02/05/2014 Daily Politics


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Afternoon folks, welcome to the Daily Politics. Sinn Fein Leader


Gerry Adams remains in police custody following his arrest in


connection with one of the most notorious murders of the Troubles.


Mr Adams denies any involvement. Sinn Fein says the arrest is


politically motivated. The DUP says no-one should be above the law. We


speak to one of the architects of Northern Ireland's peace process -


former first minister David Trimble. Pfizer, the US drug giant that makes


Viagra, wants to buy our second biggest pharmaceutical company


AstraZeneca. But would such a take-over be good or bad for


Britain? Business Secretary.


David Cameron launches his party's local election campaign. But why is


he still talking about Europe? local election campaign. But why is


And egg on his face! Is Nigel Farage now part of the political big


league? All that in the next hour. And with


us for the duration, two all round good eggs. They are Isabel Hardman


of the Spectator and John McTernan, former political adviser to Tony


Blair. Welcome to you both. Let's start with the latest on the arrest


of Gerry Adams. The Sinn Fein leader has spent a second night in custody


at a police station in Northern Ireland after being arrested in


connection with the murder of Jean McConville during The Troubles. Mrs


McConville, a mother of ten, was dragged from her house in 1972 by an


IRA squad and later executed. Mr Adams denies any involvement in the


crime. Last night, Mrs McConville's daughter, Helen McKendry, told


Newsnight that she did "not fear the IRA any more" and was "ready to name


names". Here she is, speaking to Newsnight's Kirsty Wark. Today, your


brother Michael said that he knows the identity of the people that came


to the house that night and took your mother, that he will not say


for fear of being shot by the IRA. Do you share those fears? No. That


fear left me a long time ago. I do not fear the IRA any more. I would


happily give names I know to the police. Have you been asked for the


names? I have spoken to the police, but they did not interview the


family. You were not in the house that night, you were at the shops.


When you came back, your brothers and sisters told you who were there,


so you have a full picture of who was there? Yes. You don't feel fear


for your life about speaking to us about this? No. They have done so


much to me already in the last 42 years. What are they going to do,


put a bullet in my head? Well, they know where I live.


Joining me now is David Trimble, former First Minister of Northern


Ireland and former leader of the Ulster Unionist Party. He was also a


key player in the peace process and he now sits in the House of Lords.


Was none of this sort of thing ever covered in the peace process? We did


discuss what to do. There was a consensus that we would not have a


truth and reconciliation process. Like in South Africa. Yes, because


it did not work there. With this sort of situation, we did make a


significant concession to paramilitaries through an early


release programme. But we agreed that there would not be an amnesty.


It was made clear from the outset that if evidence came to the police


about crimes committed before 1998, the police would investigate in the


normal way, as they have been doing. Over the years, there has been a


steady stream of cases relating to those events where there has been


evidence against people. They have gone to court and made convictions.


People have served up to two years, which is how the early release


scheme operates. In this case, the normal legal process should happen.


It was inevitable, once the Boston tapes came into the public domain,


in view of the allegations contained in them, whether they are accurate


or not, that Mr Adams would be questioned. He effectively


recognised that earlier this week come when he said he would


voluntarily go to the police station. Is there a danger that this


will derail the peace process? What is disturbing is the way some people


are posturing about this. I am very disappointed in the line taken by


the deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness. He has spoken to the


prime minister. He has been playing to the gallery bike criticising the


police. The police are doing their job. As deputy first minister, he


has an obligation to support the police. He says the PSNI is duty


bound to energetically pursue every investigation and encourages them to


do so. But he then says some investigations are pursued more


vigorously than others. That is what I mean by playing to the gallery. He


said his formal bid about supporting the police, but then undermined


them. If any complaint could be made, you could suggest that the


police have actually moved slowly and deliberately, which is not a bad


thing in this case. Is it a sign of the gravity of the situation that


the prime minister found it necessary to speak to Mr McGuinness?


