27/04/2012 Newsnight


27/04/2012

The day's headlines with Gavin Esler. As Liam Fox sets out an alternative economic strategy, does the chancellor of the exchequer agree? Paul Mason is on the case.


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Transcript


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Tonight, Lord Leveson says it's not his job to decide the rights or

:00:13.:00:17.

wrongs of a minister's conduct. So where does that leave the future of

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the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt? If the inquiry into the conduct of

:00:21.:00:25.

the press is too much -- has too much on its plate to consider the

:00:25.:00:31.

rights and wrongs of how the BSkyB deal was handled, what now?

:00:31.:00:35.

If only there was someone independent whose job it is to

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investigate alleged breaches of the ministerial code. ( mobile phone

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rings) There is, that's lucky. If austerity hasn't taken Britain

:00:46.:00:50.

out of recession, is the answer more austerity? The former cabinet

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minister, Liam Fox, says the Government has to wake up and smell

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the coffee on more spending cuts or more regulation. We hear what might

:01:01.:01:04.

turn the economy and the Government's fortunes round from

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our guests. Good evening, sources in the

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Leveson Inquiry, are saying tonight that Lord Justice Leveson will not

:01:15.:01:18.

provide an early opportunity for the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt,

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to give evidence. Apparently Lord Justice Leveson believes it is not

:01:22.:01:27.

his role to judge ministerial conduct on the BSkyB takeover. Mr

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Hunt informed us today that he would make available all texts and

:01:31.:01:35.

e-mails involving his now departed special adviser, Adam Smith, to the

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Leveson Inquiry. But why not, some wondered, hand them over instead to

:01:41.:01:51.
:01:51.:01:51.

the man whose job it is to police ministers conduct, sir Alex Allan.

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Lord Justice Leveson has a lot on his plate, he already has to chew

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over the relationship between the press and the public, phone hacking

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and other behaviour, the relationship between press and

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police, press and politicians and the regulation of the press. Now,

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supposedly this groaning banquet has been added to is the fate of

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Jeremy Hunt. This is at least who should decide if the minister has

:02:18.:02:24.

done anything wrong. I will be handing over all my private texts

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and e-mails to my special adviser to the Leveson Inquiry, and I'm

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confident they will vindicate the position that I handled the BSkyB

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merger process with total integrity. The Government thought it had a

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significant ally in this view. Ministers were cheered by what Lord

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Justice Leveson had to say earlier in the week. Although I have seen

:02:44.:02:49.

requests for other inquiries and other investigations, it seems to

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me, that the better course is to allow this inquiry to proceed. When

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it is concluded, there will doubtless be opportunities for

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consideration to be given to any further investigation, that is then

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considered necessary. But there is a problem, critics point out that

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the Leveson Inquiry might not report for another year, and even

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then, might not specifically address the question of whether

:03:15.:03:20.

Jeremy Hunt has done anything wrong. If only there were someone

:03:20.:03:23.

independent whose job it is to investigate alleged breaches of the

:03:23.:03:33.

ministerial code. (mobile phone rings) there is,

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that's lucky. The independent adviser on ministerial interests is

:03:38.:03:43.

Sir Alex Allan, and according to the opposition, he's the perfect

:03:43.:03:48.

person to investigate Jeremy Hunt. It is a deriliction of the Prime

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Minister's duty, that instead of standing up for the public and

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proper ministerial behave yoir, he's having a cover-up, he refer it

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to the special adviser on ministerial interests, and

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recognise it is his duty as Prime Minister, and instead of hiding

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behind Lord Leveson and saying it is his responsibility, which it

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isn't, he should show his responsibility as Prime Minister,

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and make sure the ministerial code is enforced. In comparison to Lord

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Justice Leveson's groaning plate, sir Alex's is pretty empty, as far

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as investigations go. He has only just taken the job, but his

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predecessor did not look at Liam Fox's conduct. He only looked at

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one case, Mr Malik, in the last Government, who was cleared. The

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problem is, Sir Alex can't just go, he has to wait for the Prime

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Minister to serve him a case to investigate. It would be a pretty

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safe bet to think that Sir Alex would want to look into Jeremy Hunt,

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earlier this year he said he would resign if he felt like he was being

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bypassed. If I felt the hypothesis you put forward, that I was being

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bypassed in favour of the cabinet secretary doing investigations, yes,

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I would agree in those circumstances there wasn't any

:05:07.:05:17.
:05:17.:05:17.

point in my continuing in the role. If you bought folk catchia in

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Morrison's today -- folk catchia, you look away now.

