10/12/2015 Daily Politics


10/12/2015

Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn with the latest political news including the prime minister's trip to Eastern Europe to try and win support for his position on migrant benefits.


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Transcript


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well. I am heading up to the north-east later today. I think I'll

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take the train. It's time to hand you over to Daily Politics.

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but there was a lot of pressure from people in west London. It was to win

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seats? We have an issue about planes flying over your capital city, which

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is unusual. We have got Heathrow where it is and it is the hub and we

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have to get on with it. Now, Jeremy Corbyn is said not

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to have changed his views about anything in more

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than 30 years as an MP. Our guest of the day,

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David Willetts, on the other hand, has admitted to changing

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his mind a few times And he's not the only politician

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to have shown a lack of consistency over the years, as our

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Ellie's discovered. I think that was the wrong

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introduction. What have you done with Ellie? She has disappeared into

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the ether. She has not gone to the pub already? It must have been the

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Christmas drinks. I might try and find the right introduction.

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I might try and find the right introduction.

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As an alumnus of Mrs Thatcher's Downing Street policy unit,

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and a bigwig at the right-wing think tank the Centre for Policy Studies,

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David Willetts was seen as a Thatcherite right-winger.

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But a quarter of a century later the now Lord Willits was one

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of the loudest vocal opponents of the Government's tax credit cuts.

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He is not alone in being a travelling Tory.

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Iain Duncan Smith reckons a visit to a Glasgow housing estate

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at the start of the last decade changed the way he viewed

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The future Speaker John Bercow was once a member of the ultra-right

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While losing his seat at the 1997 election saw Michael Portillo move

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from being a right-wing rabble-rousing Tory Defence

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Secretary to a rather more genteel, centre ground politician

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prefers journeys of a different kind.

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Some politicians go on a rather more obvious journey.

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On his way to becoming Britain's wartime leader,

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quit the Conservatives for the Liberal party

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and then went back again, commenting, "Anyone can rat,

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but it takes a certain ingenuity to re-rat."

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More recent examples include Shaun Woodward and Quentin Davies.

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Both crossed the floor from the Conservatives to Labour

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and were rewarded with front bench jobs.

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If I had stayed in the Labour Party, I might have been a more prominent

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John Horam can claim the rare distinction of having

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begun his political career as a Labour MP, switching to the SDP

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and then eventually crossing the floor to become a Conservative.

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When you are younger, the things which are wrong seem more

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worrying than the things which may be right, so you are more worried

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about that, so you are more left-wing than you might otherwise

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But they say if you're not a socialist when you are young

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there is something wrong with your heart.

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If you're not a Conservative when you older there is something

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It happens to Labour politicians as well.

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When an unknown 29-year-old barrister Tony Blair fought the 1982

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Beaconsfield by-election he was both a member of the Campaign

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for Nuclear Disarmament and a vocal Eurosceptic.

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It was hardly an obvious start for the future Prime Minister

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who doggedly occupied the centre ground.

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Two of his home secretaries, Alan Johnson and John Reid,

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dallied with the Communist Party in their youth.

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And the German born Gisela Stuart, another former Blair minister,

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shifted her views on Europe dramatically

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after representing the British Parliament at a convention

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The journey is something when you suddenly realise a long

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cherished belief is one you no longer hold.

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You then step back, you think about it and then you feel

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She said most MPs simply don't have time to pack up their bags and head

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One day we have a vote on air strikes in Syria.

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The next day our inbox is full about saving the bees.

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it is inviting us to some reception in January and why

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Daily life of politics is so varied and busy

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that it is very easy to hide behind the busyness and say this

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We welcome viewers from Scotland. It is a good time to join us because we

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are joined by a Scottish politician, John Reid, who is now chair of the

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Institute for Security and Resilient Studies. You were a Communist

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University? What kind of Communist? I Europe Communist. I was told you

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were the enforcer at university. You used to knock on doors at night.

