09/02/2016 Daily Politics


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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.


Will George Osborne have to raise taxes


if he wants to balance Britain's books?


The Institute of Fiscal Studies thinks the Chancellor may have to,


or cut spending if he wants to, and the think tank is warning


Mr Osborne faces a ?2 billion black hole


because of turmoil on the global stock markets.


The leader of the Scottish Tories, Ruth Davidson,


is revving up for the elections in May,


but can they do the unthinkable and come second ahead of Labour?


Will MPs end up with egg on their face on pancake day?


A bit of momentum behind me on that last lap! Yeah, we did all right, I


thought be looked tasty. -- the competition looked tasty.


And mastering the art of the great British photo opportunity.


and with us for the duration, queen of photo-shoots,


leader of the Conservatives in Scotland, MSP Ruth Davidson.


Now first let's talk about the so-called Jungle in Calais


and David Cameron, because the PM has been accused


of scaremongering for claiming that leaving the EU


could lead to migrant camps in Britain.


Ruth Davidson, was it wise for the Prime Minister to resort to Project


Fear? I don't believe that he did, and I think it is absolutely fair


comment to say that at the moment we have an agreement that was worked


out between Britain and France that sees the border at Calais, and it


does not see these things in the UK. What has been interesting is the


number of people who have come out tonight to back the PM's position.


And French interior ministry sources have said otherwise, that there were


no plans to cancel the agreement. You do hear that no plans line from


governments quite often. The Prime Minister was talking about


opposition politicians in France. But if you look at the people


backing him, Labour Home Secretary David Blunkett, a former head of the


border control agency, independent academics, the UK ambassador to


France, all of whom say that the Prime Minister is right to highlight


that this could happen. But let me just say this, I do not think any of


us saw the migrant crisis two years ago, not of us can see where it is


going to go or how it is going to end, what if it is going to end. So


it was right for the Prime Minister to say that this is something we


worked hard to get agreement on, and the agreement is working. You don't


think he resorted to Project Fear, using various sources to back up its


claim, but has it backfired in terms of making people think, you know


what, I am going to go in the outcome? If you look at the papers,


some which would normally be sympathetic to David Cameron, it has


backfired. I think people to understand that when they are voting


in referendum on European, whether we should stay part of the EU or


not, that voting is not on the prime Minster's renegotiation... Because


that is not going to sway votes one way or the other. I came out last


summer and made a speech about how I thought we were on balance in.


Because it is an empty negotiation. We have got conditions that make it


better for us, but it is naive to suggest that we were going to get


everything we wanted. I do not think any membership organisation gives


any member everything it wants, but it was a better deal than when I


came out a year ago to say, on balance, it was worth it. And to


stay in. It is up to people across people -- across the UK to decide


whether it is good for them. Look at the Scottish referendum, the


positive and negative messaging played rather well in terms of the


SNP, they did not win, but that is what harmed many people felt,


staying in the European campaign? It is interesting you use the phrase


Project Fear, the only people I heard using that were the SNP trying


to disparage things going through in Scotland. We were told we were being


mercilessly pessimistic to suggest we could challenge the idea that the


oil price would stay and $113 a barrel in perpetuity, which is what


the nationalist' white paper was based on. We will talk about that


later in the programme. The question for today


is which of these lots fetched the highest bid at the annual


Conservative Party black and white ball,


held last night in London? with mayoral candidate


Zac Goldsmith, a ?1,000 voucher


for Kurt Geiger shoes, At the end of the show, Ruth


will give us the correct answer. Now, those in the know


know that George Osborne wants to balance Britain's books


by the end of the decade, but according


to a new report by the IFS, there could be a number of stumbling


blocks in the Chancellor's way. In fact, the Institute


of Fiscal Studies says Mr Osborne will have to break a number


of records "boxed in by his own rule,"


