01/11/2013 Daily Politics


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Afternoon, folks. Welcome to the Daily Politics. David Cameron


travels to Cardiff to announce new powers for the Welsh Assembly. The


state-owned bank RBS announces it will restructured to deal with ?38


billion of bad assets. George Osborne said the move will make it


easier to sell off the bank and get taxpayers' money back. Should


football fans have more say over how clubs are run? We will discuss


a plan to make English football more German. And in the first of a


series on political thinkers, we have the low-down on Karl Marx. If


you want to understand and have an interest in social justice, you


cannot ignore Karl Marx. We never ignore Karl Marx on the


day the politics. -- the Daily Politics. We asked for the duration,


I am joined by the Birgitte Nyborg and Kasper Juul or British


political commentary. Zoe Williams, of the Guardian newspaper, and Ian


Collins, a broadcaster. We start with RBS, which is always in the


news. The chief executive announced a pre-tax loss of ?634 million.


That was for the three months to September. He put an end to


speculation the bank would be split to deal with the ?38 billion of bad


assets. These are moments that are not expected to be repaid. This is


what the Chancellor said he was on a trip to a bicycle shop. I am


determined to build a banking system that supports the British


economy and today RBS undertakes a new direction to deal with that by


dealing with toxic assets and making sure it is focused on the UK,


and making sure it is the best small business bank. It should be a


boost the economy and not a burden. We are joined by a City commentator,


Allister Heath. Explain to us what the internal bad bank is. Surely


the bad loans will still be on the balance sheet? You are not the only


one to not understand what is going on. There is a weird triangulation,


moving the assets from the bank, injecting taxpayers' cash, and


dealing with them, and the status quo. I think it is not viable, the


plan, it is more about substance. Nothing much will change. It still


has three years to get rid of the bad assets. I do not think it has


been doing as badly as people think, reducing bad assets by 85 per cent.


But what has happened is the Chancellor thought it was going


faster and he now realises that it will take a few more years and he


will not be able to privatise the bank before the election and he is


upset about that. He wants to change RBS and make it entirely a


domestic and retail business bank, getting rid of the investment


banking division and the US division and possibly the eye which


division. He is trying to remodel the back. -- the Irish division. Is


that in the best interests of taxpayers and when it maximise the


resale value? And is it the best way to run the operation? A lot of


today is not substance, it is not a really bad bank in the traditional


sense. If he had wanted to do that, he should have done at five years


ago. He was not in charge. They thought the way they were managing


it would be the right way and now they are changing their mind. I


would like to get another question in before it is time for dinner!


Why is it still losing over ?600 million in a single quarter? It


still has a lot of bad debt. They are still a lot of problems. The


biggest problem for this and other banks is the endless spate of


scandals that keep on hitting them. There is now an investigation into


foreign-exchange markets and whether they have been manipulated.


In terms of getting rid of bad assets, the bulk of that has


happened. In some ways, they are fighting yesterday's battle. A lot


of people underestimated the problem they still had. Maybe one


year ago, even though the economy is recovering, there are still


challenges. If you want to kick start credit in the economy, you


have to get rid of the bad assets but pretending you are creating a


bad bank by redefining some assets, it is an accounting change. I do


not think it will help the problems. It does not look like the


Chancellor gets his windfall this side of the election. He has had


plenty. There are many interesting things about this. Fighting the


last battle, as they say, regulators are always fighting the


last thing because they do not understand what is going on. If you


look at why they have lost 634, rather an -- and over 400 million,


they are looking at payment protection in -- protection


insurance. The Balkan bad debts have been offloaded. -- the bulk of


the bad debt. They pursued banking in a dishonest way and it will


continue until they stop it. I am probably the one person who


bothered to try to read the last RBS business report. It is the most


extraordinary concocted peace of writing you have ever... Whether


you are an economist or not, put on to paper. Nobody can understand it.


