09/06/2014 Daily Politics


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Good afternoon and welcome to the Daily Politics.


Five schools put in special measures for failing to do enough to protect


How were these problems in Birmingham missed?


After last week's public spat, the Prime Minister chairs


a Cabinet extremism task force in Downing Street to discuss


Hundreds of new councillors were elected last month.


Has this volunteer workforce got any idea what they're doing?


And his or her master's voice - the perils of being a special advisor.


Let's start this morning with allegations


of Islamic extremism infiltrating several Birmingham schools.


Later on today, Ofsted will publish their reports on the


emergency inspection of 21 schools embroiled in


the so-called Trojan Horse plot to promote a strict


It's expected that six schools will be put into special measures,


a move which could result in their governing bodies being


It comes after some Birmingham schools put


on hastily arranged lessons and assemblies on Christianity to


give a false impression to inspectors of religious harmony.


In future schools will may not get the usual 24 hours notice as


David Cameron pushes for lightning inspections after schools were found


to have axed part of the curriculum, segregated boys and girls and had


unsuitable religious speakers at assemblies.


David Cameron has now personally taken charge of the situation after


the very public fallout between Education Secretary Michael Gove


Mr Gove's allies accused Ms May of failing to


"drain the swamp" of extremism, while the Home Office responded


by saying they'd warned Michael Gove about the schools in 2010.


This morning the Park View Educational Trust


confirmed that three of its schools were now in special measures.


Vice-chair David Hughes told the gathered media that


the Ofsted condemnation of his schools was unfair.


The problem is the knee jerk reactions of some politicians


undermining the great work we do in community cohesion across the


cities. They have put most children at substantial risk of not being


accepted as equal, legitimate and valued members of British society.


They have allowed suspicion to be cast on the aspiration of their


parents and any other one -- anyone else who believes that these


children deserve the same level of education than any other child. Was


our national security under threat from these schools? It would appear


not. There is a big difference between radicalisation leading to


worries about security, which is the Home Secretary's early work, and the


issues around whether teaching is acceptable, is it part of a broader


liberal curriculum, is there something going wrong in the school


and its values? Obviously, that is what we are dealing with here and we


are dealing with it in a muddled way. The education funding agency


did not have a really in this area because their job is funding. The


inspection regime is about quality of education, including the


curriculum, but we also have trusts where they don't have to follow the


national curriculum because Michael Gove has got a two track policy.


Only schools granted as community schools have to legally follow the


national curriculum. We are looking at a number of schools that were


academies that you championed as Education Secretary. The whole point


of these schools is freedom to be distinct, freedom to set their own


emphasis on the national curriculum, to employee teachers


that were not necessarily qualified. Those freedoms have come back to


bite you and this administration. I am happy to accept any


responsibility for what I did but mine were freedoms to, not freedoms


from. All schools had to adhere to a light touch national curriculum and


I am recommending in my report that we had to return to that. There is


innovation and creativity but there is an entitlement for all children


to have that basic curriculum. Also, that there should be local oversight


but there is nothing apart from the Secretary of State and the


Department. The lack of responsibility at local level, other


than from the school governors and the Secretary of State, isn't


working. Do you think that that has to be revisited? You have outlined


what you think is necessary in terms of having oversight. I come back to


the argument, it was supposed to be free from local authority control.


Did you accept that the problem with that has been that you can have a


situation which has occurred in some Birmingham schools, or that is what


is being claimed, that you can have groups of people trying to take over


schools that do not fit with what some people would call British


values and British culture? There are two Mike Berry separate issues.


Whether schools should run themselves and whether we should


have a national curriculum that underpins the kind of values we


presume we all hold in common, whatever our faith. I think today,


we have got to distinguish between radicalisation that is out with what


we would find acceptable in any school and a legitimate right for


those of different faiths to have their values and their voice heard.