the IFS say, It highlights that public spending


is already at historically low levels,


and that there are a number of tax promises and other mainfesto


commitments still to pay for, to cover the cost of increasing


the personal allowance threshold. But many of the contributors


to the Treasury coffers are looking weaker than forecast,


particularly income tax, highlighted last week by


the Bank of England's downgrade And the IFS estimates that


if average earnings rise by 1% less 5 billion of income tax


and national insurance revenues. The turmoil recently experienced


on the global markets could also cost ?2 billion in lower


capital gains tax receipts. The IFS believes


this combination of factors will mean he Chancellor


will either have to raise taxes to run a surplus eight times


in the last 60 years, so whatever he chooses,


the Chancellor has his work cut out Joining us is the director of the


IFS, Paul Johnson, welcome to the Daily Politics. Is it more or less


50-50 whether George Osborne can eliminate the deficit in this


parliament without further tax rises? Given what he has set out at


the moment, 50-50 probably at best now, given that the economy has got


worse since he made his last forecasts just three months ago, so


yes, a 50-50 shot he will have to do something else, increase taxes or


cut spending. Because the overall economy is not looking as strong as


we thought or indeed he thought. It was always not far off a 50-50 shot,


because whilst the forecast was for a 10 billion surplus, that is a


pretty small margin for error. There was always a pretty good shot that


he would not do more, and it has got more likely in the last three


months. He overestimated what he was going to get in terms of action


revenues -- tax revenues, now average earnings have stalled. How


worried are you? It is right to talk about the turmoil in the


international markets, showing there is turbulence at there, and I think


that is a reason for us to stick to the plan that is delivering a cut in


the deficit, encouraging inward investment, growing the economy


faster than other major nations, and has seen record employment in the


country. Use a pointing to the global markets, that is not what the


Tories did in opposition. -- you say. Either it is the Government's


fold or always the fault of outside factors. I was just suggesting that


in your introduction to the IFS piece, it was 2% globally wiped off


markets. Buddy has not fixed the roof while the sun was shining, by


promising further tax cuts. -- but he has. We had one of the largest


structural deficits, and we have brought that down. People have


consistently underestimated George Osborne, we had people right at the


beginning, when he was talking about rebalancing the UK economy, people


like David Blanchflower, and we now have record employment. I think that


he has proven to be quite adept at staring elite steering our country


through some difficult times globally, and other countries wish


they could have the same outlook as the UK right now. Paul Johnson, is


one of the problems that George Osborne could not make the cut he


wanted to in terms of tax credits? The overarching issue is that he set


a fixed target for 2019, not like the targets he was running in the


last Parliament, and that means if he is going to keep to it, he will


have to do some big tax rises or spending cuts in addition to what he


has suggested. The welfare cuts are part of that, actually they do not


make that much difference in terms of where he will be in 2019, partly


because those welfare cuts are still there. When he went back on that, he


made sure that nobody was losing in the short run, but that the system


would be less generous in the longer run. So those will be less generous,


and you fought those cuts to tax credits, left-wing Tories, we could


call you, like you and others, told George Osborne he could not ?12


billion in benefits. I welcome these changes, I said at the time that it


is right we move from a high welfare, low-wage economy, but the


thing that I had an issue with was the way it worked in the interim,


the people who would be hurt would be the ones we are trying to help.


Getting people back into work, raising the minimum wage, taking the


lowest paid at tax altogether... But they will be hit in a few years'


time. We are trying to make sure there is less need for in-work


benefits. And increase in wages is stalling. That is why will see the


increase in the minimum wage in the next this, cruel year. It is clear


that George Osborne will either have to cut benefits or increase taxes to


meet his own fiscal rule and have a surplus, was that a stupid fiscal


rule? I don't think it was, there are people who have battened down


the hatches during these last few years to try to make sure that we


all pull together to get our economy back on track after the largest


structural deficit of any major economy anywhere in the world, and


they want to know when the sun will be shining again and we're not


paying more in debt interest than we are on the budget of Scotland, which


is what we do at the moment. There is no sign of that happening any


time soon, so would you prefer to get to that surplus with tax rises


or further cuts? I think the Chancellor has charted a course, he


has been consistently second-guessed by people and he has proven them


wrong. So you think he will be able to hit the surplus without those


cuts or tax rises? There have been other analysts who have said that he


has not been able to make the achievements that he has, and I will


wait and see with interest is Budget in March. It is wait and see, these


forecasts are always uncertain, we are not looking at for sure going to


miss this, but we do know that he has promised 8 billion of tax cuts,


which he will have to fund from somewhere, and we do know that


things have got worse in the economy than they were back in the autumn.


The question is, and I am sure this is a hypothetical at the moment, but


if, as is certainly plausible, the forecast turns out less good than a


couple of months ago, what is it going to do? That will be one of the


biggest choices he has made, because he did not have to make these


choices in the last Parliament. He was able to push them back, he will


not be able to this time around. He has not got much wiggle room, I know


it is hypothetical, but whatever happens. He really doesn't, 10


billion sounds like a lot of money, but out of more than 700 billion


four years out, it is a small amount of space that he has given himself.


That is why the OBR, they are saying there is a 45% chance he will not


make this, unless he does something additional. We're not saying he will


definitely do it, but there is a good chance, and then the question


is, which way will he go? Paul Johnson, thank you.


Now, are the Tories guilty of over-spending


An investigation by Channel 4 News seems to think so.


The Conservatives were badly losing members to Ukip, and votes.


But what Tory high command feared most was Ukip getting their first


Farage and his party had to be stopped -


Channel 4 News has obtained a wealth of information which reveals just


how much the Conservatives spent on three Parliamentary by-elections


in 2014, and appeared to show a contempt for the law,


a law designed to create a level playing field and prevent any party


These detailed receipts seem to show how, in each case,


the Conservatives simply bust the ?100,000 legal spending limit


And Michael Crick from Channel 4 News is with us now.


