24/10/2013 Daily Politics


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Good afternoon, welcome to the Daily Politics. The union goes back into


talks with management in Grangemouth, but will it be enough


to save the plant? Cameron and Clegg catch over green levies and gas and


electricity, but how much will scrapping them reduce energy bills?


And can I say on behalf of the committee that we have found your


evidence most unsatisfactory. PC plebs feel the heat from MPs, but


still no apology for the man they helped force from office, Andrew


Mitchell. And oh, for a simpler age, and


overwhelmed white hole holds an e-mail free day. -- Whitehall.


All that in the next hour. With us for the whole programme today is


political columnist Will Hutton, former editor in chief of the


Observer and principal of Hertford College, Oxford, were also works


with the Work Foundation, what a long introduction! Let's start with


the situation at the oil refinery and petrochemical plant at


Grangemouth. Yesterday the company which owns the plant, INEOS, said


they would close the petrochemical plant with the future of the


refinery on the same site uncertain. Last night Unite, which represents


workers at the site indicated they were prepared to agree to new terms


and conditions from INEOS. In the last hour, Unite General Secretary


Len McCluskey left the talks, saying he was optimistic that the plant


would survive. I think I was encouraged by what the First


Minister said that the Scottish government are not going to allow


this plant to close down, and that is also our position. We are not


going to allow this plant to close down. We are not going to allow 800


jobs to go and the community of Grangemouth to become a ghost town.


And we are not going to allow the security of Scotland to be put in


peril. Scotland correspondent Laura Bicker joins us now from


Grangemouth, talks and now continuing, or restarting, I should


say, today - how likely is it in your view that INEOS will reverse


their decision to close the plant? It is a very difficult one. It is


interesting to hear Len McCluskey's use of the word optimistic. When


workers left here yesterday, optimism was not any thing that they


would have thought when it came to this plant. But the pressure is now


ramping up on the company, INEOS. Yesterday you heard from the First


Minister, saying that he would not allow this plant to close. This


afternoon we expect the Scottish finance secretary, John Swinney, and


the Scottish Secretary, Alistair Carmichael, together to have talks


at this plant, a sign that both be Scottish Government and the


Westminster government are really taking this seriously and working


together. So the pressure is now on INEOS. The problem is, this plant,


according to INEOS, is losing ?50 million per year, the petrochemical


side of it. They claim it needs ?300 million worth of investment, and


that is because of the depletion of these North Sea gas supplies, and


they want to import gas from America. They need to re-equip the


sites to do that, and they say that will cost ?3 million. Now, whether


or not these new pay and conditions that the union are agreeing to will


allow them to go ahead and do that, that will be something that the


shareholders will have a look at. The interesting thing is that the


main shareholder is a man called Jim Ratcliffe. He rarely gives


interviews, he is a man who trained in Birmingham, and at the weekend he


did still a Sunday newspaper that if the workers did not make the right


decision, there would be no happy ending for this plant. Certainly, he


has carried through his bread. If there were substantial changes to


the union position, they would consider it. The pressure, as I


said, is ramping up. Hopefully, we will get a clue as to what will


happen then. The union clearly did not believe


INEOS, when it said it was losing money hand over fist, but now it


seems like the union is prepared to accept those demands. They certainly


overplayed their hand. INEOS and Jim Ratcliffe, the company he built, by


buying petrochemical plants and oil refinery is around the world that


nobody wants, putting it together and making them work better, I


suspect he would, if you could, hold on to petrochemical plant. So in


that sense, the union got that right. INEOS is in an invidious


position. The kind of cuts to pay and bonuses and in particular the


final salary pension were swingeing, unbelievable. Better than losing


jobs? Better than losing jobs. We have a system of industrial


relations in Britain that allows a situation where the union has to


take on a problem side by side, rather than bargaining across a


whole industry. That allows the union and employer to fall into this


kind of pit, but the straight answer to your question is the union


overplayed their hand. Do you think they will reverse the decision?


Despite all the big words from any as, if the union does agree to the


new pay and conditions, will they say, all right, we will keep it


open? I think Kabul would like to keep it open. There was a sense that


they would... That is their business model, buying these low margin,


high-volume parts of the petrochemical and chemical industry


worldwide that nobody wants, running them rather well. They have a very


flat management team, and they go in hard on the workforce in the way


they are doing here. That is how they do it. Whether or not, after


all that has been said, that will be seen as a climb-down by them is


another matter. I also think, by the way, Len McCluskey and Alex Salmond


saying they are not going to let us close - actually, they have no


instruments. The decision is entirely INEOS's, not theirs. Is


there another buyer out there? There is only INEOS, people want to sell


these plans, not by them. One of the problems is the rise of shale gas in


the United States, and there is too much refining capacity in the


reviewer been union, so actually these plans are on the edge of


utility. In the European Union. So they are impotent, Alex Salmond and


Len McCluskey, in that sense. That is my view, unless they come up with


serious money to help the old Grangemouth complex retool around


imported shale gas. Now, that was in play, kind of in the weeks after


this, and what Jim Ratcliffe wanted was that money from government plus


the deal from the union, and they thought they might have enough to go


with. Let's see if that can be reinstated. I have to say, one thing


that does need to be said, we all talk about our kids being less well


off than ourselves, we all mourn the end of final salary schemes, we'll


think about how tough it is going to be ten, 20, 30 years' time. This


fight is everyone's fight, and Unite are going to lose it.