There is a difference. I am involved in the publication of a book about a


different view of the Prophet Muhammad, about the view of Islam,


which can set with and be part of an interfaith community in a perfectly


acceptable way. We have got to establish that. Otherwise, we are


going to have a two tier system where you can have very strong


Christian views but not strong Muslim views and the two must be


allowed to sit alongside each other. We are just going to pause and go to


Birmingham. Some of the representatives, particularly from


Park View Academy, have been robust in their defence and have rejected


the findings into their schools. They said inspectors were looking


for extremism, but it was a knee jerk reaction from politicians. What


is the feeling you are? I am in a part of Birmingham which is almost


entirely Muslim in terms of its population. Most of the schools have


a Muslim population of 95 to 100%. The people that run the schools say


that naturally, they reflect that local community and there will be an


Islamic ethos in there. Other people criticised that imposition of


religious ethos in what is supposedly non-faith schools. What


you heard this morning was a strong defence of this scope from the vice


chairman of the governors and one of the senior teaching staff. # of this


school. They have been speaking about this for three months either


via social media or in the papers are on-air, ever since this first


emerged. This particular school, which is seen as being at the centre


of this alleged plot, has tonight there was a plot in the first place


and points to its excellent exam assault and says, here we are in


inner-city Birmingham, an area with traditionally low aspiration and


deprivation, and look at the exam results and how good the children


are when they leave and go on to A-levels. They are facing having


governors sacked, the body of leadership having to leave the


school? That is exactly right. There are six schools which will be put


into special measures including this one and another two who are part of


the same academy trust. That means an interim executive board can be


brought into the school to take over the running of it. Incidentally, in


another part of the city today, there is an Islamic faith school,


state funded, where and IEP is trying to get in for the fourth time


since it was put into special measures and on each occasion the


school has refused to them in, parents have gathered outside to


form a human chain to stop that happening. I would not be surprised,


frankly, given the strength of feeling in this community, if you


would not see similar pictures outside schools like this when those


inspectors turn up to try and take over. Let's pick up on one of those


points. If you are looking at the schools, what Ofsted was there to do


was check how well the school was doing and look at exam results. What


the leadership team are saying Park View Academy is that they are doing


extremely well, it is beacon of hope. They said, why are we being


condemned? Are they ignoring the acquisitions of segregation, error


for Brits because at assemblies, a hastily arranged assembly about


Christianity? There has been a lot going on which is unacceptable. Exam


results are important but only one part of the measure of what is


taking place in a school. The recommendations put forward six


weeks ago were that you should have an entitlement to a broad small


liberal curriculum everywhere, but there should be a director of school


standard who could oversee this at local level, that you


standard who could oversee this at local level, that should end up


training governors and have a means of monitoring governors in schools


and that you should have a scrutiny function from the local authority


that does not interfere with the leadership of the school or the


running of it, but checks what is happening. If that is happening, we


would be able to deal with these measures which is not going to -- in


a manner which is not going to cause friction such as that demonstrated


in Birmingham and the real fear of a stand-off between the Muslim


community and what they see is authority at with their own


experience. We have a task to pull people together. I hope that in the


statement in the, This afternoon there be a recognition about trying


to heal the wounds as well as protecting children. What do you


think of lightning expections? -- inspections? It is a way of


diverting attention from the fundamental issues about what values


do we want to instil in our schools, can we agree those across


faiths or no faith, can we ensure there is accountability and


oversight and can we sort out the model as to whether all schools just


run themselves and are completely independent, or whether we do want


the coalescing and avoid the atomisation that the chief inspector


talked about a few weeks ago? Thank you.


In last month's local elections 4,259 local councillors were


voted in, but do they know what they've got themselves into?


Eleanor's been to meet someone who's done the job for 12 years


and a man who's stepping into politics for the very first time.


