12/05/2014 Daily Politics


12/05/2014

Jo Coburn presents the latest political news, interviews and debate. Should it matter what politicians look and sound like?


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Transcript


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Good afternoon and welcome to the Daily Politics. Gary Barlow has been

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ordered to pay back millions of pounds worth of tax, but should he

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be stripped of his OBE for his involvement in a tax avoidance

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scheme? Nigel Farage says his party is being

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targeted by antifascist groups, but is there really a campaign of

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violence against UKIP? We will bring the two sides together in the

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studio. Roll over Das Kapitall. Is the new

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bestseller Le Capital au Vingt-et-un Siecle a new manifesto for the left?

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Come on, these are the issues I know. It is not a leader's voice, is

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it? And it might make for a few laughs, but does it matter what

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politicians look and sound like? All that in the next hour and with us

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for the first half hour today is the comedian Matt Forde. You saw him in

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the clip and he used to be an adviser to the Labour Party, so he

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knows his political onions. And we won't be making fun of your voice.

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Welcome. First the case of Lord Hanningfield who faces a ban from

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the House of Lords until the next election and being ordered to pay

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back over ?3000 worth of allowances which were wrongly claimed for. This

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latest case comes after the once Conservative Peer was sentenced to

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nine months in prison in 2011 for fiddling his Parliamentary expenses.

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Let's speak to our political correspondent Eleanor Garnier. Let's

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talk about the reasons for the wrongly claimed amount of expenses.

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Lord Hanningfield was basically caught clocking on to the job,

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claiming for his expensive, but not doing any Parliamentary work. This

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has come about because of an investigation by the Daily Mirror

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that followed the peer around. It wanted to find out how much time he

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was spending in the house of lords. In essence you don't get a salary if

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you are a peer, but if you turn up and clock in, you can claim ?300 a

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day. The idea was to reduce fraud on expenses, make the system more

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transparent and honest. But the Daily Mirror found out that

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sometimes disappear was turning up for less than 20 minutes a day,

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clocking in, turning round and going home. He has tried to appeal this.

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But the house of Lords watchdog has said, no, the 11 days they

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investigated Lord Hanningfield was only in the House of Commons for a

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total of 40 minutes, not enough to make these claims. They asked him

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what work he had done across those 40 minutes and he could not point to

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any specific work he was meant to have done. They suggested he be

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suspended for the maximum amount of one year and he pays back ?3300.

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Once he has done that and it comes to 2015 he will be able to return to

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the House of Lords? Is that right? That is right. Peers effectively

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cannot lose their job in some respects. After the general election

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he will be entitled to take his place back in the house of lords.

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Today Lord Hanningfield said he admitted it was thoughtless to claim

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for the full amounts on those 11 days, but he maintains he thinks the

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allowance is basically a salary. He added he only claims for 100 claims

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a year, but he says he works every single day of the year. He will

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repay some money and go away for a little bit and he will be back in

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2015. It was thoughtless, he said, but otherwise this is a salary he

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can rightfully claim. If we all turned up, went on the Internet and

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then went home, that would be the end of it. He has got a

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constitutional role and he is messing about. We are talking about

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getting rid of some MPs, why can't we do that with the House of Lords?

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People will find it amazing that in this particular instance this man is

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going to be able to come back into the house of lords after the next

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election and presumably be able to claim that daily allowance again. It

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is beyond ridiculous. But think of Lord Archer and others who have even

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been to prison and two are still allowed to take their place in the

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House of Lords. It would not apply to the House of Commons. The damage

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this does to politics in general just reinforces the idea that it is

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now in the trough. You would want him kicked out? Yes, if he had any

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dignity, he would leave. What about reforming the House of Lords? If it

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were elected, people would be able to have a say in it. I'm not

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convinced about having an elected house myself, really. The time has

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come to elect people in a different way, but the danger is you would get

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one party dominating the Commons and also the Lords, so it would not

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provide the function it is meant to provide. I can't understand how you

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would get neutrality. What about the allowance? Would you keep this daily

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allowance that you get literally for turn it up? Absolutely not. It

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should be like an MP's wage. Pop star Gary Barlow found himself

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taking a few hits rather than making them after a tribunal ruling that an

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investment scheme he had put money into was actually used to just avoid

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tax. Margaret Hodge, the chair of the Commons Public Accounts

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Committee, called for a bit less take that and a bit more give back,

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saying he should show some contrition and return his OBE. This

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morning the Prime Minister was asked if he agreed. Margaret Hodge has

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suggested Gary Barlow may want to give back his OBE as an act of

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contrition, would you support that? I do not think that is necessary. He

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has done a huge amount for the country and has raised money for

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charity and I am not sure, because the OBE was in respect of that job

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that he has done, but it is right they pay back the money. We're

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joined by Mark Littlewood from the Institute of Economic Affairs, a

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free-market think tank. The Prime Minister said he should pay back the

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money. Why shouldn't people who abuse the tax system have the honour

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is stripped from them? If he was refusing to pay the money, that

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would be different. A lot of the problem is about how complex the tax

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system is. I have been looking into what this tax dodge was. It is

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because we have got an unbelievably complex loophole that allows you to

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invest money in creative industries and right of those losses in tax,

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that would encourage this behaviour, it is designed to encourage people

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to make losses by supporting movies, and it seems that Gary Barlow and

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others are only running losses. He has been found guilty in a court and

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it has been found the system went too far, but the only reason the

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system exists in the first place is the ridiculous complexity of the

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British tax code. It is legal, and I know he has been told to pay back

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the money, but this is not an issue of avoidance. What he is doing is

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deliberately avoiding tax, he has deliberately run losses in order to

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escape paying. Gary Barlow burns tonnes of money. In an era where we

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have always had normal jobs and you cannot avoid tax when it is

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compulsory to pay it. It is baffling. I avoid tax, I have got an

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Isa. But you pay income tax in that. I put more money into my pension

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than I otherwise would because of the tax benefits. I buy as much

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tobacco as I legally can when I am abroad because it is cheaper to

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avoid British tax. The problem is it is not about tax avoidance,

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aggressive tax avoidance has not been defined. If you have ever

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bought anything from duty-free, that is tax avoidance. It is different

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getting the odd, little treat when you come back from holiday? Is it

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the millions of pounds or the nature of avoidance? Both. Tax avoidance,

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you think that I'd differences in the scale. You probably do the same,

