19/09/2013 Daily Politics


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Welcome to the Daily Politics. A new report from the TUC says a third of


council tenants have fallen behind on rent because of cuts to housing


benefit - that's the bedroom tacks or the spare room subsidy, depending


on the cut of your jib. We'll have reaction from both sides of the


argument. As house prices boom in parts of


Britain, is this the start of a new housing bubble? Nick Clegg left the


Lib Dem conference in Glasgow a happy chap - and with the polls


looking close, is coalition government here to stay?


And is David Cameron right to say football fans can call themselves


what they want - or is offensive language always offensive language?


All that in the next hour and with us for the duration, the


constitutional expert, star of the House of Lords, cross bench peer,


Peter Henessy. Welcome. Thank you. Let's talk about the Liberal


Democrats, because we haven't done very much of that so far this week.


Yesterday afternoon it was the Lib Dem leader, Deputy Prime Minister


Nick Clegg, who took centre stage. He had this to say. Three is ago I


told you, we had an opportunity, our predecessors would have given


anything to govern. To turn our liberal principles into practice.


Today I tell you that an even bigger opportunity awaits. The cycle of


red, blue, blue, red. It has been interrupted. Our place in this


government has prevented the pendulum swinging back from left to


right. We are now where we always should have been. In power, in the


liberal centre, in tune with the British people. And every day we are


showing that we can govern and govern well. That pluralism works.


And if we can do this again, in government began in 2015, we are a


step closer to breaking the two party mould for good.


And here to discuss whether Nick Clegg is right about breaking the


mould of politics is Stephen Tall, co-editor of Liberal Democrat Voice.


Is he really going to break the mould of two party politics? He is


going to give it a go. It was an interesting speech because he was


trying to stake out what is still quite controversial territory within


the party, which is we are a party of the sensor that can anchor the


other two parties in the liberal mainstream centre ground. For some


activists it is a bit of a hard message to hear, they want to hear a


radical, progressive viewpoint. He is saying, we did not win the


election last time, we are not going to win the next election, we have to


get real. That means we are going to be able walk against extremism of


Labour and Tories, that is our way into politics. It is quite an


audacious narrative to say that we are going to be a break of the


extremes of right and left. In constitutional terms, do you think


he is right in saying this is the start of the end of red, blue, blue,


red? People have said this before. Joe Grimond in the 60s, a wonderful


speech. All the well rehearsed Joe Grimond in the 60s, a wonderful


spontaneity is look rather sad as the decades pass. I don't get is a


problem just for the Lib Dem activists. I like Lib Dems, I tend


to like herbivorous people. But it is very preachy. This is the Lib


Dems of the holier than thou, that only sensible is possible. If we are


rooted in a coalition government. It is almost as if you are saying that


our views are self-evidently decent and right and the others will take


ideological awaydays. Some might say it is a tad hubristic, I say this


with the perfection and understanding. That is the Ritz,


that voters think it is a load of old codswallop. -- that is the risk.


Absolutely. We heard criticism that this is Nick Clegg declaring that


the Lib Dems want to be in power for ever. At the last election, the


electorate could not decide and did not give any one party a majority.


In those circumstances, someone has to break the deadlock. Nick Clegg is


saying he is the person who can. There is the more philosophical


argument which is the symbol arguing, two heads are better than


one. -- simple are given. If you have one party pretending they have


some kind of real majority when they don't, it is much better to combine


forces and come up with the best ideas between them. Except if you


look as if you are prepared to do business with anyone, in the end


your principles go. That is what it might have sounded like two voters,


that it is just power they are after and will get into bed with anyone.


