01/04/2014 Daily Politics


01/04/2014

Jo Coburn is joined by the Green Party Leader, Natalie Bennett to look at the Royal Mail sell off, the government's green policies and other political news, interviews and debate.


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Transcript


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Good afternoon and welcome to the Daily Politics. Sold off on the

:00:38.:00:42.

cheap - that's the verdict of the public spending watchdog on the

:00:43.:00:47.

privatisation of Royal Mail. It's now worth billions of pounds more

:00:48.:00:51.

than its original price tag. Directly- elected mayors were

:00:52.:00:53.

supposed to transform local democracy. But do they place too

:00:54.:00:58.

much power in one person's hands? David Cameron promised the greenest

:00:59.:01:02.

government ever, but has it lived up to its billing?

:01:03.:01:09.

And Bonar Law, the Canadian-born British Prime Minister - proof that

:01:10.:01:13.

you can get on in politics here if you have a foreign accent?

:01:14.:01:18.

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

:01:19.:01:24.

the Australian-born leader of the Green Party, Natalie Bennett.

:01:25.:01:30.

Welcome to the programme. Let's start by talking veg. Fruit and veg,

:01:31.:01:33.

actually. The Government's being advised that five a day might not be

:01:34.:01:36.

enough and that we'd be even healthier if we ate seven a day. The

:01:37.:01:41.

advice comes from a study of over 65,000 men and women which indicated

:01:42.:01:44.

the more fruit and vegetables people ate, the less likely they were to

:01:45.:01:48.

die, at any given age. One of the study's authors, Dr Jenny Mindell,

:01:49.:01:55.

joins us now. Is it much up his surprise that if you eat more and

:01:56.:02:00.

veg you will have a healthier lifestyle? -- is it much of a

:02:01.:02:07.

surprise? We wanted to ask two questions. Is there a benefit if you

:02:08.:02:12.

are having some, even if not five a day? The answer was yes. Is there

:02:13.:02:17.

more benefit if you eat more than five a day? The answer was yes. What

:02:18.:02:31.

-- what is the extra benefit? The extra benefit tween five and seven

:02:32.:02:34.

is a bit less than between nine and two but it was still substantial --

:02:35.:02:42.

between none and two. People who had seven or more portions had a 42%

:02:43.:02:52.

reduction in risk of dying of anything compared to those eating

:02:53.:02:58.

less than one portion. We also found evidence it help reduce cancer

:02:59.:03:04.

deaths and heart disease and strokes. Many people struggle to eat

:03:05.:03:10.

five portions. Are you setting a potential target that is

:03:11.:03:14.

unachievable? We are not setting a target. That is not our place. We

:03:15.:03:19.

are showing that whatever you are eating, if you can manage to eat

:03:20.:03:23.

more fruit and vegetables, particularly vegetables, it is

:03:24.:03:28.

better for you. It needs to be more afraid -- more affordable and

:03:29.:03:34.

available. At the moment, junk food, high fat and sugar food, they are

:03:35.:03:39.

all around us. The industry spends billions advertising to children. We

:03:40.:03:43.

need fruit and vegetables to be advertised. These are the foods that

:03:44.:03:51.

are not quite as easy to get hold of. Would you like the government to

:03:52.:03:57.

change its target? What the government needs to do is introduce

:03:58.:04:00.

policies to make it easier for people to eat more fruit and

:04:01.:04:03.

vegetables. The first step is getting one and -- one in four

:04:04.:04:12.

adults who are not eating anything to eat some everyday. Five was set

:04:13.:04:18.

before it was considered a reasonable target and we are showing

:04:19.:04:21.

that for people who are eating five a day there may be even more benefit

:04:22.:04:26.

if they increase that. I am not suggesting the targets are changed,

:04:27.:04:32.

just the policies. You mean public health policies, awareness

:04:33.:04:37.

campaigns. Not awareness campaigns. Just telling people does not do very

:04:38.:04:41.

much except increase inequalities. Fruit and veg are much more

:04:42.:04:46.

expensive here than in many other countries. In Mediterranean

:04:47.:04:49.

countries, they would be laughing and thinking it was an April fool

:04:50.:04:53.

story because most people in many of these countries already eat far more

:04:54.:04:58.

fruit and vegetables than we do. The price needs to come down. Sugary

:04:59.:05:04.

drinks and high fat and high salt snack foods need to be more

:05:05.:05:07.

expensive. The advertising needs to be the other way round, promoting

:05:08.:05:11.

fruit and vegetables. Thank you very much. Sugar was mentioned. There is

:05:12.:05:18.

quite a lot of sugar in quite a lot of fruit. There is so much

:05:19.:05:23.

contradictory dietary advice. Are we now saying it is all right to eat

:05:24.:05:27.

lots of fruit with high levels of sugar? Looking at the detail of what

:05:28.:05:32.

the scientists say, vegetables is top and fruit is next and everything

:05:33.:05:36.

else is well behind it. It is important we do not eat up

:05:37.:05:41.

individual people. We have to look at the model of why our society...

:05:42.:05:47.

We are not any different to the Mediterranean countries, we are not

:05:48.:05:50.

different people. We have a difference is done, -- different

:05:51.:05:58.

system, supermarket -based. We import more than 90% of the fruit we

:05:59.:06:02.

eat. It is expensive. When our currency went down against the euro,

:06:03.:06:07.

there was a leap in terms of the poorest 20% of people stopping

:06:08.:06:11.

eating fruit because they could not afford it. We have to look at the

:06:12.:06:16.

long working hours culture which means people think they do not have

:06:17.:06:21.

time to cook. We have to look at the structural situation. It is about

:06:22.:06:26.

education then? There needs to be education in terms of cooking food

:06:27.:06:29.

which would cut down the cost but it takes more time. it does. Improving

:06:30.:06:35.

cooking in schools is an important issue but it is important we look at

:06:36.:06:39.

the structure of society which is destined to make us unhealthy which

:06:40.:06:45.

creates huge costs for the NHS. We were told for years to cut down on

:06:46.:06:50.

levels of fat, particularly saturated fat. Now we are told that

:06:51.:06:54.

there are good fats and bad fats and that sugar is the devil in the diet.

:06:55.:06:59.