Time for our daily quiz, and the question for today is what gift did


the cabinet give to Prince George as a christening present? Was it a


teddy bear, a pint toy box, a signed photo of the Cabinet, what every


newborn wants, or a chunk of national debt in the form of a


government bond? At the end of the show, Will Hutton will give us the


right and is a! You have got time to think about it! What is the best way


to cut energy bills? Yesterday the Prime Minister announced he wanted


to roll back on so-called green taxes that added to the cost of our


bills. This morning the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said he


disagreed with that approach but confirmed that the Government was


reviewing ways to bring down bills. The debate about how to bring down


the cost of living is the number-one talking point in Westminster. Ed


Miliband has the agenda with his plan to freeze gas and electricity


prices until the start of 2017. Former Prime Minister John Major


added fuel to the fire on Tuesday when he suggested that energy


companies should be hit with a one-off windfall tax on profits.


Yesterday, David Cameron said he wanted to roll back some of the


green regulations and charges that are putting up bills. But what are


they? And how much do they cost as? According to the department of any,


about 9% of the average dual-fuel bill is made up of green charges. --


department of energy. However, the government says these measures will


actually help to reduce bills by up to 11% by 2020. This morning Nick


Clegg into that other ways the obligations could be met. We will


provide money to low income households funded from these levies.


We could perhaps fund that through general government expenditure, but


one way or another, we need to help those low income families with their


fuel bills this winter. I don't want us to turn our backs on the poorest


in society, the thousands of people who are employed in the green


renewable energy sector, I don't want us to turn our backs or the


sake of future generations on the environment. But of course we can


strike a balance, we will provide solutions to this as a government,


and we will do it in the weeks and months to come.


With us now is the Conservative MP and Parliamentary Private Secretary


to the climate change minister, Greg Barker, welcome to the programme.


Were you taken by surprise when the Prime Minister announced he wanted


to roll back some of the green regulations and charges? I don't


think there is anybody within the coalition that is not concerned


about rising... I asked if you were surprised. No, these were the things


that were ensuring that low income families at the biggest amount of


opportunity to lower their costs, to ensure we are getting the best value


from our energy sector. So I was, you know, the cost of living is a


big issue, particularly in a constituency like mine. So green


levies to put a burden on consumers? Well, if you look at the


fuel poverty element of the levy, actually, what that is doing is


taking 250 thousand families out of fuel poverty this year alone. --


250,000. These are long-term investments, but we have to look at


the vet facts very clearly, because next year we will be affecting


?750,000. It is delivering real benefits to real families. So why


does the Conservative prime Minster want to roll them back? I think one


wants to review whether they should be on bills, general taxation, there


is a lot of debate about that, but the fuel poverty element is a very


important policy that both parties in the coalition are very committed


to. It was a U-turn, wasn't it? He is under pressure from Ed Miliband


who has been leading the debate on cost of living, and he panicked. I


absolutely do not believe that. We have taken ?178 of everybody's


bills. How have you done that? The renewable heat incentive was put


onto everyone's Energy Bill, and that is now in general taxation.


Every single government levy, government taxation needs to be


reviewed, and how it is impacting the lowest income families in our


country. So you want to roll back the judges for bills and put them on


general taxation? These are things that are being discussed at the


moment, but the issue that we are not concerned about energy bills as


they had the doorstep in constituencies is very much at the


forefront of the Prime Minister's mind and the Department of Energy


and Climate Change. But it has to go somewhere, you are arguing? There is


fuel poverty that is crucial, and we need to ensure we are getting better


value for money out of the levies which are being implemented by the


energy companies, who needs to ensure they are delivering when they


can. I mean, the difference between what the Conservatives are offering


as part of the coalition, even though the Liberal Democrats do not


agree with it, and what Labour is proposing is these were actually cut


bills, not just freeze prices, this will actually bring down energy


bills. Well, there are three elements to these subsidies. One is


the subsidies to renewables, to the nuclear power plants that are going


to be built, and that is not going to go, I don't think. Then you


cannot do that, otherwise you will not get the investment. So that is


one element that is going to stick in this, the ?112 that is talked


about. The actual amount that can be taken out of bills and put into


general taxation which, by the way, is the proper place for it - if you


are looking at public interest things like having more efficient


homes, particularly for poor people, it is a good thing for Britain if we


have energy-efficient housing stock, and the question is, if you make the


lowest pay the same tax as the highest paid, it is very regressive.


