14/03/2014 Daily Politics


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Afternoon, books, welcome to the Daily Politics. Tony Benn, one of


the Labour left's most iconic figures, has died at the age of 88,


he passed away surrounded by his family, to which he was always


close. Tributes are coming from all sides. Ed Miliband called him a job


in the powerless, David Cameron says it is a sad day for British


politics. -- a champion for the powerless.


The West says the referendum in Crimea is illegal and warns Russia


of tough sanctions. Following the Edward Snowden revelations, the


European Parliament agrees sweeping new rules on data protection. A


triumph for individual freedom or just more red tape? And when it


comes to getting ahead in politics, does background matter, sex, drugs,


money, the old school tie? Do voters care way you came from or what you


got up to in the past? All that in the next hour, and with


us for the next half-hour is the associate editor and columnist at


the Sunday Times, Camilla Cavendish, welcome to the Daily Politics. He


was a Labour Cabinet minister in the 1960s and 1970s, a strong if


divisive voice of the Labour left, a prolific diarist and in later life a


political campaign outside Parliament. But that rather


understates the life that Tony Benn lead. He died this morning at his


home in West London surrounded by his family. He had been ill for some


time. His family released a short statement saying, we will miss all


his love, which has sustained us through our lives. We are comforted


by the memory of his long, full and inspiring life, and so proud of his


devotion to helping others as he sought to change the world for the


better. Political leaders have been paying


their respects, here is Ed Miliband, who used to work for Tony Benn when


he was a teenager. It is obviously a sad day. I think Tony Benn will be


remembered as a champion of the powerless, a conviction politician,


somebody of deep principle and integrity. You always knew what he


stood for and who he stood up for, and I think that is why he was at my


right across the political spectrum. There are people who agreed with him


and disagreed with him, including in my own party, but people admired the


sense of conviction and integrity that shone through. The Prime


Minister has also been commenting, this is what he had to say. One of


the fundamental principles set out by the Leveson Inquiry are met by


the Royal Charter, and all have been accepted by the industry over the


last three months. In a number of areas, the media have accepted


additional measures that go beyond the recommendations. These include a


dedicated fund for investigations, making publishers be accountable for


all material, including photos, and a whistle-blowing hotline. As a


result of all of this, we have a workable system...


We apologise for that, that is obviously the wrong clip from the


Prime Minister, who was full of praise for Tony Benn this morning.


He said that although he did not agree quite often with what he


said, he admired him as a tenacious politician, a great writer and


campaign. What are your thoughts? My generation mostly would have seen


Tony Benn as the outsider, the national treasure, he made wonderful


speeches, and he was very authentic, and for a lot of us he


represented the conviction politician that many others feel


there is enough of. He was a divisive character for me because he


was quite important in my childhood. One of my father's veterans was


Brian McGee, who is a philosopher now, but he switched to the SDP in


the 1980s and lost his seat in 1983. My first political memory was of him


losing that seat, and I remember him saying the party has changed, it is


not me, the party has moved, and I think Benn, you can argue that Roy


Jenkins led the Labour Party, but Tony Benn was so important in that


debate, and he had a whole host of ideas which a lot of people in the


party felt were unacceptable. To look back now and remember his


arguments about unilateral disarmament, leaving NATO,


effectively... Withdrawing from the European Union. That is very


interesting, because he said it was bureaucratic and centralised, which


was a shrewd point. Of course, what he wanted to put in place in Britain


was also bureaucratic and centralised, so a slightly ironic


position for him to take. We will follow up some of these beams. Tony


Benn first became an MP way back in 1950, a long time ago, and he was


involved in some of the most bitter Labour Party battles of the late


20th century during his long career. To some on the left, he was a hero.


Too much of the mainstream, he was blamed for keeping the party out of


power for a generation. In later life, he became an over until a


figure, popular on the lecture circuit and a prolific diarist.


Political correspondent Iain Watson looks back at his life.


To give 100% support to those who do not or cannot or will not pay the


poll tax! For much of his political career, Benn was seen as a left-wing


firebrand, taking the argument for socialism onto the streets. His


first victory against the establishment was when, as Anthony


Wedgwood Benn, he refused to inherit his father's peerage so he could


remain an MP, a battle fought not on the barricades but in the courts and


ultimately in the House of Commons. You have defeated the Tory Cabinet,


the House of Lords... In a minister in Harold Wilson's government, he


was seen as a moderniser and a technocrat, he helped create the


Concorde project. Wilson later said that Tony Benn immatured with age.


