03/12/2013 Daily Politics


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Good afternoon and welcome to the Daily Politics. 5 billion in trade


deals and thousands of jobs as a result, Britain and China now say


the relationship is indispensable, but is massive Chinese investment in


things like HS2 and nuclear energy really in Britain's interest?


George Osborne says the welfare state is no longer affordable, he is


expected uses Autumn Statement on Thursday to show how he plans to


limit the annual welfare bill, but which benefits would be included and


which won't? The UK performance in reading, maths


and science has failed to improve in recent years, the coalition says it


is a verdict on Labour's education record, Labour - surprise surprise -


does not agree. And next year will see the start of


a huge programme of events to mark a century since the outbreak of the


Great War, but is the Government in a muddle about how to handle the


commemoration? All that in the next hour, and with


us for the whole programme today is a man with a CV as long as my arm,


journalist, historian, author, broadcaster, I will stop there, Sir


Max Hastings, welcome to the programme. If you have any thoughts


on anything we are discussing today, you can send them to us. Well, let's


start with China, because David Cameron is on day two of his visit.


Today he has been at a lunch in Shanghai, encouraging businesses to


invest in the UK. The Prime Minister said that Britain and China had deep


complementary economies. Early in the visit he had talked with Premier


Li about co-operation on nuclear power and high-speed rail. Max


Hastings, is this a good idea? I wish the Government did not conduct


foreign policy in lunches and lurchers, in that every nation has


to do business with China, because it is a huge force in the world, but


there is something a bit undignified about the Prime Minister almost


kowtowing in Beijing. If the Government were able to demonstrate


more dignity, I do not believe the headline figure above the 5 billion


trade deal instantly signed. It sounds very optimistic. Most trade


deals with the Chinese, when you study the small print, it says you


will get paid in 2025. He probably had to be there, but one has to suck


with a long spoon because they steal intellectual property, the rule of


law does not exist as we understand it in China, and it is a bit


embarrassing for the Prime Minister that, one week before he sets foot


there to gladhanding the Chinese, the Chinese announce this new air


defence zone towards the Pacific which could seriously leads to a


regional war. How risky is it, then? Taking your point a bit further, we


are asking the Chinese to be involved in nuclear power, a very


sensitive area. A lot of us feel very uneasy about that, but the


Chinese, their record of getting into things, hi-tech things with


Western nations, and then you testified that everything goes one


way to China, and rather less comes our way. I think a lot of us are


very uncomfortable about the Chinese having a strong strategic base.


Isn't that the realpolitik of the world as it stands, that China is


dominant when it comes to economic affairs and the kowtowing that you


talked about is going to be necessary? They need us as


customers, but it is a question of how you play your hand of cards, and


not only with China, but sometimes you feel, are their grown-ups making


foreign policy in Downing Street? Did you sense a difference between


the tone towards Sri Lanka on the issue of human rights and, of


course, the no mention of it in China? Very obviously, because we


want an awful lot out of China! Time for the daily quiz, which is related


to David Cameron's visits to China, but which of these is the odd one


out? Is it London cabs, High Speed Two, Heathrow Airport, or Weetabix?