So it is good to see this being discussed. I would not lay a lot of


money on actually bills being reduced by more than ten or 20


quid, frankly, that is the maximum you could take out. There is a small


amount which can be rolled back, in that sense. The essential point is


that when the coalition came into government there wasn't a department


looking at energy efficiency. There is now a whole unit. If we can


reduce our leaky housing stock, if we can permanently invest in the


infrastructure of our homes, we will start to reduce bills. Metering. By


30%. Smart metering, I think it's a really important point. Over the


next decade, every home in Britain will have a smart meter you can


control, hopefully with your mobile phone. You can decide where you want


to buy your energy from commerce which quickly. Smart metering is not


something we should retreat from. The amount of money which can


actually be taken out without sacrificing some policies, is very


low. How many properties of hard work committed under the Green


Deal? 250,000. The answer is 12 actually. That's under the Green


Deal finance. 80,000 people have had their homes assessed, for energy


efficiency measures. But having the work actually done? Many have taken


measures to make their houses more efficient. Haven't gone into the


finance part of the Green Deal. But they have accessed energy. It is the


biggest roll-out of energy efficiency measures across our


housing stock in generations, if not decades. Wright, the Prime Minister


has done this to draw on the dividing line with the Liberal


Democrats, hasn't it? Not at all. There's clear understanding that we


are concerned about bills. These are things we are committed to


addressing. So I don't think there is a dividing line there, at all. I


am self named as a turquoise Tory. The Miller band price freeze will


only work because companies will have two hedge -- Ed Miliband.


That'll be a tax on their profits. Frozen energy prices. Isn't that a


better idea than John Major's tax? Not at all. Freezing energy bills


first of all, it's going to ensure energy companies hike their bills


up. Or they hike them up at the end. It's a false solution. All it


does is put it on pause, not looking at the competition we need to set


up. OK, thank you. Green levies haven't been the only source of


coalition tensions over recent days. This morning, Nick Clegg has been


making a well-trailed speech in which he's stated his opposition to


some of freedoms enjoyed by free schools in England, including their


ability to hire teachers without Qualified Teaching Status. I support


free schools and academies but not with exemptions from minimum


standards. That is the bit I want to see changed and that will be clearly


set out in our next general election manifesto. There is nothing,


absolutely nothing, inconsistent in believing that greater school


autonomy can be married to certain core standards for all. And I'm


totally unapologetic that the Lib Dems have our own ideas about how we


do that. And I'm joined now by the the Liberal Democrat deputy leader,


Simon Hughes. What is the Lib Dem policy on free schools? We support


the idea people being able to set up schools but we think they should


have minimum standards, they should be inspected by Ofsted, the


regulator. They should have qualified teachers and they ensure


that the curriculum taught in all schools in England is taught in


them, too. Why is Nick Clegg only bring this up now? The idea of


having unqualified teachers was agreed two years ago and nothing was


said by Nick Clegg publicly and it's come as a total surprise to the


Conservatives. We had our policy which has always argued that we


should have qualified teachers. We've always argued that we should


have an agreed curriculum. We negotiated with the Conservatives an


agreement in which that wasn't confirmed as part of the coalition


policy. The Tories wanted a much greater freedom of the education


sector. And Nick Clegg was happy forward in the last two years. We


negotiated and it wasn't our policy. It didn't come from our side of the


coalition. Nick is very clear and reaffirmed this this year that we


want a change to do the idea of free school management to make sure we


have qualified teachers. So parents have a guarantee, and there is the


same core curriculum taught there so parents have enough choice. That was


a dramatic change by what was publicly said by David laws. One of


the key tenets of freedom, freedom to set your own curriculum, if you


like, and freedom to take on the teachers you want, whether they are


qualified or not. That is the core principle of free schools which


David laws was signed up for. We have debated many times, the


coalition parties have their own positions and we win some arguments.


But you are not clear this. We were. Never policy saying we take


everybody out of tax up to ?10,000. It's become coalition policy because


we agreed it. Free schools came from the Tories, Nick is reinstating the


parents guarantee that we will give free schools greater success. Do you


think it was a mistake to take the family didn't agree with the


government 's court bans on this? It's hypocritical, if you feel your


schools minister helped design the policy, has stood by the policy,


publicly, in the last two weeks. Didn't say anything about the


problem with unqualified teachers and yet, here we have this from Nick


Clegg. It looks hypocritical. I don't think it looks hypocritical at


all. I'm a trustee of a secondary school and I don't think parents and


teachers must understand this at all. It's a department led by


conservatives, Michael Gove, and is number two is a Liberal Democrat,


and they have agreed between them what to do in this coalition


government that is what the Liberal Democrats want to do in the next


Parliament. If you remove the exemptions from minimum standards,


the heart of the case for free schools, what is the point of it?


