16/12/2013 Daily Politics


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Good afternoon, welcome to the Daily Politics. Waging war on modern-day


slavery, the Government has published plans for tougher


sanctions to tackle slavery and human trafficking. To tackle slavery


and human trafficking. Tourism a has vowed to make eradicating the


practice her personal priority. A report by the BBC into payoffs into


senior managers... The Public Accounts Committee report says the


corporation put its reputation at risk. Will another runway at


Heathrow get liftoff? The Airports Commission is due to publish its


recommendations tomorrow. And Christmas cheer is here, what


political book would you like to find in your Christmas stocking?


All that in the next hour, and with us for the first half of the


programme today is political strategist, for the first half of


the programme today is political strategist, former ad buyers to Tony


Blair, amongst others, John McTernan, welcome to the programme.


Now, we are in festive spirits today, we have even blown what is


left of our amazingly large budget not on a Christmas tree, but we have


got Christmassy music. First of all today, let's talk about politics,


how is Ed Miliband doing? I think he is dull setting the national


conversation, and he has been doing that since his party conference


speech. -- still. David Cameron and Number Ten are spooked. Ed is doing


something on housing today, I do not think the Tories know what to do


about that. The Central Office responses that Labour presided over


the worst recession in 100 years, but it is hard to blame Ed Miliband


for that, he and Ed Balls did not sell mortgages to Americans who


could not afford to pay them. What you have seen is Ed starting to


perform as well as the party, there has been a like between him and the


party in popularity, and he is getting to a place where people


think, actually, this guy might be a Prime Minister. But the polls have


stayed in the same place, steadily ahead but not by a massive margin,


and even with the cost of living crisis, which most people would


argue has set, if you like, the debate, there has not been any


movement in that for Labour? I think that is actually good news for


Labour, they have not got a fluctuating vote, they are backed by


38% of the vote and sticking there, and they are sticking because the


flow in politics is on the right, it is the Tory party and UKIP, that is


where votes are going back and forth. The difficulty for David


Cameron is that every single election in British history has been


won in the centre, even Thatcher won in the centre, and he is tempted to


go to the right to battle UKIP, and every time he does that, he does not


bring you give voters to him, but more centre voters think, maybe Ed


Miliband is the answer. The economy is, as everybody says, the thing to


play for, and on that issue, the polls still indicate that Ed Balls


and Ed Miliband are not trusted. Whatever you say, that link between


saying they spent too much and messed up, public spending was far


too big, that is why we are in the mess, that is the mantra from the


Conservatives, it strikes a chord with many voters. The Obama campaign


faced this even when he was president, and throughout the


election campaign, Mitt Romney polled loads better on the simple


question of who managed the economy better. Obama reframed it, because


they polled better on the question, who would fight hardest for the


middle classes? That is where we are at the moment, a battle of two


frames. If you want to go to the factual one, you have got the Tories


in the lead, but on the, do you understand me, are you on my side?


Ed Miliband is creating space. That is the narrative both parties will


follow, but is one of the reasons that Labour cannot get to 40% is


because Ed Miliband has reached his popularity limit. You say he has


improved, and maybe he has, but he has gone as far as he can in terms


of popularity. Well, the first thing to say is that political parties,


since 2001, have found it virtually impossible to get to 40% of the


vote. The Tories have not done that in 21 years, Labour have not had


more than that in 12 years. The public as a whole standing of


political parties and giving them both more promiscuously to other


parties. 38% looks terrible in historical terms, but it is a solid


group of votes to hold onto. Does Ed want to get more? Of course, he


wants a mandate for the he wants to bring in. Can the Tories get more


than 35%? The fight, in a way, is an awful one between the Tories who,


quite recover, they seem to have peaked, Labour cannot break through


to 40, and we are still waiting for the moment when somebody says, you


know what? Britain could be great again if we did this, and people are


looking for that, the next step in the vision, on either side, if I am


honest. Is Ed Balls a problem or a benefit as far as Labour is


concerned? Should he stay? Everybody needs a bruiser, Ed Balls is a


bruiser. You cannot have a front bench without somebody who is


willing to throw punches. My favourite quote from Clinton's


advisor is, if your business down somebody's throat, they cannot say


bad things about you. -- if your fist is down somebody's throat.