At the end of the show, we will see of Macs can give us the correct


answer, plenty of time to think about it. The welfare state is no


longer affordable, so says the Chancellor, George Osborne, who is


expected uses Autumn Statement on Thursday to explain how he plans to


control spending on welfare after the next election. In short, it


could mean more cuts to working age benefits, but one thing the


Chancellor will not include in such a cap is spending on the state


pension, but should he? New figures out today from the Office for


National Statistics show a growing income gap between pensioners and


working households. Can a future government afford to protect pension


perks? Ahead of the Autumn Statement on Thursday, George Osborne has


hinted he would like any future Conservative government to introduce


a new cap on welfare spending. This would mean putting permanent limits


on around ?100 billion of public spending, on items such as housing


benefit and some unemployment payments. Welfare payments account


for about a sixth of what the Government spends every year, and


the idea would be to set an annual ceiling for welfare spending every


four years. However, any such cap will not include state pension


payments, which cost a whopping ?74.2 billion in 2001-12 and rising


fast. That is largely thanks to the triple lock, which means that the


basic state pension goes up by the higher figure out of three variables


- the average rise in earnings, inflation or 2.5%. It is an


expensive guarantee, because it is predicted to cost the government ?45


billion over the next 15 years. No party has committed to keeping the


triple lock on pensions at the triple lock on pensions after 2015,


and already Labour and the Liberal Democrats have committed to means


testing winter fuel payments. I am joined now by former social security


Secretary in John Major's government, Peter by pensions expert


Robert Altman. -- Peter Lilley. I want to talk about this welfare


cap, has it been tried before? It is not on show shall -- social


security, but most apartments have a cap, because the Treasury says, we


will set them a total amount, if they start exceeding it, they


secretly know where the bodies of buried, weather is excessive


expenditure, where the cats be made. So now they are applying that logic


to the social security department, the Department of Work and


Pensions, which has a certain rationale to it. Did you think about


it when you were the secretary? No, I was the poacher, not the


gamekeeper, I had previously been in the Treasury. I was carrying out


reforms according to my priorities, rather than having them imposed from


outside. How would it work in practice? Departments have ceilings


on spending, but if you were to do it across the piece, how would that


work in practice? It would mean that every year the department, looking


ahead to the years ahead, would say, we have only got that amount of


money, we have got to tailor benefits and entitlements to fit


within it. Now, of course, if there is suddenly achromatic recession --


a dramatic recession, it would not be possible to keep them to the


limits and it would be exceeded. That also happens in other


departments, if there is suddenly a war, you increase the budget for the


MOD. Would you include housing benefit, a large jug of the bill,


and unemployment payments? Would you spread everything more thinly or


chop something dramatically? As I said, the Treasury is saying, let's


leave that decision as to what to do to the Apartment, they will know


where the cats can be made most easily. -- the Department. It will


force them to come clean on those things, rather than, for example, as


was probably imposed on the Department of Work and Pensions this


time, which spreads the pain evenly but may not have been the best thing


to do. Chances are, governments tend to break their own ceilings, caps,


promises, budgetary rules. What would the penalty be, just a rap on


the hands, explain to Parliament and knew much? Yes, in effect, but it is


a serious penalty to show that you have overspent, the public is very


cautious that we as a whole are overspending, that is why we have a


huge deficit, and they want to see it brought under control. One could


say it would be meaningless in any real terms, and extremely difficult


to keep two. I think all these measures that the Treasury uses to


get a grip of spending are cumulative, they help, but it is a


hugely difficult problem. Has it got out of control, welfare spending? It


has been rising for 50 years, until I became Secretary of State, rising


twice as fast as national income for 50 years. Since then, it has been


under a greater degree of control, but it has been boosted by the


recession. Pensions, let's get onto pensions, because that is a vast


proportion of that particular budget. The discussion is going to


be, should it be included in any cap? You presumably would not want


it in. Well, if you have got a sharp increase in the number of


pensioners, which we do have, and you try to cap spending, and you


have already got the lowest state pension pretty much in the developed


world, certainly one of the lowest in the developed world, then you are


going to be plunging millions of your citizens back into poverty,


which is what we have successfully come out of over the last few years.


And that does not strike me was a very sensible way to run an economy,


you know. When we talk about pension spending, we are not being a king's


ransom for pensioners, we are paying an absolute minimum, so with more


and more pensioners, the sadness is that governments in the past have


not set aside money to pay for what they knew was coming. We are already


increasing the pension age, changing some of the parameters, and in fact


the state pension is going to be cut in the future, but with so many more


people... At the moment, you know, 12 million pensioners, that is going


to significantly increase. Why would you want to stop that kind of


spending? Because it is unaffordable. What would you say? By


and large, where you have a contributory benefits, people know


the terms, it is more or less politically impossible to cut it.


