30/09/2013 Newsnight


30/09/2013

Jeremy Paxman interviews Boris Johnson at the Conservative Party Conference, and journalist Matthew d'Ancona goes behind-the-scenes of the Coalition. Plus the US fiscal cliff.


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Transcript


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Conservative Party is on the side of hard working people, there is a

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surprise, eh? Just in case anyone was confused, the Chancellor today

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promised to get tougher on the jobless. For the first time all

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long-term unemployed people, who are capable of work, will be

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required to do something in return for their benefits and to help them

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find work. The Boris Johnson fan club has turned out in force, he

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granted us an audience. I don't know how much a pint of milk costs,.

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Don't you think you should be concerned? How much is a loaf of

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bread? I'm not standing for election, you are.

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And Matthew D'Ancona tells the inside story of how the coalition

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began and its growing pains. George Osborne talk Duncan Smith wasn't up

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to the job and insufficient for cutting the fiscal deficit. Duncan

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Smith thought George Osborne was power mad. Also tonight can anyone

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account for why the US Government is about to shut up shop? I think

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it is time I explain to these good people, the upcoming fiscal cliff.

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Well I will try to tell you any way, why the US Government may well be

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about to shut down. The writer who humanised the

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turmoil in China with Wild Swans, Jung Chang on her latest work, the

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forbidding Empress Dowager. Good evening from the Conservative

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Party Conference in Manchester. The sun has started to rise above the

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hill was the way the Chancellor of the Exchequer put it today, no word

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on whether he had his hat on, but it was definitely not yet time for

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"hip, hip hurray", it is clear, why take a chance when things start to

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get better will be a key part of the Conservative pitch at the next

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election. There were policy announcements too about work for

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welfare, for example, to tickle the announcements too about work for

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toes of the diminishing number of party members. The key question the

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party has to resolve is how to appeal beyond that unusual group.

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Ed Miliband thinks he can ror ral some of them with promises on

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energy, UKIP is trying to run others off. What should the party's

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offer with. Our political editor reports. All very blue in the Tory

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Conference hall this morning, but would it stay true blue over the

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next few days. There were pressures on the Conservative leadership

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today. A redder Ed tugging one way, and a purplish Nigel in the other.

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Tory MPs had different demands of their party today. They wanted the

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Tory MPs had different demands of Chancellor to show he understood

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the threat of Ed Miliband's price freeze, it may sound left-wing but

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it is incredibly centrist. They also wanted to show they understood

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the Nigel Farage threat. Throughout the day the party leadership

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insisted they wouldn't be pulled in different directions by those two

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men. But events today suggested they were. First up, the Chancellor,

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would he take Ed Miliband seriously or mock him? What do you think? Any

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politician would love to tell you that they can wave a magic wand and

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freeze your Energy Bill, perhaps with all this talk of blackouts we

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have been a bit unfair on Ed Miliband's leadership. We used to

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think lights on, but nobody's home, turns out we're only half right!

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George Osborne launched a new economic target, believing

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credibility in the economy still a problem for the Labour Party. And

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that they won't match him. I can tell you today that when we have

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dealt with Labour's deficit we will have a surplus in good times as

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insurance against difficult times ahead. As the Tory leader looked on,

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there was action on the cost of living, a fuel duty freeze, not as

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an ambitious as Ed Miliband power freeze, but there was the Tory

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possibility of tax cuts. Yes, if the recovery ised sustained then

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families will start to feel -- recovery is sustained, then

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families will start to feel better off. What matters is low mortgage

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rates, jobs and low taxes. George Osborne has to attract swing voters

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from Ed Miliband, but he also has UKIP to contend with, denying

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Tories victory in other seats. It is some force. This was UKIP leader,

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Nigel Farage's arrival at conference today. We are not just a

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sub-set, a rump of the Tory euro- sceptics, we are a genuine force in

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British politics and we're not going to go away. Farrage had this

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morning suggested Tories and UKIP candidates could strike back at the

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local level, to unite the right- wing vote. One MP appeared tempted

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by the UKIP colours. Why are you wearing a purple tie? Why are you

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wearing a red jumper? I like it? I like it. I'm a Conservative

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candidate, and always will be, if another party wants to endorse me,

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that is fine. George Osborne today ruled this out, but UKIP's leader

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remained defiant. There is room at local level for co-operations with

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Jacob Rees-Mogg or Peter Bone. He just left the hall saying he

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wouldn't countenance for it, he wants you to support his ticket as

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a Conservative? They just show how desperately out of date they are.

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They can't recognise that British politics is changing, there is a

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new player out there. It isn't just wanting out of the European Union,

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but different domestic policy. If Nigel Farage seemed tetchy, senior

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Tories are also tetchy, they thought today, Monday, would be the

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day they demonstrated they can walk and chew gum at the same time. Come

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day they demonstrated they can walk up with policies that appeal as

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much to their right-leaning, UKIP flank, as the centrist voters. But

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because of Nigel Farage's hoopla, his attendance at many fringe

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events, which are continuing even now, that was all overshadowed.