What is the point of creating this instability in the education system


when you already have academies? I understand the case for having many


runners and riders, but, actually, once you move the exemptions, I'm


not sure what you are left with. I'm a huge fan of free schools,


personally. In my own constituency. You think there are two idea


logical? They are too big a risk of parents but there are good ones and


bad ones. There is one which is doing well and one struggling in my


constituency. The answer to your question as you allow anybody to


come forward with a proposal to set up a school, in order to challenge


the supremacy of either the local education authority or the local


Christian academies. There is, I think, watching the fragmentation of


a national system, and parents are left navigating in high degrees of


uncertainty. You have no idea who's going to run a free schools. You


have no idea who's going to be around. There's no underwriting of


it whatsoever because... That's why rolling back on the reforms. I just


think, I am for challenging incumbents, monopoly, but there's a


point we have to say these are careers and lives at stake. I have a


constituency in which we have all these issues bubbling around. I have


argued we need new school provisions and it's better you get an existing


provider to expand if you have a good reputation because it gives


security. This is about making sure all the providers under laws have


minimum guarantees to parents. You and labour are at one on this. You


have got to guarantee it's going to be there for ten years. Once you do


that, how was it free? In what way is it free? There's only 174 free


school so far. Let's see how many more,. A lot, the private sector


schools started off as independent creations because somebody thought


we need to have a school here and they have done very well


academically. Just briefly... Hang on... It sounds exactly the same.


Before I let you go, green taxes, did you know David Cameron is going


to announce a new policy to announce a deposit of rollbacks that a


rollback of this? I was surprised about point but not surprised in the


Tories. Are we don't have this from now in, various sides of the


coalition... Let me answer the previous question. A lot of Tories


are sceptical of green things, even though the Tory party did have an


argument saying vote Green before. We are traditionally a Green party,


and environmental party, committed to renewables and all those things,


so we're trying to make sure the coalition is secured about that. I


think in the end, there may be adjustments in whether taxation


float falls. Would you be happy to see it on general taxation? If we


don't invest continually in renewables, we don't give ourselves


good energy sources which are good for climate and the pilot that


planet. That planet. Simon Hughes, thank you. European Leaders are


travelling to Brussels this morning for a European Union Summit. But the


the agenda there has been rather overshadowed by revelations that the


US National Security Agency may have eavesdropped on the German


Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile telephone calls. I'm joined now from


the summit by our political correspondent Iain Watson. Is there


a theory in Bill and about what has happened in terms of allegations of


eavesdropping on Angela Merkel's calls? Yes, she said to be livid


about this. She spoke to Barack Obama about it and despite a


telephone call, presumably not monitored, she clearly wasn't happy.


So much so, the American ambassador has been summoned to a meeting with


the German Foreign Minister. Angela Merkel has been accused of not


taking this seriously. She said she has got no idea how insecure their


messages have been. It's in danger of overshadowing this EU summit


because the European Commissioner in charge of the internal market has


said that the internal market has said that this shows Europe


shouldn't be dependent on America any longer and should create its own


digital infrastructure. Data cloud which the Americans can't penetrate.


Although this isn't officially on the agenda, believe it or not, there


will be a session on data protection and on the Digital economy so it's


inevitable it will be discussed. There are concerns from France but


the extent of US monitoring there. Theory on behalf of the Chancellor


Angela Merkel. -- fury. What about David Cameron? Cutting red tape.


