10/04/2014 Daily Politics


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Afternoon, folks. Welcome to the Daily Politics. Maria Miller's gone


but the stench of yet another expenses scandal still hangs around


Westminster. But who should govern the lawmakers? He was a thorn in


Labour's side and a strident critic of Thatcherism, can this man


galvanise the left in next month's European and local elections? All


the choice the free market can provide but are human beings a bit


rubbish at making the right choices? Not only are Cameron and Osborne two


posh boys who don't know the price of milk but they are two arrogant


posh boys. But do our political leaders really need to know the


price of basic foodstuffs? All that in the next hour. And with


us for the duration today is a man who should be good with numbers -


the FT's undercover economist and presenter of Radio 4's More or Less,


Tim Harford. Let's start with house prices. House sales have climbed to


their highest levels in six years, according to figures from the Royal


Institution of Chartered Surveyors. It has raised concerns that not


enough houses are coming on to the market to meet demand from buyers,


putting an upward pressure on prices. Let's talk to Simon


Rubinsohn, chief economist at the Royal Institution of Chartered


Surveyors. Is this largely a London and the South problem? Perhaps six


months ago it was a London and South problem. We are now seeing activity


picked up across the country. It is partly the signs of a recovery in


the You, me. -- in the wider economy.


Supply is not keeping pace. House prices have not returned to the peak


of 2008? In terms of pricing, London is very special. The recovery began


earlier and there are other elements to the recovery and demand in London


as well. In the North, the North West all the North East, and also in


most of Scotland, maybe excluding Edinburgh, house prices are still a


long way off the peak in 2008. What we are saying in the report today is


there are encouraging signs of activity picking up. People who had


not been able to move in many parts of the country because there had not


been supply of mortgage finance or the appetite to move, they now have


that opportunity. We are beginning to see that recovery kick in.


Outside London and a few centres, prices are still way below where


they were in 2007/. Let's put the Central London market to one side.


-- 2007/ /2008. Maybe you could throw in money laundering as well. I


would not say that although I probably just did! Everywhere else,


what is pushing up house prices? There is not enough supply. Demand


is recovering. It is not excessive all fuelled by debt in the way it


was in the last decade. There is not the supply. You girls is only just


beginning to recover. Existing home owners are reluctant to trade up in


a significant way so you are not seeing second-hand stock coming onto


the market. When I first got onto the property market, like many


people did in the mid-70s, duty was not much of a consideration. You had


to pay it but it was not a huge sum of money. Now it is a lot of money.


Is that it is an incentive? We have been arguing that reform of stamp


duty is urgently required. It seems bizarre to me we have a system where


it kicks in in full at certain levels. It is a slap structure, and


marginal rate structure. That is inconsistent with every other form


of tax. It is necessary and overdue and would help people at the bottom


end of the market, the first time buyers, who really are being


suddenly saddled with very huge tax bills. Thank you very much for


marking our card on that. We are in a situation where the politicians


know how to jack up demand but they have yet to show us they know how to


jack up the supply. You have put your finger on the problem. This is


what we need, more houses to be built. British houses are small by


European standards. They are old by European standards. If we built more


houses, obviously we are building some. If we build more houses, that


would tend to bring prices down and make them more affordable, which is


good in all kinds of ways. Housing construction is a great source of


jobs for skilled and semiskilled workers. I understand the politics


of it. It is difficult to point to any particular field in the country


and say, bring in the bulldozers, we are going to build houses. It also


has economic consequences. If you are living in the north and you own


your new house and you get offered a job in the south, you'd think, that


is a good job, more money, or interesting job. You sell your house


in the north and it would not give you enough money to buy a house in


the south. No, it would not. Stamp duty makes it expensive to buy and


sell houses. That is odd. I would see why you would have a tax on


owning an expensive house... Like a mansion tax? Or the council tax, if


it was rationally structured. This is a tax on buying and selling. It


is a disincentive to buy and sell houses and that will slow down


mobility. It will make people only move when they feel they have to.


That is not a great idea. The record of the Government on housing is not


stellar. Even that of the last Labour government was not that


great. Politicians know they have to provide more homes. They know that.


