30/06/2014 Daily Politics


30/06/2014

Jo Coburn presents the latest political news, interviews and debate.


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

:00:43.:00:48.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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claims he's tried to influence Government ministers on grammar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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night the Prime Minister phoned Mr Juncker his congratulations. Awkward

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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the party Green Movement does not seem to be

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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after his former head of communications Andy Coulson was

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

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

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

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counts. This morning, the Crown Prosecution Service decided Andy

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

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

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few moments. Is Labour anti-business? Not

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

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

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

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

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economies. Something the CBI welcomed as crucial for economic

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

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

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

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tough love message. With a commitment to tackle loop holidays

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with tax avoidance with renewed vigour. The party promises further

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

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

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

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

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

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

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a non-university educated workforce while the failure of financial

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

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

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

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

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

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

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the Conservative Party grand Shapes. Welcome.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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wider system of taxation forbusinesses. We want to continue a

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conversation with the business community around the possibility of

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introducing an allowance for corporate equity in order to try and

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

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

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

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

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

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if introduced it will encourage greater long ermism. The

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

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

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

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

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improved recently but otherwise been extremely low. Most business people

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

:10:23.:10:26.

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

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

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ministers on the shadow ministers on the Labour side described Waitrose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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that money to cut and freeze business rates for small and

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

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

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

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

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very hard to argue against is this country rejuvenated employment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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competitive is one thing. Allowing corporations to get away with

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:15:31.:15:35.

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

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

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

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

:15:57.:16:03.

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

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

:16:08.:16:10.

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

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

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

:16:25.:16:31.

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

:16:32.:16:35.

corrupt payments to police officers for phone directories from the royal

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

:16:41.:16:46.

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

:16:47.:16:50.

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

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

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

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to go again. -- add misbuilt.

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-- add misability. The earliest known written reference

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

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because it was keeping his subjects from their archery practice.

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Since then it's proved pretty popular.

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

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

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lush green 18-hole courses have on the environment.

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Here's her soapbox. Lots of sports grapple

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

:17:48.:17:48.

the deaths of construction workers. The Olympics had a lot

:17:49.:17:59.

of dodgy sponsors. We're always asking

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

:18:02.:18:04.

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

:18:05.:18:07.

on golf? This is a fun day out

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

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

:18:13.:18:15.

as is covered with houses. We have to ask,

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

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

:18:25.:18:28.

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

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

:18:54.:18:56.

stringent environmental regulations. Some golf courses might be good

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

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

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

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of perfect green without a lot That's

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

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

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

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

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

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

:19:59.:20:05.

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

:20:06.:20:09.

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

:20:10.:20:14.

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

:20:15.:20:17.

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

:20:18.:20:23.

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

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

:20:30.:20:34.

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

:20:35.:20:38.

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

:20:39.:20:44.

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

:20:45.:20:49.

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

:20:50.:20:58.

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

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

:21:02.:21:04.

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

:21:05.:21:08.

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

:21:09.:21:13.

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

:21:14.:21:18.

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

:21:19.:21:24.

that where golf courses are managed properly they really are absorbed

:21:25.:21:27.

well into the environment, althoughly say there are some

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

:21:31.:21:34.

irreplaceable environmental situations is for example, ancient

:21:35.:21:38.

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

:21:39.:21:42.

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

:21:43.:21:47.

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

:21:48.:21:54.

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

:21:55.:21:57.

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

:21:58.:22:01.

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

:22:02.:22:07.

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

:22:08.:22:11.

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

:22:12.:22:18.

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

:22:19.:22:22.

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

:22:23.:22:27.

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

:22:28.:22:32.

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

:22:33.:22:36.

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

:22:37.:22:41.

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

:22:42.:22:46.

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

:22:47.:22:51.

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

:22:52.:22:56.

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

:22:57.:23:00.

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

:23:01.:23:06.

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

:23:07.:23:13.

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

:23:14.:23:18.

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

:23:19.:23:21.

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

:23:22.:23:26.

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

:23:27.:23:31.

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

:23:32.:23:37.

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

:23:38.:23:42.

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

:23:43.:23:47.

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

:23:48.:23:50.

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

:23:51.:23:57.

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

:23:58.:24:05.

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

:24:06.:24:10.

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

:24:11.:24:16.

recalling when the Prince lobbied him on grammar schools I would

:24:17.:24:21.

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

:24:22.:24:25.

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

:24:26.:24:30.

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

:24:31.:24:34.

opportunity to escape from their background, whereas I wanted to

:24:35.:24:39.

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

:24:40.:24:42.

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

:24:43.:24:47.

constitutionally there is an argument that the heir to the throne

:24:48.:24:51.

should not get involved in controversy. The honest thing I

:24:52.:24:56.

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

:24:57.:25:00.

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

:25:01.:25:04.

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

:25:05.:25:09.

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

:25:10.:25:15.

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

:25:16.:25:19.

Government and in politics. Keeping informed is different to

:25:20.:25:24.

interfering. Well, of course interfering and being controversial,

:25:25.:25:27.

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

:25:28.:25:30.

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

:25:31.:25:35.

a responsibility to train himself for the position that he will

:25:36.:25:40.

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

:25:41.:25:44.

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

:25:45.:25:49.

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

:25:50.:25:52.

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

:25:53.:25:59.

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

:26:00.:26:06.

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

:26:07.:26:10.

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

:26:11.:26:13.

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

:26:14.:26:16.

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

:26:17.:26:20.

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

:26:21.:26:23.

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

:26:24.:26:29.

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

:26:30.:26:35.

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

:26:36.:26:38.

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

:26:39.:26:44.

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

:26:45.:26:48.

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

:26:49.:26:52.

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

:26:53.:26:58.

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

:26:59.:27:00.

displeased by the which some do, you will be

:27:01.:27:02.

displeased Prince of Wales involving himself in matters that are of

:27:03.:27:06.

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

:27:07.:27:09.

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

:27:10.:27:13.

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

:27:14.:27:18.

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

:27:19.:27:21.

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

:27:22.:27:26.

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

:27:27.:27:31.

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

:27:32.:27:36.

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

:27:37.:27:44.

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

:27:45.:27:50.

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

:27:51.:27:54.

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

:27:55.:28:00.

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

:28:01.:28:05.

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

:28:06.:28:15.

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

:28:16.:28:21.

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

:28:22.:28:26.

requesting of them things from the constituents and the Prince of

:28:27.:28:30.

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

:28:31.:28:35.

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

:28:36.:28:38.

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

:28:39.:28:42.

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

:28:43.:28:46.

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

:28:47.:28:50.

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

:28:51.:28:52.

day. Join me then.

:28:53.:28:55.

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