Stoke By-Election Special Newsnight


Stoke By-Election Special

Evan Davis presents a special edition of Newsnight from Stoke-on-Trent, ahead of the crucial by-election. With a live audience and guests from UKIP, Labour and the Conservatives.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to Stoke By-Election Special. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

A city that has found itself in the national spotlight

:00:00.:00:08.

in the last few weeks thanks to a local by-election tomorrow.

:00:09.:00:17.

With an audience, politicians and experts, we are looking at the

:00:18.:00:23.

relationship between government in London, Stoke and the great

:00:24.:00:25.

industrial towns and cities elsewhere. Nobody has ever knocked

:00:26.:00:31.

on my door during the election time, ever.

:00:32.:00:44.

36000 and 27. People are frightened, you can tell. They are. Do you see

:00:45.:00:57.

Ukip as a party of the left, like Labour? Yes, far left. Not a

:00:58.:01:02.

backwater, but I have heard said of Stoke.

:01:03.:01:13.

They are so prosperous in London, I think they think we are a lot of

:01:14.:01:21.

idiots or something like that. If I could do that today, I would. It was

:01:22.:01:27.

hard work. But everybody was happy. In those days, yes. I want people to

:01:28.:01:33.

have hope and they have not got any help. -- hope.

:01:34.:01:40.

Our programme comes from Stoke this evening.

:01:41.:01:43.

In fact, we're in the Stoke Central constituency that votes tomorrow.

:01:44.:01:46.

We're at the beautiful Regent Theatre, replete

:01:47.:01:51.

with a Wedgewood style cupola - a reference to the designs

:01:52.:01:54.

of Josiah Wedgewood, who made this area so famous.

:01:55.:01:56.

He, with many others, made the Potteries a global centre

:01:57.:01:59.

of ceramic and tableware manufacture.

:02:00.:02:01.

There was also a sizeable steel industry, by the way,

:02:02.:02:06.

Many of the manufacturing jobs have gone and service and distribution

:02:07.:02:14.

jobs have replaced them, not to everybody's satisfaction.

:02:15.:02:17.

And that means this by-election has made this

:02:18.:02:19.

There is a feeling that people here have fallen out

:02:20.:02:24.

with the governing classes of all parties.

:02:25.:02:28.

When Stoke voted overwhelmingly for Brexit, many said it was out

:02:29.:02:31.

of a sense that things needed to change.

:02:32.:02:33.

We're up on stage with a local audience.

:02:34.:02:39.

Not as big an audience, I'm afraid, as the stalls below us would hold.

:02:40.:02:44.

But we will be hearing from this group in a moment and over

:02:45.:02:47.

And we also have a panel of politicians and

:02:48.:02:50.

I want to start with the Stoke perspective on politics.

:02:51.:02:57.

Not about the by-election, but national politics.

:02:58.:03:03.

Straight to the audience. A lot of people say what they think you think

:03:04.:03:10.

Sue will ask you what you think. What do you think politics in

:03:11.:03:14.

Westminster has got right or wrong over the last two decades? Any

:03:15.:03:23.

views? I think the politicians are out of touch with people and

:03:24.:03:27.

reality, they don't go around enough to see what damage they are doing

:03:28.:03:31.

with their decisions at Westminster. They are completely out of touch

:03:32.:03:36.

with reality. Give me an example. Something that is concrete. They

:03:37.:03:43.

were spending ?50 billion on HS2, which nobody wants, digging up the

:03:44.:03:48.

countryside and not in consultation with the electorate. It doesn't come

:03:49.:03:54.

out of their back pocket and we have to pay for it. Any other views on

:03:55.:04:02.

how Westminster has been doing? I will jump around. Madam? Obviously,

:04:03.:04:13.

Parliament has become about party bashing rather than debate and

:04:14.:04:19.

politicians from different parties are not represented. If you look at

:04:20.:04:22.

the government, they were not elected by a majority of the

:04:23.:04:27.

country, more people did not vote conservative than did so. Do you

:04:28.:04:32.

support proportional representation? Yes, that would be the democratic

:04:33.:04:38.

way. How many of you are basically fed up with politics? Yes to that?

:04:39.:04:48.

How many say you are not fed up with politics? Quite a divide but most of

:04:49.:04:53.

you are not fed up because there is a sense of disconnect. Somebody who

:04:54.:04:59.

said they were not fed up? I am fed up. Just saying! Madam? Near the

:05:00.:05:13.

back. What do you think, how connected is Westminster? Understand

:05:14.:05:18.

the problems of cities like Stoke which have seen enormous changes in

:05:19.:05:22.

the economy? Politicians are completely disconnected with the

:05:23.:05:26.

people, I believe in politics and the political system, we have one of

:05:27.:05:29.

the Best democracies in the world but I think there is a huge

:05:30.:05:34.

disconnect, they have no idea of what it is like outside London and

:05:35.:05:39.

it sounds weird for me, I am a Londoner, but I have been here since

:05:40.:05:44.

the 1980s and what is going on in Stoke, the politicians and MPs just

:05:45.:05:48.

do not seem to be able to take that back to London and say what people

:05:49.:05:52.

want. Who champions Stoke? Who do you look to? Local authorities?

:05:53.:06:00.

Someone from Stoke in the Houses of Parliament? Rather than Robbie

:06:01.:06:08.

