27/02/2014 Daily Politics


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 27/02/2014. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Good afternoon and welcome to The Daily Politics. German Chancellor


Angela Merkel gets the red carpet treatment. She's about to address


MPs and peers in the Royal Gallery, but has she brought enough


eurosceptic goodies for David Cameron to keep Conservative


backbenchers happy? The Government launches its strategy


for eradicating child poverty, but why they can't they agree what child


poverty is? You've heard of fly-tipping but what


about horse fly-grazing? Horses are being abandoned in farmers' fields


across the country but what should be done about it?


And it could make and break political reputations. We look back


at Spitting Image on its 30th anniversary.


All that in the next hour, and viewers tuning in specifically to


see Janet Street Porter to hear her pearls of wisdom on today's stories


will be disappointed. She pulled out a little more than an hour ago. But


stepping valiantly into the breach and with us for the duration is


Times columnist Matthew Parris. Thank you, Matthew, and welcome to


the programme. Eye and the thinking man's Janet Street Porter! I'm glad


you said that! Let's start with Northern Ireland,


because the First Minister Peter Robinson has threatened to resign


unless there is a judicial review into a decision by a judge to throw


out a case against John Downey, who is suspected of being responsible


for the Hyde Park bombing in 1982, which killed four soldiers. Mr


Downey is amongst almost 200 Republican paramilitaries who have


been sent letters promising they won't be prosecuted for crimes


committed during the Troubles. Let's talk to our Northern Ireland


reporter Chris Page, who's at Stormont. Chris, this is escalating


into a full-blown editable crisis, isn't it? Crisis is certainly a word


you are hearing quite often in Northern Ireland this morning. The


Democratic Unionist First Minister Peter Robinson says he will quit


unless he gets that additional enquiry into the issue and also he


wants the government to rescind those 187 letters which have gone to


Republican terror suspects, saying they would not be prosecuted. He met


with the Secretary of State to reasonable as last night. This


morning, it is the turn of the Deputy First Minister, Martin


McGuinness, to meet with the First Secretary. He has spoken to the


media and called for cool heads and steady leadership. In response to


questions about the threat to resign, he said it would achieve


absolutely nothing and that the outcome would be that they would be


fresh elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly. -- they would be.


You do get a sense that the crisis is deepening. The Northern Ireland


Assembly is to be called on Friday to discuss this matter and Mr


Robinson says what he says in that Assembly debate. But what happens


now? Because if Peter Robinson has threatened to resign unless his


conditions are met, it seems difficult to see a compromise? Well,


that is right. The room for manoeuvre he has is quite limited.


That is becoming quite clear. It is not the first time he has threatened


to resign. Couple of years ago he made a threat over the issue of


emblems on the uniforms of prison officers. That said, this crisis


seems to be much more serious in that Mr Robinson says this is a


fundamental principle of why he went into government with Sinn Fein. He


said had he known about these letters, he would not have agreed to


go back into government with Sinn Fein several years ago when they


were sharing the Assembly here. There is going to be lots of


discussion over the next 24 hours on exactly who knew what and when.


Martin McGuinness is adamant all the political parties in Northern


Ireland knew about a scheme to deal with these people who were on the


run and the Democratic Unionist Party have said they did not know


about these letters, the detail. Martin McGuinness says this issue


was raised with the Policing Board. That will be a key question asked


over the next few days or so and tomorrow eyes will be on the debate


here instalment. Thank you. Matthew Parris, Peter Hain, Labour's former


Northern Ireland Secretary, has said in order to bring old at arrivals to


the table and secure that piece, side deals had to be done? Do you


think he has a point? -- peace. This is very Blairite and this affair has


Tony Blair written all over it. This regard for due process and the rule


of law and to hope that by the time the thing services, one will have


gone somewhere else! I believe David Trimble on the BBC this morning when


he says that he didn't know and he ought to have known. He ought to


have known about these things. You don't think it was worth it, even


if, at the time it had come to the fore and people had known about it,


there might not have been a deal and we might not have had a peace


process that resulted in power-sharing in Northern Ireland?


That will be the Blairite argument, too. Sorry, chaps, we had to do it.


You would not have had an agreement. He was wobbled under the fuss at the


time but that related to people already in prison. -- viewers will


remember. The right thing to have done would have been to pursue them,


catch them, can the them and then pardoned them, as those already in


prison were pardoned. It could already have been done and people


would have wanted that but it would have been messy politically and this


was a way of avoiding an immediate political mess. Do you think a


solution or compromise can be found? Yes. Peter Robinson can postpone his


threatened resignation until after a big enquiry has reported and slowly


it will go into the thank you. Let's leave it there.


Now it's time for our daily quiz. During Angela Merkel's last visit to


the UK, she was given a DVD box set of one of her favourite programmes


by David Cameron, so our question today is which box set was it?


At the end of the show, Matthew will give us the correct answer.