I can't comment on that. I don't know what was in the prime


Minster's mind when he did that. So I will not speculate. I'm not


surprised that there was a conversation. Whether it came


about, whose initiative it came about on, we do not know. Are you


worried about this? No. I don't think any body should be. The


process we put in place is in the agreement. That is what is happening


here. It is not new. It has been happening since 1998, and it should


continue. To start changing those arrangements now because a


high-profile person is involved, that is interfering with the legal


process for political reasons. Is there a danger that this will give a


new lease of life to the IRA? Well, it would be what we call the


republican dissidents. It would not affect what we used to call the


mainstream IRA? One of the ironies of this is that the interviews were


with people closer to the dissident IRA than the mainstream IRA. Just


let the police investigation take its course. John McTernan, what do


you make of this? It shows in a way that Sinn Fein have come a normal


political party. Gerry Adams is not above the law. He is being


investigated, the process is going correct me. It shows the maturing of


the police service in Northern Ireland. There is lots of what we


call stakeholder management going on here, but in the end, the police are


investigating one of the most shocking of all of the murders from


the Troubles. And it is right to do that. The people of Northern Ireland


voted for the Good Friday agreement because they wanted the rule of law


established. It is also a reminder of the fragility of the situation in


Northern Ireland still, only a few weeks after we have the state


banquet with Martin McGuinness at Windsor Castle. We still have


tension when something like this happens. Unlike Martin McGuinness,


who has effectively admitted he was part of the IRA, Gerry Adams,


although he has often been described as chief of the Belfast Brigade of


the IRA, he has always denied any involvement. He said he supported


the IRA, but denied involvement with it. This creates a huge credibility


problem with Mr Adams, because I do not know anybody who believes what


he says on this issue is true. You mean that people do not believe he


was not a member of the IRA? Indeed. Is that a consensus view in Northern


Ireland? It pretty well is. If there is anybody who believes him, I wish


they would let us know. No legal action has been taken about it by Mr


Adams. Well, that is normal. They sometimes get solicitors to send a


letter, but they are never followed up. Where do we go from here? He has


been arrested but not charged, and the police are investigating. If he


was charged and this became a huge, high profile legal case, would the


Northern Ireland political process survive it? Oh, yes. I disagree with


Isabel on this. I don't regard the situation in Northern Ireland is


fragile. I think it is stable. It has had its ups and downs. A lot of


them were on my watch, and we got through most of them. But it is


stable now. The only thing on the horizon that could cause a problem


with stability is actually your folk, and the referendum in


Scotland. That is interesting. Are you saying that because if Scotland


was to vote for independence, the main historic link in the United


Kingdom between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK is a Scottish


link? And that if Scotland goes, that would be one of the links with


the United Kingdom gone? No, I am thinking in terms that if the


referendum in Scotland goes with what I regard as the wrong result,


that will change the political context for Northern Ireland and


that would cause strains. How would it change it? In that what until now


has been a nonissue in Northern Ireland, there is a provision for a


referendum in Northern Ireland, but that has not been treated since


before 1998 and has subsequently been a nonissue because it was clear


that a majority would want to stay with the UK. So what would then be


the significance of a Scottish vote for independence? What was a


nonissue with then become a major issue. Do you agree? I think that is


right. There are two points. One is that if the United Kingdom were to


start to be broken up, it opens the question about how far that


unravels. Secondly, if absolutists in one country see absolutists in


another country, they say, now it is our turn. There are a handful of


people now think that uniting Ireland is the solution, they could


be a vocal minority and the SNP have shown how you can push that. This is


so important. It is not discussed particularly down here, but when you


talk about the impact on the rest of the union, it tends to be Wales we


discuss rather than Northern Ireland, as you say, it would become


a live issue in Northern Ireland where previously, it has been a


closed question. We shall see. Yesterday on the programme, we


covered the launch of Labour's campaign for the local and European


elections later this month. This morning, it's the turn of the


Conservatives to launch their local elections campaign. Having said


that, it feels like more of a European election relaunch after


being distracted by UKIP's advance in the polls. The prime minister has


said only the Conservatives can deliver a referendum on Britain's


membership of the European Union and that he should be judged on his


record of "standing up" to Brussels. Again, another big "local" issue.


The Conservatives have been trying to counter the growing support of


UKIP and Nigel Farage, as they currently stand third place in the


polls. Here's what the prime minister had to say this morning in


the West-Midlands. I have a track record of delivery, and believe me,


whatever it takes, I will deliver that in-out referendum . Labour will


not. UKIP can't. I will. Earlier this week, I made clear that I would


not lead a government that either could not or did not deliver an


in-out referendum. Let me be clear. The British people need to have


their say on our membership of the EU. For me, this is a fundamental


principle, and I would not be prime minister of a government unless we


could carry out our pledge of an in-out referendum. The British


people deserve their say, and I will make sure they get it.


We can speak now to Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, Bob Neill,


who's at the launch in Newcastle-Under-Lyme. Welcome to the


programme. Since this was the launch of your local election campaign, why


is the Prime Minister banging on about Europe? Good afternoon,


Andrew. It is all part of an entirely consistent message, that we


are the only party with a plan on all of the issues and that delivers


on it, on local issues in local Government and on Europe. We have


shown consistently that we have a plan, which is critical, and we are


showing that what we are doing with the economy, in local councils and


in Europe, that we deliver as well. What has it to do with emptying the


rubbish and keeping streets clean? The connection is twofold. Firstly,


the election happened to be on the same day. That is a simple fact. You


have already had your European launch. This is the local one. Yes,


and we are pointing out that we deliver at all levels of


Government. We have delivered in turning round the economy from the


mess we inherited from Labour. We have Conservative councils up and


down the country delivering lower council tax and better value for


money with front line services and we are standing up for our interest


in Europe, all of which is part of the same consistent picture. Is it


because people are worried that David Cameron cannot be trusted on


the European election? You and your party are running scared of UKIP.


