19/05/2014 Daily Politics


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Politics. AstraZeneca rejects what Pfizer says is its last offer to


splash its cash on its British rival, but will shareholders be able


to resist the offer? family doctors in the driving seat,


but will they be as good at running the health service as keeping us


healthy? Ed Miliband says the minimum wage should be linked to


average earnings, but what should the link bait?


average earnings, but what should insist UKIP, the party is accused of


harbouring homophobes and bigots and racists, but are the other parties


any better? All that in the next hour, and with


this for the first half of the programme today is the chair of the


Royal Court of GPs, Maureen Baker. Let's start with the proposed


takeover of AstraZeneca by its US rival, Pfizer. This morning the


board of AstraZeneca has rejected what is described as a final offer


that values the business at ?69 billion. Does that mean is this the


end of the affair? Let's speak to Simon Jack, does it mean the end of


the affair? Very probably yes, Jo. The shares have fallen very sharply,


down about 13%, and that tells us most people think the deal is dead


in the water. As you say, they offered ?55 per share, and it seems


they got pretty close on price, because previous offers were


described as woefully undervalued. This was just inadequate, so a


little bit more might have got the board to talk to them, that it would


be very unusual now for a company to come back, having said this was a


final offer, to come back with more. The takeover panel would take a dim


view of that. One possibility which remains is that shareholders who


have seen that share price fall and are looking at a price which is


about 25% lower than they were being offered by Pfizer have a week to


think, do you know what? Maybe this is not such a bad a day after all.


Imagine that they do reconsider the proposal, ultimately it is for the


shareholders to decide. What is the analysis of Labour saying they would


block the takeover if they were to win the next election and if they


felt the deal was not in the country's best interest? Is that


significant? I am not sure it is, because in the conversations I have


had, that has not come up since Ed Miliband mentioned it. It could be


the shareholders' fault, they do not tend to think politically, and it


maybe it should have been on their agenda, but I do not expect it will


make any short-term difference. What impact will it have on other


businesses trying to take over British companies and, in terms of


using Vince Cable's words, being open for business as a country? One


thing that will be interesting is to see where the debate goes on the


public interest test, because there was talk of introducing an extra


limb to that public interest test. We already have it for national


security, media plurality and competition. But if you were added


to something like scientific jobs or key industries, he would have to go


to the European Commission to get them to agree to it. That would be


quite an interesting prospect, to see them deciding what the UK


thought its own national interest was. It would allow some


Eurosceptics to make mischief, but it won't make any short-term


difference. In your mind, Maureen, should politicians intervene in


cases where companies are trying to take over British companies? It does


seem to me that if there is a legitimate interest in the country,


and for the sake of the good of the population, that we have a


particular industry or number of industries, then that seems


reasonable, that politicians could take up on that. What about the


public interest test? This phrase has been used particularly by


Labour. If you were worried about a foreign company taking over a


company here, what would you want included in that test? Well, the...


Again, the difficulty is in the definition, isn't it? If we take the


AstraZeneca case, this country has got a very considerable scientific


and research infrastructure that provides a lot of jobs, brings a lot


of income into the country, and it also helps support as being a good


place to study. So there is a lot of ramifications in having a good


scientific and research base, and therefore developments that


undermine that space, I would think they do have a public interest


ramifications. Will you be pleased if the deal is dead in the water?


Personally, I will be. I think it is better for us to have UK-based big


pharmaceutical companies. What about the issue of investment? Because


that is what other politicians and business people will say that a


company like AstraZeneca needs an awful lot of investment and money to


continue developing drugs. Yes, and again this is a question for


politicians, from whatever party - how can they best support UK


business, UK interests? And therefore there should be ways in


which governments can help support investment in key industries. OK,


let's leave it there. Here on the Daily Politics we like to ask the


difficult questions. How do you solve a problem like Maria? At what


point does a pond become a lake? What was the best thing before


sliced bread? But one question's answer has eluded us, what is the


structure of the new NHS? Giles is here to help us understand.


