Conference Special Daily Politics

Conference Special

Similar Content

Browse content similar to Conference Special. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Afternoon, folks, welcome to the Daily Politics. This is a conference


special on the Labour Party conference.


Price controls on energy, land grabs, higher taxes for big business


- have Labour found a winning formula with their populist pitch to


voters? Well, his wife loves him. And the


Labour party have produced these photographs to prove it. But what do


the British people think of Mr Miliband?


Ed Balls is sounding sceptical. We ask Labour Party activists if it's


time to pull the plug on HS2. And Quentin Letts gives us his take


on Labour's week at the seaside. The conference hall has been echoing to


the ghostly cries of spirits past, enough to give poor old Ed Mili the


willies. All that in the next hour. And with


as for the duration today is Deborah Mattinson, who used to do opinion


polls for Gordon Brown, and has the scars to show it. She now runs a


consultancy called Britain Thinks. Let's start with Ed Miliband's


speech, which he says has changed the face of Britain. He spoke for


more than an hour. His catchphrase, repeated 17 times, "Britain can do


better than this". Amongst the policies he announced, Labour would


introduce a 22 month freeze on gas and electricity prices. Not just per


household but the businesses as well. We will talk a bit more later


about Mr Miliband's position in the political debate and popularity or


lack of. Give us your view on the speech. He spoke for an hour without


notes last year, so we knew he could do that but last year, the speech


was well delivered but very abstract, very hard for politician


subsequently to connect that with voters. What he has managed to


achieve this time is how very concrete, what I would call symbolic


policies, symbolic of his take on the world. You may like it, you may


not. Nobody can say, they don't know where he stands. And actually,


nobody can say the parties are all the same. And I think he has


achieved that and he is achieving a debate, because the big challenge is


how you get what happens in the conference hall out there, because


the voters do not watch. It is right to think, and all the main political


leaders do it now across the democratic world, every one of these


propositions, for example, the 20 democratic world, every one of these


month freeze on gas and electricity prices, would have been put to focus


groups. It most certainly will have been and I gather that in the focus


groups where they were tested, the ratings were of the scale. And I can


certainly see that, I haven't tested that particular policy but over the


years have done a lot of work and I know that one of the big things that


people are concerned about is energy prices and prices going up. They


can't understand that in the context of the profits that those companies


make. There is no question that it has been a popular announcement. And


he has made it clear whose side he is on, I think. Good. Jo. Let's get


a sense of the mood at conference. We can talk to Sam Coates from the


Times and Rafael Behr from the New Statesman. Sam Coates, they loved


the speech in the hall, did you love it? Well he achieved what he wanted


to, to define himself very much as the centre-left of British politics.


He wanted to put clear water between himself and David Cameron and make


clear that he is on the left of British politics. He succeeded. What


he also did was designed to deploy himself against all sorts of


organisations and bits of society that normally you need endorsement


from. The CBI have essentially disowned Labour now, as have other


business groups, as they think that Labour has basically said they are


not involved with enterprise. That was always the risk, wasn't it,


Rafael Behr, Ed Miliband setting himself on the sides of voters,


promising them something better if they vote for Labour in 2015. Does


he risk being painted as they vote for Labour in 2015. Does


anti-business? Anti-wealth, in that sense, which many people will argue


is needed if the recovery is going to continue? There is certainly that


risk, although I would say clearly he has gone into it with his eyes


open. If you speak to people around Ed Miliband, they knew this was


going to be a big fight and they chose distinctly to set themselves


up on the side of consumers against what they see as vested interest. I


know there is a crisis in Ed Miliband's brand as a leader, people


don't take in that seriously as a potential Prime Minister and one of


the things he was trying to do yesterday was changed in framework


and parameters of what people think as a leader. He was saying you may


think David Cameron is strong but he is strong against the week and I


will be strong standing up to the strong, in this case the energy


will be strong standing up to the companies or the banks or whoever


is. Labour knew they were going to get attacked by parable people but


that is kind of the point. What about the other big point, the


energy bill freeze for 20 months. That has captured people's


attentions, they are picking over the details of whether it will work


all the lights will go out, but it was a brave, radical move. Yes, of


course, if you ask people if they want to pay less for their energy


bills, they will say yes, so it is a popular policy, but as far as energy


is concerned, he has to do three things in the next few years if he


becomes Prime Minister. One is to deliver the price freeze on the Open


market. The second is to hit zero carbon targets and then to nature


there is a new generation of power stations and ensure investment takes


place, in a world where energy stations and ensure investment takes


companies are global and can choose to invest their money in other


countries. So I think he has three tasks but he has only chosen to talk


about one of them. What happens if in 2017, the reforms not work out as


he hoped, there will be a big negative electoral dividend.


