01/04/2014 Daily Politics


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


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


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


than its original price tag. Directly- elected mayors were


supposed to transform local democracy. But do they place too


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


reduction in risk of dying of anything compared to those eating


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


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


five portions. Are you setting a potential target that is


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


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


more fruit and vegetables, particularly vegetables, it is


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


before it was considered a reasonable target and we are showing


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


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


just the policies. You mean public health policies, awareness


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


much except increase inequalities. Fruit and veg are much more


expensive here than in many other countries. In Mediterranean


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


You can understand why people are sceptical about the endless advice


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


billion. The National Audit Office concludes that the Government could


have achieved better value for the taxpayer. The Business Secretary


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


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


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


where you Tube at? Unfortunately no minister from the


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


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


the Shadow Business Minister Ian Murray and the City commentator,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


National Audit Office document, it says very clearly the government


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


previous Labour government was pretty much put through in terms of


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Royal Mail needed money for investment. They could have come


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


was in an environment where industrial action was being


threatened and to some extent the environment would not have been


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


of day one, the demand from institutional investors was already


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


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


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


Massive conflict of interest. Everyone seems to be looking after


their own interests. The institutional investors took all the


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


you have done differently in the Green Party. Absolutely not


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


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


comes from private sector management. It means putting public


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Members Bill before Parliament. The privatisation of the railways is


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Communities Secretary Eric Pickles says he may investigate the London


borough of Tower Hamlets after allegations were made against the


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


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


funding recommended by officers for Bengali-run charities. Opposition


councillors say they believe the grants were made in return for


electoral support, but Mr Rahman strongly denies these accusations.


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


than doubled the grand officers recommended to Bengali and Somali


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


programme showed that there are no proper systematic checks and


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


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


scrutiny committee. What are the allegations of malpractice. There


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


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


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


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


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


light with the mayor's officers threatening opposition councillors


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


opposition councillor was wrongly taken to a standards board. Everyone


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


chance for the other political parties generally to challenge and


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


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


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


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


councils have gone towards the Cabinet system which is taking power


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


properly and within their council constitution. There are checks and


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


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


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


back to proper councils were committees have real scrutiny and


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


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


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


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


you ever think Ken Livingstone made funding decisions according to the


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


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


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


things that went seriously wrong with funding decisions in the London


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


using his political influence to take sexual advantage of seven young


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Prime Minister, he promised this would be the greenest government


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


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


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


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


back. The strike price promised to generators of electricity produced


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


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


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


Energy and Climate Change Select Committee and the Sun columnist


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


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


Despite that David Cameron is scrapping green levies and scrapping


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


whole coalition. If you look specifically at the renewable


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


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


technologies through subsidies. Everyone understands it is right the


strike price, the price guaranteed to the suppliers of renewable


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


ground. Figures recently, the contribution from renewables to


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


seriously. It is unfortunately for the green movement and the


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


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


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


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


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


looked at -- the apocalyptic nature coupled with rather dodgy


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


things like the energy bill revolution which could take the


money from carbon taxes and insulated every home in Britain


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


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


industry and the government is not creating the policy environment to


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


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


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


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


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


right thing environmentally but benefit economically because their


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


There has been some adjustment to fairly detailed policies. Britain


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


technology. In America, California has introduced its own emissions


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


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


Quite soon we will find more modern technology giving people a


competitive advantage economically is being adopted in China, South


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


tried to terrify people into submission on things like windmills


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


your case, you said you were deselected because of disagreements


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


determined to see Britain decarbonise its economy. David


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the Labour candidates were saying do you want an American representatives


in Parliament. Someone said I thought there was an American


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


were anti-apartheid activists in Pretoria and my whole background


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


pondering on the importance of image.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


elected. The fundamentals are the fundamentals. Ed Miliband has


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Thanks to our guests. Goodbye.


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