22/11/2013 Daily Politics


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The Co-op scandal takes another twist. Paul Flowers is arrested in


connection with the drug supply investigation. We will discuss the


continuing political fallout. He once hugged the Huskies and said,


vote blue, go green. Now he wants to roll back on the green stuff. Is


David Cameron 's modernising agenda as dead as a parrot? We go


behind-the-scenes of return 's newest local TV channel. It is in


Grimsby. -- Britain 's newest local TV channel. And we discuss the


legacy of John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in Dallas, 50 years ago


today. They always ask, can you remember


where you were when the news of the death of Kennedy came through 50


years ago today? I can. All that is coming up in the next hour, as well


as our regular look at the latest political news from 12:30pm. With


us, the political columnist from the Times. Let's start with the news


that the former chairman of the Co-op bank, Paul Flowers, has been


arrested in Merseyside in connection with the drug supply investigation.


He was filmed by the mail on Sunday which said he was handing over money


for cocaine and discussing buying other hard, illegal drugs, -- drugs.


Last night, the BBC also revealed that he had resigned from the Co-op


group in June because of concerns about his lavish expense claims.


Separately, he was also forced out, we are told, because the banking arm


thought they had doubts about his competency for the job. These


expense claims at the bank followed huge expense claims at a charity he


worked for as well. The Times has splashed on this as well. The


headline, Labour engulfed by Co-op scandal. Although the Conservatives


have been dragged into this a bit as well, because of the historic ties


between Labour and the Co-op in between Co-op people and Labour


people, it is Labour in the front line, isn't it? The Co-op was


cuddly, touchy, Feely and an ethical bank. It is supposed to be less


cut-throat and the nice bank. All the politicians on all sides wanted


to cosy up a bit. Ed Balls facilitated the Britannia deal.


George Osborne also was keen to help the Co-op get a deal with Lloyds.


And to get the 600 odd Lloyds branches to become Co-op branches.


It was a way to get banks out of the banking crisis. We do not deal with


evil bloodsuckers. Exactly. It seems there was an issue of competence at


the top of the Co-op. It was both ethical issues for individuals but


also management questions about how these appointments were made. It is


interesting, you had Labour, Conservative, Lib Dems, all in


favour of this super mutual. They were all doing what they could.


George of -- George Osborne went out of his way. None of them asks


themselves any of the really hard questions about, is this bank


competent enough? What if the chairman like? Does he have banking


experience? Is the balance sheet strong enough to do this? I think


there is a danger, if there is too much mudslinging on either side. If


the Tories tried to pin too much blame on labour, it will backfire.


There are not really party political points to be scored too much on


this. At the moment, the line of the Conservatives is to smear by


association. What they have not yet got is the smoking gun. Or the


smouldering e-mail. These are the smoking guns of the 21st-century.


What they really need to make their case stick is showing some e-mail -


some form of correspondence that that shows that Mr Flowers, Ed Balls


or Ed Miliband - were actually in cahoots over something. No knowledge


of how he resigned as a counsellor. There is a lack of clear evidence.


We would like to know what Reverend Flowers said to Ed Miliband.


Exactly. Another question about the laid-back in a funding crisis with


the falling out of the unions and the co-operative bank. They have a


big overdraft. There are wider questions about that. In the end,


the voters think, these are all politicians smearing each other and


they are all the same. It does combine the Watergate question for


Labour. What did you know and when did you know it? That has not stuck


yet. I do not think it has. What comes to mind with the Conservative


Party bastion of it is all kicking off with MPs squaring up to each


other. -- Conservative Party? It is said the Tories should revive the


National Liberal party and encourage sitting MPs to sign up. It is about


attracting liberal minded voters before the next election. Greg


Barker and Nick Hurd have said he was right to ask tough questions.


Other Tory MPs are fighting back. Stuart Jackson said, it is about the


tribe. Peter bone oppose the idea of a second party, endorsing


Conservative candidates, so he can stand on the joint UKIP Tory ticket.


