27/02/2014 Daily Politics


27/02/2014

Jo Coburn is joined by Janet Street-Porter for the latest political news, interviews and debate. Louise Mensch discusses women in politics and Angela Merkel's visit to the UK.


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Good afternoon and welcome to The Daily Politics. German Chancellor

:00:37.:00:41.

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

:00:42.:00:45.

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

:00:46.:00:48.

eurosceptic goodies for David Cameron to keep Conservative

:00:49.:00:52.

backbenchers happy? The Government launches its strategy

:00:53.:00:55.

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

:00:56.:01:00.

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

:01:01.:01:05.

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

:01:06.:01:07.

across the country but what should be done about it?

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

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at Spitting Image on its 30th anniversary.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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because the First Minister Peter Robinson has threatened to resign

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

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

:02:02.:02:04.

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

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Downey is amongst almost 200 Republican paramilitaries who have

:02:08.:02:09.

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

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

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

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

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

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Democratic Unionist First Minister Peter Robinson says he will quit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:03:12.:03:16.

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

:03:17.:03:20.

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

:03:21.:03:27.

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

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

:03:32.:03:34.

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

:03:35.:03:42.

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

:03:43.:03:45.

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

:03:46.:03:52.

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

:03:53.:03:57.

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

:03:58.:04:01.

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

:04:02.:04:05.

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

:04:06.:04:09.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Martin McGuinness is adamant all the political parties in Northern

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

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

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

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

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

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

:05:02.:05:04.

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

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

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

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

:05:24.:05:29.

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

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

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

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

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

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

:05:52.:05:55.

process that resulted in power-sharing in Northern Ireland?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:06:36.:06:41.

threatened resignation until after a big enquiry has reported and slowly

:06:42.:06:46.

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

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

:06:51.:06:54.

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

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

:06:58.:07:06.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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of addressing both Houses of Parliament in the Royal Gallery.

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

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

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

:07:43.:07:47.

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

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

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

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

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the relationship between us is important. Germany seems to be

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

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

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Parliament, and some people, particularly Conservative

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

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

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

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

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

:08:43.:08:46.

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

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

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

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

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

:09:01.:09:04.

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

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

:09:09.:09:14.

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

:09:15.:09:18.

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

:09:19.:09:22.

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

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

:09:27.:09:29.

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

:09:30.:09:34.

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

:09:35.:09:38.

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

:09:39.:09:43.

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

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

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

:09:53.:09:59.

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

:10:00.:10:03.

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

:10:04.:10:07.

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

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

:10:11.:10:17.

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

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

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

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has been 40 years since the last German Chancellor addressed both

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

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

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

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Strasbourg by Syed Kamall, the Conservative Leader in the European

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

:10:54.:11:00.

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

:11:01.:11:05.

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

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

:11:10.:11:15.

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

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

:11:19.:11:24.

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

:11:25.:11:31.

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

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

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

:11:47.:11:49.

version against too much bureaucracy. These are all issues

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

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

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

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

:12:10.:12:16.

practical, more anti-bureaucratic without changing the treaties.

:12:17.:12:24.

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

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

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

:12:38.:12:42.

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

:12:43.:12:47.

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

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or certainly his Eurosceptic benchers, will be disappointed that

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

:12:59.:13:00.

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

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

:13:06.:13:10.

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

:13:11.:13:13.

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

:13:14.:13:17.

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

:13:18.:13:21.

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

:13:22.:13:26.

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

:13:27.:13:31.

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

:13:32.:13:35.

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

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

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

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revision of the existing establishments? The word romp is

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

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

:13:59.:14:02.

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

:14:03.:14:07.

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

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

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

:14:15.:14:18.

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

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

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specifically about demands in terms of repatriations of powers before

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

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

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Tory MPs are laying their reputations and careers on this!

:14:44.:14:47.

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

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

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

:14:56.:15:00.

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

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

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

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emergency brake for any member state regarding future EU legislation

:15:17.:15:18.

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

:15:19.:15:29.

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

:15:30.:15:33.

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

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

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

:15:46.:15:49.

