06/02/2014 Daily Politics


06/02/2014

Andrew Neil with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With former government chief scientific adviser Lord May and a look at the response to the floods.


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Transcript


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Afternoon folks, welcome to the Daily Politics. It never rains but

:00:35.:00:40.

it pours. With more bad weather on the way, the Government is also

:00:41.:00:43.

braced for more political headwinds. Railway lines are down, severe flood

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warnings in place and people evacuated from their homes. No one

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expects the Prime Minister to be able to control the weather. But

:00:54.:00:56.

critics say the Government response been too little too late. We'll have

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the latest. Does David Cameron have a women

:01:00.:01:05.

problem? Ed Miliband thinks so. The Prime Minister said he would lead

:01:06.:01:09.

the way on equality - but female voters, and MPs, seem to be

:01:10.:01:11.

deserting the party. Science and the media - itt's never

:01:12.:01:15.

been an easy relationship, but is it getting worse? We'll be joined by

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the Government's former chief scientific adviser. And does being a

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fan of Coronation Street make you more likely to vote Labour? Does a

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passion for sci-fi make you a Lib Dem? We'll be looking at what

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people's TV habits tell us about their voting preferences.

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All that in the next hour. And with us for the whole programme today is

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Bob May, a former chief scientific adviser to the Government and a

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former president of the Royal Society. He is now a fellow of

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Merton College, Oxford, and also sits as a cross bench peer in the

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House of Lords. Welcome. In an age old British tradition,

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we're going to start by talking about the weather. Heavy rain is set

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to continue to batter large parts of the country, in particular the south

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of England. Yesterday the storm damaged the railway at Dawlish after

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a part of the sea wall collapsed and left the tracks suspended in

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mid-air. It's a vital route to the South West, and Network Rail says it

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could take at least six weeks to repair, although work can't even

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begin until the weather improves. The Somerset Levels could also be

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hit - there are two severe flood warnings in place signifying a

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danger to life. Many flood-hit homes have already been evacuated, and

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further rainfall raises the prospect of more residents having to leave

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their houses. Environment Secretary Owen Paterson was meant to be making

:02:46.:02:49.

a statement to MPs, but he had to go into hospital yesterday for an

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operation on a detached retina. So, for now, the Communities Secretary,

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Eric Pickles, has assumed responsibility. Here's what he had

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to say in the Commons a short while ago.

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In the short term I can announce the Government will provide an

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additional ?130 million for emergency repairs and maintenance.

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?30 million in the current year, and ?100 million next year. This will

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cover costs incurred during the current emergency response and

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recovery, as well as the essential repairs to ensure that defences are

:03:33.:03:38.

maintained. Emergency work and repairs started in December.

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However, the full picture of the damage caused to the flood defences,

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has not emerged and the weather conditions have proved to be so

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savage. The Government will therefore carry out a rapid review

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of the additional work needed to restore our flood defences and

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maintain them. That was Eric Pickles. More on that

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as the programme goes on. What do you make of the Government response?

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I think it is appropriate. It might have been better if some of these

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precautions about preparing flood defences had been done earlier

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because it is clear we are headed in a direction where it will be more of

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a threat. There seems to be a real division of opinion between the

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experts here in London, the Environment Agency and other

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quangos, and experts on the ground in Somerset. They wanted dredging

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all along and there has not been treasuring. -- dredging. It would

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not have stopped the flooding but it may have drained away more quickly.

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I would include dredging in flood control. You think it was a flood

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control to stop the dredging -- a mistake? Yes. There is clearly a

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rift between the Environment Agency and the Government. We should simply

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be doing both. We should be dredging but we should be preparing barrier

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defences. That becomes even more important because we are building

:05:28.:05:33.

more homes on flood plains. Yes. You say you will -- we will face more of

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this. Politicians say endlessly because of global warming, climate

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change, we will see more of this. Where is the scientific evidence? Go

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back 100 years to recognising that the more post-industrial burning

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fossil fuels, we burn 1 million years worth of carbon each year, it

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thickens the greenhouse blanket and that causes warming. Warming, in a

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sense, is energy. There is more energy in the weather system. You

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cannot attribute any single episode to global warming. There have always

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been extreme events. There is a wonderful blog I came across the

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other day, an American, who pointed out the fact that Barry Bond broke

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Babe Ruth's record for the season and he was found to be on steroids.

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This blog said, you could not attribute any single home run to his

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being on steroids, but you can attribute the fact that he broke

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Babe Ruth's record to the fact he broke -- took steroids. What we have

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got now is whether on steroids. The latest report says that there

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continues to be a lack of evidence and low confidence regarding the

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magnitude and frequency of floods on a global scale. That is right. There

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is uncertainty about the magnitude. But the overall fact that the world

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is warming is not in doubt. That is not what I am arguing about. What

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I'm trying to find out is where the scientific evidence is. For

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example, the -- this leads to more extreme weather. Hurricanes and

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tornadoes are very low levels compared to historic records.

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Historic records fluctuate. The basic trajectory is clear. That does

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not mean you can make predictions moment to moment. The IPCC

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recognises this. It says it has low confidence. We are always told not

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to use one month. January has been one of the wettest ever on record.

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If you take the months from January -- from October to January, 1915 was

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worse. 1661. Where they caused by global warming? No. Weather is

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weather. Home runs our home runs. The analogy I gave is a good one.

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Some people hit more home runs than others. People on steroids do

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better. There is more energy in the system and you get more extreme

:08:38.:08:42.

events. Now, let's stick with this story

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because there's an ongoing political row about the floods and whether or

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not the Government has been sufficient. In particular, there are

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conflicting claims from government and opposition about how much is

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being spent on flood defences. David Cameron and Ed Miliband clashed

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during PMQs yesterday - here's what they said.