Certainly, he was one of the few politicians to become more left wing


in office. In 1981, after the Labour election defeat, he split the party


down the middle, challenging Denis Healey to the leadership and losing


narrowly. His critics say that it helped keep Labour from power for


almost two decade. He argued for the nationalisation of big banks,


withdrawal from the EU. The Sir Humphrey Applebys of every country


of Europe have got together, and if we do this, the Dutch say the


Belgians will not object over what the Italians said... So the minister


has got no power anyway! In 2001, he said he was leaving Parliament to


take politics and was a leading figure in the campaign to stop the


Iraq War. The popularity of his one-man shows, where people page to


view his thoughts, confirmed he had completed the journey from dangerous


radical to national institution. He was a prolific diarist, a chronicler


of contemporary events. And just last year, he told the BBC he


remained convinced that politics shouldn't be about shoddy


compromise. My mother said to me once, she said, all decisions,


including political decisions, are basically moral. Is it right or


wrong? Tony Benn often declared that politics should be about policy, not


personality, but today Westminster has lost one of its most distinctive


and distinguished figures. Tony Benn, who died this morning at


the age of 88. Shirley Williams was one of the gang four rebels who went


off to found the Social Democratic Party in 1981, and from Birmingham


we are joined by Clare Short. Shirley Williams first, I would


suggest Tony Benn is one of the reasons you left the Labour Party.


Yes, that is probably true. I was actually a close friend of his in


the 1960s, he was the minister, the Postmaster general, and he was


tremendous and on top of technology, Acorn computers and so on, all of


this in his period. He really understood it better than anyone


else in the cabinet. The thing was at that time he was still very


clearly, essentially, a mainstream Labour Party supporter. He was on


the centre-left, not on the far left. Not, above all, on the kind of


anti-leadership left, which he later became. I think that he was hugely


popular in the constituency with activists, he was always the top of


the pile, and he was also a brilliant speaker, but one of the


things people have not said about him which was true was he was a


tremendously polite and courteous man. He never went into


personalities. He said politics is about policy, not personalities, and


he lived by that. Therefore people were surprised that he behaved so


well. He was not partisan, he was passionately partisan but not sourly


partisan, a big difference. But I have to say that on several issues,


Babb is the central one was Europe, we saw the world in a completely


different way. Clare Short, Mr Benn was enormously popular on the left


but not popular with all of the left of the Labour Party, was he? No, I


think, as Shelley says, he was an absolute gentleman, he had a lovely


marriage and family. He was very charming. -- Shirley. But I think he


got a high from the populist backing and became an oppositionist. If he


had behaved in a different way, he would have been a leading figure.


Someone said he was the Tony Blair of his time in terms of his


communication skills. He gave an interview not so long ago, a few


years ago, saying Enoch Powell said that all little careers end in


failure, mine ended a long time ago. He said, I have made mistakes. He


could have been a much bigger influence, but he went for the


populist, ultraleft, popular with some, cutting himself off from the


mainstream and potential leadership. And I think that was a loss. Was the


turning point for Mr Benn, Michael Foot had become leader, he took over


from Jim Callaghan, and he beat Denis Healey, but then Denis Healey


stood for the deputy leadership, and against, I understand it, a lot of


advice from the left, Benn stood for that as well, almost won, didn't,


but then began to flirt with Militant Tendency instead. Is that


fair? That is what happened. When Michael Foot won, he said, never


underestimate the passion for unity. The party had divisions and wanted


to come together, so it elected Michael. Then Tony, making the


decision in the middle of the night without consulting anyone, decided


to challenge for the deputy leader and stir up the divisions again. I


think that is when he departed the mainstream. And he went off on a


more and more sort of populist with the left grassroots, and at that


time, of course, various groups were coming into the Labour Party, and I


think he got a bit captured by the rousing support he got from those


elements. But that said, he was always a brilliant speaker, such


clarity in what he said. When people heard him, they would say, I do not


really agree with him, but isn't he wonderful? And always great company.


Charming, and when his son Hilary Benn became a junior minister in my


old department of international development, Tony came to the


Commons, went into the visitors' gallery, and there were tears of


pride rolling down his cheeks that his son was there. Did you ever kiss


and make up? Not really. We never broke off either, Clare's


description is absolutely right, he responded to this adulation from the


far left. We did not break up, we simply drifted apart, and on an


issue of policy, not on personal friendship. Was it Europe more than


anything else? He wanted a siege economy with huge import controls.


He wanted to nationalise, I think, at least the top 25 if not top 100


companies. In 1980, he spoke to the Labour Party conference and said,


within days of being in power, we should repatriate everything back


from Brussels. And of course it was against the nuclear deterrent as


well. But was it Europe that was the big divide? There are different


views, I shared many of his views about social policy, I believed in a


more equal society, I favoured comprehends of schools, all that


kind of thing. The big division was that I saw Europe coming together as


being the way to end wars in the West, in Western Europe at least.


