06/01/2014 Daily Politics


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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.


The Chancellor gets 2014 off to a cheery start with a warning that


another ?25 billion needs to be cut from public spending to balance the


nation's books. As stormy weather and flooding


continue to cause problems across the country, the Government's


climate change envoy says more should be spent on flood defences.


Criminal barristers in England stage a walk-out to protest against cuts


to legal aid. And will the party leaders agree to


another set of TV debates ahead of the general election next year? And


will Nigel Farage get his own podium? We'll talk to the UKIP


leader. All that in the next hour and to


kick off our coverage for 2014 we asked for the best and brightest


from the three main parties. They couldn't be with us so we've had to


settle instead for Conservative MP Tim Loughton, Labour's Lucy Powell,


and Julian Huppert for the Liberal Democrats. Welcome to you all. Let's


start with the stormy weather that has been battering the UK over the


holiday period. Strong winds and large waves are expected to cause


further coastal flooding today. There are about 120 flood warnings


in place in England, Scotland and Wales. In today's Guardian newspaper


the Government's special envoy on climate change says Britain needs to


face up to a radical change in weather conditions and invest much


more in flood protection. This morning the Environment Secretary


Owen Paterson said. Under different -- difficult circumstances, the


government will be spending more this period and that is why we have


extended the programme up until 2020. We will look to protect


another 165,000 properties up to 2015 and another 300,000, should the


plans be stuck to. Should the government be spending even more


after the Christmas and New Year we have just experienced? The


government is spending more than ever before, but we do need much


more. How much more. We are seeing a change in climate, changes in the


weather patterns which are bringing more storms. It is no accident it is


the stormiest December we have had for 40 years, or something. Where we


used to have protections when we have floods one in ten years, now


huge amounts of money are needing to be spent to protect London and the


country. We do need to try to reduce these problems because if we emit


the way we are we will see this being a huge problem. You have a


coastal constituency, should the government be spending more? Will we


see more storms like this? Whatever your view on climate change is, we


are staying more extreme weather. We will be building more houses as well


and we make sure we don't build them on flood planes. It has continued


over the last few years hasn't it? We have to make sure the money being


invested that the money the developers are getting that that


money does go into flood protection. It is reducing the flood planes. My


constituents are fairly well pebble dashed not only from the coastal


threat but a river burst its bank in my constituency into the airport. It


is a false economy not to make sure there is adequate protection. New


Year, a would Labour spend more money? You have to look at a budget


across Defra. We have Owen Paterson who does not relieve climate change


is happening, so he has not been prioritising these issues. We do


need more investment in flood defences, but we also need to look


up the bigger issues around climate change, and look at how many of


these homes can be better protected through insurance. But the moment,


many of them cannot get insurance. It is something we can and now with


a water bill going through Parliament at the moment. Lucy


Powell has repeated what Labour's Environment Secretary has said, it


is because he is a sceptic on climate change and not focused on


flood defences in the way he should be? It is a complete red herring.


Extreme weather conditions are happening now and are likely to


continue. The fact we are spending more money on flood defences, the


fact Owen Paterson spends a lot of his Christmas going round seeing


areas affect did buy it. It is happening, whatever the cause. We


have got to make sure that with house-building we are going to have


to have a lot of that money spent on adequate flood defences for those


new houses and for existing communities vulnerable to flooding.


Do you see it could be a prevention if you don't feel the storms will


continue with the regularity that has been said? You only need to come


to our constituencies to see the damage that has been cause. But that


is the symptom and not the cause. That is why more money is going on


to make sure we have rubber flood defences. Is it right the


Environment Agency is cutting 1500 jobs? Environment Agency does a


whole range of things. Coming back to the comment about climate change,


whatever you think about climate change, we are seeing more extreme


weather events. That is because it is a changing climate. It is


obvious. They argue climate change is not happening, we are just seeing


changes in the weather! We need more action. You are right in terms of


planning issues. Too many houses were built on flood planes without


defences that were necessary. We have to take steps to deal with it


urgently. It will need more money. I am just saying it is a red herring.


There is a problem, we have to deal with it now. Let's leave that there.


Now it's time for our Daily Quiz. The Education Secretary Michael Gove


has got into a bit of a spat with Baldrick from Blackadder, otherwise


known as Sir Tony Robinson, over the origins of the First World War. What


does Baldrick think was the cause of the First World War?