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Margaret Thatcher wouldn't have given up on UKIPers, and nor has

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this Tory leadership, they announced this conference as tough

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love on welfare and Europe that she announced this conference as tough

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would like and UKIP supporters would also like. Just as her appeal

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was on the centre ground of would also like. Just as her appeal

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politics, the Tory high-ups hope these policies appeal to swing

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voters too. So Tories eye up the centre ground. This research,

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admittedly from a while ago analysed people who voted Tory in

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2010 but gone to Labour since. Of those a quarter say they will not

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definitely vote Labour, Conservatives think they can get

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them back. This evening these queues were not

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for red Ed, nor Purple Nigel, but Blonde Boris. They must deal with

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his popularity, and Nigel's sceptic, they have to look to their left,

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right and behind them. A little earlier I popped a couple of

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hundred yards over to the conference hotel to speak to the

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Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. The other day you said that the sight

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of the Syria vote had made you think about going back into

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parliament? Yeah, but this is like, it was perfectly true. I thought it

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was a great parliamentary occasion. I thought actually the Prime

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Minister did brilliantly in setting out his case and the leader of the

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opposition did rather less well. But it is perfectly true that I,

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what I said, for the first time in five years I experienced a spasam

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of nostalgia. Just as on a beautiful autumn day, with a blue

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sky and the going soft underfoot I sometimes wish I was playing rugby.

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But that doesn't mean that I'm going to take up rugby again does

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it, I might do. You said you would think about the Prime Ministership

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if the ball came loose from the scrum, are you still bound in the

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scrum? Shall I tell you where the ball is now? Do, and tell us what

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position you are playing too? I'm somewhere in the front forwards and

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...Is It a set piece scrum or what? What it is, it is a set piece scrum

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and we're going, we're driving for the line and the ball is at our

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feet, and the enemy is wheeling or trying desperately, pathetically,

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breaking the rules of the game to wheeling all over the place, we are

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going for a pushover try. Everybody in the Conservative Party I think

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now can see that we have less than two years to an election. I think

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seriously they can see that there is a risk, you know. That people

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who steered the ship of the economy on to the rocks will get back in

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charge. I think that would be a real pity. I speak as someone who

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is watching things really...You Think there is a real danger of it.

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You could lose the next election? You look at the polls and you look

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at the electoral mountain we have to climb and the Liberal Democrats'

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refusal to be democratic or indeed liberal and do the right thing and

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review the boundaries. That was completely wrong. The Tories have,

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it is grossly unjust the current electoral system. It will be

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difficult. But I think it is changing. I think the most

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remarkable political event of the last, or series of event in the

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last year or so has been the slow crumbling of the leader of the

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opposition as a viable replacement for David Cameron. I think

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genuinely, when I look at the options on the table for 2015 and

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you have got David Cameron, who I think fulfils the job brilliant low,

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or handing -- brilliantly, or handing the job back to Ed Miliband

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who was on the bridge of the ship when it hit the rocks in the most

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cataclysmic shipwreck of the last few years it is obvious. They have

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cataclysmic shipwreck of the last divineed that people are really

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feeling the pinch in terms of the cost of living? That is absolutely

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right. That is where the argument will turn. We Tories should be

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content to fight on that issue. You are the man who want to reduce the

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top rate of tax to 40p in the pound don't you? I'm also the man who cut

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council tax year after year in London. Which helps every household.

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Do you even know the cost of a pint of milk? About 80p or something

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like that. It is about 40p or something? One of those biggish

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ones. This is a classic Boris, changing the milk. I said a pint of

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milk. There you go, I don't know how much a pint of milk costs, so

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what? Don't you think you should if you are concerned about the cost of

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living? How much is a loaf of bread? I'm not standing for

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election! You are! Why don't you know how much a loaf of bread is. I

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-- I do but I'm not getting suckered into answering your

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question, that is your usual trick isn't it? No! The point is you just

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seem to be aligned on the wrong side? No, that is wrong. If you

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look at what the Conservatives are advocating it is, I think, much,

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much more sensible than the completely delusional policy that

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Ed Miliband came up with last week, which was a fool's gold. He said to

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people we can cut your bills and your costs but they know that those

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things will inevitably go up again. They also know, I think this is the

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crucial thing, that it will simply suppress the ability of the energy

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companies to make the investments that we need. That is an argument,

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by the way, that we won in London. I had exactly those sorts of

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disputes with my Labour predecessor, Ken Livingston, who said we can cut

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X and Y costs and cut fares I think he said 7% or something like that.

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And actually all that would have done is take billions out of our

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ability to invest in transport and we would then have to put the fares

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up any way to cope with the inevitable repairs. It was a false

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perspective. I think we can win. On that ground. You raised the subject

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of public spending, if you had £6hun million to spend, would you

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£600 million to spend, would you spend it on giving a tax break to

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married couple? Is it costing that? I think this is one of those

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questions where the Prime Minister made a firm commitment before the

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last election, he said he was going to do it, he has done it, and I

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greatly admire him for sticking to his promise. The answer to your

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question is no I wouldn't? You know perfectly well it is not, I'm not

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the Prime Minister. It is not my, it is not my, I'm not running these

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things. You wouldn't have done it? It is not my policy that I

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campaigned on. But what I admire in David Cameron is that this is

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something, this is something that he promised the people of this

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country and he has done it. If you were an MP of course you would have

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to support the Prime Minister? Wouldn't you? If we had some ham we

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could have ham and eggs, if we had eggs, I'm not an MP, I'm the Mayor

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of London. I didn't prom mull gate this policy that you mention. You

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personally don't believe in it? It is not my number one policy. I

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didn't say number one, but I wondered if you had the money to

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didn't say number one, but I spend would you spend it on giving

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the feckless husband rather than the loyal and honest cohabity? The

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Prime Minister said he would do it, the loyal and honest cohabity? The

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he has done it, give him the credit. What happens after the Mayor of

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London? That is in about three years time, that is a long time.