They want to do it as well on the left and the right. There seems to


be so many institutional blocks to doing so, whether it is planning


laws or the NIMBY -ism or the availability of getting land. It


would need very bold reformer indeed. You can see the vested


interests of house-builders. They are not keen to have planning


reforms because they know how it works. Older voters who we know are


very powerful as a voting bloc. They tended to own houses and they are


not keen to have houses built in their back gardens. A lot of vested


interests who do not want change. A lot of people who see themselves


getting onto the housing ladder do not fully appreciate what a


structural problem planning laws are. Thank you for that. Now it is


time for our daily quiz. The departure of Maria Miller yesterday


led to something of a reshuffle. Knowing that Tim here lives and


breathes minor changes to the Government front bench, we thought


we'd see if he's been paying attention. So which of these


ministers is the odd one out? Is it... A) Ken Clarke, b) Grant


Shapps, c) Nicky Morgan, or d) Sajid Javid? At the end of the show, Tim


will give us the correct answer. You will, when she? I will try. Maria


Miller's resignation has demonstrated once again that


allegations of financial impropriety are the hottest of the political hot


potatoes. MPs now face accusations of being too soft on their own and


there are calls to change the way politicians are censured. The rules


governing MPs' business costs and expenses are decided by IPSA, the


Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, set up in 2009 in the


wake of the expenses scandal IPSA sets MPs' expenses limits and


authorises any claims. Complaints are investigated by IPSA's


Compliance Officer However, because Maria Miller's expense claims


pre-dated the creation of IPSA, they had to be investigated by the


Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards They ensure MPs abide by


the Code of Conduct and recommend action. The Parliamentary


Commissioner for standards investigated her claims. It is his


job to look into whether MPs have stuck to the code of conduct and


recommend action if they have not. It's then up to the Commons


Standards Committee, made up of MPs and lay members, to decide what


sanction should be taken. However, not everyone is happy with this.


Former Parliamentary Commissioner Sir Ian Kennedy said MPs marking


their own homework always ends in scandal. According to some, the


solution is a right to recall, taking the decision away from


Parliament and giving it straight to the people. The fact is the real


answer to the scandal we had back in 2009/2010 is actually appeared in


the coalition agreement. I have been championing this for some time. The


right of voters in a constituency to demand a by-election. The coalition


accepted this. It was part of their agreement and they have done nothing


about it. That leaves people with the impression, people say things at


election time they do not really mean. Who would have thought that?


Politicians saying things at election time they do not mean. We


will come back to recall in a minute. Let's talk now to the


Director of the Hansard Society, Ruth Fox. I am right in thinking now


that the standards committee of MPs, which came to their final


judgment, some thought quite a soft one, Maria Miller, that won't going


forward have a role on MPs expenses, is that right? Ipsa will


make the decision to an independent compliance officer. They will have


legal recourse if they want to reclaim money from MPs and add


interest charges and costs. Ultimately, it can go to the High


Court if necessary. This committee will still have a say on other


disciplinary matters will stop to the extent of non-expenses


discipline, it could be argued that MPs will continue to mark their own


homework? That is certainly true. As you mentioned in respect of any new


cases that emerge from MPs related to expenses who were in the last


parliament which predates the creation of its. It is important to


remember that people have been saying, MPs marking their own


homework, the solution is independent regulation. On the


standards committee there are three independent members of the public.


That is the first time ever on a Parliamentary committee, who sit


with members of the House and make judgments on the conduct of MPs and


the punishments that should be meted out. The Maria Miller case is the


first big test of that. It is interesting that they appear to have


reached the same inclusions as the elected members on that committee


about her case. It would have been devastating for the politicians on


that committee if the three lay members had done a minority report.


