16/02/2014 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate.

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Good morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. It would be


extremely difficult, if not impossible, for an independent


Scotland to join the European Union, so says the President of the


European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, in a significant


debate. It's our top story. He has debate. It's our top story. He has


the power to bring travel chaos to the nation's capital. Bob Crow


joined us for the Sunday interview. Another


close to expectant mums. And cupid's arrow hits Carlisle as the Cumbrian


close to expectant mums. And cupid's look at his decisions and priorities


with the help of his chief of staff. With me, the best and brightest


political panel in the business The twits will be as incessant and


probably as welcome as the recent rain. A significant new development


in the debate over Scottish independence this morning, the


President of the European Commission, President Jose Manuel


Barroso, has confirmed what the Nationalists have long denied, that


an independent Scotland would have to reply to join the European Union


as a new member, that it would require the agreement of all 28


member states and that would be in his words, extremely difficult, if


not impossible. In case there is a new country, a new state coming out


of a current member state, it will have to apply and, this is very


important, the application to the union would have to be approved by


all of the other member states. Countries like Spain, with the


secessionist issues they have? I don't want to interfere in your


democratic discussion here, but of course, it will be extremely


difficult to get the approval of all of the other member states, to have


a new member coming in from one member state. We have seen that that


Spain has been opposing even the recognition, for instance, so it is


a similar state. It is a new country. I believe it is great to be


externally difficult, if not impossible. Well, he says he doesn't


want to interfere, but he has just dropped a medium-sized explosive


into the debate on Scottish independence? A huge story. Alex


Salmond must be wondering what is going to go wrong next. His pitch to


the Scottish people is based on two things, the currency union with


England and the rest of the United Kingdom, which was blown apart last


week, and this morning, his claims that Scotland would automatically


get into the European Union has been dynamited. He's not only saying that


they would have to apply, it is also saying it might be impossible to get


the agreement of all 28 members to allow Scotland in. That's even more


significant than the application? The reference to Spain is


interesting, we talk about Catalan independence, an economic and active


area that Spain does not want to be independent. About five other


countries are blocking Kosovo's accession to the EU. There is no


reason they would want to encourage the secessionist in their country by


letting Scotland do the same. If Scotland does have to apply, and it


does get in, it solves the currency problem because all new members have


to accept the Euro? At the moment, the SNP are rejecting that quite


strongly. What an interesting intervention today. However, I know


that those arguing that Scotland should stay in the union are worried


that the polls are tightening. A lot of these interventions, parents care


arguments, they don't look like they are convincing the Scottish people.


We haven't had any polls yet? We haven't, but we have since the


currency debate was reignited in the last few weeks and it shows the


polls tightening slightly. I think Alistair Darling's campaign would


prefer to be much further ahead at the stage. They are worried that


these technical commandments are not having much sway. Are the polls


tightening slightly? They could be within the statistical margin for


error. They are, but not much. Alex Salmond's main page is one of


reassurance. He wants to say you can vote for independence, a pound in


the pocket will be the same as before and you will still be a


member of the European Union. In the last three or four matter days, both


of those claims have been blown apart. Angus MacNeil has already


told BBC Radio 5 Live that the remarks are nonsense and he is


playing more politics. We hope to speak to the SNP's finance minister,


John Swinney, a little bit later in the programme. It is not just the


constant rain that London commuters have had to deal with. There was


also a strike on the tube that disrupted the travel of millions. A


second stoppage was on the cards, but it was called off at the last


minute. The leader of the biggest


underground workers union, the RMT, is Bob Crow, who has led his members


into 24 strikes on the tube since 2005, as well as disputes on the


national rail network. Under his leadership, the union's membership


has grown from 57,000 in 2002 to more than 80,000, at a time when


union membership overall has been shrinking. The current dispute has


seen Bob Crow squaring up to Boris Johnson over the mayor's plans to


close tube station ticket offices. The 48-hour stoppage at the


beginning of this month is estimated to have cost the London economy ?100


million. The two sides have agreed a truce, for now, but Mr Crow has


threatened further action if the mayor imposes his changes.


Bob Crow joins me now for the Sunday interview.


Welcome to the Sunday Politics. You have suspended the strike for the


moment. What will it take to call it off entirely? Want to know first of


all wider booking office has to close. The Mayor of London made it


quite clear in his election programme that the booking offices


would remain open. It was strange, really, because Ken Livingstone


wanted to close them down and the mayor thought it was popular to keep


them open and put in his campaign to keep them open. However, we have not


the news figures. We are being told only 3% of people use the booking


offices. That's not true. In research done, if somebody does to a


booking office with somebody sitting there and asks for a ticket of less


than ?5, they are not allowed to sell them a ticket, it is madness.


Do you use the ticket office? When it is open, yes. You said to ITV


that he didn't. I don't know what I said to ITV, I don't know what time


people use them, sometimes they are open and sometimes they are closed.


People make out that these ticket office staff are people that sit


behind barriers like a newsagent. I'm not knocking a newsagent,


however, these people were the same people treated like Lions when they


were helping people named in the terrorist incidents, taking them out


of the panels. Suddenly they are lazy people that sit in ticket


offices. My understanding is that the people would come from behind


and be out and about now. It is the management wants to run the


underground without ticket offices, isn't that their prerogative? They


are paid to manage, not you, not your members, they are the managers?


