02/05/2013 Daily Politics


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to the Daily Politics. The aid budget has been protected from the


cuts will stop but are the Ministry of defence and other departments on


a mission to raid its coffers by stealth?


Most newspapers are against it but if the Prime Minister set to press


ahead with his plan for the press? How do the politicians of every


colour, including the blue ones, treat the hard-working people of the


South? Like a piggybank, that is how.


Oh, yes, we will pit South versus North.


And as voters go to the polls in England and a bit of Wales, we will


tell you what the weather is going to be like.


All of that in the next half an hour. With us is the former editor


of the Sun newspaper, Kelvin MacKenzie.


First, could the aid budget be spent on the Armed Forces? There is talk


of peacekeeping missions, whose cost is usually met by the MoD, being


paid for by the Department for International development. Its


budget has been ring fenced, but like -- unlike other departments,


its budget has soared during the coalition. The Prime Minister is


looking for ways to ring fence the budget while letting others have a


slice of it. David Cameron has ruled out cutting the aid budget, which


currently stands at �7.7 million. -- �10.7 billion. The government has


pledged to maintain it at that level over national income. Other


ministers want to radiate budget to meet bills usually paid for by their


departments. Aid organisations are worried that money will be diverted


from helping the world 's port. If this was to happen, how much of the


almost �11 billion reaches the poor is not clear. We are joined by


Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children. He used to work


for Tony Blair and Gordon Brown at number ten. If the British Army is


on a peace mission and try to save lives, shouldn't it be in the aid


budget question -- aid budget? It can be a small bit of


peacekeeping, but the rest of it can't. The prime minister also said


yesterday that he would not break those rules. A bit of this is a


storm in a teacup. On the one hand, the headlines today are about


spending on aid and military. He has said he will not break the rules.


you think it is all spin coming out of Downing Street?


A little bit of it could. He says security is given -- important for


development. Somewhere I have been recently, Somalia, you can train the


police force. That is an important part of building security. Some of


that can come from the aid budget. But you can't pay for military


operations. I don't think the British public would support it. I


think they think it is for poverty reduction.


But we know the British public do not like the aid budget to be ring


fenced. I think the polls are mixed. A lot


of people, I think the British public is proud of the aid budget.


If you look at the polls, and they're right number of polls on it,


-- they're right number of polls on it, some of them are as high as 48%.


For any ring fenced budget, that is quite a large group of people. I


reckon 15 million people are passionate. They think it is part of


our DNA. The story of aid is making a difference. The British public


would support... In the past few years, we have had a reduction in


child deaths. It is down to about 6.9 million.


You are claiming all the credit. There are other factors at work,


including rising living standards. It is not all down to aid. One of


the ageist reasons there is a reduction is vaccinations. That is a


lot to do with aid. Isn't there a case for a wealthy


country like Britain, even in tough times, to say, look, there is a


chunk of money that we are going to do ring fence for the poorest in the


world? It just depends. We have plenty of


poor people in our own country. What I object to with Cameron is that he


has not stuck to his guns. I admire people who go through rough times


and say, you know what, this is what I believe. What he is doing is


nodding, unfortunately, towards the UK Independence party on this. It is


a political ploy. I don't want him to play politics over something... I


don't believe in area, schools or NHS, or the chess budget, being ring


fenced. -- the NHS budget. I would prefer him to say, I am


sticking to this. I dislike Cameron on that particular issue.


Personally, I would not ring fence anything. He has made a point of the


fact that we should be proud of it. If he believes it, I would like him


to stay there, no matter the political waters.


I think that NGOs often do not give the government credit. David Cameron


deserves a lot of credit on this issue. They have stuck by their


guns. We have got to 0.7%. It is 1p in every pound.


It is nice to see him believing in something, to be honest!