They do not have a vote but they could, I think, have done a minority


report saying, we do not agree with the recommendations now would have


been devastating. They do not have a right to do but they do have an


ability to register their views. They can produce a minority report


and have it published. The committee cannot publish its own report until


those independent members have produced their report and they are


published together. They may not have a vote but they have immense


influence. It would be devastating for elected members if the


independent members publicly disagreed with them. They have yet


to flex their muscles on this matter. Final question, do you have


a view on this idea of right to recall? Going back to the comments,


I think it was Nigel Farage in your clips saying, it was in the


coalition agreement. This is one of the big problems. They see


politicians make promises and then not deliver. It feeds the idea that


no matter what party is in charge, it does not make that much


difference. Recall is one of those measures that the public recognise


as a reform which could help in terms of accountability between


general elections. At the moment they do not feel there is any


accountability between elections and this is a measure which could assist


with that. Let's stick with this issue. With us now is the


Conservative MP, Zac Goldsmith, and the former adviser to Tony Blair,


John McTernan. Welcome to you both. You and I have talked several times


on this programme about the right to recall. I know you are in favour of


it. Why are you against it, John? Yellow mapper I do not think anyone


is going unpunished in the current system. -- I do not think. I do not


see what problem is being addressed by the recall. Maria Miller has not


lost her seat? There has not been an election. Neal Hamilton was


challenged and knocked off. The system regulates itself. Voters get


rid of MPs who do not want and the parties get rid of the people they


do not want in positions. What do you say to that? If there is a


scandal early in parliament, there is a five-year period where people


are represented by someone in whom they have no confidence. Three mat


time, the decisions might be made. -- during that time. In a rock-solid


Tory seat, nearly way of getting rid of the candidate is by involving


improper democracy. They need a candidate in whom they have


confidence. That is not all is possible. I think, and I speak as an


MP, I know there has been no mechanism at all whereby my


constituents have been able to hold me to account since I was elected in


2010. I might get booted out in 2015 that those five years matter. I


don't think the recall proposition helps. Say you have an MP who


supports HS2, in a constituency where 10% of the population get


together and have a by-election attacking them for that, it is a


license for NIMBYs. It is a licence for the voice of the people. They


came up with an arcane thing, tempers trigger, which also said you


got have a recall by the -- recall ballot. 20% trigger is better but if


I had money behind me I could generate the money and a campaign to


get 20% of the people, particularly with the government proposition


where automatically people with postal votes get sent petition form


to sign on time. It is a very easy system to gain. You elect MPs for


the term of the parliament, you have good ones and bad ones, I don't


think interfering solves a problem that is so gigantic you should put


anarchy at the heart of it. There is no evidence anywhere in the world


where recall happens and it happens all over the world, of anarchy


arising. The existence of recall keeps MPs on their toes, they behave


better. It isn't borne out by experience. Even so we have 650 MPs,


take which would park, it would be absurd for Richmond Park to be


represented by somebody in favour of Heathrow expansion, it is the most


unpopular concept is doing the rounds today in my patch. If I were


to change my views on Heathrow I suspect people would have the right


to recall me. I would no longer be representing their views. If you


believe in democracy you have to believe representatives speak for


the people who have elected them. HS2 is another example. If it were


the case that two or three MPs were booted out for supporting the


project that was unpopular in their constituency it wouldn't have an


impact on national policy but I maintain and a recall on this, a


representative being recalled because of unpopular decision.


Across the United States in the mayoral system in the States, what


elites do is paralysis, recall is used all the threat of recall create


administrative or political paralysis. The best example is


California weather was a recall ballot -- where there was a recall


ballot. Energy prices had the government in California had got


into a total mess over energy prices. The people were furious.


There will books written about Ray Davies and why he was a useless


governor. Every single governor has faced we call Dash has faced a


recall attempt. It is very rarely deployed, it is about Loccoz voters


must have one thing is very badly wrong. The initiation of it is a


distraction. Come back to the point you have said, if you changed your


mind on Heathrow, you should be recalled. The discipline is there


already, you do in your constituents your judgement, you are not a


delegate. You are meant to go there and be a transmission belt for their


opinions. You are Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park. If I were to do


the dramatic U-turn on Heathrow expansion I would have misled people


before the election. Why should Conservative voters in Richmond Park


and North can still have to vote for a Lib Dem candidate because they


don't like their Tory candidate, why should they vote for an entire suite


of policies because they don't like... Where are you on this? It is


a daft idea. It is the fiction that all voters in a constituency are


happy with their MP anyway, many people voted for other parties


become dissatisfied. Even if you have constant because you couldn't


keep everybody happy. There is accountability, Maria Miller lost a


well paying job, she had a reputation damaged and she will face


the electorate next spring. I don't see the problem with British


politics is it is not short term is enough or populist enough, that is


what we call would bring. There is a different dynamic when the election


brings, people vote for the party because they want their party to


form the man pulled up Maria Miller could well hold on to let it come


the election not because people are Basingstoke are happy with her, but


because enough of them want a Tory government they will vote for the


Tory whoever it is. He said the system works, but for a lot of


people watching this programme and for a lot of people getting in


touch, they don't think it has it all. They think shouldn't pay back


the money she was meant to, they think she continues as an MP with a


good salary, and she even gets redundancy money from being a


Cabinet Minister. In 2001 came within 880 votes being a Labour


seat. There is an anti-Tory majority if it wishes to mobilise it. In 2001


the Labour Party under Mr Blair had huge appeal to the south. You were


part of that, that is not quite true today. But your points come to the


same thing, the Tory party are proposing a member of the party,


Maria Miller in this case, who you think Basingstoke might not want.