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This is interesting where you ask the questions and answer them as

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well. Is it true? I was as a young man and I wanted to change the

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world. I did not like some of the injustices. It was a brief period,

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two years, but after that I read joined the Labour Party and I have

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been in it for 45 years and hopefully have helped to change the

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world a little. Your PhD thesis was a Marxist analysis of West African

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economy and the 19th-century, Mozambique. No, it was West Africa

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and it was not a Marxist analysis, it was a critique of Marxist history

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to try and find out if it made sense. What did you conclude? It

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concluded that marks' model of history, that the technology

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changes, it was true and it made sense and that the Leninist view of

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history was awful. Have you passed a copy of that to Jeremy Corbyn? I

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have not, I am not sure he has done the elementary work on Karl Marx's

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thoughts. If he did, he would take a different view of the world. We are

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in an era where the most productive forces are cyber and social and

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economic changes mean that working people under capitalism are a

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thousand times better off than they were 100 years ago and we have to

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change the way we apply our values, which is what new Labour is about,

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in order to win back the electorate. This is a very highfalutin

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discussion. It is a very highfalutin programme. You can see and the

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condition from being a student, but could you ever imagine ending up

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being a Blairite? Before Blair there were modernisers in the Labour

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Party. As a philosopher we were talking about the only constant

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being changed and we were talking about the growth of better off

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working people, their aspirations changed, they wanted more power over

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the lives and they did not want a patronising central states like they

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had been used to previously. Part of that modernisation was necessary in

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order to keep Labour are relevant. Before there was Tony Blair, there

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were a number of people like Kinnock, Mo Mowlam, myself, and we

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conducted 15 years of ideological battle inside the Labour Party

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before Tony arrived. Tony became the most articulate spokesman of that

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trend, but this is not something that was thought up by Tony Blair

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and Peter Mandelson over a bottle of Chianti and a bowl of pasta. This

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was a thoughtful response to the changes in British social and

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economic conditions and how Labour had learned to apply its traditional

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values in the modern setting, to use John Prescott's phrase. I used to

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hear that in my sleep when he was Deputy Prime Minister. You move them

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from a situation where you wanted to overthrow capitalism to a situation

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where you wanted to reform capitalism, but in a way that would

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still keep it fundamentally a market economy? Yes, because one of the

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predictions that Karl Marx made which was wrong was that the market

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economy with make more misery for people. Getting poor and poor. But

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from 1880 onwards it became wrong. My appreciation of Karl Marx's model

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of history, and how it works, not about his political convictions,

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many of which were proved wrong. You went on a political journey over a

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number of years. Currently the leader actually thinks now what he

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got 15 years ago. Is that weakness to date or a strength? There are

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potential values. The concern about the impoverishment of people and the

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concern for justice and so on. The retention of those values is a

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strength. However, if you think you can apply that, despite all the

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changes in history, the way that they were applied 5100 years ago, it

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is a weakness. In a democracy you have to compromise with the

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electorate, an electorate which is people and they are changing in

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their social and economic conditions. The economy is changing

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in terms of how you produce the wealth in order to redistribute it.

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Retain your values by all means, and I hope I have retained most of the

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values I had when I was younger, but the way in which you apply them in

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different circumstances has to differ as the world changes. John

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Keane says, is the facts change, I change my opinions. What do you do?

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That is a good question. Your journey became known inside the

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Conservative Party, you are known as a free marketeer, a libertarian. I

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would say you have been on the journey in the opposite direction,

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or at least the journey where you have both met in the middle. I am

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not sure if I agree with it. Looking back, I clearly had more here then.

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I believe in the free market. It is what got me first into conservatism.

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It is as important today as I believed then. When I look at the

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problems in the energy or the banking industry, I think we need to

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have more opportunities for the newcomer is. Where John struck a

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chord is that I used to assume capitalism would deliver evermore

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social mobility, that the fruit would always be there for everyone.

