03/04/2014 Daily Politics


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Afternoon, folks, welcome to the Daily Politics. More personal, more


passionate, more insulting. Round two of Clegg v Farage over Britain's


membership of the European Union wasn't exactly a pretty affair. But


the polls put Mr Farage further ahead than they did first time


round. The coalition's in a spin over wind


farms. The Tories have turned against them. The Lib Dems still


love them. It's tough out there providing


public services. We'll be analysing one council's "graph of doom".


And this programme is brought to you by the CIA. We'll be dissecting some


good old-fashioned conspiracy theories.


The signal has just clicked in! All that in the next hour. And with


us for the duration, journalist David Aaronovitch. Welcome to the


programme. Now first today, let's kick off with


the Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, who has been ticked off over her


expenses. Our political correspondent Carole Walker has


more. She has been cleared of the central


charge of billing her expenses, but she has been strongly criticised?


That's right, and she is about to make an unprecedented apology by a


serving Cabinet Minister over her expenses. This was a lengthy and


complicated investigation into claims totalling around ?90,000 over


four years for their house in south London, which she designated as her


second home, even though that was where she lived with her parents and


her husband. What the committee was looking at is whether it was right


to call it her second home, whether her parents benefited from taxpayers


money, whether she claims the right amount, and so on. What the


committee found was that they cleared her of benefiting her


parents from the claims that she had made. They did say that she had over


claimed for her mortgage repayments. They have ordered her to reap a


?5,800 -- to repay ?5,800. But the most serious charge was that she


failed to respond adequately to the various questions put to her over


the course of the investigation, and it is for this that she is about to


apologise to the House of Commons. Obviously a huge relief for her, and


for David Cameron in the Government. That's right. He has said he has


great support for Maria Miller. She has agreed to repay the money and


apologise to the House, and we should leave it at that, he says. So


it is clear that he believes he can hang on to her. I think the Prime


Minister would have been very reluctant to lose one of the few


women in his Cabinet, and so she will carry on in that role. But


there is no doubt that this does leave something of a black mark on


her reputation, and it will be something of a difficult and


embarrassing moment for her to have to apologise to the Commons in the


next hour. Carole Walker, thank you. David, are


you surprised? I think people have had enough of this. The report seems


to exaggerate her from the charges. So we are talking about her attitude


towards the committee and so on. And I don't know whether this is the


public perception, possibly the public doesn't have a perception


about it. But to me, the committee is the sign of everything that has


gone wrong with this situation. I don't even treat my children like


this, forcing them to account for every tiny little thing. It is so


long past time that we just created a situation where we give MPs and


lump sum, they don't have to account for it, this is the account we think


-- the amount we think is right for doing the job, spend it how you


like. And some say that is the way forward, but if you think about the


furore over the expenses scandal, and fair treatment of people, they


say, who didn't commit any more of an offence than Maria Miller, why is


there not more of a fuss? You think because we got so cross with people


in the past, we should keep on being that cross? There are a whole series


of discrepancies with people who have been treated much worse than


other people during the hold parliamentary scandal. Nobody cares.


The public do. Nobody cares about the people who are being affected by


this. Now it's time for our Daily Quiz.


The question for today is: What has David Cameron been complaining about


the price of? Is it: a) A white sliced loaf of bread. B) A first


class stamp. C) An England football team shirt. Or d) An Ed Miliband


souvenir mug? At the end of the show, David will give us the correct


answer. Even I know the answer to that! Don't give it away.