You can understand why people are sceptical about the endless advice

:07:00.:07:02.

about how they should eat and what they should eat. There has been a

:07:03.:07:10.

lot of bad advice. We know that if eat things as close to how they came

:07:11.:07:14.

out of the field as possible, that is the way to go. It is quite

:07:15.:07:18.

simple. We have to create the framework to enable people to do

:07:19.:07:26.

that. What would the Green Party do? We want to restore market gardens

:07:27.:07:33.

around towns and cities. Would it reduce the cost quest to mark it

:07:34.:07:37.

would create jobs and help the economy overall so it is part of a

:07:38.:07:41.

broader package -- would it reduce the costs? We need a whole range of

:07:42.:07:47.

things. There are too many people in our society who have to buy the

:07:48.:07:49.

cheapest thing which is the worst thing. Thank you very much.

:07:50.:08:00.

The sale of Royal Mail would be good for customers, staff and taxpayers,

:08:01.:08:03.

ministers told us last autumn. But now the National Audit Office

:08:04.:08:06.

criticised the timing of the sell-off, the Government's cautious

:08:07.:08:08.

approach to pricing the offer and failure to hold back some of the

:08:09.:08:12.

holding for later sale. The shares were sold at ?3.30, but on the first

:08:13.:08:16.

day of trading they had risen to ?4.45, a rise of 38%. Five months

:08:17.:08:22.

on, the price had risen by 72% to ?6.15 a share. The difference in

:08:23.:08:28.

value between the shares when they were sold and now is around ?1.5

:08:29.:08:34.

billion. The National Audit Office concludes that the Government could

:08:35.:08:37.

have achieved better value for the taxpayer. The Business Secretary

:08:38.:08:42.

Vince Cable had this to say this morning. He was asked about the

:08:43.:08:53.

report as he left Downing Street. Were you juiced by the City over

:08:54.:08:58.

Royal Mail? Absolutely not. I will be dealing with it in Parliament --

:08:59.:09:05.

where you Tube at? Unfortunately no minister from the

:09:06.:09:11.

Department for business one of a -- Department for business was

:09:12.:09:14.

available. I wonder why. Where are you all hiding? I'm joined now by

:09:15.:09:18.

the Shadow Business Minister Ian Murray and the City commentator,

:09:19.:09:22.

Louise Cooper. Well done to the two of you for coming on. Maybe people

:09:23.:09:27.

did not want to defend this decision. How much do we think

:09:28.:09:31.

taxpayers lost here? It is always difficult to tell. About ?1.5

:09:32.:09:39.

billion. They lost ?750 million on the first day of trading which is

:09:40.:09:44.

quite an achievement. With the benefit of hindsight, how could the

:09:45.:09:50.

government have done it differently? I think the first thing that very

:09:51.:09:55.

early on in the book building process, when the process starts, by

:09:56.:10:02.

the end of day one, institutional investors, the fund management

:10:03.:10:05.

groups, they had come in and put orders in the book and the total

:10:06.:10:09.

amount they said they wanted to buy was already at the end of day one

:10:10.:10:15.

3.6 times the total amount that were for sale. Straightaway on day one

:10:16.:10:19.

they should have seen this was going to be a hot issue and there would be

:10:20.:10:24.

massive demand and they should have readjusted to price. Looking at the

:10:25.:10:27.

National Audit Office document, it says very clearly the government

:10:28.:10:31.

asked their advisers, don't you think we should put the price up?

:10:32.:10:36.

The advisers said no. Vince Cable should not have listened. He spent

:10:37.:10:40.

far too much time relying on other people. Was he had? He was hard. The

:10:41.:10:49.

fund management community who want the cheapest price they can get. He

:10:50.:11:00.

listened far too much to them. The second thing he did was he spent far

:11:01.:11:03.

too much time listening to his advisers, the very banks that have

:11:04.:11:08.

contributed to the financial crisis and been tainted in the past. He

:11:09.:11:14.

relied on them too much. You would not have done anything differently?

:11:15.:11:19.

We would not have sold it. There was a part privatisation in the previous

:11:20.:11:23.

Labour government but times have changed. The report produced by the

:11:24.:11:28.

previous Labour government was pretty much put through in terms of

:11:29.:11:31.

changing the regulator environment, getting long-term liabilities of the

:11:32.:11:35.

pensions into the Treasury, so the Royal Mail was in a much better

:11:36.:11:41.

position. You would have said no to any sort of sell-off? We did not

:11:42.:11:47.

want to sell it off and that is still our position. The government

:11:48.:11:51.

sold at too quickly and at the wrong time. The report is a damning

:11:52.:11:57.

indictment of the fact that they wanted to get it through for

:11:58.:12:01.

ideological reasons before the next election. Would that have been the

:12:02.:12:08.

right thing to do, not to sell it off at all? No, I believe what we

:12:09.:12:12.

will see is a substantially leaner, fitter and more efficient Royal

:12:13.:12:18.

Mail. The report states that under commercial management, it will...

:12:19.:12:23.

The benefits to Royal Mail should the considerable. My fear is not

:12:24.:12:28.

that it should not have been done, but when it is done, it will be

:12:29.:12:32.

poorly regulated and run far more for the benefit of shareholders than

:12:33.:12:36.

for the population. That is years in the future. I have no problem with

:12:37.:12:41.

them selling it but they needed to sell it at the right price. Quite

:12:42.:12:47.

clearly, it was sold too cheap. But it was the right thing to do in

:12:48.:12:50.

principle. It was the wrong price and timing. It was driving in the

:12:51.:13:00.

public sector. It just started to thrive. -- it was thriving. The

:13:01.:13:08.

Royal Mail needed money for investment. They could have come

:13:09.:13:10.

from profits. They were projected to make all profits this year and next

:13:11.:13:16.

year. It was unnecessary to sell it. They sold it cheap. The public

:13:17.:13:21.

purse has lost ?750 million on day one. The Business Secretary and

:13:22.:13:25.

minister has to explain and apologise. Was it thriving? It was

:13:26.:13:36.

recovering. That is what enabled the government to make the tough

:13:37.:13:43.

decisions. In terms of what you are calling for today, do you think

:13:44.:13:49.