From the outside of the town hall, I can't believe how many hours I spent


in meetings in the building. But I am really proud to have been part of


a team of people that turned Hackney Council round from a municipal


basket case into if reforming council. This councillor had decided


to stand down before last month's local elections. Why have you given


up? Nothing to do with politics. Surely personal reasons, because you


wanted to move house and I have young children, and I wanted to


spend more time with them. What are the things you are not going to


miss? It is quite liberating not to have things in your diary for four


years in advance and also, not to have to ask with Chief Whip of your


political group for permission to go on holiday. If you could give one


piece of advice to a newly elected councillor, what would it be? You


are a councillor for at least four years so it is a marathon rather


than a sprint. Lucas Pouille now, done it and got the T-shirt. But


down the road in Essex, I will meet a newly elected councillor. I wonder


if they know what they have let themselves in for? Graham Snell is


dipping his feet into politics for the first time, having just been


elected as Age UK councillor in Iraq. -- in their work. What do you


want to achieve? I want to try and make a difference to people's lives,


for the people in my make a difference to people's lives,


for the people ward. Hopefully it will pan out OK. Seeing as you are a


newly elected councillor, The Daily Politics loves a quiz, so we are


going to test you on your local knowledge - what town is Thurrock 20


with? No idea. It is in Germany. You have lost me. Apparently it is


twinned with how many people live in the borough of Thurrock? That is


approximately 160,000. What is the motto of Thurrock? It is something


like - from the Thames to the rest of the world. I think you have


passed that test, well done. Graham has now become one of more than


eight team thousand councillors across England. The Local Government


Association says 96% are white and around two thirds are men. This is


the facility 's room, it is a bit of a cupboard under the stairs. This


used to be our office before we got some more people elected. I have


been lost so many times around here now... Like finding his office,


Graham's entrance into politics has taken a bit of time. I have not even


got my name on the door yet. And we are joined now by the chairman of


the Local Government Association, Sir Merrick Cockell. Welcome to the


programme. 4,259 new councillors - who helps them find their feet? MPs


always say when they first come to the House of Commons, they are lost.


Councils are pretty good, they plan ahead, and they all have induction.


I think we try not to inundate people the moment they become a


councillor. It goes on for several weeks and months, and they begin to


learn about how democracy works at a local level. What about when a


council changes hands overnight? You imagine this sudden shift of


ideology, which could affect services? Yes, I think when


political control happens, particularly when it is a shock,


then a lot of people are literally running around in the next few days.


But we have got those officers, like civil servants, and they prepare


ahead, like they do in government, they look to who might win and they


prepare. Although they might be relatively headless chickens for the


first day or two, actually, it settles down after that. But is


there a wholesale rejection of what has gone on before? Well, they watch


what is said in manifestos, but one has to say, there is not much money


around these days, so you may have grand ideas, but you have got to pay


for them, and if you want to change the way things are operating, have


got to have your other alternative. So, the flexibility of rapid


wholesale change I think is reduced. Looking at representation,


18,000 councillors, 96% white, two thirds, men, which is quite


staggering, what do you say to that? It is not good. It is something we


and all parts of local government and all of the political parties


recognise, you may reflect your individual area, but when you look


at the overall percentages, it is stark. And you have not even


included young people in that, the average age of a councillor. It is a


slow process, but we are trying to do it, to attract different types of


people. It takes up time to put your forward to be a councillor. It in


binges on your career, on your work. So people are more inclined to


be older, to be retired, and those who have more choice regarding their


time, which might push against people in the prime of their lives.


One big change is the growing number of UKIP councillors, with the party


gaining 155 seats, but a lot of people see UKIP as a party


determined to pull Britain out of Europe, so how will they get on in


local government? They have already been there, in local government.


They are part of our independent group within the Local Government


Association. They will have to learn what it is to be councillors have.


Cannot spend all your time talking about Europe, you have got to talk


about local public services. You have got to lead your community,


which includes education. These are big matters which councillors have


to be accountable for. To the public schools have a stranglehold on the


opera levels of British public life, and if so, how do you tackle the


problem? One Conservative MP wants at least a quarter of places to be


reserved for non-feepaying pupils. It would not be the first attempt to


break the class divide in our schools. This was a football match


between Eton and eight Durham miners' team in 1937.


NEWSREEL: The unemployed lads play regularly to keep themselves fit.


The home side get the upper hand and score the first goal. After tea, the


miners keep up the pressure, with the Italians trying to keep down the


ball. A great bit of footage. We are


joined now by the Conservative MP Dominic Raab, who has written a


report on how to make Britain more of a meritocracy. We are also joined


by the guardian columnist Owen Jones. I am afraid I left about


three months ago. Behind the times! Up until quite recently! The new


Britain is a meritocracy, said Tony Blair, in 1997 - what did he mean?


The term was actually invented as a dystopia, it was Michael Young who


invented it, to mean, basically, you accept inequality, but those who are


at the top, you accept to be there, because of merit. A hospital


cleaner, for example, paid the minimum wage, keeps our hospitals


from being ravaged by disease, compared to an advertising


executive, trying to sell us fast food, is paid vast amounts of money.


For me, it is about equality. The manic will not like this, but I do


think there is an audacity, shamelessness, in your position.


