29/04/2012 Sunday Politics East Midlands


29/04/2012

Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news, interviews and debate including Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman.


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David Cameron puts his Culture The proposals to move homeless

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families from London to two of our cities amount to human trafficking

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1671 seconds

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and our Olympic organisers running Hello, I'm Marie Ashby, and my

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guests in the East Midlands this week are Andrew Bridgen, the

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Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire, and Paul Holmes,

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the former Lib Dem MP for Chesterfield. Coming up:

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Next week, voters in Nottingham will decide whether they want an

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elected mayor. Two campaigners with strong links to Labour nail their

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colours to the mast. One is very much in favour of the idea. We need

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to move on from a Victorian system whereby the leader of the council

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is chosen by just a few politicians from one political party in a

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secret meeting. And the other is very much against it. Without an

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increase in powers, without more resources or and it -- a

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geographical expansion of the city, it is a pig in a poke.

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Plus, the shopkeepers who've been told to take down their Olympic

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rings. Are the organisers being a rotten sport?

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First, the issue that has dominated the headlines in two of our cities.

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The proposal to move hundreds of homeless families from London to

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Derby and Nottingham. It comes from the Smart Housing Group which

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advises several London councils. The agency says it would relieve

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housing pressures in the capital. But would it increase pressure

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here? Antrim, the leader of the Labour

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group says it would be akin to human trafficking. I think he has

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got a hint of truth in that. It is completely unnecessary. There are

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plenty of houses available in London within the benefits Cup and

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these councils have a regal -- a legal requirement to look at the

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location to find accommodation for homeless people. Politicking is

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going on with people's lives just before the mayoral election in

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London. Not all of these councils are Labour. Some of them are Tory

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councils. I am only aware that Westminster might have made an

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inquiry. Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea as well.

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is mostly Labour councils playing politics. So that will give Ken

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Livingstone a slide advantage. don't think they would agree with

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that. I think Grant Shapps has come out and said this shouldn't be

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happening. There are plenty of houses even around the centre of

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London and their houses available for under the �400 a week rent cap.

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Even �400 a week to people in the North, that is a huge amount of

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money. What do you think, Paul Holmes? The cap is a good idea but

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it is going up to �28 billion, but the fact that some councils by

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using this capital at election time, the Tory councils in Westminster,

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they have decanted council tenants 20 years ago. They are making use

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of that. Wet at the bottom of this is that nobody builds council

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houses anymore. If you have got a cap housing benefits, somebody

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cannot -- not everybody can go into private housing. They are busy

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thinking seriously about this. There is even maps showing us where

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Derby and Nottingham are so they can plan their route on a train,

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find their way here. These councils have a legal requirement to look at

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the location of where their house homeless people within their

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borough and that is not going to be the Midlands from London.

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Especially if they have got family down there. And there is no need

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for it at all. There are hundreds and hundreds of houses within the

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�400 a week capfuls stock what are your main concerns if people did

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come here? So that it will not happen? Can you foresee of social

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problems arising if it were to happen? You could see a situation

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where somebody who found themselves in London homeless because they had

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moved from the Midlands, that for me would be legitimate if the

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council said they had to go back to the Midlands. But for a family to

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be based in London to be homeless through economic circumstances and

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then to be moved 100 miles away from where their friends and family

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are, that is no way to treat people and the Housing Minister has made

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it clear he is not going to allow that to happen. Already, Nottingham

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primary schools are running out of places. Who will play for these

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people's benefits? All that has pressure on what we can provide.

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you move large numbers of homeless unemployed people from the South of

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England to Nottingham, Derby it's a trick, it throws huge problems on

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those areas who have their own unemployment rates, they have not

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got the services the etc, so you cannot decant the prop him.

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that is what it feels like. We have heard about the problem, and Ilott

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pushed at someone else and hope it goes up way. They shouldn't be

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doing that. Back on housing, there are some houses in Newham

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theoretically in the bracket, but they will not take a lot of people

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on housing benefit. They will not allow those people. The housing cap

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is having an effect. It is suppressing the rise in rents.

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Previously, housing benefit, the amount doubled in 10 years which

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was driving rents up, whereas now where the housing benefit cap is in

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place, it is suppressing rent rises and rents are more affordable.

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is certainly causing a lot of debate.

