20/10/2013 Sunday Politics East


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Good morning and welcome to The Sunday Politics. Alex Salmond says a


vote for Scottish independence would be an act of national self belief.


His deputy joins us live from the SNP conference in Perth. Is


Whitehall meddling too much in modern affairs? The Communities


Secretary, Eric Pickles, joins me for The Sunday Interview. Senior


coppers will be answering questions this


Food or fuel? The argument over what We will be


Food or fuel? The argument over what we are growing in our fields. What


Food or fuel? The argument over what London, does the London assembly


have one arm tied behind its back? All of that to come. And the Home


Office minister sacked by Nick Clegg, who says his party is like a


wonky shopping trolley, which keeps veering off to the left. He will


join us live at noon. With me to unpack all of this, Nick Watt, Helen


Lewis and Iain Martin. They will be tweeting throughout the programme,


using hashtag #bbcsp. It is the last day of the Scottish national party


conference in Perth. We have discovered that Alex Salmond has


been on the same diet as Beyonce. The SNP leader compared his attempts


to lose weight with the campaign for independence - lots achieved so far,


20 more to do. In a moment, I will be joined by the deputy leader of


the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon. First they report on the independence


campaign. September 18 2014, the date of destiny for Scotland, the


day when these campaigners hope its people will decide to vote yes for


independence. In a recent poll, only 14% said they knew enough to vote


either way. That is unlikely to change any time soon. I think the


Scottish people will be going to the polls next year still not knowing an


awful lot of stuff which is important, because the outcome, in


terms of taxation, debt, exactly what will happen to the allocation


of assets between the two countries, will come about as a result of


negotiation between a Scottish government and the UK Government.


That is not stuff which will be known year. At the moment, polls


suggest Scotland will decide to remain within the UK. A recent


survey found that 44% of those questioned planned to vote no, 5%


yes. But interestingly, the undecideds were at 31%, suggesting


that Alex Salmond's task might be tough but not impossible. There are


a number of reasons which make a vanilla campaign a good idea. It


does not put off cautious voters, it allows for people to imagine their


own version of what independence will be like, and crucially, it


allows for the yes campaign to take advantage of any mistakes by the no


campaign. In other words, the yes campaign are not out there with big


ideas, they are just waiting for the no campaign to trip up. What we do


know is that whatever happens next September, Scotland will be getting


more power. From 2016, a separate income tax regime will come into


force, giving the Scottish Parliament control over billions of


pounds of revenue. What we do not know yet is how the alternative


would pan out. There are issues which would be raised by


independence, issues about how the national debt is allocated, what the


currency will look like, how an independent Scotland would balance


the books, because it would have a bigger job to do, even down the


Whitehall government has to do. Those are really big issues, which a


Scottish government would have to face, on top of whatever negotiation


it had to have with the UK Government. The Scottish


government's White Paper on independence, two to be published


within weeks, should fill in some of the banks. But how Scotland votes in


September may yet be determined by what it feels rather than what it


knows. And joining me from Perth is Scotland's Deputy First Minister,


Nicola Sturgeon. Nicola Sturgeon, we meet again! Hello, Andrew. Former


leader of the SNP Gordon Wilson said, if this referendum fails, it


will fail on the basis that people put their British identity ahead of


their Scottish identity, so we have got to attack on the British


identity - what does he mean? Gordon Wilson is a very respected, much


loved former leader of the SNP. My view is that I do not think the


independence referendum is really about identity. I am secure and


proud of my Scottish identity, but this is a decision about where power


best lies. Do decision-making powers best lie here in Scotland, with a


government which is directly accountable to the people of


Scotland, or does it best lie in Westminster, with governments which,


very often, people in Scotland do not vote for? That is the issue at


the heart of the campaign. Let me just clarify, you do not agree with


him, that you need to go on the attack with regard to the British


identity of Scottish people? No I do not think we are required to


attack British identity. It is absolutely compatible for somebody


to feel a sense of British identity but still support Scottish


independence, because Scottish independence is about a transfer of


power. It is about good government, accountable government, ensuring


that decisions are taking here in Scotland, by people who have got the


biggest stake in getting those decisions right. I represent a


constituency in the south side of Glasgow, and if you speak to many


people in my constituency, if you ask them their national identity,


many of them would say Irish, Pakistani, Indian, Polish, and many


of them will vote yes next year because they understand the issue at


stake, which is the issue of where decisions are best taken. It looks


like you are changing tack ex-, you have realised the softly softly


approach, of saying that actually, nothing much will change, we will


still have the Queen, the currency, and all the rest of it, is moving


over towards voting for a left-wing future for Scotland... Well, I know


that what we are doing is pointing out is pointing out the choice


between two futures. If we vote yes, we take our own future into our own


hands. We make sure that for ever after, we have governments which


will be in demented policies which we have voted for. If we do not


become independent, then we continue to run the risk of having


governments not only that we do not vote for, but often, that Scotland


rejects. We are seeing the dismantling of our system of social


security. There are politicians in all of the UK parties who are


itching to cut Scotland's share of spending. So Scotland faces a choice


of two futures, and it is right to point out the positive consequences


of voting yes, but also the consequences of voting no. But you


are promising to reverse benefit cuts and increase the minimum wage.


You would renationalise the Royal Mail, though how you would do that


nobody knows. You are promising to cut energy bills. These are the kind


of promises that parties make in a general election campaign, not in a


once in 300 years extra stench or choice. Is the future of Scotland


really going to be decided on the size of the minimum wage? --


existential choice. A yes vote would be about bringing decision-making


powers home, but we are also setting out some of the things an SNP


government would do, if elected A decision on what the first


government of an independent Scotland would be would not be taken


in the referendum, that decision would be taken in the 2016 election.