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Let me answer very directly the issue about flooding. This

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government has spent 2.4 billion over this four-year period, which is

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more than the ?2.2 billion spent under the previous comment. A

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further ?100 million will be made available to fund essential flood

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repairs and maintenance in the next year. I can confirm that is new

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money that would protect more houses and help our country more with

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floods, and we will continue to do what is right.

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Mr Speaker, I have got to say that the investment by the Government has

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fallen during this period and not risen. But the reality is that the

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scale of challenge we face from climate change and floods demands

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that we have it combines a look at the investment required.

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Competing claims at Prime Minister's Questions? Whatever next. Yesterday

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I put it to Francis Maude that the Government was spending about 100

:10:05.:10:09.

million less during the lifetime of this Parliament. And it would fall

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by 100 million. He said local authorities were spending more. I

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said that central government could not take the credit. That is where

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we left it. Well, to talk us through the numbers we're joined by Will

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Moy, director of Full Fact, an organisation which examines how

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politicians and the media use statistics.

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Mark our card? What David Cameron was doing yesterday was comparing

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for the first four years of this government with the last four years

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of the previous government. The numbers he gave war, on the face of

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it, the right ones. But when you take inflation into account,

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actually there was a slight real term dip. He was comparing the first

:10:55.:11:01.

four years of this government. That is really significant. The first

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year of this government was still on Labour's spending plans. It was the

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largest year of spending in the last ten years. Ed Miliband has a problem

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with that. He wants to compare the Labour spending period with the

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coalition spending plan period, which began after they came into

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office. If you do that, you see a more significant fall in real terms.

:11:26.:11:29.

Shouldn't politicians always be held to account, to use real term

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figures? In other words, spending after you take account of inflation.

:11:37.:11:41.

We know that since the financial crash, inflation in this country has

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been pretty high. At times it has reached 5%. Simply saying that I am

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spending ?1 and you only spent 90p five years ago, tells us nothing? I

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couldn't agree more. What about the claim of Francis Maude yesterday

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that local governments were spending more? There is a new scheme that

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started in 2011 called partnership funding. That is trying to get

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people other than central government spending more on flood invention and

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floods protection. That is raising about 148 million. It is relatively

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small compare the two overall flood spending but it is bringing in money

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from local authorities and utility companies. Compare to that, I think

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in the four years previously, there was something like ?30 million of

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external spending. There has been a rise. The Prime Minister has

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announced another 100 million for this in the context of an overall

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budget of 2 billion. Does that make much of a difference? It turns out

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that half an hour ago Eric Pickles gave a new version of those numbers

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in the House of Commons. What we found out was that as well as the

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100 million the Prime Minister told us about yesterday, we are getting

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30 million more to be spent in this financial year. That, as I say,

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makes all the difference. There was a real terms fall either side of the

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election. If you add in that 30 million, it becomes a flat drop.

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Your viewers are sitting at home in their lounge watching their

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television with their feet in flood water, the thing to take away is

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that you are talking small differences. The largest difference

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you can get as if you take Ed Miliband's spending review period

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and adjusted to inflation, there is a 10% drop from Labour to the

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coalition. Here we are seeing that ?30 million makes a difference

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between a tiny rise and a fairly tiny fall. Overall it is flat. The

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issue is not just how much is being spent it is how much you spend it.

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That is always true. You say that we are not doing enough, but enough of

:14:16.:14:21.

this money is not going on flood defences? That is my opinion,

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rightly or wrongly. Is it expensive to build flood defences? I do not

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know so much about that. I am not an expert. We have looked at the

:14:37.:14:41.

numbers on spending but not what you do about flooding. I would say it

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is. Thanks for coming in. Now it's time for our daily quiz.

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The question for today is, which of these is the odd one out? Downtown

:14:58.:15:01.

Abbey. Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights. Have I Got News for You. Or The

:15:02.:15:04.

Daily Politics? We'll give you the answer at the end of the show, and

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talking a bit more about the significance of those programmes.

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Londoners are facing a second day of travel disruption as the 48 hour

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Tube strike continues in a dispute over ticket office closures and job

:15:17.:15:23.

losses. Talks between the RMT and TSSA unions and Tube bosses are

:15:24.:15:26.

scheduled take place tomorrow, but the government is now considering

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declaring the London Underground an essential service in order to curb

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the threat of future strikes. But even though it might feel like

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walk outs are more common than they used to be, the opposite is in fact

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true. Under Edward Heath's government in 1972, almost 24

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million days were lost to strikes. That's the equivalent of the entire

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workforce at the time having one strike day that year. The number of

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disputes remained high under the Thatcher government during the 80s,

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with the worst year being 1984, when more than 27 million days were lost.

:16:08.:16:18.

The arrival of the 1990s, and John Major's government saw a massive

:16:19.:16:21.

drop off in the number of strikes, with just 6.5 million days lost

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throughout the entire decade. The numbers remained similarly low

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throughout the noughties, with the number of days a year lost averaging

:16:38.:16:41.

well under 700,000 right up until the end of 2013. Meanwhile, trade

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union membership has fallen dramatically since the 1970s. At its

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height, union membership was more than 13 million in 1979 when

:17:03.:17:07.

Margaret Thatcher came to power. Today that figure has halved, with

:17:08.:17:11.

less than 6.5 million trade union members, representing less than one

:17:12.:17:23.

in four workers. But is it too easy for unions to

:17:24.:17:27.

call a strike with turnouts of less than 50%, meaning the majority of

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union members may not have voted in favour of a strike? To discuss that

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I'm joined by Conservative MP Dominic Raab and Labour MP and

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member of the RMT parliamentary group, Jeremy Corbyn.

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You have seen the strike figures. Free societies do have strikes every

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now and then. But it is hardly a major problem in Britain any more.