At the end of the show we will ask to see if anyone can remember their


Blackadder. So while the government is trying to deal with the current


storms, let's look at a more long-range forecast for the


political weather in the year ahead. This morning, George Osborne brought


us all firmly back to earth by saying the government will need to


find an extra ?25 billion of cuts to bring the deficit under control, the


Chancellor said the welfare budget will have to be looked at again


although he played down the prospect of an end to some of the universal


pension benefits. If 2014 is a year of hard truths for


our country, it starts with this one, Britain should never return to


the levels of spending. We either have to return rowing to the


dangerous levels that threatens our stability, or raise taxes so much.


Government will have to be smaller and so will to the welfare system.


Others things we can predict with certainty is that in March Mr


Osborne will be presenting his penultimate budget before the next


general election, all eyes will be on how he'll try to neutralise the


cost of living debate which Labour has been able to attack the


government with. There'll be high pressure on all the main parties in


May for the European elections. UKIP's Nigel Farage has said he's


aiming to blow the other parties away and top the poll, a result that


could cause squalid conditions in the Conservative Party. Potentially


the biggest event not just of this year but of the last few hundred


years is the Scottish Independence referendum in the autumn. The polls


are currently in favour of Scotland staying in the union, however Alex


Salmond's SNP believe there is all to play for. And could there be more


heavy weather ahead for the coalition? Both sides are already


looking to differentiate themselves from each other, will those voices


calling for an early split become louder, or will it just be a storm


in a teacup? In the last few minutes, Nick Clegg


has been giving his reaction to George Osborne's react should to the


cuts to the welfare system that are needed. It is driven by two very


clear ideological impulses. One is to remorselessly cut back the state.


Just cut back the state. And secondly, and that is what they have


said now, I think they are making a monumental mistake in doing so, but


they said the only people in society, the only section of society


which will bear the burden of further fiscal cuts of a


working-class poor. George Osborne is making a mistake by stating he


wants to take ?12 billion more in benefits cuts after the next


election if he is still Chancellor? It was a -- mistake to think


everything was solved and we can carry on with the regime we had


before. We are still borrowing ?100 billion a year. There is large-scale


public support for the further reining in of welfare, as long as it


has been done fairly. If we are serious about making sure this


government and this country is living within its means, welfare


spending has to be part of the savings. And at a time, let's


remember when we are seeing big increases in employment, 1.2 million


jobs since the last election. That is the best route to increase --


decrease Walther spending. You don't think it is a mistake to make


another one point -- ?12 billion of cuts to the welfare bill? If you are


making cuts in the household, you look at the biggest goals first.


Welfare is still the biggest hill. We need to make sure we are making


savings and making them fairly. Whose fault is it the government is


on course to borrow ?111 billion this year? You need to be asking


Lucy that. You have been in government since 2010 and George


Osborne has failed to deliver on all of the measures he set out in his


first emergency budget, in terms of deficit reduction, in terms of debt


falling as a proportion of GDP and eliminating the structural deficit.


Whose fault is it this government is still having to borrow ?111 billion


this year? It is the extent of the problem we inherited and what is


going on in the rest of the world. We have cut the deficit why more


than a third. It is taking longer to balance the books than George


Osborne predict did and more than any of us would have liked. But we


took over a huge deficit and a shipwreck of an economy. The fact


the Eurozone, with whom we trade with a lot has been performing


sluggishly. The surveys today say it is likely we will have the highest


improvement in manufacturing across Europe. Everything Labour predicted


has not happened. We have got growth back, unemployment is falling and


has fallen consistently. Consumer spending is up, there is a recovery.


Labour got it wrong. Not at all. There wouldn't be growth? There


hasn't been growth. There wasn't a triple dip recession. We did not


predict a triple dip recession. He will find what we are saying on


every measure George Osborne set himself on 2010, he has failed. He


said the deficit would he gone by 2015. We know that the deficit won't


even be halved by 2015. He said we would have 7.6% of growth. We now


know we are looking at 2.5% growth over that period. This is why


families across the country are paying the price for the stagnant


growth over three years. Families up and down this country are paying the


price for that stagnant growth through prices going up much


faster. You would have added to the deficit and therefore in turn added


to the debt by spending an awful lot more and risked... No, we said we


would have halved the deficit by 2015, which is more than this


government will have achieved in the same period. Let's go back to George


Osborne, he said 2014 will be a year of hard truths. I find that pretty


appalling. He wants to come to my constituency and meet families who


are making hard choices and hard truths in their lives every day.


Having to choose whether to go to food ranks, or heating their homes.


Having to choose to pave the childcare waiting for a text message


that morning to see if they have work on their 0-hours contract.


Would you be making more cuts? The welfare bill needs to come down, but


it needs to come down by getting people back to work. Reduce the


number of in work benefits we pay like introducing a living wage.


