27/10/2013 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With Lord Heseltine and shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint.

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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. Hope you enjoyed


the extra hour in bed, and that you've realised it's not 12:45. It's


11:45! It's getting stormy outside. you've realised it's not 12:45. It's


But they're already battening down the hatches at Number Ten because


coalition splits are back, with the hatches at Number Ten because


bust-ups over free schools and power bills. We'll speak to the Lib Dems,


and ask Labour who's conning whom over energy.


EU leaders have been meeting in Brussels. But how's David Cameron


getting on with that plan to change Brussels. But how's David Cameron


our relationship with Europe? We were there to ask him. Have we got


any powers back yet? DS! Foreign companies own everything


from our energy companies to our railways. Does it


And in our region: It could cost ?50 Look North And


And in our region: It could cost ?50 million but well high`speed rail


And in our region: It could cost ?50 as many daily journeys made by bus


than by tube, so why is the planned investment in buses not keeping


pace? And with me, three journalists


who've bravely agreed to hunker down in the studio while Britain braces


itself for massive storm winds, tweeting their political forecasts


with all the accuracy of Michael Fish on hurricane watch. Helen


Lewis, Janan Ganesh and Nick Watt. Now, sometimes coalition splits are


over-egged, or dare we say even occasionally stage-managed. But this


week, we've seen what looks like the genuine article. It turns out Nick


Clegg has his doubts about the coalition's flagship free schools


policy. David Cameron doesn't much like the green levies on our energy


bills championed by the Lib Dems. Neither of them seems to have


bothered to tell the other that they had their doubts. Who better to


discuss these flare-ups than Lib Dem Deputy Leader Simon Hughes? He joins


me now. Welcome. Good morning. The Lib Dems spent three years of


sticking up for the coalition when times were grim. Explain to me the


logic of splitting from them when times look better. We will stick


with it for five years. It is working arrangement, but not


surprisingly, where there right areas on which we disagree over


where to go next, we will stand up. It is going to be hard enough for


the Lib Dems to get any credit for the recovery, what ever it is. It


will be even harder if you seem to be semidetached and picky. The


coalition has led on economic policy, some of which were entirely


from our stable. The one you have heard about most often, a Lib Dem


initiative, was to take people on blowing comes out of tax. The


recovery would not have happened, there would not have been confidence


in Britain, had there not been a coalition government with us in it,


making sure the same policies produced fair outcomes. We are not


going to leave the credit for any growth - and there has been very


good news this week. We have played a part in that, and without us, it


would not have happened. Does it not underline the trust problem you


have? You promised to abolish tuition fees. You oppose nuclear


power, now you are cheerleading the first multi-billion pounds


investment in nuclear generation. You are dying out on your enthusiasm


on green levies, and now they are up for renegotiation. Why should we


trust a word you say? In relation to green levies, as you well know, just


under 10% is to do with helping energy and helping people. Unless


there is continuing investment in renewables, we will not have the


British produced energy at cheaper cost to keep those bills down in the


future. At cheaper cost? Explain that to me. Off-shore energy is


twice the market rate. The costs of renewables will increasingly come


down. We have fantastic capacity to produce the energy and deliver lots


of jobs in the process. The parts of the energy bill that may be up for


renegotiation seems to be the part where we subsidise to help either


poor people pay less, or where we do other things. Too insulated the


homes? Are you up to putting that to general taxation? Wouldn't that be


progressive? I would. It would be progressive. I would like to do for


energy bills what the Chancellor has done for road traffic users,


drivers, which is too fuelled motor fuel -- to freeze new to fall. That


would mean there would be an immediate relief this year, not


waiting for the election. So there is a deal to be done there? Yes We


understand we have to take the burden off the consumer, and also


deal with the energy companies, who look as if they are not paying all


the tax they should be, and the regulator, which doesn't regulate


quickly enough to deal with the issues coming down the track. We can


toughen the regulator, and I hope that the Chancellor, in the Autumn


statement, was signalled that energy companies will not be allowed to get


away with not paying the taxes they should. And this deal will allow


energy prices to come down? Yes How could David Laws, one of your


ministers, proudly defend the record of unqualified teachers working in


free schools, and then stand side-by-side with Mr Clegg, as he


says he is against them? David Laws was not proudly defending the fact


that it is unqualified teachers He said that some of the new,


unqualified teachers in free schools are doing a superb job. But you want


to get rid of them? We want to make sure that everybody coming into a


free school ends up being qualified. Ends up? Goes through a process that


means they have qualifications. Just as we said very clearly at the last


election that the manifesto curriculum in free schools should be


the same as other schools. It looks like Mr Clegg is picking a fight


just for the sake of it. Mr Clegg was taught by people who didn't have


teaching qualifications in one of the greatest schools in the land, if


not the world. It didn't seem to do him any harm. What is the problem?