:17:58.:18:03.

In 2011, we had the worst number of strike days lost for over 20 years.

:18:04.:18:08.

I would agree with you in general... It is still peanuts

:18:09.:18:13.

compared to the 1970s. We macro I'm not sure if you look at the damage

:18:14.:18:20.

to the economy every day. -- I am not sure. The right to strike is

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part of our tradition but it is not a license to wreak havoc. The

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minority of the unions are trying to achieve that. If you think the trade

:18:31.:18:37.

unions are militant, is the management puzzle and job to stand

:18:38.:18:40.

up to them? It is not the job to bring in new rules for a problem

:18:41.:18:46.

that is specific and not nationwide. We have been there with Bob Crow

:18:47.:18:50.

many times before. He negotiates, and then, the 11th hour, he engages

:18:51.:18:56.

in militant brinkmanship one he doesn't get exactly what he wants.

:18:57.:19:03.

He wins! He is good for his workers. In terms of RMT and DTS S A, they

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have got less than a third of their own union members supporting them.

:19:11.:19:13.

You have got a militant minority wreaking havoc. I don't see many

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people on the picket line. Intimidation goes on. Do you have

:19:22.:19:31.

evidence? Where? Where is the evidence? Let me answer the

:19:32.:19:37.

question. One of the problems is they don't not split up industrial

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relations and keep the data on employment. There is anecdotal

:19:47.:19:49.

evidence but we don't have any statistics. One other problem. What

:19:50.:19:56.

we need to do is to say to Bob Crow, call off the strike. The problem for

:19:57.:20:01.

Labour is that since 2010, through their central office and local

:20:02.:20:05.

associations, they have received ?442,000 from these unions. It

:20:06.:20:09.

strengthens the perception that Labour is in hock to the unions.

:20:10.:20:14.

Let's stick to the issue of whether the law should be changed. Surely it

:20:15.:20:20.

is relevant. Our viewers will decide. What do you say to this,

:20:21.:20:24.

that we can't have strikes that are called on a low turnout with only a

:20:25.:20:29.

majority of people voting for them? There seems to be an obsession with

:20:30.:20:34.

personalising this around Bob Crow. That is odd. Why don't we address

:20:35.:20:40.

the issue. Namely, the loss of 1000 jobs, the close of the ticket

:20:41.:20:47.

offices. Union members were asked to ballot on the issue. It was

:20:48.:20:52.

available to all. It is monitored by an independent office and the result

:20:53.:20:56.

was obtained. The union had the power to call out its members on

:20:57.:21:00.

strike. It went through the negotiations, they did not succeed

:21:01.:21:03.

in bringing about a resolution, and the strike has been called. It is

:21:04.:21:11.

within the law to strike. The point is, he is saying the law should be

:21:12.:21:15.

changed so there should be a minimum threshold. Fewer than one in four

:21:16.:21:20.

Tube workers have voted to be on strike. He is saying there should be

:21:21.:21:29.

a threshold, where 50% of members have to vote before it is

:21:30.:21:34.

legitimate. There are no threshold on other elections. The mayor was

:21:35.:21:46.

elected on a 40% turnout. 38. None of us achieve 50% of our electorate.

:21:47.:21:55.

There is an underlying issue that is not addressed. It ought to get more

:21:56.:22:02.

attention, both from economists and politicians. The issue in this

:22:03.:22:06.

strike is automation and IT, brilliant advances that bridges lots

:22:07.:22:13.

of good things, have made it possible to run the underground with

:22:14.:22:24.

at least 1000 fewer people. Machine doesn't deal with drunken attackers

:22:25.:22:33.

at night. When it was pointed out to the Chancellor that many of these

:22:34.:22:41.

issues are IT and so on, and are destroying jobs and critic

:22:42.:22:44.

problems, he said, but of course, they are creating jobs. The point

:22:45.:22:48.

is, they are destroying more jobs than they create. Do you want to

:22:49.:22:57.

stop change? I would like to see more academic work on the

:22:58.:23:03.

implications of this. They are not discussed. I'm not sure that's

:23:04.:23:10.

true. Economically, only history, IT revolution has created more jobs. If

:23:11.:23:16.

I just go back to Jeremy's point about MPs and councillors not having

:23:17.:23:19.

a threshold, when we are elected, everybody affected by the vote gets

:23:20.:23:25.

a chance to vote. When RMT going to strike action, 8 million Londoners

:23:26.:23:31.

don't get to vote. It is wrong that you have got a militant minority

:23:32.:23:36.

able to inflict damage on the overwhelming number of Londoners.

:23:37.:23:40.

Let's get back to re-enter -- reality. Let's have a referendum on

:23:41.:23:48.

closing that it offices. If you want a comparison, we should do a

:23:49.:23:53.

referendum on strike action. Why? Let us go back to reality. The

:23:54.:24:00.

changes proposed involve no compulsory redundancies, enclosure

:24:01.:24:11.

of ticket offices. -- the closure. A lot of the people will be redeployed

:24:12.:24:16.

to be on the forecourts and platforms, to be a more helpful

:24:17.:24:19.

presence that they are behind thick glass. 100,000 people use the ticket

:24:20.:24:28.

offices every day. It is 3% of transactions, but a lot are for help

:24:29.:24:36.

and advice. But look, also, at ticket offices at the major

:24:37.:24:42.

stations. There is always a large number of people trying to use them,

:24:43.:24:46.

particularly visitors to London whose first language is not English,

:24:47.:24:48.

people with disabilities, many people. People on the concourses

:24:49.:24:54.

will help them. I understand there is a change in the ticket process.

:24:55.:25:00.