Now, the idea of an in/out debate on Europe was Nick Clegg's. He threw


down the gauntlet to the the UKIP leader, Nigel Farage. Nigel Farage,


no wilting wallflower, rose to the challenge. But after two debates and


with Mr Farage declared, by the pollsters at least, as victor, one


wonders if Mr Clegg might be regretting his decision. Let's take


a look back at last night's contest. It is 40 years since the BBC debated


this great question. The one thing that has remained the same as David


Dimbleby. We want to trade with Europe, get on well with our


next-door neighbours, but we don't want to be part of a political


union. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you do what


Nigel Farage recommends, and you isolate Britain, sort of Billy no


mates Britain, a Billy no jobs Britain... The principle that drives


my entire political career is that I think the best people to govern


Britain are the British people themselves. Let's be in independent


United Kingdom, and I want the rest of Europe to free themselves from


the European Union, too. 200 people dying in Syria, being mown down,


killed, every single day, and Nigel Farage says he admires, he admires


the way that Vladimir Putin has played, as if it is a game... The


difficulty is we can't plan anything, because we don't know how


many are going to come. We have a chronic problem in schools, we need


to make a quarter of a million new primary school places immediately,


and housing, goodness me. We need to build a house every seven minutes


just to cope with immigration into this country. So whichever way you


look at it, we have huge problems with a population over which we have


no control at all. It is simply not true to say that anyone can come


here. People can only come here from the European Union and stay here if


they want to support themselves and want to work. It is good for the


rich, because it is cheaper nannies, chauffeurs, gardeners. But it is bad


news for ordinary people in Britain. We need to have control


over the number of people who come here and the quality of people who


come here. I don't want to discriminate against India and New


Zealand because we have an open door to Bulgaria and Romania. When the


rules change, a new treaty, powers that belong to you are being given


up, it shouldn't be for the government to decide, it should be


for you to decide. Let's free ourselves up and given examples of


the of Europe. I know that people are behind this, and I would urge


people, come and join the people's army. Let's topple the establishment


who have led us to this mess. And there are those of us who believe


and love modern Britain as it is today. Compassionate, diverse,


outward facing. We have challenges and complexities, but by working


with other countries, you deal with those challenges and make Britain


richer, stronger and safer. So, that gives you a flavour of last


night's debate. And here's what David Cameron had to


say on BBC Breakfast this morning when he was asked who he'd been


rooting for last night. The problem with the debate is that


the people taking part have quite extreme views. Nick thinks there is


nothing wrong with Europe and we shouldn't have a referendum, and


Nigel thinks that there is nothing right with Europe and we should


leave. They are both wrong. We should get tough with Europe,


negotiate a better deal, and then give people a choice and a


referendum. And that is what I will do if I am Prime Minister after the


next election. That is what people want, a proper choice on changing


Europe, and that is what these European elections should be about,


too. We're joined now by the former


Liberal Democrat director of communications, Olly Grender, UKIP's


director of communications, Patrick O'Flynn, and the political editor of


the Sun, Tom Newton Dunn. We will see what things are like! Whose


bright idea was it to give you get a foreign policy which involves


respecting Mr Putin for what he has done in Syria and Crimea? Our


foreign policy, as I told you last week when you predicted we would


have to back down, seems to have been extremely well received by many


people in Britain. It is not a matter of backing Mr Putin. But you


respect what he does. What we haven't said is that we admire him


as a human being or someone who runs a country which flout human rights.