All of us have a sense of the health service, and most of us at some


point we'll use it, which is why our governments, including the


coalition, are careful to be seen to cherish it. But this Government has


been keen to radically change the NHS. To some, it is a real


revolution. To others, the destruction of the service before


your eyes. But the idea had one very big focus - the Secretary of State


wanted doctors in charge. Up until September 2012, Andrew Lansley,


architect of the reforms and driver of them in government, looked hard


at the NHS and diagnosed a Beijing case of bureaucracy, and it was that


bad. Inclinations delivering the best care. -- it was that stopping


clinicians. He wanted to put money into the hands of GPs. The problem


for Andrew Lansley was the reforms were watered down in the face of


opposition, consultation and eventually political surgery. Jeremy


Hunt scrubbed up as the Secretary of State for help after the


blood-letting of a reshuffle, and the new system he presides over is


far more complex than the original idea. It is based on around 200


clinical commissioning groups, CCGs, spending around 65 billion of


the NHS's 100 billion budget. These are made up of GPs, nurses, hospital


input and the public, who go shopping in approved marketplaces


for health services, but there are all sorts of bodies. They all help,


advice or check the whole process. The reforms are very complicated,


and a lot of people are having to learn new roles and


responsibilities. Specialised commissioning turned out to be more


complicated than people thought. We have just seen in the last few weeks


the new chief executive of NHS England beginning to change the way


that the commissioning for GPs services works, trying to get CCGs


more on the page to help work out the best way to deliver primary


care. Now, I could explain the system further, because it is


usually complex, but it is GPs we are focusing on today, because the


primary carers are still commissioned and paid for by NHS


England, a body that was going to be smaller and more nimble but is


actually still vast. Doctors do very well out of this arrangement. GPs


are still, in many ways, at the heart of the system, but as bodies


learn a new ways they interact, either GPs have complained too much


is expected of them or other clinicians have said doctors simply


do not have the monopoly on expertise. In government, there is a


feeling it has become like a reverse doctor joke. Minister, Minister, I


feel like an overworked cash! Sorry, doctor, you will just have to handle


the change. Who better to discuss the NHS with


us than our guest of the day, who has been a GP since 1985? It does


look hideously complicated when demonstrated in that way, Maureen,


GPs are now in the driving seat, in so far as the NHS in England, 66% of


money is channelled through these new local health authorities, the


commissioning care groups. Are you the ones that we should hold to


account if it goes wrong? Well, GPs are the people to hold to account


for the part of that for which they are responsible, so even issues of


the 66 billion, there are large chunks of that money that are not


negotiable, that come out as a tranche. And basically GPs and CCGs


then get to try to do the best with what is left. So it is all a bit


misleading. You have demonstrated how complicated it looks. It is at


least as complicated as it looks! But an awful lot of money you are


being entrusted with, a very large chunk of money that you are


responsible for - if it goes wrong, GPs should be carrying the can. CCGs


are comprised of GPs and others, and they are the statutory body, without


their having been any choice in that. That is the way the


regulations had worked. Would you rather not have had the


responsibility? We would rather not, but having got it, my colleagues are


trying to do the best they can in the system we now have. How


reassured can we be by your comments? You are interested with


the money, how do we know you will spend it wisely if you were


reluctant to take on the responsibility? Indeed, but it was


not a matter over which there was choice, so having been given the


responsibility. In the interests of patients and the public, colleagues


in CCGs are doing their best, and actually at the end of the first


year, it does appear that, by and large, they are doing a pretty good


job. Very few CCGs have gone into deficit, for instance, as opposed


to, you know, many other parts of the NHS in other sectors. So they


are doing a good job with the job they have been given. NHS spending


per head is said to reduce by 9% per year, what should the NHS stop


doing? The NHS needs to stop spending its money downstream, at


the last end. Meaning? Meaning we spend too much money in the acute


sector, where people don't want to be, where we are doing unnecessary


interventions. We need to be much more downstream with the money, and


use the money more appropriately across health economies. When you


say acute, what do you mean, in the acute section? The acute sector is


mainly hospitals and district General... So too much is being


spent on hospitals? Too much on hospitals, but basically, if we are