Vince Cable should position his -- consider his position? This is the

:13:50.:13:58.

most damning report I have read. He did not take advice and listen to

:13:59.:14:02.

the opposition. He did take the advice, that is the criticism. He

:14:03.:14:07.

took the advice from 16 of the 17 investors who were going to be the

:14:08.:14:10.

long-term stability investors and they did not give him the right

:14:11.:14:18.

advice. 12 of them have now sold a large proportion of their

:14:19.:14:20.

shareholdings. They came in for quick profit and Vince Cable should

:14:21.:14:26.

have known that. The apology is irrelevant. He has proved himself

:14:27.:14:32.

incompetent because he was had by the fund management groups. The

:14:33.:14:37.

important long-term stable fund management groups, most of them have

:14:38.:14:42.

sold out. He was had by the advisers. The government said to the

:14:43.:14:45.

banks involved don't you think we should raise the price by 20% better

:14:46.:14:52.

mark the advisers said, no, there is a strike action. He did not stand

:14:53.:14:57.

up. He listened to much to the banks and fund management. He did not

:14:58.:15:02.

stand up and think for himself or stop was he in a position to stand

:15:03.:15:08.

up to them? Michael Fallon has defended the decision saying that it

:15:09.:15:12.

was in an environment where industrial action was being

:15:13.:15:17.

threatened and to some extent the environment would not have been

:15:18.:15:21.

right to hold out longer. Change the timing. The report says the

:15:22.:15:26.

timescale... It was driven through for ideological and political

:15:27.:15:29.

purposes. They were trying to plug a hole in the Chancellor's budget.

:15:30.:15:35.

?750 million loss to the taxpayer is something Vince Cable should reflect

:15:36.:15:38.

on. Of course Michael Fallon says it was successful. But if I wanted to

:15:39.:15:44.

sell anything at below market value, there would be more purchasers than

:15:45.:15:55.

sellers. Overcautious is what they said. Because of the environment out

:15:56.:15:59.

of the recession, the government was not confident enough to sell it

:16:00.:16:04.

later. Vince Cable was given advice that the price was on the low side

:16:05.:16:06.

and he chose not to accept the advice. It was very clear at the end

:16:07.:16:12.

of day one, the demand from institutional investors was already

:16:13.:16:20.

a multiple. It was very obvious. The government did ask, can we increase

:16:21.:16:24.

the price by 20p? The banks said, don't do that. It is in the

:16:25.:16:29.

interests of the banks as advisers to protect fund management clients.

:16:30.:16:34.

Massive conflict of interest. Everyone seems to be looking after

:16:35.:16:42.

their own interests. The institutional investors took all the

:16:43.:16:46.

shares and the public and retail investors got very few. What would

:16:47.:16:51.

you have done differently in the Green Party. Absolutely not

:16:52.:16:56.

privatised the Royal mail. Hopefully this will be the last privatisation

:16:57.:17:02.

of the public services. This is a failed model. There is no magic that

:17:03.:17:06.

comes from private sector management. It means putting public

:17:07.:17:12.

money into private hands. Slashing the pay and conditional workers and

:17:13.:17:19.

it is a failed model. There are no efficiencies. And we have a fraud

:17:20.:17:25.

ridden, deeply dishonest financial sector. Five years after the crash

:17:26.:17:34.

we have failed to make any reforms. They are out for themselves, you

:17:35.:17:39.

admit it. Why did Vince Cable not realise that. Why was he sucked into

:17:40.:17:47.

believing that. He was trying to sell it for ideological reasons

:17:48.:17:50.

because of the next general election. It had to go. But is at

:17:51.:17:58.

the answer to renationalise? Very much so. And there is now a Private

:17:59.:18:03.

Members Bill before Parliament. The privatisation of the railways is

:18:04.:18:08.

costing us more than ?1 billion a year. Given the budget just a few

:18:09.:18:14.

weeks ago said that the Chancellor would borrow billions more than he

:18:15.:18:19.

suggested back in 2010, there will not be any money in the pot to

:18:20.:18:23.

renationalise. We cannot commit to writing blank cheques for that. You

:18:24.:18:30.

could bring the railways back into public hands just by not selling the

:18:31.:18:39.

East Coast line. And ring the contract back into public hands as

:18:40.:18:43.

they lapse. You do not need extra money for that. In the case of the

:18:44.:18:48.

Royal mail it would be too costly. The share price is around ?6 per

:18:49.:18:53.

share. We do not know how much money we will have. And the Chancellor has

:18:54.:19:02.

borrowed nearly ?200 billion. It was thriving in the public sector and

:19:03.:19:06.

would have done a good job in the public sector. Thank you very much.

:19:07.:19:15.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles says he may investigate the London

:19:16.:19:18.

borough of Tower Hamlets after allegations were made against the

:19:19.:19:20.

borough's mayor, Lutfur Rahman, in last night's Panorama programme on

:19:21.:19:28.

the BBC. The mayor, who is Bangladeshi, more than doubled

:19:29.:19:30.

funding recommended by officers for Bengali-run charities. Opposition

:19:31.:19:33.

councillors say they believe the grants were made in return for

:19:34.:19:36.

electoral support, but Mr Rahman strongly denies these accusations.

:19:37.:19:42.

Panorama's John Ware put the allegations to the mayor. You more

:19:43.:19:49.

than doubled the grand officers recommended to Bengali and Somali

:19:50.:19:54.

run organisations and you cut others to help pay for it. That is why the

:19:55.:19:58.

opposition say it is about electoral advantage. What do you say to that.

:19:59.:20:09.

It is untrue. Absolutely untrue. My principal has always been that we

:20:10.:20:13.

will distribute the money to as many organisations as possible as they

:20:14.:20:19.

benefit the community. We're joined now by the former Mayor

:20:20.:20:23.

of London, Ken Livingstone who's a supporter of Lutfur Rahman and the

:20:24.:20:25.

former Local Government minister, Bob Neill. Ken Livingstone, what did

:20:26.:20:33.

you make of those allegations. I think it was a game changing

:20:34.:20:37.

programme. I have watched the programme all my life and that was

:20:38.:20:42.

the first time I fell asleep. 30 minutes of them joining on saying it

:20:43.:20:54.

was a politician winning support. That is what you do as a politician.

:20:55.:20:58.

It was ever thus. That is what you do if your elect did. To dismiss it

:20:59.:21:06.

like that is wrong. This exposed one of the worst examples of malpractice

:21:07.:21:11.

I have seen in local government. And I have been around for 24 years.

:21:12.:21:15.

There is a difference between promoting policies and doing so in a

:21:16.:21:20.

system which does not observe due process. The detail of that

:21:21.:21:24.

programme showed that there are no proper systematic checks and

:21:25.:21:28.

balances. Which there are in other authorities. So there is a problem

:21:29.:21:34.

in Tower Hamlets. This is a guy who has never appeared before the

:21:35.:21:41.

scrutiny committee. What are the allegations of malpractice. There

:21:42.:21:49.

are three issues. The programme, and it is not somehow biased and races,

:21:50.:21:56.

that is absurd. There is a concern about the lack of any audit trail.

:21:57.:22:05.