Now, she's arguably the most powerful woman in the world and


she's certainly getting the red-carpet treatment today. She's


having lunch at Downing Street, meeting the Queen for tea, and her


motorcade has just been taken through the Sovereign's Entrance of


the Palace of Westminster, where she has been afforded the rare privilege


of addressing both Houses of Parliament in the Royal Gallery.


Giles is just outside Parliament for us. Have you seen her go by? I have


indeed! About ten minutes ago looking quite eager as she came into


the entrance, because, as you say, not everybody gets driven straight


in. The rest of security had to stand outside. And a large


entourage. But of course she did, because she is Europe's most


powerful leader. Great Britain is going all out to give her a red


carpet visit. It is to say, you are a very, very important relation and


the relationship between us is important. Germany seems to be


saying, yes, you are important, Great Britain, but you are not the


only one we deal with in Europe. She will be talking to both Houses of


Parliament, and some people, particularly Conservative


backbenchers, will be listening very carefully to what she has to say.


Has she brought with her a load of goodies about Reid he's that will


work for a nicely for them? -- treaties. Maybe she wants to be very


precise about what she says because she will be delivering the speech in


German. Though she talks about negotiation changes and she has made


warm words, the suspicion is these things would be enough, and there is


a feeling on the German side, certainly if you talk to


policymakers in Germany, that they are not entirely sure what it is


Great Britain wants. Hopefully by the end of the day, we might find


out what she is going to give or is prepared to give, whether it will be


enough and whether Britain is going to be more explicit about what it


wants. Well, a lot rides on this, no doubt about it. And there has been


an awful moth of hype. But is this a case of expectation management after


the event? 's big yellow there is no doubt about that because there will


be certain people who will say, I didn't hear about anything there


that helps with renegotiation and it should be out. And you will see that


from UKIP and others like that. You might see some back ensures who just


don't want to be part of the European Union. Others will say, the


Prime Minister is on the right lines and we can develop more. There will


be some who say, we told you, this isn't going to work. Renegotiation


isn't going to happen. And, besides, she might be the most powerful


leader in Europe but she is not the only powerful leader in Europe. As


they say, there is still some confusion in Europe as to exactly


what it is Great Britain once. Just hold fire because I think we


have some pictures we can show of the German Chancellor, Angela


Merkel, arriving. There she is coming in with the speaker, John


Bercow, behind her, coming into the Royal Gallery to address both Houses


of Parliament, with a round of applause for her. As you say, all


part of the red-carpet treatment. Quite a historic moment because it


has been 40 years since the last German Chancellor addressed both


Houses of Parliament, and there is David Cameron. Thank you. We will be


following the event. And we can speak now to Thomas Matussek, the


former German ambassador to the UK. We are hoping to be joined from


Strasbourg by Syed Kamall, the Conservative Leader in the European


Parliament. And Roland Rudd is here in the studio. Welcome to you. Will


this charm offensive work? The red-carpet treatment? Will she be


impressed? I think she will be impressed and what she wants is to


underline that we think it is a very, very important thing that


Britain stays engaged in the heart of Europe and Angela Merkel has said


time and again that in order to have a strong euro in a globalised world,


we need a strong Great Britain. Great Britain brings to the table a


lot of things which are desperately needed in Europe right now. A sense


of pragmatism, a conviction that a free-market economy is the right


philosophical basis, a sense of subsidiaryness, a de Gea full


version against too much bureaucracy. These are all issues


which are very, very important and Britain makes its case in Europe


this way. But what can she realistically and in concrete terms


of the David Cameron today? I think what she wants to point out is that


there are a lot of things where we can make the EU more pragmatic, more


practical, more anti-bureaucratic without changing the treaties.


Because I think she would not offer a treaty change because we consider


that a can of worms. Look, if you have 28 member states and you open


the treaty to one of them, everyone will be coming in, trying to write


their own hobbyhorses, but we think that there is a lot of scope below


the threshold of treaty change. Right. Roland Rudd, David Cameron,


or certainly his Eurosceptic benchers, will be disappointed that


there won't be this case for a wholesale treaty reform, which is


really what they are looking at? Well, it has been obvious for a


while that there will not be any treaty change by 2017, and it is not


just France that has said no to it. So we should not be surprised by


that. But there is a huge amount of four we can have without treaty


reform. We can push hard on these free trade agreements on these most


powerful nations of the world and also enhance London's position as


Europe's financial centre and a global financial centre or without


treaty change. So we do need that to see more reform in the European


Union. But will that be enough for a romp of Tory backbenchers who want


to see far more than that? In fact, they have even drawn out a manifesto


with far reaching reforms that would require some sort of change or a


revision of the existing establishments? The word romp is


well chosen. There is a group of the benchers for whom nothing will be


enough. It doesn't matter what she says or what David Cameron manages


to renegotiate. They want out and nothing less than that will satisfy


them. Others will listen. I suspect not particularly to Angela Merkel


today. I don't know why the Government have allowed expectations


to be aroused in the way they have. It is far too early for her to start


making offers when we haven't even had any British demands yet. And


that is the point - do we need to have heard from David Cameron more


specifically about demands in terms of repatriations of powers before


this historic meeting here with Angela Merkel? There won't be any


repatriations powers. Simply, it won't happen. What can happen... But


Tory MPs are laying their reputations and careers on this!