And it seemed to me the way the future lay. I think the indication,


for example, one of the reasons he fought Denis Healey, who was after


all a damn good Labour man, was that Denis Healey exemplified the power


of the international markets, the power of the international


institutions, and Tony, I think, oddly enough would have nothing to


do with that, he would not even be there to oppose them. He simply


wished they didn't exist, he looked curiously backwards. Interesting how


attitudes changed towards him, because we forget that at the time


he was a hate figure for the Conservatives and he wasn't that


popular with a lot of his own party as well! Are member he once said,


when it was put to him that he was a national treasure, he himself said


yes, now that I am regarded as harmless! Indeed. That is how it


was. The meetings were packed out. People love to hear him. People who


did not vote Labour or would not agree with him. They loved him. He


became a national treasure. Because he was so eloquent and did try to


raise issues of principle, when people knew he was stimulating their


thinking and not going to do something crazy that would put the


economy on the rocks, they would love him. Do we know what turned him


left? In the 60s, he was moderniser. He was forward-looking.


He did not seem to have much to do with unions or the Labour left. He


was always going on about Concorde. He was seen as the future of the


Labour Party. Yes, he was. He had a growing suspicion of civil servants.


That mirrors the feeling on the right wing of the Conservative


Party. Tony disliked them a lot. He thought they were there to betray


what the ministers wanted to do. The other big factor was both the


leaders, he preferred Callaghan to Wilson. Both Prime Minister is he


saw as in the business of selling out. He took on more and more


powerful position in order to force people not to sell out. That really


meant he could not believe in the fundamental compromise at the heart


of democratic government. It is inescapable. Does he belong with the


figures in British politics who are huge figures, controversial and


divisive as well? I think of Bevan and is goggle on the left and


Thatcher and Powell on the right. Do we put Tony Benn into that category?


What I would like to actually ask both of you is whether you think he


has made people more cynical about politics. On the one hand, later on,


he was marvellous. He gave you hope and hope for things to change. On


the other hand, I cannot help but think he felt all mainstream


politicians were going to let people down. That ends up making you feel


cynical. He stood apart from the main run of politicians by being an


uncompromising idealist. They all sold out one way or another. As he


went on, a lot of what he advocated was impossible. It was backward


looking. The world economy was as it was. In that sense, he was the


beacon of the left but actually it was impractical, what he was


advocating. In his later years, when he was the old Testament prophet, as


Michael Foot said, he was more comfortable and people enjoyed that.


Really he vacated the struggle of practical policy to make the country


fairer. He went off to an impossible list position which was supported by


some but did not help. It has been a pleasure to listen to you. Now, what


makes a suitable or unsuitable politician? Nigel Farage hit the


front pages this week after allegations about his personal life.


The lawyers have asked me to say they are unsubstantiated. But does


anyone really care? Does it matter if the next Tory manifesto is being


written by a gang of old Etonians? And if, heaven forbid, an MP was


involved in some scrapes and shenanigans before entering


parliament, then is that really a problem? So, how much do people care


about the backgrounds and pasts of these men? In a recent survey, most


people said that they were annoyed if an MP had never had a real job.


55% in fact. Bad news for ex-special advisers, local politicians, think


tankers, or even journalists. Worrying news for David Cameron. A


lot of people think going to Eton doesn't make a good politician, with


38% complaining that old Etonians don't understand how real people


live. But there's good news for any politician with a racy past or a few


youthful indiscretions to their name. Drug-taking, going bankrupt,


or being caught shoplifting. The public don't seem to mind. Time to


own up perhaps? The daily politics is always


available. We sent our Adam out to see what people think. Parliment is


looking pretty nice in the background. What do the public think


about what the politicians have in their backgrounds? School is not


medically important but exposure to life and industry is incredibly


important. Having a real job? Having a real job brings you life


experience you need to make decisions properly. What about the


issue that all the pals of David Cameron went to Eton? Does it


matter? It is a bloody good job they did. Does it matter what they are


doing behind closed doors? If they are hypocrites, yes. Dodgy? I do not


think so. Wide and if a politician committed a crime in their use,


would that be a deal-breaker? If they did something really bad? No.


What is really bad? Stole a car, let's say. No. I would need to know


more about the circumstances. Doing the right for the community is


important. Whatever politician had taken drugs when they were a


teenager? We all make mistakes. With us now is Peter Kellner from YouGov,


who did the survey and the former Conservative MP, Jerry Hayes,


himself no stranger to the odd controversy. In fact, he's just


written a book about his time in Westminster which purports to be a


no holds barred expose of parliamentary scandals.