Would you increase taxes? We said we would look at pensioner benefits so


the winter fuel allowance. There are things we have said we will look at


that are hard choices. That will only bring you a couple of hundred


million. Let's have a look at ?25 billion worth of cuts, a substantial


figure. Would you raise taxes? Would you reinstate the 50p top rate of


tax? We have not said yet. You ought to be careful before you start


crowing about your economic record. 2015, another coalition between the


Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, would you take...


No, just imagine! Would you agree to another ?12 billion of cuts to


welfare? I do not think it is worth speculating over that sort of thing.


The Conservatives are making clear they would do that. I do not think


the approach that George Osborne has to the state is that it has to be


permanently smaller. We have to balance the books, I agree, but does


that not mean a permanently smaller state. This marriage tax allowance


that the Conservatives are pushing, about ?700 million, a lot of


people... That is ideological, not economics. It certainly is economic.


But you just said it is tiny. Let's look at the bigger picture. Can I


just come back on what was said earlier? Labour are in an easy


position, they said they would have cut the deficit by spending less,


but you never get any specifics. I think that is fascinating, because


we have to get some specifics. I used to be leader of an opposition


group on a council and it is easy to say, I would do it better, but we


have to say exactly what we would do, and I have not seen that from


Labour. The system fell apart for Labour, it is odd to blame the


doctors for the fact that the patient has not got up. The real


problem was the collapse in 2008, and we finally see our way out of


that. I wish it had happened sooner, but I have heard nothing other than


hope from Labour. Look at the welfare budget, I am not asking you


to say what the manifesto will be, but Nick Clegg has said he would


only sanction going back to the welfare budget if the Government


began by removing the winter fuel payments from wealthy pensioners? Do


you agree with that? It seems very odd to say you take money from the


poorest in society while providing extremely rich people with benefits


like that. We have to have that stronger economy, and we need a


fairer society, which means supporting people at the bottom.


That is why we have pushed to take so many people out of tax, and we


would like nobody on minimum wage pay any tax. That would be a huge


step towards a living wage. There is more we can do, a mansion tax so


that people with a lot of capital pay more. Would that be a red line


in the sand for you? It does not work. It just does not bring in the


sort of money that they think it will. There are many other things


that we can do before that. What about protection for pensioners?


David Cameron and George Osborne have kicked off an election cycle by


saying, we are going to protect pensioners, we are going to protect


the triple lock, and there has been no discussion about means tested


benefits. Are they right? I have a high pensioner population in my


constituency, and it is an important issue. We were right to bring in


this triple lock and give... But post-2015, is it right to retain


its? Old on, we have said quite rightly that we will maintain it for


at least the next five years, for the term of the next Parliament, and


that is right. We need to give stability to them. What about means


tested benefits? That is something we will have to look at, I'm quite


relaxed on that, and in constituencies like mine, there are


pensioners who have retired with good pensions who are getting a lot


of the free bonus schemes which are essential for many people but not


essential for some. It is something we need to look at. It is only fair


that we should do that. It is crazy to pay heating allowances to people


living abroad as well. A blokes like David Cameron and George Osborne may


want to keep that, or that is what they will say. -- it looks as


though. Will you protect the triple lock posts 2015? We have said we


will protect it. Post-2015? Yes, we have said we will protect it.