There are reports that big chunks of money are wasted and it could be


better used. You could cut that �11 billion substantially and the


world's poor could still be helped. I don't think so. 99% of the money


goes on the poor. What about the consultants earning 6-figure


salaries? And the �36 million we gave to Sierra Leone that was spent


on houses and cars? They have made progress in getting


children into school and reducing child deaths. That is because the


war ended! The British Army deserve credit. There are a lot of armchair


critics of aid. The real story is it has worked. We have a chance, for


the first time in history, other generation -- no other generation


has been able to say we can eradicate child deaths. Of the �11


billion, �700 million is on vaccinations. So it is a small part.


That could be ring fenced. We also do education. We fight malnutrition.


In the coming weeks, Greg Britain holds the G8. -- Great Britain. We


did have a report today saying that 250,000 people died from famine in


Somalia. If you are doing that, why do you have two raise money for


British kids? This was a political way to politicise Save the Children,


to embarrass the coalition. founder, 90 years ago, introduced


nurseries. Andrew, I think it is unfair. Save the children is


nonpartisan. I have just praised David Cameron and George Osborne. We


also have an obligation to fight poverty at home. We have big


programmes doing it. In September last year, we raised money for it.


The British public want to support it. We would never be party


political. Our focus is children themselves.


Our guest of the day may look content. Yet, he does, actually. But


there is injustice nagging at him. He is deprived of anybody


representing him. He believes many others in the South East are in the


same position. Here is a party political broadcast on behalf of the


holy fictitious British other party. -- completely dishes.


Statistics show that we in the South work longer hours than anywhere else


in the country, and now commute further and further from our place


of work as we attempt not to pay �10 million for our house. And most


importantly, London and the South East are virtually propped up the


entire British economy. -- London and the South East the Queen propped


How do the politicians of every colour, including the blue ones,


treat these massively hard-working people? Like a PD bank, that is how.


They tax the hell out of us. It is time for a southern party.


According to Professor Nicholas at Warwick University, London is not


far from producing half of the country's comic output. The average


Londoner produces 60% more than a work in the north-east. Sexy 6% more


than somebody in Wales, too. -- 66%. Stamp duty is a pernicious,


virtually southern only tax. Five London boroughs pay more Stamp duty


than the rest of the nation together. There is a basic


unfairness in the way Southerners are being treated. We need political


pressure. I really southern party can supply it. -- only the southern


party. So, is London and the South East


having to bail of the UK? In the know -- northern korma -- in the


northern corner, Mike Smith, leader of Mike's Carpets. And in the


southern corner, Kelvin MacKenzie. He says the average Londoner


produces more than the rest of the country. Rubbish and prejudice.You


should be on the show more often! have never heard such prejudice


against the North of England. We say that the people in London work


harder. They don't work harder than the North of England. There is great


entrepreneurship in the North of England. Great business is going on


in the North. The rum or start up companies per head of the


propagation than the south. -- there are more start-up companies.


The North of England is home to entrepreneurs like him. I see there


are more in the North starting up than in the south. You are all


living on your property profits. have nothing against entrepreneurs.


I am making a different point. With the effect of house prices down


here, the Stamp duty is a southern tax, one of the fracture is the work


now have to commute even further. Therefore, the effect of train


fares... If you live outside London, it is going to cost you


�6,000 simply commuting over the year. Add it to the fact that the


average house price for instance... I looked up a company, and the


average price in Leeds is �178,000. The average price down here is about


�300,000. We get caught in stamp duty, and the North doesn't. I'm not


against this as long as we don't have to pay taxes to go and


subsidise the great entrepreneurial drive of the North. The South of


England contributes �30 billion to the public finances and the North


takes �30 billion out. That is not true. In the South, there is more


well. I am in favour of Stamp duty. The amount should vary a bit. The


property prices are far less than in the North. We have got a multitude


of properties that come into Stamp duty. They are paying more in the


South because the price is more. The standard of living is different.


People can afford to live in Yorkshire on a third of what they


can live on down here. Why should teachers, then, get the same amount


of money in the North East as if you work in the South? They shouldn't,


actually. There should be a differential. There used to be a


Londoner living allowance. Not only for teachers but for the police.