But what we are focusing on is that it is outcomes that matter, not


sanctimonious student policies. The road ahead is paved with good


intentions, and we feel that the political class in this country, it


is an exercise in vanity. They like to look at themselves in the mirror


in the morning and think, I am on the side of the good guys. But if


you look at the outcomes in Syria and Libya and now in Ukraine, they


are terrible. And was it not quite clever of UKIP to get into position


where, in last night's debate against the Lib hems, they were busy


as posturing, the anti-war party. I think there is a Tony Blair legacy


on the Iraq war that is very difficult. If you were against it,


and you still didn't get credit. And Mr Clegg was having to defend


intervention in parts of the world. What did you think to that? I think


is right to defend intervention in parts of the world. I think it was


extraordinary. I think the foreign affairs stuff will come back again


and again and again. It was an extraordinary moment. The stuff


about having played Syria right, that was brilliant and will come


back to haunt him. But given that you are positioning ourselves as the


anti-war party, it was difficult to let UKIP paint you into a different


box. We are anti-illegal wars, and if Putin did anything with regard to


the UN, something legally could be done. Hopefully, about these


hundreds of children and women persecuted every day in Syria. Even


the Lib Dems, powerful as they are... Maybe Nigel Farage could have


a word with him. What did you make of that part of the debate? Nick


Clegg... Let's look at what has changed in four years. Nick Clegg in


2010 was the outsider, the fresh face. He had an extraordinary poll


rating. He turned the general election on its head. He is now the


insider. It didn't turn out that way on the day. It all went down to


nothing at the election. What happened last night was Nick Clegg,


four years on, has the scars of government all over his back. He has


had to take decisions, locking salt into policies, he is now the


ultimate insider, and so is Nigel Farage. -- locking himself into


policies. Political brilliance from Nigel Farage, talking about the


people's army, and he probably put ten point poll rating. Imagine Tony


Benn having come out with the same phrase, I don't know whether it


would have had quite the same resonance. Does this have perches on


the politics of this moment? If you look at the economic situation in


the last five or six years, what Nigel Farage has shown clearly is


that he stands for a significant portion of the population who


doesn't like Britain as it is, doesn't like the world as it is, and


wants to cut itself off. It is isolationist in foreign policy, and


I don't think for a second that he likes Vladimir Putin, but what he is


saying is I don't want to have much to do with the world, I wanted to go


away, I want to get out of the EE you. -- EU. I think Alex Salmond


thinks the same about Scotland. And on immigration, there hasn't been


the predicted influx of body -- people from Bulgaria and Romania. We


haven't had any figures apart from one that covered the year up to


November 2013. If I can just bring you to the person with the best


projections, time and time again, it is Andrew Green at Mine -- Migration


Watch. It has always been the case that the whole EU immigration issue


has been wider than Bulgaria and Romania. We have what are called


eurozone refugees, people locked into Mediterranean economies that


are going down the pan. We are going to inherit the best and the


brightest? It would be nice to have some volume control, but last night,


with respect, we have neither. A native American poster that Mr Clegg


unveiled from UKIP, do you think it work? Yes, it makes a point. It


makes a compelling point. There is a scare tactic which is deployed by


Nigel Farage with regard to economic migrants seek and immigration. I


thought it worked. Did it work in terms of the kind of fears and


concerns and thought people about immigration? That continues to be a


debate that needs to be held on as rational a level as possible. If you


look at the line that UKIP took, in terms of positioning it is clever.


They came out as the anti-war and the anti-politics party, which plays


well in this country, and then he cast immigration almost in terms of


class. It is fine if you can afford servants or chauffeurs, but not if


you are low paid and having to compete with people coming in. That


is an anti-establishment position. He went further than that, and went


into racial terms and topped about creating an underclass and that set


alarm bells ringing. Ten seconds. I am not saying whether you agree or


disagree, but what he did was very clever. Nick Clegg's personal rating


went up four breast-fed for people who watched the debate. But Nigel


Farage's went up by 12%. He speaks the people's language and it works.


The antiestablishment training ground of the city and stockbroking.


He taps into that. He is not an MP, so he is not tainted. People do not


trust his judgement, and that will be held over him, but it is very


difficult to interrogate these things. I spent a lot of time


writing that the evidence does not stack up behind the notion that


ordinary Britons have not benefited from immigration, they have and the


evidence is there. But when somebody says the elite have walked away with


all the benefits and we have suffered together, people like that.


Very quickly, why did Mr Farage do even better in the second one? I


think he had the stronger arguments. I must go back to the race thing. He


made one mention of the white, working-class in an hour and he made


mention of African Caribbean young men in London. The difficulties of


white, working-class kid is well established in literature. Why did


he do better? I think he was more relaxed and more confident in his


arguments. I thought Nick Clegg was worse because he was rattled. Why


did he do better? This is an argument that has only had one side


to it for the last two decade and finally somebody is standing up with


the pro-European argument. You cannot argue the more you hear, the


more we come round. He lost by more. If we had a sustained period of


anti-European commentary, I think things would improve. Why did he do


better this time? Because Nick Clegg was disingenuous and he tried to be


Nigel Farage and Nigel Farage tried to be Mr Clegg. They swapped roles.


There we go, on that line. Stay where you are. The Westminster


village set up camp in New Broadcasting House last night. Chris


Mason was brave enough to enter the spin room. Not a place for the


faint-hearted. Here is his report. All right, so it looks like a


roomful of people doing an accountancy exam and someone has


left the TV on. Welcome to the spin room, reporters and spin doctors in


a conference room over the road from the debate, watching it on the box


like people at home. But the minute it finished, this room was the


centre of things. Let's see what various journalists are making of


it. I can just see Kevin Maguire from the Daily Mirror. Let's see if


we can grab a quick word. Could you have a quick word with the Daily


Politics? Always. What do you make of it? Last week Nigel Farage was a


bit all over the place. He looked calmer. Nick Clegg came out like a


terrier and started out well, but it did not last and Nigel Farage


knocked him out of the park. Nick Clegg came out very fast and he was


painting Nigel Farage is a bit of a crank and that was effective. He


tired at the end and Nigel Farage began to find his rhythm, but


tonight I found it was won by Nick Clegg. Some were left smiling by


Nick Clegg's reference to a cricket England could be proud of. My


favourite cricketer is WB grace, because I had the idea of all the


Eurocrats watching this debate as thing, who is she? But this room was


something of a bearpit. We will not tolerate this rude interruption. I


just had my interview nicked by Norman Smith on the news channel.


Typical. These audience members reflected the opinion polls,


claiming it was a UKIP victory. I think Nick started off strong, but


undoubtedly it was a Nigel Farage victory. Did Nigel Farage win? He


did, he knew what he was talking about and he knew what he was


wanting to get out of it. We might have expected Ukraine to come up in


the conversation, but perhaps not Derby County Council and Orpington.


They got a mention. Now the room has seemed to stop spinning and the


deadlines are approaching for the journalists. But the big question is


will we get the same thing again in a couple of months? That is during


the general election campaign. Chris Mason braving it inside. What


was the atmosphere like? It was slightly flat, I will not lie to


you. Last week was quite interesting. They had to drink,


which always gets the adrenaline going. How to get the debate


swinging. It was the second time around and both these debates have


not changed anything at all. It is man bites dog, dog bites man, they


confirmed the stereotypes. Nigel Farage is on a roll and Nick Clegg


is not going to do very well. We see the spin doctors standing around,


what did you say to the journalists immediately afterwards? That he is


right to hold this debate and he is right to stand up for his beliefs. A


lot of people question is he true to his beliefs and no one can question


that he believes in a positive, pro-European message. What was


telling in the polling yesterday was that again a large swathe of Labour


supporters are finally opening their ears to Nick Clegg, which I thought


would always be a struggle. More people to UKIP, to be honest. 51%.


More Labour voters went to UKIP, sorry. I thought it was a shift. For


you, then, what was the main thrust of your strategy after the debate? I


instinctively knew that he had won by more than last week and if I can


mention Kate Burley, she was interviewing me live, implying we


were on the back foot in foreign policy and we would struggle and I


said, we had won by more and the poll came through and indeed we had.


It was important for Nigel to emotionally connect with the


audience and I thought he did that several times really well,


particularly in the final closing minutes. What did you do between


last week and last night to improve the performance. I suspect on both


sides there was a secondary round of anything coming out of the last


debate, what will the other guy do? The fact that Nigel had one last


week, Nick Clegg could argue it was a points victory, but it was a


victory nonetheless. That was important to us, to try and deliver


a knockout win. We were very focused and feeling quite bullish. One of


the criticisms was that people felt that Nick Clegg, who believes what


he thinks about, he does not have to have scripted lines, but last night


it was too scripted and he did not do it in a natural enough weight to


be convincing. Would you accept that? If anyone is scrutinised on


telly they will know it is not a natural environment. I thought a few


of the jugs personally did not work. Anti-tried to get to them a bit


more. What about the difference between what the Westminster bubble


things and as things and outside in the real world? Thanks to LBC we


were all pretty tanked up by the end of it and we had had lots of booze.


We knew what was going to happen, but everyone was calling it for Nick


Clegg. We listen to the debates, people who know the arguments and


heart as you are being paid to, listen to the words being said. The


TV viewers feel the words coming out and they look at the guys and they


react to the person rather than the policy. But you think there is a


difference in how big can be interpreted? Interestingly I do not


think the bubble was necessarily with Nick Clegg, I think the bubble


found him disingenuous. That was not him last night. If the polls were


indicating it was a clear Nigel Farage win, you were mentioning that


he had not lost? If we were doing the usual run-up to the European


elections it would be business as usual and not much discussion and


not much of a look in for the Lib Dems and UKIP. The fact there has


been a strong, public debate, with quite large viewing figures last


week and this week... 1.7 million. Whatever you say, yesterday I was


part of a 10% team and today I am part of a 31% team. That is


progress. What about the guys who work there? I joined the 58.3


million who were not watching the debate. That is not to denigrate it,


I think it is a good thing to do. Firstly, I think it is important to


have this discussion precisely because of the reasons Nick Clegg


thinks we should. The big parties go for the 60-40 split. They try and


palliate the 60% and the 40% never get heard. I watched the billy no


mates jokes go down and Alan Johnson can get away with them, but he


cannot. And then looking at the polling reflection this mooring it


was an interesting indication of where the arguments will have to be


made and which ones will have to be taken more seriously. What about


David Cameron's view that these were the two extreme views? They were not


there. They do not have to take part in the bear garden public debate,


but it is not good for the public. They do not have answers, neither of


them have answers on this. Is there anyone who believes David Cameron


will successfully negotiate a change that will satisfy even his own


party? This will come up in the prime ministerial debates and


everyone thinks they will come up in some form. How will the impact on


those debates? Both David Cameron and Ed Miliband will think we have


to have them, but not anywhere near us. We can all make silly bets, but


I think it will be Cameron and Milliband and they will knockout


Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg. How can you justify that? You can think of a


million ways. But what this debate is told as... And very relieved


Thomas in these negotiations. No one knows what the outcome is going to


be and that is too much of a mess for Cameron and Ed Miliband. David


Cameron did say he wanted these debates ahead of the campaign. He


wasn't willing to come and debate. When Nigel said yes, it was on the


proviso that David Cameron and Ed Miliband were invited along, but


they both said no. We wanted them to come, because we had some good


arguments about blue-collar wages and pressures on social housing that


would have shown up their weaknesses, plenty of arguments for


both of them. Time for a new strategy for Nick Clegg? He was


always going to be against the tide of a large amount of opinion, but


the fact that he stood up for what he believes in makes me proud today.


Thank you to all of you. Now here's something that's going to


surprise you. There's a disagreement rumbling in the coalition. I know, I


know, who would have thought it? This time it's over wind farms. Most


Lib Dems still love them, but quite a few Conservatives have fallen out


of love with them. Here's JoCo with the details.


Wind farms are becoming quite a battle ground within the coalition.


Yesterday Lib Dem sources told the BBC that David Cameron's hopes to


restrict the number of onshore wind farms have been blocked by Nick


Clegg, who sees them as a vital source to help the UK hit its target


of 15% of the county's energy coming from renewable sources by 2020.


There are currently over 4,000 wind turbines onshore and over 1,000


offshore. Together these provide enough energy to power the


equivalent of just over six million homes. However, it's not cheap.


Energy producers are paid a guaranteed amount above the market


price for their electricity as a way of encouraging firms to invest.


Called a strike price, for onshore wind farms the figure is ?95 per


megawatt hour, and for offshore it's ?155 per megawatt hour. Compare that


to the ?50 per megawatt hour for wholesale electricity and you get


the idea. What's more, the building of new onshore wind farms is


controversial, with many complaining the turbines ruin the countryside


and can cause health problems for people living nearby.


And we're joined now by the Conservative MP, Peter Bone. We did


try to get a Liberal Democrats come and talk about this as well, but


none of them wanted to talk this morning. What have you got against


them? If you were trying to watch your programme in some areas this


morning, you wouldn't be able to, because the wind farms affect the


television signal. ?8.7 million last month we paid to turn the wind farms


off because it is too windy. It is just subsidy for subsidy's fake.


What do you think? It is complete nonsense. We had overcapacity in the


grid, and that is when you decide to turn it off. Because it is too


windy. Because every body is producing too much electricity, so


that is the cheapest point at which to turn it off. But if you are


looking in the long term, which is a greater desire for renewables, and


defender thing, this business with Russia has told us that we don't


want to be alive as we have been on the importation of fuel and so on,


let alone discussions about climate change, then we need to have


renewables, and we have them. Some of the arguments against onshore


wind farms are preposterous to say the least. The television signal


argument is one of them. You tell that to the people affected? ! But


they will also have cheap sources of renewable energy in the long term.


It is not cheap! Cheaper compared to what we will be paying. Why don't we


go for fracking? If you look at the USA, they didn't sign up to Kyoto,


but they met the targets by going to fracking. So now people are coming


back because energy prices are falling in the States. Here, we are


putting prices up the people, driving people into fuel poverty and


sending industry offshore. It is madness. I am in favour of fracking


too, as it happens. But your equivalent is saying that we don't


want it in our area, we don't like it. You are just displacing the name


nimbyism from one place to another. What you can't get away from is that


wind farms cost the taxpayer billions of pounds. We already have


enough to commit to the energy target. We don't need a single


turbine more. You should turn your back if another wind farm comes up.