That is a matter for party reform, for compulsory pre-selections by


primary is, every time you put somebody up, it is allowing the


public to choose for top if you concern is the party is going to put


somebody up, if Maria Miller is toxic to the voters, a candidate


would be found who would throw her out, the public would throw her out.


My concern is the five years in between elections. I don't think it


is possible to exaggerate this disconnect between people and power,


I feel this is an MP every single day, when we look at but after this


programme, there is an overwhelming hatred geared towards politicians, a


sense politics has become so remote that people no longer have any


impact, they cannot hold MPs to account. What recall we do is it


would give people a sense of empowerment. Why not have


high-frequency general elections? If an MP loses an annual contest voters


need to be able to keep them on their toes at this is the only


mechanism I can think of that would act public key people on the days


between elections from day one until the last day. Challenger again,


there is not a single example of a successful recall campaign anywhere


in the world, Canada, Croatia, parts of South America, Switzerland, South


Korea, there is not one example, any constitutional expert has been able


to provide, of an unfair, successful campaign. The fear of the mob is a


fear of democracy. I will be vexatious and call this to an end.


I will have to give this year 's London Marathon a mess, not least


because I have got to be done the Sunday Politics for an hour after it


finishes. It is the perfect view of winding down after 26 mile one, so I


highly recommend it. We have got a big debate coming the Sunday on the


European elections. Some brave MPs are taking part in one of the world


's most watched marathons. Alex Forsyth is on College Green with two


of them. I would love to be there on Sunday pounding the pavements,


taking part in the London Marathon, but unfortunately I am just too


busy. A number of MPs are just taking part, we think it is a record


number this year, a total of nine have decided to take on the


challenge and we have grabbed two of them here with us today, in their


full running regalia. Peggy throw much for being with us. I am not a


runner, the idea of running 26 miles feels we with horror and dread, what


on earth possesses you? It is a long way, I'm doing it to raise money for


Cancer research UK, most people 's lives are touched by cancer at some


point, my certainly has been. Every two minutes summary is diagnosed and


each week 2800 people 's lives are saved by amazing research. They are


a fantastic charity doing amazing work and I am really proud, via my


site, 20 raise as much money for stop my father is 70 this year, we


are going to run it together. Here's a veteran marathon runner so I am


hoping he will drag me round because I haven't done a huge amount of


training. I hear you are one of the more MPs. And certainly competitive


in terms of how much money I want to raise for Marek Yuri Dash Dash Marie


Curie. His arms like you know your timings. -- it sounds like. We have


made these classy heads on state and I want you to guess the personal


best. You have referenced him, let's start with this one, what is his


personal best time, Jim Murphy? It was three point 31. 3.31. On the


money, good effort. The infamous Ed Balls running for the third year. Do


we know what stunning time he has made. It is over five hours. 5.14.


Desk each others? Mine is 3.394. What about down? I bet it is to


something. 3.12 is my personal best. Good effort. There is obviously a


light-hearted side, but it is serious as well, a lot of people are


encouraged, are you encouraged by the number of MPs running? It


running for a national and local charity, and in London it is a great


thing to do, quite an unhealthy lifestyle, makes sure we get out in


the evening or morning to one, brings a bit of discipline back to


life. Are you looking forward to it? Nervous? It is a global sporting


event, people come from around the world. Great to be a part of it in


some small way. Well done to you both, good luck for Sunday. I'm not


convinced yet but I will be certainly watching.


Two weeks ago we spoke to a representative of Left Unity. We


speak to Dave Nellist, the national chair of the trade unionists and


socialist coalition, known as task. You may remember him as a form


unable MP -- former Labour MP. Labour magpies National Executive


has suspended the entire constituency party of garbage is


East because it is continuing to support the MP Dave Nellist. He was


expelled over a week ago for alleged links with militants. I am not a


member of the militants, I am no longer a member of the Labour Party.