And all of the parties will put forward their offers to the


electorate. We are setting out some of the things which we think it is


important to be prioritised. These are things which have a lot of


support in Scotland. We see the pain being felt by people because of the


rising cost of energy bills, there is widespread opposition to some of


the welfare cuts. So, we are setting out the options which are open to


Scotland, but only open to Scotland if we have the powers of


independence. Given that you seem to be promising aid permanent socialist


near Varna, if Scotland is independent, if you are right of


centre in Scotland, and I understand that is a minority pursuit where you


are, but it would be a big mistake to vote for independence, in that


case, wouldn't it? No, because the whole point of independence is that


people get the country they want, and the government a vote for. So,


right of centre people should not vote for independence? No, because


people who are of that political persuasion in Scotland get the


opportunity to vote for parties which represent that persuasion and


if they can persuade a majority to vote likewise, then they will get a


government which reflects that. That is the essence of independence.


Right now, we have a Westminster government which most people in


Scotland rejected at the last general election. That is hardly


democratic. It is right and proper that the SNP, as the current


government, points out the opportunities that would be opening


up. Can I just clarify one thing, when we spoke on The Daily Politics


earlier last week, you made it clear to me that Alex Salmond, we know he


wants to debate with David Cameron, but you made it clear to me that he


would debate with Alistair Darling as well, and Mr Carmichael... He


made it clear yesterday. Well, he said to the BBC this morning that he


would only debate with these people after he had had a debate with Mr


Cameron, so who is right? I was making the point last week, and Alex


Salmond was making it yesterday and this morning - let's have that


agreement by David Cameron to come and debate with Alex Salmond, and


then Alex Salmond, just like me will debate with allcomers. So if he


does not get the David Cameron debate, then he will not do the


others, is that right? Let's focus on is wading David Cameron to do the


right thing. So, in other words he will not debate, yes or no? Members


of the SNP government... We know that, but what about Alex Salmond?


He said yesterday, we will debate with all sorts of people, including


the people you have spoken about, but David Cameron should not be let


off the hook just putting aside the independence issue, energy prices


are now even playing into the SNP, so every political party has to do


something about energy prices. Yes, it is clearly it is interesting is


the difference between the SNP and the Labour approach. Ed Miliband


electrified the party conference season when he said he would freeze


energy prices for 20 months, seemingly having an amazing control


over the energy market, where we know that essentially what pushes


prices up the wholesale prices on world market. What Nicola Sturgeon


is talking about is actually saying, this amount is added to your bills


for green levies, and we are going to take them off your bills and they


will be paid out of general taxation in an independent Scotland. That is


a credible government, making a credible case, very different to


what Labour is saying, although playing to the same agenda. So,


Labour has got a populist policy, the SNP has also got a populist


policy, the one group of people that do not have a decent response to


this is the coalition? Exactly. What the SNP also have is a magic money


pot, so that speech yesterday, you are right, it was very left wing,


social democratic, but there was none of the icing like Labour has


been talking about, with fiscal responsibility. I think that is the


difference between the two. We know what the Tories would really like to


do, all of these green levies which were put on our bills in the good


times, when they were going to be the greenest party ever, the Tories


would like to say, let's just wipe out some of them, put the rest on to


some general government spending, but they have a problem, which is in


the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Not only that, they really


are stuck now. But there is something in the free schools debate


this morning, the parties are now determined to send a message to


their potential voters at the next election, that they are trying to


fight their coalition partners. Do not expected any change in coalition


policy or free schools policy before the election, but we can expect to


hear the parties try to pretend that they are taking on their coalition


partners. Mr Clegg has said, we would put this free schools policy


into our manifesto, so is it not possible that the Tories will say,


if you give us an overall majority, we will cut your electricity bill


because we will get rid of these green levies? I think that is


entirely possible. The Tories know that they are stuck on this, they do


not have a response to Ed Miliband. How much should ministers in


Whitehall medal in local decisions across England? In opposition, David


Cameron said he wanted a fundamental shift of power from Whitehall to


local people. He said, when one size fits all solution is...


Eric Pickles described it as "an historic shift of power". But the


Communitites and Local Government Secretary can't stop meddling. In


the past few months Mr Pickles has tried to ban councils from using


CCTV cameras and "spy cars" to fine motorists... Told councils how to


act quicker to shut down illegal travellers' sites... Criticised


councils who want to raise council tax... Insisted councils release


land to residents hoping to build their own property... And stated new


homes should have a special built in bin storage section. It seems not a


week goes by without a policy announcement from the hyper active


Mr Pickles. So is the government still committed to localism, or is


it all about centralism now? And Communities Secretary Eric


Pickles joins me now for the Sunday Interview.


Welcome. Nice to be here. You said in July you were going to give town


halls the power to wreak their local magic. So why issue diktats from


Westminster? It is not about giving power to local councils, it is going


beyond that to local people. If local councils refuse to open up


their books, we have to go straight to local people. You have attacked


councillors using so-called spy cameras to enforce parking rules.


Why is that your business? Because there is an injustice taking place.


