06/05/2014 Daily Politics


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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.


The Liberal Democrats launch their local election campaign,


with Nick Clegg promising to freeze council tax and protect


We'll be on the campaign trail with Lib Dem President Tim Farron,


Conservative Chairman Grant Shapps, and Labour's Hilary Benn.


One third of the population of England and Wales could be


from an ethnic minority by 2050, according to a new study.


We'll hear from the author of the report.


So help me God. Not a single vote cast in my name. Democracy is so


overrated. And what makes a great political TV


thriller? And with us for the whole programme


today is the Conservative peer Michael Dobbs, perhaps better known


as the writer of the political thriller House of Cards which has


been remade as a TV series in the States starring Kevin Spacey. If


you've got any questions you'd like to ask Michael tweet us now using


the hashtag #bbcdp. We'll put some of your questions to him


at the end of the programme. Let's start though with


the report out today from the think tank Policy Exchange, which


predicts that by 2050 one third of the population of England and


Wales will be from Rishni Sunak co-wrote the report


and joins us now. The growing ethnic minority


community in the UK will be an important part of the electorate.


And all these minority groups are very different. Research has looked


at their different life experience, attitudes and aspirations. On almost


any metric there are quite striking differences between these


communities that should be understood by politicians. In terms


of voting currently the majority of voters from ethnic minority


backgrounds vote for the Labour Party. That is true that there is


still the difference between the Indian community who are likely to


vote Conservative. So even on a general statistic, there are wide


differences. Do you think that the Conservatives have done anything to


galvanise the vote? I think they have made some moves. From the work


we are doing I think we're are seeing the benefits of that starting


to come through and individual communities need to be engaged with


on ways that are meaningful to them and will address their needs.


Hopefully our research highlights the issues of interest to each


community. If the parties lumped together people from different


grounds, what are the lines of differentiation for those


communities with Mac the Indian community overwhelmingly to own


their own homes more so than any other ethnic group in the UK. The


black and African community are less likely to do so. So policies around


mortgage rates and stamp duty, those should be topics that resonate with


the Indian community. On the other hand education, one of the findings


in our research was the improvement amongst the Bangladeshi immunity


with regard to GCSE results. That is in spite of a large number of


Bangladeshi students on free school meals. That would be seen as


evidence of the government's reform with regards to education. That is


not good news for the Conservatives, Michael Dobbs. We have ethnic


minorities now in the Cabinet and in the House of Lords. And a huge raft


of talented ethnic minority ministers. What we must not do is


get into the symbolism, just putting up tokens. Tory values are all about


education, owning your own home, entrepreneurship. The huge chunk of


the ethnic minority community does what exactly that. Why have you not


appeal to them until now. We have not been as good as we should have


been pushing across the message. What I love about the report is that


it engages us in a conversation. For a decade or more you could not


discuss immigration. If any Tory spoke about that he was immediately


accused of racism. That was a desperately destructive period and I


think we have now got beyond that. The interest of the ethnic minority


community is interesting especially towards issues like immigration. In


the research we are doing we find that they have quite subtle views


about immigration. They're not in favour of mass immigration by any


means. You have said that there will be startling changes by 2050. But


4.2% of MPs are from ethnic minorities so there is still a


massive gap. I think that will probably change over time. For


immigration, the growth in the ethnic minority population is just


coming from the demographic structure of that population, it is


a very young population. For those under ten years old, 25% of those


come from ethnic minority backgrounds. As they grow up they


will become a much more significant part of the population. But one


problem is to get young people to vote, right across the board. If I


can take this vacillating report, it does raise all kinds of issues.


Perhaps one of the key things is that we have to change the language


about this. We called it ethnic sonorities but they are not


minorities any more but substantial presences. The more that we can get


away from dividing communities and find out what brings us together, it


will be a much healthier debate and a healthier society. I hope we can


resist the temptation to say that we must be divided society. The study


also shows that many people from ethnic and naughty backgrounds feel


very British. Now it's time for our quiz, and


the question for today is - which of these books hasn't made it into


the top ten books borrowed from the C,


The Lonely Planet guide to Myanmar? Or D, Erskine May's Treatise


on the Law, Privileges, Proceedings At the end of


the show Michael will hopefully be There are just over two weeks to go


before the elections on May the 22nd and this morning the Lib Dems staged


unofficial campaign launch. Speaking at the Ministry of Sound nightclub


in London the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg set out why he believed


