10/03/2016 Daily Politics


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Afternoon folks - welcome to the Daily Politics.


The government's plans to extend shop opening hours in England


and Wales have been defeated - but should Scottish MPs have


Should this self-confessed Trotskyite who's been accused


of justifying the 9/11 hijackers be a member of the Labour Party?


I'll be talking to Gerry Downing, who's just been expelled


David Cameron says he'll start making the positive case for staying


in the EU - one of his cabinet ministers says he's not impressed


with the PM's deal on our membership - we'll have the latest


And Tony Blair is the Labour party's most successful leader -


but is his record something the party should celebrate


All that in the next hour, and with us for the duration today


is Tony Blair's former speechwriter - now Times columnist,


Phil Collins - welcome to the programme.


Now - Phil Collins has spent the morning chairing a meeting


of the Labour think tank Demos - the star speaker was a man talked


of in some quarters as a future leader of the party -


Cameras weren't allowed in to listen to the speech by the Barnsley MP


who ruled himself out of last year's leadership race -


but journalists were - including sketch-writer,


I was pleasantly surprised. I went in with very little expectation.


Jarvis has a great back story, he was a paratrooper who raised his


children on his own after his wife died but he hasn't been an MP for


long and little was known about him. He didn't make a great speech but he


made a good speech, much better than what had been trailed to the morning


papers, which one of my colleagues described as the EU warned of a new


era! It was personal, but his narrative, he spoke honestly about


the failings of Labour in government as well as the current government,


and set out some of his ideas. It was a Blairite piece of


triangulation, but this time between old Labour, currently running the


party, and new Labour, he was trying to play himself in the middle. --


place himself. It was the firing gun, but he was keen to say it


wasn't a leadership challenge right now. Given he is not that well-known


outside political circles, why didn't he let the cameras in? I


don't know, 24 hours live from Demos... I don't know the answer, it


wouldn't be the organisation that didn't want the cameras, we would


love to have them. It was an interesting speech. He is right, we


don't know a lot about Dan Jarvis. Anyone who can start a speech with,


"I have been to war three times" would be hard to attack. He does


things for the party nobody else could do. From the trenches of


Helmand to the green benches of Westminster, I liked that line. If


he is serious about down the road, he has the raise his profile. Yes,


he has to show he can speech, he has ideas, and some of these were


starting to be built. He was also distancing himself from a lot of new


Labour without totally damning them. Without mentioning Peter Mandelson,


he said there were people in new Labour, who were... Intensely


relaxed... About people being for the rich. He also said the Labour


Party has to realise, we are on the side of the workers and generate


help for them through having a successful economy. Was this the


starting gun? I don't mean to trigger a leadership attempt this


year, but the starting gun for a long march towards an attempted


leadership? I think inevitably it is: you don't do a look at me speech


if you don't want people to look at you, I don't think it is the start


of a coup, but in a sense, it was, here am I, here are my arguments and


if there should be a vacancy, don't forget about me! Where would you


position him? Would it be right to position him in the centre of the


Labour Party? I think the next leader is probably going to come


from the soft left of the Labour Party so I think it was an attempt


to talk about things like that. There are a lot of things Ed


Miliband would have been comfortable saying, it just sounds different


coming from Dan Jarvis, partly because we don't know about him but


party has the background which makes you think differently. Tactically,


it is a clever thing to do, positioned himself with the soft


left. This morning he is speaking to labour people, inside Westminster,


how would he go down with the broader British electorate? They


know next to nothing about him and so repeatedly, of course they will


only see it from what they read because the TV cameras weren't


there, he was trying to base himself, he spoke about Barnsley a


lot, talked about when things were going well when Labour were in


government, they saw it on television but didn't feel it in


their own bank balances, he is trying to get out into the country.


I think at the moment David Cameron is playing PMQ 's on the easy


setting. He needs someone to raise his game and George Osborne to raise


his game. There is plenty of time before the next election.


Last night the SNP joined forces with Tory rebels to block


the government's plans to devolve Sunday shopping hours


An amendment tabled by Conservative MP David Burrowes removing


the changes was carried, despite the PM's personally


intervening to try and convince his colleagues.


Yes, Nicola Sturgeon's party have helped to shut the door on longer


new rules in the Commons designed to stop Scots MP's blocking laws


which don't affect their constituents,


so called England Votes for English Laws.


But EVEL did not apply to proposed changes to Sunday trading yesterday,


because other parts of the Enterprise Bill apply


Now some English MPs are now calling for it to be extended to prevent


Scottish MPs having any say on legislation that does not apply


We asked the SNP for an interview but our request was declined. But we


will speak to Nicola Sturgeon this weekend.