Nobody knows what is going on. Different people and wrote it. The


overseas arm does not know what the domestic arm is doing. If they lend


domestically, bat will be fabulous. It says to me that is his almost


meant to be that complicated. It is the end of RBS as a major


international...? It will cover domestic banking. That is a good


thing. We have lost sight of what a bank is supposed to do. Briefly it


was one of the biggest banks. But why? Because it was not doing due


diligence on the lending. I am bored with RBS. And I am with RBS,


also. It has been a busy Friday for the Cabinet. George Osborne has


been touring a bicycle shop. David Cameron and Nick Clegg hot-footed


it to Cardiff to announce new powers for the Welsh Assembly. What


we believe in is a strong Wales within a strong United Kingdom and


I think it will make for better government. It is good for the


Government to be responsible for raising some of the money that its


Benz. That leads to better conversations about how to raise it


and spend it and how to spend it effectively and how to manage your


economy battered. I think the changes will be good for Wales and


accountable government. We can go to our political correspondent.


What does this mean for Wales? The debate in the past couple of years


has been about Scotland and independence, but, quietly, the


Welsh Assembly has added to its powers and already has control of


health, education transport and other things. It shifted on, the


debate, on how it raises money and how it should be responsible for


the money it spends each year. David Cameron and Nick Clegg came


to announce that the Welsh Government will have the power to


borrow money. They want to build a new motorway, so that is important.


And also taking control of stamp duty and other taxes. The most


significant is the proposal to take over responsibility for collecting


some income tax in Wales. Some politicians are talking about


cutting taxes in Wales here. They would have to have a referendum,


endorsed by the people first. The Welsh Government is saying, we do


not want to take on the power over income tax and the Treasury using


it as an excuse to cut funding for the Welsh Government. It sounds


like a big headline, but it is not cut and dried yet. Is there


correlation between the more powers devolved to Cardiff and the worse


the Health and school system gets? This is one of the proposals. If


they are not devolved, should it have a knock on effect on the money


coming in from the Treasury that stop one argument from David


Cameron is that that it is about growing up as a country and taking


responsibility for money you spend. There are politics about this


because we will hear more about what has happened in Wales in the


Scottish referendum campaign. The Unionist side saying you can have


more powers without going the whole way and leaving the United Kingdom.


In other words, devolution can work. When will England get home rule?


Factory, it is hilarious. The idea that Wales is a country no more


than England. Of course it is not a country. Check the United Nations.


I doubt. It is not a country. It is not a nation state, it is still a


country. We are the United Kingdom. We are regions. The idea that


something the size of a postage stamp has four administrative


bodies is a massive waste of money. The idea that nobody questions it


is like a huge elephant in the room. Do you see something that will


counteract the complaints we will get from Wales? I do not agree. You


can have a conversation as you would in America between federal


and state legislation and rights without reference to how large the


state is. What you are talking about his self governance. Many


people believe that everything you can make at a local level you


should make at a local map will. We have county councils. Wales is like


a big county council. The more they raise revenue, the more autonomy


they can have a good decisions. When you look at what they do, they


ring-fence budgets and freeze taxation. The council may have


rights on paper, but they have no actual money. Should England have


more home rule? From Wales? If Wales can set tax rates and if


Scotland can. Scotland has total control of schools and its health


system. Should England have the same? They do not interfere with


what we do any way. Every Scottish MP can vote on English schools and


Scottish schools. You want to hound the Scottish MPs for fun. I was


asking a serious question! It is time for the daily quiz. It is ?5.


A huge donation for the Poppy Appeal. That has doubled my fee!


Wife did the Green Party leader Natalie Bennett give me ?5


yesterday? At the end of the show, our guests will give the correct


answer. A new campaign group in favour of change in Britain's


relationship with the EU has a survey out. Almost half the


business leaders said the cost of complying with single-market


regulations outweigh the benefits of being in the European Union.


It's part of a growing debate about our membership if the European


Union. Here's a reminder of where we are. In January, David Cameron


made a keynote speech on in which he pledged an in-out referendum on


the UK's membership of the EU. In his speech the Prime Minister said


it was time for British people to have their say. Before negotiations


can get under way, he has to wait for the European elections. The


next important date is the British election on 7th May 1920 15. If


there is a Conservative victory, there will be an intense period of


renegotiation with the European Union for a new settlement between


UK and the European Union. Why would our European partners


allow us to essentially do a pick and mix? First of all, I am not sure


that is what would be happening, because there is a lot of discontent


about what the EU is doing in terms of centralisation, all over Europe.


