Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn examine the Liberal Democrat manifesto with Conservative peer Michael Forsyth and Liberal Democrat leader in the House of Lords Dick Newby.
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Afternoon, folks. Welcome to the Daily Politics.
The Liberal Democrats release their manifesto today,
focusing on a pledge to give people a final say on the Brexit deal
in a referendum and a raft of policies for young people.
Theresa May and Philip Hammond went on the attack this morning,
claiming there's a vast black hole in Labour's manifesto plans.
But Labour insist they're fully costed.
Unite leader Len McCluskey insists he is "now full of optimism"
about Labour's general election hopes despite saying in an interview
yesterday he could not see the party winning.
And the Moodbox and I find ourselves in Dumfries in south west Scotland,
where we're asking whether Scottish independence is a crucial
issue for voters here at the coming election.
So all that in the next hour and with us for the duration
Conservative peer Michael Forsyth, who served in John Major's Cabinet
First today, manifestos are a bit like buses -
you wait for ages and then they all come along at once.
Labour were first out of the blocks with their manifesto yesterday,
called "For the Many, Not the Few", today it's the turn
of the Liberal Democrats and tomorrow, it's the Tories.
The Lib Dems published their manifesto in the last few minutes.
It is called "Change Britain's Future", and they say
it's aimed at giving young people a "brighter future".
Yes, the flagship policy in the Liberal Democrat manifesto
is their pledge to have a referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal
The Lib Dems want to give the British people the chance
to reject what they say is the "extreme and divisive Brexit"
Aside from Brexit, the Lib Dems are offering to spend more
In particular, they would give the NHS and social care an extra
They would get that ?6 billion by raising all rates
And all of that extra money from income tax would be ring-fenced
On education, they would give just under ?7 billion to schools
and colleges over the course of the next parliament.
That would pay for things like protecting per pupil funding
in real terms and tripling the early years pupil premium.
That's extra money given to nurseries educating three
and four-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The Lib Dems would also build new rent-to-own homes
people taking part in the scheme would be able to gradually buy their
They would reverse some of the welfare cuts.
For example, they would restore housing benefit
They would end the current cap on public sector pay.
And the Lib Dems would create a new young person's bus pass
which would give 16 to 21-year-olds in England a two-thirds
Let's look at Ed Davey setting out the party's Brexit policy this
morning. We think people are very upset
about Brexit here in London. Many of them voted to Remain
and we want to say when the Brexit deal has been done in three or four
years time, then people should have the right to vote on that deal
and say whether they like it and if they don't like it,
they can vote to remain I think people are worried
that the Theresa May-Nigel Farage coupling, where they're backing
an extreme form of Brexit, is very damaging to people's futures
particularly young people's I think people do want
a chance to vote again. Dick Newby, the leader
of the Lib Dems in the House of Lords and chair of
the Manifesto Working Let me just clarify. Your party has
ruled out joining any kind of coalition after this election? Yes.
So you wouldn't be in any kind of Government? No, we would not, no.
We're in the sail position as the Labour Party. We know who the
Government is going to be after the next election and we're going more
honest. Who is going to be the Government? The Conservative
Government. If you're not going to join any coalition, what's the point
of going through the policies with you? Well, I think people want to
know when they're voting for us what kind of country they're living in.
But you're not going into Government, what's the point? People
vote for people who share their values and views about how the
country should go going forward and that's why you have a manifesto.
Yes, but if the values as you're claiming are going to be the values
of a May Government, I assume you're going to win by a landslide and you
would not get involved in a coalition that could stop that from
happening then I say, your policies, what you stand for is irrelevant?
No, they're not. The details are irrelevant? From the day Parliament
gets back, we're going to be debating the Government's policies
and we're going to be voting on them and the manifesto gives a guide to
people about how we're going to behave and what we're going to be
doing in the next Parliament. One of the policies you have is to have a
second referendum, a referendum on the deal if and when a deal for
Brexit is done? Yes, that's right right. . Who said a referendum was
disrespectful to the voters and counter productive and who said if
you're having two referendums you might as well have three? Well...
Who said that? It doesn't matter who said it. Vince Cable said it. Yes.
Of the Lib Dems who is on your frontbench team. Disrespectful? What
we're saying is that people voted for a departure. They have no idea
last year what they were going to get. So we say at the end of the
process, there are only two lots of people who can decide - what we do
about Brexit. Either, MPs, or the people. If MPs, if it was left to
MPs before the last referendum, they would have been, they were
completely out-of-touch with the people. So we think a process
started by the people should be completed by the people.