Without him, he would have a blander front bench. Is he clever? Easy a


strategy -- is he a strategist? Yes, he is. Does he get on with Ed


Miliband? In the end, in politics, anybody who goes into politics to


find a friend has been misled. They don't really get on, do they? I


don't know, and I don't care. The point is not to get on, the point is


to work together well. Do they cover different sides of the street? Yes,


could they be better in a harsher economic narrative? Yes, but Ed


Balls is clear that Labour are sticking to the spending plans of


the Tories, and that is a big thing to say. They are bringing together


the kinds of discipline on Labour finances, if they were a government,


that have not been done before. Next year is the testing ground for all


the political teams on all sides, but I think Ed Balls has got the


character for this, and it is hard to imagine who you would replace him


with. Alistair Darling is the one that people talk about, but he is


busy. He is saving the nation! Now, time for our daily quiz, and the


question for today, which fictional spin doctor is sometimes said to


have been based on our guest of the day, John McTernan? Is it Toby


Ziegler from the West Wing, Malcolm Tucker from The Thick Of It,


Borgen's Kasper Juul, right up to date with this quiz, or Bernard from


Yes Minister? In a bit, we will get the correct answer from John.


Something to look forward to! Now, a report into payoffs to senior


managers at the BBC has accused it of cronyism and failing in its duty


to protect public money. The Public Accounts Committee says that the


payments revealed a system of oversight that was dysfunctional and


broken. Some of the BBC bosses past and present were questioned by the


committee back in September. The outgoing director of HR, Lucy


Adams, was asked if she had viewed the additional payments to departing


staff as sweeteners. When you look at the total amounts on severance,


8% of that was spent above contractual... Ms Adams, my question


was, we have been through that, my question was specific. Did you


suggest to HR colleagues that these sort of payments should be viewed by


them as sweeteners? Sweeteners? Yeah. That is a strange term. What


we are talking about is enabling people to leave the business in a


way that minimises disruption, that avoids legal risk, as a shorthand


term possibly, but I do not recognise it. We asked the BBC trust


for an interview, but no-one was available. They issued a statement


that said, we greatly regret that licence fee payers were let down by


this episode, they are untitled to expect that their money is spent


wisely. Since 2009, the Trust has worked successfully to drive down


senior manager pay, and we support Tony Hall's speedy action to impose


a cap on severance payments in the future. That is now limited to


?150,000. With me was the chair of the Public Accounts Committee,


Margaret Hodge, welcome back to the programme. Can we be clear, are you


accusing BBC executive and the Trust of wasting money, or are you saying


they handled it badly? Both. I think that is the truth. I think they


handled the process very badly, and if you had watched the whole of the


hearing, you would have seen that members of the executive would


disagree with each other as to what they knew, how and when, and members


of the executive were disagreeing with the Trust as to who knew what


and who authorised these payments. Did they waste money? Yes, they did,


because they paid over the contractual commitments in a number


of cases, the worst probably being the Mark Byford case, but he is not


alone, where he got two years' salary, whereas his contractual


commitment was just one. He got one year in lieu of redundancy, one year


in lieu of redundancy, he should not have had that. Not an edifying


spectacle to watch in terms of the blame game, you might call it, but


in terms of wasting money, the US set the view of the former


director-general Mark Thompson, who said the process save the money? --


do you accept. People were paid beyond their contractual obligations


but in order to avoid painful salaries for another year or so, so


in a way, ironically, the BBC save money. -- paying for salaries.


Cutting the top tier saves money, cutting salaries would also save


money, but that does not justify then wasting money on giving people


in that top tier more than they were contractually committed to. Lots of


people have left the BBC, I meet people in the studio, not in the


studio, in the building who have left the BBC. It is only the top


tier who get these very generous payoffs. When we looked at it, the


higher you were in the pecking order, the more you got. Of the very


senior management team of four, three got one year's salary in lieu


of salary, and two got above their contractual commitment. But if you


pay someone on ?200,000 per year and extra 20,000 fans to leave, and they


leave immediately because contractually they probably have to


work out some long notice period, you have saved ?200,000, haven't


you? The point is two things, one, in the case of Mark Byford, they


wanted him to actually work his time, so there was no reason to pay


him one year in lieu of notice. In a number of cases, I think three in


total, people went to another job and still picked up the full


redundancy pay. And let me just say, in other cases, people were given


very generous payoffs to retrain, I think about 70,000, and consultancy


to come back and consult at the BBC. So yes, over time, they saved money,


because they cut the top tier, but that does not justify wasting


licence fee payers' money. To put it into context, Jo, ?25 million was


the amount spent on the top people's payoffs. ?25 million is


half what Radio 4's budget is, two thirds of Radio 1's budget, so even


in terms of the BBC, it is a lot of money, and I do not think licence


fee payers want to see the money used in that way. Watching from the


outside, John McTernan, the other point that is made by Lucy Adams in


that clip we showed you is that people could have legally challenged


the BBC, they could have said, we will take you to a tribunal that


will cost millions potentially if you try to push us at the door more


quickly. Well, it is probably stupid to put yourself in a position where


you want to sack people but they can challenging, and secondly, you


should have contracts which have high pay, but because of the high


risk of leaving, they have conditions which say, you get paid a


lot now but not much if you leave. When you follow all this stuff, the


BBC trust seems to be in a complete muddle, who is in charge of the BBC


in terms of oversight? That seems to be a failure of leadership. In the


good old days, the chairman of the ABC would sort it out by knocking


heads together, but I do not see there is that much wrong with that,


you either go to full regulation, like the private sector gets in


television, or do stick with what the BBC had. The BBC Trust thing, I


am not clear the people who run that have any clue of what the governance


is, the role they have to play. With a sitting on their hands? I think


they did not know what was going on, and that is ridiculous. You cannot


imagine that would have happened under the previous system. What


about trust in the BBC? What has done to the reputation? Will blow?