Secondly, I think there is a real danger from the rest of the EU


needlepoint if you that if no change is made, and if there is a poll in


2017 and beyond, that Britain would leave, and I think a lot of


countries in the EU do not want to see that happening. But if this is a


unilateral Britain negotiating, and if it becomes a grand plan for


reform, in which everybody would be involved, well, firstly, I would


suggest to you that there is no consensus about what these reforms


would be, and secondly, it would take forever. It would take a


decade. I am not sure the EU has got a decade to get all of this done,


but there are really serious problems in the Eurozone. Not as


serious as they nobody is talking about Greece leaving now. Not at the


moment, but only because huge debts have been run up they may well come


back to bite everybody belatedly soon. But there will have to be


substantive changes in Europe to make the Eurozone viable in the


long-term, and that is going to involve considerable changes of all


sorts, which provides us I think with an opportunity, for the people


not in the euro, to redefine the role we are going to have. Give me a


concrete example of how British business would benefit if we were


either out of the EU or if they was a major renegotiation and we stayed


in, how would we benefit? Well, I think some of the changes which


would be made would be ones which are detailed in the report, issues


around employment law, health and safety, taxation, all of these other


issues which have been raised. I think the real emphasis which comes


out of this report is that it is business wants to have these


decisions taken in London and not in Brussels, and they do not believe


that a one size fits all approach on these issues works well. But


overall, is it your view that British business still wants to stay


in? I think British business does want to stay in, if they can get


changes made along the lines that we propose. Does it want to stay in if


all that is on offer is the status quo? I think that would be a much


closer call, and it depends a bit on what happens with the Eurozone and


the euro over the next few years. But if those who want to see Britain


staying in the euro want to support the right course, I think they want


to support ours, because they are much more likely to stay in the EU


if the changes we advocate are made. What is your take on this,


Zoe? I think it hinges on being able to renegotiate with trading


partners. A lot of people think it is not that important, because our


non-European partners are not buying very much. Resume ugly, one hopes


that once the EU recovers, they will buy much more from us. In terms of


volume, it is still our biggest... Exactly, and that is not going to


change. It is only changing rapidly because the EU is skint, but once


they recover, we are not going to replace our EU trading partners with


the new countries, not in a million years. The whole thing is an organic


process, is it not we can have a pick and mix approach, everybody


goes, that is fine, we want to keep you in the EU so much that you can


have what you want, and if they did say that, there would be a good case


for it, but we do not know. Hold on, Mrs Merkel may well agree to a pick


and mix approach, but she is now going to have to form a grand


alliance with the social Democrats, and they are against the pick and


mix. That is assuming she loses. There is no evidence whatsoever that


M Hollande, whose son the ratings are falling by the minute, is going


to do Britain any favours at all. And I detecting a certain animosity


towards Europe? No, what you detect Israel politic, which is the


opposite of the position that our guest is taking, that the Europeans


will be in any mood to do us any favours, and why should they? --


realpolitik. Are you talking about the heads of state, the various


treasuries within it, the commissioners? Is it the whole


immovable system called the EU, or is it individuals within it? The


thing is, they do tend to vote as a block, you rarely get a situation


where they are split. They might want to say, hello, EU, we have got


a new idea, let's give it a go. The logic of a Treasury Minister in


France would have to see that. That is right. Also, there are enormous


problems going to be created by the rest of the EU if we leave. We pay


in net something like ?12 billion per year. Who is going to replace


that? But you would want to bring that down, presumably. We would want


to bring it down a bit, yes. Here is the irony, that the only way you


will get this kind of reorganisation you are talking about is if Mr


Cameron wins the next election, and I thought you donate money to the


Labour Party? Well, I think there is a feeling across the political


spectrum that we want changes. Mr Miliband is not promising to


renegotiate anything. Well, I do not think that is entirely true, they


want some changes. But not a major renegotiation. The only person


promising a renegotiation, and then a referendum, in or out, is David


Cameron. I think that so you really need Mr Cameron to win the next


election. Well, it is not just Mr Cameron who is saying that we will


be having a referendum. You need to prepare the ground. Mr Miliband is


not promising one. No, but the Lib Dems are moving a little bit in that


direction. Really? I do not know, but I do think that if you want to


stay in... It is interesting that if that is your line, it would seem to


me that your best chance of getting there is a Tory government. Do you


now regret within the Labour Party this donation of shares, which led


to the accusations of tax avoidance? Well, there was no tax avoidance at


any stage. I said accusations. Well, the I do not regret it at all.