If you pay to go to a school, you know what you're getting. But that


is what a free school is. No, you don't pay fees. A free school is


parents taking the decisions, not you, the politicians. We believe


they would expect to guarantee is, firstly that the minimum curriculum


taught across the country is taught in the free schools, and secondly,


that the teachers there are qualified. Someone who send their


kids to private schools took a decision to take -- to send their


children there, even if the teachers were unqualified, because they are


experts in their field. Someone who send their kids to free schools is


because -- is their decision, not yours. Because some of the free


schools are new, and have never been there before, parents need a


guarantee that there are some basics in place, whatever sort of school.


So they need you to hold their hand? It is not about holding hands, it is


about having a minimum guarantee. Our party made clear at our


conference that this is a priority for us. Nick Clegg reflects the view


of the party, and I believe it is an entirely rational thing to do. Nick


Clegg complained that the Prime Minister gave him only 30 minutes


notice on the Prime Minister Buzz 's U-turn on green levies. That is


almost as little time as Nick Clegg gave the Prime Minister on his


U-turn on free schools. Aren't you supposed to be partners? Green


levies were under discussion in the ministerial group before Wednesday,


because we identified this as an issue. We do that in a practical


way. Sometimes there is only half an hour's notice. We had even less than


half an hour this morning! Simon Hughes, thank you.


So the price of energy is the big battle ground in politics at the


moment. 72% of people say that high bills will influence the way they


vote at the next election. Ed Miliband has promised a price freeze


after the next election, but will the coalition turned the tables on


Labour, with its proposal to roll back green levies. Caroline Flint


joins us from Sheffield. It looks like the coalition will be able to


take ?50 of energy bills, by removing green levies. It is quite


clear that different parts of the government are running round waking


up to the fact that the public feel that this government has not done


enough to listen to their concerns. Last week, there was a classic case


of the Prime Minister making up policy literally at the dispatch


box. Let's see what they say in the autumn statement. The truth is,


whatever the debate around green levies, and I have always said we


should look at value for money at those green levies. Our argument is


about acknowledging there is something wrong with the way the


market works, and the way those companies are regulated. Behind our


freeze for 20 months is a package of proposals to reform this market I


understand that, but you cannot tell as the details about that. I can.


You cannot give us the details about reforming the market. We are going


to do three things, and I think I said this last time I was on the


programme. First, we are going to separate out the generation side


from the supply side within the big six. Secondly, we will have a energy


pool, or power exchange, where all energy will have to be traded in


that pool. Thirdly, we will establish a tougher regulator,


because Ofgem is increasingly being seen as not doing the job right I


notice that you didn't mention any reform of the current green and


social taxes on the energy bill Is it Labour's policy to maintain the


existing green levies? In 2011, the government chose to get rid of warm


front, which was the publicly funded through tracks a scheme to support


new installation. When they got rid of that, it was the first time we


had a government since the 70s that didn't have such a policy. What is


your policy? We voted against that because we believe it is wrong. We


believe that the eco-scheme, a government intervention which is ?47


of the ?112 on our bills each year, is expensive, bureaucratic and isn't


going to the fuel poor. I am up for a debate on these issues. I am up


for a discussion on what the government should do and what these


energy companies should do. We cannot let Cameron all the energy


companies off the hook from the way in which they organise their


businesses, and expect us to pay ever increasing rises in our bills.


There is ?112 of green levies on our bills at the moment. Did you vote


against any of them? We didn't, but what I would say ease these were


government imposed levies. When they got rid of the government funded


programme, Warm Front, they introduced the eco-scheme. The


eco-project is one of the ones where the energy companies are saying


it's too bureaucratic, and it is proving more expensive than


government estimates, apparently doubled the amount the government


thought. These things are all worth looking at, but don't go to the


heart of the issue. According to official figures, on current plans,


which you support, which you voted for, households will be paying 1%


more per unit of electricity by 2030. It puts your temporary freeze


as just a blip. You support a 4 % rise in our bills. I support making


sure we secure for the future access to energy that we can grow here in


the UK, whether it is through nuclear, wind or solar, or other


technologies yet to be developed. We should protect ourselves against


energy costs we cannot control. The truth is, it is every fair for you


to put that point across, and I accept that, but we need to hear the


other side about the cost for bill payers if we didn't invest in new,


indigenous sources of energy supply for the future, which, in the long


run, will be cheaper and more secure, and create the jobs we


need. I think it is important to have a debate about these issues,


but they have to be seen in the right context. If we stay stuck in


the past, we will pay more and we will not create jobs. How can you


criticise the coalition's plans for a new nuclear station, when jeering


13 years of a Labour government you did not invest in a single nuclear


plant? You sold off all our nuclear technology to foreign companies


Energy provision was put out to private hands and there has been no


obstacle in British law against ownership outside the UK. Part of


this is looking ahead. Because your previous track record is so bad


What we did decide under the previous government, we came to the


view, and there were discussions in our party about this, that we did


need to support a nuclear future. At the time of that, David Cameron


was one of those saying that nuclear power should be a last


resort. And as you said, the Liberals did not support it. We


stood up for that. We set in train the green light of 10 sites,


including Hinkley Point, for nuclear development. I am glad to


see that is making progress and we should make more progress over the


years ahead. We took a tough decision when other governments had


not done. You did not build a new nuclear station. When you get back


into power, will you build HS2? That has not had a blank cheque


from the Labour Party. I am in favour of good infrastructure. Are


you in favour of?, answer the question? I have answered the


question. It does not have a blank cheque. If the prices are too high,


we will review the decision when we come back to vote on it. We will be


looking at it closely. We have to look for value for money and how it


benefits the country. Have you stocked up on jumpers this winter?


