10/01/2014 Daily Politics


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Afternoon, folks, and welcome to The Daily Politics. EU Referendum Bill


is back. Did you miss it? I did. This time, it is a war of attrition


in the House of Lords. There they are, settling in on the red benches


for the debate over the future of Europe and its relationship with the


British public . David Cameron says the floods were down to climate


change. His Environment Secretary does not sound quite so sure. We


will debate the issue. And why is Ayn Rand still so influential on the


right of politics? And the New Year is going from bad to worse for


Francois Hollande. Has he decided to embrace austerity, as well as an


actress, and will it do him any good?


All of that is coming up in the next hour. With me for the generation, to


journalists that I said I would never share the studio with again,


until hell froze over. And I meant it. Unfortunately, the small town of


Hell in Michigan did freeze over this week. So, here they are again,


it is David Wooding and Helen Lewis. Happy New Year.


. Let's start with EU migration. David Cameron began the year talking


about restricting what he called "mass population movements" around


the EU. Yesterday, the Vice President of the European


Commission, Viviane Reding, who has previously called for a United


States of Europe, said there wasn't an invasion of foreigners stealing


jobs and draining welfare. She even said the British Government was


destroying the future of its people. It's not just the Tories thinking


about making it harder to move around the EU, here's Shadow


Business Secretary Chuka Umunna speaking last night. I think low


skill immigration, we believe that there was too much of it from the


European Union, and I think there is one important thing about the


European Union. The founders of the European Union had in mind free


movement of workers, not free movement of job-seekers, and


undoubtedly, we do have to work with our European partners to deal with


that. I met with a number of them this week, are very open to that, if


we constructively engage with them, and say, hey, do what we want, or we


are going to walk. We asked the Labour spokesperson to come onto the


show this morning to tell us more about this policy, was it made on


the hoof, was it a new party policy, what does it mean? We were told, not


surprisingly, that nobody was available. I suppose there are still


working out what it means. Alan, are British politicians on the right and


the left, having never read the Treaty of Rome -- Helen? That was


the David Dimbleby question, can you rewrite the Treaty of Rome at 11


o'clock on BBC One? You can't, but it is difficult, because at the


moment, you can move somewhere and start a business, for example. If


this was reciprocated, Britain has the fourth largest amounts of


emigrants in the EU, and they would be affected as much as people coming


into Britain. I am not sure that he was right that the Treaty of Rome


was basically mainly arranged for workers to be able to move across


borders. It is about the movement of people. It is about the movement of


people and the other interesting thing is that when the treatment was


signed, there were 28 countries and this has extended. What we voted for


in the original referendum back in the 1970s was a small handful of


Western European countries. I think what he is doing, what Chuka Umunna


is doing, is trying to get Labour more on the side of public opinion


on this. He's not going as far as David Cameron, by saying we want to


have some controls, he's showing that Labour is serious about doing


something about immigration. There were a lot of apologies about the


transitional controls, about Polish people coming in, and that is


something you hear a lot. Gordon Brown famously talked about British


jobs for British workers at one stage, and then Ed Balls has kind of


implied, in 2010, he was talking about European leaders revisiting


the freedom of movement directive. Yvette Cooper has raised similar


concerns, in March of last year. It is a theme that Labour bangles at


every so often but it is very hard Yes, you are right. Yes, you are


right, they are just showing a bit of leg. It is difficult ground for


them. Ed Miliband is always the best looking at the data and public


attitudes about immigration are essentially out of kilter about what


is happening, but how do you tell the voters they are wrong? It is


hard. And David Cameron can always throw back at Labour that they are


the people who open the floodgates in the first place. You can be in or


out of the EU, that is straightforward, but if you are in


it, it involves the movement of people across borders. That is one


of the basic club rules. Chuka Umunna did make a good point about


the high and low skills, it is ridiculous that people are working


copy shop say when they have a Masters degree, that is not good for


the origin country or here. That is a society. Yes, the way the cookie


crumbles. The one piece of good news for the Government is may have been


attacked by the vice president of the European Commission, Viviane


Reding, and when an unknown official attacks the country, that is when


they will get some support. All she has done is shown have out of touch


the European institutions are with public opinion over here. She's


basically saying it is been stoked by politicians for their own ends,


but there is no need for them to do that, they should be hiding it under


the carpet. Labour are not in a good place under immigration and David


Cameron has a big problem with it, they are not stoking it up, it is


public opinion. Viviane Reding, if you are watching in Brussels, come


onto the Daily Politics and have a word about these things. Being a


European official, you would like to be held accountable. Now, if you


would like to have a vote on staying in or coming out of the European


Union in the next couple of years, time is not on your side. The EU


Referendum Bill is being discussed in the Lords today, although whether


it will get much further is another matter. It's not a Government bill,


because the Tories couldn't get the Lib Dems to agree. So they drafted


the legislation themselves and let the backbencher James Wharton


introduce it in the Commons. Now it is the turn of Tory Peer Michael


Dobbs to steering through the House of Lords. The proposed legislation


requires a referendum to be held in December 2017 at the latest.