Not that all. Any mature political party accepts the reality that


people want consistent performance across the board. We are pointing


out and making a very strong case that we have always delivered on


what we have promised. We have delivered on what we said when we


said we would turn around the economy and bring down the deficit,


which we are doing. We are delivering at a local level with


these elections. And also the veto on the European Treaty. We are


keeping out of the bail-out and we will deliver on the referendum


promise as well. It is all part of a party which keeps its word and


delivers. What is your policy for local Government? We have been very


clear that we have returned powers to local authorities. We have done


that through the localism act that I was involved with as a minister and


we have done that through reforms to the local Government finance system.


You have done that. What is your policy going forward? The policy


going forward is to continue to deliver those powers. We have


reforms around planning and business rates reforms. We are giving local


authorities more discretion to spend money in a way that is not dictated


by Whitehall, as with the previous Government, but according to their


priorities. We are highlighting how Conservative councils like


Westminster, Chelsea and Hammersmith, by merging their


back-office functions, can deliver more efficient services at a lower


cost. That is both a plan and a good example of delivering the plan. If


you are so good at delivering your promises and plans, why have you not


got all councils to introduce weekly bin collections? Is that Brussels's


fault? Don't be silly! Precisely because we said part of our scheme


is giving local authorities more discretion. They would choose how


they deliver the services at a local level. What is important is that we


have given councils the opportunity through grants to be able if they


wished to return to a weekly bin collection without having any


financial penalties, as was the case under the previous regime. It is


their call, which we don't believe in, dictating from the centre, just


as we don't believe Brussels should dictate from the centre. But you are


dictating from the centre on council tax. Central Government has very


strict rules about the council tax freeze. I think you are being badly


served by your research. That never happens, I can assure you! Let me


tell you now that there are no rules in relation to the council tax


freeze. A grant is made available to local authorities that they can take


if they wish, enabling them to freeze council tax. Any authority


wanting to increase the council tax by more than 2%, by a central


Government mandate have to put their plans to a local referendum. Yes. So


what we have done... You are telling them what to do. That is simply


wrong. You may be thinking back to the old days when the previous


Government used to cap the increases and Jen -- John Prescott used to say


how much they could put their council tax up by. We are saying


that if you want to put it up above the certain level, you have to ask


the voters. That is not thus dictating. Yes, it is. If you


believe so strongly in devolution, why not leave it to the council is


to determine that? Perhaps you have missed the point. Devolution does


not stop at the door to the town hall. It is about giving power back


to the communities, and the communities are the residents in


that area. How many seats are you going to lose? If I was a pundit,


then I would be doing a pundit's job. We are defending seats from


where we were four years ago at the same time as a general election. We


will have to see how that comes through in the polls. I am here with


the message that we have a very strong case to take to the


electorate and I believe we will get that across very well. We are


running out of time but don't go away. Stay with us. Let me bring in


the pundits. I am glad you are not taking their job, but I think you


did for a minute. What do you make of the local election launch,


Conservatives? It is interesting that they are not trying any


expectation management. Last year they were briefing that 750 seats


could be lost by the Tories but this year they are talking about


retaining seats, and privately they have said they want to win in Tower


Hamlets and places like that. Much more upbeat than last year. They


have obviously had lots of sugar in their tea! If I was facing the loss


of 500 seats and issues in London, I would be talking about the European


issues, too. Is that what they face? They will be whitewashed in


London. And Tower Hamlets, yes, there are seats there, thanks to the


corporation that changed the social mix there, but there is not a


majority there for them. The Tory candidate will come a long way


behind the Labour and independent candidates. It will be a very bad


day for the Tory party across the country because the European


election vote will bring up the turnout in local elections. There


are lots of angry votes looking for a home out there. Wipe-out in


London, what do you say to that? I have been on the doorsteps of London


a great deal and I have found that electors are rather more discerning


and they do make a distinction between what they feel about


policies at one level and at a local level. We have seen in the past that


people have voted differently in different elections in London. In my


experience, where we have good authorities doing a good job, we


have every reason to work hard to keep those seats. I think you will


find that across the country you will not get uniform patterns of


movement. I think it is very unwise to make sweeping predictions. Local


factors play much more in these issues than people think. Briefly,


since the pro-minister has raised it, you are vice-chairman of the


Conservative Party, if as the polls suggesting at the moment, you come a


poor third in the European elections, a very poor third


according to the polls, does the Tory party then revert to headless


chicken mode? No, Andrew, I think you will agree that the opinion poll


that really matters... You always say that. Every politician says


that. It does not make for constructive politics, does it? I am


confident that we have a strong message and my job is to go out and


help the Prime Minister and the rest of my team get that message across.