It can you summarise what has happened in your mind? During the


by-election campaigns, I covered all three, there were strong suspicions


the Conservatives were spending a huge amount of money. The Liberal


Democrats Inuit accuse them of spending a quarter of a million, the


legal limit is 100,000. We have obtained hotel bills from several of


the hotels in each of those campaigns, and they are huge


amounts. Rochester, campaigns, and they are huge


?56,000. The electoral commission guidance, whereby candidates and


agents fill in forms at the end of the campaign and said they fitted


within the ?100,000 limit, say you have to include hotels for party


workers, and the bills we have obtained not only showed the amounts


but which party workers were staying there and how much each room cost.


Would it have changed the outcomes of those by-elections? No, the


Conservatives won new work fairly easily by a majority of 7000, and


Ukip one in Clacton and Rochester, but there are important principles


here. What was notable about all three campaigns is how pathetic,


frankly, the Labour campaign was, and Labour argued privately, we


cannot mount a proper campaign here because we will be outspent,


whatever we do, by the Conservatives, so they didn't


bother. I think there were political reasons why they didn't bother, at


one point Newark and Rochester were Labour seats but they had problems


with Miliband and so on. Which laws have been broken if your allegations


are backed up? Representation of the people act makes it clear you have


to stick within limits the level playing field and so on. The trouble


is it is too late to prosecute for the by-elections because you can


only prosecute within 12 months. Some lawyers think it might be


possible to put together a conspiracy charge, whereby he would


argue there was a deliberate attempt to deceive and mislead, mislead


rather than deceive, I think, returning officers in these three


constituencies. What is the Conservative Party saying? They are


denying it? They said they have Obeida Nahas but they have not


explained why the hotels were attributed to the home address of


one of their leading officials rather than Conservative


headquarters, was it a deliberate attempt to mislead or not? -- they


said they obeyed the laws. We did try to get somebody from the


Conservative Party did talk about it but have not managed to. They said


they stayed within spending limits, so does it stay with the police,


even if it is outside the time limit, or does it go to the


electoral commission, or both? The trouble with this, nobody really


wants to handle it. The electoral commission said they only handle


national limits, they say it is the job of the returning officers. The


returning officers take the return in, look after it, make it available


to the public, but they say it is not their job to check the returns,


they say it is for the police. The police say, we don't want to get


involved. So nobody really polices that! The electoral commission have


asked for greater powers from the Government but said the Government


has not responded. Should there be greater power was for the electoral


commission to investigate this? Is this a serious allegation and, if


found to be flouting the law, is it a serious charge? We are holding


talks in Scotland, we know the rules regarding by-elections and always


declare everything with regards to the law. I think the rules exist for


the reason Michael says, to make sure that democracy in the UK is


preserved. I think it is important that people uphold the law. Would


you like to see it investigate it? If there is something that needs to


be looked at... Michael Crick says he has the evidence, should the


party be scrutinised? All parties should be scrutinised at every


election for what they declare, it is the reason for the declarations


in the first place, but I would stress my colleagues in the party


down south said they declared everything required to them under


the law. Is that the end of your investigation? No, we will have more


tonight on what happened in Thanet South during the general election,


for which the 12 months is not yet up. All right, thank you.


Now hands up who wants to succeed David Cameron


Our guest of the day says she doesn't, and she doesn't


necessarily think the so-called front runners,


like George Osborne, Boris Johnson or Teresa May, should either.


Instead, she thinks someone young and fresh


from the 2010 intake might do better.


So who's in the running? I know a man who knows.


Alex Donohue from Ladbrokes is on College Green.


What are the odds on the front runners? Of that 2010 intake, Sajid


Javid has a at odds, ten - one. He was 25- won a short while ago but


his odds have been coming in as a lot of people maybe start to look


for alternatives to the hot favourites like George Osborne at


2-1 will stop we have put roof on the board at 50-1. Is certainly


dogged the opposition but at one time on this board at 100 to one, so


anything is possible! -- a certain leader of the the. You have to say


that every time! We have got Nicky Morgan on 25-1, Liz Truss on 33-1,


Jacob Rees Mogg is the outsider at 100-1. We think Sajid Javid has the


best chance because he was around 33-1 but his odds are definitely


coming in and it would not surprise me if his odds shorten against in


the coming months. If it heating up already? It certainly will do, the


referendum have a big say on that but people are looking to back some


outsiders at longer odds the further out we are. Thank you very much.


And with us now is a 2010 Conservative MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg.