Of course, it has damaged the reputation, and there are literally


thousands of wonderful people not being paid enormous salaries, like


yourself, who produce wonderful, creative content, and make the BBC


the institution that we love, and it is terrible, you are damaged by


this! But let me also say that, hopefully, the new regime has got


the message. Are they doing enough? Is there anything else you want to


see done? Have they taken on board what you have said? The only


question mark that I have, and time will tell, is the one John talked


about, whether the governance is right, because what we found is, who


was responsible, who knew what? We felt that, actually, things fell


through the middle in that, and you want clear lines of accountability


and responsibility for what is your and my licence fee payers' money. I


hope we will get the BBC Trust next time. The government is publishing


proposals to increase punishments fit human trafficking following a


recent string of high-profile slavery cases in the UK. The draft


Modern Slavery Bill will be the first of its kind in Europe when it


is published today, but what is being proposed? The bill will


increase the maximum prison sentence for offenders with prior convictions


for serious sexual or violent offences from 14 years to life. A


new post of anti-slavery Commissioner will be created. The


idea is that that they will hold law enforcement and other organisations


to account. The Modern Slavery Bill aims to consolidate the offence is


used to prosecute those who enslave others into a single act. Alongside


the legislation, a review into modern slavery commissioned by the


Home Office and carried out by Labour MP Frank Field will also be


published. Thank the other estimates that there are 10,000 victims of


slavery in the UK, and some charities say the focus of the bill


is too narrow and should offer more protection the victim 's. But


Theresa May says tougher sentences will help reduce the number of


slavery victims. We need to ensure that we have got the sentence that


is right for the crime. This is a horrendous crime, people being


forced into a life of misery and servitude, Labour or sexual


exploitation or sometimes a life of crime. We need to get tougher on the


slave drivers. If we can catch more of them, prosecute them and put them


behind bars, there will be fewer victims in future. With me now is


the Labour MP Frank Field, whose report into modern slavery is being


published today. We also hoped to be joined by someone from the Home


Office, but no one was available. They are all doing their Christmas


shopping! 10,000 victims that you have said you think are going on in


the UK, that is a shocking figure. How have you come up with that? Weak


that is a figure from the human trafficking foundation my colleague,


Fiona McTaggart, is doing digging on how we can get better data. The


report today is clear that it is both about having an act which is


prosecution friendly and does not trip up the prosecutors trying to


get these individuals. But of course it is right for those organisations


who have said it must be victim focused. They say that unless we are


victim focused, we will not get more prosecutions. We should be more


victim focused, because anyone who has spoken to a victim of slavery


for a few minutes knows the devastating effect on their lives.


Morally, we should do the right thing. But for once, by being moral,


we are also being politically effective. What would you'll I to


see being done? Our proposal will go to a giant committee of both houses


after Christmas, and then the Home Secretary will make up her mind. We


want two things. One is that whenever you seek help as a victim


of modern slavery, you will get the same standard of help. But also, the


Lord chief justice has been clear that the victims of slavery should


not be prosecuted for crimes which it is clear that they committed only


because of the pressure of the slave owner. People are still being sent


to young people's institutions and prison, and it is a difficult task


the Lord Chief Justice has given us. How receptive is Theresa May to


this? I have just left the launch of our report, and she did not have to


do this bill. Then why is she? The accusation is that it is a vanity


project for her and has been rushed through. There are something about


the centre-left that always wants to dispute people's motives. John will


recognise this. They never actually look at what will come from this.


