16/06/2014 Daily Politics


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Afternoon folks, welcome to the Daily Politics.


On the brink of all-out sectarian war.


As Iraq slides into chaos, the Foreign Secretary,


William Hague reiterates there'll be no British military involvement.


The US is said to be talking to its arch enemy Iran over what to do.


We'll be asking does the West have a coherent foreign policy any more?


The Chinese Premier's in London on a mission to change "misgivings and


Nick Clegg's been outlining plans for the Liberal Democrat


Will it be worth the paper it's written on?


Now his former right-hand man is dishing the dirt.


All that in the course of the next hour.


Let's begin, though, with the crisis in Iraq.


The debate over just how the west should intervene over the situation


there is likely to intensify this week as more reports of fierce


The militant group Isis appears to have caught the Iraqi government


and a number of world leaders off guard, but just who are they and


The name ISIS stands for the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, which


It grew out of al-Qaeda in Iraq and is a Sunni militant group


fighting what it regards as an oppressive Shia regime in Baghdad.


Led by this man, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the group wants to


build a strict Islamic caliphate straddling between Iraq and Syria.


Isis already has large areas of both countries under


its command, including the key cities of Tikrit, Mosul and Faluja.


Their control has given them access to vast amounts of wealth


The organisation is notorious for imposing a strict literal


Yesterday saw the release of a number


of images reportedly showing ISIS fighters executing a group of Iraqi


soldiers, although the pictures have yet to be independently verified.


Yesterday, the former Prime Minister,


Tony Blair, defended Britain's role in the Iraq war arguing that


the invasion in 2003 was not the cause of the current crisis.


Again, as I've said many times, of course you regret the loss of life


and the difficulties we encountered. Did you say to me where I would have


preferred a situation where we left Saddam Hussein in 2003 in place,


would the region be more stable, my answer to that is unhesitatingly no.


However, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has this morning


been highly critical of the former Prime Minister


and said the war in 2003 is partly to blame for the current problems.


What I'm trying to say is that Britain should be engaged with the


world and be positive about the good things we can do, but in order to do


that, you've got to be honest and realistic about where it has gone


wrong. And it has gone wrong. Andy Payton we opened the way to a lot of


sectarian bloodshed -- and it paid to a lot of sectarian bloodshed --


and it patented leak went wrong in 2003. And that was not the case


before the invasion of Iraq. What would your message to Tony Blair be


today? I can understand that he feels very shattered and guilty


about the whole thing, but my general message would to be put a


sock in it, and paper bag on head time is my advice.


Well, earlier I spoke to our Correspondent,


I asked him whether the government forces were in a state to push back


against ISIS? The Prime Minister has said that they would start fighting


back soon. They in a town called Samarra, which is 70 miles north of


Baghdad. They are preparing to push forward from there towards Tikrit,


and they are mobilising somewhat ominously, large numbers of Shia


Muslim volunteers, who are being registered at special centres that


have been set up. It looks a little bit like an act of desperation, to


rely on civilians wielding pitchforks. It's not quite like


that, but it is the image it brings up. They say they can, but there is


a lot of doubt, because they fled from Mosul with little resistance


and the officer corps is clearly quite poor. A lot of the officers in


the old army with years of experience fighting the Iranians and


others, they defected because they were Sunni Muslim and were sent home


after the Americans dissolve the Iraqi army. They make up the


backbone of some of the fighting going on from the rebel side. That


is one reason why the Iraqi army has put up such a poor show. What about


the international response? We've heard in the last hour or so that


the Iranians have rejected the idea of talks with the Americans, but


where you are, are you hearing intelligence that the Americans are


probably preparing for a bombing campaign? I think it's hanging in


the balance. I don't think they want to wade in on one side in a very


divided and polarised situation. They are not too happy about the way


the Prime Minister has handled things. He is quite close to Iran as


well, but the way he alienate it large sectors of Sunni Muslim


opinion, they don't want to see -- seem to be wading in on one side.


They want to see him or someone else pulled together and national unity


government where they could bring the Sunni Muslims on board and drive


a wedge between the disgruntled men who joined the campaign against the


government, and the extremists of ISIS, the Al-Qaeda related people.