Welcome, are you heartened that you odds have been shortened? No, I was


not paying attention to this amusing game! But there is one good point in


it, which is that the Conservative Party, since the war, has only


chosen the front runner once, and that was a disaster, it was after


Anthony Eden it has always been the outsider. David Cameron, Iain Duncan


Smith, Alec Douglas Hume came from nowhere to win. It is not likely to


be one of the front runners. So you don't think George Osborne? I also


think, which comes on to this, it won't be somebody that backs the


stage campaign because the bulk of the voters are out-ers. The majority


of the party makes me look like a Europhile, the majority is sceptic


and will not want somebody who played a prominent role in the stage


campaign. What do you say on that point, is Jacob Rees Mogg right? I


never had you down as one of the 2010 intake, I thought you were a


member in the 19th-century! But I like the fact that I appear to be


twice as likely to become the next leader despite the fact I'm not an


MP and does it in the House of Commons! Would you like to rule


yourself out?! I have no interest at all! You would be brilliant! As for


the question about whether the candidate supports remaining in the


EU or breaking away, that it won't be somebody that wants to stay in? I


think it depends a lot on timing, if there is a change of in leadership


post to the referendum it will play a part but if there is clear water


it will be less of that. The thing that unites all of the leadership


contests we have had in the party, the party may pick outsiders but


they always look like winners, unlike the Labour Party who prize


purity of thought over efficacy of results. Although we could look at


William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith, Michael Howard, they were not


winners in that sense. I think if you look particularly at how William


Hague has gone on to develop, I think we're missing from the House


of Commons, you must remember. He was a man of infinite gifts. In your


mind, you wrote an article where you suggest the next leader could come


from the 2010 generation, what is wrong with anyone who came before


that? You thought Jacob Rees Mogg was there before... He won't thank


me for mentioning it again, but somebody from 2005, Stephen Crabb,


the current Welsh Secretary, somebody that I have a real


friendship with, and whose gifts and warmth and life story is much closer


to the people of Britain, he is a very good communicator. I would like


to see him get a big job in Government. But I think what is


interesting about this is how many people you can see on the road to


Number Ten, but you cannot see that the current Labour leader. Do you


agree of the current 2010 intake, could there be a generation skipped?


It often happens, Michael Crick said to me before I came that the


Conservative Party to go with the person that entered the house most


recently and is the youngest, so it may well be 2015. It tends to be


that the new leader is a fresh face. But where we are lucky, and this


must be to David Cameron's credit, we have got so many people to pick


from who are credible, good candidates, and that is a good


position to be in. Let's stick with the Tories for the moment, that is


the party would you both belong to. Talking about inners and outers, who


would represent the out campaign? The high-profile figures in the


party are making up their minds as to which way to jump. Which ones?