We're joined now by the Conservative MP Philip Davies.


So it turns out EVEL wasn't worth the paper it was written on? No, it


doesn't deliver what English voters think it is, it delivers an English


veto for English laws, basically it stops things being imposed on


England against the wishes of England but doesn't mean that


English MPs can positively make a difference to England without other


people interfering, England has been sold a bit of a turkey, it doesn't


deliver English votes for English laws. Was it also a mess to put this


particular measure applying to England and Wales into a bill which


did have Scottish things in it? Shouldn't have made a difference


because you still need on these issues, a double majority, of the


whole house, and of English MPs. So whichever Bilby government put this


into, Scottish MPs could have torpedoed it in the way that they


did anyway. If Scottish MPs who have their own opening hours, more


liberal than down here, they have voted against liberalisation down


here, if they can argue that that has some connection with Scotland


and an impact on Scotland, then almost anything has an impact on


Scotland, you could argue. The Sunday trading laws in Scotland are


completely deregulated, you can shop at any hour of the day in Scotland,


this is all about, as far as I can see, the SNP, in advance of the


Scottish elections, trying to show to their voters that they are more


effective opposition than the Labour Party are, this is all about the


pathetic kind of competition with the Labour Party in Scotland,


nothing to do with Sunday trading, they are happy with their


deregulated hours in Scotland, it's a political game they are playing in


advance of the election. If you wanted to criticise the government,


they could put the measure after the Scottish election. None of this


could have happened if the amendment had been moved by a conservative


colleague of yours. There were 27 conservative rebels, they are


principled people, on religious grounds, they felt strongly about


this. I have no quibble about that. They voted on this because of their


own personal principle and nobody can argue with that. But the SNP


were not voting on any principle at all. It's interesting that they


can't get Tory votes for Tory laws. Despite the personal intervention of


the Prime Minister, who was getting people to talk to them, people were


not been persuaded. Every one of them I am sure has a marvellous


principled reason, but a disciplined party doesn't do this. Mrs Thatcher


lost a three line whip on Sunday trading, when she had a huge


majority, this always raises... What were the books doing? Identity


anyone would say that her as government wasn't disciplined and


effective. This has an issue... Quite poor parliamentary management


to lose a vote. You must know that you're going to lose a vote by 30 if


you are a whip and then wonder why you went ahead with the boat but


that shouldn't get the SNP off the hook by acting in a way that is


unjustified. Though they're now be a head of steam of the Tory


backbenches to toughen up the English votes for English laws? I


hope so, I raised it today in business questions that we need to


revisit this and deliver real English votes for English laws which


is what being this public think is happening. It is a bit of a turkey


and the only thing that has come out of this vote is that now it is


therefore all to see that we don't actually have English votes for


laws. In the end the only way to secure it is that for a couple of


days the building across the road becomes English parliament dealing


with English only matters. That's one way around it. I don't have a


problem with dealing with it built by Bill, all I want is we have a


situation where English and Welsh MPs can vote on issues that only


affect their constituents and Scottish MPs can't come down and


veto something. I asked that if Scottish MPs want to vote on these


things in Westminster, let's bring the powers back from Holyrood to


Westminster that will soon sort them out! If we return the power back to


dispense to. I think there is a moved south of the border that if


the Scots are in complete control of certain major domestic areas, like


Sunday trading, the things that affect us in England, that should be


down to the people we elect. I think there is, and it's obviously a


slight change of heart from Scottish Nationalists, it was clear before


the election that they would not interfere on votes of this kind. You


can always say there are implications, but as you said, that


can apply to anything. This seems a clear breach of something Nicola


Sturgeon was pretty candid on before the election. I think it will


inevitably mean that we will go back and look at the English votes for


English laws to see if it can be toughened up. Will that happen? I


hope so, whether the government has the appetite for it, I don't know,


but there is a feeling on the backbenches that we have to sort


this out. The question for today


is all about where David Cameron He's written a piece for one


regional paper extolling the beauty of the local area and reminiscing


about the trips he's enjoyed there. Unfortunately he'd also spelled


the name of one famous beach wrong. Now - yesterday David Cameron used


Prime Minister's questions to attack the Labour Party for re-admitting


into their ranks someone who the PM said had defended both Islamic State


and the 9/11 hijackers. In a moment we will be talking


to the man in question. First here is the Prime


Minister yesterday. We are protecting counterterrorism


policing and investing in our intelligence


and security services, as we did


in the last parliament. In terms of Iraq and Syria,


we are making good progress at pushing Daesh back,


this is something we need to do both But I have to say, I was completely


appalled to see yesterday that the Labour Party has readmitted