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The Government plans for another investigation is to get Jeremy Hunt

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answering questions in front of the Leveson Inquiry as soon as possible.

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The Deputy Prime Minister, today, seemed to suggest, that his

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appearance was being brought forward. We have already got an

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agreement that Jeremy Hunt will go to the Leveson Inquiry pretty

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quickly, I would like that as quickly as possible. By all means

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let's look again after that has happened, and Jeremy Hunt has given

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his evidence to Leveson. Having a multitude of different inquiries

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and evidence sessions, they will just get crossed wires. Tonight a

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spokesman for the Leveson Inquiry disputed this, saying the judge had

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decided n fairness to the other witnesses, against allowing Jeremy

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Hunt to jump the queue. A source has added that Lord Justice Leveson

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is not the arbiter of the ministerial code, there is someone

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else who can do that job. An apparent reference to Sir Alex

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Allan. So tonight Jeremy Hunt is left spinning, waiting to see if

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his one rogue adviser defence will work any better for him than the

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one rogue reporter line worked for News International.

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The shadow Treasury spokesman, Christ Leslie is in Nottingham, and

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we will talk to him about the economy in a moment. I wondered

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what your thoughts were on the developments in the past hour?

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These are important developments, it is quite clear to most people

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that Jeremy Hunt should never have been given the job in the first

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place, of ajudicating on this really important matter of media

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business. He was always partial, he had a bias involved in it. So the

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idea that it is some surprise, Lord Leveson lef is saying, well it's

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not for him, we shouldn't really see that has unusual, ultimately it

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is for the Prime Minister, and this independent adviser, to be the

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arbiters of the Ministerial Code of Conduct. I think people will see

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this weekend, the Prime Minister ducking and dodging and trying to

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find any way to shirk the fact that this is going to come back to him.

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He has to take responsibility. And he should really, at the very least,

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let the independent adviser make a judgment on Jeremy Hunt's behaviour.

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Most people would say Hunt has to resign. What do you make of the

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crossed wires point that the Deputy Prime Minister was making. In other

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words, if we have a whole lot of other inquiries, and there is

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police investigations going on as well, you get this entirely

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entangled. Lord Leveson has been asked to look at it in its entirety,

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BSkyB is part of relations between Government and media, surely it is

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one for him? I think it is less of crossed wires, and more of the long

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grass, really. I think the Government are trying desperately

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to kick this forward, and to stop being so paralysed about this whole

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Jeremy Hunt affair. The difficulty is, of course, constitutionally it

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is the Prime Minister who has to take responsibility for his cabinet.

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And for their behaviour. Yes, there is an independent adviser, it seems

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as though he's waiting, twidling his thumbs for a case to be

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referred to him, if ever there was a clear example this is it.

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The traf vais of Jeremy Hunt are far from the only problem Britain

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has to face. Britain is back in recession. The former Defence

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Secretary, Liam Fox, has some ideas, which he claims, will turn things

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around, more cuts in public spending, reforms to employment

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laws, and eventually employers' tax cuts to stimulate growth. One

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newspaper speculated that George Osborne agrees with that analysis.

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We have been figuring out whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer

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still agrees with the Government's own stated economic policy.

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If there is one job that symbolises flexible Labour, it is that of a

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coffee barista, you work long hours and instantly replacable. At the

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London coffee festival today, they were competing for Barista of the

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Year. But on Tory tables, a blast from the man who would have us all

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work our socks off. Writing in the Telegraph, Liam Fox said that the

:09:33.:09:43.
:09:43.:09:56.

Lib Dems are blocking Britain's Basically, he means we all need to

:09:56.:10:06.
:10:06.:10:06.

start working like baristas. Liam Fox has a point, according to the

:10:06.:10:09.

theory the Government believes in, deficit reduction alone does not

:10:09.:10:13.

bring growth. You need a massive spurt of business investment to

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change the mix between public and private in the British economy. And

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they think what is stopping that is the rights that people at work

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accumulated under work. Time to hear from the editor of a newspaper

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for City of London types. George Osborne's focused on austerity,

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that has really been a combination of tax hikes and a bit of public

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spending reductions. He has done nothing to deregulate the economy,

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and done nothing to deregulate the labour market. Fox thinks he's a

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prisoner of the Liberal Democrats in that regard? That is one way of

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looking at it. Another way of looking at it is he's still stuck a

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bit in this consensus of the past 10-15 years. The Government

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commissioned this man, venture capitalists Adrian Beecroft to tell

:11:04.:11:11.

them how labour rights should be diluted, but he was received like a

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cold cup of cappuccino. The report said you get rid of the current

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unfair dismissal rules, and replace them by an automatic compensated

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dismissal system. In other words, if you want to get rid of someone,

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you have to pay them, say, three months, and then you can get rid of

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them. That is a key change. It appears this was blocked by the

:11:31.:11:34.

Liberal Democrats, and Vince Cable in particular. But, as always in

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economics, other flavours are available.

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There are some notable examples, for example, the United States,

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which is said to have a very flexible labour market. It still

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has getting on for 10% unemployment. So that there isn't a very close

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relationship between called flexibility of the labour market

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and their employment levels. The key factor in the end, is the level

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of demand in the economy. Labour, in the week of the double-

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dip recession, and The Hunt hunt scandal, this coalition spat is

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brisk to the mill. There is no demek date that to suggest the

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unfair dismissal regime in this country is the reason we have no

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growth and tipped back into recession. The reason we have

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dipped back into recession, because of the policies of this Government,

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is abracadabra sense of demand. This is a coffee -- A lack of

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demand. This is a coffee work place, if

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lots of places were as nimble as these, we would see more businesses

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formed and real growth? Let's be clear what Fox is talking about,

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he's talking about taking away the employment rights of workers, not

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normally unionised, a right to decent time off work, for holiday,

:12:57.:13:00.

their maternity rights, all those things that people watching this

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programme value, and feel plaiks a difference to them. If you asked --

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make as difference to them. If you asked the dynamic coffee businesses

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here today, what is your big problem, they will not say it is I

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can't sack people. They will tell you the problem they have got is

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there aren't people buying their coffee.

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So, a man who resigned, after irregularly employing his adviser,

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wants the rules on employing people relaxed. But Fox is still a senior

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and influential Tory, and his intervention was, reportedly,

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discussed and agreed with George Osborne. If so, one reading of the

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coffee grounds is this, the Chancellor himself must think his

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own policy is failing. To try to see if there is any

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consensus on how to turn the economy round, we have John Redwood,

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Lord Oakeshott, Labour's shadow Treasury spokesman, Chris Leslie.

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John Redwood, do you think the Chancellor has been too feeble and

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knows he has been too feeble? think more needs to be done,

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because the current state economy is not delivering the growth we

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need. I think most people agree, right left and centre, that the

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best way to bring the deficit down is to get a lot more people into

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jobs off benefits, so the benefit bill goes down and they become tax-

:14:22.:14:25.

payers. That is what we want to. Do I think the number one thing we

:14:25.:14:29.

need to do is to be much more dramatic in what we do about the

:14:29.:14:33.

banks. One of the reasons we don't have a pror recovery is we have

:14:34.:14:38.

very weak banks -- proper recovery, is we have very weak banks and

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under a regulatory cosh stopping them lending money, the Chancellor

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and the authorities need to sort that out quickly. It is all the

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Vince Cable and the Liberal Democrats fault, as we heard from

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Liam Fox, that you are stopping market reforms, and you personally

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are against more cuts, saying it would be economic madness and self-

:14:58.:15:00.

harm? That is to have another round of cuts, which is being talked

:15:00.:15:05.

about by the Treasury. That would be tree foolish. They say planned

:15:05.:15:14.

for another 5%, if -- very foolish. They say planned for another 5%.

:15:14.:15:17.

You have heard Nick Clegg saying today there is no need for any more

:15:17.:15:21.

cuts. Those in the Treasury trying to do it have been put back in

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their box. It is amazing to come on Newsnight, and not hear anyone

:15:24.:15:30.

being tougher on the banks than me. I agree with John. That is what is

:15:30.:15:34.

necessary, if you talk to small businessmen, far more will you tell

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you they are worried about not having the money to employ people,

:15:36.:15:40.

rather than sacking them on the spot. Liam Fox is completely

:15:40.:15:44.

missing the point. The point about the banks is they are under the two

:15:44.:15:47.

biggest banks for small businesses, under the direct control of the

:15:47.:15:50.

Treasury, and under both the Labour Government and under this

:15:50.:15:53.

Government, they are not dealing with them. They have got to get a

:15:53.:15:57.

grip and make them lend. Do you think Liam Fox is completely

:15:57.:16:01.

missing the point? That is what Lord Oakeshott just said. He wants

:16:01.:16:07.

deeper cuts, he wants labour market reform and the prospect of tax cuts

:16:07.:16:10.

for businesses in the future? agree with Liam Fox that we need to

:16:11.:16:17.

get the deficit down. This country is borrowing too much, it is living

:16:17.:16:21.

beyond its means. I believe the best way of getting the deficit

:16:21.:16:24.

down is deal with unemployment in the way they are beginning to

:16:24.:16:27.

discuss. I don't want to criticise Liam Fox, but most serious

:16:27.:16:31.

commentators on the economy, would identify, first of all, the issue

:16:31.:16:35.

of banking and credit availability, in the way they have been doing

:16:35.:16:39.

tonight. I'm all in favour of some deregulation, I think total costs

:16:39.:16:44.

on business are too high, and selective deregulation would be

:16:44.:16:46.

very helpful. More importantly is cheaper energy, I think the

:16:47.:16:52.

Chancellor is on to this. He now realises our energy is totally

:16:52.:16:55.

uncompetitive with the United States of America, if we could get

:16:55.:16:58.

cheaper energy we would have more industry. Whatever you think of

:16:58.:17:02.

Liam Fox's plan, at least it is a plan, and Labour's plan appears to

:17:02.:17:06.

be to do with what the Government would do, but not as quick or as

:17:06.:17:11.

deep, as if it is homeopathic cuts, you dilute it? It comes to

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something when Liam Fox's article is further to the right of even

:17:15.:17:19.

John Redwood's suggestion. Of course we have to deal with bank

:17:19.:17:24.

lending, as Lord Oakeshott was saying, the Government own these

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shares and not doing what it should do with the banks. Matthew is

:17:30.:17:32.

normally the spokesman for Vince Cable, I don't know if he's

:17:32.:17:36.

changing his mind on this. When Liam Fox and John Redwood talk

:17:36.:17:40.

about deregulation, let's decode that for a minute. It is an obscure

:17:40.:17:48.

phrase. What exactly do they mean, is it maternity or paternity rights,

:17:48.:17:52.

the minimum wage, you have to spell out what you mean by the supply

:17:52.:17:55.

side reforms, working people have been hammered enough by this

:17:55.:17:59.

Government so far. Do you think that there is a prospect of making

:17:59.:18:03.

it easier to fire people, and that is what some at least on the

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Conservative right would like, would that be acceptable? Can I

:18:06.:18:10.

just say, I speak for myself, since I resigned from the front bench.

:18:10.:18:14.