Managers are there to manage, and we want good managers. But we've got


some really bad managers that are not looking at the railway as a


whole. This is a successful industry, not an industry in


decline, one of the most successful in Britain. It is moving 3.4 million


people a day. All of the forecast is or it will move to 3.6 million per


day. The mayor wants to run services on a Friday and Saturday night. We


are not opposed to that. However, it does not make sense that if more


people are going to be using the tube on Friday and Saturday, coming


home at two o'clock three o'clock in the morning, a lot of people


drinking, a lot of people not dragging, why take 1000 people of


the network that come to the aid of people that are looking to people? I


want to show you this picture. This is you. Taking a break in Brazil, I


think it is. I was trying to copy you. You deserve this break because


you have done a fantastic job for your members. Yes, I don't see what


that has got to do with it. Let s get every editor of the daily


newspapers and see where they go on their holidays, I would like to


know. What I choose to do... I'm not attacking you for doing that...


You've got a picture up there, I've got to say, why don't they go and


follow Boris Johnson when he was away on holiday, when the riots were


taking place in London, and he refused to come back? Why don't they


go and view the editors of newspapers, where they go on


holiday? Why do they look at you when you go on holiday? They


sometimes do, actually. The basic pay of a tube driver will soon be


?52,000. Ticket office workers are already earning over ?35,000. Never


mind a holiday on Copacabana beach, or membership by your house for what


you have done for them? When you look at the papers this morning I


see that Wayne Rooney is going to get a ?70 million deal over the next


four deals. I see NHS doctors are getting ?3000 a shift. I see a lot


of people that do a lot of people that, in my opinion, don't do


anything for society. The top paid people in this country should be


doctors and nurses. Unfortunately, we live in a jungle. If you are not


strong, the bosses will walk all over you. The reason why we got good


terms and conditions is because we fought for them. The reality is all


of these three political parties, liberals, Tories and Labour, they


have all put no programme that to defend working people. So we have to


do it on our own. And that is why you have done such a great job for


your members and why union membership has been rising, people


want to be part of a successful operation. But it has come at a cost


for less well-paid workers, who travel on the cheap? If everyone


believes if London Underground tube workers take a pay freeze they are


going to redistribute the money to the rest of the workers that work on


the cheap... But the people that travel on the tube, let's look at


some of them, they are the ones that suffer from your strike action. The


starting salary of a cheap driver now, ?48,000. The starting salary


for a nurses only ?26,000, ?22, 00 for a young policeman, ?27,000 for a


teacher starting out. As your members have spread, they have had


to live through 24 strikes in 1 years to push up your members


wages. It's I'm all right Jack? The have put a pay freeze on by


conservatives and liberals. The police constables, so have the


teachers. We have had the ability to go and fight. The reality is, at the


end of the day, as I have said before, no one is going to put up


the cause for workers. Not one single party in parliament are


fighting the cause for workers. They all support privatisation, they all


support keeping the anti-trade union laws, they all support illegal wars


around the world. Unless they have a fighting trade union, our members


pay would be as low as some others. You said we could not care less if


we have 1 million strikes. But these people, the lower paid people who


travel on the tube, who need it as an essential service, they care Of


course they care, I've said before that I apologise to the troubling


public for the dispute that took place. 24 strikes in 13 years? It


two to tango. If the boy never imposed terms and conditions on us


against our will... But you've got great terms and conditions! But it's


a constant battle, they are trying to change them. Drivers are having


their pay going up to ?50,000. You said they are making it worse, it is


going up. They are trying to make things worse for workers. You said


at the start of the interview that the tube strike cost ?100 million in


two days. It means that when members go to work for two days it is worth


?100 million. That demonstrates what they are worth. Only a fighting


trade union can defend workers out there. Your members should enjoy


what you have got for them, because it's not going to last, is it?


Technology will change the whole way your business operates. As Karl Marx


says, you said I was a mixture of Karl Marx, Only Fools And Horses and


the Sopranos. I thought that was quite funny... The Karl Marx part of


it, the only thing that is constant is change. We have been crying out


for new technology. But for who To put people on the dole, so they


can't do anything and do anything for society, or technology so


everybody benefits, lower fares better service and better terms and


conditions for the workers. But you have made Labour so expensive on the


underground that management now has a huge incentive to substitute


technology for Labour. And that s what it's going to do, it is closing


the ticket offices and very soon, starting in 2016, the driverless


trains coming. What I am saying is that your members should enjoy this


because it's not going to last. Driverless trains are not coming


in, it is not safe. We have them in Nuremberg, Shanghai, Sao Paulo, it


is not safe? These are new lines that have been built so that when it


breaks down, people can get out of the tunnel. Would you want to be


stuck on a summers day on the Northern line? A pregnant woman who


cannot get off the train? Absolute panic that takes place, the reality


is simple, it is a nonsense. It s not going to happen because it is a


Victorian network. On Docklands railway for example it is driverless


but when the train breaks down, it is above ground on a very small


section. All of these other cities managed to have it. You remind me


about Henry Ford in the 1930s when he said, you see that robot over


their, he cannot buy a car. All sorts of new jobs are being created


all the time in other areas. Come back to the ticket offices, not many


people use the ticket offices any more, what is wrong with getting the


stuff out of the ticket office on to the concourses, meeting and


greeting, helping disabled people and tourists and making it a better


service? They can do more on the concourse than they can in the


ticket office. Andrew, he took the decision to close down every single


ticket office. You cannot compare for example Chesham with the likes


of Heathrow. Are you telling me people are going to be on a long


transatlantic flight, arrived at Heathrow and cannot get a ticket.