That is the risk. In Germany they have the FDP party which has flipped


between left and right over 40 or 50 years, propping up front


governments. There is that risk that you come to be seen as political


harlots. From the Lib Dem point of view, we are trying to make sure


that there is a chance for a correction, to get some liberal


policies in government. Stephen Tall made the point that no one voted for


one particular party but no one votes for coalitions. They don't,


but they would do if we had proportional representation. Then


you would have to have agreements, you would develop agreements so that


people knew what combination they would get if the outcome went this


way rather than that. It is easier to do, it is obligatory in many


ways. The real problem is it is very hard to strike a pose of a


principled tart and that is exactly what this strategy involves. Do you


think for Nick Clegg, look what happened to the alternative vote to


proportional rippers and taken, it did not happen, no appetite for it


-- abortion or representation. There is a risk that this could just be


one win for them. -- proportional representation. Some Lib Dem


activists would be more comfortable with Labour. Then you have the


activists would be more comfortable leadership, having worked in


partnership with vivid Cameron for leadership, having worked in


three and a half years committee has got a working relationship with him


is with David Cameron. He would probably prefer that relationship to


continue rather than starting again with Ed Miliband. Do you think a


coalition is likely in 2015? Do you think it is becoming more of a


possibility? I have a terrible record as a forecaster. The polls


suggest the Lib Dems may come down to 20 seats and that may be enough


to be the power broker again, but it may not. Certainly the guardians of


the British constitution are may not. Certainly the guardians of


refining the lessons of last time in terms of how you get to a coalition.


Because it will take longer because we are used to it, unless the money


markets are going bonkers. The Cabinet manual has been refined


based on the lessons of last time. The system is adapting to the


possibility. I wrote a blog post about this and I want to make the


commitment on TV, if we are reduced to 24 seats next time, I will run


naked down Whitehall. I think the chances... Lets hope they get more,


is all I can say. There is a risk, ten to 20 seats. It is a real


possibility that the Liberal Democrats could lose that many


seats, could they really then be the power brokers? They have 57 seats.


If the party was reduced to 40 seats next time, don't forget when you're


talking about government majorities, you can double that because one vote


against is worth two in favour. You have to have 80 extra MPs on the


other side. Do you think there is a bar below which the Liberal


Democrats could not justify being power brokers? In human terms, if


Nick has presided over you losing a lot of seats, he doesn't look like


the young, promising, convincing person. He is still an extremely


nice man but the polls don't suggest he is receiving the praise of a


grateful nation. In psychological terms it would be hard to portray


yourself as the repositories of reason and savers of the


Constitution. There are two factors. If Nick Clegg has lost by losing


seats, you are right, it makes it If Nick Clegg has lost by losing


far harder to negotiate a good deal in the next hung parliament if there


is one. I think he is aware of that risk, if any kind of backslide is


going to make it much tougher to govern. There is also the other


point that Conservatives and Labour have both watched the coalition play


out and they are nervous about what another five years of coalition


government means for them. The Conservatives are completely split,


partly as a result of the coalition. Labour will not take kindly to


having to deal with the Lib Dems either and Ed Bill abound -- Ed


Miliband knows it could give him problems that David Cameron has


faced. I don't think labour or Conservatives are looking forward to


the prospect of coalition. And Nick Conservatives are looking forward to


Clegg says he's not going to in politics for ever. Exactly, only


three or form or elections! Now it's time for our daily quiz.


With the Lib Dems holding their conference this week, and Labour


following on next week, Conservative MPs have jumped on the chance of


getting out of Westminster. But where have they all gone?