She may have the best or worst motives, but that is irrelevant. She


has not only started the process of the bill, which she did not have to


do. She did not have too asked the panel I chaired to report on how to


make it better. She did not have to make life difficult I having a giant


committee of both houses consider the proposal. But will she consider


your terms on not prosecuting the victims? We will be pushing hard on


that. If the Lord Chief Justice once this, surely he will carry some


weight. The government has to decide whether we have a good bill or a


great bill which other countries look to as a model to follow. My


guess is that a government with any sense will reach for the skies. Are


you impressed that this sort of deal is being brought forward in a


cross-party way and will lead the way in Europe in terms of


legislation in this area? I think involving Frank shows how important


this is as an issue. In the end, this has to be international. We are


at a moment in time when there is more slavery in the world than ever


in history, which is shocking. To counter that, we have to deal with


this with proper policing and intelligence. It is cross-border


traffic, so it has to be done openly. I think Theresa May feels


passionately about this. There are issues about the full


implementation, but we need to tie this more closely to the work we do


internationally against slavery in other countries where it is more


tolerated. We use slave to goods all the time in Britain, and we


shouldn't. Frank, you said focusing on the victims is not only a moral


issue, but will also help push up the number of prosecutions. Why do


you think that? It is the convictions we are after, beyond the


prosecutions. John is right in that it is not just slavery in our own


country. Some slaves are clearly recruited within our own borders,


but we are suggesting two things. One is that the prime minister


pushes the issue at G8 summit. Since apartheid, the Commonwealth has not


had a great big moral issue around which it can group. I am hoping the


prime minister puts this to the Commonwealth and says, instead of


fighting amongst ourselves, why don't we get a really important


issue and put our efforts into that? But you want to get the


legislation on the statute book here first. Extending support to victims


beyond the 45 days allotted to process their case has been raised.


Victim charities say it will not be in the legislation, is that right?


It does not have to be in the legislation. Why should


organisations working in the field know the difference between what you


need a law to do and what you have already got the power to do as Home


Secretary? The Home Secretary wants a new act of Parliament so that she


has got additional powers. Of course we will press for more than is in


the bill. The worry is that a lot of your research will not end up in the


final bill. I think that once it gets into the House of Lords, the


government has less control over it. It is bad enough when they try


and control it and they lose it. Theresa May wants this to be the


best will in the world. She has made that clear. One also heard this


morning from Yvette Cooper, who supports it.


The year is 2017. A government committed to either reforming


Britain's relationship with the EU, or failing that, a referendum on


whether to leave altogether, is in power. But what might that


renegotiation process looked like, and how might the talks pan out?


Well, we can give you a games of how it might work, tanks to the


think-tank Open Europe. They organised a role-playing exercise


which tried to get as close as it could to what might happen in just a


few years' time. European leaders gather round the


conference table to thrash out one of the most important political


issues of our time, the future of the EU and Britain's place within


it. These talks have one aim - to determine Britain's future


relationship with Europe. Should it renegotiate and stay in, or could


the British exit from Europe become a reality? This is not for real, it


is a war game organised by the think-tank damn Ann, but after the


next election, something very much like it could happen -- it was


organised by the think-tank Open Europe. We bring in people who have


to play in character, negotiating the fundamental issues over European


reform. So the French are obstreperous. The Dutch want


everyone to get along, and the British try to stay in Europe, but


on that terms. And we will see what happens so that we can look at the


simulation and see if that is how the real world will work. First,


renegotiation, keeping us in a reformed EU. Britain was played by a


Tory MP and it seemed to be going quite well, until this happened. If


Britain is the only country not taking part in the Eurozone and we


have not formed the new architecture of the EU, we will not hold Britain


back from leaving the EU. Which left Britain somewhat un-chuffed. In


spite of the fact that Britain has a permanent opt out of ever joining


the euro, is it really fans's national position that if we are


simply not prepared to change our minds, we may as well leave? But not


entirely alone. The real wild card was the Nordic region negotiator,


who was extraordinary supportive and quite antagonistic towards the


French position, which was to kick Britain out. I was cheering inside


for her. Which took us to part two, the negotiation of a British exit


from the EU altogether, led by a former Foreign Office minister who


was not popular around the table. You will be more and more isolated,


I think. Despite that, David thought the only way for us to stay in was


to threaten to get out. They will only get serious if they understand


that if we don't deliver a substantial package of reforms, we


will leave. After all that, what did we learn? It was excruciating. It


will not be simple at all. It will be very tough to make this decision.


Whatever you do, there will be negatives and pluses. If that was


all that came out of this, it was worth the time.


Something you could take part in in a few years' time, how to


renegotiate Britain's relationship with the EU. Is it possible? I don't


think it is necessary. We are in a strange situation where, in my view,


David Cameron is putting partisan interest above those of the


country. It would undoubtedly be a disaster for Britain to leave the


European Union. David Cameron knows that, but his party wants to have


this thing in the future. He also knows that most of what he wants to


change in Europe, he can already do under existing treaties. So in one


sense, it is theatre, but it is dangerous because there are people


who want Britain out of Europe. Some of them are outside his party, and


he should argue with his party and see that this is good for Britain,


so the Tory party should not flirt with the possibility of leaving.


