20/10/2013 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


20/10/2013

Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With communities secretary Eric Pickles and deputy first minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon.


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Transcript


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

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

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

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Whitehall meddling too much in modern affairs? The Communities

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Whitehall meddling too much in Secretary, Eric Pickles, joins me

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for The Sunday Interview. Senior coppers will be answering questions

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this Thousands more jobs will be lost in

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the region's town halls. How long can the cuts go on?

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And claims high`interest credit is leaving families drowning in debt.

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All of that to come. And the Home Office minister sacked by Nick

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Clegg, who says his party is like a wonky shopping trolley, which keeps

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veering off to the left. He will join us live at noon. With me to

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unpack all of this, Nick Watt, Helen Lewis and Iain Martin. They will be

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tweeting throughout the programme, using hashtag #bbcsp. It is the last

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day of the Scottish national party conference in Perth. We have

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discovered that Alex Salmond has been on the same diet as Beyonce.

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The SNP leader compared his attempts to lose weight with the campaign for

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independence - lots achieved so far, 20 more to do. In a moment, I will

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be joined by the deputy leader of the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon. First

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they report on the independence campaign. September 18 2014, the

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date of destiny for Scotland, the day when these campaigners hope its

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people will decide to vote yes for independence. In a recent poll, only

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14% said they knew enough to vote either way. That is unlikely to

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change any time soon. I think the Scottish people will be going to the

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polls next year still not knowing an awful lot of stuff which is

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important, because the outcome, in terms of taxation, debt, exactly

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what will happen to the allocation of assets between the two countries,

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will come about as a result of negotiation between a Scottish

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government and the UK Government. That is not stuff which will be

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known year. At the moment, polls suggest Scotland will decide to

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remain within the UK. A recent survey found that 44% of those

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questioned planned to vote no, 5% yes. But interestingly, the

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undecideds were at 31%, suggesting that Alex Salmond's task might be

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tough but not impossible. There are a number of reasons which make a

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vanilla campaign a good idea. It does not put off cautious voters, it

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allows for people to imagine their own version of what independence

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will be like, and crucially, it allows for the yes campaign to take

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advantage of any mistakes by the no campaign. In other words, the yes

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campaign are not out there with big ideas, they are just waiting for the

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no campaign to trip up. What we do know is that whatever happens next

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September, Scotland will be getting more power. From 2016, a separate

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income tax regime will come into force, giving the Scottish

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Parliament control over billions of pounds of revenue. What we do not

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know yet is how the alternative would pan out. There are issues

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which would be raised by independence, issues about how the

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national debt is allocated, what the currency will look like, how an

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independent Scotland would balance the books, because it would have a

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bigger job to do, even down the Whitehall government has to do.

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Those are really big issues, which a Scottish government would have to

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face, on top of whatever negotiation it had to have with the UK

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Government. The Scottish government's White Paper on

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independence, two to be published within weeks, should fill in some of

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the banks. But how Scotland votes in September may yet be determined by

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what it feels rather than what it knows. And joining me from Perth is

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Scotland's Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. Nicola Sturgeon, we

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meet again! Hello, Andrew. Former leader of the SNP Gordon Wilson

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said, if this referendum fails, it will fail on the basis that people

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put their British identity ahead of their Scottish identity, so we have

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got to attack on the British identity - what does he mean? Gordon

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Wilson is a very respected, much loved former leader of the SNP. My

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view is that I do not think the independence referendum is really

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about identity. I am secure and proud of my Scottish identity, but

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this is a decision about where power best lies. Do decision-making powers

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best lie here in Scotland, with a government which is directly

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accountable to the people of Scotland, or does it best lie in

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Westminster, with governments which, very often, people in Scotland do

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not vote for? That is the issue at the heart of the campaign. Let me

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just clarify, you do not agree with him, that you need to go on the

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attack with regard to the British identity of Scottish people? No I

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do not think we are required to attack British identity. It is

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absolutely compatible for somebody to feel a sense of British identity

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but still support Scottish independence, because Scottish

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independence is about a transfer of power. It is about good government,

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accountable government, ensuring that decisions are taking here in

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Scotland, by people who have got the biggest stake in getting those

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decisions right. I represent a constituency in the south side of

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Glasgow, and if you speak to many people in my constituency, if you

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ask them their national identity, many of them would say Irish,

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Pakistani, Indian, Polish, and many of them will vote yes next year

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because they understand the issue at stake, which is the issue of where

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decisions are best taken. It looks like you are changing tack ex-, you

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have realised the softly softly approach, of saying that actually,

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nothing much will change, we will still have the Queen, the currency,

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and all the rest of it, is moving over towards voting for a left-wing

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future for Scotland... Well, I know that what we are doing is pointing

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out is pointing out the choice between two futures. If we vote yes,

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we take our own future into our own hands. We make sure that for ever

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after, we have governments which will be in demented policies which

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we have voted for. If we do not become independent, then we continue

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to run the risk of having governments not only that we do not

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vote for, but often, that Scotland rejects. We are seeing the

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dismantling of our system of social security. There are politicians in

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all of the UK parties who are itching to cut Scotland's share of

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spending. So Scotland faces a choice of two futures, and it is right to

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point out the positive consequences of voting yes, but also the

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consequences of voting no. But you are promising to reverse benefit

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cuts and increase the minimum wage. You would renationalise the Royal

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Mail, though how you would do that nobody knows. You are promising to

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cut energy bills. These are the kind of promises that parties make in a

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general election campaign, not in a once in 300 years extra stench or

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choice. Is the future of Scotland really going to be decided on the

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size of the minimum wage? -- existential choice. A yes vote would

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be about bringing decision-making powers home, but we are also setting

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out some of the things an SNP government would do, if elected A

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decision on what the first government of an independent

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Scotland would be would not be taken in the referendum, that decision

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would be taken in the 2016 election. And all of the parties will put

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forward their offers to the electorate. We are setting out some

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of the things which we think it is important to be prioritised. These

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are things which have a lot of support in Scotland. We see the pain

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being felt by people because of the rising cost of energy bills, there

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is widespread opposition to some of the welfare cuts. So, we are setting

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out the options which are open to Scotland, but only open to Scotland

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if we have the powers of independence. Given that you seem to

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be promising aid permanent socialist near Varna, if Scotland is

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independent, if you are right of centre in Scotland, and I understand

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that is a minority pursuit where you are, but it would be a big mistake

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to vote for independence, in that case, wouldn't it? No, because the

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whole point of independence is that people get the country they want,

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and the government a vote for. So, right of centre people should not

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vote for independence? No, because people who are of that political

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persuasion in Scotland get the opportunity to vote for parties

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which represent that persuasion and if they can persuade a majority to

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vote likewise, then they will get a government which reflects that. That

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is the essence of independence. Right now, we have a Westminster

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government which most people in Scotland rejected at the last

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general election. That is hardly democratic. It is right and proper

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that the SNP, as the current government, points out the

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opportunities that would be opening up. Can I just clarify one thing,

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when we spoke on The Daily Politics earlier last week, you made it clear

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to me that Alex Salmond, we know he wants to debate with David Cameron,

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but you made it clear to me that he would debate with Alistair Darling

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as well, and Mr Carmichael... He made it clear yesterday. Well, he

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said to the BBC this morning that he would only debate with these people

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after he had had a debate with Mr Cameron, so who is right? I was

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making the point last week, and Alex Salmond was making it yesterday and

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this morning - let's have that agreement by David Cameron to come

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and debate with Alex Salmond, and then Alex Salmond, just like me

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will debate with allcomers. So if he does not get the David Cameron

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debate, then he will not do the others, is that right? Let's focus

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on is wading David Cameron to do the right thing. So, in other words he

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will not debate, yes or no? Members of the SNP government... We know