No audit trail on the changes to the grants which favoured organisations

:22:06.:22:08.

linked to the mayor and his supporters. And also a problem with

:22:09.:22:16.

abuse of Eastlands -- East End life. And also a concern that has come to

:22:17.:22:24.

light with the mayor's officers threatening opposition councillors

:22:25.:22:30.

with standards and quarry. And there has been one case of that where an

:22:31.:22:36.

opposition councillor was wrongly taken to a standards board. Everyone

:22:37.:22:46.

is always referring people to the standards board now. It was done by

:22:47.:22:54.

Lib Dems and Tories against me. Lutfur Rahman has quite a successful

:22:55.:23:00.

record. He has built more social housing for rent than any other

:23:01.:23:04.

local authority. He was the first mayor to introduce the living wage

:23:05.:23:08.

following example I said. He has introduced free school meals for

:23:09.:23:14.

kids. This is one of the poorest boroughs in Britain. Of course he

:23:15.:23:18.

will find groups that support the Somali and Bangladeshi community. He

:23:19.:23:26.

will not fund the bankers down the road, they do not need it. You get a

:23:27.:23:31.

platform to those groups that you have sympathy for more than you

:23:32.:23:35.

think will give you electoral support. But there is an issue of

:23:36.:23:40.

transparency. If there is no audit trail and you cannot see where

:23:41.:23:43.

levels of funding were changed then it does look like malpractice.

:23:44.:23:48.

People can turn up and get access to anything. This is the weakness of

:23:49.:23:52.

the mayoral system. The same allegations were put to me. That is

:23:53.:23:58.

why I think that the mayoral system is flawed. When you have a normal

:23:59.:24:03.

council you have members of your group watching over your shoulder.

:24:04.:24:06.

If you do anything wrong they will remove you. You had your assembly

:24:07.:24:13.

scrutinising you. They can only ask questions. But Lutfur Rahman is

:24:14.:24:19.

standing up and not only refusing to appear -- in front of the scrutiny

:24:20.:24:26.

council but you also had him saying it is against his human rights for

:24:27.:24:28.

him to be obliged to answer questions. You cannot defend that. I

:24:29.:24:35.

did a weekly press conference and answered everything. Boris does one

:24:36.:24:42.

once per year. Is it not ridiculous that he is not prepared to be

:24:43.:24:47.

scrutinised. He is prepared to be scrutinised. Tower Hamlets is very

:24:48.:24:58.

political. The Labour Party was deeply divided. He was unfairly

:24:59.:25:02.

forced out of the Labour Party. I hope that things will come down and

:25:03.:25:05.

we will bring people back together again. You are very close to him, he

:25:06.:25:16.

supported you in election. Do not pretend you're an independent

:25:17.:25:22.

observer on this. He is going well beyond anything I have ever seen in

:25:23.:25:27.

local government. He is carrying out exactly the kind of policies I ran

:25:28.:25:33.

on in the last election. He has set up an energy body so people do not

:25:34.:25:37.

have to pay so much for their energy. He provided free school

:25:38.:25:42.

meals. The way they moved money around, they made major changes to

:25:43.:25:48.

grants. Tower Hamlets, let me make this point, we cannot afford in a

:25:49.:25:57.

diverse city like London to have any politician of any political party

:25:58.:25:59.

trying to play one community against another. Is that what was happening.

:26:00.:26:06.

The Merit's own legal officer said they were in breach of their

:26:07.:26:15.

position. Before Lutfur Rahman, that was the case. The Labour group used

:26:16.:26:20.

to play one section of the community against another. What about the

:26:21.:26:26.

model itself. Do you think that directly elected mayors have too

:26:27.:26:33.

much power. Yes. Ken says it after he has filled the post! The reason I

:26:34.:26:41.

stood is if you have to have one you want an honest person like me. It

:26:42.:26:47.

can work. It does require checks and balances. That requires a genuinely

:26:48.:26:55.

independent office. That is no longer the case said Tower Hamlets

:26:56.:26:58.

because many experienced people have been moved out. You have to have the

:26:59.:27:01.

chance for the other political parties generally to challenge and

:27:02.:27:07.

question you. You are saying that the model as it exists is not

:27:08.:27:12.

correct because there is not enough scrutiny. We need to put in more

:27:13.:27:17.

checks and balances. But it can be made to work. Is it a good idea?

:27:18.:27:25.

Absolutely not. It puts too much power in hands of person. Many

:27:26.:27:30.

councils have gone towards the Cabinet system which is taking power

:27:31.:27:34.

away from local councillors. And people have too lobby at council

:27:35.:27:41.

meetings. We need to go back to a model where you can go to your

:27:42.:27:46.

locally elected person who can really make a difference. The point

:27:47.:27:50.

about a directly elected mayor is engaging the public. If you have a

:27:51.:27:55.

charismatic person they will achieve far more. Ken Livingstone, he has

:27:56.:28:01.

achieved a certain amount when it came to housing. You could not do

:28:02.:28:05.

that in a cabinet system. What you also need is properly funded local

:28:06.:28:10.

government which we have not got. Where people can go to their local

:28:11.:28:15.

councillor and they can make a change. There are directly elect did

:28:16.:28:22.

mayors in this country who do a good job. And they run the system

:28:23.:28:28.

properly and within their council constitution. There are checks and

:28:29.:28:33.

balances which they adhere to. This is becoming a rogue authority. It

:28:34.:28:38.

all relies on one person and that is a bad idea. This is an American

:28:39.:28:44.

system dropped in contrary to all our normal traditions. We need to go

:28:45.:28:49.

back to proper councils were committees have real scrutiny and

:28:50.:28:55.

willpower. There is a bit of the leopard changing his spots there.

:28:56.:29:03.

You were quite keen on that system. And quite frequently argued to

:29:04.:29:07.

reduce the powers of the Assembly as I remember. You rode roughshod over

:29:08.:29:17.

the Assembly. They could not do anything about it! Bob Neill, did

:29:18.:29:27.

you ever think Ken Livingstone made funding decisions according to the

:29:28.:29:34.

voter base. I think he made some daft decisions but I did not put his

:29:35.:29:38.

behaviour anywhere in the league that we see in Tower Hamlets. There

:29:39.:29:41.

were difficulties but there was an older trail. That threw up the

:29:42.:29:48.

things that went seriously wrong with funding decisions in the London

:29:49.:29:54.

