12/11/2013 Daily Politics


12/11/2013

Jo Coburn is joined by author and economist Noreena Hertz to discuss the political stories of the day, including an interview with Adam Price, writer of the Danish drama Borgen.


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government's changes to housing benefit. We will hear from Shadow

:00:45.:00:50.

welfare Secretary Rachel Reeves. After Carol Vorderman, Mary Porta

:00:51.:00:53.

San Kirstie Allsopp, who is the latest celebrity to be hired by a

:00:54.:00:57.

party leader to head up a task force?

:00:58.:01:01.

Are we drowning in too much data? We will discuss whether the

:01:02.:01:04.

proliferation of smartphones and tablets is leading us to information

:01:05.:01:05.

overload. And Yes, Statsminister! If you are a

:01:06.:01:20.

fan of scandi-drama Borgen, you are in for a treat. The show's

:01:21.:01:24.

screenwriter joins us to preview the return of the hit political series.

:01:25.:01:34.

And with us for the whole programme and hit series is the author and

:01:35.:01:54.

And with us for the whole programme Kirstie Allsopp on housing policy,

:01:55.:01:56.

Ed Miliband has decided he will not be out done. The Labour leader

:01:57.:02:01.

announced this morning that none other than former Tomorrow's World

:02:02.:02:04.

presenter Maggie Philbin will be heading up a task force on digital

:02:05.:02:08.

skills. Do we need somebody to do this? Absolutely. Think what the

:02:09.:02:15.

world is like today. Ten years ago, there was no Facebook, no iTunes. We

:02:16.:02:20.

are living in this age of technological advance at a speed we

:02:21.:02:24.

can't imagine. Just this week on Twitter floated for 18 billion. We

:02:25.:02:30.

desperately need to have these skills in this country. The geeks

:02:31.:02:39.

will inherit the world. Our kids are definitely not skilled in the right

:02:40.:02:43.

way. White map you think there is a gap? A huge gap.

:02:44.:03:04.

way. White map you think there is a some extent. And there are Yids'

:03:05.:03:08.

clubs that look at IT and technology, but in some ways, they

:03:09.:03:12.

are not sophisticated enough. Should coding be part of the curriculum?

:03:13.:03:18.

Yes. Moving ahead, the government needs to be thinking about how to

:03:19.:03:25.

give our kids the best chance in the future. These technology skills are

:03:26.:03:30.

essential. But we must not forget some of the older skills in the

:03:31.:03:33.

process, because we are also facing this ticking time bomb which is the

:03:34.:03:37.

ageing population. What skills will we need to look after them? Some of

:03:38.:03:42.

the caring skills should also be nurtured. But do you think that will

:03:43.:03:47.

diminish as we used digital technology more? We will lose those

:03:48.:03:55.

caring skills? It is important that we don't, because although machines

:03:56.:03:56.

will we don't, because although machines

:03:57.:04:16.

carers to be there. At my son's secondary school, they have been

:04:17.:04:22.

given mini iPads. Is that a good idea? As long as the kids are using

:04:23.:04:34.

them to actually do useful things! Yes, children should be learning how

:04:35.:04:40.

to use new technology. This morning, another of the big six

:04:41.:04:44.

energy companies announced its winter price rises. EDF Energy says

:04:45.:04:48.

its average gas and electricity price will go up by 3.9%, lower than

:04:49.:04:54.

the other power companies. It comes as the Energy Secretary Ed Davey

:04:55.:04:59.

warns the energy companies not to treat customers ask cash cows. Let's

:05:00.:05:02.

talk to our chief political correspondent, who is outside the

:05:03.:05:06.

energy industry's annual conference in London. They

:05:07.:05:23.

energy industry's annual conference hard, not just with the government,

:05:24.:05:26.

but also with the other energy companies. They are saying, we can

:05:27.:05:33.

keep our price rise down to 3.9%, but if you, the government, don't

:05:34.:05:37.

strip out some of those nasty green bits and pieces in energy bills, we

:05:38.:05:43.

may put up our prices. So we'll hardball on the chancellor to ensure

:05:44.:05:47.

that in the Autumn statement, he strips out some of those obligations

:05:48.:05:51.

such as the energy business obligation, which they regard as

:05:52.:05:55.

crucial in lowering bills. But they are also playing hardball with the

:05:56.:06:00.

other companies, because EDF are saying wholesale prices have hardly

:06:01.:06:02.

gone up at all, when the other energy companies are blaming the big

:06:03.:06:06.

price hikes they have introduced on the rise in wholesale prices. EDF

:06:07.:06:12.

are saying they only account for 0.1% of their price rise. So in

:06:13.:06:16.

are saying they only account for rises? I expect that is what will be

:06:17.:06:39.

the demand now. Just in competitive terms, it seems to place the other

:06:40.:06:44.

companies in a difficult position if they are having to say to customers,

:06:45.:06:47.

here is a 10% rise, and another energy company is only putting them

:06:48.:06:52.

up by 3.9%. The real key is what happens in the autumn statement. Can

:06:53.:06:58.

the chancellor strip out some of these green obligations? If he

:06:59.:07:03.

can't, then EDF are in effect trying to put the blame on the government,

:07:04.:07:07.

saying, this is what we could do if we did not have these nasty bits and

:07:08.:07:12.

pieces piled on us by the government. We could keep prices

:07:13.:07:15.

low. But if you don't deliver, we have to put prices up. They are

:07:16.:07:19.

trying to turn the tables in this debate were so far, all the heat has

:07:20.:07:22.

been on the energy companies. debate were so far, all the heat has

:07:23.:07:44.