Already, we are talking about what happens in 2017 if he is elected,


but this is already what people are talking about, the practical reality


of a Labour Government and what it would do, so this is a win for Ed


Miliband already. From that point of view, there are all sorts of detail


they want to play out but my sense from speaking to people around Ed


Miliband is they knew this was coming, they are very prepared to


take this as a campaign onto the doorstep and turn it into leaflets


and someone in his office gave me an ice cube, to represent a price


freeze. They are turning this into a three-dimensional project to take


out on the road, which is a criticism levelled against them in


the past, after the one Nation speech last year, there was nothing


to follow it up. This is what they call follow-through. Do think there


has been a psychological change? A shift in the way people are looking


at Ed Miliband and perhaps a future Labour Government? Sam? Speak that


is what they want. One of the most interesting things is how the


Blairites are discussing what happened yesterday. I spoke to one


of them and one of them said they were not sure it was a big policy.


Of Jim already has plans to start price controls -- Ofgem already have


plans. They are talking about a price cap and on the headline


grabbing land policy, it was said but have you not heard of compulsory


purchase orders? I wonder if we are getting carried away with the


rhetoric of the speech in the way that Ed Miliband wanted and


rhetoric of the speech in the way completely forgetting that we are


not that far away from an awful lot of these things been possible at the


moment. Rafael Behr, how do you think Team Cameron will or should


respond? Certainly they need to be quite careful not to go out


respond? Certainly they need to be cheerleading for the big energy


companies, which are generally very unpopular. My understanding is that


next week they are not going to use their conference to rebut anything


Labour have been saying, they are just going to say they have a record


of fixing the economy, they are working on it and it has been tough


but they are making the right decisions. They will save their


attacks on this kind of stuff and addressing the cost of living until


the Autumn statements. They will have a bit of fun, they like


attacking Ed Miliband as a lefty. I'm sure they will mention red Ed


more than once. Now it's time for our daily quiz.


Today's question is what happened next? You might have heard former


Labour spin doctor Damian McBride has been doing the media rounds in


Brighton this week. I am told he has a book to sell! Heery was preparing


for a live interview on ITV yesterday morning that here he was.


So what happened next? At the end of the show, Deborah will give us the


correct answer. And I bet you know. I do know.


The days of Labour schmoozing company bosses with prawn sandwiches


are over. In his speech yesterday, Ed Miliband had a much tougher


message for businesses. His hope is that voters will see him as a kind


of Robin Hood figure, taking from rich companies to help ordinary


people. But what exactly does he have in mind? And will it work? Jo


has more. The first target was the energy


companies, with the promise to freeze bills until 2017 if Labour


wins the election. "The companies aren't going to like


this," he said, "because it will cost them more, but they've been


overcharging people for too long in a market that doesn't work."


He also took aim at property developers who own land with


planning permission but won't build. They were told it would be a case of


"use the land or lose the land". Large companies will not get the


corporation tax cut they were Large companies will not get the


expecting if Labour win. Ed Miliband accused them of short-changing small


businesses and promised it was something he would put right.


And he said that, under Labour, companies would face a higher


minimum wage to defeat low pay. Joining us now to discuss some of


these ideas is John Cridland, Director-General of the CBI. John


Cridland, welcome to the programme. Isn't Ed Miliband right to say that


the minimum wage hasn't kept up the cost of living? It hasn't, so should


it be increased? It hasn't up because employers and trade unions


on the low pay commission took the view that it was better to keep


people in their job earning something than pricing them out of


employment. Those are the real hard choices. Do you think it would have


that effect if the minimum wage was put up, increased, in two years'