The public do not like a politician who has not got a real job, he went


to Eton and had the right connections to get into politics.


David Cameron is stuffed, isn't he? You'll agree with these should Ed


Miliband be more popular. One of the things the moment, you take the


three main party leaders and they are all unpopular. I do not remember


a time in the last 40, 50 years, when all three have been unpopular


at the same time. We know why Mr Cameron is not seem to connect. Is


it equally because he is posh in Eton and the rest of it? Is it true


the North London son of a Marxist professor finds it hard to connect


with these people? It is about not having had a real job. If you


include journalism and think tanks and being a special adviser and all


of that, none of the three party leaders David Cameron, Nick Clegg,


Ed Miliband, none of them in that sense have had real jobs. When you


go back to the 20th century and Stanley Baldwin. He did not enter


parliament he was 50. At about the age of 60, keep became Prime


Minister. That is how they did it then and they do not do it like that


now. If you look at Mr Clegg and Mr Cameron, they are all keen from the


same kind of stone in some way. They all went to Oxbridge and came to be


special advisers within a mile off where we are now. We talk about


authenticity. Bob Crow, Tony Ben and Nigel Farage. Is that what they


lack? I do not think David Cameron lacks that he is a really really


nice guy. Nick Clegg is nice as well. They are desperately


unpopular. All the major parties are bitterly divided. Really, hopelessly


divided. Not as divided as in the days of Tony Blair -- Tony Benn. We


were talking about the battles with Tony Benn and Denis Healey. Mrs


Thatcher was divided with the wets and the dries. This did keep them


out of power for 18 years. When you had the divisions under Margaret


Thatcher, the Tories had, for much of the time, a huge majority and it


did not matter very much. The problem now is the collision between


the divisions, which are more personal and less political than


they used to be. Also with the Parliamentary arithmetic. It is like


the Syria vote last August. Had the Conservatives had a majority vote of


100, they would have got that three. I was one-year below Mr Cameron. He


should not be embarrassed. What did you see about him? It is a question


of, what do you mean by real job? Cameron, for six or seven years, was


employed in the private sector. Hang on! We need to be a bit careful. One


of the things that people worry about, and I worry about, the point


you are making is that lots of politicians do not know how to run


their departments because they have never run anything. The anything you


can say about Cameron is they have had longer and he had some time in


the private sector, which is different from a lot of other MPs.


It depends what you regard as real job. It is about what kind of


private sector jobs really count. He did not have to take tough,


managerial decisions. He did not have to face shareholders who were


upset. Michael Green is a very difficult man. That is another good


point. He was with Lamont went all is another good point. He was with


Lamont went all as difficulties occurred. He has been forged and


metal out of a crisis. Perhaps all politicians should take comfort from


the pole that strongly suggest people really do not care what you


get up to, unless you murdered your granny. I was surprised how low the


figures were. If you are shoplifting as a teenager... I think the thing


that has surprised me most was politicians who pretend they are


happily married, and are in fact later come out as gay. I thought


people would prevent that -- resent that but they do not. He kept me as


a columnist so he has impeccable judgment. What is the biggest


revelation? What will shock people is the amount of drink and the


amount of bile and there was in the House of Commons. You remember Ron


Brown, dear old Ron Brown. He picked up the maze and smashed it on the


floor. One of the bigwigs came in in the middle of the day punched him in


the stomach, threw him out of the House and he was given a good


kicking. Ceaseless mocking of the Lib Dems is a favourite


parliamentary pastime and this week has brought fresh material. Lord


Biro, a candidate for the Bus Pass Elvis Party received 67 votes in a


Nottingham by election, with Lib Dem candidate Tony Marshall coming last


with 56. Oh, dear. But is there a bigger


problem hidden by this jolly facade? Could this result spell the


beginning of the end for the Lib Dems? Before we get to that, let's


remind ourselves of some past political upsets.


You can get off back to Mexico, knowing your attempt to buy the


British legal system has failed. Richard Taylor, whose sole policy


was the protection of Kidderminster Hospital.


I'm delighted to say Elvis lives! And he joins us from Nottingham.