A) The UKIP annual conference? B) Grouse shooting in Scotland? C) A


late summer getaway in Ibiza? Or d) An away day at a hotel in


Oxfordshire? At the end of the show Peter will give us the correct


answer. Now, it's what the chattering middle


classes like to talk about, especially if you live in Wandsworth


or Hampstead. Not George Osborne's hair, but house prices. They're on


the rise again and everyone's talking about a housing bubble. But


what's the true picture? Certainly in London, average house prices have


risen by almost 10% over the past year. And in the South East that


figure is 2.6%. Elsewhere, in the South West and the East there are


more modest increases compared to London. But it isn't such a rosy


picture further north. Over the past year, prices in the North East fell


by 1.3% and in the North West they have gone down by 0.7%. Despite the


mixed picture there've been calls for the governor of the Bank of


England to step in and control a housing led boom. Here's what he had


to say. We see further improvement in prices and activity, but that is


our expectation. And perhaps some acceleration, so we do need to be


vigilant about this. But,speaking to the BBC's Business


Editor Robert Peston, the Chancellor George Osborne rejected the idea. I


don't see the evidence of some housing boom. IC has prices 25%


lower, mortgage approvals half what they are. We are a long way from a


housing boom. I do see a lot of families trying to buy homes, unable


to afford deposits because of the weakness of some parts of our


banking system and I want to help those families. I am joined by the


Shadow implement minister, Stephen Timms, and Professor Len


Shadow implement minister, Stephen Shackleton, a fellow at the


Institute of Economic Affairs. We are experiencing another housing


bubble? I think it is too early to say. The real problem is that we are


not building enough new homes. It has got a lot worse. 9% down,


107,000 new homes started last year, 9% less than the previous year, the


lowest peacetime figure since the 1920s. That is why there is a rough


threat of a bubble because we are not building enough. Labour in its


13 years also built to few houses. We could certainly have done with


building more but we did build more than the current government. You had


13 years. More per year. There is still a shocking shortage of houses


over those 13 years. More needs to be done but things have gone


backwards. You say it is too early to understand if there is a housing


bubble? I think it is too early, we must be vigilant but the priority


must be on more homes. Is it a good thing that house prices are going up


in London and the south-east? It is good if you own a house, not so much


if you don't. I welcome the fact there is help being given to people


who want to get onto the housing ladder but we need to make sure


there are enough homes for them to buy. Do you think there is a housing


bubble? I think there is potentially a housing bubble. I think Mark


Carney is right to say we don't know. These schemes are boosting


demand in a situation where we are not putting enough houses and the


government has done nothing to liberalise the housing market, to


open up the supply of land and make it easier for people to build.


Except land is available and planning permission has been given


but builders are waiting to see if house prices rise. There has been a


sort of break. What can the government do about that? The


government could bring forward planned public investment in


housing. We have seen a 60% cut in government housing investment since


the election. The IMF is calling for investment in infrastructure, things


like housing, and the government could do more to bring that forward


and lead by example by building new homes.


We have had a deep recession. The fact people are now starting to move


is surely a good thing. We need, if you like, some sort of housing boom


in order to help the economy move. You might be right. As your piece


made clear, at the top end of the market, the housing market is


picking up. People are spending more at that


end. That is going to boost spending in the London economy, certainly, as


a result of the effect of greater equity in housing. That is


threatened by people like the Lib Dems with their mansion tax.


Something labour would like to do as well. Indeed we would. People who


are well should make a contribution. Are they living in mansions if they


are living in London in houses that are £1.5 million? We have seen a big


-- big tax cut for those on the biggest incomes. We think it would


be fairer if people were putting in more.


At what point do you think action more.


should be taken to dampen down more.


housing market? You say you want to wait and see. What will say to you,


right, we need to do something? We need to make sure we get more new


homes built. That is going to take a certain amount of time. House prices


have gone up 10% in a year. You can only build a certain amount of


houses in 12 months. What level of increase in London do you think


would be too much? One can't put a simple figure on that. We should be


taking action now to bring forward housing investment to make sure we


get no -- more new homes and don't get the inevitable bubble if we


don't. The Bank of England has been told to


put an annual cap on house prizes. Is that a good idea? Fantasy. It


can't be done. What about increasing the base rate?


Is it time for Mark Carney, even though he has said he is not going


to do it, is there a point at which you would encourage the bank of


England to look at increasing the base rate? I don't think politicians


should do that. That is a decision for the governor. It is a good


mechanism if they decided to do it. That is a call for the government. I


can understand why politicians will do anything to promote growth. They


would run naked around the square inch of Felder. -- in Trafalgar.


From the past recoveries, the pacemaker has often been the housing


market. There are problems with that, partly because it adds to the


rigid tea of the labour market. It is hard to move to the South East


and get a house and job if you have lived in the north. It always ends,


to some degree, in tears. Unless you had a command economy, which nobody


does, it is hard to know what to do about it. But there is a pattern


from past recoveries in which this has always been a problem. You are


right. It is difficult to see what the government and the bank of


England can do that they are not the government and the bank of


currently doing. They have got a policy of looking at what is


happening to unemployment as an indicator... Is that a good idea, to


tie it to unemployment? That is a useful indicator of demand in the


economy. Would you scrap the help to buy scheme? No, it is a good idea.


It has been criticised. It is saying we are going to get people in debt


when they can't afford to pay back their mortgage payments.


If we were building more homes, this would be a more manageable problem.


Why does every government failed to build enough homes? There are


varying degrees of failure. But generally, they do. The problem at


varying degrees of failure. But the moment is that the worst


recession since the 1920s is happening now.


Stay with us. Since the government's bedroom tax has come


into force, there has been an increase in rent arrears, and that


is the view of the TUC. Of the 114 councils that responded to their


Freedom of Information requests, one in three affected has fallen behind


on rent. In a recent separate study, the National Housing


Federation found that a quarter of households affected by the cut are


falling to rent arrears for the first time ever. The Department for


Work and Pensions say it is too first time ever. The Department for


early to judge their policy and that the removal of the spare room


subsidy is a necessary reform to return fairness to housing benefit.


Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the TUC comment joins me. Can you


Frances O'Grady, general secretary explain how, exactly, the findings


were carried out? We issued a explain how, exactly, the findings


Freedom of Information request to local authorities up and down


Britain, and these were the results that came back to us.


Is that evidence solid and this is the first time this council tenants


have gone into arrears since the policy was brought in?


These are tenants who were not in arrears before and now are. That is


around 50,000, which we think is a conservative estimate.


Not all local authorities responded to our request. The housing benefit


bill is £24 billion. How would you bring it down? One of the key ways


is to make sure that people earning decent wage in the first place and


can afford fair rents. We have got sky-high rents in the


private sector. They need to be tackled. You don't


tackle them by pushing disabled people and pensioners out of their


council homes. Bearing in mind that we have been in a recession and


people have struggled to hold onto their jobs, the chances of there


been increases in wages is obviously difficult.


I ask you again, how else would you difficult.


bring the housing benefit down? There is a big debate about how to


control rent in the private sector. The best way with two -- would be to


build more affordable homes. Is it too early to judge this


policy? It has only been several months.


Do you think that after a period of time, when people are just, that


actually some of those difficulties will be ironed out? -- when people


add just. It is easy for million years to talk about adjustment.


-- millionaires. We need the crisis addressed now. There are too many


people who are genuinely afraid that I going to be facing eviction. The


government should scrap this crazy tax. The government talks about


fairness. It says the policy is a symbol, if


you like, for fairness, that they should not be council tenants in


houses that are too big for them. Most people feel that a better


symbol of fairness would be a mountain tax -- mansion tax. I hope


that politicians from all parties are going to scrap it. We have been


asking all parties to scrap it. It is unfair, unworkable, and it needs


to change now. Lord Collins has today released his


report on Labour's relationship with the unions. It says the electoral


college, which elected Labour's leaders, is up for negotiation. A


third of it is trade union votes. What is your response? That is an


internal Labour Party matter. My opinion is the one most people


share, which is that it is important that ordinary people have a voice in


politics and that they have a stronger voice in politics. The


Labour Party has been conducting its own consultation with those unions


that are affiliated to it. I'm sure they will come up with a sensible


solution that ensures that ordinary people keep a voice in politics so


we can speak loudly on issues like this bedroom tax that most people


feel is so unfair. But Ed Miliband has said that


ordinary people should have a voice and they will have it by having one


member, one vote. I say to you again, is it now time to look at the


real possibility of getting rid of the union block vote in the


electoral college? I think most people agree it is essential, Mao --


now, more than ever, that British politics is rooted in the experience


of ordinary people. Otherwise we would not hear, frankly, about


issues like the bedroom tax. Thank you rematch. Stephen Timms,


your colleague called for the spare room subsidy to beast -- be dropped.


We don't yet have a fully costed programme for what we would do in


2015. We will have a programme by 2015. We will make it clear at that


point what we will do about this dreadful measure. Liam Byrne was


very to go about this, so surely this is something you should pledge


to reverse? Once we have a full programme, we will make that clear.


The worst thing about this is, I think that people can do absolutely


nothing about it. There is nowhere smaller for them to move to. When I


canvass in my constituency, I know it is a lot of people who are


frightened they have no idea where they can go to. I take that point,


that there are not enough smaller houses. But then you do agree that


people should live in homes that are the right size for them? They should


not have spare rooms that are funded by the taxpayer?


What we proposed during the debate on this was that if people had been


offered somewhere smaller and refused to move, a penalty would be


fair in now. Two Pina lies people when there is nothing they can do


other than take the hit and potentially get into digger


arrears, as we are hearing in the surveys, that is a terrible idea. --


to penalised people. It has been executed in a ham-fisted


way. Indeed, the amount of money to be saved by this is only in the


region of £500 million per year. My daughter is being given two years of


free meals. Why? And yet we are running into this problem with


bedroom tax. In the longer term, we have to do something about using


social housing in a rational way. We have got into a situation where a


lot of people are occupying space that is different from the historic


needs. Over time, I think we should give people strong incentives to


downsize if that is appropriate. Is it the best way to reduce the


housing benefit you'll? It is a small amount, really. You have got


housing benefit you'll? It is a to think about how you can bring


this down systemically. In real terms, in 1970, we were spending


£250 million. Now we are spending £24 billion. This is extraordinary.


