10/06/2014 Daily Politics


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Afternoon, folks, welcome to the Daily Politics.


Promote British values in British schools.


So says Michael Gove after a report by Ofsted found that


some Muslim governors had created a "culture of fear and intimidation"


A backlog of half a million at the passport office.


The improving economy or government cuts?


We'll be asking if you have a few choice words to say about


Remind us what your stage name is? I am Alan Howling Laud Hope, official


leader of the Monster Raving Loony Party!


And they've been cheering us up at by-elections since I was


But is the end nigh for the Monster Raving Loonies?


All that in the next hour, and with us for the whole programme today is


Charles is a former Home Secretary and a former Education Secretary.


Now first today, let?s talk about Labour.


Well, there is clearly a long way to go. All the polls show that the


league is holding up, but it is small by comparison with previous


parliaments. For me, the main story is the economy. They have to


convince people in the country that we will not go back to bad economic


circumstances of the past and that we have an economic vision for the


future. Both of those are tasks were out of work needs to be done. Do you


admit that the Tory argument that Labour worsened the financial mess


that Britain found itself in is still a cogent one, that Labour has


not been able to combat the argument, and the economy is


recovering? It is very cogent. I don't think it is true. Labour has a


much better tale to tell about the economy than is widely believed. But


you are correct, the Conservatives have put this story across and it is


widely believed in the country. Labour have not been able to contest


it effectively. Is it because it is too difficult to try and go against


growth returning and unemployment continuing to go down, where as


Labour have been talking about what they call a cost of living crisis


instead? I think we need a stronger narrative about what we did right


and wrong in government. We did many things right and something is


wrong. We have not been prepared to admit the mistakes we made. We have


rested a great deal on assuming that the conservative strategy would


succeed and that plan A would not work. That was unwise, because the


Conservatives have succeeded in getting the economy onto a more


positive path, which leaves us little room to be now. The cost of


living crisis, as Labour call it, is that a powerful enough narrative?


Have they relied too much on that? It is a real description of the


situation many people feel. But we need a story that is about more than


just life as people experience it, but more about how Labour would


change those conditions. Looking at the European elections, for the


first time in 30 years, and opposition has failed to win the


European elections. YouGov said Labour should be terrified. Are you?


I am myself, because I think Labour is resting a lot on UKIP doing well


enough to remove a large number of seats from the Tories. And the


European elections reinforced that view that UKIP could do well, but I


don't believe it myself. I think they will do well to get one MP,


probably Nigel Farage. As Labour underestimated UKIP taking votes


from them? At the end of the day, as the European elections showed, it


was a startling election night. There was a straight switch from the


Lib Dems in 2090 UKIP in 2014. That is because the "fed up with all of


them" vote had switched from the Lib Dems before they were in government


to UKIP. The way to do with that is not to attack UKIP, but to make sure


we get our messages across so that Labour have something to offer. Do


you think Labour has been complacent about its core vote? I think that


would be an unfair charge. Taking it for granted? There is a 35% strategy


which says that Labour should focus on its core vote. I have never


thought that is the right approach. You have to appeal to the whole


country. I don't think it has taken the vote for granted, but it has not


worked out how to talk to people in an effective way. What about


immigration? There is a divide, because I speak to a lot of Labour


politicians and you get a divide between those who think it was right


to apologise for, in their words, allowing too many migrants to come


into Britain during the 2000s, and those who say we should be proud of


that because it led to a booming economy. Which side are you on?


Need. -- neither. The key thing is to convince people that we are


controlling immigration into this country. When I became Home


Secretary, we made a number of changes and the situation got


wetter, but people believed it was not under control -- the situation


got better. Were the numbers too high when you were Home Secretary? I


have never thought the numbers are the issue. That is why the Tories'