able to use the money better, we should be able to have better


services for patients at or near home, and have less people in


hospital for shorter times, therefore meaning they need less


money. But when it comes to hospitals, part of the reason is


that people are going to A, looking at another area of the NHS,


because they cannot get appointments with their GP easily or when they


want them. In fact, a few things there. The evidence shows that the


pressure in A department is largely due to people being very


ill, turning up, often in ambulances, and not being able to


flow through the hospital. But there is a significant proportion as a


result of, it is a weekend, there is no GP. Well, in fact, there are out


of hours GPs... Not widespread. Every area in the country does have


a GP out of hours service. There are a whole number of reasons about it


not being well understood, people do not know the best way to go, it is


too complicated, but putting that aside, there is a proportion which,


by the way, has not changed over the last ten or 15 years, of patients


who will go to A because they feel it is more convenient. But in terms


of whether that is because of the acute pressure in A departments,


no, it isn't. Let's have a look at the Labour promise to get an


appointment at your GP within 48 hours. Do you support that? We


support the aspiration. Getting back to this business people not being


able to get an appointment, we believe it is really important that


people have the access to the skills of their GP in that practice when


they need. However, the... We have, in the last five years, in general


practice, had a significant decrease in funding in actual terms, in cash,


against a context of an increasing number of appointments delivered,


and the demand for that. And the service is spread incredibly thin.


GP's salary could give, they earn an average of ?105,000 per year, 600


are on more than ?200,000 per year, a very big salary, just by general


comparison. You could give on that. These are average salaries for


partners. There are others who are not partners. The Royal College of


GPs opposed the pledge by Prime Minister is to see surgeries open


8am until 8pm and at weekends. We do not have enough GPs actually. Even


the salaries you were talking about, GPs are leaving the service, they


are going abroad, going into other careers. The biggest constraint in


terms of delivering GP appointments is the number of GPs, and support


staff in surgeries. That is the biggest problem which is why we do


not believe a 48 hour access pledge can be achieved.


Is it a headline, guaranteeing appointments? The Sun people it


would seem like a legitimate aspiration.


It can't be achieved with the resources we have. You want more


money? We want more staff. That does need to come with more money. It is


not just salaries, it is what sits beneath that.


Well, one, potentially controversial,


way to cut costs would be to get people to pay to visit the GP.


Our correspondent, Hugh Schofield, joins me now


from Paris where a form of GP charging is firmly established.


Talk us through the system operating in Paris?


It is, as you say, a system where you bring out the cheque book to see


the doctor. It is a generous system but this is not free at the point of


access. I have a local GP I can go and see pretty much any day, he will


even come and visit me at home. Every time he does, I write out a


cheque. 23 euros for a visit to his office. ?18. I will then get all of


that back, except one or two euros, which is to deter those who want to


go willy-nilly. It is an insurance system, compulsory insurance


system, which means you pay up and you get back.


What are the benefits of that social insurance system? The benefits to


you and the system there? Does it make it more efficient and


cost-effective? I am not sure about cost effective.


It certainly makes it efficient. The odd thing about the French system,


bethink Britain is being this liberal, free market-based economy.


Whereas France is more socialist. In fact, in the health system, it is


the reverse. In Britain, we have the NHS set up straight after the war,


with socialistic ideology behind it, free provision at the point of


access. In France, we have a liberal system. You can set up as a doctor


and as long as you are approved and authenticated, you will then be able


to charge and get the money back, you will be part of the system.


There are plenty of doctors, private individuals operating as doctors,


surgeons, specialists. The French love specialists. A lot of people


will bypass their GP and go to a specialist, endocrinology, brain


problems. Because it is so generous, we have got to a point where it is


not affordable. The prospect of raiding expenditure in is


politically sensitive. -- reigning. Thomas Cawston is from the think


tank Reform, and has authored How would it work? Many health


systems are facing a challenge of finding more money to meet growing


demand in health care. Around the world, many systems use charges as a


supplement for the taxpayer. There are charges for prescription,


optometry, dentistry, in the NHS, long-term care.