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that, but what about Alex Salmond? He said yesterday, we will debate

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with all sorts of people, including the people you have spoken about,

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but David Cameron should not be let off the hook just putting aside the

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independence issue, energy prices are now even playing into the SNP,

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so every political party has to do something about energy prices. Yes,

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it is clearly it is interesting is the difference between the SNP and

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the Labour approach. Ed Miliband electrified the party conference

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season when he said he would freeze energy prices for 20 months,

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seemingly having an amazing control over the energy market, where we

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know that essentially what pushes prices up the wholesale prices on

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world market. What Nicola Sturgeon is talking about is actually saying,

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this amount is added to your bills for green levies, and we are going

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to take them off your bills and they will be paid out of general taxation

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in an independent Scotland. That is a credible government, making a

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credible case, very different to what Labour is saying, although

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playing to the same agenda. So, Labour has got a populist policy,

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the SNP has also got a populist policy, the one group of people that

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do not have a decent response to this is the coalition? Exactly. What

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the SNP also have is a magic money pot, so that speech yesterday, you

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are right, it was very left wing, social democratic, but there was

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none of the icing like Labour has been talking about, with fiscal

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responsibility. I think that is the difference between the two. We know

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what the Tories would really like to do, all of these green levies which

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were put on our bills in the good times, when they were going to be

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the greenest party ever, the Tories would like to say, let's just wipe

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out some of them, put the rest on to some general government spending,

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but they have a problem, which is in the Department of Energy and Climate

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Change. Not only that, they really are stuck now. But there is

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something in the free schools debate this morning, the parties are now

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determined to send a message to their potential voters at the next

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election, that they are trying to fight their coalition partners. Do

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not expected any change in coalition policy or free schools policy before

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the election, but we can expect to hear the parties try to pretend that

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they are taking on their coalition partners. Mr Clegg has said, we

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would put this free schools policy into our manifesto, so is it not

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possible that the Tories will say, if you give us an overall majority,

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we will cut your electricity bill because we will get rid of these

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green levies? I think that is entirely possible. The Tories know

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that they are stuck on this, they do not have a response to Ed Miliband.

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How much should ministers in Whitehall medal in local decisions

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across England? In opposition, David Cameron said he wanted a fundamental

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shift of power from Whitehall to local people. He said, when one size

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fits all solution is... Eric Pickles described it as "an

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historic shift of power". But the Communitites and Local Government

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Secretary can't stop meddling. In the past few months Mr Pickles has

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tried to ban councils from using CCTV cameras and "spy cars" to fine

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motorists... Told councils how to act quicker to shut down illegal

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travellers' sites... Criticised councils who want to raise council

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tax... Insisted councils release land to residents hoping to build

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their own property... And stated new homes should have a special built in

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bin storage section. It seems not a week goes by without a policy

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announcement from the hyper active Mr Pickles. So is the government

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still committed to localism, or is it all about centralism now?

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And Communities Secretary Eric Pickles joins me now for the Sunday

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Interview. Welcome. Nice to be here. You said

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in July you were going to give town halls the power to wreak their local

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magic. So why issue diktats from Westminster? It is not about giving

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power to local councils, it is going beyond that to local people. If

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local councils refuse to open up their books, we have to go straight

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to local people. You have attacked councillors using so-called spy

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cameras to enforce parking rules. Why is that your business? Because

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there is an injustice taking place. You cannot use fines to raise money

:17:44.:17:50.

and that is plainly happening. If you get yourself a ticket from a

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CCTV, it could be days or weeks before that lands on your doorstep

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and you have virtually no possibility to be able to defend

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yourself. But just leave it to people to vote out the council then.

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We are trying to enforce the law and it clearly states that you cannot

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use parking fines in order to fund general rate. So why are you not

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taking them to court if they are breaking the law? There have been a

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number of court cases taken by local residents. I am there to stand by

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local residents. Your even trying to micromanage, allowing motorist s to

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park for 15 minutes in local high street. Why is that your business?

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I'm trying to ensure that local authorities understand the

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importance of the town centre. If you look at all opinion polls, right

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now there is a five-minute leeway but there are many cases of people

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being jumped on by parking officials for quite trivial things. It is

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about saying, surely I can go and get a pint of milk. But a party that

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dines out on localism, that is a matter for local people, not the men

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in Whitehall. I have to be on the side of local people. That person

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who wants to go and get a pint of milk. Ultimately it is a matter for

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them. It is a matter for the council. But a little bit of

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criticism is not a bad thing. You have now declared war on the wheelie

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bin and suggested that new homes should have built in storage

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sections. You just cannot help meddling! I suppose that is

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possible. You are a meddler! I am in charge of building regulations and

:20:05.:20:12.

planning. So I may have some responsibility there. Another one,

:20:13.:20:18.

interfering in local planning decisions. A couple of places, you

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ruled in favour of developers. They want to build over 200 houses

:20:29.:20:34.

against the wishes of the parish and district councils. The local MP said

:20:35.:20:41.

the Secretary of State's decision runs roughshod over any concept of

:20:42.:20:49.

localism. Now I have to be a blushing violet because of course

:20:50.:20:53.

this is still potentially subject to judicial review. I have to act

:20:54.:21:08.

properly. And Apple went is entitled to justice. -- an applicant. A local

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authority has a duty to ensure that is adequate housing for people in

:21:17.:21:21.

their area. This was not a decision that I took as a personal decision,

:21:22.:21:26.

it was on the advice of an inspector. But you contradict what

:21:27.:21:33.

David Cameron himself said in 2 12, he spoke about a vision where we

:21:34.:21:37.

give communities much more say and local control. People in villages

:21:38.:21:44.

fear big housing estates being plonked from above. You have just

:21:45.:21:53.

done exactly that. After a proper quasi judicial enquiry. What we have

:21:54.:22:02.

is planning framework which local people can decide where it goes But

:22:03.:22:10.

they cannot say, nothing here. They have to have a five-year housing

:22:11.:22:15.

supply. Previous to this government decided exactly where houses would

:22:16.:22:18.

go, now local people can take the lead. Anna Silbury said because of

:22:19.:22:26.

the way your department rules, local authorities now have no alternative

:22:27.:22:31.

but to agree development on green belt land. I do not accept that I

:22:32.:22:41.

think around Nottingham there are particular problems with regards to

:22:42.:22:49.

the green belt. The matter has been referred back.

:22:50.:23:00.

the green belt. The matter has been want to see development on the green

:23:01.:23:00.

belt but on Brownfield site. We want to see underused land. But you have

:23:01.:23:07.

to remember why we have the green belt. Not

:23:08.:23:14.

to remember why we have the green nice, it is their to prevent

:23:15.:23:14.

conurbations bumping into one another. Your

:23:15.:23:19.

conurbations bumping into one is vocal about the need to deal

:23:20.:23:24.

what he calls the historic under provision of housing. Shelter says

:23:25.:23:24.

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

:23:25.:23:36.

Houston statistics are getting there, but nowhere near that. -

:23:37.:23:36.

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

:23:37.:23:39.

localism agenda as well as meeting housing demand. I do not accept

:23:40.:23:50.

that. We inherited a position where the lowest level of building since

:23:51.:23:58.

the 1920s was in place. But it has steadily improved. It does take a

:23:59.:24:05.

while. You cannot have a localism agenda where people call the shots

:24:06.:24:08.

on housing as well as meeting the housing demand. People have a duty

:24:09.:24:14.

to ensure that future generations have somewhere to live. You cannot

:24:15.:24:19.

pull up the drawbridge. There is nothing incompatible between that

:24:20.:24:26.

and localism. Because someone has to be the voice of those people who are

:24:27.:24:32.

going to live there and to make sure there is the proper amount. Plans

:24:33.:24:39.

now exist for more than 150,000 homes to be built on protected land,

:24:40.:24:44.

including the green belt. That will mean riding over local concerns

:24:45.:24:49.