However, like most Private Members Bills, there is the risk of running


out of time and suspicions that Labour and Lib Dem peers will try


quietly to kill it off. And if those appears that oppose the plans


managed to pile on the amendments, it will keep the bill stuck in the


Lords until the end of February and the bill just dies and the Tories


will have to start all over again. If they have the stomach for it.


Joining me now from the House of Lords is Labour Peer Donald


Anderson. Welcome to the Daily Politics, is the plan to filibuster


this bill? No, I have had very clear instructions from our chief whip not


to filibuster, but we have to do what is the traditional role of the


House of Lords, to give any bill proper scrutiny and clearly, this


has not been given proper or sufficient scrutiny in the House of


Commons. It cannot be steam-rollered through the second chamber. Is it


your view that the House of Lords would like the British people to


have a vote on European membership? I don't think the Lords would want


this bill but at some stage, if it be necessary, for example if there


were some substantial change, and that is already under the referendum


Act, then there is a very strong case for a referendum, but I see no


reason at all for saying now and trying to bind the Government which


will be elected in 2015, there will be a referendum. Because no


Government can bind its successor. It can only lead and the


Conservative Party I do think they will not win the election or that


they have no trust in Mr Cameron to honour his commitments, or both.


Just as we have been talking about the freedom of movement of people


across Europe as a foundation stone of the Treaty of Rome, is it's not a


foundation stone of our Constitution that this Parliament cannot bind


another parliament --is it not? Absolutely, which is why it is


absurd. The only motive behind this bill is that the Conservatives have


looked over their shoulder, seen the threat from UKIP and have moved in


that direction. They will not win the UKIP voters that way. They will


be blown up in the flames and consume themselves, because the UKIP


voters will demand the real thing. Are you out to amend the bill? I


think it does deserve an amendment, it deserves serious scrutiny. For


example the map on the question on whether the electrical -- on the


question of whether the electoral commission, examining questions like


this, said they were not happy with the question. The electorate needs


to be looked at, and a whole series of other questions, otherwise it


will be recklessly pushed through by the Government and that is against


our Constitution. It purports to be a Private Members Bill but it is


actually a conservative bill, three line whip, by the Conservative Party


in the Commons. Is there not something a little bit Gilbert and


Sullivan about an unelected chamber trying to deny the rest of us an


election? I am not denying an election. The Government claimed


that there will not be a referendum in any account until 2017. And that


will depend on the negotiations. That is a long way down the road.


Europe may change, our Government may change, and therefore there are


so many uncertainties. It may well be that there is a case but we don't


know. The timetable of 2017 is wholly unrealistic. Anyone who knows


Europe will know that to have full negotiations and a ratification by


all countries simply cannot be achieved within that period up to


2017, said the only question possible during that time is do you


think your Government should continue with negotiations. It is


absurd. Donald Anderson stick with us. We are joined now by the former


leader of the House of Lords under the Conservatives, Tom Strathclyde.


What is this all about in the end, other than a party political move by


the Tories? Because you cannot bind, as everyone agrees, the next


Parliament. I think this is a tremendous symbol and a signal to


the electorate that this Parliament is serious about giving people their


say about the future of Europe and whether or not we should continue


down the path of an ever closer union, which we have developed over


the course of the last 40 years. And the public, I think, are very


uncertain about our role in Europe. They now have an opportunity, if


this bill goes through, to prepare themselves for a referendum which


will take place before the end of 2017, four campaigns to get going


for and us remaining in the EU -- the campaigns. This gives us plenty


of time to resolve the difficulties and uncertainties so that we get a


clear result. But it could be all over by the end of the next


Parliament? And one of the reasons to get it in statute before the


General Election is to give the parties that will be standing at the


election the opportunity to say loud and clear to the people of this


country whether they intend to continue with this legislation or to


scrap it if they get elected. You could get the same result by asking


people if they would support a referendum or not. But over the


course of the last 20 years, there have been countless examples of


where politicians have promised a referendum before general elections


and not delivered them. Most recently, it was Tony Blair who


promised a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, but when it came about, he


said it wasn't what he intended it to be and therefore we didn't need a


referendum. Wasn't it David Cameron that promised us a cast-iron


guarantee on a referendum? Only if this treaty has not been ratified.