North drives our manufacturing now. The North East has the highest level


in the country. I am seeking political pressure so that the


Tories or Labour or whoever decided we can stick these taxes on and they


are applying exclusively to the south. What I am saying is, I am


Then why pick on the north? I am not picking on the north. Shouldn't


London give more to the rest of the country? If it was not for the


manufacturers of the north -- it was not the manufacturers of the north


that brought us to our knees with the economic crisis, that was


London. If you look over the last 60 years, London has supplied the


earnings so that other people... If you take place like Wales, Wales


spends 44% more on what it does in Wales, ie a subsidy, compared to


London, which is a net producer of wealth, and we have to stop this.


Why should London and the south-east subsidise entire chunks of the


country? Wales is a different area. In Wales, the mining industry was


prolific and subsidised the education system. Yorkshire had the


same problem, because the mining industry has gone now. But now it is


coming back. The pits are open. There are places which may be


potentially opening. It will not be what it was before, but it is coming


back. It brings a cross to bear on the education system, not just in


Yorkshire and Wales, but all over the country. If you are 150 grand a


year in the south, you don't pay any more tax than in the north. The


taxman does the same for everybody. You are not subsidising us.


Actually, the majority of people earning that money are down here.


And they provide a standard of living in the north... I said


�150,000 a year earners, not �150,000 people.


Now, it is six weeks since a deal was done in Ed Miliband's office on


newspaper regulation, without the newspapers being present. All three


party leaders signed up to it, but their plans for a new regulator


backed by Royal Charter has gone down like a lead balloon with


national and local newspapers. Let's get the latest from our


correspondent. The government came up with this royal charter and


parliament agreed with it, but no newspaper has yet agreed to sign


on. So what will the government do? People keep saying this is complex.


In fact, it is simple. On 15th May, there will be a meeting of the privy


Council, the Queen and four of her ministers, standing up. That is how


she likes this business done. They will approve a Royal Charter. At the


moment, it looks like that will be the cross-party Charter agreed in


that office meeting. Many of the papers don't like that one bit. So


the question is, will David Cameron decide to concede to the papers'


demands and either put up the newspapers' version or some


concessional combination? And intriguing bit of spin reaches me


from a well-placed Tory source today. I am told the Conservatives


are amenable to the newspapers' position, but this has to have


cross-party support. So the papers need to be targeting Labour and the


Liberal Democrats for concessions. Hard to know what to make of that,


but lots of Conservatives will tell you it is Labour and the Lib Dems


who are the ones the papers should go after when it comes to a general


election period. We are joined by Steven Barnett of the campaign group


Hacked Off. Kelvin Mackenzie, is it your view that if Mr Cameron


proceeds with this royal charter, the newspapers will not sign up?


is an interesting question. My sense is that they will not, because there


is virtually nothing in it for them. There is the threat of


increased fines if they don't, and that may end up in various strands


bog courts to be fought through -- Strasberg courts. If I were a


newspaper proprietor, forget what the editors think, I would take my


chances. So there is a danger that after all this debate and the


regulation that has come forward, we will have a regular tree system to


which not even the Guardian or Independent will sign up? Of course


there is a danger, because the whole point is that it is a voluntary


system. The situation is more nuanced than that. I am sure Kelvin


is right and some papers will say they don't want to play this game.


Others will look at the detail after May 15. The Guardian, the


Independent, the FT, none of them have come out in support of the


press charter. More importantly, I would advise everyone to look at


their local and regional press. If you look at what could be in it,


picking up Kelvin's point, for the local and regional press, if I was


the editor of a local newspaper and I was thinking, wait a minute, there


is this leader of the council and this local entrepreneur, I have got


stuff on them in the public interest that I want to publish, but they


have been threatening me and I am scared of lawsuits, and I am worried


about being bullied, the point of this system is that it protects you


from those sorts of people. If I was a regional local editor, I would


think this could work for me. far, none of them have said that


publicly. They seem to be more against it than the national papers.