Development Agency 's. But there was an audit trail for it to be

:29:55.:29:57.

discovered. And what about Boris Johnson. He is exactly the same with

:29:58.:30:04.

proper audit trail. In Tower Hamlets the audit trails are not there and

:30:05.:30:09.

the system is being abused. I think it is as bad as any case I have seen

:30:10.:30:15.

in my career. Now, the MP Nigel Evans and former Deputy Speaker took

:30:16.:30:19.

to the the witness box yesterday in his trial where he stands accused of

:30:20.:30:22.

one rape, two indecent assaults, five sexual assaults and one

:30:23.:30:25.

attempted sexual assault. He denies all the charges. Nigel Evans told

:30:26.:30:29.

the jury of his absolute hell and said he felt embarrassed about

:30:30.:30:32.

having to discuss the allegations with the police. Ed Thomas is at

:30:33.:30:39.

Preston Crown Court for us. Ed, tell us what's been happening in court.

:30:40.:30:45.

Nigel Evans has left the dock for a third day to take the stand to

:30:46.:30:51.

defend himself. He has described his life has held since the allegations

:30:52.:30:55.

were made. He said that to have yourselves sullied in this way is

:30:56.:30:58.

awful. He said he was embarrassed after his arrest and in a deep sense

:30:59.:31:04.

of shock. He could not believe it was happening. With his voice

:31:05.:31:09.

breaking, he looked directly at the juror 's and said, nobody wants

:31:10.:31:12.

their private life to be brought up in this way. It is incredibly

:31:13.:31:17.

difficult. He talked about what he thought was an attraction between

:31:18.:31:21.

himself and one of these alleged victims. He said this man was

:31:22.:31:26.

incredibly flirtatious. They would hold hands. He said there was a

:31:27.:31:29.

connection between them. He added that there is no fool like an old

:31:30.:31:35.

fool. He is now being cross-examined in court. He is being asked about to

:31:36.:31:40.

alleged incidents where the MP tried to put his hand down two young

:31:41.:31:46.

Westminster workers trousers. He told the court, I have no

:31:47.:31:48.

recollection of this happening. Asked if he was a lecherous man, you

:31:49.:31:54.

said, you are trying to make me out to be a cross between Alan Clark,

:31:55.:32:01.

Oscar Wilde and Benny Hill. What is expected to happen over the next few

:32:02.:32:06.

days? Nigel Evans is still giving evidence now. We expect him to be

:32:07.:32:10.

cross-examined for the rest of the day. The case has another week or so

:32:11.:32:16.

to go. More witnesses will be called in defence for Nigel Evans. Then the

:32:17.:32:20.

summing up from the prosecution defence and the judge. Then the jury

:32:21.:32:26.

will be sent out to consider its verdict. Nigel Evans is accused of

:32:27.:32:30.

using his political influence to take sexual advantage of seven young

:32:31.:32:35.

men. The MP denies all of the allegations against him.

:32:36.:32:44.

So, the latest major assessment of climate change published by UN

:32:45.:32:46.

experts says there's overwhelming evidence that its impact is already

:32:47.:32:50.

being felt across the world and it's likely to get worse. And that's

:32:51.:32:53.

consistent with other recent studies from leading scientists. So, what

:32:54.:32:55.

are politicians doing about it? Well, it wasn't so long ago that it

:32:56.:32:59.

seemed the entire political class had turned a shade of green. David

:33:00.:33:02.

Cameron was pictured being pulled by huskies across the Arctic. Once

:33:03.:33:05.

Prime Minister, he promised this would be the greenest government

:33:06.:33:10.

ever. But by the autumn of last year, he was reported to have

:33:11.:33:14.

ordered aides to get rid of the "green clap" which critics said were

:33:15.:33:17.

increasing the cost of living and hurting British business. -- green

:33:18.:33:25.

crap. The ECO or Energy Company Obligation scheme has been scaled

:33:26.:33:29.

back. The strike price promised to generators of electricity produced

:33:30.:33:32.

from wind or solar energy has been reduced. And the fuel duty escalator

:33:33.:33:36.

that would have added 2p to a litre of petrol this year has been

:33:37.:33:40.

cancelled. We're joined now by Tim Yeo the Conservative Chair of the

:33:41.:33:42.

Energy and Climate Change Select Committee and the Sun columnist

:33:43.:33:47.

Trevor Kavanagh. Welcome to both of you. Natalie Bennett, we heard the

:33:48.:33:55.

IPCC report and it was apocalyptic and some people's eyes and alarmist.

:33:56.:34:02.

Despite that David Cameron is scrapping green levies and scrapping

:34:03.:34:06.

the fuel duty escalator. People are not into green policies. I do not

:34:07.:34:12.

think it is true. I am not sure the green issues are responsible for

:34:13.:34:18.

polls. We have had two reports saying the debate over climate

:34:19.:34:21.

change is over, the reality is here and we need to take action. It is a

:34:22.:34:27.

tragedy since the 2008 climate change act when we had cross-party

:34:28.:34:32.

agreement on action, we have slipped backwards. It is an indictment of

:34:33.:34:37.

this government. What do you say to that? This government has set the

:34:38.:34:42.

toughest budget for carbon emissions of any country in the world. It was

:34:43.:34:47.

made three years ago, the decision. That was a very challenging decision

:34:48.:34:51.

taken with some courage by David Cameron with the support of the

:34:52.:34:55.

whole coalition. If you look specifically at the renewable

:34:56.:34:59.

technology referred to in the introduction, solar, wind, this

:35:00.:35:06.

government has set aside ?7 billion by 2020 to support those

:35:07.:35:08.

technologies through subsidies. Everyone understands it is right the

:35:09.:35:13.

strike price, the price guaranteed to the suppliers of renewable

:35:14.:35:16.

energy, it should come down as the technologies get more advanced. I am

:35:17.:35:22.

hopeful that by 2020, we may find that things like solar do not need a

:35:23.:35:27.

subsidy at all. Can David Cameron claimant is the greenest government

:35:28.:35:32.

ever? Judged by the criteria of previous governments, he can. Now we

:35:33.:35:36.

have this information about how bad it could be unless the effects of

:35:37.:35:41.

emissions are mitigated, is this the green escarpment ever and could it

:35:42.:35:46.

be better? It is greener than all of those that went before. If you take

:35:47.:35:51.

EU discussions about what the targets for 2030 should be, the

:35:52.:35:54.

British Government is one of those in the lead pressing for challenging

:35:55.:35:59.

targets. That is Britain using its influence to try and get Europe to

:36:00.:36:03.

move in a greener direction. That is simply not true. The British garment

:36:04.:36:08.

is a drag on those negotiations. Let us look at what is happening on the

:36:09.:36:13.

ground. Figures recently, the contribution from renewables to

:36:14.:36:16.