Each application will be taken on its own merits. To suggest that

:24:50.:24:53.

there is an assault on the green belt is as far from the truth as you

:24:54.:24:58.

can imagine. Should Andrew Mitchell get his job back if the years

:24:59.:25:03.

exonerated? I would be honoured to sit with Andrew Mitchell in the

:25:04.:25:08.

Cabinet. I have always believed his version. But it is a matter for the

:25:09.:25:14.

Prime Minister who he has in government. He would have no problem

:25:15.:25:18.

in seeing him back in Cabinet? Absolutely not. Your mother answered

:25:19.:25:25.

Vulcan junior minister Nick balls said about the Royal Charter for the

:25:26.:25:31.

press, there's nothing we have done that troubles me as much as this. Is

:25:32.:25:36.

that your view? It is not. I accept the compromise agreement put

:25:37.:25:42.

together. If the press want to have an additional protection that the

:25:43.:25:48.

Royal Charter offers, then they can move into the system. But if they

:25:49.:25:53.

want to continue independently that is acceptable to me. But you

:25:54.:26:01.

previously echoed Thomas Jefferson, you said for a free society to

:26:02.:26:05.

operate the river of a free press has to flow without restriction

:26:06.:26:12.

That is what I said at the time We had to find a compromise. And that

:26:13.:26:18.

seems to me to be a better compromise. Let me just show you

:26:19.:26:26.

this little montage of pictures that we have. I could not be happier

:26:27.:26:38.

Then you are in the Desert and there you are in San Francisco. Then you

:26:39.:26:50.

are in the casino. That is my personal favourite. These students

:26:51.:27:01.

took a cardboard cutout of you and took it round the world with them.

:27:02.:27:05.

Did you ever think you would become a student icon? I always felt

:27:06.:27:10.

secretly that that might happen one day. But it came earlier in my

:27:11.:27:20.

career than I thought! Why would they do that? I think they thought I

:27:21.:27:27.

could do with a bit of an airing! I went to Norfolk earlier, but that

:27:28.:27:37.

looks better. Thank you. On Wednesday senior police folk

:27:38.:27:39.

including chief constables, will be questioned by MPs about what's

:27:40.:27:44.

become known as Plebgate. That's the incident in Downing Street last year

:27:45.:27:47.

which led to the resignation of the government chief whip Andrew

:27:48.:27:49.

Mitchell. Last week the Independent Police Complaints Commission

:27:50.:27:51.

questioned the "honesty and integrity" of police officers who

:27:52.:27:56.

met Mr Mitchell following the row. So do scandals like this affect

:27:57.:27:59.

public trust in the police? Here's Adam Fleming.

:28:00.:28:06.

It's a story of politics, the police, and CCTV. No, not Andrew

:28:07.:28:12.

Mitchell, but an MP's researcher called Alex Bryce and his partner

:28:13.:28:18.

Iain Feis. It started on a summer night in

:28:19.:28:22.

2011. They'd been in Parliament After a few words with a police

:28:23.:28:26.

officer, Ian was wrestled to the ground. Alex came to have a look and

:28:27.:28:31.

the same thing happened to him. Both were arrested and charged. These

:28:32.:28:35.

pictures emerged on day one of their trial. A trial that was halted

:28:36.:28:40.

because the police version of events just didn't match the footage. A lot

:28:41.:28:50.

of people with incidence like this which we experienced, people think

:28:51.:28:55.

there is no smoke without fire. So when we said we did nothing wrong,

:28:56.:28:59.

people would think police just would not do that. There is always that

:29:00.:29:05.

underlying view that some people have. I think that has been

:29:06.:29:09.

challenged and people who know us believe that. This year the Met

:29:10.:29:13.

apologised and paid compensation. And it's led to an unlikely sort of

:29:14.:29:20.

friendship. When the truth came out about the Andrew Mitchell story I

:29:21.:29:24.

actually sent him an e-mail to congratulate him about the truth

:29:25.:29:30.

coming out. He did send a reply acknowledging that. So where are we

:29:31.:29:33.

with THAT saga? Remember last September? Andrew Mitchell had a row

:29:34.:29:37.

with police at the gates of Downing Street about his bike. He lost his

:29:38.:29:41.

job as chief whip after accusations he called the officers plebs. That,

:29:42.:29:47.

he's always denied. This week the police watchdog the IPCC suggested

:29:48.:29:50.

that three officers may have lied about a meeting with him at the

:29:51.:29:56.

height of the scandal. Add that to the charge sheet of cases that

:29:57.:29:59.

haven't exactly flattered the police. Like the revelation of a

:30:00.:30:05.

cover up over Hillsborough. The prosecution of an officer from the

:30:06.:30:08.

Met over the death of Ian Tomlinson during protests in 2009. Along with

:30:09.:30:13.

news that undercover officers were told to smear the family of Stephen

:30:14.:30:19.

Lawrence. During Thursday's protest by teachers in Westminster the

:30:20.:30:21.

police operation was really, really relaxed. And recent scandals have

:30:22.:30:27.

done nothing to affect society's view of the boys and girls in blue -

:30:28.:30:31.

or should I say hi-vis. About 6 % of the public say they trust the

:30:32.:30:39.

police. And that's not budged since pollsters started measuring it 0

:30:40.:30:40.

years ago. Of course, in Britain, crime is

:30:41.:30:53.

down, so the perception might be that the police is doing a good

:30:54.:30:58.

job. And the rank-and-file recently seamed pretty chipper at this awards

:30:59.:31:02.

ceremony. Is it a good time to be a police officer? It is a good time.

:31:03.:31:08.

Despite all of the headlines? Still a good time. But speak to officers

:31:09.:31:13.

privately, and they say Plebgate is affecting how the public see them.

:31:14.:31:17.

Some of them also think politicians, the Tories especially,

:31:18.:31:21.

are enjoying that a little too much. Adam Fleming reporting there. Going

:31:22.:31:26.

head-to-head on this issue of trust in the police, a Sunday Mirror

:31:27.:31:35.

columnist and Peter Kirkham, former chief inspector. Peter Kirkham, let

:31:36.:31:42.

me come to you first. Plebgate, the cover-ups over John Charles De

:31:43.:31:48.

menace, the death of Ian Tomlinson, the industrial deception over

:31:49.:31:52.

Hillsborough, why is the culture of deceit so prevalent in the police? I

:31:53.:31:56.

do not agree there is a cultural deceit. These are all individual

:31:57.:32:00.

incidents which raise individual issues. I would suggest that your

:32:01.:32:05.

short headline summarising each of them has taken the most negative

:32:06.:32:12.

view of it. How can you be positive about the police's behaviour over

:32:13.:32:17.

Hillsborough? It remains to be seen with the inquiry but we are probably

:32:18.:32:21.

talking about a handful of senior officers, dealing with the

:32:22.:32:26.

paperwork. Well over 100 testimonies being doctored by the police. Well,

:32:27.:32:34.

those testimonies were true to start with, so the officers have told the

:32:35.:32:38.

truth, and they have been changed for some reason. By the police. By

:32:39.:32:45.

the police all lawyers we have got this thing that the police conflates

:32:46.:32:49.

everything. There are 43 forces there is ACPO, there is the College

:32:50.:32:58.

Of Policing... People say it was a handful of police officers, it

:32:59.:33:02.

wasn't, it was six senior police officers who were alleged to have

:33:03.:33:07.

doctored 106 D4 statements. Even today we are hearing that more than

:33:08.:33:11.