But if the European Union knows that there is going to be a referendum on
the outcome of the negotiations, that gives them a huge incentive to
give us the worst possible deal? No, I think you're pinning too much
faith on the powers of persuasion of the Lib Dems there. People in
Europe... I never made that mistake before? I didn't think you had, but
I think that people in Europe are negotiating on the basis of getting
a deal which they think is in the long-term interests of the EU on the
basis that we will leave. That's the only way they can do it, but it
doesn't mean that that rules out us having a final say on it. If I'm
negotiating for Brussels, and you're negotiating for Britain, and I know
that you have to put whatever you agree to the British people, I'm
going to try and give you a punishment beat soing that the
British will think we didn't real identities it was going to be as bad
as this, we're going to need visas to go there, we can't work anymore,
oh, let's vote against it. I'm not going to give you a Free Trade
Agreement and not going to give you tariff reason free trade, am I? But
why does that work for the British people and not Parliamentarians?
Somebody decides, Andrew, it isn't just the Prime Minister, you have
one body of people deciding in Parliament or a larger body of
people, the condition deciding, they're going to react in the same
sort of way to the attitude and the deal that comes out of Brussels
surely. When would the referendum be? Well, the Prime Minister says
she can complete the negotiations within the time frame. So you would
have it when she come back with a deal. Would there be enough time?
Well, she says there is. She has not been that explicit at when it can be
done? I think your contention if the country was to vote against the deal
we would stay in the EU? That would be the proposition. Who in Brussels
led you to believe that would be the case? Well, I think it's pretty
clear from all the lawyers, from someone like Lord Kerr who wrote
Article 50 that it is revocable, you can stop the process if you want to
do. Have you had any indication from Brussels that that is the case?
That's how they view it or have the European Court of Justice view it
that way? Senior officials in the EU have said that the article is
revocable. Who are they? Former advisors to the commission. Former
members of the European Court of Justice. Who are they? Well, I
haven't got a list of their names, but there is a long list of names
and John Kerr who wrote it. He is just an observer now. Yeah, but he
knew what was in people's minds when it was written because he had the
pen. I suggest he didn't because when he wrote it, he never thought
it would happen. He wrote it as entirely academic exercise? Well, he
is not a flippant sort of chap. I wouldn't say that. He just didn't
think it would happenment you didn't think it would happen. Well, nobody
thought it was going to happen, did they? No, some people did. A lot of
people didn'tment one of them was Nick Clegg. I want to run you this
clip of what he said. This is before the country gave its verdict on
Brexit and he was speaking at the Oxford Union, he was debating with
Nigel Farage, it was in December 2015, before we got to the
referendum. Sure. But what would happen if we had one. This is Mr
Clegg. There will be some voices and I hope it won't be Nigel or Sir
People and not all voting on Brexit in this general election for that
they are voting whether they think Jeremy Corbyn is said to be Prime
Minister. Your whole appeal in this campaign has been on Brexit. That is
your distinguishing thing. That's the one thing that does distinguish
you. Yes, that's what we're fighting. It is what makes you a
Japanese soldier in the jungle. It over, you lost, it's gone the come
on out, put your hands up, we will look after you. Somebody decides,
Andrew, the MP for them is that MPs or the people? We think it will be
the people. People were decided twice, in the referendum and in this
election. No, because we don't know the deal. We know what the Prime
Minister wants, which is a large measure of having the Government,
but we don't know what is going to get. Many things are definitely not
going to happen so who knows where we're going to be in the process.
Your election strategy has been based on the 48% who voted remain.
You want to pick as many of them but the latest polls suggest you miss
read the mood of the British people and it no longer exists, this 48%
force of the country now seems divided into 45% of hard levers, not
as much as the 52 who voted, and 23% are voting to remain but they accept
the outcome and have come out of the jungle, put their hands up and said,
we know it's over. And only 22% are hard remainders and you are
struggling even to get them. The strategy is flawed.
No, we fight elections on what we believe. We're also fighting as Jo
was explaining how do you fund the NHS on a sustainable basis? How do
you stop schools having cuts per pupil of in some cases of over 10%?
All these things that we're talking about on the doorstep. Some people
have Brexit at the top of their minds, a lot of people don't
frankly. A lot of people are more interested in whether they can get
to hospital quickly so we're setting out how you would deal with those
problems as well. Your manifesto would be a guide as to how you will
vote in Parliament, under the next Government? It is, absolutely. All
right. What would be a good result for you? Oh, a good result would be
a significant increase in votes and seats. What would significant be?
Well, significant means substantial. What does substantial mean? Well, it
is roughly the same as significant! LAUGHTER
I put a number on either of them, what would you think? Only a fool
would that. What's it like in the jungle? I'm enjoying it. Leave him
alone. Remember my former leader, Lord Ashdown was a jungle warrior.
He was indeed. Don't go down that line!
