10/01/2017 Daily Politics


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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.


Jeremy Corbyn has been giving us his new year's resolutions ahead


of his big speech on Brexit today - the Labour leader says he's "not


-- wants a cap on maximum earnings and wedded" to EU


But he also tells the BBC he stands by his view that immigration


The Health Secretary admits NHS services in some parts of England


were in an 'extemely fragile' state over Christmas.


to relax the four-hour target for accident and emergency?


We'll speak to his predecessor Andrew Lansley.


The power-sharing government at Stormont is on the brink


of collapse after Martin McGuinness quits as Deputy First Minister over


Is Northern Ireland heading for a snap election,


And we'll be saying farewell to Lord Biro, leader


of the Bus Pass Elvis Party, as he hangs up his jumpsuit -


and his bus pass - and says he's stood in his last


With us for the whole of the programme today, it's Phil


He's a columnist for the Times and he also used to be speech


although probably not one Phil was asked to help with -


Jeremy Corbyn is going to be talking about Labour's approach to Brexit


But he's already given us plenty to chew over in a series


he said he would like to see a cap on maximum income to address


inequality. On immigration it was suggested he would back the idea on


restrictions of EU nationals' rights to live a work in UK. This is what


he said BBC political editor. The freedom of movement is being


exploited by unscrupulous employers. That is what I want


to put an end to. But do you or do you


not want to end...? I want us to have market access


in Europe, I want us And that means continuing


with freedom of movement? Let's see what comes out of the


negotiations. Also the way the government approaches this ought to


be more open and reporting to Parliament about what they are doing


and we are working with Socialist parties in government and opposition


across Europe to build a good relationship with them for the good


of this country and those future negotiations. Barry Gardner is the


Shadow Secretary of State for international trade. Do you support


curbing freedom of movement in the EU. We have said we are not wedded


to the principle of free movement. We are wedded to jobs and economic


prosperity, which has to be any government's topline in the UK. We


want the continuation of jobs here and that means foreign companies


have to be able to invest in this country, and it means the


continuation of jobs in Europe. We have 2 million living and working in


Europe and these negotiations have to secure those jobs and that


prosperity which is what we depend on. The briefing overnight from the


Labour Party was that Jeremy Corbyn would signal a change in direction.


We know he has been wedded to EU freedom of movement, and he was


going to say today that was not going to continue. Why did he go on


to say he's still feels the levels of immigration are not too high,


from the EU, and he said the EU says access to the single market requires


freedom of movement, I would say economically we've got to be able to


trade in Europe, in other words he would cave in to Brussels demands.


It is not about caving in. Let's separate things that are distinct.


One is the negotiating we have to do with partners in Europe about a new


relationship and how we protect jobs and the British economy. They have


stated clearly the four freedoms, one of which is freedom of movement,


is a critical element of having unfettered access into the single


market. He said if that is the price, so be it. We will sign up to


freedom of movement. What we have said equally is we are not wedded to


free movement as a principle, we are wedded to getting the best access


that secures jobs and economic prosperity. There is a shift here.