David Dimbleby? At the end of the show, Noreena has the honour of

:07:45.:07:49.

giving us the correct answer. Now, what is the difference between

:07:50.:07:52.

a bedroom tax and a spare room subsidy? It depends which side of

:07:53.:07:56.

the green benches you are sitting on. Today, Labour, who argued that

:07:57.:08:01.

it is a welfare tax, have tabled an opposition Day debate on the

:08:02.:08:06.

subject. Neither side refers to it by its real name of the

:08:07.:08:09.

under-occupancy penalty, but what is it and what are the arguments around

:08:10.:08:15.

it? In his first budget in 2010, George Osborne announced a number of

:08:16.:08:19.

welfare reforms. One of them was to reduce housing benefit by 14% for

:08:20.:08:25.

those with one spare bedroom and a 25% reduction for those with two or

:08:26.:08:30.

more spare bedroom is. The idea behind this was to encourage some

:08:31.:08:32.

people whose children have left home to downsize and free

:08:33.:08:53.

the scheme by the University of York found that the savings were likely

:08:54.:08:58.

to be as much as ?160 million less than the government projected for

:08:59.:09:02.

the first year. The study found that the Department for Work and Pensions

:09:03.:09:06.

calculation is assumed that none of the 660,000 households would want to

:09:07.:09:11.

move. In fact, over a fifth want to downsize, with many looking to move

:09:12.:09:15.

into the private rented sector, which can end up costing the

:09:16.:09:18.

taxpayer more. The government say their policy will have the effect of

:09:19.:09:22.

encouraging people to make up their shortfall in rent by moving into

:09:23.:09:26.

work, but Labour say there are not the smaller properties for people to

:09:27.:09:32.

move into. Labour have already pledged to scrap it if they get

:09:33.:09:36.

elected. Even some Liberal Democrats are rocking the coalition boat over

:09:37.:09:41.

this, with four of their MPs describing it as unfair and a

:09:42.:09:45.

mistake. They argue that no one should be subject

:09:46.:10:02.

mistake. They argue that no one it is a tax on people who, through

:10:03.:10:05.

no fault of their own in many cases, live in a bigger house than they

:10:06.:10:08.

need. You take the housing benefit away without offering them any

:10:09.:10:14.

alternative suitable accommodation. That is unfair. It is actually a

:10:15.:10:18.

reduction in benefits, which is supported by 54% of people in a

:10:19.:10:23.

recent opinion poll. It may be supported, but if there is nowhere

:10:24.:10:31.

for people to go, is that fair? Is it fair that we have 375,000 people

:10:32.:10:36.

in overcrowded accommodation that Labour have nothing to say about?

:10:37.:10:40.

There are many options for people to take. They can do more work, they

:10:41.:10:47.

can swap with other people in social rented accommodation, which is a

:10:48.:10:53.

growing area. They can take in a lodger, or there is a

:10:54.:11:12.

people affected are disabled, so it is disingenuous to say they can go

:11:13.:11:18.

to work. Many have chronic long-term conditions. And many do not have a

:11:19.:11:22.

spare bedroom. They have a room where a carer comes to stay

:11:23.:11:26.

sometimes at the weekends. Some of them have grandparents or children

:11:27.:11:32.

coming to stay. Many of those affect it have had specific adaptations

:11:33.:11:36.

done to their home to make it possible for them to live there. It

:11:37.:11:41.

would cost millions more to have those adaptations done on a new

:11:42.:11:45.

property. So this policy is unfair and unworkable, because there just

:11:46.:11:49.

aren't those properties. Councils in Liverpool are looking to demolish

:11:50.:11:53.

larger properties because people cannot afford to live in them.

:11:54.:11:59.

Charlie, do you think this policy now may have looked great on paper,

:12:00.:12:05.

and why should people live in a house that is too big

:12:06.:12:23.

and why should people live in a hours and families who are

:12:24.:12:28.

overcrowded. -- 400,000 families. Is it right that we should have

:12:29.:12:31.

children growing up doing homework in the hallway, and say it is OK for

:12:32.:12:36.

others to have spare rooms? They are not spare rooms. Rachel Reeves,

:12:37.:12:49.

these are rooms that are not always being used and people can be sitting

:12:50.:12:53.

properties that are way too big for them. Charlie knows that two thirds

:12:54.:12:57.

of people affected by this are disabled. It is not feasible for

:12:58.:13:04.

many of them to move. But you don't disagree with the principle of, if

:13:05.:13:09.

there were properties available, of moving into a smaller property? Many

:13:10.:13:13.

would like to move to a smaller property to pay a lower gas and

:13:14.:13:15.

electricity property to pay a lower gas and

:13:16.:13:33.

policy is premised on nobody moving home. That is the only way to earn

:13:34.:13:40.

money. At what is happening is that people are turning to food banks and

:13:41.:13:44.

payday lenders because they can't afford the bedroom tax. Has that

:13:45.:13:51.

been a problem? It will not make the savings that the Department

:13:52.:13:55.

calculator because of the scenario outlined by Rachel Reeves. People

:13:56.:13:59.

would like to move they could, but they can't come up with the money?

:14:00.:14:05.