Miliband refused to commit this morning. I think we are clear that


we support the triple lock. So the state pension will rise at 2.5% with


wages or prices, whatever is the highest? What we have got to look at


is how this is the table in the long run, so you have to look at means


testing some of the additional support that pensioners received


that, as Tim says, many do not need. We also need to look at how we can,


you know, continue to make sure that the retirement age is sustainable


over that period of time as well. You have got to look at how the


Pensions Bill is sustainable as well, but Labour will take no


message here from the other parties. When we came into office in 1997,


many, many, many pensioners were living below the poverty line. That


situation has, frankly, largely gone, in the sense that


pensioners... How much did the state pension rise during your time in


office? At times not enough. 75p! There were other measures we brought


in to ensure that pensioners... It did not rise under Labour very much


at all. It has gone up 21% against earnings going up 8%. We will have


to leave at there, we will have endless time to discuss economic


plans over the next few months. My my criminal barristers have walked


out of court in England this morning in a protest against changes to


legal aid. The government says reforms would cut ?200 million from


the ?2 billion per year legal aid bill. Lawyers argued the cuts, which


could see these four by 30%, will reduce the representation available


to defendants. -- the fees. The Justice Minister said it was up to


the profession to get its house in order. There are challenges at the


moment, too many lawyers chasing too little work, crime is going down,


but that is a matter for the legal sector to sort out for itself. My


responsibility is to the hard-working taxpayer who funds the


legal aid bill, and my responsibility is to ensure that


those people who qualify for legal aid to have proper representation,


and I'm confident that that will happen. With us now is Sarah Forshaw


QC, a criminal barrister leads the southeastern circuit and represents


3000 lawyers. Welcome to the programme, what is the problem with


these changes? It is really about removing quality from the criminal


justice system, and what has happened is that since 2007, when


the rates were set by an independent body and everyone agreed to them,


the rates for criminal state funded lawyers have been successively


slashed over the years. If the recent proposals come into force,


what it means for the criminal bar is that the fees will have been cut


by 41% in real terms over the last six years, 41%. Now, if that


happens, the best criminal advocates will move out of the criminal


justice system, they will diversify and do something else. But what it


means for the public is that the specialist advocates who prosecute


and defend the most serious cases in the country will no longer be doing


the job. There are not, actually, any good applicants coming into the


system for the sort of day they are getting. That makes it sound as if


money is the overriding reasons for those sorts of lawyers and


barristers and solicitors who take on legal aid work, that is the


reason they do it. Actually, the reason... Nobody comes into criminal


law to make money, everyone knows that. If you want to make money, you


can earn ten times what criminal lawyers are in any other sphere of


law. We do it because it is formidably important to society. For


example, to prosecute the most serious murders and the most serious


terrorist cases, and also to defend. And for that, we at the


criminal bar accept state funded fees, provided those state funded


fees do not become completely unsustainable for the self-employed


bar. Tim Loughton, that does sound like a very plausible argument, this


is a fundamental right, isn't it, for people who cannot afford to pay


for their own defence? You know, in many instances, it is going to be


cut to levels that decent lawyers will walk. Well, it is crucial we


have legal aid, nobody is suggesting we should abolish it, but we spend


?2 billion per year on legal aid at the moment, it is virtually the most


lavishly financed legal aid system in the world. Is it? We spend twice


what they do in New Zealand, three times what they spend in Canada.


They have a similar system to us. That is utterly misleading, and it


is the mantra of the Ministry of Justice, every time this is raised.


It is utterly misleading, and I will tell you for why - you cannot


compare apples and pears, and that is what you are doing. In this


country, we have an adversarial system, we have jury trial, and it


means, actually, that you pay more for prosecution and defence


investigation June because of the jury trial. If you compare


like-for-like, and in fact an independent body have done just


that, we are tenth cheapest out of 14 European countries. The countries


I quoted have similar systems to our own, that is the point. Tenth


cheapest out of 14 if you compare cost per head of legal aid, because


of course we have a bigger population in this country. We have


had a huge rise in legal costs. The department for justice cannot be


immune for the savings we have to make in public saving. We were


financing an awful lot of cases that have been brought on spurious


grounds as well. We have simply got to make savings. We have still got


rather a lot of barristers doing criminal work earning more than


?100,000 per year. They are not on the poverty line. I'm afraid that is


misleading, there have been some grossly misleading figures being


peddled... Do you accept the perception, and maybe it is wrong,


is that barristers are hardly even in this line of work are badly paid?