All the unions recognised that technology comes. They recognise the

:25:01.:25:03.

need for 24-hour working. That is going to take cost and staff. Take

:25:04.:25:08.

out the ticket offices and the information source, no guarantees of

:25:09.:25:12.

the number of people on the stations overnight, and I just wonder if

:25:13.:25:15.

these ticket offices are going to be replaced by some retail outlet and

:25:16.:25:20.

we then have a rather less well staffed station and we go back to

:25:21.:25:28.

the days of attacks in stations. What do you say to that? These are

:25:29.:25:33.

all reasonable points. They are the bread and butter of local politics.

:25:34.:25:42.

The mayor was against the closure of ticket offices. Try and change it

:25:43.:25:50.

through the democratic process. What is going on here is when they don't

:25:51.:25:54.

get their own way, the unions don't negotiate all reason, they say, we

:25:55.:25:57.

will have a strike that inflict massive damage of the economy.

:25:58.:26:02.

Actually, if we have a reform to prevent a right to strike, three to

:26:03.:26:11.

one the public are in favour. What with the safeguard become in your

:26:12.:26:15.

mind? I would not abolish the to strike. That is what you are

:26:16.:26:22.

proposing. What are you proposing? In the transport services, we would

:26:23.:26:27.

say you can't strike unless you can carry out majority of your members.

:26:28.:26:31.

Then it is legitimate. We are talking about a safeguard for the

:26:32.:26:35.

majority of hard-working Londoners. In New York they have destruction on

:26:36.:26:40.

the right to strike in public services. It hasn't stopped strikes.

:26:41.:26:44.

At the end of the day, stop being so obsessed about Bob Crow! Why don't

:26:45.:26:50.

you meet him? He is a nice chap. I have met him. Can I point out to you

:26:51.:26:57.

that on this seat yesterday, the Cabinet Minister Francis Maude gave

:26:58.:27:02.

short shrift to the idea of a minimum turnout requirement. The

:27:03.:27:09.

government is looking at designating the underground as an essential

:27:10.:27:11.

service, restricted the right strike. -- restricting the right to

:27:12.:27:22.

strike. You say the technological change has destroyed more jobs than

:27:23.:27:28.

it has created. Yet this country has gone through massive technological

:27:29.:27:31.

change in the person eyes-macro past 30 or 40 years and more people are

:27:32.:27:36.

employed than ever before. -- in the past 30 or 40 years. The issue goes

:27:37.:27:42.

beyond what we are talking about two. There is a good article in the

:27:43.:27:47.

current issue of the New York review of books which points out that the

:27:48.:27:54.

increasing ratio of the wealth of the top few percent to the people

:27:55.:28:03.

toward the bottom of the spectrum increases and increases. That is

:28:04.:28:08.

also a corollary of job destruction. It is a complicated economic issue

:28:09.:28:14.

that has received very, very little attention. Well, you have brought it

:28:15.:28:19.

two hours today. Gentlemen, thank you.

:28:20.:28:26.

Now, the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, both of them men,

:28:27.:28:30.

clashed yesterday over whether the government had done enough to

:28:31.:28:33.

promote women in politics. As one parliamentary sketch writer

:28:34.:28:35.

observed, we were treated to the spectacle of a party dominated by

:28:36.:28:38.

men mocking a party even more dominated by men for being dominated

:28:39.:28:42.

by men. In a moment this man, that's me, will be joined by two women to

:28:43.:28:46.

discuss this issue. But first let's listen to what the men had to say

:28:47.:28:48.

yesterday. Look at the all-male front bench

:28:49.:28:53.

before us. He says he wants to represent the whole country. Mr

:28:54.:28:57.

Speaker, I guess they didn't let women into the Burlington club,

:28:58.:29:01.

either. There we go. He said a third of his ministers would be women. He

:29:02.:29:05.

is nowhere near meeting the target. Half of the women here have resigned

:29:06.:29:13.

or been sacked. In his Cabinet, get this, in his Cabinet, there are as

:29:14.:29:18.

many men who went to it in Westminster as women. -- to eat in

:29:19.:29:25.

or Westminster. Is it his fault that the Conservative party has a fault

:29:26.:29:32.

with women? Here are the figures. Of the full members of the Cabinet who

:29:33.:29:37.

are conservatives, 24%, a quarter, are women. Not enough. I want to see

:29:38.:29:45.

it grow. Of the front bench, the ministers, 20% are women. That is

:29:46.:29:51.

below what I want to achieve in 33%. We are making progress and we will

:29:52.:29:55.

make more progress. With me now is the Conservative MP, Mary Macleod,

:29:56.:29:58.

and the Labour MP, Emily Thornberry, who is also the Shadow Attorney

:29:59.:30:01.

General You're watching the Daily Politics - and we've been joined by

:30:02.:30:05.

viewers in Scotland who have been watching First Minister's Questions

:30:06.:30:07.

from Holyrood. Why does the Conservative Party have such a

:30:08.:30:10.

problem with women? I don't think the Conservative Party has a problem

:30:11.:30:15.

with women. Until Labour can say they have got a female leader, they

:30:16.:30:24.

can start pointing. Labour would say that over half of their MPs are

:30:25.:30:32.

women. Only 48 of your MPs are. They have got 169 men and 80 six women.

:30:33.:30:45.

You have got 48 women out of 256. Out of a cabinet of 22, you have got

:30:46.:30:52.

for women. What is your problem? The Prime Minister has said we need to

:30:53.:30:58.

do more. The reason the cabinet is as it is is that in the last

:30:59.:31:02.

election, prior to that, we only had 17 women as female MPs. It would be

:31:03.:31:10.

quite nice if they promoted women writing to Cabinet, but

:31:11.:31:13.

realistically we make our way up the ladder. 56% of female Conservative

:31:14.:31:21.

