30/06/2014 Daily Politics


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Politics. The Prime Minister's back in the Commons today to tell MPs how


his plan to block Jean-Claude Juncker went. It didn't go


brilliantly. Can David Cameron still win significant reform in Europe or


is the UK heading for the exit? It's no longer known as a prawn


cocktail offensive. Today, Ed Balls is trying to persuade companies


Labour will keep taxes low and run a pro-business Government. Golf is one


of the most popular sports in the world. But is it worth sacrificing


all that land? We'll hear from someone who wants to make golf


courses extinct. And Prince Charles is back in the headlines with new


claims he's tried to influence Government ministers on grammar


schools. Should the king in waiting keep his views to himself?


All that in the next half an hour. With us for the whole programme is


Jenny Jones. The Green Party's only member of the House of Lords and she


sits on the London Assembly. She spent the weekend at Glastonbury


Festival. We are grateful to her for changing out of her wellies before


coming to the studio. Let's start with Europe. David Cameron lost his


battle to stop Jean-Claude Juncker becoming president of the EU


Commission. Despite insisting he was the wrong man for the job, last


night the Prime Minister phoned Mr Juncker his congratulations. Awkward


conversation. Some Conservatives said if Mr David Cameron couldn't


block the appointment of Mr Juncker, a supporter of a more federal


Europe, his membership of the EU is doomed to failure and puts the


country on the road to leaving the EU. Mr Cameron says he's ready to


move on and keep fighting in Britain's interest. The


vice-president of the EU Commission insisted Mr Cameron and Mr Juncker


would be able to work together to achieve reform. I've known Mr


Juncker many years. He's a very committed pro-European. He's a


pragmatic politician. Been in Government for many years. Has been


the chairman of the Eurogroup. He knows the reality. He works within


the reality. Jenny Jones, he lost his battle. Have his hopes of


renegotiation in the EU been shot to pieces? I think Juncker could accept


that if they want to keep Britain in, the general feeling is they do,


they will probably negotiate. I don't think we've lost completely.


David Cameron had to stand out against him but, at the same time,


it is the European Parliament who should pick that post. It is not for


the European council. You agreed with Jean-Claude Juncker becoming


the President on that basis? I'm fairly eurosceptic. I don't take


much of a stand on who should be the President. Now he's in, I think he


will be somebody who will negotiate and start to, perhaps, change


things. Did David Cameron handle this well or badly? He had to do it.


But he was a bit obvious about it. He put a lot of backs up. Perhaps


some more delicate negotiations. The Green Movement does not seem to be


the party Green Movement does not seem to be


voters anymore. We saw the is rise of parties in Spain. UKIP here, not


the Greens. The Greens have a solid agenda. Sometimes it is difficult to


sell that. We don't have many dog whistle policies. That's what


happened in this election. People who are saying the shocking things


are getting votes. They are more in touch. He won another MEP. But maybe


it's because it is not just the policies that are perhaps extreme


and appealing, they are just not appealing at all, it seems? When


people get Greens in power, I think they do like it. As you say, we got


anothermen which I'm very pleased about. The south-east finally


delivered a green MEP. Do they like the Greens in power? What about


Brighton? Labour keeps voting with the Tories. So it is someone else's


fault? We are doing incredible things. It will be very interesting


to see what happens in the elections next year. Someone described


soldiers as hard killers? I don't know who it is. The fact is we have


no whip in the Green Party. I cannot be accountable for every Green Party


person who says strange things. Let's leave it there.


The Prime Minister had to deal with major political fall-out last week


after his former head of communications Andy Coulson was


found guilty of being involved in the conspiracy of hacking phones of


celebrities, royals, politicians and ordinary members of the public. He's


due to be sentenced this week but the jury couldn't agree with further


counts. This morning, the Crown Prosecution Service decided Andy


Coulson will face a retrial. We'll hopefully speak to Robin Brant at


the Old Bailey. At the moment, he's tied up. We'll come back to it in a


few moments. Is Labour anti-business? Not


according to Ed Balls. That's his message in a speech he's giving this


morning at a leading business school in Central London. The Shadow


Chancellor hopes to woo captains of industry with a pledge to maintain


the lowest rate of Corporation Tax in the G7 group of advanced


economies. Something the CBI welcomed as crucial for economic


growth. It is not just about letting big business keep more of their


profits. Balls stated giving tax breaks to encourage longer term vent


with lower rates of capital gains tax. But Labour's romance comes with


tough love message. With a commitment to tackle loop holidays


with tax avoidance with renewed vigour. The party promises further


pro-business announcements this week. Will this be enough to brush


off suggestions that a profound dead hand is blocking bold reforms? Ed


Balls spoke a few moments ago. He's what he said. Some would say the


Blair/Clinton attempt to forge a third way did not succeed. Steps


were taken to improve the prospects of lower paid workers and more


generous tax credits but not enough was done to improve the prospects of


a non-university educated workforce while the failure of financial


regulation led to a global financial crisis and a global recession which


followed and hit middle and lower income families particularly hard. I


have some sympathy with that argument. We didn't do enough on


skills. The failure of all parties in the UK and in all countries in


the developed world to see the crisis coming was a huge error.