I am perfectly all right with my clothing. What is important, it is


ridiculous for the Government to suggest that the answer to the loss


of trust in the energy companies is to put on another jumper.


The coalition has taken a long time to come up with anything that can


trump Ed Miliband's simple freezing energy prices, vote for us. Are


they on the brink of doing so? I do not think so. They have had a


problem that has dominated the debate, talking about GDP, the


figures came out on Friday and said, well, and went back to talking


about energy. My problem with what David Cameron proposes is he agrees


with the analysis that the Big Six make too many profits. He wants to


move the green levies into general taxation, so that he looks like he


is protecting the profits of the energy companies. If the coalition


can say they will take money off the bills, does that change the


game? I do not think the Liberal Democrats are an obstacle to


unwinding the green levies. I think Nick Clegg is open to doing a deal,


but the real obstacle is the carbon reduction targets that we signed up


to during the boom years. They were ambitious I thought at the time


From that we have the taxes and clocking up of the supply-side of


the economy. Unless he will revise that, and build from first


principles a new strategy, he cannot do more than put a dent into


green levies. He might say as I have got to ?50 now and if you


voters in in an overall majority, I will look up what we have done in


the better times and give you more. I am sure he will do that. It might


be ?50 of the Bill, but it will be ?50 on your general taxation bill,


which would be more progressive They will find it. We will never


see it in general taxation. The problem for the Coalition on what


Ed Miliband has done is that it is five weeks since he made that


speech and it is all we are talking about. David Cameron spent those


five weeks trying to work out whether Ed Miliband is a Marxist or


whether he is connected to Middle Britain. That is why Ed Miliband


set the agenda. The coalition are squabbling among themselves,


looking petulant, on energy, and on schools. Nobody is taking notice of


the fact the economy is under way, the recovery is under way. Ed


Miliband has made the weather on this.


It UK has a relaxed attitude about selling off assets based -- to


companies based abroad. But this week we have seen the Swiss owner


of one of Scotland's largest industrial sites, Grangemouth, come


within a whisker of closing part of it down. So should we care whether


British assets have foreign owners? Britain might be a nation of


homeowners, but we appear to have lost our taste for owning some of


our biggest businesses. These are among the crown jewels sold off in


the past three decades to companies based abroad. Roughly half of


Britain's essential services have overseas owners. The airport owner,


British Airports Authority, is owned by a Spanish company.


Britain's largest water company Thames, is owned by a consortium


led by an Australian bank. Four out of six of Britain's biggest energy


companies are owned by overseas giants, and one of these, EDF


Energy, which is owned by the French state, is building Britain's


first nuclear power plant in a generation, backed by Chinese


investors. It's a similar story for train operator Arriva, bought by a


company owned by the German state. So part of the railways privatised


by the British government was effectively re-nationalised by the


German government. But does it matter who owns these companies as


long as the lights stay on, the trains run on time, and we can


still eat Cadbury's Dairy Milk? We are joined by the general


secretary of the RMT, Bob Crow, and by venture capitalist Julie Meyer.


They go head to head. Have we seen the consequences of


relying for essential services to be foreign-owned? Four of the Big


Six energy companies, Grangemouth, owned by a tax exile in Switzerland.


It is not good. I do not think there is a cause and effect


relationship between foreign ownership and consumer prices. That


is not the right comparison. We need to be concerned about


businesses represented the future, businesses we are good at


innovating for example in financial services and the UK has a history


of building businesses, such as Monotypes. If we were not creating


businesses here -- Monotise. Like so many businesses creating


products and services and creating the shareholders. Should we allow


hour essential services to be in foreign ownership? It was


demonstrated this week at Grangemouth. If you do not own the


industry, you do not own it. The MPs of this country and the


politicians in Scotland have no say, they were consultants.


Multinationals decide whether to shut a company down. If that had


been Unite union, they are the ones who saved the jobs. They


capitulated. They will come back, like they have for the past 150


years, and capture again what they lost. If it had closed, they would


have lost their jobs for ever. If the union had called the members up


without a ballot for strike action, there would have been uproar. This


person in Switzerland can decide to shut the entire industry down. The


coalition, the Labour Party, as well, when Labour was in government,


they played a role of allowing industries to go abroad, and it


should be returned to public ownership. Nestor. It has


demonstrated that the Net comes from new businesses. We must not


be... When Daly motion was stopped by the French government to be sold,


it was an arrow to the heart of French entrepreneurs. We must not


create that culture in the UK. Every train running in France is


built in France. 90% of the trains running in Germany are built in


Germany. In Japan, it has to be built in that country, and now an


energy company in France is reducing its nuclear capability in


its own country and wants to make profits out of the British industry


to put back into it state industry. That happened with the railway


industry. They want to make money at the expense of their own state


companies. We sold off energy production. How did we end up in a


position where our nuclear capacity will be built by a company owned by


a socialist date, France, and funded by a communist one, China,


for vital infrastructure? I am not suggesting that is in the national


interest. I am saying we can pick any one example and say it is a


shame. The simple matter of the fact is the owners are having to


make decisions. Not just Grangemouth, businesses are making


decisions about what is the common good. Not just in the shareholders'