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Next, on Thursday, Nottingham holds its referendum on whether the city

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should have an elected mayor. Leicester's already got one. So

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should Nottingham have one, too? We invited two people with close links

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to Labour to pitch for the votes of the undecided. One is very much in

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favour of the idea, the other vehemently opposed. First up, the

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former Head of Communications for the city council, Stephen Barker,

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with the case for an elected mayor. I think modern cities are run by

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mayors. They deal with other mayors. Both the previous government and

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the current Government hope very much that UK cities will choose to

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be governed by mayors and many ambitious cities are choosing to go

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for it now. There was a prevailing wind of change in favour of mayors

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and in Nottingham, which has achieved a lot in recent years, but

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not as much as other cities, needs not to fall further behind. Times

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change, we move on, we modernise, and we need to move on from a

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Victorian system whereby the leader of the council is chosen by just a

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few politicians from one political party in a secret meeting. We need

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the lever of the city to be tested at the ballot box across the city,

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not just in one ward. That is the fundamental democratic principle at

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the heart of this referendum. We all need to choose the person that

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leads the city. The elephant in the room in this debate is Nottingham

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City Council's title administrative boundary. At Trent Bridge, very

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example. Standing two miles first from the square, I am not in

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Nottingham. Nottingham Forest Football Club is not actually in

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Nottingham. Trent Bridge cricket ground is not in Nottingham. If one

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thing has come from the referendum debate already, it is at least the

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boundary issue is further up the agenda. But I believe that only a

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mayor would have the means and motivation to actually do something

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about it. Now we are stuck with people that matter thinking that

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Nottingham is a city only half the size that it truly is and with half

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the population unable to take part in a referendum on Thursday. The

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decision for now is whether or not Nottingham once a mayor at all. Of

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course, consideration of what candidates might be available in

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November will be for Labour but we can be sure that Nottingham these

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bold and determined leadership from somebody that wants to put the city

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on the map. Come rain on a truck -- come rain or trying on Thursday,

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vote for a mayor in Nottingham. Convinced? Well, the former Labour

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Leader of the city council, John Taylor, insists you should think

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again. The idea of a directly elected

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mayor from Nottingham is unwanted and unnecessary, and more probably

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just a diversionary stunt from Clegg and Cameron. We are told that

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only a directed -- directly elected mayor can bring about long-term

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investment and stable leadership which a city like Nottingham needs

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but without an increase in powers, without more resources or a

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geographical expansion of the city boundaries, none of that is on

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offer. We are being asked to vote for a pig in a poke. Supporters of

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the mayor say it is needed for brave long-term planning and

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accessing resources but I can tell you that over the last 25 years,

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Nottingham has enjoyed that brave, consistent and long-term future in

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planning big projects. The refurbishment of the old market

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square built with private sector money and the building of the

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Nottingham Contemporary are the envy of other cities, all done

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without a mayor. And that same, highly pragmatic approach has been

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applied by council leaders to the city's services. There has been

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dramatic improvement in education, crime has been reduced and

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Nottingham is now the cleanest of all the major cities. That costs

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money. Be directly elected mayor will not have any more cash. They

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will be faced with making millions of pounds worth of cuts. I believe

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in the importance of a city driving the regional economy and I

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understand how that should work. Or should have some one or somebody in

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charge of infrastructure, land use planning, highways, transport, big

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investment decisions but the mayor, whoever that is, their authority

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would stop at Trent Bridge. And boots, it is in Broxtowe. We used

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to have somebody who did that. They have been scrapped. As for getting

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local kids, their chance to share in the city's prosperity,

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programmes have been cut. The mayor is irrelevant. For all these

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reasons, I will be urging everyone in Nottingham to simply vote of no.

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So, who gets our MPs' vote? A pig in a poke. That's what John Taylor

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says people in Nottingham will get if they vote for a mayor.

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I would disagree. More than half the people in the country and half

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of the jobs are based in our cities. They need to be areas of

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regeneration and growth and you need a strong figure to lead at

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that. And mayors have been successful across the world and in

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London of focusing that energy and drive. Not always. You are talking

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about Stoke and Doncaster? They were dysfunctional before the mayor

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came along. They need a major disorganisation and the mayor was

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not strong enough to deliver it. We need more transparency as well.

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Nottingham City Council is the only one that is not its closed --

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disclosing expenses over �500. They -- the people want transparency. It

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is clear that it is a group of councillors in a darkened room who

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decide the leader of the city council is, not the people of

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Nottingham. Steven Barker is saying that. He insists it is time that

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the people of Nottingham have their say. That is a nonsense. You have

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:41:41.:41:41.

city-wide elections. You might as well say, let's scrap the MPs in

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Parliament and elect David Cameron as President to do what they like,

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and that demagoguery approach is appalling and mayors a rare example

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of that. Looking to America, I have been unstudied city governments in

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two cities in America and believe me it is not an example we want to

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follow. The rife corruption and incompetence that goes on because

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of this system is one of the worst examples that Cameron could quote.

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Is the danger we give too much power to that 1%? It is people not

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systems that are corrupt. The mayor would be a person. He will have a

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lot of power, but also be accountable to the people. We can

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vote him out we like we do with an M P. There is also going to be a

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male role covenant of these mares that will go down and lobby on

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behalf of their cities to the Prime Minister. So they are going to have

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real power. They must have power because there are plenty of ex-

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Labour ministers that want to be mayors. Of course, it is

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interesting that the Conservatives on Nottinghamshire County Council

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have planned to abandon their current system and go back to a

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committee style system. If they go for the mayor, it is going to

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change that. They will go back to the Cabinet system. They have got

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plans to abandon it and go to committee style where more people

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have a say. Well, everyone in Nottingham will have a say...