Thank you. Let me pick up on the last point of
Andrew made about domestic policies, the NHS. The Lib Dems have come
forward with a bold policy of raising all rates of income tax by
1%, and that money will go into funding the NHS. No, not at all. As
the headlines say today, living standards are under pressure and the
idea you can help them by putting a penny on income tax at all levels is
foolish and the lesson we have learned from the reductions in tax
made for example when we cut the top rate of tax, its revenues go up so
if you're going to put up tax, in the longer term you're going to get
less revenue and that's not a sensible policy and you will also
reduce people's living standards. You're expecting no tax rises in the
Conservative manifesto of any sort? I would be surprised if there's any
income tax rises. You would like to see the lock David Cameron put on,
not raising income tax? No, I'm against making gimmicks and foolish
promises in manifestos because they come back to bite you. You say
because of the squeeze on living standards you wouldn't want to seek
increases in living tax but actually, if you look at spending on
health, the ISS, which actually, once you take into the age of the
population, the amount of money we're spending on health per person
will be lower in 2019-21 it was in 2009-10. People may not want to pay
more income tax but I don't think they also want their standards of
health care to be going down either. Know, and the way we get more
spending on the health service is by increasing the tax base, not by
increasing the rates, and we do that by getting growth in the economy,
investing in the economy and perceiving the kind of policies...
We've had growth in the economy, admittedly lower than expected in
the last quarter, but we've had growth in the economy and the IDF as
state spending per person on health will be low in 2019-20 than 2009.
The spending commitments made by the present Government are considerably
in excess of those that were promised by the Labour Party when
they stood in the last general election. I'm asking about the
comparison between what the Conservatives that they were going
to do and what the Lib Dems are offering to do in terms of boosting
health spending. If you look at education, the schools budget now we
know was facing real terms cuts of ?3 billion or 8% by 2019-20, and you
have to take into account the rise in pupil numbers. In the
Conservative manifesto you pledged as the number of pupils increased,
so will the aunt of money in schools, a real terms increase in
schools budgets in the next Parliament for that you've broken
that pledge for the blue could be honest like the Lib Dems who say
they will put more money into schools by raising income tax. We
have put more money into schools. The criticism would be the
expenditure per head has not increased. But the total
expenditure... A real terms increase, even if pupil numbers go
up, and that, you're not going to do by 2019-20. We have increased the
schools budget. But not in real terms. You are on the wrong argument
in my opinion. Hang on, second, it's a political argument and the
political argument is you shouldn't measure success in education by the
amount you're spending. If you look at what has happened for example in
England, where education is in school 's performance has soared
ahead of Scotland, where they spent 20% more, there is no direct
relationship between the performance of schools and the amount you spend.
But it was a promise he made on the 2015 manifesto and, in terms of
rising pupil numbers, real terms, they will be cuts in pupil spending.
You may claim there is no relationship between spending and
outcomes, and that's perfectly credible, but it's about pledges
which are made in manifestos. Well, that's why I hope our manifesto will
be short on firm commitments and sat out the broad approach which we will
take towards running the economy and that includes living within our
means. Listening to talking about health and education spending, you
would think we were not actually living beyond our means of more than
?50 billion a year. And our national debt has grown to, if Labour had
their way, it would be ?2 trillion. Although the Tories have been
underpowered and the coalition and in their own. And we have been
criticised for not spending enough. We believe that there. Thank you.
-- we believe that there. -- we will leave that there.
The question for today is which book series did Theresa May
reveal she was a fan of on the campaign trail yesterday?
At the end of the show Michael will give us the correct answer.
So, the day after Labour's manifesto and perhaps not surprisingly,
the Conservatives have spent the morning on the attack.
Speaking in London at a joint news conference with the Chancellor,
Philip Hammond, Theresa May has dismissed Labour's election
manifesto as a "fantasy wish list of easy promises".
While Jeremy Corbyn and Labour retreat into an ideological comfort
zone, ducking the difficult challenges which lie ahead,
I won't shy away from facing the challenges of our time.
Rather I will set out how we will tackle them
head-on because that is what leadership is about.
One of Jeremy Corbyn's key allies, Unite leader Len McCluskey,
insists he is "now full of optimism" about Labour's general election
hopes despite saying in an interview yesterday he could not see
The union boss told Politico magazine a Labour victory would be
"extraordinary" and suggested winning just 200 seats would be
But this morning, he did a massive U-turn after an "incredible"
The response has been like something we've never seen before,
If I was having that interview today I wouldn't be making those comments.
I think also the Labour campaign has been brilliant.
Jeremy Corbyn has come across as a real man
Len McCluskey. What a difference 24 hours makes. We used to say a week
is a long time and now it's 24 hours.