It is semantics, I think. Most people will say, Jeremy Corbyn is


saying exactly what he has said before, he said he had not changed


his mind about levels of immigration, maybe rightly so, but


that is not what we were told he would say this afternoon. It is


unravelling in his interviews when he says, although I am not wedded to


free movement I will support it if that's the price for each economic


jobs and prosperity. You are bundling together immigration


controls with specifics in negotiation about freedom of


movement as a principle and price in negotiations one has to pay to


secure economic prosperity. Is it a price you are paired to pay for


access to the single market? We have said we are not wedded to that and


when it comes to immigration controls, we have said we believe in


fair immigration rules and controls and properly managed migration. What


does that mean for viewers, they want to know what Barry Gardner is


saying, is he saying, in his fair managed migration policies that the


Labour Party will support that numbers will come down. Is


immigration to high? Let me answer both questions because there are


two. The first question is answered by saying we want to ensure


immigration policy works for the advantage of the people who are


currently living in this country, and not only for the advantage of


people who want to come here and the perception that the public have had


in the past is it works too much in favour of people who want to come


here and not in favour of people already here. That is the first


point, the second part of your question, it relates to the


management of migration. That is about ensuring instead of simply


applying as the Conservatives try to do under Theresa May at the Home


Office, an artificial number. And yet we now have record migration


into this country, we are saying, let's look at the real problem, what


is attracting people to come to this country? That is what Ed Miliband


said, he wanted curbs on the way... Let me completely answer. You have


not said if you want levels to come down. The way of ensuring levels


come down to reasonable levels is to ensure employers are not able to


attract people here, the workers directive that enables people to


come as agency workers undercutting wage levels and jobs in the UK, that


is what we want to stop and why Jeremy was setting out in the speech


today, setting out a positive view of how we can be better off even


outside the European Union. In your mind, has Jeremy Corbyn said


anything different, has he stuck to the script briefed to everybody to


say there is a shift in policy? My initial impression was there was a


shift to managed migration, I thought it was significant and I


take Barry's word it is. I think he is muffling the message, Jeremy


Corbyn, to put it mildly. When a Labour leader gets to the question


of immigration, they end up talking about exploitation of immigrants,


which I agree is a question, it is not the question posed by most


people, that is not what they are worrying about, particularly when


they talk about immigration and that question, do do you want immigration


to come down? It is difficult and hard for the Labour Party and this


is not a criticism of Jeremy Corbyn because the Labour Party is in a


strategic dilemma. Many Labour MPs, particularly in northern


constituencies, Hussein numbers have to come down. It is easy to give a


yes or no answer and Jeremy Corbyn on other occasions has said


immigration is not too high but the problem is the top 25 Remain


constituencies in the country are Labour and so are the top 25 Brexit


constituencies, which is a serious problem and the degree in model in


policy is probably to be expected given back to you are contending


with that. Do you accept he modelled the policy? That Jeremy Corbyn has


unravelled what was supposed to be the new policy? I don't and I do not


think it is muddled. The model is the government failure to articulate


a policy about how it will negotiate the new relationship with Europe. I


wanted to pick up on something Phil said. He said that Labour


politicians always retreat into talking about the exploitation of


immigrants. It is about the exploitation of workers in this


country who are being undercut by those coming in by the workers


directive, the agencies bringing them in and exploiting them and


using that to drive down standards and wages for British workers, which


is what we object to. Arguably Ed Miliband had these policies. And we


are with the current levels of net migration way beyond tens of


thousands, which is the government level and Jeremy Corbyn suggested he


would set a maximum earnings cap. Either you do a cap,


or you look at the levels Other countries have got some


policies developing this, and I think we need to consult


with them and learn Because it can't be right that those


who are actually doing the work are often living in work in poverty,


whilst the chief executive Barry Gardner, do you support a


maximum earnings cap? David Cameron first started talking about it. I


think you look at the public sector and you have to ask yourself the


question, why in the public sector you have chief executives of


hospitals and other public sector bodies that are earning not just


more than the Prime Minister but many times more than the Prime


Minister. This is public money going to subsidise huge levels of wages


and income, which I feel cannot be justified. You are talking about the


public sector. Jeremy Corbyn seemed to be talking in general. Do you not


supported in the private sector? The Labour Party is not against


people'saspirations. It is an important distinction, do you want


to see it in the private sector? We need to look at ways in which we can


make society more equal and a cap might be one way of looking at that


but it is not the way I would favour. I believe the way to address


issues of inequality are do as the Labour Party has said, increase the


national minimum wage to a reasonable level, ensure within the


public sector you have ratios of earnings. But what was Jeremy Corbyn


saying? In the private sector you address that through taxation and in


particular... You would like higher taxation in the private sector but


not a maximum earnings cap? Jeremy Corbyn did not make that clear. You


think he was talking about the public sector, not about the private


sector? Is that something you discussed with him in Shadow


Cabinet? He made these remarks in the interview this morning and I


have not been able to discuss it with him. This was something he has


felt for some time. What is your response to the idea? One Labour


Party source thought it was a bonkers idea and that Jeremy Corbyn


had come up with that off the top of his head. Even in the interview he


left himself plenty of room, saying an earnings cap all looking at


ratios so I do not think we can take it as Labour Party policy. I largely


agree with what Barry said but in defence of high wages in the public


sector, bomb way we can improve the public sector in the past 20 years,


and we have, is that people are paid a better wage than they used to be


and in large measure that is defensible. I am sure there are


cases we can pull out but as a rule I am pleased people can do public


service jobs and be paid well. I have to end it there. Thanks.


Yesterday, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness resigned as Northern


Ireland's Deputy First Minister in protest against how


a renewable energy scheme was set up and funded -


what has become known as the "cash for ash" scandal.


Under Northern Ireland's power sharing arrangement,


his decision to quit forces the resignation of the Democratic


Unionist Party's First Minister, Arlene Foster.


This in turn makes a snap election more likely.


But how did a green energy policy lead to the collapse


Martin McGuinness said the DUP's conduct over


the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme was the main reason


DUP leader Arlene Foster set up the scheme in 2012,


But flaws left it open to abuse as claimants could earn more cash


the more fuel they used, with the overspend estimated


Mr McGuinness accused the DUP of refusing to recognise public


anger and damaging trust in the Northern Ireland executive,


adding that his resignation was designed to "call a halt


Mrs Foster had resisted repeat calls to step aside,


but Mr McGuinness's resignation means she automatically


Northern Ireland's power-sharing agreement is designed in such a way


that both nationalist and unionist communities must be


If Sinn Fein doesn't nominate a replacement


as Deputy First Minister - which Mr McGuinness says


it won't do - then it becomes the responsibility


of Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire to call an election.