Absolutely. He might be uncomfortable if he gets drawn into


a debate on security given the role of GCHQ. He wants to talk about


cutting red tape, he wants to hold Brussels's feature to the fire. He


will be flanked by two members of his business task force. They are


puzzled by this because they have been getting rid of 5000 regulations


in the last five years and, in addition to that, David Cameron is


happy to talk about deregulation across the EU but hasn't talked at


all about bringing powers back from Brussels. He hasn't talked about


repatriation of powers and saying there are certain things Brussels


shouldn't be doing. He says it got no idea which powers he once


returned to the UK and he's trying to help deregulatory the European


economy to boost competitiveness. Thank you very much. Should Angela


Merkel really be surprised that America is listening to everybody? I


think it is a surprise, actually. She is the de facto leader of Europe


at the moment and the idea that your biggest ally, the USA, their


security agency is aided and abetted by GCHQ, listening to mobile phone


calls. Goodness, it's gobsmacking, I think. Actually, a lot of talk in


Britain about press regulation and we mustn't have the Leviathan


sitting behind us with the recommendations. But here is


Leviathan. Sitting across, not just Angela Merkel's and Francois


Hollande's but also David Cameron's, too. I think it's a


major, major, major issue. It's important because the manner in


which it's done, there is no accountability, no framework in


which it's done. What do you say David Cameron accusing the guardian


of linking -- leaking that information that they were


threatening national security? If you are an editor, and I'm on the


Observer and the Guardian, you can either be duty-bound to put into the


public domain. Even if it was a threat to national security? You


know, you can't take an absolutist position that everything must be put


into the public domain without any attempt... That's not been the


Guardian's position. But, I mean, putting into the public domain, the


NSA has this extensive surveillance on e-mail traffic, whether or not it


aggregated, and there's no framework of accountability, it may or may not


be alerted by a Labour minister, come on. This is big potatoes. It's


important it is discussed and actor. It's going to be even more


after the news today. Back in 1981, more than 360 concurred that


Thatcherite policies would end in financial calamity. Offence are


generally held to have proved them wrong. -- events. A similar debate


has been occurring over George Osborne's prescription for the


economy. Those arguing that his austerity package is similarly


flawed had felt vindicated, but have recent signs of promising growth


changed the economic weather? Here is David.


Cast your mind back to 1981, Princess died's wedding, the Brixton


riots, and 364 economists signing a letter to the I'm saying that the


government economic policy would end in disaster. -- letter to the


times. Quite the reverse now, where we still have had legions of


economists saying that the present Conservative government's economic


plans will end in tears, or at least they did. One has to be flexible.


George Osborne is, I think, being crazily inflexible. Of late, things


have been looking up. His best news is that the economic recovery is


finally picking up speed and we are seeing strong economic growth,


employment rising, unemployment falling, consumer confidence rising,


public sector borrowing falling. He has had a raft of good news. That


has allowed economist on the other side of the document to settle a few


scores on the Chancellor's Bihar. I think his detractors were wrong from


the outset. If he had not reduced government borrowing, we could have


ended up in the situation that Japan is in today with 20 years of


increasing government borrowing to try to get economic growth going,


but it has failed and it has now got a national debt of 250% of national


income. Britain could have ended up in that position is George Osborne


had taken the advice of his detractors. I wonder who he is


thinking of... There is nothing credible about a plan that leads to


a double-dip recession, to thousands of businesses going bust, to 1


million young people out of work, billions wasted on soaring benefits,


borrowing going up, not down. That is not credible, that is just plain


wrong. But was it all a cunning plan, or did George gets lucky? It


is hard for us to tell whether people were wrong to question his


strategy, or has his timing been quite fortunate and things have come


together for him very conveniently ahead of the general election? It is


hard to know in retrospect how the economy would have done if we had


not imposed those cuts, those tax rises. It might have done better,


consumer demand would have been stronger, but equally bond markets


might have taken fright, we might have become the next Greece.


Economic iTunes are rarely settled definitively. Fans of us there at


a... Liam Halligan of the Telegraph joins


me now, Will Hutton is still here. Last year you called George Osborne


the kamikaze Chancellor, were you wrong? I think I called the kamikaze


Chancellor rather earlier than that. Look, economies have cycles,


they go up and down, that is one of the rhythms of economic life. I


remember, back in 2010, I had to make a decision about when I thought


levels of output would get back to where they were in 2008. And you


know, normally, the great recession of the 1930s took four years, and


the office of budget responsible to and others would say that we would


get back to those 2008 levels in 2012. -- the Office for Budget


Responsibility. What I saw in his first budget, I thought it would


take longer than that, and it has taken longer than that, and what


happened was, he has taken his foot off deficit reduction in the last 12


or 18 months, it is stable, and there has been a renewed reduction.


The way I see it, it has been 100% validated. It has lasted six years,


not four, the longest in 100 years. When he actually has a pause in it,


we get some kind of recovery, and a snapback is what we were always


going to get, and we are watching that. The question is what follows


after the snap back. I am surely will agree 100%! My hero! Was George


Osborne just lucky? Jo, I am not going to be painted into austerity


versus growth, as a defender of the coalition by Will or anybody else.


This is the economic reality. Yes, growth is going to be better than we


have seen. We have just had two consecutive quarters of growth for


the first time since mid-2011, we are about to get a third, but it is


a very long way from a recovery. I have serious problems with the UK's


economic policy mix. We are still running a very big trade deficit,


the biggest in 30 or 40 years. That has carried on into this year. The


money that we are borrowing is actually bigger than the increase in


nominal GDP. We have credit card lending, the highest it has been for


all but one month in the last 11 years. Does that mean Will was


right? The austerity policies... It does not at all, it does not mean he


is right at all, but it is not as if you are either for austerity or


against it. What I am saying, what I am saying is that the growth that we


are seeing, yes, it is great we have got some growth, that there will be


a little bit more investments now, but we are all being extremely


complacent. The UK economy has not turned a corner. That is my


position! The gilts market has been propped up by printed money. We are


doing more to increase borrowing, that would make the situation worse.