someone to their party who says, and I believe, that the "9/11


suicide bombers must never be condemned", and belongs


to an organisation that says, "we defend Islamic State


in Syria and Iraq." Those are appalling views and I hope


the Leader of the Opposition will throw this person


out of the party rather who was expelled from the Labour


Party again last night was "further evidence that


has come to light". welcome to the programme, we will


come onto 9/11 and Islamic State in a minute, but the organisation you


are part of, Socialist Fight,, says Mr Advocaat marks, support


revolutionary socialism, so why do you want to be in the Labour Party


-- support, arcs. It has traditionally been the party of the


working class. It is linked to the trade unions and organically, it


reflects the class consciousness of the class itself. Would it be fair


to say that you see being a part of the member party as a tactical move,


in your view of bourgeois party like the Labour Party couldn't bring


about in itself the kind of changes you want? It can bring about some of


the changes, of course, but it cannot actually get rid of


capitalism itself, but it can advance the cause of the working


class seriously and because of the working class has been in decline


now since 1997, I believe, when the GE coefficient shows the balance of


wealth flowing from the poor to the rich. Do you work with Labour people


at the moment? We have some footage of you on a platform here with John


McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor. Are you quite close to John


McDonnell? No, I am not a personal friend of his, that was a dispute at


my workplace, where I was sacked unjustly and he came to defend me


because we admit in the Labour representation committee -- we had


met. He stood on a picket line outside the bus garage and it


secured my reinstatement and my job, so I think he owed some justice for


me and I was very pleased but I am not a friend as such. Do you work


with many Labour people? I am a member of the Central Labour Party


and I am on the GC. You are a member? Well, I had been until last


night. Either way, everybody tells me I was expelled last night but


nobody has bothered inform me, no communication whatsoever. The Prime


Minister yesterday said that you had defended the 9/11 hijackers and you


said that had been taken out of context. Had it? Yes, indeed, and I


don't support politically ISIS and I don't support the 9/11 attack in any


way whatsoever. What I was doing was to explain the reasons for it and


the reasons for the attack are basically what imperialism did in


the Middle East. But you did right, of the 9/11 attack, you said it is


the "Justified outrage of the oppressed as opposed to the outrage


of the oppressor. " The first you say is progressive no matter how


distorted and you said "Must never be condemned, that is the entirely


understandable motivation for 9/11 and suicide bombers." Yes, well, I


would explain it in this way. Back in 1996, Madeleine Albright was


asked what she thought of the fact that half a million Iraqi children


had died because of the US sanctions and she was asked if she thought the


price was worth it and she said, "This is a very hard choice, but the


price, we think the prizes worth it." It would be to be appalled by


Madeleine Albright's reply and not say the 9/11 bombers should never be


condemned. I think you would have to say that in those circumstances, the


first thing you have to do is to understand why that happened. It


didn't happen because these are madmen or because they are lunatics


or because they are bad people, it happened because they were outraged


at what had happened to their land. Most of the 9/11 bombers came from


Saudi Arabia. But do you still not condemn the 9/11 attack? I wouldn't


use the phrase "Condemn", because I think like it was said, I have


striven not to laugh that human actions, not to weep or hate them,


but understand them, so if you understand them... So you would


understand rather than condemn. I would understand the motivation of


the people that did that. The article that is referred to is an


article that says the ridiculous conspiracy theories about 9/11 are


entirely wrong. You attack the conspiracy theories. On Islamic


State, the Prime Minister again mentioned that you had supported


Islamic State and in terms of tactical military assistance, you


do, don't you? No, I don't. I don't support them militarily or


politically in any way. Can I put the quote to you, from your group


that you are a key member of? You say," you mentioned the Taliban and


the Sunni and sheer, Hamas, Gaddafi, Assad, the Islamic State, we give no


military support to that, but we recognise the US-led world


imperialism is the main enemy of humanity, so we do advocate critical


support and tactical military assistance from the working class to


all those fighting for the defeat of imperialism, "Referring to all of


the groups above, meaning Islamic State. Well if you think what has


happened in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Iraq, these countries were


all bombed by America. These countries have their infrastructure


totally degraded, over a million people killed, apparently, in Iraq,


and it has produced absolutely no progressive outlook, this states --


the states have no democracy, they are worse than when it happened. I


understand that, very legitimate line of argument and many people


across the political spectrum will share that but you say as a result


of that, you advocate critical support and tactical military


assistance to groups like Islamic State. Tactical support means that


we are opposed to the US bombing of them. We would not be for the US


bombing, because first of all, US bombing involves the killing of what


they call collateral damage, that is a vast number of civilians. And what


about tactical military assistance, what would that require or involve?