If you look at the average, there are those making an awful lot of


money. That is only because, I am afraid, people are fooled by the


misleading figures that are put out. You have to read the small print,


and what impact is happening is that 75% of state funded barristers earn


less than ?50,000. Now, that is the business turnover, because they are


self employed. When the Ministry of Justice puts out figures like


?100,000 per year, I am afraid it includes 20% VAT. Because we


self-employed, that goes straight back to the government, so you can


have those figures before it is taxable. Should we be making these


cuts? There is agreement we need to save money and the legal aid


budget, and the Labour manifesto said they would cut legal aid to


protect frontline services. The question is how to do it, and there


are expensive cases, and you could save a lot of money if the courts


system worked more smoothly. That is where there is waste, isn't it? I


spent some time in a local magistrate court, and it could be


run more effectively and efficiently. There are other ideas


which are worth looking at, insurance to deal with fraud


trials, using restraint assets to pay for legal aid, which you cannot


do at the moment, and the French system where money held by law firms


is looked after by the government, and the difference in interest rates


is used to fund legal aid, raising hundreds of millions of pounds per


year. So this policy is wrong? We fought to improve it from the


original proposals, and it has changed, but I would like to see


more work on the alternative so that we can find other ways of paying for


it so that the taxpayer does not pay as much. We do need to keep the


important role of legal aid in many areas. What would your constituents


think about this? Do they feel this is a fundamental right that needs to


be protected, or that savings needed be made in the same way as other


parts of public life? Absolutely savings need to be made and Julian


has outlined a number of good ideas. But I see a number of constituents,


poor constituents, who need legal advice and can no longer get it


because they no longer qualify for legal aid or there are situations


where they have to pay some up front fee to do it. As an MP I am getting


more people coming to me for legal advice, which I cannot offer them


because they are no longer getting legal aid. I would support the cuts


to the overall budget, but what we are seeing on this government is


they are losing the professionals across the board. They ploughed on


with NHS reforms despite Doc has telling them not to do it, they did


the same in education, and now with barristers. Do you remember those


heady days in 2010 when Cleggmania was at its height? When the Lib Dem


leader was propelled to new heights after a series of good performances


on the new leaders' TV debates? Well after that, there were many in the


Conservative Party who questioned the wisdom of agreeing to the


debates. So will they happen again? Labour made it clear that Ed


Miliband would take part and Nick Clegg said they would be up for it.


Here's a reminder of what they looked like. Who do you want to be


your next Prime Minister? There is a lot to this job, but I know how to


run the economy. You are hearing desperate stuff from someone in a


desperate state. You have heard from Labour and Gordon Brown but if you


earn ?20,000 or over, you are considered rich. We are not as a


nation going to be able to balance the books, fill the black hole in


public finances unless we do it with fairness. We have got to support the


recovery until it is fully established and then Mike plan comes


into place. But to take money out of the plan now for ideological


reasons, you put the economy at risk. He tried to frighten people


saying the Conservative Party would take away benefits, we will keep the


winter payments. He is trying to frighten people and he should be


ashamed. Here they go again. We are desperate to get this country


through the recovery and that is what I intend to do, but it is up to


the people to decide and it is your decision. That was Gordon Brown and


that was then. Joining this little television


debate is the UKIP leader Nigel Farage. Should Nigel be allowed to


take part? The more I speak to people in my patch, the more the


detail does not closer scrutiny. UKIP, when you read the small


print, you will see it is hot air with a charismatic and teeming


person in charge and not much else. Nigel, they were billed as debates


between people who could be Prime Minister. How anybody thought the


Liberal Democrats who had not been in power since Lloyd George could


produce a Prime Minister is beyond me. So that failed the test. Deputy


is a bit better than you have managed? Policy has changed since


2010. We have seen radical changes in Scottish and Northern Ireland


politics. In 2009 when UKIP came second in the Euro elections, we


were told it would not happen in domestic elections. But this year we


got a quarter of the vote. UKIP is a significant force in reddish


politics, polling double where the Lib Dems are. Frankly, to exclude


UKIP from these debates would bubbly give the benefit of the underdog,


because it would look like the political class closing ranks on


itself. Do you think the Green party leader, Natalie Bennett be in these


debates themselves? They have an MP, they run Ryton Council, but the


overall share of the national vote is about 2%. New have two sets and


sensible markers and barriers. In America, there is a law on this. If


you are polling at 15% of the vote, you are allowed to take part. Would


you be happy to have Natalie Bennett? I don't think they are a


political party. I can see why Nigel is desperate to be in there. It is a


party with a leader and nothing else. They might want to ditch me by


then. We have just heard from the CBI that membership from the EU


rings in ?3000 per person a year into this country. People realise


UKIP are bad that the country and working against our own


self-interest. I can see why Nigel desperately wants to be in and does


not want other parties to be in as well. He has not said he does not


want them in. Ed Miliband is keen and to be relaxed about Nigel Farage


being in there, but I can see why it would harm the Conservatives more


than Labour? The important thing about what Ed Miliband and Douglas


Alexander have been saying is we need to resolve this issue. We're


not far away from the election, 18 months to go. Everyone needs to get


round the table and sort it out. David Cameron was keen on the


debates when he was in opposition, and he seems a lot less keen on it


now. Will these debates happen? Who will be on them? Do you think they


should happen? I think they are a good thing. Initially, Ed Miliband


said yes, I think Nigel should be involved. After the South seals


by-election when we got 20%, he has changed his tune. -- South Shields.


There is a big shift from Labour. Do you support the idea of Nigel? It is


a bit of a stretch to have somebody in the leader's debates who does not


have an MP in Parliament. I am not about stifling the debate, but you


will get other parties saying if Nigel is there, we have an MP and


run some local government, why aren't we included? These are issues


that need to be resolved. The public want a debate between people who are


likely to be running the country. That is what we saw last time and


they did bring the last general election alive. As much as we might


not like the format. What is interesting with the polling is 14%


of people think it should be between the Conservative and Labour leaders.