The stuff will be redeployed on the concourse. The simple problem is


that it is not just about the booking office, it is about people


having a visual. If you are partially sighted, you cannot use


the machines. If British is not your first language, you cannot use the


offices. How many languages do your members speak? I don't know, I


struggle with English. The machines can speak many different languages.


They are dehumanising things. You phone the bank, all you hear is


press one for this, two for that. People want to hear it human being


and what makes the London Underground so precious is that


people want to see people. Having well-dressed, motivated people out


on the concourse, what part of that don't you like? They will be on the


concourse and they will have machines. The fact is that London


Underground did a risk assessment of closing down their booking offices


and it is clear that if you are disabled, if you are partially


sighted, London Underground becomes more dangerous. You are posing the


closing of ticket offices, opposing driverless trains, when you opposed


to the Oyster card when it came in? No, Oyster cards, it is how you deal


with it. It is not the only way They should supplement the staff and


the job. If more people used the London Underground system, you want


more staff to deal with them. Let's look at your mandate to strike. Of


your members who work on the Tube, only 40% bothered to vote. Only 30%


voted for the strike, so 70% actually didn't vote to strike of


your members, but the strike went ahead. Isn't it right to have a


higher threshold before you can cause this disruption? It would be


lovely if everyone voted but the Tories took that away. We used to


have ballots at the workplace. What I'm trying to say to you is that we


used to have a ballot box at the workplace and the turnouts were


higher. The Tories believe that if they can have a secret ballot where


ballot papers went to people's home addresses, where they could be


persuaded by the bosses, votes would be different. Let's go back to the


workplace ballot because you get a bigger turnout. Will the RMT


re-affiliate to the Labour Party? I have no intention to. We got


expelled from the Labour Party. But you will give some money to the


Labour councils? Those that support our basic policies get money, we


don't give money directly to MPs, we give it to constituencies. Are you


going to stand for re-election in 2016? I might do, I might not. You


haven't decided yet? No, but more than likely I will do. And will you


stand again as an anti-EU candidate? Yes, I am standing in London, and


right across, completely different to UKIP's policies. They are


anti-European, they believe all of the faults of Europe are down to the


immigrants. We are anti-European Union. If London Underground is as


badly run as you think, why don t you run for mayor? That is down the


road, it has not come up yet. I m not ruling anything out. I'm not


ruling out getting your job on the Sunday Politics. You have got to


retire as well, you have got to put your feet up. I will get you to


renegotiate my package. Shall we go on strike first? If I could have


your wages, I would have two trips to Rio every year. Good luck. And if


you're in the London region they'll have more on the Tube strike later


in the programme. Let's get back to those comments from Jose Manuel


Barroso, and reaction to these comments from John Swinney. Scottish


Nationalists denied all along you would have to reapply, we have now


heard it without any caveats, you will and you might not get in. I


think Jose Manuel Barroso's comments were preposterous this morning. He


compared the situation to the one in Kosovo. Britain is the member,


Scotland is not the member. If you go independent, you will have to


reapply, he says. All of the arrangements we have in place are


compatible with the workings of the European Union because we have been


part of it for 40 years. The propositions we put forward work


about essentially negotiating the continuity of Scotland's membership


of the European Union and that position has now been explained and


debated and discussed and reinforced by comments made by experts. We are


talking about the president of the European commission and we have


spoken to him since he gave that interview on the BBC this morning,


it was an intervention that he made that he wanted to lay out that


Scotland should be in no doubt that if they vote for independence they


will have to apply for European membership and they may not get it


if it is vetoed by other members. What he didn't say is that no state


of the European Union have indicated they would veto Scottish


membership. The Spanish foreign minister has. They have said that if


there is an agreed process within the UK that Scotland becomes an


independent country, then Spain has got nothing to say about the issue.


That indicates to me clearly that the Spanish government will have no


stance to take on the Scottish membership of the European Union


because it is important that Scotland is already part of the


European Union, our laws are compatible with the European Union


and we play our part. The only threat to Scotland's participation


in the European Union is the potential in/out referendum that


David Cameron wants to have in 017. It has not been a great week for


you, has it? Everything you seem to want, the monetary union, that has


been blown out of the water by the Westminster parties, now Jose Manuel


Barroso has said you will have to reapply to the European Union, it


has not been a good week. You will follow the debate closely, and the


Sunday newspapers are full about the backlash taking place within


Scotland at the bullying remarks of the Chancellor and his cohorts. Is


Jose Manuel Barroso a bully is well now? He is making an indirect


comparison between Scotland and Kosovo. If you vote for independence


and you do have two apply again to join, if you do get in it solves


your currency problem because you will have to accept the euro. We


have set out an option on the currency arrangements which would be


to establish the currency union You would have to adopt the euro. That's


not rate because you have to be part of the exchange-rate mechanism for


two years before you can apply for membership and an independent


Scotland has no intention of signing up to the exchange rate mechanism or


the single currency. We are concentrating on setting out our


arguments for maintaining the pound sterling, which is in the interests


of Scotland and the UK. Thank you for joining us this morning.