This is the day that the Child Poverty And Social Mobility


Commission has reported that by 2030, 3500 children will be in


poverty. The day that food banks have reported 300,000 children which


they are feeding at the moment, on the sixth richest country on the


Earth, because of policies you have voted for, and then you come to a TV


studio to vote for social mobility and meritocracy. It is like a robber


baron coming into a TV studio to talk about petty theft. This is the


usual left-wing dogma we get these days. 3000 children having to rely


on charity? There is a big issue with social mobility in this


country, we know that, if you come there today with the post-war


generation, the chances are significantly less, despite 13 years


of Labour. The evidence shows it remains stalled. Ed Miliband will


try to take us down the thesis that we should have this big Ella


Terri-Ann utopia, but actually, the Tories in the centre-right have won


the economic argument. They clearly haven't. You have presided over the


longest fall in living standards since the Victorian era. You call


that winning the argument! If you look at what the British public say


about what we are doing and the contrast in choice between Miliband


and David Cameron. You are behind in the polls! But I do accept there is


an issue around social fairness. Stewardship is the strength of the


Tories, but I do think we need a narrative around social fairness,


which should be rooted in meritocratic, not a Geller Terri-Ann


principles. By the way, I think all of Owen's statistics can be


disputed. -- not eat Geller Terri-Ann principles. Let's have a


look at schools. If you were given the task to create more social


mobility in education, Owen Jones, how would you do it? Firstly, it is


not just education, there are things like unpaid internships, which means


that only those who live off the bank of mum and dad can get a job. I


believe that Dominic Raab himself had an unpaid internship in 2011.


There is a gap in vocabulary between affluent kids and poor kids of 18


months. We need huge weasels is put into early years of education. We


need to deal with the fact that housing is related to diet and


poverty. I went to a school, my primary school, which is in the


bottom 5% by result. The only boy to go to the sixth form, let alone


university, Moore went to prison. Not because I am brighter, but


because the odds were stacked in my favour. Is it not true that this was


suggested to the Government but they could not stomach it, putting all of


that money into early years? Look, I have got 13 measures here, you have


picked one of them. Early intervention is something we should


look at, but it is difficult when you start asking the state to become


sorry but parents. It is not that, it is just evening out the playing


field. We had 13 years of huge public investment... And are you


saying schools did not improve? I cannot speak for every school, but


if you look at the evidence on social mobility, it remains


stalled, that is what the LSE found. Secondly, if you look at the


rankings during that time, numeracy and literacy among 15-year-olds


plummeted. There is social mobility, but it is downwards, thanks to your


government. Your government is making it a lot worse. What might be


interesting is for Owen, rather than having cheap shots... Internships,


do you think it is acceptable for you as an MP to have unpaid


internships? What about entrenching wealth, is it not true that


actually, if you are the offspring of a family which has an expensive


home in London or the south-east, that you have got more chance of


succeeding... ? Absolutely. And I have got 13 concrete, tangible


ideas, rather than waiting for some utopian tomorrow. I am not talking


about utopia. I pay my in turns expenses so that they can compute


back and forth. I have no separate allowances for them. -- commute. You


are giving an advantage to people who can live off the bank of mum and


dad. Yes, there should be better staffing funding for internships,


quite right. There is a scholarship scheme, people like Hazel blears, to


her credit, have pioneered that. You are encouraging a situation where


only those who live off the bank of mum and dad can get into politics.


We will have two ended there. In a moment, we will talk to two of Fleet


Street Fox finest, outside Parliament, waiting to cover an


action packed week. This afternoon, Gordon Brown will beginning a speech


to journalists. Expect the Scottish referendum to be on the menu. David


Cameron flies to Stockholm for a meeting with his Swedish and Dutch


and German counterparts as he battles to stop Jean-Claude Juncker


from becoming president of the European Union. On Thursday, Michael


Gove will announce European Union. On Thursday, Michael


the next wave of free schools will be in England. And George Osborne


will give his Mansion house speech on the same day. On Friday,


constituencies in Liverpool and Cambridge will meet to decide


whether to support Nick Clegg or back a leadership contest. And the


great unknown is whether this week will see a full Cabinet reshuffle?