slogan of trying to reduce immigrants to 100,000 a year is


mad. It will not succeed. Immigration is a fact of life. It is


important and we have to control it properly and make sure that


immigrants are fully part of our society when they are here. This


numbers game is not the right way to look at it. So John was wrong when


he said he would like to see fewer EU migrants? I think he has been


wrong about this consists me. He has overstated the threat. He looks at


the Poles in his constituency of Southampton, and that is not


correct. What about Ed Miliband? Is he a man that enough people in the


country can imagine as prime minister? The polls tell you know. I


think a lot of this stuff about him being geeky is nonsense. Policy


since pick-up labels like that and that is the way it goes. At the


moment, he has to convince people he is the best person to lead the


country. He does have the capacity to lead the country, but he pulled


them believe it. Can Labour win an outright majority? It could if it


gets its position right. I am as a mystic. I think it is difficult for


us to do that, but it could be done. -- I am pessimistic. Gordon Brown


has been showing his face a bit more over the campaign in Scotland. And


he was in Westminster, hosting a journalists' lunch. Do you think his


reputation has recovered since 2010? What was strong about his remarks


yesterday was that he was passionate about Scotland being part of the


UK. My own view is that he was not a successful prime minister or party


leader, and it will take time for his reputation to change. He advised


that David Cameron should take part in a TV debate with Alex Salmon. I


don't have a view on that. I think Alistair Darling is running the


campaign well. What about Tony Blair? We saw him giving a speech


the week before last. Does he want another big job? He is in a tragic


position. I think he does want a big job, but there is no chance of him


getting it. He finished as prime minister relatively young. He has


commend as gifts and I remain a supporter of his. He could


contribute a great deal in the public sphere, and I would urge him


to do that. Any role you have in mind? Nothing in particular, and


that is the tragedy. It is ridiculous to think of him as a


possible president of Europe in these circumstances. He is caught


between wanting to contribute publicly and having a lot to


contribute, and when he makes speeches like the one you mentioned,


there is a lot of resonance for it. A few days afterwards, lots of


people were talking about how tremendous he was. But he has no


route back to make that contribution.


Now, it's at this point in the show that we normally serve


It's usually just for fun, which is another way


But today we're offering nothing less than a coveted Daily Politics


We had too many made at the printer?s, you see.


To be in with a chance, we want you to come up with


The prime minister's in Sweden at the moment, discussing who'll be


the next president of the European Commission, and what better way to


conduct your top-level meetings than enjoying a quick row on a lake?


Here's David Cameron with German chancellor Angela Merkel,


Sweden's PM Frederik Reinfeldt, and the Dutch leader Mark Rutte.


So we want you to tweet your suggestions using


the hashtag #bbcdp, or tweet us at daily-politics.


And at the end of the show, Charles here will choose


He might even come up with one of his own.


Now to events in the House of Commons yesterday.


Michael Gove and Theresa May took centre stage at the despatch box


after both had appeared to blame each other for not tackling Muslim


MPs were ready for a bit a of a showdown, the atmosphere was rowdy.


But the barracking soon died down, and Michael Gove was heard


in sombre silence as he described what has allegedly been going on


Yes, we need to get to the bottom of what has happened in the schools in


Birmingham, but it is thanks to this Education Secretary that the


Department for Education has, for the first time, a dedicated


extremism unit to try to stop this sort of thing from happening. At one


secular primary School, terms such as white prostitute, unsuitable for


primary children's ears, were used in Friday assembly is almost


exclusively by Muslim staff. The school organised visits to Saudi


Arabia, open only to Muslim pupils. And senior leaders told inspectors


that a madrasah had been established and been paid for from the school's


budget. Ofsted concluded that school was not adequately ensuring that


pupils had opportunity to learn about faith in a way that promotes


tolerance and harmony between different cultures. At one secular


secondary school, staff told officials that the call to prayer


was broadcast over the playground using loudspeakers. Officials


observed lessons had been narrowed to comply with conservative Islamic


teachings. In biology, students were told that evolution is not what we


believe. The school invited the preacher to speak, despite the fact


that he is reported to have said, give victory to Muslims in


Afghanistan and all the Mujahideen all over the world, who Allah


prepares for the jihad. Ofsted concluded that governors failed to


ensure that requirements and other duties were met. The Education


Secretary ridge speaks of requiring all schools to promote British


values. All well and good. Amongst the greatest of British values is an


education system which welcomes and integrates migrant communities and


build successful citizens in a multicultural society which secures


safety and standards for all. The Education Secretary is failing to do


so. Would he agree that a British value is that young girls and women


should be seen and heard in the classroom, not relegated to the back


of the room? It is vital that schools should be places where young


girls find their voices rather than feeling that they are being


silenced. Our political correspondent Chris


Mason is outside the House of Commons. Chris, we heard the head of


a school, who said he warned ministers three years ago that


Muslim hardliners were trying to take control of some Birmingham


schools. Was Michael Gove sleep on the job? That is the accusation that


has been thrown in his direction. Since 2010, when he became Education


Secretary, what conversations went on around these allegations in


Birmingham? Yes, there was this conversation between one headteacher


and an Education Minister, Lord Hill. Did Michael Gove find out


about that? There are also questions being thrown in his direction around


the inspection regime. Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector of