Thank you for being with us today. My pleasure. It is time for the


daily quiz. We have talked about the rise of UKIP this week and we have


had confirmation that Nigel Farage is on the way to becoming a proper


mainstream grown-up politician. Yes, somebody threw an egg at him on


the campaign Trail! The man who threw the egg in Nottingham said his


name was Fred. He told reporters that he did not agree with you get


policies, which we could have worked out. He said he saw the men outside


the time hall ten minutes ago, went to Tesco and bought some eggs. --


the town hall. The Tesco share price does need help these days! And who


said the political process is dead? And given everything I have just


said, which of these politician is the odd one out? John Prescott,


David Cameron, Nigel Farage, Peter Mandelson? At the end of the show,


we will get the correct answer. Don't tell us now. Have you any


idea? I think so. Not just pretty faces! The Conservative peer Michael


Heseltine says the Government should have greater powers to intervene


when British companies are the target of foreign take-over bids. He


was speaking to the BBC this morning as the drug company AstraZeneca, a


largely British company based here, has been targeted by a largely


American pharmaceutical giant called Pfizer. It is run by Scots men


actually. Michael Heseltine also advises the Prime Minister on


business and economic matters and expressed reservations about the


deal and the potential impact on Britain's science base. This morning


Pfizer up to the bid to ?50 per share, some in cash and some in


shares in what would be the new combine the company. He wrote a


letter to the pro-minister saying it would go ahead with AstraZeneca's


planned research and development based in Cambridge. -- they wrote a


letter to the Prime Minister. And they would also retain manufacturing


facilities in Macclesfield. The Prime Minister was asked about the


bid this morning. British jobs, British science, British


inventiveness, British research and development. We are seeing a revival


in those things and I want to see that go further. AstraZeneca has a


fantastic role in the British economy. You see that in the jobs it


has created, investments it has made, medicines it has delivered and


we should be proud of that. Of course decision on any merger is a


decision for the two companies and their shareholders. My job is to


protect the United Kingdom's interests. I want to see great sign


here in Britain, great medicines delivered, great jobs in these


here in Britain, great medicines industries in Britain. -- great


science here in Britain. And that is why we have sought reassurances from


Pfizer if a deal goes ahead. That was the Prime Minister at the local


elections campaign! Chuka Umunna joins us now. If you were in power


now, how would you handle the take-over bid? I think first of all


there is an issue with the way the whole take-over regime operates.


Once everybody hops on the take-over bus or train, it inexorably tends to


move to a destination that is completion of the deal. I think we


need more grit in the machine so that the directors in particular


when they are making recommendations to shareholders in these situations


of a target company, have more confidence in taking the long-term


view. I think the thing that has alarmed people about the Pfizer


potential take-over of AstraZeneca is its record and whether or not


this is actually looking with a view to long-term investment. Pfizer has


made a series of acquisitions. Warner-Lambert in the US, one in


Sweden, another in 2009, when they took over those companies,


essentially took out what they wanted, let people shut down


research and development. We saw Pfizer do that in Kent, in Sandwich


in 2011. That does not fill us with confidence that they will take the


long-term view and I have concerns that this is being driven by tax


rather than looking at a long-term growth and element of the UK


pharmaceutical sector, which is our priority. That is an interesting


analysis of the situation but what would you do? First of all I am not


going to criticise the Government for seeking assurances. We need to


see the assurances. Where I am critical of the Government is I


don't think they have equally engaged with the AstraZeneca board


as they have with the Pfizer board. I am interrupting you... You have


asked me what I would do. I did not ask what the criticism of the


Government is. I am happy to come onto that. What would you do? One


thing we would implement in this type of situation, not just this


deal but all deals, would be to ensure that those looking at this


and decided on the deal are those that are long-term investors. We are


in and offer period right now. We would stop short-term speculators


coming in and stop them being able to vote on this kind of transaction


because they are not taking a long-term view of the company.


Secondly, going to the point that I was making about how the different


actors involved in a take-over tend to take it to the destination. We


need to know what arrangements there are for those advising on the deal.