interest. For employees, customers. What is in the common good when


prices go up by 10% and the reason is that 20 years ago they shut


every coal pit down in this country, the Germans kept theirs open and


subsidised it and now we have the Germans doing away with nuclear


power and they have coal. Under the Labour government, in 2008, the


climate change Act was passed. Well before that, and you know yourself,


they shut down the coal mines to smash the National Union of


Mineworkers because they dared to stand up for people in their


community. Even if we wanted to reopen the coalmines, it would be


pointless. Under the 2008 Act, we are not meant to burn more coal


The can, as if you spent some of the profits, you could have carbon


catch up. That does not exist on a massive scale. You are arguing the


case, Julie Meyer, for entrepreneurs to come to this


country. Even Bob Crow is not against that. We are trying to


argue, should essential services be in foreign hands? Not those in


Silicon round about doing start ups. I am trying to draw a broader


principle than just energy. Something like broadband services,


also important to the functioning of the economy. I believe in the


UK's ability to innovate. When we have businesses that play off


broadband companies to get the best prices for consumers. These new


businesses and business models are the best way. Not to control, but


to influence. It will be a disaster. Prices will go up and up as a


result. Nissan in Sunderland, a Japanese factory, some of the best


cars and productivity. You want that to be nationalised and bring


it down to the standard of British Leyland? It is not bring it down to


the standard. The car manufacturing base in this country has been


wrecked. We make more cars now for 20 years -- than in 20 years.


Ford's Dagenham produced some of the best cars in the world. Did you


buy one? I cannot drive. They moved their plants to other countries


where it was cheaper labour. Would you nationalise Nissan? There


should be one car industry that produces cars for people. This week


the EU summit was about Angela Merkel's mobile phone being tapped,


they call it a handy. We sent Adam to Brussels and told him to ignore


the business about phone-tapping and investigate the Prime


Minister's policy on Europe instead. I have come to my first EU summit to


see how David Cameron is getting on with his strategy to claim power was


back from Brussels. Got any powers back yet? Yes! Which ones? Sadly,


his fellow leaders were not as forthcoming. Chancellor, are you


going to give any powers back to Britain? Has David Cameron asked you


for any powers back? The president of the commission just laughed, and


listen to the Lithuanian President. How is David Cameron's renegotiation


strategy going? What's that? He wants powers back for Britain. No


one knows what powers David Cameron actually wants. Even our usual


allies, like Sweden, are bit baffled. We actually don't know yet


what is going through the UK membership. We will await the


finalisation of that first. You should ask him, and then tell us!


Here is someone who must know, the Dutch Prime Minister, he is doing


what we are doing, carrying out a review of the EU powers, known as


competencies in the jargon, before negotiating to get some back. Have


you had any negotiations with David Cameron over what powers you can


bring back from Brussels? That is not on the agenda of this summit.


Have you talked to him about it This is not on the schedule for this


summit. David Cameron's advises tummy it is


because he is playing the long game. -- David Cameron's advisers tell me.


At this summit, there was a task force discussing how to cut EU red


tape. Just how long this game is was explained to me outside the summit,


by the leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament. I think


the behind-the-scenes negotiations will start happening when the new


commissioner is appointed later next year. I think the detailed


negotiations will start to happen bubbly after the UK general


election. That is when we will start getting all of the detail of the


horse trading, and real, Lake night negotiations. Angela Merkel seems


keen to rewrite the EU's main treaties to deal with changes in the


Eurozone, and that is the mechanism David Cameron would use to


renegotiate our membership. Everyone here says his relationship with the


German Chancellor is strong. So after days in this building, here is


how it looks. David Cameron has a mountain to climb. It is climbable,


but he isn't even in the foothills yet. Has he even started packing his


bags for the trip? Joining us now, a man who knows a


thing or two about the difficulties Prime Minister 's face in Europe.