Should it be? We have added these locks, inflation, 2.5%, but that is


not the rules they were paying into it under. You would like to see that


go after 2015? Certainly. Is it affordable to continue the triple


lock posts 2015 so that pensions are paid at that highest rate? Coming


back to the basic point, there is no more money, and I had a conversation


with the mayor of Chicago, who was Obama's chief of staff, and he said


every politician in the Western world except the Governor of North


Dakota, weather is gas for fracking, has the same problem. We


have to reconcile electrics with -- electorates with how we will win the


election. The argument has been that they have had a good recession, that


is a blunt instrument, but compared to working households, somehow they


have not had to deal with the same sort of restrictions that working


households have. Do you agree that it is not affordable to continue, as


is put by politicians, with the rise in pensions? I do not agree. We need


to look at the overall envelope of spending that we have, which is


dedicated to older people, and find different ways of actually slicing


the way we spend the money. For example, we have means tested


benefits. People, we have non-means tested, non-tax benefits, like


winter fuel payments. -- for some people. We are going to save


significant sums by increasing the state pension age and encouraging


older people generally to work longer has to be part of the


solution, but you cannot leave millions of your citizens in poverty


and call yourself a civilised country. And won't that happen? If


you get rid of the triple lock, if you do not keep spending at a


reasonable level, we are all getting older, that is what will happen,


many more people living in poverty. The new when they were paying in


that it would be prevented against inflation, we should keep that


guarantee. -- they knew. But to go up as much as Jennings, even if


inflation is less, is in the present circumstances not affordable. -- as


much as earnings. What about the winter fuel payments? They are not


means tested, should that be done after 2015? There is a perfectly


reasonable case for that, it is obvious, not obvious to me that we


should receive such a benefit. We should not have all these silly


little benefits. Isn't it a knee-jerk idea that we have to feel


sorry for pensioners? It is the next generation who will retire that we


should feel sorry for, because at the moment a lot of older people,


not the poor, but people who have got to be protected, but a lot of


elderly people are much better off than the next generation of going to


be. It is the ones who will retire in ten or 15 years that will be in


terrible trouble. Around the top 20% of current pensioners are reasonably


well off. 80% run pretty low incomes, averaging around ?15,000 a


year. Somebody in work would call that a low income. The state pension


will be around ?7,000 a year, that is it. I agree that the 2.5% figure


is a bit arbitrary, a triple lock with 2.5% does not really make sense


to me, that deciding whether you want earnings or price inflation is


a separate discussion. You can do a double lock or you can say that


pensioners have to take the same earnings increases as people in


work, or you can say we do not care about earnings, let's tie to prices.


What about including pensions in any cap? Ed Balls, the Shadow


Chancellor, talked about the idea and perhaps regretted it could be


brought in? Would you agree with it? You can predict pretty clearly the


number of pensioners and how much they will be paid, you incorporate


that when setting up the cap. It is to stop frightening pensioners that


you do not included. I would not included in the cap for


presentational reasons. Would you included? Yes. So far, on one of the


issues I am always being reminded about by my new rich friends, the


cuts in public spending will come nowhere near avoiding this past


problem looming over our children and grandchildren of facing a


completely unaffordable welfare state. We have to go much further in


the next generation. One of the reasons for having serious doubts


about whether Ed Miliband is fit to govern this country, we should not


believe him until he has come clean about where he will save money with


these huge bills the state is now facing. Thank you both, Ros Altmann


and Peter Lilley. The editor of the Guardian will be appearing before


the Home Affairs Select Committee later to answer questions about the


publication of the Edward Snowden security leaks.


Last month, British spy chiefs were scathing about the impact of the


revelations on national security. Giles is at portcullis house. You


say they were scathing, it was a difference security committee, but


it is the same subject. The head of MI6, M, if you like, said that


Al-Qaeda would be rubbing their hands with glee about the things


that the Guardian published, the Edward Snowden revelations. Alan


Rusbridger will appear before the Home Affairs Select Committee. It is


chairman, Keith Vaz, joins me. What do you want to hear from him? We


will put our questions at the time, but it is very good that Alan


Rusbridger has appeared to come before the committee. Some of the


American newspapers believe we have summoned him and making him do this,


it is an essential part of our enquiry into counter-terrorism, so


even before these revelations the committee wanted to look at these


issues, but what the Guardian has published in the last year is


relevant to the discussions we will have, the idea of public interest as


opposed to the points made by Sir John Sawers and the other head of


the security services when they appear. It does not matter what we


think about the Edward Snowden revelations or what I think, those


people in charge of security were very clear about what damage it had


done. The point often made is, is a newspaper editor the right person to


make those decisions? Presumably you will want to see some kind of CV


justification? These are important questions to be put to Alan


Rusbridger. You are absolutely right. I have read the transcript


and seen the recording of the appearance of the three spy chiefs,


if we can call the matter, before our sister committee, and they are


pretty upset over what has been happening, as our senior members of


the government and others. I don't think it is a party issue, I think


there is a general feeling that questions are to be answered and


that is why we are keen to hear from Alan Rusbridger. He needs the


opportunity, it is a big opportunity for him to put his views forward and


we are glad he is appearing. I wonder whether it has rather


polarised on is Guradianesque, if you like, and wonder how dare the


Government do this? On the other hand, some people might feel the


Guardian has been irresponsible. Have you seen this polarisation? We


do not go in there to do party politics, we ask questions relevant


to our enquiries. We all need to show an interest, we are all


Guardian readers, some of us read it avidly, some of us don't, that is an


interest we will have to declare, just like we all watch the BBC from


time to time. I think questions will be asked of Alan Rusbridger, he is


perfectly capable of dealing with this well and I am sure he will do.