It is not about saving money. That was part of the welfare programme,

:14:06.:14:09.

to say, we are going to make savings. Rachel Reeves, we will talk

:14:10.:14:14.

to you about how Labour would make savings to the whopping welfare

:14:15.:14:17.

bill, but it will not make the savings you thought. It is more

:14:18.:14:24.

about social justice for overcrowded families

:14:25.:14:42.

about social justice for overcrowded Rachel, your counsel -- you could

:14:43.:14:48.

encourage swapping in your counsel. Then you could have at allocation of

:14:49.:14:55.

our social housing in this country. You are so out of touch. We have

:14:56.:14:59.

more than 400 thousand people who are disabled and affect it. We have

:15:00.:15:05.

ads who now can't have their children to come and stay because

:15:06.:15:10.

they will only have a one-bedroom policy. This policy targets the most

:15:11.:15:14.

vulnerable and disabled people in our community. There is a hardship

:15:15.:15:21.

fund for them. Tyre two thirds of the discretionary housing payments

:15:22.:15:24.

in Leeds have already been used in the first six months, despite the

:15:25.:15:28.

fact that Leeds council top it up by another quarter of a million. Before

:15:29.:15:33.

I ask Noreena about it, four of your coalition partners also

:15:34.:15:52.

I ask Noreena about it, four of your and housing associations, you need

:15:53.:15:56.

to take more of the responsibility in ensuring there is a fair

:15:57.:15:59.

allocation of our housing resources. They have been asleep at the wheel

:16:00.:16:02.

for years. The housing benefit bill has doubled. We ought to have that

:16:03.:16:07.

conversation with housing authorities. This policy has been

:16:08.:16:17.

made without a any real thought about how it is going to work. The

:16:18.:16:21.

mismatch between demand and supply is immense. There is only 3% of

:16:22.:16:26.

one-bedroom homes are available to the people who would want to move.

:16:27.:16:32.

When you think it is the most vulnerable in society who are

:16:33.:16:36.

worried about eviction, potentially having to live away from their

:16:37.:16:38.

social support networks, geographically, it really smacks of

:16:39.:16:42.

a policy that cannot be justified. geographically, it really smacks of

:16:43.:17:04.

policies. I just don't buy this idea that some of these are a spare

:17:05.:17:11.

bedrooms. You have not answered the question. There is not the social

:17:12.:17:15.

housing available because Labour did not build enough and got rid of some

:17:16.:17:19.

when in power. To some extent, the party created this problem. What

:17:20.:17:26.

would you do to cut the welfare bill? Annus horribilis

:17:27.:17:31.

house-building under this government is at the lowest level since 19 --

:17:32.:17:38.

house-building under this government is at the lowest level since the

:17:39.:17:46.

1920s. Let me and to the question about how Labour would reduce the

:17:47.:17:51.

Social Security Bill. -- answer. First of all, for example, building

:17:52.:17:53.

housing First of all, for example, building

:17:54.:18:12.

than a living wage. If you reduce the number is paid less than the

:18:13.:18:15.

living wage, you would be paying less out in housing benefit and less

:18:16.:18:22.

out in... They are tackling the bill. They are tackling the overall

:18:23.:18:32.

figure. They are not. It is by 9 billion. The benefit bill is

:18:33.:18:40.

rising. You have more people in part-time work, low paid work. If we

:18:41.:18:44.

can get more people into better paid jobs, if we can build social

:18:45.:18:49.

housing, that is a real way to reduce the bill. How much would you

:18:50.:18:59.

want to see come off? I would like to see it come down. I will not put

:19:00.:19:01.

a number on it. to see it come down. I will not put

:19:02.:19:21.

paid enough in their jobs. Charlie Elphicke, do you accept the benefit

:19:22.:19:26.

bill has increased because of some of your policies? To no, I don't. We

:19:27.:19:35.

are reforming welfare. Labour opposed ?81 billion worth of

:19:36.:19:40.

benefits savings. They opposed what we are talking about today, they

:19:41.:19:45.

opposed Universal Credit. They now say they supported. They oppose

:19:46.:19:52.

every single reform we have been putting through. They let the

:19:53.:19:56.

welfare bill get out of control. That is why we have been taking

:19:57.:19:59.

tough decisions. They have opposed them. The welfare bill is rising

:20:00.:20:07.

under the Conservatives because you are not building houses and people

:20:08.:20:08.

are in low paid work. are not building houses and people

:20:09.:20:30.

People with more disabilities are disproportionately housed. To take

:20:31.:20:36.

that protection away from some of the most vulnerable people, that is

:20:37.:20:41.

unjust. What would you do to cut the bill? What needs to be done is a

:20:42.:20:47.

complete evaluation of the affordable housing needs for this

:20:48.:20:52.

country in general. It is estimated we need 1 million more houses by

:20:53.:20:56.

2021 if we're going to make this country's needs. This needs to be

:20:57.:21:01.

part of a whole package of thinking about how people in this country are

:21:02.:21:06.

going to be able to afford homes. Thank you both very much. Now stop

:21:07.:21:10.

it, just stop it. Stop looking at that email when you're meant to be

:21:11.:21:13.

listening to me. Put down that iPhone. You can finish that text

:21:14.:21:18.

later. And checking out your Facebook account can definitely be

:21:19.:21:20.

left until after the programme, because you need to concentrate.