Giving them shares, why did you not just give them the dosh? Because I


had not got the dosh. Why did you not sell the shares and give them


the dosh? I did not want to sell the shares. So why did you not -- so why


did you just give them away? You do not pay dividends. Yes, we do. You


are a private company. That does not stop us paying dividends. How big is


your dividend? It is normally about a third, up to 40%, of the net


profit we make. But you measure a dividend by its value to the shares,


so, if the Labour Party has got ?1 million worth of shares, what income


will it get? It produces about ?8,000 a month. Just about enough to


keep Ed Miliband in Boston red Sox shirts. Wine are you giving money to


the Labour Party? I have always supported the Labour Party. I think


there are loads of people on the left who want to negotiate about the


EU. There is nobody who has put it on the table, nobody who has made


that statement, but that does not mean it is part of -- it is not part


of the discussion. Workers of the world Unite! Go on,


you know you want to. Yes, the teachings of Karl Marx have been in


the news a fair amount recently, with David Cameron accusing Ed


Miliband living on a Marxist planet, after he announced plans to freeze


energy prices. So, does Marx have any relevance to the 21st century?


In a new Daily Politics series on political thinkers, Giles has been


checking out the story of Karl Marx, with an all-time fan, the


left-wing columnist Owen Jones. London's trashy, trendy SoHo is not


the first place that comes to mind when you think of Karl Marx. He


would be very at home here. He was at home here. He lived in this


building in the 1850s, and London became the Communist capital of the


world. I am off to meet a man who not only thinks Karl Marx is much


maligned, but that he is still relevant today. That is quite hard


for 21st century society, when the man was waiting here, exiled from


Paris, in the 1850s. But my guest wants to drag him from museum relic


to modern relevance, via the pub. So, come on, why do you like Marx so


much? I could not avoid him growing up. I have got four generations of


family who were involved in some sort of radical politics. More than


a few copies of Karl Marx were lying around when I was growing up. We are


sat opposite the British Museum, where he wrote Das Kapital, but he


was often more comfortable sat in the pub. He certainly like to drink,


he went on these infamous pub crawls. He is reputed to have


smashed a mirror in this very pub with a bar stool. He was chased by


police officers because of his drunken antics. That is not what


makes me interested in Marx, it is his ideas, and I think a lot of them


are still relevant today. One example, alienation, the idea that


by working for someone else, you lose control of your own life, your


destiny, your humanity. I think today, when you work in a call


centre or an office, you could certainly drink to that. As Karl


Marx himself would say, prost! Another expert says, like him or


loathe him, Marx is a huge figure. Karl Marx is the one who has got an


ism, the only person for whom you can be a Marxist. The criticism of


him, however, is extensive. Marx is criticised for exactly the reason


that his admirers admire him. According to him, it is production


which explains everything else and many of his critics say that is just


plain wrong. There is another issue, which is that he thought about the


role of the Communist Party in a way that, with hindsight, we can see


enabled Lenin to develop his idea of the Vanguard Party, which opened up


the way to the authoritarian states of the Soviet era. That is clearly


something to put to our fan, but not before I have shown him something at


the Marx Memorial library. So, for decades after it was first


rubbished, this very early edition of the The Communist Manifesto. This


was when Engels was still alive, and do not forget, this is the second


most read book on earth. But is that not the problem, of all think, he is


the one that gets the charge, you are responsible for the death of


millions of people. Blaming Marx for the Stalinist totalitarian regimes,


which killed millions of people, it is a bit like blaming Jesus for the


Crusades. There is nothing in his book whatsoever which backs the


Stalinist police state. But there is lots in there about revolution.


Absolutely, but do not forget, he is writing at a time when despots


dominated the European continent. Even in Britain, there was not


universal suffrage, even for men. He later argued that if you had


universal suffrage for men, you could have a democratic, peaceful


transition to socialism, as it would allow a majority of working people


to be elected to Parliament just. Karl Marx's grape is a big monument.