people should vote Lib Dem. We're not asking you to vote for us to


just stick up two fingers against the other parties. We are asking you


to vote for something. Because we can be relied upon to look after


your money when times are tough. To protect jobs when jobs are what give


people dignity and hope in the future. To stand up for Britain with


its head held high, not cowering in the corner from international


challenges we face. For a generous, open hearted approach, not only to


what we do in our country but how we treat other countries in our own


European neighbourhood as well. For a clean, sustainable environment for


future generations. Joining me now from


their election campaign launch is And in the studio is the


Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps, and Labour's Hilary


Benn. Support for the Lib Dems, research


so you have lost a lot of support. How worried are you. I have been


spending a lot of time knocking on doors in Manchester and Haringey in


the past few days. And there is a strong sense of Lib Dem support


being strong in the areas that we worked hardest in. That includes


areas that have been traditionally Labour. In Manchester many people


may not be the biggest fans of the coalition government but they are


voting Liberal Democrat because locally they are opposing Labour's


savage cuts. They are making cuts they do not need to make when times


are tough already. It is in our DNA that we do community politics. That


is not just something we do as an electoral tactic that it is who we


are and we live that on a day-to-day basis. So we have pulled off big


comebacks in certain areas. That comes after a bad set of results in


2010 because people on the ground recognise that Lib Dem councillors


different kind of creature. You get people who work hard for you all


year round. Research shows just under a third of those voting Lib


Dem in 2010 and two currently state of voting intention now, say they


will vote for Labour. And you say your trademark is local elections, a


local base for support. There have been suggestions that the Lib Dems


made news 350 seats in these elections which will cut your local


governments standing by almost half. So your trademark is fast


disappearing. Well in the last three sets of local elections we have had


setbacks and we just the number of seats we have held. But each setback


has been less bad than the one year before and I predict we will be in a


similar situation. People vote on the basis of the context of the


community they live in. But of course we had a difficult few years.


This was the last set of elections in the first midterm cycle for


Liberal Democrat government for the best part of a century. We inherited


dreadful circumstances, whoever you blame, we inherited that mess and of


course you will not get universally thanked for taking the tough


decisions and holding our nerve to make sure we see us through the


recovery. We knew we would get difficult election results. What you


will see up and down the country is work Liberal Democrat work hard on


the ground, we have bucked the trend. We took a seat from the


Conservatives in Cambridge. So on the ground you still see us winning.


But none of this is reflected in actual results. However much you


sugar-coat it. The figures do not stack up. Since January the 1st the


Liberal Democrats have gained more seats in local council by-elections


than any other little party, more than any other little party. Twice


as many as you can. So that is bearing out exactly what I am


saying. Well they have actually been dire for you, the opinion polls. And


political research shows that disaffected Lib Dem voters, almost


one in ten say they would now back the Green Party add a similar


proportion would back UKIP. While the Liberal Democrats, whatever


rating you choose to believe, just remember that is the normal mid-term


results for a Liberal Democrat opinion poll rating. The last


opinion poll we had before we had a change of leader was 12%. So Liberal


Democrats are made of sterner stuff than to be frightened by opinion


polls. We do not scare easily. What we are committed to saving


communities and doing a really good job for them. Putting the


environment first. We have not forgotten about Green politics. And


every single councillor in the country for the Lib Dems have frozen


the council taxes. Because we need to keep bills down in tough times.


He sounds very gung ho. Labour has to do something pretty exciting in


these local elections and the European elections if they are to


have any chance of making an impact next year in the general election.