:21:21.:21:23.

left until after the programme, Open, where she offers tips on

:21:24.:21:42.

wading through the deluge of information out there - and which

:21:43.:21:47.

bits to trust. Noreena says studies show that we can only hold seven

:21:48.:21:51.

pieces of information in our minds at once. As much as seven! But we

:21:52.:22:00.

make more than 10,000 decisions every day. And 227 of them are just

:22:01.:22:06.

about food. Yes, that I can understand! Although email can make

:22:07.:22:09.

life easier, it can also be our enemy - last year, more that 200

:22:10.:22:13.

million emails were sent every minute of every day. On average we

:22:14.:22:18.

change windows and check email or other programmes 37 times an hour.

:22:19.:22:22.

That's a lot of interruptions to the working day. And we've also been

:22:23.:22:25.

joined by Tom Cheshire, associate editor of Wired magazine, who has

:22:26.:22:29.

written about what's been called the hyperstimulation of our

:22:30.:22:32.

touchscreen-based lives. Welcome to the Daily Politics.

:22:33.:22:50.

touchscreen-based lives. Welcome to hunter gatherers, and go direct to

:22:51.:22:55.

the source without the spin of politicians or companies, or

:22:56.:22:57.

journalists. That is a huge opportunity that should be embraced.

:22:58.:23:02.

On the other hand, we are drowning in data. It is estimated that one

:23:03.:23:08.

edition of the New York Times has as much information in it as somebody

:23:09.:23:12.

would have been exposed to in their entire lifetime in the 17th century.

:23:13.:23:17.

Technology is racing ahead faster than our bodies are able to evolve

:23:18.:23:23.

and catch up with. There is a challenge. A challenge navigating

:23:24.:23:28.

who to trust, who to believe, what to do. That is what we are not

:23:29.:23:34.

taught about, how to sit -- sift through that information? Exactly.

:23:35.:23:41.

The reason is it is all so new to us.

:23:42.:24:02.

The reason is it is all so new to themselves a little bit. They are

:24:03.:24:04.

slightly less frazzled by it than we are. Generation worry about the

:24:05.:24:10.

amount of screen time, about losing traditional skills in terms of

:24:11.:24:13.

reading and writer with pen and paper. But actually, recently there

:24:14.:24:20.

has been more written about the advantages of having an agile mind

:24:21.:24:23.

able to deal with these electronic gadgets. Do you think there is

:24:24.:24:28.

something in that? Yes, the way the world is going, we will manage

:24:29.:24:38.

things. The default this will always be there. You lose the ability to

:24:39.:24:45.

concentrate and unless you have the stimulation of flickering lights and

:24:46.:24:47.

everything moving quickly, you lose interest. Our

:24:48.:25:09.

had before. That is our generation versus the digital natives, the kids

:25:10.:25:12.

who have been brought up by your son on the iPad, watching telly and text

:25:13.:25:20.

thing at the same time. These kids are probably, and it is too early to

:25:21.:25:25.

know definitively, they may well be developing skills that are about --

:25:26.:25:33.

very useful. Digital natives is a problematic term because they still

:25:34.:25:36.

have to learn their stuff. And they learned mainly from their parents. I

:25:37.:25:40.

think what would be really good is if Peter started bringing digital

:25:41.:25:48.

media into the classroom and teach them best practice. -- people. One

:25:49.:25:55.

thing that I am concerned about is that the kind of research skills

:25:56.:25:59.

that we had are being lost. digital literacy. That is about

:26:00.:26:21.

making the right decisions. If you are trusting one piece, if you are

:26:22.:26:28.

using random reason, then you are not going to make the right decision

:26:29.:26:32.

necessarily when it comes to choosing a hospital or a school, or

:26:33.:26:37.

a new vacuum cleaner. How do you know who to trust? We need to be

:26:38.:26:43.

cautious. Up to a third of online reviews are estimated to be fake,

:26:44.:26:49.

false. We need to be cautious navigating this space. The kind of

:26:50.:26:53.

research skills that journalists are taught, are not what kids are being

:26:54.:26:58.

taught today about how you cooperate material, how you research, how you

:26:59.:27:04.

test whether it is potentially reliable are valid. Are people

:27:05.:27:09.

everything put out there. Everything everything put out there. Everything

:27:10.:27:30.

design lead. It is great people want to do that. Because there is so much

:27:31.:27:36.

out there, people realise that. At least they are getting the

:27:37.:27:40.

information they may not have had in the first place. Do you think there

:27:41.:27:44.

is too much information on things like education when it comes to

:27:45.:27:47.

league tables, when it comes to looking at the performance of

:27:48.:27:50.

doctors and consultants? Is that a good thing? There is a danger we

:27:51.:27:56.

succumb to the cult of the measurable. Not everything can be so

:27:57.:28:11.

easily measured. But I think our opportunity to become more informed,

:28:12.:28:13.

not only through these official channels, but by reaching out on

:28:14.:28:15.

Facebook to your network and asking a question, by sharing symptoms of a

:28:16.:28:18.

rare condition that your doctor has not been able to identify, we have

:28:19.:28:21.

the opportunity to become not been able to identify, we have

:28:22.:28:40.

knowledge. Is that potentially a dangerous thing? Yes, I think it is

:28:41.:28:48.

potentially. It is interesting, this social side of it is really good.

:28:49.:28:55.