I am still a socialist. I shall go back to the people who are selected


my first, supported me, and ask them. The militant standing


candidates against the Labour Party. They have a cheek, anybody, to think


they can remain in our party. They have no honour. Get rid of me,


tragically they did, does not help Labour's chances in the general


election one iota. And here in the studio is Dave Nellist. Is it true


that someone had a sense of humour in the whips office and put to him


at a young MP called Tony Blair? It was only four weeks before he went


off and got an office with Gordon Brown. If you want to hold me


responsible for the creation of new Labour, I hold up my hands. We saw


that you got expelled from the Labour Party because they thought


you were too supportive, to close off militant tendency. In 1990, the


poll tax battle were occurring. I was next on the list to go to


prison. Neil Kinnock thought he would win votes by expelling hard


left wingers who were prepared to go to prison over the poll tax. Two


years later, he spent two years attacking the left, and he lost the


elections in 1992. The strategy did not work. You have been outside the


Labour Party ever since. It is tough being on the left if you are not


inside the Labour Party, is it not? Not now. I do not see major


differences. You had a guest here a few weeks ago he described the


difference between Ed Balls and George Osborne about 3%. That is


what most people think about the big parties. There are two divisions in


politics, Labour, Liberal Democrat, the Tories, UKIP. There is a Second


Division and TUSC, of which I am a member, let's deal with them, it is


the sixth largest party in the country. It is the only one with


absolute policy against austerity and the effects on local people


services. Why does the breakthrough of the left, and I do not mean in


the sense of winning a majority, but a breakthrough in making progress,


why does it not happen? I am thinking particularly, there was


what might be regarded on the left in 2008 is a crisis of capitalism.


We are still trying to recover from there. It did not result, not just


in this country that actually across the western world, it did not result


in a breakthrough for the left. The lack of PR in this country is more


difficult. We have left Socialist party members. The other major


factor is the biggest trade unions are imprisoned within the Labour


Party. The unions were working -- we are working with were smaller,


unaffiliated year and -- unions. We had the last general secretary in


the current assistant general secretary. We had the smaller,


unaffiliated unions. They do not yet have the social weight of the bigger


unions. It was not a foregone conclusion mac Unite would always


put its money into the Labour Party. It is an argument I have had. I have


been a member for 40 years. We have got 120 members standing at


candidate in this election. Conveners, shop stewards, active


union members. The debate that is going on in the big unions is going


in our direction. There is a problem on the left. There are so many


different groups. You are a member of the Socialist party of England


and Wales. Someone told me that goes by the acronym SPEW. Is that right?


Not by its members. I'd have you up also a member of TUSC. You will be a


candidate for the no to EU party. You are going to need a big front


window to get all these different posters. The Socialist party is not


standing in the elections. We are part of the TUSC coalition. We may


be small but the RMT has 80,000 members. I repeat, we are a major


minor party, we are the Second Division. We are the biggest


challenge to the left of Labour for 60 years. No one has had 600


candidates for the left of Labour since the early 1950s. What would be


a good result? If we meet the day after the local election, when the


results have come in, what would you consider to be a good result? It is


visibility and viability. This is the second interview I have done in


four years. The first one was with you for years ago. Nobody else on


BBC TV has looked at the politics outside the big parties, except


UKIP. That is one of our big things. There are 160 towns, cities and


boroughs in this country with polls on May the 2nd. At least half the


country will hear a little bit of an anti-austerities message. If people


watching this programme today, they have lost the care of the elderly in


their community will stop they are saying, does it matter whether it is


Labour, Tory or Liberal Democrats making that decision? Our tests, if


you like, between now and May the 22nd, is to increase visibility and


give hope to people. What would you regard as a good result the next


day? We are defending one or two seats. We're not going to say we


will win dozens. Labour itself, in its early years 100 years ago, with


the hard march. Even UKIP with its first five Parliamentary elections


averaged 1.7% of the Parliamentary vote. It would be easy with a


differences them. We are where we are. We have the biggest challenge


for the left in 60 years. We will give people hope. Do you think that


the left has an opportunity to breakthrough or has that opportunity


posted that donate, has it already gone? It appears to have gone. --


post 2008. I agree that the first past the post system makes it very


difficult for small parties to breakthrough. I was curious, do you


think the country would be better governed if we had maybe eight or


ten significant small parties, the Green Party and others putting


together coalitions? At the moment, there is an overlapping agenda on


posterity. The argument is that used to take place within those parties


were first marginalised. They are not given the prominence they should


be given. If different arguments could come forward, you had a


conversation about recall of MPs. They have got that in America. You


have to have different parties to make real differences. We do not yet


have that in this country. That is why we are standing to create the


conditions in which a new Workers' Party can grow. Thank you for being


with us. Now we are going to talk about tough choices. You've already


made one. You could be watching Bargain Hunt on BBC One, or a repeat


of the House of Elliot on ITV3 but you've opted to watch the Daily


Politics instead. Politicians like to bandy the word around when it


comes to public services but are us human beings actually any good at


making decisions? Adam's been to his local Tesco to investigate.