time? Absolutely, because the people on the minimum wage are the ones


with the least skills and police productivity. The best thing is to


get them into the job and with the best employers, progress up the


business once they have a foot in the door. I minimum wage is price


people out of work. -- a high minimum wage. That is not to say


that as the economy improves, wages won't go up, they will. But do we


need the Government to control wages, prices, assets and taxing


businesses more? Labour would argue we are in a cost of living crisis


and many people are feeling the pain, even as growth returns. As you


have admitted, wages are not keeping up with inflation. Is it right the


taxpayers should subsidise people on low play because employers will not


pay them enough -- Lope? Employers pay what they can afford to pay


according to the income they get from consumers. If a shoeshine on


the high Street -- a shoe shop on a high street as wages going up by 1p


per hour, the pass the cost on to who? It is not one particular thing


in his speech that disappointed me, it was all other things. Added


together, this is a real setback for Labour's pro-credentials. --


pro-enterprise credentials. We want Labour to speak for all business,


not beta sub and then say it is speaking for small business and


attacking large business. But all businesses are not the same, and big


businesses have arguably been sitting on big piles of cash, they


haven't been investing. Small businesses have been struggling. Are


you saying they are not the lifeline as the economy -- of the economy, as


Ed Miliband and David Cameron has said, and have not been able to get


credit from the banks? I speak for all businesses. The vast majority of


CBI members are small, I have a medium-sized companies and large


companies, and they speak with one voice. They like the public, like


the citizen and consumer, have had a tough time. They make decisions on


the basis of keeping their business afloat. The Government is there to


set minimum standards. If you begin interfering in price, property and


wage as well as tax and you push business taxes up. How do you expect


that to have a positive impact on wealth creation, job creation and


more jobs on the high street? Are you saying big business cannot


afford a delayed reduction in corporate tax but small businesses


can afford to pay business rates which are way beyond their means? I


am pleased that the Labour Party is focused on business rates. The CBI


is focused on reducing business focused on business rates. The CBI


rates, but I don't think it is the right call to fund that through an


increase in corporation tax. It is a delayed reaction. It is an increase


over what business has been told by the current Government, it would be


in 2015. If business believes that corporation tax is going to be at


20p, it has more retaining earnings to invest in factories, jobs and


increasing wages. If it goes up to 21p, it has less money to help with


living standards. John Cridland, thank you.


living standards. John Cridland, We're joined now from Brighton by


the Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg. Thank you be joining


us. Hello, Andrew. Let's stick with the gas and electricity price


freeze. Undoubtedly a very popular policy to announce, people will like


it and they will think that gas bills are too high. Let me ask you


this, if the energy market in Britain is as dysfunctional as your


party is claiming it to be, why does Britain have some of the lowest gas


and electricity prices in Europe? We have seen a massive increase in gas


and electricity prices. The wholesale price of gas and


electricity goes up, the retail price goes up bad when it falls we


electricity goes up, the retail have not seen the same fall. The


market is not functioning properly and this is a reformed to make it


function properly. I understand there are bits where it could be


much improved and it does not work properly. But if it is as bad as you


say, why are gas and lectures are two prices among the lowest in


Europe? -- and electricity prices? I don't think it is the issue when we


have seen enormous increases and we have seen increases in the profits


of the big six companies. The consumers are having to pay more and


that is what we have to sort out. This is a 20 month freeze, if Labour


wins in 2015, so we can sort out the gas and electricity market. The


Ofgem figures show that on electricity prices we have the third


lowest in western Europe. Only Finland, France and Greece have


lower prices. On gas prices, we are the cheapest, by a huge amount. Is


it suggested that there is not scope for us to reform the market? There


is always scope but my point to you is that if the market is functioning


so badly, why do we do better than almost anybody else in Europe?


But we can do better still. Countries like France, what are they


doing right? We have a market that simply isn't working. The difference


between Paris and London is very small. The reality for families,


hard-pressed families, the reality is they have seen these big rises,


even when the wholesale price has been falling. They haven't been


getting the benefit. There must be something going wrong. It is not a


proper, competitive market. We want to reform the energy market so it is


properly competitive and consumers benefit, it must make sense. It is


May 2015, you have won the election, you bring in a gas and elected to


price freeze. It is October 2015 and the Middle East is in chaos, or your


prices spike, gas prices spike, what do you do then -- or you'll prices


spike. It is a very hypothetical question


and if they prices happens, you have to address that. The reality is the


big six are making enormous profits and not passing on the benefits to


customers and the market needs to be reformed. A crisis may happen but


the reality is they are hoarding these enormous profits. What is the


average rate of return on capital of one of the big six? I don't know the


answer. How can you claim they are making big profits? Are you saying


they're not making big profits? Everyone knows they are making big


profits. You don't, you can't tell me. , police -- companies like


Centrica are often the ones who invest the least. I don't think the


idea is -- of less investment is borne out by the fact. It is about


reforming the market and that is good for consumers. It Centrica is


making such huge profits, what is their return on investments? You are


asking me the same question. I have said I do not know how to answer


that question. It is about consumers getting their fair share. You are


making claims about the company and you don't know what they make. I


think you need to do your homework. you don't know what they make. I


We have done our homework. We published a document yesterday


setting out in great detail the basis for these plans. These are


well thought through plans and we have taken very sound advice. Let me


tell you this, the return on investment in Centrica is lower than


the return on investment at Tesco. So why don't you introduce food


price controls? Come on, energy prices have gone up enormously. So


have food prices. You can't draw a sound parallel. It is a completely


different scenario. Let me move on. Minimum wage. Is Labour going to


increase the minimum wage? The minimum wage needs to be


strengthened and Ed Miliband has strengthened out ways to do that.