Because everybody now has got a specific ailment, they are talking

:28:56.:29:00.

with each other. That is really great. That is not hypochondriacs

:29:01.:29:05.

talking about it. What the social web 's letters do is take the first

:29:06.:29:11.

step on which is pure information. We are still finding our way. Are

:29:12.:29:16.

people at risk of being socially excluded that they are not into all

:29:17.:29:19.

of the social networks, or even some of them? Some people spend so much

:29:20.:29:26.

time on them. Could you be socially excluded if you are not part of the

:29:27.:29:28.

Twitter Facebook Brigade? I excluded if you are not part of the

:29:29.:29:49.

Glasses that Google has created when you can get information. And what I

:29:50.:29:56.

discovered is that I have bad eyesight in my left eye. The glasses

:29:57.:30:01.

on your left eye discriminated against me. I couldn't actually get

:30:02.:30:10.

any of the information. Or will it stop? You -- You may not be on

:30:11.:30:17.

Twitter or Facebook and have dodgy eyesight. If you are not accessing

:30:18.:30:25.

the information, you may be at a disadvantage. Is there anything we

:30:26.:30:30.

can do as the adult generation to cope with the deluge, to try and

:30:31.:30:35.

control it and not get overwhelmed? It is about managing your attention.

:30:36.:30:39.

There is a It is about managing your attention.

:30:40.:30:58.

just being aware of it can help. You can think much should I go in and

:30:59.:31:03.

reply to a rural one and have a fun time? It is a discipline. President

:31:04.:31:12.

Obama told David Cameron that the most useful thing you can do in your

:31:13.:31:15.

day is to actively carve out thinking time. There is the allure

:31:16.:31:19.

of checking your Twitter feed or Facebook, and it is even more

:31:20.:31:24.

important to actively carve out 30 minutes a day to think. I can manage

:31:25.:31:30.

that. Over the years, there have been some

:31:31.:31:34.

classic battles across the dispatch box in the House of Commons. Tony

:31:35.:31:39.

Blair versus Michael Howard, John Prescott versus William Hague, David

:31:40.:31:43.

Cameron versus Gordon Brown. But now there was a new game in town. Look

:31:44.:31:47.

at this, from yesterday's education questions. Can the Secretary of

:31:48.:31:50.

State his GCSE reforms, because he has

:31:51.:32:12.

introduced the soft ego tree of low expectations into our education

:32:13.:32:14.

system. He might have enjoyed studying the works of Jane Austin

:32:15.:32:20.

and Wilfred Owen, but the Education Secretary is denying England's

:32:21.:32:25.

pupils the same access to our great national canon if they only take the

:32:26.:32:30.

English language GCSE. If it was all right at him on at Robert Gordon's

:32:31.:32:35.

College, why is it not okayed the kids in Harlow and Blackpool today?

:32:36.:32:39.

Will he now urgently review the changes doing this GCSE, or will he

:32:40.:32:49.

continue to dumb down our syllabus? Tragically, when I was a student in

:32:50.:32:53.

Aberdeen, I was not able to take English GCSE because I was in

:32:54.:32:57.

Scotland, and GCSEs were not on offer at that time. As they hissed

:32:58.:32:58.

Dorian, it offer at that time. As they hissed

:32:59.:33:20.

be the case that English will not count unless students study both

:33:21.:33:24.

English language and literature, and the English baccalaureate, which he

:33:25.:33:28.

supports, will only be conferred on students if they study both the

:33:29.:33:32.

English-language and English literature. He talks about Jane

:33:33.:33:35.

Austin. One of the tragedies at the moment is that fewer than 1% of

:33:36.:33:40.

students who sit there GCSE actually read a word of Jane Austin. I

:33:41.:33:44.

recommend to him one text of Jane Austin's before he asked another

:33:45.:33:48.

question in this house. Pride And Prejudice. A knowledge of both would

:33:49.:33:52.

help him be a more effective opposition spokesman. Ooh! That was

:33:53.:33:59.

the new shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt, tacking Michael Gove

:34:00.:34:01.

across the dispatch box yesterday. We have been joined by the

:34:02.:34:06.

Guardian's sketch writer and assistant editor, Michael White. How

:34:07.:34:08.

did Tristram Hunt do? He assistant editor, Michael White. How

:34:09.:34:29.

do. He is a drop-dead gorgeous looking fella. I can say that

:34:30.:34:39.

because I am a bloke. I was not the only one who likened him to Mr Darcy

:34:40.:34:42.

after that, but Michael Gove dropped him off at the knees. Jane Austin

:34:43.:34:47.

would have been proud. That was a tough baptism of fire. It was

:34:48.:34:53.

Tristram Hunt's first time. This will be great material for the

:34:54.:34:57.

sketch writer. If you have got Mr Darcy, who is Michael Gove 's some

:34:58.:35:03.

caddish vigour. It was the fellow who ran off with Jane's sister? Took

:35:04.:35:08.

her to Brighton and was forced to make an honest woman of her? Why am

:35:09.:35:13.

I saying this about Michael Gove 's I take it all back. At some more

:35:14.:35:19.

caddish fellow out of the Jane Austin can. We will

:35:20.:35:38.

caddish fellow out of the Jane historian. This guy may have

:35:39.:35:43.

potential. He is bright and energetic and he has come into

:35:44.:35:46.

politics when he could have done less demanding things. He is no

:35:47.:35:50.

friend of mine, but you wish him well. You want politics to be run by

:35:51.:35:56.

people who know what they are doing. Do you think it is enlightening?

:35:57.:36:00.