schools in England, was on Newsnight last night. He said he was glad the


Education Secretary had now come round to his way of thinking about


these so-called no notice inspections, that the inspectors


would bring up a school and say, you are outside the front gates, let us


in. I spoke to Ofsted this morning about the chain of events. When Sir


Michael Wilshaw became chief inspector, he argued for no notice


inspections. The Education Secretary said he agreed, but then having


spoken to headteachers, they acknowledged that they would shorten


the window to ringing up the day before, but would not have no notice


to ensure that governors and headteachers could be informed and


be on the premises. The row between the two ministers, Michael Gove and


Theresa May, has hardly been edifying. The -- what do you think


of it now? Have relations between them improve? You do not need to be


a body language expert to look at those events in the Commons


yesterday and see that Theresa May was not exactly cracking a smile as


condiments were being paid to her by Michael Gove when he was on his


feet. Theresa May has clearly been wounded, perhaps for a longer period


than Michael Gove as a result of what has happened in the last couple


of days, because in Fiona Cunningham, she has lost someone so


important to her honour someone who was at her side for so long and is


no longer there. Yes, Michael Gove had to appear in front of MPs


yesterday. But then so did Theresa May. The longer term consequences


are there for Theresa May to shoulder. Both of them will hope and


I expect they will continue in their post after a Cabinet reshuffle, but


both are wounded by what has happened in the last week. Both are


not quite the ministers they were. With us now is Haras Rafiq


from the anti-extremism think tank Quilliam and Talha Ahmad


from the Muslim Council of Muslim Council of Britain. Welcome to you


both. Let us go through the examples that


have been cited by the findings and by Michael Gove yesterday. Is it


right in your mind for boys and girls to be segregated in school?


No. Is it right for a call to prayer to be broadcast by public speaker in


the playground with Mac if it becomes compulsory as a policy of


the school I think it is wrong. But if the school wants to accommodate


prayers and do not make it compulsory for students I think it


should be left to the judgement of the school administration. If it is


enforced in any way then that would be wrong. But if the school decided


in perhaps the school where 98% of pupils were Muslim, you think it


would be all right to have a call for prayer? I think it is


ridiculous. These are not faith schools but state funded, taxpayer


funded schools that we pay for. These are secular schools, not


Islamic schools. I saw something on television yesterday, boys were


being interviewed. The first was put out there obviously to give the


message for the school and another came along and said we are not


allowed to speak to girls. The other said that is not Islamic. And the


other said this is not an Islamic school, it is a state school. And


that is the mistake, whether intentional or not. And there needs


to be an end to denying extremism, all sorts of things. It is in your


interest, if you'll allow me to speak, it is in your interests to


blame us. We do not support extremism. We have always been


critical of it. A state funded school must not be an Islamic


school. But if the school decides to cater for the needs of the Muslim


children without excluding others, it should be left to individual


schools. How do you not exclude others, even if there was just one


or 2% of non-Muslim pupils. Could ever be appropriate in a state


funded school? Call to prayer itself is not an extremist thing to do. I'm


talking about imposing any kind of Islam that is not an Islamic


school? The charge is that these schools have been taken over by


extremists but we have not seen any evidence of that. There is a big


difference between saying that children will be prepared for jihad


or just more in line Islamist location of schools. Do you think


that Michael Gove or the inspectors had an agenda? If it was a witchhunt


and none of the schools would have been praised as three of them wear.