This week's least surprising news was that Labour won the safe seat of


Wythenshawe and Sale East in a by-election, following the death of


the MP Paul Goggins. With the result so predictable, all eyes were on


whether this would be the sixth time this parliament that UKIP would come


second. And whether they'd chip away at Labour's vote, not just the


Tories and the Lib Dems. Adam stayed up all night to find out what it all


meant. Forget the hype. Forget the theorising. And yes - everyone has a


theory. UKIP are learning from us. What have they picked up from you?


To be silly. Thanks to this week's by-election we've got some hard


evidence in paper form that helps answer the question: How are UKIP


doing? Turns out the answer is well, but not well enough to beat Labour.


I'm therefore claim -- declare that Mike Cane is elected. So UKIP have


come second and increased their share of the vote quite


significantly. But their performance isn't as good as their performances


in some of the other by-elections this parliament. Just don't suggest


to them that their bandwagon has ground to a halt. A week ago you'd


told me you were going to win, what happened? No, I didn't, I said I


wanted to win. My mistake. How are you feeling? It is a Labour


stronghold, we always knew it was going to be a fight. Labour were


running scared of letting us present our arguments. UKIP's campaign in


Wythenshawe didn't point to the right but to the left, with leaflets


that branded Labour as a party of millionaires who didn't care about


the working class. It wasn't a winning strategy but it did help


them beat the Tories who focused on dog mess and potholes instead.


Professional UKIP-watcher Rob Ford from Manchester Uni thinks they


could be on the right track. He s analysed the views of 5,000 UKIP


voters for a new book, which could confound the received wisdom about


the party. The common media image of the typical UKIP voter is a ruddy


faced golf club and -- member from the south-east of the UK and many


UKIP activists do resemble that stereotype to some extent, they do


pick up a lot of activists from the Conservative party, but UKIP voters


are older, more working class, more likely to live in Northern, urban


areas, and they are much more anti-system than anti-EU. And


they're precisely the voters that the Tory MP David Mowat needs if


he's to hold on to his narrow majority in the constituency just


down the road. Do you have a UKIP strategy in your seat? Our UKIP


strategy is to point out that if they want a referendum on if they


want to be in the EU or not, there is one way to get it, for the


Conservatives to form their next government and for me to be their


MP. UKIP could accidentally destroy what they want? I'm not sure it will


be accidental. People need to realise that if Ed Miliband is the


Prime Minister, there will be no referendum on the EU and UKIP may


have made their point but they would not have got their referendum. Over


at UKIP local HQ, it is tidying up time. Not helping, Nigel? I had


major surgery on the 19th of November and I am still weak as a


kitten. I can barely lift a pint with my right hand, it is as serious


as that. The answer is, Carreon chaps, you're all doing a very good


job. There will be carrying on to the European elections in May, which


will provide more evidence of if the UKIP and wagon is powering on or if


it is just parked. -- bandwagon With me now is the Conservative MEP


Vicky fraud and UKIP director of medication is Patrick O'Flynn. He


will also be a candidate in the upcoming European elections. You


came second in Manchester, but it was not a close second. -- Vicky


Ford. There is nothing that is a game changer? I think it is very


unusual for any insurgent party like the liberals used to be, to


actually win a safe seat of the opposition. Those shocks, going back


to Walkington etc, it tended to be winning seats against an unpopular


government. We did extraordinarily well in Wythenshawe. Labour


compressed the campaign down to the shortest possible time and maxed out


the postal vote. Whatever we think about Labour, they do have an


efficient machine, lots of union activists signed a lot of people


with a lot of know-how. It pushed you into third place and showed the


increasing irrelevance of the Tories in the North? Tory minded voters in


the North Sea more inclined to vote for UKIP than you? I think


by-elections are by-elections. The same day, we took a seat from Labour


in Birmingham. Well, that was a by-election as well, so we should


discount that as well. You should learn from them, and we need to look


forward to the elections in 201 . That is in May this year, when we


have a chance to really grab this change in Europe, grab this change


that we were talking about just now. You don't worry, particularly in the


north, if people want to vote against Labour your supporters are


drifting to UKIP? I think people vote UKIP in a European election and


they have done that for many years. They vote that because they want


change. The problem is, Patrick s party have had MEPs since 1999 and


they cannot deliver that change They can't because they don't have


seats in Westminster. It was on that video, the only way we are going to


get the change we want in Europe is to have that referendum and have the


renegotiation, and that means vote Tory. What do you say to that? Let's


get real, the Conservative Party has not won a Parliamentary majority in


22 years. But the only way you will get a referendum, if that is what


motivates you, and with UKIP it is, motivates you, and with UKIP it is,


the only way it will be a referendum on Europe in this country as if


there is a majority Conservative government at the next election And


there is a majority Conservative you could well stop that from


happening? I don't accept that. I believe, just as we forced David


happening? I don't accept that. I Cameron and into a referendum pledge


before through our success, and I before through our success, and I


was there in PMQs, when his MPs asked him and he said it would not


be in the national interest because he didn't want to leave, our


electoral success forced that pledge. I believe by winning the


European action this May we can force Ed Miliband, again, against


his will, to match that pledge. Then, whatever formulation varies in


the next Parliament, we will get a referendum. Labour MPs have just had


the chance to say we want a referendum. They refused to do it.