Well, there are those who would not want anything and want out. So you


will never pacify them. But reform is possible and we should not be


putting all our eggs in the German basket. We should not alienate as we


did at the beginning of the year. That was silly. Lots of countries


want to see European reform and that is possible. On that, can I ask


you, then, some of the things Angela Merkel might be able to accept? And


emergency brake for any member state regarding future EU legislation


affecting financial services? Is that something she could agree to?


Honestly, I don't know anything about the details. This visit has to


be seen in the context of a very, very important political gesture and


political opening. I don't think it is too much about negotiating any


details. That's what I believe. Are they on the same page, David Cameron


and Angela Merkel, that opening of negotiations? Do they start from a


similar standpoint and have the personal relationship to take it


forward? I think the personal relationship is quite good, and you


must see that where we come from on Germans, on certain issue, we are


philosophically or -- more close to Britain than say the French -- as


Germans. We would like in the centre of Europe not just a German and


French tandem, but a menage a trois. We need David Cameron there.


David Cameron will be betting his future on the fact the relationship


will hold, but she's going to see Ed Miliband as well. Yes, but she will


do all she can to keep Britain in. No question about that. We mustn't


let expectations run away. She can deliver more reform, and I believe


that Germany and Britain are on the same track in that, but she can't,


and nor would she be willing to letters take powers back to Britain,


and that would let it unravel and she won't have it. But that will


lead to disappointment on the Tory backbenches. There has been too much


massaging of expectation. I think the former ambassador has written


Angela Merkel's speech for her, maybe in his own mind. Today will be


a loving, Britain, we love you, we think along the same lines, stay


with us. There is no negotiation going to happen today. -- love-in.


Are people getting fed up with having a section in the media that


say it's not only time for reform or having Britain pull-out? The


Germans, on the whole, they adopt a lot of British lifestyle elements,


and there will be part of us that say we are not Britain, but that is


not the political class or the majority of Germans. We would be


very reluctant to see Britain EU at that level. Germany is looking for a


reformed Europe, but more Europe at the same time, with close


integration, and is of the Tory government looking for the opposite?


Not really. If you look at the banking union, where you have the


majority of the ins and outs, that was a great victory for Britain, and


the idea of double majority voted could be extended through Europe to


protect interests, if the European nations get closer. I don't think we


have to worry about that too much. One thing I would say, it's


incredibly important that David Cameron starts the serious process


of reform immediately after the European elections and does not get


knocked off by how well you can does in terms of appealing to his


backbench MPs. What about business, standard life said they might leave


Scotland if they voted for independence, is that a wake-up call


for Britain in relation to EU membership -- Standard Life. They


had 14 different reports from businesses, and not one business


came up with one piece of legislation they wanted repatriated


from Europe, and everyone that took part in the government review said


it was essential we remain in the European Union. That is the view of


the vast majority of businesses. But there are businesses that disagree


with that and say there should be wiping out of regulations. We never


quite know what those are. This wish list of reform, getting rid of a bit


of regulation, a few opt outs for Britain, be enough? The most


businesses, I think it would be. The principal fear the business is the


fact we would walk out of the European Union, but your right, red


tape, removal of that, it always goes down well. I have a strong


feeling this is all terribly premature. We do have the European


elections coming so it has focused people 's minds. We do, but its


three-year to work referendum -- three years. I do think the


Conservatives will win the election and we're not down to brass tacks.


Angela Merkel is in a grand coalition with the social Democrats,


so does that change her negotiations in the future? Does it temper what


she'd be able to do because of the Social Democrats? I don't think it


changes anything. There is a strong continuity in the relationship with


Britain, irrespective of the political colour. If I may add one


thing, you see the basic difficulty with Britain, as I see it, is that


British governments regard the Brussels Forum as something where


you riding like St George, want to slay the dragon, come back home and


say I had got this and this out of Brussels. Now to turn around and


tell the British public you must love the dragon, that is very, very


difficult. And there I see a certain difference in the overall political


attitude towards Brussels, in Germany and in Britain. Rather late,


but better late than never, we can go to Syed Kamall. I don't know if


you've been able to hear any of the discussion that has gone before we


got a connection to you, but to sum up, Thomas Matussek says it's


unlikely there would be wholesale treaty change and repatriation of


powers would not happen either. What would you say to that? Is that


disappointing to you and your colleagues? Any negotiation is going


to be tough, but when you look back at the record David Cameron has in


negotiation with other European partners, many said we could not


veto a treaty, and we did that. Many people said we could not cut the


budget, and we managed to do it. So when people say you can't do this or


it cannot happen, let's wait and see what happens when we come to the


negotiations. You think there could be wholesale treaty change and


repatriation of a list of powers, despite what just heard today from


Berlin? There are always doomsayers who say you cannot achieve it. That


is what some German colleague said when we try to get the budget cut,


and we achieved it. I was told Britain would never be able to pull


it sells out of the European bailout mechanism, but we managed to do it.