To discuss all this is Barry Gardiner, the Shadow Secretary
Welcome back to the programme. You say the current spending plans you
have will be balanced by increases in tax. But is there any limit on
the amount you would borrow for public investment? Yes, there is a
limit on what we would borrow for public investment because we have
set out clearly that we would put in place a transformation programme,
which is going to borrow 25 billion a year for a 10-year period. That's
what we have set out. So the borrowing that we are taking into
account is in that capital programme. But you would borrow more
than 25 million because he would inherit as the rest of the decade
went on, existing capital spending, about 50 billion a year by the end
of the decade. You would add 25 billion a year onto that. There's
also the national investment bank to consider and the cost of
nationalisation as well, so you would be borrowing at least 75
billion by the end of the decade and maybe more than 100 billion or more.
I think if you look at the tax which has come this morning from the
Conservatives, what they have done is they have actually put into
capital many things which are actually revenue spending. I'm not
using the Conservative figures. I don't know which figures you are
using. The figures from the OBR and the red book. You are going to try
and balance the current budget and borrow to invest. So you will
inherit about 50 billion a year and added 25 billion to that and there
are other things which could fall under cap ex which you would borrow
to finance as well. So what I'm saying is, by the end of the decade,
you could be borrowing almost twice as much as we are borrowing at the
moment on these figures. What is wrong with that analysis? Let me say
what borders that analysis and constrains it because of course what
we have said is, by the end of the Parliament, we would have the debt
reduced from where it stands today. Now, that therefore puts a
constraint on what we would do. Define reduce. Very easy. The debt
in 2010 was ?979 billion, immediately after the financial
crisis. Today it is 1700 and ?31 billion. It has gone up by ?750
billion under the Conservatives. We have said at the end of the
parliament it will be lower than it is today. Using what metric? It's
not going to be lower in absolute terms. You are going to add to the
debt every year. What we are doing is we're going to certainly reduce
the trend rate of growth of the debt by the end of that. No, watch
manifesto says that you're going to reduce debt as a percentage of trend
GDP, that's what it says. What is trend GDP? The GDP is a measure of
product... I know why GDP is so what is trend GDP? It is how GDP is
growing declining in the economy. Said he would not measured against
the GDP for a year but on your estimate of what you think the trend
is going forward? My understanding of the figures that the Treasury
team have produced is that we would be measuring it in the same way as
the Government has set out. But as a trend, so you can be quite flexible
but the trend? The GDP is the GDP but we can all have different views
on the trend, and you could have the ability to take the highest trend
and say, as a percentage of GDP, debt has gone down. There is a
simple answer to this, though, and that is that the Office for Budget
Responsibility should be able to look at both the Labour Party
manifesto's promises and our spending commitments as we have
requested the Government to doom and to have the Conservative manifesto
vetted in exactly the same way. If we do that, then we have an
independent body that can look at both manifestos and say, which one
actually stacks up? I understand that. We have given the clearest
indication of where all our spending commitments are coming from and how
they are going to be funded and that is in the document we have. I'm
talking about the Capital One, because that's big and vague. Can I
pick you up on one thing you mentioned. I think it was mistaken.
Where you talked about the nationalisation programme. That's
what I wanted to ask you so let me ask you this, will the money for
nationalisation, the cost of nationalisation, come out of the 25
billion a year of what to call the National transformation fund? I
think there's a mistake in which the way the nationalisation programme is
going to work. Example, if you look at the way in which the proposals
are put forward for the National Grid, it's not too by the National
Grid as such, what it does is it alters licensing conditions. Now,
under the 89 electricity acts, and the 2006 utilities act, the way in
which the licensing is set up at the moment means that the capital assets
and the licence to operate for the district network operations are
combined and there's no end to that licensing process. What we are
proposing is to introduce a termination to those licenses so you
would actually separate the capital and the licensing. So you are not
going to nationalise the National Grid? It may happen at the end of
the process. The grid itself, the assets, could be purchased, but it's
rather like saying, the analogy of the railways. It's like saying you
have the network, the Railtrack itself, and you have a licence to
operate on its. At the moment, they are combined. If I can just make a
financial point... Will the network be state owned? At the moment, the
value that National Grid has as a company, it comes from the
integration of the licence and the capital assets. If you separate
them, it radically affects the value. Wilner State take over the
grade? It would still only assets. If you look at the way the National
Grid talks about its own future, it's very much on a regional grid
basis, looking at the district and regional network operators as being
able to... I'm lost. Is the National Grid going to be state owned or not?
There will be far greater public accountability... It's not the same.
So you're going to toughen up the regulations? This option for us to
do that. The change to the licence is exactly in the manifesto. Let me
show you. So you're going to put a new regulation in, not going to
actually buy the assets? No, I haven't said we won't buy the
assets, but I have said there is an option to do that but the valuations
would be substantially different. There would still be a tonne of
money. Its body got a market capital of 40 billion. And a big chunk of
that... What I'm trying to establish is, regardless of this, when it
comes to the nationalisation is you are proposing, does the cost, and
there will be some cost, you cut nationalise everything, does it come
from the 250 billion over ten years or a separate cost?
I think certainly some of it would come from the ?25 billion a year.