Advisers if this goes ahead could make ?140 million in fees. We want


to make sure they are receiving awards based on the quality of their


advice is not on getting it to the destination. But none of that deals


with the central issue of whether this should go ahead or not. Never


mind the fees. Should it go ahead or not? I am not persuaded at the


moment that this is in the best interest of the UK plc. I have been


clearer about that. I am not convinced that they are looking at a


big investment in the UK pharmaceuticals industry. I am not


sure this is a long-term proposition. It is looking


increasingly like it is being driven by tax. That is not necessarily a


completely bad thing. A tax haven in this country. What is not to like


about that? This goes to the heart of the issue. Do you look at the


short-term view of the immediate return for Vics Jacko or a long-term


view at what the Exchequer can receive over a period of time? --


return for the Exchequer. Do we want to be a global pawn in a tax playing


game? Do we want that to be the primary rationale? They have said


they will proceed with things in Cambridge. They have made promises


before. I am just saying that we learned the hard way with the


Cadbury transaction. They say they will base their headquarters in the


UK for most of their European operations and some of their


global. They will proceed with substantial investment. If they


could convince you, why would that not be good enough? Because it still


seems to me that they had of the beast is still in the US. That is


where the senior management will be. They are refusing to give firm


guarantees. It will still have its rhymer relisting in the US in New


York -- the primary listing. The only reason they are having the UK


holding company here of the new entity that would be formed if the


transaction goes ahead is purely for tax reasons. Do we really want to be


in a club like Bermuda and the Cayman Islands? Surely we want


people to invest in British companies because they want to grow


them. You can name some successful takeovers. Let's say everything you


have just said is true and that the arguments were convincing. You


should stop this takeover. Well, I am not in the business of making


threats. It follows from what you are saying. You have got to be


responsible. Pfizer has until the 26th of May two putting a firm


offer. AstraZeneca have knocked them back for two reasons, firstly


because of price and secondly because they have referred to the


tax inversions struck that they will put in. -- the tax structure. I'm


sure they are worried about the reputational consequences for one of


the jewels in the crown of our British industry is being used for


tax planning purposes. Let's see what happens by the 26th of May. But


if a Labour government came to power, would you reserve powers to


stop this sort of takeovers? There are currently reserve hours. Would


you use them? This is something we are looking at and have been looking


at for a long time. You call AstraZeneca a jewel in the British


crown. But its share price was languishing until this date came


along. This pipeline of new products is witty much empty. That is wrong.


The share price is around 40. They have made reforms which have helped


transform the company. They have got decent products in the pipeline. In


particular, if you look at diabetes prevention drugs, and Cancer


research for lung and breast cancer and also stroke prevention, you are


looking at one of the companies that could potentially find a cure to fan


cancer in the future. But Pfizer has the same expertise, indeed more so


in oncology, which is one of the reasons they want to merge. Pfizer


does not invest in R It does not have the same commitment as you have


at Astra. It invests more. No, it doesn't. The turnover of AstraZeneca


is much smaller. That is true, but 18.9% of the turnover of AstraZeneca


is invested in R, which is a really good thing. They are taking a


long-term view in that company, whereas if you look at Pfizer, for


God's sake, they shut down the plant at Sandwich which had been there


since the 1950s and had been world beating and the vote of Viagra --


developed Viagra. They shut it down altogether in 2011. That is why I


have worries about this. In absolute numbers, you accept that Randy and


-- Pfizer invest more in R? It is a bigger company, but in percentage


terms, it invests less. Less than GlaxoSmithKline, our biggest


company. What do you make of this? The interest that politicians are


taking in this is fascinating, because neither the


taking in this is fascinating, nor Labour regard this as just a


transaction between companies. nor Labour regard this as just a


reassurances on the UK's science race, but I wonder whether the focus


of all additions in deals like this is actually on making the UK as


attractive a place for research and development so that this clinical


trials that Pfizer and AstraZeneca are involved in can continue, so


that it is not just about taxes, but the logician 's do not have anything


to do with the takeover bids -- politicians can focus on making it


an attractive climate to carry that out. I think a major drugs company


is more important than a chocolate company. There are a lot of reasons


why politicians should care about this. In a sense, what you are


seeing Labour and the Tories edging towards is, is there a coherent


account of economic patriotic as where you can say it is in the


national interest and act decisively? It is very good for


Britain that we get capital from around the world that wants to


invest in us. It said Jaguar and has given us the biggest car industry we


have ever had. What we cannot have is a kind of intellectual asset


stripping. There must be something in AstraZeneca that Pfizer want,


otherwise they would not be paying over the odds for it or trying to


get it. It is happening all over the world. It is a cost saving merger.