-- pull itself out. I was told we would not be able to veto a treaty.


Each time people say we cannot do it, we have proved them wrong so I


don't see why it should be different. So you are going to be


proved wrong. I haven't heard one piece of legislation that would be


repatriated back to Britain. Every time I hear about these appalling


regulations in Europe, and you ask the question, which one do you want


unravelled, which one do you want brought back you hear what it is. So


which one is it if you could pick one? The large businesses with


lobbyists here and compliance officers don't mind EU legislation


because it kills competition from small businesses. But I get small


businesses all the time that say we want exceptions because of our size,


and we can't afford three or four days to comply with EU regulations


because that is one person's time for a small company. But in large


companies they have full-time lobbyist. -- lobbyists. But which


specific piece of legislation would you want unravelled and repatriated


to Britain? There are two ways to look at it. One is specific areas.


Which one? We've made a good start in justice and home affairs, and


some colleagues want to talk about agriculture and fisheries. Those are


issues for negotiation. At the same time, there are constitutional


issues. There has to be an ability for national governments to say to


the EU, you have gone too far, reconsider. So no actual regulation.


So, no specific regulation, but on Justice and home affairs we've opted


out about a and we are trying to go back into 30 -- we opted out of


about 130. There does have to be a European arrest warrant, so we are


now trying to get back into 30 of them. But I haven't heard the piece


of legislation or regulation that needs to be unravelled, and that is


the normal case. What about the working time directive? We have an


opt out, but that didn't quite come up as much as anybody thought it


would in terms of torque from businesses. Syed Kamall, if there


was a vote on British membership of the EU tomorrow, which way would you


vote? There isn't going to be about tomorrow. I realise that. But if we


found ourselves without anything changing in a few years time, which


way would you vote? I was having a conversation with David Cameron


about this the other day and he said not to answer hypothetical


questions. So you can't come clean on what you would do? Let's wait for


2017 and the referendum. We have to wait for the renegotiation, we can


put that. We can but that the British people, and then I would


decide how I would vote. We will ask you then. Don't take any advice from


David Cameron, that's my advice. Thank you all very much.


Now, did you know that child poverty, as it's officially


measured, actually went down in the wake of the financial crisis of


2008? But that's not because poor children got richer, but because


richer people got poorer. That's one of the perverse outcomes which the


Work and Pensions Secretary wanted to eliminate by changing the way the


government measures child poverty. But it's a change that's been left


out of today's child poverty strategy amid reports of a row


between the Work and Pensions Secretary and the Chancellor. Iain


Duncan Smith and and George Osborne both agree that the current


definition on child poverty needs to be changed. Currently, a child is


defined as living in poverty when their family income falls below 60%


of median income. Iain Duncan Smith is said to want to


see broader measures of poverty included in the definition such as


entrenched worklessness, family breakdown, problem debt, drug and


alcohol dependency. But Mr Osborne is reported to have


blocked this new definition being included in today's strategy paper.


And Lib Dem Education Minister David Laws has weighed in behind Mr Duncan


Smith, supporting the change. What is disappointing is that the


Coalition Government has not been able to agree a new set of measures


to target child poverty and reduce child poverty in the future. Those


measures are important, because ultimately they are the driver of


policy and the future -- in the future. We've done a lot of work on


that in government and the Liberal Democrats have a clear idea of what


the new measures should be. We will not allow the Conservative Party to


simply end discussion on this. Joining us to discuss this is Policy


Exchange's Ruth Porter and Alison Garnham from the charity Child


Poverty Action Group. Ruth Porter, are you disappointed the government


has not changed the definition of child poverty? What is clear is that


the current poverty measure is fundamentally flawed, but where the


government is right today is to come out and say that what we need is a


strategy which actually focuses on looking at the reasons why people


living in poverty and aims to address those. If you take, for


example, needs analysis we have done -- the analysis we have done which


has 2 million children in Britain as materially deprived, on a different


definition, the ones that don't show up in current statistics because


they are based around income. Similarly we saw Iain Duncan Smith


and George Osborne talking about the fact that there are 100,000 fewer


children in workless households, and these are both statistics which


don't show up in the current measure. Clearly the way we are


looking at poverty, the way we are measuring it with one statistic, is


far too simplistic, and the key is to move to a strategy that deals


with the underlying reason why people are in poverty. Do you agree


with that, Alison? There are four measures, not just one indicator.