The usual time period for an election campaign is six


weeks, although the law allows some flexibility.


But if a fresh election returns a similar result -


and Sinn Fein and the DUP can't reach a power-sharing agreement -


Mr Brokenshire has the power to suspend the devolved government


and effectively restore direct rule - last in place in 2007.


And within the next half hour the Northern Ireland Secretary


is expected to make a statement to the House of Commons


I'm joined now from Stormont by Sinn Fein Assembly


Why did Mr McGuinness choose yesterday to resign? This context


comes in the context of a number of serious financial scandals which


have taken place in the north of Ireland over a period of years,


known variously as red sky and under other revelations which have taken


us to the heart of corruption within the Northern business and political


class. RHI has been badly mishandled by the Democratic Unionist Party and


as a result of their reckless approach to this issue and many


other financial scandals which have beset the institutions, they have


dragged us recklessly to a tipping point. And all of this comes in the


context of a situation where the DUP have demonstrated utter contempt and


arrogance towards all sections of the community here in the north of


Ireland. In particular, the Republican and nationalist


constituency in the north, but this also extends to people who are gay,


people from the Lesbian and Gay community, towards women. We have a


situation now where the basis of the Good Friday agreement, that


principles and process have now been subject to absolute corruption. So


there has been a complete breakdown in trust as far as you are


concerned, and you have said that in the end, the financial scandal has


acted as a tipping point. But why was the DUP's offer of a public


inquiry into that scheme not sufficient for you? Because we


invited the DUP leader to reflect on this over Christmas and we said she


should step aside temporarily from her position as First Minister in


order to allow for a robust, comprehensive, judge led


investigation to get to the root of this scandal and ensure full


discovery of all of the facts and the evidence that has led to a


situation where the Northern executive faces the prospect of a


half ?1 billion being taken from our block grant from our public


expenditure settlement at a point in time when the British Conservative


government continues with unremitting austerity policies. And


the reckless decision to proceed with Brexit in relation to the


Northern economy. But as far as you are concerned, was that not a


counter-productive move for Martin McGuinness to resign? Now there will


be no chance of agreeing an independent investigation of the


type you have outlined, or recouping some of the scheme's losses, because


all the parties are likely to be in election mode. That is entirely to


miss the point. There is a huge and unprecedented public outrage in the


north of Ireland in relation to this scandal. But you can't do anything


now if you are in election mode. And there was a deepening angry about


the abusive, arrogant and contemptuous treatment that the DUP


have dished out to other parties and wider society. So now we are facing


an election, and that will provide an opportunity for the people to


speak and cast their verdict on this and tolerable and unacceptable


political situation. I hear your anger, and you say that that also


reflects great public anger, but the reality could be that once an


election is over, we are likely to be in exactly the same position,


because the two main parties will be yours and the DUP, and the terms you


have used to describe your partners in power-sharing have been pretty


forceful. How will you work together? It will change nothing.