Of the jury it was quite small -- his grave. Originally, it was quite


small. There he is. What an relevance does Karl Marx have to


politics today? Is it over? You would have to be an armed


revolution or even on the left to think that he was a prescient bloke.


He wrote how capitalism lurched constantly from crisis to crisis.


He also predicted capitalism would create a huge working-class and on


a global scale, that is what has happened. If you want to understand


the world, and you are interested in social justice, you cannot


ignore Karl Marx. Owen Jones joins us now. You are a fan of Karl Marx?


He was a big influence. Like row -- Ralf Miliband, does that mean you


hate Britain?! The Daily Mail, which hates everything about


Britain, demonising somebody on the left. Often you have the left


construed as the enemy within when the left is about fighting for


country which is more equal. That is not hating the country. The


British Communists were not that keen to fight for Britain until


Nazis had invaded. If you want me to defend Stalinism, you have the


wrong person. You said in the film you cannot blame Karl Marx for the


gulag. Give me a Marxist state that did not lead to that. It was not


about prescriptions and saying this is what socialism would look like.


It was an analysis of capitalism. Give me a state that did not lead


to terrible loss of life. You had two branches of Marxism. One of


them ending up in totalitarianism and starred in. If you look at the


German Social Democrats, they themselves are an offshoot of


Marxism. In 1958, the Democrats met and repudiated Karl Marx. They


presided over a country that became one of the richest in the world.


The German Social Democrats were in power longer than that. However


they are involved, and it is a crucial point, Marxism is an


analysis of capitalism. It did not say what socialism would look like.


Name me a Marxist country in the 20th, 21st century, that did not


need to a terrible loss of civil liberties, poverty and degradation?


As I had said, when you look at European social democracy, the


French Socialists, the German Social Democrats, in Spain, the


Socialist Workers' Party, those originated from the Marxist


tradition. And the modern form of social democracy, even though it


has departed from where it began, it traces its origins to Marxism. I


was asking for any example. I have given examples. They detested the


parliamentary road to socialism. That is a misconception. When they


are talking about the revolution they discussed at the time when


kings and despots ruled Europe, what Karl Marx said, in the early


18th Fifties. -- 1850s. We were not ruled by a despot. Britain was not


a democracy then. It excluded working-class people. The point I


am making is what Karl Marx said was if you had universal suffrage,


instead of armed insurrection, in a country like Britain, as it moved


to Universal's up bridge, it would allow the majority of people from


working-class Britain to be elected -- universal suffrage. The air must


be something wrong with Marxism if everywhere where it has been


attempted to implement it, it has ended up with totalitarianism, the


loss of democracy. We keep coming back. You will get annoyed because


you will find me repetitive. The Soviet totalitarian system... It is


not just the Soviet, it is China and Cuba. Venezuela has shades of


it. Venezuela is a separate case. The point is that modern social


democracy, the lap, in this country, and across Europe, -- if you like.


A Social Democrat is about accepting capitalism as the best


model that needs to be changed. A society not in the interests of the


people at the top, but extending democracy. It is about empowering


working people in the broadest sense. Shifting power from those at


the top. Are you a Marks is? I would not say I am. I would say I


am influenced -- are you a Marxist? I am influenced. I will give you


another example. The senior economist at UBS bank, he wrote an


article talking about how we need to learn from Karl Marx. You cannot


understand the modern world without looking to him. There is something


superstitious about the way nobody can hear the word without saying we


will be Communists, we are going to die! The millions of Russians and


Chinese that turned out to be true. You have not had to live in these


societies. You asked me what I thought and you talk to the me. --


talked over me. This man was an economist. He told the world what


was going wrong with capitalism. He told the world right on many issues.


The fact that some people use his name to start revolutions that


resulted in comm Estates is nothing to do with Karl Marx. East Germany,


the Democratic Republic, would we ever argue... Good Marxism and bad


Marxism, a narrative forced... It is crazy. Surely the lesson is that


if you tinker with left-wing politics, that is where you end up?