They are not definitions, they are measures. The 60% median is a


relative measure, there is one that looks a deprivation and there is


another but looks persistence of poverty, how long the family has


been poor for. There is also in the act of whole list of building blocks


including childcare, parental support, education, housing, all the


things discussed quite rightly in the child poverty strategy but it's


not just about those indicators. So these are needed, is the argument,


to keep track of people who are living in, by whatever measure,


poverty? Although there are supposedly four measures, we fixate


on relative income. All four of those measures look at income, and


the reality is for some people, people can be just above the income


line but if they have someone in their household who has a severe


addiction issue, or issues with debt, they won't be picked up. They


are a tiny proportion of families. The real issue is we are facing a


child poverty crisis. We know that child poverty will rise by nearly 1


million x 2020, so having a discussion about what goalpost we


want to move in an environment where there is a crisis on the horizon,


that is what we need the strategy to address, what policies would make a


difference? But the focus on income means that if we look at our


approach to tackling poverty, it is focused on, how do you, through the


benefits system, redistribute money, rather than looking at the


underlying reasons why people are poor, and that is why the Government


is absolutely right to be doing things like looking at addressing


educational attainment of the poor, getting more people into work and


helping people in work to move up the pay scale. We have seen over the


last ten to 15 years policy on all of those areas so there were clearly


the childcare strategies, we saw the lone parent rate increase from 45 to


50%, we have the narrowing of the gap in educational attainment. All


sorts of policies have been developed that address a whole range


of issues. Except that there are these big hats and many people who


don't make those statistics and they are being missed. -- big gap is. How


do you address this? They are not being left out. There is a very


strong association between relative low income and all kinds of poor


outcomes for children. Low educational attainment, poor health,


low self-worth and so on. The real problem at the moment is that poorer


families are facing ?22 billion of tax cuts and benefits cuts. 60% of


those are hitting working and low income families. So now they cannot


make those ends meet and it shows in the statistics. 60% of poor children


live with a working parent, as these are telling us. Just to welcome


viewers from Scotland. What you say to the fact that the Treasury has


blocked these definitions because they do not want to look at what


they can see as -- what they might see as expensive targets and cannot


see a way of getting around them? The Government has said today they


want to focus on the reasons people live in poverty. And that is the


right approach. The exciting on target to do with income simply


drives policy in the wrong direction. Do we need to have those


targets in place in order to measure child poverty? Well, we must say


what we mean by poverty when we talk of poverty and the big question is,


is it a relative measure or an absolute measure? Are people


relatively poor because they are living in quite a rich country and


though their income isn't bad, it is a lot worse than other people's?


Poverty lobby was always in favour of relative poverty rather than


absolute, and just because a slight dip now in our fortunes has kind of


reversed and moved the goalposts in a way that is unhelpful to the


poverty lobby, I don't think we should abandon that important


principle that poverty is a relative concept. I'm certainly not


complaining about what the indicators are showing. And in fact


it is very easy to read what is going on and you can tell what is


happening to average incomes. You have odd findings every now and then


but poverty is always relative to the society you live in. People need


cash to pay their bills, keep their house warm, to buy food. But those


definitions can be misleading because some of those are absolute?


The reality is, there is no single measure which is perfect, so what we


need is to introduce more measures looking at other things as well,


things like addiction, things like the cost of housing and the impact


of that. Rather than just focusing on one headline figure. A loss of


those things are already in the child poverty measure but we used to


have some other things included. I'm not against adding measures to the


existing measures and I think it would be quite important to look at


other issues. Thank you. We've all heard of fly-tipping but


what about horse fly-grazing? It's where people leave their horses on


farmland without payment or permission, and it seems to be a


growing problem. MPs have recently debated the issue and one who's had


lots of problems in his constituency thinks more desperately needs to be


done. Here's Damian Hinds, with his soapbox.


The sight of horses grazing on the field is a beautiful countryside


sight. As long as they are there legally. Unfortunately, that is not


always the case. Horses abandoned in a farmer's field or left by the side


of the road, that could be a nuisance for farmers and endanger


the safety of people in the area, and of course can have terrible


consequences for the welfare of the animals themselves. These horses at


Newton balance in East Hampshire really well looked after and cared


for. But equine charities estimate there could be 7000 horses in


England and Wales at risk of welfare problems. With upwards of 3000 on


land without consent. And that number is growing. In the first


quarter of 2013, the British horse Society saw complaints about horse


welfare rise by 50% on the previous year. A few unscrupulous owners


leave their animals on private land without payment or permission.