We are looking to gain seats, as we've done over the last two sets of


elections. My constituents would say to Tim Farron, those affected by the


bedroom tax, I have 2800 families in my constituency, they are on low


incomes and are having to pay money that they are finding it very hard


to put their hands on because the Lib Dems and the Tories have decided


they should be penalised because they are on low incomes. People


desperately waiting for a house, they will see that in


Labour-controlled local authorities there are twice as many social homes


being built now than in Conservative controlled ones, and five times as


many as in Lib Dem controlled authorities. This is about what


people see locally. Whose side of the parties on, what are your


values? Many people are finding the cost of living pretty tough and look


at what Ed Miliband is saying about energy prices and rents, which grant


had something to say about last week. There are 9 million people in


the private rented sector now, giving them some certainty into what


will happen to rent increases. If your cost of living narrative, which


Labour goes on and on about, actually cutting through to the


electorate, why have the polls not moved? They are booming in the wrong


direction for you against these other parties, the gap is narrowing


with the Conservatives and you are making no more gains. I wouldn't


regard 38% as flat-lining. It hasn't moved. You are in opposition and you


say your cost of living narrative is having a huge success, why don't you


feel it in your poll ratings? Certainly in contrast to wear grant


and the Conservatives find themselves, yes, we are doing better


than them. The next general election is always going to be a closely


fought election. What really matters, I will agree with Tim on


one thing, it's how people cast their votes when they come to put


that ballot paper in the box. You are out of touch with local people,


that's what Hilary Benn is saying. They are talking about the things at


the bedroom tax, rates spiralling out of control. The good news is


just not affecting people locally. How do you answer that on the


doorstep? I think councils have done a very good job of handling some


difficult cuts in their grants from central government, I acknowledge


that is the case. They have suffered more than any other part of


government. They've taken a bigger hit than almost any part. One of the


largest. Satisfaction in the services provided by local councils


has gone up, not down. That demonstrate it is possible to do


more for less. Actually, it's probably the big message of this


election. Conservative councils cost you an band EE, ?89 a year less than


they do when they are Labour-controlled. And ?106 less


year than if they are Lib Dem controlled. They give you better


value for money and better services. If you talk about individual


circumstances like the bedroom tax, the subsidy, it's not a tax, it's


important to understand the most vulnerable people in this entire


scenario are the people who don't have a roof over their heads at all.


The waiting lists have doubled under the previous government. We are


acting to get those lists down. You've done nothing about it. All


the parties are jumping on the housing bandwagon. Let me put it to


you, how many houses have you built since 2010? 100 and 70,000 new. It's


untrue to say we haven't been tackling it. The waiting lists have


been going down, as a result of us taking difficult decisions about not


funding rooms which are empty, but funding rooms which we can get


people off the waiting list and into. That's the side of this debate


that people forget to mention. That's why we run these services


making the difficult decisions, as we've done by the bigger question of


reducing the deficit over role. What about the intervention on the


housing market and a potential cap on rents, hasn't something got to be


done about spiralling rent? Let's get the facts and figures straight.


It varies on where you are in the country. The Office for National


Statistics show that rents went up by 1%. In other words, lower than


inflation. The interesting second fact is, what did rent controls do


when they were introduced in 1939? The size of the private rented


sector was 55%. It's wrong to 8% and it was terrible quality. Fewer


properties available, words -- worse quality properties. Greene in


London, rents have gone up around 10% in the last year. This is not


rent control because the initial rent would be set by market forces,


as happens at the moment. What this is about is saying in offering table


if they want a three-year tenancy, that they have some certainty as to


what's going to happen to rents in the second and third year. People


don't have the right to get a three-year tenancy. They will be


forced to offer the three years? Landlords would be required...


Landlords might not want to do that. There are 1.3 million families


currently in the private rented sector. The children are starting


school, you don't know whether you are going to be in the property next


year. The landlord might renew the tenancy but they might put the rent


by 5% or 10%. Family finances can't cope with that. It's about getting a


bit more security to people in what is a housing tenure. Let's become to


Tim Farron. One of the problems I put to you and the housing issue is


UR associated with a government that introduced things like the so called


bedroom tax, which is what Labour called the spare room subsidy, which


ever way you want to look at it, that you are associated with welfare


cuts. That perhaps some of your traditional left of centre voters


now blame you for that. In a coalition government, if people are


going to look simply sticky at it, the fact that because the electoral


arithmetic lead only to one conclusion, which was a conservative


Liberal Democrat coalition government, then some people you


want to get their head around that. Some people think even if you share


the same space as a Conservative, that somehow renders you ineligible


for election to anything. On the housing issue, I want to be fair to


Ed Miliband, I want to say that I think he's identified, like many of


us, a problem. I can't be much fairer than that because I think he


has been guilty of just picking out another gimmick. The reality is,


Grant points it out, this Government has built 170,000 new, affordable


rented homes. That is not nearly enough, but it is infinitely more


than the Labour Party. Labour lost over 400,000 council houses when


they were in power. And the problem that Ed Miliband is trying to solve,


and we are all trying to solve, is the fact there isn't enough supply.


Both Conservative and Labour governments have seen a lot of


social rent housing. -- a loss of social rent housing. I don't support


the spare room subsidy, but I understand why the Government did


it. Because of Labour and Tory inaction on meeting supply needs,


it's pushed rents and therefore housing benefits out of control.