The great Mayor of London is still making up his mind, but if he jumps


to stay in his chances of getting the leadership vanished because he


offers nothing against George Osborne all the others who want to


stay in. At an intermediate level, I think there are so many people


thinking of going for out, Sajid Javid's chances would be


fundamentally improved in that final round backing out. Would he get your


vote? I hold him in the highest regard. So, yes? He is really good


news and he has a brother living in my constituency, he has a strong


Somerset connection so I always back, set when I can! Do you rule


yourself out? I don't need to rule myself out because nobody would rule


me in! That is the honest truth! In terms of being on the winning side,


would that not be more important in terms of leadership contenders,


whichever side wins? No, oddly being on the losing side could be very


helpful, because, as a nation, we always like a gallant loser, so the


person who leads the leave campaign, which I think will actually win, but


the person who lost would be seen as brave, courageous, and appealed to


the grassroots. Likewise, the people on the stay site may find that if


they fail they are more easily forgiven them if they succeed. As in


Scotland, they vote to stay in the United Kingdom but then vote SNP. We


will see something similar happen. Before we let you go, to go back to


your comparison of Anthony Eden, left waiting too long, do you think


that could happen to George Osborne? George Osborne is brilliant and


successful as Chancellor, he may be on the wrong side of the European


argument and that will make his leadership ambitions very hard to


aspire. Thank you. If the press is to believed,


Ruth Davidson here is popular in Scotland, with the media and even


with people who will probably She's gay, likes a drink,


is a Christian, used to be a member of the TA and doesn't mind


pulling a punch or two. And it appears she is turning


round the fortunes of She doesn't expect to become


First Minister in May when Scotland goes to the polls, but she does


hope to come second. The other contest gripping Scotland


is the battle between Labour and the Conservatives for second


place in the summer's elections. Here is the Scottish


Conservatives' game plan. Number one,


suggest that Labour are so weak, only they can oppose the SNP


in the Scottish Parliament. Number two, talk up their


charismatic leader, Ruth Davidson. And number three, bring in a whole


load of new candidates All of this became clear


when I went leafleting with a pair of first-time


candidates, Adam Tomkins, a professor of constitutional law


who helped come up with plans for more devolution,


and Annie Wells, a manager at a famous department store known


for its pants and quality food. When did you realise that


you were a Conservative at heart? I grew up in Springburn,


and it's a very Labour area, It was very industrial,


my dad worked And it was just asking my dad,


"Why do we vote Labour?" And he said, "It's


just because we do." And I decided to go away


and have a look at other parties, and the aspirational side


of things and the opportunity is what got me with the Scottish


Conservatives and conservatism. Now, just listen to how


they introduce themselves. Can I give you a wee leaflet


this morning for Ruth Davidson? We are campaigning


on behalf of Ruth Davidson, Scottish Conservatives in the


Parliamentary elections. You only have to stand


Ruth Davidson next to the Prime Minister or the Chancellor


to see that she is different. She's comprehensively educated,


rather than privately educated, she was not born with a silver


spoon in her mouth, she's a working class,


blue-collar, aspirational Tory. So do you think George Osborne


and David Cameron were born with silver spoons


in their mouths? I think that Ruth


Davidson represents a sort of Scottish conservatism


that is blue-collar, working-class, aspirational


Toryism, which is cutting through on the doorstep


all of the time as we speak. Ruth is up against the other first


ladies of Scottish politics - who wants another independence


referendum, just not yet, and Labour's Kezia Dugdale,


who has unveiled an eye-catching pledge to put


a penny on income tax in Scotland The Tories seem to be


onto something. I wouldn't normally say this,


but I think for the first time in my life I'm going


to vote Conservative, which I never would


have done in England. Really?


Because of Ruth Davidson? Yeah, and because I think


the Labour Party aren't giving Wow, it's like you have memorised


the Scottish Conservative leaflets there that some people


have just been handing out. But are they in need


of a reality check? We've been here before


with the Scottish Conservatives, so in 2010 there were


predictions that the party would get ten or 11 seats


in the Westminster elections But certainly there has been not


just one opinion poll but several opinion polls that show some


movement in the Conservatives' favour, though we have to remember


that Ruth Davidson has a big mountain to climb, so even a net


gain of three seats would take them up to 18, which is just back


to where they were in 1999. So to move beyond that


and to really move to their best ever result


in the Scottish Parliament The Tories coming second in May


would be a huge deal, although right now people do seem


a bit more interested in the rugby. And with us now from YouGov,


the This pollster Peter Kellner. And with us now from YouGov,


the pollster Peter Kellner. Peter Kellner, your poll has the


Scottish Conservatives one point ahead of Labour, but it is still


just one point, not much to celebrate for the Tories. It is not


a statistical difference, I would not care to predict whether Labour


the Conservatives will come second, but the key thing is, quite clearly,


the Conservatives have at least closed the gap on Labour, whether


they have overtaken them or not, who knows? But what we find in our poll


for Times, 12% of people who voted Labour in the last general election


say they will both Conservative in the Holyrood elections. It make me


think that some of that will be true converts, some will be people who


voted tactically for Labour to stop the Nationalists, unsuccessfully,


but whatever the reason, the fact that it is a tight race, that is


remarkable. Psychologically, it could make a big difference that


both Labour and the Conservatives, if the Tories came in second, but as


you say, statistically, it could be in the margin of error. To talk of a


revival of the Scottish Conservatives is premature, isn't


it? What we have got compared with a few years ago is a slight revival in


the Conservatives, but far more Labour crashing down. It is not


massive. So it is not to do with you, not the Tories, it is the poor


performance of Labour? We have had four polls since the turn of the


year, and every single one of them shows a record high in voting


intentions for the Scottish Conservatives. How many show you


ahead of Labour? This is the first crossover poll, and the task I have


said for my team and my candidates is that, irrespective of anybody


else in Scottish politics, we want the best result that we as a party


have had since devolution, that is the test for us. How many more seats


do you predict the Tories will get? I do not put a number on it with 86


more campaigning days to go. As a minimum? The best we have added 18,


and I am asking for more. 19 is the minimum. I think we are on course to


do that, a lot of people are changing to us, not just Labour, but


Lib Dem voters as well. We are the only one of the pro UK parties that


are not ashamed of our part in the referendum. There is still a big


divide about independence and a second referendum, and we are the


only party saying... Can I come in? We will stand firm in saying there


will be no second referendum in Scotland, so there is a lot of work


to do ahead of the referendum, but a lot of messages to take to the


people of Scotland. I think it is significant, Kezia Dugdale, the new


Labour leader, still has a badly negative rating, far more people


think she is doing badly done well. Ruth has a positive rating. In spite


of the party? It is despite the Conservative Party, Ruth is reaching


beyond the traditional Tory tribes in Scotland, and that must be a


precursor to the possibility of gaining votes. You mentioned an


independence referendum, Scottish Labour have talked about allowing


their members to campaign for independence, the Lib Dems too, you


will not do that. Absolutely not, we are the Conservative and Unionist


Party. Will that limit your potential votes? I care more about


the country than I care about the Conservative Party, I stood for two


years and fought to keep the country together. So you do not want to


appeal to those voters? I want to appeal to them to keep the country


together, we are better off together. How do you come to the


fact that one Conservative Party MP was sent to Westminster? It must be


clear that David Cameron is still a toxic brand for you over the border.