Well, in fact it's Lord Biro, aka David Bishop. You seem to have a lot


of names. Wellcome. To what do you attribute your defeat in this


remarkable by-election? I think the Lib Dems did not campaign hard


enough. That was a big mistake on their part. They would have been


better off not standing actually. Given this success you have had,


relative success, what are you going to do next? I have sent a message to


Mr Putin saying, would he leave Ukraine, the Crimea, and invade


Meadow Lane, Nottingham, and take over Notts County the bull crap to


save them from relegation? -- Notts County Football Club. How highly


which you rate your chances? A lot higher than that. Do you fancy


perhaps standing next to Nick Clegg up the road? Someone has already


asked me that. Apparently he is not very popular in Sheffield. He may


not be the leader in 12 months' time. We have another 12 months to


go. Maybe Skegness possibly. I do not know. You have the bug? The


political bug. I have had that for a long while since 1997 when I stood


against Neil Hamilton. That was when I was Martin Bell in the white suit.


I have had it since then. Stay with us. Joining me in the studio to make


sense of it all is Stephen Tall, editor of Lib Dem voice.


There may be little significance in a local government by-election, but


you have lost eight out of your last 15 deposits, 11 seats in Scotland,


is this the writing on the wall? I don't think so, I do not think the


North Clifton Ward in Nottingham, with old you respect to the


inhabitants, is not necessarily pointing to what will happen at the


general election. But you are right that being in government ain't the


most popular thing to do, better to be in opposition in terms of poll


ratings, but the only way you change things is in government. But isn't


the risk that you have been in government, you have done the


unpopular things, a lot of people did not want you to be in government


with the Tories in the first place, and the risk is that if things are


starting to come right, for example in the economy, the reduction of the


deficit, whatever, the Tories, being political bruises, will take all the


credit for this? Are you suggesting they would try to take credit for


Lib Dems? They already have on the policy of taking people out of tax.


You will have seen the poll in the Evening Standard last night showing


that more voters, 45%, give credit to the Lib Dems for that. We will


see, I am hoping that was something that was our top priority and has


been delivered in government will have some payback for the party, but


we will have to wait until May 2015 to find out. If you get a thumping


in the European elections, as Elvis was indicating, does that mean the


leadership could come under question again? I think it is very unlikely


but possible that the Lib Dems could get entirely wiped out at the


European elections. You could lose every MEP? It is possible, if it


sinks to 6% of the vote, you could see them or lose. I don't think it


will happen, but what you see with Nick Clegg trying to take the fight


to Nigel Farage is do two things, appealed to the segment of the


population that is pro-European and galvanise Lib Dem supporters who


might otherwise be a bit worried about what the party has done in


coalition. It is about saying, this is a reason to vote for the Lib


Dems, shore up the vote that often does not turn up for European


elections. How would you assess the Lib Dems' situation at the moment?


They did better in Eastleigh than national polls suggested. The UKIP


factor is critical, and Clifton North, the Lib Dems would just


beaten by Elvis, they were beaten by UKIP, who got 500 votes to the Lib


Dems' 50. We are really looking at significant inroads from UKIP, and


as you say, I agree that the Lib Dems could really suffer at the


European elections. The only thing to hang onto is a pro-European


platform, because this would be true across Europe - the anti-European


parties are going to succeed, and that leaves your position poor! A


final word of advice for the Lib Dems, Elvis? You have got Clegg on


your face, that is due to me, sorry about that! We will keep an eye on


your political career, Elvis, thank you for joining us. Thank you very


much! Coming up in a moment, our regular look at what has been going


on in European politics, but now it is time to say goodbye to Camilla


Cavendish, thank you for being with us.


For the next half hour we will be focusing on Europe, discussing the


situation in Ukraine and the new rules on data protection agreed by


MEPs in Strasbourg this week. First, a guide to the latest from Europe in


just 60 seconds. Aired on the referendum in Crimea,


German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Russia it faces massive


damage economically and politically if it didn't ease tensions in


Ukraine. -- ahead. Clarity from Labour about Europe, sort of, Ed


Miliband promised a referendum on membership but only if the UK was


asked to transfer more powers Brussels. American billionaire money


guru George Soros, who broke the pound, told the European Union might


not survive long lasting stagnation. MEPs voted to introduce a common


charger for all mobile phones. And finally, good news for commission


Vice President Viviane Reding after a cottage pie she bought on her last


trip to the UK was next. I got a lot of offers from people who said, my


mother makes the best cottage pie in Great Britain, I will send one to


you! People have been very unhappy that the cottage pie was stolen.


Lunch, anyone? Who could have thought a cottage pie


would have such problems? With us for the next 30 minutes, two MEPs,


Syed Kamal, who represents London for the Conservatives, and Graham


Watson, who represents the south-west of England and Gibraltar


for the Liberal Democrats. Welcome to you both. As you head towards the


European elections, not that far away, are you beginning to run down


now? Well, you could say we are beginning to step up. We had more


votes this week than normally, and next time we meet on the floor of


the house in Strasbourg, we will have a lot of votes to get through.


There is a lot of legislation to be cleared, we have to clear the decks.