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you some of the Government ways of avoiding tax. There

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you some of the Government ways of between aggressive tax avoidance and

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those taxation is the Government encourages you to do. This was a

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scheme the Government encouraged people to do, to encourage very rich

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people to invest in the creative industries for a tax break. In a

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scheme that is created or could only be created to avoid tax. Is that

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right? I would scrap these tax loopholes. It is a deliberate act of

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public policy to get rich people to invest money in the creative

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industries so they can write losses against tax. So they can help

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flourishing talent I'm sure was the incentive. They were set up with the

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right principle, to nurture a flourishing, British talent in the

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industries. People like Gary Barlow and his accountant realise they can

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use it for something else. Barlow should have his OBE stripped for

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crimes against music! I will not have a debate about that, put that

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to one side. But why should he be stripped of his OBE? I think anyone

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who wants one needs their head testing anyway. It is bizarre to

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crave another level of status when he has already got so much heaped

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upon him. The Prime Minister seems to be reluctant to say his OBE

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should be taken from him because of the contribution he has made to

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society. He has also failed to make a contribution to society. The

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reason why we have a deficit and a Government cutting public services

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is because people like Gary Barlow do not pay their fair share. It

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would be colossal to our eyes, but it is a drop in the ocean compared

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to the overall deficit. I find the honours system preposterous, but if

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you are given an honour, you should only have that stripped away if you

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are shown to have done your service fraudulently or if you are convicted

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of a serious, violent, criminal offence like murder or armed

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robbery. This was an extremely complex tax issue. I understand

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Barlow and others will repay and that should be the end of it. The

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Prime Minister is being accused of being inconsistent because with

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Jimmy Carter he said it was morally wrong, but he has not said the same

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about Gary Barlow, and critics would say he is a Tory supporter and their

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poster boy. It is always a mistake for politicians to comment on

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individual cases. I do not want the Prime Minister to decide whether

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Gary Barlow is morally right or wrong. The court should decide that,

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not politicians on the morality or immorality of tax affairs. Do you

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think there should be laws to make some tax avoidance illegal and it

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would be clearer, or just not get involved in these cases if they are

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not legal? The problem is the law allows it. The only way you could

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legally stop it is to effectively closed the loophole. We have got the

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longest tax rule book in the world, about 14,000 pages long, seven times

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longer than War and peace. If you are going to have a rule book that

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long, people will find complex loopholes in it. I don't think you

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can get it all onto 14 pages, but that should be the aspiration. When

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you build well-intentioned incentives to help the creative

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industries, and pages of complexity, you are opening the floodgates to

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people who are using them not for the purposes for which they were

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designed, but to minimise their tax payments. Let's make it simpler and

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flatter. And you would still listen to Gary Barlow's music? I would

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never listen to it. UKIP leader Nigel Farage says he's a free spirit

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who hates having to be escorted by bodyguards. But he said he needs

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protection because anti-fascist groups such as Unite Against Fascism

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and Hope Not Hate are acting "violently" at UKIP meetings. Mr

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Farage also said that the two groups receive Government money and have

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ties to the Labour Party. UAF and Hope Not Hate deny using violence

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and UAF say they do not receive taxpayer cash. Here's the UKIP

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leader speaking to Andrew on the Sunday Politics yesterday. Sadly, we

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have a couple of organisations out there headed up by senior Labour

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Party figures who purport to be against fascism and extremism, who

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received funding from the department of the communities, who received

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funding from trade unions, who have acted in a violent way more than

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once. You are saying the Labour Party is behind the threats? I am

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saying that Unite Against Fascism and Hope Not Hate are funded. I am

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happy for them to come to my meetings and have an argument with

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me but it is not so much fun when they are banging you over the head

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with banners. That was Nigel Farage and joining us is Weyman Bennett,

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joint national secretary of Unite Against Fascism, and Suzanne Evans,

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the UKIP communities spokesperson. Welcome. Have any of your members

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acted violently or threateningly to Nigel Farage in public? That is

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absolutely not the case. We have questioned him. Unfortunately that

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is the reality. If you stand as a politician, the public are allowed

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to question you. Some of the things he has said, we believe he has

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defended homophobic comments as he did yesterday. They said there was a

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problem with same-sex marriage. We also believe they are racist. If you

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do unpopular things like that then people question you and that is what

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has happened. As the questioning being in an intimidating way? Have

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members acted aggressively to Nigel freeride? According to opinion

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polls, 22% of people ain't UKIP is a racist party. That was not the

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question I asked. When they opposed the legitimate questions, did they

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do it in an intimidating way or a way which can be seen as aggressive?

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I think no. People said they were gay and they were here, and maybe

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Nigel finds that intimidating and I think that if the problem with

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UKIP. What would you say to that, Suzanne Adams others? Would you like

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to attract the allegation? No. The bodyguards tell me a very different

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story. This man has been arrested on conspiracy for inciting violence in

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the past. 58 of his supporters were arrested en masse last year.

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Violence seems to follow this group around whether we like it or not and

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I certainly don't like it. On Wednesday night I had seen it all

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finally when supporters of this man and his organisation stood up and

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assaulted verbally our speakers at a conference on Wednesday night. They

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stood up and called a black, 60-year-old, Jewish woman racist.

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They called her racist scum and had to be injected from the meeting. I

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have seen it all. This group is not antifascist. It is trying to close

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down free speech and democracy and does so in a violent way. Let's be

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absolutely clear. I don't consider UKIP to be fascist but I believe

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them to be pushing racist ideas and pushing the idea that if your

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neighbours are Eastern European or black sometimes or Maslin, then

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there is a problem with that. The candidates have made a statement.