Increasingly finds for those who don't pay the minimum wage. --


increasing the finds. One of the new things we have said


is that in some sectors, it would be possible to have a minimum wage


higher than the national minimum wage and we want that to be


considered and we are going to look into that. Strength and is a


different verb from increase, will Labour increase the minimum wage --


strengthen is a different verb. It has increased less than the general


rate of wages. We have a low pay commission that we set up to


independently determine whether the minimum wage goes up. We have said


there are sectors where it could be afforded to pay a higher minimum


wage and we would look at how that would operate. On this land grab you


are talking about, taking land back from developers who haven't built on


that land, can you explain how it would work best mark would you


compulsory purchase the land? You have to pay market rate? Would the


government by the land? We want to strengthen the role for local


communities including local government, that does include


greater use of compulsory purchase. We have announced April to pull on


this and we need to consult further on the detail to get it right. It


cannot be right at a time and we have a housing crisis in this


country, people unable to afford to buy, a shortage of housing for rent,


that we have big developers hoarding land, waiting for the value to go


up, when people are unable to get a home. What evidence do you have that


big developers are hoarding land? We have evidence from local authorities


and a whole range of organisations. What studies have you done? What


study shows this? We have not commissioned our own study but there


has been researched by housing organisations like Shelter that


campaign on homelessness issues, the local government Association, this


is a sensible, practical, concrete measure to try to ensure we can get


house building up. You mentioned local authorities, the


local government authority which covers all authorities did a study


of this in 2011, it is called the Glen Egan report. It found there was


not hoarding. Half of the homes were Glen Egan report. It found there was


under construction, 83,000 were social housing. They were awaiting


government money for starting them for the bid found no evidence of


hoarding and neither did the OS to study under your government in 2008.


-- the Office of Fair Trading study. That was five years ago, things have


got a lot worse. I was in Oxford last week talking to people from


Oxford City Council who were talking about this exact issue and


suggesting the kind of issue that Ed Miliband has set out. I think the


evidence is there but it is right that we consult to make sure we


commend this properly. Thanks for joining us.


And we're joined now by Angela Knight of Energy UK - the


organisation that represents energy companies. Welcome to the programme.


Ed Miliband is right to say that the energy market is not functioning


properly, isn't he? I don't think he is but that doesn't mean you can't


make it function better. The gas market works extremely well, the


electricity market, there has been a lot of intervention. Some of the


initiatives and policy issues have rather skewed the market. The


questions we have to answer, and there is some work on this going on


right now, is how can one improve the markets? It is easy to say they


are bust, they are not bust but what improvements can be made? One of the


improvements is if the energy generating companies were forced to


split from electricity Supply Company is, that would be fairer --


letters to supply companies -- electricity supply companies. They


cannot compete with companies who generate their own electricity. I


don't agree with you. Companies trying to enter the market say they


cannot break into the market. If you look at what is happening on the


market, whether you are an integrated company or not, the


electricity market is extraordinary liquid. It is because it alleges it


is going on to the market and it is available to be purchased -- it is


because electricity is going onto the market. The question is whether


there are changes which could make it longer ahead, that market. It is


not a question of integrated or not but how a market works. If you are a


new company having to purchase it, they have to purchase at a far


higher price. They can't afford to do it. There is a wholesale market


price, it is published and open. So that isn't the case. You would not


say that it is unfair if a supermarket owns farms, so the meat


produced in the farms are sold at the supermarket. Of course it is not


unfair. What is absolutely required is strong transparency, that is


fine, accounting in the separate parts of the organisation. The


numbers are made public, which they are, to Ofgem. You need new entrants


into the market, we have a lot of independent generators and


increasingly new suppliers are coming onto the market. You don't


have that if a market doesn't work. So let's make it work better, not


pretend it is broken. Labour is suggesting it does not work on


behalf of the consumer. On the half of the consumer, they think the


market is asked. They have focus grouped these policies and it was


stratospherically yacht lost the trust of the public -- you have lost


the trust of the public. It was stratospherically against you. Some


of it must come down to the behaviour of the big six. Why have


the big six energy companies risen so much in recent years? The


organisation represents many more than the big six. The big six were


being talked about. We recognise the important part of trust and the fact


that trust has been lost and needs to be rebuilt. The profits that have


risen are not offered, it is the operating margin. It is the amount


-- the profits that have risen are actually not profit. The actual


profit is around the 5% mark. The return on capital employed is not


high. They invested £11 billion last year. The big six invested £11


billion? Last year, it has to be paid for. If you -- unless we


recognise we have to make some money, you don't get the


investment. Sure, companies have to make profit. But let's have a look


on the British Gas has seen profits rise 3% in the first half of this


year to make £356 million. Centrica saw half-year profits soar by 9% to


1.58 billion pounds. These are eye watering figures for consumers who


just see their bills go up and up. Can you say how much the big six


company 's are going to put up their energy bills next month? They will,


went there? You have to ask them for a emotional -- a commercial


decision. When I have but these figures to you... Can I not answer


the previous question? British Gas raised prices by 6% last November


who are already seeing cost of living squeezed and the speculation


is it is going to go up 8% next month. It is three times the rate of


inflation. I am going to do the profit question first. On average,


about 5%, about £1 per week for every household. It is less than


most supermarkets. Yet the investment programme is one of the


biggest investment programmes in the country. That is the first point.