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And as I have said before, you know, it might be that I wanted to have a

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career in writing romantic fiction, for instance. Under the...It Is

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possible, I suppose. Under RosieM Banks. In Matthew D'Ancona's book,

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In The Together, he quotes a conversation between you and David

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Cameron, you say to Cameron, this is your last election, you want to

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go and earn some money? If someone said that, and pointed that out to

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me earlier this evening, Matthew is a brilliant journalist and writer.

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me earlier this evening, Matthew is I don't remember saying that. It is

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conceivable, but I don't remember saying that. David Cameron replies

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apparently "That's bollocks"! Is it. The whole story? The idea that what

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you want to do when you leave the mayorality of London is to go and

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make some money. You have just said, in case you weren't paying

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attention that I was one thing I in case you weren't paying

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had thought of doing perhaps in a vain and unrealistic way was

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romantic fiction, glossy novels with embossed covers with pictures

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of orchids. Perhaps adopting a pseudonym, so your hand might waver

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over it. You won't make a fortune out of that? Try something else

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then. Something will crop up. You have definitely ruled out the idea

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of any return to parliament? I have got a very heavy and demanding job

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to do. For two-and-a-half years? I'm doing it to the best of my

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argument, I think we are achieving a great deal in London. I'm

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determined...Could You be mayor and MP at the same time? I'm determined

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to fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds worth of distance run

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and get my job done. We have got a huge housing crisis in London, I

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have to win all sorts of arguments, as you know, with the Treasury

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about funding for London, about improving transport in London.

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These are vital, vital things for the future of the greatest city on

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earth. I think that to most of our viewers, Jeremy, those faithful few

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who have not turned off in disgust, I think for most of our viewers

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that is what they think I should be concentrating on. Concentrating on,

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yes, but can you be an MP and Mayor of London at the same time? I think

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John Wilks was, he's not possibly the best. Interesting role model

:18:19.:18:31.

though? Well. I think I have to do the job to the best of my argument.

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So it is very interesting, you have danced around the subject but not

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ruled it out? What haven't I ruled out, being an MP and being Mayor of

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ruled it out? What haven't I ruled London at the same time. I want to

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get on with my job being Mayor London at the same time. I want to

:18:48.:18:52.

London. I don't think you have ruled it out? I have ruled it out.

:18:52.:18:56.

Why don't you say, no I couldn't, I couldn't do both? I did do both by

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the way for a while. As did is it Ken Livingston? But, you know, this

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is now a super-mass at thiscated subject. Masticate a bit more, spit

:19:16.:19:24.

it out. I want to get on with my job of running the city. Just

:19:24.:19:35.

before the election George Osborne made a speech in this conference

:19:35.:19:39.

hall where he repeated the phrase "we're all in this together", who

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are you kidding. But we discovered after the vote how pressent he had

:19:44.:19:51.

been. If they wanted a stab at it, they had to be in it with somebody

:19:51.:19:54.

else. The Liberal Democrats were the natural group to say if they

:19:54.:20:00.

weren't natural bet fellows is an understatement. Matthew D'Ancona,

:20:00.:20:04.

for his first broadcast interview, has written a book about a strange

:20:04.:20:10.

forced marriage. This book being about politics, this report

:20:10.:20:15.

contains strong language and flash photography. A doomsday message in

:20:15.:20:20.

public. Behind the scenes a different story. On election night,

:20:20.:20:24.

Nicholas Boles, a near parliamentary candidate, but in

:20:24.:20:29.

practice a key player, sent a highly confidential memo to George

:20:29.:20:33.

Osborne, David Cameron and others arguing strongly for coalition.

:20:33.:20:46.

Cameron, his hand forced by the electorate duly delivered. The dawn

:20:46.:20:55.

of a new politics, how often have we heard that before? Relatively

:20:55.:20:58.

speaking the formation of the cabinet was easy. Boris Johnson, I

:20:58.:21:03.

gathered, considered it a triumph of the public school system, a

:21:03.:21:07.

system of which he was a product, as was David Cameron, George

:21:07.:21:09.

Osborne, not to mention new boy Nick Clegg.

:21:09.:21:17.

After the drama of the coalition negotiations, Clegg's strategic

:21:17.:21:20.

task was to turn the Lib Dems from a party of protest into a party of

:21:20.:21:24.

Government. This wouldn't be easy. First there was the ignominy of the

:21:24.:21:27.