So, what more could you want? Joining us now is Alison Little and


Kevin Schofield, welcome to both of you. Let's talk about Michael Gove


and Teresa May. It is deemed in Westminster that Michael Gove won in


that spat - do you think Theresa May has been injured by it? House The


loss of Fiona Cunningham has been a big blow to her. It all went a bit


wobbly last week with unpleasant consequences for her. To Reza is


seen as the bigger loser in this, though it was put to me at the


weekend, somebody suggested that Theresa May could use this perhaps


to her advantage to show that she is ruthless enough to let go of one of


her closest advisers, perhaps sharing that streak that a leader


might need. I don't know if it can be spun that way. Has Michael Gove


overstepped the mark himself, and will he be seen as too hot to handle


in terms of his role as Education Secretary? He has been picking a few


fights of late and it has got the Prime Minister's back-up. Alison is


right. On the face of it it looks like Theresa May has been the


biggest loser. Michael Gove is going to have a tough challenge this


afternoon. Ofsted will publish their reports into these 21 Birmingham


schools and it is going to be up to him to prove that the government was


not asleep. That accusation is that he knew about this as far back as


2010 but did not know about it. He is not out of the woods yet. What


about the reshuffle? We were always going to expected this week. Does


that still stand? At the moment we are expecting an early next week for


various scheduling reasons, which probably means it has started now.


The money is on next week. There are calls for Michael Gove to be moved


in the reshuffle. There is a view that he should have more of a


Conservative Party role, perhaps the Cabinet Office or something like


that. People are saying he has started talking too much at meetings


and is annoying everybody. One thing any Prime Minister does not want is


a big row like we have just had. If he moves, -- one of the participants


in is portrayed in the context of the row. To move Michael Gove might


be like a punishment or a demotion so it is a tricky one. I would be


astonished if Theresa May was moved. I think she is widely seen as a


success. How angry is the Prime Minister with Michael Gove? When he


does this re-shuffle, he is unlikely to move Theresa May. This was always


supposed to be about promoting more women. Well that's still be the


point? -- will that still be? I think so. When you ask how angry the


Prime Minister is, him and Theresa May had to put out a joint statement


after the row with Michael Grove at eight o'clock in the morning. I


think he is a bit annoyed. In terms of the reshuffle it will be lower


down the Cabinet ranks and he will be looking to promote a few women.


There is still an idea that he has a woman problem. On the Liberal


Democrats and Nick Clegg's speech, everyone was interpreting it as a


lurch to the left. Is that how you see it? Yes, but he is trying to


steer this tricky course that he has got in coalition. It was called a


steer to the left because he said we would tax the rich and borrow from


investment, but he is also trying to make a division with Labour because


he is saying the borrowing would be good or a wink rather than that of


Gordon Brown. -- good borrowing. It is a strange situation in coalition.


Thank you both. We're joined now for the rest


of the programme by a panel of MPs. The Conservative, Chris Skidmore,


Labour's Anas Sarwar and Let's get back to


the story we started the programme with allegations of a Trojan Horse


plot at Birmingham schools. A headteacher said he had told the


Department of Education about the problems of entries in 2010, why did


Michael Gove do nothing? To start with we need to set out clearly what


is happening. The Ofsted reports published today are not saying there


is extremism flourishing in schools, Al-Qaeda are not taking over the


schools. To have this in context, we have got 21% of Ofsted reports being


published. The Prime Minister issuing firm need a ship about


setting out a course of action. I do not think we should blow this up to


saying this is a Trojan Horse with aggressive language. It is


detrimental to the fact that people want to set up schools, faith


schools with great discipline, and I do not want this to blow out of


proportion. Do you think it has been blown out of proportion by


Conservative ministers? No, I think the media has picked it up, the


language is inappropriate in a context where faith schools, the


vast majority do a great job in raising children with beliefs and


values that are right for this country. I do not want to see that


affected. Ofsted inspectors have been sent in to look at these


schools and the leadership teams from a number of these schools said


they came looking for extremism, they came looking for an Islamic


fundamentalist style being imposed on children. Why were they sent in


looking for those things in the first place? You cannot have one


argument and another saying nothing was done. There was clearly action


taken, appropriate action taken, and as a result... But nothing was


found, so why were they said then in the first place? The logical


argument does not make sense because no action was taken. The logic if


they should not have gone in in the first place. The schools are saying


it was not necessary and now a number have been put into special


measures where the leadership teams will be sacked and they were doing


well as far as Ofsted will be sacked and they were doing


concerned. That is a separate issue for Ofsted.