You cannot use fines to raise money and that is plainly happening. If


you get yourself a ticket from a CCTV, it could be days or weeks


before that lands on your doorstep and you have virtually no


possibility to be able to defend yourself. But just leave it to


people to vote out the council then. We are trying to enforce the law and


it clearly states that you cannot use parking fines in order to fund


general rate. So why are you not taking them to court if they are


breaking the law? There have been a number of court cases taken by local


residents. I am there to stand by local residents. Your even trying to


micromanage, allowing motorist s to park for 15 minutes in local high


street. Why is that your business? I'm trying to ensure that local


authorities understand the importance of the town centre. If


you look at all opinion polls, right now there is a five-minute leeway


but there are many cases of people being jumped on by parking officials


for quite trivial things. It is about saying, surely I can go and


get a pint of milk. But a party that dines out on localism, that is a


matter for local people, not the men in Whitehall. I have to be on the


side of local people. That person who wants to go and get a pint of


milk. Ultimately it is a matter for them. It is a matter for the


council. But a little bit of criticism is not a bad thing. You


have now declared war on the wheelie bin and suggested that new homes


should have built in storage sections. You just cannot help


meddling! I suppose that is possible. You are a meddler! I am in


charge of building regulations and planning. So I may have some


responsibility there. Another one, interfering in local planning


decisions. A couple of places, you ruled in favour of developers. They


want to build over 200 houses against the wishes of the parish and


district councils. The local MP said the Secretary of State's decision


runs roughshod over any concept of localism. Now I have to be a


blushing violet because of course this is still potentially subject to


judicial review. I have to act properly. And Apple went is entitled


to justice. -- an applicant. A local authority has a duty to ensure that


is adequate housing for people in their area. This was not a decision


that I took as a personal decision, it was on the advice of an


inspector. But you contradict what David Cameron himself said in 2 12,


he spoke about a vision where we give communities much more say and


local control. People in villages fear big housing estates being


plonked from above. You have just done exactly that. After a proper


quasi judicial enquiry. What we have is planning framework which local


people can decide where it goes But they cannot say, nothing here. They


have to have a five-year housing supply. Previous to this government


decided exactly where houses would go, now local people can take the


lead. Anna Silbury said because of the way your department rules, local


authorities now have no alternative but to agree development on green


belt land. I do not accept that I think around Nottingham there are


particular problems with regards to the green belt. The matter has been


referred back. the green belt. The matter has been


want to see development on the green belt but on Brownfield site. We want


to see underused land. But you have to remember why we have the green


belt. Not to remember why we have the green


nice, it is their to prevent conurbations bumping into one


another. Your conurbations bumping into one


is vocal about the need to deal what he calls the historic under


provision of housing. Shelter says we need 250,000 new homes per year.


provision of housing. Shelter says Houston statistics are getting


there, but nowhere near that. - housing. You cannot


there, but nowhere near that. - localism agenda as well as meeting


housing demand. I do not accept that. We inherited a position where


the lowest level of building since the 1920s was in place. But it has


steadily improved. It does take a while. You cannot have a localism


agenda where people call the shots on housing as well as meeting the


housing demand. People have a duty to ensure that future generations


have somewhere to live. You cannot pull up the drawbridge. There is


nothing incompatible between that and localism. Because someone has to


be the voice of those people who are going to live there and to make sure


there is the proper amount. Plans now exist for more than 150,000


homes to be built on protected land, including the green belt. That will


mean riding over local concerns Each application will be taken on


its own merits. To suggest that there is an assault on the green


belt is as far from the truth as you can imagine. Should Andrew Mitchell


get his job back if the years exonerated? I would be honoured to


sit with Andrew Mitchell in the Cabinet. I have always believed his


version. But it is a matter for the Prime Minister who he has in


government. He would have no problem in seeing him back in Cabinet?


Absolutely not. Your mother answered Vulcan junior minister Nick balls


said about the Royal Charter for the press, there's nothing we have done


that troubles me as much as this. Is that your view? It is not. I accept


the compromise agreement put together. If the press want to have


an additional protection that the Royal Charter offers, then they can


move into the system. But if they want to continue independently that


is acceptable to me. But you previously echoed Thomas Jefferson,


you said for a free society to operate the river of a free press


has to flow without restriction That is what I said at the time We


had to find a compromise. And that seems to me to be a better


compromise. Let me just show you this little montage of pictures that


we have. I could not be happier Then you are in the Desert and there


you are in San Francisco. Then you are in the casino. That is my


personal favourite. These students took a cardboard cutout of you and


took it round the world with them. Did you ever think you would become


a student icon? I always felt secretly that that might happen one


day. But it came earlier in my career than I thought! Why would


they do that? I think they thought I could do with a bit of an airing! I


went to Norfolk earlier, but that looks better. Thank you.


On Wednesday senior police folk including chief constables, will be


questioned by MPs about what's become known as Plebgate. That's the


incident in Downing Street last year which led to the resignation of the


government chief whip Andrew Mitchell. Last week the Independent


Police Complaints Commission questioned the "honesty and


integrity" of police officers who met Mr Mitchell following the row.


So do scandals like this affect public trust in the police? Here's


Adam Fleming. It's a story of politics, the


police, and CCTV. No, not Andrew Mitchell, but an MP's researcher


called Alex Bryce and his partner Iain Feis.


It started on a summer night in 2011. They'd been in Parliament


After a few words with a police officer, Ian was wrestled to the


ground. Alex came to have a look and the same thing happened to him. Both


were arrested and charged. These pictures emerged on day one of their


trial. A trial that was halted because the police version of events


just didn't match the footage. A lot of people with incidence like this


which we experienced, people think there is no smoke without fire. So


when we said we did nothing wrong, people would think police just would


not do that. There is always that underlying view that some people


have. I think that has been challenged and people who know us


believe that. This year the Met apologised and paid compensation.