I do not see how anyone can deny extremism when Al-Qaeda sympathiser


was addressing pupils. One other was leading anti-Christian chance in the


morning. And another referred to fight prostitutes. We do not know if


the school post that as a matter of policy. If it did happen like that I


am surprised that no action was taken. What Ofsted said, the


chairman was invited for his views... He should have been


properly vetted. And that shows there is a failure of government in


the school. It does not show that the school was condoning or


fermenting extremism. Is it right for a special Christmas assembly to


be cancelled. And for raffles to be banned in one school as not


Islamic? I do not think that was right. And using the school budget


to subsidise a school trip to Saudi Arabia that only Muslim pupils could


join? I think that was a poor decision and not acceptable. Think


those kind of things could provide a breeding ground for more extreme


views or at the very least isolate those pupils from integrating into


wider British society? I do not think the evidence is there to


suggest that it could become a breeding ground. But I do think what


does make a difference in terms of the children becoming better


integrated is to provide them with better life chances. And some of


those schools were doing exactly that. They were given the chance to


become more active in community life. I believe if children are


taught to hate and dehumanise the other, lived in isolation and try to


think of the other as someone not to be liked, it is a short step to


becoming radicalised. I think the main thing is the culture in the


school. There has been an Ofsted process which has identified


Bachrach is. And steps are being taken to sort it out. I think it is


unfortunate that Michael Gove has been shrinking the role of the


National Curriculum and in particular in this context, he wants


to exclude religious education altogether from the National


Curriculum. The framework for religious education has been created


to make sure that all pupils in all schools are taught about all faiths


in an unbiased way. I think that should be done and focused on and it


is that Michael Gove has abandoned that. The thing about this


particular process, there was bad practice in a small number of


schools which was rooted out and must continue to be. But Ofsted


actually rated one school as outstanding only in April this year.


Two months later it is rated as inadequate. How could you get it so


totally wrong, which ever way you look at it? Either they were not


outstanding or they are not inadequate now. You are quite


correct and Ofsted must have an inspection of itself to clarify how


that could happen. Normally when there is an inspection you make a


judgement in year one and it broadly continues over a period of time. I


think inspection without notice is a good step. But that does not explain


what you have just raised. I think Ofsted does have a lot of explaining


to do. Ofsted is an independent regulatory body and people do what a


lot of trust in them. What is more worrying is that some of the


criticism they come up with now, that policies were put in place for


example and not followed, these are the things that they should have


picked up and clearly did not. They also need to look at, if you read


the report, this calls are still graded as good or outstanding in at


least two areas. -- the schools. How then do you decide to put them in


special measures? In a school where there is quite a strict religious


ethos, that can lead to strong discipline and good results but it


does not cover the area of whether or not inappropriate practices are


being imposed on a school at a completely different cultural


level? Absolutely. Some of the inspectors failed -- found books in


the library of a primary school that actually supported stunning and


blogging. Use of the kind of things that Ofsted perhaps did not look for


in the past and are doing now and should be doing. What does it mean


to you as a phrase, bringing British values into the school? Liberty,


democracy, pluralism, respect and tolerance for everyone else and


being able to create children who go out and become positive members of


society. Of course I agree wholeheartedly but I find it


troubling that you identified the Muslim community as a community that


has to justify again and again. That is troubling. I use an unhappy about


the idea of British values being put into school? What you find


troubling? These suggestions are made as if the Muslim community are


not being educated or not subscribing to it. If it is about


fairness and justice of course they should be educated in that. But


Ofsted did find these schools were not providing people with an


education to go out into the wider society. It is a difficult question.


Because some of these schools were failing not long ago. Someone who


leaves with a reasonably good education and perhaps not the best


idea of the challenges we face as a society, or they succeed better than


someone with no education? After 1945 minutes of people came to this


country because the identified so-called goodish values. They


wanted to be here on the basis. Including the economic and political


freedoms and all the rest of it. We have to some extent codified that


with citizen tests, for example. I do not think there is anything


exceptional about this at all. It is only if it is taken as very narrow


definition of what it would be. But the fundamental values which are in


fact strongly opposed by the extremists, but those fundamental


values ought to be endemic in every school as part of the culture. That


is why I think religious education should be part of the National


Curriculum. Do people in Birmingham feel like a community under


suspicion as Mac I think they clearly do.


Now, do you ever feel like filing your problems away


If so, it appears you're not alone, because our guest of


the day here has helped write a book about politicians doing just that.