Not very useful. How well David Cameron break up the fight? The


Prime Minister is siding with antimodern eyes is at this stage. He


might have one time said, vote blue and go green. He did say that. A


senior Tory source has told the paper is David Cameron wants to cut


the green crap. Which approach with win the Tories more seats in 2015? I


am joined by the director of the think tank, bright blue. And by a


UKIP supporter. It is a long way to go. Ryan, I guess you agree with


Nick Bowles. This is an impression that modernisers are somehow


obsessed with gay marriage and huskies. -- Nick Boles. Nick Boles


will say yes, let's have a tough line on immigration and a referendum


on the EU. A lot of people out there are sceptical. Younger voters and


people outside the southern heartlands. Ethnic minority voters.


We need something for them. Things like international develop and gay


marriage. This can be very appealing to voters. Let's have a broad offer.


It is trying to strengthen conservatism. Nick Boles reminds me


of a trendy new vicar. He strips out all the pews and puts in rave drapes


on the walls and holds raves in the names. He wonders why, despite the


best efforts, young people hate the church. They have jettisoned all the


old principles and all the things that might have made them


worthwhile. That is a good analogy, I think. We were just let that hang


on the wall. What is the answer to this point? Nick Boles said that the


Conservative Party is thought of by the Young as the party of the rich.


He seems to think this is a presentational problem. It is about


be our team. As it stands, it is the party of the rich. Nick Boles is


very much part of this... He is certainly a minor aristocrat.


Nothing is worse in Britain than being called a minor aristocrat. Try


and convince me, have a go. It is not about abandoning conservatism.


The problem with the Tory party is there is a perception they are not


in touch with the modern world and they do not stand for people on low


and middle incomes. We need policies which address that. It is not


abandoning Conservative policies. Gay marriage is applying very


special Conservative institution to the issue of gay rights. On helping


the low paid, the biggest policy has been raising the personal tax


allowance. This is what modernisers support. You care strongly about gay


marriage. Young people really do not give a toss about that kind of


thing. They care about jobs, earning a living and having a future. All of


this is being denied them either current modernising policy of money


printing. That is a real issue, rather than a fake issue. No one


cares about gay marriage. Young people do not understand why people


were opposed to it in the past. If we have taken it in our stride as a


society, why make it an issue? Young people wonder why they were not


allowed to marry. There is support across the country, overwhelming


support. Nick Boles is so wrong. The Tories


need to realise they have not won an election at right since 1992. The


modernising in the last election was slightly fudged, I think. It got


confused. If they do become the party of the rich, then they will


never win. They are the party of the oligarchs. The party of people are


people whose houses have been inflated by all of this. -- the


party of the people whose houses have been inflated. They needed to


have done a lot more to counterbalance it and they have. Is


it time to cut green levies? Not all modernisers are from the rich. There


is a whole range of people - people like Robert Halfon, from different


backgrounds and standing for different things. Modernisation is


also about beating this image of it being the party of the rich. That is


a classic lower middle-class Tory issue. Should green levies be cut?


On the green levies, there is all this talk about the dropping of the


green agenda. Lots of things are being done. There is the renewable


heat incentive and nuclear power station for the first time since the


mid-90s. There is the Green Deal and the green investment bank. Lots is


going on. Do not start out as a politician not answering the


question because you grow into it anyway. Should the green levies be


cut? There is a cost of living crisis and people are feeling the


squeeze. It is right the government should be looking at how you should


support people on very low incomes with bills. They are looking at


other ways to support green energy. They are looking at maybe putting it


into general taxation. There are alternative ways to do this. It is


the case that renewable energy should be supported. Do it in a way


that is fair and make sense. You are sounding like a member of the Tory


Cabinet. Of course the green levies should be cut. That is one of the


main reasons why we are having this cost of living crisis. Energy bills


are being inflated by lunatic green policies which have been endorsed by


David Cameron, in succession to Ed Miliband. The reason we should be


doing this is there is no issue. Why vote for someone where they all have


the same problem? It may be right or wrong in terms of substance but is


it not quite clear in the Tory leadership, as they look back at


2010 and say they fought modernising agenda and did not win the election,


which they hate people to point out, and they are moving towards what you


would call the right. They are moving towards traditional routes


because their polling suggests that is the way to get more votes.