You're not sure? I can't give you the exact figures per year, no, I
can't. But money that you have said will be a national transformation
which is to build new assets, build new roads, new railwayses, new
hospitals, new schools, things which we create assets, some of that could
be used simply to buy existing assets? If it were, then what it
would be doing is it would be reducing the amount that bill payers
at the moment are paying to subsidise the profits that the
companies take out. The element of their bills that is going into
shareholders pockets rather than coming back into the public purse.
So in fact, money would then be generated, revenue would be
generated in a different way. So I think one has to take account of the
fact that if that capital were used to procure those assets, it would
also generate more revenue for the public purse because that revenue
would not be... It wouldn't generate it for the public purse, you're
promising to cut water rates and cut electricity rates. There wouldn't be
money for the public purse, it would go on the cuts? If people are not
spending money on water water littles or energy bills, they are
spending, most people in the economy will be spend it in other ways and
therefore, no, but it does as you will understand generate further
revenues for the public purse. Because they're creating tax and
wealth in other ways. Michael Forsyth, ma carry, an Australian
bank, it owned Thames Water for ten years, during that ten years it paid
itself or paid its shareholders ?1.6 billion in dividends, ?1.6 billion,
it wracked up ?10.6 billion in debt, it had a ?360 million pension
deficit and it paid no corporation tax. There is surely a case for
doing something about that? Well, there maybe a case for the
regulators and for doing something about that, but there is no case for
spending scarce capital resources on buying assets which are not a
priority or shouldn't be a priority for any Government. I mean, I'm just
listening to what, I don't really understand what is being said about
the National Grid, but I mean it sounds to me as if what is being
said they want to find a way of making sure that the shareholders
don't get proper value. As the shareholders are the pension funds
and people's pensions that doesn't make any sense at all. All right,
we'll unpick this further in the days to come.
Let's get a round-up of all the other election campaign news.
I am indeed. Jo, yes another beautiful day here in Westminster.
But we've had our eye on what the candidates have been up to around
the country and there is a few treats for you. So, Diane Abbott has
been taking on a tough crowd at the Police Federation. The Green Party
have an offer especially for women, but starting off this round-up for
any retro gaming fans out there, well, someone has created a Super
Mario-style campaign game. Take a look.
Let's play Super Tory Party versus The Coalition of Chaos.
Select your player and level - easy, hard or Brexit.
So back in the real world on the campaign trail today,
the Green Party is promising free sanitary products for those
The party has pledged to end period poverty by providing free tampons
The Conservatives will scrap the Severn Bridge tolls if they win
the general election, predicting it would bring
Are you a whingeing liberal elitist snowflake?
This Labour voter in Brighton was proud to be so.
The Conservative's Ruth Davidson got her bake on in Dumfries.
Let me try that again. Good afternoon.
The Police Federation were lacking a little enthusiasm
as they were addressed by Diane Abbott.
She faced a backlash over her opposition
And someone with way too much time on their hands made this.
# Strong and stable, strong and stable, strong
and stable, strong and stable, strong and stable #.
I'm not sure I imagined Theresa May ever dancing like that, but on a
Friday night, who knows? That's your lot. I'm back tomorrow.
Figures out this morning show the UK unemployment
rate has fallen to 4.6%, its lowest in 42 years.
To discuss this and the manifestos are two seasoned political
journalists, the Mirror's Kevin Maguire and Caroline Wheeler
Kevin Maguire, you've written that the Labour manifesto has lots of
smart ideas. Which ones were you attracted to? I think the ones that
the country, people are attracted to like ?10 Living Wage, more money in
the NHS, free school meals for primary pupils, rail
renationalisation, those policies are popular, but as you also know, I
believe unless Jeremy Corbyn becomes popular Labour will be in trouble.