That's a hard thing to do, but the Americans don't particularly want to


get involved in hostilities on behalf of people in factional


situation like this. With me now is the Conservative MP,


Rory Stewart, he is the new Chairman In 2003, he served as a Deputy


Governor in southern Iraq, appointed We're also joined by


Sir Menzies Campbell, the former Lib Dem leader, and by the


journalist John Rentoul who writes John, first of all, referring back


to Tony Blair and Boris Johnson. Who is right in terms of how much the


2003 invasion has to answer for what is going on now? Obviously the 2003


invasion had a bearing on what is happening now, but you could equally


say that the failure to intervene in Syria was responsible for ISIS


coming over from Syria, which is where they got their trained men and


materials and the weapons from. I thought Boris Johnson was


unnecessary in using the language of mental health to dismiss Tony


Blair's contribution. If you look at what Boris Johnson was saying should


be done, it was pretty much the same as what Tony Blair says. Let's


discuss what we should do now rather than what happened 11 years ago. Is


it time to stop going over the recriminations of whether we should


or should not have gone into Iraq, bearing in mind this is a threat


happening right now? The Chilcot Inquiry still has to come, and that


is bound to renew the debate, but to some extent I agree with John. It is


facile to say that the invasion of 2003 had no influence on today's


events, but it's equally facile to say that without it to say that


without it the place. The truth is, it's a complex situation, made


complicated further by Syria and by the fact, as we heard earlier, that


the government has been pretty inept. My hope is that both the


United States and Iran, inspired of what has been publicly said, -- in


spite of what has been publicly said, realise they have a common


interest in ensuring the integrity of Iraq is protected, as indeed do


all this. Because further instability in the Middle East, for


a no go area of everyone, except terrorism, which extended from the


northern part of Iraq into Syria would be an enormously helpful thing


for them in the prosecution of their barbaric way of life. That is why it


is so important that we have barbaric way of life. That is why it


is so important that action which has the effect of maintaining the


sovereign Iraqi government. We will come back to the action that can be


taken, but let's go to the Syria intervention that never actually


occurred. Do you think that has been critical in allowing the space for


ISIS jihadist 's to create a power base not only in Syria, but also


take advantage, as many critics have claimed, of the Prime Minister's


relentless Shia Muslim agenda, to do what they are doing now? I think


that's undoubtedly the case. I'm not an expert on Syria. In Syria, we


would have had to intervene much earlier than ever suggested


would have had to intervene much anybody to produce some kind of


decent outcome. Actually, all that was proposed last August was a


punitive strike was to persuade Bashar al-Assad to not use chemical


weapons. It had gone ahead, I think it might have been worthwhile, but


don't think it would have stopped the Civil War in Syria ISIS coming


into Iraq. -- or ISIS coming in. Has he pursued this Shia Muslim-led


agenda, the prime Minister? He is a man of the West, and that was the


mistake. There was an election. It's interesting what Jim Weir -- Jim


Muir said earlier, that there should be a government led by somebody more


temperate in their views. But what was proposed last September was to


bomb Bashar al-Assad. That would not have weakened these people, and it


might have strengthened them. That could have been a recruiting


sergeant for them. But if we come back to who should be running Iraq,


the West does have themselves to blame in terms of pulling out too


early, allowing Nouri Al Malachy to pursue the agenda with tacit support


from people on the ground. I was in the United States last week and I


saw people say it was Barack Obama's polled for pulling out, but


the Prime Minister of Iraq did not want to say -- Barack Obama's fault.


It has turned into the Americans and Republicans against each other. It's


a bit like the argument of whether the invasion of 2003 caused this. It


is not the sole cause. What that requires now is a common approach by


people who have influence, and the truth is, the UK does not have


influence. We are entirely subordinate to the US in this. We


can give them some technical assistance, the much admired special


forces might be engaged in some activity, but the truth of the


matter is, the solution to this lies in Washington and at the desk of


Barack Obama which might explain why he's making -- taking so long to


make up his mind. Do you agree that we can and we often shouldn't do


anything? I don't know. We should listen to people like Tony Blair who


have experience and have thought about it, instead of insulting him


by calling him mad or rate war criminal. I love and respect Menzies


Campbell. He opposes war in a constructive and measured language,


which is the sort of thing we should have in this debate. But if you're


listening to somebody like Tony Blair who has, in many quarters been


vilified for 2003, and calling for more intervention, which is his only


line, to go into Syria and then into Iraq, you can't say it was a


resounding success, so why would you listen to Tony Blair? Because he has


actually thought about it and he has important things to say. Boris


Johnson, who calls him mad, proposes the same thing and says we should


help the Prime Minister as much as possible. Would you listen to Tony


Blair and his suggestions? I did have do for quite awhile on some


television channels. I thought it was long on analysis and short


solution. Much of what he said I was agreeable to, but then he said in


general terms something has to be done. But if you leave the gap but


something has to be done, in the mind of somebody like me, the


something to be done, the thing that comes to mind is military


intervention. Philip Hammond just ruled that out in the last hour.