U-turn on tuition fees. You First there was the ignominy of the

:21:27.:21:30.

completely sold out your principles and you have lied to your voters,

:21:30.:21:35.

how could you do that? And then the catastrophic defeat in the

:21:35.:21:38.

referendum on the alternative vote. Looking back on those months Clegg

:21:38.:21:42.

confideed in private that he wasn't really leading. Clegg had watched

:21:42.:21:51.

as his Tory counterparts had swung behind the no campaign with

:21:51.:21:53.

devastating consequences for him. It was the end of innocence. In the

:21:53.:21:58.

words of one senior Downing Street official, "Nick realised what we're

:21:58.:22:03.

like, what Tories are capable of." As another Cameron ally put it to

:22:03.:22:09.

me, "the rose garden had been well and truly napalmed". The joists of

:22:09.:22:19.

coalition freakly groaned and -- frequently frowned and creeked. But

:22:19.:22:23.

Clegg always felt that he was the fall guy, the person who took the

:22:23.:22:27.

blame for the disagreements. As he told one

:22:27.:22:35.

In all the rows with Cameron over Europe, welfare and Lords reform,

:22:35.:22:42.

the backdrop was always the Lib Dems' terror of electoral

:22:42.:22:45.

destruction. When he withdrew support for the boundary review, a

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review that might well have delivered the Conservatives victory

:22:49.:22:53.

in the 2015 election, Clegg was quite clear.

:22:53.:22:59.

"This is an existential threat sorry, you should have thought of

:22:59.:23:03.

this before the AV Reverend come". The message to Cameron was an

:23:03.:23:08.

abject terror that Nick Clegg couldn't admit in public. He often

:23:08.:23:11.

said to his friends that he thought he would be gone in three months.

:23:11.:23:15.

Today Clegg it still standing, but the experience of the coalition has

:23:16.:23:20.

been one of the perils as well as the possibilities of Government.

:23:20.:23:23.

Under the canvas of the coalition's the possibilities of Government.

:23:23.:23:28.

big tent there was room for plenty of punch-ups, few as bitter as the

:23:28.:23:33.

feud over welfare between George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith the

:23:33.:23:37.

Work and Pensions Secretary. George Osborne thought Iain Duncan Smith

:23:37.:23:40.

wasn't up for the job and inferior to business of cutting the deficit.

:23:40.:23:43.

Iain Duncan Smith thought George Osborne was power mad, and enjoyed

:23:43.:23:48.

Lording it over a former Conservative leader. As one

:23:48.:23:52.

familiar with IDS's sensitivities put to me, imagine waking up one

:23:52.:23:58.

morning and finding out Anta Dec are running the -- Ant and Dec are

:23:58.:24:05.

running the country?! The Conservatives' first conference in

:24:05.:24:08.

power for 14 years ought to have been a jab worry, but it was marred

:24:08.:24:14.

by Iain Duncan Smith's fury when George Osborne announced that child

:24:15.:24:20.

tax-payers would lose. I thought we were a team, if we are going to do

:24:20.:24:25.

this, we have to work as a team. The Prime Minister promised to talk

:24:25.:24:29.

to George, George Osborne thought that IDS lacked the IC. You see Ian

:24:29.:24:34.

giving presentation and realise he's not clever enough. And was too

:24:34.:24:41.

squeamish for austerity? He opposed every cut. Iain Duncan Smith

:24:42.:24:44.

resisted George Osborne's efforts to get him reshuffled. The contempt

:24:45.:24:49.

between the two men hardened into one of the coalition's structural

:24:49.:24:56.

problems. Committees proliferated under the coalition, informal

:24:56.:24:59.

negotiation and personal chemistry became more important if anything.

:25:00.:25:03.

I was repeatedly told that there were only three people who could

:25:03.:25:07.

change David Cameron's mind, George Osborne, Andy Coulson, his Director

:25:07.:25:12.

of Communications and Steve Hilton, his maverick senior adviser, now on

:25:12.:25:16.

sabbatical in California. There is only so much that can be said about

:25:16.:25:20.

Andy Coulson, who left his post in January 2011 and now faces charges

:25:20.:25:24.

over alleged phone hacking when he was editor of the News of the World.

:25:24.:25:33.

Coulson offered to resign in July 2009 when new and more serious

:25:33.:25:38.

allegations started to appear in the papers. But Cameron hung on to

:25:38.:25:44.

his comms magician for another year-and-a-half, with politically

:25:44.:25:49.

disastrous consequences. Hilton was the PM's other addiction, brilliant,

:25:49.:25:55.

and unpredictable. His cfrgs were extraordinary. In May 2012 he

:25:55.:25:59.

screamed at the head of the home Civil Service over what Hilton had

:25:59.:26:05.

said about Civil Service cuts. He was reproached on more than one

:26:05.:26:09.

occasion by Chief of Staff, Edward Llewellyn. Look you have to watch

:26:09.:26:16.

it, we don't want that sort of reputation. What did Cameron want,

:26:16.:26:18.

he backed enough Hilton, but not reputation. What did Cameron want,

:26:18.:26:22.

Hilton felt to truly transform the country. Before departing on

:26:22.:26:25.

sabbatical in California, he toyed with the idea of becoming Boris

:26:25.:26:32.