What needs to happen on the other side of an election is a process


that ensures that we get back to an adherence to the faithful and full


implementation of the Good Friday agreement. But if it is you and the


DUP back together again, how would you do that? We need to have a


situation where the Democratic Unionist Party and political


unionism commit to equality, mutual respect and parity of esteem and


decent treatment of all citizens and propriety in government in the


aftermath of this election. Under circumstances where the DUP cannot


sign up to that modest agenda, we will not have institutions, mad


because Sinn Fein is not going back into a situation where the political


institutions of our peace process continue to be abused. Declan


kidney, thank you for joining us. We are joined now from the Central


Lobby of the Houses of Parliament by the DUP's Chief Whip Jeffrey


Donaldson. I am presuming you could hear the previous interview. You can


hear the strength of the anger. Why did Arlene Foster not resign before


she was pushed? Well, why would Arlene Foster resigned when there is


no evidence that she has done anything wrong? Why would she resign


at the behest of Sinn Fein when Martin McGuinness, the Deputy First


Minister, was under scrutiny in the inquiry into bloody Sunday? Did he


step aside during that inquiry, when it involved matters not about some


heat incentive, but people who have lost our minds on the streets of


Londonderry? He didn't step aside. So Sinn Fein and their double


standards are breathtaking. That sounds like double standards being


used as an excuse for her not to do what was the right thing to do as


far as Sinn Fein are concerned. If she had stood aside, you could have


avoided the resignation of Martin McGuinness and the bringing down of


power-sharing. It is Sinn Fein who brought power-sharing down. They


have torn up the Good Friday agreement and put the peace process


at risk. It is Sinn Fein who have abandoned people today in Northern


Ireland who faced welfare reform. It is Sinn Fein who have made it


impossible to have an independent investigation into the RHI


situation. All of these things have happened because Sinn Fein have


walked away from the table. When you're in government, you have to


take responsibility. You have to face the challenges. You don't run


away from them. The DUP wants an independent investigation. Arlene


Foster will cooperate fully with that investigation, but Sinn Fein


have blocked it. But that is because trust had completely broken down


according to Declan kidney. Do you accept his allegations that the DUP


are no longer committed to the principles and values of the Good


Friday agreement? You are not committed to equality and treating


your power-sharing partners equally, and that is what has led to this


state of affairs. That is absolute bunkum. Martin McGuinness, the


Deputy First Minister, is the former chief of staff of a terrorist


organisation that was responsible for the murder of thousands of


citizens of Northern Ireland. The attempted murder of the father of


the First Minister, Arlene Foster, they tried to kill Arlene Foster's


father, the IRA, at his farm in co Fermanagh. And despite all of that,


the DUP was prepared to move forward, to go into government with


Martin McGuinness. But have you treated them equally? Please don't


talk about trust. I am talking about what Declan Kearney said in the


interview. I understand the pain for historical context that you have


outlined. In power-sharing government, have you treated your


power-sharing partner, Sinn Fein, in the sort of way that was outlined in


the agreement? Of course we have. We share power. Sinn Fein have


ministerial office in that government. But they are the ones


who walked away from power-sharing. They are the ones who took about a


Conservative government imposing austerity, but they have just handed


power back to the very Conservative government that they despise. It


will now be direct rule from Westminster. And you think that will


now be necessary to break this impasse? I think we are in for a


long period of direct rule now, and big decisions are going to be taken


here at Westminster about Brexit, about the future of Northern


Ireland, about the likelihood of every citizen, and Sinn Fein have


just cut Northern Ireland out of that debate. They have removed


Northern Ireland's voice from the table.


There will be no devolved ministers at the table to speak for Northern


Ireland. The DUP will be at Westminster. Unlike Sinn Fein, we


take our seats here and we will use our influence at Westminster for the


good of every citizen in Northern Ireland. But the people that Sinn


Fein represent, whose livelihoods depend on the decisions that will be


taken about Brexit, they will have no voice because Sinn Fein have


abandoned them. They have walked away from power-sharing. They handed


the reins of power back to the director or ministers, so let's not


hear any crocodile tears from Sinn Fein about austerity or about


Brexit. They have given up on power-sharing and abandoned the Good


Friday agreement, not us. We will no doubt hear more from the Secretary


of State later today. What is your reaction to what has happened, the


crumbling of power-sharing? It really is a crumbling. It is a good


principle in disputes like this that both sides are right. There is


always something to be set on either side. Clearly, the DUP have not


managed this well. One thing you can do early on with a dispute in


politics is to concede a little bit and then try and move on. Clearly,


something has escalated, so we have the pretext of an energy initiative,


but it is a proxy for a series of other things. Do you think if Arlene


Foster had moved aside earlier, it would have prevented Martin


McGuinness from walking? It may have done. It is about trust. There is


also a domestic situation, because the dish government now has to play


an honest broker in the election, but the British government is


heavily reliant on members of the DUP in British government affairs


with its very small majority, so the trust in the British government to


play that role is not as good as it needs to be. Let's leave it there.


Let's turn now to the pressures on the NHS in England,


and accident and emergency departments in particular.


Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt acknowledged yesterday that in some


trusts the situation was "extremely fragile".


He also seemed to indicate that the target of seeing 95%


of patients in A within four hours may have to be


changed to exclude those not in need of urgent care.


Let's have a listen to Mr Hunt in the Commons.


This Government is committed to maintaining and delivering


that vital four-hour commitment to patients.


But since it was announced in 2000, there are nearly nine million


more visits to our A, up to 30% of whom NHS England


estimate do not need to be there, and the tide is continuing to rise.


So if we are going to protect our four-hour standard,


we need to be clear it is a promise to sort out all urgent health


problems within four hours, but not all health


Is he now really telling patients that rather than trying to hit


that four-hour target, the Government is now in fact


If so, does NHS England support this move, and what guidance has he taken


from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine that this


is an appropriate change to the waiting time standard?


In Scotland, we face the same problem of increased demand


and shortage of doctors, yet 93.5% of our patients


were seen within four hours in Christmas week,


and the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine


estimates that in areas of England it's between 50 and 60%.


That difference is how it's organised.


It's the fragmentation, it's the lack of integration.


Will he confirm that he's just announced another significant


watering down of the four-hour A target following a watering down


by the coalition in their first year in office back in 2010?