William Hague ruled it out this morning on the Today programme, and


there is a statement in the House of Commons where it will be ruled out


again. The fact is, the US will look to us for the assistance we can


provide which does not involve boots on the ground. As our closest ally,


we will be under pressure to assist. How long can we allow the vacuum to


continue? It Barack Obama does not come up with some sort of coherent


plan, do we sit here and wait for direction from Washington? What else


can we do best we can't go in on our own. We don't have the Armed Forces


that we had in 2003 -- what else can we do? We cannot go in on our own. I


hope that they will consider that there is a possibility of some kind


of agreement with the Iranians. You can't want to leap into bed with the


great Satan, as they describe the US, without some sort of


explanation. So far there is no obvious explanation. But remember


that back channels are as important in diplomatic exchanges as what is


said in front of the TV cameras. What about Iran and Saudi Arabia? If


you're looking at the big sponsors Shia and Sunni Muslims, is that the


way to go and what can Britain do? I'm not the expert. People like


Menzies Campbell and Tony Blair have views on this and we should listen.


But we should also accept, as Sir Menzies does, that this is


America's problem. We can't act on our own. All the debate in this


country is focused entirely on it Tony Blair do this, did he get it


wrong? It was in his war, it was George Bush's war. He had to support


it or not. If we could perhaps reduce the level of debate somewhat.


We are where we are, and it is quite right to identify it ran Sidey


Arabia. Both of them in their own ways would have their interests


materially registered by terrorism, so looking from outside, there is


compulsion. But this dispute goes back to the seventh century, so it


is difficult to persuade people to accept the situation. We are looking


to something approaching partition and a change of boundaries. And we


have not yet mentioned the Kurds. We could be looking at dividing the


region into three, which would be very unstable, and against our


interests. I apologise for Rory Stewart. We thought he was coming.


Maybe he is still in the building. Thank you, gentlemen.


It's three months to go until the Scottish independence


referendum and both campaigns are holding events in Edinburgh today.


In a speech this morning Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is


laying out the Scottish government's plans for a draft constitution


And then later this afternoon, the leaders of the Scottish Tories,


Labour and Liberal Democrats are releasing


their plans for further devolution in the event of a no vote.


I can speak now to Patrick Harvie, the leader of the Scottish Green


party - and supporter of independence - who's in Glasgow.


Welcome to the programme. What would be in this draft interim


constitution? The Scottish government has published today


consultation and a draft interim is gone -- constitution. There is a


strong thread of social justice in there. It is not intended to be the


permanent constitution, which would be developed afterwards. It is


important to keep the momentum and keeping gauge meant all the way


through from the referendum to transition. But there is a strong


element of social justice on issues like human rights, equality,


disarmament, many of the powerful issues which are motivating people


to vote yes in the referendum. Wider Scotland need a written


constitution? It is an important symbol of the modern country we are


trying to build. The idea of a comprehensive written constitution


that everyone can read and understand is necessary to hold


Government accountable. Britain does have hundreds of years of


constitutional documentation, but you need to be a lawyer to


understand any of it. Constitution is important for the citizens of the


country to power accountable. You said it is draft, interim, there


will obviously be discussions. But you want an independent Scotland to


be nuclear weapons free, enshrined in law. So it means a nuclear


deterrent would not be able to be used as a bargaining chip. I


wouldn't want it to be. I would want a very clear statement that says we


get rid of nuclear were and as quickly as Austevoll. I am not


consulting on this, I am in an opposition party. I am on the yes


side of the referendum debate, but I will be responding to this


consultation just as everybody else is, and I will have ideas on how it


might be improved, for example ensuring the natural resources, the


land of Scotland, is held in the common good. There are important


principles about the ownership of Scotland which need to be addressed


if we are to close the gap that we were rich and poor. The Herald


reports that an independent Scotland would borrow billions of pounds, so


to close that gap you are talking about, are you prepared to do that?