Williams? I think local MPs are very good at trying to talk to the local

:06:09.:06:15.

communities but it is not getting back and bringing in funding to the

:06:16.:06:23.

city, it is not happening. We will come back to you through the

:06:24.:06:24.

programme. Before we go to the national

:06:25.:06:26.

politicians, we're going to head out into town and catch up

:06:27.:06:28.

on the by-election. Stoke Central has been a Labour seat

:06:29.:06:30.

since it was invented decades ago. UKIP came second in the general

:06:31.:06:33.

election, though, and yet it is the Conservatives who are way

:06:34.:06:37.

ahead in the national opinion polls. A lot of eyes are focused on this

:06:38.:06:43.

one - including those of our own John Sweeney,

:06:44.:06:45.

who's been watching the campaign. Stoke-on-Trent, once

:06:46.:06:59.

the home of pits and pots, Yet it has become

:07:00.:07:03.

a by-election crucible It is here where Ukip

:07:04.:07:08.

post-Brexit has been making big efforts to win a foothold

:07:09.:07:15.

in Labour's angry heartlands. The seat has been Labour's

:07:16.:07:20.

for three generations, yet Jeremy Corbyn has admitted

:07:21.:07:24.

it is on a knife edge. If Labour loses places like Stoke,

:07:25.:07:28.

where a donkey with a red rosette could once win comfortably,

:07:29.:07:32.

then Corbyn is in dire trouble. In Stoke, particularly,

:07:33.:07:37.

you have three parties, 5000 votes behind them,

:07:38.:07:39.

in equal second place in 2015, The common assumption is this

:07:40.:07:46.

is an area where Ukip should do better, it is not natural territory

:07:47.:07:52.

for the Conservatives. But on the other hand, in national

:07:53.:07:54.

polling since the referendum, we have seen the Conservatives

:07:55.:07:58.

gaining a big chunk of vote, much of it perhaps coming from Ukip

:07:59.:08:00.

voters who are quite happy with Theresa May's

:08:01.:08:03.

hard Brexit approach. If that gets reflected in Stoke, it

:08:04.:08:07.

could become a race between Labour But then Labour have to think

:08:08.:08:10.

about their Remain flank, Is those leack across to

:08:11.:08:13.

the Liberal Democrats, something that has been happening

:08:14.:08:23.

quite consistently in local by-elections, it also happened

:08:24.:08:25.

famously in the Richmond by-election that they took, then,

:08:26.:08:29.

all of a sudden, you have four But as polling day draws nigh,

:08:30.:08:32.

this by-election here in Stoke is becoming not just

:08:33.:08:38.

about whether Brexit is the new fault line in British

:08:39.:08:41.

politics or Labour's troubles, but more about whether Ukip's Paul

:08:42.:08:46.

Nuttall has been telling the truth about something that happened

:08:47.:08:48.

in his past. The man who now fills Nigel Farage's

:08:49.:08:54.

brogues as Ukip leader believes his party has taken over

:08:55.:08:57.

from Labour as the voice This place needs to be put

:08:58.:09:00.

on the political map. It needs more investment

:09:01.:09:08.

into the constituency. I believe when I stand up

:09:09.:09:10.

in the House of Commons And if they have a national

:09:11.:09:13.

political figure, we can ensure that more money comes up

:09:14.:09:16.

to Stoke-on-Trent Central. But it is the Hillsborough tragedy

:09:17.:09:23.

that has dogged Nuttall throughout the campaign,

:09:24.:09:26.

with him facing allegations that he had not been

:09:27.:09:29.

at the ground at all. Yes, I was 12 and

:09:30.:09:32.

a half years of age. I was there with my family

:09:33.:09:37.

and we were in the upper tier It was something I have very

:09:38.:09:40.

rarely spoken about. Whether people were dead at that

:09:41.:09:47.

point, I don't know. There were certainly people

:09:48.:09:59.

teeming onto the pitch. I remember my dad, and thankfully,

:10:00.:10:01.

my dad quickly realised And we left the stadium,

:10:02.:10:03.

we were one of the first out. Why hasn't he given a statement

:10:04.:10:09.

on public so we can hear it We actually gave the newspaper

:10:10.:10:13.

witness statements, people Look, my dad and my family,

:10:14.:10:18.

they are private individuals, OK? This isn't a court of law

:10:19.:10:25.

where you are innocent You are trying to

:10:26.:10:29.

become the MP here. And therefore, you have to go out

:10:30.:10:33.

and prove your innocence. Well, look, I think the fact that

:10:34.:10:36.

I have been prepared to go to Operation Resolve and give

:10:37.:10:40.

a witness statement I have told them that I am

:10:41.:10:42.

prepared to stand up In normal times, Labour's Gareth

:10:43.:10:46.

Snell should be a shoo-in The Labour Party is the party that

:10:47.:10:51.

will protect the NHS. It will give the funding

:10:52.:11:02.

that our hospitals and our social Because we are the party that

:11:03.:11:05.

will make Brexit work Stoke-on-Trent needs an MP

:11:06.:11:09.

who is going to go to Westminster and work for the people

:11:10.:11:16.

of Stoke-on-Trent, not But not like, say,

:11:17.:11:18.

Alfred Lord Tennyson. "Soft Brexit, hard Brexit,

:11:19.:11:26.

massive pile of sh*t. Sloppy Brexit, messy

:11:27.:11:28.

Brexit, quit, quit, quit. For the fact that she was not

:11:29.:11:30.

delivering a Brexit And after four months after telling

:11:31.:11:36.

us that there was a plan, She was vacillating,

:11:37.:11:40.

she was dithering, and that was damaging

:11:41.:11:43.

the local industry. There is going to be Brexit.

:11:44.:11:45.

You support that? Aren't you turning on a sixpence

:11:46.:11:54.

into what you yourself said, in September, is a massive

:11:55.:11:59.

pile of sh*t? No, what I said in September

:12:00.:12:01.

was the fact that the Prime Minister was not delivering the plan,

:12:02.:12:04.