He originally wanted to bring his deputy editor, that he wants to come


alone and I think he will help us with the difficult task of


fashioning a new counterterrorism policy. You can watch it on the BBC,


of course dashed from time to time! What is interesting is that Alan


Rusbridger is coming along to give the evidence about the Edward


Snowden thing, Bagram Greenwald, the journalist who got the information


from Edward Snowden, said recently that they might have stuff in the


can. To a very avid Guardian reader, I am sure, Max Hastings. Did the


Guardian perform a public service? The truth always seems to lie in the


middle. It is a very good newspaper which does many good things, but


over this particular episode, one found Alan Rusbridger's moral


conceit was hard to take. Some of us find that all nations need security


secrets. Allen thinks that no secrets matter and he as editor is


fit to decide what should be published, some can't go along with


that. But what has emerged from the Snowden revelations, although I am


somebody who wishes it did not happen, is that there is more


scrutiny and supervision, because they have been doing things that


many of us will not agree with. Does that in some way to vindicate Alan


Rusbridger's decision, because there are things that we know about that


we would not have before and it might put pressure on the


intelligence services to be more open? I and many people feel


uncomfortable but Allen, without reference to anybody else, has


published a lot of stuff which undoubtedly makes the security of


our society more difficult. The fact that he might have done it for the


good is not relevant. He unloaded a dumper truck are very sensitive


information, including names of people of all shapes and sizes. We


face threats, Al-Qaeda is a threat, it is no good the Guardian


pretending they're not threats. If I have to judge between trust in the


judgment of the intelligence or Alan Rusbridger, by a narrow margin, I


would choose the intelligence services.


Next year will be the centenary of the start of the First World War -


the chance to pay tribute to the fallen. For some, it's an


opportunity to remind ourselves of the futility of war and reflect that


millions of lives from all sides were lost. Others, including our


guest today, Sir Max Hastings, believe that would fail to tell the


whole story, and that far from being a senseless sacrifice, World War I


should be remembered as a conflict which simply had to be won against a


Germany which, at the time, was intent on dominating Europe. But to


what degree should present-day sensitivities influence our view of


the past? David Thompson reports. The war to end all Wars, an horrific


waste of life. Next you, a century later, the chance to give voice to


the millions of mouthful is dead. When we commemorate the centenary of


the start of World War I, what are we remembering? Simply sack --


simpler remembering the sacrifice is, for some, not enough. Perhaps we


should remember what led to war and why they died, even if that trip on


what day sensibilities. The soldiers who gave their lives in world will


-- World War I were anything but victims. The price was


excruciatingly high. And the nature of war on the Western front was


awful. But it was not in vain. There were great strategic reasons to


contain what Germany had in mind at the time. For some, particularly in


Germany, what caused the great War is less important than what adults


medley lead to. What remains is the defining event of the 20th century


for Germany is, of course, the Holocaust. I think that is the


difference. Rather than remembering the dead and worshipping heroes, as


Britain tends to do, Germany looks at the biggest tragedy of mankind,


of human history, and tries to extrapolate from that lessons for


today. The BBC intends to dedicate 2500 hours of programming over the


next four hours to the conflict, including 130 newly commissioned


programmes. Government has set aside ?50 million for projects


commemorating the start of the great War. How will that go down in


Germany? With a degree of bemusement, not least because


Germany, in a way, has given up on its military tradition the Second


World War. The military tradition in Britain, of course, is very strong.


The Germans will look at Britain and see a lot of military pomp, which


will seem a bit alien. Whatever the view of the watching world, for


some, most important is to tell the historical truth. You can't airbrush


history just because the values of the time of history of which we


speak don't coincide with today. That doesn't marry up. You can only


judge it through the prism of that time, the prism of Britain, France


and Germany as they were at that time. Next year, of all years, we


won't forget. We will never forget. But what we choose to remember and


how we remember our past may shine a light on who we are now.


Andrew Murrison is the Special Representative for Great War


Centenary Commemorations, as well as being a defence minister. And our


guest of the day, Sir Max Hastings, also has a particular interest in


this area. He has written a new book about the start of the Great Wall.