That was Ed Balls. With me is the shadow Shadow Treasury Minister and


the Conservative Party grand Shapes. Welcome.


Let's pick up what Ed Balls was saiding, the third way under Tony


Blair was a failure in trying to get skills to the non-university


workforce? I think that's right. It was something we is very important.


We fakeed a lot on higher education when we were in Government. 50%


target? That was wrong? No it was the right policy to adopt. There is


the other 50% which didn't focus on until the end of our term in office.


That's something we've been talking about in the last few years. An


important part of our offer going forward. What's new in the speech


today? A lot is a restatement of policies Labour's put forward.


What's new? We've set out plans about tackling tax avoidance but the


wider system of taxation forbusinesses. We want to continue a


conversation with the business community around the possibility of


introducing an allowance for corporate equity in order to try and


rebalance the system we have at the moment which is geared towards debt


financing of businesses. We want to consider how to encourage the long


ermism from can witty financing of businesses. As I understand it,


since you brought up corporate equity, this is for people who would


invest in businesses. A takes break for rich people? It is an allowance


if introduced it will encourage greater long ermism. The


short-termism of the economy is a problem. If we can get grater


long-term thinking into investment that's good for jobs and growth. It


is good for everybody. There's nothing to disagree with. It is a


good point about short-termism. The lack of private investment has


improved recently but otherwise been extremely low. Most business people


will be watching Ed Balls in disbelief. They spent the last four


years attacking business. Give us examples. He set up the idea that


there are predator businesses, good businesses. Then one of the


ministers on the shadow ministers on the Labour side described Waitrose


and John Lewis as being the predators at one point. Most


business people feel Labour set out on a deliberate agenda to undermine


business, they are anti-business. Right now on his feet is Len


McCluskey, the union baron who's successfully in the process of


organising a general strike and will clues the policies. That's not goat


to do with Labour's business policy. Let's pick up your first point which


is more salient in terms of an anti-business agenda. Club would say


you're in the pocket of the a business which people are beginning


to not support either? Business is the only way to create jobs. If


you're watching this send you're one of the two million people who have a


pro-at sector job which didn't exist in 2010, you understand business is


the only with a to do that. The problem for Ed Balls and Ed Miliband


is they are owned, literally, by... Let me finish. Len McCluskey who's


insisting on anti-business policies. It is impossible to separate the two


things. You have embarked on an anti-business agenda. The only


example Grant gave was original thoughts... Let me give you another.


I want that answered first and this being in the pocket of the unions.


What Grant said in his long and irrelevant anti-is he's unable to


see the difference between a policy that is pro-business but against


business as usual. The way the committee's Rouen means we've after


three years of flat lining got growth in the economy. People are


not feeling that recovery in their pocket in their household budgets.


Why? Because the economy is not built in order to make sure that


prosperity's shared across all of our country. Grant's made this one


point of our Corporation Tax policy, we would not go ahead with the plant


cut, we would keep it at 21%. It is true because we'd use every penny of


that money to cut and freeze business rates for small and


medium-sized enterprises. Grant's argument only works if he believes


small and Meadup sized enterprises in our country are not worth it.


Let grant answer that. They will give help to small and medium-sized


businesses in terms of cutting business rates. One thing that's


very hard to argue against is this country rejuvenated employment


through business. The first thing we did was to scrap Labour's job tax


which would have made it more expensive to employ people. We've


made it easier to employ people in this country. The fact Labour still


doesn't understand it is business that creates all the jobs in this


country is the sole reason why every Labour Government in history has


left unemployment higher than when they were first elected. You're not


cutting the corporation takes to 20%. You could raise it. You could


be the lowest in the G7 if you win the election if you come to an ta's


level, it is 26.5%. Are you keeping it at 21% or would you raise it? We


think 21% is a competitive rate of Corporation Tax in the G7. We want


to retain that. Even if you won the election you wouldn't put it up? The


policy only envisages it goings up to 21%. With a freeze in business


rates for small and mediumised enter prices. I don't think Labour is


anti-business. Labour has it wrong on this Corporation Tax. Being


competitive is one thing. Allowing corporations to get away with


criminal activities is wrong. They have not been in power to be fair?