I've today recommitted the Government to that four-hour target.


In just the answer before he spoke - maybe he wasn't listening -


but I actually said that I thought it was one of the best things


about the NHS that we have this four-hour promise.


But the public will go to the place where it is easier to get in front


of a doctor quickly, and if we don't recognise


that there is an issue with the fact that a number of people who don't


need to go to A are using those A, if we don't recognise that


problem and try and address it, then we won't make A better


We did ask to speak to a health minister, but none was forthcoming.


We're joined now by the Conservative peer Andrew Lansley,


Jeremy Hunt's predecessor as Health Secretary.


In 2010, the NHS had record levels of patient satisfaction and low


waiting lists. How have we gone from that to a health system being


described by the Red Cross as being in a humanitarian crisis?


Waiting times came down after 2010 but now, six, seven years in from


the NHS living with cash increases in resources nearer to 2.5%, where


previously they got cash increases year on year in the order of 9%.


It is a money issue? There is a resources issue and organisation and


efficiency issue. The NHS was required in the last parliament to


deliver efficiencies and did so. It is being asked in this Parliament to


deliver 22 billion. That is too ambitious. -- 22 million. When you


look at accident and emergency in particular, money is being directed


towards improving community services and hospitals are being left to live


with what resources are available to them, which are inadequate. The


resources in the community are not producing demand of hospitals. You


have to reduce demand on hospitals. You conceded money is an issue and


they are not getting increases in the way they used to get and there


is less money around. To be fair, they are not asking for increases on


that scale. They are asking for increases on what is being given and


you have Tory MPs saying there is a sleight of hand on funding claims


being made by the government, that's not as much money is going into the


NHS is claimed. I understand that. In that sense, when I agreed the


ring-fence with George Osborne several years ago, it included


things like public health and education and training. So, I do


agree to that extent, but we are talking about A and the issue is


there was good information in the statement yesterday but I don't


think it addressed the three things that matter, one is we have been


looking... I can remember trying to do it for more consultants, senior


doctors in A We should put senior decision makers at the front door of


A A consultants, GPs, who can see patients quickly and determine


what the nature of the response should be. Secondly, we need to


improve social care, the ability for people to be discharged from


hospital and that is where the NHS is asking for more money, to go into


the social care system so patients can be discharged and looked after


better in the community. Thirdly, in the community, the 111 system in


particular, and there are other specs, is already receiving


three-time as many calls as the old NHS Direct -- other aspects. Is


Jeremy Hunt considering relaxing the four-hour target? I don't think he


is. I think he is trying to get across people constantly talk about


it as four hours to be seen, but it isn't. To be discharged? Treated and


discharged. Do you think you should relax it? I relaxed it to 95%. It is


missing the point to talk about moving the goalposts. More relevant


is let's say there are 30% who should not be in A The point is


to create a system at the front door, preferably outside it, where


people do not feel the need to arrive at A, or if they do, they


are handled in a GP setting, primary care setting, not become part of the


statistics. Jeremy Hunt has called people who use A drug selfish and


the crisis one of public responsibility. Is this the public's


fault? Where else can they go if they do not go to A at night? One


reason the demand for A has risen over 15 years is because they can


rely on it to be open and be looked after there and in 2004, the last


Labour government, through the GP contract removed the requirement. We


are in 2017. Isn't that the point, the reason A is for with people


coming is because there is nowhere else to go because social care is


not dealing with elderly people with chronic conditions, but is it just


about money? It is not just about money at it is about money. Andrew


is right to say social care is crucial in the health service and it


is fair to say the GP contract took away a service that meant people


when they are worried go to A It is understandable they do. Plenty of


us have done it. At a system level it makes no sense. The NHS is going


through its busiest days it ever has. It needs money but to get near


the 22 billion of efficiency savings, it needs reform. The


appetite for reform is not great. Sometimes it feels in the NHS there


is no money and they say we cannot reform or there is money and they


say they don't need to. What is the solution? Did Jeremy Hunt offer up a


solution in Parliament? He didn't. Inside the NHS and with its many


stakeholders, there has been a substantial consultation on urgent


and emergency care and I think the results will be published shortly


and on things like the 111 system and how it could deploy a response


in the community and provide clinical support may well have an


impact. We need to get, like with the major trauma centres, more


high-quality doctors into A Is Theresa May taking this issue


seriously enough? I think she has taken it seriously, but, when you


look at yesterday, she took seriously the mental health issues.