MPs have got a role in government in some form. At this rate it will be

:31:22.:31:27.

the next century before we meet -- you reach equality. The Prime

:31:28.:31:32.

Minister has said we have more to do. That is like saying it is

:31:33.:31:37.

raining in February. But this will not happen in your lifetime? I do

:31:38.:31:43.

not agree. I think it will change. He has committed to 30% of female

:31:44.:31:49.

ministers by 2015. Before the last election he did a co-led to the

:31:50.:31:52.

public to say we need more women in Parliament. We need a more diverse

:31:53.:31:58.

Parliament. Parliament has to be representative of the country. That

:31:59.:32:02.

is why we increased from 17 women to 49 women. That is progress. Has

:32:03.:32:10.

Labour cracked the equality issue in terms of representation or have you

:32:11.:32:15.

got a lot more to do? Half of your Shadow Cabinet is female. You are

:32:16.:32:24.

quite right, by the way, it is 86 women and 169 men, so it is not 50,

:32:25.:32:29.

50. You still have got some ground to make up? Yes, we have got 30

:32:30.:32:37.

something percent of women MPs, and nearly have the Shadow Cabinet. I

:32:38.:32:44.

was giving you more credit than you deserved! On our side yesterday we

:32:45.:32:50.

had lots of women on our front benches. We moved people around. To

:32:51.:32:59.

make the point! They normally sit on the front bench. That is the Shadow

:33:00.:33:08.

Cabinet. We put them all together with if you men in the middle. We

:33:09.:33:17.

reorganised it. It was accurate. Let's look at this picture. I should

:33:18.:33:21.

welcome our viewers from Scotland who have joined us. We are talking

:33:22.:33:28.

about women or lack of in Parliament. On the Tory side. That

:33:29.:33:33.

is the Conservative front bench we are looking at. It is clearly

:33:34.:33:41.

embarrassing that you are all men sitting there, even the few women

:33:42.:33:46.

that you have or not there. And it is a disaster of party management

:33:47.:33:49.

because we knew in advance this was going to come of it and yet you

:33:50.:33:52.

still could not but a token woman on the bench. We do not have token

:33:53.:34:02.

women. Do not do them a disservice. If you pan out, the women sit on the

:34:03.:34:09.

Prime Minister's side and there are not any women on the other side. In

:34:10.:34:15.

terms of perception, it is not good to have a front bench full of men.

:34:16.:34:20.

That is something I hope will change in the future. There are women

:34:21.:34:27.

behind. That is quite unusual. Normally Theresa May will be there,

:34:28.:34:32.

Maria Miller Theresa Villiers, Justine Greening. There are women

:34:33.:34:42.

behind. I'm not making an excuse on this. I say, just as the Prime

:34:43.:34:46.

Minister says, there is more to be done. The Labour Party have more to

:34:47.:34:52.

do. This is why I set up the all-party group for women in

:34:53.:34:57.

Parliament. We are doing an inquiry into why we don't have enough women

:34:58.:35:03.

in any the parties. Labour has a plan. At least we have a plan and it

:35:04.:35:07.

will work. The plan we have is working in that we have nearly 40%.

:35:08.:35:13.

You have positive discrimination. I don't believe in positive

:35:14.:35:22.

discrimination. You have to do something about it. Let me speak.

:35:23.:35:34.

Let me talk about one thing. The Prime Minister and the Chancellor of

:35:35.:35:37.

the Exchequer, the two most powerful people in government, have private

:35:38.:35:43.

parliamentary secretaries. They are always there informally with the

:35:44.:35:47.

parameter and the Chancellor. Of the six which they have had, they have

:35:48.:35:51.

only ever had one woman. That says to me that they do not know how to

:35:52.:35:56.

listen to women and they are not interested. They are off the radar.

:35:57.:36:07.

Has Ed Miliband got a woman? Yes, Karen Black. Try not listening to

:36:08.:36:21.

Karen Black! Many of your women are not going to contest the next

:36:22.:36:27.

election? Yes but Labour will have women it would not contest the next

:36:28.:36:32.

election. They have more women so they can afford to lose more. I am

:36:33.:36:37.

slightly surprised by this but it does not seem to be affecting how

:36:38.:36:43.

people vote. Your lead among women is smaller than disease among men,

:36:44.:36:50.

according to the latest poll. You have got a 3% lead among women and a

:36:51.:36:57.

6% lead among men. Are you sure? We are normally well ahead when it

:36:58.:37:00.

comes to women. I don't know where you got your facts today! It is

:37:01.:37:09.

YouGov. A reputable polling organisation. Normally we are ahead.

:37:10.:37:18.

It could have been done by men! We will leave it there.

:37:19.:37:25.

We didn't get on to science but the representation of women is even

:37:26.:37:29.

worse than politics. It is getting better.

:37:30.:37:31.

Today is the UN sponsored international day of zero tolerance

:37:32.:37:42.

to female genital mutilation. The Government wants to find out the

:37:43.:37:44.

full scale of the problem in Britain. This morning, ministers

:37:45.:37:50.

have said NHS hospitals will have to provide information on patients who

:37:51.:37:58.

suffer are at risk of suffering. Here is Vicky Young on College

:37:59.:38:03.

Green. The practice has been illegal here

:38:04.:38:08.

in Britain for almost 30 years. There has not been a single

:38:09.:38:12.

prosecution. Campaigners are hoping to change that. They feel their

:38:13.:38:15.

voice has been heard a little bit more. People about this now. Lynne

:38:16.:38:24.

Featherstone, the international development minister is here. And

:38:25.:38:28.

I'm joined by a victim. What is the Government role? Is a massive role.

:38:29.:38:34.