If you analyse world imperialism as the main enemy, you always oppose


its actions, that follows logic. You would always be for driving out US


imperialism from the Middle East, etc. You have also said that we need


to confront the Jewish question. What is the Jewish question? Well,


the fact that Israel can commit absolutely heinous crimes against


the Palestinians, they can bomb them without let or hindrance and this is


presented in the Western media as an attack on terrorists. That is


Israel, that is not the Jewish question. It is Zionism, as such. I


am interested, because you talk about Zionism a lot. You and your


group say that Zionism plays a major role in politics, all the advanced


capitalist countries. You say that the Zionists are behind the


witchhunt against Jeremy Corbyn. You say that Zionists hold great sway


over our three main political parties. You say that Zionism is the


vanguard of injecting anti-Muslim hatred into Western politics. You


say Zionism is on the vanguard in a capitalist offensive against the


workers. It would sound, when you see all that, that for you, the


Jewish question is a Zionist conspiracy. Doesn't all that add up


to a conspiracy? No, it doesn't. It adds up to something very material


and that is the number of millionaires and billionaires of


Zionist persuasion within the American ruling class and within the


European ruling classes in general. It is their economic and political


power that leads to ridiculous situations. You think that Zionists,


as you call them, play a key role in that? They obviously do play a key


role. They have dual citizenship, most of them. Isn't that very


reminiscent of what the Nazis said in Germany in the 1930s, there were


these rich Jews controlling the German economy? Indeed, no. Look, if


you want to take what Benjamin Netanyahu says, he says that


actually the Holocaust was caused by the grand mufti of Jerusalem and not


by the Nazis. With respect, I don't have Mr Netanyahu to interview, I


have you and I just think that if you list all these things you accuse


of Zionism, it sounds very much bulk-macro I don't want to push this


too far but I would suggest people listening to this, they will hear


shades of the protocols of Zion. I reject totally the protocols of


Zion, this is based on the material, political fact of the overwhelming


political authority of Zionist politicians within the ruling


classes of America and Europe. It is not to do with their actual Jewish


origins, as such. You have been listening to this. I suspect you are


happy, I mean I am pre-empting this, that Mr Downing is not in a Labour


Party now? Absolutely. Outrageous. Tactical support for ISIS, the


Jewish question. I am a member of the Labour Party and I'm delighted


you are not. I hope they will call you this afternoon to confirm you


are not, because there is no place in the party for those kind of use.


Nor is their impact on your less toxic but nevertheless non-labour


views about social revolution is on. Labour is not committed to the


overthrow of capitalism. Trade unions are remedial organisation to


get a better deal for their workers and very good they are too, but they


are not rubidium organisation so given that alone, you have no place


in the Labour Party. You may have the final word. I believe one of the


motivations for readmitting me at the time was politicians like Keir


Hardie etc said something is very similar to that in the past and the


ambition to overthrow capitalism is a very legitimate political


ambition, if you take the state of the planet today. You feel that


Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party is a more welcoming party feel sort of