Successive Tory leaders tried that strategy and it hasn't worked. David


Cameron's authentic message was that he was going to be a different kind


of Conservative. He was going to appeal to a wider range of people...


It was all PR driven, wasn't it? You question whether what kind of a


leader is he? There is a lack of authenticity about where he is going


now. He vote for Ed Miliband's climate change? Exactly. He is


riding with huskies. If his attitude and the Tory Party's


is on the defensive, w don't you join the Tories and drag them your


way? I like to think of UKIP as the equivalent of the Tea Party. It is


the conscience of the Conservative Party. It is like the Tory Party in


exile and its job is to remind the Tory Party that there is this


massive constituency of voters who would like lower taxes and less


regulation and smaller energy bills. The Republicans winning in Florida


and the Republicans won in New Jersey? It is not the pertected


model -- perfect model. All parties are coalitions and you are only


going to win if you are coalition to more of the centre and if you become


a coalition to the right, they will not win. So far they have not won


anything they have done. You two go and have a chat! I can see a meeting


of minds at some stage. I can convince them. When his frontal


lobes develop. Thanks. Next week the first of a new


breed of local TV stations starts broadcasting in Grimsby. Funded by


advertising, sponsorship and a commercial agreement with the BBC,


the new channels will feature local news, sport, culture and,


entertainment and they will be available on Freeview Channel A.


That's a good position to be on on the electronic programme guide. The


new stations were dreamt up by Jeremy Hunt because he is with the


NHS. He saw them as a way of strengthening local democracy. Was


he right? Giles has been to Grimsby for a look behind the scenes of


Estuary TV. Behind all the glitz and fanfare, in


an office in Grimsby institute, the town's university, three staff at


Estuary TV that launches next Tuesday, the first of a new batch of


licensed stations delivering the Government's local TV policy putting


the final touches to their programmes and promos forhe viewers.


Wow, excited. I know! I should think so too.


Excited they are and if why is daunted, there is eight full-time


staff, but one suspects an anticipated and very needed army of


volunteers. There is a busy schedule to fill. They will offer news,


sport, culture and politics in a non for profit community station for the


Humber region. But this kind of US-style local TV is an idea that's


been tried before in the UK and failed. Why might it be different


this time? There will be interaction in terms of people working for the


station, people volunteering to make programmes, but young people coming


here to train and learn their craft. It is important to stress that, you


know, we can't be complacent. We really want to give local TV a great


launch, and a following wind, but it is important everyone involved in


local television works hard to make it happen.


That's it from Estuary TV news. Join us again tomorrow evening at 5.40pm.


Until then, from all of us, goodbye. So that's the programme that goes


out every day, clearly you think there is a market for this? I think


there is a market. For instance, through our Facebook page we had a


local school group say we are celebrating tenth birthday. Come and


film us. It was the first request, we have been along, but to turn it


on its head, we gave the camera to the children. We let them film and


do the interviews. There is that level of it is not waving


camcorder-style. What do you like doing out of school? I like really


playing. We have put it together as one of the first packages to go out.


Things like that make us a bit different. And we're watching


Estuary TV. Believe me, the peculiarities of


doing a television report about the launch of a television station are


not lost on me, but television is changing. What people watch, who is


watching it and how they watch it is changing out of all proportion and


maybe that's why the Government thought it was time to have another


go at this local TV idea where it failed in the past and you get the


sense that people doing it think it is a good time. They know it will be


hard work. They know there is no guarantees of success, but it is not


inevitable that they will fail. We are joined by Ed Hall, the Chief


Executive of Comux. They are the company responsible for the


infrastructure which will beam the new TV channels to your homes.