Max Hastings, what is your problem with the government's commemoration


programme? The Government has repeatedly used the word


nonjudgemental about the approach it proposes to adopt. I am by no means


the only historian that takes this view very strongly that it is not


enough just to take an awful lot of schoolchildren to France and stand


them in cemeteries and say, gosh, wasn't it awful? Part of a function


of the commemoration - never use the word celebration - is has to be


explaining why it happened. Is that not what you will do? I think this


was not in vain. I think those who went to war in 1914 had a very clear


sense of doing the right thing. The Prime Minister of the day was right


to act as he did when Germany marched through Belgium and


threatened France. We need to understand that full well, which is


not in any way to be jingoistic. That would be inappropriate for the


centenary. That sounds encouraging, because it suggests you have moved


on from the nonjudgemental approach, which means you have


listened about. Have you change? -- have you changed? Wii we debated in


the House of Commons on the 7th of November, there was a surprise in


amount of agreement. Furthermore, the polling data available to us


suggests we are in the right place in terms of public opinion, which is


always reassuring. In terms of sensitivities regarding Germany, how


big a part of the Government's thinking was that? It would be an


extreme irony if after the centenary of this terrible conflict we ended


up in an inn have -- and unhappy place with respect to our


21st-century friends and allies. We have no intention of flag-waving,


being militaristic or jingoistic. One thing I find extraordinary is


that all of us feel an enormous respect for modern Germany, but we


don't have a problem with saying that in 1948 was absolutely right


that we fought the evil of Hitler's Germany. But we sometimes have a


problem with saying that in the First World War it was a problem. I


was speaking to a noted historian, and she said that while the world


will never forgive Hitler, they seem willing to forgive the Kaiser. I


hope the Government's rhetoric for the centenary will say explicitly


that all those who died, and it was a colossal tragedy, a catastrophe,


there was a cause, and if Germany had won the First World War it would


have been almost as ghastly a catastrophe for Europe as if Hitler


had one. Do you accept that description that somehow World War


II sort of dominate people's thoughts about history in the 20th


century, and to some extent has eclipsed the reasons we went to war


in 1914 and what was achieved? This is the difference between Max and


me, I would not conflate the evils of Nazi Germany with... There was no


Holocaust, but Michael Howard has made the point that Germany's


territorial objectives in World War I were not much different from those


of Hitler a generation later. What is hugely ironic if there is no


sense of evil associated with Wilhelmine Germany, as there is with


Hitler. We did not go to war for the Jews, but in 1945, the revelation of


the Holocaust, in the eyes of posterity, it established the evil


of Nazism, and there is nothing comparable in 1918, and this has


made it difficult for people to understand why Wilhelmine Germany


also would have been a very bad force is a tad won in Europe in


1918. Nothing comparable for a very good reason, because Nazi Germany,


national socialism and what happened as a result of it, was the very


quintessence of evil. I would strongly maintain that. In terms of


German attitudes, we have been working very closely with Germany,


Germany is a modern, 21st century state with whom we have the closest


of bonds, and I am interested to explore German thinking on this


matter. They don't want to talk about it at all! They would prefer


not to, but they understand they have to, because all of us,


Britain, France, the former empire, we are going to be talking about it


during the four-year period, and their attitude is surprisingly as is


the case with so much on this centenary. What is missing for you


in these commemorations? To tell people why it happened, to explain


their was a cause. The Blackadder view that it was futile is simply


not true, it was ghastly but not futile. There has been an awful lot


about the trenches, not just the futility of it, although that has


been a major part of teaching and museums' coverage of World War I,


but there was a great sacrifice made for the greater good - has that not


come across more recently? What I would like to see happen on this


centenary, a veteran who had fought in the trenches wrote a very good


book called A Schoolboy Goes To War in 1978, and he encapsulated the


view that should be put across - he said he deplored the idea that the


poets who said it was all futile spoke for his generation. He said, I


and my kind went into the war expecting a heroic adventure and


believing passionately in the justice of our cause. We are merged


bitterly disillusioned about the nature of the adventure but still


believing passionately in the justice of our cause. So you need to


play up the heroic part of it, but it was a necessary but heroic


adventure. Many people feel it was futile, that trench warfare was


pointless, lives lost four inches of territory. I agree with the man that


Max refers to in his extremely good book, and I think he spoke for his


generation, so far as you possibly can speak for a generation. I know


my own grandfather, who was involved in this, felt pretty well the same


way. It was a terrible catastrophe, the title of your book was well


chosen, but we have to accept that it was done for good reason, based


upon the information that was available at the time in the summer


of 1914. I think very few of in positions of power or responsibility


today, faced with the same calculus, would make a difference decision.


Briefly, what difference does it make any modern world, talking about


the righteousness of this walk you Mike Watt will it change or do? If


we are ever going to court about the past, we have got to grow up a bit.


We have this idea that the two world wars belonged to different moral


orders, that the Second World War was an heroic moment and the First


World War was the bad war, and we have to get more grown-up about


that, otherwise all this money being spelt, all the parade and


commemorations will be for nothing unless we can explain to a new


generation what this was about. Thank you very much. How good are


Britain's schools? This morning new international comparisons for maths,


science and reading were published. The so-called PISA rankings are


produced every three years, and last time they came out the UK's showing


was not particularly great. Hywel Griffith is at a school in Cardiff.