The second point, on your bill is a whole series of pass-through charges


and they have been going up. The network renewal pro gram, the wires,


the pipes, the policies of the green deals -- network renewal programme.


All of it gets pass-through onto the bill. The world price of energy and


gas is as it is and that is another thing that comes through on the


bill. The actual proportion which the energy company has control of is


probably about 19% at a whole lot sits on the bill and they get the


blame. -- but a whole lots it's on the bill. Rebuilding trust is


important but it is also important to talk about the issues from end to


end. Where is this big investment in energy coming from? All of the


energy companies are withdrawing investment. We have not built a new


nuclear plant for years, Centrica has announced it is not going to go


ahead with two new gas plants. The two German companies have withdrawn


their investment. Where is this great investment in energy coming


from? A large amount has come from building wind farms. That is your


ansa? We are leading the world. Denmark and Germany have a lot


more. In offshore wind farms... They are very expensive. We are not


building gas stations, we are not building nuclear stations. The


energy companies are making profits and not reinvesting them. They are


reinvesting them. They are reinvesting them in what it is that


the policy has told them to reinvest in. And I think you are absolutely


right, we should be building more gas fire power stations. But you are


threatening to do the opposite. Prices are artificially low and we


end up with an odd and where they are too high for individuals, to


local companies. Why can't we discuss it properly cushy mark are


you convinced by this? Will this when anybody over? Know, and I think


energy companies have a huge amount of work to do. Bringing it back to


the consumer, this isn't nice to have. It is heating or eating.


Struggling to get through the week or the month. These are big bills


that make a big difference and the gas companies know that. It is not


just politicians that do focus groups, oil companies do that as


well. They know that and the fact they are not responding better


suggests the market is not working as well as they think. You are


right, the concern about the bills is fundamental and they have gone


up, there is no getting away from it. There are real reasons for it


and there is no point saying, it is you're pulled, it is you're pulled.


and there is no point saying, it is Prices have gone up, you can get


welfare assistance the food but not energy, that comes back through the


companies. What have you done in your life that you have spent part


of your life defending banks and now energy companies? I am a believer in


British industry. I'm a believer in companies producing some of the


great goods and services that we want and I have given you an


answer. Deborah Mattinson, does it matter to Labour is big business


says we are going to move away from the Labour Party? I think Ed


Miliband has positioned it carefully, talking about what he's


going to do for small businesses. It is good to have the debate, because


that is the way he's going to get the story out and big business has a


that is the way he's going to get lot to do for its own reputation at


the moment, so it is a debate worth having thank you.


the moment, so it is a debate worth I am sure we will come back to it.


So there was plenty of policy from the Labour leader yesterday, but


he'll so tackle the issues of his personal character to compare his


character with that of the Prime Minister -- he also. If you want to


know the difference between me and David Cameron, he is an easy way to


remember it. When it was Murdoch versus the McCanns, he took the side


of Murdoch. When it was a tobacco lobby against the cancer charities,


he took the side of the tobacco lobby. When it was the millionaires


who wanted the tax-cut versus people paying the bedroom tax, he took the


who wanted the tax-cut versus people side of the millionaires. Come to


think of it, he is an even easier way to remember it. David Cameron is


a Prime Minister who introduced the bedroom tax. I will be the Prime


Minister who repeals the bedroom tax.


Here's the thing about David Cameron. He may be strong at


standing up to the week, but he is always weak when it comes to


standing up against the strong. That is the difference between me and


David Cameron, so let's have that debate about leadership and


character and I relish that debate. Joining me now from Brighton, former


adviser to Tony Blair, John McTiernan. You used to be in the


vanguard of new Labour, that was then and this is no, it is over,


isn't it? It is a different time. New Labour was for its time and what


Ed Miliband is doing is for our time. I think you know, there are a


lot of angry, grumpy middle-class people out there in Britain that are


being appealed to buy UKIP but are also available to Ed's populism of


the left. I think what was done previously is not available and Ed


Miliband has chosen to gone back and where he has and attacking energy


companies, very few members of the public will be saying energy


companies are great and my bills are fine and I completely understand.


You think Ed Miliband is going for the centre ground? Yes. The squeezed


middle, who are the centre ground of politics, they are angry and they


are detached from politics and looking for somewhere to go. The


propositions that Ed Miliband made yesterday that will get people back


to work or building houses, houses for your kids, all of it adds up to


appeal to middle England, middle-class England, saying we can


be radical and we can break through this and to say what David Cameron


has done, in my view incredibly stupid, is abandon optimism. He is a


pessimist about Britain and Ed Miliband has said we can do better.