Article 50 has now been... And what I will say is that Brexit

:12:05.:12:07.

is not the end of something, Stoke politics, for the best part

:12:08.:12:11.

of 20 years, has featured a fairly large disaffected,

:12:12.:12:15.

perhaps anti-politics vote, it has gone in some elections

:12:16.:12:18.

to independence, this was an area that was also an area of strength

:12:19.:12:22.

for the BNP. And Ukip have since surged

:12:23.:12:24.

on the back of that sentiment. So there is a long-running sense

:12:25.:12:27.

of the system is not working for us and we want to change

:12:28.:12:30.

it type sentiment. The Liberal Democrats

:12:31.:12:35.

came fifth in 2015. But they are pushing

:12:36.:12:39.

hard on being the only Mainly it is the NHS and secondly,

:12:40.:12:42.

we also talk about the Brexit issue. Especially, when I talk to them

:12:43.:12:49.

that we want people to have another say on the final deal when it comes

:12:50.:12:52.

to leaving the European Union. And people listen to it

:12:53.:12:58.

and I think there is quite I am speaking to people

:12:59.:13:01.

on the doorsteps. The Greens think they could

:13:02.:13:06.

boost their showing We're going to be working

:13:07.:13:07.

in the community, we're going to be talking about the things that matter

:13:08.:13:15.

in their daily lives. Like getting gridlock

:13:16.:13:17.

off of the roads. Unfortunately, some

:13:18.:13:19.

national parties... Brexit is important to people

:13:20.:13:23.

but I think quality-of-life in this area and how we can improve things,

:13:24.:13:27.

I know we can show this area to the world, which is the great

:13:28.:13:30.

thing this by-election does. The Tories are riding

:13:31.:13:33.

extraordinarily high Lots of people in this area

:13:34.:13:35.

feel let down by Labour, that Labour doesn't represent

:13:36.:13:45.

them any more. And also, people who were thinking

:13:46.:13:48.

about voting Ukip are now thinking about the Conservatives

:13:49.:13:53.

because we are the only ones with a clear plan

:13:54.:13:57.

to deliver Brexit. If Labour win and Ukip lose here,

:13:58.:14:00.

maybe you could see it as a moment when the rising tide of populism

:14:01.:14:03.

which has been surging across the Western world

:14:04.:14:06.

is beginning to run out of energy. A Labour victory would be parlayed

:14:07.:14:17.

by Team Corbyn as a great success. And that, in a safe seat like Stoke,

:14:18.:14:20.

just tells you how desperate things The word is that

:14:21.:14:23.

turnout will be low. But tomorrow, the attention

:14:24.:14:35.

of the British political establishment and wider yet will be

:14:36.:14:37.

on this lovely old town There are ten candidates standing

:14:38.:14:39.

in the Stoke Central by-election, And you can see the list

:14:40.:14:55.

on the politics section We have both here in

:14:56.:15:01.

Regent Theatre in Stoke. Three leading politicians,

:15:02.:15:10.

Peter Whittle is the deputy leader of Ukip, and group leader

:15:11.:15:12.

on the London Assembly. Mark Harper is the Conservative MP

:15:13.:15:15.

for the Forest of Dean, he's a former Chief Whip

:15:16.:15:18.

and was an Immigration Minister Also, for Labour we have

:15:19.:15:20.

Debbie Abrahams, who is the Shadow Work and Pensions

:15:21.:15:28.

Secretary. And also with us here

:15:29.:15:30.

is Geoff Evans, who was brought up here, worked in the pottery

:15:31.:15:33.

industry, and is now a professor at Oxford University, specialising

:15:34.:15:35.

in the sociology of politics. Thank you for coming. Mark Harper,

:15:36.:15:54.

your party is in government. DUP guilty to big, old traditional

:15:55.:16:04.

industrial towns being neglected by Westminster -- do you plead guilty.

:16:05.:16:10.

I think Theresa May made it quite clear, and audience forgive me for

:16:11.:16:15.

using a slogan, but a country that works for everyone. She's made it

:16:16.:16:18.

clear one of the lessons she took from the Brexit decision was that

:16:19.:16:21.

there were parts of the country that felt they were left behind. And one

:16:22.:16:25.

of the things the government should do is look at making sure parts of

:16:26.:16:29.

the country where traditional industries have disappeared,

:16:30.:16:31.

actually we thought about how to make sure we got things like

:16:32.:16:42.

motoring, getting that industry back here. I think she recognises that

:16:43.:16:48.

and that's one of the things she wants to deliver. There was an

:16:49.:16:52.

industrial green paper, can you name me one thing in that but we haven't

:16:53.:16:57.

tried before? I think actually the floor in what you've just said is

:16:58.:17:02.

that it wasn't one thing, it's a strategy. Just name one thing. If

:17:03.:17:06.

there's a whole strategy, just name one thing. Part of it is about the

:17:07.:17:10.

government looking at the industries Britain thinks it will be successful

:17:11.:17:14.

in, thinking about how it can help them. If you take the car industry

:17:15.:17:19.

for example, some of the investment in battery technology... There was

:17:20.:17:23.

no money in the green paper, the government didn't say it is

:17:24.:17:27.

investing in battery technology. I'm asking for one thing in the

:17:28.:17:31.

industrial strategy which might affect industry in Stoke. If I had

:17:32.:17:35.

to pick one thing it would be about making sure that we did a better job

:17:36.:17:42.

of investing in skills. We spent the last three decades talking about

:17:43.:17:46.

investing in skills. We've had loads of reforms of the skills agenda. The

:17:47.:17:52.

question is, we've done a lot of reform, the question is has it been

:17:53.:17:55.

as successful as it should be. Why will it be another reform, be better

:17:56.:18:01.

than the last government did, or the one that your government did in the

:18:02.:18:04.

1990s? One of the things we've done with the apprenticeship levy and

:18:05.:18:08.

things like that is making sure you get businesses to invest in the

:18:09.:18:11.

areas they need to, to be successful. One of the things I

:18:12.:18:17.

think, areas of the country, I think it was in your introduction, where

:18:18.:18:21.

we had trait in macro changes in trade and globalisation, there are

:18:22.:18:24.

parts of the country and people that haven't kept up with the changes and

:18:25.:18:28.

haven't therefore been able to be as successful as they should have been.

:18:29.:18:32.