Former Deputy Prime Minister, Michael Heseltine. We are nine


months from David Cameron's defining speech on EU renegotiation. Can you


think of one area of progress? I don't know. And you don't know. And


that's a good thing. Why is it a good thing? Because the real


progress goes on behind closed doors. And only the most naive,


because the real progress goes on behind closed doors. Because, in


this weary world, you and I, Andrew, know full well that the moment you


say, I making progress, people say, where? And the machine goes to work


to show that the progress isn't enough. So you are much better off


making progress as best you can in the privacy of private diplomacy. It


is a long journey ahead. In this long journey, do you have a clear


sense of the destination? Do you have a clear sense of what powers Mr


Cameron wants to negotiate? I have a clear sense of the destination,


which is a victory for the campaign that he will win to stay inside the


European community. That is the agenda, and I have total support for


that. I understand that, but if he is incapable of getting any tangible


sign of renegotiation, if he is able only to do what Wilson did in 1 75,


which was to get a couple of token changes to our membership status, he


goes into that referendum without much to argue for. He has everything


to argue for. He's got Britain's vital role as a major contributor to


the community. He's got Britain s self interest as a major


beneficiary, and Britain's vital role in the City of London. He's got


everything to argue for. He could argue for that now. He could have a


referendum now. He doesn't want one now. I haven't any doubt that he


will come back with something to talk about. But it may be slightly


different to what his critics, the UK isolationist party people, want.


He may, for example, have found that allies within the community want


change as well, and he may secure changes in the way the community


works, which would be a significant argument within the referendum


campaign. Let me give you an example. I think it is a scandal


that the European Commission don't secure the auditing of some of the


accounts. Perhaps that could be on the agenda. He might find a lot of


contributing countries, like Germany, like Colin and, would be


very keen. -- like Holland. David Germany, like Colin and, would be


vetoed the increase in the European budgets the other day, and he had a


lot of allies. So working within Europe on the things that people


paying the European bills want is fertile ground. Is John Major right


to call for a windfall tax on the energy companies? John is a very


cautious fellow. He doesn't say things without thinking them out. So


I was surprised that he went for a windfall tax. First of all, it is


retrospective, and secondly, it is difficult to predict what the


consequences will be. I am, myself, more interested in the other part of


his speech, which was talking about the need for the Conservative Party


to seek a wider horizon, to recognise what is happening to the


Conservative Party in the way in which its membership is shrinking


into a southeastern enclave. Are you in favour of a windfall tax? I am


not in favour of increasing any taxes. Do you share Iain Duncan


Smith's point of view on welfare reform? I think Iain Duncan Smith is


right. It is extremely difficult to do, but he is right to try. I think


public opinion is behind him, but it isn't easy, because on the fringe of


these issues there are genuine hard luck stories, and they are the ones


that become the focus of attention the moment you introduce change It


requires a lot of political skill to negotiate your way through that But


isn't Iain Duncan Smith right to invoke the beverage principle, that


you should be expected to make a contribution for the welfare you


depend on? Yes, he is. I will let you get your Sunday lunch. Thanks


for joining us. Coming up in just over 20 minutes, I


will In Welcome to the programme here.


Coming up: The Derby but should we get more of a say in the running of


her clubs? We have a lifelong Newcastle fan and a Labour MP with


us who joins us in the studio. Also a Conservative candidate for buried.


Let us start by talking rail. The government has taken the first step


towards free privatising the East Coast mainline. It has been in


public hands for the last four years. Presumably you think this is


a very bad idea? It is a very bad idea. The profits made by the East


Coast mainline have been an excess of ?800 million since they have been


in the hand `` hands of the public. That is a fantastic amount of money.


Why should be looking to get that type of profit to private industry?


Should we not be looking at investing, as a government, into the


East Coast Main line and maximising that profit. At the same time the


East Coast mainline have invested into the infrastructure so it is a


good deal for everyone. Why should we privatise it? It is like selling


the family silver. Get me one good reason why it should be handed back


to public hands? `` private hands. We want a strong support of private


investment. We want to put it back with good operators. We have to make


sure that what the customers need on the East Coast is provided, we need


long`term capital investment and I think private investment is always


the way forward. Now we have a dispute over whether to press ahead


with a ?50 million high`speed railway from London to Manchester.


It has been said it will boost economy even for areas in Cumbria


that are not on the route. Others say it will suck the lifeblood out


of the deal system and leads to longer journey times. Some say it


will impact on transport spending in the region. It is a disaster. Other


projects will have to be forgotten about if this goes ahead. We


contacted MPs right across the North East and Cumbria to find out how


they felt. 43% of MPs remain in favour of high`speed rail but one


third are against, the rest declined to say. We asked about the top


transport priorities. Half said better bus links, improvements to be


one and a 66 were mentioned. We'll all parts of our region benefit


economically? This is one company that is keen, it provides parts and


equipment for the real industry and it plans to bid for this. It


believes benefits could go much wider. It is definitely the way


forward. We need spending on infrastructure. For a long time


beware of the poor man of Europe when it came to deal. The French


have hired high`speed rail for a long time and so have the Japanese.


`` we where the poor man of Europe. It has got to be done. Many feel


high`speed rail will have no impact on productivity in the region. They


will come up the motorway and over to Scotland or even towards Penrith.


If we play the road network or was mainline or cross`country services,


infrastructure spend is vital and we could spread it out and do you not


more good. `` do you not more good. Some say we should spread it around


rather than spending all that money on one project? Investment in the


north`east has been severely lacking for decades. I hope the Chancellor


will now understand this is a key economic value. In terms of real


infrastructure there is a need to improve capacity across the country.