What do you do when a problem is too difficult to solve? Put it in the


two difficult box, of course. That is where you'll find all kinds of


issues that governments struggle with from immigration and banking


reform to climate change. And now using a cast of heavy hitters,


Charles Clarke has put all those too difficult political problems in one


place. His new book. I will delve inside the box to discover some of


the unsolvable subjects. First of all social care. Why is Europe


policy area are difficult? -- your policy area. I have been wrestling


with this for 15 years and no one agrees. These are very difficult


economic issues involved and it is very expensive. And there are


difficult social issues. We are speaking about people's lives. Is


there a solution on the horizon? There is but it has taken some


getting too. Next, House of Lords reform. Will House of Lords reform


always be in the difficult box? It will be as long as the people who


what to see the House of Lords elected refused to hear the other


part of the problem which is what happens the House of Commons primacy


and how do you have two elected houses? The people that elected the


House of Lords would expect them to have some representative function


for them. That is the nature of our democracy. And finally drugs. Why is


drugs policy such a difficult area for politicians to solve? The


politics of drugs policy before have been a nightmare. Society has not


encouraged and open and honest debate. Minister -- ministers have


fallen over each other to be seen to be tough on drugs. The political


parties do not think there are our votes in it. I'm still stuck after


looking in this box. I will let these ideas go and hopefully someone


will come up with a solution! And we are joined by the Conservative peer


and former cabinet minister Gillian Shephard, who questions in the book


whether power is really an illusion? We got 29 together. And people had


other subjects to discuss. Do you think that with those issues, it is


not even worth the government trying to deal with them, if in the end,


you could argue that with something like drugs, there has been so little


progress? The question is legitimate, but it is the wrong


hands. The reason why people tolerate politicians is that they


believe Olive ticks will solve the problems they experience in society.


-- politics will solve problems in society. If politicians actually


believe there is nothing they can do about this, it is not a natural for


people to think, why do I believe in politics in the first place? So it


is important to try and solve these problems in a democracy. On the


issue of democracy, is it just very difficult in a democratic system and


now as a coalition to solve the big problems of our time? It is


difficult, but it does not mean they cannot be solved. After all, a


number of the issues Charles identified were pensions reform,


where there have even movements, welfare reform, which is underway,


immigration and EU, where we are not getting far with at the moment, but


there has been much more attention paid, for example to the issues


raised by the large numbers of elderly we have to cope with in our


society. And on child poverty, we now have a commission which is


making policy suggestions. But it is terrific to difficult in our


democratic system, firstly because every government, when elected,


knows that it will only have a few years to solve the problem is. And


we are not good at passing on solutions from one government of a


political party to another. And more overtly, there is a fair amount of


pretending. When I wrote my chapter, I was obsessed with wondering if


democracy was just too difficult in a world where there are global


problems which threaten us all. Are you advocating dictatorship?


Certainly not. I did come to an optimistic conclusion. Where there


are overwhelming technological changes, as in the fear mentioned by


Robert Harris, and where there is 24 is open -- where there is 24/7 media


scrutiny, which I did not have to deal with in my day. What do you


think the effect of the recession has been? When you talk about the


government not having enough time to deal with big issues, is it about


focus and priority? Is it when governments really put their minds


to solving one or two things, they can do it? Yes, they can, providing


they use language to the electorate that is clear enough for the


electorate to identify with. If you use a lot of abstract noun about


economic problems that people might be experiencing, sometimes they just


lose interest. If you clearly identify the problems they are


having, people will often espouse a solution. We saw this in Ireland.


Ireland had a democratic solution to solution. We saw this in Ireland.


its Eurozone crisis, where as in Greece and Italy, they imposed a


technocratic solution and made their heads of government technocrats.


Ireland chose the democratic route. And for the record, twice, public


servants had to absorb a 10% pay decrease. This was done


democratically, and hats off to Ireland for finding a democratic


solution which people espoused, in distinction with what was going on


in Italy and Greece. The other side of that coin is, was it too


difficult in the Blair -Brown years, when arguably, there was a lot of


money around, to make the difficult decisions? Tony Blair has said in


the past that something he regrets is not reforming public services


when he could. Is that because until the crisis point, you don't need to?