socialism? I think it should be, if it allows in Ukip councillors who


defect and it allows in people from the far right of that nature, I


cannot see why you shouldn't allow in people like me. Will you appeal


against the decision? I will, of course. Thank you. Don't go away


just yet. Now it's 19 days since the deal


was done on our membership of the EU But don't worry -


there are still more than three And the pace doesn't seem


to be slowing. Luckily our political correspondent,


Vicki Young, has been keeping up Let's go straight to her,


overlooking Westminster. So speeches by the Prime Minister, obviously


poor remain, and for Macklin it from Cabinet Minister Grayling for leave,


what are they telling us? We are being told by Downing Street that


today's speech by the Prime Minister will be 80% positive, they say,


talking about what he sees as the economic benefits, before he goes on


to one that we are all going to end up paying higher mortgages because


interest rates will come under pressure if we do leave the EU. What


they have done, the remain side, is dug out a load of quotes for those


who are campaigning to leave, which they say shows that people on the


other side willing to sacrifice people's jobs in the United Kingdom


and they talk about this thing, the Nike tick, you will have seen it on


your trainers, Andrew, the idea that if we leave the EU, there will be a


downturn but in the long term, we go up and there is a huge recovery. It


is insulting to those on the other side and Chris Grayling was asked


and said it would be a lively debate. He has talked about


sovereignty, about this place. He has been very rude about the deal


the Prime Minister got in Brussels after all of the negotiations and


says it hasn't achieved anything, that the parliament here isn't


sovereign and the EU is in crunching on all parts of our lives,


including, he says, things like vacuum cleaners -- encroaching. We


have heard from Mr Cameron, Mr Grayling, have we heard from the


Queen yet today on Europe? We haven't and as you know, this is a


very sensitive subject. You will remember when the Prime Minister let


slip and said the Queen had heard them the phone at him when he told


her the result of the Scottish referendum -- had purred down the


phone. He had to issue a grovelling apology. This story from the Sun, a


great story, because we will never know what was said in the room, so


we can endlessly speculate. People have tried to put the pieces


together, saying if it happened on this date, not only was declared


their but also a certain Michael Gove, said the finger being pointed


at him but his advisers saying he has no idea where the story came


from. The palace is denying it is true, Nick Clegg is denying it, but


the editor of the newspaper is sticking to it, saying they have two


sources for the story. It goes back to 2011. I think the headline which


said the Queen was in favour of Brexit is probably just a twinkle in


the eye at that time, so it was a long time ago we cannot establish


the facts. I understand the were two sources,


but they were both corgi dogs! Now - some people's minds will be


changed over the next three months - But what makes someone go


from committed europhile Here's the director of the Institute


of Economic Affairs, I used to believe in the European


dream, a free market, liberal and open democratic


brotherhood of man. So inspired was I by this


vision that 20 years ago, I even became president of the UK


branch of the Young European With every passing year,


I've had to come to terms with the European Union as it is,


not as I would like it to be. The EU has become a sprawling,


inefficient, petty, self obsessed bureaucracy, with a vociferous


appetite for controlling nearly every aspect of our


lives, however tiny. It is wonderful that we have had


peace in most of Europe for over 70 years, but that has not been brought


about by Eurocrats issuing directives, stipulating the maximum


suction power of a vacuum cleaner. Worse still, the EU has failed


to tackle the big issues. Rules around the single currency


have largely been observed Only Luxembourg has abided


consistently with the convergence And the migrant crisis has found


the European Union badly wanting. These might be surmountable problem


is if the European Union had To witness the British Prime


Minister staying up, negotiating till half past


five in the morning, arguing over how he would be allowed


to spend about ?25 million worth of child benefit, barely 0.1%


of our total welfare spending, It is true that leaving


the European Union would involve some uncertainties and even a few


risks, but virtually every substantial human achievement


involves having the guts And, of course, how Britain would


look outside of the European Union It means remaining remember club


which has a very different agenda to that of the United Kingdom


and merely having a seat around that table, especially if that seat


is occupied by a Prime Minister who has deluded himself that the EU


has substantially reformed, The referendum will split


families, political parties Even my own think tank


takes no corporate view But I have reached the personal


conclusion that the brave, self-confident, forward-looking step


to take is to vote leave on June 23. As if by magic, he joins us here,


not far to walk! You were once the president of the UK branch of the


Young European Federalists. So I guess you didn't get out much when


you were a junk! It felt like a good hobby at the time! Mark's journey is


not uncommon. Many people have made this journey, of his generation and


older, who without doubt voted to stay in England in 75 and there are


either saying, I'm not going to do that again, or I am more uncertain,


something has changed. Yes, 40 years of history, also some of the


justifications for the EU back then seem like ancient history now, war


was a much bigger presence in British life back then and doesn't


really feature now in the debate. So we are 40 years on and it's very


different stop anyone who has ever had dealings with the EU tends to


become more sceptical of it then you were before. I have had some


dealings myself and you cannot help being frustrated by its endless


delays, the sort of things Mark was saying. I don't myself conclude it


is better to come out because you candidly said that there are risks


with coming out, I would be interested to hear what you think


they are. I think it is true that if you want certainty about where


Britain is going to be the next five years you should probably vote to


remain, if you care about certainty can you should vote to remain. It is


a powerful impulse. I am conceding that out is less certain than in.