Full to I have to say, for 30 years, I have been trying to argue that


Keynesian economics is not about the doctrine of permanently having


budget deficits. That was not what he argued. But you were for spending


more in 2010? I was in favour of reproducing, in 2010, what we did


after the IMF crisis in the 1970s. We took eight years to get back to


budget balance then, and my view was we should take eight years to do


it... It will be ten! It would have been much better, if we had declared


that before, in 2010, than to do what was done, which was utterly


unnerving. There has been some savage cuts in local government...


They have not carried out all the cuts they said they would in the


timescale. Jo, our national debt is going to increase by 50% in the next


four years. He in Westminster, everyone focuses on the deficit, but


it is about the debt, which is massively increasing. How much more


can we bear? Of course, it is about dead in a larger sense than that. --


debt. The story is about private debt, much more than public debt.


The story is about an economy which does not have, as you have correctly


identified, it does not have a strong trades of goods sector, to


sell services overseas. There has been no rebalancing. The response by


our economy to this big devaluation, the biggest in our history, has been


unbelievably disappointing. Deed George Osborne, in the rhetoric he


used, choke off consumer demand early? We are never going to know


categorically, whether we would have had growth last year or the year


before, whether there was a stimulus undertaken by Labour, if they had


been in power, or whether George Osborne was right to try to shrink


the state and that growth has come back, albeit anaemic league. Did he


joke of consumer demand? We can never know, and all I would say, for


all the political parlour games that we are engaged in, even in this


interview, the reality is that we have seen in this country, in


numerical terms, the biggest Keynes Ian boost in our history. Because


public spending has continued. A smart guy like you, one of the


younger heroes... You could feel and insult coming! Would I debt?! It is


all about getting ahead of the curve. The idea of having crisis


conditions, like in 2008- 10, is to get ahead of what happened, and the


reason that Dedham went up, we got behind the curve, so the dynamic of


this. You defended, for years and years and years... Absolutely not,


absolutely not. The that is a calumny! Did you know that economics


could be this interesting?! If I had, we would have done more of it!


You said there would be no growth in 2013, on the basis of what had been


carried out by George Osborne, but there is growth and in that sense


you were wrong. I have always tried to say, you have peak levels of


output... 2008, output got to a peak. It then fell. The question was


when it was going to get back to its previous peak, but everyone said it


would be 2012. I have stuck to the position that it will be 2014, it


will be 2014, and that is not a wrong call. About cost of living,


growth has returned, but the big question is cost of living, because


prices are going way ahead of wages. You'd think that will continue, we


are not going to say that correct? Absolutely, the squeeze on wages,


real wages, has been unprecedented in the last 100 years. Yes, we have


got nominal GDP growth happening, but we have got interest rates lower


than inflation, so people are losing out on their savings. There will


continue to be a cost of living squeeze. In my view, with all


respect, the way to increase the cost of living is not to borrow and


spend more in a situation where you are already at the limit of what you


can borrow and spend, so much so that the gilts market has to


continue to prop up... I am going to have to stop you. We have to


innovate and invest our way out of this crisis. Hallelujah to that, but


NASA necessarily state investment. We need our own show! You do, you


can get together afterwards. Be quiet! The long-running scandal


known as plebgate, which led to the downfall of the government Chief


Whip Andrew Mitchell, came in for a detailed investigation at the Home


Affairs Select Committee yesterday. The saga began when Mr Mitchell, as


he was cycling out of Downing Street, had an altercation with


police officers. He was accused of calling the officers pleb is, a word


he has denied using. At a meeting later, three police officers met Mr


Mitchell. After the meeting, they told journalists that Andrew


Mitchell had refused to elaborate on what he did or did not say in the


Downing Street incident. It was that meeting that dominated the hearing


when the three self-styled PC plebs appeared before the committee.


Detective sergeant said at the end of the meeting, I appreciate your


candour, I appreciate that you have gone beyond what you said in the


media. In an interview with BBC Midlands afterwards, you said, he


has come out with what he has not said, but he is not saying what he


did say, and that has caused an integrity issue. I suggest to you


that when you spoke to BBC Midlands afterwards, you were not telling the


truth. I was telling the truth. I was telling it as I saw it. I had


just come out of the meeting, there had been a fair deal said during the


meeting. Mr Mitchell's account, with regard to saying things under his


breath, that was said at the beginning of the meeting. Later in


the meeting, he reiterated that he had not gone beyond what he had said


previously... You said that he spoke with candour in the meeting, how can


you go from saying he was candid in the meeting do what you said to the


BBC outside? I explained that earlier. Prior to the meeting, my


understanding was that Mr Mitchell had only ever said, I do not agree


with the words attributed to me. The candour I was referring to was that


during the meeting, he came out and said, I did not use the specific


words pleb and moron. OK, fine, so Mr Mitchell should not be included


because he happens to be a member of the public. Have you changed your


position at all? Mr Jones, you don't want to apologise for any think you


might apart from not having... Can I remind you, gentlemen, as I have


reminded all witnesses, that giving false evidence to a select committee


is contempt of the house, and can I say on behalf of this committee that


we have found your evidence most unsatisfactory?


Proceedings at the Home affairs Select Committee yesterday. And this


morning the Home Secretary, Theresa May, addressed issues arising out of


the Plebgate saga in a speech to the College of Policing. The events of


last year proved overwhelmingly the case for a beefed up IPCC and that's


what I'm determined to deliver. The expansion of it is on track. And the


IPCC will begin to take on additional cases from next year.


Where the IPCC has needed new powers, for instance in its


investigation of Hillsborough, we have legislated to provide them and


if the evidence of the past week shows we need to go further, we will


do so. The Home Secretary, Teresa May, talking about beefing up the


Independent Police Complaints Commission, and it was one of them


who looked at this and criticised the account given by the three


police officers we saw before the home affairs select committee. Can


the police recover from this? This is... In opinion polls, their trust


ranking is quite high and in some respects, deservedly so. I know some


young police officers who are really, really passionate public


officials who really take their job seriously but there is, without


doubt, a real problem amongst police leadership. Half a dozen chief


constables have had to step aside. In the last five years. There's been


a number of cases of cover-ups of this type. The way in which the


leadership of the Metropolitan Police took the opposite side almost


from the start, and seemed disinterested. The wave the


politician has been effectively framed, it leaves a terrible,


terrible taste in our mouths. And actually, I think there has to be


some reform at the top of the police. Ian Blair, the former head


of the Metropolitan Police, was brought down by whispering campaign


within the Metropolitan Police. Do you think the same would happen with


Bernard Hogan-Howe? I just think of the culture at the top of this


institution, their capacity to inspire, to lead, there's a lot of


sex is in the police, and there's some fantastic police officers doing


a fantastic job. Lions led by donkeys. -- sexism. Teresa May has


got to get to grips with it. That Sotheby's commission is therefore,


ideally. Margaret Thatcher. Formidable or foolish? Brilliant or


bullying? Virtuous or vicious? However you describe her, she


remains one of the most iconic prime ministers of the modern age. In a


moment, I'll be joined by former Conservative MP and Minister,


Jonathan Aitken, a friend of Lady Thatcher. He's just written a candid


book about her. One that shows a very different side to the longest


serving post-war Prime Minister. But first, let's look at some


photographs taken from the book. With me now, Jonathan Aitken.


Welcome. There are numerous biographies of Margaret Thatcher


recently. I interviewed Charles Moore about his. Why did you decide


to write this book now? I wrote it because I think I have got an angle


on Margaret Thatcher which is summed up in the title. Personality.


Anybody who thinks that Margaret Thatcher Furlong realises the


extraordinary impact of her personality, which changed things --


for long. It changed attitudes, cabinet. I think it's been worth


exploring, not the psychobabble way, but by going through the history of


her life with a lot of new material. And I thoroughly enjoyed doing it.


You got arguably too bad start with there because he went out with her


daughter Carol and split up with her. How did that relations between


you? It was nice, romantically, but it was one of my less successful


career moves. Inevitably one understands why Margaret wouldn't be


happy with the young man who hurt her daughter 's happiness. It was


never, for me, an issue, except to be sorry about it. But, in reality,


one thing from the point of view right now, being a biographer, I did


see her at a much closer quarters than I otherwise might have done as


a young MP. What insight to that give you into her personality? Well,


in home life, the Thatcher family life is pretty dysfunctional. It


also revolves around the political ambition. It had its hilarious


moments, too. I remember the first time I went to lunch with Margaret


Thatcher, on the wall there was a great inscription, a picture would


have been given to her by President Assad, in Arabic. She said to me,


rather suspect it, I don't suppose your Arabic is good enough to tell


me what it is? It was, there is only one God. And Dennis said, thank God


we didn't ask the padre to lunch. So was it fun? Spending time with her


outside of the political sphere? There was never a dull moment with


Margaret Thatcher. She always had such strong views on almost


everything. In terms of their personality, people have described


her in different ways. While she unkind, difficult, bullying? I think


she was all those things. She was never unkind to anybody who might be


called in a junior position. Private secretaries, drivers, so on. She was


a honey with her staff but the vinegar with her Cabinet. She could


be brutal to the high and mighty as I often thought of themselves,


ministers who haven't read their briefs properly. Ministers with whom


she disagreed and she touring to Geoffrey Howe as is well known. We


know how right she was with a howl air of ministers and officials but


she was on a mission to get her way. Do you think they will be anything


in this book you don't know about Margaret Thatcher? I thought some of


the extracts I've read, I thought was interesting the role Denis


Thatcher, securing that huge arms deal with Saudi Arabia, and how his


friendship with Dick Evans, the chief executive British Aerospace, I


thought that was a well told story. One of the things I wanted to ask


you. She was lucky with their enemies, Arthur Scargill, he was


there for the taking and she took him. That gave her a political base.