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One of the things that has happened to our society is that social

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mobility and opportunity has not been delivered on the scale we

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hoped. You have to look at how we can do better. The fundamentals of a

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free market with people choosing for themselves is what I believe now and

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what I believed then. You used the phrase free market, but wouldn't

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market be more accurate. Very few are free. I was very much involved

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in all those big privatisations and one of the things you do is you

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often had some kind of regulator you put on top. You were often

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privatising monopolies. That is not the free market. There are markets

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that clearly require regulation. I do not want Hong Kong 1950 or London

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1850, I want a modern, flexible economy. I think we can make it more

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flexible to make it easier for new people to come into the markets to

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stop the big boys selling it for themselves. The position you have

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ended up in is what the Germans call the social market. Yes, roughly. At

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the end of the 19th century and with the labour movement it was classed

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as social democracy and it was an attempt to reconcile the inevitable

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contradictions within the capitalism that lead to cyclical booms and

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busts. Which is what we have just been through. Yes, we have and I was

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always sceptical when the Chancellor was claiming to have abolished it.

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Effectively he would have abolished capitalism. There has never been a

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free market anyway. That was my point to David Willetts. Adam Smith

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pointed out there were certain things the market would not do. It

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would not invest heavily in areas which required heavy investment with

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a low return over a long period. The state has to step in and the state

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has to help give everybody opportunity because your opportunity

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and chance in life is useless unless you can exercise it. If your

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material and social conditions prevent you through your own

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ambitions and work achieving what others achieve, because they come

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from different circumstances, it is our job to give everybody that

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opportunity. He also said when businessmen clustered together, you

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can be sure that are conspiring against the public. Is your journey

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over? I hope not, as the world changes we

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ought to be able to look at the evidence is and facts and change our

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prejudices. I am still sending a lot of time on cyber role aided issues.

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Will you be joining Jeremy Corbyn at the stop the War Christmas dinner? I

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have not yet had my insight, maybe it has been lost in the post? I

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wouldn't hold your breath. That is a disappointing end to this. It is

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Chris must, you can come to ours! I will take that in light! -- invite

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-- it is Christmas. They get free bus passes,

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have benefited from a "triple lock" ensuring that their pensions rise

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by at least 2.5% every year and, most coveted of all,

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if you're over 75 you get to watch this programme for free

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with your free TV Licence. But do the older generation

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get too good a deal? Before the 2008 economic crisis,

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35% of all government spending New figures from the Resolution

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Foundation today show that the share of wealth owned by 16-44 year olds

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was 20% before the financial crisis In contrast the share of wealth

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owned by 65-74 year olds has risen And why might politicians

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want to ingratiate themselves Well, whilst turnout at the general

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election amongst 18-24 year olds was 43% and Labour had a 16% lead,

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compare that to the over 65s who are much more likely to vote,

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with 78% turning out in May. And amongst this group Conservatives

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have a 24% lead over Labour. We're joined now by the former

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former Labour cabinet minister, Caroline Flint, who has written

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an article calling for Labour to do more to court older voters,

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and David Willetts who chairs the Resolution Foundation which has

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highlighted that some of these intergenerational

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inequalities are still here. Caroline Flint, that article I was

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talking about, you said it is different now, the term of being old

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is changing, what are the changing needs of the older generation? I

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think it is how you define being old, we already had under the last

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government raising the pension age, my generation we will not be

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retiring until we are 67 and for my kids it could be until they are in

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their 70s. This is a growing part of our population. In 2020 at the

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general election majority of voters will be over 55. They are growing

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and those in the younger bracket are reducing sober me it is about saying

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first of all we have to think about, rethink about what it is to be old.