Johnson's Deputy Mayor, a provocation too far, both men

:26:32.:26:36.

decided. It is a curiosity of the coalition that no account of its

:26:36.:26:40.

inner life is complete without mentioning a figure who operated

:26:40.:26:44.

entirely outside its borders as Mayor of London. When Cameron

:26:44.:26:52.

stopped where Tory MPs fell, Boris rose, on he positioned himself as

:26:52.:26:57.

more euro-sceptic and pro-growth. Re-elected as London mayor in 2012,

:26:57.:27:01.

he turned the Olympic games into the greatest leadership campaign

:27:01.:27:04.

launch in history. Hoovering up credit as he put to one friend. His

:27:04.:27:09.

ambition to be Prime Minister was increasingly overt. To one friend

:27:09.:27:14.

he announced his intention to drive a T-54 into Number Ten. On the

:27:14.:27:18.

night of his second victory over Ken Livingston, Boris had said to

:27:19.:27:22.

Cameron. This is my last election, Dave, I want to go and earn some

:27:22.:27:29.

money. Cameron replied simply and accurately. That is bollocks! A

:27:29.:27:35.

Boris speech or seemingly off the cuff remark would illicit a sharp

:27:35.:27:40.

response from Cameron, an e-mail, or sharp Texas he told friends.

:27:40.:27:45.

Dave was pretty bloody direct. According to one aide Boris would

:27:45.:27:50.

end up apologising. Mate, sorry, I messed up. The relationship between

:27:50.:27:54.

the two men remains the coalition's most fascinating story. In

:27:54.:27:58.

Manchester, as ever, it is one of the main talking points, is Boris

:27:58.:28:02.

the Tory Messiah or has he peaked too soon. Creeking, groaning,

:28:02.:28:06.

splutering, the coalition still stands, it has weathered economic

:28:06.:28:11.

hardship, war overseas, an NHS cry and much else. The romance of the

:28:11.:28:17.

rose garden has gone. What remains is a new form of governing, flawed

:28:17.:28:25.

but surprisingly robust. When Nick Clegg gets down, his wife Miriam

:28:25.:28:29.

tells him, the only way to get back at them is to show them coalition

:28:29.:28:34.

can work. To that extent at least, he and his colleagues seem to have

:28:34.:28:44.

proved their point. Matthew D'Ancona is here to chew over the

:28:44.:28:50.

turbulent history and future of the coalition, and with him are the

:28:50.:28:54.

journalists Rachel Sylveter and Iain Martin. George Osborne says he

:28:54.:28:58.

doesn't think that Iain Duncan Smith is stupid, David Cameron says

:28:58.:29:03.

he doesn't regret the gay marriage idea. The Cameron family are

:29:03.:29:06.

furious about the suggestion that they don't like the Downing Street

:29:06.:29:09.

cat. How much of this is true?. It is all true. I have to say whilst I

:29:09.:29:15.

cat. How much of this is true?. It wouldn't accuse anyone of having

:29:15.:29:17.

their pants on fire, there is a lot of smoldering going on. There is a

:29:17.:29:21.

pattern here, when a journalist writes a book like this, which you

:29:21.:29:27.

observed in the Diana and new Labour case, there is lots of

:29:27.:29:30.

revelations and a pattern of denial. The memoirs come out and we realise

:29:30.:29:34.

it was even worse than the original reports. I think all of those

:29:34.:29:41.

stories are 100% true. How different would Government have

:29:41.:29:44.

been if it hadn't been a coalition Government since the last election?

:29:44.:29:47.

My point in the book is that coalition is a completely new form

:29:47.:29:50.

of Government in the form that they are practising it. I think minority

:29:50.:29:55.

Government would have just been a form of coalition forming every day.

:29:55.:29:58.

It would have been untenable. So what you see here is a flawed riven,

:29:58.:30:05.

conflict -splattered form of Government, but none the less,

:30:05.:30:10.

something that has endured. Those are the two themes. This is a

:30:10.:30:14.

Government that is both a disaster and huge triumph. How close to

:30:14.:30:17.

collapse did it ever come? I think one of the things I say in the book

:30:17.:30:23.

is that the conflict over the Lords last year was quoted to me by one

:30:23.:30:30.

Number Ten aide as being our Cuba crisis. The point about that was

:30:31.:30:34.

they lost touch with each other. Coalitions only work if each side

:30:34.:30:39.

is very, very frank. At that point they weren't. Rachel Sylveter, the

:30:39.:30:42.

feeling within the party about they weren't. Rachel Sylveter, the

:30:42.:30:46.

coalition now? Which party? Within the Conservative Party? There is

:30:46.:30:49.

this kind of mismatch, I think, between what the people at the top

:30:49.:30:53.

feel and what both the tribes think. On both the Conservative side and

:30:53.:30:57.

the Lib Dem side the activists and quite a lot of the MPs don't like

:30:57.:31:01.

it. Particularly for the Tories. These MPs might have expected to be

:31:01.:31:04.

ministers if there wasn't a coalition. But at the top,

:31:04.:31:08.

particularly among the Conservative moderniser there is almost a

:31:08.:31:11.

feeling that coalition is better than single-party Government. I

:31:11.:31:14.

remember having a dinner with a cabinet minister, a year after the

:31:14.:31:18.

coalition of formed, and publicly everything was absolutely falling

:31:18.:31:21.

out over the AV referendum and this minister said to me, you know even

:31:21.:31:26.