But they are the most likely by far to become the next Prime Minister.


Although having a coalition, you can see why it worked for the three


parties? When people are asked the question should UKIP be involved in


these debates, 50% say they should be. There is a danger of course, the


lesson from last time is Nick Clegg had set those debates and did not


translate in terms of MPs, did it? In the end, how much can you hope to


benefit from it? I will say this, UKIP was consistently at 7% in the


polls until 20 ten. Overnight we fell to 3.5% and then we stayed


there. It damaged is quite badly. I am making the case we are a real


part of British politics. If we are still polling double them what the


liberal democrats are, then we should be involved. I think we are


getting to hunger up on the debates. They are a small part of the


election campaign. -- to hunger. They started off, Nick Clegg did


well. They did not agree with him enough to vote for him at the


election because he lost seats. Got minimal votes. They ended up in


government. That is another debate. I have no problem with Nigel being


part of those debates. The more spotlight is put on what they stand


for and some of the dubious characters standing for UKIP around


the country, the more Nigel might come to think it was in such a good


idea. You are staying with us for the next discussion.


The start of 2014 removed restrictions on Romanians and


Bulgarians working in the UK. The government wants to stop them


claiming benefits and accessing the NHS for the first three months.


David Cameron wrist straight it is aimed by restricting the number of


EU immigrants by striking a deal with his fellow EU leaders. There


are good parts to movement within the EU. Many British people take the


advantage of going to live and work elsewhere. And there are people with


skills coming to Britain and contributing to our economy. The two


things have gone wrong, one is movement to claim benefits, we need


to crack down on that. And secondly, what has gone wrong, and I think the


people who founded the EU, did not think this would happen is that the


scale of the movement has been so big. Could that have Lib Dems


support? It is a ridiculous idea and he and the Home Office should focus


on doing things correctly, like ringing back the exit checks. It is


a bad idea in so many ways. There are millions of Brits who live


overseas. You get into some tit for tat, which Brits would be evicted


from Spain to come back here. I think many in the Conservative Party


are panicked by UKIP. David Cameron is panicked. All sorts of weird


machinations. It is a self-defeating strategy. It helps UKIP, but it is a


bad idea. We benefit as a country for people coming here to work and


contribute. And fiscally, we get more money from taxes. Do you agree


with a policy to restrict access to benefits by new migrants from the


EU? It is reasonable that when somebody comes into this country


they have to wait for a period. I have no idea with sticking to the


rules to stop people abusing that free movement. But free movement


does benefit us. Do you agree with him? I don't. I am in favour of free


movement with in the EU, but it cannot be completely free. It is a


cornerstone of the European Union. It is how the European Union was set


up, free movement of people. Are you saying you want to change that? That


is how the EU was set up. We have 28 nations with a lot of Eastern


European nations. We never envisaged those sorts of economic migration


pressure is back in the early days of the founding of the EU. That is


why I think the founding EU principle was right, which is why it


should be changed. I have signed the amendment that we should delay


opening our doors. It is not whether it is right or wrong, but is it


possible? It is impossible. Had they kept the club to about 15 members,


this would not have become an issue. Julian makes the point it's go and


retire and live in Spain, we have a reciprocal deal with the health


service and France. As soon as we open the door to the poor


countries, the former communist countries, it was obvious what was


going to happen. What has happened? The government thought 13,000 people


a year would come and 800,000 came in the first two years. The baulk


area and Romanian issue, Tim talks about how poor they are, yes. But


Bulgaria have become full members of the European Union with complete


open access to this country. The argument we are making is we could


extend work permits to people from these countries, but it is


irresponsible with high youth unemployment. Who in Europe would


listen to David Cameron? David Cameron is one of the biggest


advocates of free movement. We have spent the last few months going


round European capitals seeing ministers and what is interesting is


the number of them who said we were wrong to let in some of these new


accession countries. We need to limit the way we have free


movement. Which country. It should have happened before January the


1st. I believe we should defy the EU and say we are going to have


restrictions now. There are a number of countries across the EU who are


sympathetic... Who is that? I have been to Scandinavian countries. They


want to limit that elements? We should never have accepted those


countries on that basis. If we cannot re-negotiate membership with


the EU in the future, we need a referendum. It is something which


Nigel is in danger of completely undermining. Your leaders have


apologised for opening the doors, as they say, to Eastern European


migrants from other parts of the EU. What do you say to David Cameron's


suggestion that you can limit the free movement of people within the


EU. Does Labour agree? You cannot under the existing treaties. Would


you like to change it? There are other things you can do now that


would limit the free movement of people in terms of the types of jobs


available, we have recruitment agencies in these countries, only


advertising jobs in Britain in Poland, Romania and Bulgaria because


they are looking for low-wage, low skilled workers. We need to drive up


wages and skills in this country and change the outlook here, so you


cannot have undercutting that we have at the moment with temporary


agency workers being paid less than what are largely resident workers.