1000 officers are yet to be spoken to about Hillsborough. -- 164. Do we

:33:12.:33:18.

pretend that Hillsborough, and some of these examples, are the exception

:33:19.:33:25.

rather than the rule? What is the evidence that this is now prevalent

:33:26.:33:30.

in our police? I think there is a lot of evidence, and Plebgate is

:33:31.:33:33.

probably the thing which has clinched it. The public want to

:33:34.:33:38.

know, how deep does this girl? The audacity of a group of policemen who

:33:39.:33:43.

think they can set up a Cabinet minister. Five of those who were

:33:44.:33:47.

arrested and bailed still have not been charged. One of those officers

:33:48.:33:50.

actually wrote an e-mail pretending to be a member of the public. I do

:33:51.:33:54.

not see what the problem is in prosecuting them for that. Taking

:33:55.:33:59.

Plebgate, there are loads of different bits of that incident

:34:00.:34:04.

There is the officers on duty in Downing Street, the issue of who

:34:05.:34:07.

leaked the story to the Sun, there are the officers who claim to have

:34:08.:34:11.

been there who would appear not to have been there, and then we have

:34:12.:34:14.

got the West Midlands meeting issue, which has sort of been

:34:15.:34:17.

resolved this week. There has been misconduct. But at a lower level.

:34:18.:34:27.

But it is the audacity of an organisation which thinks it can

:34:28.:34:31.

take on an elected minister and destroy him for their own political

:34:32.:34:34.

purposes, at a time when the Government are cutting please pay,

:34:35.:34:39.

when they are freezing their pensions and reducing their numbers.

:34:40.:34:43.

It looks very much to all of us the public, that the police are at war

:34:44.:34:46.

with the government, and they are going to do anything they can to

:34:47.:34:50.

discredit the Government. The police would have every reason to be at war

:34:51.:34:55.

with the Government, because there if there is a crisis of trust.. But

:34:56.:35:03.

it looks like they fitted up a Cabinet minister. That remains to be

:35:04.:35:10.

seen, it is being investigated. We know that those Birmingham officers,

:35:11.:35:15.

they totally misrepresented to, if not lied outright, about what was

:35:16.:35:20.

said. Again, that is a misrepresentation of what happened.

:35:21.:35:23.

If you actually go and look at what is said, it is plain from the

:35:24.:35:26.

context, they were saying, he has told us nothing new. But he had in

:35:27.:35:35.

the transcript, it said he hadn t. He would not admit he had used the

:35:36.:35:41.

word pleb. He apologised profusely, he said it would never happen again,

:35:42.:35:45.

he said many things that he had not said before. I agree, which is

:35:46.:35:52.

presumably... Thereon many police forces in this country, they have

:35:53.:35:55.

one of the toughest jobs in the land, they end up getting involved

:35:56.:36:01.

in almost anything which happens in society, and there are obviously a

:36:02.:36:07.

number of difficult examples, but what is the evidence that it is out

:36:08.:36:12.

of hand, other than just several bad apples? This bad apples argument, we

:36:13.:36:18.

have some amazing police people thank God, but it is because of

:36:19.:36:21.

those that we have to root out the bad ones, the ones that are possibly

:36:22.:36:25.

standing, the ones who are being standing, the ones who are being

:36:26.:36:29.

not seem to be any process to deal not seem to be any process to deal

:36:30.:36:31.

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

:36:32.:36:33.

a rotten apple is that it spreads. not seem to be any process to deal

:36:34.:36:37.

It is not fair on the good cops to be tainted by this, and I think the

:36:38.:36:40.

police force, as an institution .. For all of us, we have to respect

:36:41.:36:48.

the police. There is a problem, is there not? People do worry that if

:36:49.:36:53.

you can fit up a Cabinet minister, you can fit up anybody... . I would

:36:54.:36:59.

disagree that anybody has proved that anybody has been fitted up We

:37:00.:37:03.

are yet to hear what happened at the gates of Downing Street. But what we

:37:04.:37:07.

do know about the gates of Downing Street is that we were told by the

:37:08.:37:14.

do know about the gates of Downing police officers that passers-by had

:37:15.:37:17.

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

:37:18.:37:27.

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

:37:28.:37:33.

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

:37:34.:37:44.

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

:37:45.:37:48.

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

:37:49.:37:52.

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

:37:53.:37:56.

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

:37:57.:38:03.

more competent and properly resourced Independent police

:38:04.:38:08.

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

:38:09.:38:12.

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

:38:13.:38:19.

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

:38:20.:38:25.

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

:38:26.:38:28.

to former Lib Minister Jeremy Browne. And in The

:38:29.:38:41.

local part of the show, for the North East and Cumbria.

:38:42.:38:48.

Coming up: The easy credit that it's claimed is pushing tens of thousands

:38:49.:38:51.

of people into ever`deeper debt. The Government is urged to take action `

:38:52.:38:55.

but are loan companies providing a valuable service in difficult times?

:38:56.:38:58.

My guests this week: the Labour MP for Bishop Auckland, Helen Goodman,

:38:59.:39:01.

and the North East Conservative Euro`MP, Martin Callanan.

:39:02.:39:04.

Now, it's been a week of bad news from our biggest councils, with more

:39:05.:39:07.

cuts to services and potentially thousands of job losses on the way.

:39:08.:39:11.

Durham revealed last week that the cuts it has to make by 2017 have

:39:12.:39:13.

risen to ?108 million. On Tuesday, Gateshead warned just

:39:14.:39:20.

over 400 jobs could go over the next two years as it tries to find ?45

:39:21.:39:23.

million. The next day, Middlesbrough Council revealed up to 1500 jobs

:39:24.:39:27.

were at risk, almost half of the remaining workforce. It needs to

:39:28.:39:31.

find ?67 million over three years. The week ended with the news that

:39:32.:39:34.

Cumbria County Council is also up against it, looking for savings of

:39:35.:39:37.

?80 million over the next three years, with 600 jobs at risk.

:39:38.:39:42.

The next few months will see those councils consulting with local

:39:43.:39:46.

people over which services to cut. In Gateshead, everything from

:39:47.:39:49.

leisure centres to support for the Baltic art gallery and Sage arts

:39:50.:39:53.

centre is under review. Council leader Mick Henry says the Local

:39:54.:39:56.

Government Secretary needs to realise the pressures councils are

:39:57.:39:58.

facing. My message to Eric Pickles is I

:39:59.:40:02.

would rather he spent less time making what I call one`liners,

:40:03.:40:06.

having a go at local Government. He is the Secretary of State for Local

:40:07.:40:10.

Government. He says he is in favour of localism but he seems to have a

:40:11.:40:14.

pop at me and other people whenever he gets a chance. I would ask him,

:40:15.:40:19.

next time he goes in the Cabinet and offers up more savings for his

:40:20.:40:21.

department, that he should think about asking for maybe less savings

:40:22.:40:25.

so that the people of Gateshead and elsewhere don't actually have their

:40:26.:40:33.

quality of life reduced. Martin Callan, I note you have said

:40:34.:40:37.

these cuts are caused by having to repay the debt of the last

:40:38.:40:40.

Government but local Government macro has taken a digger shared than

:40:41.:40:45.

other areas. How can you keep doing this queue Mac we are only going

:40:46.:40:51.

back to spending levels that they had five or six years ago. But we

:40:52.:40:55.

have two reduced the deficit inherited by Labour. Local

:40:56.:41:03.

government has to take its share of the cuts. What is interested is that

:41:04.:41:09.

the survey that the BBC did that show people 's belief in the quality

:41:10.:41:13.

of service is actually increasing. They think the services are getting

:41:14.:41:18.

better, which you would not think listening to make Henry. The problem

:41:19.:41:21.

is they have still got half of these cuts to go. Durham told me they were

:41:22.:41:26.

given one figure in the spring and Eric Pickles gave another one in the

:41:27.:41:31.

summer, which meant 120 million extra pounds in savings. You cannot

:41:32.:41:38.

plan for that. The Government tries to take into account views...