The only way you are going to get a The only way you are going to get a


renegotiation, a change in our relationship with Europe and an in


renegotiation, a change in our or out referendum is to have a


renegotiation, a change in our Conservative Government. Please


UKIP, stop pretending that you can deliver, because you don't deliver


and you don't... We have delivered, we forced David Cameron to give a


pledge for a referendum he didn t want to make. We will know if you


are right about Ed Miliband or not, you will have to tell us going into


the campaign. If you are wrong, what do you do then? There are still


loads of reasons for people to vote UKIP. A referendum is one thing


loads of reasons for people to vote David Cameron, and I asked him


directly, thermally wants to stay in. He wants to be the Edward Heath


of the 21st century. The Tories are going to say, vote UKIP, get Ed


Miliband. What would you say to that? I would say we have probably


maxed out the Tory vote we are going to get because David Cameron has


been incredibly helpful in sending them in our direction. Our potential


for growth now, would we are concentrating on, his those


disenchanted former Labour voters and more and more of them are coming


towards us on things like immigration and law and order. We


want to renegotiate our relationship with Europe. We need to have people


who are going to turn up to negotiate with people like Barroso.


That meant a Prime Minister that is not Ed Miliband but David Cameron.


That meant a Prime Minister that is UKIP MEPs do not turn up to


defenders. If President Hollande is as good as his word and says there


will be no substantial renegotiation, certainly no treaty


change this side of 2017 when he is up for the election, what do you do


then? He is a French Socialist Prime Minister, I don't expect him to


agree. But you can't bring anything of substance back with these


negotiations. Then people will vote to leave. The Prime Minister has


been very clear that British public to leave. The Prime Minister has


opinion is on a knife edge and unless we get what we want from a


renegotiation, we will leave. You would vote to leave? Let's see what


we get with the deal on the table in would vote to leave? Let's see what


2017. If the status quo was what we have today, I would vote to leave.


But I want to renegotiate. We will have to move on. For those viewers


lucky enough to live in the East of England, they will be seeing more of


Patrick in a moment. You are watching Sunday Politics. Coming up


talking about, what else, the talking about, what else, the


Welcome to your local part of the show for Cumbria and the north`east.


2000 jobs are going at Durham county council. Do such councils have any


sort of future? We ask the leader. And we report on the campaign is


trying to save their local maternity services. I am joined by Labour MP


Andy McDonald and lived them European MP, fearing bottle.


We start with the fire station closures in Sunderland and Wallsend.


On Teeside, another debate, whether they mutually business owned and run


by its own employers should be set up, a John Lewis of firefighting, if


you like. You were in the meeting. Was anything said or change your


mind? I'm not sure I need to change my


mind. It seems that the authority are not wedded to the idea. They


have excluded as an option yet continue to look at it, I can quite


understand. And there was government money to look at this? Significant


funds. So I unclear if it is still an option. Does the chief fire


officer wanted? `` want it? There is no guarantee it would remain a


mutual. The opposite is true, within a few years it would have to be open


to tender and the likely option is privatisation. I am vehemently


opposed to that. There are, was it right to explore the idea `` Fiona.


All innovative possibilities are worth exploring. We know that the


John Lewis model works. It would need careful consideration to avoid


unforeseen hazards, but it is definitely worth exploring.


It has been a story of relentless cuts for local councils. This week,


Cumbria county council's term. `` turn. Three more years of savings


ahead, is it inevitable that councils will continue to shrink in


size and influence? Ed Miliband says there is another way.


Labour is talking about budgets lasting up to five years to offer


financial certainty. People would get more of a say on how councils


spend their money in communities. But they have not yet gone as far as


song, the think tank IPPR has called for a massive handover of power from


Whitehall to councils. But it warned that politicians often make promises


only to renege on them. It is harder to translate commitment into


reality. There are serious practical issues. The civil service is


reluctant to link was control of resources. It is hard to get the


public on side. `` reluctant to relinquish control. I don't think


that Londoners would want to see the discrepancies they are reversed. ``


there. You considered your own budget cuts


in Durham this week. Despite reductions in funding, many would


say the council is still doing a good job. Were you inefficient


before? Everything was done for a reason. We


need to live within our means. We have had to reduce the budget by 120


million already. We think there is another 100 million to come in the


next three years. After recent statements by George Osborne, it may


be longer than that. But clearly all councils, not just ours, will reduce


in size. How far can it keep going before you


are in a situation when you cannot provide the their minimum services


for vulnerable people, and children? Some councils are already moving to


that unfortunate decision. We are not one. We became a unitary


authority which made us the largest in the region, about 500 thousand


people. A critical mass which means we don't have to make difficult


decisions, possibly giving a slightly longer before we do have to


make those decisions. But in the next couple of years we will have to


look at everything we do and inevitably there will be another


reduction in size. The north`east councils working


together, with no more money, does it make any difference? It is a


difficult part in this country, that there is no level in between local


councils and the national government. That is not tenable. It


is interesting that the move to combined authorities have then


prompted by the national government. `` have been. As a conduit between


government and local government, people are bound to ask, will this


cost more money? The first thing is that it is important we work


together. It makes no sense for councils to work on their own,


particularly on strategic issues like skills and economic


development, transport... But will it cost more money? I have on a


number of occasions said that I don't believe we should look at new


expensive offices, buildings, and so on. We are trying to use councils


working together to save resources, if anything, to strategically land


better than at the moment. And to be able to advocate stronger than we


would do individually. Will this not be a distraction? What is being


talked about is a change at the centre. I very much support that.