British energy compared to 28 countries, we can proudly claim we

:36:17.:36:20.

are ahead of Luxembourg and Malta. We are behind everybody else.

:36:21.:36:25.

Looking at the report of the echo, we have cut back a programme

:36:26.:36:32.

insulating people's homes. This government has failed on every

:36:33.:36:35.

policy measure and not delivered and it is promoting shale gas.

:36:36.:36:42.

Last November, your paper, the Sun, it ran the headline, Cameron

:36:43.:36:46.

switches from concerned green to trueblue Tory. Why isn't your paper

:36:47.:36:53.

taking the threat of climate change seriously I think we are taking it

:36:54.:37:00.

seriously. It is unfortunately for the green movement and the

:37:01.:37:03.

Armageddon scenario, they have had a problem of bad timing and poor

:37:04.:37:08.

timing. It happened during a period when there had been no global

:37:09.:37:14.

warming for 16 years also. Also, the world is going through the worst

:37:15.:37:18.

recession and the last thing people want is the cost of imposing the

:37:19.:37:22.

measures everybody is demanding. As for tactics, I think the profit

:37:23.:37:30.

looked at -- the apocalyptic nature coupled with rather dodgy

:37:31.:37:32.

statistics, if not fiddled statistics, I think that gave the

:37:33.:37:42.

green movement a very bad start. The idea of the seas rising by several

:37:43.:37:46.

feet or metres, this is not happening. It may be happening by

:37:47.:37:51.

inches but not metres. Do you accept credible to was lost because of

:37:52.:37:55.

inaccurate statistics? -- credibility was lost. The levels are

:37:56.:38:04.

rising and the earth is warming. We have the facts now and the

:38:05.:38:08.

factors... They were wrong before? Will a macro there were minor

:38:09.:38:14.

errors. -- there were minor errors. The fact is, what we actually need

:38:15.:38:25.

to do we are losing thousands of potential jobs. The potential of

:38:26.:38:30.

things like the energy bill revolution which could take the

:38:31.:38:33.

money from carbon taxes and insulated every home in Britain

:38:34.:38:39.

which are needed, create 200,000 jobs and cut carbon emissions.

:38:40.:38:42.

Things like tidal energy. We have the potential to develop a British

:38:43.:38:47.

industry and the government is not creating the policy environment to

:38:48.:38:51.

do that. They have not got the message about how it could save

:38:52.:38:57.

money later on. Indeed. In the very short-term, dependence on fossil

:38:58.:39:02.

fuels is slightly cheaper. Looking ahead ten, 15 years, the probability

:39:03.:39:08.

is carbon tax, through taxes or emissions trading, will be much

:39:09.:39:12.

higher. Those countries which invest in low carbon technology will do the

:39:13.:39:15.

right thing environmentally but benefit economically because their

:39:16.:39:21.

costs will come down. Why has David Cameron scrap the green levies?

:39:22.:39:26.

There has been some adjustment to fairly detailed policies. Britain

:39:27.:39:31.

remains committed to the same level of carbon emission reductions as it

:39:32.:39:35.

was two years ago. The use of the phrase green crap is not one that is

:39:36.:39:42.

proven to be the Prime Minister. It is popular! It was leaked by a Tory

:39:43.:39:50.

aide. People are quite rightly worried about energy bills. They

:39:51.:39:54.

can't afford it. Anything that will bring them down will be welcome. If

:39:55.:39:59.

we want Britain to have secure affordable energy, the right ways to

:40:00.:40:04.

broaden our energy mix so it includes nuclear and shale gas and

:40:05.:40:08.

also a big element of renewables. Your view is short-term. No, not at

:40:09.:40:17.

all. The crying wolf, the Armageddon apocalyptic society betrayed by the

:40:18.:40:22.

green movement may or may not happen. The overwhelming evidence is

:40:23.:40:27.

it will happen unless the effects are mitigated. It is computer model

:40:28.:40:30.

generated. We know there are some signs of global warming. However,

:40:31.:40:35.

the human race is infinitely adaptable. Also so things could be

:40:36.:40:41.

considered. The costs involved in the measures required to deal with

:40:42.:40:45.

the flooding that is being forecast, the heatwaves, they are effectively

:40:46.:40:51.

beyond the resources of the world to deal with, especially when half of

:40:52.:40:56.

the world are totally ignoring these apparent signs of warming. The

:40:57.:41:02.

Chinese are in the lead in recognising the lead for low carbon

:41:03.:41:05.

technology. In America, California has introduced its own emissions

:41:06.:41:11.

trading systems. This is a myth. There was a time when you could

:41:12.:41:15.

argue certain parts of Asia were in denial. It is no longer the case.

:41:16.:41:20.

Quite soon we will find more modern technology giving people a

:41:21.:41:24.

competitive advantage economically is being adopted in China, South

:41:25.:41:28.

Korea, the US. Britain may be left behind. Written may be left --

:41:29.:41:33.

Britain is being left behind and that is an indictment of the current

:41:34.:41:39.

government. Christine Lagarde, she was asked what kept her awake at

:41:40.:41:42.

night and she said, we are not doing enough about climate change. Ban

:41:43.:41:47.

Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, he said, the heat is on, we must

:41:48.:41:53.

act. They are taking strategic long view of the world's future and

:41:54.:41:59.

saying, we are not doing enough. Do you claim people are not listening

:42:00.:42:02.

because the government has not been as committed as it says and there

:42:03.:42:06.

have been mixed messages? Is that why many people will agree with

:42:07.:42:10.

Trevor? The government is sending out messages it is no big deal.

:42:11.:42:15.

There is also the other factor that we have a media dominated by a few

:42:16.:42:18.

extremely rich right-wing tycoons who have a huge interest. In the

:42:19.:42:28.

non-Anglo parts of the world where you do not have them, we would not

:42:29.:42:34.

be having this debate. Let Trevor answer that. I think the green lobby

:42:35.:42:40.

has had the lion's share of the debate. To the point where it has

:42:41.:42:45.

tried to terrify people into submission on things like windmills

:42:46.:42:48.

which are complete waste of money. Solar energy I agree could become

:42:49.:42:52.

the answer to our problems. There is nothing wrong with fracking. Low

:42:53.:42:56.

carbon emission gas is much better than oil and coal. In the last

:42:57.:43:03.

month, the Prime Minister, the Chancellor, Michael Gove, they have

:43:04.:43:07.

all confirmed their acceptance of the science of climate change. They

:43:08.:43:10.

just don't want to pay to do anything about it. David Cameron has

:43:11.:43:18.

been pressing hard in the EU for 40% of carbon cuts. The reason why they

:43:19.:43:26.

had to come out and explicitly state they believed in climate change was

:43:27.:43:30.

because there actions seem to demonstrate they did not. Even in

:43:31.:43:35.

your case, you said you were deselected because of disagreements

:43:36.:43:41.

over York constituency, gay marriage and climate change. -- your

:43:42.:43:46.

constituency. If you had your time again, would you be as stridently

:43:47.:43:55.

pro-green? I would be more so. The fact is, of course there are people

:43:56.:43:58.

in Britain not yet persuaded by these arguments. That is why it is

:43:59.:44:01.

incumbent on people who understand to get out there and make the

:44:02.:44:09.

persuasive argument. The polls reinforce Trevor's view. Three

:44:10.:44:14.

points behind where you were in 2009 in the European elections. You are

:44:15.:44:17.

failing more to get your message across. What we are seeing with the

:44:18.:44:25.

polls is and prompted result. The Lib Dem result prompted. Quite a lot

:44:26.:44:37.

of... You are unprompted in 2009. We're working hard in our target

:44:38.:44:43.

regions. That is what we are aiming to do, let more MEPs, send greens to

:44:44.:44:50.

Europe. It is never persuasive to say the media are the people at

:44:51.:44:54.

fault. We have to be more persuasive and determined. That is why I am

:44:55.:44:57.

pleased we have a Prime Minister, Chancellor who are out there

:44:58.:45:00.

determined to see Britain decarbonise its economy. David

:45:01.:45:09.

Cameron is going to have a husky customer probably not any time soon.

:45:10.:45:16.

You might have noticed by her accent when she talks, Natalie was born and

:45:17.:45:20.

brought up in Australia. But can foreign-born politicians make it in

:45:21.:45:25.

British politics? Here's Adam. The socialite Nancy Astor was the

:45:26.:45:32.

first woman to take up her seat in Parliament and she was also an

:45:33.:45:35.

American. Here is another one. Connecticut born Brooks Newmark has

:45:36.:45:40.

since dropped his US citizenship. When I first stood here and not of

:45:41.:45:46.

the Labour candidates were saying do you want an American representatives

:45:47.:45:54.

in Parliament. Someone said I thought there was an American

:45:55.:45:58.

standing there. I said yes but I moved here when I was nine. A lot of

:45:59.:46:04.

people make their lives here and I am no different. That person was

:46:05.:46:08.

expecting some Texan in a hat. It was the year of George bush and that

:46:09.:46:15.

is what they expected. And we once had a Canadian prime minister.

:46:16.:46:22.

Andrew Bonar Law, one of the least famous residence ever of ten Downing

:46:23.:46:28.

St. He entered the Coalition with the Liberals. Nowadays it turns out

:46:29.:46:37.

we have loads of foreign-born MPs. Their heritage rarely comes up as an

:46:38.:46:43.

issue. But for once it has defined his political career. My parents

:46:44.:46:47.

were anti-apartheid activists in Pretoria and my whole background

:46:48.:46:52.

with them being jailed and fined and police raiding our house and then

:46:53.:46:56.

forced into exile is very much rooted in that. Look closely and you

:46:57.:47:03.

will see a young Peter Hain at this anti-apartheid protest in the 1970s.

:47:04.:47:10.

Coming from outside British society, you're not trapped by the class

:47:11.:47:13.

system. I was able to mix with Prince Charles and equally go home

:47:14.:47:21.

to my local rugby club. There have been so many migrant MPs that we

:47:22.:47:25.

hardly have time to discuss the New Zealander Bryan Gould who challenged

:47:26.:47:28.

John Smith to the Labour leadership in 1992. Then Boris Johnson, born in

:47:29.:47:35.

New York. He occasionally takes out his American passport. Even though

:47:36.:47:43.

he threatened to throw it away. And I'm joined by MPs Gisela Stuart

:47:44.:47:46.

and Nadhim Zahawi. Welcome. And Natalie Bennett is still with us.

:47:47.:47:50.

And, guess what? They were all born abroad! Tell us how you came to live

:47:51.:47:58.

here. I arrived 40 years ago unable to speak English. I served the

:47:59.:48:02.

German apprenticeship and someone offered me a job even though I did

:48:03.:48:07.

not speak the language. I did a three-day week. My parents thought I

:48:08.:48:13.

would not last. Were you surprised you lasted so long. I lasted, then I

:48:14.:48:20.

went to Holland and came back here. So yes I am utterly surprised. But

:48:21.:48:24.

what I find extraordinary, I would never say I'm English but I am a

:48:25.:48:30.

dish. That is a wonderful unifying thing. What about your experience?

:48:31.:48:36.

We came here in the late 1970s. My father was Kurdish. Born in

:48:37.:48:42.

Baghdad, pretty hard to live there for a Kurdish family. We came here,

:48:43.:48:51.

at school I had to try to construct sentences in my head and then let

:48:52.:48:57.

them out. It was so hard to learn the language. I have had the most

:48:58.:49:03.

extraordinary life here. The gift I have had here is freedom and

:49:04.:49:07.

opportunity. I made the best of both, founding a business and taking

:49:08.:49:14.

it public. I became a member of Parliament in a very middle-class

:49:15.:49:23.

white area. It has not been an obstacle for either of you. I have

:49:24.:49:28.

the old constituency of Neville 's Chamberlain and I occasionally have

:49:29.:49:33.

imagined conversations with him. Saying it is all right, democratic.

:49:34.:49:41.

I came in 1999 and did not have many language issues! I speak fluent

:49:42.:49:48.

Australian! I had to be careful about the use of the word long. But

:49:49.:49:55.

I came as a professional journalist. I had been to Britain before and

:49:56.:50:00.

loved the place. And back and settled and cannot imagine wanting

:50:01.:50:04.

to leave. And how did you make the leap to politician. In 2006 it was

:50:05.:50:10.

the New Year resolution. I looked at the state of the world and wanted to

:50:11.:50:15.

do something. I never read it did it would lead me to this spot. It just

:50:16.:50:19.

happened. We always talking about the lack of women in politics. Do

:50:20.:50:25.

you think that is more of a barrier than your background in that sense.

:50:26.:50:29.

When I was selected by the Labour Party they said it is the fact that

:50:30.:50:34.

you spent ten years in Manchester that you have to keep quiet about!

:50:35.:50:41.