I think that's what the industrial strategy and what the Prime Minister

:18:33.:18:35.

is intending to do. That's why Stoke needs a strong voice tomorrow. I

:18:36.:18:41.

can't say I'm clear about what the industrial strategy is. Let me that

:18:42.:18:45.

the same question, DUP guilty to having overlooked or neglected the

:18:46.:18:49.

interests of some of these big Northern, Midlands, towns and

:18:50.:18:52.

cities, particularly the ones that have had big industrial change?

:18:53.:18:57.

Clearly, the woman who commented at the beginning that she feels

:18:58.:19:03.

alienated, that there has been the divide, we can't ignore that. That's

:19:04.:19:07.

how people feel. And yes, the figures also bear that out, in terms

:19:08.:19:14.

of the investment, the labour market inequalities. There are parts of

:19:15.:19:21.

Stoke that doing really poorly in terms of unemployment sickness. What

:19:22.:19:27.

happened, you admitted you got it wrong, where usage used by the banks

:19:28.:19:31.

in London and the tax they pay? What was it? I'm not in London, I live

:19:32.:19:39.

around my constituency. I was a public health consultant before I

:19:40.:19:43.

became an MP. One of the reasons I became active was I care

:19:44.:19:47.

passionately about the NHS. Other people have mentioned this as well.

:19:48.:19:52.

Perhaps it's a bit in terms of why people get into politics. The

:19:53.:19:58.

question wasn't why have Westminster politicians, you say they haven't

:19:59.:20:03.

neglected Stoke... Why has politics neglected Stoke? I think it is

:20:04.:20:08.

partly about investment but it's also about how we have done politics

:20:09.:20:13.

for a long while now. If you look at how politics involves over the 20th

:20:14.:20:21.

century around community around being based in York community, and

:20:22.:20:29.

politicians being part of the community, taking on board the

:20:30.:20:32.

issues, recognising them and doing something about it, that's what

:20:33.:20:37.

we've got to change. I call it the community development type of

:20:38.:20:42.

approach to politics, where we engage and involve... We are public

:20:43.:20:45.

servants, we reflect and represent the views of our constituents, and

:20:46.:20:51.

part of our communities. The points have been made about democracy,

:20:52.:20:55.

absolutely. That's fundamental to what we should be about as

:20:56.:21:00.

politicians. You've heard about an industrial strategy, you've heard

:21:01.:21:04.

about and out their politics from Debbie Abrahams. Are you satisfied,

:21:05.:21:11.

dissatisfied with what you've heard? I think part of the problem is we

:21:12.:21:16.

get forgotten as a city. We've fallen between the north and the

:21:17.:21:20.

north-west, the Midlands, we slipped in between the cracks. Because we've

:21:21.:21:25.

had three macro Labour MPs for decades, the Conservatives don't

:21:26.:21:30.

they can win until recently and traditionally Labour take the votes

:21:31.:21:33.

for granted. There's no incentive for politicians in London to bother

:21:34.:21:38.

with cities like Stoke. If you're a marginal seat they give you more and

:21:39.:21:47.

attention. Both those politicians gave very fluent answers, but like

:21:48.:21:52.

you say, they didn't really answer the core question. Stoke has always

:21:53.:21:59.

been a Labour seat. Maybe it will be a good thing if they voted a bit

:22:00.:22:07.

differently tomorrow and a shot in the arm and Ukip got in, maybe it

:22:08.:22:11.

would give a bit more attention to Stoke. Someone else had their hand

:22:12.:22:19.

up? Is all well and good investing in skills, but there's nothing in

:22:20.:22:23.

the local area that warrants them. The biggest industries are call

:22:24.:22:29.

centres, care homes and distribution centres, they aren't skilled

:22:30.:22:35.

employment. Peter Whittle, we've heard, and I know this from other

:22:36.:22:40.

pieces we've run on Newsnight, we've always voted Labour, they've taken

:22:41.:22:44.

us for granted, that is your pitch hair. But you alternative

:22:45.:22:50.

government? You're a UK Independence party, you're about Brexit and

:22:51.:22:54.

you've got Brexit, what is the point of Ukip now? We aren't just about

:22:55.:22:59.

Brexit any more. Obviously Brexit has happened in terms of a

:23:00.:23:03.

referendum, but the fact is it's far from happened yet. It's very, very

:23:04.:23:10.

instructive because you're talking about the difference between

:23:11.:23:12.

Westminster and the rest of the country. The rest of the country are

:23:13.:23:16.

looking on, and have been looking on at Westminster thinking, what the

:23:17.:23:23.

hell is going on? If you're a party of government, what would you do for

:23:24.:23:28.

Stoke? And towns and cities like Stoke? First of all, I completely

:23:29.:23:34.

agree that Westminster is totally out of touch. You're sounding like

:23:35.:23:38.

an old-style politician. I said what would you do, and you immediately

:23:39.:23:41.

said the other politicians are no good. We've accepted people feel let

:23:42.:23:48.

down by politicians. First of all, huge problems with infrastructure in

:23:49.:23:52.