:41:39.:41:43.

Councils are just an easy target queue Mac all governments spending

:41:44.:41:47.

apart from the health service are subject to savings and reductions in

:41:48.:41:52.

spending. They have to do things more efficiently. The Labour Party

:41:53.:42:01.

left is with all these debts. Despite the cuts so far all councils

:42:02.:42:06.

have carried on delivering services, body art library and

:42:07.:42:09.

leisure centre most things remain open. Is it that bad? The cuts

:42:10.:42:17.

account to ?4 in every ?10 from central Government and as we have

:42:18.:42:20.

seen that is hundreds of millions. Also, the cuts are very unfair. So

:42:21.:42:28.

for example, in Durham, the cuts amount to ?275 per household but in

:42:29.:42:39.

Windsor, only ?87, and... Jerome was spending much more in the first

:42:40.:42:45.

place. Durham is more deprived and has higher needs. There is a real

:42:46.:42:49.

question about whether those services which they are obliged by

:42:50.:42:53.

law, such as children's services, such as looking after people, they

:42:54.:42:58.

will still be able to do. What would you have cut instead, though, in

:42:59.:43:06.

order to save these councils? The point I'm making is that if the cuts

:43:07.:43:10.

been distributed more fairly, then the north`east could have had...

:43:11.:43:17.

Southern councils will have struggled more. But we would have

:43:18.:43:25.

had ?94 million more to spend and we have greater need up here. Labour

:43:26.:43:35.

Party policy is just to borrow more money. Labour Party policy is that

:43:36.:43:39.

we stick with the overall totals. That does not mean that we would not

:43:40.:43:43.

redistribute within existing budgets. That is our policy. Martin

:43:44.:43:51.

Callanan, some people say that was going to be able to afford to do in

:43:52.:43:55.

the next few years is looked after older people and social services. Of

:43:56.:44:04.

course not. Helen has just contradicted the council leader we

:44:05.:44:10.

saw earlier. We should ask the question, which councils are going

:44:11.:44:13.

to gain and which are going to lose queue Mac it is easy to sit here in

:44:14.:44:18.

the North and say North councils will gain. The reality is, they have

:44:19.:44:24.

accepted the overall level of spending. ?NEWLINE Now, pay`day

:44:25.:44:27.

loans from the likes of Wonga have made plenty of headlines recently.

:44:28.:44:30.

But they're just the tip of the credit iceberg. Many more people use

:44:31.:44:33.

"doorstep lenders" like Provident Financial. Then there's Brighthouse

:44:34.:44:36.

and similar businesses which offer everything from TVs to sofas on hire

:44:37.:44:40.

purchase. They all offer a service to those short of cash ` but it

:44:41.:44:44.

comes at a high price. Well, this week, charities and consumer groups

:44:45.:44:47.

launched a campaign to highlight what they describe as bad products

:44:48.:44:50.

and bad practices, which can leave families drowning in debt. I met

:44:51.:44:53.

Eleanor Eamens from Northumberland. She took up a high`interest loan but

:44:54.:44:58.

soon found she couldn't repay it. I started off with a ?100 loan from

:44:59.:45:01.

them and it was basically ?50 interest but at the time it was

:45:02.:45:11.

manageable. It was near Christmas I had decided to take it out. Then,

:45:12.:45:15.

basically, I was nearly paying that off and then I was offered another

:45:16.:45:21.

loan from them. At the end I think it was roughly six loans from them

:45:22.:45:25.

at the same time and at the end it was ?4000. Obviously, I feel they

:45:26.:45:30.

were irresponsible because I do not think the checks were in place to

:45:31.:45:38.

protect people. I say to a lot of people I take responsibility for

:45:39.:45:41.

what I did. I chose to borrow and somebody did not make me borrow the

:45:42.:45:45.

money. But when you are on a low income and you need that money, it

:45:46.:45:50.

is so tempting and they did not ever look on if you had other debts to

:45:51.:45:54.

pay. They did not look into what your whole income is and what you

:45:55.:46:02.

have got to pay out. So they did not have a clue whether you could afford

:46:03.:46:05.

it. Eleanor Eamens from Northumberland.

:46:06.:46:08.

Well, the companies who provide loans say they're offering a service

:46:09.:46:12.

to people who need money quickly. Julio Martino is from The Mint ` a

:46:13.:46:15.

Newcastle`based credit firm. It is important that businesses do

:46:16.:46:18.

not charge ridiculous interest rates, but we do have to charge an

:46:19.:46:22.

interest rate through which we make money. We are not a bank or a

:46:23.:46:26.

building society or a huge financial organisation, so we cannot charge

:46:27.:46:31.

APR similar to a credit card. We are essentially lending to people who

:46:32.:46:34.

cannot get credit cards, cannot get credit from a bank. They need to get

:46:35.:46:38.

credit elsewhere and there are companies like myself who are

:46:39.:46:41.

willing to take a slightly greater risk in some circumstances to lend

:46:42.:46:46.

to these people who do need credit. Well Durham University has been

:46:47.:46:49.

working with families on Teesside who have got into debt, in an effort

:46:50.:46:53.

to find out about the scale of the problem. Professor Sarah Banks

:46:54.:46:56.

directed the study and she's with me now. How typical was the experience

:46:57.:47:05.

of Eleanor that we saw there, in the families in Teeside queue `` in

:47:06.:47:16.

Teeside? Very typical. People were struggling to get by, taking out new

:47:17.:47:24.

loans to repay the interest on the existing loans. A third of our

:47:25.:47:27.

families had some kind of mental health problems. Many had other

:47:28.:47:33.

severe crises and problems, so it was exacerbating an already

:47:34.:47:37.

stressful life. Does this tell us anything we couldn't have guessed or

:47:38.:47:43.

knew already, that these loans are aimed at people on low incomes and

:47:44.:47:46.

if they do not manage them properly they get into Robbins? I think we

:47:47.:47:50.

knew that but this shows graphically what it does to people's lives. The

:47:51.:47:59.

longer people have the loans the more difficult it is to get free as

:48:00.:48:03.

they would wish. We are studying how people get into debt but also asking

:48:04.:48:07.

people if they wanted a mental to help them sort out their finances,

:48:08.:48:12.

to break away from the high cost credit and to consider using

:48:13.:48:15.

low`cost alternatives like credit unions. What should policymakers do

:48:16.:48:24.

about this? It is a big thing to suddenly expect the credit unions to

:48:25.:48:27.

take up the millions of pounds of loans that go through these

:48:28.:48:33.

companies. It will be quite a long process. There is a credit union

:48:34.:48:37.

modernisation process but it will take quite a long time for credit

:48:38.:48:40.

unions to compete with the likes of Wonga. It has been shown in other

:48:41.:48:45.

countries, particularly in some states in the USA that a can be put

:48:46.:48:55.

on the total cost of credit. It can be 10% of the total amount borrowed.

:48:56.:48:59.

There can be restrictions on the rollovers on the financing and still

:49:00.:49:03.

you find that payday loan companies can still operate. They have less

:49:04.:49:06.

defaults on their loans and are still able to make some kind of

:49:07.:49:12.

profit. So I think he put like the guy from The Mint could still

:49:13.:49:17.

operate but people like Eleanor would not be preyed upon and would

:49:18.:49:20.

not have to take out too many loans that they are not able to repay.

:49:21.:49:27.

Labour have set out what they would do this week. Tellers. It has two

:49:28.:49:34.

parts. It has controlling the existing payday lenders by putting a

:49:35.:49:38.

cap on the overall cost of credit and then it has got a positive part

:49:39.:49:45.

which is putting a levy on them and recycling ?30 million to support

:49:46.:49:52.

credit unions `` ?13 million. So it is control and support for all times

:49:53.:49:55.

tips and I think that is reasonable. We will come back to that. Martin

:49:56.:50:00.