That is an eye watering figure. But as has been stated, if it saves £550


million and there are limited options for many people in areas


where there are not alternative housing, do you think is a good


policy? The problems were explained in the


House of Lords. Our expert pointed this out. I accept the need for


deficit reduction. This is not fantasy stuff. It is a gripping


priority. Housing benefit is one of the very big items. To do it this


way, the level of social disruption and the lack of small alternative


accommodation, all of this was foreseen. One can only sympathise


with ministers who have got to find the billions. They have also got a


duty of care to the vulnerable in society free. -- in society.


Is it just the vulnerable who are affected? There are people who are


just living in houses that are too before them.


A lot of people on low incomes are being very badly damaged by this.


The one encouraging thing is the Lib Dems conference voted overwhelmingly


against the government. Until now, they have voted in favour. I hope we


might see a change of heart. You said you are pleased the Lib


Dems have voted against it. Why won't you just say you will get rid


of it? In 2015, this measure should be scrapped. You think it is a good


idea, Len Shackleton, in theory and principle. It has only been three


months, that is quite early days. It is and I think some of the scare


stories about this... There are obviously going to be people who are


stories about this... There are in a difficult position but we don't


really see from the figure is just what proportion of people there are,


and whether they are being helped by the discretionary payments that are


in place to help hard cases at the moment. When any measure to reduce


public spending is introduced, you get the stories coming out about the


people who are suffering. You have to pay it -- bear in mind that the


average taxpayer is paying out about £700 a year on housing benefit for


people, this figure has to come down. This may have been handled


badly but I think the principle is OK. We are getting figures from the


surveys of the scale of this. One in three council tenants affected,


about half of housing association tenants who are affected. It would


add up to 300,000 in the housing association side, a couple of


hundred thousand in councils, it is a big problem. Those TUC figures are


about people who have gone into debt after April 2000 and 13 -- April


2013. The it does not compare the figures after the measures have been


introduced so it is dishonest to compare the figures in this way.


Labour voters want these issues tackled, they are the ones who fully


support welfare reforms. They want to get people back to work. They


want the welfare bill brought down. Indeed, the housing benefit bill is


still far too high a cost they haven't managed to get people back


to work. Gentlemen, thank you very much.


So, the Lib Dem conference is over. How we will miss it. The media and


political road show is now winding its way down from Glasgow to


Brighton for the Labour conference as we speak. But have party


conferences lost some of their sparkle? Giles has been rummaging


round the archives to find out. Conferences. A few days of tribal


politics, intermingling, some of it useful, some best unmentioned.


Lewis, debate, policy and PR. Some of the worst comedy known to man. I


heard they have got Peter Hain booked for the next series.


Honestly, I just cannot watch that again. There is a narrative that


conferences don't matter these days. Gone are the epic showdowns of


labour in the 70s, 80s and 90s. I am telling you, you can't play politics


with people's jobs and with people's services.


APPLAUSE There is no doubt this man put his


head on the block by saying, I fervently believe, because that is


what he believes, of a relationship and a strong one with the trade


unions and the Labour Party. He has put his head there, now is our time


to vote, give us a bit of trust and let's have this vote support. And


even the PR savvy new let's have this vote support. And


couldn't stage manage everything. You can't make me leave the


premises. The Tories have never been much infused by Sally in conference


with anything like sites that matter, but tectonic plates have


shifted in circles at conference. I have only one thing to say, you turn


if you want to. The lady is not for turning. Let's be clear. Prison


works. And it has been the stage of defining moments. The fact that we


works. And it has been the stage of are gathered here, now, shocked but


composed and determined, is a sign not only that this attack has failed


but that all attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail.


And don't tell the Lib Dems that conference is so passe, this is


their week for above-average coverage, and poetic licence


attacking both sides. Something borrowed, a lot that is blue, too


much that is old and nothing new. Playing to the grassroots, the core,


without giving away how awful you find most of them, is what it is


about four MPs and ministers. To Cheri... I mean...


APPLAUSE Well, at least I don't have to worry


about her running off with the bloke next door. There you have it, the


final proof, Labour's brand-new shining modernist, economic dream


but it was not brown's, it was balls's. How much the public feel


anything about these tribal tribulations is a good question,


perhaps we should put it to conference.