Welcome. Thank you. How do you pronounce it? Comux. As


in multiplex. I understand you have admitted that many examples over the


last 20 years have shown the business model for local TV didn't


stack up. Why is this different? It is dramatically different. These


channels are going to appear on Channel eight on Freeview. In the


past, they were in very difficult places to find. So most TVs didn't


pick them up and they were difficult to measure. So one station here, one


station there, they didn't have an awed cens that was measured that


they could sell. This time, 12 million, more than 12 million homes


will have a new channel eight. You have created a commodity that can be


sold properly. Are they only on for a couple of


hours a day? You have various plans. Will they need to be advertising


funded? They are advertiser funded. They have relaxations from Ofcom.


The BBC has been forced, I think, to chip in ?40 million, isn't it? The


BBC has enjoyed investing in local Television. Really? Who are you


speaking to at the BBC? The BBC Trust. There is a warm


relationship... Ah, the Trust. A warm relationship? You were talking


about Estuary TV. There are people that worked in that newsroom, that


are already working and have been working for the BBC for a loum.


There are established relationships. Presumably the ads that the stations


will go for will be different from the ads that will run on ITV or Sky


or Channel 4? I mean, that will be up to the local stations to decide.


They would be very local, would they? We can see people talking


about local advertising, but also they are effectively a national


network as well. So they will benefit from that too. What do you


think of this, Rachel? I am sceptical that it will transform


local democracy. The biggest threat, you will get ended free sheets from


the council. I am not sure this is the solution. People sort of in the


Twitter ageks social media, is a much more gal tarian way of people


communicating with each other locally. It seems a bit artificial


to create the stations. I have not heard anyone stay that the launch of


a local television will be a sudden earthquake in local democracy, we


are talking about 19 new newsrooms up and down the country with new


journalists. As of today, there are hundreds of Andrew Neils applying


for jobs! The viewers have just gone... That's the generation. We


are a generation. We started our careers in local radio, or local


newspapers and that's dried up and this opens that up. These newsrooms


aren't going to be full of Oxbridge graduates and these will be demock


ra ra tising. John F Kennedy was assassinated 50


years ago at 12. 30 local time. What is the Kennedy legacy? Did he change


things? Can any of today's politicians hold such an iconic role


in the world? Here is look back on the presidency like no other.


Ask not what your country can do for you, can what you can do for your


country. # I heard there was a secret call #


We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things. Not


because they are easy, but because they are hard.


NEWSREEL: Within the past week, unmistakable evidence established


the fact that a series of offensive sites is now in preparation on that


imprisoned island. Today, in the world of freedom, the


proudest boost is... Mrs Kennedy is presented with a bouquet of red


roses. The streets are lined with spectators waiting for their chance


to see the president. It appears as if something happened in the


motorcade group. I repeat, something has happened in the motorcade group.


The President was hit in the head. That's an unconfirmed report that


the president was hit in the head. From Dallas Texas, the flash


apparently official, President Kennedy died at 1pm Central Standard


Time. 2pm Eastern Standard Time, some 38 memberships ago.


-- minutes ago. And the last image of these power


pictures was the President's young son saluting his father's coffin.


Welcome to both of you. Aren't these pictures incredibly powerful. I


remember the day myself when it came through and it was early evening


news on the BBC at the time. If one wants to cut away from the emotion


though and 50 years later, the reason we are talking about him


today is because he died when he did. Yes. If he had survived his


presidency was in trouble. It wasn't sure he was going to be re-elected


and most of the 21 major Bills he was trying to get through Congress


were getting nowhere? That's right and his untimely death puts him


outside history doesn't it? You can ask yourself of Tony Blair if he


died two years in, what would we be saying about him now? I don't think


it is just that. I think he was a brilliant speech maker who spoke for


a whole nation and he did capture, he had had that sense of a new


generation and we didn't have time to be disappointed in him, but he


did capture something important about that particular time in


history. We didn't have time to be dus appointed in him, but also,


unlike today, we didn't know everything about him? That's right.


We didn't write about his father being a bootlegger. We the didn't


know he was a serial philanderer and all that would have come out today?