Stoke, huge problems in social housing. Labour has been in for 50

:23:53.:23:57.

years, there hasn't been one single new council house built in 30 years,

:23:58.:24:02.

can you believe that? We would like a golden age of council housing. I'm

:24:03.:24:07.

a great believer, and we are as a party, in social housing. Because

:24:08.:24:12.

basically, it helps build solid communities, my grandparents were in

:24:13.:24:16.

council housing. It means people are not constantly fighting to get on

:24:17.:24:23.

the ladder. They can actually build a real community. Debbie Abrahams,

:24:24.:24:28.

that sounds like what should be able Labour policy, with respect. What

:24:29.:24:32.

happened there? It is a Labour policy. You were in government all

:24:33.:24:38.

those years. It's a fair point and we didn't get everything right. You

:24:39.:24:43.

haven't built any houses in Stoke for 30 years. I can't defend that,

:24:44.:24:49.

we should have done. We now know we've got the lowest level of social

:24:50.:24:56.

housing building since the 1920s. We do need it. It's absolutely key. For

:24:57.:25:02.

our young people to have a future. We've got generation rent, haven't

:25:03.:25:07.

we. They need to feel secure, being able to afford to invest in their

:25:08.:25:11.

communities... You would be building more council houses just as Ukip

:25:12.:25:15.

would? Why is the government not doing that, it's talked about

:25:16.:25:19.

building more houses but a lot of people think it should be council

:25:20.:25:24.

housing. The housing White Paper we published a couple of weeks ago

:25:25.:25:27.

covered all of the types of tenure. It talked about people being able to

:25:28.:25:31.

buy but it also talked about people being able to rent, both social

:25:32.:25:35.

housing and in the private rented sector. It looked at all of them and

:25:36.:25:40.

the house-building numbers now, as the housing minister said, people

:25:41.:25:44.

can't live in planning permissions, and the number of houses built last

:25:45.:25:51.

year was 190,000, so we are on track to build the 1 million houses over

:25:52.:25:54.

the parliament. I think we do have a plan to deliver it. The whole

:25:55.:25:59.

political establishment has been completely neglectful of this. Just

:26:00.:26:05.

go around any part of Stoke or the six cities of Stoke, or any of the

:26:06.:26:09.

cities we are talking about. There is absolutely no question about it,

:26:10.:26:12.

that when all those council houses were sold off, the money was simply

:26:13.:26:18.

frittered away. It should have been kept and reinvested in new housing.

:26:19.:26:21.

It's exactly what we should be doing now. We are believers in the

:26:22.:26:27.

cultural life of the country is just as important as the economic one.

:26:28.:26:31.

That's when things like social housing are so important. Jeff

:26:32.:26:36.

Evans, you have documented quite a lot of political alienation in some

:26:37.:26:40.

areas of the country from what is going on at Westminster. Do you

:26:41.:26:44.

think it's because people have found better things to do and they are

:26:45.:26:49.

bored of politics, or do you blame the politicians? I blame the

:26:50.:26:52.

politicians, very much so. For a long time people have ignored class

:26:53.:26:57.

divisions, they pretended they either don't matter any more... What

:26:58.:27:04.

is actually changing isn't the class divisions in our society but what

:27:05.:27:10.

politicians offer. I have to put the blame on Labour on this one, because

:27:11.:27:14.

during the 90s in particular Labour were so keen to appeal to the

:27:15.:27:19.

affluent middle class electoral base, they distance as they possibly

:27:20.:27:27.

could. Basically there are no working-class people as MPs any

:27:28.:27:31.

more. The rhetoric adopted by Labour, by Tony Blair, was very much

:27:32.:27:35.

chosen to be acceptable to the Metropolitan London middle classes

:27:36.:27:42.

and similar travellers. People find it hard to believe in politicians

:27:43.:27:48.

who don't share any point of social contact. They've got alien accents,

:27:49.:27:56.

Labour is increasingly Oxbridge, it doesn't have any trade union intake

:27:57.:27:59.

in terms of working-class people. You've got the odd Remain Campaign

:28:00.:28:04.

alike Alan Johnson, he's not really there any more. They've left their

:28:05.:28:11.

social connection. Labour more than the Tories on this. How many of you

:28:12.:28:16.

are Labour voters? We balance the panel to some extent. Do any of you

:28:17.:28:23.

agree with what Jeff is saying about the party you are going to support?

:28:24.:28:34.

Do you agree with what he has said? I think they are all London

:28:35.:28:39.

Metropolitan. He is bang on. There's no working-class MPs any more. I

:28:40.:28:47.

think they have deserted the working class, Labour. Debbie Abrahams, that

:28:48.:28:54.

is a feeling and a sentiment, you recognise it? That can't be ignored.

:28:55.:28:59.

Gareth is a local lad, he's worked in the community. I think there is,

:29:00.:29:04.

we are doing politics differently. We didn't get it all right, in spite

:29:05.:29:09.

of much good stuff that we did, and we haven't talked about the health

:29:10.:29:14.

service. I'd like to know Ukip's position on that, which is a real

:29:15.:29:20.

local issue. It's absolutely clear. It's not absolutely clear at all. I

:29:21.:29:24.

was in a by-election with Paul Nuttall when he said he wanted to

:29:25.:29:30.

privatise the NHS. This is absolutely untrue. The most

:29:31.:29:34.

important thing is that my party, Ukip, has always stood on a platform

:29:35.:29:39.

of celebrating the NHS and believing it should be free at the point of

:29:40.:29:41.

delivery. It was the by-election I was elected

:29:42.:29:52.

to in 2011. The fact is that Paul Nuttall said some things about

:29:53.:29:59.

certain areas of the NHS about procurement, about five years ago,

:30:00.:30:04.

and he has said I change my mind. The important thing, whether he

:30:05.:30:09.

changes his mind or not, is that Ukip manifesto in 2015 was

:30:10.:30:15.

absolutely clear, we Remain clear, we believe... In the national Health

:30:16.:30:21.

Service, not international. We will get the other experts back. We have

:30:22.:30:26.

a lot to get through. I will thank the panel.

:30:27.:30:28.

Let's pause the conversation for a moment.

:30:29.:30:30.

In a few minutes we'll see if there are any specific ideas

:30:31.:30:33.

for bringing extra life to the economy here.

:30:34.:30:35.

But first, Katie Razzall has been hearing about life here,

:30:36.:30:38.

as it was, and some hope it might be.

:30:39.:30:40.

Time to pause and reflect now, Katie Razzall has been hearing

:30:41.:30:42.

about life in Stoke, as it was, and how

:30:43.:30:44.

The people of Stoke need a voice from our politicians.

:30:45.:30:58.

I want people to have hope, and they haven't got hope.