But did not put much money behind it. But there was a considerable


additional... The wider issue? Generally with the NHS, she and


Philip Hammond are in the position where they have been responsible for


large public services, who circumstances are different but


actually delivered large reductions in spending and maintained service


levels and improve satisfaction. For the NHS, it has never been that


simple. Theresa May will have to move from thinking about it in those


terms to thinking about the NHS in its proper terms. You are not


surprised to see nothing for social care in the Autumn Statement? I was


surprised because I cannot imagine any MP in any constituency is not


aware of the fact a significant proportion, in some places as many


as half of the people who used to rely on local authority support, not


accessing it any more. What happens? Those people have a crisis and end


up in A and in the past with social care support from the local


authority they might have been looked after in the community.


Now, whatever happened to the Blairites


is a cry you're unlikely to hear at many local Labour Party


But at one point, Tony Blair, who you may remember led the party


to three general election victories, was all the rage - referred


to as the Master even by political opponents like David Cameron


So why did Tony Blair and his third way fall out of fashion


There's some flash photography now as Mark Lobel looks back


to when we were told things could only get better.


But now many big names from Tony Blair's former inner


circle are in the Lords or out of party politics altogether.


At this restaurant in Westminster last month, that Blairite anthem


was resurrected for karaoke by nostalgic Labour MPs


Jeremy Corbyn had already left by the time his colleagues took


centre stage to hark back to election-winning days.


Tony Blair's former flatmate Lord Falconer was at the party,


but assures me he didn't choose the song or sing along.


He once sat in Tony Blair's Cabinet and, until recently,


Hilary Benn, Rosie Winterton, Andy Burnham, Charlie Falconer,


Now, we've all gone, because we all left in the June


We're also all getting old, so it's time now for younger


Looking back, Lord Falconer thinks the beginning of the end


of New Labour came in 2008, when the financial crash


suddenly changed voters' priorities from jobs,


fair wages and better public services.


People believing that the Government is not just not delivering for them,


it's delivering distinctly worse than it was before,


that's the landscape in which the Labour Party has now


Things also got worse for Blairites when David Miliband lost


to his brother in the battle to lead Labour following Gordon Brown,


after which first Ed Miliband and then Jeremy Corbyn distanced


The whole Jeremy Corbyn phenomenon is just a reaction


against Tony Blair and everything he stood for and is built


on the assumption that everything New Labour did is some kind


of compromise with the Tories, it was in effect a Conservative


government for 13 years, and needs to be rejected,


And as if being a Blairite wasn't getting hard enough


as Labour drifted left, after Britain voted to leave the EU


in June, divisions emerged between Tony Blair and some


The split in the Blairites over immigration is completely


I think it has ended the idea that there is a sort


As for Tony Blair himself, he is now preparing for what he insists is not


a return to frontline politics with a ?9 million personal war chest


frustrated by where Jeremy Corbyn has taken the party.


Mr Blair wrote in his autobiography of another adversary, Gordon Brown,


saying it was far better he was kept inside the tent and constrained,


than outside and let loose, or, worse, becoming a figurehead


for a far more damaging force well to the left.


Now, it seems, it's Mr Blair and his supporters that find


Our guest of the day Phil Collins is lucky enough to be one of that hardy


band, the Blairites. A diminishing number, why? This is your answer to


what became of us, we are on the Daily Politics. A good endeavour.


Where did it all go wrong? Why did it fall so spectacularly out of


fashion? It always does, nothing ever lasts for ever. Anyway I would


like to question the idea they did disappear. Simon Stephens 's chief


executive of the NHS and Andrey Vdovin this, government


infrastructures are. Alain -- James Purnell. They have gone into what


you might call organisations connected to politics but in terms


of Blairites, what happened? Two things happened and one is


political, a party tires of it. The Blair mission in the Labour Party


was hardly ever welcomed by the Labour Party, it was doing something


difficult and over time the mission got stale and the party tired of it,


but also intellectually, things shift, questions change, things that


brought you into power different and the combination, the way people got


tired of it and of course Iraq was important in fostering that mood,


but also the fact things change. If Blair or the other Blairites were in


politics now and some still are, things they will be talking about


will be different from 1994. Would it be different on the issue of


immigration, which you said at the beginning there is no coherent group


in labour who believe the same thing on immigration? I think it would be


different. The Labour Party is in a difficult place on immigration


because it has a split in the vote and does not know what to do


politically and intellectually. I do not think the category of Blairite


is useful for thinking about immigration within the party. Do you


blame anyone for the disappearance of that political movement, the


social Democratic movement? It depends whether you talk about the


Labour Party's predicament, or the absence of a wink after Tony Blair.


Wider, there are a series of guilty people and it has to be shared. The


party moved from a winning position on to Gordon Brown and again under


Ed Miliband, and has ended up in a place of catastrophic defeat under


Jeremy Corbyn. He denies that and says he will stick as leader


whatever the polls say because of his two successful leadership


campaign wins. He is at 28% in opinion polls with a government that


has problems, a precedent for a catastrophic defeat. What do you


think of his campaign announcement that they are going to campaign war


in the style of Donald Trump, much more aggressive against mainstream


media, along the lines of antiestablishment, a more populist


style? Will it help in? I don't know. It probably cannot get worse.