Would you ever watch this sort of debate? I think Tristram Hunt is a

:36:01.:36:09.

catch for Labour. If Labour is to have a serious chance of winning the

:36:10.:36:14.

next election, it needs these charismatic people we can

:36:15.:36:22.

recognise. And he fits very well. Will he be wounded by that exchange?

:36:23.:36:30.

They are always wounded. If your name

:36:31.:36:30.

They are always wounded. If your to check. What about the language? I

:36:31.:36:50.

was there in the House of Commons to listen to some of this debate. The

:36:51.:36:54.

language was quite emotive. Tristram Hunt said the soft bigotry of low

:36:55.:37:02.

expectations. Sounded poetic. It is a bit ground, but he is trying to

:37:03.:37:05.

throw back at the Tories the charge they constantly make against Labour,

:37:06.:37:10.

which is that they lowered expectationss and had grade

:37:11.:37:13.

inflation and all that. There is enough truth in it to stick, but it

:37:14.:37:17.

is mean, because the whole comprehensive system also raised

:37:18.:37:20.

expectations for a lot of people. I am a grammar school boy myself. It

:37:21.:37:31.

was an attempt to throw back at the Tories some class warfare. It was

:37:32.:37:37.

not the only bit of entertainment in the House of Commons yesterday,

:37:38.:37:40.

because we also had an apology from the

:37:41.:37:40.

because we also had an apology from information. I wish to apologise to

:37:41.:38:02.

the house fully for what was a genuinely inadvertent breach of the

:38:03.:38:05.

rules, which I have sought to comply with. She said the media went nuts

:38:06.:38:13.

over this inadvertent breach. Did they? Lee well, they had a good time

:38:14.:38:25.

from it. Nadine Dorries is good business for sketch writers. I don't

:38:26.:38:31.

want to sound snooty about it, but she is a gift, and she has tripped

:38:32.:38:36.

up. She made a bad mistake. How bad was it? Not declaring a high income

:38:37.:38:43.

of that kind? It was a bad mistake. The public don't like it. Do you

:38:44.:38:48.

think she should have been more humble about it? She said

:38:49.:38:50.

got a line there in the small print, but she was caught out. She loves

:38:51.:39:11.

celebrity, let's not pretend she does not relish it. What did she say

:39:12.:39:16.

about Dave and George? Posh boys who don't know the price of a pint of

:39:17.:39:20.

milk. She said that on this programme. It is a good line, and

:39:21.:39:25.

they will not forgive her for it. Now, there is no Prime Minister's

:39:26.:39:30.

Questions tomorrow, because Parliament is in recess. It is just

:39:31.:39:35.

a short break. MPs will be back in action next Monday. At inevitably,

:39:36.:39:39.

the fact that politicians are heading home early this week raises

:39:40.:39:42.

questions about the amount of holiday MPs get. In a moment, we

:39:43.:39:46.

will discuss what politicians get up to during recess, but first, here is

:39:47.:39:50.

Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail, with his A to Z guide to Parliament.

:39:51.:39:59.

R is for They have several recesses a year.

:40:00.:40:32.

The longer is in the summer, which tends to be about seven weeks. Then

:40:33.:40:36.

they have another for the party conference season. They used to go

:40:37.:40:40.

to the seaside for those. These days, it is more like town centres

:40:41.:40:46.

such as Manchester and Birmingham. Christmas is next, for about three

:40:47.:40:50.

weeks. Then you get a week during February for half term and a couple

:40:51.:40:53.

of weeks for Easter, maybe ten days for the Whit holiday at the end of

:40:54.:40:58.

May, and if you are lucky, a couple of days just before the State

:40:59.:41:01.

Opening of Parliament. It is about 14 weeks in all. Elements may halt,

:41:02.:41:07.

but MPs, as they never tire of telling us,

:41:08.:41:10.

but MPs, as they never tire of government gave very little notice

:41:11.:41:29.

of when the house was going to be in recess. Information was power. The

:41:30.:41:34.

lawmaking process is uncertain, and to let an opposition no far in

:41:35.:41:36.

advance when the house was going to be breaking up gave them an

:41:37.:41:39.

advantage. But the government has become more reasonable now. It

:41:40.:41:45.

allows MPs to get those cheap deals on the package holidays. It is

:41:46.:41:48.

possible for Parliament to be recalled if ministers ask them to do

:41:49.:41:55.

that. This happens every two years. In 2011, after the summer riots, it

:41:56.:42:00.

happened. And it happened after the Falkland Islands were invaded and it

:42:01.:42:03.

happened after 911. One good on about the house not sitting is that

:42:04.:42:06.

it stops those MPs passing too many laws. By the way, if you happen to

:42:07.:42:11.

be in London on holiday yourself and the MPs are on recess, don't worry,

:42:12.:42:14.

you can still go into and have a look around Parliament. Mind you,

:42:15.:42:15.

the place might be a bit deserted. Michael White is ill here. We did

:42:16.:42:38.

not manage to get rid of you after the last item. Peter Bone, what are

:42:39.:42:42.

you going to do with recess? If people come to Parliament tomorrow,

:42:43.:42:45.

they can see me, because I will be working on constituent is Miss. On

:42:46.:42:50.

Thursday, I am meeting constituents in the morning and I have a school

:42:51.:42:54.

visit in the afternoon. On Friday, I have a surgery in the morning and a

:42:55.:42:57.

factory visit in the afternoon and a constituent meetings in the evening.

:42:58.:43:00.