I was disappointed when the legislation came through at the


second phase which comes up to the northern part of the UK has not been


set out. It is key for us that it comes across to the east coast and


up into Scotland. I think the government has not done a good job


of explaining just how important the increased capacity is to make sure


that we get the real infrastructure. You cannot see that we want


structural investment in roads and other real services and also see you


want HS two. I think it is a perfectly reasonable amount of


money. You are looking at a couple of billion every year. 50 billion


for other projects, so I do not think it is one or the other. It is


a long`term project. North`east companies stand to benefit from


this, economists say the Bijan will benefit from it, it is a no`brainer?


I am not sure I can agree. `` the region will benefit. It is ?20 more


in the south than it is in the north`east, the spending. In the


south it is 200 and ?700 per head compared by ?5 here in the


north`east. It is outrageous. Of the suggestions are that it will bring


economic benefit, RU saying we should ditch it? I am not seeing


ditch it but things like dealing of the A1, the metro, there are other


projects which would benefit us because it gives access. The problem


is that the East Coast mainline is filling up. You might be able to get


to Newcastle but you will have a very slow journey to London. I know


that from experience, I travel from Newcastle station to London most


Mondays. The regional infrastructure programmes which are short already


need work. But would this help? The people in this region have the right


to ask if this is value for money. ?50 billion, is it right to spend


that kind of finance to get from London to Birmingham? Why are we not


included in that? What about a fear allocation to deliver things in this


region so that people can benefit economically. The reality is that


the places that will benefit most are Birmingham, Leeds and


Manchester, not Newcastle. Without a doubt but it is the government


appreciating that there needs to be investment in infrastructure across


the country, not just the South West. A huge amount has been sucked


into the south`east over the past few years. We need to see a broad


investment in rail and roads. You might not need me to tell you that


it is Derby weekend. The rivalry will be intense with no love lost on


either side. One thing the sense of supporters will actually agree on is


the chance for supporters on both sides to get more oversea in what


those on. It is what happens of the pitch that is really interesting


here. Fans really happier say. Della macro fans can turn up, they can


vote on everything. If they are not doing a very good job and someone


comes in the can vote you out. It is as easy as that. Here dealers rather


different mood, there have been a series of protests from Newcastle


United fans against the club owner. The board have never really taken


the support seriously and sought to develop it. It is almost as if the


fans have supported the club despite what is going on at board level. Say


it is a wonderful city. Recently the club have been disengaged from the


people who are putting money into the club. I think it would make a


big difference and stop the clock making disastrous decisions. `` the


club. The government said it wanted to give fans a bigger say in the


running of football clubs but we have heard that idea has since been


shelved, there not enough time in Parliament schedule. People over


there want action. A conference at Newcastle University business


School. It is just an fear to raise expectations, to go with what


appears to be a populist idea and then for someone to say we do not


have time. It is just not high enough on the agenda. It is


different in Germany. These fans have something to cheer them up,


they have a big say on the running of the club, there is a national ban


on anyone owning more than half a football club. We, the members, the


club belongs to us. At the EGM we can change the club statute. If you


are a member of the club you QB club belongs to you. You are not just a


fan. It is our club, not something we just support. The players show


the skills but it is the fans who call the shots. It is simply the way


English football works these days, tackling it could be a challenge.


With me now is a lecturer of finance from the University business School.


How realistic is it to think that this German fan model could work in


Newcastle, Sutherland or Carlisle? It is interesting to look at how the


models have evolved over time, the German model has been built on a


history of fans being involved in the club structure. In the UK we


have a more industrial background where there was typically a singular


owner so football has evolved as being a business over at time.


Politicians fall over themselves to say be like this idea but there's a


beer the downside? It is to do with commercial brands, if you look at


Manchester United and Chelsea which have domestic and international fan


bases. If you have the tradition to fan base controlled membership


structure the problem is the sustainability of the financial side


of the UK clubs even higher wages. Perhaps they're not surprising the


government has gone cold on this? The government, in terms of trying


to be involved, it is difficult, particularly given the stands of


fief up on the reluctance for the government to get involved. I think


the government's involvement is something that is crucial but needs


to be done through the associations themselves. The Premier league is


the envy of Europe, why change anything? That is the argument. The


UK have traditionally done very well in terms of domestic and European


competitions. The German models have been successful, and the Spanish and


other countries. This idea sounds great of course but what difference


will it make to these clubs? The government promised supporters they


would legislate to make sure there was more engagement with supporters


in the clubs. They should look at that again and get the commitment to


support. In Newcastle 52,000 supporters attend every game. I am


not sure it is good enough to see just one person on the board.


Generations of families have been going and they should have a say.


With the have any more say effing big businesses should anyone who


shops in Tesco beyond the board? Why shouldn't these people who spend


hard earned money to watch the team through bad times and good not happy


voice in how it is run? It would benefit the clubs if the sat back


and listened to deal people in the real world. There is populist


posturing by the government but it has been ditched now, why is that? I


am not as added a football fan as Ian, but my mother`in`law is. They


are enormous huge profit`making businesses. The fact that they were


once local football teams seems to have been largely lost. If there is


a way to get them a better relationship that gives them a


practical consideration with the fan base, I think the football


Association and the clubs themselves can take that decision. There does


not need to be drive to encourage, if they are genuinely concerned, by


the members, the people who turn out every Saturday whatever the weather.