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said that one person will have a say. It will be one person driving

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the vision, but he will have to have a mandate, what his aims are.

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And the people will vote. It is for the people in Nottingham to decide

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if what they won. You have to be in it to win it, so if they don't do

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it, could they lose out? Of the leader of any council can go and

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lobby in London and Europe and do effectively. They have done from

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Sheffield, Nottingham and smaller towns like Chesterfield. I was an

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MP for nine years and my colleague had far more power to influence

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than I did and he led the normal Council where he had the support of

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half the councillors. The mayor, he only needs the support of a third

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of the councillors and he can do what he wants. He can bulldoze

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anything through. As we have seen in Doncaster and Stoke and lots of

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American cities, it is a disaster. Isn't at the very positive in this?

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Doesn't it engage people in politics? The X Factor is then --

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The X Factor is not a good example of how to run a country. Boris

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Johnson and Ken Livingstone, it is about who you least dislike. It is

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ludicrous and demeans politics. It is anti-democratic and it is the

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very day interest. There is nothing democratic about a few councillors

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with a small majority and the council deciding between themselves

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whose turn it is to beat the leader. We are talking on principle. We are

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driving forward a city in difficult times and being a coalescing force

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for the city, that is a mayor. And having a mandate from the people.

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The Lib Dems are not as democratic as they would suggest. We believe

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in democracy where you have to have half the people on a council

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supporting what you were doing. You cannot railroad things through with

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less than a third. You would give them well-paid positions so they

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will go along with anything you say, which is what happened in Doncaster.

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Doncaster are elected a mayor because they had a corrupt Labour

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council and they are having a referendum to get rid of the mayor!

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Which way will it go? I don't know. I hope it will go yes for an

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election for mayor. Well, I don't know, that is down for the voters

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in Nottingham and the other cities, but a lot of them, as is happening

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with the 12th mayor paula mac, they will have a referendum to get rid

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of them. Thank you both. Time for our regular Sixty Seconds

:46:05.:46:15.
:46:15.:46:18.

slot. Here's our political editor, The GMB members say they will take

:46:18.:46:22.

industrial action from tomorrow over Nottingham's workplace parking

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levy. The company can afford to cover the �300 it will cost each

:46:28.:46:32.

worker, they say. Imperial Tobacco say they are prepared to pay most

:46:32.:46:38.

of it. UKIP member Derek Clarke has repaid �31,000 after an

:46:38.:46:43.

investigation by his anti-fraud watchdog. He used the money to pay

:46:43.:46:47.

for two assistance. He says at no stage did he gain personally.

:46:47.:46:51.

Next, a novel way to decide the outcome of an election. By Labour

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group on air wash Council tossed a coin to resolve a split over who

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should be the new leader. Alex Phillips won by a head.

:47:00.:47:05.

Finally, the Olympics is running rings around businesses. Two

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shopkeepers have been told to remove the rings from their

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premises. They say the organisers are running away with themselves.

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Paul Holmes, do you think the Olympic organisers are taking their

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commercial rules way too seriously? I do. The Olympics has become

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demeaned over the last 20 years just by becoming a shop front

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window for large multinational companies. They pour vast amounts

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of money into the advertising that comes from it and they want to get

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their profit back. It is undermining the spirit of the

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Olympic sport stop do you agree? can see why the organisers want to

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protect their brand image. There will be a lot of foreign visitors

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and a lot of counterfeit goods. When you see the Olympic Cafe in

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London, which has been called for 20 years and it has been told to

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take it signed a, it is unreasonable. It is taking it far

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too far. It does seem sad that people are being penalised for

:48:09.:48:19.
:48:19.:48:21.

trying to enter the spirit of the games. Isn't it sad? No business in

:48:21.:48:25.

Derbyshire is going to undermine the profit of the Olympics in

:48:25.:48:31.

London. On the face of it, this crackdown seems over-the-top, but

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organisers will say that if they give way to one shopkeeper, they

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would have to do it to all. There is a danger to the brand, they say.

:48:39.:48:43.

One of my colleagues wanted to send a letter out and he couldn't put

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the logo on their because it was protected at that level. Really?

:48:48.:48:53.

Yes. It had to be blanked out the. Have you got any tickets? I did put

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in for some but I didn't get any. Did you? No. I will watch a bit of

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it on television. Get into the spirit of it! Like the shopkeeper

:49:04.:49:08.

that was going to hand knit the rings false stop all the money was

:49:08.:49:13.

being diverted from places like Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire for

:49:13.:49:21.

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