That is partly true. You were right about focus. I argue in this book


that you need to have focus, with all the democratic leaders agreeing


to sort out a problem together. On immigration, it is striking that


countries like Canada and Spain, where they have agreement across the


democratic parties, these things are more solved than they are otherwise.


At the university of East Anglia, we have a wide range of views being


given. Your point about the recession is important because if


you don't have recession, there is some money you can use to solve the


problems. I think Tony Blair and Gordon Brown's governments missed an


opportunity to solve some of these issues. Do you think we will ever


have an acceptable drugs policy that actually solves the problem? Is it


impossible? Not impossible. It is very difficult, for the reasons set


in your interview, but it is impossible -- it is not impossible.


Alcohol and tobacco create at least as much damage as cannabis. It is


difficult, but feasible. International agreement is needed


for some of the big challenges like climate change. Without that, isn't


it impossible for one country unilaterally to sort itself out if


you have not got a global agreement? Of course it is. But people have


said over the centuries that we have had a democratic system in this


country, this is too difficult, and in the end, a solution is found. You


have to use the machinery you have to hand. There are international


bodies that can deal with those things, and you have to be


well-organised and focused, and communicate in language that people


can grasp. Now, how efficient is the civil


service and the government 's not very, according to Francis Maude,


the minister in charge of making savings across Whitehall and


beyond. So what has he done to sort it out? It may not be glamorous


work, but behind the scenes, Francis has been busy cutting back on


government costs. Some government apartments were spending seven times


more than others on printer cartridges. Not these days. Those


savings have gone towards the ?5.4 billion cut to the government's Bill


for its goods and services. Paper is being shredded to save money. In the


last 12 months, ?200 million was clawed back by improving and


increasing the government's digital services. And empty government


buildings are being sold off as well. Over the last year, the


government said 0.6 billion pounds through selling properties and


leaving expensive rental contracts. More controversially, there is the


ongoing reduction in civil service and. Another ?4.7 billion was saved


last year as more jobs were cut. In total, that is ?14.3 billion saved


in 2013/14 through efficiency reforms. Mission complete, or will


"No, Sir Humphrey" continue to be Francis Maude's mantra? Well, we can


ask him. Cabinet office minister Francis Maude joins us now. How far


through are you with your mission? It will never end. It is always


going to be a work in progress. All great organisations expect to make


efficiency savings every year, because there will always be new


technology and new technique. We have conclusively proved that the


old fallacy that said you can't do more for less, a fixed amount of


money means a fixed quantum of service, that has gone. We can


deliver more for less. Except that there have been some high-profile


examples where ministers have blamed civil servants, who say their


numbers are being cut. The civil servants help the politicians


through complicated policy decisions, like in Duncan Smith and


universal credit. -- Iain Duncan Smith. Do you admit that that is in


part a result of job cuts? Absolutely not. It is a tribute to


the resilience of the civil service that despite the cuts in the


numbers, and it is the smallest of service now since the Second World


War, the numbers are down 16% now, with more cuts to come, the civil


service is delivering more. In the case of West Coast Main Line, it was


the cabinet secretary who said this was incompetence which would not be


tolerated. But my point is, some departments have seen very sick ever


could cuts in their numbers, and ministers say things are working


better -- significant cuts. Do the Ministry of Defence said that? They


have not seen the same scale of reductions. But actually, in too


much of the public sector, there are too many people into many layers who


have made things work less effectively. So why have there been


so many problems with universal credit? Well, they have been well


documented. The Public Accounts Committee was all over that. But


that runs counter to your argument that if you strip away the layers,


these things will work. No, it doesn't. Where are we with universal


credit 's it is making progress and Iain Duncan Smith will report on it


in due course. And you are confident that those robins have been ironed


out and it will work? -- those problems have been ironed out. There


is no doubt that it will work. The behavioural changes that it is


designed to deliver our proven. It is not the policy I am questioning,


but the roll-out. Are you confident when the report comes out that it


will be fine? You will need to wait until the report comes out. What we


are doing which has never been done before is that we are reporting


transparently on project is. Two weeks ago, the major projects


authority published its report on the 200 biggest projects, with a


lifetime authority published its report on


the 200 biggest projects, with cost of ?400 billion, very openly, saying


these ones are red, these ones are green. No government has done that


before. That drives improvement. You mentioned those departments that


have already had a certain amount of cuts made to their public spending.