That's right. The important thing about JFK was the new generation. I


did a bit of homework as you can imagine here facing you! It is


always a good idea? He was the first American president to be born in the


20th century. Y.. A post-war generation? For various reasons


apart for his personal charisma, he would be remembered and he did


inspire people with a fresh sense of optimism when he became president in


1960. The terrible pain is that it was his death, and particularly the


manner of his death, that unleashed all lease changes which allowed


President Johnson to get the civil rights bills through, the tax


cutting bills, to begin the big society. Kennedy had wanted to do a


fair bit of that but Johnson went much further. That is a very good


point. We will never know what would have happened. The point raised by


Kwasi Kwarteng is very important. He had a real experience of the war and


a horror of war. He talked about the tyranny of struggle against disease


and war. The career politician of today does not quite have the


real-life career behind them. He was a great friend of Britain. He had a


very anti-British, Irish father, who had actually told Roosevelt, they


get Britain. JFK was very pro-this country. It is good to contrast him


with his father. Somehow he managed to project a kind of innocence, if


you like. We know that his private life was chequered and all the rest


of it. He projected an optimism and innocence. He was a great friend of


Britain. We saw clips of him in Germany. He was a Cold War warrior.


He touched people beyond America. Don't you think it is that which


politicians now can learn from? There is a danger in going down the


route of fear and smear is we were talking about earlier. That was


President Obama. He got a second term. Absolutely. I think if JFK had


a second term, I think he would have got into a lot of the difficulties


that Obama hands. He was always a little bit equivocal on civil


rights. He needed the Southern Democrats. We would have seen how


far he would have gone. Where he was not equivocal was on the subject of


Cold War. He believed it could be contained. The Cuban missile crisis,


the days of lonely struggle with his brother against military advisers,


that was his seminal moment. It was important. It changed the view of


the world. This was a global issue. Actually, the legacy of that in


terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, that was huge. People seem


to forget he fought the 1960 election against Mr Nixon. He said


there was a missile gap and America had to build more missiles. Turns


out he was totally wrong. The one thing that comes through is the


eloquence of the man, the authority of the man. Even when you know


everything, it is hard to stop thinking, that is a decent person.


Politics is about leadership and charisma. I go back to the point I


was making. If it gets down to the lowest common denominator smear and


counterclaim, everyone gets buried in the jungle. The leaders who win


rise above it. They are authentic. We are going to have to leave it


there. I could talk with you for the next three hours. We might still


have some viewers if we did. Coming up... A regular look at what has


been going on in the European arena. Now it is time to say goodbye to my


guest of the day, Rachel is a vest. We are going to be focusing on


Europe and discussing the EU budget and joining the European Union. Here


is our guide from the latest in Europe in just 60 seconds. EU


governments agreed to the European Commission plan to delay the auction


of the next round of permits for the emissions trading scheme. The aim is


to push up the price of the permit and encourage low carbon energy.


MEPs voted overwhelmingly for the European Parliament to be given the


right to decide where it is based. It is a victory for the single-seat


campaign, he wants to scrap the Strasbourg parliament and make


Brussels the official seat. The Spanish ambassador was summoned to


the Foreign Office to explain why a Spanish survey ship entered


territorial waters and defied orders to leave from the Royal Navy for 22


hours. The European Parliament committee for economic and monetary


affairs backed a proposal to give every EU citizens the right to have


a basic bank account with a debit card. MEPs voted in favour of a new


40% target for the number of women on company boards. Backed by a


threat to dissolve companies that do not meet the quota. With us now for


the next 30 minutes, I am joined by Gerard Batten and the leader of the


Labour only members of the European Parliament. This is about 40% target


of number of women. Would it be compulsory for companies to have 40%


women? That is what the report said. However, we think legislation


should be the last resort. It is ridiculous that most companies do


not have enough women. 20% on the FTSE 100 companies have women on the


board. All the reports show that when women are on billboards, it


could be better. Do you think in the end it would have to be compulsory?


It does not work on a voluntary capacity. Putting aside the pros and


cons for doing this, what has it got to do with Europe? I thought you


might ask that. If this is about big companies and many of those big


companies have subsidiaries all over Europe... The boards are based in


London or Paris. It is a problem across Europe. I would prefer the


government to tackle this will stop if not, it has to be done at


European level. Women are fed up with it. I assume this is a red rag


to a bull. I had 30 years working in the commercial well before I was


elected to anything. I had women bosses. There was never a shortage


of women going in for positions and they got them on merit. Businesses


want to be successful. The reason why there are always women is


because they are too stupid? Maybe they are not applying for the jobs


for other reasons. If you are elevated to that position, it is


very long hours and very arduous and lots of men do not want to it. You


could argue for and against. It is interesting you said, I wish the


national government would do it. We elect that government and there is a


debate. If the government that we elect do not do it, we in Europe


will do it anyway. Something has to be done. Women are fed up. It is


difficult for UKIP to say they have no women any peas. Do they have


none? They have no women MEPs. We had two and they resigned. Godfrey


has a particular sense of humour. You must not take it too literally.


I am sure you met him. I realise I made a big mistake going there. Is


this going to happen? I do not think so. We are coming up to European


election and I do not think we are going to get that far. You also want


to impose Draconian measures. One of them is dissolving the company. This


is what the EU is good at, destroying jobs. It is about sending


a message to these companies. We will see what happens. Remember when


David Cameron wanted to force cuts on the European budget in February.


The Prime Minister said, the British public can be proud that we have cut


the seven-year credit card limit for the European Union for the first


time ever. It has taken a toll now. It will be finally ratified. Months


of hard bargaining ended. The seven-year budget has been


approved. It is a 3.5% cut in EU spending. The cuts particularly


affect EU spending on European polar regions. This is called cohesion.


Major transnational infrastructure projects, help for poorer regions


and agricultural subsidies remain the largest area of EU spending. The


budget is equivalent to 1% of the 28 member states gross national income.


The ratification of the budget has been welcomed by the chief


negotiator of the European Parliament. It has provided


stability within the EU. There seems to have been a certain amount of


fudge. As the European Parliament we accepted the level that the council


decided. Because that level is so long, longer than previous years, we


tried to make it more operational by introducing more flexibility and


introducing the possibility to have a revision in 2016 and by avoiding


some payment of the previous periods should be transferred to the next


period. We asked for more payment in 2013. That makes it the framework


notwithstanding it. It can work and can permit the European Union.


Earlier this week, this man was elected the leader in the European


Parliament. I was expecting you to congratulate me. I happy with the


3.5% cut? This is the first time ever we have seen a cut with the EU


budget overall. Both with the Parliament, the commission and


Parliament asking for an increase. The commission asked for a slight


increase and the Parliament a bigger one. What we have now done is set a


precedent. This is the first ever cut of an EU budget, whether it is


the seven-year budget for the annual budget. It is a great president. We


can carry it on to make sure we are spending money more effectively. Is


it a bit of a fudge? There is a revision clause which will mean a


review of the income resources in 2016. Could it be shut up there? The


Parliament can try, just as they tried today to allay the whole deal.


We know that. A group. That. Hasn't David Cameron done very well rested


Mark there is a slight decrease in the budget. -- done very well? There


is a slight decrease in the budget. Some other measures that were voted


on yesterday had, at current prices. As we go through the next seven


years, those prices will increase due to inflation so they will be


coming back and asking for more money. I think we should have done


more. I would like to see more taken from the CHP and put into


innovation. -- CAP. Tony Blair made an attempt to negotiate part of the


rebate in returned for -- in return for improved agricultural policy. It


failed. My understanding is it has also come down as a percentage of


overall EU spending. It has. It is only 1.5% of GDP and 40% of the


budget. It is ridiculous. We need to prioritise that. If we joined in


1957, this would not have happened. This is a whole other discussion.


Are you concerned that some of the poorer areas of the EU look like the


ones to take the brunt of the reduction? It is concerning. In


these to be fair and equitable. Some of the Portuguese say we do not


support them on this. I would like them to use that money in a


different way to make sure the country is growing. The funny thing


about the Common agricultural policy is it is not agreed a cross-party.