There are always two aspects to a successful movement and one is the


message you have got. I did not notice him trying mainstream


proestablishment politics so far but you have the question of the


messenger. Can he carried that idea? I am not sure. The interesting


question is if the left found a charismatic brilliant leader who


tried that kind of politics. You think one of the problems for Tony


Blair and Gordon Brown, in good times, we can afford to be social


Democrats and you can spend more on health and education. It becomes


tougher and less popular as a political brand when things are


tight, hence the crash. Without question. The Labour parter never


really got to grips with the question of what social democracy


means when they haven't got any money. -- the Labour Party. That is


why the movement, a good times movement, and to some extent you


have to give credit to Gordon Brown, to them for those good times, you


cannot detach them, they were running the economy, but it was


something easier to be in government with a lot of money around, without


doubt. Now, let's talk about


the centuries-old English It's a tradition that's


still going strong, but it seems not More than a dozen Morris groups,


or sides, as they're known, were dancing in Birmingham this


weekend to mark the start But the Alvechurch group,


which features dancers with black painted faces,


was forced to abandon its performance after onlookers


accused them of being racist. Here's some mobile phone


footage posted to YouTube. We're joined now by Conservative


MP Michael Fabricant, And by Lester Holloway, a campaigner


with the race-equality think-tank, Lester Holloway, you spent some time


researching the art of vacuuming faces when dancing. Do you believe


it has racial connotations? -- blackening faces. Yes, I do. There


has been enough research to show that there has been overlapped with


the minstrels from the United States and has connotations with


representation of and characterisation of black people.


Having said that, not all Morris dancers do black up, only a section


of them do. There are a lot of different theories as to how the


tradition came about. But I think if you are going into the centre of one


of the most multicultural cities in the case of Birmingham, they need to


understand how people feel about the whole concept of black facing, that


it is offensive to black people, because it comes


it is offensive to black people, going through history. So it may be


traditional and part of the heritage of some Morris dancing, but you can


see how it could be offensive. I could understand it if we were


talking about the Black minstrels, who were deliberately making


themselves out to be slaves and Afro-Caribbean is, but these are


not. These are guys who don't paint their hands. They wear blonde hair,


a bit like me, really. There is no intention to dress as a black


person. But they are still blackening their faces. Only their


faces. I am a Morris dance. I do it in Litchfield, and there is no


intention to make out that you are a black person. When people black up


their faces, do they know what the purpose is? I know what it is. It


was set up in the 15 50s, when people went begging, and they did it


to disguise their faces, because it could mean death if you were


begging. What is happening now is nonsense. There was a case about


three months ago where the MoD pulled a photograph they were going


to use in an advert of a Royal Marine with his black camouflage


paint on, and they thought that would be offensive. Let's get real


about this. This is not entirely correct. There are different


theories as to how black facing came about, but if you take the example


of Padstow in Cornwall, they don Afro wigs and are used to sing songs


which have the M word in it and are used to teach them in school in the


1980s. They have changed the name of the day, but the traditions of the


same. As a country, we are becoming more multicultural. The whole


concept of blackfacing is offensive, so I think there has to be a


recognition that this is something which is out of step. For example,


if you take the depiction of Jewish people in the character Shylock, or


indeed Fagin in Oliver Twist, the negative portrayal of Jewish people


has been downplayed, as a result of our changing society. But that is a


stereotype, which is slightly different. Are you saying the Morris


dancers are intentionally upholding a negative stereotype of black


people? I am not saying that, because many of the Morris dancers


themselves do not believe that that is what they are doing. Is that what


this is about? I think the authors such as Jill Buckland and Patricia


Baker have chronicled the link between portrayals of African people


and Morris dancing. Michael Fabricant, in 2017, should we really


expect people blacking their faces for whatever reason, even if there


is no racist intent, and it seems from what you're saying, there


isn't, but they should still be able to come out at in public and dance


in this way? If they are trying to make out that they are black people,


that is wrong and offensive and I would find it offensive. But no one


knows the history. But the Alvechurch lot, whom I know well,


they don't look remotely as if they are being Afro-Caribbean is all


black people. They do it roughly in the streets. As I said earlier, they


don't cover their hands or legs, because part of their legs are


showing as well. There is no intention by them... At the end of


the day, we got some traditions. We shouldn't be racist in any way. We


are multicultural and we should rejoice in that fact. But come on,


we have got to be realistic. England is England and we should allow for


that. Why can't we have historical traditions in the way the Morris


dancers are portraying it? I don't think people are arguing that it


should not carry on. So you are not calling for it to be banned?