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

:15:50.:15:53.

similar standpoint and have the personal relationship to take it

:15:54.:15:57.

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

:15:58.:16:02.

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

:16:03.:16:12.

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

:16:13.:16:15.

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

:16:16.:16:22.

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

:16:23.:16:30.

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

:16:31.:16:34.

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

:16:35.:16:39.

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

:16:40.:16:44.

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

:16:45.:16:50.

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

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

:17:00.:17:03.

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

:17:04.:17:07.

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

:17:08.:17:16.

massaging of expectation. I think the former ambassador has written

:17:17.:17:22.

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

:17:23.:17:28.

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

:17:29.:17:33.

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

:17:34.:17:48.

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

:17:49.:17:53.

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

:17:54.:17:58.

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

:17:59.:18:06.

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

:18:07.:18:09.

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

:18:10.:18:14.

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

:18:15.:18:21.

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

:18:22.:18:25.

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

:18:26.:18:32.

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

:18:33.:18:35.

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

:18:36.:18:38.

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

:18:39.:18:44.

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

:18:45.:18:47.

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

:18:48.:18:51.

incredibly important that David Cameron starts the serious process

:18:52.:18:54.

of reform immediately after the European elections and does not get

:18:55.:18:58.

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

:18:59.:19:08.

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

:19:09.:19:13.

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

:19:14.:19:18.

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

:19:19.:19:24.

had 14 different reports from businesses, and not one business

:19:25.:19:29.

came up with one piece of legislation they wanted repatriated

:19:30.:19:32.

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

:19:33.:19:35.

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

:19:36.:19:40.

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

:19:41.:19:43.

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

:19:44.:19:47.

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

:19:48.:19:52.

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

:19:53.:19:57.

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

:19:58.:20:00.

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

:20:01.:20:06.

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

:20:07.:20:10.

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

:20:11.:20:17.

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

:20:18.:20:23.

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

:20:24.:20:26.

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

:20:27.:20:33.

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

:20:34.:20:36.

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

:20:37.:20:42.

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

:20:43.:20:48.

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

:20:49.:20:50.

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

:20:51.:21:00.

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

:21:01.:21:04.

British governments regard the Brussels Forum as something where

:21:05.:21:11.

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

:21:12.:21:16.

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

:21:17.:21:21.

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

:21:22.:21:25.

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

:21:26.:21:30.

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

:21:31.:21:37.

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

:21:38.:21:40.

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

:21:41.:21:44.

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

:21:45.:21:51.

unlikely there would be wholesale treaty change and repatriation of

:21:52.:21:54.

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

:21:55.:21:57.

disappointing to you and your colleagues? Any negotiation is going

:21:58.:22:02.

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

:22:03.:22:06.

negotiation with other European partners, many said we could not

:22:07.:22:10.

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

:22:11.:22:17.

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

:22:18.:22:20.

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

:22:21.:22:25.

negotiations. You think there could be wholesale treaty change and

:22:26.:22:27.

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

:22:28.:22:33.

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

:22:34.:22:39.

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

:22:40.:22:44.

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

:22:45.:22:49.

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

:22:50.:22:53.

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

:22:54.:22:58.

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

:22:59.:23:01.

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

:23:02.:23:11.

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

:23:12.:23:14.

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

:23:15.:23:18.

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

:23:19.:23:22.

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

:23:23.:23:26.

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

:23:27.:23:34.

lobbyists here and compliance officers don't mind EU legislation

:23:35.:23:37.

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

:23:38.:23:43.

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

:23:44.:23:47.

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

:23:48.:23:50.

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

:23:51.:23:54.

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

:23:55.:24:01.

specific piece of legislation would you want unravelled and repatriated

:24:02.:24:07.

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

:24:08.:24:15.

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

:24:16.:24:19.

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

:24:20.:24:23.

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

:24:24.:24:27.

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

:24:28.:24:29.

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

:24:30.:24:39.

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

:24:40.:24:43.

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

:24:44.:24:51.

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

:24:52.:24:55.

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

:24:56.:24:59.