Because of the big hits on pharmaceuticals that have come and


gone, the whole industry worldwide is having to cut its costs . But if


they like the company so much, they could move their entire headquarters


over here. The real worrying thing is, because of the way the tax


system operates in the US, with this tax inversions regime where if you


have a merged entity, so long as more than 20% of the shares lie


outside the US, you can basically have a domicile wherever. We could


see the same thing that is happening to Astra happening to other


high-tech companies. We need to think about what the consequences of


that could be. Ultimately, I am interested in ensuring we grow our


industrial base and bang the drum for British business. This is a


world beating company. Thank you. Firefighters in England and Wales


have begun strike action today as part of their long-running dispute


with the government about pensions. The five-hour walk-out began just


over half an hour ago, and there'll be more strikes over the bank


holiday weekend. Let's speak now to Sean Starbuck, from the Fire


Brigades Union. Why a holiday weekend to choose a strike? You been


trying to avoid strike action for three years. We have been discussing


possible improvements in the government proposals. We set the


government a limit to say we needed to get some proposals from them by


the 24th of April. They have in considering proposals and discussing


it with us since the 3rd of January, the last time we took strike action.


They have been sitting on the proposals and have not gone forward.


So it is not about the bank holiday weekend, that is just a coincidence.


It is about having a workable pension scheme for firefighters.


Because it is a pension scheme and is complicated, in a nutshell for


our viewers, what is your main objection to what is being proposed?