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I think there is often quite an opt old-fashioned view of what being old

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is about, I will be in the 55 and over category by 2020 and I think my

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generation have a different view of things. It is not all about the bus

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pass and the TV licence, as important as they are, it is that we

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are active much longer in our older age. Putting your political hard hat

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on, in the May election only 23% voted for Labour, you need to do

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something? Absolutely, we tanked and monks to over 65 's, but we were not

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doing much better in the over 55 is either. We had to think about how we

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approach older people in terms of what we offer. I think one of the

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things the Conservative dead was they talked about things like

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inheritance tax, the triple lock, I don't necessarily agree... You want

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to take away some of the universal benefits for wealthy pensioners... A

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lot of those older people felt their future was being spoken about and

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whilst social care is an important issue which is why all the people

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want to keep more of their money because they want to pay out for

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these things, they need to have a sense that the Labour Party is

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speaking to them about their hopes and dreams, not just... And you

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don't think they are at the moment? Do you agree that those other

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reasons why so many older vote Conservative? What we should not get

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in the mindset of is that all people think about it themselves. I

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personally think old people are susceptible to arguments that we

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have to do this for the younger generation. I think one of the

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reasons the inheritance tax strikes a chord is because they think they

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are saving up the money for their children or grandchildren, they

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don't just see it as issues for themselves. I think they would

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respond to appeals to the interest of the younger generations. You have

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spoken about intergenerational inequality and for many people it

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will come down to how much is spent on different groups of people,

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either directly or indirectly, how does your party's spending

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priorities reconcile with your idea priorities reconcile with your idea

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that more should be done for young people? Spending on the elderly is

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going up but spending on education and economic affairs is going down?

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We have done the analysis and it does indeed show that there is a

:19:54.:19:58.

trend towards a more and more public spending being on the services, the

:19:59.:20:02.

pensions and also the health care which is particularly overused by

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older people and young people are not getting a fair crack. It might

:20:09.:20:13.

not be through direct public spending, I think for example it's

:20:14.:20:16.

more aborted to get more housing built, house prices are far too

:20:17.:20:20.

high. If Heathrow is a problem getting new estates built is another

:20:21.:20:24.

problem where we are way behind other countries. Should there be

:20:25.:20:29.

less money spent on pensions because they are very expensive,

:20:30.:20:32.

particularly with the triple lock, should that be retained, the triple

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lock? Something that needs to be looked at. There were specific

:20:41.:20:44.

pledges in the manifesto but the way it works is almost regards the state

:20:45.:20:48.

of the economy, pensioner incomes keep on rising but for young people

:20:49.:20:52.

in work they are more sensitive to the state of the economy. You would

:20:53.:20:56.

accept your party is not popular with the young looking at the voting

:20:57.:21:02.

numbers? I think an appeal to younger voters and aspiration is

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incredibly important part of conservatism. Caroline, is the

:21:09.:21:16.

grass-roots campaign of momentum helping engage voters? It's very

:21:17.:21:25.

popular, will it make a difference? Labour has always done better

:21:26.:21:29.

amongst younger voters than older voters except in 97. I could not

:21:30.:21:37.

give you the details because I don't know how many people are involved.

:21:38.:21:43.

But they do have an appeal. I looked at some figures and amongst the

:21:44.:21:47.

supporters of Jeremy Corbyn I think about 12% were under the age of 30

:21:48.:21:51.

so I considerable number of people who were older who supported Jeremy

:21:52.:21:56.

Harris well. What I have also said in the article is that quite often

:21:57.:22:03.

in politics we segment voters, older voters here, younger voters there. I

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think it's about looking at how we can talk about the family,

:22:08.:22:11.

neighbourhoods and the community and intergenerational support we need to

:22:12.:22:16.

provide for in future. I have adult children, part of it is how can we

:22:17.:22:20.

come with our greater wealth, we have pensioners in poverty, don't

:22:21.:22:25.

forget, but increasingly better off pensioners, how can they help their

:22:26.:22:29.

kids in terms of getting the home on a training whatever? Let's not

:22:30.:22:33.

forget these are people with concerns as well, they are squeezed

:22:34.:22:37.

between looking after older parents and looking after kids as well. That

:22:38.:22:43.

is the dilemma. Were you at the Labour Party yesterday? I wasn't.

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You would invite? I was doing other things. LAUGHTER

:22:50.:22:55.