When do you go down for the campaign? Campaigning starts after


Easter and will be through to the 22nd of May, when we vote. What did


you make of some people who have been saying that in the UK the Lib


Dems could be wiped out at the European elections? I don't think we


will be wiped out at all. Every party is going to suffer from the


expected surge in the UKIP vote, probably Labour will sublet less


than the Tories and the Lib Dems, but we have to be out of there


fighting the case for staying in the European Union and trying to face


down the narrow nationalists in UKIP. What would be a good result


for the Conservatives? We will be focusing on the agenda for reform,


and making sure that people are aware, if you want a referendum on


the EU, only one party will give you a choice. But that won't be


determined by voting on the European elections. One of the things David


Cameron is making quite clear is how important the European elections


are, whether people like it or not. The European Parliament has equal


power with the 28 governments when it comes to legislation, and that


shows how important MEPs are. If you want reform, it is important to get


a good set of Conservative MPs. You will probably lose some, won't you?


We will see, we will continue pushing the agenda for reform. John


Kerry has been meeting with Sergei Lavrov in London in what looks like


a final effort to broker a deal on the deepening crisis in Ukraine. The


talks, head of a referendum in Crimea on Sunday. -- come ahead.


Residents of the region, which is largely ethnic Russian, will decide


whether or not to join the Russian Federation. These are not looking


too good from the western point of view, here is a gloomy sounding


Foreign Secretary. The fact that so far Russia hasn't actually taken any


action to de-escalated tensions makes this a formidably difficult


task today, and I think that therefore we have to be realistic


about that. In the absence of progress today, at the European


Union, the United Kingdom, we will move to further measures, as agreed.


If this referendum goes ahead and no diplomatic way forward is found. We


are joined from Cambridge by Labour MEP Richard Howard, Labour's foreign


affairs spokesman in the European Parliament. Hearing calls for


sanctions on Russia, but in the world of realpolitik, it seems


pretty clear now that Crimea is lost, that Crimea is back part of


Russia again. Agreed? We can't agree, because the invasion of


Russia was clearly against international law, and if we


simply... Invasion of Crimea, you mean. You would call it an invasion?


The European Parliament in a resolution I sponsored, proposed


called it an invasion. And if we ever decide to come to a deal which


recognises the change, it is an invitation not to Vladimir Putin but


to others around the world to use military force, so what I feel will


happen with Crimea is that it is going to turn into another of the


frozen conflicts of the kind we see in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.


You know, I have stood in Georgia after the Russian invasion looking


across the borderline at 3000 Russian troops, so I know what it


looks like, and there is a huge fear, and therefore we cannot accept


this annexation of Crimea, and of course 8500 troops on the borders


with Ukraine and the statement of the Foreign Ministry in Moscow this


morning, talking about their rights to defend their Russian compatriots,


we must fear that there may be further military action in eastern


Ukraine. Let's dated in two stages, assuming that the Crimea boats to


join Russia in this blather -- plebiscite, whether or not it is


democratic and accurate. -- votes. If that is what happens and the Bush


and say they have done it, whether they accept the will of the Crimean


people, what should Europe do? -- and Russia says. It is an


illegitimate referendum against the Ukrainian constitution where there


isn't even an option for there to be the previous position of being part


of Ukraine on the ballot paper, and it is being held at the barrel of a


gun. I know that, but what does Europe do? Europe has said, if the


referendum goes ahead, there must be more consequences. What worries me


about that is, when they make those statements, when John Kerry talks


about 11th hour talks, we hope that it succeeds, but there is no sign


whatsoever on the ground that the referendum will not go ahead. As you


say, the result is a foregone conclusion, the Ukrainians and the


Tatars in Crimea going to boycott it, so we know the result already.