Sometimes the conditions can be terrible, without adequate grass to


graze on. They might be there for days or weeks until the verities are


notified and then they just move them onto another piece of land. Not


only is it an act of theft using the farmer's grazing land without


permission terrible burden on the charities concerned with horse


welfare who try to help. One piece of land in my constituency recently


had 46 horses left on it, though in that case with payment and


permission. But the horses were not being properly looked after authored


by their owner. The RSPCA had to remove them. Shortly after this,


another 18 horses appeared. Many of them were in a terrible state and


one died soon after in a century. -- sanctuary. Local authorities need


more powers to remove horses before they just get moved to another


location and the cycle starts over again. I welcome DEFRA's efforts to


negotiate a limit to the free movement of horses from the


continent to this country but there is still a problem with horses


originating in England and Wales. In Wales, and you control of horses act


has come into force. I am concerned that without similar initiatives


here in England, the problem could be further displaced across the


border. -- a new control. And the Conservative MP Damian Hinds


joins us now. Obviously a problem in your constituency. Is it a big


problem across the UK? It is, and you all the numbers on the film. And


it is a movable problem and it does move. Since we had a big hug and my


constituency it has gone down somewhat in Hampshire but then has


moved elsewhere. -- a bid problem. Why do you think people are


struggling to look after their horses, because presumably that is


why they are being dumped or abandoned? I am not sure we can make


those assumptions so quickly. I'm sure there is an element of that but


it also seems there is a small number of people who own very large


numbers of horses, who, as part of their practice, will keep moving


them from piece of land to piece of land. Can you impound horses? No.


The local authority will typically have one option, which is once they


have been through a process and had a statutory delay, they have to


auction the waters off after micro-chipping them, which increases


their value. Sometimes they then get what back by the original owner! --


fought back. In Wales impounding is an option and there are certain acts


where impounding can be a possibility, including in Hampshire.


If the horse becomes ill or dies, whose responsibility would that be?


I think the full misery clear. The people who either irresponsibly


breed horses or leave them without due care for their welfare, it is


definitely their fault. The responsibility depends on whatever


horse charity has taken them in and the way they deal with it. So they


could blame the farmer on whose land it has been left? Yes, and I think


this whole issue is a big burden because once you have animals on


your land, the idea that you have responsibility for them. It is


already. It is not allowed to fly graze horses. We have had the Welsh


act in for a month and we need to see what impact that powers and


whether it displaces the problem across the board, and also how


effective it is in Wales. But this is something I am sure the team will


keep under review. What about microchip in horses? It is very


important and we need more enforcement as well. It is important


to get a good deal. You can get free microchips in circumstance can --


certain circumstances. My llamas escaped a few months ago and went


fly grazing in a neighbour's... He came home and they were very


understanding! I am delighted to hear it!


On one level, the Greens are doing pretty well. They've got an MP, two


MEPs, they control a council and have a meaningful presence in


English local government generally. But where do they go next? Is it


possible for an organisation which is still viewed by a sizeable chunk


of the electorate, rightly or wrongly, as a single-issue party to


get any bigger, and if so, how do they make the breakthrough? Or is


this as good as it gets for the Greens?


St Mary's ward in Oxford. They do things a little differently here. It


has been home to generations of thinkers and that desire to


challenge the conventional wisdom extends to their politics. People in


this part of Oxford tend to believe in green. Along with the


affectionately named news of Brighton, it is a party stronghold,


and some people think it could become an electoral ghetto from


which the party find it hard to escape. Looking at the European


election, it is the Greens who will struggle to get airtime because you


have UKIP and the whole in- out referendum question. And actually,


they have not been out there on national issues such as flooding and


climate change that have been really good opportunities recently. At the


moment in England and Wales, the Greens have one MP, two MEPs, two


members of the Greater London assembly and more than 40 local


councillors. And the than doubled since 1998, almost 13,000 now, and


the party that runs Brighton council has significant presence in a number


of places including Oxford. All good but is it something of a comfort


blanket? Is not according to the man who helped write the last election


manifesto for them. It might be the other political parties who are


wearing the comfort blanket rather than the Greens, and they need to


persuade the mainstream parties that the issues they have been


campaigning on for a long time of the key ones to which they should be


paying attention. But previous attempts to access the mainstream


are precisely what led this candidate to quit the party in


frustration. I suspect if you look to their individual policies, many


of those would actually get majority support but as a whole, the party


has found it for a difficult to connect with the mainstream


electorate and unless that changes, the Green Party is stuck with 3% of


the vote. By the way, this is not a pretty lake we are standing next to.


It is a flood plain, which he sings rather makes his point. We have seen


the worst floods ever over the last few weeks in British history.