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One said that same-sex marriages have caused floods. Can I finish my

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point? Firstly the idea of being verbally assaulted is being

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questioned. That is what it is called. If you ask me a question,

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that is not verbal assault. It is questioning the nature of my

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organisation. I think the idea of pushing division is something we

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have to reject and that is part of the problem. We have turned up, gay,

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black, from different communities, and questioned Nigel and I don't

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believe that his violent. We need to clarify. Verbal assault is not the

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same as physical assault. OK, let's talk about physical assault. The man

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that hit Nigel Farage over the head with a placard in Margate was a

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supporter of Hope Not Hate, closely affiliated with UAF. The same as the

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man on bail for a game Nigel Farage at the moment. A supporter of Hope

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Not Hate. -- a throwing the egg. Nigel Farage is not as popular as he

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would like to be. That is the same for every politician! It does not

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mean he deserves that. Nobody has argued he should be assaulted. The

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politics of UKIP are encouraging racism and division which I believe

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leads to real violence. So why are 12% of the non-white population

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voting for UKIP in the country? Why are you not attacking racist

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candidates from other parties? We have BNP members in the Labour and

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Conservative parties. You have kept silent on that issue. Let's be

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clear, UKIP is the only party that has put forward the idea that the

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biggest problem facing Britain at the moment is immigration and has

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run on that policy to the point where I believe if you ask... Can I

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finish? The poll that you reported was also reported that 22% of people

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said that UKIP was a racist party. Right, but what about the non-white

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candidates that are standing for the party? Why would they be in a racist

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party? I believe it is possible, in some sense, and... They are

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mistaken. They have made a mistake. Can I finish this one quick point?

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When Nigel Farage says that Enoch Powell is his hero... He did not say

:20:30.:20:37.

that. He never said that. I don't think he ever said that. While we

:20:38.:20:41.

have the claim and counterclaim, what is your response to the fact

:20:42.:20:45.

that Nigel Farage things he needs protection? He clearly needs

:20:46.:20:49.

protection because it does get assaulted and he does need it. The

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main problem the left has in campaigning against UKIP and that

:20:53.:20:57.

UAF have, is they want them to be racist and they want to campaign

:20:58.:21:01.

against the BNP. I would never vote for UKIP that they are not as

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extreme as the people campaigning against them want them to be.

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Reality is that you have to campaign against them as you would the Tories

:21:10.:21:12.

or the Lib Dems and fight on their record. People are not agreeing with

:21:13.:21:16.

what you are saying is because it does not chime with the reality.

:21:17.:21:23.

UKIP are not a racist party. If you say that you find gay relationships

:21:24.:21:29.

abnormal... That is bigoted and reactionary. Can I finish? But

:21:30.:21:36.

people have questioned them in a non-violent way. You are picking out

:21:37.:21:43.

individuals, tiny things, that do not represent the party. We have

:21:44.:21:49.

made this very clear. The idiots who have criticised us... Let him

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finish. Would you accept that you referred to another organisation

:21:56.:21:59.

that attacked Nigel Swaraj, that your leader has explicitly said that

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Unite Against Fascism has attacked people? -- Nigel Farage. You are

:22:05.:22:11.

changing your point. Nigel Farage, as you yourself, has had to account

:22:12.:22:17.

for people that you are calling idiots yourself. Do you understand

:22:18.:22:22.

that that does provoke a strong reaction? Of course. But we don't

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have a level playing field. Similar candidates in other parties have

:22:28.:22:31.

said even worse things. The Tory candidate councillor who talked

:22:32.:22:34.

about wanting to expel all Muslims from the country and destroy masks.

:22:35.:22:40.

Awful things. Did that appear on the Unite Against Fascism website?

:22:41.:22:46.

Never. Does your group have ties to the Labour Party and trades unions?

:22:47.:22:50.

Yes, we have ties to trades unions, to mosques, churches, groups, and we

:22:51.:22:57.

are opposed to Fascism. We don't consider UKIP to be a fascist party

:22:58.:23:02.

but we are part of a campaign that says we should live in a society of

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tolerance and equality. Thank you for that note of agreement at the

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end! Politics is showbiz for ugly people

:23:15.:23:18.

according to the saying but only some politicians attain celebrity

:23:19.:23:23.

status. So what have they got that others have not?

:23:24.:23:25.

Actors playing politicians are of course trained to capture the

:23:26.:23:29.

audience. If you want something done, ask a woman. But there are

:23:30.:23:33.

some politicians like the late Margaret Thatcher who mastered the

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art of holding our attention so well, they seemed to transcend

:23:37.:23:41.

politics altogether, reaching a certain celebrity status. There are

:23:42.:23:51.

mishaps and plenty of missed mixed metaphors. My leadership chances, as

:23:52.:23:55.

I may have told you before, are about as good as my chances of being

:23:56.:24:00.

reincarnated as a baked bean. Whatever the London Mayor gets up

:24:01.:24:04.

to, there always seems to be a lot of love for Boris. Would you like to

:24:05.:24:11.

see him elected? I love Boris. And there is a certain something about

:24:12.:24:13.

the fellow public schoolboy and former banker now UKIP leader Nigel

:24:14.:24:17.

Farage, and his charismatic character. Scotland's first minister

:24:18.:24:25.

Alex Salmond has certainly got the hang of it but is there something

:24:26.:24:29.

that successful ones all share? Politics is largely an art form and

:24:30.:24:34.

therefore to really succeed in politics you have to be an artist,

:24:35.:24:38.

and that means being a great communicator, a great actor. Even

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when you are being completely fake and not authentic, you have to

:24:43.:24:46.

convey the sense that you are being utterly sincere and authentic.

:24:47.:24:52.

Putting on a show and doing a bit of acting is not easy. So what tricks

:24:53.:24:59.

to politicians have two win us over? British eccentricity. It have to be.

:25:00.:25:04.

Something quirky and different to what we are used to. Bull Garrity

:25:05.:25:11.

maybe could be one explanation. Charisma could be another. --

:25:12.:25:18.

vulgarity. Another master to add to the mix, Tony Blair. Here at his

:25:19.:25:23.

last Labour conference as Prime Minister, diffusing tension between

:25:24.:25:26.

his wife and Gordon Brown. At least I don't have to worry about running

:25:27.:25:31.

off with the bloke next door! In a way that I think is still

:25:32.:25:35.

underestimated, Tony Blair was a mesmerising orator. I used to get

:25:36.:25:38.

his speeches before he delivered them when he was leader of the

:25:39.:25:42.

opposition and read them and think what total rubbish. We are going to

:25:43.:25:46.

be a young country, a country reborn. And then he would stand

:25:47.:25:50.

there on the stage and say, we are going to be a young country, country

:25:51.:25:54.

reborn, and you would believe it. You would be utterly spellbound. How

:25:55.:26:00.

much of this is taught and how much is natural talent? You have got it

:26:01.:26:05.

or you haven't. The great artists just have it by instinct. They know

:26:06.:26:09.

how to communicate. They know how to appear sincere and to be funny. And

:26:10.:26:15.

they have just got it. And if you have got it, flaunt it. The longer

:26:16.:26:21.

politicians manage to keep the audience entertained, the longer

:26:22.:26:25.

they can stay in the limelight. Eleanor Garnier reporting. With as

:26:26.:26:28.

is the journalist and author Peter Hitchens. You are a big fan of Tony

:26:29.:26:40.