The lesson is not if you go near Karl Marx, we will end up in a


gulag. Read it, find out if it is true, and if you find something,


take it seriously. You keep saying he was right. He predicted the


collapse of capitalism. The last time I looked, cap and it --


capitalism... It you look at the process where he predicted the end


of capitalism, he was talking about cannibalistic capitalism, so


rapacious it closed down competition between itself and you


ended up with large corporations running everything. It you see


something like the energy markets and the public markets, it is


happening in front of us. We have run out of time. His Ed Miliband a


Marxist? I do not think any... Well, the Daily Mail. It is interesting,


the rhetoric, if you want a fairer society and you want working people


to have wealth and power, you are a frothing at the mouth, a guest. I


am a democratic socialist who wants a society where wealth and power is


distributed -- -- Marxist. If you understand it, people are looking


to Karl Marx. And you cannot get rid of it. You are a failure at


giving us a better system. We are waiting for the Utopia. The


argument that left have to come up with is a coherent alternative that


resonates with people. We gave you the airwaves to do it today. We


have been talking about Karl Marx and the Soviet Union for most of it,


but fair enough. I found that... Never mind. We will be looking at


political thinkers ranging from Edmund Burke to Thomas Paine. The


Trans Atlantic row over States by none civilians took a new turn with


John Kerry saying that in some cases you are -- US buying has gone


too far. -- US spying. We are in danger of sleep walking. It is not


planned, it is not the actions of benevolent individuals, it is the


trend of what will happen if nothing is done to stop it. The


definitions of war and peace are no longer the same and the enemies of


faces, it can be argued. That argument is one that prime


ministers and Home Secretaries have put. If we shake up the law in


response to this fear, chipping away at liberty and privacy, they


have won. Every operation that has foiled a terrorist plot in this


country has been dependent upon communications data over the past


decade and it is essential for the agencies to have those powers. UK


surveillance over citizens has increased exponentially. The legal


basis has sometimes appeared strained. At best, oversight is


frayed. Legitimate debate is at risk of being drowned out by


assertions of national security. Spying is dangerous. It is about


risk. Our men and women put their lives at risk to protect Britain.


There is a downside of getting it wrong. If you do, people die. The


this is the secret state laid bare. The Government acting without the


knowledge or permission of citizens, a breach of the moral and legal


rights of individuals. Just like when they take away the votes of


the misguided, but common good is not a defence. Our basic rights as


individuals have to be sacrosanct. We have been joined by the


Conservative MP who spoke in that debate. You say the surveillance


has grown exponentially. What is the evidence? Reports show that.


You have raw numbers. It is difficult to delve down into them.


I do not have the numbers to hand, but there has been an increase, for


example, in the interception of communications data and wide use of


surveillance. We do not have a huge amount of data. The annual report


showed it has increased. Do you think telephone calls are being


monitored? Is it depends what you mean, they look at what is called


the envelope. If you trawl back over a long period, and you can


develop a close picture of what people are doing. And the


distinction drawn between the envelope and content. It breaks


down quite quickly. How many people does GCHQ employee? Many hundreds.


5000. But even 5000 could not keep tabs on every telephone call. This


is an Aunt Sally. There is no doubt the scope of surveillance has


increased. Do we know what they are doing? Do we have proper oversight?