Some of those departments are not happy about the prospect of further


cuts full up they genuinely don't think they can take any more cuts.


Do you think it is still justifiable to ring fence certain departments


while cutting more drastically from others? We expect efficiency savings


whether the budget is ringfenced or not. If you have to combine


efficiency savings with other public spending cuts, with health,


education and international development ringfenced, it is easier


for them than for those departments that are not. It is necessary in all


places for us to deliver efficiency savings. The size of the education


department will be about half what it was, and it is doing more than it


did before. You can deliver more for less, and that is what a long-term


economy needs. You need a civil service where taxpayers' money


delivers the most that it can. There is more that needs to be done. We


mentioned printer cartridges, empty buildings and going digital. To some


extent, that is the easy stuff. It is going to get much tougher if you


say it has to go on, because it will be about people. It has been about


people already, and there is more to be done. You will never get to the


end of this. Do you applaud Francis Maude for his mission, savings that


Labour failed to make 's eye don't accept the point that this is the


first time we have had a check list for red lights and green lights. We


had that under Labour. You didn't. We did. But I applaud what Sir


Francis Maude has been doing. The other element which he mentioned and


acknowledged is the role of the Public Accounts Committee. Margaret


Hodge gave an excellent lecture and has put an excellent chapter in this


book on precisely the issues you identified. That means they have had


a more activist role which has supported public opinion to


reinforce the demand for extra efficiency. The suggestion that


efficiency is a conservative ambition rather than a Labour


ambition is nonsense. I agree about the role of the Public Accounts


Committee. The National Audit Office shine and important light on what is


going on. Sometimes it is a bit sensationalist, and I could wish


that they would occasionally praised the things that were tried that did


not work, because that is part of noting innovation. -- promoting


innovation. Do you both think that Michael Gove and Theresa May's


public row was an advert for good government? Well, governments have


arguments. There were plenty in the last government and the one before.


It is better if they are not conducted in public.


Now it appears the Government's "long term economic plan" is having


an adverse effect on the passport office, which has


blamed a backlog of applications on the improving economy.


The head of the passport office is to be questioned by MPs over long


Unions leaders say staff are struggling to cope with


a backlong of half a million applications and some people's


Well we're joined now from College Green by the Chair of the Home


How bad is the problem? It is pretty bad. Individual cases, a man stuck


in another country waiting for his children's passports because they


have an operation. Another man stranded in Singapore. Over 500


complaints made by Members of Parliament. And we are very


concerned about what appears to be this huge backlog, given that the


passport office last year made a surplus of ?73 million. But they're


having to borrow people from the passport fraud section. And this is


told to us as if it is some kind of revelation, in order to deal with


this problem. Who do you blame, then? Well during the seven months,


people do tend to want to go on holiday and therefore find out that


their passport needs to be renewed. Is it about bad planning? Of course


it is. They talk about service standards in the Home Office and say


it is not a backlog because it is within service standards. I think


the public expect much better. I do not want to blame anyone today. And


we have called in the head of the passport office to hear from him


what the situation is like. We should not really have this problem


in the UK. It should be something that is done very efficiently. It


used to be a good service until recently and we need to make sure


that we solve the problems. The closing of offices has of course had


an impact and the cutting of staff as well. But we need to try to find


out how this backlog has been created and how we bring it to a


conclusion. Are you confident that passports will be processed in


time? I hope it will be done by Tuesday or the head of the passport


office will have some very serious questions to answer. He has got


about a week to sort this out! The last time we had a problem was in


the late 1980s. Then we went through a lot of reforms and it became very


efficient. I'm shocked to hear of these delays. It can only be down to


bad planning. I doubt that it is down to staff numbers. It must be


bad planning. Do you think it is as simple as that, but they have not


prepared for the summer months? I do not have any insight information on


this but I do not see how it can be anything else.


Regular viewers of the Daily Politics will have clocked


that a few of Britain's Political Parties have been experiencing


But the trials and tribulations of the Monster Raving Loony Party


haven't exactly made national headlines.