Saturday morning, the listening campaign is out all over

:43:01.:43:05.

Wellingborough, listening to people, talking, shaking hands. On Sunday, I

:43:06.:43:10.

go to church and have a constituency meeting in the afternoon. So I am

:43:11.:43:13.

not sure where the recess is getting in. It is useful for all that

:43:14.:43:21.

constituency work. Yes, there is a need to let MPs get back to their

:43:22.:43:26.

constituency and do the proper job of representing, rather than being

:43:27.:43:27.

stuck in the Westminster bubble, of representing, rather than being

:43:28.:43:46.

quick break to Majorca to take advantage of the winter sun. I don't

:43:47.:43:52.

know anyone doing that. I would say lazy voters deserve to be

:43:53.:43:56.

represented in parliament and have a few lazy MPs. If they were all

:43:57.:44:01.

working like Peter Bone all the time, it would be less interesting.

:44:02.:44:10.

There are some who work all the time. One of them always puts the

:44:11.:44:19.

boot in on MPs despite working all the time. But he is consistent in

:44:20.:44:25.

his criticism. Do you want MPs working all the time, or would you

:44:26.:44:30.

like to hear that sort of schedule from every MP? I would like that

:44:31.:44:34.

level of transparency I now feel I have with your diary. That is the

:44:35.:44:38.

problem. There is a public perception

:44:39.:44:38.

a diary like yours. I don't know about that, but maybe I should

:44:39.:45:05.

tweet. People who tweet, I am just getting on a bus, we have better

:45:06.:45:11.

things to do. But you have to justify that you are doing things.

:45:12.:45:18.

Most people know what they're MPs are like. It is MPs in general that

:45:19.:45:23.

they don't like. How do you get rid of that perception? We do things

:45:24.:45:28.

like this. A lot of stuff is perception. I did not get back to

:45:29.:45:33.

the flat in Westminster until after one o'clock this morning because we

:45:34.:45:36.

sat late and I did some more work afterwards. People see the

:45:37.:45:40.

chancellor on at eight in the morning Intellivision and see a vote

:45:41.:45:43.

at 11 in the evening, and do not put the two things together, but the guy

:45:44.:45:47.

has been working the two things together, but the guy

:45:48.:46:05.

many people, it is a sacrifice. It is a miserable job. Everybody hates

:46:06.:46:10.

you. You used to work as a lawyer in the city and got three times more

:46:11.:46:15.

pay. Do you think David Cameron could not make more than the Prime

:46:16.:46:20.

Minister's salary? They just love it. They are addicted to politics. I

:46:21.:46:27.

am quite addicted to it. Do you think they should do other things,

:46:28.:46:32.

have more rounded MPs? Do more things outside the remit of

:46:33.:46:38.

politics? I am also concerned about, is there enough time to give

:46:39.:46:44.

legislation the due emphasis it has two have with the current structure.

:46:45.:46:53.

I think that is a real concern. Why is the chamber so often empty, or so

:46:54.:46:57.

empty during debates, when Parliament is

:46:58.:47:15.

empty during debates, when are right. Traditionally there were

:47:16.:47:17.

lots of MPs who did not go to education and health debates,

:47:18.:47:20.

because they were more interested in defence and foreign affairs. There

:47:21.:47:26.

are still a few MPs who have a lot of outside interests and do not do

:47:27.:47:30.

the job properly. That is the minority. Yes, you should have other

:47:31.:47:34.

outside interests. I have only been an MP for eight years. I think this

:47:35.:47:39.

parliament is made up of a lot more people who are interested in

:47:40.:47:43.

Parliament. We are beginning to move power back from the executive. The

:47:44.:47:49.

fact that Andrew Tyree is chairman of the select committee, giving

:47:50.:47:57.

bankers a hard time. That is a good thing. The odd thing about TV,

:47:58.:48:03.

voters can see the empty benches and reporters, we stay out of the

:48:04.:48:06.

gallery too, because we can watch it on TV in our

:48:07.:48:07.

gallery too, because we can watch it are doing ten other things. We don't

:48:08.:48:31.

know what they are doing. If you go onto the Parliament channel, you can

:48:32.:48:36.

watch the lot. Giving bankers a hard time in committee is a better use of

:48:37.:48:42.

your time than making speeches. Where does the power life a

:48:43.:48:45.

backbench MP? Is it not worth sitting in on those debates? Is it

:48:46.:48:53.

better to go with trying to quiz vested interest? Michael is quite

:48:54.:48:58.

right. The select committee is really getting hold. Keith Vaz does

:48:59.:49:04.

an excellent job. Quizzing witnesses is a big part of the job. But we

:49:05.:49:08.

still have a long way to go. Parliament is to have more power

:49:09.:49:12.

back from the executive. Happy holiday. Thank you.

:49:13.:49:15.

Now, if you're a fan of That was a clip from the new series

:49:16.:50:06.

of the Danish TV series Borgen, which returns on BBC Four this

:50:07.:50:10.

Saturday night. And we've been joined by the writer of Borgen, Adam

:50:11.:50:23.

Price. I loved it. I absolutely love it. I

:50:24.:50:26.

cant wait I loved it. I absolutely love it. I

:50:27.:50:45.

not travel. They thought perhaps the Swedes and Norwegians would buy it.

:50:46.:50:49.