It was common sense. What you're saying is you need this legislation,


because basically, we, the voters, do not trust you, that is what


you're saying. Lets keep the parties honest on this hugely important


issue -- let's keep. And on this issue, we are reaching beyond


politicians and politics and appealing directly to the people of


the country and saying you are directly responsible for making this


decision and we should not decide, over to you. This is a Private


Members Bill. Could you use the Parliament Act to get it through? In


theory. I really hope that does not apply and I made the point early on


that it is ridiculous for an appointed house to stand not just


against the will of the regulated House of Commons that has passed the


bill, but also on a bill that is over all of our heads and says to


the people of the country, you must have your say. Of what you say to


that, Donald Anderson? I think it is absurd. The truth is they would not


be a referendum in any event until 2017. Lord Strathclyde said it is a


signal, only of Tory divisions and the Tories retreating before UKIP.


Two years ago, David Cameron and William Hague ruled out and in-out


referendum and if we were to vote out, where would we be? We do not


know if we want a Norwegian president, if we want to somehow


Seagate new deal with the Commonwealth -- seek out. We would


be in insurgency, and there would be four years of uncertainty that is


going to put off foreign investment. We have seen this with Nissan,


Hitachi, the Japanese Government and CBI all saying that it would be


contrary to our national interest. They got all of what you say may


well be true and a strong argument, but that is an argument are having a


referendum. That is not in arguing for or against. If you believe in


these arguments, and many people do, then have the referendum and


argue it out and let people decide. But the timing is absolutely


crucial. There may or may not be a case for a referendum, there will be


several questions, but we will not know about it, certainly Give us


your best guess, what will happen to this bill in the Lords? I think


there is a possibility that this will run into the sands, and then it


will be a matter for the electorate in 2015 to vote or not to vote for a


party which has a referendum at an appropriate time in its manifesto.


Would you advise Ed Miliband not to go down this referendum route, not


to have this in the Labour manifesto? I would say that the


appropriate stance for the Labour Party in 2015 is to say, look, we


already have a referendum act, having a referendum if there are


substantial changes, new powers, to the European Union. That may or may


not -- there may or may not be a case for an in-out referendum. That


depends completely on the circumstances at the time. What is


planned be, Lord Strathclyde? I am not in the government, so I do not


know what it is, or indeed if there should be one. What we need to do


now is to make sure that this bill... He has just said that his


advice to the Labour Party is not to concede the principle of a


referendum to the people of this country. He is saying to the leader


of the Labour Party, you must not go down this route. I think that is


complete madness. It is a clear position. It is a clear position


from Donnell, but not from the leadership my feeling has been that


because Ed Miliband's narrative is such as it is, that he will not go


down the referendum route. I am seeing less and less reasons we


could have a referendum on anything, whether David Cameron should go to


see a hairdresser. But the trouble about this is that it becomes more


and more clear as this bill goes through its endless, tortuous stages


that this is a Tory obsession, it is not a national obsession. I did not


go home at Christmas, with my family clinging to my leg, saying, when,


oh, when are we going to have this referendum on Europe? That is the


point, that it is not an issue which is gripping the nation, it is


gripping a small portion of the Tory party. Well, it is and it isn't,


because the issue of in or out may not grip the nation, but it is


inextricably linked with the question of immigration.


Immigration, welfare, all of those are inextricably linked with Europe.


A lot of the problems we have are related to Europe. Labour let the


cat out of the bag today when Lord Mandelson said it is a lottery, if


we have a referendum, in other words, we do not trust the people. I


think what Labour are doing is trying to keep their options open. I


do not think they want a referendum, but they are not going to say so


just yet. We will leave it there. Thank you for joining us on The


Daily Politics. Now, earlier this morning, a police


person who falsely claimed to have seen Andrew Mitchell arguing with


officers outside Downing Street has pleaded guilty to misconduct in


public office. It revolves around what was said at the gates of


Downing Street as Mr Mitchell tried to go through on his bike. While we


have been on air, he has responded to this development, and told the


press Association, I am pleased that justice has been done in the


criminal court today. It is very sad and worrying for all of us that a


serving police officer should have behaved in this way, and there


remains many questions unanswered, in particular, why the PC wrote this


e-mail, and who else was involved in this process.


We will bring you any further developments on that if they happen


while we are on air. When you woke up this morning, did you think, we


have got some extreme weather, caused by climate change? Well, this


week, David Cameron told MPs he very much suspects the recent floods are


linked to climate change. His Environment Secretary has taken


something of a different view. In our entirely unscientific


contribution to the debate, Adam has taken his balls out for the first


time in 2014 to see which way the wind is blowing. It has finally


stopped raining, which means we can bring out The Daily Politics mood


box to ask the public what they think is to blame for the extreme


weather. Is it mostly climate change, or is it just the weather?