Thank you. Now our guest of the day has

:22:56.:23:00.

somewhat of a reputation for being an intellectual -

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so much so that he was given On his election David's successor

:23:03.:23:05.

as MP for Havant said he had twice the amount of hair but half

:23:06.:23:09.

the brains as his predecessor. "Those who cannot remember history

:23:10.:23:12.

are condemned to repeat it." Yes, it's C - the philosopher

:23:13.:23:23.

George Santayana. In the Inferno section

:23:24.:23:44.

of Dante's Divine Comedy, the poet is guided through the successive

:23:45.:23:48.

circles of Hell by I don't know, I think it was Burge.

:23:49.:23:50.

-- merge all -- Virgil. That's right it's Virgil,

:23:51.:24:12.

author of the Aeneid. Which planet's days

:24:13.:24:14.

are longer than its years? Or D - Earth when the Daily Politics

:24:15.:24:17.

is on air but Parliament I really don't know. I was the

:24:18.:24:29.

former Minister for science but I don't know. Have a guess. As it is

:24:30.:24:36.

very small it could be Venus. He has got them all right! We are joined by

:24:37.:24:49.

Matthew Parris to discuss if having a big brain and being intellectual

:24:50.:24:55.

helps? It has not helped David, he ought to be a Secretary of State, he

:24:56.:24:59.

ought to be in the Cabinet, but I think he has always been slightly

:25:00.:25:04.

suspected by conservatives because clever people, it is not a term of

:25:05.:25:07.

approbation amongst Tories is it David? I think people think it means

:25:08.:25:14.

no common sense, not living in reality are being practical but of

:25:15.:25:17.

course all the things I am interested in I am interested in

:25:18.:25:20.

because I want to do practical things to make life better. Who

:25:21.:25:24.

called the Tory party the stupid party? I thought it was John Stuart

:25:25.:25:33.

Mill. So why would an intellectual join the stupid party? I don't think

:25:34.:25:40.

whether you are bright or not bright is the important thing, it is about

:25:41.:25:43.

wisdom and putting your knowledge to good effect. Is that what stopped

:25:44.:25:47.

you rising to the dizzying heights, Matthew Parris? No, I am just too

:25:48.:25:54.

incompetent. I think there is a good case to be made for stupidity. Do

:25:55.:25:59.

you think some politicians are club but pretend not to be, people might

:26:00.:26:03.

have said that about Ronald Reagan who I think was clever that he made

:26:04.:26:09.

out? That is the other thing about these claims, I actually think

:26:10.:26:12.

politicians by and large are very bright and very competent people. I

:26:13.:26:17.

think it would be hard to do the job if you were not. I think were quite

:26:18.:26:22.

well served. But what is important is what you do with any intellectual

:26:23.:26:25.

well served. But what is important have. It's about accessibility,

:26:26.:26:30.

David Willetts 's is access the ball. It is also about England,

:26:31.:26:37.

England distrusts intellectuals, we are not like France, not just in

:26:38.:26:44.

politics. Do you mean just England? Particularly England. British

:26:45.:26:52.

Enlightenment was a Scottish monopoly. Yes. I love the idea that

:26:53.:27:00.

being a philosopher could be your job. Doctor Johnson was very rude,

:27:01.:27:12.

he said he is a Tory by chance, and he meant that argument had led him

:27:13.:27:16.

to that conclusion, he just didn't have deeply felt... He was

:27:17.:27:22.

suspicious, it was the classic example of suspicion. We had been

:27:23.:27:28.

told this was a highfalutin programme and we just went over the

:27:29.:27:29.

high part. The 1pm news is starting

:27:30.:27:33.

over on BBC One now. I'll be back tonight

:27:34.:27:38.

with Michael Portillo, Jess Phillips, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh,

:27:39.:27:39.

and John Piennar, along with Maitre-d Fred and waitress Cici

:27:40.:27:41.

from Channel Four's First Date.

:27:42.:27:46.

Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn with the latest political news including the prime minister's trip to Eastern Europe to try and win support for his position on migrant benefits. Also on the programme, should there be more restrictions on the use of postal voting to counter fraud? And Lord Willetts, on his two brains!


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