If you think going into politics is just loony then such is life.


Screaming Lord Sutch good belt out a children and developed a brilliant


if moderately expensive PR vehicle that actually had a point to it. And


it made its mark on the political landscape. The mad Hatter look


served him well throughout the history of the official Monster


Raving Loony Party disguised some fairly cogent policy is that we now


take for granted. We are the only honest loonies. That and butter


mountains and ski slopes are daft! But pest -- that passports were


actually policies of the Monster Raving Loony Party before they


actually came into the legislature. Even when being satirised, the


official Monster Raving Loony Party is a registered party, it has


conferences and policies. It outlived Screaming Lord Sutch. And


like all parties it has a problem with money. It used to be backed by


William Hill but they backed out and now they are passing round the hat


seeking someone else. If leopard-print lunacy is your bag you


should be mad for it. And we're joined now by


Alan Howling Laud Hope. And on the Green by Graham Sharpe


from William Hill, Welcome to the programme. You have


lost your sponsorship, how much trouble is the party in? It is not


in dire trouble. It is not the end at all. How much longer can you


continue without sponsorship? A long time. William Hill used to provide


sponsorship, the whole of the 2010 general election. And we had 28


candidates. Have you had any sort of like getting a replacement sponsor?


There are a couple of items in the fire. Graham Sharpe has not ruled


himself out! Why have you withdrawn sponsorship? Well we supported them


for a long time to stop things move on so we are looking elsewhere to


sponsor. But I suspect Alan may have been elsewhere this morning because


a mystery punter came into one of our branches and had ?400,000 on a


no vote in the Scottish referendum. Perhaps that was Alan looking to


raise the money! Who are you looking to sponsor? I think given that Alan


at the moment tends to enjoy the odd pint of beer, as do many of these


members, a brewery with BB odds-on favourite. -- would be. Maybe a few


high-profile politicians that shall we say our free at the moment. --


are free. Alan and his team-mates are not what we might call spring


chickens. Do you think you have failed to move with the times? There


is a reason that William Hill have made a decision. It was satirical in


the 1980s but your something associated with the past? We do need


younger people coming in. And as for the brewery, well this is a winning


coalition and it will be on sale at the bar in the Houses of Parliament.


So you could be right, it could be a brewery with Mac what about the


party, is it all satire? You have had policies that have been adopted.


Well when I lived in Devon I was mayor of a town. But my favourite


candidate name was Tarquin Finnan Tim biscuit barrel. Will you miss


the party if it is not able to put up candidates in the future if money


does not come in from somewhere? I am torn. My political answer is yes


I would but honestly, no, I wouldn't. I suppose I am rather


boring. I have been dismissed by you! But I do think politics is a


serious business. We are the party that everyone loves. I think William


Hill should go and sponsor UKIP, they are at the other drug party. --


joke party. Have you completely ruled out sponsoring the Monster


Raving Loony Party? I'm beginning to recapture my affection for the


party. Alan is coming under pressure and all things considered it is a


good thing that they should be someone who does not take the


process entirely seriously stop I think attract people who would not


otherwise vote. There are no threat to the big parties and is good to


see that democracy is alive and well. Are you going to put your


money where your mouth is? We will have to see! All this stuff about


UKIP and how badly the Conservative and Labour Party did, the leader of


the official Monster Raving Loony Party retained his seat in Hampshire


where he lives. Thank you very much for that, both of you.


There's just time before we go to find out the winner


Remember it was all about the Prime Minister's trip to Sweden to


discuss, among other things, who should be the next president


And to limber up for his meeting, David Cameron went rowing with some


So, Charles, the team have been beavering away to


How about you get out and push, David? I like this one. When I said


we needed to row back on EU benefits tourism... Which one of us has to go


down with the ship? I will leave it there. Another one, gravy train


traded in for gravy boat. And rearranging the deck chairs on the


EU Titanic. The Swedish minister does look relaxed. The others looked


slightly uncomfortable! As if one of them could flip overboard. It is the


ultimate photocall. My favourite is, do you know which way you are


going? No, neither do I. You will have to tell us your favourite after


the show has finished. The one o'clock news is


starting over on BBC One now. tomorrow with Prime Ministers


Questions and all the big


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