Absolutely not. But when you are coming into the centre of Birmingham


and blacking up, it is not surprising that there will be a


negative reaction. So you want it banned in big metropolitan areas


where it could cause offence if there is a diverse population? We


know it causes offence and any blackfacing that takes place in a


multicultural area will do that. I am not in favour of banning it, but


am in favour of Michael think you'd think it is ridiculous. What is the


point? I could live without this tradition, if I am honest. If it


causes offence, why not voluntarily think, I may not do this? We have in


Lichfield the green man Barrett, and it is led by a man with a green


face. He is a pagan. Then we have Lichfield Cathedral, and I could


imagine if we go by your argument that the Bishop of Lichfield and the


Dean of Lichfield Cathedral might say, I am offended. Anyone can be


offended about anything if they choose to be. We have got to be


sensible about some of these things. Which is what I am asking you to be.


It should be done by a voluntary transaction, I don't want to ban


anything, but why not just not do it? Because it is a tradition and


they are not blacking up fully. And I agree with Lester Holloway with


what he was saying about the Padstow people, who do try and make out that


they are back people. But the Alvechurch lot don't even remotely


looked like black people. Now, you do Morris dancing. Do you black up


your face? No, I belong to a different group and I am afraid I am


a whitey. Thank you both for coming in.


Now, I have bad news for fans of the more


found standing at parliamentary elections and by-elections,


often with little hope of winning, but high hopes of wearing silly


Yes, Bus Pass Elvis, otherwise known as Lord Biro,


leader of the Bus-pass Elvis Party, the Elvis Defence League,


the Militant Elvis Anti-Tesco Popular Front


and the Militant Elvis Anti-HS2 party - amongst others -


is planning to hang up his bus pass and his jumpsuit


Let's have a look at a few of the elections where he has tried


Bishop, David Lawrence, Bus Pass Elvis Party, 67. Bishop, David


Lawrence, Bus Pass Elvis Party, 87. Bishop, David Lawrence, Elvis loves


pets party, 72 votes. Bishop, David Lawrence, Bus Pass Elvis Party, 61.


Bishop, David Lawrence, Bus Pass Elvis Party, 85.


And David Bishop - or should I call him Lord Biro -


of the Bus Pass Elvis Party joins us now from Nottingham.


Why did you decide to stand for the first time back in pattern in 1997?


I was fed up with sitting in the pub, moaning about what was going on


in the outside world and all the sleaze in cash for questions. So you


put your money where your mouth was, literally. What was it like? That


was an exciting election. It opened my eyes up to what was going on and


it was probably the most exciting election I have ever stood in. I met


Neil Hamilton not long ago, a couple of years back in Eastleigh, and he


said to me, you look more respectable now. And I said, so do


you! Somebody said to me, you should have said, don't go by what you see.


But it was nice to see him again. For old times sake. Did you buy him


a drink? No, he ought to have bought me one! He has more money than I


have got. He is an MEP, isn't he? Or in the Welsh assembly. He is the


leader of Ukip in the wash assembly. Have any of your policies been


picked up or used by the main political parties? I think it has


made people think about saving public lavatories from extinction. I


think it has made people think, but I don't think the major parties have


picked up on the things I stood for and I still think they are


important. Which once? Well, saving public lavatories from extinction,


saving rural buses from extinction, banning airguns, because pets get


shot every day. I have been shot by an airgun where I live in


Nottingham. Obviously, some of them are more frivolous, like banning the


builder's bomb because it upsets old ladies. That made people laugh in


Newark. Why are you giving it up? It all sounds like too much fun. Well,


I am getting old, plus I don't want to become part of the electoral


wallpaper, not him again and the rest of it. But I am still


registered with the electoral commission. I am still going to


campaign on issues that I believe in, like when I stood in Sleaford


recently. I found all the red telephone boxes were going to be


closed. One council so that everybody has got a MOBO and I


thought that wasn't true, so I will still aim to go out to Skegness and


a bit of campaigning. So you are not giving up. What was your highest


voting tally? I got 320 votes when I stood for the militant Elvis


anti-Tesco popular front in the local elections. That was the high


point. Tesco were going to open the second biggest Tesco in the East


Midlands, and there was an outcry from the local traders, so I decided


to have a go with the slogan, Alvis wouldn't be seen dead in Tesco. And


I got the most votes I have ever got. David Bishop, would you be


sorry to see him go? Absolutely. The public lavatories policy is an


absolute winner. David Bishop, enjoy your retirement and thanks for


coming on. The One O'Clock News is starting


over on BBC One now. I'll be back at 11.30 tomorrow


with Andrew for live coverage told through recordings


he made over decades. Troubled, tragic,


utterly compelling. Everybody's got a story to tell,


something they're hiding.


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