:30:59.:31:08.

People have felt forgotten and left behind.

:31:09.:31:14.

We feel like we are at a crossroads, but I feel that it's an opportunity

:31:15.:31:17.

to change the way that people see Stoke.

:31:18.:31:34.

If the overwhelming out vote put Stoke on the political map,

:31:35.:31:36.

this by-election will send another message about what people here want

:31:37.:31:39.

Newsnight's returned to Stoke's Bentilee estate,

:31:40.:31:42.

Where the raffle comes with a variety of prizes.

:31:43.:31:47.

Many here had highly-skilled jobs in Stoke's once proud Potteries.

:31:48.:32:01.

If I could do that job today I would.

:32:02.:32:06.

How do you make Stoke happy again, for you?

:32:07.:32:17.

Well, the NHS, we'd like that to get better than it is.

:32:18.:32:23.

Because like I say, people are frightened to get old.

:32:24.:32:26.

We need manufacturing, we need apprenticeships.

:32:27.:32:29.

They made the biggest mistake they ever did

:32:30.:32:31.

But we've got no skilled workers, without going to those

:32:32.:32:38.

The majority here who voted in the referendum told me

:32:39.:32:41.

they voted out, no matter their political affiliation.

:32:42.:32:45.

Do you see Ukip as a party of the left, like labour?

:32:46.:32:48.

Previously Labour, Tony's voting Ukip in the by-election.

:32:49.:32:56.

He's going to put this city on the map.

:32:57.:33:00.

He's going to try and build this city up, because other

:33:01.:33:06.

parts of the country, they think Stoke-on-Trent's a dump.

:33:07.:33:10.

Uniting young and old in a city where some feel almost written off.

:33:11.:33:28.

This lady is a stalwart on the estate.

:33:29.:33:35.

It's not our first encounter, but this time it's her birthday

:33:36.:33:37.

I just want it to be totally different for these kids.

:33:38.:33:42.

And the MP is not going to provide that.

:33:43.:34:05.

Across in Hanley, in the so-called Cultural Quarter, it feels

:34:06.:34:17.

Entrepreneurs and artists are building a future in a city

:34:18.:34:22.

I am hoping that we don't end up with a Ukip MP, for one thing.

:34:23.:34:34.

I think, I am hoping it is a chance for Stoke to show the country

:34:35.:34:40.

what we all know about the city, that it is a welcoming,

:34:41.:34:43.

Not a backwater, which I have heard said of Stoke.

:34:44.:34:49.

The gallery offers residencies to graduates to attract

:34:50.:34:51.

All part of efforts to revive the city through culture.

:34:52.:35:00.

Change doesn't happen overnight and I think we're not there yet.

:35:01.:35:03.

Stoke is not at that tipping point yet.

:35:04.:35:05.

But it feels to me that we are close.

:35:06.:35:07.

And I think that is why the result is so important,

:35:08.:35:09.

A negative result could really set Stoke back.

:35:10.:35:19.

I don't think it has ever been this great.

:35:20.:35:23.

This entrepreneur's Hanley coffee shop is now in its third year.

:35:24.:35:34.

I think the things that we really want to focus on and could really do

:35:35.:35:39.

And to achieve that, says another Hanley entrepreneur,

:35:40.:35:42.

An MP needs to balance between being local and still

:35:43.:35:49.

How does Stoke fit in with the national agenda

:35:50.:35:53.

Because without that bigger push and that drive,

:35:54.:35:57.

I think we are in risk of just staying where we are.

:35:58.:36:02.

Stoke's future could be brighter than it has been recently.

:36:03.:36:04.

And while people across the city may not agree on how to achieve

:36:05.:36:07.

that, surely everyone, no matter their politics,

:36:08.:36:09.

is united by the feeling that the city they love deserves

:36:10.:36:12.

Now, I'm still with my panel of politicians, but I'd

:36:13.:36:20.

like to bring in some external commentators now.

:36:21.:36:23.

Afua Hirsch, journalist and broadcaster and who has written

:36:24.:36:28.

on Britishness and identity, Hugo Dixon is a journalist,

:36:29.:36:31.

economist, and entrepreneur, and was a passionate Remain

:36:32.:36:34.

And Iain Martin is a Times columnist, and edits

:36:35.:36:39.

Reaction, a web platform for commentary and discussion.

:36:40.:36:42.

He was a prominent leaver back last June.

:36:43.:36:49.

I want to focus on specific things that can be done to improve

:36:50.:36:58.

political engagement and help communities, such as Stoke and to

:36:59.:37:03.

get away from words. You have thought about social integration and

:37:04.:37:07.

the sense of well-being and identity. What would you do as

:37:08.:37:12.

opposed to just saying things about that? Listening to the people in the

:37:13.:37:16.

audience and the voices in that package, this is about alienation

:37:17.:37:22.

and people wanting to be heard and from my perspective, these are

:37:23.:37:24.

long-term problems with the political system and what people

:37:25.:37:27.

want, to hear an old person saying it is scary to get old because the

:37:28.:37:33.

NHS is in freefall is appalling. Not acceptable. Instead of offering

:37:34.:37:36.

answers, politicians are exploiting the quick fix by offering leaving

:37:37.:37:41.

the European Union, stopping immigration, things which will not

:37:42.:37:44.

solve these problems and they play on the sense that identity is under

:37:45.:37:48.

threat instead of addressing the very tangible things that people

:37:49.:37:54.

want. Are you saying... A lot of people have said there is a sense of

:37:55.:37:59.

cultural discombobulated, there is too much change, people do not feel

:38:00.:38:03.

this is their country any more, is that a distraction from the kind of

:38:04.:38:08.

things like the NHS? That is what it is interesting about here, when you

:38:09.:38:14.

drill into what people really want here, everyone we have heard from,

:38:15.:38:22.

it is children centres, the NHS working, school places, things are

:38:23.:38:24.

functional government should provide. Social housing. These are

:38:25.:38:30.

achievable things and they are not the things that can be solved by any

:38:31.:38:35.

of the major platforms that parties offer, like leaving the EU and

:38:36.:38:39.

stopping immigration. They are the symptoms and not causes of problems.