When they were. The Labour Party is not the party we want them to be.


You want higher Corporation Tax? Indeed. We need to make businesses


know they have to give back to society. You have not tackled tax


einvestigation. We've created an economy where jobs are being


produced. We are seeing record falls in unemployment. We want to see an


investment. Why no private investment? Firms have not had faith


in you, had the certainty to put their money, which they've been


sitting on, into the economy? We know the economy's facing difficult


periods of recovery. We have the fastest growing economy in the


advanced world. Labour is now fundamentally anti-business. That is


not true. This is the final point. He is too weak to stand up to the


union paymasters. Len McCluskey, that is why Labour has become


anti-business these days. Back to the hacking trial and Andy


Coulson is facing a retrial over allegations of a conspiracy to pay


police officers for royal telephone directories. We can speak to Robin


Brant. Poll -- fill us in. . It is not over for could cows, he learned


last week he was a guilty man when it came to phone hacking. They were


unable to... Allegations of misconduct, and that involves


corrupt payments to police officers for phone directories from the royal


household in 2003, 2005, so the CPS have spent the weekend desiding and


it believes it is in the public interest to retry, retry Andy


Coulson and Clive Goodman. We don't know when that will happen. There


are legal issues about add misbuilt of his conviction and the huge


publicity surrounding the case last week, but in principle the CPS wants


to go again. -- add misbuilt.


-- add misability. The earliest known written reference


to golf was in 1457, when King James II of Scotland banned the sport


because it was keeping his subjects from their archery practice.


Since then it's proved pretty popular.


But our guest of the day here isn't a fan - not because it stops her


practising with her bow and arrow, but because of the impact all those


lush green 18-hole courses have on the environment.


Here's her soapbox. Lots of sports grapple


with ethical issues. There's corruption, there's


the deaths of construction workers. The Olympics had a lot


of dodgy sponsors. We're always asking


if there's drug taking and why people are being paid minimum wages


for making some of the goods. So why on earth would I pick


on golf? This is a fun day out


for the family, but it's a very different sort of species from the


18-hole golf courses that currentsly That's about the same


as is covered with houses. We have to ask,


is having land for housing more In the south-east of Croydon,


there's more land given over to Donald Trump, a bit of a dinosaur


himself, is threatening to take his balls away if the Scottish


Government allows a windfarm to be And this is in an area with the most


stringent environmental regulations. Some golf courses might be good


for wildlife, but many are not. One study found that only four


in ten golf course managers had done anything to help with wildlife,


and only one in ten had undertaken You don't get this sort


of perfect green without a lot That's


a practise that should have gone out Very scary. Aim joined by Cheryl


Gillan. First of all. Can I establish are you wanting to close


to some done existing courses so land can be used for housing or are


you saying no more? I'm not saying I hate golf. We have to rethink


perhaps our priority, in London, on the golf courses we have, which are


in nice leafly areas with green space, we could build a year's


supply of housing or we could grow 48,000 tonnes of food, or we could


do a lot of other things like create more space for children to play. It,


it really worries me we are selling off school playing fields for


housing and children are getting more obese. That sort of thing


suggests we have our priority wrong. Have you? The Government going on


about house building, golf courses perhaps not exactly an essential,


that land could be used? She has almost started an argument against


what she is proposing. By growing more food we have, I believe it is


6% of men and 4% of women do the recommend mended amount of exercise.


We have an epidemic of obesity. One the great assets are golf courses.


Four million people play golf. We should be encouraging use of these


green space, we should be encouraging more use of golf courses


because say it form of exercise that is good for the young, and for the


old, and it is an extremely popular game. It went through a plateau in


2008 but it is starting to grow again. It is fantastic form of


exercise, and it is also very green. I think it is important to remember


that where golf courses are managed properly they really are absorbed


well into the environment, althoughly say there are some


environments which are not suitable for golf course, where there is


irreplaceable environmental situations is for example, ancient


woodland. I would Mac-Moyes on the assets not concrete them over. What


do you say to that, particularly on the green issue about it, and also


the fact that yes, people need to do more exercise. I a degree about the


exercise. The -- agree. We are fairly well-off for green says in


London. People can do things in the parks we have got. It is more about


golf courses are fairly sterile, grass is a fairly sterile sort of


green space, as far as wildlife is concerned is. You need bramble and


you need all sorts of undergrowth. Things that are untidy. Plus nay


don't see wildlife benefit. As part of, part of a regime, you know, so,


you are talking about changing all the golf courses and making them


rethink how they lose their land. I know you are not a Gough for, I have


been on many courses where they are not the sterile place, there is


plenty of brambles and wooded rough. One of the courses I play on is


teeming with wildlife. It is a question of how it is managed by the


club, I also think that that is an important part, but can I also say


we could have sympathetic round the edge of courses. You admit it would


be good to use some of it, particularly in Surrey, Middlesex,


where there are golf course, some would argue they could be elitist.