With the wind, the heavy rain and the flooding, I think it is climate


change. It is not something we have had before. A bit of uncertainty,


just like in the real world. This is going to affect you in about 20


years! Short answer, climate change, it is the melting of the


icebergs. We have got about 25 tourists from Arkansas. How cold is


it back home? It is very cold. They are all going for just the weather,


which I think is the opposite of what President Obama thinks. It is


the weather, it cycles in and it cycles out. So, do you think all of


the people who voted for just the weather are wrong? Yes. You could


plot the weather on your scarf. I know. As the strange weather been


affect finger painting and decorating business? Yes, on the


outside, it has, yes. -- has it been affecting the painting and


decorating business? Thank you very much. There is actually no evidence


since 1997 that the planet is warming up. It hasn't been, and I


think it is just an opportunity for a lot of people do make a lot of


money out of climate change. -- to make. You have been talking about it


for about ten minutes. Yes, week believe it could be a meteorite


disturbance in outer space. Well, it is true what they say, British


people do love talking about the weather and the climate, although


after all that, it is kind of 50-50. Certainly no warming here, I am


absolutely freezing! They also think Adam is a lizard. The jury is open


on that one. I am joined now by the leader of the Green Party, Natalie


Bennett, and by the journalist and conservative here Matt Ridley. Is


climate change to blame for the stormy weather? Of course, any


individual event of weather is just that, weather. But what we are


seeing around the world at the moment is an awful lot of what what


we might call, in quotation marks, weather. In Australia, we have had


thousands of bats falling from the trees, we have had records broken


since Christmas. We have got the storms in the US, we have the


cyclone in the Philippines. We have a situation where what we can expect


is more extreme weather, and more of it. Therefore what we have got fits


with that pattern for climate change. So, whatever happens with


the weather, if it is really warm, or really cold, or really flooding


in Britain, it is all down to global warming? If it is extreme weather,


and we are seeing more of it, that is a result of climate change. We


have had extreme weather before the idea of global warming. We have


indeed, but what we are seeing is more of it. It is really quite


simple, in terms of the rain we are seeing at the moment, we all know


the basic frigates? -- physics, that if you have higher temperatures, you


are going to get more evaporation and therefore more rain. Why did we


think we were going to get limited precipitation this winter? Kos our


weather predictions are still limited. But the Met Office is all


part of the holy Grail, isn't it, they are completely informed by


global warming, aren't they? The holy Grail, as you put it, is as


backed by 97% of climate scientists, by the IPCC report, the most


scrutinised science report in history. Let's just go to that


report. It concludes, we have low confidence that flooding events are


being caused by global warming. And we can go to the response from Ban


Ki-Moon on this. He said, in response to that report, that the


heat is on... The IPCC report says they have low confidence that


flooding is being caused by climate change. That is the report! What


this demonstrates, and I was on one of the last trains to Oxford before


the line was stopped by flooding, and lots of people on the train were


looking out the window at seems like we have behind us. Quite a lot of


people were going, well, that is amazing. And there was fear and


surprise. So your answer to the science of the IPCC report is a


train journey to Oxford? All of our human life, our ability to feed


ourselves, how is ourselves, live safely, is dependent on the climate.


When you look around, there is something happening. We may not be


able to explain it, but Natalie Bennett is right, everywhere you


look, there are extreme weather events taking place. There was a


report in the paper this morning that the Thames has reached a record


level, since 2003. So, that record is only ten years old. If you look


at all of these storms, lots of bad weather, they are all the worst for


20 years, 40 years, 100 years. But what was happening then? Was that


climate change? Of course not. Australia seems to be hotter than


ever. Yes, but categorically, it is impossible to say that this is due


to climate change. We had a cold, calm winter last year, we are having


a mild, stormy winter this year. It happens. You're going to get these


kinds of weather events whether the climate is warming or not. We should


not worry so much about the trend. But the IPCC report does say, the


frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation events overland wheel


likely increase on average in the near-term. It also says, confidence


in the trends regarding tropical cyclones since 1900 is low. The IPCC


say they have got 95% confidence that this climate change is


happening. You have got a plane, there is a 95% risk it is going to


crash, are you going to get on that plane? I do not think so. So


therefore, we have to take action against climate change to secure the


future of the planet of the human race. The question is, is action


against carbon emissions the most effective way of preventing bad


weather? The answer is clearly no. All sorts of other things are


affecting plants, like development, house-building, on flood plains.