And I am deeply worried that the source of rhetoric we have heard


from William Hague, but from other European Foreign Ministers too,


talking about consequences, has not yet been followed through by


actions. I think on Monday when the foreign ministers meet, there will


be a move towards greater sanctions, but when we saw that very


unfortunate incident where the private Downing Street brief was


photographed and made public, I have been asked in meetings in Brussels,


is Cameron more interested in defending Russian banks in London,


or will he support asset freezes? I do not believe that is his


motivation, we hope it isn't, that that is being asked of us in


Brussels. That was embarrassing, but I suggest the bigger issue is


whether Angela Merkel is prepared to go along with sanctions against


Russia and run the risk of the gas being cut off. In a speech to the


Bundestag this week, she was right, but she missed a trick. She should


have gone straight to Moscow the moment this happened, in exactly the


way that Sarkozy took himself to the Russians went into Georgia. Had she


done that and banter this on the table, because Germany is such an


important trading partner for Russia, she might have secured


something. -- and banged her best. I hope the talks being held in London


will come to something, and I hope John Kerry will be able to persuade


Sergei Lavrov that Russia should withdraw its troops, but if they


don't, we have to put sanctions in place. I will bring in your


Conservative MEP, are we ready for this? Are we up for it? If we do


bring in some tough sanctions, are we really ready for Russia then


saying, right, the gas pipeline is being cut off? Are we ready for the


Kremlin, which can be ruthless, to say, OK, that is what you are doing,


we are taking over the BP assets in Russia and we will take the VW car


plant as well? Are we ready for this? 100 years ago, when troops


were moved across the border, it led to the First World War. What we are


talking about is not a game of Risk, this is the 21st century. If you


move your troops into another country, there will be serious


consequences. But are we ready? If we act against Russia with economic


sanctions, are we ready for Kremlin retaliatory action on our European


economic assets in Russia? That is what I am asking. You have to look


at the consequences of what has already been announced. The Russian


stock market is falling, today's newspapers show a doubling in the


outflow of capital from Russia. What has been announced so far is already


starting to hurt, and further sanctions will hurt more. Back to


our colleague in Cambridge, we talked about Crimea, but I would


suggest it is already lost, it is a done deal, and the big challenge now


is with the mobilisation of the Russian army on the Ukraine border,


with Russian television now spewing out regular propaganda that there


has been a fascist takeover in Ukraine, that Akron provocateurs


look as if they have arrived in the east as well to cause trouble, that


the big issue is going to be what happens if and when Russia takes


East Ukraine as well. Firstly, on Germany, Mrs Merkel has become the


bugbear in the media, but she and the others in the European


Conservative group, not the one that the British Tories are in, but the


influential one, that group has said that they want to move towards


Ukraine having a membership of the European Union. We are already


talking about the association agreement being signed as soon as


the summit in two weeks Carol time, so the idea that Germany is blocking


sanctions, I don't agree. There is a huge Cold War frenzy on both sides,


colleagues from the Baltic states are really worried that NATO will


not stand by its defence commitments to them. On the Russian side, we are


talking about this phrase, defend our compatriots, people killed in


the demonstrations... I am trying to find out what you are going to do!


We had to be sure that when politicians in Europe says serious


consequences, they will follow them through. They called the European


Union like the wizard of Oz. It pretends it has power but in reality


it is weak. I call for, as does Douglas Alexander, for the foreign


ministers meeting on Monday to make good those commitments so we can see


we action in terms of these bands, asset freezes and other sanctions


that really showed Putin that our words mean something in reality. We


will leave it there. We have run out of time. How do we


protect ourselves online? It's a question that's been troubling MEPs


this week as they approved new regulations that would stop


companies from sharing your data online without your permission. It


all comes after last year's revelations from American


whistle-blower Edward Snowden which claimed governments were even using


mobile phone games like Angry Birds to spy on us. Now the inventor of


the internet Sir Tim Berners-Lee says the UK needs to go even further


than European regulations and come up with a new massive bill rights to


cover everything we do online. We've just downloaded this report from


Alex Forsyth who's been to Strasbourg to investigate.


The intranet is embedded in our daily lives. Every minute, billions


of bits of data are shared as we shop, talk, deal and play online.


Recently there have been a stream of reports about how personal


information is used, particularly allegations that some government


agencies have been collecting vast quantities of data from e-mails,


webcams and even the game to play on our phones. It has all caused some


concern. My private life is private. This is the main problem. If


everyone has access to my personal information, we have not a lot of


information about security. When I use the intranet to talk to friends


online, I want to make sure the information I enter here will not


end up summer hours without my knowledge. MEPs say they have come


up with regulations to protect our privacy. This regulation wants to


create more privacy and wants to ensure you have growth on the


internets. That is the future. In the future, we will be buying and


selling more. We want to do it safely and securely. Firms with need


permission to sell or share your data. There will be large fines for


anyone who breaks the rules. They would need consent for profiling,


that is when a user of online information to build up a picture of


your life. Crucially, you would have the right to have all of your


personal data in race from the internet if you want it. If you want


the digital market and we need a digital market community to put this


regulation in place as quickly as possible. It will be good for


companies and it will preserve our data protection as a fundamental


right. This week, regulators have had backing from the European


Parliament. It has taken two years to get to this point. The tower be


negotiated with the 28 member states before being recommended. That could


cost businesses up to ?320 million a year. We are part of the single


market. We should be part of a single set of rules. We're at an


early stage. We have agreed to proceed with the regulation but we


need to look at the detail and make sure the implications of it are


sustainable and proportionate. The proposals have not had an entirely


smooth path. The legislation is one of the most amended in the history


of Parliament. It has met massive opposition. Most worrying to me is,


I have had a letter signed by over 60 universities and medical and


health research institutions, which are saying it'll make it harder for


them to do their research because they have access to data which is


very broad. They often do not know the identities of the individuals.