Callanan, this is more than the Government is offering. A few

:50:01.:50:09.

reforms, basically? Not at all. We are spending three times as much on

:50:10.:50:12.

credit unions. The overall approach I agree with. We are setting up the

:50:13.:50:18.

National Conduct Authority which will have the power to the overall

:50:19.:50:24.

cost of credit, reduce rollovers and promote responsible advertising and

:50:25.:50:27.

lending. That this is not a new problem in the north`east. We have

:50:28.:50:31.

had problems with loans for many years. These people deny they are

:50:32.:50:41.

loan sharks. They are operating legally. Are these companies we are

:50:42.:50:46.

talking about issuing a valid business model, or exploiting poor

:50:47.:50:55.

and vulnerable people? I do not think they are exploiting people.

:50:56.:51:02.

People need to have the information given, with responsible advertising.

:51:03.:51:06.

The products need to be promoted fashionably and responsibly to them.

:51:07.:51:11.

I am not in favour of banning them, because they do provide a valuable

:51:12.:51:15.

service. Would you prefer to force these companies out of business

:51:16.:51:26.

queue `` out of business? What Martin has just said is wrong. It

:51:27.:51:30.

was Archbishop Welby who forced the change in law on the Government and

:51:31.:51:33.

the Government have not yet said they will leak use the law to make

:51:34.:51:42.

that. We would do that. Labour had 13 years in power when they did

:51:43.:51:46.

nothing about this. As a matter of fact, there are twice as many people

:51:47.:51:50.

going to payday lenders now than they were five years ago. The

:51:51.:51:59.

industry has doubled. The scale of it is completely new. Cut to the

:52:00.:52:05.

chase on your policy. To develop credit unions. Given how much

:52:06.:52:07.

business there is, you were never going to be able to replace these

:52:08.:52:13.

companies with Reddit unions. It is unrealistic. I agree that credit

:52:14.:52:17.

unions cannot be the whole answer and we do need the banks to be more

:52:18.:52:22.

responsible. I was very disappointed when HSBC closed a branch in my

:52:23.:52:25.

constituency and would not support the local credit union. I also think

:52:26.:52:29.

we need to look at the behaviour of the big banks. Martin, we accept

:52:30.:52:35.

that a lot of the people taking these loans are doing it because the

:52:36.:52:39.

banks do not want to know and something about that has to change

:52:40.:52:44.

as well? If you do not have a regular income the banks are not

:52:45.:52:47.

interested in lending to you and that is why we have a problem in the

:52:48.:52:52.

north`east. It is very hard. You cannot force banks... Banks got

:52:53.:52:57.

themselves into a lot of trouble with irresponsible lending. It is

:52:58.:53:01.

not right for politicians to intervene and force them into more

:53:02.:53:06.

responsible lending. It is different parts of the market. The banks are

:53:07.:53:10.

interested in eager loans, the businesses to householders, etc.

:53:11.:53:18.

Well, they are not even doing that! The banks cannot win because they

:53:19.:53:23.

are being forced to build up their balances... That is probably a

:53:24.:53:26.

discussion for another day. Bad for pupils and bad for parents `

:53:27.:53:30.

that was the view of Education Minister David Laws on this week's

:53:31.:53:33.

teachers' strike which disrupted hundreds of schools across Cumbria

:53:34.:53:36.

and the North East. He said plans to introduce performance`related pay

:53:37.:53:38.

and adjust pensions would not change. Teachers, though, are

:53:39.:53:41.

determined to fight on. Luke Walton met two on the education front line

:53:42.:53:45.

with very different views about this week's strike and the issues behind

:53:46.:53:48.

it. My name is Elizabeth Thompson and

:53:49.:53:52.

I'm taking strike action today due to the constant erosion of teachers

:53:53.:53:56.

past might pay conditions. It is not a decision I have taken lightly and

:53:57.:54:00.

I hope we can get parental support acres with `` because what we want

:54:01.:54:08.

to do is achieve the best education for young people. My name is Graeme

:54:09.:54:13.

Murray and I disagree with the strike because we should not

:54:14.:54:17.

interfere with our students pass Mac education. Two teachers, two

:54:18.:54:25.

opposing views on the strike. At this union rally in Durham the talk

:54:26.:54:31.

was of a two`year pay freeze and intolerable work load. So it's life

:54:32.:54:34.

in the classroom really getting worse? There is constant paperwork

:54:35.:54:42.

to prove you are doing your job properly, rather than leaving you

:54:43.:54:46.

alone to do your job opening. Long hours. Michael Gove said recently he

:54:47.:54:52.

wants to get rid of teachers who leave school at 3:05pm. I do not

:54:53.:54:58.

know any teachers who are not there until 5pm or 6pm and we bring work

:54:59.:55:03.

home as well. Because we do have things like the holidays, we do use

:55:04.:55:08.

a lot of those holidays to get work done. I speak for myself and the

:55:09.:55:13.

start of the school here in general. But you do have the flexibility of

:55:14.:55:17.

perhaps when you would do that work at times and when you wouldn't, when

:55:18.:55:25.

you can have some downtime. So the perks far outweigh negatives. At the

:55:26.:55:29.

core of the dispute, Government plans for more formers related pay

:55:30.:55:34.

and to overhaul pensions. Ministers say talented teachers would be

:55:35.:55:39.

better rewarded and the system made more affordable but again, the

:55:40.:55:46.

profession's opinion is divided. The schools are being driven towards

:55:47.:55:50.

making profit, especially in academies, so they will try to save

:55:51.:55:54.

many white Lovering teachers past might pay. Regarding the pensions,

:55:55.:56:03.

the pensions we are paying more every month towards our pension. New

:56:04.:56:07.

teachers now have two work until they are 68 years old and will get

:56:08.:56:11.

less at the end of it. Who wants to be teaching at 68 years old?

:56:12.:56:18.

Performance related pay is in principle a good thing because it is

:56:19.:56:22.

good to reward achievement, success, and I do not think it is good to

:56:23.:56:28.

reward underachievement. If there is underachievement you look into it

:56:29.:56:31.

and see if there is something we can do to help the individuals who have

:56:32.:56:35.

underachieved. But in terms of the pension scheme also, teachers pass

:56:36.:56:39.

Mac pension schemes are renowned for being very good. They are still very

:56:40.:56:44.

good. Things have changed slightly but if you look at it, the package

:56:45.:56:50.

itself is a very attractive one. Martin Callanan, is the strike right

:56:51.:56:59.

or wrong? It is wrong. They should be in the classroom educating

:57:00.:57:03.

pupils. It is inconvenient for students and parents. Helen? It is

:57:04.:57:12.

very regrettable and we see here people disagreeing so it is

:57:13.:57:15.

obviously a very hard decision for these teachers to make. Do you have

:57:16.:57:21.

sympathy with that decision? I do because we should think of education

:57:22.:57:25.

as an investment in the future and I think well rewarded teachers benefit

:57:26.:57:37.

our pupils. Is some blame laid at the Government 's door because of

:57:38.:57:43.

the changes to terms and conditions? This is giving head

:57:44.:57:51.

teachers the power to pay good teachers more, in performance

:57:52.:57:56.

related pay. There are reforms to the pension system but teachers will

:57:57.:57:59.

still have a much better pension than probably everybody in the

:58:00.:58:04.

private sector. Three quarters of parents in a poll I have seen think

:58:05.:58:09.

it is a good idea to pay the best teachers the most money. Are they

:58:10.:58:15.

right? There is a good case for performance related pay but there is

:58:16.:58:18.

a problem with regional pay, which the Government have also good on the

:58:19.:58:23.

agenda, which means teachers in our area would be paid less. And I can

:58:24.:58:27.

understand why the teachers are concerned about the pensions,

:58:28.:58:32.

because, obviously, if you have committed your life to doing

:58:33.:58:35.

something and suddenly you find your pension arrangements being changed,

:58:36.:58:40.

you have sunk your life into this and you do not have much left...