Let's deal with that. That effectively is what David Cameron


said. He said, whatever your views, you should be doing as much as


possible to mitigate and plan for floods and storms, which is quite


right. Is their agreement on that? Entirely. One thing we need to do,


and he might agree with me, is that we are not doing nearly enough to


conserve energy, too insulated our homes. Doing that would create up to


200,000 jobs, drastically cut fuel poverty and cut carbon emissions but


we could also not charge people too much for their electricity because


of renewables. And of course the fault of the rising prices of bills


is because of the rising price of gas, not because of renewables. 95%


of the increase is due to gas. Not in the future, it is but I think


your probability of dying as a result of extreme weather is down by


98% since the 1920s globally. That is not because the weather got less


dangerous, that is because we have got better housing, communication


and transport, which makes storms more survivable. That is what we


should be focusing on. So, for a good example, we should not be


cutting the coastguard. Well, the amount of investment that the


Government is putting into floods is actually a record. I think there has


been a lot of debate about this, but the independent analysts say


spending is going down in real terms. That is not my


understanding, I understand there is a record amount being spent on flood


mitigation. Whatever it is, the Environment Agency in this country


actually has a gigantic budget and staff compared to most countries.


But not go down the coastguard route, is it your contention that


there is not really an increase in extreme weather events, and that


global warming has nothing to do with these events to mark -- these


events? Natalie is right that you will see more precipitation and


there are benefits to that, droughts have shrunk in intensity as well.


That is not true. It is. But in terms of her against... They cannot


find a trend in 30 years in the frequency of hurricanes, typhoons


and tornadoes hit a 30 year low in America. One-year's weather.


Absolutely, but we are seeing very low trends in the last 30 or 40


years for any of these weather events and the IPCC says that, there


is no detectable incidence of global warming on extreme weather and there


will not be possibly for the whole of this century, they said that in


2011 in a report. I think we can come back to the survey that you


started with a note sure -- and I am sure we all understand it is a piece


of fun but three quarters of the British public say they believe that


human caused climate change is happening now and we need to act. It


is the wisdom of crowds and the wisdom of climate scientists. Just


on the politics of this, the Tories are now in a strange position. As


part of the rebranding of getting away from the cuddly party, the


nasty party, to becoming a cuddly party and not a nasty party, Mister


Cameron signed the Tories up to the whole global warming agenda, and so


he keeps on blaming Ed Miliband for the 2008 climate change act and he


voted for every clause in it, so did his party, but he actually leads a


party that most of them don't believe in it. I know, those poor


huskies. There is an issue here, the three main party leaders all believe


the same thing on climate change, but there is a big proportion of the


Tory party that is not signed up to that, and a big proportion of the


country, so there is a danger of it being a Westminster consensus that


does not include the rest of the country. It will be interesting to


see what the Tory attitude to this will be, because Labour and the Lib


Dems will stick with this, that is part of their approach to life but


it will be interesting to see what the Tory manifesto says. The big war


is not about climate change itself, it is about energy bells and what


the punter is paying to heat their homes -- energy bills. We have what


Labour have promised and the action by the Conservatives, that is where


they will focus and I think they will cut the green rubbish, if I can


use that word... You can use the word rubbish but you cannot use the


word that David Cameron said. Why I think some of this green stuff is


now being viewed more sceptically, I think it has been over spun by the


climate change lobby. We talk about global warming, that word warming


has gone because we are now actually freezing, and because it has over


spun, more and more people are beginning to viewed sceptically. In


the same way that the health lobby tellers to drink fewer units of wine


every day and then we are told, actually, you can have a glass. I


think the media has a problem with it, it is a huge, complicated issue.


It is not just the media, because in 2008, Al Gore, based on climate


science, told us the ice would be gone in the Arctic in 2013. Last


time I looked, it was higher than it was for six or seven years and


certainly hadn't gone. You are absolutely right, there is a


consensus among climate scientists that the planet is warming. There is


a consensus that man is playing a part in that, but there are huge


arguments over what the actual impact would be on temperature,


exactly how important man is compared to other issues and what of


the policy should be to combat it. On that, there is no settled view.


But it is worth thinking back about human history. The human race, we


have developed the whole of civilisation through one of the most


stable periods of the world's climate that we know about. We are


dependent on that, to grow our crops, to house ourselves, to stay


safe. We have no option but to live within the climate we have. But the


point I was trying to get you to address and we will have to move on


is that if you oversell the consequences, if you tell us the


Arctic ice will disappear by 2013 and it hasn't, if you send ships out


because you think there is no sea ice in the Antarctic and it turns


out there is so much you get stuck, if you tell us that the Himalayan


glacial as will disappear and they haven't, and even on current trends


will not for 200 years... The fundamental case may be right but if


you make hyperbolic predictions, you undermined your own case, is the


point I am making. The point I would make is the case is there, the


evidence is overwhelming and we have to act now. Al Gore and the


scientists were wrong? Speaking they got wrong on the details. Hold on,


it wasn't the detail but they would be no ice by 2013, it was an


apocalyptic prediction. We have record low levels of ice, we are


heading towards no ice. It is worth remembering that the Antarctic ice


is... It is very good to see you both, thank you. Now, if there is


one book every true libertarian likes a cosy up with on a cold


January night, it is the novel Atlas Shrugged. You think they should get


out a bit more. It was written by writer calmer who claimed to have


invented a new code of morality based on reason alone -- it was


written by Ayn Rand. Here is Charlie Wolf talking about Ayn Rand.