You cannot have a period of austerity like this without looking


at the centre of government as well. Arguably, England is over governed


by the centre. There should be devolution of power away from the


centre to areas such as the north`east. Would you need a mayor


at the head of a combined authority? The government model is one of


combined authority and... How can you be democratically accountable?


You are from Durham and making decisions about Sunderland and


Newcastle. We are elected. Clearly, the issue with the previous body,


and I have to say I thought they did a good job, but democratically they


were unaccountable at the ballot box. That has been rectified.


Fiona, given that councils must manage with less, what is the vision


for the future? There is great advantages in devolving powers. The


Liberal Democrats support it. And with a combined authority going


forward we have the chance to do things that any single council on


its own cannot do all alone. But politicians talk a good game, and


when they deliver, it is weak. We see the need to do more. Like and


skills, for instance, where we have a European structural investment


fund that was not spent on a regional level beforehand and will


be now. I think it is a good thing but my only concern is that this


must not be another lot of meetings behind closed doors. It is important


everybody knows what is going on. Labour are saying they will hand


lots of powers over, being vague, when you get into power, will you


not say, we don't want to do that now? Ed Miliband set out a


commitment to a radical approach to local government and services. I


hope we're not going to too cynical. We were on a downward spiral to the


irreducible minimum of the basic discharge of statutory services.


This is a refreshing take on reversing the trend. The Labour


party have told us they will not be able to spend any more than the


Conservatives. Individual councils are in decline, and they? `` aren't


they? Where on earth is the equity in the distribution of the nation's


resources? We need to have our own sake, and that should be via a


direct body in this region. `` our own say. Some would say this is the


biggest crisis, there is so little left that some councils will be left


in a situation where they cannot abide the legal minimum. But as we


were saying, and Labour also acknowledge the severe cuts ahead,


not just the current government, but... You must talk to friends who


are counsellors and say that they cannot take any more of this. Also,


schools have been taken away from councils left right and centre. You


talk a good game about councils, but when it comes to it, we can then


financially, and weaken their powers. `` weaken them financially.


We have the potential to control the resources we have in difficult


circumstances in a way that is more focused on what we need. Talk of a


combined authority in Teeside. Should there be an elected mayor? It


is a possibility. But many people think that the break`up of Cleveland


county council was not the right step. Relatively small unitary


authorities with the expense incurred is questionable. We need to


work in a more collaborative way. That is across local authorities and


public utilities and services. Thank you very much. What does


William Hague have in common with a North Tyneside Labour in? Both have


campaigned to save maternity services. North `` a North Tyneside


Labour MP. Mother of four, Rebecca, discovered


she had epilepsy after her eldest child was born. That meant that to


deliver her next three children she could not go to her local hospital.


It only has midwives on duty, no doctors on hand to deal with


complications. But now North Tyneside Hospital may close it


maternity unit altogether. It is not necessary to have a doctoral lead


service, a midwife led unit is fine, I had Ellen one spec recently, `` in


Wansbeck, and they were absolutely brilliant. At the moment only around


four children a week are being delivered by North Tyneside. 90%


give birth outside of the area. The strongest message we heard was, we


want to deliver our babies where we get good midwife care, but in the


same building, there is a full team if we need it. That is just not the


case at North Tyneside. If somebody needs a doctor or operating theatre,


they have to get into an ambulance and be taken to a different


hospital. Planned changes have also been a big issue elsewhere in the


region. Opposition in North Yorkshire. The possibility of a


hospital being downgraded their to a midwife led department. That led to


the intervention of William Hague. A decision is imminent. The NHS closed


a unit in Northumberland due to concerns that they were so few


earths midwifes were not getting enough practice. `` so few briths. A


local Labour MP believes there have been too many changes in his


constituency. We were told at North Tyneside would retain the unit and


it was safe. And that it would be a good thing if consultant led


services went elsewhere. Now we're being told that the latest thinking


is that midwife led units should be in the same building as them. I want


to know why it is that thinking has changed so dramatically within a


decade to contradict what we were told last time. The last public


meeting about the future of the North Tyneside unit took place this


week and the consultation closes next month.


What distance is reasonable, do you think, to ask women to travel? One


thing that is difficult is that the situation in urban areas is


different to the situation in rural parts. You are looking at travelling


40 of the nine miles. `` 40 or 50. It is difficult, because for


complications, you want specialist services. But then on the other side


of the occasion, there is the anxiety about being away from your


family, the difficulty of travelling that distance. We need new ways of


addressing this. Bringing services remotely, improving training. In a


world of limited resources, not every service can be on your


doorstep, can it? None of us can expect that, but in this situation


we should listen to the people who matter, who use the service, and


that film pointed out clearly that we should start the process much


earlier. People need a say in the planning. Have people not already


voted with their feet? They are not giving birth at this hospital. You


make a very good point. If people are part of the discussion, we had


that in my neighbouring constituency, decisions were on


track. And people decided they wanted to be in a centre where there


was a consultant and midwife service in one. But I still maintain you


should listen to people at the outset before reaching crisis point.


One advantage of being all that is you get to travel free on the buses.