:58:41.:58:46.

Welcome to the real world, isn't it? Lots of people in the private and

:58:47.:58:49.

public sector have had to accept that there tension cannot be as

:58:50.:58:54.

valuable as it was because we have an ageing population and cannot

:58:55.:58:58.

afford it. Everybody also knows that the level of pay and pensions have

:58:59.:59:02.

to be looked at together. If you compare the pay of teachers and the

:59:03.:59:06.

pay of doctors, you can see that the teachers have got a reasonable point

:59:07.:59:11.

here. Martin Gove wants to attract the best people into teaching.

:59:12.:59:18.

Making them work until 68, cutting their pensions, that is not the best

:59:19.:59:23.

way, is it? I think it is still an attractive proposition for new

:59:24.:59:29.

graduates. Teachers are relatively well`paid compared to the private

:59:30.:59:34.

sector. The best ones, who put in the extra others, can be paid more.

:59:35.:59:39.

What if you are paying teachers less in North Tyneside band Norfolk, for

:59:40.:59:49.

example? Is that acceptable? It probably is. It is a cheaper cost of

:59:50.:59:53.

living. I am in favour of giving schools and head teachers the

:59:54.:00:00.

flexibility. Thank you very much. Now, what else has been going on in

:00:01.:00:03.

the wonderful world of politics? Here's a few of the stories making

:00:04.:00:08.

the news ` all in 60 Seconds. The Government has been asked to

:00:09.:00:11.

take control of children's services in Cumbria after it was named as one

:00:12.:00:15.

of the worst 20 authorities for child protection in England.

:00:16.:00:18.

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron said children's lives were at

:00:19.:00:22.

stake. Where to bury nuclear waste? It's

:00:23.:00:26.

the question that never seems to get an answer. In January, Cumbria

:00:27.:00:29.

County Council voted to withdraw from the search for a site, but

:00:30.:00:32.

Copeland Borough Council still wants to be considered. This week,

:00:33.:00:35.

councils met to discuss their response to the Government's latest

:00:36.:00:37.

consultation. Labour peer Lord Adonis has

:00:38.:00:39.

officially opened a contraversial new academy school. It was opposed

:00:40.:00:43.

by his own party's councillors in North Tyneside. The former education

:00:44.:00:47.

minister opened the King's Priory in Tyneland. It is excellent that

:00:48.:00:53.

King's Priory has become an academy, bringing the best of private

:00:54.:00:56.

education into the state system with no fees.

:00:57.:00:57.

Meanwhile, teams of Ofsted inspectors spent the week at 17

:00:58.:01:01.

schools in Northumberland. They want to find out why attainment for

:01:02.:01:04.

children eligible for free school meals is falling below other parts

:01:05.:01:12.

of the country. And that's about it from us. Next

:01:13.:01:16.

week, we'll have a special report looking at what businesses ` and MPs

:01:17.:01:20.

` in the region think of High Speed two. In the meantime, there's more

:01:21.:01:24.

about the problems of debt on my blog ` just go to

:01:25.:01:26.

bbc.co.uk/richardmoss. Or you can always join the conversation on

:01:27.:01:30.

Twitter. For now it's back to Andrew for the rest of the

:01:31.:01:32.

which links in with this. Thank you to both of you for being my guests

:01:33.:01:35.

today. Are the Lib Dems like a wonky

:01:36.:01:50.

shopping trolley? Why is Nick Clegg kicking off over free schools? And

:01:51.:01:56.

what about Boris and George's love bombing of China? All questions for

:01:57.:02:02.

The Week Ahead. We are joined now by the former Home Office minister and

:02:03.:02:06.

Liberal Democrat MP Jeremy Browne. Jeremy Browne, let me ask you this

:02:07.:02:15.

key question - ??GAPNEXT who is in the ascendancy in your party, those

:02:16.:02:18.

who would fear to the left, or those who would fear to the centre? The

:02:19.:02:24.

point I was making in the interview that I gave to the times was that I

:02:25.:02:30.

want us to be unambiguously and on up genetically -- and

:02:31.:02:41.

unapologetically a Liberal party. I do not want us to be craving the

:02:42.:02:45.

approval of columnists like Polly Toynbee. I do not want us to be a

:02:46.:02:49.

pale imitation of the Labour Party. I think we should be proud and

:02:50.:02:54.

unambiguously a authentic Liberal party. That is my ambition for the

:02:55.:02:59.

party. If it is, as you put it, fearing to the left, then I think

:03:00.:03:03.

that is a mistake, I think we should be on the liberal centre ground But

:03:04.:03:09.

is it actually veering to the left, your party? I think there is a

:03:10.:03:13.

danger when a party, or any organisation, feels that it is in a

:03:14.:03:19.

difficult position, to look inwards, to look for reassuring

:03:20.:03:27.

familiar policy positions. I do not want us to be the party which looks

:03:28.:03:31.

inwards and speaks to the 9% of people who are minded to support us

:03:32.:03:35.

already. I want us to look outwards and speak to the 91% of the

:03:36.:03:39.

population, for whom I think we have got a good story to tell about the

:03:40.:03:42.

contribution we have made to getting the deficit down, cutting crime

:03:43.:03:47.

keeping interest rates low, and also, distinctive Liberal Democrat

:03:48.:03:51.

policies for example on income tax and pupil premiums. If we look like

:03:52.:03:56.

we are a party which is uneasy and ambivalent about our role in

:03:57.:04:00.

government, people will not give us credit for the successes of the

:04:01.:04:03.

government, and we will not be able to claim the authorship which we

:04:04.:04:06.

should be able to claim for our policies excesses in government I

:04:07.:04:10.

want us to be confident, outward looking, and authentically liberal.

:04:11.:04:17.

If we are that, people real sense that and they will respond

:04:18.:04:21.

positively. Does that not therefore make it rather strange that Nick

:04:22.:04:25.

Craig should choose to distance himself from the coalition's schools

:04:26.:04:31.

policy? Well, I support free schools, I think they are a liberal

:04:32.:04:41.

policy. Education is a fascinating area, so let's explore it a bit We

:04:42.:04:45.

have had two very significant and troubling reports in the last

:04:46.:04:50.

fortnight, one from Alan Milburn, saying that social mobility has

:04:51.:04:52.

stalled in this country, in other words, what your parents do is a

:04:53.:04:56.

reliable guide to how you will get on in life and the other saying that

:04:57.:05:01.

Britain lags behind our competitors, the other

:05:02.:05:04.

industrialised countries, in terms of the educational attainment of

:05:05.:05:08.

15-year-olds. Both of those are worrying. We have a scandalous

:05:09.:05:12.

situation in this country where two thirds of children from

:05:13.:05:14.

disadvantaged backgrounds are failing to get five Grade A to Grade

:05:15.:05:25.

C. Some get none at all. If we were the world leaders in education, we

:05:26.:05:28.

could have an interesting conversation about how we are able

:05:29.:05:31.

to maintain that position, but we are not. Whether there are good

:05:32.:05:35.

things one less good things which have happened in our schools over

:05:36.:05:39.

the last 30-40 years, we really need to raise our game and stop letting

:05:40.:05:44.

young people down who need a good quality education in order to

:05:45.:05:46.

realise their full potential in life. It sounds like you do not

:05:47.:05:53.

share Mr Clegg's designations? I think there are two big dangers for

:05:54.:05:58.

us as a party. I do not think we should be instinctively statist and

:05:59.:06:03.

I do not think either we should be instinctively in favour of the

:06:04.:06:07.

status quo. I want us to have a restless, radical, energetic,

:06:08.:06:12.

liberal reforming instinct, which is about putting more power and

:06:13.:06:15.

responsible at the end opportunity in the hands of individual people.

:06:16.:06:20.

As I say, we look at the education system, of course there are good

:06:21.:06:23.

teachers and good outcomes in some schools and for some pupils,

:06:24.:06:27.

overall, our performance in this country is not good enough, so the

:06:28.:06:31.

status quo has not been a successful stop I am interested in how we can

:06:32.:06:44.

innovate. -- has not been a success. Are the Tories wooing you? Well I

:06:45.:06:50.

do not know if that is the right word, I have been reported, and I

:06:51.:06:57.

have set myself, that the Conservatives have, if you like

:06:58.:07:01.

made some advances or generous suggestions to me, but I am a

:07:02.:07:06.

liberal, and I am a Liberal Democrat. I have been a member of

:07:07.:07:09.

the Lib Dems since the party was founded, I joined when I was 18

:07:10.:07:13.

years old. I have campaigned tirelessly for the Liberal Democrats

:07:14.:07:18.

for my entire adult life, so I am not about to go and join another

:07:19.:07:21.

political party. I would turn this on its head, let me put it like

:07:22.:07:29.

this, I think there are quite a few liberals in the other political

:07:30.:07:31.

parties, people like Alan Milburn, who wrote a report on social

:07:32.:07:36.

mobility, people like Nick Bowles in the Conservative Party. Our

:07:37.:07:40.

ambition, as Liberal Democrats, should be to attract liberals from

:07:41.:07:43.

other political parties, and no political party, to the Lib Dems.

:07:44.:07:55.

Just briefly, have you suggested that the Tories do not run a

:07:56.:07:57.

candidate against you in the next election? I have not suggested

:07:58.:08:04.

anything of the sort. The Conservatives have to make their own

:08:05.:08:06.

decisions about which candidates they select, and I will take on

:08:07.:08:12.

whoever is select it from each of the political parties. Thank you for

:08:13.:08:25.

joining us. There is a danger not from Jeremy Browne, but from Mr

:08:26.:08:29.

Clegg, in that, having been part of a coalition which has gone through

:08:30.:08:33.

an enormous squeeze in living standards for three years, it did

:08:34.:08:37.

not look like both was coming, it was being regarded overall as a

:08:38.:08:41.

failure, but now, it may be turning the corner, so why would you then

:08:42.:08:46.

start to disassociate yourself from the coalition's policies? Yes, the

:08:47.:08:53.

danger for Nick Clegg is that he makes the Liberal Democrats looked

:08:54.:08:56.

like visitors in a guesthouse, a guesthouse which is owned by the

:08:57.:09:00.

Conservatives. As you say, they were there for the three difficult years,

:09:01.:09:03.

and just at the moment when the economy seems to be coming right,

:09:04.:09:07.

and we are getting some nice growth, they seek to distance themselves. It

:09:08.:09:12.

is interesting that Jeremy Browne came out with the outrageously

:09:13.:09:16.

disloyal statement that he supported free schools statement. That is a

:09:17.:09:19.

disloyal Liberal Democrat view, but on Thursday, of course, the Liberal

:09:20.:09:24.

Democrat party was in favour of free schools, because in that statement

:09:25.:09:27.

about the Al-Madinah school, David Laws made a passionate defence about

:09:28.:09:31.

what Nick Clegg is now criticising, which is having on qualified

:09:32.:09:38.

teachers. If things are now coming right, the big risk for the Liberal

:09:39.:09:43.

Democrats always was that they would not get the credit anyway. Well if

:09:44.:09:48.

they diss associate themselves like this, they definitely will not get

:09:49.:09:54.

the credit. It depends which voters their opinion poll ratings are dire,

:09:55.:09:58.

he spoke about 9%, and sometimes it is less than that. So, where are

:09:59.:10:02.

they going to get those voters from? They have not got those

:10:03.:10:08.

anti-Iraq war voters. Is it not Mission impossible, getting Labour

:10:09.:10:12.

voters test surely the left of the Lib Dem vote is peeling off towards

:10:13.:10:18.

labour, not away from Labour? I wonder to what extent, and this

:10:19.:10:26.

might be speculation, this might be organised and arranged, that Cameron

:10:27.:10:30.

and Clegg both understand that they have groups of voters that they need

:10:31.:10:34.

to get, so they need to send messages out to different groups, it

:10:35.:10:39.

looks like a bit of a setup to me. Boris in China, along with boy

:10:40.:10:50.

George - let's have a look... Who, according to JK Rowling, was Harry

:10:51.:10:55.

Potter's first girlfriend? That s right, and she is Chinese overseas

:10:56.:11:01.

student, is that not right at Hogwarts? Actually, we are not sure

:11:02.:11:08.

it is right, she is actually from Scotland. It is not only London

:11:09.:11:12.

which has a diverse society. Putting that to one side, we are inviting

:11:13.:11:18.

the Chinese into finance our power stations, to run big banks in the

:11:19.:11:23.

cities, we are giving out more visas to them, are we right to embrace the

:11:24.:11:27.

Dragon? What worries me about the power stations then, it is 30% of

:11:28.:11:32.

investment, and it reminds me a lot of PFI, the idea that you do not

:11:33.:11:37.

want a huge investment on your balance sheet, but if somebody bails

:11:38.:11:40.

out halfway through, we cannot stop with a half finished power station.

:11:41.:11:48.

It is EDF, the French company, which will actually build it, and we will

:11:49.:11:55.

be guaranteeing the debt for them. It is extraordinary that there has

:11:56.:11:59.

been so little adverse comment after George Osborne and Boris's trip to

:12:00.:12:04.

China, and is it now really the UK Government policy, to sell Britain

:12:05.:12:13.

to the Chinese? There was a debate in government about this, as they

:12:14.:12:17.

were getting ready for the trip and there will be at some point in the

:12:18.:12:21.

next six months be a David Cameron trip to China. He has had to wait

:12:22.:12:24.

three years because they were annoyed about him meeting the Dalai

:12:25.:12:28.

llama. There were some people in the Foreign Office who were saying,

:12:29.:12:32.

fine, but tread carefully. George Osborne's view is absolutely not,

:12:33.:12:38.

get in there, I do not care about any of these problems, get stuck

:12:39.:12:46.

in. I think he is storing up five years since the financial crisis,

:12:47.:12:50.

Chinese banks are being given a special, light touch regulatory

:12:51.:12:54.

regime. What could possibly go wrong?! There is lots to see. Energy

:12:55.:13:03.

prices have continued to dominate this week. We have got the EDF deal,

:13:04.:13:11.

whereby we are going to be giving them twice the market rate for their

:13:12.:13:14.

energy. But for the coalition, all eyes are on the GDP figures. The

:13:15.:13:23.

expectation and hope is that the recovery will be stronger than the

:13:24.:13:25.

figures have suggested so far, on which basis it can influence the

:13:26.:13:32.

result of the next general election. The chief economist at the

:13:33.:13:37.

Bank of England was saying on Twitter last week that the Bank of

:13:38.:13:40.

England may now bring forward the assessment when it says, maybe we

:13:41.:13:44.

are going to have to change monetary policy, if unemployment goes below

:13:45.:13:49.

7%. And we know what that means interest rates. The Bank of England

:13:50.:13:58.

on Twitter! That is it for today. The Daily Politics is back tomorrow

:13:59.:14:02.

on BBC Two. I will be back with prime Minster 's questions on

:14:03.:14:05.

Wednesday, and of course, we will be back at 11 o'clock on BBC One next

:14:06.:14:07.

Sunday.

:14:08.:14:14.

Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With communities secretary Eric Pickles and deputy first minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon.


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