Obviously the government is talking about the improving economy, and you


can point to broader economic indicators to back that up. What is


striking is that it hasn't led through into the polls. Does that


worry you? The polls will move around. Unemployment is down, growth


is back, you would have thought that might lead to a bounce at least. The


gap is on average about 3%. We have made some of the hardest, most


difficult decisions about stopping this country from going bust.


Remember, we have the same percentage deficit as the Greek


economy, and we saw what happened there. We've turned from that, being


told we needed a Plan B, that we were going in the wrong direction,


we've managed to... The growth didn't come back for three years, we


will never know. What we do know is that we now have the fastest growing


economy in advanced economies anywhere in the world. So why aren't


people backing you? I think it takes time for people to feel this through


their pay packets. When you have the greatest recession in 100 years,


7.2% knocked off the size of the economy, to think you can suddenly


turn around and eradicate that, it's not true. It was George Osborne who


felt he could turn it around in a quicker time. That entire recession


took place under the previous government. There was no recession


once we had come in. The size of that recession was much deeper. The


cost of living narrative has been interesting in terms of its


response. It may not also have led to a massive jump in the polls for


you, do you think the problem for Labour is, while they might have


identified the issues that the person of the electorate has, they


just don't like the messenger, Ed Miliband is not seen as a future


Prime Minister? I don't agree with that at all. Average council tax in


Labour-controlled authorities is lower than conservative ones. I


think it's about values. Because David Cameron says take energy


prices, a big problem. We've opposed to reform to the energy market and


have the energy price freeze, David Cameron says we should back the


energy companies. David Cameron says a bit more security for people in


the private rented sector is going back to the past. It's not. It's


about looking that the real problem is that people face. Take local


councils, why is it that the people who are leading on giving the living


wage to council employees Labour-controlled local authorities?


Tory councils aren't doing that. It's about giving people help in


difficult times. There's a slight of hand when you talk about the average


council tax. Everyone knows you have constituencies in burrows with


different demographics, with sometimes more of the smaller


properties. So when you talk about the average it is incorrect and


misleading. The band geek test is the test, because it's the average


size home and in that regard we are ?89 a cheaper. -- Band ghee. How


important are these local elections? How big an indicator DQ


think they will be a year before the big day? Wii they also coincide with


the European elections, and they are the ones getting the headlines. They


are frankly being watched around Europe and the world for what will


go on there. They are very important. It wasn't so long ago


that we were hearing cataclysmic forecasts that local government was


going to come to an end, because it was going to be cut to pieces and


destroyed. Somehow it seems to have gone on, continued. Satisfaction


does seem to be not having collapsed. I think there will be a


lot of things thrown into local election results. But the one thing


I do hope that they will be able to focus on still is the fact that


these are about the people you elect locally. I think the last four years


have shown that it does make a difference you have representing you


locally. If you want to cast a vote in the


European or local elections on May 22nd you need to be on the electoral


register, and the deadline for Our reporter Eleanor


Garnier has more on this. If you are not registered you will


not be voting. If you are one of the estimated 6.5 million people not yet


signed up, time is running out. But don't panic, help is on hand here


today. I've got Becky Jarvis, the campaigns manager at 38 degrees. And


councillor Peter Fleming, from the Local Government Association. Whose


fault is it that millions of people aren't registered? I think the local


council could be doing more than they do about registering the vote.


They make it quite difficult for people. You have do register to vote


weeks in advance. But also I think there's a problem with broken


politics. Our members often tell me they don't trust politicians, they


don't feel they have any agency, they don't feel like they're


politicians are accountable to them. That's another reason why people


can't be bothered. It sounds like local authorities have got a lot


more to do to get people signed up. I think the signing a lot more to do


to get people signed up. I think the signing of big is because we have to


go through and check that people are who they really say they are. That


is set by this place, not by local authorities. We are enacting the


rules that are set down for us. Now we have individual voter


registration, that has gone a whole heap more complicated. That change


won't come in until the summer, when it will also change from being


registering not just in person but online as well. So we will move from


being household registration to individual, but also the online


thing. How much will that change it and help? Hopefully it will mean a


massive change and a real help. It will mean that these forced points


in the year where people have too register to vote by will go, you can


vote any time of the year. That will really help, particularly when


people move into a new area. Do you think councils are the right


organisations to be managing voter registration? One of the exciting


things about joining the vote is its everyday people knocking on people's


door, asking people to register to vote. Your neighbours, people


talking about politics. But not about party politics or


personalities, but about the issues they care about. That is really


exciting. We've seen that there has been a huge host of positive


feedback about people, our members, who have been volunteering to


register people to vote. Hopefully we've got a good few more thousand


registered. Your campaign was to get many more people signed up. If


people are watching now who have not registered, what should they do. By


midnight tonight, if you go online and find the website, all about my


vote, but will tell you where the local voter registration base is.


