cow. Actually, holy horse. 100% beef products turned out to


have nagging doubts about content. My concern is that many of the


answers may contain 100% bull. businesss in the UK are raided.


Horsemeat is seize and the Chancellor is offered a hot meal,


though not a pasty. Ed Miliband makes a speech. He reinstates the


10p tax and uses a mansion tax to pay for it. He thanked the audience


for being with him and Ed Balls for Valentines. Tuesday was flat. For


some, the week just got better and better.


How long can it be before some Government minister's stuffing a


beef lasagne down? Yorn didn't look very pleased. -- George Osborne.


Parliamentary mid term break - well it's in recess now for all of next


week. A few things have happened and they are not necessarily


supporting each other. David Cameron's laid out the European


policy, but secondly, Labour's lead in the polls has consolidated and


grown? Yes. Very interesting? Ed Miliband looks to me like a much


more confident performer watching him speaking this week. I think he


really feels he's now got command of his part and that's a good step


to feeling very sure of yourself. He doesn't have a lead on


immigration, the economy or welfare, so the worry among strategists is


it's very encouraging but very soft. Also on basic deficits. The public


is still very divided, more so than you might expect, given the lack of


growth. What have we learned since the Christmas break? The people who


care passionately about a European Union won't be bothered when David


Cameron stands up and gives them what they want which is significant.


I agree the Labour Leader is very weak or soft largely because of the


economy. The budget might change that either way. Strengthened


though? But still weaker than you think it should be? Single issues.


When you drill down what people care about, they care about the


economy, immigration, welfare spending being got under control.


Those are things were Labour are weak. What they don't care about


that much actually is the European Union and the Prime Minister's


biggest political gambit of this political term so far was on that.


It hasn't done anything. I don't agree with that. I think this


referendum had to have been offed. He would have been dead meat. If


you can't sort out your own party, you are not going to be Prime


Minister for long. And you are not if people think your only care


about your own party. I don't agree with that. His problem arises if he


wins the election he has to campaign for a yes-vote. It gets


him through and cuts often UKIP where it was beginning to advance.


He had to do it, not because anybody else cares but his own


party needed it. People who care enough about this to really care


about the referendum and hate Brussels with every fibre in their


being, remember David Cameron's made promises like this before,


those people will still vote UKIP. Who has the vote? Lib Dems. UKIP.


The people I've spoke to have no idea, don't care or say the Libs


have done good why let Chris Huhne spoil it for the rest of them.


for Mr Clegg but not Mr Cameron. They got the wrong candidate. Could


have been a liberal seat. We'll hold on to that and if they are


wrong, we'll rerun that. A full list of candidates for the


Eastleigh by-election is on the BBC website. That's it for today.


Thanks to all the guests. The One o'clock news is starting on BBC One


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