The risks are, what sort of trade deals can we get and how quickly,


what would our relationship with the rest of the European Union look


like, would we reform the free-trade arrangements, that is a lot of


uncertainty. And big business doesn't like uncertainty. So I am


unsurprised that most of the FTSE 100 want things as they are. Unless


things are terrible, the status quo is the default option for those who


are doing well out of it. So there would be uncertainty... That is an


awful lot not to know. Do not also be uncertainty in staying in? I can


understand the argument that there would be less uncertainty staying


in, because it's the status quo, but the status quo isn't going to last


forever, there is uncertainty in the future of migration policy,


particularly if Turkey becomes closer to the EU, which is beginning


to happen, the number of migrants we may face, we don't know how the


Eurozone is going to consolidate itself in the future and exactly


what the fallout would be for us. If you vote out you will probably get


both sets of uncertainty, we can't kid ourselves we would be isolated


from those problems. I think Mark would accept that it is the


uncertainty of not even knowing what our relationship on trade would be


with you is a huge one and would take is years, there is another risk


to, we might end up where we are anyway. That hardly sounds like a


risk. They are making the case that actually there is a future for us


which is significantly better. It may be the case that the future is


not that different. In that case leaving would not be a risk. To my


mind, this goes to the confident around the UK, and this clinging to


nurse for fear of worse idea. Do you believe that the UK, in the two


years it would take to negotiate except from the U, could put in


place sensible, pragmatic, improved trade deals with the rest of the EU


and the world or do you think that the UK and our government, of


whatever complexion, is incapable of doing so? It seems if you don't have


confidence that the UK Government could put these things in place, you


are probably better off being run by Brussels. If you are confident the


UK Government can put these things in place over a two-year period, I


don't see what the fear is of leaving. You point to some


irritations, but they are quite minor, the jury is out on that one


anyway. As we go about our daily lives, in what way does the European


Union in pinch on us? You are right, the practically nothing is a side


issue, it has not substantially diminished British GDP! But if it


goes to the nature of the beast... Whilst there are substantial,


serious issues confronting the European Union, the migrant crisis,


the stability of the Eurozone, what we have in Brussels is committees of


people dealing with trivial health and safety factors, that is not a


major impact on the British economy but speaks to the nature of the EU.


But today, in what way will it prints your life? Every single


product you buy is readily to buy a used ended. Everything you buy in


the shop will be dictated... What couldn't you buy here that you could


buy in America? There are every conditions about confectionery. The


issue is this. What I am worried about is the British government, who


often hides behind the figleaf of European Union directives, it is not


the case that we have a bunch of civil servants who are secret


free-market Liberals, we have our own regulations but they will be


ours and we will be able to hold to account the people making those


regulations and argue about the pettiness and change them rather


than looking across the water to Brussels bureaucracy nobody


understands finds impenetrable. Thank you very much.


Now as we were discussing earlier, the Labour backbencher Dan Jarvis -


seen by many on the centre and right of the party as a future leader -


has made a speech this morning setting out his vision


His intervention comes amid speculation that a bad performance


But is it Jeremy Corbyn's message or his delivery that's the problem?


And could another figure from the Corbynite wing of the party


do a better job at articulating that message?


MUSIC: "I Still Believe" by Frank Turner


The conveyor belt moves on and I've just been elevated up to here.


I'm Cat Smith, I'm the MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood.


And I've just been told that I have two minutes to try and sum up


what has happened in the past 100 days,


To get ready for today's speech, I went to my favourite local cafe,


next to my house, called Jirasol, drank some excellent coffee


setting this thing up a year ago, employing six people,


doing really well and hopefully expanding in the future,


because I fully understand the importance of innovation


and supporting very small businesses in order to get underway


and the work they do within our community.


# Now anybody could take this stage...


There is no issue that better illustrates the internationalism


that is at the core of progressive politics than our commitment


Let's go into that next election with a leader who has got


a coherent economic strategy, so we don't see another failure.


Jeremy was elected leader of the Labour Party


by an overwhelming majority of the members and supporters


on the basis of a programme that rested on three pillars.


First, a new politics, the creation of a more democratic,


engaging and kinder politics in both the Labour Party and society.


We are getting there on the kinder bit.


Thank you very much for inviting me here today.


We're joined now by James Schneider, press adviser to Momentum,


the grassroots movement designed to sustain Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.


Phil Collins from The Times remains with us.


Is Mr Corbyn the best message of his vision? The best messenger?


Absolutely. I think part of the problem of politics is a disconnect


between Westminster and most people, who don't trust politicians and what


they are saying. With Jeremy Corbyn, we have got somebody who doesn't


seem like a traditional politician because he isn't. He seemed honest,


straightforward and he's clearly on people's side. Use a disconnect, you


have a leader who can connect with the several hundred thousand people


who have recently joined the Labour Party, no doubt about that, but is


there not a huge disconnect between these people and the wider


electorate, otherwise you would be doing better in the polls? I don't


think so, what we're seeing with the Corbyn project is rather than the


traditional thing, PR led, bring your new product and your high point


is at the beginning, when it is fresh, exciting, what Corbyn is


doing is building a movement over the course of the next four years.


There has to be a process of reconnecting with voters across


communities which we can now do with this huge membership, we need to get


that growing and we need to get people more active in their local


parties. At the moment the polls are pretty dire both personally for Mr


Corbyn and for the Labour Party. When would you expect to see, if


your strategy is right, a turnaround in these polls? I think the polling


position will grow and it will get better over the next four years. As


the message homes and the opposition to a criticism of the Tory


government builds, we will see the polls moving.