You can download that form and fill it in and handed over. I'll go to


the website, 38 degrees. I just want to bust a couple of myths about


voter registration. You can register to vote in more than one place. If


you're a student in Leeds but your home address is London, you can vote


in the local elections both cities but you must only vote once in the


European elections. You have to choose which a city for those


elections. And if you're signed up to pay council tax it does mean a


lot automatically registered to vote. And perhaps an incentive, if


you're not registered, it could affect your credit rating.


It's back to earth with a bump after the bank holiday weekend.


Well, at least it is for the Business,


Members will be debating whether to hold an inquiry into Pfizer's ?63


million takeover bid for British pharmaceutical company, Astrazeneca.


This follows Ed Miliband's calls for an investigation over the weekend.


On Wednesday that mid-week anchor, PMQs, returns as usual.


There's nothing like getting out of the office and into the sunshine.


And the party leaders will be making the most of the spring weather to


Messrs' Cameron, Clegg and Miliband will all be mingling with the voters


in the hopes of bolstering their chances on May 22nd.


And just when you thought all the fun was over, Friday brings the


launch of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition media campaign


You'll be glad it's the weekend after all that!


I'm joined now by Beth Rigby from the Financial Times and Tamara Cohen


Ed Miliband and AstraZeneca, this proposed takeover, with Ed Miliband


saying they should be a big public interest test. It is a massive


proposed merger and it is important to Britain and politically


important, is that life sciences is a key sector that the government


need to protect and invest in if we want to move away from financial


services and diversify the economy. In terms of the politics of the


deal, it is beginning to fall between Labour being anti the


takeover and the conservative side of the coalition being for it. Have


they actually stated that they are for it. They have not but the CEO of


Pfizer plug-in last week, he met a number of ministers and put the case


to government about why they should back the deal. It is usually


imported to Britain because Pfizer and AstraZeneca, if Pfizer coming


and cut jobs and cut research spending, it could damage the


science base and the economy. So there's a big political fight


underway as to whether or not the deal should go through and can the


government safeguard jobs. If David Cameron in a difficult position, he


reportedly has been told to remain neutral on this proposed takeover


and he is a free-market Conservative. Ed Miliband at the


weekend wedding and accused the Prime Minister cheerleading for this


deal. After having said it was a matter for the board of AstraZeneca


to decide. The Prime Minister then sent Jeremy Heywood two seemingly


negotiate with Pfizer and it looked like they were on the side of the


takeover, which of course will be the biggest ever takeover of a


British firm, if it goes ahead. If you look at the history of Pfizer in


the past few years, it has taken over a number of companies and has


not invested in research. I think the government have been surprised,


having expected this to be seen as a cool, how many concerns have been


raised about whether Pfizer are acting in the interests of Britain.


Do you think that David Cameron should keep out of the whole thing.