In the last 18 months we have gone from 0260. This morning we had

:38:35.:38:40.

government meetings. Every department is contributing. The DPP

:38:41.:38:46.

believes we are near prosecutions. Health, for the first time if you

:38:47.:38:52.

have had female genital mutilation, it will be recorded. DFID, we have

:38:53.:38:58.

just contracted a consortium to support a global campaign against

:38:59.:39:04.

female genital mutilation. We have 20,000 girls at risk every year

:39:05.:39:09.

intrinsically connected to the countries of origin. You are

:39:10.:39:12.

incredibly young when it happens to you? Yes, I was seven. Those at risk

:39:13.:39:23.

our primary school aged children. It is about adults coming forward and

:39:24.:39:25.

looking to prevent it as opposed to waiting to children that my four

:39:26.:39:31.

children to speak up. It is now time to break the cycle. I think we will

:39:32.:39:36.

be doing that. Whose role is it which begat on behalf of those

:39:37.:39:41.

girls? I think it is everybody. We have been talking about this for the

:39:42.:39:46.

last 30 years as a cultural issue. We're now talking about it as a form

:39:47.:39:51.

of violence against women and girls. It is not about having conversations

:39:52.:39:55.

with those that are practising or affected. They are disempowered and

:39:56.:40:00.

disengaged at times. It is about those who have the privilege to

:40:01.:40:04.

speak up. I was immensely privileged to have access to education and to

:40:05.:40:09.

become empowered. When we start of this work in Bristol six years ago,

:40:10.:40:13.

we had six goals. Now we have more than 100. -- six girls. For a lot of

:40:14.:40:21.

African families this is the norm, isn't it? That is the interesting

:40:22.:40:25.

thing. Part of the programme is about research into what works, what

:40:26.:40:32.

is the evidence base? Different things work in different countries.

:40:33.:40:35.

Behaviour changes what you are really after. I have just returned

:40:36.:40:39.

from Burkina Faso. You need leadership. Politicians, cultural

:40:40.:40:49.

leaders, religious leaders. The communities. Everybody needs to work

:40:50.:40:53.

together on a programme of change and recognise the harm that is done.

:40:54.:40:58.

This is not some benign rites of passage. This is extremely harmful,

:40:59.:41:02.

dangerous and can result in death. Have politicians been too scared to

:41:03.:41:07.

speak out because of cultural sensitivity? There has been before

:41:08.:41:13.

but thanks to Lynne Featherstone there has been great attraction in

:41:14.:41:17.

the conversation. It is about leadership. We have finally got

:41:18.:41:21.

leadership. Would prosecution make any difference? Prosecution gives

:41:22.:41:29.

justice to the survivor. It will show the fact that people are

:41:30.:41:33.

looking out for this crime would essentially it is about present --

:41:34.:41:42.

preventing it. Legislation also makes it a criminal act. For me when

:41:43.:41:50.

people talk about prosecution, ultimately chose the failure of

:41:51.:41:55.

those charged with safeguarding. Do you think have a role? Everybody has

:41:56.:42:02.

a role. As this cross government meeting this morning, everybody was

:42:03.:42:06.

putting forward ideas of how to move this further forward. The Department

:42:07.:42:11.

for Education is fully engaged. Statutory guidance on safeguarding

:42:12.:42:17.

will make a huge difference. Also, information being provided to

:42:18.:42:20.

teachers. They do not always feel comfortable enough to deal with what

:42:21.:42:25.

is in front of them. I should mention the NSPCC helpline. That is

:42:26.:42:30.

showing wonderful results. A lot of professionals are using it to find

:42:31.:42:36.

out what they do. Also, prevention. Families are phoning to say, I think

:42:37.:42:40.

this is going to happen. Prevention is better. A lot of this is about

:42:41.:42:44.

women in these families. Mothers speaking out? This. But they were

:42:45.:42:53.

not speak out until there is a safe space provided for them. In October

:42:54.:42:57.

last year we organised a visit by Lynne Featherstone to meet some

:42:58.:43:00.

women in Bristol last year. Those women had never spoken about the

:43:01.:43:05.

issue. We provided a safe space for people to listen to them. To show

:43:06.:43:10.

them that we are standing with them. There is help out there.

:43:11.:43:18.

Thank you very much. The feeling that things really are changing. The

:43:19.:43:21.

aim to eradicate this practice within a generation.

:43:22.:43:30.

Thank you. While we have been on air the Bank of England have announced

:43:31.:43:34.

that interest rates are staying at 0.5%. It will continue with

:43:35.:43:38.

quantitative easing of printing money electronically. The Federal

:43:39.:43:44.

reserve in America reining back. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles

:43:45.:43:47.

has just finished making a statement to MPs in the House of Commons about

:43:48.:43:52.

the flood crisis. He has moved into the central lobby to speak to the

:43:53.:43:57.

Daily Politics. Welcome to the programme. People in the Somerset

:43:58.:44:03.

Levels have been underwater now for a day after day after day. Why has

:44:04.:44:08.

it taken a visit by Prince Charles to get the Government of its

:44:09.:44:14.

backside? We responded to requests from Somerset immediately they were

:44:15.:44:20.

made. We have been working very closely with the County Council. We

:44:21.:44:25.

have certainly not been dragging our feet. Except that nothing seems to

:44:26.:44:29.

help the plight of the people in Somerset? Nothing will substantially

:44:30.:44:35.

help the people of the Somerset Levels until the water starts to go

:44:36.:44:40.

down. We have at our disposal in enormous numbers of high volume

:44:41.:44:45.

pumps which can take the water out. But it needs to be able to go

:44:46.:44:49.

somewhere. There is no point in pumping water into more water. Is it

:44:50.:44:55.

now the Government position that it was a mistake to follow the advice

:44:56.:45:00.

of the Environment Agency and stop dredging in the Somerset Levels?

:45:01.:45:09.