These are questions the Secretary of State in the US is asking, John


Kerry. We had a good debate, but we will have to see a closer scrutiny


Opel what is going on. -- scrutiny over what is going on. Then reason


why it's certain types of surveillance have increased is


because the nature of terrorism has changed. It does not involve people


flying planes into buildings any more, coming from Saudi Arabia, it


involves people in this country, communicating with each other to


plan to kill. That is why these are Bateman's, I would suggest, has


grown. I suspect the nature of terrorism has not changed, but the


nature of communication. There is no doubt they should have


the powers to pursue that, although quite what the safeguards should


be, that is another question. But we want to make sure that we have got a


rough idea of what they are doing. We want to make sure the legal


position is protected. If you believe in democracy and the rule of


law, and at the same time you want to pursue national security, it


cannot be healthy. Is it your view that Parliament oversight is too


weak and should be strengthened? Yes. I think Sir Malcolm Rifkind and


the IOC do a reasonable job, I have no doubt about their individual


capacity, but I think the Intelligence And Security Committee


needs to be made of it more independent, like they have in the


US. Although in the US, they did not produce any better results than in


Britain, they were not monitoring what their own intelligence services


were up to. Well think if you look over the years, it has produced a


bit more transparency. Across the board in Congress, and from the


Secretary of State, we are hearing from them, we are going to act. I


think this committee needs to be a proper committee of Parliament, and


accountable to Parliament. The tweaks that need to be done


relatively small, to make that work more effectively. What do you say? I


spoke to someone, I do not know whether you would call her a spook,


somebody who formerly worked in one area of intelligence, who said, a


lot of this, as bad as it is, and we have heard about governments doing


things without the permission of the citizens, a lot of this is the


vanity project of the different head honchos who sit there in the


intelligence services. The idea that the Prime Minister is saying, spy on


Merkel, it is just nonsense. Most of the time, it is just because they


are able to, because they are allowed to, and they have the


technology, so, give it a go. They may need it, they might not. But


surely there is a widespread view that American intelligence is just


off the reservation, and it seems to be on the rampage. But I think it is


because they can do it, as distinct from looking for a specific story.


What are they going to find on Angela Merkel's phone, for goodness


sake of she is the Chancellor of the most powerful country in Europe. I


do not think she is going to be leaving voice mails. This is absurd,


it is absolutely absurd. I care a lot less about foreign leaders


surveilling themselves, and more about Big Brother looking at


innocent British citizens. The point is that even if the surveillance is


done almost inadvertently, because they can, and you do it on such a


scale, and there are so many contractors, thousands having access


to it, it actually ends up making us more vulnerable. And I do not think


it helps the cause of the agencies. There is one other point, but if you


think of all of this controversy around national security


surveillance, what do you think about the snooper's charter, which


was proposed, to extended to town halls and quangos? I hope that one


effect of this will be to cut off at the legs the idea of increasing even


further that kind of surveillance. England's football clubs have


revenues of more than ?3 billion a year, with much of it coming from


football fans paying for tickets, TV subscriptions and merchandising. But


there is a growing mood among fans that they have been taken for


granted, and they want more say over how the clubs are run. It has been


on the minds of politicians as well. Mark Denten reports. It is a damp


evening, but this club are going through their paces in training. It


is what happens off the pitch which is really interesting, because this


is a place where fans really have their say. We have our annual


general meeting, where the fans can turn up, the chairman, all of the


roles are voted on. It is up to the fans. If you have done a good job,


you stay. If you have not, you can be voted out as easy as that. 50


miles away, nine levels up the football ladder, a rather different


mood. There have been a series of protests by Newcastle United fans


against the club's owner. Just outside St James' Park, in this pub,


you will not struggle to find frustrated fans. The board have


never taken our support seriously. It is almost as if the fans have


supported the club despite what has gone on at board level. Newcastle in


my it is a one club city. In recent years particularly, the club has


been disengaged from the people who put money into the club. I want a


fan member on the board, I think that would be enormously important.


It would make a big difference to the football club and it might stop


the football club making PR disasters as frequently as they do.


Just a few months ago, the Government said it wanted to bring


in a law as soon as possible to give fans a bigger say in the running of


football clubs. But we have learned that idea has now been shelved. It


seems there is not enough time in the Parliamentary schedule - no


option for extra time for a foot or fans law. But people over there want


action. -- a football fans' law. At this Business School, there is a


conference organised by the supporters trust at Newcastle. It is


just unfair to raise expectations, to go with what appears to be a


populist idea, and then simply to say, we do not have time now, we are


not going to do this. It helps them to appear to be part of the people


they represent, but it is just not high enough up on their agenda,


which is disappointing. They do things these fans have a big say in


the running of their club. In fact, there is a national and on anyone


owning more than half a football club. In Germany, traditionally, all


clubs are member owned. That means we, the members, the club belongs to


us. For example, at the AGM, we have the right to change the club


statute. If you are a member, you really feel the club belongs to you.