Choose chopped tomatoes, choose chilli sauce, choose from a lot of


olive oils. To understand why we're actually a bit rubbish at choosing,


head for the aisle labelled spreads and preserves. In a famous


experiment in California, shoppers were offered a choice of six kinds


of jam or 24 kinds of jam. The people offered less choice bought


more jam, which gave rise to the conclusion that people get freaked


out if they are offered too much choice. Is that why 60% of


households have never switched energy companies? As a result, the


regulators have cut the number of tariffs dramatically. Is that why we


waste an estimated ?5 billion a year by being on the wrong type of mobile


contract? What about choice in say the health service? Under the choose


and book system, you can pick the hospital where you will be treated


as an outpatient. Fellow shopper David Boyle is an expert. He has


studied choice in schools, hospitals and social care for the Government.


How do the public choose their service? By picking the nearest one.


It's important to them that their relative should be able to visit


them in hospital regularly, they're not going to be miles and miles


away. For schools, for instance, they need to get there in the


morning. If they do not have proper transport, the choice is much


narrower. He found that a majority of people like the idea of choosing


their public service but they seem just as happy if they did not get a


choice at all. This Harley Street cardiologist reckons it is because


there are some areas of life where we don't want to make our own


decisions. When we are ill and vulnerable, it is not the same as


choosing a pasta or an olive oil. It is life and death, it is important.


People want to be able to put their trust into a health care


professional with their interests at heart. I think you need this and


here is why. It turns out there are many theories about decision-making


as there are pasta sauces on the shelf. We tend to be overly


optimistic, we suffer from inertia. We can only process seven pieces of


information at once. Far too many theories for me to bother picking


which one is the right one. And Tim Harford is still with us. People


like by and large supermarket choice. But do they really want


choice? Can they make the same kind of choices in the public services?