Would you support a Government that would borrow billions of pounds to


support the gap at wing Richard Poor? What John Swinney has said is


that he would favour a stimulus approach, are wing to invest. --


borrowing to invest. That could be achieved partly through are wing,


but the emphasis needs to be on taxation as well. But I certainly


welcome the idea of an end to the austerity agenda. Thank you very


much. And joining me from our Edinburgh


studio is the leader of the Scottish The three prounion parties in


Scotland supports devolution but have different plans. What is


important is that the SMP and others would like to see more powers. This


is a choice between two different visions of Scotland, one a separate


independent country, and one a strong Scotland within a strong


United Kingdom. Can you give any specifics as to the powers Hollywood


will get? We will be working our way through this. It is about fiscal


accountability, taxation, a more coherent welfare system and looking


at how you decentralise power is out of the Scottish Parliament. The


issue here is looking about what works best. We know that for the


SNP, no powers will ever be enough, but we want to ensure we strike a


balance between a strong Scottish Parliament and the best of both


worlds. So why won't labour for the Scottish Parliament full income


tax-raising powers? One of the benefits of being in the United


Kingdom is we are able to share and resources. So we want to make sure


that we get the balance right, because for too long, Scottish


Parliaments have had no accountability for raising money,


and we want to strike that balance. You say you want clear-cut plans


from the other side, but your campaign to some extent has been


about knocking their plans down rather than producing your own


positive narrative about what would be on offer. I don't accept that is


true. Scotland is strong enough and confident enough to work with


neighbours across the whole of the United Kingdom. We cannot say that


all our ills have been as a result of being done down by the rest of


the United Kingdom and me -- we must separate off. We don't need to be


separated to be able to stand strong and tall within the United Kingdom.


China's prime minister, Li Keqiang, arrives in the UK today for a


three-day visit before jetting off to those other well-known economic


Mr Keqiang says he wants to "present the real China so as to


The Government however will be less concerned with perceptions


They're hoping to secure some serious Chinese investment.


Our reporter Eleanor Garnier has been taking a look


London's Chinatown, but the Chinese premier will be too busy taking tea


with the Queen to put a visiting here. In search of a little luck, I


went along to find some Chinese words of wisdom. Everything will now


come your way? And troubled economies are trying their luck,


too, looking to Chinese investments to help turn their fortunes around.


Whether it is paying hundreds of millions for a 10% stake at


Heathrow, spending billions building railway in East Africa or pouring


millions into upgrading a Greek port, all around the world, China is


investing, and fast. China above all is investing in the developing


world. It's now accounts for more lending to the developing world than


the World Bank. It is focused in particular on East Asia and also


Africa. It invests mainly in commodities, but increasingly also


in manufacturing and capacity. And also in other significant areas of


investment, in Latin America. But it is not just investment in


infrastructure and energy. Wealthy Chinese people are being cleared to


leave -- are coming to Europe in return for investing is little as


500,000 euros. Remember this? David Cameron's visit to China last year.


It went some way to warming up the diplomatic relationship between the


two countries after things had got a little frosty because of the PM's


meeting with the Dalai llama. And on this return visit, one expert told


me that he will be careful to be seen to be calling the shots. When


the British premier visited China, they welcomed it quite understated,


the way the government would like it to be. When the Chinese premier


visits the UK, the Chinese government would


visits the UK, the Chinese is a much more positive development,


so I think the Chinese media will also projected as a much more


positive and successful event. I'd like China's got plenty of dough,


and the UK needs it. Expect lots of wooing as the UK competes with many


others after China's good fortune. Joining me now is the Business


Minister Michael Fallon and the What will success look like for you


on this trip? Continuing to strengthen the trading relationship


we have with China. It is a very important business partner for us.


Exports are up 15% last year. It is very important for us to make this a


full two-way relationship with a valued partner. They invest in us in


infrastructure, in oil and gas, but we also invest there. Are we reliant


on the Chinese for British infrastructure investment? Not at


all. This year, Siemens are investing, and Japanese companies


are investing in our cars. We welcome the Chinese investment, they


are a big part of it. It is a big part of EDF, the French company, and


its plans to build a nuclear reactor in Somerset. But do we need to


ignore human rights questions to make this a priority? China is a


valued trade partner. We have a human rights dialogue with China.


The Prime Minister will obviously continue to raise human rights and


human rights cases. There are important issues coming up like the


election for the chief executive of Hong Kong. But we should allow these


issues to get in the way of a very old and deepening trade


relationship. Do you agree with that? Would you risk upsetting the


Chinese by raising human rights? Not at all. This relationship does come


with responsibilities. It is right for the prime Minister to be raising


the concerns that UK nationals have about investment in the UK, and


making sure that that in estimate comes with significant


responsibilities about human rights issues. Hopefully the premiere of


China will take those issues on board. Do you think he actually


will? It is important that he does. If China is going to be a world


player, it needs to play in the world environment in the proper way,


and that is a significant responsibility. And Michael Fallon,


if they don't take on these concerns, will you stop or at least


restrict the two-way trade investment? These are not opposites.


These are things we do with a mature trading partner. We raise these


issues is the oldest and most important


ally in that respect. But you said you wanted to view it as we do the


relationship with the US? It is getting to that scale. There is big


investment on both sides. China is an important trading partner for us.


We are not part of a security alliance with China, so there are


differences, but we want China to play a full role in the


international community. They have been extremely helpful in dealing


with issues with North Korea, for example, and it's important that the


relationship is deepened and it is not just trade. In government, will


you do anything different here? There is a problem here, because the


office of budget responsibility said the trade gap is widening and it is


a drag on growth. We are relying on housing bubble that spin


artificially made, so we have to get exports. We have a target of ?1


trillion exports by 2020, and that just won't happen with the current


rate. They are an incredibly important market for trade to


rebalance the UK economy. So you would not do anything different? You


have laid at the reasons we are in this situation, but you wouldn't do


anything different with regard to China? We want to have Chinese


people coming here. The Visa problems are a significant issue. We


need the cat connectivity -- the connectivity with China. We also


need to have the export guarantee schemes announced two years ago,


?5.5 billion of UK taxpayer cash, and not one business has applied for


it. We need businesses exporting to rebalance the economy. Do you accept


that government restrictions on immigration have harmed relations,


because the Chinese have repeatedly said that they have stopped Chinese


people coming over here, whether it is students or business people


question the last Labour government did nothing about Chinese trade. In


terms of visas, there are 90,000 Chinese students in this country. We


have more Visa centres in China than any other country in terms of


processing applications. 96% of people in China applying for a Visa


get one. Well why has Downing Street just put out something that they


will ease restrictions to Chinese visitors, so that means they've been


restricted. We want to make it easier, so that is why we opened


more centres and it easier for companies to get visas for the


people they want to bring in. You can always improve these things.


There is a significant contradiction there. While we welcome Chinese


investment in the UK and we need to increase exports, we are turning our


back on the EU and they are our biggest exporting market. So we have


the government saying we need as much Chinese investment and


exporting as we can get, but we will risk the relationship with the EU


for political propaganda purposes. We are reforming our relationship


with the EU, as the Chinese understand that, just as the


Japanese and Americans do. We want to make it competitive, less


bureaucratic, less harmonising and we want to focus on the things that


really matter. They understand that perfectly well. One of the reasons


the Chinese invest here is because we are full members of the EU. How


would they feel if Britain left the EU in 2017? Like the Japanese and


Americans I'm sure they want us to stay in the EU, but they understand


that Europe has to reform. And so do the other member states of Europe.


They understand that Europe needs to reform and they see the way now


through the free trade deals to an expansion of growth across small


trade, and China and Britain's trade relationship is a part of that. This


is an area of growing trade that creates jobs both here and in China.


And the EU free-trade deals are fundamental to the relationship with


China and the rest of the world. The Japanese, the Americans and the


Chinese want us to stay in the EU but our own Prime Minister is


unclear if he wants to stay in the EU. The CBI have said this and the


EU, it is critical to the UK economy for them to stay in the reformed EU


system with reform. It's a busy start to the week, along


with the Chinese premier arriving in the UK and an interim constitution


arriving in Scotland, the public sector union, Unison, has arrived in


Brighton for their week long annual conference, where they're expected


to debate strike actions And a new law comes


into effect making forced marriage a criminal offence in England


and Wales, punishable with up to Tomorrow,


DEFRA publishes its report on Winter Floods, setting out what needs to be


learned from last winter's crisis. And the government serves up


its freshly prepared Food School Plan, aimed at improving both


school dinners and food education. And on Wednesday,


the Bank of England appoints former White House economic hotshot


Professor Kristin Forbes to Welcome to Jim and Isabel. Isabel,


what has been the response of Westminster to Tony Blair's comments


and Boris Johnson's response? I think there are people on both sides


of the debate of intervention who agree with Boris Johnson, and they


wish that Tony had Blair did keep quiet when these matters, because he


does poison the debate about intervention -- Tony Blair. Just as


he did about the debate in Syria. He tends to bring this back to events


in 2003, but we are talking about what is happening in Iraq now rather


than digging through the lessons of history. In terms of the government


response, Jim, it's clear there won't be any deployment of boots on


the ground. There are no soldiers going over. What can Britain do


except, as my guests earlier said, wait for America and Washington to


decide? That was what Nick Clegg was saying at his press Conference, that


he will provide support to America and Britain was provided


intelligence -- will provide intelligence. There is the


possibility of special forces going in but I doubt we will hear


confirmation of that. Let's move onto special advisers, and I see you


laughing, Isabel, and the special adviser to Michael Gove. His


comments were strong. Does this leave Michael Gove in a difficult


situation? I don't think Michael Gove is ever in a difficult


situation. People say it might be awkward during education questions,


but normally Labour thunder ratting across the Commons and the response


with ornate words that means he avoids answering the question, and I


suspect he will do it today. Jim, is it for time Dominic Cummings to bow


out of the public debate? I'm not sure anyone can can control him. He


seems to be having so much fun with this, briefing against everyone and


not caring what anyone thinks. You could see how riled Nick Clegg was


this morning, saying that he had deep issues with anger, and people


like these get above their station when they get within a sniff of


power. I think this one will run. And the reaction from ten Downing


St? He has been unhelpful to number ten. Their responses that David


Cameron has faith and trust in all his advisers, because Dominic


Cummings criticised the operation in number ten, but the criticism also


went to David Cameron's wrap dashboard for Michael Gove's


reforms, which suggests that the Prime Minister is not committed to


the Ed Miliband has been getting


themselves along with others about the photo shoot for the World Cup.


Were they right to apologise or should they have stood their ground?


We are into another phase where posing with a newspaper that read by


more than anybody a country demands a republic -- an apology from the


prime minister. When he telephoned labour Liverpool politicians, they


were furious. He said he did not know how he could go out on the


doorstep and tell to vote for Ed Miliband as prime minister given


that he had posed with the Sun newspaper. An almost impossible line


to tread Vura Labour leader given how much -- for a Labour leader,


given how much the Labour base is mistrustful of the sun. Do you think


the people around Ed Miliband made a mistake and setting it up in the


first place or agreeing in the first place? There was a mistake and that


there wasn't a strategy. If he had decided to pose with the Sun


newspaper, he should have thought ahead and thought about the problems


it might cause for some groups. The Liverpool Labour MPs did not know


about the photo until it emerged on Twitter, and that is one reason why


they were upset. This is the problem with the team, they don't have that


kind of strategic thinking. There's lots of different people all doing


slightly different things. What about Ed Miliband himself? Should he


have seen it coming? He doesn't seem to have been calculating about this


and in the end he's upset everyone. He then apologised for posing the


newspaper, and then they wrote an aggressive leading article next day.


So he has annoyed everyone. That was very successful of them. Jim,


looking briefly manifestoes, because the Liberal Democrats have been


talking about theirs. Will anybody ever take any notice of what is


written in them again? Even Nick Clegg said it wasn't even worth


putting together a coalition manifesto any more, because we don't


know what it will be until after the result. Basically the tone this


morning was, you elect the MPs you want, and we will sort out what


policies the government will deliver the next five years. I just don't


really see. No one is really too hopeful of a majority on either


side. Maybe they are not really worth the paper they are written


on. Jim, Isabel, thank you very much.


And with us for the rest of the programme is the Treasury Minister


and Conservative MP, Andrea Leadsom, Labour's Meg Hillier, and from the


Now let's talk about the Liberal Democrats, because


Nick Clegg has been outlining the party's pitch to voters


This is what he had to say at his press conference earlier


This will be an independent, Liberal Democrat manifesto from an


independent Liberal party. It will not be written with an eye to what


Labour or the Conservatives think or might sign up to. It will be written


with an eye for what Britain needs. It will be written as an answer to


one simple question. How can we build opportunity for all? Cars, for


liberals, no matter what your background, your race -- because,


for liberals, no matter what your background, your race, your colour,


your sexuality, we believe in you. We don't write anybody. Britain must


move from austerity to ambition and think about how a restored economy


should function. Just very recently the Chief Secretary to the Treasury,


Danny Alexander, a positive growth force from the IMF said they should


not review their austerity policies -- policies. So which is it? We have


managed to do the hard job of turning the economy round in the


last four years, but we have to make sure we do it in a way that makes it


fairer for all parts of society. Right behind Nick Clegg it had


stronger economy, fair society. The bit that comes after that is


enabling everybody did get on in life, and that's the important part


we need to deliver. Because you failed to deliver it in coalition


over four years? Absolutely not. If you look at the people premium. That


will be ?2.5 billion that will make sure the most disadvantaged children


in society are given help to ensure that they keep up with their peers.


That is making sure that we are creating a fair society and helping


them get on in life. There is much more to do. The indication is the


austerity has achieved what the government set out to do, so you


have got rid of the deficit and debt is falling as a proportion of GDP.


These are things that were promised by George Osborne, and the


timetables have been missed. So you have not finished the austerity


project, and if you leave the austerity policies behind, you will


end up in another financial mess? Austerity in itself does not mean we


should not have ambition for those people in society who we can help to


get on. So austerity will continue, won't it? It has to, because the


finances were in such a poor state. But Nick Clegg said they would move


from austerity to ambition, but the Liberal Democrats said out of the


rubble of the 2008 crash we must build a new economy. We can no


longer accept a society of inequality in opportunity. We cannot


mortgage the future of our children by ignoring the threat of climate


change. It sounds like a man who's not been in government for the last


four years. Not at all. There were difficult decisions are made, and we


made them. There will be more difficult decisions in the next


parliament, but it doesn't mean we can't have an eye on the future and


making sure we are creating a society that will help the poorest


and the most disadvantage and help to get them a foot on the ladder so


they can catch up with their peers. In the past, they have been


forgotten about. What about a red lines. What would be red line are


you? Would it be a mansion tax? I'm not going to talk about red lines.


You are putting together a manifesto, so there must be some,


surely? We will wait to see what the electorate says. So who is the


largest party. Depending on where we negotiate depends on who we get.


Let's not concentration -- let's not concentrate on negotiation. What


Nick has done today set out a vision of what the Liberal Democrats want


to achieve in the next Parliament. It's up to the other parties to do


the same, then we will have each put our vision in front of the


electorate of the UK, and it's up to the people to decide what they want


to achieve in the next Parliament. We each have to sell a positive


vision for what we want to achieve. Well, all the parties are


deliberating and cogitating But how important is it to get


your manifesto pitch spot-on? And this time round,


might the parties consider playing Anyone who needs to ask why are


manifested needs to be got right has forgotten the so-called long suicide


note of Labour. Manifestoes have to be realistic and believable like


never before. All parties ought to have known that if you don't end up


with and -- a majority, you won't be able to deliver your manifesto. The


problem, and in fluent Lib Dem that is pronounced tuition fees, is that


unfulfilled promises can look like deliberately broken ones. Never


overpromise. Always under promise and overdeliver and it comes to the


manifesto. We saw what happened to the Lib Dems when they made up, some


tuition fees and were not able to deliver it. Manifestoes are vitally


important to restore trust and credibility. What has hung parties


is that voters don't trust manifestoes any more than promises


to be different. So should the manifestoes be so honest that they


acknowledge parties may have to compromise with another party? It is


not our duty to start hedging our bets. Bid if there is a hung


parliament, we have to assume there is a clear result to the general


election and let people know what our approach to all of the important


issues that people worry about would be. And then they know what they are


voting for. So should there be red lines in a manifesto before polling


day is that know what they might get in a no majority situation after?


You have undermined your ability to get what you want if you don't. All


of the parties have created their own processes this time took include


input from as many as possible, but when it comes to word in the


document, there are things to watch. The most successful manifestoes are


the ones that say the least, because that gives you the opportunity to


set the tone. Margaret Thatcher's 1979 manifesto was barely ten pages


long. We have a finely balanced and sophisticated way of ensuring that


we come up with a manifesto that is a winning manifesto rather than just


a great big wish list. In the run-up to May 2015, you can bet voters and


journalists will be looking closely at the final documents to decide


which of those things each manifesto actually is. Andrea Leadsom, what


sort of manifesto would you like to see for the Conservative Party?


Something that promises that also you don't have to go back on it, or


you lay everything out as a purely Conservative manifesto regardless of


what might happen in any future accommodation negotiations? It is


certainly the case that we intend to win a clear majority at the next


election, and what is really important to us is that we stick to


our guns. We have had the worst recession since the war, and it has


been much worse than was expected even at the time. Our loss of GDP


was enormous, so what we have to do is to continue with what we are


doing, to help businesses to create more jobs, to get our education


reforms working so that young people can get onto the job ladder and so


on. A pure conservative growth manifesto and no knowledge of the


Liberal Democrats, then? I think that conservative values are about


giving people opportunities to reflect the fact that people aspired


to do better than their parents did, and they want their children to


do better than they did, and that I hope will be the foundation of a


Conservative manifesto. What about red lines in the sand? Top rates of


tax, for example? July to bring it down a little further? In the


referendum on renegotiation, with there be more specifics on Europe?


That is well above my pay grade. The Prime Minister has made very clear


his determination to deliver a referendum on Britain's membership


of a reformed EU, and I think he will make that referendum condition


but beyond that, as I said at the start, we fully intend to try to


form a Conservative majority government, and to be able to


continue with our current long-term economic plan. What you think of


Nick Clegg saying we must have a distinct ambition away from the


Conservatives? The obvious he wants to differentiate his party from the


Conservatives, but the economy is still in a very difficult position,


we still have a deficit and a huge mountain of debt that we have made


great strides towards improving as we said we would. But we have to


carry on along that path. There is no short cut or easy decisions or


ability to start rowing and spending more. Or cut taxes? In terms of what


you do to try to stimulator growth, that is something for the manifesto.


Are they worth the paper they are written on? They tell a story about


a party. A lot of what you deal with in government today today is never


going to appear in a manifesto. I agree with Angela Eagle and others


that you set out your party's store and not talk about what you might


negotiate, because we want to win an overall majority, too. It gives


people be economic freedom to make their own choices. Isn't it a slight


of hand? The Liberal Democrats promised the tuition fees but


couldn't live in the end, and we know all the explanations. Isn't it


dangerous to be a hostage to fortune, to promise to introduce


something quite specific or dramatic that you may not be able to do if


you are in coalition? The feedback on our original pledge card was


positive as they were quite pacific, but they did allow room for


manoeuvre, and it is being clear about the direction, but also we


ought to be honest and open and acknowledge that as soon as we get


into Government, what you have been left is different to what you


expected, and things may be slower or faster than you expect, there may


be an imperative for running the country, that you then need to take


into account the speed at which implement something. I think there


needs to be better discussion with the public, that it is not just a


shopping list where you choose your party, but you also get a feel for


the way the party would run the country. You mentioned UKIP, who


don't have a manifesto, and seem to have done quite well, certainly at


the European elections. Would that be a better recipe for success, if


you did allow be a better recipe for success, if


for your party without it being specifically written down?


for your party without it being be a mixture of both. The feeling


people have about your party on the doorstep makes a big difference.


UKIP shouldn't be let off the hook, they need to be pinned down, because


what Nigel Farage tries to put across, in the end he has to have


something to write down. He is promising vague things that he would


never be able to deliver, playing on a dissatisfaction and fracturing in


the political system. You need something more concrete for people


to make a decision. And for them to come back and hit you over the head


with when you don't deliver it, Andrea Leadsom. I think manifesto is


a very important. I deeply agree that a lot of it is about not so


much the words but the values that you have and the vision that you


have for where you are trying to move the country to, and that is


incredibly important, too. So from a conservative point of view, it will


be about trying to get that long-term recovery and to move


towards a position where people have opportunities to help themselves. We


are very much about that. And I agree that Nigel Farage needs to


start to talk about very specific ideas for how he thinks the country


can develop and grow. If you were describing your manifesto, would it


be austerities of the Conservatives, what would it be for Labour and the


Liberal Democrats? Opportunity. Fairness, particularly for those


left behind. I would probably go for two, opportunity and recovery. Thank


you very much. Now the Education Secretary can't


seem to keep out of the headlines, although in fairness to Michael Gove


his former special advisor is making Dominic Cummings has given


an interview to today's Times newspaper, and he's not very


complimentary about many people. Our correspondent Chris Mason


is outside Westmisnter. Andrea, do you expect former special


advisers to behave like Dominic Cummings? Michael Gove has made this


clear that it is nothing to do with him. He has done an incredibly good


job as an education Secretary, and that is important. I believe it was


reported that he was back in the Department of education to deal with


the problems around the Birmingham schools. And he is still an


officially informing Michael Gove, should he be? What Michael Gove


needs to be known for is his own track record in that part, and there


are no quarter of a million fewer children in failing schools than


when took over. He has created a revolution in improving the


education of our children, so he can't be held responsible for some


that even a friend of his says, which was completely not with his


authorisation or agreement. Sign quo she hits on the 20s as a friend of


his, because it is a time when the Prime Minister has one reshuffle


left in his back pocket, people are jockeying for position, and the idea


that Dominic Cummings didn't have some understanding with him before


coming out with this huge swathe of criticism, it helps to keep Michael


Gove in the headlines and makes it difficult for him to be moved sacked


if it will come to that, and it also gives him a platform after the


general election. He is just a frame. He is in and out of the


Department. Is he Batman and Michael Gove Robin? Or is it the other way


around? I dread to think! But should he be told to shut up? Should


Michael Gove be told that he needs to sever all links? If it was me,


that is what I would be saying, but again, you have to look at the


fantastic job that Michael Gove has done. He ought to keep his friends


in check. When Dominic Cummings was on the payroll, he did at least have


some accountability, now he does not. Gordon Brown's advisers were


hardly held on a pedestal. Some advisers get a little above their


station. They are only there because the politicians they work with were


elected into government. But do they do their bidding? Is it the


Minister's problem? Yes, it is. The One O'Clock News is


starting over on BBC One now. I'll be here


at noon tomorrow with all the big political stories of the day,


and an interview with this lady. Yes, I'll be speaking to Baroness


Trumpington, so do join me then. Trumpington, so do join me then.


Something has got me through, and I think I'm terribly lucky.


Yes, I'll be speaking to Baroness Trumpington, so do join me then.


to the cutting-edge science that's driving it,


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