But that would be it. If you were a commissioning editor, would you

:50:50.:50:54.

consider five years ago buying a Danish drama about politics? Why has

:50:55.:51:03.

it been such a hit here? We are very grateful for the killing for paving

:51:04.:51:08.

the way. Then, I think, the characters. When you scratch the

:51:09.:51:13.

surface of the politics, when you get beneath the Danish coalition

:51:14.:51:17.

politics stuff, then you actually get to something which is a

:51:18.:51:25.

universal thing. The dynamics of power, the mechanics of power. It is

:51:26.:51:30.

pretty much the same. What about the fact that Birgitte Nyborg, the

:51:31.:51:36.

woman, is appealing in her role? Do you

:51:37.:51:56.

we don't consider that particular thing as exotic as you probably do

:51:57.:52:03.

here. No. We have had a female Prime Minister but not that quite recently

:52:04.:52:07.

-- not that recently. People speculated that the Denny 's was

:52:08.:52:14.

elected because of the programme. Do you think that is true? -- Danish

:52:15.:52:23.

Prime Minister. Definitely not. That was a coincidence. One of the things

:52:24.:52:27.

as a criticism is, having watched both series, I got the impression in

:52:28.:52:31.

the end you are saying that women just cannot have it all will stop

:52:32.:52:36.

that actually she became Prime Minister but only because her

:52:37.:52:38.

marriage collapsed and her home life was destroyed, if you like. Is that

:52:39.:52:43.

what you are trying to say? That is the price you have to pay? There

:52:44.:53:04.

what you are trying to say? That is we obviously cannot. The series is

:53:05.:53:06.

about that conflict you have to choose all the time. Sometimes those

:53:07.:53:14.

choices bear consequences. She had been a man, would you have given her

:53:15.:53:19.

the same outcome? It would not have been as painful to watch. We have

:53:20.:53:28.

gotten used to men. Men have 10,000 years of practice of letting down

:53:29.:53:34.

their wives and their families. What can you tell us about what is going

:53:35.:53:40.

to happen in this series? She is no longer Prime Minister. No, she is

:53:41.:53:45.

not. That was the big challenge we gave ourselves. What if she loses

:53:46.:53:51.

the election? That was the first question. Then, we meet are doing

:53:52.:53:55.

something completely different. it first started, that I am going to

:53:56.:54:15.

be a little bit narcissistic year, I used it for a piece. We used

:54:16.:54:22.

Birgitte Nyborg. Do you think that is a good rendition of organ? It is

:54:23.:54:31.

perfect! If you do another series, can I be in it? Very noncommittal!

:54:32.:54:41.

We thought it had so much impact, that it was taken up by Sony people

:54:42.:54:45.

here. I wonder if I am going to be disappointed by this third series? I

:54:46.:54:50.

hope not. We really challenge ourselves and our audience. Has

:54:51.:54:56.

reignited a passion for politics in Denmark? According to a survey, it

:54:57.:55:05.

has. Are you surprised it has taken off the way it has?

:55:06.:55:24.

has. Are you surprised it has taken you have got great stories, people

:55:25.:55:26.

trying to get their bit of power is very intriguing for us as viewers. I

:55:27.:55:31.

am looking forward to watching the box set. What about political drama

:55:32.:55:37.

in the UK? What about some kind of programme you could spearhead here?

:55:38.:55:43.

Well, I am working on a project. That is all I can say. Together with

:55:44.:55:48.

Michael Dobbs. We are having great fun. When will you be able to talk

:55:49.:55:59.

about it? Time will tell. To quote the house of cards, I could not

:56:00.:56:05.

possibly comment. You are definitely not going to do another series of

:56:06.:56:12.

Morgan? No. Morgan has ended now. -- organ. We do

:56:13.:56:35.

Morgan? No. Morgan has ended now. -- of its run? I would much rather

:56:36.:56:41.

ended, hopefully, on a mountaintop, hopefully as good as the series can

:56:42.:56:45.

possibly be, instead of letting it died out. What about the characters?

:56:46.:56:52.

They have hit the big-time in Denmark. The advantage of being

:56:53.:56:56.

Scandinavian is that most people can speak English, so travel, too. What

:56:57.:57:04.

happens to their careers? Some of them are developing international

:57:05.:57:07.

careers. Sidse Babett Knudsen has done several things internationally.

:57:08.:57:13.

Will it put Danish TV or drama ahead? I hope it will go further.

:57:14.:57:25.

There are more shows coming. Despite the fact they do not do much

:57:26.:57:46.

There are more shows coming. Despite teamwork. We have been very

:57:47.:57:50.

influenced by the directors, by the actors, obviously. Sidse Babett

:57:51.:57:55.

Knudsen had a great say in her own part. I did learn a bit of Danish by

:57:56.:58:02.

watching it but I have forgotten it now. There's just time before we go

:58:03.:58:06.

to find out the answer to our quiz. The question was: Who of the

:58:07.:58:09.

following doesn't have a tattoo? Cheryl Cole is got one on her

:58:10.:58:24.

bottom. Samantha Cameron has got one on her ankle. David Dimbleby has a

:58:25.:58:30.

scorpion on his shoulder. So it must be Andrew Neil. I'm not sure I could

:58:31.:58:34.

prove it. be Andrew Neil. I'm not sure I could

:58:35.:58:57.

Thank you very much. Have a good afternoon. Goodbye.

:58:58.:59:03.

Jo Coburn is joined by author and economist Noreena Hertz to discuss the political stories of the day, including an interview with Adam Price, the writer of the Danish drama Borgen.


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