Obviously I have worked with Vince Cable for a long time. I certainly

:18:14.:18:17.

know what they are doing there. Does he share your view? You have

:18:17.:18:21.

asked, so let me tell you, it is not that the business department is

:18:21.:18:31.
:18:31.:18:31.

not looking at these reforms, there has already been a change, whereby

:18:31.:18:33.

people don't have employment protection rights for two years

:18:33.:18:38.

rather than one. That is sense pbl, because it takes longer to --

:18:38.:18:42.

sensible because it takes longer to work out. They are also serious

:18:42.:18:45.

about having protected discussions, so you can have a talk with your

:18:45.:18:51.

employee, and not risk having a great long time at the thrill

:18:51.:18:56.

tribunal. But in general, just a minute -- industrial tribunal. But

:18:56.:19:01.

in general, we do not agree, and I don't agree with the sack on the

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spot mentalty. We think most of Beecroft is wrong. I hope Vince

:19:07.:19:11.

shares your view, the idea of trying to make it easier to fire

:19:11.:19:16.

people as the solution to economic difficulties is ridiculous, it

:19:16.:19:20.

should be easier to hire people. Why don't we get a way of helping

:19:20.:19:22.

small firms with a national insurance contribution discount.

:19:22.:19:27.

That is the sort of thing we need to do. I think it is a bit rich

:19:27.:19:30.

from the Labour spokesman, they slammed up the national insurance

:19:30.:19:34.

in the last days in power. This Government has been trying to abate

:19:34.:19:38.

national insurance increase. What labour market deregulation would

:19:38.:19:42.

increase employment would you say? I'm very happy with what the

:19:42.:19:47.

Government is doing, I produced 43 deregulatory ideas before the

:19:47.:19:50.

election, none including the kind of things Liam Fox is talking about.

:19:50.:19:53.

I'm not arguing that case. What we have a serious problem in Britain

:19:53.:19:57.

with now is overtaxation, which have reached tax saturation point

:19:57.:20:01.

and gone beyond it T you can see now the income tax figures fell

:20:01.:20:05.

last year compared with the year before, because we are above the

:20:05.:20:09.

tax saturation level. Capital gains tax is going down. I think you need

:20:09.:20:12.

rates that raise more revenue, I think that is one of our big

:20:12.:20:18.

problems. We have gone away from Gordon Brown's very sensible rates

:20:18.:20:22.

of tax, to taxes at levels that don't seem to work. Anything we can

:20:22.:20:26.

do to produce less tax on people other than the very rich, would

:20:26.:20:29.

help demand. How about a temporary VAT cut to stimulate the economy,

:20:29.:20:33.

John. Do you think that would be a good idea. I prefer to let people

:20:33.:20:36.

keep more of what they earn, the Government has gone in that

:20:36.:20:39.

direction with raising the threshold. The more we can do to

:20:40.:20:43.

create more demand through giving people a break. People feel taxed

:20:43.:20:48.

to death. They have been very badly squeezed by tax and inflation.

:20:48.:20:50.

it your sense that you think the Chancellor would like to go further,

:20:50.:20:53.

either down the road you are suggesting, or the road that Liam

:20:53.:20:59.

Fox is suggesting, but he's either a prisoner of the Lib Dems, for

:20:59.:21:03.

foot dragging, or he can't get it through? There is always

:21:04.:21:07.

difficulties in a coalition, two different parties with two

:21:07.:21:10.

different traditions have different views, I dare say the Chancellor

:21:10.:21:16.

would like to deregulate more, he would like cheaper energy than the

:21:16.:21:19.

current policies, that would be helpful. These are not the big

:21:20.:21:23.

issues, what the Government needs is confidence to tackle, first of

:21:23.:21:26.

all the banking problem, and secondly, the way the private

:21:26.:21:30.

sector has been very badly squeezed through a very expensive public

:21:30.:21:34.

sector, when we do that we will make progress. We are not foot-

:21:34.:21:38.

dragging, we want to see as Liberal Democrats, is much more emphasis on

:21:38.:21:41.

capital spending, particularly capital spending on housing, where

:21:41.:21:47.

we could perfectly well be building 100,000 more houses a year, we

:21:47.:21:51.

could move on to Plan A+ then. would be the kind of week the

:21:51.:21:55.

coalition would like to forget again.

:21:55.:21:57.

Philip Collins and Gillian Tett, who is based in the United States

:21:57.:22:01.

for the Financial Times are here to reflect on what the Government can

:22:01.:22:07.

do to turn around the economy and its own fortune, along with Adam

:22:07.:22:13.

Smith. -- -- Iain Martin.

:22:13.:22:21.

Can he survive this? I think the Government has invested a lot of

:22:21.:22:27.

time and political energy in Jeremy Hunt, because if not they would

:22:27.:22:34.

focus on the Prime Minister. I don't think it is something that

:22:34.:22:40.

Leveson will deliver a report on the Culture Secretary in autumn.

:22:40.:22:43.

How would you analyse what Lord Leveson has been saying tonight, it

:22:43.:22:52.

looks like "not meg uv". I think Jeremy Hunt is in a precarious

:22:52.:22:55.

position, and I wouldn't say with confidence he would stay. But the

:22:55.:23:00.

release of his texts and e-mails suggests on the surface that he

:23:00.:23:03.

thinks there is nothing there that will necessarily incriminate him.

:23:03.:23:06.

He has two serious questions to answer, one about the parliamentary

:23:06.:23:10.

statement, which it appears he released before he gave it to a

:23:10.:23:13.

representative of news interle that. The second is whether there was an

:23:13.:23:19.

on going -- News International. The second is whether there was an a

:23:19.:23:21.

conversation of entirely another kind between his people and News

:23:21.:23:24.

International. It won't be enough to say he didn't know about it.

:23:25.:23:32.

What do you make of this, the shareholders do they care about it?

:23:32.:23:36.

The questioning of the Murdochs did get a lot of attention in the US,

:23:36.:23:40.

there are people who are pretty shocked by the whole thing. There

:23:41.:23:44.

are certainly lawyers scurrying around, working out whether it will

:23:44.:23:47.

extend into America, either because there are American citizens who

:23:47.:23:53.

have had their phones hacked on American soirblgs or because there

:23:53.:23:59.

is an act -- or, because there is an act that could damage News

:23:59.:24:04.

Corporation. The bigger point to look at is it adds to a sense of

:24:04.:24:10.

malaise about Government in generally. Not just in Britain? On

:24:10.:24:18.

that specific point do you think it has to go to Sir Alex Allan, it has

:24:18.:24:24.

to go to the guy who looks at ministerial conduct? Everybody

:24:24.:24:33.

takes the Mick oit of him, but he's a former very serious civil servant,

:24:33.:24:37.

who won't be happy at being mishandled by the Government. It is

:24:37.:24:41.

clear that breaches of the ministerial code don't fall under

:24:41.:24:45.

the remit of the Leveson Inquiry, and the Government is attempting to

:24:45.:24:48.

shift it on to Leveson, and good for him, he's fighting back.

:24:48.:24:54.

don't know if you call it Plan B or plan C or A plus, and other parts

:24:54.:24:59.

of it you heard in the discussions tonight. Are there other all

:24:59.:25:01.

tiornives for -- alternatives for the Government to implement now,

:25:01.:25:05.

other than what we are doing? Government is caught between a rock

:25:06.:25:09.

and a hard place, there are three important things happening in the

:25:09.:25:13.

last few weeks, first the mounting evidence the economy is slowing

:25:13.:25:19.

down in the UK, and the US and the eurozone, and the US prodowsing

:25:19.:25:22.

disappointing figures today. The markets have remained very nervous,

:25:22.:25:26.

we had breathing space earlier this year, once again there is a sense

:25:26.:25:30.

of profound unease in the markets. Thirdly, we are seeing increasing

:25:30.:25:35.

sign of voting revolt across the eurozone. You have had several

:25:35.:25:38.

countries where you have had incumbent Governments kicked out.

:25:38.:25:41.

You are seeing as economic pressures mount, is more and more

:25:41.:25:46.

political and social tension coming to the fore. Which is why things

:25:46.:25:50.

like the Leveson Inquiry is bad timing for the Government trying to

:25:50.:25:55.

maintain credibility. How damaging is it? In a funny way the Leveson

:25:55.:26:00.

Inquiry is a good thing, we have had a return to recession this week,

:26:00.:26:05.

if you said six months ago that the return to recession is item number

:26:05.:26:10.

three on the news, that would be a delighted Government. Leveson is a

:26:10.:26:13.

distraction from a more important story, which is the state of the

:26:13.:26:18.

British economy. The Government don't have much room for manoeuvre,

:26:18.:26:22.

they have staked so much on this policy, I would urge them not to

:26:22.:26:26.

double a failed strategy, as Liam Fox seems to be suggesting they. Do

:26:26.:26:28.

they haven't got the room the American Government had for a

:26:29.:26:32.

stimulus, and the inclination either to do so. I think they are

:26:32.:26:37.

stuck with Plan A, with a little bit of quasi-industrial policy,

:26:37.:26:42.

there is nowhere else to go. have to remember politically what

:26:42.:26:47.

was supposed to have happened now. The entire Government plan was

:26:47.:26:50.

predicated on recovery which should have happened now, and they

:26:50.:26:56.

backdated the cuts. The worse is still to come? By 2013,/14, wages

:26:56.:27:00.

would have recovered, sign of life in the employment market, a return

:27:00.:27:03.

of pre-election feel-good factor, that is the basis the Government

:27:04.:27:07.

designed their plan, now there will be cutting, most of it against the

:27:07.:27:10.

backdrop of a stagnant economy. That is politically very, very

:27:10.:27:16.

difficult. But they have two years to turn around, no election before

:27:16.:27:20.

that? It is difficult to see how you relaunch this Government F it

:27:20.:27:26.

was a majority Government you can imagine a majority Conservative or

:27:27.:27:31.

Labour Prime Minister say let's shift direction and try more

:27:31.:27:35.

radical policies. They are boxed in by coalition, most Tories would

:27:35.:27:41.

want to do, as you can see this morning with Fox working as an

:27:41.:27:44.

ambassador for Osbourne, it is difficult to know where they will

:27:44.:27:48.

go. They have a flatlining economy. They can say, look, 25%

:27:48.:27:53.

unemployment in Spain, we know the basket case of Greece. France may

:27:53.:27:59.

be going in a different direction, the Netherland Government has

:27:59.:28:04.

fallen down. They can point to the fact that the UK has not had a gilt

:28:04.:28:08.

market crisis which, frankly, is quite an achievement, given that

:28:08.:28:14.

groups two years ago saying that gilt was set on a bed of

:28:14.:28:22.

it implements the cuts and uses ways that don't involve spending

:28:22.:28:26.

money to try to boost demand, such as looking seriously at the

:28:26.:28:35.

provision of credit in the economy. And secondly, what can do -- can it

:28:35.:28:40.

do to keep social cohesion in doing that. There was a fascinating talk

:28:40.:28:46.

about who Governments are hitting and imposing pain on, it is not the

:28:46.:28:48.

same. That is tying the stories together. If you believe as a voter

:28:49.:28:52.

that politics is a game for rich people, and certain things going on

:28:52.:28:55.

behind the scenes, you are not sure what happens with big business and

:28:55.:28:58.

people like Mr Murdoch and Governments, that is one of the

:28:58.:29:04.

reasons you might be discontented, we might not all be -- we might all

:29:04.:29:08.

be in it together but we are not in the same both? The "feel-good

:29:08.:29:11.

factor" will be part of the incomes election, but the country feeling

:29:11.:29:13.

bad could be good for the Government. In the sense that the

:29:13.:29:17.

numbers have shifted on the polls, but the numbers which have

:29:17.:29:20.

stubbornly not shifted is where people are asked whether they are

:29:20.:29:23.

yet asked to trust the Labour Party with the economy. Until that

:29:23.:29:27.

changes, you haven't necessarily had a transitional moment in the

:29:27.:29:31.

political landscape. What is happening, I think, is in 2008

:29:31.:29:35.

finance went bust, now it is politics that is going bust.

:29:35.:29:40.

Essentially the kind of politics we have lived with since Clinton in

:29:40.:29:46.

1992, there is 20 years since The War Room, which Blair copied and

:29:46.:29:49.

Cameron copied rather ineptly, people can see the wiring and see

:29:49.:29:53.

through all of it. This is big trouble for Labour too, they will

:29:53.:29:56.

have to be committed in the next election to cuts. That has changed

:29:56.:30:00.

what they thought they would have to do. The failure of the deficit

:30:00.:30:03.

reduction programme is bad news for the as for the Government. We will

:30:03.:30:06.

have to leave it now. That's all from Newsnight tonight.

:30:06.:30:10.

The end of a week which you might think shows that politics and

:30:10.:30:13.

satire are now merging in Britain. It seems in Australia they might

:30:13.:30:19.

just be ahead of us, as this little gem of an interview shows.

:30:19.:30:23.

REPORTER: Do you think he should return to the Speaker's chair,

:30:23.:30:28.

while the civil claims are still being played out? I understand that

:30:28.:30:32.

the Prime Minister has addressed this in a press conference in

:30:32.:30:36.

Turkey in the last few yuers, I haven't seen what she said, I

:30:36.:30:42.

support what it is that she said. You haven't seen what she said.

:30:42.:30:45.

I support what my Prime Minister said. What is your view? My view is

:30:45.:30:48.

what the Prime Minister's view is. Surely you must have your own view

:30:48.:30:53.

on this? No, when you ask if I have my view on this, it is such a

:30:53.:30:57.

general question it invites me to go into lots of question. It is

:30:57.:31:01.

whether a speaker should be returned when he's facing civil

:31:01.:31:06.

claims of sexual harassment? It is an incredibly serious manner, there

:31:06.:31:10.

should be no tolerance for sexual harassment, in my view. But on the

:31:10.:31:13.

other hand, these matters have yet to be established, and I support

:31:13.:31:17.

what the Prime Minister has said. don't know what that is? I'm sure

:31:17.:31:27.
:31:27.:31:31.

Hello there, it isth's trying up a bit, a frosty start in Scotland,

:31:31.:31:34.

sunny spells in Northern Ireland and northern England. For the rest

:31:34.:31:38.

of the UK cloudy and showers. Rain develop anything the south-east.

:31:38.:31:41.

Not too bad if you have the sunshine across northern England.

:31:41.:31:46.

Into the Midland, a lot of cloud. The wet weather is developing

:31:46.:31:50.

across East Anglia and the south- east of England. The weather going

:31:50.:31:54.

downhill. Ahead of that we will find a few sharp showers breaking

:31:54.:31:56.

out across the West Country and the south west of England. Generally

:31:56.:32:02.

dry, I think, for Wales, there won't be an awful lot of sunshine.

:32:02.:32:06.

The west coast most favoured, it will be cool among the cloud. The

:32:06.:32:09.

sunshine in Northern Ireland, temperatures struggling to get into

:32:09.:32:13.

double figures, largely dry here. Across Scotland, wintry showers

:32:14.:32:16.

today. The odd shower around tomorrow, but for most of the

:32:16.:32:20.

country it will be dry with a good deal sunshine. Rather chilly.

:32:20.:32:24.

Elsewhere into Europe, we have got rain through the weekend, in

:32:24.:32:28.

Amsterdam and Paris, behind the rain we are drawing in some war air

:32:28.:32:33.

As Liam Fox sets out an alternative economic strategy, does the chancellor of the exchequer agree? Paul Mason is on the case.

David Grossman has the latest on the hunted culture secretary. Is the idea that Lord Leveson judge Jeremy Hunt's dealings with Rupert Murdoch tenable?