Grim reading for Wales, the lowest ranked UK nation according to PISA,


why so bad? That is what I have been asking people, teachers, unions this


morning. The answer is complicated, but some are pointing to decisions


made in the early years of devolution about ten years ago to


get rid of testing, to get rid of league tables, so that some of the


15-year-old who would have taken the tests in Wales last year, it would


have been their first external exam. They would not have been through


that kind of pressure before. Others say the schools do not really aimed


towards PISA, GCSEs are much more important, so the whole ethos is


geared around that set of qualifications instead of taking


PISA seriously. The Welsh government has said the results are


disappointing, they are on top of disappointing results three years


ago. They said they have made curriculum changes as a result of


the bad news three years ago, but of course it could take a decade for


those to work their way through the system. The Conservatives have been


quick to blame Welsh Labour, how much can be pinned on Labour in


Wales? Labour has been in government here since the start of devolution


and the election in 1999, so it is hard for Labour to deny that it has


been in charge of the education of these 15 and 16-year-olds who we are


looking at in terms PISA. However, they do point towards changes they


have made more recently, which they say will eventually be better than


the changes being made now by the coalition in England. There has been


a very recent focus on numeracy and literacy. I think, however, if we


look towards 2015, we are going to hear a lot of arguments between the


coalition parties and Labour over who is doing best, and that is why


the difference between Wales, Scotland, England and Northern


Ireland matters, because this is Labour in government, where they


have been making decisions, and sadly it is the country that is


bottom of the class at the moment. Let's get onto a bit of the blame


game with education Minister Elizabeth Truss and Shadow Education


Secretary in the, welcome to both of you. Since 2000... Why have we not


seem to matter change? I think it is a verdict on the Labour


government's lack of reforms over ten years. There are only 200


academies in place by the time Labour left office, and at the same


time we saw rampant grade inflation over that period, but we did not see


an improvement in performance in the international tests, so what has


happened is a failure to reform. We are now putting in place the


building blocks for form. So a new curriculum, will focus on maths and


science, we are seeing the numbers of students taking those subject


increasing. We are seeing academies having the freedoms they need to


deliver, but the OECD has been very clear that this is too early to


judge this government, that the 2012 test is a verdict on Labour's 13


years in office, which resulted in Nottingham, even though Tony Blair


talked about education, education, education. So in a massive climb for


UK and the individual nations? We have said it will take a decade for


our reforms to come through in full, and that is what we have seen in


Germany and Poland, which did reforms in nearly 2000s. After a


decade of putting in place school autonomy, curriculum reforms, higher


standards, they started to see was old, but the full results took a


decade, and we need much more long-term thinking in education.


There has been too much short-term is in the past, and we have to


recognise children are in school for 13 years, they need time to embed


those reforms, and we need to keep going. We cannot take our foot off


the accelerator. We have been carrying on with our reforms. But


there has been a people, which is what teachers seem to complain


about. There is no doubts that Elizabeth Truss is right, look at


the figures, the timing of when Labour was in power, Labour did not


do anything in terms of improving educational standards. I do not


accept that in terms of the performance in England, we can come


to Wales in a moment, but there is clear evidence that in the early


years of Labour there were great strides forward in literacy and


numeracy, there were very cool levels back in 1987, but if you look


at the detail of the OECD report, we have held our position. It is a


wake-up call for all of us, to look at these reports in detail, and look


at the kind of reforms and messages it gives us, and the message it


gives us is that what we ought to do is follow what is happening in the


countries that are very successful, like any far east, where they have


high standards in maths, and not follow the countries that are


plummeting down the league tables, like Sweden and America, which is,


strangely, the way that the government is reforming the system,


by allowing unqualified teachers, by atomising and fragmenting the


schools system. Instead of giving them autonomy within a framework of


accountability for schools... Sweden is below us on the table. Because


they do not have... I think they have profit-making free schools,


something that some Tories aspire to, and their standards are falling.


What is clear from these OECD results is that you need autonomy


and accountability. Where you have got one and not the other, it does


not work. In Wales, you have taken away accountability through league


tables... So what is the excuse for you? In England we have both


autonomy and accountability, exactly what Germany has achieved. It is too


early, can I just finished? It is too early to see the effect of our


reforms, and the OECD has been very clear that it is too early to see


the effects. We are learning from the far east, we have got a lot of


schools using the Singapore methods, teachers going over to


Shanghai to look at their teaching methods, and we do want to see those


in our schools. Kevin Brennan. The point I was making is that within


the Government's reforms, I cannot see how this is the way forward,


last week a school in Leeds advertised for maths teachers with a


minimum qualification of four GCSEs. How will that leads to improvement?


All the jurisdictions that she says she admires required teachers to be


properly qualified, to have the right pedagogical teaching methods


to be able to teach their subjects, and also do give autonomy to


schools, and I agree on that point, but within a proper framework of


accountability. I accept that she is right, accountability in the Welsh


context, which we talked about earlier, was let slip in early


years. Reforms have been put in place now, they should have been put


in place earlier, and I agree on that point. But these reforms are


going in the wrong direction in relating to allowing us to have


unqualified teachers. All the evidence from PISA... All the


evidence from PISA says unqualified teachers... There are no more


unqualified teachers now than under Labour. And what we are seeing...


That is in the private school system. Keven has just said... The


other point is we have a record number of teachers with goods


degrees thanks to... And actually Labour's Shadow Education Secretary


did say it is the quality of the teaching that counts. Let's look at


where we are as the United Kingdom and England, Scotland and Wales in


the tables. The UK is around 20 and 25, but below as many eurozone


countries. It is not as if we are at the bottom of European countries.