People are going to come here while there is a framework, work for them


to do and well paid work to them, but not well paid work to British


people. You have got to change those loopholes and take on things like


bang masters who are bringing in groups of people under Djourou S.


Landlords who are putting a dozen people in a small flat, conditions


we should not be allowing workers to work in in this country. Yesterday


Nigel was read a part of the rivers of blood speech, was Nigel Wright to


say he agreed with the central principle of that? No, not at all,


absolutely not. My grandfather came near to this country from Ireland,


and when he came to this country in the 1940s, he was treated like he


was a leper. And now everyone celebrates the Irish traditions and


culture, and everyone wants to be Irish. Immigration is a long


tradition of this country, it always comes with problems, that is why you


have to manage it carefully, and why you have to look at the issues that


drive that immigration and how you can, you know, mitigate the impact


that it has an... The mistakes that Labour say they made themselves? Do


you wish you had and said that? If those words had been used, I would


not up and said the same way. I was read a piece of a speech that said


if people cannot get hospital beds, if people cannot get jobs, right,


then there will be unhappiness within communities. If you go to


Boston in Lincolnshire, as an example, the accident and emergency


waiting limits have doubled, British people are discriminated against if


they want to get jobs working in the fields, because the gangmasters have


the business, and it suits the big landowners to have cheap labour. You


begin to understand and realise why immigration is now the most


important problem in this country. It is the inflammatory language


which you are now endorsing which sews fear and scaremongering. We get


this from Anna Soubry and people like you, but the fact is that we


should put the interest of British workers first, and we have not done


that. It is not just the language, it is also the facts. If we did not


have foreign workers in the NHS, there would not be people to staff


the hospital beds. The NHS would not run without people. We had this


scaremongering about Romanians and Bulgarians, ridiculous stories about


blood is appearing on New Year's Day, millions and millions. How many


came? The BBC found four people. -- floods. There is a huge amount of


scaremongering, and there have been lots of studies that we benefit in


terms of taxes paid by migrants. We are net positive. We should be doing


more with school places and stuff, but we do benefit.


2014 is a crunchy. And with the referendum on independence due to be


held on September the 18th. -- a crunch year for Scotland. 16 and


17-year-olds will be able to cast a Bolt, and the BBC will follow 50


young people to track how they are thinking. -- will be able to cast a


vote. The closer I am to my government,


the happier I will be. I am definitely a no, M Lil -- let's


clear that up! I want to get more information. A lot of the time we


are kind of forgotten about, and it is so nice to be able to step up and


how people listen to what we think. Ultimately, it is our future.


Currently we have free health care, free university fees, and I do not


know why we would risk list with an expensive gamble. For the first time


in the history of the UK, 16-year-olds will have a vote thanks


to the decision of the Scottish Parliament. It is a difficult task


to get information about the referendum. There was not a lot of


information given to young people. There is a stigma attached to


thinking about politics. A lot of people I know are embarrassed to


talk about it, it is not the done thing. I have not decided which way


I am going yet. I am willing to take bribes from either side!