It has allowed Ed to be the positive optimistic person in politics and


yesterday was a very important speech, the battle ground for the


next election. Not of us have heard Mr Cameron next week, so we don't


know if that is true. Let me ask you this, do you think that Mr


Miliband's speech, where he did lay out a new set of policies that were


distinctive policies, they were more on the left and New Labour in a


number of ways, is that the start up fight back and do you expect to see


a widening once again of Labour's lead in the polls and an improvement


in Mr Miliband's personal ratings? Look, I think on the polls, Labour


is going to stay there or thereabouts on 38% between now and


the next election. With the Tories on 34, Labour wins, particularly


with UKIP in the game. Labour has got the votes it needing -- needs


and I suspect we will hold them. Talking about Ed Miliband's


character, this is the card but the Tories want to play, but he doesn't


look like a Prime Minister. The truth is that that has resonance, it


comes up in the groups. Ed knows that, that his wife he said


yesterday it is not just what you look like, it is how you act -- that


is why he said. So it is OK to be strong against the week but what


about talking about vested interests? He made a big call on


Murdoch which was right and popular. He's not just saying what you look


like, conceding that he does not look like a traditional Prime


Minister, it is how you act as well, it is words and values and actions.


I think Ed was never going to get to the next election without addressing


this issue and he has decided to do it in this way, conceding that you


don't think I might be the Prime Minister at the moment, but let me


show you what I will do and let me remind you of my actions and my


character. It is very similar to what happened in Australia when Tony


Abbott was never the preferred Prime Minister until the very end of the


campaign, but his party was in the lead for a long time. It is staking


out a ground to fight on. I don't think the Tories are going to ditch


Mr Cameron the way that Labour in Australia ditched their leader just


a few weeks before the election, so I am not sure the comparison is


relevant. I have to say, I want this clarity. It seems to me, I maybe


wrong, but you are saying that yesterday's speech we should regard


a watershed in how we now look at Labour's fortunes going up to the


election? Yesterday's speech, taken with Ed Balls's speech, what has now


been set out is the Labour strategy for the time between now and the


election. Labour's mission, Labour's values and the ground on


which Labour are going to fight. That is absolutely clear, so it is a


watershed. Ed Miliband is not Tony Blair, but he can only be the leader


he needs to be to become Prime Minister by not being mesmerised by


the past. That was Tony's great strength, he was never in thrall to


any previous leader. We looked at Thatcher and moved beyond. Ed


Miliband has looked at Tony and moved beyond. And I think it was a


watershed. Let me bring in Deborah Mattinson, who has been listening


here. John says that the polls may well stay quite static with Labour


on about 38, the Tories on about 34. They vary a bit, but that is a rough


average of where we are. At this stage in the political cycle, if you


were a Labour strategist, wouldn't you want to be a bit more ahead?


Wouldn't you want a comfort zone, a marginal safety? Because quite


often, the polls narrow as you go into an election. Historically, you


would have done, but that was then and this is now. Some of the points


that John makes about the different electoral landscape now are


absolutely spot on. If we look at some of the polling that has been


conducted recently, for instance launch Ashcroft's massive poll, the


only guy spending serious money on polling and looking at the margins,


he concluded at a Labour fringe meeting saying this, saying that it


Labour stayed exactly as they are, they couldn't do anything but win.


That is axiomatic, because they are ahead in the polls, that is like


saying night follows day. Of course if they stay where they are, they


will win. But he said that looking at the electoral landscape right now


is the most likely outcome, the key has -- because you have the right of


centre voter divided with UKIP, so therefore if Ed's primary task is to


hang on to, as it were the left of centre voters and get them to turn


hang on to, as it were the left of out, that is the start point. Of


course, he would hope to do better, he needs to be more ambitious. John


MacKinnon, thank you be joining us. It was Labour's idea that earlier


this week the shadow Chancellor Ed Balls appeared to question the


party's ongoing support for HS2, the new high-speed rail line that will


link north and south. He said speaking £50 billion, what it is


projected to become a may not be a good idea. We sent Adam out with his


balls to see whether it should be full steam ahead for the project or


was it time to slam on the brakes? The message from Labour this week on


HS2 has been a bit mixed, but what will delegates here think about it


could will they want to construct it or cancel it?


I say construct. The southern end of the West Coast mainline is full, so


if you're going to build a new one, it may as well be that. I don't


think it is the right one. I think we need a massive investment in


railways but not this railway. Speakergreen issue can be is is it


part of a wider transport strategy... -- or is it just part of


a build between London and Manchester. My own personal one


would be the dream. I'm going to go with HS2, because places like China


and other countries, they have amazing networks and are miles ahead


and we will be left behind in the race for infrastructure.