`` being older. But that is no consolation if bus services are cut.


More on that, and the rest of the weeks news, in 60 seconds. Ofsted


has voiced serious concerns about the quality of secondary education


in Cumbria is five more schools are placed under special measures. `` as


five more schools. One MP has argued that pensioners should be able to


pay subsidised fares to keep bus services going. I believe that the


way forward is to put concessionary travel by bus on the same legal


footing as for rail. The Chancellor visited Cumbria on Thursday and


warned about the impact of an independent Scotland. David Cameron


has promised what money it takes to help flood victims in the South.


They local MP has written to demand that victims in Cumbria get the same


government support. `` A local MP. However useful it is to have a free


bus pass, and I'm sure pensioners he stated, but the system is stretched,


and they are travelling for nothing. What you run the risk of doing is


bus companies saying, we will go where people pay, and not bother


elsewhere. People who cannot afford a contribution are denied access to


a public transport system. Is there any solution? Not unless you turn


the clock back a long way. But I applaud bus companies, be a little


bit more consistent in providing services. `` I implore. They need to


look at their responsibilities. There has to be a better solution


than just more public subsidy. If you opt for means testing you spend


more money on the administration. And across the board class is a very


simple way of helping pensioners. `` across the board pass. If people


want to pay there is nothing to stop them playing. `` paying. But the


individual who gets on next, he might not pay, someone else has? And


efficient way to get revenue is to tax wealthy pensioners at the same


way you with tax wealthy people in general. There is no by having a


really expensive and student body. That is about that. Thanks to my


guests. No Sunday Baltics next week. `` Politics. In a fortnight we will


ask if rural areas direction? No, in real terms now the


rent is falling in London. Andrew, back to you.


Welcome back. Let's start by talking about the weather. What could be


more British? It has been practically the only topic of


conversation for the past few weeks. This morning, Ed Miliband has


made the direct link, declaims, between this exceptionally wet and


windy weather and climate change. That's an interesting development,


taking place. Ed Miliband is the author of the 2008 Climate Change


Act, so he has to stick to that line or his life 's work goes up in


smoke. When he passed it, there was Westminster consensus. Now the


Tories are beginning to appeal off. UKIP has definitely peeled off.


Labour and Lib Dems are sticking to their guns, there is now a debate?


It has moved from consensus to very fragile consensus. It's an


interesting tactic for Ed Miliband to take. He could either approach


the floods talking about government failures and handling, instead he


has gone for the intellectual argument, try and turn this into a


debate about ideology and climate change. I think he will find that


quite difficult. Partly, I don't think the public I get listening to


an argument like that. Partly because only one in three of the


public totally agree with him. The polls for The Times think that about


one in three think that man-made I'm a change is responsible for these


floods, the rest do not. I'm not sure that the interventions will be


particularly well picked up. It puts David Cameron in a difficult


position. He was hugging those huskies, it was going to be the


greenest Government ever, and now he has an Environment secretary that


doesn't really believe in climate change. Well, we don't know where he


stands. That is not where he was in 2010. It has always been sold to us


that he is statesman-like and pragmatic, but that drifts into he


doesn't really believe anything This is a worldwide phenomenon now.


You've got the Canadian government, they are pretty sceptical these


days. The new Australian government is pretty sceptical. The Obama


administration has been attacked by the green movement across the United


States, he is probably about to approve the keystone pipeline that


will take over the Texas refineries. What was a huge consensus across the


globe is a guinea to break down Probably started to break down about


the time of the financial crisis, the age of austerity, when suddenly


people had more to worry about than green issues. Even at home it is a


slightly risky tactic for Ed Miliband. The idea there is a


scientific consensus on this, there isn't. You look at Professor Collins


this morning, climate systems expert, saying, actually, the jet


stream is not operating further south because of climate change Or


if it is, it is beyond our knowledge. He flies in the face of


what Ed Miliband as saying. He's saying the wet weather is caused by


global warming, the head of science at Exeter University says the IPCC


originally looked at whether climate change could affect what happens to


the jet stream and, because it had no evidence it had any effect, it


decided not to include it at all in the IPCC report. The problem we have


got is that any individual phenomenon is difficult to attribute


to climate change. But the Labour Leader just have? And The Met Office


have done the same thing. It's a fragile in, but overall we can say


we are getting more extreme weather than ever. The most extreme weather,


hurricanes and tropical storm is, they have been in decline. Equally,


we have had ten of the hottest summers in the last ten years since


1998. Overall, there is a case that can be made that we are getting


more. Each individual thing is difficult to say. Until recently,


almost everyone agreed with that case. Now the parties are reflecting


differences. I wanted to move on, what did you make of two interesting


things that happened with the interview with UKIP and the Tories,


one Cory saying I am voting to come out, and the UKIP chap saying we are


maxed out on Tory defectors, we can't get any more? I think that was


a dangerous admission from Patrick O'Flynn from UKIP, essentially


saying that their vote has peaked. Looking at the by-elections, I'm not


sure that was a particularly wise reflection on that. They got 18 ,


23% last year. The case he is making is that there are more votes to be


gained by attracting former Labour voters than former Tories. I'm not


sure that red UKIP, the bit of UKIP that tries to make benefit


protection and some other kind of social issues at the heart really


sits comfortably with their insurgent, anti-state message. I


don't think it will do particularly well. This is why they are pushing


the message, it is their response to the idea and suggestion of a Tory


rallying cry that they vote for Nigel Farage, and it is really a


vote for Ed Miliband. Patrick is a very good journalist, a very good


commentator. He answered almost as a commentator rather than head of


communications for a political party. The Government are still


trying to rid itself of troublesome priests, an attack on welfare


reforms from the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster. Let's have a look