And we are joined from our Aberdeen studio by two students involved in


Generation 2014, Martin Close and Erin Fyfe-McWilliam. Welcome to both


of you, the spotlight is on Scotland this year, how exciting is the


referendum for you? I think it is a breakthrough for our generation,


because we are kind of scene as, like, teenagers who are not


interested in anything like this, and it is good to show people, like,


what we can decide on. Is it a topic of discussion amongst you and your


friends? Amongst my group of friends, yes, but whether that is


echoed through the rest of our age group, I would be a bit sceptical of


that. So you do not think it is generally a topic of conversation


for people of your age? I wouldn't say that, no. But for my group of


friends, we talk about it on a great deal of aces, I would say. Why are


you opposed to independence? I do not think we have enough information


on it, and I do not think the Government has thought through it


enough. The other countries who have become independent, they have had a


more thought through plan, and they have been more certain of what is


going to happen afterwards. We are not at that point yet. Martin, you


are in favour, how would you answer those fears? Well, I would say that


we are in a world right now that isn't very... Not a lot of things


are guaranteed in the world. A lot of countries that have gone


independent, I would say, have done it from a lesser informed position


than we are right now. I would say that the information is out there,


and a lot of people want to get off their backsides and start


researching about it. What the positives for you about


independence? That we would be able to govern ourselves, that we would


be in control of our fate, we would be able to choose which direction we


would go, instead of having its decided for us by a government that


we did not elect. What do you think it would do, or what do think these


UCU of the referendum has done in terms of Scottish identity? -- the


issue. I think we are known for having big house, but we need to


kind of, like, listen to our head and decide whether it is going to


benefit us. Economic league, it could go terribly wrong, because 300


years ago, when we were independent, England did help us, and we are now


getting back on our feet economic league as a nation. -- economic


league. Do you think it is right that 16-year-olds will have a vote


on something as fundamental as this? Definitely, we are going to be the


ones who will be around to enjoy or suffer the consequences of the way


we vote, so I think, and everyone voting, we have the biggest stake in


it. Well, it is certainly going to be an exciting time over the next


few months, thank you to both of you, and you can follow these two


and the others in Generation 2014 on BBC News online.


So politics is back from the Christmas break, what is on the


cards? In Parliament this week, Michael Gove and his ministerial


team will be taking education questions from 2:30. Tomorrow Nick


Clegg gets his regular grilling in the Commons with Deputy Prime


Minister is questions, there is the first Prime Minister's Questions of


the year on Wednesday from noon, and the Environment Secretary will be


taking questions from MPs on Thursday. Blood defences, of course,


are high up on the agenda. -- flood. We are joined by Isabel


Hardman and Kevin Maguire, happy New Year to both of you. The Prime


Minister and the Chancellor tried to seize the agenda at the start of the


year, how worried will they be by the Ashcroft Powell saying that 37%


of those who voted Tory in 2010 say they will not, with half defecting


to UKIP? I think they should be quite worried, certainly the MPs


are, but one of the other lines from that is that voters might trust the


Conservatives with the economy, but they trust Labour with the family's


futures, and that is quite worrying for the Tories. The Chancellor and


the Prime Minister need to get on the front foot to say, this is what


we're doing to make sure the cost of your life is not going up. Kevin, no


opposition leader with personal ratings as low as Ed has ever won an


election, so said somebody over the weekend, I, but who! Is a clear


majority for Labour or the Tories unachievable? -- I can't remember


who. Ed Miliband is a drag on his party, and they would be further


ahead with somebody else, but he is there. Trying to look head, we are


using an old maxim, this is uncharted territory now because of


the coalition. It is difficult to predict what will happen, although I


just feel that neither of the big parties have made that breakthrough.


What will they need to do, Isabel Hardman? What does the coalition


needs to do? Will there be more differentiation? They will stay


together right up until the campaign, it might be difficult, but


will differentiation now become the mantra for this year, for the Lib


Dems and the Tories? I think it already has. They have become quite


used to being public about the disagreements on welfare, human


rights and immigration, and they are more comfortable with that. In


Justice, Chris Grayling and Nick Clegg are happy to express


differences of opinion without it getting personal. In other


departments, it is more difficult because there is animosity between


Michael Gove and some Lib Dem ministers, for example, which is


entertaining from our point of view, but not quite as good for the smooth


running of government. Entertaining is important! Looking at


pensioners, because David Cameron and George Osborne have made such a


big play at the beginning of the year about protecting pensioners,


does it put Labour in a tricky position? Labour is the only party


who would means test the big benefits, the winter fuel allowance


for higher rate taxpayers. It was rather shambolic yesterday with


David Cameron, I thought, because the cock crowed three times, Andrew


Marr asked three questions about whether he would guarantee universal


bus passes, TV licences, the winter fuel allowance, and he would not,


and later that afternoon Downing Street's spin doctor said, well, he


is minded to keep them. They do not know where they are, and if the


Chancellor will be pushing for deeper cuts in welfare, social


security 12 billion, a lot of extra money to come, you could abolish


jobseeker's allowance, carers and maternity pay and you would not be


anywhere near that. If he is going to the pensioners' benefits and the


state pension itself, going up, he's going to have a big problem.


Thank you very much. Just time before we go to find out the answer


to the quiz, can you remember it's? What does Baldrick think caused the


First World War? I just wanted to raise those again,


anyone know the answer? C! Very good... It is the one thing you


cannot do in British politics, criticised Blackadder, it is the


worst mistake you can make! We will end on consensus and Blackadder,


thank you very much, thanks to my three guests, Tim, Lucy and Julian,


and all the others, too. Tomorrow we will have Charles Kennedy, join me


then. From all of us here, bye-bye.


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