But to this day I do feel slightly foreign. When we talk about

:50:42.:50:46.

education, I do not have those class hang-ups. I cannot get worked up

:50:47.:50:54.

about a select system. And I know there is an element that I do not

:50:55.:50:59.

understand. Peter Hain made the same point. You're not born into the same

:51:00.:51:04.

class system and do not have the history of it. That is probably

:51:05.:51:11.

true. For me we fell on hard times, we came here, the bank took at home

:51:12.:51:18.

and a lot of bad things happen. But what allowed me to get up and try

:51:19.:51:24.

again is that we had a pretty decent education. That was partly back in

:51:25.:51:32.

Iraq and then in the UK I was lucky because my father had been in the UK

:51:33.:51:38.

before and was educated so there was already that link to the UK. But the

:51:39.:51:46.

rail differentiate is education. We do not have the baggage of the class

:51:47.:51:49.

system. There is not that last ceiling in many ways. You can just

:51:50.:51:54.

walk into a room and talk to everyone equally. I think that is

:51:55.:52:00.

one of the uses of an Australian accent, that it is entirely

:52:01.:52:04.

classless. But the gender thing is something I do think about, of

:52:05.:52:12.

myself as a female politician not as an Australian politician. I'm the

:52:13.:52:16.

first woman party leader to take over from another woman arty leader.

:52:17.:52:23.

When I walk around Westminster it is horrifying how male dominated it is.

:52:24.:52:29.

Not just members of Parliament but it still feels like a male dominated

:52:30.:52:33.

place. In terms of any prejudice, did you come across any in terms of

:52:34.:52:42.

your background. In 1997 I had a conversation with a Tory voter who

:52:43.:52:48.

said that she would vote for me Cosmo German would put up with

:52:49.:52:56.

nonsense regarding law and order! Now how important is image to the

:52:57.:52:59.

success of a political leader? That's one of the themes of the

:53:00.:53:03.

satirical play, The Confessions of Gordon Brown. After its success at

:53:04.:53:06.

the Labour Party conference last year, it's about to start a run in

:53:07.:53:11.

London's West End. In a moment we'll be joined by the play's creator,

:53:12.:53:18.

Kevin Toolis. First here's a clip of Gordon Brown, played by Ian Grieve,

:53:19.:53:21.

pondering on the importance of image.

:53:22.:53:38.

You are on. I always knew him and that other all

:53:39.:53:51.

the, in Duncan Smith, what is he up to now. Nothing much. You never read

:53:52.:53:58.

about them in the papers. Who wants to see a baldly on the front page.

:53:59.:54:03.

The people will not vote for oldies. Instead of the old Tories it was the

:54:04.:54:08.

Conservative and baldly political suicide party. Broken to pieces. The

:54:09.:54:16.

Tories had no leader and the people knew it. The world was a poster. --

:54:17.:54:27.

but are oyster. And I'm joined by Kevin Toolis, the

:54:28.:54:30.

writer of The Confessions of Gordon Brown and John McTernan who used to

:54:31.:54:33.

advise Tony Blair on political strategy. What about Ed Miliband. I

:54:34.:54:41.

think he is not a viable prime Minster. Politics is a cruel sport.

:54:42.:54:47.

It is a narrow trench where good men die every day. And then shameless

:54:48.:54:55.

charlatans steal all the prizes. And then there is a negative prize! But

:54:56.:55:00.

he is not bald! He is tall which is a requirement. But his image after

:55:01.:55:05.

four years, he has not been able to change that kind of geeky image that

:55:06.:55:11.

people have of him and I think that is a fatal flaw and he will not

:55:12.:55:15.

succeed. Do you agree. I think that is a ridiculous invented test, that

:55:16.:55:21.

you're mad to look like a prime minister before you become one. Tony

:55:22.:55:26.

Blair and David Cameron are really the only ones who actually did that.

:55:27.:55:32.

Margaret Thatcher, Robert be the most influential. The Tories lead

:55:33.:55:47.

Margaret Thatcher in popularity. How'd you explain people like Hague

:55:48.:55:51.

and Michael foot. Why did they not become prime minister. Because their

:55:52.:55:59.

politics were crazy. The quality of your enemies is also essential to

:56:00.:56:06.

your success. William Hague always looked strange, he was never able to

:56:07.:56:11.

escape that image of him as a 16-year-old. He and Ian Duncan

:56:12.:56:16.

Smith, those were fatal choices. Political parties have lost some

:56:17.:56:24.

plans for political suicide. And that applies to the Labour Party and

:56:25.:56:27.

Labour Party in Scotland as well. It does weaken the potential victory of

:56:28.:56:34.

that party. In a televisual age there has to be something of an

:56:35.:56:39.

aura, a style over substance because that makes it easier to get the

:56:40.:56:44.

message across. Ian Duncan Smith and William Hague Michael Howard, they

:56:45.:56:49.

all lost elections because they had wrong policies. Ed Miliband has been

:56:50.:56:59.

down in the polls. But David Cameron is no more popular than when he was

:57:00.:57:04.

elected. The fundamentals are the fundamentals. Ed Miliband has

:57:05.:57:09.

policies that connect with real people. When he is out there

:57:10.:57:16.

speaking, he is like John Major. 41% of people think Ed Miliband is

:57:17.:57:21.

strange. You get stupid answers to stupid question. 38% of the

:57:22.:57:27.

population are going to vote Labour. Is it not about the potential prime

:57:28.:57:33.

minister. They have got to be able to see the leader of the party of

:57:34.:57:38.

the future prime minister. They see the party of the future government.

:57:39.:57:43.

As an instrument to oust an unpopular government. In the end it

:57:44.:57:50.

is policies and not personalities. The stature of the leader is a

:57:51.:57:57.

hugely decisive factor. The coming election is hard to call. But the

:57:58.:58:01.

notion that you could just be a nobody. And have negative ratings

:58:02.:58:06.

and would somehow not matter, of course it matters. I think with Ed

:58:07.:58:14.

Miliband his problem is he is not having any strong policies, he's not

:58:15.:58:22.

trying to offend anyone. He's just staying quite and not say anything

:58:23.:58:27.

radical and hope to fall back into office. That is the problem for

:58:28.:58:34.

Labour. Well the opinion polls are closing. This latest poll, just 9%

:58:35.:58:41.

of the population think Ed Miliband is a strong leader. You cannot just

:58:42.:58:46.

ignore all that content in the opinion polls. That's all for today.

:58:47.:58:51.

Thanks to our guests. Goodbye.

:58:52.:58:57.

Jo Coburn is joined by the Green Party Leader, Natalie Bennett to look at the Royal Mail sell off and whether the tax payer received a good deal. They also discuss the government's green policies as well as all the other political news, interviews and debate.


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