If you're not sure about the messenger, you won't buy your
message. I know Len McCluskey, I know he has done a U-turn. He said
just 24 hours that he couldn't see Labour winning. He said he thought
it would be difficult. Was that sensible even 24 hours ago? Well, I
think it sounded the way a lot of people are and it was a rare moment
of honesty. Somebody breaking free from a script where everybody seems
to have to pretend they're going to win. You look at the opinion polls,
you talk to Labour MPs defending seats, you speak to Labour
candidates who, if they haven't got a seat, don't really expect to get a
seat. So Len McCluskey really was telling a truth. The other argument,
of course, is whether, if Labour went down from 229 seats to 200
whether that would be a reasonable result and that's about who defines
what a defeat is, how heavy it is and then owns what happens after
that. Well, that, of course, will be crucial as as far as the Labour
Party is concerned. Caroline Wheeler, how easy would it be stand
on the manifesto for the Labour candidates who have been hostile to
Jeremy Corbyn? Well, that's the interesting thing really, we have
seen lots of copy written about it in our newspapers, but we're not
hearing very much from those MPs that are going to be standing on
that ticket at all. Len McCluskey is the only person that's come out and
endorsed it which I think speaks volumes. I think at the moment the
notion is they want to keep their head down and not say too much about
it. There has been discussion that they're not mentioning Jeremy
Corbyn, some are suggesting he might be removed fairly soon after the
general election and inn a sort of last-ditch bid to persuade voters
that they might be voting for something different which paints a
kind of picture of sort of disarray really for the party and doesn't
bode well really post the general election. Kevin Maguire, we have
interviewed one of the frontbench spokes people for the Labour Party
about the plans for nationalising industries and nationalising the
National Grid and he seemed to imply that it wouldn't be a
straightforward take over into state ownership, that there would be some
sort of reregulation. Are we clear exactly what Labour is proposing and
costings for their planned nationalisation? Not entirely
because I looked at those figures for what they proposed to raise in
taxes and what they proposed to spend and I think they came to ?48.6
billion in a wonderful beautiful symmetry in those two tables and I
didn't see any figures for spending on renationalisation, but the
argument from Labour is public control, public accountability,
public ownership can take many forms. For instance on the railways,
as franchises come up for renewal they would be taken back so that
wouldn't cost anything, but some are long and it would take a long time
for that to happen. Water they seem to want to buy something. On the
National Grid we thought they wanted it take ownership of it, it sounds
like not now. The regional energy companies they would set-up would be
alternatives so they wouldn't be taking the big six which most of us
buy our electricity from at the moment. There is a range of answers,
but it sounds confusing because it is. Right. Thank you for that, for
clearing it up. Caroline Wheeler, unemployment is at its lowest level
since 1975, but real wages are being squeezed due to rising inflation now
at its four year high of 2. # %, how does that affect the story the
Government wants to tell ahead of the election? They want to tell a
story of the finances looking like they are in good hands particularly
under the Conservative Party as we head towards Brexit and we're almost
two years away from that. The problem they are going to have is
about, the age old story which is pounds and pence in your pocket and
that's where the notion of tax comes in. We heard the Labour Party's
plans on tax, to protect 95% of people from tax rises, but that does
impact on those that earn over ?80,000. Tomorrow will be the time
of the Conservative Party to tell us what they are intend to do and of
course, if they are going to abandon David Cameron's tax lock pledge then
that is going to mean that the real prospect of raising taxes, which is
going to hit people in the pockets, which if they're feeling the squeeze
maybe something that they will consider when they go into the
polling booth. Well, with the squeezes as perhaps the backdrop
today, Kevin Maguire, on the Liberal Democrats manifesto, will voters be
persuaded by a penny on income tax to pay for more money going into
health and schools? I suspect not. I have been somewhat surprised by the
lack of impact of the Liberal Democrats in this election. They bet
most of the ranch on it being a Brexit election which it hasn't
really felt that way. I don't think looking at that manifesto it's going
to be the game changer they want and it's very difficult to see them
winning all the seats they were talking about earlier on and I think
in some areas they will be struggling to hold what they've got.
Thank you both very much. Enjoy the campaign!
Just referring back to our interview with Barry Gardiner, this is what
the Labour manifesto says. It says, "Regain control of energy supply
networks through the opposition of licence conditions." I think that's
what Mr Gardiner was talking about and says transition to a publicly
owned decentralised energy system. So, it would seem that in the end
the idea is still whether it is anymore the National Grid or lots of
regional grids, it would be, it would nevertheless be publicly
owned. Doesn't that mean we'll make regulation so tough that the value
of the shares will fall and we'll buy them on the cheap. I have no
idea really what it means. I will have to do some more homework.
Throughout the campaign we're taking the Daily Politics Moodbox around
the country to test the mood of the public.
Hello, Andrew. Let me start by quoting a local. We two paddled in
this strael. The Moodbox and I didn't, it's chilly. Dumfries was
the home of Robbie Burns in the final years of his life and it is
where the SNP cleaned up at the last general election. Relegating Labour
into third. It's now the Tories who have got it in their sights. It's
also a place that rather convincingly voted no in the
Scottish independence referendum so we have been asking voters whether
they think that issue of Scottish independence will be a crucial issue
to them in the coming general election.