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

:25:00.:25:03.

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

:25:04.:25:11.

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

:25:12.:25:16.

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

:25:17.:25:26.

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

:25:27.:25:29.

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

:25:30.:25:36.

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

:25:37.:25:41.

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

:25:42.:25:44.

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

:25:45.:25:49.

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

:25:50.:25:55.

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

:25:56.:25:59.

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

:26:00.:26:05.

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

:26:06.:26:09.

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

:26:10.:26:17.

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

:26:18.:26:22.

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

:26:23.:26:25.

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

:26:26.:26:28.

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

:26:29.:26:31.

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

:26:32.:26:34.

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

:26:35.:26:37.

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

:26:38.:26:40.

between the Work and Pensions Secretary and the Chancellor. Iain

:26:41.:26:43.

Duncan Smith and and George Osborne both agree that the current

:26:44.:26:46.

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

:26:47.:26:49.

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

:26:50.:26:51.

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

:26:52.:27:03.

see broader measures of poverty included in the definition such as

:27:04.:27:05.

entrenched worklessness, family breakdown, problem debt, drug and

:27:06.:27:07.

alcohol dependency. But Mr Osborne is reported to have

:27:08.:27:13.

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

:27:14.:27:18.

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

:27:19.:27:28.

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

:27:29.:27:31.

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

:27:32.:27:36.

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

:27:37.:27:40.

measures are important, because ultimately they are the driver of

:27:41.:27:45.

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

:27:46.:27:48.

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

:27:49.:27:54.

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

:27:55.:27:57.

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

:27:58.:28:01.

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

:28:02.:28:06.

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

:28:07.:28:09.

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

:28:10.:28:14.

the current poverty measure is fundamentally flawed, but where the

:28:15.:28:17.

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

:28:18.:28:20.

strategy which actually focuses on looking at the reasons why people

:28:21.:28:24.

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

:28:25.:28:30.

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

:28:31.:28:35.

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

:28:36.:28:41.

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

:28:42.:28:44.

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

:28:45.:28:47.

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

:28:48.:28:52.

children in workless households, and these are both statistics which

:28:53.:28:55.

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

:28:56.:28:59.

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

:29:00.:29:03.

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

:29:04.:29:07.

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

:29:08.:29:13.

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

:29:14.:29:16.

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

:29:17.:29:20.

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

:29:21.:29:25.

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

:29:26.:29:29.

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

:29:30.:29:33.

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

:29:34.:29:37.

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

:29:38.:29:41.

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

:29:42.:29:47.

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

:29:48.:29:52.

poverty? Although there are supposedly four measures, we fixate

:29:53.:29:58.

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

:29:59.:30:01.

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

:30:02.:30:05.

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

:30:06.:30:09.

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

:30:10.:30:16.

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

:30:17.:30:20.

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

:30:21.:30:25.

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

:30:26.:30:29.

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

:30:30.:30:32.

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

:30:33.:30:40.

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

:30:41.:30:43.

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

:30:44.:30:47.

benefits system, redistribute money, rather than looking at the

:30:48.:30:51.

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

:30:52.:30:54.

is absolutely right to be doing things like looking at addressing

:30:55.:30:58.

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

:30:59.:31:01.

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

:31:02.:31:08.

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

:31:09.:31:18.

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

:31:19.:31:24.

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

:31:25.:31:27.

sorts of policies have been developed that address a whole range

:31:28.:31:31.

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

:31:32.:31:35.

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

:31:36.:31:42.

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

:31:43.:31:45.

strong association between relative low income and all kinds of poor

:31:46.:31:49.

outcomes for children. Low educational attainment, poor health,

:31:50.:31:54.

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

:31:55.:32:00.

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

:32:01.:32:07.

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

:32:08.:32:11.

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

:32:12.:32:16.

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

:32:17.:32:23.

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

:32:24.:32:25.

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

:32:26.:32:32.

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

:32:33.:32:39.

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

:32:40.:32:43.

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

:32:44.:32:47.

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

:32:48.:32:51.

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

:32:52.:32:55.

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

:32:56.:33:00.

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

:33:01.:33:05.

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

:33:06.:33:07.

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

:33:08.:33:11.

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

:33:12.:33:16.

Poverty lobby was always in favour of relative poverty rather than

:33:17.:33:20.

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

:33:21.:33:27.

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

:33:28.:33:30.

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

:33:31.:33:33.

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

:33:34.:33:39.

complaining about what the indicators are showing. And in fact

:33:40.:33:42.

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

:33:43.:33:46.

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

:33:47.:33:50.

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

:33:51.:33:53.

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

:33:54.:34:00.

definitions can be misleading because some of those are absolute?

:34:01.:34:06.

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

:34:07.:34:10.

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

:34:11.:34:13.

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

:34:14.:34:17.

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

:34:18.:34:23.

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

:34:24.:34:27.

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

:34:28.:34:31.

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

:34:32.:34:36.

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

:34:37.:34:41.

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

:34:42.:34:44.

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

:34:45.:34:47.

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

:34:48.:34:51.

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

:34:52.:34:54.

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

:34:55.:35:10.

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

:35:11.:35:16.

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

:35:17.:35:21.

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

:35:22.:35:25.

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

:35:26.:35:28.

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

:35:29.:35:31.

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

:35:32.:35:38.

Newton balance in East Hampshire really well looked after and cared

:35:39.:35:43.

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

:35:44.:35:47.

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

:35:48.:35:52.

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

:35:53.:35:57.

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

:35:58.:36:01.

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

:36:02.:36:11.

leave their animals on private land without payment or permission.

:36:12.:36:14.

Sometimes the conditions can be terrible, without adequate grass to

:36:15.:36:17.

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

:36:18.:36:21.

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

:36:22.:36:26.

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

:36:27.:36:31.

permission terrible burden on the charities concerned with horse

:36:32.:36:35.

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

:36:36.:36:39.

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

:36:40.:36:42.

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

:36:43.:36:47.

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

:36:48.:36:51.

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

:36:52.:36:59.

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

:37:00.:37:03.

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

:37:04.:37:07.

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

:37:08.:37:12.

negotiate a limit to the free movement of horses from the

:37:13.:37:15.

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

:37:16.:37:19.

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

:37:20.:37:25.

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

:37:26.:37:29.

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

:37:30.:37:32.

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

:37:33.:37:38.

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

:37:39.:37:42.

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

:37:43.:37:45.

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

:37:46.:37:50.

constituency it has gone down somewhat in Hampshire but then has

:37:51.:37:56.

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

:37:57.:38:00.

struggling to look after their horses, because presumably that is

:38:01.:38:02.

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

:38:03.:38:08.

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

:38:09.:38:12.

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

:38:13.:38:17.

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

:38:18.:38:20.

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

:38:21.:38:29.

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

:38:30.:38:33.

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

:38:34.:38:36.

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

:38:37.:38:39.

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

:38:40.:38:46.

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

:38:47.:38:52.

where impounding can be a possibility, including in Hampshire.

:38:53.:38:57.

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

:38:58.:39:02.

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

:39:03.:39:09.

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

:39:10.:39:15.

definitely their fault. The responsibility depends on whatever

:39:16.:39:19.

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

:39:20.:39:24.

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

:39:25.:39:30.

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

:39:31.:39:34.

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

:39:35.:39:42.

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

:39:43.:39:47.

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

:39:48.:39:50.

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

:39:51.:39:53.

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

:39:54.:39:59.

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

:40:00.:40:02.

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

:40:03.:40:08.

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

:40:09.:40:15.

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

:40:16.:40:23.

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

:40:24.:40:28.

understanding! I am delighted to hear it!

:40:29.:40:30.

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

:40:31.:40:35.

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

:40:36.:40:38.

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

:40:39.:40:42.

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

:40:43.:40:46.

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

:40:47.:40:49.

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

:40:50.:40:54.

this as good as it gets for the Greens?

:40:55.:41:00.

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

:41:01.:41:04.

has been home to generations of thinkers and that desire to

:41:05.:41:07.

challenge the conventional wisdom extends to their politics. People in

:41:08.:41:13.