Are you saying get some shoppers on board for supermarkets? YouTube


Tesco's as an example, I have the Tesco Clubcard, if they choose


things I do not like I would take my business elsewhere. Football is a


monstrous business but if you are a fan are you going to stop supporting


them? The reality is that there needs to be a better relationship


between the directors of an individual football club to build a


stronger grouping. You see it in the smaller clubs more effectively than


the big ones. Newcastle fans could stay a way. But when it comes to it,


they do not. Fans at Newcastle, like teams up and down the country, have


a strong allegiance. Not the type of allegiance you might have at Tesco.


That is a ridiculous analogy! They are dyed in the will supporters, it


is what they live and breed for. The directors and owners of the club


should just listen to what these people have got to see. `` say. If


you listen to them, they might get more success. There are not many


issues that unite country sport enthusiasts. They have all joined up


to stop them campaigning. Now if the rest of the political news in 62nd


seed as our reporter. Tyne and we are fired and rescue services to


consult on plans to cut firefighter posts and close existing firefighter


stations. This new nation 's depot has been earmarked for closure in


Cumbria. Some jobs might still go but the site should remain open.


There are concerns about the government's new lobbying bill. The


big lobbyists working for energy firms and drinks companies would be


unaffected but some people's work would be hit. The private lobbying


group will still go on. And in Newcastle beer was history with a


minister in a committee of the French parliament. They were


discussing ways to tackle youth unemployment. Now let's look in a


bit more detail at the first of those stories. The lobbying bill,


some have accused them of overreaction, what do you think? I


have had more correspondence on this bill than any other issue in the


last 8.5 years. It is not correspondence from raving militants


who want a revolution, it is from local and national charities,


campaign groups. They are concerns are that they are being stopped from


using the boys to change policies at the national level. It is the run`up


to the national election that they have to get in there and get


commitment from the party they believe will be in government after


the election. This is a gagging law there to prevent local people from


holding to account the government for the decisions it has made. The


government says they are starting out with good intentions but have


they turned this into a dog 's breakfast? It seems to me to be


quite confused bit of legislation. You need to be the assurances for


the average charity. Part of the purpose of the bill is to enforce


the union structures to make a clean record of their membership so there


is a much clearer source of information on that side of things.


They are bashing the unions? Absolutely not, transparency is the


key, where there's money going and how is it being spent? Whether it is


a big charity or a union. Trade unions should be accountable. We


should see where they are influencing your party leader for


example? You can have a look at every evening which has come from a


trade union and look down the financial line to see where it has


come from, the lollipop ladies, dinner ladies, you can hardly say


that its financing of the parties which come from lobbyists and big


business. That is it from us. Next Sunday we will be supporting the


funding policy. That is on health spending. For


free school area for into that category. Thank you.


Is Labour about to drop its support category. Thank you.


Is Labour about to drop its support for High Speed 2, a rail line the


party approved while in government? for High Speed 2, a rail line the


these green shoots? These are all questions for The Week Ahead.


So, HS2. Miss Flint wouldn't answer the question. She's in northern MP


too. Ed Balls is comparing it to the Millennium Dome.