These days, there is a huge market for books about unleashing the power


of the self, the potential of the individual, and that is essentially


the philosophy of the American author Ayn Rand. I have come to


Borough market in London to meet a commentator and broadcaster who says


he can explain her philosophy through the medium of letters. --


lettuce. So, Charlie, why do you like Ayn Rand and what does she have


to do with lettuce? The Fountainhead was a book that changed my life, it


was a book I could not put down but as for lettuce, my father was a


greengrocer and maybe you have had it happened when a parent says


something that seems so innocuous but holds great meaning. He was


stacking lettuce one day in a shop and said, do you know why I made a


pyramid? Because I can. I am my own boss, nobody tells me how to stack


the lettuce. So that simple act of stacking the lettuce was so like Ayn


Rand, in that he was the author of his own destiny, no one told him how


to. That was a pyramid of lettuce, let's take you to a pyramid of glass


and steel, the Shark, which also has a lot to do with Ayn Rand. Ayn Rand


was a Russian emigre, fiercely anti-Communist and unconventional in


her lives. Even her fans than her tricky but Doctor Elisabeth Fraser


of Oxford University say that her books were powerful. -- found her


tricky. She is inspirational. Her view of free society has inspired so


many people. A very, very controversial but if there were a


prize for the author who has got the most people saying, I read this book


and it changed my life, she would win it. We are now surrounded by the


most incredible view from the restaurant in The Shard in London. I


was just wondering, what was Ayn Rand's worldview? Her worldview


would be that the people who built this view who built The Shard, and


heroic amount of vision and in this building in particular, it is a


cathedral. Not to God, she was an atheist, but a cathedral to the


powers of mankind. Men were heard gods. She tended to present


philosophical ideas as though they were her own invention, and that is


strange to serious thinkers and politicians as well -- estranged. It


was extraordinary that she refused to cooperate politically. Including


with people who really liked her ideas and would have liked her to be


a figurehead for a new conservatism in the 20th century. She was very


sectarian and capable of being very nasty. However nasty, though, how


many other political philosophers have had their books turned into a


movie, with its enigmatic catchphrase, who is John Galt? It is


us who rule the world. Atlas Shrugged is all about railways,


steel and building a bridge, but not like the one we are standing next,


which is a ugly and grubby. But people think the philosophy of Ayn


Rand is the same, supremely selfish. Is that fair? Not if you


define it the way that Ayn Rand did, it is about being true to


yourself, taking care of yourself first and foremost. Not living off


the state or off others and it is a noble way. If you can do that, think


of how the roles of welfare would shrivel up, how society would be


better off. It is a far better philosophy than living off the


state. It is not just that many would not agree with that but in


October 2011, some were prepared to camp out on the streets in front of


Saint Pauls Cathedral to demonstrate their opposition to such views. But


actually, pain Rand -- Ayn Rand predicted all of that. We went to


The Shard, but here is Saint Paul's. She would not have gone in,


she was an atheist. There is a cathedral to man, the stock exchange


over there, but something here happened recently that you think


makes Ayn Rand River that readily to relevant to today. This is where the


protest as well and she described in her books this dystopian state, the


welfare state, the moochers, the one who want the money for


entitlement's sake and leeches, who demanded that on a moral imperative,


companies and the churches paid more money, being altruistic with other


people's many. This was a dystopian welfare state, collectivism that she


hated. But she also did say it is trade, it is, is, it is jobs. That


is what lifts people out of poverty, not giving them money. That is why


Ayn Rand is relevant to today. Either way, who is John Galt?