You are right the Far East are at the top, but yesterday a report


showed they are working 13 hours a day. Obviously, they are going to do


much better. Is that what we want? This first, then Kevan. There are


countries in Europe that are succeeding... Italy, generally,


Spain are below us. Poland have looked at the Far East, they have


done things like make core academics a focus of their curriculum for all


students. They have done things like spend more time teaching those


subjects, focused on teacher quality, and they have improved


their results over ten years. Poland has improved its results by one


whole year. What is not to like? Poland is not following the policies


that this government is in relation to free schools, profit-making free


schools, and unqualified teachers. You told me off for interrupting you


and you have not let me have a say. They have not been following the


policy of free schools. Where they have copied that from, profit-making


free schools, unqualified teachers in Sweden, they have plummeted down


the league tables, and the same is true in America, because it is a


race to the bottom, that is what they found in those countries. I do


not think any party can make partisan points out of this... They


try quite hard! All parties of government have failed to grapple


with the enormity, the huge problem that everybody in Britain with half


a brain knows, that the shortcomings of the educational system have a lot


to answer for. We have not mentioned the educational establishment. I


greatly admire Michael Gove, whatever one's quibbles some of


these reforms and their small print, but he is willing to take on the


educational establishment, the people who have been running schools


for 50 years who have abysmally failed. No government until Michael


Gove had the nerve to take on these people. You say abysmally failed,


isn't that just a blanket representation? We have children not


only unemployed but unemployable after leaving school. We need to do


better, no doubt. Over many decades... I remember when I was in


school, Jim Callaghan called for a rate education debate, and I was a


teacher myself in leaky Portakabin classrooms. It has been a long-term


solution, let -- it has been a long-term problem, let's look for


solutions which do not downgrade the teaching profession so much that it


does not even require a qualification. We now have a very


good cohort of teachers, it is under threat from Government policy. Under


Labour, fewer students studied subjects like science and languages


and we diverted into other subjects, students were lied to about the


importance of those subjects. Germany and Poland have a core of


academics subjects, like the English baccalaureate. We have moored


students following those subjects and we have better qualified


teachers. I accept that we are learning from Germany and Poland,


they have given schools greater autonomy. Allah if you are learning


from Germany and Poland, why have you copied Sweden? Thank you both.


With most of the big energy companies announcing


inflation-busting increases to bills this autumn, Ed Miliband has made


much of the political running with his promise of a price freeze.


Yesterday, the Government responded. The Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, went


to the Commons to set out proposals which would lower the impact of


price rises on consumers. We must ensure that the changes we


make maintain the support provided to the most vulnerable, then came


the investment in clean energy and do not have a negative thing capped


and our carbon reduction ambitions -- maintain the investment in clean


energy. We have looked at the cost profile, I can announce proposals


that would reduce the average household bill next year by ?50 on


average. The sum total of everything he has said today, including


spending ?600 million of taxpayers' money and weakening the obligation


on energy companies to deliver energy efficiency is that the energy


companies will still be allowed to put up bills this winter. Does he


really think that is a good deal for consumers? I noticed that she did


not welcome this cut in energy bills for her constituents. Her


constituents will want to know why she was not prepared to welcome it.


For every Labour member who stands up today, we want to know if they


will welcome it for their constituents? We looked at the


energy freeze proposal from the opposition and were very clear that


it would not work. We've only got to ask the Secretary of State what he


has been doing for the last three and a half years. He told people to


wear pullovers. If you work out what people are being offered, it is less


than 90p a week from their energy bills. How does this square up with


the bedroom tax, which will affect a lot of poor people in this country?