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

:41:14.:41:19.

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

:41:20.:41:22.

and some people think it could become an electoral ghetto from

:41:23.:41:27.

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

:41:28.:41:31.

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

:41:32.:41:36.

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

:41:37.:41:39.

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

:41:40.:41:44.

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

:41:45.:41:48.

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

:41:49.:41:53.

members of the Greater London assembly and more than 40 local

:41:54.:42:03.

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

:42:04.:42:05.

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

:42:06.:42:08.

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

:42:09.:42:13.

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

:42:14.:42:18.

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

:42:19.:42:21.

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

:42:22.:42:24.

persuade the mainstream parties that the issues they have been

:42:25.:42:27.

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

:42:28.:42:33.

paying attention. But previous attempts to access the mainstream

:42:34.:42:37.

are precisely what led this candidate to quit the party in

:42:38.:42:41.

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

:42:42.:42:45.

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

:42:46.:42:50.

has found it for a difficult to connect with the mainstream

:42:51.:42:53.

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

:42:54.:42:59.

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

:43:00.:43:03.

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

:43:04.:43:08.

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

:43:09.:43:12.

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

:43:13.:43:15.

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

:43:16.:43:19.

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

:43:20.:43:24.

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

:43:25.:43:28.

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

:43:29.:43:33.

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

:43:34.:43:39.

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

:43:40.:43:42.

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

:43:43.:43:46.

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

:43:47.:43:51.

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

:43:52.:43:54.

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

:43:55.:43:57.

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

:43:58.:44:02.

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

:44:03.:44:07.

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

:44:08.:44:10.

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

:44:11.:44:16.

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

:44:17.:44:19.

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

:44:20.:44:22.

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

:44:23.:44:31.

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

:44:32.:44:35.

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

:44:36.:44:38.

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

:44:39.:44:46.

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

:44:47.:44:51.

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

:44:52.:44:55.

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

:44:56.:44:58.

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

:44:59.:45:01.

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

:45:02.:45:07.

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

:45:08.:45:11.

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

:45:12.:45:15.

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

:45:16.:45:19.

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

:45:20.:45:22.

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

:45:23.:45:25.

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

:45:26.:45:34.

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

:45:35.:45:38.

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

:45:39.:45:46.

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

:45:47.:45:51.

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

:45:52.:45:54.

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

:45:55.:46:00.

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

:46:01.:46:04.

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

:46:05.:46:08.

how government can control and organise society to the best

:46:09.:46:13.

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

:46:14.:46:19.

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

:46:20.:46:22.

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

:46:23.:46:28.

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

:46:29.:46:33.

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

:46:34.:46:40.

manifesto, and that made the point that social and environmental

:46:41.:46:43.

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

:46:44.:46:47.

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

:46:48.:46:51.

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

:46:52.:46:56.

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

:46:57.:46:59.

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

:47:00.:47:07.

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

:47:08.:47:11.

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

:47:12.:47:16.

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

:47:17.:47:19.

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

:47:20.:47:25.

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

:47:26.:47:29.

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

:47:30.:47:35.

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

:47:36.:47:39.

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

:47:40.:47:42.

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

:47:43.:47:48.

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

:47:49.:47:52.

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

:47:53.:47:57.

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

:47:58.:48:00.

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

:48:01.:48:07.

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

:48:08.:48:15.

the administration in Brighton and they have fought over striking

:48:16.:48:18.

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

:48:19.:48:22.

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

:48:23.:48:26.

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

:48:27.:48:30.

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

:48:31.:48:33.

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

:48:34.:48:37.

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

:48:38.:48:48.

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

:48:49.:48:52.

competition between you and UKIP because you are in different

:48:53.:48:56.

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

:48:57.:48:59.

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

:49:00.:49:04.

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

:49:05.:49:07.

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

:49:08.:49:11.

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

:49:12.:49:16.

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

:49:17.:49:19.

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

:49:20.:49:23.

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

:49:24.:49:27.

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

:49:28.:49:30.