And it's led to an unlikely sort of friendship. When the truth came out


about the Andrew Mitchell story I actually sent him an e-mail to


congratulate him about the truth coming out. He did send a reply


acknowledging that. So where are we with THAT saga? Remember last


September? Andrew Mitchell had a row with police at the gates of Downing


Street about his bike. He lost his job as chief whip after accusations


he called the officers plebs. That, he's always denied. This week the


police watchdog the IPCC suggested that three officers may have lied


about a meeting with him at the height of the scandal. Add that to


the charge sheet of cases that haven't exactly flattered the


police. Like the revelation of a cover up over Hillsborough. The


prosecution of an officer from the Met over the death of Ian Tomlinson


during protests in 2009. Along with news that undercover officers were


told to smear the family of Stephen Lawrence. During Thursday's protest


by teachers in Westminster the police operation was really, really


relaxed. And recent scandals have done nothing to affect society's


view of the boys and girls in blue - or should I say hi-vis. About 6 % of


the public say they trust the police. And that's not budged since


pollsters started measuring it 0 years ago.


Of course, in Britain, crime is down, so the perception might be


that the police is doing a good job. And the rank-and-file recently


seamed pretty chipper at this awards ceremony. Is it a good time to be a


police officer? It is a good time. Despite all of the headlines? Still


a good time. But speak to officers privately, and they say Plebgate is


affecting how the public see them. Some of them also think


politicians, the Tories especially, are enjoying that a little too much.


Adam Fleming reporting there. Going head-to-head on this issue of trust


in the police, a Sunday Mirror columnist and Peter Kirkham, former


chief inspector. Peter Kirkham, let me come to you first. Plebgate, the


cover-ups over John Charles De menace, the death of Ian Tomlinson,


the industrial deception over Hillsborough, why is the culture of


deceit so prevalent in the police? I do not agree there is a cultural


deceit. These are all individual incidents which raise individual


issues. I would suggest that your short headline summarising each of


them has taken the most negative view of it. How can you be positive


about the police's behaviour over Hillsborough? It remains to be seen


with the inquiry but we are probably talking about a handful of senior


officers, dealing with the paperwork. Well over 100 testimonies


being doctored by the police. Well, those testimonies were true to start


with, so the officers have told the truth, and they have been changed


for some reason. By the police. By the police all lawyers we have got


this thing that the police conflates everything. There are 43 forces


there is ACPO, there is the College Of Policing... People say it was a


handful of police officers, it wasn't, it was six senior police


officers who were alleged to have doctored 106 D4 statements. Even


today we are hearing that more than 1000 officers are yet to be spoken


to about Hillsborough. -- 164. Do we pretend that Hillsborough, and some


of these examples, are the exception rather than the rule? What is the


evidence that this is now prevalent in our police? I think there is a


lot of evidence, and Plebgate is probably the thing which has


clinched it. The public want to know, how deep does this girl? The


audacity of a group of policemen who think they can set up a Cabinet


minister. Five of those who were arrested and bailed still have not


been charged. One of those officers actually wrote an e-mail pretending


to be a member of the public. I do not see what the problem is in


prosecuting them for that. Taking Plebgate, there are loads of


different bits of that incident There is the officers on duty in


Downing Street, the issue of who leaked the story to the Sun, there


are the officers who claim to have been there who would appear not to


have been there, and then we have got the West Midlands meeting


issue, which has sort of been resolved this week. There has been


misconduct. But at a lower level. But it is the audacity of an


organisation which thinks it can take on an elected minister and


destroy him for their own political purposes, at a time when the


Government are cutting please pay, when they are freezing their


pensions and reducing their numbers. It looks very much to all of us the


public, that the police are at war with the government, and they are


going to do anything they can to discredit the Government. The police


would have every reason to be at war with the Government, because there


if there is a crisis of trust.. But it looks like they fitted up a


Cabinet minister. That remains to be seen, it is being investigated. We


know that those Birmingham officers, they totally misrepresented to, if


not lied outright, about what was said. Again, that is a


misrepresentation of what happened. If you actually go and look at what


is said, it is plain from the context, they were saying, he has


told us nothing new. But he had in the transcript, it said he hadn t.


He would not admit he had used the word pleb. He apologised profusely,


he said it would never happen again, he said many things that he had not


said before. I agree, which is presumably... Thereon many police


forces in this country, they have one of the toughest jobs in the


land, they end up getting involved in almost anything which happens in


society, and there are obviously a number of difficult examples, but


what is the evidence that it is out of hand, other than just several bad


apples? This bad apples argument, we have some amazing police people


thank God, but it is because of those that we have to root out the


bad ones, the ones that are possibly corrupt. From where most of us are


standing, the ones who are being accused of being corrupt, there does


not seem to be any process to deal with these people. The trouble with


a rotten apple is that it spreads. It is not fair on the good cops to


be tainted by this, and I think the police force, as an institution ..


For all of us, we have to respect the police. There is a problem, is


there not? People do worry that if you can fit up a Cabinet minister,


you can fit up anybody... . I would disagree that anybody has proved


that anybody has been fitted up We are yet to hear what happened at the


gates of Downing Street. But what we do know about the gates of Downing


Street is that we were told by the police officers that passers-by had


heard this incredible row, where Mitchell's file went was bullied.


That is not true... . They did not use those words, actually. All


right, but it is clear that the Police Federation jumped on this as


a politically motivated campaign... I have always said that politics


should be kept out of policing. The federation, they cannot go on


strike, but this was to covertly political, so I criticise them for


that. Do we need a better way of monitoring the police? We need a


more competent and properly resourced Independent police


commission. But if you look at those Bravery Awards, every police


officer, every year, who acts with bravery... That is the police force


we want to believe in. That is the police force you have got. We will


leave it there. Coming up in just over 20 minutes, I will be speaking


to former Lib Minister Jeremy Browne. And in The Week Ahead,


Hello and welcome to the part of the programme just for us here in the


east. I'm Etholle George. Today, we go where David Cameron


fears to tread ` the question which he was pleased not to have to answer


at Prime Minister's Questions. And food or fuel? The row over what


we're using our fields for. This is something that that is at the


cutting edge of diversity. I think it is a shame that we are now


getting disincentives to these organisations that are trying to do


something ethically sound. First let's meet our guests. David


Ruffley is Conservative MP for Bury St Edmunds and Andrew Boswell who is


a Green Party councillor both on Norwich City Council and on Norfolk


County Council. And let's start with the Prime


Minister, because this is what he was pleased to avoid at Prime


Minister's Questions this week. Thank you. I originally intended to


raise the issue of the road with my honourable friend. Can I thank her


for forsaking the issue of the eighth 14... Well he may not be keen


about questions about that road, but there have been a lot around. The


end of the public consultation on the toll road. MPs argued that their


constituents would be paying Cambridge's congestion charge. So,


this sounds like serious rift between Suffolk and Cambridge.


Suffolk was not properly consulted. It is also the case that the


ministers in the department weren't really aware until recently of the


concern in Suffolk, I have spoken to the Secretary of State for transport


and the Roads Minister. We will see them as stretch that Suffolk should


not be painful Cambridge's problem. It will not be the case that you can


use the existing A14 once the relief road is built. Heavy goods vehicles


will not be able to travel freely and even saloon cars will


effectively be on a second`class road, it is not acceptable. It will


make Suffolk the odd county out and add it will be a road apartheid. I


am very concerned that we are going to be spending ?1.5 billion just to


create more congestion. We also will create an air quality problem and in


fact the road proposals as they stand may well breach the air


quality standards and we are beginning to see issues like the


World Health Organisation says that sort of air pollution is responsible


for lung cancer and is a factor. There are serious issues. They


could, if your Government cannot afford to pay for it, it is not


unreasonable to expect people who are using the Road to do that?


Exactly. There is an idea kicking around that Cambridge city should


introduce a congestion charge so those around it should and in it


should pay the kind of charge you find in London, for instance, which


was introduced by Ken Livingstone and kept by Boris Johnson. It should


not be the case that Suffolk is essentially being poll tax. Giving


you cannot stop the road, do you accept that a toll is a good idea? I


don't think having an apartheid in the road system is good. I would


support the congestion charge in a city like Cambridge where there is a


lot of congestion. I think there are alternatives though. For example,


the residents of Brampton are already surrounded me the A14


junction with four I `` lanes either side. They are very worried about


the air quality. Well the European Parliament is


generally held to be a slightly more civilised affair than the


Westminster bear pit, but not apparently this week. And the


subject raising hackles? Biofuel. That's crops being grown to fuel


vehicles. You may be surprised to learn how big a business it is here


in the east. At the Wissington sugar beet factory near Kings Lynn, for


example, they produce 77 million litres of bioethanol a year, one


tenth of all the green petrol used in the UK. Which is why there's real


concern over EU plans to cut the amount of agricultural land allowed


for the use of growing crops for biofuel from 10% to 6% All day


lorries pour into British Sugar's Wissington factory on the edge of


the Fens. But nearly a quarter of the beet


arriving here won't end up as sugar. Instead it's turned into bioethanol


for road fuel. In 2007, British Sugar opened its plant at it wishing


to and works. It held the company used up sugar beet production. Just


six years on, the European Union seems the beginning to get cold feet


about producing biofuels from productive farmland. Why? Well,


picture a swathe of farmland nearly eight miles long by five miles wide.


That's what it takes to feed Wissington's bioethanol plant. The


European Parliament fears the current target for 10% of road fuel


to be sourced from food crops is displacing food production, pushing


up food prices. So it's voted to cut the figure to 6% to the dismay of


some working in the East Anglia's energy sector. These were really


quite innovative ways in which excess produce to produce biofuels


to assist us in cutting our nations. That was the interesting


and novel thing we are doing and it was at the cutting edge of diversity


in terms of biofuels. I think it is a shame that we are getting


disincentives now. At Lotus' headquarters in Norfolk they have


little doubt biofuels are the future. For five years, Lotus has


been experimenting with biofuels. This runs on a mix of bio ethanol.


The company is passionate that they should be sourced in a way that does


not sacrifice valuable agricultural land. In a building over their is


something much more interesting. `` over there. This is an advanced


cell. This is our omnivore engine, it is designed to run on a variety


of fuels. If we look at other countries, they already run fuels


with high ethanol content and what we have. Alcohol is used as a ratio


in the States, as well. The technology is there. I would say it


is not the technology that is holding things back, it is one of


the social implications, political implications, of moving the


technology on. The EU wants to encourage greater use of alternative


sources of biofuels. This new gas refuelling station for lorries in


Daventry uses biomethane, sourced from rotting rubbish at a landfill


site. At the Institute of Food Research in Norwich, they're


investigating how heat and pressure can be used to turn anything from


wood shavings to straw into biofuel. The potential for making bio ethanol


from food waste and things like that is getting close to commercial


viability. There has been a lot of research into it over the last ten


or 15 years and the process itself are becoming understood. It cost ?20


million to build British Sugar's bioethanol plant at Wissington. If


the targets for biofuels from food crops are cut future investment


could be put at risk. How damaging do you think this proposal is for


the East of England? It's not good news for feature investment, that is


for sure. That concerns me. In terms of the technology there, people's


desire to invest in technology going forward will be limited as a result


of this. I think it is always dangerous if you do not know what


the next policy decision will be from Europe that may patterns alter


of investment. Well concern is so great over the


viability of the biofuels industry that it's been the subject of a


furious debate in Europe this week. And the row between two competing


committees has now stalled the plan for cuts. Conservative MEP Vicky


Ford wants to protect investment in the industry and slow down any


reductions. You cannot change the rules for investors overnight when


you only made them two years ago, these things need to be looked at in


a big picture. We are at a stand off between the industry committee


saying let's take more time and the environment committee who are


rushing headlong into a new set of rules.


But the Greens and the Liberals and Democrats in Europe are backing the


move. Andrew Sinclair spoke to Andrew Duff about why he supported


the change. He asked him whether supporting reductions in biofuel


production was effectively a U`turn. No, it is not, it is not a whole


U`turn. We are staying, please develop the industry, but strike a


balance between food security and the production of power. The price


of both of those things, as we all know, is going up and there is a


connection between taking crops out of food and giving them to be in ``


energy industry. This has potential to be quite a big damage in the


biofuel industry in the East? Many litres are created. There is a ?20


million plant, litres are created. There is a ?20


there, I have seen, I have spoken to them a lot and they are keen to see


a coherent regulation and I think that is the thing that we finally


have provided them with. If you are telling them to produce less, surely


that will have an impact on the business. We're not telling anyone


to do anything, we are requiring them to find a market by `` market


price that people can afford. The bio ethanol, the fact that they can


grow to 7.5%, which is more than they are doing at the moment, is a


clear encouragement for East Anglian industry which in this respect is


extremely efficient and modern. So you say that the biofuel industry in


our region will continue to thrive if this cap goes ahead. You will


still push for a cap? Yes. The clearest judgement I could reach is


that cats are needed `` the needed and I will stand on that record in


the election next year. What about these manufacturers Western Mark


here in the east, the investing heavily. This will impact it,


wouldn't it? I don't think it will specifically. The debate was about


taking the target from 5%, which it currently is, to 10% or 6%. There is


headroom in the target and Andrew Duff was talking about 7.5% in some


way. We have to be clear about this policy, it is very damaging to the


developing world. There is a massive amount of food insecurity caused by


this developing because taking agricultural crops out of the food


chain and into fuel has actually increased the price of commodities


and food prices. We need to have enough food as well


as enough fuel, don't we? Shouldn't land be for food? Ya like it is a


serious point and in the developing world, the problems are there to


see. But let's look at the region. First, all agricultural producers


should have the freedom to use the precious resorts which is the land


in East Anglia, whether it is rape seed and beat or food. I cannot get


too excited about the five or six or seven and a half target. The second


important thing is... The British Sugar plant, I know how important as


a source of jobs British Sugar is. And the local plant is important and


I think we should defend his industries.


Won't the uncertainty scare off any potential investors in new


technology, which as we saw in the film, we have in this region? It may


do. I personally don't think that biofuels... They link in the way


people travel to entirely to the internal combustion engine, we need


to be link from that. We need to get away from fossil fees. Most of the


biofuels go in at about 5%. So we are still talking about 95% fossil


fuels being used in a vehicle. That is seriously damaging to the


environment. We need to be thinking much more about electric vehicles


and how we reduce carbon in the energy sector to generate clean


electricity. Briefly, your party pledged to be the greenest garden ``


Government ever. But it seems UK then when it affects industry. By


2020, we all agree that 50% of energy should be generated by


renewables. We should be supporting it locally. I think biofuels is a


part of that. It is jobs for East Anglian, that is what I am worried


about. Well the only rail franchise in


public ownership is the East Coast mainline which runs from Kings Cross


in London through Stevenage and Peterborough to the north. It's just


handed the treasury more than ?200 million pounds. This week, the Green


Party has been lobbying to keep the franchise public with a 23,000


strong petition. They were at Peterborough station talking to


travellers. But they don't want to just stop at the East Coast: they're


campaigning to bring the entire railway system back into Government


hands as franchises run out. The Green Party is behind a nationalised


public transport system and a system which works in an integrated fashion


and a system which is fair. We don't actually think that people should be


paying hidden taxes when they travel, because that falls on fairly


on people with small incomes. Attack it sounds like you are harking back


to the days of British rail. In Iraq I think a lot of people would want


it back. It's not been a great advert for


privatisation, the east coast mainline running so much better


since it was taken back into Government hands? I think there is a


case of selective amnesia here. I don't think turning the clock back


is the solution. Do I defend every single privatised line, they could


do better. It depends on the operator. I do not think that we


should renationalise. It is going back to an age that never existed.


We are talking about going forward to a 21st`century different way of


doing nationalisation. If you look at the experience of privatisation,


we have seen real prices go up for the average person by 23% under


privatisation. We have seen all the problems were you have a fragmented


system, maintenance separated from the companies and so on. What we are


talking about and Caroline Lucas's private members bill which has been


taken for a second reading in Parliament is that it is


incrementally moved back to a nationalised system. Every time one


of these franchises comes back, it can be brought back into... Think of


what you could do. If this has proved so successful, ?200 million,


why privatise again? This idea of keeping it in public ownership, they


enter `` the idea that investment will be paid for by the tax by his


ridiculous. Prices will have to be set to make sure that investment is


put back into the industry. I think that the idea that if it is not


privatised then the tax burden will be coughing up because the


maintenance and upkeep has to be paid for and I don't think the


experiment or the history of public ownership is significantly better


than the privatised alternative. Is it a minute ago that you won't be


ideological. That sounded ideological. It is making a


profit... do you think British rail was perfect? It was significantly


better... We're not talking about going back to British rail. But a


different model. Andrew Boswell, would you read nationalised anything


else? I would certainly be in favour of nationalising some other


industries, as well. I think we lose a lot with the privatisation model.


We have to leave it there. They're not doing everything wrong. I need


to keep the programme on track. Now, from the state of our army to


the safety of our seas, it's all in our 60 second round up with Deborah


McGurran. Former Fusilier, John Baron, leading


the campaign this week to save second Battalion, the Royal Regiment


of Fusiliers. It makes no sense whatsoever, scrapping battalions


while probably recruited ones are being saved.


And Julian Huppert wants to save sixth form colleges some money. He's


written to Michael Gove saying it's unfair that schools are exempt from


VAT, but sixth form colleges are not. There is a cross`party group of


us trying to really push that, to give the money back to the sixth


form colleges so it can be used more usefully.


There's growing speculation that money from China could pave the way


for a new nuclear power station in Suffolk.


And support grew for Alistair Burt MP at PMQs after he lost his foreign


affairs job in the reshuffle. But bad news for the Coastguard


centre at Walton`on`the`Naze which will close in June 2015, the


Government has confirmed. Andrew Boswell, what about a Chinese


backed Sizewell? Nuclear energy is not necessarily carbon free, but I


am concerned to see the Government going down the nuclear route. We


don't know how to solve the waste problem, there is still waste from


1957 that has not been cleared up. We have seen things that happened at


Fukushima, and there is a huge amount we can do with renewable


energy. Actually, George Osborne made a big mistake in terms of


putting off investors in his speech to the Conservative Party prop ``


party conference when he made the comment about not being... That put


off investors. They comment on that. George Osborne talking about the


links with China, what about these links with Chinese industry? I am


quite relaxed. There are security issues, but we have foreign


ownership... Why are their security issues? They are a superpower. There


are security issues, nuclear is something strategically very


important. We have to be a bit careful, but we have East Anglia


docks which are owned by far Eastern companies, I cannot get excited


about foreign ownership. Do we need nuclear? Of course we do. Thank you


both very much for joining us today. That is all for now. As always, you


can keep in touch via our website when you will also find links to our


blocks for all the latest. We will when you will also find links to our


down immigration, but not in any way which links in with this. Thank you


to both of you for being my guests today.


Are the Lib Dems like a wonky shopping trolley? Why is Nick Clegg


kicking off over free schools? And what about Boris and George's love


bombing of China? All questions for The Week Ahead. We are joined now by


the former Home Office minister and Liberal Democrat MP Jeremy Browne.


Jeremy Browne, let me ask you this key question - ??GAPNEXT who is in


the ascendancy in your party, those who would fear to the left, or those


who would fear to the centre? The point I was making in the interview


that I gave to the times was that I want us to be unambiguously and on


up genetically -- and unapologetically a Liberal party. I


do not want us to be craving the approval of columnists like Polly


Toynbee. I do not want us to be a pale imitation of the Labour Party.


I think we should be proud and unambiguously a authentic Liberal


party. That is my ambition for the party. If it is, as you put it,


fearing to the left, then I think that is a mistake, I think we should


be on the liberal centre ground But is it actually veering to the left,


your party? I think there is a danger when a party, or any


organisation, feels that it is in a difficult position, to look


inwards, to look for reassuring familiar policy positions. I do not


want us to be the party which looks inwards and speaks to the 9% of


people who are minded to support us already. I want us to look outwards


and speak to the 91% of the population, for whom I think we have


got a good story to tell about the contribution we have made to getting


the deficit down, cutting crime keeping interest rates low, and


also, distinctive Liberal Democrat policies for example on income tax


and pupil premiums. If we look like we are a party which is uneasy and


ambivalent about our role in government, people will not give us


credit for the successes of the government, and we will not be able


to claim the authorship which we should be able to claim for our


policies excesses in government I want us to be confident, outward


looking, and authentically liberal. If we are that, people real sense


that and they will respond positively. Does that not therefore


make it rather strange that Nick Craig should choose to distance


himself from the coalition's schools policy? Well, I support free


schools, I think they are a liberal policy. Education is a fascinating


area, so let's explore it a bit We have had two very significant and


troubling reports in the last fortnight, one from Alan Milburn,


saying that social mobility has stalled in this country, in other


words, what your parents do is a reliable guide to how you will get


on in life and the other saying that Britain lags behind our


competitors, the other industrialised countries, in terms


of the educational attainment of 15-year-olds. Both of those are


worrying. We have a scandalous situation in this country where two


thirds of children from disadvantaged backgrounds are


failing to get five Grade A to Grade C. Some get none at all. If we were


the world leaders in education, we could have an interesting


conversation about how we are able to maintain that position, but we


are not. Whether there are good things one less good things which


have happened in our schools over the last 30-40 years, we really need


to raise our game and stop letting young people down who need a good


quality education in order to realise their full potential in


life. It sounds like you do not share Mr Clegg's designations? I


think there are two big dangers for us as a party. I do not think we


should be instinctively statist and I do not think either we should be


instinctively in favour of the status quo. I want us to have a


restless, radical, energetic, liberal reforming instinct, which is


about putting more power and responsible at the end opportunity


in the hands of individual people. As I say, we look at the education


system, of course there are good teachers and good outcomes in some


schools and for some pupils, overall, our performance in this


country is not good enough, so the status quo has not been a successful


stop I am interested in how we can innovate. -- has not been a success.


Are the Tories wooing you? Well I do not know if that is the right


word, I have been reported, and I have set myself, that the


Conservatives have, if you like made some advances or generous


suggestions to me, but I am a liberal, and I am a Liberal


Democrat. I have been a member of the Lib Dems since the party was


founded, I joined when I was 18 years old. I have campaigned


tirelessly for the Liberal Democrats for my entire adult life, so I am


not about to go and join another political party. I would turn this


on its head, let me put it like this, I think there are quite a few


liberals in the other political parties, people like Alan Milburn,


who wrote a report on social mobility, people like Nick Bowles in


the Conservative Party. Our ambition, as Liberal Democrats,


should be to attract liberals from other political parties, and no


political party, to the Lib Dems. Just briefly, have you suggested


that the Tories do not run a candidate against you in the next


election? I have not suggested anything of the sort. The


Conservatives have to make their own decisions about which candidates


they select, and I will take on whoever is select it from each of


the political parties. Thank you for joining us. There is a danger not


from Jeremy Browne, but from Mr Clegg, in that, having been part of


a coalition which has gone through an enormous squeeze in living


standards for three years, it did not look like both was coming, it


was being regarded overall as a failure, but now, it may be turning


the corner, so why would you then start to disassociate yourself from


the coalition's policies? Yes, the danger for Nick Clegg is that he


makes the Liberal Democrats looked like visitors in a guesthouse, a


guesthouse which is owned by the Conservatives. As you say, they were


there for the three difficult years, and just at the moment when the


economy seems to be coming right, and we are getting some nice growth,


they seek to distance themselves. It is interesting that Jeremy Browne


came out with the outrageously disloyal statement that he supported


free schools statement. That is a disloyal Liberal Democrat view, but


on Thursday, of course, the Liberal Democrat party was in favour of free


schools, because in that statement about the Al-Madinah school, David


Laws made a passionate defence about what Nick Clegg is now criticising,


which is having on qualified teachers. If things are now coming


right, the big risk for the Liberal Democrats always was that they would


not get the credit anyway. Well if they diss associate themselves like


this, they definitely will not get the credit. It depends which voters


their opinion poll ratings are dire, he spoke about 9%, and sometimes it


is less than that. So, where are they going to get those voters


from? They have not got those anti-Iraq war voters. Is it not


Mission impossible, getting Labour voters test surely the left of the


Lib Dem vote is peeling off towards labour, not away from Labour? I


wonder to what extent, and this might be speculation, this might be


organised and arranged, that Cameron and Clegg both understand that they


have groups of voters that they need to get, so they need to send


messages out to different groups, it looks like a bit of a setup to me.


Boris in China, along with boy George - let's have a look... Who,


according to JK Rowling, was Harry Potter's first girlfriend? That s


right, and she is Chinese overseas student, is that not right at


Hogwarts? Actually, we are not sure it is right, she is actually from


Scotland. It is not only London which has a diverse society. Putting


that to one side, we are inviting the Chinese into finance our power


stations, to run big banks in the cities, we are giving out more visas


to them, are we right to embrace the Dragon? What worries me about the


power stations then, it is 30% of investment, and it reminds me a lot


of PFI, the idea that you do not want a huge investment on your


balance sheet, but if somebody bails out halfway through, we cannot stop


with a half finished power station. It is EDF, the French company, which


will actually build it, and we will be guaranteeing the debt for them.


It is extraordinary that there has been so little adverse comment after


George Osborne and Boris's trip to China, and is it now really the UK


Government policy, to sell Britain to the Chinese? There was a debate


in government about this, as they were getting ready for the trip and


there will be at some point in the next six months be a David Cameron


trip to China. He has had to wait three years because they were


annoyed about him meeting the Dalai llama. There were some people in the


Foreign Office who were saying, fine, but tread carefully. George


Osborne's view is absolutely not, get in there, I do not care about


any of these problems, get stuck in. I think he is storing up five


years since the financial crisis, Chinese banks are being given a


special, light touch regulatory regime. What could possibly go


wrong?! There is lots to see. Energy prices have continued to dominate


this week. We have got the EDF deal, whereby we are going to be giving


them twice the market rate for their energy. But for the coalition, all


eyes are on the GDP figures. The expectation and hope is that the


recovery will be stronger than the figures have suggested so far, on


which basis it can influence the result of the next general


election. The chief economist at the Bank of England was saying on


Twitter last week that the Bank of England may now bring forward the


assessment when it says, maybe we are going to have to change monetary


policy, if unemployment goes below 7%. And we know what that means


interest rates. The Bank of England on Twitter! That is it for today.


The Daily Politics is back tomorrow on BBC Two. I will be back with


prime Minster 's questions on Wednesday, and of course, we will be


back at 11 o'clock on BBC One next Sunday.


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