too. Ed Balls is comparing it to the minute's silence for HS2? It will


not be quite as crude as that. They will not stand up and say, we


not be quite as crude as that. They senior Labour person said to me it


would be a bit senior Labour person said to me it


that Gordon Brown and Ed Balls set for the euro back in 97. They will


be chucking lots of questions into the air, and the questions will


create doubt, and will create the grounds for Labour to say, at some


point, we think there is a much much better way of spending the money. It


isn't ?42 billion, because that includes a contingency. Let's see


what Peter Mandelson had to say about HS2. He was in the government


when Labour supported it. Frankly, there was too much of the argument


that if everyone else has got a high-speed train, we should have won


too. Regardless of need, regardless of cost, and regardless of


alternatives. As a party, to be frank, we didn't feel like being


trumped by the zeal of the then opposition's support for the


high-speed train. We wanted, if anything, to upstage them. So they


didn't really need it, and we're only talking about ?50 billion. Why


would you take a decision involving ?50 billion in a serious way? For


David Cameron, if it becomes clear Labour is against it, he cannot


proceed. He indicated last week that he wouldn't proceed if the certainty


wasn't there. For Labour, HS2 is really a debate about the deficit by


proxy. They think that if you don't go ahead with HS2, that releases


tens of billions of pounds to spend on other things, such as public


services, without going into boring. I don't think that works because


there was a difference between cancelling something that already


exists to pay for something else, and cancelling something that does


not yet exist and will be paid for over decades to pay for something


here and now. Can Labour do this? I know that the line will be, we are


not going to build this railway because we are going to build


200,000 houses a year. Can they do this without political cost? I think


there will be political costs, but they will play this card of we have


changed our mind. I think Cameron's line has been very clever, saying we


cannot do it without labour. You can put it in two ways. Sorry, we cannot


go ahead with it, but Labour has ruined your chance of prosperity, or


they can tie themselves to it, and then Labour cannot attack it on


great grounds when costs do spire. You can write Labour's script right


now. They can say, if we were in charge, the financial management


would be much better. This raises some really important questions for


the government. They have utterly failed to make the case for HS2


There is a real case to make. Between London and Birmingham it is


about capacity not speed. North of Birmingham, it is about


connectivity. It is a simple case to make, but it is only in the last


month that they have been making that case. It shows really terrible


complacency in the coalition that they haven't done that. We'll HS2


happen or not? I think it will. For the reasons that Nick outlined,


there is not of a constituency for it amongst Northern areas. -- there


is enough of a constituency for it. There is private investment as well.


It isn't like Heathrow. I say no, because I think Labour will drop


their support for it. Caroline Flint said she was in favour of the


concept of trains generally, but will it go further than that? It is


difficult to see how it will go ahead if Labour will not support it


after setting five tests that it clearly will not meet. Some will


breathe a sigh of relief. Some will say, even in the 20th century, we


cannot build a proper rail network. The economy was another big story of


the week. We had those GDP figures. There is a video the Tories are


releasing. The world premiere is going to be here. Where's the red


carpet? It gives an indication of how the Tories will hand Mr Miliband


and labour in the run-up to the election. Let's have a look at it.


These graphics are even worse than the ones we use on our show! How on


earth would you expect that to go viral? It did have a strange feel


about it. It doesn't understand the Internet at all. Who is going to


read those little screens between it? Put a dog in it! However,


putting that aside, I have no idea that that is going to go viral. The


Tories are now operating - and I say Tories rather than the coalition -


on the assumption that the economy is improving and will continue to


improve, and that that will become more obvious as 2014 goes on. We


just saw their how they will fight the campaign. Yes, and at the


crucial moment, you will reach the point where wages. To rise at a


faster pace than inflation, and then people will start to, in the words


of Harold Macmillan, feel that they have never had it so good. That is


the key moment. If the economy is growing, there is a rule of thumb


that the government should get a benefit. But it doesn't always work


like that. The fundamental point here is that Ed Miliband has had a


great month. He has totally set the agenda. He has set the agenda with


something - freezing energy prices - that may not work. That video shows


that the Conservatives want to get the debate back to the


fundamentals. That this is a party that told us for three years that


this coalition was telling us to -- was taking us to hell on a handcart.


That doesn't seem to have happened. The energy price was a very clever


thing, at the party conference season, which now seems years ago.


They saw that the recovery was going to happen, so they changed the


debate to living standards. Some economists are now privately


expecting growth to be 3% next year, which was inconceivable for five


months ago. If growth is 3% next year, living standards will start to


rise again. Where does Labour go then? I would go further, and say


that even though Ed Miliband has made a small political victory on


living standards, it hasn't registered in the polls. Those polls


have been contracted since April -- have been contracting since April.


That macro economic story matters more than the issue of living


standards. The interesting thing about the recovery is it confounds


everybody. No one was predicting, not the Treasury, not the media not


the IMF, not the academics, and the only people I can think of... I fit


-- I thought they knew everything! The only people I know who did are


one adviser who is very close to George Osborne, and the clever hedge


fund is who were buying British equities back in January. Because


the Treasury's record is so appalling, no one believe them, but


they were saying around February, March this year, that by the end of


the summer, the recovery would be gathering momentum. For once, they


turned out to be right! They said that the economy would be going gang


bust is! Where did the new Tory voters come from? I agree, if the


economic recovery continues, the coalition will be stronger. But


where will they get new voters from? For people who sign up to help to


buy, they will be locked into nice mortgages at a low interest rate,


and just as you go into a general election, if you are getting 3%


growth and unemployment is down the Bank of England will have to review


their interest rates. People who are getting nice interest rates now may


find that it is not like that in a few months time. The point John


Major was making implicitly was that Mrs Thatcher could speak to people


on low incomes. John Major could not speak to them -- John Major could


speak to them. But this coalition cannot speak to them. This idea


about the reshuffle was that David Cameron wanted more Northern voices,


more women, to make it look like it was not a party of seven men. When


David Cameron became leader, John Major said, I do not speak very


often, but when I do, I will help you, because I think you are good


thing and I do not want to be like Margaret Thatcher. But that speech


was clearly a lament for the party he believed that David Cameron was


going to lead and create, but that isn't happening. And energy prices


continue into this coming week. We have the companies going before a


select committee. My information is they are sending along the secondary


division, not the boss. How can they get along -- get away with that I


got the letter through from British Gas this week explaining why my


bills are going up, and at no point since this became a story have any


of the big companies handled it well. I will have to leave it there.


Make sure you pay your bill! That's it for today. The Daily Politics is


back on BBC Two tomorrow. I will be back here on BBC One next Sunday.


Remember, if it's Sunday, it is The Sunday Politics.


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