concerned. That is a separate issue measures may disagree but we have to


have and independent and accountable system where Ofsted can measure the


performance. Are they being infiltrated by Islamic


fundamentalists? The ministers have the facts. I have sympathy with what


Chris is saying and I share his views about the integrity of faith


schools and the importance of education. We have got ourselves and


a political mess when we should focus on the children. Who got us


into it? Samak two Cabinet ministers are playing politics instead of


focusing what is important, having quality education for our kids and


no extremism. Not demonising people. Have the been demonised by the


reports and the political context? I do not want to downplay the


seriousness of the allegations. If there is any hint of extremism being


taught anywhere, whether it is school, university or anywhere else,


it needs talented head-on. Two senior government ministers were too


busy focusing on their own internal squabbles because their political


futures are more important to them than rooting out extremism and


protecting all faiths and all communities, and protecting our


children. It is very un-edifying. We have allies of Michael Gove saying


Theresa May failed to three in the song of extremism. Is that how you


view it? I do not know who made those comments. I do not agree with


that at all. What is at issue is that the Home Office and the


Education Department clearly have joint responsibilities and it is


about hammering out those responsibilities. It is a process


issue. Once we come up with a solution we can, on positively. Do


you accept there is a difference between a security threat, people


who have been trained towards extremism, but on the other hand, if


you have schools who are seen as a broad breeding ground for policies


are cultural practices that don't fit in a British way of life, that


that is dangerous as well? These are separate issues and it is right that


both are reported. Faith schools of all faiths have a role to play in


our society and education system. Good one to recognise they need to


be forces for community cohesion will stop they need openness and


transparency for introducing people to different ideas they would not


otherwise encounter. That is good practice. We need to make sure that


they are not instead turned into silos and segregation. Have they


been? We will find out this afternoon. We have seen many


reports. You think that some of these schools have been in full


treated by Muslim extremists? I would not want to prejudge any


report. You have heard from the schools. Some of these are really


respectable schools doing hard work and a good job of education in their


local communities. For those names to be tarnished in such a way, it


could take years to get their reputation back. Is it wrong to put


them into special measures? There are a number of schools in special


measures he said have high standards of education. The best and so is to


base it on facts, let see how the experts judge what is happening in


these schools. Let's not base it on politics and power play. Is it not


the case that if you free schools from local education policies you


give them the freedom to set out the stink of education and are you


saying you don't like it and you're going to change it? The fact that we


now have schools setting up their own curriculum and flexible


curriculum is to teach and raise standards is vital for raising


standards. There are 85 free schools now, 26,000 local authority schools.


There are hundreds of local authority schools going into special


measures every year and there is an undue focus, just because the


enemies of freedom are turning around and trying push it in the


opposite direction. You said there was a lack of oversight. If warnings


were made in 2010 and the claim is that Michael Gove did not react at


the time, is that not because the drug of McCann runs" might whether


it is Michael Gove or his officials, it is run from London. Whether clues


that if you had looked specifically at Birmingham and provided local


oversight that could have flagged up these concerns earlier, those are


questions we need the answers to. That is what all MPs will be


listening very carefully to win the reports are published. Did Michael


Gove inflame the situation with the sort of language used? I do not know


whose language it was but it is inflammatory. It does not help


anyone to talk about draining the swamp. It does not address the issue


we have been focusing on. We want to sort out these problems. We need to


use language which is appropriate and which does not cause its own


brands. There have been other examples, that just because


something is a faith school, there is something wrong with that. I want


to see all of the schools treated on a level playing field.


The election results have forced all the parties to re-evaluate. Several


senior figures have questioned their strategy. The shadow work content


and Secretary Rachel Reeves warned last week that sometimes the party


took their traditional voters for granted. Now, they are being offered


an alternative by UKIP. Peter Hain said yesterday he thought Ed


Miliband could win the next election but it would be hard to get an


outright majority. Although I do not think UKIP will do


as well as they did in the European elections at the general election


next year, they will do sufficiently well and there will be other


parties, including the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, to make it


a much closer contest than perhaps we have been used to before. I think


that Ed Miliband is well placed to lead the government in the future


and when people see him as Prime Minister, they will realise that


they have elected the right person even if they do not see that at the


moment. Do you agree? He hinted that Labour's biggest problem is that


they do not see Ed Miliband as Prime Minister material? I agree with


Peter that Ed Miliband would be a fantastic Prime Minister. But the


voters do not see him as a potential prime ministers. -- primer missed a


. But if you look at the pathway we have taken from 2010, Ed Miliband


has done a fantastic job of commandeering the political agenda.