He is in a difficult position but politics are all about taking a


difficult decisions. What I think he should be doing first and foremost


is make sure that the guarantees offered by Pfizer to shareholders


and everyone else, will be kept. Far too often in the past we have had


foreign companies taking over things, like Cadbury, and they have


not always kept the bond, the word that they gave when they were taking


things over. That must be avoided. Actually it is a great compliment


and shows what good is going on. But not if it leads to the break-up of


AstraZeneca and the loss of jobs, or as does Johnson has said, a lack of


investment in research and development. Picking over the


takeover of Cadbury, politicians really what to get on the front foot


now. You have Adrian Bailey on the business select committee calling in


the CEO of both companies, and the science and technology committee


calling in officials companies. I spoke earlier to Adrian Bailey and


he said what they want to do this time is make sure that they get


assurances on public record in front of MPs for any deal does go ahead


because they want to bind the company in a way they feel they did


not in craft and Cadbury. Well they will no doubt be questioning by the


committees involved. Let us turn to Michael Wheatley, given life


sentences for a series of brutal raids on banks and building


societies and who owns the Nick named skull cracker. But he was in


an open prison and has absconded. This was the justice secretary


earlier. I want to be certain what happened in this case and I want a


system that is much more robust and only lets people out of open prisons


when there is a clear reason for doing so. All I want a system where


people go out with a tag on the ankle so we know where they are. Why


was this man in an open prison, do you think. I have no idea. It is


very bad for us sitting here to pontificate because we do not have


the details. But there have to be standards. Why was he let out


without a tag. A man with a record like that. There are issues to be


raised here and I think that Chris Grayling has said he will get the


details of that and find out who made those decisions and why. It is


a difficult for us to say it must have been a bad decision. What we


cannot have are people lie back out on the streets and we do not know


where they are. Most of us reckon they should still be in prison. But


is there anything that Chris Grayling can actually do about this.


He clearly needs to work out whether this is a one-off or a wider


problem. You can look at what has been happening in the probation


services where they are trying to cut costs and are outsourcing


contracts. Things are going slightly awry. I think it's important for the


government to reassure people that this is a one-off and not more


systemic problem within the system. This rather throws out the line


about being tough. It is embarrassing, his nickname was skull


cracker and he was in an open prison. Also the timing of it. Last


week we have leaked e-mails about a coalition row, the Conservatives


wanted to jail repeat knife offenders. The Lib Dems were not so


keen on it. This is embarrassing timing for them and there will be


more questions raised about this all week. Well we may miss the machinery


behind the scenes of the general and local elections. All parties have


workers and structures that delivered the organisation that


keeps things ticking over. But has the machine become too slick and


controlling? Our guest of the day was close enough to see those cogs


whirring. But first he has been looking into the engines of


politics. Whether big posters for small parties breaking into the


scene or more well-known names, small parties breaking into the


having a rock star entrance organised for a low rent election


campaign launch, or getting out to do your bit for your party with a


bit of voluntary help. Or communications teams that organised


and facilitate parties talking to the media. Every party needs and


almost always creates a machine. Politicians need the machine behind


them because there are so many tasks that have to be done and they have


to be done so well in the modern world. When there are good are very


good and when they are bad there are awful. The essential point is that


one thing really counts. You cannot do anything in politics apart from


criticise and influence unless you have power and power means being


elect did. You cannot get elected without a machine. And as the years


have gone on on the conservative side, campaign headquarters has


become more and more of a short term election sheen. Sometimes it does it


well, sometimes badly. The machine also accepts an element of control.


It depends on how much control. For the party to be effective, both in


campaigning and also in delivering on the things it campaigns on, there


has to be a degree of discipline and thinking through and getting people


to agree on what they agree on and not get diverted. The problem has


been building over time. So as the machine becomes huge in some cases,


just explaining it rather hints at what is wrong with it. But do not be


fooled into thinking that other party machines are less simpler. In


1983 Labour's NEC met every day of the election campaign. It was later


widely seen as more of a spanner in the works. Today control or to be


more like -- more light touch. Great political campaigns are


extraordinarily tight on message and on the issues you campaign on, image


you have and loose about how you deliver on the ground. So you can


allow a local candidate to tailor the material and the themes to the


local context. Yet today there is concern that the well oiled


Conservative machine is too focused on elections. You permanently wading


the long term work you're doing to build up vote over many years for


the short term needs of here and now. A by-election, a crisis in a


marginal seat. That is all fine but you need long-term research and


candidate development. One supposes that the perfect answer is Deus Ex


machina. But that seems yet to have revealed itself. We have been joined


in the studio by Olly Grender who works for the campaign for Paddy


Ashdown and the editor of the Labour Uncut blog, well. You could arguably


say that all three parties are in trouble in terms of their party


machinery. UKIP do not have that behind them and they are the ones


making headway. It is interesting. All three parties have


organisational difficulties and also financial difficulties. We have


often sacrificed the long-term for the short-term, as was mentioned.


There is a good balance between fighting a campaign and having that


long-term policy element. That has become much more focused now on the


media. I think that for all three parties is a weakness. Of course


UKIP, may end up being a flash in the pan, they are a media creation.