Currency-macro so not in time for good results for Labour outside


London in the May elections. Perfectly in time, we will have an


extremely strong ground campaign in councils across the country and will


see good results. In May? A good result would be winning the mayoral


battle in London. What else would be a good result? Doing well in


councils across the country, in Harlow, in Rotherham, across the


country, doing well in whales. Does that mean winning seats, net gain?


Holding councils, winning councils, advancing the councils, getting good


councillors in. At the moment, it looks like the Scottish Nationalists


will sweep to power again in Edinburgh and you lose overall


control of the Welsh Assembly and between 200 and 400 seats, you will


lose, net, in the English local elections. If that was to happen,


your strategy would suffer something of a setback. I have not seen the


polling that is based on. I expect things to be very difficult in


Scotland, I think everybody understands that is going to be the


case. I think we stand a very good chance of maintaining the position


in whales and will be campaigning councils across the country. I am


hearing figures bandied about but I'm not sure. Is it the man or the


message? It is both. I think if you had a better messenger, you would


have a more articulate exposition of a message that nobody wants to hear,


but certainly it is both and the main trouble with Momentum is you


haven't got any, no Momentum out of the party into the public at all.


You are suggesting something completely unprecedented, which is


you go backwards first and gradually this unheralded figure suddenly


becomes really popular over time. It has never happened before and there


is absolutely no reason to suppose beyond your mere assertion that it


is ever going to happen. Why should anybody think that that, which has


never happened before, that gradual recovery from a desperately low


base, should happen? Let's hear from James Schneider. The Labour Party at


the last election had a very difficult position, a lot of


building back to do, and I think there wasn't that bank option which


would immediately have hugely supported candidate across the


country in the leadership election. I think with Jeremy Corbyn we have


by miles our best chance to re-energise, as we have done,


reenergise the party and reenergise activists and communities across the


country and we will see the fruits of that as we go on and get a more


activist Labour Party. At the moment, Mr Corbyn's net approval


score is plus 55% among Labour voters, exactly what you are saying,


he has got them... Sorry, among Labour members, he has got them, but


only plus 17 among Labour voters and -24 among the wider electorate.


Clearly we have to get the message across and I think what you can see


is the people that know Corbyn the best and have seen the most about


him like him the most. What we do need to do is make the message at


times sharper but I think the message is essentially right. What


we are seeing being built is a new economic strategy belt on


investment, high technology. These are the things that are going to cut


through. How long has he got to begin to show at least in the polls


and in the by-elections and local Government elections in the next


couple of years, that this is strategy is working? I don't see it


being a significant... He is there until the election. Until 2020


election. He has the support because Labour's membership, and lots of


people right across the country, want to see a new strategy from


Labour and also want to see a new alternative economic strategy and


new political strategy for the country and that is the sort of


change which Corbyn can bring and is bringing. We interviewed Jerry


Durning earlier from Socialist Fight -- -- Gerry Downing. He has been


kicked that, should he be allowed to be part of that? I don't know him


but I am extremely uncomfortable about the views on the Jewish


question. How big roles are you intending Momentum to play in the


European referendum? -- how big a role. We need to meet to discuss


that, which will probably happened in the second week of May. Only a


month before the referendum? It will be seven or eight weeks. Our first


priority is the May elections and building for the people's March for


health, homes, jobs and education on the 16th of April. And very briefly,


in your own view, would you like to campaign strongly to keep us in?


Personally, yes, I would like to see a social Europe. I think we are


better in Europe, we can deal with tax avoidance, environmental issues.


But Momentum as an organisation won't decide until after the May


five elections? Probably. Come back and tell us what you think.


So much for Labour's future - what about Labour's past?


Tony Blair is the subject of a new biography


by the investigative journalist Tom Bower.


Broken Vows - Tony Blair and the Tragedy of Power.


As the title suggests, the book's not got many good things


to say about the former Prime Minister.


One of Tom Bower's suggestions is that Tony Blair did a secret deal


with George Bush to go to war in Iraq - something that was put


to the former Prime Minister at the Chilcott Inquiry.


During the course of these discussions,


do you think you gave him any commitments?


The only commitment I gave, and I gave this very openly


at the meeting, was a commitment to deal with Saddam.


So you were at one that you had to deal with...


Absolutely, and that wasn't a private commitment,


So you were agreed on the end, but not by the means?


So you were agreed on the end, but not on the means?


Well, we were agreed on both, actually, as it came to you finally,


but we were agreed that we had to confront this issue,


that Saddam had to come back into compliance


and as I think I said in a press conference with President Bush,


the method of doing that is open. And indeed, he made the same point.