It is a big difference, to put your money directly before the GP.


In France, you pay and get your money back eventually.


Is that what you are suggesting, you pay into a system, and claim it


back, for your appointment? All options should be on the table.


We need to find ways of getting money quickly with the least change


to the system. You talked about how you need more


money, and we talked about salaries as one way of looking at it. What


about if you were to charge every patient who came through your door?


We would be very concerned. We believe it would strengthen health


inequalities. We already struggle, those people with the greatest


health needs have the poorest provision. It did Jews and other


barrier which would make matters worse. -- it would introduce. A


large proportion of people who are on the incomes, they do not paper


sketch and chargers. We are familiar with seeing people who are not on


benefits but they are struggling on low incomes. You give them a


prescription, and they will say there are a fewer items -- there are


only one or two items they can afford.


Do you reject it? Yes. You do not think it is palatable. Not


palatable. What do you say to the idea, which is the obvious question,


that the poorest, and healthiest people, they would suffer. Many


people find it hard to see a GP at the weekends, in the evenings, there


are already barriers to access. If you are on a low income, if you are


on work shifts, it would cost you more to see your GP. What about that


in response? If you open yourself up as a GP surgery, people would lose


less having to take a morning of work.


Contracted hours are already 8am until 6:30 pm.. Many practices to


open more hours than that. Those hours outside, even though you say


you can see a GP, it is not that easy. Would it work? If you are open


until nine pm., at weekends, those people would be able to see you at


less of a cost to them. If we had enough staff, then, yes, we could


and we would want to have more extended and convenient hours for


patients. Where you have got enough resources, it doesn't do anyone any


good. It destabilises the service. Isn't it a bright product -- isn't


it a by-product that everybody would go to accident and emergency? We


want to use other forms of health care, pharmacists, going online.


People to take care of themselves more.


What about the idea of self-medicating? People do see their


pharmacist for minor ailments. Pharmacists have terrific skills.


They are highly trained professionals in the system. We talk


about making the most of the resources we have already got, then


definitely pharmacists, community pharmacists have a big role. The


days of free at the point of use, the old style of taxing people to


pay to cover the NHS, that is fast running out of steam? Bearing in


mind some people say we are looking at a ?30 billion deficit in the NHS.


It is a question of what we are prepared to pay. In France, they pay


11.7% of their GDP in health care. In the UK, we pay 9.4% of our GDP.


These are decisions the citizens need to make, about what they are


willing to pay, and in what ways they are willing to pay. If we spend


more as a proportion of GDP, would that be a more effective way?


Remember, the last ten years, health funding doubled in real terms.


Parliament has been fenced that budget. We have seen cuts to the


police force, local government, services which individuals need as


much as health care. Going forward, there is still a challenge with


rising demand. To ask the taxpayer to continually fund the NHS, we need


to look at other ways. That has to be considered right now. If doctors


can encourage patients to use other services. Here is a reminder of what


happened with the last elections. A very happy New Year 2009.


The UK is in recession for the first time since 1991.


An implement has risen above 2 million.


The biggest rise in the dole queue since records began.


Jobs should not be lost needlessly. The interest rate has been cut once


again and is at an all-time low. Lots of people are suffering through


lack of money at this moment, why should MPs get away with it will


stop I rarely meet anyone who wants to be a member of Parliament.


Things have been done which may be feel ashamed to be a member of


Parliament. This morning, the Communities


Secretary resigned from the cabinet following yesterday 's announcement


the Children's Minister is standing down, the Minister for the Cabinet


Office is leaving, the Home Secretary is resigning. Why doesn't


the prime Minister accepts his ability to command his cabinet has


simply disappeared? James Purnell, he is resigning from


the government in order to force a leadership ballot.


This time, we have come second. We are very pleased. The Labour


Party have come third, behind UKIP. Nick Griffin from the BNP.


Two BNP MEPs have been elected, or the other parties have been


condemning this, and blaming themselves.


A reminder of the 2009 European elections.


But which parties will prosper this time round?


Well, amongst the parties putting up candidates is the


I'm joined by one of their number, Danny Lambert.


You wrote, parties promising to do things for others is not my idea of


politics, so I am not making any promises to do anything for anyone.


What is the point of standing? We are a Democratic party, one of the


most democratic organisations in the world. Because we have no leaders.


In a real democracy, we hold all socially relevant information should


be available to everybody. The more people taking part in the democratic


process, the more chance you have of getting the best result. So how did


they decide you should come on the programme today and not another


colleague? I am on the list. You are not the


leader. We don't have leaders. Leaders need followers, and


followers do not know where they are going. If you are a prospective


voter looking at policies you may have, why would they vote for you?


You would be voting for yourself. We hold that the National industrial --


natural industrial resources of this planet belong to everybody. All


production is socially carried out, so it should be socially


administered in the interests of the whole community.


their real identities as human beings, when they abandon these


periods identities of colour, nationalism, all this nonsense that


only exist in our imagination. -- these spurious. Now, in a family


that functions, if it is to be a real family, the ethic, the


socialist principle, is followed, from each according to ability, to


each according to need. The great thing about having a common identity


with a common interest is that you cannot abuse or exploit or oppress


those you have identified with. All you can do is cooperate, we are so


much better when we go operate than when we compete. I dispute some of


your views about human nature, you say that some people might choose to


drive a bus or train, or become a scientist. What if the doctors and


engineers decide they only want to work a few hours a week? Well, I


mean... The thing is, we have been listening to all these problems that


face... Let me finish, you know, with the health service, funding,


and the problem with our society, because it is a commercial society,


we are so busy taking care of business, we don't have time to take


care of ourselves. William Morris pointed out it is more expensive to


sell something than it is to make. If we had a society where production


was only carried out to meet human need, we wouldn't need all the


banking, insurance, taxation, advertising, the military-industrial


complex... But it hasn't worked, has it? That form of socialism has never


worked. Well, you The problem is he's not going to put a figure on


it, he is going to take a percentage of other peopleearnings. What about


those people on the minimum wage? If he finds a way to explain it, it


could be quite powerful. Lots of people feel their wages have lagged


behind inflation. Do you think this will be popular


with voters, not just ahead of the European elections, but in general?


I am not sure how much traction it will have with people. It does fit


in with Ed Miliband's message. We want a decent minimum. Maybe a


stronger message would be ensuring proper enforcement to stop employers


illegally paying exploitative wages. To get people back into work. I am


not sure it is a big offer in the way Ed Miliband says.


And what about the UKIP bandwagon? And what about the UKIP


UKIP is appealing to two different type of voters, the core UKIP


support who feel enthusiastically politicians of all types can let


them down and Nigel Farage is their man. This kind of person will not be


swayed by him getting attacked on LBC or the BBC or mainstream


broadcasters. That plays into the broadcasters. That plays into


feeling that they are a bunch of renegades. What Nigel Farage has


managed to do recently is broaden his appeal beyond that group, to


people who might be otherwise be floating voters. Those people might


look at what he has said, at the coverage in the newspapers, there


will be readers thinking of voting UKIP but they may think, you know


what, he is still too dangerous for me.


parties, if they were minded to exploit this further ahead of the


European elections, this will only come into play looking ahead to the


general election? I think they would have loved this particular row to


happen two weeks ago, I think he is right about the floating voters. I


think it will energise the main party machines to get the vote out.


There are postal votes, of course, they have already gone in. I


personally love the romance of the ballot box, I'm not being sarcastic,


but a lot of people do not. So they have posted in their vote, and a lot


of people may have chosen UKIP, if they have organised their postal


voting campaign well. That will have made no difference at all. Thank you


to both of you, have a good week, enjoy the elections.


As we were hearing, UKIP leader Nigel Farage has had to fend


Let's take a look at what some Conservatives have been up to.


In February, a councillor had to apologise


after using racist language in an interview on BBC radio Bristol.


In March a councillor in Enfield was suspended after posting alleged


And only last week, another of their candidates in Enfield was revealed


to have had a previous suspended prison sentence for benefit fraud.


And Lib Dems haven't been much better at staying out of trouble.


In March, one of their councillors was convicted


of racially aggravated assault, after telling a migrant barman to


Also in March, a councillor in Somerset was given


a community sentence, after stealing over ?1,200 from his local


And this is what some Labour politicians have been up to.


In January, two Labour councillors in Luton were suspended


by the party for allegedly posting racist comments on Facebook.


And five Labour councillors in Middlesborough resigned


from the party earlier this month, citing issues with the selection


Even the Greens aren't immune from this.


In 2011, a candidate in Ilford was suspended


In 2012, a Green Party councillor in Norwich was jailed for arson.


And, last year, a Green candidate in Blackheath was


criticised after posting offensive comments on Twitter, following


So, are the mainstream media unfairly


singling out UKIP candidates for criticism, with the established


Or, has the balance been about right?


I'm joined now for the rest of the programme by Conservative MP


Tim Loughton, Liberal Democrat Tom Brake, Labour's David Lammy,


Having listened to that list of offences, a counsellor in Enfield


for the Conservatives, suspended. Another candidate accused of benefit


fraud. Is it a case UKIP is worse than the other parties?


All parties are made up of ordinary people, and there are unsavoury


people in them. The important thing is what the parties do about them.


In all those cases, we acted resolutely with those people. With


UKIP, now, they are much more a national force, a prospect of


scoring well in the forthcoming elections, they are being put under


scrutiny. Not just individual members but senior people are


standing for election, and Nigel Farage actually saying some


unsavoury things, which are deeply worrying. Which is the worst party?


Recent evidence has shown that they are. You would deny using some of


the language David Cameron has used about UKIP, fruitcakes, loony,


closet racists, cranks, there are plenty of those within Tory ranks.


That terminology is not useful. We need to make sure people who are


tempted to vote UKIP, come back or state in the Conservative fold. It


is the people who run these parties making these offensive comments that


we need to target, including Nigel Farage.


Ed Miliband said the comments about Romanians amounted to a racist slur.


He refused to call Nigel Farage a racist directly.


Doesn't that make him a racist? Let us be clear. My parents arrived here


as immigrants. I remember a context in which some people said, you don't


want these people living next to you. That was racist. What Nigel


Farage said at the weekend is racist. I am clear, he is a racist.


Ed Miliband should be brave enough to say he is a racist.


It is not helpful to get into a pedantic discussion of the


difference between racial slur and racism. He is leader of a national


party. He should not be slurring whole communities, Romanians who


come to this country, describing them as bandits. It is deeply nasty,


the sort of thing we have seen in Europe, in times of recession and


depression. We must take that kind of slur extremely seriously.


Do you agree he a racist? I agree with David, the difference between


Nigel Farage and the other cases in the other parties, Nigel Farage is


the leader of the party. The head of their party, so when he says


something, it does represent the wider views of the party. I think he


was right to apologise for what he said about the Romanians but the


problem is the written apology he has provided simply reinforces what


he had to say about Romanians and their criminal activities. A strange


apology. UKIP claims that all of the other


parties have exactly the same sort of problem.


Do you accept that? I accept in one particular instance, you quoted a


Liberal Democrat, the immediate action we took was to withdraw his


membership. UKIP have taken action as well about their candidates.


You cannot imagine Nick Clegg or David Cameron saying the sorts of


things Nigel Farage said on air. For everyone to hear.


I do not want to dismiss the 2.5 million people that voted UKIP last


time, as racist. But it is clear that UKIP are revelling in some of


this stuff. They are stirring up those who are, rightly, discontented


with Britain. A look at the political parties and feel, they


leave us cold. They are stirring that up with a degree of prejudice,


and racism. That is in their electoral interests. Are they saying


what people generally think is the case.


I think this has been bad things, if you look back over the past few


months and years, you will see a conscious creation of this


difference. Of using migration, free movement, as a way of attacking the


European Union. What this has done for the lives of a lot of people on


the ground has made them profoundly uncomfortable, and fearful of their


place in the UK. That is not just restricted to these instances.


If you look at this, it isn't just UKIP, we have seen this with other


political parties. When they start using this, you begin to get... You


are talking about the Conservatives? Other parties as well. You see a


legitimisation on the ground of people feeling, somehow, this sort


of activity and language... The go home fans around London telling


illegal immigrants to go home, is there such a difference?


That was about people who are not supposed to be in this country. Not


about immigrants per se. To go back to your point, no other party leader


has had to take out a full-page advert in a national paper to say


they are not racist. The mistake we are making is to move away from the


crucial issues. Local council services, who is best able to


provide those. Rest able at an EU level to fight for Britain in the


European Union. It is not UKIP. UKIP are on course


to top the European poll, most polls seem to say that. On the basis of


that, what has gone wrong? Why is UKIP doing so much better?


We have to wait for the results. If people want representatives to fight


them in the European Parliament and achieve change, reform, Liberal


Democrats will do that. UKIP do not take part in most of the votes, are


mainly absent, have not voted for some job creation measures. Do not


invest your vote in them if you think they are going to deliver


reform. Even your party has lost some


support. You haven't made headway hoped for.


Some of that to UKIP. It is true we haven't made headway. But the polls


are looking quite good for us in a number of seats. I would agree in


terms of the issues we have discussed during this campaign, a


lot of them which are relevant to European level, financial


regulation, job creation, have not been on the table at all because the


whole agenda has been captured by one political party. It is a real


shame we haven't discussed the issues that really matter at


European level. That's also what people will be voting for. But UKIP


do not participate. They often vote against.


Regular viewers will know that we've commissioned a series of polls


of voters in England, getting their impressions of the parties ahead


The polls mimic the techniques used by parties,


of segmenting the electorate into distinct groups, which can be


Each respondent was asked the same series of questions


about the values of each of the main political parties.


The poll suggests that the public see the Tories as tough


and capable, with well over half saying they are "willing to take


And 44% saying they are "competent and capable",


But less than a quarter think Cameron's party


The good news for Ed Miliband is that people see them as


well-intentioned, and standing for normal folk, with the highest number


saying that Labour "wants to help ordinary people get on in life."


And the majority saying, "its heart is in the right place."


But there's trouble at the top for the red camp,


with less than a third saying the party "has a good team of leaders."


The Lib Dems are also all heart, according to this survey.


But only around a fifth think they are up to the job.


And there is a trust problem, with even fewer saying Clegg's


Nigel Farage's popular touch means that 35% say he is on their side.


But the party may be divisive with less than a quarter saying UKIP


And again, only 23% say that UKIP is "competent and capable."


And Lawrence Stellings of Populus joins me now.


Let us talk about those polls, what are the headlines?


A picture of two different halves. The Conservatives have a good score


for the hard measures. Good team leaders, competent, capable, taking


the right decisions. Labour have done well on the softer


measures, fairness, understanding concerns, sharing normal people's


views. Are you surprised by those results?


Not to a huge extent. Labour spent a lot of time talking about the cost


of living crisis, building one nation. The Conservatives, as the


government party, it is easier to be seen as a party that is good at


governing, making tough decisions. When we talked to ordinary voters,


there was evidence Labour do enjoy an advantage as well.


What are the different segments of the electorate saying?


Traditional Conservative voters have given UKIP excellent scores. We see


the same with hard-pressed anxiety, a group of voters who have struggled


with the economy, feel left out they are giving UKIP good schools.


But people like the cosmopolitan critics, traditionally Liberal


Democrats, labour, younger and more urban, they have given tough scores.


And the largest group sitting in the middle, the swing voters, their vote


is split between the parties. With a year to the election, it is


interesting this group cannot make up their mind.


Looking at polls in general, basing to be rather erratic, two have put


the Tories ahead, one has put UKIP third, whereas the majority had put


UKIP at the top or second, with Labour just behind. What is going on


here? The European election is very difficult to call, most people do


not vote, and my colleagues, you have to try to conduct polls for


people who do not know what the European elections are about, when


they are, or how the voting system works. There is an awful lot of


interpretation to do for those polls. Thank you very much, we are


joined now by Tim Aker of UKIP. Before we come to you, the


information we have just been looking at, the verdict from this


poll is broadly, Labour, nice people, badly led, a fair summary?


No, because the verdict is... The verdict is actually that we are on


the side of ordinary people. I have said that, but leadership is down.


One in five young people are unemployed, we are on their side. 4


million people renting in Britain, Ed was talking about rent. 5 million


people on low wages, Ed was talking about them, we are on their side.


That has got to be good. I grant you, that is good, but that is the


problem for you, you seem like the nasty party still. I would not go


that far. There is an issue of perceptions being on your side, but


what is really encouraging is you need to show leadership and


competence, and you need the right plan to make sure that those people,


whether you are on their side or not, going in right direction. All


these polls showed that, actually, people have agreed that we have done


the right thing and got the right team leading the country. That is


what leadership in politics is all about. It is always the case for


opposition that, out with of an election, it is hard to get the


visibility that you want, particularly for shadow members of


the Cabinet. As we get closer, and we are seeing now week after week


new announcements, and you see members of the Shadow Cabinet


getting that in, people start to focus. And your ratings come down!


For you, it doesn't make great reading, only a fifth consider it


you confidence or trust you to keep your promises. If you look at our


score in terms of representing ordinary people, if you look at the


score in terms of covering the whole of the country, actually, we have


got quite high poll ratings, slightly ahead of the Conservative


Party. We can take some comfort there. I think there are some


strange things there. The Conservative Party does well in


terms of being able to take our decisions, and of course we have


shared with those decisions but our poll rating seems to be lower. I am


not reading too much into that. You would if they were better! Tim Aker,


broadly, UKIP seem to have combined the worst attributes of both the Lib


Dems and the Tories, divisive and unrepresentative, incompetent and


incapable. And leading in the polls! That last segment, I found that


outrageous. You should all be the same, sniping. Your election


campaign does not even mentioned the EU, the fact that you are signed up


to the whole project, that you will not give us a referendum. For the


Liberal Democrats to say anything to do with trust after tuition fees, we


know exactly where you stand, the public knows. Nick Clegg got


trounced in those debates. We are actually talking to people about the


issues that they care about, and in some areas where people are hard


pressed, feeling the pain, they are coming to us and not to Labour.


David Lammy says Nigel Farage is racist, what do you say to that?


Absolute nonsense. How is he not racist with relation to Romanians?


We have got a problem with an open door to the other 27 countries of


the European Union union. Why is it OK for an open door for Nigel


Farage's wife, but not for the Romanian that comes here? We are


talking about criminals. Do you want an open door to criminals?! Criminal


gangs? Absolutely not! We have said that we want a system like


Australia, where they decide who comes in and who doesn't. You are


happy for an open door, and for Labour to say anything about


immigration is atrocious. Should we call back the thousands of Brits in


Spain at the moment? Should we call them back to this country? The Brits


in France, come back to Britain, should we be doing that? Why don't


we have a sensible relationship? That is a matter for the French


government. What is the difference, in your mind, between the group of


Romanians and a group of Germans? Nigel clarified its today, it is a


matter... No, we are not racist. We are not racist, but 92% of cash


machines... This would be a foreign land if Labour took over, where was


all the criticism then. What is the difference between the


remaining is moving in... The quote is about a group of Romanian men


moving in, it is about community spirit. The rates of immigration


over the past ten years, over the past ten years have seen communities


change, and people are concerned about that. Why do you think


immigration has overtaken the economy as the number one issue?


Would you like a group of Ukrainian tent are moving in? I don't judge


them! Thank you for joining us. The one o'clock news is starting an BBC


One, I will be back tomorrow, bye. A new era blooms


at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, with a fresh crop of exciting


young designers.


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