He's playing with fire not because he believes in it, but because it


gives him an easier life. But he has made it clear that by offering a


referendum on a renegotiated on a ship with the EU, he would campaign


to stay in. So he has made his position clear, and surely all


parties in government put their parties to the fore when it comes to


these issues. Hasn't he answered his Eurosceptic critics by saying, the


referendum is what you want, so wait till after the election? But he's


not answering the question, what is the problem with Europe? Well, he


wants reform. I was in Berlin last week, and there seems to be sympathy


to an extent the reforming the commission and tightening up some of


the institutions and trying to get more accountability. You are right


that those things may not achieve a lot, but he does have some hearing


for that. He has got people who are tolerant of this pantomime. He wants


reform, they say they want reform . We know how slowly reform takes


place. David Cameron is the prime minister and has not touched the


civil service. He runs it and could reform it, but he prefers to talk


about this thing that will take far longer and takes 28 other countries


to sign up to. He needs to take the beam out of his own eye. So


renegotiation is not really necessary. What about a referendum?


It is ridiculous. People want it. I don't care. People want the death


penalty back. If you ask people if they want a referendum, most voters


say, of course. They like to be asked. If asked, do they think


Europe is one of the critical issues facing Britain, they will not put


Europe there. Then why is Ed Miliband not being clear about what


Labour would do in terms of a referendum?


In the end, what I would do in his position as say, do you know what?


This referendum is about party management, it is not in Britain's


interest. If you want this stunt, calm down your party. We will have a


government after the election, and you can still fight afterwards. If I


win, you can still be fighting about Europe. The best thing for Ed


Miliband is to keep a wedge between the Tories and UKIP for as long as


possible, let them fight each other about who is more pure about


Europe. This is not a fight that is in the country's interest, not a


fight people are arguing about in pubs and clubs up and down the


country. Compared to the NHS, education, compared to getting the


housing market sorted, it has no big impact on people's way of life. It


is a very, very strange debate, and Ed should have nothing to do with


it. De think there will be a referendum after the election? No, I


don't. You think whatever happens there will not be a referendum on


our relationship with the EU? Look, I think that a Labour government


would not have a referendum, because it is strategically very silly to


have a referendum, to have your term dominated by that issue. Just


quickly, before you go, don't forget about the answer to the quiz, which


fictional spin doctor is said to be based on you? Toby Ziegler from the


West Wing, Malcolm Tucker from The Thick Of It, Borgen's Kasper Juul,


or Bernard from Yes Minister? Well, I am meant to be Malcolm Tucker, but


I think I am Jamie. Is that right? I think Malcolm Tucker is really


Alistair Campbell. Malcolm Tucker, the man full of expletives, are you


more aggressive to people behind the scenes than you have been on the


show? I am the same off the show as an! When I went to Australia to work


for Julia Gillard, people thought, he is Scottish, he must be Malcolm


Tucker, and I did not bothered is abusing them of that. I am sure you


didn't! It is useful to have that reputation. What about those leaked


e-mails, some of them were rather rude! Do you regret that? Do think,


I should have written e-mails if they were going to be reprinted on


the front page of newspapers? Nobody expects the males to be stolen from


their workplace. But look, that is ancient history. -- e-mails. We will


leave it there, thank you for being guest of the day.


Let's look at the political agenda for the week ahead, later today the


Home Secretary is in front of the Home Affairs Select Committee for a


one-off annual session. On Tuesday, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Sir


David Nicholson, chief executive of NHS England, give evidence to the


Health Select Committee. Tuesday also sees the publication of the


Davis report into that you just of UK airports. It is the last PMQs


before Christmas on Wednesday. On Thursday, school is out! The House


of Commons rises and MPs go for their Christmas holidays. Joining us


to discuss what they will be doing before that, Kate Devlin from the


Herald and Sam Coates from the Times, welcome to both of you. Kate,


a round-up, if you like, of the year since we are approaching the end of


term, let's look at that Scottish referendum, where do things stand


for the two campaigns? They stand pretty much where they stood this


time last year, which is interesting when you think about how much has


happened, how much mud has been slung from both sides. It does not


seem as if the polls have changed, it does not seem as if either side


is particularly getting momentum, but of course that is not to say


that it cannot happen in the next year as we get closer to the


referendum finally happening. But also, what it does do is mean that


any change in the opinion polls, even very small towards yes, will be


seen as momentum, and could start to build some momentum. There are


dangers for both sides in the fact that the polls appear not to have


moved at all. Sam, the state of the coalition, how would you summarise


the state of the coalition now in December 2013? It is interesting,


actually, that it has held together so well. Long. We have just had an


Autumn Statement that was described as one of the most harmonious there


has ever been. -- for so long. Different impetus from the two


backbenchers, and a huge desire from the respective party leaders to show


as much distance from one another, but it seems like at the top more or


less it is functioning. There are difficult issues, particularly


around Europe, and some elements of immigration, and the kind of


controls the Tories want to bring in, but I think the basic


architecture of the coalition is still working. But sort of more


worryingly, I think, are the political pressures that are coming


to bear on both the Tories and the Lib Dems, and over because of the


last 12 months neither party has seen a particular uptick in their


fortunes. Labour have somewhere around a 7-point lead, meaning that


both Tories and the Lib Dems are starting to feel and increasing


urgency to do something, do anything, ahead of the general


election in 2015, something big and striking that might change the way


that voters look at them. At the moment, there is no sign of them


having found that. Put your answers on a postcard! What about Labour? We


have just been discussing with John McTernan about what they need to do,


bearing in mind the polls have not really moved there either. A lot has


moved for Labour, HMO to do, bearing in mind the polls have not really


moved there either. A lot has moved for Labour, H multi was year with a


lot happening, a terrible summer... A lot of those questions were


answered during the party conference. But they appear to have


a fairly steady lead in the polls, and it is a lead that some of their


own MPs are worried will crumble as we get closer to a general election.