I just think £50 billion could be better spent on schools and


hospitals. But it is £50 billion better spent on schools and


over loads and loads of years. Isn't it? 20 years? Yes, well, I was still


rather spend it on that, but then I am in the south. You have plenty of


railways. Any friends in Manchester? Not really, and I probably won't get


any after this. It is causing widespread devastation in Camden, we


are losing 480 homes, a school and open space. It will have a massive


detrimental impact on Camden Town, a large destination for tourists. You


think Ed Balls will cancel it? It sounds as though he once do. Will he


get a slap on the wrist? He needs to be reminded that it is about


capacity and the future. You are anti it? Why cancel it? It is not


going to do anything in the north. They wouldn't build it in the north.


They use it in the north to say you can have 20 minutes on a train to


Birmingham. There will be a complication on the railways around


the country. My friend lives in Manchester and says it will be


handy. Some high-speed balls are escaping. This document is basically


the latest polling on HS2. I know your balls are extremely scientific


but I think this might be slightly more, showing that 60% of Labour


voters are against HS2. So basically, we should just throw in


this piece of paper and go home? Oh, dear. That is quite a shocking


development. I think we will call it a day, it is impossible to work out


which ball went in which box. I a day, it is impossible to work out


would say it is slightly in favour of construction. The only thing that


is getting cancelled here is the box.


What a tragic end to the mood box. He is upset.


Don't worry, we still love you, Adam. Don't you worry about that


nasty little box, we will get you a new one?


Giving people picked them up for him just left them? Or slipped over on


them? It will survive! Deborah Mattinson, due think it is over for


HS2? What surprised me in focus groups recently is when I have asked


people about the economy and where savings can be made, and I haven't


set out to ask them what they think about HS2, they have just told me


that they question the value, but they are worried about the scale of


it going up. They question the value at a time when everyone is being


asked to tighten their belts. One thing that is quite interesting is


people are starting to compare it with the Millennium Dome. What does


this say about the Government, that they are spending this money? We


think it is a waste of time, they are not listening. Does that mean


that Ed Balls and Rachel Reeves's change of tone, whether they are


slowly slamming on the brakes, because they are listening to the


focus groups or is it just politically opportunist? They


could, with Tory rebels, defeated? They are looking to see where the


best value is and they are right to query it. They were so behind this


scheme in the first place. Danny query it. They were so behind this


Alexander has just been asked about it and he has said, in 30 years


time, people will ask what the fuss was about. We need it and it must go


ahead. They are not saying it now. Right now, people are looking at HS2


and whilst they think it might be something that would be nice, they


are wondering, can we afford it? They will have a backlash in the


North, Labour councils have said they are very... The focus groups I


spoke to were not just in the South. Apparently John Prescott has been


against it but whether he has been so publicly explicit about it, have


not heard that. And he will definitely be categorised as being


from the north, I am quite sure of that. A short time ago, the Shadow


Home Secretary - Yvette Cooper - was addressing Conference. Let's have a


listen to what she had to say. This government is failing victims of


crime, undermining the police, dividing communities, failing to


deal with the challenges of the future, be it crime or immigration.


Turning their backs, walking away and looking for someone else to


blame. Remember their promise, that the big flagship reform of police


and crime commission elections would deliver a democratic mandate? And


just 15% of voters turned out. Where is Theresa May when the terror


just 15% of voters turned out. Where suspect goes missing? Or the border


controls collapse? Or the elections fall flat? Quick to claim credit


when things go right, strangely absent when things go wrong.


Decisions by Theresa May, Nick Clegg and David Cameron are undermining


our police and letting victims down. And Yvette Cooper joins us now from


Brighton. You mentioned that the low turnout of police commissioners, the


cost of the election, so we'll Labour scrapped the police


commissioners? -- will Labour scrapped. Lord Stevens is setting


out a long-term vision of policing, also looking at how you raise


policing standards, how you have stronger checks and balances and how


you make sure police can cope with the challenges of the 21st-century.


He is due to report before Christmas so we will await that and consider


his conclusions. He could advise that it is possible to scrap the PCC


's or keep them and you will follow that either way. We will have to


have a debate about his conclusions. We opposed the principle of them to


start with because we felt it was concentrating too much power in a


single person's hands and that more checks and balances were needed. We


single person's hands and that more are clear that reforms will be


needed but we will await the advice of John Stevens and the expert


commission he has gathered, which involves people from all over the


globe. Because we believe in public services and think you have got to


globe. Because we believe in public have a reform plan for the future,


especially when there are less resources around. When the coalition


started cutting the police service, you were planning to cut it as well


but they have cut it by Moore, you said policing in Britain faced a


perfect storm. We are halfway through the coalition government,


crime is continuing to fall, at its lowest level for many years, so


actually the cuts have and three had an effect, have they? That is what


Vic -- the cuts have not really had an effect. That is not what victims


think. The number of rape cases being referred to the prosecution


have dropped by a third, even though in fact the number of rape cases


reported to the police has been going up. I think you can see clear


evidence of victims being let down, going up. I think you can see clear


being failed. More criminals and abusers getting away with it. As a


result of there being fewer police officers and police officers being


stretched. The crime survey of England and Wales shows that despite


the cuts, offending is at its lowest level since spending began in 1981.