:38:40.:38:44.

You are very intimate with this area. Does that ring true? Yes, it

:38:45.:38:52.

does. One of the key things about this area, talking about political

:38:53.:38:58.

engagement, is that nobody votes. Just under 50% of people who voted

:38:59.:39:03.

in the 20 15th election, one of the lowest if not the lowest ever in

:39:04.:39:06.

Britain and this is because people do not feel they are being

:39:07.:39:10.

represented with the choices available. Is that bread and butter

:39:11.:39:14.

issues like the NHS that they feel are not looked after or is it flags

:39:15.:39:20.

and symbols and nationality and immigration? That is interesting

:39:21.:39:24.

because when Labour were in power and when things were going well

:39:25.:39:28.

economically, they spent a lot of money on the NHS, and they still

:39:29.:39:35.

haemorrhaged votes in places like Stoke, it is not about that sheer

:39:36.:39:40.

economic thing, it is about rhetoric and symbols and immigration, for

:39:41.:39:49.

example, part of Labour's strategy in 2004, to open the doors to

:39:50.:39:53.

European immigration, that led to a decline in their appeal amongst many

:39:54.:39:57.

people in places like Stoke. One of the key differences between 2015 and

:39:58.:40:03.

2016 is a massive 16% jump in participation in Stoke, far more

:40:04.:40:09.

than the jump in more affluent parts of the country. Given the choice,

:40:10.:40:13.

the simple choice about something they cared about, people will

:40:14.:40:18.

participate. Iain Martin, you are free-market man, you are not a fan

:40:19.:40:23.

of government, a lot of the ideas were hearing about are basically

:40:24.:40:28.

government ideas, council houses, more money for the NHS. Is that a

:40:29.:40:36.

fair reflection? This might be what people want, my concern is I would

:40:37.:40:40.

argue that the only thing which can really work is dramatically

:40:41.:40:44.

increasing growth and the market functioning smartly and starting new

:40:45.:40:48.

companies and creating jobs, there is a lot that can be done. And I

:40:49.:40:56.

think that we talk about technical skills and scaling up, dramatically

:40:57.:41:00.

improving the education system, the single biggest thing that happens

:41:01.:41:04.

nationally to make a difference is taxing the economy differently,

:41:05.:41:08.

taxing big corporations and global technology companies properly and

:41:09.:41:12.

taking some of the pressure away from small business and new

:41:13.:41:18.

businesses and the tax system is skewed against them so there is a

:41:19.:41:22.

lot that can be done. My criticism is the government does not have any

:41:23.:41:27.

agenda for after Brexit, for helping places like Stoke and making the

:41:28.:41:31.

economy more dynamic to create jobs. Hugo Dixon, big on Remain, do you

:41:32.:41:42.

think the London establishment, did they run out of ideas for places

:41:43.:41:46.

like Stoke? Iain Martin has come up with things we have heard... I think

:41:47.:41:52.

so, there has been a serious problem of geographic justice in our country

:41:53.:41:57.

and this is something we need to address. -- injustice. And it is

:41:58.:42:05.

partly going to involve money so we are going to have to invest in those

:42:06.:42:10.

towns and cities like Stoke which have been left behind and that will

:42:11.:42:16.

have to be investing in skills, and it was interesting to earlier hear

:42:17.:42:20.

about the government industrial strategy, the green paper, the new

:42:21.:42:25.

money for the country was ?170 million, that is not enough. It is

:42:26.:42:30.

other things, other sorts of things like infrastructure, so that what

:42:31.:42:36.

you need is cities like Stoke, they must be able to generate the

:42:37.:42:41.

opportunity and must have the infrastructure and the skills so

:42:42.:42:44.

that the sort of market solutions that Iain Martin is talking about

:42:45.:42:50.

can actually bear fruit. If what you are seeing, and you are in a lot of

:42:51.:42:54.

these times, despite what we have heard about the cultural quarter,

:42:55.:42:59.

you are seeing the brain drain from a lot of these times, and we have

:43:00.:43:05.

one of the brilliant minds here who is not in Oxford. That is one thing

:43:06.:43:08.

but beyond money, we need something on a political level and on that

:43:09.:43:14.

level I think we need to have a significant devolution of power. Not

:43:15.:43:22.

just to Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland but to the regions

:43:23.:43:26.

of the UK. Because that will be more empowering for people. We have heard

:43:27.:43:30.

a lot of ideas, how many people like the idea of more devolution for city

:43:31.:43:39.

regions or far the biggest cities, how many of you are sceptical of

:43:40.:43:44.

giving more power to local areas? Slightly more enthusiasm. OK,

:43:45.:43:50.

significantly more for devolution. Give me some of your requests?

:43:51.:43:59.

I think that there is a lot that Stoke has to offer. Sometimes as

:44:00.:44:06.

much as we can look to Westminster and politicians in the rest of the

:44:07.:44:09.

country, what I've discovered having moved up here five years ago, is a

:44:10.:44:16.

rich vein of cultural, wonderful, creative and dedicated people. We

:44:17.:44:19.

saw that lady on the TV talking about the skills that she has.

:44:20.:44:24.

Sometimes we've neglected it ourselves as people in

:44:25.:44:26.

Stoke-on-Trent. We should be proud of what we have achieved, and we

:44:27.:44:31.

should stand on the history, so that we can look beyond ourselves and see

:44:32.:44:34.

what's possible. Certainly what I'm doing is... The gentleman at the

:44:35.:44:44.

back. I was just thinking about higher education funding. I've got

:44:45.:44:47.

four kids, they are all faced with tuition fees. If you look at

:44:48.:44:52.

regional strategy, could we do something around reducing tuition

:44:53.:44:57.

fees regionally, to attract people to local universities, and also look

:44:58.:45:02.

at the science parks and facilities around the universities. Keele

:45:03.:45:12.