Yes, or no? MUSIC: I Get Around
by The Beach Boys. # Round round get around,
I get around # Yeah, get around round round I get
around, ooh-ooh #. Certain things, school, education,
NHS, things like that. I'm a staunch campaigner
for the union so definitely I'll be voting Conservative to remain
as part of that. Because I'm voting independence,
I've always voted yes and if the election included
a question for yes or no about independence,
I would vote that way. No, it's not about
independence for me. It's about who would be best
running this country. I'm a believer in Scottish
independence all my life, I'm not going to vote for anything
else but SNP. The issue of independence
will influence the way you vote? I don't think anyone
in Scotland should either. # And we've never missed yet
with the girls we meet # None of the guys go steady cos it
wouldn't be right # To leave their best girl home now on Saturday
night # I get around, get around round
round I get around #. Nicola Sturgeon is just
hellbent on independence. So you want to vote to make sure
she can't have that? What's most important issue
at this election for you? In this election for me
it would be Brexit. So Scottish independence, is it
the burning issue at this election? Well, I think this might be
a first in Moodbox history. A verified dead heat between those
who think that Scottish independence is the most crucial issue for them
at this election Thank you, Dumfries Galloway,
and thank you, Robbie Burns. Joining us now from Aberdeen
is Callum McCaig from the SNP. And Michael Forsyth,
the former Scotland Secretary, Welcome to the Daily Politics. Is
their selection for you primarily about a second independence
referendum, yes or no? I think this election is about who is the best
people to represent Scotland in Westminster and we have the choice,
the battle ground has been drawn between the Tories and SNP and it's
a battle I am confident about. I have been speaking to many voters
and I ask people what is important to them and to some people
independence is important but the vast majority, it's not, it's about
who's the best place in Westminster question of why suddenly a change of
heart? It's no longer a priority in an election campaign. I think we've
done that service are quite irony in terms of the Tories fought both the
last Scottish Parliament elections, the council elections and saying no
to it. I'm of the belief the Scottish Parliament should be the
place to decide whether Scotland has another independence referendum. It
is decided. It is the clear vote on a Scottish Parliament that there
should be another referendum once the terms of Brexit are known.
Nobody is running away from independent but there are other
issues around what type of Brexit we are going to have, what the state
pension is going to be and people in Scotland are not daft. It's just
interesting that the SNP in all the years I've interviewed them are
reluctant to talk about independence now. I wonder if you are playing
down the issue in this election because the issue of independence,
the UK has voted to leave the EU, has not shifted the balance towards
Scottish independence in the way you had hoped for? No, I disagree. But
it hasn't shifted, has it? The SNP has said the only way Scotland will
become an independent country is if people vote for it in a referendum.
That's how we decide. That referendum has been voted for by the
Scottish Parliament and therefore it should happen. That's democracy for
them when we're talking about other issues in an election and we are not
an independent country yet, so the issues are about how we are governed
whilst we are part of the UK, it's important, so we are not a one trick
pony. We believe independence is the correct future for Scotland but
whilst we are not independent, we have to shape the way the UK is to
the benefit of Scotland. If other parties don't want to do that, they
have to accept that. Do you accept the dial has not moved towards
independence since the Brexit about? There's been a significant change in
how these things happen. People who voted yes, who would now vote no.
But has the dial shifted dramatically? Not really but with
not a campaign on independence and referendum campaign is where we
would shift that. If we started in 2012 when it was announced, it went
from 30% up to 45%. In this election, not just speaking to yes
voters but everyone. I'm not going to write off anybody because how
they voted in 2014 or 2015. I'm confident we can gauge with people
on the issues of this general election. When it comes to the
referendum we will engage on the issues of referendum. Just finally,
on Brexit, you obviously against it, and your request for Scotland to
stay in the single market have been written off by the Government as
unworkable. So how will the SNP actually be able to achieve giving
Scotland a place at the top table during Brexit negotiations? I think
that battle has not entirely been lost. We have an election that could
shape what happens I'm not going to take advantage how people vote in
the UK. I would assume the Government will stay as it is, that
would be unfair in terms of the electoral process. Let's try to
shape the attitudes in Scotland and elsewhere through the debate which
suggests" operation with our friends and neighbours in Europe is a good
thing. Not just for Scotland but for the UK as a whole. Let's get the
softest Brexit and make sure Scottish industries are given
priority. Island gas in Aberdeen is very important to the local economy.
It was a low priority in terms of the Tories are Brexit talks but I
would like to be high priority. It would cost 500 million quid to the
industry. Michael, looking at recent polling, I electoral calculus, it
indicates the Tories could take ten seats from the SNP coming from a
very low base as you know. But this would be an improvement. Is there
evidence to show Scottish voters are suddenly become Conservative again?
Isn't it really just about Brexit and therefore it could be short-term
lived if this surge turns out to be true? I think what has happened is a
lot of tactical voting in Scotland, four party system. When we lost our
seeds in 1997, we had 17.5% of the vote and the Liberals got ten seats.