You're watching the Daily Politics - and we've been joined by viewers in


Scotland who have been watching First Minister's Questions from


Holyrood. Are they what they used to First Minister's Questions from


be, party conferences? Nothing is what it used to be. It is easy to be


sceptical and cynical in the error of hyper spin. One must remember


there were turning points. We saw Mrs Thatcher in 1981, the lady is


not for turning, in the middle of dreadful economic indicators,


enormous pressure, the riots of that spring and summer. We saw Neil


Kinnock taking on militant, just as spring and summer. We saw Neil


Gates could have taken on CND in 1960. One remembers Jim Callaghan in


76, talking as he saw it, truth to a labour movement that did not want to


listen about not being able to spend your way out of a recession. It is


easy for those on the outside, and I am not a party person. Heaven knows


what the people who are not that interested in politics make of these


weird tribal occasions. We must remind ourselves that it does matter


that parties exist and it does matter that they have their own way


days to cheer themselves up, and sometimes it matters in the wider


scheme of things, but very rarely -- they have their own way days.


Why does it matter, that the big changes have gone. The criticism is


that these party conferences are too slick, the memberships are bundling.


In all three of the main parties -- memberships are dwindling. And it is


read the lobbyists that are provided for. You have to remember that the


parties are under a lot of pressure, it is not an easy life being a party


person, they are always got that and they have to cheer themselves up. It


is largely internal, the tribe being jolly with itself was not the


journalists and the rest of us love it when they have a domestic. This


year, the Lib Dems was particularly upset, would Vince Cable turn-up to


hear Nick Clegg defend the government's strategy? It won't be


remembered, and yet it seemed to make the weather for at least a


couple of days. I used to be a journalist so I won't be critical of


them, but I think the combination of mania and fatigue sets in. If you


put the TUC as the first one and you get three following on. People live


in a strange world than they usually do. The symbiosis gets even tighter.


But it does matter. You need an anthropologist, not an historian to


explain this phenomenon. There are some people who genuinely love this


explain this phenomenon. There are party conferences. Lots of


journalists love it, too. So why deny them their annual pleasure? Why


indeed. Now - are the luscious red benches


of the House of Lords getting a tad overcrowded? When you tot up the


bishops, the life peers, and the few remaining hereditaries, there are


766 working peers. And the ermine keeps on coming - in fact in the


last few weeks, the flow of newly ennobled peers has continued - see


how many of the famous-ish faces you can name.


I, Martha, Baroness Lane Fox of Soho, do solemnly, sincerely and


truly declare and affirm... That I will be faithful and bear true


allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth... Her heirs and


successors, according to law, so help me God.


The stately ceremony of it all. I'm now joined by the Liberal


Democrat and newly ennobled Lord Paddick - formerly Brian Paddick.