It is worth distinguishing different reasons my Wii like choice. -- why


we like choice. I will not make a choice on your behalf because I


respect you as an autonomous being. People like to be trusted to make


their own choices and asked their views. Different people want


different things. I want a different kind of pasta sauce and they might


want a different birthing experience. The third reason is,


even if you do not really care exactly what you get, you care about


quality, offering people a choice might be a good stick to beat Severs


revivals with and raise overall standards. I do not care whether I


buy milk from Sainsbury's or Tesco but the fact I have a choice


hopefully raises quality and raises service and lowers prices. This


whole debate about choice is, we are very muddled about what we think it


is actually supposed to achieve. My son is two years old. He sees me


cooking in the kitchen. He has a little plastic cookery set. He


copies me. He said he is making soup or whatever or mashed potato. I feel


the choice agenda in public services is like that. You see the market,


people see the market and say, people make choices on the market


and that works pretty well. Things like choosing a book in the national


health -- choose and book in the National Health Service, it does not


really have the same content in the market. Hospitals are not going to


go bankrupt because no one wants to go there. We're not comfortable with


that idea in British services. People often say when it is a public


service, I do not want choice, I just want the school at the end of


My Road to be a good school. But the problem with saying that is, if the


school at the end of the road is the only one you have a choice to go to,


that may be the reason why, because it is a monopoly, it may not be a


good school. Absolutely. If schools were subject to competitive


pressures, schools would go bankrupt and be shut down. No one would want


to go there. Other schools would start-up. When you phrase it like


that, which is how the private sector in schooling works in this


country, people start to feel uncomfortable. Pro-market people


like me think that maybe there is a way that might be made to work. Most


people do not like the idea and are not comfortable with the idea. Until


you have that, the choice is really a bit of a Sherard. Most people do


not have a choice of school they are happy with. There are things people


who believe in choice to not talk about. It depends, to some extent,


on overcapacity in the system. If the system is fully use, there is no


choice. We see that in supermarkets with all the food that is thrown


away. That is a more difficult thing in the public sector where there are


scarce resources. It is unacceptable for a hospital to shut down. That,


fundamentally, is what the market mechanism is. If it is no good, it


closes. People do not seem comfortable with that. There is a


question of information. Do people have information they need? In some


cases, yes, people do have a sense of what a good school is and whether


it fits their preferences. The cardiologist we heard from has a


point. If I am having a heart attack, I want that seem to and I


have no strong opinions about cardiologists. The other thing about


choice that is not discussed or may be put under the carpet a bit, if


choice is the important factor, in most things by definition, the


better off you are, the more choices you have. That is the way the world


works. We accept that in most cases. We get very queasy when it comes to


health care. Or education. If we really saw a serious push for


choice, there would be a hospital choice magazine or a trip advisor


for schools. I do not think we are bare and I do not think we will get


there. It is not with easy to imagine what really privatised,


market-driven public services sector would look like.


Are you a savvy shopper, it do you know the price of milk or bread?


Knowing the price of house-call goods has been seen as a touch of


how knowledgeable politicians are. Let's have a look at some senior


politician strain to answer how much you would spend on milk or bread in


one of their critics. What is the cost of a sliced white loaf? You can


get one for a pound. The value of his 47p. I try to get my children to


eat the sort of granary. Do you know how much you pay for it? No, because


my wife buys most of it. I do check where it comes from. 80p. No, it is


40p. One of the big ones. Not only are they too posh boys who don't


know the price of milk, they are arrogant posh boys who showed no


remorse, contrition, no passion to want to understand the lives of


others. We are joined by leading Tories who


you just saw. Her first novel is loosely based on her own experiences


groaning map in Liverpool -- growing up in Liverpool. What is the price


of not? If you go into a named supermarket, Tesco or Asda, you can


get a full pint container for 90p. It's not so much the people of


politicians know exact what the price of milk is in its own right,


is it not a shorthand for people just wondering whether they are in


touch or not? Bug is not expensive. The last time I looked was when 19


raise this issue, and then I looked at the Marks Spencer is in the


local railway station, Tesco, Sainsbury's, it was 49p in all of


them. There is no benefit to knowing because the price was the same, I


was about right and I am no way qualified to run the country and I


should not be let anywhere near the reins of power even though I do know


the price of a pint of not and it wasn't very much. That is five


minutes work, at the minimum wage for top we are labouring the milk


aspect. This point is you often hear politicians say, I set myself, I was


brought up by council estate. That doesn't mean anything. Neither just


knowing the price of milk. What I have tried to convey is the


emotional responses that people feel who grow up in a background which is


deprived, which is defined by poverty. And what that makes them


into, the kind of people in two, in a political arena you need to


understand that. The majority of people actually have a tough life,


the majority of people struggle, the majority of people do not go to


public schools. Doesn't matter politicians don't know the price of


some basic foodstuffs people have to buy? It is probably on a scale of


one to 20, number one, in what you have to do to understand the lives


of others, to know what goes into a basic family shopping basket, and


how much that costs, and what a family 's budget is a step number


two. What the percentage of that budget is to go and do the stuff.