University, we need to look at further investment at Staffordshire

:45:13.:45:15.

University and the issue of tuition fees and how that is affecting young

:45:16.:45:21.

people. The lady at the back? I would like to personally take

:45:22.:45:25.

exception to what Hugo said. There are a lot of very bright people

:45:26.:45:31.

here. We aren't stupid. I've got 2 degrees, there are people in our

:45:32.:45:35.

area who are very, very clever. So please don't tarnish us with that

:45:36.:45:48.

brush. Peter and Mark, did you use your satnavs to get here today?

:45:49.:45:53.

Gareth is for the people and representing us. Debbie, please stop

:45:54.:45:56.

apologising, you're doing a good job. Why did he call Brexit a pile

:45:57.:46:04.

of... And basically he and many of his colleagues have been very clear

:46:05.:46:10.

of talking about people being racist for boating Brexit, being stupid and

:46:11.:46:16.

educated. He isn't here to answer that particular... Did you get here

:46:17.:46:22.

by satnav or did you know where Stoke is? Of course I knew. I'm only

:46:23.:46:30.

in London a few days a week because that is where Parliament is. The

:46:31.:46:34.

idea we are all based in London... I think the important thing for the

:46:35.:46:38.

choice tomorrow is, our candidate is someone who has always lived in

:46:39.:46:41.

Stoke, he was born here, he's a Cabinet member... I want to stick to

:46:42.:46:48.

the big issues, what we do for places like Stoke. Is Brexit

:46:49.:46:53.

actually in practice going to provide, is that the silver bullet

:46:54.:46:57.

that is going to help Stoke or is it going to get in the way? Well,

:46:58.:47:02.

Brexit is going to be absolutely brilliant for the Midlands and the

:47:03.:47:05.

north, for once people are looking at where we are sending our money.

:47:06.:47:10.

We sending it all to the EU, are we sending it all abroad, are we

:47:11.:47:15.

spending five times more, ten times more, no, where is the money going.

:47:16.:47:19.

It is going to spark more engagement and people demanding the money is

:47:20.:47:24.

spent in their areas. You really think Brexit is going to make

:47:25.:47:30.

material improvement? It can do. I never argued that it's some kind of

:47:31.:47:36.

magic solution on its own, self-government. But what I would

:47:37.:47:41.

say is, if you look at the problems in a place like Stoke, membership of

:47:42.:47:45.

the EU doesn't seem to have done it very much good in the last 30 years.

:47:46.:47:50.

You can understand why people might want to try an alternative. I think

:47:51.:47:57.

people are underestimating the people of Stoke. All the parties are

:47:58.:48:03.

exploiting this. Even Labour have been using the St Georges flag,

:48:04.:48:07.

playing to that sense of identity. I think voters are right to be cynical

:48:08.:48:11.

because that isn't the answer to the problems. Politicians are tapping in

:48:12.:48:14.

to what they think is the easiest way of getting votes without

:48:15.:48:17.

offering solutions. Everyone says they want to be heard but the only

:48:18.:48:21.

reason people are listening to people in Stoke today is because

:48:22.:48:23.

there is a by-election. APPLAUSE I think there is a risk about

:48:24.:48:36.

Brexit, and that is this particularly hard, destructive

:48:37.:48:40.

Brexit, that Theresa May is charging towards. That could tank the

:48:41.:48:45.

economy. If that happens, there won't be money for the NHS, there

:48:46.:48:49.

won't be money for skills, there won't be money for infrastructure. I

:48:50.:48:55.

think that is something that will not be helpful for the people of

:48:56.:49:02.

Stoke. We are virtually out of time. People have said things about

:49:03.:49:05.

labour, you wanted to come in, Debbie? The point that has been made

:49:06.:49:11.

about the campaign, and so on, and it being this prism we are seeing

:49:12.:49:16.

it, this needs to happen all year round. It's a new type of politics

:49:17.:49:21.

we need, where we empower and engage our communities, it's absolutely

:49:22.:49:24.

key. APPLAUSE Did we solve it? We've had a lot of

:49:25.:49:30.

words and ideas. Did we find that silver bullet? I don't know. Stoke

:49:31.:49:37.

Central by-election tomorrow has ten candidates and you get another

:49:38.:49:42.

chance to see who they all are. More parties on the list than we could

:49:43.:49:44.

represent here today. You can see a slate of all

:49:45.:49:49.

the candidates standing We leave you with Staffordshire's

:49:50.:49:51.

renowned poet, the late Let me thank our guests and those

:49:52.:50:07.

who are local. Thank you very much indeed, to our lovely audience too.

:50:08.:50:09.

APPLAUSE We leave you with Staffordshire's

:50:10.:50:12.

renowned poet, the late Charles Tomlinson, and his

:50:13.:50:14.

memories of Stoke-on-Trent, It was a language of

:50:15.:50:15.

water, light and air I sought-to speak

:50:16.:50:26.

myself free of a world Whose stoic lethargy

:50:27.:50:28.

seemed the one reply To horizons and to streets

:50:29.:50:29.

that blocked them back To tell of all that

:50:30.:50:32.

seasoned and imprisoned: From a landscape of

:50:33.:50:47.

disembowellings, underworlds Digging the marl,

:50:48.:50:53.

they dug a second nature And water, seeping up

:50:54.:51:01.

to fill their pits, Sheeted them to lakes

:51:02.:51:04.

that wink and shine Between tips and steeples,

:51:05.:51:09.

streets and waste In slow reclaimings,

:51:10.:51:13.

shimmers, balancings, As if kindling Eden

:51:14.:51:20.

rescinded its own loss And words and water came

:51:21.:51:22.

of the same source.

:51:23.:51:33.

Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS