11/04/2014 Daily Politics


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Afternoon folks, welcome to the Daily Politics. The former Deputy


Speaker of the Commons, Nigel Evans, is cleared of all charges of sexual


assault. So should he have been prosecuted in the first place? Mr


Evans was cleared by a jury yesterday of nine counts, including


one of rape. It's yet another high profile case where the prosecution


case has collapsed. Is the Crown Prosecution Service fit for purpose?


After the last 11 months nothing will be the same again.


After the resignation of his Culture Secretary, David Cameron probably


didn't want this to be the week to launch an election campaign. So will


it damage the Tories in the upcoming European and Local elections?


Anti-EU parties are on the rise across Europe. We report from the


Netherlands on why voters are turning against the European


project. And, he's a former banker and


Treasury minister, but does he know anything about the arts? Just how


cultural do you have to be to be the Culture Secretary? All that in the


next hour. With us for the first half of the


programme is the venerable Trevor Kavanagh, who writes for the Sun,


and the journalist and broadcaster Miranda Green,. -- Green. Welcome to


you both. The Director of Public Prosecutions has defended the


decision to prosecute the Conservative MP Nigel Evans over a


string of sex offence allegations. Mr Evans was cleared on all nine


counts yesterday - including one of rape - by a jury at Preston Crown


Court. Numerous MPs have criticised the decision to bring charges in the


first place, and a former Director of Public Prosecutions, Ken


MacDonald, says prosecutors risk "losing perspective" by going "on a


mission" to pursue prominent figures. Well, the current Director


of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, had this to say this


morning. Our mission is to prosecute cases fairly, and in accordance with


the code for crown prosecutors and we do that no matter who the alleged


defendant is, or who the victim is. We need to make sure that we do keep


cool heads and look at the evidence objectively, which is what we do. He


said she shouldn't shy away from taking difficult case, I think that


is important that we don't take just cases that, where there is a


certainty of conviction because we would be failing victims and failing


in our duty to see justice is done. You have to remember there are


victims who complained to the place which started the investigation. We


have to be careful about some of the asummerions we make. Often victims


don't see themselves as victim, and they may not see themselves as


victims for all sorts of reason, such as the power of the allegeded


of fender, the fact they are who only people who have shown them


supposed love or affection, so we have to be careful about those


assumptions. Joining me Conservative Bob Stewart, a friend of Nigel


Evans. He testified on his behalf in the trial. Welcome to the daily


politics, should this case have been brought? No Why? Because the


evidence clearly wasn't enough for a prosecution. That was relatively


clear when the witnesses went into the box and said I didn't really


feel I was a victim. I didn't feel this was right. You know, I have


known Nigel for a long time, Andrew, 20 years since I was in the army,


and the one thing about him, he is no bully. He maybe silly at times


but he is no bully. So why do you think it was brought? I don't know.


I tell you this, what was, what happened. You have Nigel Evans


career in bit, his wellbeing destroyed, his position as Deputy


Speaker gone, and frankly, he told me last night when I spoke to him,


he is concern head is will have to pay a huge amount of money in fees


to lawyers, when he has been found not guilty, that is wrong. The


lawyers always make money. I shouldn't make money out of Nigel.


He is innocent. He didn't want to go to court and he has had his life


ruined. It is more than 100,000. How can you compensate a man who has


lost his career? Can it be put back on the rails again Yes. He has told


me that he wants to, come back, get reestablished again, prove he is as


good an MP as has been and stand well in the House. Everyone in the


House of Commons wants him to come back and be reinstituted as quickly


as possible. Then he can reestablish himself. He is not a rich man, I


have been to his house. It is like a miner's cottagement to be asked to


pay this money. If that is correct it is wrong. We have to sort that.


Will he run again in the 2015 election? I dam well hope so, I hope


the people in Ribble Valley feel that way because he has been through


the mill. I want to talk about this Code of Conduct, let me go to the


BBC in Salford, Kim Harrison is a lawyer from Slater and Gordon. This


case should never have been brought, should it? It collapsed. Just to


clarify, Slater and Gordon acts in civil compensation for abuse victim,


this is an unusual case, and while we weren't involved in this case and


I can't comment on the specific circumstances, I do know from


reading the coverage that a number of the alleged victims have


themselves expressed surprise about why the case was brought, but I


think that we need to look at this in perspective. These celebrity


cases are a small proportion of the number of sexual assault and rape


and abuse case, which happen each year, and we don't... I understand


this but this is about a man whose life has been ruined, even though he


has won. The point I put to you is this should never have been brought?


As I say, it wasn't, it wasn't anything to do with us, or Slater


and Gordon. I am not accusing you, I am asking for you opinion. Let me


put this. Only two of the alleged victims had complained to the


police. The police then went on a trawl for the other ones, only two


volunteered. One of the alleged victims said he never wanted a


prosecution. Another claimed he was traumatised. But stayed friends with


Nigel Evans, and describes him as an all round good egg. Another admitted


he embellished his account for dramatic effect. I say to you, this


case should never have been brought. I think the police and the CPS have


a really really difficult job in these sorts of cases, and there have


been convictions in celebrity case, look at the Stuart Haul convictions


and the role of the CPS and the police isn't to decide whether


somebody is guilty. That is the role of the jury, that is what the jury


have done in this case. If anything it shows that the criminal justice


system in this country is functioning well, if the jury have


listen toed the evidence, and reached their verdict, but if you


had a situation where every case that was brought that resulted in


the conviction, that would surely say something about the criminal


justice system as well. I can assure you it is not working well for never


this morning, even though he has won. My point to you, why would the


Crown Prosecution Service proceed with a case in which the police had


to trawl for victims in the first place and even when it found them,


some said they didn't think it should go to court. Why would you do


that unless you were out for a celebrity scalp? Well I think you


would have to ask the CPS that. I think the real problem is not false


claims but low reporting rates for rape and sexual abuse cases, that is


the real problem, and victims who are scared to come forward because


they are scared they are not going to be believed. Do you have no


sympathy for Nigel Evans this morning? Sorry? Do you have no


sympathy for him? Of course I have great sympathy for Nigel Evans. The


system you are defending has done this to him We need to look at this


in the context of the overall scale of this problem, where the vast


majority of people who are abused are not abused by celebrities or


people in the public eye, they are abused in their own homes, these are


the people that are lost and forgotten and the people we need to


be concentrating on. So why don't the authorities concentrate on them,


instead of going for celebrity scalps where the case is weak? There


were clearly issues in this case which prosecutors need to learn from


and I am sure as we speak, that people are looking at what happened,


and learning those lessons but you know, my job here isn't to sit up


here defending whether or not Nigel Evans should be prosecuted, but we


stand... But you have. No I haven't. I I have said there is a bigger


problem in society, with low reporting rates of abuse victim,


because people are scared that they are not going to be believed. What


we have to be very careful of is because we have had a couple of


cases where people have been acquitted, that we don't roll back


all of the good work that has been done over the past couple of years


with people feeling more confident at coming forward to report abuse,


and the police and the CPS taking it serious -- seriously, the real issue


is protecting the victim, the vast majority of victims whose cases


never come to court. I understand that, nobody could argue with that,


but that wasn't what I was asking you about. Any way, thank you for


joining us. This is the legal profession closing ranks. I think


that the Crown Prosecution Service and indeed the police have questions


to answer on this and I think you have raised a few this morning


already. Kim was saying there that this is just a small number of the


cases that have been raised and brought to court, but in fact they


represent a vast expenditure of resources and manpower, and as, as


Mr Evans's lawyer said last night, the CP S through everything at this


case. -- threw everything at this case. This is indicative of the way


they are operating. The Elveden case which is in a way similar has more


police on it than any other previous criminal inquiry in history and that


includes murder inquiries, now I it seems to me ?100 million being spent


on one case or in this case 100,000 in one lawyer's case is totally


disproportionate and it is the question of proportion here that is


important. It is not whether or not prosecutions should take place, it


is a question of proportion and degree. Kim was right to argue you


want people to come forward, and there are people sometimes are


deterred from coming forward. That is not the issue in this case. It


seems the issue in this case is that the police and the Crown Prosecution


Service precede proceeded on what they had from the victims, was


flimsy. Exactly so and they persuaded people to testify who said


they did not stheemss as victims, now I think that Kim had interesting


things to say, because I am very worried that in bringing these cases


that fail, the CPS is doing victims of very serious sexual assault and


rapes a disservice, what you are saying today is a massive backlash


because of this care, and also because of the Coronation Street


case, which think was a couple of months ago now, and there is already


a terrible set of rape myths which result in juries acquitting, when


they should convict. This sort of case will encourage the attitude


that people are been ex ashusly put on trial. You think the kind of


cases which Kim was talking about, what has happened to Nigel Evans


doesn't help that. It doesn't help it a at all. Listening to a talk


radio discussion last night there were hundreds queueing up to say we


must have anonymity for rape accused, you know, which is


something that resurfaces every year, which is terrible was a you


need victims to come forward you don't need the police and the CPS


they are victims when they don't feel to be so. Look that the wider


problem of Westminster culture, so bad, that your parties had to


release a voluntary Code of Conduct for MP, outlining suitable


behaviour. What do you think of that? I haven't read it. I will be


very worried. -- MPs. A voluntary Code of Conduct. I don't see what is


going to be said in it, but I do know that people should know how to


behave decently any way. If you have a MP you should know any way. It is


meant to combat bar, older men, with young researcher, mail and female --


male and female behaviour. You have had to have a Code of Conduct. You


can't behave yourselves without a Code of Conduct. You are looking at


me! When I said you, I meant you collectively. I will try my best to


behave. In the best... You have seen this behaviour? I don't see it as


bad as that. No, I mean, frankly I just don't see that. Some people act


out of line, in any profession. I guess that is true in most places. I


really don't see that MPs are really, they are not drunk, people


come up to them. Sometimes they are drunk! If they are others say away


know, sometimes they don't get... Sometimes they get hit. Yes, so far


no-one has hit me Andrew. I wouldn't be surprised. They wouldn't try you.


I am glad to hear that, I really don't see much of it. And frankly, I


just hope that this will get behind, Nigel Evans will come back, and


please the public, belief that the vast majority of Members of


Parliament are trying to do their very best, me, I feel I am back in


uniform, serving my country and all MPs think that. Now it's time for


our daily quiz and today it's about the new Culture Secretary Sajid


Javid. He's only been in the job for a few days but already some critics


are predictably asking if the former banker is cultured enough for the


job. Well, we don't know much about his tastes - although he's a regular


on this show so they must be pretty good, but we do know he's a fan of


one popular science fiction programme. So what is it? Is it: a)


Doctor Who, b) Blake's seven, c) Star Trek, or d) red Dwarf? And a


bit later in the show Miranda and Trevor will give us the correct


answer. Yesterday the Conservative Party launched it's European


election campaign and here is the shiny manifesto in all its glory.


And, if that momentous event passed you by, well, it's no wonder really,


as most of Westminster was talking about the Nigel Evans case and the


fallout from the resignation of Maria Miller. Not exactly the ideal


week to launch an election campaign! Anyway, as well as the European


elections, there are also local elections taking place on the 22nd


of May. So what's at stake? In England there'll be elections in 129


councils, as well as in all 32 London Boroughs, plus contests for


directly elected mayors in Watford and four London boroughs: Hackney,


Lewisham, Newham and Tower Hamlets. There are no local elections in


Wales or Scotland but there will be in Northern Ireland as their 26


councils begin to merge into 11 super councils. All in all, that's


around 4,180 seats - just under half of which are in London. But there


will be UK wide elections for seats in the European Parliament with 73


seats up for grabs via a closed party list system except in Northern


Ireland where it's a Single Transferable Vote. STV. It used to


be a television station in Scotland. The latest TNS European election


poll shows Labour and UKIP neck and neck with the Conservatives trailing


third. They'll be hoping to make up some ground over the next few weeks.


Here's what the Prime Minister had to say at yesterday's launch of the


Conservative manifesto. We are the only party with a clear plan.


Renegotiate, get the best deal for Great Britain and put the decision


to the British people. For the next six weeks, let's head the street and


at every rally, every meeting, let take out this message. Labour and


the Liberal Democrats will not give you a say on Europe. UKIP cannot


Joining us now from Glasgow is Professor John Curtice from


Strathclyde University who is the man we turn to when elections come


into view. Change a thing at all. It is only the Conservatives who can


make real change in Europe and only the Conservatives will give you the


say in a referendum. That was the Prime Minister. I would suggest you


that neither the Maria Miller business or the Nigel Evans is Ms


will have any effect on the elections? I think that is probably


broadly correct. My only caveat would be that given one of the


arguments from Nigel Farage is to say there will be a plague on all


your houses. The publicity had given him ammunition but I do not think it


would be an important issue. I think what one needs to realise is that


these elections, all three Westminster parties will simply be


looking to see how well UKIP do. The Labour Party will be desperate to


remain ahead of UKIP in the UK wide vote. Most surveys put them narrowly


ahead. The Conservatives will be wanting to minimise the damage from


UKIP that there is no doubt, if you look at the surveys, the people who


are switching to UKIP are the ones who disproportionately vote for


Conservatives. The Liberal Democrats are asking, how far behind will we


be in fourth place? The surveys on how you vote in the European


elections are very different to the surveys that tell us the sake of the


parties. Yes, the truth is that that has been par for the course for


elections for some time. Voters are more willing to vote for smaller


parties, not just UKIP, but also the Green Party. Partly because they do


not think it matters so much but partly because we have a system of


proportional representation. UKIP, on average, in the surveys, are


running at 28%. In surveys in Westminster, they are running at


14%. Undoubtably, people will vote Conservatives in a Westminster


election but will about UKIP later on. The other thing that helps UKIP


is that UKIP voters tend to be strongly motivated and this will


undoubtedly be a low turnout election, and that turns out well


for UKIP. In the USA, for a long time, they have had this to men of


splitting the ticket. You may vote Democrat, or the Mayor, or you could


vote Republican. Given that we have the European elections and local


elections on the same day, is it likely that people will split the


ticket, and vote in a particular way for European elections but vote more


like the USA for the local elections? Yes, we anticipate that


UKIP would do better in the European elections than local elections but


what happened in the last European elections in 2009, when they were on


the same day as County Council elections, the evidence suggested


that it does help UKIP to do better in local elections. We should bear


in mind that in the local elections last year, UKIP did better than


Westminster intentions, 22 in the nationwide poll. We may find UKIP


doing well in the local elections, with one caveat. These local


elections are primarily in rural rather than urban Britain. London is


the focus, and London is more multicultural and diverse, and is


less and of UKIP than much of Britain outside of the capital. --


less and enamel. If UKIP does well. --, does it matter? What is the


matter? I think they will come first and it is disgraceful that Labour is


anywhere near coming second stop I think the live cams will be


effectively wiped out. I think that has an effect not just on the local


elections but on the mood of the public generally. For a while now,


people have been prepared to vote quite differently in European


elections compared to how they wrote in Westminster elections. I think


that changed after the two debates when Nigel Farage emerged as


something as a figurehead for his voters. He is now formally


entrenched as the voice against the establishment, the metropolitan


elite, and I think that will continue over the next few months,


up to the next election. He says you would be wiped out? I hope not. I


think he has put the cat among the pigeons. They will hope that is not


the case but it is true that with the poll rating the way it is and


the proportional representation system for the European elections,


the Lib Dem 's do not have their usual advantages where the incumbent


is well liked. You have this system where according to the proportion of


the vote, you only get one or two. It is a dangerous system. People are


talking about it and that would be bad, not least because you lose a


number of spokespeople. With the Lib Dems, you lose a number of females


who are thin on the ground, but I do not agree with Trevor's take that


European elections are very important. There is not that much at


stake and traditionally they are used for people to make a massive


protest against established parties. Look at the Green Party and the


success they have. It may have no affect the am I right in thinking


that if you look at the longer trend in the state of the parties in the


polls over the last year, there has been a gradual but steady narrowing


of Labour's lead over the Conservatives? I would put it


differently. Labour's vote share fell over the summer of 2013, and


despite its campaign on the cost of living, that has failed to restore


the Labour Party back to the 40% plus Mark. The Conservatives are


still running at the 33% that they have been running for the last three


years, and so far, although the voters are somewhat more optimistic


about the economy, that is proving to be a difficult recovery as far as


the Conservatives are concerned. Even if the Lib Dems do as badly as


the opinion polls suggest they will do in the European elections, they


should pick up three or four seats. 9% is what the opinion polls are


pointing towards. They should still pick up some seeds. Beware of the


Liberal Democrats opus billing -- over spilling. We will be aware.


Thank you, John. For more on the elections, join me this Sunday for


Sunday Politics at 2:30pm, just after the London Marathon. We will


host a debate on Europe between the four main parties. Normally at


around this time we'd all be speculating about when the Prime


Minister is going to announce the date of the next general election.


But all that fun's been taken away because it's fixed in law. It'll be


on May the 7th next year. But have the great British public already


made up their minds about which way to vote? Only one man has the balls


to find out. We've got the balls, we've got the


box, so let's find out when it comes to the 20 15th general election, our


people fixed or floaters who are yet to decide? When will you decide?


Possibly not until the final month. It is all play for? Yes, it is. When


will you decide, how will you make the decision? Five minutes before on


the way to the polling station. Would you like to vote in our


survey? Do you follow the political news as it happens? Not as it


happens but I feel like I am aware. If you are not going to decide


nearer the election, does that mean politics is a bit of a waste of


time? No, not at all. I am more interested in local issues. I am


fixed. Would it take something major to change your mind? Yes, it


worked. Not John Major, but Major Major! Do you know when the next


general election is? It is in May 2015. I had not heard about it. So,


you are sort of fixed and sort of floaters? Yes, we have to float to


make maximum impact. Do you feel the political parties are reaching out


to you to win your vote? No. This is a productive way of looking at all


of the stop have you ever seen the Daily Politics programme? No, I have


not. This week, we had the Maria Miller resignation. Do events like


that make difference to you? Yes, they. Will David Cameron be still


around is when he is old enough to vote? I doubt it. Do you know who


any of those people are? Boris Johnson! Yes! Do you feel the


political parties are trying to win you over? Yes, there was a lot of


talk but I know where my vote is going. Which political party is


winning over owners of small dogs? The Conservative party and maybe the


Lib Dems. Guys, do you want to park up and do a survey? I am fixed, but


it has been the same for years, I have not really changed my mind and


I do not know what would change my mind. I have no idea. What would win


you over as my have you decided who to vote for or are you floating?


Floater is not a nice term. Of our many people who are undecided which


is great because otherwise we may as well pack up and come home and come


back next May. Give me your predictions. What will your results


be? The Conservatives should win. The


voteless recovery, I don't think that is going to continue. We will


see the economy beginning to become the big issue, if they play it


right, instead of bungling it, I think they could easily win the next


election. By win, what to you mean, overall party or majority. It might


be a small majority. They would have to increase their share of the vote.


Who was the last Prime Minister to do that? Antony Eden? But the thing


is... 1955. The The recovery will be deeper and wide wider than before.


That is a career answer, what is your answer? I think the


Conservatives will win. Because the Labour advantage in the polls at the


moment is nothing like as wide as it needs to be. As you get near a


general election the opposition party it narrows and narrows because


of all the things the incumbent party can say, I think there will be


the Conservatives at the largest party, but I think there will be a


coalition, the question is is it a coalition between the Tory party and


the Liberal Democrats again, or is it a coalition between two sides of


the Tory party. Constantly at war as they were towards the ends of John


Major's. So when you say win you mean the largest party. If there is


a narrow majority you will see a coalition. It will be two sorts of


Tories in coalition. Will there be enough Liberal Democrats round to


contribute to a coalition? I think there will. The polling is


interesting on this, because although the Liberal Democrat


overall rating is truly horrendous, you know, being in single figures,


in their individual constituencies they are so good at clinging on.


Easterly showed that in the by-election. The satisfaction rate


for for you to like your MP it is positive. That would mean they are


vulnerable where there isn't an incumbent. You would hope there is a


legacy, because there are a lot of women standing. We might see some


women in the Liberal Democrats. That would be nice. It would be a change.


Certainly would. Time to get the answer to our quiz. The question was


what science fiction show is new Culture Secretary Sajid Javid a fan


of? Doctor Who? Blakes Seven? Star Trek? Or Red Dwarf? What is the


correct answer. I would go for Blakes Seven. I think it is Star


Trek. Miranda is right. It is Star Trek. Does it matter that we are not


able to establish this Culture Secretary has any interest in


culture. I don't think he has. There isn't any evidence. We must assume


there is precious little. Does it matter? Does the department matter?


Do we need a Department of Culture, Media and Sport? I think no. Of


course the coalition doesn't low -- allow this to happen. When Maria


Miller fell on her sword was that not the time to take down the


department? In the long-term it would be nicer to see fewer


department, but I think this should stay. How would you mount an


Olympics without a DCMS? Creative industries are important for the


economy, big export, and how would you mount an Olympics if you didn't


have someone like Tessa Jowell... There will be other opportunity,


cultural and sporting. We need to leave it there. Coming up in a


moment is a regular look at what is going on in European politics. Now


it is time to say goodbye to my two guests of the day. So, for the next


half hour we will be focussing on Europe. We will discuss the rise of


the anti-EU vote, across Europe, and the groupings on the European


Parliament. First though, here is our guide to the latest from Europe


in 60 seconds. Greece jumped back into the global


markets wits first sale of long-term Government bonds since the economy


almost collapsed four years ago. The sale was welcome news ahead of a


visit from Angela Merkel. Tempers playered in the Ukraine Parliament.


Following a heated debate about pro Russian activists using Government


buildings in several Ukrainian cities.


-- playered. Spanish MPs voted against Catalonia's bid for an


Independence Referendum in a decision that is likely to increase


the divide between both sides. Listed companies across the EU must


get shareholder approval on pay for top executives. Under a draft law.


We past the vote... Who says politicians the aren't down with the


kids. Members of the European Parliament have been in a rap battle


to engage young voters. And with us for the next 30 minutes


I have been joined by Martin Callanan, the MEP for the


Conservatives and Catherine Stihler MEP for Labour. Let us look at one


of the stories in more detail. Greece. It managed to get its bond


issue away. It is back in the bond markets. I would suggest this is


party -- partly because in the bond market there is a search for


a-year-old and Greece is offering more than the Germans or the British


or the Americans and the country is still mired in stagnation. I think


you are right. Think I that things are difficult in Greece. This is to


be becomed but it is a fragile state of affair, we all want to see things


recovering in Greece because of the measures imposed on the Greek people


and the sacrifices they have made. It is shocking, when you talk to


Greek colleagues, it is a really really dire situation. However, this


fragile news, is to be welcomed but it is a long way to go. Is there a


concern in the European Parliament about what are called the club meed


countries in general, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, probably


Italy. Slovenia That they are on the verge of apse deflationary trap? We


saw that prices in Spain are falling, industrial production,


prices at the gate, in Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, falling. I think


the iron anyof the euro is that it was supposed to cement solidarity,


it is doing the opposite. It is driving northern Europe away from


southern Europe. All those countries are diverging, Greece is by no means


out of the woods yet. They have completely unsustainable levels of


debt and somebody will have to pay that, and I think it is hugely


concerning, because there is no obvious solution in sight, because


the competitiveness of northern around southern Europe are


different. You talked about the sacrifices Greek people have made


and they have made more than anyone else in Europe. Yet, as a result


this deflationary trend which Magifies the level of their public


debt, that is rising, they have raised the tax, they have cut public


spend, they have made people unemployed. Their debt has ridden


from 130% to 170 per % of GDP. We should acknowledge the fact it has


been a right-wing agenda that has been imposed on the Greek people


would boy have been different if there had been a different political


flavour in power. If you look... I think you have to accept as well,


Martin, that the euro is reforming, it is changing, the lessons are


being learned. This week we will vote on the banking union and other


issues, but I think also you can't escape from the fact that the


austere measures imposed on the Greek people have been because of


the politics the at play. It hasn't brought the debt down. No, it is


going up. Austerity means paying your way, the Labour Party might


want to argue you can keep on spending and spending without


raising the money. That is no what we are saying. In France they were


elected on an end to austerity. Food banks are on the rise in many tri.


The European elections are the first than European poll since the


European crisis that brought the currency union to the brink of


collapse. It has cost many their job. The fall out has led to a


growing frustration with the European project. Right wing parties


the like the Front Nationale in France and Geert Wilders's Freedom


Party in the Netherland are expected to do well, stranding on an anti-EU


platform. Here is our Ben Wright reporting.


The European dream has gone sour, for some. Belgian dock workers


joined other trade unionist at this protest in Brussels last week. Most


rallied peacefully for the EU to work better. A few picked a fight


with police. The talk here in Brussels is of a European Union in


trouble. Austerity, economic crisis and high unemployment in several


countries is spawning disillusionment with the whole


European project. In northern Europe it is the anti-EU right who are


doing well, in southern Europe it was the anti-austerity left who Ron


the rise. When MEPs come back after the May elections there will be many


who have won their seats because of their opposition to Brussels, even


in countries that are pro European. -- who are on the rise. Tolerant,


liberal and green, the Netherlands of pop lab cleesh pedals on,s the it


was one of the founding countries of what is the European Union. Half an


hour from Amsterdam has emerged. At the last European elections the


Freedom Party won half the vote in a town of 20,000. That, the party of


Geert Wilders. The hard right populist who rails against Muslims


and the EU. It won four MEPs and topped the poll in the Netherlands,


some will back him again The Freedom Party? Yes, they are popular. It is


good. Why? For free country. It is terrible. These people come to


Holland to take the job from Dutch Palace res. It is not good. This


place isn't buzzing with euro election fever. Several people have


spoken to don't know there is a pom and many have no interest at all in


voting. Something common across the Continent. What is surprising that


this pretty little town with its tourists and tea shops is somewhere


where the far right have done well in the past.


Look round, you don't see any black people over here. It is... Geert


Wilders at a rally last month. When the crowd calls for fewer Moroccans


this is what he said. The police received hundreds of complaints he


was invite -- inciting racial hatred. This man was a member of the


Freedom Party before he was thrown out in 2010. He says this time the


party leader has gone too far The way he said about the Moroccan


community is racism. He will go to jail. He has to go to jail for it.


It is too far. Let me put it in English. Do you want less Welsh


people? Do you want less Scottish people. Less people from York? No,


it is not possible. In France Jean-Marie Le Pen has tried to


rebrand -- Marine Le Pen has tried to rebrand the National Front.


Willeders has suggested a pact of far right parties but their support


could be fragile. Some of them are more radical right


than UKIP. UKIP is not a racist party. Nigel Farage is careful to


say that. He is anti-open borders, this is a thing parties in scanned


neighia are saying, they are likely to top the polls in Denmark, they


say we are not racist, we are anti-European and we want less done


in Brussels. UKIP said it would never join the likes of Le Pen and


Willeders but here in the Hague the centrist coalition knows they must


do more to rebuild trust in Brussels. When you look at the next


European Commission, they should have a limited agenda, strengthening


the single market. Making trade agreements and really making work,


so transferring powers from Brussels to the member state, that is the


only way to preserve Europe for the future.


The far right in the Netherlands may struggle to beat its success at the


last European elections but Geert Wilders could find himself in


Brussels joining other MEPs whose hostility to the EU has hit home


with voters. Ben right reporting from the


Netherlands. Another country where the far right is riding high is


France where Marine Le Pen's Front Nationale made significant gains.


They took on over there, largely at the ex owned of Francois Hollande's


Socialist Party. We are joined by Emmanuel Godin a heck return at


Portsmouth university. Would it be fair to say that this phenomenon of


going outside the mainstream, the National Front in Europe is the most


successful case? Yes, it is one of the most successful parties in


Europe and it is doing particularly well at the moment. It has also


worked a lot on its own image and strategy and that accounts for its


success at the moment. If you look at some of the places it did well,


former industrial towns in the north, it did well in Marseille, one


of the biggest districts, what is striking is that they are all,


historically, the old readouts of the Communist Party. Is it the same


people? Yes, that is right. For a long time, a lot of people thought


the National Front would do well but what we are witnessing is a


substantial shift from traditionalist and socialist voters


towards the National Front. When we described the National Front in this


country, we call it the far right, but when you look at the economic


policies, in this country, they look like the kind of things Tony Benn


used to stand for. Protectionism, anti-euro... It is quite clear. The


National Front has distanced itself from its old policies and does not


adopt a right or left stance at all. The policy put forward by the


National Front is more of a left recipe. In the local elections in


France, there were thousands of municipalities up for the vote, and


the National Front only confronted about 560. This time, in the


European elections, they have to fight nationwide. What would be a


good vote for them? -- a good result for them? If they get about 20, that


would be a good result. Usually, the National Front 's does very well if


there is a strong leader. People vote for Marine Le Pen rather than


the part V, but -- rather than the party, but it can do well without a


recognisable leader. You have places where the candidate was fairly


unknown and it shows that people tend to vote more for the National


Front than whoever is leading it. Will be centre-right parties come


first? Well, this is the big debate. The last result showed that


the Conservative party in France might just come first. They are at


22%. The Socialist party is at 20%. Let me bring my guest in. One of the


consequences of this rise parties outside of the mainstream, mainly on


the right, is that your party is likely to come third in the


elections. Well, we will have to see in elections and there was a long


way to go in the campaign. You are a long way behind in the votes. Yes,


if you believe the polls. There will be a low turnout and it is up to us


to try and enthuse the rotors to get out and vote. -- voters. You should


be romping home in the European elections but, actually, you have a


battle on your hands to beat UKIP. We have to go and fight for every


single vote. Obviously, in Scotland and other parts England and Wales,


where UKIP is threatening, we are trying to make sure we get as many


votes against Labour so we can fight against the Nationalists. We think


it is about the UK being part of the European Union, not about whether


Scotland should be part of the UK! At a time when unemployment in the


Eurozone is 12%, and youth unemployment is over 20%, and in


some countries it is as high as 60%, Conor Mizar barely growing, welfare


is being cut, poverty is growing... -- unemployment is growing. Though


our simple answers to questions. They are antiestablishment and there


is this perfect storm of coming together. You are the establishment.