What about the economy, Sam? We have a clear narrative, Labour talking


about the cost of living, the Conservatives wanting to focus on


the bigger picture, on the, if you like. Is that how it is going to


stay until the general election? George Osborne wants to maximise


GDP, however that might be, whether it is increasing the value of houses


or through targeted tax breaks of the sort we saw in the Autumn


Statement, and he is hoping that he can go into 2015 being able to say,


we made a lot of progress fixing the economy, but let us finish the job.


The Conservative Party, indeed the whole coalition, have got


increasingly distracted by the arguments Labour have been making


about the cost of living, and how people are not feeling their share,


their share of the benefits that an uptick in terms of the GDP numbers


suggests. So there has been an awful lot of argument inside the coalition


about whether or not to play on Labour turf and take on some of the


issues they have been addressing. There is no doubt we should be


around 2% around the time of the 2015 general election, but as Obama


showed in America, you can win an election not being the candidate is


thought manages the overall economy best, so long as you are the team,


as it were, that stands up for people's interests and helps the man


on the street, the voter at the ballot box, with their own issues.


Very briefly, Kate, will the question still be from Labour, do


you feel better than 2015 and 2010? It will be, and within that lies


quite a few dangers. All the advice seems to be that we are going to


enter a period of a few years and it will take a while for it to trickle


down into pockets. We are joined for the rest of the


programme by Conservative MP Harriett Baldwin, Labour impede Lisa


Nandy, and Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone, welcome to you all.


We're also joined by broadcaster and campaigner Esther Rantzen, because


first of going to talk about the Care Bill, which is due to be


debated in the House of Commons this afternoon. -- first off. Before we


get into the details of the cap that everyone is talking about in terms


of what you can get from the Government to pay for your care, how


well is Silver Line working? It is a free, confidential telephone line, I


will not sing the number to you! It is Christmas, you can! We have had


20,000 calls, and the biggest single problem that older people are


bringing to us is loneliness, and I think it is very relevant to the


Care Bill. Loneliness erodes everything, and perhaps the saddest


thing, as well as the physical impact, which has been described as


more dangerous than smoking or obesity, because you do not look


after yourself, because as one lady would to me, I feel my life is


hopeless, I am a waste of space. Now, what that does is it means that


depression can lead, well, we have saved lives from people who were


really feeling suicidal, so it is loneliness that we have focused on,


and I think the Care Bill has a lot to offer. The Care Bill will look,


and we will find out more from our other guests, but it will look at


the length of time of visits that are given to old people on their


own. 15 minutes, does that do it? Of course it doesn't. What people say


to us is, what they really want is a good chat. In fact, people tell me


that the first thing that an older person will say to a carer is, would


you like a cup of tea? And what they be lean mean is, can we have a cup


of tea together? -- what they really mean. That needs does not diminish


as you get older, and the care people need is not just the


physical, washing or reading all toilet, which may take longer than


15 minutes. It is also that bit where you sit down and just say, how


are you feeling today? What do you think about Strictly? Have you seen


the kids recently? That is what people bring the Silver Line four.