Charlie Wolf joins us in the studio now. What is the answer to the


question? Who is John Galt, that is the question? This is the man who


stopped the engine of the world in the book, went on strike and took


his capital with him and showed that as much as people make derisory


comments about the movers and shakers of the world, Starbucks and


Amazons and Bill Gates, these are the guys that, for want of profit,


are making the economy move and we need them and they are very


beneficial. The whole premise of their book is what if all of these


people took their property and their assets and just went on strike,


where would the rest of us be? It would be a dystopian state. But what


would they do? In the book, they will go to a magic island, it is a


bit of a science-fiction novel. It could be VI love white. It could


have been. -- it could have been the Isle of Wight. If you are on the


right, you look at Ayn Rand's critique of collectivism and Marxism


and people on the right thing, she got that absolutely right but when


she comes herself to say what kind of society we should have, it seems


a bit extreme. Funnily enough, when Atlas Shrugged came out, it was


hated on the left and the right. There were articles commissioned


against the book, saying she was godless on the right and the left


saying she was selfish. So there are extremities but I take it for what


it is worth, extremities in objectivism. Extremities in


objectivism? I think she was making, in the extreme positions,


and ideology. I don't believe in her atheism, her position on abortion...


Say she is not an icon of the social conservative right in America? No,


she is the libertarian icon. When she was alive, she didn't have much


time for libertarianism. Don't ask me why. But she wrote, "trade is the


only proper basis of any relationship" . Adam Smith said


roughly the same, that it is not from the munificence of the butcher


or the bread-maker, he does it because he wants to make a profit,


and you get it, but then she adds, including relationships with members


of our families! Smith would never have said that. Probably not, but if


you look again in Atlas Shrugged, Hank Reardon, his family was


mooching off him, but I agree. There is a lot of Ayn Rand that were


ironic streams and you take what was important. The important thing for


me, as the Fountainhead explained, we have the power within us to


accomplish anything. Her heroes were heroes and her villains were


villains because they were socialists. How much was she


influenced by the fact that her family's pharmacy business was


confiscated by the Bolsheviks? Probably a lot. She hated anything


to do with the communist state. The only thing she took with her, which


again I find hard to understand, from the commonest estate, was her


atheism. In a sense, you are almost in the mirror image position of Owen


Jones, when we had him on the programme, as he came on, talking


about Karl Marx, and of course he was not endorsing Marxism in its


entirety, but he said there are things we can learn from him. And


you have also taken a rather extreme ideology, the polar opposite to


Marxism, and said, I do not buy it all, but there are bits of it... It


is interesting you mentioned Owen Jones, because yes, we have gone


from left to right. But the problem with Owen Jones legal theory is that


it is unequivocally wrong. It does not work. Let me just explain why. A


very good experiment happened when the Pilgrims first came to Plymouth.


They practised collectivism when they first got there, and they


starved after 2.5 years. They have this theory that everybody would


take an equal portion. Nobody worked. Finally, after 2.5 years,


the governor got rid of it, and said, this theory of the community


does not work. And this is what Thatcher said. I understand that,


but it comes back to the Rand criticism of collectors is, it is


what she would have had in its place which I was asking you about, which


seems to me to be just as weak in its way as Marxism out to be. --


criticism of collectivism. Is it under your pillow every night?


Everything I have learned about Ayn Rand I have found out from a


computer game. It is a city built under the sea, which actually


finally enough, quite a lot of Silicon Valley enthusiast 's want to


actually build. But it is all the winners of society, going and making


a society together. But the problem is, there is no family loyalty,


there is no altruism, everybody is purely therefore themselves. The


problem I have with Rand is the same problem I have with Marxism. They


are extremes. From what I know of Rand, she is Margaret Thatcher on


speed. She almost makes it cool to be selfish. One of the quotes today


was, before you can say I love you, you have to think of I. Then she


says, there are three key places in an argument, one is right, what is


wrong, and the other is the middle. -- the other is evil. People having


22 kids on welfare is selfish, but they rely on the generosity of


others, which is somewhere in the middle. You can watch the rest of


our series on political thinkers on our website. And thanks to Derek


Wilkinson, who has just tweeted to me and given a very useful section


on the Treaty of Rome, article three C, which calls for free movement for


persons. Not workers, not job-seekers. So, if you are


watching, Chuka Umunna, there you go. It is not unusual at this time


of year to try to change direction in life, you might give up smoking,


go to the gym, find a new job, or promise never to miss The Daily


Politics for a year. One person has made it his New Year 's resolution


to become more pro-business. The Socialist leader of France has


hinted that he might cut labour costs in exchange for firms hiring


more workers. Here he is. TRANSLATION: I propose a


responsibility packed with business, it is based on a simple principle,


lower labour charges and fewer restrictions on their activity, in


return for more workers and more dialogue with trade unions. First of


all, I want to reduce public spending. We have to make savings


wherever possible. I am sure we can do more by spending less. We have to


spend less to reduce our deficit, also to eventually lower taxes.


That's fiscal reform, which we are committed to. I myself take on the


responsible to four following this savings programme for the length of


this Parliament. Now, I am joined by Axelle Lemaire, a member of the


French parliament, representing northern Europe, and a member of


Francois Hollande's socialist party, and a friend of The Daily Politics.