Democrat and newly ennobled Lord Are you excited? I was unable on


Democrat and newly ennobled Lord Thursday but I will be inaugurated


at the end of October. It feels very strange but I am looking forward to


it. What is your plan and objective in the House of Lords? I want a


political platform to try and talk about the things that I think are


important. The bull might be surprised what the topics are. --


people might be surprised. There is a bit of a clue on Liberal Democrat


Voice website. I am not going to disappear without a trace as some


peers do. Are there too many? There are too many but that is because


there are so many who are not interested in the Democratic


process, not interested in going to Parliament. A lot of them are too


old or too infirmed to make it there Parliament. A lot of them are too


anyway and under the current system there is no way they can retire


gracefully. What about the bill to try and have a maximum the bishop or


seniority, or a retirement age? We need to get it down to 500. It is a


lot to lose. I think there are technically 815. Most working days,


390 come. The majority of them are very conscientious. It is a


coalition of the willing. People very conscientious. It is a


come for things that matter to them. You will have a wonderful time and


people will enjoy you being there, I am absolutely sure. It is a


remarkable form of Adam education -- adult education. We have got to get


it down to 500 and that will be difficult. I am against paying


people redundancy because we are all volunteers. The public would not put


up with it. You have to get a retirement scheme that enables


people to live with dignity but it is very hard to get the numbers


down. A study was done which suggests we live 15 years longer in


the House of Lords because the grey cells asked elated everyday and we


are pampered. At what age would you make it compulsory? -- the grey


cells are stimulated every day. Some of our best people, however you


measure it, I think I over 80. Lord Carrington is 94. Would you back


that sort of bill? They have been trying to get a bill through and it


has never managed to get onto the statute book. We want a


democratically elected upper chamber. Bearing in mind that has


not gone through, would you back some sort of bill that would put a


maximum age, anything to bring the numbers down? I think the first step


is to say to current members that there is an option to retire


gracefully from the house. Where you there is an option to retire


can keep your title but you are no longer able to attend the House. I


think that would significantly reduce the numbers. Then we need to


look and see if we need to cull any more. In this latest intake, there


isn't, I am told, a single crossbench peer. They are done


separately to those lists, that is why. The Prime Minister did a deal


with the chairman of the appointments commission to get it


down to two a year from four. I think because the crossbenchers were


voting against the government. They are quite separate from the


political trance. Isn't it too dominated by political patronage? It


is very important to have experts in their field and sometimes you can


only get those by having crossbenchers. We have the former


direct of public prosecutions as a Liberal Democrat peer so it is


possible to have experts who will also take the party whip. Are there


too many people who are political? I think we House of Lords, from what I


understand, is far more consensual than the House of Commons. And that


there is far more movement in terms of peers who decide not to obey the


whip when votes, long. I am not sure -- when votes, long. I am not sure


the problem with tribalism is not as much of a problem as it is in the


the problem with tribalism is not as House of Commons. I think the Lib


Dem peers in the House of Lords are the heaviest whip of all, it is


wonderful that the party of liberty and freedom and thought are the most


heavily whipped. I hope you will rebel. I don't think that is the


case and talking to some of my fellow Liberal Democrat peers, they


quite enjoy rebelling. It is just because the Liberal Democrat


argument are far more convincing than the other parties, which is why


more Liberal Democrat peers as peers follow the whip. I am touched!


Now for something completely different.


Today on the Daily Politics, we play who is this man? He ran an election


campaign. He wanted to be boss. He invented the Labour red rose. He


likes walking dogs. Let's go through the studio doors and find out who it


is! Congratulations. The answer is Bryan Gold.


There are no prizes. I do apologise. Where have you been? I have been in


New Zealand, where I was born. There is a life after politics and I have


enjoyed it. I have kept up my interest in politics in New Zealand


and Britain. I have it in a book about the last two or three decades.


-- I have written. Where did it all go wrong? The book is pretty damning


about the state of western democracy. Where did it go wrong?


It went wrong because we invented democracy, or achieved it, so there


was a legitimate force, government, that could offset and restraint


would otherwise be the overwhelming power of those who would be


dominating the marketplace. We found in the 1980s, with globalisation,


that governments were sidelined. International capital could simply


say, if you don't do what we want, we will go elsewhere. Do you think


Tony Blair was sidelined? He resided over a huge majority in this


country. He presided over a boom. I think it is tendentious to save


the global crisis was created by governments. It was certainly the


irresponsible behaviour of banks. The only point I would disagree


where Tony Blair was encouraging this development of weaker democracy


in favour of the big forces of the economy is that I think he embraced


it. This is the extraordinary thing about new Labour. They didn't set


out to withhold support or restrain the powerful forces in the economy.


They said, go for it! The free market is a wonderful thing.


Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Nobody was calling for that kind of


restraint. The Conservatives weren't, either. With respect, I


was. If you have seen my book, which I don't expect you will have done,


I'm able to draw on a long experience going back through all of


that period and before in which, on issues like the City, the euro, full


employment, or monetarism, on all of those issues I have been


consistently calling for the positions that I now believe are


likely to be more acceptable because we have seen the deficiencies of


what has gone before. Do you think that if Labour had taken your


positions in the mid or late 1990s, would they have been elected three


times? Of course they would. In 1992, the British electorate were


desperate to get rid of the Tories. It was, I think, wrong for Labour to


believe they had to abandon their old policies in order to get


elected. It seems to me that what new Labour did was simply to


perpetuate, as they have agreed that they did, Mrs Thatcher public


policies. It is a shame he left. His voice in


the Cabinet would have been something. Even Bryan would have a


job arguing against these big forces in the world. Was the Cold War was


over and IT and globalisation let rip, you couldn't do democratic


socialism in one country. It would have become increasingly difficult


for the Casey would have argued -- the case you would have argued to


operate in the new reality. I recognise that. I had lost an


argument, not intellectually, but the forces came against me. That is


why I left. I saw my future as to be a licensed cricket -- cricket. Ed


Miliband has at least drawn the line under the sort of defeatism that I


believe characterised Labour. The polls are good enough. There's a


chance he will win. He is addressing the wrong issues. He is still


debating in a debate framed and characterised by Tory values. The


one piece of advice I would offer him, not a criticism, is develop


your own agenda. There are really coming problems out there. Not


reducing the deficit, that is they sent off the problems. Our problem


is that we are fundamentally an uncompetitive economy. We have


handed over eating policy to the bankers. We have banded full


employment as even achievable, let alone desirable. These are the


things that should constitute a Labour agenda now. I believe that if


they did that, they would be elected overwhelmingly. Now, do you find


this offensive? Yid army! Yid army!