Because they want contact, and that is why people on their own sometimes


go to their GP, because they just need somebody to talk to. How long


is needed for a carer to spend with an elderly person, or somebody on


their own? Our phone calls tend to last 40 minutes. That is the length


of time. If professional carers cannot offer that time, maybe they


could link up with volunteers who could be making a cup of tea, who


could be settling down with a newspaper and talking about current


events while the more practical things are going on. Do you know, a


policeman in the north-western rang the Silver Line and said, some older


people are committing petty crimes in order to get a hot meal and a


chat in the evening? That is desperate, isn't it? 15 minute is


not long enough, is it? It is wonderful to hear about the sort of


thing is that so many wonderful charities are doing to help


loneliness among older people at Christmas, but you are right that


the Care Bill is going to tackle one of the issues, which is the fact


that people have been facing this completely unpredictable and


unlimited liability in old age, so it is more of a financial solution,


where about ?2 billion is being put into extend the certainty that


people have around the amounts they are going to have this bend on


terror. But of course, you are right, my counsel is trying to


bend... -- amounts they are going to have to spend on care. What about


extending that length of time to half an hour? That would make a


massive difference to a lot of people. There will be councils where


they put a focus on that, but it is very much something that will be


assessed by the individual. At the same time, I think what we are doing


today with the bill is putting some security around that financial


limit. Let's see how much security is being put around those costs,


because the cap is at ?72,000, is that right? My concern is, what is


included in the cap, because the reports today predict that many of


the costs will not be included, which means you will have to spend


farm or before you actually breached the cap level and the government


step in. -- spend far more. The average person will have to spend


?150,000 before that cap kicks in, so it is because it does not take


into account the gap between what a care placement actually costs and


what a council is prepared to pay for that care placement. People will


have to fund those costs themselves. The difficulty with that is that a


lot of this was designed to make sure that people have the certainty


that Harriet talks about and that they did not have to sell their


homes when they have worked hard. Unfortunately, this will do nothing


to address it in its current form. It really is time for the government


to look seriously at what Andy Burnham is proposing, which is to


bring together health and social, to give people decent support to be


able to live in their own homes. We will come back to that, but it looks


like people are still going to have to sell their homes, if you have to


spend ?150,000 to get to the cap level, for most people that is their


home. This bill is about people not being frightened, not


scaremongering, not having to sell their home at the ?72,000 cap. I


will come to it in a moment, but the main thing that has been worrying


people is whether they will have to leave their homes in order to pay


for care. They will no longer have to do that. There is a cap of 72 and


deferral of paying it until after... Will it cover residential


costs? It's did not do that under Labour, it did not do it under Andy


Burnham, and free personal Ken Scotland does not cover


accommodation. Will it cover the gap between... ?72,000 is the cap from


2016, so I think you are being very naughty, because you are arguing


something that you have never argued in the 13 years you were in


government. Will it cover the cost of living? Will it cover


accommodation? No, I have been absolutely clear. I have said it


will not cover hotel accommodation costs. Will it cover the gap between


cost and what people pay? You are talking about the level of care


between a council and the level of care you would pay privately, there


would be a gap because most private care costs more, will that be


covered? When people go into care at the moment, they are expected to put


money into the pot to help care cover their live in costs. I wonder


whether Lisa is making a massive unfunded spending commitment here.


When we say we want to give older people the centre 's -- certainty


they deserve... Why did Labour do nothing about it? Wrote that is a


bit rich coming from your party. Do women argue about politics the same


way men do? It is interesting sitting here. Here is the thing I


would like to throw into this mix. I had a masterclass on the Care Bill


and the funding, and at the end of it, I still did not understand it. I


think people argue about what it covers and does not cover. The other


thing is, I have sold my family home. What many older people are


saying is that they would like to move. To a smaller property? To an


appropriately built type of accommodation with community areas.


Then we should be honest about that. We should not pretend they would not


have to move. Sorry to bang on about loneliness, but it is such a big


problem and if we cared for old people properly, they could share a


common vision and enjoy each other's company.


Now, the government says it has not ruled anything out when it comes to


airport expansion. Crucially, that could mean building an extra runway


at Heathrow. Tomorrow, the commission is looking at this and


will publish an interim report, but could there be a split in the offing


among senior Conservatives? George Osborne is said to favourites


banding Heathrow. The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is dead


against the idea. The Conservatives promised to block an extra runway at


the last election, but what about after 2015? The Conservative MP for


Richmond in west London is Zac Goldsmith. He told Newsnight last


week that a change of position would be disastrous for the prime


minister. David Cameron has to think carefully about this. Politically, a


U-turn on this issue would be catastrophic for him . David Cameron


went to every constituency affected and stood up and said no ifs, no


buts, there will be no Heathrow expansion. This was not a throwaway


line, he went to places like Richmond to deliver that line. On


the back of it, people voted for him, so if he does a U-turn on this,


he will never be forgiven in West London. People outside of West


London who perhaps don't care about Heathrow will also take note. They


will wonder how many other promises can be trusted and how much the


prime minister can be trusted if he is willing to break a promise that


was so still clear. It is a big deal for David Cameron. Harriet Baldwin,


no ifs, no buts, no Heathrow expansion, said David Cameron. Can


you rule it out after 2015? Well, obviously it has not happened yet.