People do the test, taking people to go and live on a council estate. The


one I went to was much better than the one I was brought up on, but


they will take them and it is something they give away. That


doesn't actually feed into the emotional responses, the hurt and


the anger and the upset people feel when they think politicians are out


of touch with how they live their daily lives. What you say to the


proposition that it is important politicians, particularly those who


run the country, that economic policy, determine tax, and the


public sector wage levels, they should know what the cost of a


basket of basic provisions from the supermarket is. That doesn't mean


anything until they know what the average wages. They probably do know


that already. My colleague at the BBC, they used to test civil


servants on this and they had no idea. Civil servants aren't


elected. Elected politicians have an absolute responsibility to know what


goes into the average family house in terms of income, the average


wages, amateur costs to fill up the car, because until they do that they


will not understand how people feel about the policies that they make


which affect people 's lives. What is frustrating is it is a very easy


criticism to make of a Prime Minister, that he she is out of


touch. Because of course all prime ministers by definition lead lives


that are very different to ordinary people. I fully agree it would be


great if we have our diversity in politics, more diversity of


background, it is just a very easy cheap shot to save the current


incumbent in the ten Downing St doesn't live a life like ordinary


people, because of course they don't. That is not the fundamental


qualification to run the country, I know a lot of people have tough


lives, they know exactly how much a basket or trolley costs, who I do


not want running the country. One thing I would say as a result of my


comment is David Cameron proper leaders now know how much the


average basket of food costs. Apparently he is good to read my


book over the Easter holidays. You stick by that comment Mr Cameron and


Mr Osborne too posh boys who don't know the price of milk. I regret the


use of the web posh and I don't have any issues with eating or public


school, I saw my daughters to public school. I thought the fact they were


posh was why they didn't know the price of milk. Did a user would


arrogant? I do regret the use of the word posh. Zac Goldsmith is apparent


bash fantastic MP, Boris Johnson, excellent MP. They both went to


Eton. I have no issues with eating or posh schools. What about


arrogant? I have issues with anybody who is arrogant, Andrew. You called


them arrogant. I think probably they may have been but I doubt either of


them are now. There is one fewer woman in the Cabinet as a result of


Maria Miller and Mr Cameron had the opportunity to appoint another woman


to replace that he didn't, it is a problem. I think women in the


Cabinet and around the table and in politics is an absolute obsession


with Westminster journalists and politicians. I doubt anybody, any of


my constituents, actually care, or they are interested is the right


person is doing the job. However, having said that, we do have a


Cabinet and parliament which reflects the country. We are working


towards that. What I want is the best people around the Cabinet,


particularly at the moment, running the country. That is what I want to


see. With only three in the Cabinet we have the best people. Even in


Labour's cabinets, the only people who sat around the table were


childless or wealthy. And that is another problem. We do have women


who come around the table who may not be representative of the women


out there because to be an MP in the first place and to be a woman MP and


a mother and stay on the Cabinet is a difficult job unless you have a


lot of money you don't have children .


Now for a culture fix for top handbag is a play described as


wickedly funny and transfers to the vaudeville Theatre in London's West


End today for top looks at the relationship between Margaret


Thatcher and the Queen. Imagining what went on in the meetings behind


the palace's closed doors. For actresses play both older and


younger versions of the formidable female duo. He was a short clip of


the play to whet your appetite. I can remember an odd sense of


loneliness when I received the call which summoned me to the palace. The


Queen receives the authority to form a government. When one is re-elected


one doesn't go, so that first meeting is unique. She was my


eighth. Winston, said Anthony, Sir Alec. Dear Harold W. Heath. And Jim


Callaghan. He bade me farewell that morning. It is affecting when they


go. One doesn't have time to turn around. How goes the last and in


comes the next with barely a pause. One has often built up a


relationship. We are joined by Stella Gonet. What


research did you do to get into the role? Research. It is hardly


difficult, there is so much, the rather silly videos, books will stop


and other relationship between the two, quite a lot on that? I suppose


a lot of this is fun conjecture. It is a comedy. It is really good fun.


They didn't get on, though, did they? Who are we to say? She


mentioned the Queen very little. That is interesting. It is


interesting to put two people together. To be forced to have


weekly meetings for that many years, for two people who came from


such different backgrounds, different worldviews, different


interests, it will be a little awkward. Time magazine said this


play would be loved by liberal royalists. What does that mean? I


think Moira has got the balance right. It is a play that can be


loved by both sides of the House, essentially for top of a slow we


want both sides of the House to come along. It has got a lot to appeal to


both sides. In playing this part, have you


changed your views on Margaret Thatcher, you feel you know her


better now, what have you learnt by playing her? Undoubtedly know her


better. No more about what made... I feel sorry for her, is what I feel.


Ultimately. In the film that came out, she did seem very sad and


lonely. We're not talking about Streep's performance. All she had


also politics so when that went she had nothing, where is the Queen has


many passions, that is what keeps you going. Do you do the famous


Sunday Times story? We do, indeed. That was mine. You have something to


do with that, didn't you? She told me to a 9-point offer in the poles.


-- it took nine points off her in the poles. It is running at


affordable theatre, press night tonight, runs until the 3rd of


August. Let's hope, if we get the audiences. People seem to be


massively enjoying it in the previews. I want to come. Please do.


It sounds fantastic. Just time to find the answer to the quiz. Which


of these ministers is the odd one out following yesterday 's


reshuffle? Ken Clarke Grant Shapps, Nicky Morgan or Sajid Javid? Sajid


Javid, he was the first Asian in Cabinet. He's the only one entitled


to attend the Cabinet in his own right, the other three getting only


because they are invited. Thanks to our guests. I will be back tonight


for This Week. And back here at noon as well. Goodbye.


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