Back. Several years ago. I am not seeking blame. -- that was stopped

:45:10.:45:16.

several years ago. Given that the levels are largely artificial, and

:45:17.:45:21.

when they would put together for Charles the first it was intended

:45:22.:45:29.

they should be dredged. Was it a mistake for the Environment Agency

:45:30.:45:34.

to stop the dredging? It doesn't seem to have worked for them too

:45:35.:45:41.

well. If you just want me to chase the word, I will chase the word. I'm

:45:42.:45:49.

trying to give the Environment Agency credit for what they have

:45:50.:45:54.

done elsewhere. There could be a time when we want to apportion

:45:55.:46:01.

blame. I just think the important thing is to get on with the job, try

:46:02.:46:07.

to get the levels down, offer some detection, look towards some

:46:08.:46:15.

long-term maintenance and repair, do something. The Prime Minister has

:46:16.:46:21.

announced another 100 million in spending for flood defences. You

:46:22.:46:23.

have announced another 30 million today. Given the millions of homes

:46:24.:46:34.

that are now in flood lanes -- flood plains, and scientists saying we can

:46:35.:46:39.

inspect more of this weather, is that just a drop in a flood? ?100

:46:40.:46:47.

million goes a long way. It is 100 million next year and 30 million

:46:48.:46:51.

this year. I was looking up the figures for building on a flood

:46:52.:46:57.

plain and they are at a record low. They are the lowest they have been

:46:58.:47:02.

since records began. When experts object to houses on the flood plain,

:47:03.:47:11.

from what I can see it was something like 99.3% rejection rates. Do you

:47:12.:47:21.

still claim you are spending more in flood defences in real terms than

:47:22.:47:26.

before? There hasn't been a huge inflation over the last ten years.

:47:27.:47:30.

The Labour Party spent ?2.7 billion in the last five years, and we will

:47:31.:47:40.

spend ?3.1 billion. That is money terms, not real terms. In real

:47:41.:47:48.

terms, it is less. I would not accept that. You are a noted

:47:49.:47:55.

economist. There has been an increase in inflation from 2009

:47:56.:48:02.

until now that would account for such a big difference. If you apply

:48:03.:48:08.

the GDP deflator to the original 2.7, you find it is a lot more than

:48:09.:48:16.

3.1. The 2.7 was actually an enhanced figure after the 2007

:48:17.:48:22.

floods. What we are looking for is an emergency supply. Frankly, if you

:48:23.:48:27.

are down in the levels listening to this, you are not going to care. The

:48:28.:48:35.

people in the Levels, there is not thousands of them, it is small

:48:36.:48:41.

number. It doesn't make their pain any less. What can they hope to get,

:48:42.:48:47.

either from local government, which you, in the end, oversee, or from

:48:48.:48:52.

central government to help them recover? There is a whole load of

:48:53.:49:00.

stuff we will do. It will be much easier to get larger sums of money

:49:01.:49:05.

to local authorities and local authorities will have that much more

:49:06.:49:10.

confidence. Sedgemoor district council will have more confidence in

:49:11.:49:13.

terms of spending that money. At it will be a combination -- it will be

:49:14.:49:22.

a combination of local authorities, and of course more we have got to

:49:23.:49:26.

recognise that a lot of economic activity has been disrupted. Will

:49:27.:49:32.

the government, not you personally, will you make sure that insurance

:49:33.:49:37.

companies are speedy in meeting the legitimate claims from the people

:49:38.:49:44.

who have suffered damage? I have had a discussion with the insurance

:49:45.:49:50.

companies. That would be our endeavour. It would certainly be our

:49:51.:49:54.

endeavour to make sure local authorities, where they have had to

:49:55.:49:59.

pay out, that we will pay them quickly. Thanks for coming so

:50:00.:50:07.

quickly. We appreciate it. It is literally water under the bridge by

:50:08.:50:11.

now. It is incomprehensible that they should have decided to stop

:50:12.:50:17.

dredging. It is common sense. But it became Environment Agency policy.

:50:18.:50:20.

Some people suspect the agency's policy was to return this bit of

:50:21.:50:32.

land to Martians. -- marshland. I think there will be a lot of

:50:33.:50:41.

questions asked. Is Blue Monday is the most

:50:42.:50:44.

depressing day of the year? Is aspirin linked to cancer? Is a glass

:50:45.:50:49.

of red wine a day good for you? There's plenty of science reporting

:50:50.:50:53.

in the media every day. As a general rule, if there's a question in there

:50:54.:50:57.

you can take it with a pinch of salt. Who knows, that might turn out

:50:58.:51:01.

to be a miracle cure, too. So is there a problem with the way science

:51:02.:51:14.

is reported? Here's David. The Royal pharmaceutical Society in London.

:51:15.:51:19.

Its museum exhibits some of science's greatest and not so great

:51:20.:51:24.

moments. If there is one group of people we believe, it is scientists.

:51:25.:51:27.

They deal in fact, not fiction, evidence, not opinion. But there's a

:51:28.:51:33.

problem. Their views come to us through the media, and they

:51:34.:51:36.

sometimes have a vested interest for their funding. Can we really believe

:51:37.:51:40.

everything we read about science? Very little of science is actually a

:51:41.:51:44.

game changer. If you read in the media that this new discovery is

:51:45.:51:49.

doing to change the world, it is probably not going to change the

:51:50.:51:51.

world. If you read a new discovery in a scientific paper that is going

:51:52.:51:57.

to lead to a medicine, it may do, but it is going to be down the line.

:51:58.:52:02.