Then why have you not ruled it out after 2015? I am not writing the


manifesto. I am a backbencher who will argue the case for being a West


Midlands MP, the something West of London making more sense than


something in the Thames estuary east of London, and also backing


expansion or the Birmingham airport. It is down to each constituency's MP


to represent our constituents. But will it be disastrous for David


Cameron if he is seen to do an aerial U-turn on something he made


clear would not happen if the Conservatives were in power? It is


not happening in this Parliament, but he has set up this commission to


look at the options. The terms of reference were not excluding


Heathrow. So we will see what is in the report tomorrow. Then it will be


for the prime minister to decide what goes into the Conservative


manifesto. But as far as you can tell, Heathrow expansion is back on


the table? You have heard that, I have not seen the report. For me, it


is more to be welcomed than something east of London. Labour


flip dropped on this as well. They said yes bring into 2010 and they


said no after 2010, and now I am not sure what Labour are doing about a


third runway at Heathrow. Well, occasionally, we realise that issues


are more complex than they seem on television. Here, you have the need


to balance concerns about climate change and the environment against


the very real need to address capacity problems and the needs of


business. There are arguments to be weighed up. That is why this report


was commissioned in the first place. And although we have seen a lot of


heat and argument in the papers, we don't know what it will see. So I


would like to look at what it says first. The three options that have


been touted all include expansion at Heathrow, either a third runway or a


third and a fourth, or a third runway and another runway at


Gatwick. Do we need expansion of our airport capacity in the south-east?


It did not look just at Heathrow. The report considered 58 options,


all of which have costs and benefits. The point of commissioning


the report was to wire up the cost against the benefits. Harriet talked


about being a constituency MP. There are real issues for people whose


constituencies are affected around the country, as well as the climate


issues and business issues. I know it is disappointing, but I really


think we ought to read the report before making a decision. But should


a decision be made before the next election? So many businesses say


they are losing money. We understand the importance of what it means to


business and industry. But quite frankly, for the Liberal Democrats,


we are solid. So no expansion? Well, the interim report is tomorrow and


then the final report in 2015. I am hoping that we have technological


advances, because if there were bigger planes that made no noise and


gave no pollution, it would be a different consideration. In the near


term, we will look at the report and make a decision. But the Liberal


Democrats are committed to no extra pollution and no more noise. Which


sounds like no expansion, because however much technology comes along,


it will not have fixed that by 2015. I think the report is coming out


after the election, but I still think that in manifestoes, it will


be difficult for parties not to set out their intentions for airport


capacity. How clear would you like to see Ed Miliband on this, bearing


in mind that he said no to it after the election because of concerns


about the environment? We have to be clear with people about what we are


planning. What would be really difficult would be if a decision was


not made on this because of the political difficulties that the


Conservatives in doing so, rather than looking at the needs of the


country as a whole, taking into account the impact on the


environment as well as the impact on as Miss capacity. -- is Miss


capacity. The climate change commitment is very important. We all


have to lay out our stalls before the election. To more important


things now, like buying Christmas presents. Have you stopped the


larder? As we hurtle towards Christmas, we are all looking


forward to relaxing. Keith Simpson, the Parliamentary Private Secretary


to Foreign Secretary William Hague, has published his famous Foreign


Office reading list for the Christmas holidays. So what could we


on the list? Is it 50 Shades, or child more's biography of Margaret


Thatcher? -- child more's biography? Well, you don't have to wait any


longer, because here he is with his trolley of books. Keith, I wonder if


you are expecting everyone to read that huge number of books! I feel


like someone from Downton Abbey! The idea of this book list came about


slightly tongue in cheek. So many colleagues asked me before Christmas


if I would please produce it, because they wanted to find books


for their father, mother, uncle, brother, husband. What a service you


are performing. What was at the top? The top one is Charles more's


biography of Margaret Thatcher, because as a biography, it is


outstandingly good. A lot of ardent Thatcherites among my colleagues


gulped when they read it. So there is new stuff to be known? There are


150 letters that she wrote to her sister, which are incredibly


revealing about her as a woman. Lisa, you are making faces. Would


that not be top of your list? I was trying to picture Christmas in


Keith's house, because mine would not look like anything of those


books. I prefer things a bit lighter than that. I don't want to hear


that! My sister is having a rage about the number of books I have


got. How many of those have you read? Nearly all of them. Do you


speed read them? I can't stand that. No, I am a fast reader. Lynne


Featherstone, any of those take your fancy? The list came to me


yesterday, and I chose Lawrence of Arabia. But I did not know Peter


O'Toole was sadly going to pass away. So now might be quite timely.


Indeed, and in terms of why the Middle East is so intractable, I


thought it might have some clues. Lawrence in Arabia, not Lawrence of


Arabia. The serious point is to have a lot of history to understand to


understand what is going on in Syria and the Ukraine at present. And of


course, William Hague and his opposite number Douglas Alexander,


read a lot of history and they think it is relevant. I noticed that on


the list, only five out of 37 whereby women. Well, I did not go


out of my way to do that. But the women produced of the quality. Well


done, Keith! You are bit surrounded. I understood that I was


to sit between you ladies. Harriet, what takes your fancy? Keith does


intimidate all of us with the depth of his erudition, but there was a


book about travelling in the footsteps of Genghis Khan and I


thought it would be a good piece of escapism of the Christmas recess.


What should he read? I have got 50 Shades Of Grey. Mrs Simpson has now


read all three volumes of that. Except the third one, which she left


on a tray. Everyone say goodbye!


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