Whether the MIDI -- whether the media allows them to continue,


history will tell us. It's always been a problem. Yes, it's the mass


membership party. been a problem. Yes, it's the mass


that is run incredibly smoothly actually not a political party,


because it's all about individuals, new ideas and changing things, and


you always expect some troubled waters. Do you think the Liberal


Democrats are two Democratic in their internal structures, and that


makes it difficult for the party leadership to impose that central


message? I think it's difficult for the party leadership, but the upside


in having an incredibly democratic machine is, for instance,


in having an incredibly democratic coalition. 80% of our members are


still in favour of as having gone into coalition in the Thursdays.


Why? Because they got a vote on it. That is incredibly important. There


is a great wealth and That is incredibly important. There


been good democracy within a party. I appreciate that everyone laughs at


the rather complex structure that was shown on the video tape just


now, but I think in many ways it works. Except how well equipped was


the party machine to deal with, for example, allegations about Lord


Rennard? That makes it incredibly difficult because there is a natural


justice process and there are certain rules one has to go


through. What it has helped with is a full enquiry, all sorts of things


have been instigated. A special hotline. I think there are great


improvements within the party machine on that, and they've been


done partly because there are committees and structures to do it.


How is Labour HQ faring at the moment? I have spoken to a range of


candidates over the weekend. I'm wondering how the feeling is at the


moment. One of the problem is always in a campaign is that there's always


that tension you alluded to between head office and the candidates in


the field. The candidates think head office doesn't understand what they


are doing and head office thinks the candidates are doing this, that and


the other and aren't sticking to the message. The problem we've got at


the moment, at head office for labour there were some clear


factions and divisions there. When a head office and party machine


becomes riven with that, it turns in on itself and the priority becomes


binding agreement internally rather than driving up the message and


instilling some of that discipline out in the field. What's the key


divide? There are three divide is happening in labour at the moment.


The general secretary wasn't Ed Miliband's choice. All of the


leader's office is now for the first time formally part of party HQ, so


that's one split. All of those executive directors report to


Spencer Livermore and Douglas Alexander now. That is a fundamental


divide because they had a tremendous falling out with Ed Balls and some


of Gordon Brown's people over the election that never was. Spencer


Livermore had to leave at that time. That's a fundamental divide. So is


John Turner right, he worked for Tony Blair, if you don't have a


tight machine where the message is so completely locked down, then your


party machine for the message is so completely locked down, then your


party machine. Part? Know, messages can't be imposed because we all, to


a certain extent, our mass parties. What you need to transmit and


communicate our values, basic things that people will accept. Not simply


be imposed upon them. Wasn't that what the a list was? That's a


slightly different idea. The central problem for all parties is the fact


we don't have the money. The Tory party, this is why the Tory party


was constantly in trouble because we spent everything on an election, had


less for the long-term processes. Now the Tory party has got its


finances in a much better shape. The problem with Labour is not just the


personal problems, but you've packed set out to the yet again in a more


disastrous fashion than 20 years ago. I'm not sure that's the case.


The way you communicate values is the message and discipline. Yes, you


tailor it locally for local situations, but you have to have


everyone lined up and aligned. In an election that is an incredibly


difficult thing. If head offices and United, that leaves us vulnerable.


We don't know whether it is Ed Miliband or the trade unions who are


calling the shots in terms of policy. Aren't the Lib Dems the best


are facing both ways? They still managed to win even though they


could hold really quite different positions. There is an assumption we


are an annexe to either of the other parties. We are not. We have our own


long-term philosophy and art are very different political party from


either Labour or the Conservatives. One thing is really important to


people out there who are campaigning the day in day out message. An


understanding of what the core message is and trust and confidence


in the centre that it is confident. In the Eastleigh by-election, what


the party nationally can talk about is how our involvement in government


has ensured that there is delivery of more and more jobs. Likewise


Eastleigh council, which was delivering more jobs. You can


combine the message, as long as the activists have faith in that. That's


a very important point. The candidates have got to trust the


centre, and only when the centre is United do we get that trust. Is that


why Lib Dems have you election candidates this time around? We were


on a high going into the 2010 election, we are still fighting


hard. With freezing council taxes and incompetence...


It was a campaign to eradicate absolute poverty across


the world and was centred around the G8 Summit in Gleneagles in 2005.


There is a new campaign tackling global poverty. Participants spend


less than ?1 a day on food for five days. Do these campaigns make a


Here's Nelson Mandela, who spoke at a rally in Trafalgar Square.


The G8 leaders when they meet in Scotland in July have already


promised to focus on the issue of poverty, especially in Africa. I say


to all those leaders, do not look the other way, do not hesitate.