People vote tactically for the a lot of Tories have voted in the
north-east tactically for the SNP to stop Labour. It is now completely
clear there's not going to be a Labour Government and people are
very, very upset by the SNP's campaign to refuse to accept the
result of a Scottish referendum and to imply that those people who voted
Brexit are somehow in favour of independence. You're picking up
those votes but has not been a wholesale conversion to a
Conservative loss. You've just been to Dumfries Galloway. On the local
election results, we would have won that seat. If you look at the local
election results where I live, the SNP council long-standing has been
replaced by a Tory one. There is a swing because people resent the fact
that they are being told we have to have another referendum and one of
the ironies of this election campaign is the two parties, the SNP
and liberals, who want more referendums, are the ones who don't
accept the results of. Let's look at some of the issues. You don't want
to be a one trick pony in the SNP so let's look at education. Scottish
Government statistics. They are pretty damning after a decade of SNP
rule, fewer than half of 13 and 14-year-olds in Scotland are able to
write properly. With a proportion of those functionally illiterate more
than doubling for the battered dreadful legacy. I think you can
pick statistics. Some are not good. You have not picked the ones which
say... Which ones say numerous the and literacy have improved under the
SNP? You can pick some would say things are not great and some things
which are improving and you have picked some statistics and you have
denied that. People are passing higher exams in record numbers, we
have the lowest youth unemployment in the UK, so there are some things
that need to be improved, nobody is denying that, but to suggest that
somehow the education system is failing an entire generation of
people in Scotland is incorrect. Just tell me on literacy and
numerous E, can you give me some positive numbers? To be clear, I'm
not denying those figures but I'm suggesting, if you look at certain
figures in isolation, and ignore other figures would suggest things
are not quite as bad as the picture you like to paint, then things, when
you look them in the round are not as bad. Does the SNP accept there
are issues which need to be addressed with education? Yes, and
that's why we are increasing money going into schools to close the gap
and yes, we are aware of these issues and addressing them. That's
not just look at certain things in isolation without accepting the
bigger picture which is not as dark as the picture you are painting.
Thank you very much for joining us. The Washington post is reporting
President Putin is ready to hand over records of President Trump's
talks with the Russian Foreign Minister to US lawmakers if the
White House approves. And they will show he did not hand over any secret
intelligence, says the Kremlin. Curiouser and curiouser. Shutting
down the story well, isn't it? No way this story will shut down.
Now, in the run up to the general election we've been taking a look
at some of the smaller parties hoping to win seats.
Today it's the turn of the Alliance for Green Socialism
and they are putting up three candidates.
The Alliance for Green Socialism was founded in 2003.
It wants to get rid of capitalism in favour of the environment.
It doesn't have a Twitter account and, as one of the smallest parties,
Its policies include putting a stop to global warming
with investment in renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure.
It wants to abandon what it calls endless economic growth.
And it seeks public ownership of utilities, big business
The Alliance for Green Socialism also wants to abolish the monarchy
and put an elected presidency in its place.
And the leader Mike Davies joins me now.
Welcome to the programme. Thanks for the invite. You have three
candidates. What are you hoping to achieve? We want to make our
policies and our views clear to as many people as possible. And since
those policies are not being put forward by any of the larger
parties, we are putting forward. What's the difference between the
Alliance for Green Socialism and the Green party? In the British
political spectrum, the Green party is to the left. That's a very
dubious statement. Really? The Green party, firstly, doesn't understand
the relationship between capitalism and environmental problems like
global warming. The Green party's attitude, and I'm quoting Caroline
Lucas, an archetypal supposedly left Green party member, she will sort
out the environment and then think about capitalism. They don't realise
you can't sort out the environment without thinking about capitalism at
the same time. You sound, if I may say so, a bit like the People's
Judaean front. You did use that analogy two years ago. Isn't that
the reason why you never make that much progress, because you're so
bitty differentiating yourself from each other, but on a number of
things you are on a broad agreement, so what you achieve more by being
together? Are you talking about the Labour Party or the Green party?
Both, actually. If you look at the Labour Party, basically it has no
interest in the environment. If you listen to Jeremy Corbyn speech, he
won't say a word about the environment. If you look at the
Labour Party manifesto, nothing in Jeremy's forward about the
environment. It has got 12 headings, none of which concern the
environment for the PS, if you dig down deep to word number 573 you
will find a dozen words on it, but basically they don't care and the
Green party, as I say, they don't appreciate that you cannot solve the
environmental problems, particularly global warming, when you've got an
economic system which pursues endless growth and immediate profit.
All right. How well do you think are going to do? I think we will come
close to form an excrement. LAUGHTER
On that realistic note... I want the first interview. Done.
There's just time before we go to find out the answer to our quiz.
The question was which book series did Theresa May reveal she was a fan
So, Michael, what's the correct answer?
Harry to is the correct answer. Thank you very much.
TEACHER: And I know you like reading those books.
She has read all of them. She's thinking, is there a trap?
The One O'Clock News is starting over on BBC One now.
I'll be here at noon tomorrow with all the big
Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn examine the Liberal Democrat manifesto with Conservative peer Michael Forsyth and Liberal Democrat leader in the House of Lords Dick Newby.
Plus the latest reaction to the Labour Party manifesto and an interview with the Alliance for Green Socialism.