In one word, it is unworkable. They expect firefighters to work until


they are 60. This is firefighters riding the red trucks until they are


60, not working in back-office jobs. They have got no evidence to say


that firefighters can work until they are 60. We took part in a


review which proves otherwise and says that without protecting


existing members, ie keeping them in a scheme with a lower pension age,


we will be faced with a lot of firefighters who are being faced


with dismissal just for getting older. The national employers have


said that is what is on the cards. This is a situation where they want


to maintain the discretion to get rid of firefighters. They plucked 60


out of the air. They could have easily plugged 73 or 92. There is no


evidence to say that firefighters can work to 60 in the numbers that


they say they can. According to the government, under the new pension


scheme, a firefighter who earns ?29,000 will be able to retire at


the age of 60, as you say. They will get a ?19,000 a year pension, rising


to ?26,000 when you include the state pension. It would be the


equivalent of a private pension pot worth over half ?1 million, and if


it was try that, you would have to contribute twice as much. I would


suggest most people watching this show that that is a fairly good


deal. It sounds a good deal when you lay it out like that, but with a


normal pension age of 60, if you can't get there, it might as well be


a normal pension age of 80 or whatever. In reality, the review


said that 66% of current firefighters will not maintain their


fitness until they are 60. So plan B comes into operation. Firefighters


already paid for thousand pounds a year in contributions out of a


salary of ?29,000. If they cannot reach 60, if they have to go at 55


rather than be sacked under capability, these people will get


their pension reduced by around 47%. So instead of getting something like


19% in the best case scenario, they are looking at about ?9,000. That is


not as generous as they like to portray, and this is the reality. It


is not cloud cuckoo land of every firefighter working until they are


60. This is actually what will happen. Firefighters are saying, let


us mitigate the impact of the normal pension age increase. We have the


discussing that for 17 weeks. We know there was a league to letter to


fire authorities which says that Brandon Lewis is sitting on improved


proposals, but he would rather we walk out of the door than give us


these proposals. Our message is clear. Give us the proposals and let


us discuss them. Then we will not have strikes in the fire service. We


have to end it there. The FBU action is one of a number of


recent strikes. This week, there's been a tube strike in London, with


another scheduled to start on Monday, and last month teachers


walked out over pay and workload pressures. Well, we've got our


finger on the pulse here at the Daily Politics, and we've been


working with the polling firm Populus to bring you the latest


information on what people think about key issues. They've been


working on something called "voter segmentation" which breaks the


electorate down according to their values. Apparently, you do have


values. What have we been asking this week? Yes, you guessed it -


they asked people about their views on industrial action. 54% said they


had a little or no sympathy for London Underground workers striking


over plans to close ticket offices. 35% had some or a lot. 54% said they


had little or no sympathy for teachers striking over pay and


workload pressures. 40% had some or a lot. However, 41% said they had


little or no sympathy for firefighters striking over plans to


increase their retirement and changes to their pensions. 52% said


they had some or a lot of sympathy. When asked about their views on


whether trade unions have too much power in Britain today, 30% agreed,


with 31% disagreeing. 48% said they agreed that the public has more to


fear from the conduct of big business than the actions of trade


unions these days, with 13% disagreeing. To steer us through


this, we're joined by Rick Nye from Populus. What are the headlines


overall? The headline overall is the kind of reputational challenge that


big business has in this country. When you have got figures like that,


half of the population, including 31% of people who currently say they


will vote Conservative at the next general election, said the public


has more to fear from big business than from trade unions. So you


understand white Chuka Umunna comes on your programme and talks the way


he does about the proposed Pfizer takeover of AstraZeneca. Isn't it


inevitable that people would be more worried about big business? If it


was 30 years ago in the 1970s, the polls showed that people were more


worried about the unions than big business. The unions are now a lot


less powerful than they were 30 years ago. Big business is at least


if not more powerful than before, so naturally they would be more


worried. Some of it is definitely a function of power . When you ask


people whether they think the strikes are a legitimate weapon if


there has been a ballot and a majority who voted have voted for a


strike, people agree with that, even people in Tory voting segments. So


the idea of trying to restrict it to a turnout threshold is not


necessarily the easy win that some conservative politicians seem to


think. Certainly, people have sympathy, particularly in a tight


economic climate when people are thinking about their own pay and


conditions, and they certainly have sympathy when they are firefighters


who save lives. On your market segmentation of the different kinds


of groups that you have divided society into, what are the distinct


attitudes towards unions in those groups? Not surprisingly, at the end


where you find it cosmopolitan critics, there is overwhelming


sympathy for almost all strike action in every manifestation. At


the other end among the grumpy old men, you find the least sympathy for


unions. But even in the middle among the people who are most directly


impacted, there is ridges dual sympathy -- residual sympathy for


people being able to exercise their right to strike if it is done


democratically. It is fascinating how much sympathy there is for


teachers striking, who may not have articulated the reasons for their


strike. So far as I could work out recently, it was more about the fact


that they do not like Michael Gove than anything else. But perhaps the


public do not like him either. The attitude to the trades unions is


interesting. They get more sympathy now because they are not as


important as they used to be. I think Margaret Thatcher is Ed


Miliband's greatest assistant. Having reformed the trade unions and


subjected them to the proper rule of law, you can't make them into


bogeyman anymore. Where as you can with big business. You can. Ed


touched on this when he said there is good and bad capital. You can


laugh about it. But people are in favour of the market economy, a


growing economy, where we all share in the prosperity, but people do bad


things and don't seem to be held to account. That can sway populism for


Nigel Farage but there is the populism of the left being


articulated by Ed Miliband at the moment. You cannot turn Len


McCluskey into a bogeyman anymore and that is good for him. And with


the Westminster bubble, we think it is a bad thing that edge talks about


what he would do to business, but that could poll quite well. -- Ed


talks. But he did not go as far as Michael Heseltine, who called for


reserve powers for the Government this morning. Chuka Umunna would not


go that far. The logic of everything he said would suggest that but he


didn't. Why? I think Chuka Umunna would be in office like Peter


Mandelson. The big promoter of British interest. It was interesting


that he came back to the national interest again and again. He will be


cautious. He is not a Government minister. He has been cautious in


this take-over. He cannot stop or reflect this and he will use this as


a way to mount a critique, and from that he will make a policy, this is


what I will do. He certainly gave a critique this morning. When we get


strikes, demands come to introduce laws to restrict the ability of


central services to strike. Do we have attitudes to that? We did not


ask that this time. It is suggested in the results. Half of people have


some if not a lot of sympathy for the Fire Brigade in their industrial


dispute which does not suggest to me that they think it should be banned.


People don't understand what they are striking over, but they do think


people have a right to strike. The more admirable your profession, the


more sympathy people will have regardless of the cause. Try nurses!


Let's leave it there. In the latest of our award-winning series on


political thinkers, our guest of the day, former adviser to Tony Blair,


has chosen Machiavelli. You can draw your own conclusions from that! This


is Giles Dilnot. Ah! When it comes to political


philosophers, not many have their name used in everyday speech that


one does. Machiavellian. Cleverly deceitful and unscrupulous. It is


dark and sinister, isn't it? I am going to meet one strategist and as


he describes it recovering spin doctor who thinks that Machiavelli


is about much more than just an adjective. John, good to see you.


Let's get a table. What I really love is that you have brought your


well thumbed University copy of The Prints by Machiavelli. Why do you


like this guy? It is the best book about politics because it is written


by a practitioner. Machiavelli was at the top politics for 50 years. He


writes about the challenges we have to face and what to do about them. I


would advise Prime Ministers across the world that we have the same


issues to face up to and this is a handbook for us. He is the


insider's insider. It is the only book I would give to young people


about politics today. That is remarkable for a book that is 500


years old. But I want to give you and everyone else a sense of


Machiavelli's time and place and I have just the place to take you.


To give you a bit of atmosphere we have brought you to London's oldest


Catholic Church for Italians and it is Italy we are talking about. Not a


country at the time but a landmass ruled by warring city states.


Machiavelli writes his book in the context of this. What is he saying?