if we have a majority at the next election we should think about

:31:26.:31:28.

going into coalition and inviting the Lib Dems into cabinet. I know

:31:28.:31:35.

you have been busy with the book about Fred Goodwin and the banking

:31:35.:31:41.

crisis you are close to a lot of the party, what is your sense of

:31:41.:31:44.

feeling about the coalition with the Lib Dems? I can see why the

:31:44.:31:48.

coalition is popular with those inside it and they are enjoying

:31:48.:31:51.

power and wielding power. They are in politics to be in power. But

:31:51.:31:56.

ultimately it has been calamitous for the Conservative Party. The

:31:56.:32:00.

membership has halved under David Cameron's leadership and the

:32:00.:32:06.

politics of coalition it has forced Cameron into positions which are

:32:06.:32:10.

directly linked and related to that, to people leaving and going to UKIP.

:32:10.:32:16.

It is forced hip, and tied his hands on Europe specifically, it

:32:16.:32:19.

has forced him into the politics of gay marriage, and the Conservative

:32:19.:32:23.

Party is now heading for having around 100,000 members. Its

:32:23.:32:27.

activist base has been hollowed out, it has been a marvellous wheeze for

:32:27.:32:32.

those running it but not for the party. Supposing there is any

:32:32.:32:35.

similar result after the next election, there will be another

:32:35.:32:39.

coalition, is there an appetite for it? At the apex there is, testify

:32:39.:32:42.

infinitely, I think Cameron and Clegg have talked about it, I think

:32:42.:32:46.

that Clegg, who is by no means representative of his whole party

:32:46.:32:49.

would definitely favour a coalition with the Tories over one with Ed

:32:50.:32:54.

Miliband. Whether it is possible is another question, to do it this

:32:54.:32:57.

time Cameron would have to get, and he says this in the book, he would

:32:57.:33:01.

have to get the permission of his party. I think Ian reflects a good

:33:01.:33:05.

point, I'm not sure that they would go for it. On the other hand, how

:33:05.:33:09.

else is he going to get, if he doesn't get a majority to the

:33:09.:33:12.

position wants to be, which is to have a referendum on Europe,

:33:12.:33:16.

continue with fiscal reform and so on. What is your sense about this?

:33:16.:33:19.

I don't think they will allow him to have another coalition. I think,

:33:19.:33:24.

he has been lead, we forget how long he has been leader of the Tory

:33:24.:33:27.

Party. He has been leader this autumn for eight years. And at

:33:27.:33:32.

eight years he still hasn't won his first general election, if he falls

:33:32.:33:36.

short again I think he will be in quite serious trouble. I don't

:33:36.:33:39.

think they will give him the license that they gave him in the

:33:39.:33:43.

hours and days immediately after the last election. What's your

:33:43.:33:47.

sense of another coalition? I think it has to be quite likely. I think

:33:47.:33:51.

the last few years have changed the way in which all the parties have

:33:51.:33:55.

had to think about coalition, hung parliaments, everyone before the

:33:55.:33:59.

last election said it would be a total disaster. Matthew was saying

:33:59.:34:03.

he thought it was more likely than a coalition between Clegg and Ed

:34:03.:34:07.

Miliband, do you agree with that? It completely depends on the

:34:07.:34:16.

numbers. I think there would be an issue whether the Labour Party

:34:16.:34:18.

would agree to go into coalition with Clegg. I don't think they want

:34:18.:34:21.

to. I suspect that the Labour Party has learned the lesson from

:34:21.:34:25.

Cameron's experience with the Conservative Party and I think they

:34:25.:34:29.

are determined to avoid a coalition, if possible. Certainly with Clegg.

:34:29.:34:34.

Or even with someone he will. The Lib Dem is banging on about how it

:34:34.:34:38.

has changed the nature of politics in Britain. Do you three get a

:34:38.:34:41.

sense it has changed the nature of politics? I think it has, actually.

:34:41.:34:46.

If you compare to a minority administration, compared to the way

:34:46.:34:50.

John Major had to govern for those years, towards the end it was utter

:34:50.:34:54.

chaos. Compared even to the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown falling outs

:34:54.:34:57.

during new Labour. The coalition has been relatively stable, it has

:34:57.:35:01.

worked, I would say. Politics is also becoming more plural. The

:35:01.:35:05.

coalition is the product of a new politics, not the engine. You are

:35:05.:35:09.

getting a situation where the two main parties are no longer as

:35:09.:35:13.

dominant as they were. That is a statistical fact, you are getting

:35:13.:35:17.

new parties like UKIP being taken seriously, added to that you have a

:35:17.:35:21.

situation where people who are completely outside parliament, like

:35:21.:35:22.

situation where people who are Boris Johnson, are very important

:35:22.:35:26.

to the political landscapement we are talking about Boris Johnson,

:35:26.:35:29.

he's not an MP. But politics are not the same as it was in the

:35:29.:35:34.

Thatcher era. That is the really important learning from this

:35:34.:35:36.

conference is, as much as it has been dominated by her speck tr it,

:35:36.:35:42.

we are not in 19 -- specter. We are not in 1987. Jo I think this is not

:35:42.:35:51.

with Thatcher but Reagan. The core mistake modernisers made ten, eight

:35:51.:35:55.

years ago, they didn't behave like Reagan, and do what John Howard did,

:35:55.:36:01.