-- it is agreed across the parties. When Mr Cameron goes to Brussels, is


agricultural policy - is it one area he should aim to repatriate back to


Westminster? The Government is saying let's look


at these different areas, but there are many loud voices over here


saying we have to repatriate part of agriculture. What are you going to


do as leader now of this unruly mob? It is funny when you become a


leader, other leaders congratulated me and some said you will enjoy it


for a couple of days and then you have got to get on with the work and


enjoy the poisoned cal lass. What's the gsh What's the plan? People are


talking about EU immigration. And people are worried about welfare.


People are worried about it, but it doesn't mean there is anything you


can do? This is one of the things, can we be cleverer? You have to


protect your own national interests and you can't do this. We cannot


stop these people coming. A referendum has been promised. While


we are in the EU, you know, if you want to leave, what happens is we


have to say, what can we do while we are here now? The answer to that in


January next year, the Government and the Conservative Party can do


nothing about giving another 29 billion people the right to turn up.


That's what you are saying and that's true. This is why we have to


leave the European Union. Richard Ashworth was a europhile. How would


we classify you? You have to wait and see. People always try and


pigeon hole me. I would assume you are the one who knows best. How


would we classify you? I am sceptical of the current European


project. In 2005 when I was elected people talked about creating a


United States of Europe and it don't want to see that. If if there was no


renegotiation, if it was the choice between the status quo of our


membership now and getting out, how would you vote? If there was a


referendum tomorrow, no change. I would be tempted to vote to leave.


That's why I think we have renegotiate. How high would the


temptation be? Seven or eight. I would be tempted to vote. That's why


we need a renegotiation. No one is going to renegotiate. Mr


Barroso said it. Well, he won't be around. We can conclude he is not


Richard Ashworth? Absolutely. Perhaps the only thing more


frustrating been having your travel plans disrupted by an airline, when


it comes to the way airlines deal with delays or passengers who have


been bumped off because the flight as been overbooked. How will new


proposed plans come to pass? Personal story, I was flying back to


London from Amsterdam a few weeks ago with KLM, I was told my flight


was overbooked and I wouldn't be going anywhere until the following


morning. I wasn't best pleased, but when I went to the customer services


desk, there were passengers from all over Europe who were stuck. Every


flight you travel on is over booked and it is not an accident. It is the


company policy of almost every major European airline. Usually people


think it is a one off occurrence, it just happened. It is not. On


particularly on busy routes, you find it quite a bit. So for me, it


is a bigger problem than is admitted by the airlines and it is a bigger


problem than the travelling public understand.


It is not just over booking and it is not just KLM who declined to give


us an interview. Airline policies on delays, and cancellation are in the


sights of European Parliament and the commission. They are in the


process of strengthening EU regulation 261. It is supposed to


safeguard passengers' rights, about you Brian and his colleagues fear it


is barely worth the paper it is written on. The airlines have driven


a coach and horses through the legislation and the reason why we


are looking at the regulation again is because the regulation has been


abused by the airlines to the detriment of the travelling public.


As you might expect, the airline industry doesn't quite see it like


that. Their European trade body does accept the rules will change, it is


a question of by how much? Please don't make those rules so


strict that you cripple the industry and ultimately harm the interests of


the passenger which could actually happen if the rules are so strict


that we are heavily burdened with them and acceptable compromise will


be difficult to reach. Having said that, the commission proposal is


really pretty fair and balanced as far as we're concerned. Which is why


MEPs think the commission's plan to enforce the existing rules rather


than add to them is lame. I don't think they go anywhere near far


enough. The commission has failed to recognise 261 is about passenger


rights, not airline rights The timetable to get it through is


tight. It has to be signed of by the Parliament, the commission and the


Council of Ministers and that worries consumers groups We would


support the European Parliament approach. We are much more concerned


about the council position, with the member states, with the Governments


because they seem to wish to water down the protection that would be


granted to air passengers. We see there is inference of the airline


companies to member states. The reform maybe on the runway, but it


is not certain to takeoff, in Europe, as with flights, change can


be subject to delay, re-routing and cancellation.


His flight back was delayed! Have you ever been bumped? It is


something what happens regularly. What about yourself? I haven't,


Andrew. In America, when you get bumped, they have a bidding war.