We have selected the Conservative candidate to fight the Corby general


election who is the director of together against wind. It is in


important issue in my area. I love that there is an organisation called


Together Against Wind! People are concerned. Take it seriously. You


say we have enough wind farms to hit the target, but at the moment, wind


generates an average 9% of our electricity. Sometimes it is more,


sometimes less. Our target for 2020 is 30%. On the wind farm side of it,


with all of the planning applications approved, we have


reached the target. I am personally not a great fan of these wind farm


targets. What I want to see is, as you mentioned earlier, energy


security. And wind farms cannot please energy security, because of


the wind doesn't blow, you have no energy. You need sensible


alternatives like nuclear power and fracking. Nuclear is at least as


expensive as onshore wind. Indeed, it is more, because as Jo showed, we


have just done a strike deal and ?92 50 per megawatt hour for nuclear. It


gives you energy security, that is what I was talking about. It is


cheaper than offshore wind. We should be making sure we have energy


security. We had a debate earlier today in the Commons. David


Aaronovitch, when these prices were agreed, the offshore price was by


far the most extensive. It was done at a time when the Westminster


consensus was that fossil fuels would continue to rise in price, so


that by 2020, this wind wouldn't seem so expensive, because fossil


fuels and got up to that price as well. Since then, most of the


evidence suggests, that probably isn't true any more. Although it


could. It always seems to me to be prudent to invest in renewables,


precisely because they were renewable, and precisely because...


And the wind usually does blow somewhere in the United Kingdom. I


am in favour of fracking as well, but it does have carbon emissions. I


am also in favour of nuclear power being part of the mix. We are


probably agreeing that there should be a moratorium on future wind farm.


I don't think we should agree on any such thing. You are just paying


subsidies for people. And it is affecting our long-term plan. We


have run out of time, I'm afraid. No doubt we will come back to it. Peter


bone, thank you very much. You're watching the Daily Politics,


and we've been joined by viewers in Scotland who have been watching


First Minister's Questions from Holyrood. Wind power has been very


big north of the border, too. Now, we all know local councils have


been feeling the pinch. But let me introduce you to Barnet's "graph of


doom". Be warned - it doesn't make pretty reading, and there's even a


video. It is a projection, not a


prediction. The instance, the council will be failing to run seven


statutory services in 2025 if this came true. But as a projection, or


we receive national coverage, and it is a clear expression of the


financial challenge facing the government, and it became known as


the Barnet graph of doom. The gap between the services and the Budget


is the money left over to provide services such as libraries, rubbish


collections, recycling, road maintenance, street cleaning.


And I'm joined now by Barnet's deputy leader, Dan Thomas, and from


the LSE by Professor Tony Travers, who knows everything there is to


know about local government. We always Bill you that we! Time will


judge if you are correct. You said by the end of the decade, you would


only be able to fund children's services and adult social care for


the power things changed? They have. The population was due to expand,


but also, the council tax base will go up. But also, as a council, we


are making major headway in savings. At the end of this year, we will


have saved ?70 million, added time when satisfaction with the council


has gone up 20%, so those are the sorts of things changing for the


better. So the projection is not as bad as you first thought? It is


going to be difficult. You heard in the presentation, the graph of doom,


but they asked -- there are still pressures. Do you think that by


2022, the vast majority of your funding will have to be spent on


social care and children services? If we don't change what we do. We


need to work more with the resident bloomer and the community, which is


why we are carrying out this consultation. We are asking


residents what their priorities are, what they want to keep. And we have


a second stage and are going where we are saying, those are your


priorities of how can we deliver them? But in a commissioning way, so


that the council won't be able to deliver things directly. We will


have to work with allsorts of groups throughout the borough to keep


services going. Is this scaremongering by an authority that


has basically said, we need more money if you want is to actually


provide service outside those two important areas? Not this particular


graph of doom, because ministers will interpret this as a graph of


delayed doom, so they will think that they can squeeze them a bit


more and the doom will be in the future. If they want to make major


reductions in public spending, but they can still protect schools and


the health service. If you protect big items and try to level off the


total, local government gets cut. Except councils have proved across


the country that they can make savings and they have made savings,


and even Dan Thomas has said that there has been good news. So your


delayed doom may just forever be delayed. That is what the Treasury


will read into this. They will think, if we squeeze local


government, it can deliver cuts. You wouldn't dare to do that to the NHS,


because heaven knows what will happen. So they will read this as an


incentive not to reward local government but to put them under


greater pressure in the future. Is your authority unique? I think it is


in the way that we have met the challenge. Is it unique in terms of


the burden you are having to deal with in terms of an ageing


population, for example, and social care? I would say that ours is one


of the lowest funded councils in London, and with the reduction in


our Budget... A lot of councils will say either that they don't get as


much money as other boroughs, or that they have more problems. It is


quite difficult to know that in the whole scheme of things, who really


is suffering. When you live in a centralised system such as ours when


the government allocates the spending power, everyone will feel


hard done by because the government allocates it to them, so they will


also there are hard done by. I think Barnet deserves much credit for


articulating the issue in this clear way. But you still have to come back


to the fact that it is councils more than any other part of the public


sector that are being put under pressure. What you think central


government should do? Rather than just talk about what they should do,


one of the things the graph tells you is that there are very


significant long-term shift in this country, and the question you have


to ask yourself is whether you think in the run-up to the 2015 elections


what you have heard so far from any of the parties actually addresses


them, because I can't think that they do. Even in terms of the NHS,


we have two major statements out of the NHS, the new head of the NHS


saying, in effect, we haven't got anything like enough money for the


health care we think we are going to need ten or 15 years ahead. So you


have Lord Warner suggested copayment is one of the ways, but we will have


to grasp nettles like that. If you shove a load of stuff onto councils,


you will then reap the whirlwind when it comes to what happens in


accident and emergency or in parts of the health service, and parts of


the education service the Government says it is trying to grapple with


the problems of long-term care and how we are going to deal with an


ageing population. But if they do, as David Aaronovitch predicts, keep


pushing it on to local councils, when you think the penny will drop?


I am not sure they were ever quite get to that point. There is a


tipping point, somewhere between what the councils are spending now


and the rope. To pick up David's issue, he is absolutely right that


what we have got is all the parties unwilling or unable to put up the


level of taxes in total. They stay at the same level year in, year out,


but they want to promise higher spending. They cannot bring


themselves to tackle that inconsistency. What about the


division between health care and social care? Will that change? We


will have to have more integration and collaboration with other public


service bodies. We need to temper up with other councils. We have done


that successfully and the big prizes are with the big services and social


care and with the police and the NHS and the DWP. But politically it is


not palatable which is why the Government will not talk about the


issues you have outlined. That is true and the question is at which


point does it become inevitable where we have to get people to pay


an allowance to their GP? I heard somebody say, we do not have a


funding problem, we can just do this and that. I sympathised with that,


but that is not the answer. Interesting, thank you very much.


David Aaronovitch is on the programme. He has written a book


about conspiracy theories you know. He is more of a denier than a


believer, but it always makes good telly. Take a look at this. The


problem is with conspiracy theory like best... I am here to warn


people, you keep telling me to shut up. This is not a game. You have an


arrest for public safety, life in prison. You are the worst person...


No, it is off with their heads! You are watching the Sunday Politics, we


have an idiot on the programme today. You cannot stop the Republic!


It is like that every morning. It makes pretty good television and you


Tube liked it and so did the BBC online service. And here are David


's top five conspiracy theories. Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The


assassination of JFK. Princess Diana's death. 9/11. And finally,


the secret bloodline of Christ. Joining us now from Bristol 's Tony


Gosling who investigates conspiracy theories. What attracts people to


conspiracy theories? Because they make order of aiders ordered world.


They suggest a world that is as chaotic as it is, somebody is behind


it all. Take the case of the disappeared Malaysian plane. That is


scary, but if you could bring yourself to believe somebody had


planned to do it and there are people who believe it, then you take


some of the frightening elements away. Tony Gosling, what do you


regard as the current, most important thing you think some would


regard as a conspiracy theory? That is easy. The Malaysian airline. If


you were to talk to families of the relatives of people on edge, a lot


of them are starting to say, we have not been told the truth. What is


your theory? There are a fact that we know and we know news management


has been going on on a big way in the story. First of all, when


Rolls-Royce announced the plane looked like it had been travelling


for five hours there was an avalanche of stories saying no, by


people who could not have known. They even got Rolls-Royce to retract


that story. There are also sightings in the Maldives. People could not


have known if people in the Maldives had seen the aircraft or not. I


understand all that. What I am trying to get is do you have a


theory as to what happened to that plane? It is impossible to tell. A


cover-up certainly of some sort is going on. Planes do not fly for five


hours and crash into the sea. Ask any pilot. If it is in trouble, it


will bitch or a land on the ground. It is the wife of Philip Wood, , the


guy from IBM, she says it feels like Howard Government is lying to her.