He has taken the lead and I agree with Peter. You could look at it the


other way and say, he is being realistic about Ed Miliband, and the


way he is viewed by the public. Rachel Reeves has said Labour has


been taking voters for granted, that is true, isn't it? I come from


Scotland and in Scotland we have had the defeat in 2010, and we


recognised that we lost elections for a reason. The electorate are


never wrong. We lost because we were not doing and saying the right


things. She is saying the core vote for Labour is beginning to drain


away, some of its two UKIP? I do not think UKIP will do anywhere near as


they did in the European elections. UKIP normally do well in these


European elections, it is an election which sadly some people see


as being something you can protest in. I think given the choice between


Ed Miliband and David Cameron, people will decide to back the party


which is looking out for workers, and looking out for fairness. So,


why has UKIP been attractive to SAM SMITH:


Voters in parts of the north? Do they think that Labour has not


answered their questions on issues like immigration? I think it is


because people are genuinely angry with the political establishment.


But you are not in government? They are angry with politicians of all


colour, the political establishment, the energy companies, the markets,


and they do not think the establishment works for them, and


that is the challenge for the Labour Party. Do you think you can get an


people do not want the status quo. The Labour Party has never been a


party of the status quo. But you Are a party of the political


establishment. Let's talk about the Liberal Democrats, and Nick Clegg is


about to make a speech, his first since the party's disastrous


performance in the local and European elections. We can see the


room filling up just before he comes to take the stand. He will be trying


to lay out a distinctive approach to tax and Duncan Hames, what is he


going to be saying? Well, I think he will reflect on the very bad results


that we had in the elections last month. But he will also look


forward, he will be racial in people that whilst we remain very much


committed to clearing up the mess in the public finances, that we do not


have some ideological desire to continue shrinking the state. But


rather, while we have done the job of bringing the public finances back


into the balance, we want to invest in a better future for the country,


invest in the infrastructure which will be underpinning future economic


prosperity. He will be able to spell out the areas where we will be


committed to investing in the future of the country. The things you could


not do when you came into government, with the rhetoric of


posterity, so was that all wrong? Early on in the Parliament, we


recognised that we needed to turn things around. Danny Alexander has


been championing investment in infrastructure. And future cuts? The


Conservatives are going to rely exclusively on cuts to welfare


spending, in order to balance the books. We think that is unfair, to


look just at the working age poor to balance the books in the future. We


are committed to a mansion tax, which will mean that some people


with the broadest shoulders will be asked... So people could be


expecting higher taxes when we go into the next election? We WILL be


asking for a mansion tax, yes. Duncan Hames, arguably, the Liberal


Democrats, after those disastrous, as you said, election results, have


realised that they have lost a lot of voters to Labour. They are now


going to return to the left to try to bring some of those people back


of the ones who came to you during the Iraq war period. We only got


about 1 million votes in these elections last month. The other


parties each did not get much more than 4 million votes. Actually what


we saw and where I agree with the analysis of Anas Sarwar earlier, is


that there is a large number of people despairing with all of the


political parties, they do not trust anyone of us to govern on our own


which is why I think it is likely that we will have another coalition.


Would you favour your two parties forming a coalition, on the basis of


a mansion tax, you want to cut less, you would tax a bit more, these are


things which are absolutely in line with what Duncan Hames is talking


about? We will be campaigning for an outright majority. Do you agree with


spending more on infrastructure? Absolutely. Do you believe in


cutting less? I believe we should be taxing more at the top. Do you


believe in a mansion tax? Absolutely. So, what is not to like


about the two of you in coalition? It is all about ideology, and what


people will be voting for. We cannot go back to reckless borrowing, we


have to have borrowing which is specifically intended to lay the


foundations for a better economy. Under the Labour government, any


item of expenditure would be described as investment. Could you


do a coalition with Labour? We would have to listen to the electorate.