It says to me, let's work harder to get more MPs in in 2020, and you


start by rebuilding your party. I am trying to take it from our worst


ever result in a Holyrood election, before I became leader, to our best


ever result in one Parliamentary term, and we are on course to do it


and potentially beat the Labour Party. You said she was being


modest! I wanted to ask Ruth a question comedy you think the


Scottish Conservatives needs to have a different, more generous policy on


welfare than in England? The bad news in our poll is that the Scots,


unlike the English, are quite content to sit taxes rise in order


to have more spending on public services, more spent on welfare. Do


you see your party moving to a slightly more left-wing position on


these issues than the English party? The Scottish voters are more left


wing on these issues. I think we are going to put that to the electoral


test in 86 days' time, two parties will be saying we are not putting up


taxes, two will say we are, and we will see which way voters jump. I


would suggest the SNP and the Conservatives may have a better


election than the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats, who both say


they will put up tax on every worker in Scotland. In terms of welfare, do


you give up from the Conservatives at Westminster? You have mentioned


the times I have spoken out, and there is way too much you can look


at the other there, but let's not forget the title caters Scottish


attitude survey, the gold standard for this, so it is a mixed picture.


Are you still damaged by association with the Westminster wing of your


party? Are you damaged by the images of David Cameron and George Osborne?


I don't think that we are, and if you look at the poll, more people


say the Prime Minister is doing a good job in Scotland than currently


say they are indicating they will vote for the Conservative Party. You


are happy to campaign with him? You will see him up in Scotland very


soon, we had him up two weeks ago for the Aberdeen city deal, no


problems at all. But this is about who will take on Nicola Sturgeon,


and I think the Labour Party, nine years as the official opposition,


have not laid a glove on the SNP, so something has to change. If the


voters do not change the government, I think they should change the


opposition. So why is the term Tory delay term of abuse for some people


in Scotland? What is it? I think, why you think opposition parties in


a 0-sum game in an election use Tory as some form of abuse? It is because


they are opposition parties, because we're all in competition against


each other. I do not use the word separatist as an idea that is


somehow good, that is kind of what you do in politics, isn't it? I do


not think that is just Scotland, it is down here as well, calling people


within the Labour Party a Tory as well. That is exactly the point, it


is a deflection tactic, why is Toryism a term of abuse for so many


people? This is historic roots. Still? 40 or 50 years ago, the


Conservatives were the biggest party in Scotland, there was a period when


I was a young lad many decades ago when they were more popular in


Scotland than in England, and that crashed away in the 1970s and 1980s.


Margaret Thatcher was unpopular, the poll tax came first to Scotland


before England, and a lot of Scots still feel not just strongly about


the poll tax, but about how Scotland was used as a laboratory by a


right-wing London government, so there is a lot of baggage. If the


Conservatives come second in Scotland in May, it will only be


21%, not 35% or 40%, there is a long way to get back to where they were


when I was growing up. Peter Kellner, thank you.


Crunch talks resumed this yesterday but broke up without agreement


on the financial arrangements to accompany the Scotland Bill.


Everyone says they want a new fiscal framework agreed soon


so it can be scrutinised by Holyrood.


if it ran up and bit you in the rear?


Do you know what the fiscal framework is?


No, I've got no idea, something to do with economics,


but I'm not really interested in that, sorry.


Well, you are in the right field, I suppose!


No, it's to do with devolution of income tax raising powers.


No, it's not a big issue for you, then, is it?


So you know that they are going to devolve powers


to the Scottish Parliament for raising more income tax,


but it's to make sure that Scotland doesn't lose as a result.


There you go, you can tell all your friends.


If I was to ask you what the fiscal framework is,


would you know what I'm talking about?


Something about money? Good guess, yeah.


Well, yes, it is a framework to do with money, correct, yes!


Do you know what the fiscal framework is?


I do, yeah. Oh, what is it?


It's a new framework for financial policy in the UK.


You are the first person who has known that.


Are you studying it at uni or something?


No, I'm a geographer at university but yeah.


Do you think it's something that more people should know about?


I think on a large level more people should engage with politics


Do you think people understand what it's all about?


I think they've got a good understanding, aye,


I think they do have quite a good understanding, aye.