He has been at the centre of power for 15 years in Florence. The Medici


get power. He gets accused, tortured and exiled to the family farm and he


wants to get to the centre of power is he writes a job application


called The Prince. The book describes what Florence and Italy


needs, a strong leader. Someone to be feared and not loved. Love passes


but fear never passes. A leader who understands ruthlessness, acting


decisively or doing nothing and not being caught in the middle. And it


is telling that the Catholic Church banned the book. Nobody likes it. I


don't think anybody likes it because for insiders, he has told the


truth, spills the beans. And outsiders say, is that how power


operates? No wonder it gets banned. Oxford University also points out


that Machiavelli gets a bad press as much from people misreading him or


not reading him enough. From the outset, Machiavelli was understood


through the stereotypes of militias, vicious, sneaky, Italian


poison. There were many attacks on Machiavelli. They were what people


had read, not the works themselves. In other works, notably his


discourses on living, what we find is a theorist of Republican


institutions and values, in which people have their voice. In which


institutions can strain the rule. And these popular Republican


institutions are what give the state its greatness. I think Machiavelli


would be proud of us because we are obviously and clearly at the heart


of power in the UK. You say he is relevant. How does he work behind


that door? Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, the two most important


post-war Prime Ministers, both had senior advisers are updating


Machiavelli. They both agree with me that you can apply Machiavelli to


modern politics. He talks about using violence. How does that work?


Machiavelli is very clear. Leaders will need to use violence but they


should not do it themselves. They should have somebody who does it for


them. When I was Tony Blair's enforcer, he once said to me that


people would complain that I was roughing up the back benches too


much. You just have to break one of their legs, not both! Speaking of


violence, shall we go and play a video game? OK, finish what you


started. That is what I wanted you to see, Machiavelli in a video


ordering assassinations against the Borders. This man is part of our


modern culture. Yes, but it is not just in video games. There is the


Machiavelli stage name and clothing brand that Tupac setup after reading


him in prison. This guy has jumped cultures. He fascinates us because


he is full of contradictions. He wants to wage war to create peace.


He wants a strong leader to defend democracy. He is a guy who says that


we should use violence and the lower means of politics to achieve a good


society. We will be talking about him for centuries. Do you want to


have a go? The good thing is that you can break both of their legs. To


the left. Oh! Right, Machiavelli. The Prince was


basically a job application for him. He wanted to work for a bunch


of over powerful bankers called the Medici. Is that a good basis for


philosophy? It was a job application to get back into a citystate that he


loved, and to promote good Government in that citystate. The


thing about his book, he says in the end that high ideals sometimes


require very low means. That is the contradiction at the heart of the


book and that is why we love and hate him today. I don't think it was


published until after his death. It wasn't and you can understand why.


Do you think that he would ever have thought that in the 21st century in


a television studio that we would be talking about his book? He might


have thought that, in a funny way, because he refers to authorities. He


goes back all the time and tell stories of the Caesars, which are as


real to him as the Italian wars between the cities. He senses the


scope of history behind him and I think he could have imagined that.


He could have imagined a contribution to literature. He might


have thought it would be a discussion in a library not a


television studio. I understand that. The problem for supporters of


Machiavelli is that he has had a bad rap. The word Machiavellian, you


don't use that to describe somebody you like, at least not outside the


world of the spin doctor. He has. It was said in the package that people


don't read Machiavelli. Sometimes they read what you said about him


but more often they just hear the use of the word and contribute the


dark arts to him. It is a very readable book. And to be so old, so


short, so concise and still alive today, it is a great book. Are you a


fan? There is an interesting squeamishness about him which is


shown in the tension between the new politics that opposition leaders


talk about and then the practical politics that they employ! There is


that stuff about knife crime and I am sure Machiavelli would have


recommended the same behaviour. Did you stop breaking both legs after


Tony Blair asked YouTube? I was never breaking legs. -- Tony Blair


asked you to? They said you were more foul-mouthed than Malcolm


Tucker. I have never found you like that. Maybe Machiavelli... The point


in politics in the end, in modern politics, is to be feared or


respected. You don't have to commit violence, you just have to have the


reputation of being able to commit violence. Well! Let's find out the


answer to the quiz. The question was about being egged. John Prescott,


David Cameron, Nigel Farage or Peter Mandelson. What is the answer? Peter


Mandelson, isn't it, because he was covered in green lumpy custard and


the others were egged? That is it. And you thought that, too? That


image of him in the horrible green. Are we inevitably heading towards


European elections with UKIP a clear victor, Labour not a great second


and the Tories a bad third? That is what it is looking like. They are


setting the terms of the debate and they will have to be derailed by


other parties. There is also the Labour panic about whether they have


dealt with UKIP properly. There will be a fascinating aftermath. We will


be dealing with it on the Daily Politics. Thank you for joining us


now. The One O'Clock News is beginning on BBC One now. I will be


back on BBC One on Sunday with the Sunday Politics, to be joined by the


Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps and we will be talking about


UKIP. I hope you can join me then. Goodbye.


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