And what about Nick Clegg, can he continue? Absolutely, and he had


unanimous support from his colleagues at our committee last


week. The political situation reminds me a little bit of Gordon


Brown. It is almost like a political death spiral. Is that where you


are? Nick Clegg is, not the Conservatives. I mean the coalition?


There is a need for the coalition to stay together in order to deliver


that economic stability, over five years. But we need to make sure that


we stay in coalition right up until May. You want Nick Clegg to use the


rest of his political life... He is on a political death spiral, you


want him to use the rest of his political life... That is


unfortunate, but it was probably due to the legacy of the Lib Dems'


manifesto, with the promise on tuition fees, which Nick Clegg


probably now regrets. Are they a Liberal party, are they a Social


Democratic Party? Until they resolve that, in the long term, I think they


will struggle. Fiona Cunningham, Theresa May's special adviser, has


fallen on has soared after getting involved in the spat train Theresa


May, her boss, and Michael Gove. -- has fallen on her sword.


MUSIC PLAYS. # You have got a friend in need.


# And you are miles and miles from your nice warm bed.


# You've got a friend in need. Yes, you've got a friend in need.


# You've got a friend in need. # You've got troubles, I've got


them, too. . # There isn't anything I wouldn't do


for you. # We stick together, see it through,


because you have got a friend in need.


# You've got a friend in need. For those of you who did not


recognise those advisers being thrust into the spotlight, they were


Damian McBride, Charlie Whelan, Jo Moore, Dominic Cummings and Fiona


Cunningham. We have not got time to tell you exactly what they all did!


We are joined now by Tony Blair's former special adviser, who managed


to avoid being sacked! Is it a thankless task? Look, the business


of government is by its nature political, and not just


administrative. You need to have political staff which are there as


well to assist the Secretary of State in their functions and carry


out those political duties. I do not think anyone goes into it with a


great sense of job security, but it is a fantastic privilege to do it.


Isn't the complaint about the Blair years, about sofa government, about


special advisers overstepping the mark? We saw Charlie Whelan and


Damian McBride, Gordon Brown's people, overstepping what they were


supposed to do in terms of negative preteens? If you look at Damian


McBride, it is pretty clear he was an representative of special


advisers as a whole. -- negative briefings. He did not represent the


kind of advisers which I saw when I was with the Labour government. If


you look at this story about Fiona Cunningham, ultimately, it is not


about one member of staff. It is a story about two senior politicians


manoeuvring for the Tory leadership at a time when they should be


focusing on what is a really important issue about what is


happening in the schools in Birmingham. Should she have been


sacked? I do not know the it seems Teresa May has come out worse, given


that it was Michael Gove that started it, with the briefings. But


Fiona Cunningham printed the letter, that was supposed to be crime, would


you have done that? I do not know the circumstances. We have seen


statements from Teresa May, and frankly, when ministers claim to be


shocked by what their special advisers have got up to, it is about


as credible as the captain in Casablanca, I have to say! So, in


your mind, special advisers are always acting on the say-so of their


ministerial bosses, even in the case of Adam Smith, claiming he acted


alone, not doing what Jeremy Hunt had told him to do, was he not


telling the truth? One criteria which marks out special advisers is


loyalty. You are an adviser to Michael Gove, is it the case that


you only do the bidding of the minister? I was an adviser in


opposition, paid for by the Conservative Party, not by the


taxpayer. I was political because I was working on behalf of the


Conservative Party. I think there is a distinction between the


personalities of special advisers. Some work on issues, some work on


press and communications. I worked on statistics and free schools


policy. But when it comes to being in government, you have a corporate


responsibility to make sure that you do not damage the government. If any


special adviser becomes the story, and does something inappropriate,


then I think they need to fall on their sword. Do you think Teresa May


will feel wounded without her special adviser? Well, it is a


lonely place. You have got thousands of civil servants, so the role of


the special adviser is to be that bridge, so yes, it probably will be


a lonely place. Are there too many special advisers, yes or no? I


cannot answer that one. Well, there is one fewer now. On that prophetic


note, we will end it there! The one o'clock news is starting over on BBC


One now, and I will be here again tomorrow. Former Home Secretary


Charles Clarke will be with me. Goodbye.


MUSIC: "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song" by the Flaming Lips


# Yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah Yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah


MUSIC: "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song" by the Flaming Lips


# Yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah Yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah


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