I have to say most people here in the Meadows


Well, it's one thing to know the nuts and bolts,


and another thing to have an intuitive appreciation


of what's coming your way or not, as the case may be.


Are you looking at the fiscal framework on your phone?


I am not at all, I have no interest in that whatsoever.


Fair enough, I thought you might be looking at the negotiations


that are happening today, looking to see the latest.


Good try, Adam, lucky old hymn, having to do the fiscal framework


with the people! Not many people know what it is, but it is extremely


important, it has not been well explained. It is important, I think


people do understand about the powers that are coming, income tax


powers for the first time, so they're vote in the Holyrood


election could cost them money. It is quite a technical issue about how


you make deductions from the block grant that can then be topped up by


devolving income tax, and it is about the methodology. Do you think


a deal will be struck? We have had crunch talks, they broke up without


agreement, the SNP are saying they will scupper any deal if there isn't


a fair offer for Scotland. There is a deal to be done, a deal that is


good for both the UK and Scotland. I want to see powers come to Scotland,


I would be disappointed if the SNP used a grievance narrative to walk


away from these talks. But if there isn't a fair deal on the basis of a


population that is growing more slowly, the oil price, of course,


then Scotland will lose out financially. There is already a


model in place for a proportion of income tax to be withheld, and that


was not thought to be appropriate for the wholesale devolution of


income tax, and we have put another model on the table with no


detriment, and technically no detriment to the UK or to the


Scottish people, so back and forward on different models. I think the


negotiations are quite a delicate point, I know my colleagues in the


UK Government want a deal to be done. I think it has been an


helpful, the amount of... Should they improve their offer is they


want a deal to be done? They have come back, having moved


substantially on this. We have not seen as much movement from the


Scottish Government. I think it has been unhelpfully linked to a


negotiation in public by the Scottish Government, so I do not


want to go down that same road here. Would you accept that if it was on


the table now? It is better than the Barnett Formula that we already


have. The SNP, as you would expect this close to an election, are being


very political about this but I hope wiser heads prevail and they do not


use a narrative that has built up for so long for so many years to


scupper a deal that hands power to Scotland that the people expect. Do


you think they have made up their mind to walk out on the talks? I


think you need to ask Nicola Sturgeon and not me. I think it is


good that the other Tory deadline of Valentine's Day has been moved and


they have been flexible enough to keep the talks going for a bit


longer, it shows good faith. I am encouraged by that. But you would


accept it as it stands now? You are happy with the deal? It is better


than the current Barnett formula that we have. It is the role of the


Scottish Government to get the most that they can but I think the


brinkmanship that they are playing could be damaging to Scotland and I


want wise heads to prevail and I want a deal done. One to ten, how


likely is that deal? That is a question for the Scottish


Government, because the UK Government is committed to make sure


it happens. Let's cross now


to Parliament Square, because a protest is taking place


outside the House of Commons, and the protesters have really


gone to town. This is my regular route to work


every morning but this morning I was surprised to see they have started


fracking, hydraulic fracturing to get gas out of the ground right in


front of Parliament. I will let you into a secret, it is not real, it is


a protest by Greenpeace, they set up this baked fracking Ricky, it is


quite impressive. There we go, the tower with the drill going into the


ground, probably the least realistic bit! Some weird liquid at the side,


the occasional puff of smoke, and it is really, really noisy. Earlier


this morning we had planes coming out of the top but apparently that


is not working for technical reasons. It has been set up by a


fake company called Frack and the reason is because there is a


long-running issue in Lancashire where a company called Cuadrilla


want to do fracking in the countryside, the local council said


no, and now it has gone to the next stage to be investigated by the


planning Inspectorate and the communities and local minister.


Greenpeace want to highlight the issues around it. I imagine is the


Government or Cuadrilla were here they would say they stick rigorously


to rules about health and safety and a proper planning process is


followed to make sure this is entirely safe when it happens in the


real world. This has gathered a big crowd, people taking pictures on


their lunch break, office workers, members of the public having a look,


and also the police are here, they don't look too nervous, they look


quite relaxed but they have asked Greenpeace if they would like to


move on because the organisation does not have permission to do this.


They turned up at 6am and pitched their fracking drill and hope to be


here until about 5pm. It would be impressive if next week they could


do a full sized nuclear power station, that would be amazing.