Blair. Why? Not only because office record but what they touched on

:26:41.:26:47.

there. Politicians make people excited and Tony Blair did that.

:26:48.:26:51.

What was wrong with Tony Blair? He was a great communicator and a lot

:26:52.:26:55.

of people believed that I voted for him over three elections. That

:26:56.:26:59.

cannot be delayed. Well, I don't know whether it can be denied or

:27:00.:27:03.

not. They did not do much for me. What is he a communicator off? He

:27:04.:27:09.

seems to be a communicator of drivel and vacuousness. Almost everything

:27:10.:27:14.

he said qualified as one or the other if not both and every speech

:27:15.:27:17.

he made, I wondered why people were taking it seriously. There was

:27:18.:27:21.

nothing there. I think the magic of Tony Blair was, and David has proved

:27:22.:27:26.

this, he was so vacuous that anybody who wanted to manufacture an image

:27:27.:27:30.

could have anything into him and have it come at the other end. David

:27:31.:27:34.

Cameron is considerably more intelligent and so his attempt to be

:27:35.:27:37.

a second Tony Blair has not really work because he has the intelligence

:27:38.:27:42.

to block the drivel valves. But he has not won on election, has he? No,

:27:43.:27:48.

he hasn't, but that is to do with Conservative Party debt which is not

:27:49.:27:51.

he hasn't, but that is to do with something we can do anything about.

:27:52.:27:55.

Not even David Cameron. Listening to that, he said he was vacuous and

:27:56.:27:58.

Not even David Cameron. Listening to not say anything, and therefore it

:27:59.:28:01.

was easy for everybody to project what they wanted to hear. Do you

:28:02.:28:05.

think it was true or was there a narrative, a passion, and he did

:28:06.:28:09.

believe in something? I think you did. If you looked at his vision for

:28:10.:28:14.

the country which was for the Labour Party to embrace the markets. That

:28:15.:28:20.

was significant. David Cameron may well be better educated and with

:28:21.:28:25.

better results... They are equally well educated. Both Oxbridge public

:28:26.:28:30.

school boys. If you have got vision, the only vision that Tony

:28:31.:28:34.

Blair had was the vision of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq which

:28:35.:28:40.

were not there. Beyond that it was slogans, the kind of thing you have

:28:41.:28:44.

just come out with. Klaus four was dead before you were born. It was

:28:45.:28:49.

killed off by Harold Wilson and it did not matter. Anyone who knew

:28:50.:28:52.

anything about British politics knew that it meant nothing. It is

:28:53.:28:59.

personality we are talking about. Steve mentioned having an instinct,

:29:00.:29:03.

a likeability. Tony Blair said you have to be a member of the human

:29:04.:29:06.

race before you get into the political class. Wouldn't it be fun

:29:07.:29:10.

to have politicians that you dislike that have knowledge of what is going

:29:11.:29:16.

on? Who do you like and rate? Thinking back there was the

:29:17.:29:18.

generation that came to the Second World War, whichever side they were

:29:19.:29:23.

on, who knew something. Denis Healey is a good example. You can listen to

:29:24.:29:39.

him and you can hear there is some experience and knowledge of reality

:29:40.:29:42.

in this person. He has seen people killed and he knows what war is

:29:43.:29:44.

like, which so many of these buffoons do not, which is why they

:29:45.:29:47.

want to start them. I don't want to make that link directly to Boris

:29:48.:29:50.

Johnson but he does have personality and appeal. Does he have substance?

:29:51.:29:52.

Ultimately what unites politicians like Boris and Tony Blair is they

:29:53.:29:56.

have an amount of personality but ultimately you judge somebody on

:29:57.:30:00.

their record. The reason Boris was re-elected was people asking if

:30:01.:30:03.

their life was better or worse and Boris has been quite successful in

:30:04.:30:08.

London and that is why he was re-elected. What is your view on

:30:09.:30:12.

Boris? He is quite a good performer but something like Monty Python.

:30:13.:30:16.

People will wonder what they were laughing at. An engaging person and

:30:17.:30:20.

likeable, but he's not what he appears to be. Conservatives think

:30:21.:30:23.

he is hostile to the European Union and they would be quite surprised if

:30:24.:30:37.

they studied and thought about it. He is not what he appears to be,

:30:38.:30:40.

which may be the trick as well. Do we want that? Regular disappointment

:30:41.:30:43.

of the electric discredit the whole system. You do a good impression of

:30:44.:30:57.

Ed Miliband. What the hell is that voice all about, make? It sounds

:30:58.:31:03.

like Tony Blair with a cold. He would talk like that. Let's talk

:31:04.:31:10.

about it. As the years go by and his nose gets more bunged up it has come

:31:11.:31:16.

on. I want to talk about what is going on. Come on. These are big

:31:17.:31:20.

issues I know. It is not a leader's voice. Does it matter about the

:31:21.:31:31.

voice? A bit. William Hague was seen as a pipsqueak and a bit of a drip

:31:32.:31:34.

and he would talk at the top end of his vocal range and now he is

:31:35.:31:40.

Foreign Secretary, he talks in a deeper voice and it gives him real

:31:41.:31:46.

gravitas. Does that mean he would be more likely to be leader now with

:31:47.:31:53.

that voice? Argued bully, yes. If you are not doing so well and you

:31:54.:31:57.

are perceived to be a bit of a drip, having a silly voice helps you be

:31:58.:32:06.

lampooned. Is he being lampooned and hampered? He is always caricatured

:32:07.:32:13.

in particularly unflattering ways and the question is not whether he

:32:14.:32:19.

has got a different or unusual voice, the question is should it

:32:20.:32:26.

matter? It ought not to matter, but if it does, it is surely the duty of

:32:27.:32:31.

anybody who has got any role with politics and the public to make sure

:32:32.:32:35.

it does not matter. What matters is what he says and what he thinks, not

:32:36.:32:40.

whether it comes through his nose or mouth. Are you ever going to get

:32:41.:32:48.

away from the image, the look, the sound of a politician? Television

:32:49.:32:54.

infantilised as all who watch it. It does that and it is a terrible

:32:55.:33:02.

danger to freedom of thought. It makes people tremendously

:33:03.:33:04.

conformist. You can dismiss quite a substantial person on triviality and

:33:05.:33:09.

it is a tool by which you can destroy real politics. Are you

:33:10.:33:17.

guilty of trivialising politics? There is a right to mock

:33:18.:33:21.

politicians. Mocking somebody for their voice is not trivialising

:33:22.:33:28.

politics? Of course it is. Spitting image did that. It also did a lot of

:33:29.:33:34.

harm. Political discussion in this week has been the sense of a public

:33:35.:33:43.

schoolboy in 1958 dominating what we think. Nobody studies what they say

:33:44.:33:50.

or do. We have an infantile, political culture. Is that the fault

:33:51.:33:57.

of satire? Some people would say it engages people in politics. But if

:33:58.:34:02.

it engages people, but lessens the standard, it is not doing that. One

:34:03.:34:07.

of the reasons why this country is so badly governed is because of this

:34:08.:34:15.

childish attitude. If you compare British democracy took a lot of

:34:16.:34:19.

countries in the world, we have a vibrant democracy. Politicians know

:34:20.:34:25.

they will be scrutinised. We are one of the most indebted countries in

:34:26.:34:30.

the world, we make nothing, or our political statistics are fiddled,

:34:31.:34:34.

this is a bigger problem than what comes out of Ed Miliband's knows. I

:34:35.:34:40.

have studied Ed Miliband's voice for hours and hours, and I listen to

:34:41.:34:44.

what he says, and that is a good way to characterise someone. Thank you

:34:45.:34:52.

for being our guest of the day. In a moment we will get a beginning of

:34:53.:34:56.

the week briefing from two of Fleet Street's finest. They are waiting

:34:57.:34:59.

for us just outside Parliament. Now a look at some of the events taking

:35:00.:35:03.

place later this week. On Tuesday the Business Select Committee will

:35:04.:35:05.

scrutinise Pfizer's proposed takeover of AstraZeneca when bosses

:35:06.:35:08.

from both firms appear before the Business Belect Committee. On

:35:09.:35:12.

Tuesday MPs get a chance to grill David Cameron who appears before the

:35:13.:35:16.

Commons Liaison C ommittee. The Prime Minister will face Ed Miliband

:35:17.:35:19.

across the dispatch box for what could be the last PMQs of this

:35:20.:35:24.

session of Parliament. On Thursday Parliament could prorogue, which

:35:25.:35:30.

would give MPs a 19-day break. They would not return until the Queen's

:35:31.:35:34.

speech next month. Emily Ashton from the Sun and Andrew Grice from the

:35:35.:35:38.

Independent are standing by for us on College Green. The coalition row

:35:39.:35:49.

over education, how serious is it? This is not your typical row, this

:35:50.:35:55.

gets a bit personal. This is between Michael Gove who causes divisions

:35:56.:35:59.

quite a lot, and between David Laws. It is about how much funding

:36:00.:36:05.

is going towards free schools. Because the Lib Dems accused the

:36:06.:36:09.

Tories of diverging millions to free schools away from local authority

:36:10.:36:15.

places, they accuse Michael Gove of being ideological and obsessed with

:36:16.:36:18.

free schools. This gets to the heart of the hatred for Michael Gove

:36:19.:36:25.

amongst Lib Dems, but it is symptomatic of coalitions in general

:36:26.:36:28.

ahead of an election and it will get more bitter. Do you think this is a

:36:29.:36:36.

limited domestic row between the two coalition partners, or does this

:36:37.:36:39.

potentially risk more damage in a widespread way to the Government? It

:36:40.:36:44.

is a risk. The education Department and the Treasury, which is now

:36:45.:36:50.

getting involved, were the two departments in 2010 that worked very

:36:51.:36:54.

well together in coalition. That is a setback to the Lib Dems' desire to

:36:55.:37:01.

show coalition works. They have got to come out of the coalition next

:37:02.:37:05.

year and say the last five years have been good for the country and

:37:06.:37:10.

it is not easy to say that when it looks shambolic. Who wins this row?

:37:11.:37:16.

The Lib Dems are the Tories? It is tricky. The free schools are going

:37:17.:37:20.

ahead and I do not know if there are any winners. The Lib Dems still

:37:21.:37:26.

support free schools. I am not sure it is a debate to be one. It is more

:37:27.:37:32.

about hoisting the flag up the mast and saying, we don't like you

:37:33.:37:37.

becoming obsessed with free schools. Labour are due to make an

:37:38.:37:41.

announcement on the NHS. Tell us more about it. Ed Miliband is making

:37:42.:37:47.

a speech in Manchester tonight where he will address some of the

:37:48.:37:51.

problems, like waiting time appointments for GPs. It has work to

:37:52.:37:57.

do our economic credibility, but the NHS is an issue where Labour has

:37:58.:38:02.

always been strong and Ed Miliband will start with Labour's plan to

:38:03.:38:07.

rescue the NHS. They will be warning another five years of the Tory and

:38:08.:38:13.

Lib Dem Government would not leave the NHS in safe hands. There will be

:38:14.:38:19.

a major cash crisis by the NHS after the election and so Labour is trying

:38:20.:38:24.

to get that up in lights before the year's time. You could argue the

:38:25.:38:28.

Government is running out of things to do if they are going to break up

:38:29.:38:34.

on Thursday. What do you say? We do not know for sure, but that is the

:38:35.:38:40.

general speculation. The Commons office will not announce it until

:38:41.:38:44.

the business statement on Thursday morning. But if they do rise, that

:38:45.:38:51.

is 19 days before the Queen's speech and that comes two weeks after a two

:38:52.:38:57.

week Easter break and two weeks in February. A lot of people will say,

:38:58.:39:02.

we elect them to the House of Commons to debate laws and policies

:39:03.:39:07.

and they are not here. There is this claim of a zombie parliament that is

:39:08.:39:11.

running out of things to do because of a five-year fixed Parliament. And

:39:12.:39:18.

what about Pfizer and AstraZeneca. Talks of a public interest test

:39:19.:39:23.

being passed. Even if that was not passed, and Government block a deal?

:39:24.:39:30.

It is difficult. They want to put a bit of political pressure on Pfizer

:39:31.:39:34.

and Pfizer is talking about having a legal opinion, showing its

:39:35.:39:39.

guarantees about keeping jobs in this country would be legally

:39:40.:39:43.

binding. There is usually something in the small print saying if

:39:44.:39:48.

circumstances change, the company doing the takeover can change its

:39:49.:39:54.

position. MPs will be looking for long-term guarantees about jobs in

:39:55.:39:58.

this country. Pfizer has spoken about a five-year guarantee of

:39:59.:40:02.

keeping research and development jobs. I think the MPs will be

:40:03.:40:08.

looking for ten years. Thank you. Now, let's get back to that

:40:09.:40:12.

coalition row. It's over funding for school places that pitches the

:40:13.:40:15.

Deputy Prime Minister against the Education Secretary. Insults being

:40:16.:40:17.

traded include Michael Gove being accused of "lunacy" while

:40:18.:40:20.

Conservative sources have accused Nick Clegg of being "pathetic" of

:40:21.:40:24.

all things. So how did this latest verbal bust up begin? Well the Lib

:40:25.:40:29.

Dems are unhappy at what they see as Mr Gove's ideological obsession over

:40:30.:40:33.

free schools which they claim could lead to the loss of 30,000 local

:40:34.:40:36.

authority places in England as money is diverted to the free school

:40:37.:40:42.

programme. In fact it was the unlikely figure of Malcolm Bruce who

:40:43.:40:46.

landed a big punch on the BBC over the weekend when he said the budget

:40:47.:40:49.

for free schools was completely "out of control" and that Michael Gove

:40:50.:40:56.

needed to be "reined back". The Liberal Democrat deputy leader is

:40:57.:40:58.

unhappy at the Education Secretary for supposedly diverting ?400m from

:40:59.:41:01.

the department's basic-need funding to bolster his free schools

:41:02.:41:08.

programme. But the Tories have fought back, accusing their

:41:09.:41:10.

coalition partners of being "pathetic", saying that more school

:41:11.:41:16.

places were being created overall. In fact, the blue half of the

:41:17.:41:20.

coalition are accusing the Lib Dems of sour grapes after leaked e-mails

:41:21.:41:23.

showed senior officials within the Department for Education were

:41:24.:41:26.

concerned that Nick Clegg's policy of free school meals amounted to "an

:41:27.:41:29.

abuse of taxpayers' money for his personal ends". While it's not the

:41:30.:41:35.

first coalition row, this one seems particularly vitriolic as both

:41:36.:41:37.

parties look to strengthen their support base ahead of next week's

:41:38.:41:43.

local and European elections. I'm joined now by a panel of

:41:44.:41:46.

Westminster's finest, or at least the best we could muster together on

:41:47.:41:50.

a Monday lunchtime - Paul Uppal, Lisa Nandy and Julian Huppert.

:41:51.:41:59.

Welcome to you all. Is providing free school meals to infants and

:42:00.:42:05.

abuse of taxpayers' money? We have to look at the whole round. One of

:42:06.:42:10.

the things I have picked up over the debate, it is not just about the

:42:11.:42:15.

number of places, it is the quality of places. I have a free school in

:42:16.:42:19.

my constituency and that will provide a ladder of social mobility

:42:20.:42:25.

for many youngsters and it is providing a solution for so many

:42:26.:42:32.

meet youngsters. Do you accept free schools do not have to be set up in

:42:33.:42:37.

areas where there is a shortage of places? They can be set up anywhere

:42:38.:42:42.

and there is a shortage of places in certain parts of the country and

:42:43.:42:47.

money has been taken away to fuel this ideological obsession? There is

:42:48.:42:54.

more than adequate provision for need of places. Why is there a

:42:55.:42:58.

shortage of places in certain parts of the country? I have seen in my

:42:59.:43:04.

own constituency a free school that has been established there. In

:43:05.:43:11.

providing a number of places and the quality of places, it is paramount

:43:12.:43:16.

to meeting the need. Is Michael Gove obsessed with free schools? No, he

:43:17.:43:21.

is obsessed with providing a social ladder of mobility to help children

:43:22.:43:25.

meet the skills gap and escape from poverty. The Lib Dems were fully

:43:26.:43:33.

signed up, what is the problem? I think having more of that money

:43:34.:43:38.

towards basic needs is the right thing to do. There are people who

:43:39.:43:42.

are looking for more places and we need those to happen. Equally I am

:43:43.:43:47.

proud of the policy of providing free school meals at infant schools.

:43:48.:43:53.

There is evidence that shows it helps everybody, particularly those

:43:54.:43:57.

from lower backgrounds. Is It good we articulating what we would like

:43:58.:44:03.

to see happen. Malcolm Bruce said the education department is out of

:44:04.:44:08.

control. Is he right? Loo-mac this is nothing like as much as we saw

:44:09.:44:13.

with the Blair - Brown battles. We are two separate parties. But you

:44:14.:44:21.

have now completely fallen out. Lunacy on one side, and pathetic on

:44:22.:44:30.

the other. The free school meals policy was written on the back of a

:44:31.:44:38.

piece of scrap paper. There have been some bizarre comments. There

:44:39.:44:42.

has been a lot of research about free school meals policy. It helps

:44:43.:44:48.

people who are in particular are already getting free school meals.

:44:49.:44:52.

We should help people from poorer backgrounds catch up and not fall

:44:53.:44:58.

behind. But do you recognise the Tory charge your school meals policy

:44:59.:45:03.

is leading to a cut in school places as council funding has to go into

:45:04.:45:07.

providing school meals rather than places? It came from other money and

:45:08.:45:12.

the Treasury and the Treasury announced extra money for this

:45:13.:45:17.

policy. Do free schools not provide school places in the fairway local

:45:18.:45:23.

authority schools do? We should focus on the experience a child is

:45:24.:45:28.

going to happen. Do you match need with where people want to open a

:45:29.:45:33.

free school? I am sure in some areas free schools are dealing with the

:45:34.:45:38.

need there, but in other places they will not be. We should be supporting

:45:39.:45:42.

pupils and their education where the need is. Is no doubt Labour is

:45:43.:45:50.

watching this with great amusement but there is a serious point here.

:45:51.:45:54.

If there is a shortage of places, which there is in some parts of the

:45:55.:45:59.

country, is it being met? I don't find what has happened in education

:46:00.:46:03.

policy funny at all. We have the free schools programme which is out

:46:04.:46:08.

of control. 1.5 billion so far. 40 brand-new schools in areas where

:46:09.:46:13.

they are not needed when we have a real crisis of school places. 90,000

:46:14.:46:19.

places will be needed in London by 2016. What about quality as well?

:46:20.:46:23.

They are not the schools that parents want to send their children

:46:24.:46:28.

to? There is another problem with this because free schools have had

:46:29.:46:32.

mixed results because they are frankly an experiment. They don't

:46:33.:46:36.

have proper oversight so we have seen real catastrophes. They don't

:46:37.:46:40.

outperform other schools. The question is this. The education

:46:41.:46:43.

secretary has been focused on a small number of schools and

:46:44.:46:46.

children, some of whom have done very badly and some have done OK,

:46:47.:46:52.

but the rest of the country is waiting and wondering what the

:46:53.:46:55.

education secretary has two say to them. We need a policy that speaks

:46:56.:47:00.

to all schools and all children. I think we can do better than we do at

:47:01.:47:05.

the moment. Are you happy to defend the experiment of free schools when

:47:06.:47:09.

only 22% of people support them according to a survey. And some

:47:10.:47:13.

schools have not got proper oversight according to Lisa Nandy.

:47:14.:47:17.

We are planting a seed and it will take time. Is it across-the-board?

:47:18.:47:22.

Two thirds have been excellent or outstanding in Ofsted. Why am I

:47:23.:47:29.

Conservative? The two years I was in a state school where because of the

:47:30.:47:32.

colour of my skin my teachers thought I could not speak English.

:47:33.:47:36.

One teacher engaged with me and provided a ladder of opportunity. I

:47:37.:47:43.

passionately believe these free schools can give this. Are you

:47:44.:47:46.

seriously arguing that state schools cannot give a ladder of opportunity?

:47:47.:47:52.

They have outperformed free schools in the Ofsted ratings. In the state

:47:53.:47:56.

system we have three boys in the state system getting five A stars.

:47:57.:48:07.

That is failing children. I am saying that the status quo is not

:48:08.:48:11.

good enough. There is plenty of money being spent. We have to

:48:12.:48:15.

produce academic excellence. This is not the answer, to squander money on

:48:16.:48:19.

a number of schools who have been proven to fail over recent years

:48:20.:48:23.

because there is not proper oversight. Anybody can walk into the

:48:24.:48:27.

schools and teaching them. We rely on whistle-blowers to know when

:48:28.:48:31.

things are going wrong. That is not raising standards. Would you like to

:48:32.:48:35.

see more money diverted to the free schools programme? This is a

:48:36.:48:43.

long-term project. Sure, but would you like to see more money diverted

:48:44.:48:48.

into the programme? I think any money that is providing those

:48:49.:48:52.

children with the right ladder, then that is absolutely crucial. So

:48:53.:48:55.

taking money away from local authorities and putting it into free

:48:56.:48:59.

schools. Do you agree with that? We should focus on providing the

:49:00.:49:05.

education that people need. So where you run to sign up in the first

:49:06.:49:09.

place and do you regret it? Some of my constituents have set up a school

:49:10.:49:14.

affiliated to the University of Cambridge so there are good things.

:49:15.:49:18.

You could criticise the Blairite academy programme, where there were

:49:19.:49:23.

similar concerns. We should talk about pupils and not just the

:49:24.:49:26.

organisations. There is grossly unequal funding across the country.

:49:27.:49:29.

Why should people in Cambridgeshire get a quarter of a million pounds

:49:30.:49:33.

per year for a typical primary school less than the English

:49:34.:49:38.

average? Why does a pupil in Cambridge deserve so much less? That

:49:39.:49:42.

is something the last Government did nothing about, leaving us at the

:49:43.:49:51.

bottom. Labour left us right at the bottom of funding for many years.

:49:52.:49:53.

Their 13 years we did not get the extra money and that has caused real

:49:54.:49:56.

problems. We need a fairer funding problem so that -- fairer funding

:49:57.:50:02.

solution. We will leave it there. Thank you.

:50:03.:50:07.

The CBI has warned that political uncertainty could pose a major risk

:50:08.:50:12.

to economic recovery. The revised up their prediction for greatest year

:50:13.:50:15.

but they also forecast an increase in interest rates in 2015 and said

:50:16.:50:21.

that politicians need to be aware of headline grabbing policies that we

:50:22.:50:25.

can investment opportunity and jobs. Whatever could they mean? Could they

:50:26.:50:29.

be talking about the policies that Ed Miliband and the Labour Party

:50:30.:50:33.

have been spouting recently? Intervention in the market at

:50:34.:50:36.

various levels, like capping rent and in the energy market. That poses

:50:37.:50:42.

uncertainty. Reading the CBI report this morning, they were saying the

:50:43.:50:45.

opposite. One of the problems with the growth we have seen is that it

:50:46.:50:49.

is potentially unsustainable and relies too much on a housing bubble.

:50:50.:51:01.

They are calling for what we are calling for, investment in

:51:02.:51:02.

infrastructure, building new schools, roads, homes and hospitals,

:51:03.:51:04.

but particularly house-building. Increasing the supply so that house

:51:05.:51:07.

prices do not continue going up and then far too many families cannot

:51:08.:51:10.

afford to own or have stability in their own homes. That is why we have

:51:11.:51:14.

said we want to intervene in the market and increase the supply and

:51:15.:51:17.

make sure people can get onto the housing ladder in a sustainable way

:51:18.:51:21.

if they want to, but also to boost jobs and growth this country not

:51:22.:51:28.

just in London. Do you support your party's policy for capping the

:51:29.:51:32.

increase in rents? We want to make sure people have stability in their

:51:33.:51:36.

homes so that when you sign up to a contract, that read that you have

:51:37.:51:41.

agreed to remains for the duration of the contract. -- that rent. We

:51:42.:51:46.

want the contracts to be longer. As someone who has rented for many

:51:47.:51:51.

years with many friends with families in rented accommodation,

:51:52.:51:55.

that stability is the basis of a decent life. I cannot understand for

:51:56.:51:59.

a moment why the Conservatives are so opposed to it. Why are you? I

:52:00.:52:04.

have worked in the centre for 20 years and lived through this. For

:52:05.:52:08.

those that remember the regulated tenancies, we have been here before.

:52:09.:52:12.

It actually decimated the rental sector completely in terms of

:52:13.:52:16.

investment. It had the opposite effect. There are unintended

:52:17.:52:21.

consequences. It is very easy for politicians to say, look, if it

:52:22.:52:32.

scores high on opinion polls, let's follow it, but it is short-term and

:52:33.:52:35.

does not fix the long-term problem. That is having enough houses to meet

:52:36.:52:38.

supply. All right, we will leave that there. You have heard of Das

:52:39.:52:41.

Kapital but what about Le Capital Au XX1e Siecle? Apologies for my French

:52:42.:52:43.

accent. That is capital in the 21st century. It has been written by

:52:44.:52:49.

Thomas Piketty, a Frenchman, and the 640 page tome has been sitting at

:52:50.:52:52.

the top of the bestsellers list and some people who bought it have

:52:53.:52:56.

actually read it! This is Adam Fleming.

:52:57.:53:01.

Reading Le Capital Au XX1e Siecle takes a seriously long time but

:53:02.:53:06.

don't worry. Here is a quick summary. Thomas Piketty has analysed

:53:07.:53:14.

centuries worth of economic data. His conclusion? Inequality is

:53:15.:53:19.

increasing. But not just that, it is hard-wired into capitalism. The only

:53:20.:53:25.

times things get more equal is one was destroy inherited wealth or

:53:26.:53:29.

governments do serious redistribution. -- when governments

:53:30.:53:41.

destroy. The rich are destined to get richer while the rest of us stay

:53:42.:53:47.

the same. The author sums it up in a now infamous equation. R is greater

:53:48.:53:57.

than G. It was briefly in the Amazon top ten, selling better than the

:53:58.:54:01.

diet books but not as well as beriberi. -- Mary Berry. It is doing

:54:02.:54:14.

well in London. This think tank had to find a bigger venue to

:54:15.:54:19.

accommodate all of his fans. I think it will stand up well with Karl

:54:20.:54:25.

Marx's Das Kapital. It will change how we view capital in mainstream

:54:26.:54:31.

economics and politics, yes. And it shows changes in intellectual

:54:32.:54:35.

thought in this century. It is that big a deal? Yes. So how do I say his

:54:36.:54:41.

name? Thomas Piketty, I think. We hope! If you get to the end, you

:54:42.:54:47.

will find the professor advocating a new tax rate for the rich of 80%.

:54:48.:54:51.

But won't that make it harder for them to buy the book? Look how much

:54:52.:54:57.

it costs! We will leave the big question of how to pronounce the

:54:58.:55:01.

man's surname. We will say Thomas Piketty. Do you agree with the main

:55:02.:55:08.

thrust of his economic thesis, which is that if there is more growth in

:55:09.:55:14.

capital assets than what you earn, income, then inequality will become

:55:15.:55:19.

greater? There is a lot to that, but I don't agree with his conclusions

:55:20.:55:24.

like the 80% tax rate. OK, but in recent years if you have been

:55:25.:55:28.

sitting in a house in London that has grown a huge amount in value,

:55:29.:55:35.

outstripping what people can earn in a day... Yes. We tax income more

:55:36.:55:38.

than wealth for many years in this country and we have argued that

:55:39.:55:41.

should change for many years. They have done things like changing stamp

:55:42.:55:48.

duty for example. But we would also like to see a mansion tax, which we

:55:49.:55:52.

have pushed Bob. You're not going to get that in coalition with the

:55:53.:55:57.

Conservatives. No, but I still think it is the right thing to do. Out of

:55:58.:56:02.

Government you were suddenly more interested in it. But he would not

:56:03.:56:05.

back it. I hope it can happen because we need to rebalance it and

:56:06.:56:12.

focus on wealth. That is a fairer way to run public services. Whenever

:56:13.:56:18.

Labour decide to sign up to mansion tax, they have taken that half of

:56:19.:56:23.

the equation. But you still want higher tax rates. You want people to

:56:24.:56:29.

keep their earned wealth and tax the inheritance or their property. We

:56:30.:56:32.

don't want higher tax rates for the many. We want the 50p rate of tax

:56:33.:56:37.

restored. This is what Thomas Piketty, however you pronounce his

:56:38.:56:43.

name, is actually saying. In Britain there is an astonishing fact. 50% of

:56:44.:56:48.

people only three to 4% of our wealth. That cannot be right. One of

:56:49.:56:53.

the solutions to that is taxed but there is another solution which is

:56:54.:56:56.

to make sure that people are enough in the first place to have a decent

:56:57.:57:00.

standard of living, which is one of the problems we have got in this

:57:01.:57:17.

country. -- earn enough. But people earning ?10,000 a year need that 750

:57:18.:57:22.

quid. They are desperate for it. Let me explain it to you. If you raise

:57:23.:57:26.

the minimum allowance before people pay tax, the threshold, it helps

:57:27.:57:31.

people like me and Hugh who pay ?65,000 a year as much as it helps

:57:32.:57:38.

them. There are better ways of doing that. No, it is less progressive.

:57:39.:57:43.

Independent studies have shown it is less progressive. Would you ever

:57:44.:57:50.

look at a mansion tax? I actually don't think it would work. I am an

:57:51.:57:56.

East African seek. If you follow this argument through logically. And

:57:57.:58:03.

we have business in Kenya, then this is about compensatory taxation. We

:58:04.:58:09.

lost everything and came to the UK. The same Government who asked us to

:58:10.:58:13.

leave asked us to come back in 1980 and we said not ready. We are happy

:58:14.:58:18.

where we are. Can you use that example in terms of rejecting a

:58:19.:58:23.

policy that would tax wealth here? I think in some elements of the book,

:58:24.:58:27.

if you look at the US, there is some resonance. But if you look at the

:58:28.:58:31.

UK, and Allister Heath has written about this extensively and I will

:58:32.:58:36.

not recited Verbatim... No! You jumped to that quickly! The

:58:37.:58:41.

discrepancy between dividends and rental income has not happened over

:58:42.:58:45.

the last 70 years. That is a good point to leave it on. Thank you for

:58:46.:58:50.

joining us. The News At One is starting on BBC One now and I will

:58:51.:58:52.

be back tomorrow at midday. Goodbye. MUSIC: "Mas Que Nada"

:58:53.:59:08.

by Sergio Mendes

:59:09.:59:10.

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