Climate change is the defining issue of the 21st century. Only the Greens


really seem to take it very seriously, but unless they bring on


a lot of other policies to attract mainstream voters, the Green Party


will not be able to solve the climate change problem. Oxford is


part of the fabric of this green and pleasant land, but will dreaming of


the dreaming spires be the limit for the Green Party? We are joined now


by the leader of the Green Party, Natalie Bennett. Where were you


during the floods? There seem to be a few people in that film is saying


that was your big opportunity and you didn't capitalise it? We


definitely had a ten point plan on how to react to the floods and we


are the lighted Ed Miliband picked up the call we made for Owen


Paterson to go as Environment Secretary, so there we can see our


call making a real impact and making on the national stage. But we didn't


see you. Was it an opportunity, a missed opportunity, to get higher


profile rather than let the other parties take on your plan? Well, I


went down to the Thames barrier instead and stood in front of a


successful anti-Flood project which showed how we can work together to


deal with the threat of climate change. So, I did not choose the


Wellington boot route. There is another party trying to make an


impact and be more successful than you, UKIP, and bus stops and


Brighton and no sign of a breakthrough in the polls. -- asked


ups. Have you reached your limit? Not at all. We got our first County


Council is in Essex, Cornwall, Sussex and Kent and several places


in the West Midlands, so we are a much more national party than we


were before and we have doubled our membership and it is going up


steadily and significantly, so we are definitely on an upward curve,


and, with European elections, which are representational... We only need


a swing of 1.6% which would travel our number of MEPs in Brussels. We


have great campaigns in the south-west, the north-west, the east


of the region and the Humber. Great candidates out there on the ground


making a real impact on issues like winning the railways back into


public hands. And also Caroline Lucas in Parliament. And the bill to


bring railways back into public hands is up for debate tomorrow. Do


you see them making headway in the general elections? I don't think


it's very likely. The problem with a first past the post system, and I


shouldn't say single issue parties, climate change is the big issue, but


the problem is what does it leave you to say on everything else that


is coherent? I believe in ideology. I think a mainstream political party


needs to have a view on what are the main springs of human behaviour and


how government can control and organise society to the best


advantage. For the Greens, climate change and ecological issues are the


hook, the portal brings you in, but there has to be something in the


room once people have been brought in and it's not clear to me in terms


of what life ought to be like, what the role of government is, the Green


party has anything to say. I would invite you to read the 2010


manifesto, and that made the point that social and environmental


justice are indivisible. We talk about the need for everybody in


Britain to have access to a decent quality-of-life. I was at an


anti-ATOS process, and we were speaking out against the welfare


cuts, the bedroom tax, and speaking out to ensure that everyone in


society has sufficient resources for a decent life? Are you on the left?


To the left of the Labour Party. But in Brighton, where the Greens are


running the show there has been infighting, and they have fell out


about budget cuts, and even Caroline Lucas has opposed their policies.


It's hardly setting a good example of what Greens would be like in some


sort of government. I think you haven't quite thought -- caught up


with things. Brighton has been calling for a referendum for 4.75%


increase in council tax, about 60p per person per week, to meet social


care needs, to ensure older people get the care they need. But they


have been fighting amongst themselves. What we have is a real


vision of how we can accept that the cuts have gone too far, austerity is


a disaster for the poor people of Britain, the most disadvantaged. We


are currently playing for the errors of the bankers by taking it out of


the pockets of the poor, and it has to stop. But that is obviously not


cutting through. Matthew MUST -- Matthew's point is they are running


the administration in Brighton and they have fought over striking


binmen and there has been no coherence. We have a coherent


message about issues within fighting for. We start of the decade leading


on the living wage and making the minimum wage a living wage. If you


are in full time you should earn enough money to live on. That's a


simple message and one where we are starting to win. We saw the Tory MP


making that point in the Guardian this week. Do you think they will


win another seat? I don't think so. I don't think there should be any


competition between you and UKIP because you are in different


places, but there are a range of voters who want to vote for somebody


who is not the mainstream, and I think you will lose some to UKIP,


oddly enough. I think there is a small percentage of people who will


hover between, but a lot of people think that the three main parties do


not meet their needs and don't recognise that society has to change


significantly and politics has to. The three largest parties are stuck


in the 20th century and have not moved on to recognise we need a new


economic and political model. Natalie Bennett, thank you. Well, as


we've been on air German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been addressing


both Houses of Parliament. Here's what she had to say a few moments


ago. I have been told many times during the last few days that there


are very special expectations of my speech here today. Supposedly, or so


I have heard, some expect my speech to pave the way for a fundamental


reform of the European architecture which will satisfy all kinds of


alleged or actual British wishes. I'm afraid they are in for a


disappointment. I have also heard that others are expecting the exact


opposite, and are hoping that I will deliver the clear and simple message


here in London that the rest of Europe is not prepared to pay almost


any price to keep Britain in the European Union. I'm afraid that


these hopes will be dashed as well. Angela Merkel, speaking in English,


and the expectation was she would speak in German, and I've never


heard her speak in English before, but she did set out that she said


she was not there to deliver fundamental reform so there will be


disappointment on the backbenches of the Tories. Some will be delighted.