Recognise that the world is hungry for action.


We're joined now by Lord McConnell, who is living on ?1 a day


for 5 days, to raise awareness about global poverty.


Looking back, it captured the imagination. What did it achieve?


It's achieved a lot but not enough, which is why we are still


campaigning. The changes in debt arrangements, aid that was promised


and to some extent has been delivered has made a difference, but


it has not been enough full stop a lot of the promises made then have


not been kept. Countries using the excuse of a global financial


crisis, but it's really just an excuse. Is it just an excuse? Has it


sapped sympathy for those sorts of courses, bearing in mind the depth


of the recession and how many countries it affected? I don't think


so, not in this country. This country is by far and away the most


generous in the world on these sorts of causes. I was in the Philippines


in February, and everywhere there was an -- there were handwritten


signs up banking the UK and donors from this country, because we had


contributed more from the public purse and private pockets than any


other country in the world. In the UK we have a strong tradition in


this. But there are plenty of people who think that David Cameron was


wrong to commit to spending 0.7% of the UK budget on international aid.


Was he right to do it? Absolutely he was right. It's one of those


decisions, where the priorities should be. In our own country


there's been a lot of progress in terms of people beginning to realise


how much food we waste. Part of Jack's approach, let's live on 30p a


day or whatever, that is being mirrored this week. You are here,


you have this last week and are still in one piece. The Tory peer is


Anne Jenkin is doing it this week. Part of that is to show people that


the waste is almost criminal. And there's a lot of progress being made


with supermarkets to reduce all of that waste. But you know that there


are people who feel that money is going to certain countries, like


India and China, who don't necessarily need it, when you think


of where they are in terms of developing to their economies. The


Guardian reports that millions of pounds of British aid money has been


invested in buildings of gated communities, shopping centres and


luxury property in poor countries. Most people would say, why has it


gone there? The main problem here is people think that the British aid


budget is now about ten or 20% of our national expenditure. It's not,


it 0.7% of our national income. It's a tiny proportion of what we make in


this country and what we spend. When people are confronted with that


particular fact, they actually think it's not enough. Should be going to


countries like India and China? Should it be going to those sorts of


projects, rather than providing food or water? British aid is not going


to China. It has either stopped or is in the process of being stopped


in India. The key thing here is there are still 100 million kids


every day in the world living in hunger and starvation in the


21st-century. I was ten years old when we started landing people on


the moon. It's an absolute scandal and disgrace that this is still


going on in the 21st-century, when we have the means and resources to


do something about it. If the world was organised in different ways with


trade, aid for investment for the long-term, so these countries can be


independent, not dependent, and people going to school and learning


the skills and knowledge that will help them stand on their own two


feet, then around the world we can transform this. We can do it in a


generation, and that's why we have to keep going.


Now, it's time to find out the answer to our quiz.


The question was, which of these books hasn't made it into


the top ten books borrowed from the Parliamentary library last year?


It had better be house of cards, they've all got their own signed


copies. You are right. Now if you thought Westminster was


a seething pit of backstabbing and That I will well and faithfully


discharge the duties of the office which I am about to enter. So help


me God. So help me God. One heartbeat away from presidency and


not a single vote cast in my name. Democracy is so overrated! Let's


start this new chapter with a clean slate. I know you will do whatever


you think is best. I think Congressional leadership took part.


I can't have this conspiracy stuff going mainstream. The connections


are troubling, especially Underwood. We need to delete all of our phone


history. Sinister! Are you amazed this book you wrote such a long time


ago, then was made into a British series and American series, in its


second series and being commissioned into a third, and it keeps on


going? It's been brilliant. It's been so much fun. The quality of


what they are doing this with Kevin Spacey, it's superb. It's been great


fun. Why now, though, political drama, most of the political drama


we are seeing comes from abroad? It's part of the commissioning


process. There are some issues about the commissioning process in this


country. Political drama requires a proper backdrop. What we've had in


the States recently, we had George Bush in the States and everybody


wanted to watch something like the West Wing, where everybody was warm


and cuddly, not like George Bush. Now we've got Obama and everything


seems to be stuck. So along comes Kevin Spacey and says, I will do


it, no matter what it takes, I will do it. There's a bouncing off of the


realities. Yes or no, do is British politics really as dark and


manipulative as the original series made up? I hope so! That's all for


today. Thanks to all of our guests. Sorry, what?


I gotta get off the show.


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