Despite the concerns, this advert from the European commission makes


it clear no one wants to feel exposed online. Current data


protection law state from 1985 when 1% of us were on the internet. There


is broad support for a new regulation for the whole of Europe.


Agreement as to how that works will be harder. The European telecoms


network is against us. The French consumer groups are worried about


it. Digital Europe is worried about it. Does anyone back this? If you


talk to some of the people who look forward to new services and exciting


services, they say the current data protection laws date before the


internet age. They need to be updated. What we have to do is get


the right balance between making sure the services can take off


innovation but also make sure people are comfortable with the data that


is being shared. It is trying to achieve the right balance. We are


comfortable with the data that is being shared. It is trying to


achieve the right balance. We're not there yet. There are some concerns.


Some of the fines proposed are disproportionate and could affect


small companies. We have to work to the right balance. The bill has been


amended 3999 times. Do you know what you're doing? I am not sure how that


figure is. Neither and I -- am I. The word is very vague. In France,


they say it is too vague. It says things like legitimate interest. It


is too broad. I agree broadly with that. It is difficult to strike the


right balance between allowing the right people to innovate and making


sure that people 's data is protected. There is no doubt


whatsoever that are now people wishing to sell goods or services


who are targeting, profiling their customers, on the basis of where


those people go, what their spending habits are and so one. That is, to


my mind, and unacceptable abuse of individual weight. When consumers


put data online or user loyalty card or something, they should be aware


how the data is used. Ms consumers know a lot about this, more than


politicians. -- most consumers. Companies will have to appoint a


data protection officer or officers. I thought you were after less


regulation. That is one of the proposals we are concerned about. We


are still at a very early stage. We will get over 4000 amendments. It


has to be discussed between the 28 member states and the European


Parliament. What it shows is that we must be concerned that we do not cut


off innovation by overly prescriptive forms like this. ) this


would stop us being snooped upon. -- this would stop us being snooped


upon. Nick Clegg said he was -- Nick Clegg was right about this. Fancy


working for the EU? Well this is your week because one of the regular


competitions to become a European civil servant opened for


applications. Hopefuls have to go through a famously tough


multi-lingual process called the concours. But just how hard is it to


become a Eurocrat? Here's Adam with his latest A-Z of Europe, where R is


for recruitment. To get here, most officials go


through an infamous, multistage, multilingual process. I am going to


get a taster of the concours. First of all, who am I up against?


Probably be institutions have hired some between 1500 and 2000 people


each year. Applicants have been between 60000 and 70,000 a year. It


is really competitive. It is slightly less gruelling than it used


to be. That always used to be a test of EU knowledge it was much


criticised. It is one of the things that in our modernisation of the


selection process we abolished. Sometimes those questions were very


specialised. They were changed rapidly and you could probably only


often prepare for that test. It helped a lot if you are already


here. I think I can do with some preparation. There is a whole


industry dedicated to that. This book shop in Brussels has a whole


section devoted to passing the concours. This women coaches


hopefuls for a fee. If I was trying to get through this process, what


other main things I should be concentrating on? I would say, I


will try, I will rephrase it like... If I want to go through the


process... Slightly awkward pep talk over. It is test time. Like


everyone, I'm going to do the first part in my mother tongue. Unlike


everyone else, I am missing out part two because you have to do it in a


second language and my French is a little bit rusty. Me luck! It says I


will need to work quickly and accurately. According to a


large-scale study... And hour later, and I am done. Well, all I can say


is, that was very intense. You are up against the clock. The questions


are really tough. You are putting quite a lot of pressure on yourself.


I've got the results a few days later, at Schiphol airport in


Amsterdam. If I get through, I will have another day of face-to-face


exercises and then I will only go into recruitment pool with no


guarantee of the job. So... Happy to confirm he did quite well, 28 out of


40. Although I think they are just being nice. They go one to say I


would not have passed most of the competitions I would have run but


maybe I would have passed one of the easy ones. Oh, well! I think we are


all happy to have not sat that test. How would you rate the quality of


the European civil servants who have dealt with? Roy Jenkins said, he


found brilliant people and useless people but not the reassuring


mediocrity he knew from Britain 's civil service. The the test needs to


be tough. The test needs to be tough because if you pass the test, you


are into because she is number in public service. That is all we have


time for today. Goodbye.


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