And we are joined now by Tom Bower, welcome to the programme. Let me


come straight to what for many people is the biggest question of


all for Mr Blair, did he take us into the invasion of Iraq knowing


that there were no weapons of mass destruction? No, he thought there


were. Because of the intelligence services? Yes. And so it was a


mistake, he made the mistake of believing them, but he did not, us,


if I can put it that way? Well, he did not con us about WMD is, but he


had corrupted the Government machine which would have tested MI6's


intelligence and found it wanting, he short-circuited it, but what my


book shows and argues is that the WMDs was the smoke screen, he had


believed in regime change from 1998 onwards. Was that the Chicago


speech? Before Chicago, when he bombed Iraq with Bill Clinton, so at


the 9/11, he wanted to remove Saddam but he knew the regime change was


illegal so WMDs, he could show that Saddam had breached UN resolutions,


he could say we were going after the WMDs, because unlike Bush, who was


allowed regime change, he needed a different excuse. And you think he


made an agreement -- an agreement with President Bush for the


invasion, in Texas? Long before that. What many of us think is the


central part of the Chilcott inquiry, what evidence have you been


able to bring to show that there was a Bush Blair deal on the invasion?


It is quite clear from all of the memos from the British Embassy


before Crawford in April, at the ranch in Texas, that they had agreed


on the invasion. The Americans had agreed on it already before the turn


of the year in 2001 and the British, through their conversations with


Bush and Blair, had agreed they would go along. So Crawford, a ranch


in Texas, was not the beginning of the process, it was the end. At that


stage, they put the seal on it and the Americans started the plans for


invasion. The British were excluded until they formally committed.


Blair, as I show in the book, conducted all these things in secret


by keeping a very tight number of people involved and it all changed


on the 26th of July 2002 when Richard Dearlove, the head of MI6,


comes back from Washington and says the invasion is on we either have to


commit ourselves or not. At that stage, he had to bring in more


people to begin preparing and at that stage, it slowly becomes more


apparent but he is at all times committed. What is remarkable and


comes out in the book is that the Cabinet didn't know until January


2,000 and three. Only Jack Straw and Geoff Hoon knew about it but even


they were kept away. -- 2003. It was a very tightly kept secret. So he


did a deal to go to war than we did not know about? It depends on what


you think about when a commitment was made. If that was the case, why


go to Parliament and have a vote? Why risk that, if you say he had a


commitment and had the wherewithal to put the commitment into effect?


He went to Parliament on the eve of war in March 2003. He could have


lost the vote and then couldn't have gone to war, so the point stands,


why go? He had to carry public opinion. He also had to carry his


own party. So therefore the commitment is not worth something


until you can get the binding into a resolution of those... It is his own


view, which as we said from a long time back, his own view of world


politics was as it was. 45,000 British troops were ready on the


border of Iraq. The British fleet was already off the coast. So why


have a vote in Parliament about whether to go to war and you vote to


say, you cannot then say, we haven't even thought about having any


troops. Those troops would have had to have been withdrawn. But it was a


done deal, he had the Tory party support, so he had no doubt he would


get a majority in parliament. There was never a doubt about that.


Overlooking it all, I have not finished the book yet, but would it


be unfair to say, because it is a very critical book, that you regard


Mr Blair almost as... Is this too strong a word? Almost as a


charlatan? No, that is accurate. It came as a surprise to people, people


always think I start these books without prejudice, but believe me, I


was just curious. I just wondered what happened in that ten years of


Government. We have had Blair's book, 35 other books all described


in great virtues by Prescott, Jack Straw, Blunkett, and I went to the


civil servants and the ministers and the generals and the rest and ask


them what happened and it is a very different picture to what we,


through the brilliance Labour spin, believe. He was surprisingly


unprepared for power. Fatally unprepared. It completely threw him


off course. Even though he knew he was going to win. And worse, he is


an intelligent man but his great weaknesses he was an educated and if


you are not educated of Government in history, you make the sort of


mistakes he made, and that was the tragedy, that is why it is The


Tragedy of Power, because he could have been a phenomenal success and


was his own worst enemy. Even among his supporters, there was a huge


wasted opportunity. We look back on that day in May 19 97. That is true,


the part of the book I agree with is the Government was not prepared for


power, I don't think they knew what they wanted to do and in some areas


where they did know what they wanted to do, they did the wrong things, so


he subsequently had to undo things urgently. The Labour Party hated the


subsequent reforms, that is when he became really unpopular in his own


party. We need to leave it there, whether you disagree or agree, it is


a great read, so thank you very much, Tom Bower.


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


The question was which beach did David Cameron say he'd enjoyed


visiting, but unfortunately spelled its name wrong?


Is it Holkham? Yes, he said he had enjoyed visiting Holcombe, but that


is in Devon. When the pace is fast or


the traffic is slow...


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