What is your response to that? Leveson, which has turned out to be


a disaster, as you will see from various stories beginning to trickle


out already with the shadow of Leveson over people, I think local


papers will run a mile from doing anything under any system right now.


Because of the fear of penalties? The fear of penalties, the fear of


threats of this, that and the other. So you end up this morning where a


police authority will not name an ex-police officer who is charged


with �117,000 worth of stealing because they say we are "following


Leveson" . You are getting all kinds of people in authority now saying,


we will not reveal this or that. It is hard enough to find out what is


going on without people than threatening you about disclosure.


are in danger of confusing two different things. One is the system


of voluntary self-regulation which is on the table now, which I and


others believe that a local press will look at and say, that will help


us do decent investigative journalism. There is a different


point, which is, are there things being said by certain people like


police forces, who are perhaps using Leveson as an umbrella? Maybe, but


that is a different issue from whether this particular system,


which I think will be signed off on 15th May, will work or not. I hope


it isn't. I think Cameron made a shocking error by announcing Leveson


in advance of the trials taking place. I think it would have been a


stronger suit... But we are where we are. OK, on that basis, I hope the


newspapers stick together will stop but they haven't got much of a


backbone. They talk about free speech, and as soon as a puff of


wind comes their way, there seems to be a lot of ways of accommodating


people. If they don't sign up, the government is in danger of calling a


party to which no one will come. it turns out you are wrong about


regional papers, the jury is out on that matter, if they decide that


exemplary damage will go all the way to Strasberg as it could be an


offence to human rights... That is not going to happen. Forget the


scaremongering. I have seen the legal advice on both sides, and the


legal advice for the press comes from those providing advice at


Leveson. Put that to one side. Yes, you are right. It may be that no one


comes to this party. If that happens in a years time, the recognition


panel will bring forward a report saying that nothing has happened.


That is the point of a voluntary system. But you will have failed. It


is not us. This has become your life's work. The people who will


have failed will be the people who have suffered from press abuse,


because there will not be a system to stop it happening again.


As you may have heard, there are a few elections taking play today. 35


local authorities are holding them -27 in the county can, seven unitary


authorities as well as Anglesey in Wales. 2300 seats are up for grabs.


There are also mayoral elections in Doncaster and north Tyneside. And


there is a by-election in South Shields after the former Foreign


Secretary, David Miliband, resigned. Before you venture out to the


polling station, it is important that we give you a weather forecast.


You will need your sun hat, if you can find it, as you have had a long


time without using it. We are joined now by the BBC's Huw Edwards, who


will soon be taking possession of this enormous desk. When do we start


getting the first results? Normally, you know better than


anyone, on election night, we are waiting hours for results. But when


we come on air tomorrow morning at 8.30 on the BBC News Channel, we


will be able to talk about the South Shields Parliament drew by-election,


which will have been done overnight. And one of the mayoral elections and


six local authorities. We should have some strong signals. And for


the rest of the day, you carry on. A lot of accounts are being done


during day two, so you will get the results in the morning and


afternoon? Six have done there's overnight. Then there will be more


during the day. Some of those will be very interesting. We will be on


BBC Two from midday and then back on at two o'clock and then five. Most


of the day will be on the BBC News Channel, but three hours on BBC Two


during the afternoon. So a long day, but an important day. Parties are


very nervous about this election. There are a lot of unknowns.


Politicians like to dismiss local elections as local affairs, and in


many areas, they are. But there are bigger things here and there are


high stakes for the parties and their leaders.


Don't miss Hugh Edwards on the BBC News Channel at 8:30am and then on


BBC Two from 12, two and five. But is it for today. I am back tonight


with a special This Week on BBC One from as special secret location,


with an audience. We have never had an audience. We will have Michael


Portillo, Alan Johnson and Nigel Farage and Miranda Green. I will be


back on Sunday with the Sunday Politics, when we will be chewing


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