That is, of course, what Tottenham Hotspur's fans. The club


traditionally has a strong Jewish following, but the FA has said it is


not acceptable for their fans to use the word yid. David Cameron has


argued that it is fine for Tottenham fans to do so as they are not


motivated by hate. Joining me to discuss this are David Aaronovitch


and the actor and writer David Schneider. Is the term yid


offences? In most contexts in which it is used against somebody as an


attempt to offends them and be detrimental, yes.


But not in all circumstances. As used by Spurs fans, no. Is that


right? Can you make it that nuanced?


As a comedian, you are always aware of what you say, whether it is a


joke, how it is going to play, how you intend it.


It is also who is receiving it, who is listening to it. The reason I


think it is wrong, which is a decision I have recently made, is


because of the response, because of the audience. That means everybody


else. The Chelsea fans, West Ham fans, anybody who replies with the


gas noises, the Holocaust chance. My beef is not so much with the Spurs


fans. It is with the general response. Spurs fans now have to


take responsibility to accept that the word, and I am shocked at how


people bandy it around, like when your Twitter feed. It makes me


cringe, but I can't say the word. Yet people are saying yid without


inverted commas. That shows how it is wrong.


All you are encouraging is for people to be committed even if they


don't intend it to be, to be pejorative. They are using a term


that can offends people. There is a kind of absurd to in this.


Here is a word, yid, and in fact my grandma over -- grandmother only


spoke Yiddish... I speak Yiddish, the youngest


Yiddish speaking the world! It comes from a Yiddish word. When it is in


English, it is offences. What I was going to say is that it


is absurd that a word which is used by people who are not using it to be


offences, that actually isn't offensive to Jewish people when


hearing it in that context, and by and large it isn't, should anything


be regarded as something you have to and large it isn't, should anything


stop. Other people might take it up as a basis on which they build their


own... But everybody has a responsibility... Let's look at the


end word. Why is it so unacceptable and yet the word yid is OK?


In a comic context you could find ways of using it. I remember that


you were one of the people who was upset about the idea of introducing


a law about religious discrimination because of the effect it would have


had on comics because he wanted the freedom to be able to use words.


As Spider-man would say, with great power comes great refunds ability.


-- great responsibility. You have to be aware of the effect of what you


are saying. This is a chance at a football match. I don't think


football match fans should be thinking about their social


responsibility at the point of making a chance. You are not there


to do that. You are not there to prove your social responsibility.


You are there to celebrate your tribe. There are things, actually,


that's Spurs fans have chances that are genuinely offences and that I


have wanted them to stop. This is not one of them. The FA are in a


tricky position. Can they afford to intellectualise about it if they are


trying to get rid of racism in football?


They are in a tricky position because they are dumb. If they want


to take up the business of anti-Semitism, by all means do.


What would happen, by your logic, if Ed Miliband, who self identifies as


a yid and called Labour the yid army, would Cameron say it was


fine? He has got to take responsibility for the word. If Ed


Miliband was a West Ham supporter and sang, I am for ever blowing


bubbles, it would be strange. Should David Cameron have got


involved in this? He can only lose. We are a better country for people


being sensitive. The first time I went to White Hart Lane, there was a


drum and everybody shouted the word. I was shocked. I couldn't believe


it. There are linguistic minefields. Banging the drum! Don't rap artists


use the end word? That is another word. If this was in a synagogue, it


might be different. What percentage of Jewish people does it have to


be, David? 5%? I would say it has to be mostly Jews and to a Jewish


audience so that the irony is clear. The problem is not Spurs fans, it is


other fans. I agree. The problem is... To defend David Cameron, he


replied because he was asked. Quickly, the quiz. Where did they


all go, the Conservatives? I think it was the nice hotels. You are


all go, the Conservatives? I think quite right. We would love to carry


on talking. You can do that outside. Thank you to all of our guests,


particularly Peter Henessey. The one o'clock News is starting on BBC One




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