and see what he said. The basic safety net that was there to


guarantee that people would not be left in hunger or in destitution has


actually been torn apart. It no longer exists. And it is a real


real, dramatic crisis. The second is that, in this context, the


administration of social assistance, I am told, has become more and more


punitive. If applicants do not get it right, they have to wait and they


have to wait for ten days, two weeks, with nothing. Has the basic


safety net disappeared? I don't see how it is possible to argue that. It


is certainly the case that there have been reductions in various


benefits, some benefits have been scrapped and there is a welfare


reform programme. But this country is still spending ?94 billion a year


on working age benefits. Excluding pensions? The idea that this equates


to some sort of wiping out of the safety net is... He has gone on a


full frontal assault on the Tory reforms, not the kind of attack that


Labour would be prepared to make? No, they know that it doesn't play


very well in the country. He's not up for election. Whether or not you


agree about the safety net, I think the welfare reforms have been poorly


managed and I don't think that is a full dispute. Universal credit, it


is in some very long grass. It had some stupid ideas, like the idea


that it would be paid monthly, instead of weekly, meaning that


people are more likely to run out of money by the end of the month. It's


interesting, in the past, when members of the cloth have attacked


the government for welfare reforms, the Government have responded by


trying to paint them as lefties ideological driven. I think that is


hard in this case, an assault made deliberately in the Telegraph from


somebody who feels they come from a centre-right position. I think there


will be a bit of awkwardness about this intervention. It is not the


kind of thing they wanted to see. Is it politically damaging for the


Government? It is if it makes them look mean-spirited. But that is the


problem with welfare reforms. You can say all sorts of things about


Iain Duncan Smith's competence. But the whole thing springs from a moral


mission, as he sees it, to liberate the poor and extend opportunity One


of the worst moments for the Tories was blaming the low level of voting


in Wythenshawe and sale in the fact that the constituency had, in the


words of one senior Tory, the largest council estate in Europe


inside its constituency boundary. The point being what? Because you


live in a council estate you don't vote? That they don't see people


living in council estate as one of them, not an impulse that Margaret


Thatcher would have had. I think it's dangerous if they are painting


is people as opponents rather than trying to win them over. When they


do vote, they determine elections! The idea that there is no such thing


as a working-class Tory is toxic. I want to show you a picture. There we


go. It is behind me, on the 5th of February, it is all men. And then,


on the next, look at that, the 2th, there are a few women. Not exactly


many, but some. It is an improvement. But it is so


transparent, isn't it? We phoned up one of the women that sat behind


David Cameron to ask, why the sudden change? They said, I don't know why


you are bothering to ask, it is completely natural, we didn't do


anything to stage manage it. Did his nose gets longer? It is something


that is very transparent and depressing about the way politicians


choose to react to these moments. Every week they put two women behind


David Cameron, so that a tight shot shows them. It is called the


doughnut. They don't have many women to shuffle around, there are only


four among 14 in the Shadow Cabinet. Also, the fact that women, younger


women in particular, are much less likely to vote Tory than five or ten


years ago. David Cameron, it drives and furious, he is obviously aware


this is one of the biggest potential demographic problem is that they


have. It also reminds us of how the public can actually see the wiring


behind a lot of the stuff. Do they really think your blog so stupid


that they will not notice that the following week the front bench is


packed with women? I think it just increases contempt for the entire


rocket. It is an issue where Labour seem to have pulled ahead of the


other parties. We are being told that 50% of candidates in their 100


target seats will be female. It looks like the composition of Labour


continues to go towards a kind of rough 50-50 split, eventually.


Although that is true, I think the faces we see on the telly, Ed


Miliband, Ed Balls, Chris Leslie, they are almost always men. There is


a Rachel Reeves, a prominent female face that goes up a lot. But really,


the number of e-mails they put up is proportionally a lot smaller. Is the


Miliband team still a men's club? Behind the scenes, it is very


blokey. It's been described as a kind of seminar room at a


university. I think that is true. The Observer did the cutout and keep


of the people behind Mr Miliband. As opposed to the Shadow Cabinet, with


lots of women in it, it was very male. The one reason Labour have all


of these women to put up in constituencies is all women short


lists is. If Tories want to change things, I know they can be prone to


minute -- and in relation, but they work. In ten years time, I think it


will give Labour an immense advantage. By then, I think they


will have a woman leader. Who will that be? Potentially somebody not


even yet in the Commons. You can see how quickly people can rise to the


top, but the Labour Party is going to be increasingly donated by women.


Do you think there will be a Labour Leader before Theresa May becomes


leader of the Conservatives? I think it is ultimately about Osborne


trying to stop Boris. I think I would be astonished if she managed


it. The first female Labour Leader? I would pick Rachel Reeves the way


it is currently going, she knows her stuff and does well on TV. That is


all for this week. We have a week off now. I'll be back in the week


after next. Remember, if it is Sunday, it's the Sunday Politics,


unless it's a Parliamentary recess.


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