Up until then, she wasn't seen as a heroine of Thatcherism, but it


wasn't made in 1979. In her early moves, on privatisation and


deregulating the labour market, they were done very cautiously and her


caution comes through in the book, I note. Was she more cautious? I think


everything you've said is spot-on, thank you for reading the book so


carefully. She was complex in her political personality and of


course, it changed over the years. At the beginning, she was very


cautious. And she resisted for quite some time, some of the most


successful of her policies like privatisation. She held it back for


quite awhile. But as she got on in her term, the realistic political


caution was replaced by an almost reckless ride of the Valkyries, and


she wouldn't listen to anybody, and the poll tax was the classic thing.


She could easily have stayed in power for much longer. If she hadn't


refused to listen. If there a ten year rule about this? After ten


years, you've just consumed all your political capital as a national


leader and can't go beyond ten years. Tony Blair and Margaret


Thatcher found at. You run out of steam. She created too many enemies,


didn't she? Certainly towards the end. America may have got it right.


Two terms and the end. She got wilder and wilder towards the end in


terms of just stamping on people. There was no need for the quarrels


with Geoffrey Howe or Nigel Lawson. What anybody able to say, you're


pushing it far too far? I have an interesting story which follows on


that Saudi Arabian story. The story goes back to Dick Evans, chief


executive, of British Aerospace, who goes out to lunch with Denis, and


that happened and Backe comes at 5pm and soon as Margaret comes back into


the room, Dennis says, have you done it? And she said, I said you


wouldn't do it, you are too afraid to do it. Dick Evans thinks there's


a domestic quarrel and wants to leave the room but in actual fact,


Dennis has got to promise that morning to sack Nigel Lawson. And


she said, you can't make to any enemies all the time. I'm going to


have to end it there. Very briefly. You should sack mighty chances if


your Prime Minister. OK, OK, thank you. Now, do you remember when


offices looked like this? The patterned carpets, the yellow and


purple colour scheme, the kipper ties and big hair. Oh, and the


technology-free desks. There's not a computer, smart phone or tablet in


sight. Today the Cabinet Office will resemble a 1970s office as civil


servants are having an email-free day between colleagues. There will


be no tapping on the phone during meetings, sifting through emails


during lunch or messaging the person sitting next to you. Today will all


be about talking to each other face to face or on the phone. Will that


create a happier work life, making sure you enjoy the company of your


colleagues? Or just take up more time and make you stay late at work?


Joining me now is Stephen Taylor, an entrepreneur who has recently


criticised our reliance on email. Are we obsessed with it? Yes, we are


obsessed with e-mail. We live in a society which seems to be obsessed


with nonverbal communication. Colleagues sitting next to each


other don't want to speak to each other and are happy to send an


e-mail. How often do check your e-mails? Too often. How many e-mails


do get a payday? From all sources? It runs into hundreds, yes. It's


impossible to monitor. Unless you reply to something almost


instantaneously, you forget. But do you think it's damaging to


business? Surely this is what is speeded up the process of business?


I can do so much more. Like everything, it's a blessing and a


curse. It's incredibly powerful and useful but when it overused, what's


also interesting there is a shift blame. If somebody puts it into an


e-mail, suddenly it's in your inbox, didn't you see it? You must read it.


And you say, I didn't sit amongst the thousands of e-mails, so it's a


powerful tool, but it's got completely out of hand. Picking up


the phone is what's important. I so agree with you. People who work for


me and with me, for goodness sake, pick up the phone. How old do you


regulate it? If somebody e-mails you, you automatically want to speak


to them, and an e-mail you back. I think this is a great idea and it


needs to be a more holistic approach to communication overall but thank


God somebody is taking common-sense and I think it's got to be praised.


Would you say to your company, you're not allowed to e-mail each


other if you are sitting within somebody's eyeliner. I would. Are


you going to do it? Probably not. People need to talk and


communication is important. Verbal communication is faster than sending


an e-mail. And waiting for their reply. What about customers? People


do want to speak to somebody. They want to have a conversation and


engage. Is that being lost? Yes, when you see website had no phone


number, it's counterintuitive. We need to get back to speaking to


people. I think you're on a hiding to nothing but anyway, thanks for


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


quiz. The question was what gift did the Cabinet give to Prince George as


a Christening present? Was it. A) A Teddy Bear. B) A pine toy box. C) A


signed photo of the Cabinet. Or d) A chunk of national debt in the form


of a Government Bond. I do know the answer but I'm guessing it was the


signed photo. Really? A pine toy box. Thanks to our guests. The One


O'Clock News is starting over on BBC One now. Andrew will be on BBC One


tonight. I buy. -- by die.


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