You might need a hard hat for that one! Enjoyed, maybe take a few


pictures yourself. Now, flipping heck,


it's that time of year again - when MPs drop everything,


don their pinnies and take on the House of Lords and the ladies


and gentlemen of the press. Since 1445 for some reason the


tradition of looking ludicrous running along with a pan tossing a


cake made with eggs, flour and that have entered British cultural


tradition. The politics of this may be lost in the mists of history as


to why MPs, Lord and Westminster media types do it, but I have a


theory. It is a sad truth of our political


and public discourse that a lot of people think MPs are flipping


useless. This is the one day of the year they get to prove it will stop


the wonder of this annual event is the verve, effort and sheer cheating


that our political masters put into it. It may not be the Olympics but


they seem to strive for pancake perfection, even in training. How


athletic are you feeling? I am more flop than flip but I was training


around the park at 7am because I am so athletic. Were you really running


around this morning? Yes! Trying to get an edge! Go on, flip it. And on


that note, they were off. Sort of. It is all in a good cause, raising


money in this case for Rehab, disabled charity. But from the MPs


he would have thought they had won the general election. I had a bit of


momentum behind me on that last lap! We did all right, I looked at the


competition and thought they looked a bit tasty! They did not let


victory go to their heads, much. I want to thank my parents, my wife,


my children and my constituents for making possible. That is either the


favouring of victory or total crepe. We are joined by the captain of the


winning team, Stephen Pound, and the captain of the losing team, Lord


Reid still, you looks happier despite having lost!


I could not have been prouder, to defeat the press, present company


excepted, is a wonderful thing, and, I may say, to destroy those with a


sense of genetic entitlement in the upper house. You look to


competitive! I have taken part in this race and would like to put on


the record that you are supposed to prosper Blind date a minimum of at


least ten to 20 times. You lot are run around without tossing the


pancake! There is an exemption clause because of the wind! The


point you made is a good one, we have age on our side. And wisdom. I


managed to push one MP. Who? Sur Alan Duncan, straight off, and I


managed to disable a couple of others because I ran twice. We


flipped the pancake but the Commons didn't, they missed the point. I


think you should be deprived of the cup. Would you like to... Lets see


if you can do it, Steve Pound. I don't want it landing on my head.


All right, twice, very good. Ruth will have a go in a moment. You can


take that with deep. Do you want to see the winners' medal?


take that with deep. Do you want to gorgeous. He is overdoing it, it is


for charity! As a member of the Labour Party I'm not used to


winning! It is for Rehab, a charity that helps people recovering after


head injuries, and that was the point. We were there for the


charity, the MPs were out for themselves! There was no competition


from our side at all, although I did sprint... You looked as though you


were leading did around there on the green! Victoria Atkins was on our


side, running in rather glorious red slippers like Dorothy from the


Wizard of Oz, and she stopped to let people catch up! But Lord Redesdale


is right, Rehab is a fantastic charity that helps people in need of


often very very long-term support, and anybody who knows about it knows


what an incredible charity is but most people don't so hopefully we


have raised the profile of it. You have certainly raised the level of


debate, if nothing else! Now talking of golden photo


opportunites, it's fair to say the antics of Ruth Davidson rivals


that of fellow Tory Boris Johnson. The Conservative Leader


in Scotland is, in fact, renowned for her antics


in front of the camera. What a shy retiring type who does


not like dressing up at all! We did not want to deprive her of one more


photo shoot! With us now, top


snapper Sean Dempsey. What do you make of her antics? They


make for great pictures! You have already got a reputation amongst the


photographers! I take politics very seriously but in Scotland you cannot


take yourself too seriously or people will cut you down to size. It


is good fun, people want to be closer to their politicians so I


think it shows an accessibility, having a bit of a laugh. Except it


is dangerous because you would have taken loads of photos of politicians


who ended up flat on their faces? Yes, classic ones like Mr Kinnock


and stuff like that. Looking at the picture behind you in particular, we


all go back to, I was around when Margaret Thatcher was around and she


was fantastic, and there is a perfect example. Ruth Davidson


following her lead. We will get you to take some shots. Stand over


there, we've stand over there and strike your best pose for the


camera. Sean, instruct Ruth. Come forward and little bit for me.


Lovely. Nice and high, as I as you dare go. But missed the light! Have


you got a good one? Photographers are never happy, so we will have a


couple more. Great, thank you. Williams. Nice and relaxed, no


paranoia. She cannot wait to take the Hacked Off! Just check my hair


is OK and all that! -- to take the hat off. Some politicians in


particular get so nervous and so frightened of something going wrong.


I can't imagine why! Thank you very much for taking those snaps, I'm


sure we can send them to Ruth Davidson.


There's just time before we go to find out the answer to our quiz.


The question was which of these lots fetched the highest bid


at the annual Conservative Party black and white ball,


with mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith?


A ?1,000 voucher for Kurt Geiger shoes?


I wasn't there, so I will have a guess, maybe the helicopter ride?


No, it was the day of campaigning with Zac Goldsmith, it fetched to


something like ?35,000! That is marvellous, but if people want to


help him for free, they can help with... That is the end of the


political broadcast, you are not allowed to do that! That is it from


us, goodbye.


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