When it comes to forming political groups, these people cannot work


together. My political party has a which covers 28 countries. That may


be true but that is not what I asked. Why has the left... We now


see what the fallout is from the crisis of capitalism but why has the


left not capitalised on that? Why is it the rights or the far right


question my I think you are generalising. The BNP are nowhere.


Yes, but UKIP. What we see is that a Socialist group could be the largest


group in a European Parliament. Why has the left done well? In the


European Parliament elections, if we get one more MEP, we then get that


chance to form the presidency of the European Commission. The National


Front are not a right party. They are highly welfare spending, more


socialism, with a nationalist hinge. -- tinge. The French National Front


are no more conservative than the Conservative party. Let me go back


to my guess. -- guest. I guess it is not surprising when you look at the


state of Europe and the lack of opportunity, growth, and jobs for


young people, it is not surprising that non-mainstream parties are


doing well. Indeed, you may have thought they would do even better, I


would suggest. Well, mainstream parties, the main problem they


have, they seem to have tried out different solutions which do not


appeal with voters. They do not see how that can make a difference to


their daily life and that is the great strength for the parties on


the left and right. In France, it is not surprising that the left is not


doing so well. For maybe 15 years, the Conservative parties and


socialist parties in France have put immigration and identity at the


centre of their issues and a radicalised these issues, and this


explains why it is the right, and not the left. Who is going to be the


centre-right candidate in the French European election? Yes. Know, who is


going to be? Well, certainly not Sarkozy. Marine Le Pen? Well, we


shall wait and see and have you back long before then. Do you know your


EPP from your S and D, and your GUE from your EFA? They do! They are


paid to. Fear not, here's Adam to explain in his latest A to Z of


Europe. Look at all of those MEPs, more than 700 of them. To make


things more manageable, the Parliaments operates a pan-European


political grouping, and this being the European Parliament, there is


some crazy art on display that allows me to explain. Think of the


groups as political armies. Each one has to have at least 25 foot


soldiers from at least seven member states. You want to join a group you


do not know which one is which? Let me explain. There are seven to


choose from. On the centre-right, there is the European People's


Party, the largest. There is the European Conservatives with 7%.


Here, you will find the Tories. The Socialists And Democrat has a


quarter of the seats. UKIP's home is the freedom and democracy group.


There are two smaller groups of Greens and nationalist. Sometimes,


the majority line is one but there are two or three parties who are


going to vote with other groups. This is a process of permanent


negotiation. Do the political groups get any perks? They do. They get


funding to spend on staff, offices and communications. Political perks


are in the lead up waste on group size. More members equals more


influence. Has anyone set up any new groups recently? A very young


looking David Cameron set up the Young Conservatives and reformist


after pledging to withdraw his MEPs from the European People's Party.


The MEPs who sit alone in The Chamber are known as the


non-attached. Some are shunned for holding extreme views and others


because they are fiercely independent. This man was in the


socialist group. From day one, I was turned into a soldier, and I got a


lot of letters from voters, saying, you have written and interesting


books as a journalist, I voted for you as an individual. As we know,


the troops are preparing for a big skirmish in the European elections


which could mean a change in the balance of power.


That is Adam who has taken to talking to in a minute objects! --


inanimate objects! How important are these groups? They are very


important. They determine the power and how we vote on these things.


They are very important and influential. Was it a mistake for


your party to come out of the mainstream right grouping? No, not


at all. We could not agree with the Federalist group. They wanted more


control of taxation and we did not agree with that. We thought it was


right to set up an alternative group who we did agree with. You are


source of aid Lee no mates in Europe, aren't you? No, not at all.


-- Giuly no mates. -- Billy no mates. There are not many, the that


is a fair point. Is there much difference between the mainstream


centre-right group and the socialist group? No. That is not true! There


are clear differences in terms of social policy. You can see, in the


Parliament, votes can come down to the wire, it is so close. In the new


Parliament, the votes will be, again, very close. You are sitting


here as the leader, and it looks like you are going to have a tough


time in creating a group, which is a good thing. I want to see a strong


socialist group. Thank you very much. That's all for today. Thanks


to my guests Martin Callanan and Catherine Stihler MEP. We wish you


buy buy. -- Bye bye.


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