That includes any time during the 13 years when you were in power. There


has been a 20 year drop in crime and we welcome that and wanted to go


further. You see reductions in things like, side and burglary over


many years that we should all welcome. -- things like homicide and


burglary. The police are saying that crime is changing. What you are also


seeing, alongside reductions in crime like car theft, is an increase


in things like online crime on the credit card and identity fraud.


Because that is where we live our lives now and organised crime knows


Because that is where we live our that, too. That is where they are


heading. If you have ever had your credit cards scammed or your number


used by someone else, the bank sorts it out but they don't report it to


the police and often the victims don't report it either. A lot of


that is going unreported and the police are saying it is growing


exponentially and that is why we think much stronger action is


needed. Otherwise we will all pay a lot more as consumers. Do you


support the Fire Brigade strike? We want negotiations to continue and we


always think that is the right approach, that everybody should do


everything they can. It is a very approach, that everybody should do


difficult situation. Do you support them or not? We are urging all sides


to continue to negotiate and do everything they can to avoid


industrial action because it is always what happens when sides


failed to negotiate and do the right thing. Is it unfair to ask by on to


work until 60? -- to ask fireman? There are a lot of issues around


pension reform. We have supported increasing the retirement age but at


the same time, we also know there are some professions and occupations


where it is more difficult. We said in policing, there are issues in


policing that should be treated in a different way. However, there should


also be support when policemen are injured in the line of duty and it


has similar parallels with fire. I did not ask you about police. Is it


unfair for fireman to be asked to work until 60? We think there are


problems with the approach of the government and why the government


and the SPU should be negotiating to find a reasonable way forward -- and


the Fire Brigade union. They have had a long-standing


arrangement and we are not proposing to change that. You don't think that


would be right? We have had long-standing industrial relations


with different kinds of professions. Police don't have the right to


strike but they have arrangements where you can't make compulsory


severance. Thank you, sorry to rush you, we have run out of time.


No conference week would be complete without the views of sketch-writer


Quentin Letts. He's been following events for us in Brighton. His


verdict? Well, spine tingling! # He the monster mash.


# It was a graveyard smash. # It caught on in a flash.


# Heeded the monster mash. The sun may be shining in Brighton.


It feels as though Halloween may have come early this year because in


the fall behind me it has been echoing to the ghostly cries of


spirits past. Enough to give poor old Ed Miliband the willies. The


week has been dominated by the spectre of Damian McBride, even


though he has been politically deceased since 2009, when he quit as


Gordon Brown's spin doctor. He has returned with spine tingling, spin


tingling tales of treachery in the heart of new Labour. It is something


I deeply regret. Equally identical was alone in politics over the last


decades in some of the ways I operated and I hope one of the


effects of writing this book is that people can see the truth of some of


these operations laid bare, learn from that and make it clear that


those things should never happen again. Ed Miliband has been out and


about but it has felt retro. Delegates have been assured that the


wicked welfare reforms will be exercised. There has been a lot of


bashing of Tory millionaires. Ed Miliband even breathe life into the


old corpse called socialism. Why won't you bring back socialism? That


is what we are doing. It says on our party card, democratic socialism.


That is about a country that works fall and not just for some. The


corridors are full of ancient bogey men such as Alistair Campbell and


Charlie Whelan. Len McCluskey took on bridge because Ed Miliband walked


out, just as he was about to start his speech. I am sorry Ed Miliband


has left the platform. There are those in our party fearful of a


prospect of a bad headline in the Daily Mail. I say to them, you will


never, ever appease the right wing media and should try the means you


and our party -- and to try to means -- Dean means you.


Ed Balls made a speech that was more akin to one of those naughty seaside


postcards. Involved a tale concerning the Prime Minister and


his beach towel. Changing into his swimming trunks, behind that Mickey


Mouse towel, captured on camera 's, unflattering pictures spread across


the natural -- national press. I thought for a prime minister, it was


a surprisingly small towel. Let us all agreed, after the last three


years, the sooner David Cameron throws in the towel, the better.


Labour's very own Kenneth Williams, having a go about David Cameron


about the size of his majority for is a bit does make you wonder what


will happen next week. See you in Manchester.


There's just time before we go to find out the answer to our quiz.


Earlier we asked you what happened next while Damian McBride was


waiting to do a live TV interview yesterday morning. Deborah, I think


you know. There was a bit of a scrap.


the lovely dog is actually attacking his own master. Maybe he had not


been fed. That's all for today. Thanks to our guests - especially


our Guest of the Day, Deborah Mattinson. The One O'clock News is


starting over on BBC One now. Jo will be here at noon tomorrow with


all the big political stories of the day and I will be back after


Question Time tomorrow night with This Week. Do join me then. Bye-bye.


Download Subtitles