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

:49:31.:49:34.

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

:49:35.:49:40.

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

:49:41.:49:49.

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

:49:50.:49:56.

reform of the European architecture which will satisfy all kinds of

:49:57.:50:00.

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

:50:01.:50:08.

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

:50:09.:50:14.

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

:50:15.:50:16.

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

:50:17.:50:22.

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

:50:23.:50:29.

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

:50:30.:50:34.

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

:50:35.:50:37.

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

:50:38.:50:41.

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

:50:42.:50:45.

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

:50:46.:50:51.

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

:50:52.:50:55.

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

:50:56.:50:58.

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

:50:59.:51:03.

Union and the architecture and structure and the machinery of the

:51:04.:51:05.

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

:51:06.:51:12.

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

:51:13.:51:16.

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

:51:17.:51:20.

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

:51:21.:51:24.

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

:51:25.:51:27.

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

:51:28.:51:31.

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

:51:32.:51:34.

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

:51:35.:51:37.

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

:51:38.:51:40.

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

:51:41.:51:45.

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

:51:46.:51:49.

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

:51:50.:51:56.

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

:51:57.:52:00.

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

:52:01.:52:02.

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

:52:03.:52:06.

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

:52:07.:52:09.

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

:52:10.:52:15.

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

:52:16.:52:21.

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

:52:22.:52:29.

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

:52:30.:52:34.

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

:52:35.:52:37.

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

:52:38.:52:46.

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

:52:47.:52:54.

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

:52:55.:52:57.

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

:52:58.:53:09.

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

:53:10.:53:13.

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

:53:14.:53:18.

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

:53:19.:53:25.

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

:53:26.:53:30.

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

:53:31.:53:33.

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

:53:34.:53:38.

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

:53:39.:53:40.

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

:53:41.:53:45.

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

:53:46.:53:50.

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

:53:51.:53:56.

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

:53:57.:54:01.

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

:54:02.:54:05.

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

:54:06.:54:10.

politics of spitting image seriously, they just enjoy the

:54:11.:54:13.

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

:54:14.:54:20.

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

:54:21.:54:26.

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

:54:27.:54:32.

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

:54:33.:54:39.

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

:54:40.:54:46.

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

:54:47.:54:50.

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

:54:51.:54:56.

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

:54:57.:55:00.

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

:55:01.:55:03.

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

:55:04.:55:07.

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

:55:08.:55:12.

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

:55:13.:55:18.

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

:55:19.:55:24.

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

:55:25.:55:29.

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

:55:30.:55:35.

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

:55:36.:55:40.

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

:55:41.:55:43.

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

:55:44.:55:49.

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

:55:50.:55:56.

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

:55:57.:56:02.

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

:56:03.:56:05.

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

:56:06.:56:10.

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

:56:11.:56:14.

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

:56:15.:56:18.

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

:56:19.:56:26.

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

:56:27.:56:34.

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

:56:35.:56:39.

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

:56:40.:56:46.

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

:56:47.:56:53.

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

:56:54.:56:56.

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

:56:57.:56:59.

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

:57:00.:57:05.

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

:57:06.:57:12.

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

:57:13.:57:17.

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

:57:18.:57:21.

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

:57:22.:57:28.

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

:57:29.:57:34.

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

:57:35.:57:39.

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

:57:40.:57:44.

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

:57:45.:57:51.

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

:57:52.:57:56.

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

:57:57.:58:03.

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

:58:04.:58:06.

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

:58:07.:58:12.

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

:58:13.:58:18.

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

:58:19.:58:21.

steel. There's just time before we go to

:58:22.:58:27.

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

:58:28.:58:30.

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

:58:31.:58:34.

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

:58:35.:58:41.

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

:58:42.:58:48.

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

:58:49.:58:52.

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

:58:53.:58:54.

tonight. Goodbye.

:58:55.:58:56.

Jo Coburn with the latest political news, interviews and debate. She is joined by the journalist Janet Street-Porter and discusses women in politics with Louise Mensch as well as Angela Merkel's visit to the UK.


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