They would have been sad if she was ready to deal. It's such an early


stage that I would not expect the German Chancellor to come to Britain


and say, like you, I want fundamental reform of the European


Union and the architecture and structure and the machinery of the


European Union. This is not the time to say that. But, could she have


nuanced it a little more? Will David Cameron be disappointed by what she


said in rather clear terms? I wouldn't think he would be very


surprised. It is an opening bid, as we were, and now we wait to hear


David Cameron's opening bid. They will now go and have those


discussions and it will be interesting to see the reaction. She


also said that others who were hoping she would deliver the clear


and simple message in London that Europe is not prepared to pay any


price to keep Britain in the European Union, I suppose, once


again, one is not going to be surprised, but she is laying the


marker down. Yes, taking this stuff -- top stand at the beginning. I've


just been told that's the only bit of the speech that were -- was to be


said in English. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the launch of


Spitting Image. The show spanned the early years of Margaret Thatcher's


government to the end of John Major's. And up to 15 million people


tuned in on Sunday evenings to watch politicians being lampooned. Who can


forget besuited Margaret Thatcher and grey John Major? Next month, the


BBC Four programme, Arena, will tell the story of Spitting Image. Say it


to the whole cabinet. Shut up, Norman. Speak up, man, for god sake,


you're not the platform now. Nigel pinched my pen. Nigel, is this true?


You know my policy on stealing from 1's friends. Cabinet, what do we


call it when people go around stealing other people's property?


You? A free-market economy? What do we call it, David? Socialism. The


leader we should have one word from your name, and one word from mine.


From yours, I thought we would take the word David. And from yours,


David? What about Owen? So it's David Owen, head of the social


Democratic party. Well, that's put my mind at rest. Thank you very


much, David. David, have you just burst the hot water bottle? No...


Joining me now are the creators of Spitting Image, Peter Fluck and


Roger Law and as we've just seen, one of the people they mercilessly


satirised, Lord Steel. Laughing, as you were. Did you hate your


caricature? Not at all. What was interesting about the whole


programme is that the politicians that weren't on it complained


bitterly. Why they would have rather been on it than miss out. -- they


would have been -- rather been on it. Did you watch it religiously?


Regularly. I thoroughly enjoyed it. What effect did it have on your


career? I don't think any. Some people thought it made me look a lot


weaker partner, but I don't believe it. I don't think people took the


politics of spitting image seriously, they just enjoy the


entertainment of it and it was a good send-up of a lot of people. Is


that true asthma well, he's bigger than I thought he should be. Why did


you think you should be so tiny? Because it was funny. Why did you


think he should be so small in stature? You are quite tall, aren't


you. I recall how it happened. It was an accident. When we first


started making puppets, we naively thought that the smaller they are,


the cheaper they are. Since we had to make a complete cast of puppets


we started with small ones, and we realised you could not get the


clothes from Oxfam from -- for a little puppet, so the cost shot up


because everything had to be tailor-made. What people don't know


if you have more than one puppet. I know that there are at least two


images today, one in the House of Commons, one of mine, and one of


Margaret Thatcher, and there is one in the daily record office in


Glasgow. Those rascals we employed were sending them out the back door.


I'm sure of it. Did David steel deserve that betrayal? Well, we had


1000 puppets, and you could put on David steel with David Owen more


than once. It was when you did Elizabeth Taylor, and the only joke


they had was that she was fat. They did the fat joke, and we spent three


days crafting this fantastic puppet for one sketch. You want to see


repeat business. Marvellous. Why do you think the programme was so


successful? Because it was as abrasive and unpleasant and rude as


Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. We were there at the right time. Do you


think it caught the time? I would think it was very much of its time.


Several people could have done the show. You go back to the 70s, writes


in the street, the 70s was awful, the most awful decade of my life --


riots in the street. I would have killed several people to be made a


puppet. Were you never on it? Brian Walden, he had a puppet, and every


night I would pray there would be a Matthew Parris puppet. That is how I


would know I was famous. Jeffrey Archer sent in some reference


pictures. What did you do with them? We said we would never do him,


but then he got caught with a prostitute of the railway station


and we had to. Would you do something like that today? I


wouldn't want to make another 1500 puppets, but I think it could be


done. Nigel Farage is one already. David Cameron isn't because he has a


tiny mouth like a cat 's bottom, and to make a puppet out of that would


be difficult. It's amazing what you did with puppetry. It's what the


puppeteers did. Even so, you brought the thing to such a wide audience.


They had to go through weight training, they weighed a tonne.


Today's politics could do with that. People think I'm a nice, benign


gentlemen these days, and I think Spiting Image was just warm and


lovely -- Spitting. His answer to bringing it back would always be


that it is ?25 per bag of play, so you do it. Apart from Nigel Farage,


who else would you like to make? What's the name of the presenter


with the huge ears always on television? Andrew Marr. You could


do him, because he is pompous and has ears like that. What about


Andrew Neil? Gentlemen, thank you very much. Thank you to two David


steel. There's just time before we go to


find out the answer to our quiz. The question was which box set did David


Cameron give Angela Merkel during her last visit to the UK? Was it: a)


Benidorm? B) Midsomer Murders? C) The Inbetweeners? Or d) Auf


Wiedersehen Pet? I think it was Midsummer murders, . That is the


right answer. Thank you to Matthew Parris for stepping into the fray.


The one o'clock News is starting on BBC One. Andrew is back on BBC One


tonight. Goodbye.


Download Subtitles