Stephen Harper has done in Australia. In those countries where

:36:01.:36:06.

the centre right wins, you begin by looking in your core support. And

:36:06.:36:11.

then building out into floating voter land. The modernisers started

:36:11.:36:17.

by essentially declaring war on their own base. They are reaping

:36:17.:36:23.

what they sow here. UKIP are polling 10%, they won't get that in

:36:23.:36:25.

what they sow here. UKIP are a general election, but if they get

:36:25.:36:30.

6%, they only got 3% last year, that is two million votes. Carnage

:36:30.:36:36.

for the Tories. All parties are a coalition, you can have the Tories

:36:36.:36:42.

or Lib Dems or the modernisers or the traditionalists, a lot of

:36:42.:36:45.

modernisers would prefer coalition with the Lib Dems. Those members

:36:45.:36:48.

and activists that have left the Conservative Party, people are not

:36:48.:36:51.

stupid. They have left because they realise they are not liked and the

:36:51.:36:56.

leadership despises them. The trouble is if you tack too far to

:36:57.:37:00.

get the UKIP people back you lose more people in the centre. Thank

:37:00.:37:04.

you very much indeed. Back to Gavin in London.

:37:04.:37:10.

Two animals are famous for jumping off cliffs, lemmings and the

:37:10.:37:12.

gathering swine of the Bible. Tonight we have a third possible

:37:12.:37:16.

contender, the United States Government. Admit night American

:37:16.:37:19.

time the inability of Republicans in Congress to come to an agreement

:37:19.:37:24.

with Democrats or the Obama administration may lead to the US

:37:25.:37:28.

Government closing down. They are on the brink of the called fiscal

:37:28.:37:30.

cliff. Our diplomatic editor is on the brink of the called fiscal

:37:30.:37:33.

here with the details. How on earth did they get to this point? You

:37:33.:37:38.

know how it is, Congress holds the purse strings. There is a situation

:37:38.:37:41.

where you have a democratic majority in the Senate, the Upper

:37:41.:37:46.

House, and the Republicans control The House I Live In of

:37:46.:37:48.

representatives. They have managed to push it down the ood -- House of

:37:48.:37:53.

Representatives, they have managed to push it down the road a few

:37:53.:37:58.

times. The issue of healthcare reform is a totem, they want to

:37:58.:38:02.

take it, and the Democrats don't want to let them. We are a few

:38:02.:38:07.

hours away from crisis coming to fruition. The fiscal cliff and

:38:07.:38:11.

earlier this evening President Obama weighed in. It does not have

:38:11.:38:18.

to happen. All of this is entirely preventable if the House chooses to

:38:18.:38:29.

do what the Senate has already done. That is the simple fact of funding

:38:29.:38:34.

our Government and not making demands in the process. If it

:38:34.:38:38.

happens at midnight American time, what are the consequences? Much of

:38:38.:38:43.

federal Government, for the first time in 17 years will shut down. If

:38:43.:38:48.

you are planning a holiday, don't count on being able to visit y

:38:48.:38:57.

cemetery park, or the parks agencies will completely such down.

:38:57.:39:02.

The post will keep going, the Armed Forces will stay on operations, but

:39:02.:39:06.

not being paid for the time being. Throughout federal Government as a

:39:06.:39:09.

whole, if you look across federal Government, the number of people

:39:09.:39:13.

who will stop working from midnight, if this goes ahead is several

:39:13.:39:17.

hundred thousand. There will still be some in key agencies carrying on,

:39:17.:39:22.

but many of them not being paid at all. When you actually put the

:39:22.:39:26.

economic effect of that into the current picture, that will have an

:39:26.:39:31.

equivalent effect to cutting the US GDP by 0.15% per week. The lack of

:39:31.:39:39.

that money going into the economy. The slowdown in federal activity,

:39:39.:39:43.

it will have that effect. Week on week, if that continued, then it

:39:43.:39:48.

would get to a more serious crisis, empty pockets, default, the US

:39:48.:39:52.

would be unable to honour its bonds. That is the really serious thing

:39:52.:39:56.

which if they were to push it that far could come further down the

:39:56.:40:01.

road. Most people think the Republicans in the House will not

:40:01.:40:05.

let it go that far. They would fear the political damage as much as

:40:05.:40:14.

anyone else. We're joined now from Capitol Hill. Is it going to happen.

:40:14.:40:19.

Are they going to push themselves off the fiscal cliff? I think it is,

:40:19.:40:24.

there is only six hours to go now, and the House are meeting, they

:40:24.:40:29.

will have a vote later on, on what the Senate has sent them back. They

:40:29.:40:33.

have made it quite clear they still want the Republicans in the House,

:40:33.:40:38.

they still want a link between funding the Government and doing

:40:38.:40:42.

some sort of damage to Obamacare. The President has been

:40:42.:40:45.

extraordinarily clear, he spoke within the last hour and he and the

:40:45.:40:48.

Democrats are playing hard ball about this. For the reason that

:40:48.:40:54.