Surrey has more than 2% of its area with golf courses on. They are not


closing in large numbers with the exception of municipal golf course,


maintaining the golf course, and in encouragement for people to take


more exercise. We are all drowning in our own fat in this country, it


is about time we did a bit more. I admit I have never played golf, but


I am puzzled by the fact it is so much exercise because it looks


leisury to me. There is not much, a swing here and walk there. My


husband who is not in the first flush of youth. That I go round the


golf course this is the sort of exercise that keeps them mobile. It


is gentle exercise but it is exercise. That is the key thing. All


right. Thank you you. The Prince of Wales has strong opinions on a range


of issues. A fresh stir has been caused by a radio 4 documentary,


which takes a look at Charleses the. Cam painer. Her is David Blunkett,


recalling when the Prince lobbied him on grammar schools I would


explain that policy was not to expand grammar schools, and he, he


didn't like that, he was very keen that we should go back to a


different era, where youngsters had what he would have seen as the


opportunity to escape from their background, whereas I wanted to


change their background. Do you think it was right for him to talk


about an issue but the Government had a policy on? I can see


constitutionally there is an argument that the heir to the throne


should not get involved in controversy. The honest thing I


didn't mind. We have been joined by the Conservative MP Michael Ellis


and our guess of the day Jenny Jones is still here. Welcome to you. What


relationship should the monarchy have with the Government? Well, the


Prince of Wales has a not only a right to be be kept in informed of


matters but a duty to keep himself informed of what is going on in


Government and in politics. Keeping informed is different to


interfering. Well, of course interfering and being controversial,


getting involved in party politics is another matter, but there is no


indication of evidence that he the Prince of Wales does that. He he has


a responsibility to train himself for the position that he will


eventually inherit. We can't expect our heirs to the throne to live in


splendid isolation and at the moment of their accession to be experts in


the art of monarchy. It is a complicated art and it is one that


clearly the Prince of Wales takes very seriously. He has been


preparing himself for many year, he is a passionate advocate for those


who are disadd van tajs, he doesn't have to completely abstain from all


forms of controversy. Doesn't he have a right and role to play in


public debate? That is an interesting question. I would say


there are two problem, the first is the smallest one and that is we


don't know what he say, because, the monarchy won't answer any Freedom of


Information requests, that is the least they could do, along with


paying tax, but the second thing is a bigger issue. They do pay tax. I


know but they should answer Freedom of Information requests. Why are


they playing any role in politics at all? I understand, it is lovely they


come out and they wave to people, but really why, why is the Queen


opening Parliament and reading somebody else's speech? What is the


point? We have a constitutional monarchy. It is time we changed it.


If you have a Republican agenda which some do, you will be


displeased by the which some do, you will be


displeased Prince of Wales involving himself in matters that are of


public interest, if you accept we live in a constitutional monarchy


and most people support the Royal Family, it is only reasonable to


expect people, like the Prince of Wales, to take interest in matters


that the public. That is one thing, talking about reviving grammar


school, getting involved in dron shall arguments of climate change,


that moves beyond the symbolic role of being the head of a government,


and head of state, adds we have here. There is no obligation on the


heir to the throne to abstain from all forms of controversy. Should he?


He would be criticises a Edward VII and Edward VIII did. If he spent all


his time in Monte Carlo. I don't have any problem with his having


views and expressing them, we should know what they are. If he is writing


secret letters to the Government. Why should they be made public. Why


should he have fewer rights an anybody else? Those in the Guardian


and on the left... Are they really? Ministers should be able to


differentiate between alert, that, that is advising them that is


requesting of them things from the constituents and the Prince of


Wales, they are able to make the assessments. Time to cut back on the


whole royal thing, make them figureheads and let us get on with


the business of Government without them. Thank you very much for coming


on. That it is for today. Thanks to all of our guests on the programme,


particularly Jenny Jones for being our guest of the day. I will be here


tomorrow. We are on for an hour with all the big political stories of the


day. Join me then.


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