We welcome you back. What is it like to be supporting the most unpopular


president in the history of the fifth Republic? I suppose I keep


thinking, well, if it is that bad, why don't we take risks? Which is


what we are doing. It gives us, we have local elections coming, but we


still have until 2017... You will be thumped in the local elections.


Let's talk about that when it comes because I am not convinced. We are


ahead in the mayoral elections, the departments, everywhere in France.


You run all the departments. But even if things were going well, you


would be losing some. Yes. But over the past 25 years, only Italy has


grown slower than France. Your budget deficit is bigger than that


of Italy, you have the largest current-account deficit in the


Eurozone. Since 1999, GDP per head in Germany has grown 25% more than


in France, your unit labour costs are now higher than Germany, and you


are on the brink of another recession. Where is the good news?


Wow! Like that, it does sound very, very bad. I am surprised you did not


mention the United Kingdom, because that is what we are usually compared


with, and that is what Mr Cameron compared his country with. But we


are still the fifth biggest economy, number two in Europe, behind not the


United Kingdom but Germany. We topped number one in the global 500


index of innovative companies. We have a low inflation rate, we have


reduced the public deficit, and currently we are at 3.8% of GDP in


France. I think here it is 6.4%. It is easier for a country which can


print its own currency, though. The levels of debt, public and private,


because people do not take loans to buy cars, to buy a house. Are we


going through what we saw with the last socialist president, President


Mitterrand, who came in with a very socialist agenda, and within less


than two years, the whole place had gone belly up, it was a disaster,


and he rushed for the centre, so is that what M Hollande is now doing,


when he is being nice to business and talking about cutting spending?


Not at all. The number one priority in his programme, as a candidate,


was competitiveness of companies. This is how it is seen abroad, that


it is a U-turn, it is a pro-business U-turn, but he has always been


pro-business. We passed a deal with companies in March last year, and I


voted for it as an MP last year, to help them reduce labour costs for


employees when times are hard, a bit like Germany did at the beginning of


this century. We are doing many things. Do you think it really was a


good way of encouraging foreign direct investment into France, of


which France needs a lot, for the unions to kidnap the boss of good


year? I do not think so, that gave us extremely bad publicity. That was


a decision made by local union leaders, which was immediately


condemned by the government, by the minister in charge of that case.


They were soon released after that. But no, of course, it gave us bad


publicity. But that does not reflect the reality. I understand, but you


do not see this as a change of course? I see it as a continuation


of what we have been trying to do to promote business and attract foreign


investors, and it is working. We are doing clearly better. The level of


unemployment is still high, but it has been continually decreasing


since we got in power. Unemployment has gone up. Since we arrived in


power, little by little, we are decreasing it. You are decreasing


the rate of increase. But will it help M Hollande's popularity that he


now seems to have indulged in the time-honoured French President's


tradition of having a mistress? This sounds very French, doesn't it?


Except that this time we know, Mitterrand managed to hide them


away. It is difficult to do that with Twitter! We also have a


different tradition, which is, we want to respect privacy. I notice


that his criticism was not that it is not true, it was, you have


invaded my privacy. I remember when Palmerston, at the age of 60 odd,


did it in this country, the Tories wanted to cover it up because it


would make him more popular. Thanks for joining us. Next, the most


efficient round-up of the week's news, in only 62 seconds. Much of


southern Britain was underwater, as there was yet more heavy range


effort but the Tory MP Penny Morden will be getting even wetter. She is


going to star in a TV diving show. Boris Johnson made a splash on the


airwaves again, this time knocking Nick Clegg. He has that very


important ceremonial function as David Cameron's lapdog come


protection device. There was less knock-about in the Commons, as PMQs


went all proper, following Ed Miliband's concerns that it was


getting too rowdy. One Labour MP called for an end to slogans like


these. I would say the big society is an enormous opportunity.


Christmas is a distant memory, but some reckon Scrooge is still hanging


around, as the Chancellor announced another ?25 billion of cuts, much of


it in welfare. 2014 is the year of hard truths.


The year of hard truths, who writes that stuff?! Give me a thought, what


is going to happen this year that will surprise us? I hope that there


will be a lot about young people. We heard about housing benefit getting


taken away from the under-25s. I do not see if you are under 30 watts


any of the big parties can offer you. The older people tend to own


their houses. That is one thing I would like to see more of. For you?


Scottish referendum, that is going to be big. European elections in


May. But I think the overarching thing will be the decoupling of the


coalition. Interesting, you heard it here first! That is it for today. I


will be back with The Sunday Politics on BBC One, on Sunday, at


11 o'clock. Until then, have a good weekend.


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