They say, if you don't take this flight, we will give you $500 and


start at $50 and it goes up to ?500. Do they do that in Europe? I was on


a flight where someone as bumped off and they were offered compensation


and another flight. Are the changes going to make a difference? Well,


they could be stronger. This is about passengers rights and it is


important and it is something that that is Europe-wide. This is one of


the benefits of being part of the EU. Is this something that would


have to be tackled by the EU? They should be done properly by


inter-governmental agreements so national governments can agree these


things across borders and that's what used to happen. I don't see why


are that couldn't happen in the future. Will you be voting for this?


No, we will abstain. We never vote for more EU legislation as a matter


of principle. What we did in October when there was a directive before


the Parliament to increase pilots hours and health and safety is as


far more important and we were the only party to oppose that. Is that


right to vote for increased pilots hours? Well, this was about


Europe-wide and it meant that member States could do better than that if


they wanted to. It didn't stop member states from improving that


position. It created a minimum standard. We had strong


representation from the unions. It was not something they felt... The


pilots union is strong and sets standard. If you seen the


documentaries about the long hours that pilots work and the bad


conditions they sleep in when they are not flying. There was a story


that two fell asleep at the same time? There is no point if doing


this if you abstain. We voted against that motion. Let's move on


because Albania is waiting in the wings. It looks like Macedonia is


further ahead in the queue. Iceland are not really bothered anymore and


Ukraine said they are not interested. They are still over the


moon in zag Zagreb. How does a country join the EU? Here is Adam


with his latest of the A to Z of Europe.


How do you get into the EU? I've come to mini Europe in brust les to


find out. -- Brussels to find out. First a country has to fit


fundamental criteria, they were written in Copenhagen in the 1990s,


the country has to have respect for law, a fully functioning market


economy. If a country broadly measures up it


becomes a candidate and then it is put under the magifying glass with


the EU telling it what reforms have to be made. Finally, there is a


treaty. All of this takes ages. Just ask the ambassador for the most


recent arrival, Croatia. It started in 2000 when there was an opening


towards the EU prospective of Croatia. Our formal application to


become a member was sub smitted in -- submitted in 2003, the


negotiations started in 2005 and ended in 2011 and we entered the


union in 2013. I would say, it was 13 years of hard work and personal


sacrifice, but in our case, 13 ended up being a lucky number.


Inevitably, politics come into it. For example, EU officials wanted to


delay the accession of Greece, but they were overruled by the


politicians. The expansion into Eastern Europe in the early 2000s


was champ beyond by -- championed by Britain and others weren't


welcoming. While we are now potentially ambling towards the


exit, there are plenty of countries who would love a spot in mini Europe


like Albania. At the end of the process, we will see we have


transformed ourselves, our standards of living. We will see that our


industries and the other sectors of the economies, they will have, they


will be better placed to benefit from the possibilities that the


single market, the European single market offers to them. Some people


say enlargement is the EU's most successful foreign policy because


the lure of membership encourages countries to develop. Others fear


that Europe is becoming quite the opposite of this place. Far too big.


I would love to go there. Who would you love to see come in next? Serbia


is a good candidate and if it brings peace and stability to these


countries and good governance. Is it fit for purpose? We have to make


sure it is before we consider it joining in.


I don't mind who comes in, as long as we can leave first. They can take


our place! It is significant that Ukraine which looked like was moving


towards Europe, I would suggest Moscow is putting the heavies on it?


It sounds like it, yes. They were concerned about it in Moscow. It is


a shame. They have put the frighteners on it to do with trade


if they join. And energy as well. Quite a lot of countries who joined


in the past weren't fit to join. The whole thing was fudged because the


EU's motto ought to be wider and wider shall our bounds be set. That


was British policy. It is called the union now, not the European Union in


the treaty and I have been to meetings where they talk about


long-term African countries. Every year, it is not ridiculous. We had


Croatia. We could take the 13 colonies back. I feel that's their


long-term objective. You have got Turkey lined up and Croatia came in


and long-term... That's a long way away. It is. If you get your way, we


will be out? I houp so. -- hope so. That's to my guests. That's it for


now. Bye-bye.


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