The banking conspiracy, the massive fraud going on in the city. I guess


because of all the uncertainty and the fact the plane has not been


located it is an ideal subject for conspiracy theories. It absolutely


is and Tony has outlined the classic build-up of the notion of what is


odd or strange or anomalous about it, quite apart from the


disappearance, and then in comes somebody's wife, what her


qualifications are, we do not know, to say something about it. There


will be websites which will build upon this. Gradually a theory will


emerge from it. And it comes from the same impossibility about not


knowing, which is appalling. Can you give an example of a conspiracy


theory which in the fullness of time proved to be true beyond doubt? The


JFK assassination, which David deals with in his book. I have not seen


the book, but there is a similar book which David may know that deals


very well with it. Lyndon Johnson was clearly meeting with the boss of


the FBI in the days running up to the assassination. There is somebody


who has confessed to having worked with the Mafia. With JFK he had come


to power with the help of the Chicago Mafia and he got his brother


after he was elected to start clamping down on the Mafia in


Chicago. I understand the motive, but it does not prove the conspiracy


theory. One of the things about theories like this is they are


completely hydra headed. As soon as you think you have dealt with one


set of facts, somebody will raise another. There are a few that you do


not hear and you date you know the literature pretty well. There is not


a great deal of mystery about the murder of JFK and there is no


mystery about who killed him. But the psychic impact of the death of a


president in that way gave rise to the need for it to be something


other than this single, disoriented side, Lee Harvey Oswald. The


industry that has grown up around it is absolutely massive. Tony is


completely sincere in believing these things. You any example of a


conspiracy theory which was ridiculed at the time, but turned


out to either be true or there seemed to be something in it? There


are all times of cover-ups which people say are true. The most


heinous was it was thought the Conservative Government of 1956 had


made a secret agreement with the Israeli Government to launch the


attack which led to us entering into Suez. That was true. That was true,


and it was denied in the House of Commons. I know you are interested


in this, but do you meet people who think that the world is run by


losers? No, David has mixed in real conspiracy in with some completely


bogus stuff like the moon landings. We know Hillsborough was a cover-up.


We heard the other day statements had been altered by the police to


protect their friends. That is a conspiracy. I would hope some of


those people who did that will go to jail in the fullness of time. We


have got the builder burg conferences. The next one will be in


Denmark at the end of May. I hope the BBC will cover it. This is


NATO's political lobbying arm which is not being looked at by our press


in this country and they are extremely powerful, set up by a


former SS officer. I hope we do cover it in Denmark. Last time it


was in Watford. Denmark will be much more fun. The land of Corgan, it is


much better. What is not a conspiracy is finding out the answer


to the daily quiz. The question was what has David Cameron been


complaining about the price of? A white sliced loaf of bread? A


first-class stamp? An England football team shirt? Or a souvenir


mug of Ed Miliband. David, what is the answer? It is the football


shirt. Well done, you say that with a sad look. I do. They are charging


?90 for a replica England shirt. I looked up some of the average prices


this morning, not because I knew it would come up, but because I was


interested in the subject and roughly clubs sell their replica


shirts for ?50. This is very close to being double. Let me introduce a


guest who disagrees. Mark Littlewood does not think it is a rip-off. Why


not? It is a prestigious, very heavily branded piece of kit. I do


not want to sound sexist, but I am amazed what women spend on clothes.


Way beyond ?90 because it is a brand in fashion. I know David Cameron


suggested he could cap the price, but it strikes me we have got to


bear in mind the FA is going to reinvest quite a bit of this money.


Do you want the shirts to be ?10 so loads of people can wear them in the


pub? Or do you want it to be ?90 and ?80 is invested by the FA in the


grassroots game or improving the training of referees? Maybe I do not


know how to work these things out, but I would have thought you would


sell fewer at ?90. Markets do not tell you everything. They do not


tell you about the kid in Sunderland or Kettering who might conceivably


have got one of these shirts at ?45, but will not get one at 90p.


They may invest the rest, but we are being asked to invest emotionally in


the progress of a football team. It is not exactly the same as any other


transaction, it has an additional element to it. You can invest in the


England football team without investing in a replica shirt. It


will not be affordable for a lot of people. They have to price it to


maximise their return. They want to bring in the maximum amount of money


to reinvest in football. There is a reputational question here as well.


Not everything is in the pricing, a lot of it is in people's reactions.


Should David Cameron have interfered? Yes,. The joke is they


will get knocked out in the first round and you will not have paid


enough to cover it. That is all for today. Thanks to our guests. The one


o'clock News is starting over on BBC One and I will be on BBC One tonight


with Rachel Johnson, Angela Rippon, Quentin Letts, Miranda Green, Diane


Abbott and Michael Portillo on This Week from 11:35pm. I will be here at


noon tomorrow with all the big political stories of the day.




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