Does it matter if the media get overstimulated? For most of the

:52:03.:52:06.

time, people see things like red wine is good for you or bad for you

:52:07.:52:11.

and we'll take it with a pinch of salt and it doesn't make too much

:52:12.:52:15.

impact. When it is the big stuff and we are asked whether we should use a

:52:16.:52:20.

technology or whether we should be using animals in research,

:52:21.:52:23.

whatever, we really need to have the evidence and the guided by the

:52:24.:52:27.

correct information rather than scaremongering or somebody who has

:52:28.:52:31.

got an agenda. That said, even eminent scientists admit that body

:52:32.:52:38.

stories are not always -- dodgy stories are not always the fault of

:52:39.:52:46.

the media. Scientists, if they don't publish two papers per year, that is

:52:47.:52:51.

it, they are out. If you get to October and you have only published

:52:52.:52:55.

one, the pressure on you if not to be dishonest then at least to be

:52:56.:52:59.

careless is almost unavoidable. You are more or less forced into it.

:53:00.:53:03.

Under those circumstances, I can't blame them. Sometimes, we

:53:04.:53:08.

journalists are Sakurai slick scientific spin doctors. --

:53:09.:53:19.

suckered. A decent journalist wouldn't simply report the press

:53:20.:53:22.

release from Conservative Central office. He would look into it and

:53:23.:53:28.

ask awkward questions. I see that in my own field, genetics. The media

:53:29.:53:31.

are just hopelessly ready to swallow the idea that there is a gene for

:53:32.:53:37.

happiness, edging for depression, for high intelligence. It is not

:53:38.:53:44.

like that. So how can you tell when a science story passes the litmus

:53:45.:53:49.

Test? According to my sources, if it is too good to be true, it is. With

:53:50.:53:57.

us now is the environment correspondent from the Telegraph.

:53:58.:54:04.

How would you categorise the current state of science reporting? Gosh,

:54:05.:54:15.

not bad. I use science in my job. There are a good core of

:54:16.:54:20.

journalists, some old like me, some younger, who really do try to get to

:54:21.:54:24.

grips with the facts and spend a lot of time in the area. I think we are

:54:25.:54:31.

better than most countries. What would you say? I would endorse

:54:32.:54:35.

that. 20 years each in Australia, the US and here, I have seen that

:54:36.:54:42.

all of them have some superb people and some not so good people. In

:54:43.:54:47.

general, the people here are very good. There is one thing that does,

:54:48.:54:53.

on the other hand, which I think it is understandable but very

:54:54.:54:57.

unfortunate, is a muddled sense that you have to present the other side

:54:58.:55:03.

of almost every issue. The other side make -- might be some crackpot

:55:04.:55:17.

but this tendency on something... Give us an example. I can give you

:55:18.:55:26.

lots of examples on climate change! To give just one example from the

:55:27.:55:32.

BBC, it had a big event years ago when it had Al Gore over to give a

:55:33.:55:37.

lecture. He showed his movie. Maybe it was a bit over the top. May be!

:55:38.:55:42.

You could have got some good people too busy at a sense -- to present

:55:43.:55:51.

some of the uncertainties. Instead, they reached for the extreme, a

:55:52.:56:00.

complete charlatan. You say that. Not the BBC, you say that. I'm

:56:01.:56:05.

prepared to carry that through. On balance, we do in accident job. Part

:56:06.:56:13.

of the problem, and it is not so much the environment, but in the

:56:14.:56:17.

medical sphere, you can pick up a paper almost every day and find this

:56:18.:56:22.

causes cancer, and in two days later, the same thing is good for

:56:23.:56:27.

cancer. There is such contradictory reporting of medical matters. I

:56:28.:56:31.

know. I don't do that. It is not my field. If I can take up what Bob has

:56:32.:56:39.

just said, it is important to see both sides of the story. It really

:56:40.:56:43.

is important to give different voices. We have a similar view on

:56:44.:56:49.

climate change, different from yours. But the consensus can build

:56:50.:56:55.

up. On climate change, I can remember a guy who was forced out of

:56:56.:56:59.

the Met Office for saying it has changed. In 1979, I rang a man with

:57:00.:57:08.

both now well. -- we both know him well. He said humans can be

:57:09.:57:15.

responsible for climate change. Scientists themselves like to spin

:57:16.:57:18.

stories. They've always got their eyes on new research. They only talk

:57:19.:57:25.

about things they think they can get money for. Not necessarily. My own

:57:26.:57:33.

life is not on that basis. It is a great opportunity to be doing

:57:34.:57:36.

something unfashionable but overturns an applecart. If you went

:57:37.:57:41.

to say now, I want some money because I want to check if this

:57:42.:57:48.

17-year-old hiatus in Britain rising is real or not, you wouldn't get the

:57:49.:57:53.

money. You wouldn't give me the money because it is not my

:57:54.:57:57.

specialty. I think somebody would get the money. The trouble is, there

:57:58.:58:06.

are very few scientists doing research. That is a problem for me.

:58:07.:58:17.

There are examples... I was just going to mention Wakefield. We have

:58:18.:58:23.

run out of time, I'm afraid. Now it's time to find out the answer

:58:24.:58:27.

to our quiz. The question was, which one of these is the odd one out?

:58:28.:58:31.

Downton Abbey, Phoenix Nights, Have I Got News for You, or The Daily

:58:32.:58:33.

Politics? To

:58:34.:58:37.

it is the Daily Politics because all of the others were named as

:58:38.:58:45.

indicators of how you will vote. The Daily Politics, we are watched by

:58:46.:58:48.

everybody. That's all for today. Thanks to our

:58:49.:58:51.

guests. The one o'clock news is starting over on BBC One now. I will

:58:52.:58:56.

be back tomorrow on BBC One. Bye bye. I'll be on

:58:57.:59:10.

It's a war every day. It is a cut-throat business out there.

:59:11.:59:15.

Put it like this, I'm certainly not going to go bust, anyway!

:59:16.:59:20.

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