This must be one of the most cruel governments we have ever had. He


hiked up energy prices when he was Secretary of State for energy and he


is now trying to keep them at that level. We have heard the same type


of claptrap we heard from the leader of the opposition. Can I tell the


Secretary of State for energy that my constituents want the government


to source the cheapest rather than the greenest energy. Max Hastings,


it has dominated the political debate, the argument over energy and


prices. Has the government neutralise the issue? Not for a


minute, they have no energy policy. In 2010I wrote a newspaper column


saying I thought that David Cameron would bitterly regret turning over


energy policy to the Lib Dems, who see like milk and have no credible


idea at all, including Ed Davey, who is quite unfit to be Energy


Secretary... Except the Conservatives said they were going


to be the most green government in history. I have read in the paper a


couple of days ago that we will be very lucky to get through more than


a couple of winters without interruption to supply. This is


almost criminal negligence on the part of the Government. We are


talking about keeping prices down, in the real world, energy prices


have nowhere to go but up. I am sure it is a huge political problem. Read


milk -- Ed Miliband is responsible... But how would you


persuade the energy companies to invest on the scale desperately


needed as the coal-fired power stations are shutdown unless you


allow them to make profits? Neither party is doing very well, neither


has a credible energy policy. Is it right for David Cameron to say he is


trying to do something to roll back the green levies, even though in


practice it is social progress he is rolling back? Is he right to tackle


it? He had to face the fact that it would cost consumers as well as


Government an enormous amount of money to be, as green as Europe and


successive governments promised. It will make it fantastically difficult


for British industry to compete with the United States. We will have huge


problems. There is a dilemma, but the Lib Dems have never really been


serious. Neither of the two main parties are being serious about


saying to the public, we will have to face difficult dilemmas to keep


the lights on and our laptops going. That is the argument they put


forward having a renewables policy, if you invest properly and pay for


insulation programmes, bills will come down as a result? We will never


produce anything like enough energy to keep the lights on. The Royal


Academy Of Mechanical Engineering produced a fantastic report which I


recommend to everybody coming in to Government. This report was


devastating, about the negligence of politicians about future supply. But


isn't Ed Miliband right to say that whether you like the energy freeze


idea or not, that breaking up the market in that period of time...


That is a different kettle of fish. It is the idea of just a blanket


freeze on prizes... So you agree with the policy... You only get


proper competition with a real range of choice. Thank you.


He is the Conservative MEP who spent nearly half a decade as the deputy


leader of the UK Independence Party, and even stood for the UKIP


leadership twice. Then in 2011, seven years after walking away, he


rejoined the Conservative Party. Happy to be a Tory again? Yes. Happy


for Britain to be a member of the European Union? You must be joking.


He remains a deeply outspoken critic of the EU, and this week the


Conservative MEP has a new book out. It is called Time To Jump and argues


wide the EU should consider -- why the UK should consider quitting the


EU. The cover has the UK depicted as a lobster in a pot of water, why are


you so convinced that boiling point is approaching? We are getting these


major problems like immigration, it is clear to everyone that we are


lacking control of our own borders. Immigration has been a big thing for


many years, why at this particular point? Romanians and Bulgarians


coming in is a big issue. What I argue in my book is for Swiss style


controls. They are able to differentiate between old EU nations


where there is not much of a problem and a new and developing nations


where you will get larger numbers coming through. I would probably


share many of his concerns. I call myself a lifelong European but of


late, I have come to believe that we cannot stay in Europe on any terms.


I don't know what she would say to this, but I was at an Anglo-German


conference where one the of biggest German industrialists spoke very


rationally and said, we all hope Britain will remain within the EU,


but we recognise that it is quite possible that they will go out. You


said, I would like to say to my British friends with the latest


politeness, if you leave, you will find it very cold out there. And


where I find myself in a less comfortable position than you is


that on the one hand I totally agree that the European project has gone


horribly wrong, but I also believe that German industrialist when he


said that when we leave we will have a very tough time. I have been to


Norway, they have the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world.


It is a very small population. It is a different country, you can compare


the EU to Norway? We have the largest financial centre in the


world, we are big globalists. Nine tenths of the growth in the world


will come from outside the EU. White tie ourselves to the EU with red


tape? We employ 1 million Germans, hundreds of thousands of French, I


believe we will negotiate. I don't know anybody that I would call


numerous and sophisticated in the City of London who would... One of


the top asset managers said this. I think the tide is turning. We have


to look at the facts, it is a plus and minus relationship. You can get


a fantastic trade deal, I am on the trade committee of the European


Parliament... You can't guarantee it. We are the largest single


customer, they would be crazy... What is least credible about


everything that UKIP and the Tory right say about Europe is to suggest


that the sun will shine, the weather will get better, the England cricket


team will do brilliantly. In the real, modern world, do you believe


life is that easy? I do. I work with these EA countries like Switzerland


all the time in my work as an MEP. Switzerland is the third-largest


trading partner with the EU, we can get a British option, which I am


calling EA Light, between Norway and Switzerland. What about the


negotiations, they are doomed? There is no way that David Cameron could


ever negotiate a settlement? I supported referendum policy, and


there will be a clear choice between renegotiated in, or negotiated out.


Leave it to the people. Thank you for coming in.


Now to return to the story about the Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger


appearing before a parliamentary committee to answer questions about


whether the newspaper compromise national security. The Guardian has


sent a statement to respond to some of the things that Mack said. They


have said that the Guardian has not published any names and has redacted


and deleted information as appropriate.


I prefer to listen to the heads of the intelligence services and the


Commons select committee. But that is a pretty strong a bottle. They


would say that, wouldn't they? I stick with what I said. Although


there is a real dilemma, and I do not believe that scrutineers


adequate, I believe that there will be more appropriate arbiters of


national security than Alan Rusbridger. Very briefly, the quiz.


And we asked you to pick the odd one out - London cabs, High Speed Two,


Heathrow airport, Weetabix? I presume HS2 is there because they


have been talking about the Chinese building it for us. I think they are


involved in all the other things we mentioned. Thank you for being our


guest of the day. Andrew and I will be back at 11:30am tomorrow with


Prime Minister's Questions. Goodbye.


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