You are not just a fan, you are a lot more. It is our club, instead of


something you just support. Grassroots football, the players


show their skills but it is the fans that call the shots. It is the kind


of thing supporters at top clubs can only dream of. It is the way English


football works these days, and tackling it would be a challenge. We


asked the Premier League and the Football League for an interview,


but they both declined. The Government's sports Minister also


declined. We are joined by the Labour MPm Thomas, who did not


decline. Don't you think politicians have more to worry about than


football? I think we do, but I think there are football clubs across the


country which are hugely important in the lives of their fans and


communities up and down the UK. I think the number of clubs where fans


are saying, we want to have more of a say in the running of our club,


the numbers of clubs which have got into financial trouble, suggests


that with the Premier League and the Football League not being willing to


act, then the Government should be willing to act to give for the oil


fans more of a say. Is that not a matter between the fans and their


club? Well, it is, but at the moment, the odds are stacked against


the football fans being able to get a say in the running of their club,


unless the club gets into financial trouble. The reason we need


government to act is because then, you have the chance of the playing


field being levelled up, and fans being given more of a right perhaps


to send a representative along to board meetings, perhaps to have much


more information about the way in which their club is run. That is


surely not too much to ask and would not take too much Parliamentary time


to deliver. If fans should in your view have this power, why shouldn't


workers have the right to be on the boards of the companies they work


for? Well, in some countries, that is the case. I belong to the


co-operative party, and we think that people should have more ability


and support to cooperate in the running of enterprises. It just


seems to pick on foot hole, which, at the end of the day, is just a


sport. Whereas if this is an important principle, of consumers


and workers being involved, then should they not be playing a much


bigger role in the running of our companies? Why is it not right for


the people who work for British Telecom or Vodafone or Tata Steel?


Used the example in your package of Germany. In Germany, for example,


much of the energy supply increasingly is delivered right


energy cooperatives, individual people combining, pulling resources,


to produce energy. We know it works in Germany, both in foot and in


energy and in other ways. Why can't we have more of those types of


models in the UK? But where would it leave a company, and I say company


advisedly, like Manchester United? It is a multi-billion pound empire,


so how would it work? It seems to me there is nothing wrong with the idea


of one of Manchester United's fans being elected by their supporters


trust, and Manchester United has the biggest such trust in the country,


being elected to sit on their board. So, you have got one guy


sitting on this board full of Arab sheiks and American businessmen and


sponsors and all the rest of it, property developers, and you have


got this one we chuck on his own... It does not sound fair! There is


always a risk of somebody going native in that sense. But if you are


answerable to all of the other fans through the trust, your


accountability is different. I am very interested that you would raise


the example of Manchester United, because it is the key of everything


that has gone wrong in foot all. The Glazer family come in, they did not


have the money to buy it, they borrowed the money, and in order to


pay back the money, they screwed the fans for all they are worth. You say


it is just sport, it is only foot all, but what you are talking about


is a massive thing which people care deeply about, which is a huge binder


of communities, which is a huge pride and joy, and big corporations


come in and sting the people for everything they have got it is


terrible. I love the idea that Labour are going to come in and give


us free energy, and a free football club as well. How generous! Thank


you for your advice, but... We have run out of time. I mentioned


Manchester United because it is the only football team I have heard of.


Now, The Week In 60 Seconds. High noon for the dirty half-dozen, with


MPs gunning for the big six energy firms at a select committee hearing.


And the heat is on at the Old Bailey. David Cameron's former spin


doctor Andy Coulson and seven former colleagues are in the dock over


allegations of phone hacking. They deny the charges. High Speed 2


trundled onwards, with APs MPs voting to start spending money on


the project. We had the news that two thirds of the text received in


this campaign were fake. The vans themselves have been sent home. And


he really is Red Ed, at least when it comes to the Boston red Sox. He


was up all night watching his favourite baseball team and treating


his delight at their victory in the World Series.


All these politicians, they talk about football because they think it


links them to the people. Even people who went to public school and


never touched a football. There is Ed Miliband doing something which,


there is no votes in it, I thought it was rather endearing. He loves


baseball, so he stayed up all night to watch the red Sox. There are no


votes in it on paper, because none of us are red Sox fans, but it is an


identity builder. It is, I may seem a bit geeky, and IM, but I am also a


bit like you, because I stay up all night. He is looking for a


personality, isn't he? He knows a lot about it. I thought it was very


human of him. Time to find the answer to the quiz, and the question


was, why did the Green Party leader Natalie Bennett give me five quid?


Because she offered to pay your next month's gas bill? No, it is because


she bet me that UKIP would have more councillors than the Green Party, or


the other way around. Thank you to all of my guests. I will be back on


Sunday with The Sunday Politics. My guests will include Len McCluskey


and the Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain. Bye-bye.


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