Mark just set out. If they actually tampered with the debt limit. If

:40:54.:40:59.

the Republicans tried to link that to other causes it would be very

:40:59.:41:03.

dangerous indeed. They want to fight now on less dangerous ground.

:41:03.:41:07.

It does look like it is heading for a shutdown. Jung Chang is best

:41:07.:41:17.

known for Wild Swans, the story of three generations of women in her

:41:17.:41:22.

family, and putting a human face on China.

:41:22.:41:25.

Now in her latest book she has turned to a woman who had the most

:41:25.:41:30.

formidable reputation, but perhaps more than any one individual helped

:41:30.:41:34.

pull 19th century China towards the modern age. I spoke to Jung Chang

:41:35.:41:39.

before we came on air. I'm curious, first of all, as to what it was

:41:39.:41:43.

that attracted you to the subject of the Empress Dowager. She's

:41:43.:41:51.

usually portrayed as some kind of monster? Monsters can be very good

:41:51.:41:55.

subjects, Mao was a monster but good subject. He was my previous

:41:55.:42:04.

subject. I first got interested in the Empress Dowager when

:42:04.:42:08.

researching Wild Swans more than 20 years ago. She was the person who

:42:08.:42:12.

banned the foot binding, crushing and binding women's feet to make

:42:12.:42:18.

them tiny. My grandmother had bound feet, she lived in pain the rest of

:42:18.:42:24.

her life. I was astonished that the Empress Dowager banned it. Then

:42:25.:42:30.

when I was researching the biography of Mao, I was astonished

:42:30.:42:37.

again how, by how many opportunities and freedom Mao had

:42:37.:42:45.

in his youth and childhood under the Empress Dowager. He was a

:42:45.:42:51.

peasant lad, but he could get scholarships and go abroad if he

:42:51.:42:54.

wanted to. He could write for newspapers whatever he wanted to

:42:54.:43:00.

write. He could travel around the country with girlfriends and

:43:00.:43:04.

checking into hotels. All these freedom, I couldn't dream of when I

:43:04.:43:09.

was growing up under Mao. One of the reasons we love looking at

:43:09.:43:13.

historical biographers is what it also tell us about today and we see

:43:13.:43:17.

continuity or differences between her and Mao and Mao growing up when

:43:17.:43:22.

she ruled, effectively ruled China. What do you think of today's elites

:43:22.:43:30.

and whether they are, they are obviously different people coming

:43:30.:43:35.

from a different class. But do they seem super-rich and out-of-touch

:43:35.:43:37.

perhaps with the lives of ordinary people in the way that people at

:43:37.:43:43.

the top were in the days of the Empress Dowager? I think they were

:43:43.:43:48.

not out-of-touch in the Empress Dowager's time, nor are they out-

:43:48.:43:55.

of-touch with today's China. It is a matter of choice. People often

:43:55.:44:01.

compare, people in China, right at the moment comparing the Chinese

:44:01.:44:08.

regime today with the Empress Dowager's later years. I mean they

:44:08.:44:14.

have many things in common. The door of China has been opened for

:44:14.:44:20.

decades and there was considerable economic advance and prosperity.

:44:20.:44:24.

And now people have political aspirations. So what do you do? Do

:44:24.:44:30.

you go on and pursue political reforms, which is what the Empress

:44:30.:44:35.

Dowager chose to do. Her last project was to turn China into a

:44:35.:44:40.

constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament, with the

:44:40.:44:44.

freedom of the press, the rule of law and the so on. And she rejected

:44:44.:44:51.

the root of winding the clock -- the route of winding the clock back.

:44:51.:44:55.

I wondered whether you feel, because you are not published in

:44:55.:44:59.

China, you are not going to get this book published in China, are

:44:59.:45:03.

you. Is that a real sadness for you about the failure to reform so that

:45:03.:45:09.

your books, which are accepted around the world, could be accepted

:45:09.:45:13.

where you are from? It is very sad. Of course I want very much to see

:45:13.:45:20.

my books published in China. And this book I hope will be a slight

:45:20.:45:27.

test to see whether the regime would be moving towards being more

:45:27.:45:35.

entightn't. -- enlightened. But I'm translating the book into Chinese

:45:35.:45:38.

at the moment. It will be published in Hong Kong and Taiwan. And copies

:45:38.:45:45.

will go into China. Because Chinese tourists are going to Hong Kong and

:45:45.:45:49.

Taiwan, they buy banned books is what they do. Many copies actually

:45:49.:45:53.

of my books have gone into China. And given as present to other

:45:53.:45:58.

people as well? Absolutely. On that happy note, Jung Chang, thank you

:45:58.:46:00.

for coming in. That's all for tonight. Jeremy is

:46:00.:46:05.

still in Manchester tomorrow, when the American video producer, Marina

:46:05.:46:14.

Schiffein decided to complain about her working conditions, her manager

:46:14.:46:19.

didn't take much in the. She created a hit YouTube video for him.

:46:19.:46:28.

An interpretive dance set to Kanye West's song.

:46:28.:46:29.

Jeremy Paxman interviews Boris Johnson at the Conservative Party Conference, and journalist Matthew d'Ancona goes behind-the-scenes of the Coalition. Plus Mark Urban on how the US is nearing its "fiscal cliff".


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