22/06/2014 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Rachel Reeves discusses what reforms Labour would make to the welfare department.

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Welfare reform is one of the government's most popular policies.


So Labour says it would be even tougher than the Tories.


We'll be asking the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary if she's got


Even Labour supporters worry that Ed Miliband hasn't got what it takes


Labour grandees are increasingly vocal about their concerns.


Over 50% of Labour voters think they'd do better with a new leader.


We speak to a new political party apparently "toxic" on the doorstep.


We speak to a new political party campaigning for regional government


in the north`east. promised an electric car revolution,


why so little progress? Nick Watt, Helen Lewis and


Janan Ganesh, the toxic tweeters First, the deepening crisis in Iraq,


where Sunni Islamists are now largely in control of


the Syrian-Iraq border, which means they can now re-supply their forces


in Iraq from their Syrian bases Rather than moving on Baghdad, they


are for the moment consolidating their grip on the towns


and cities they've already taken. They also seem to be


in effective control of Iraq's biggest oil refinery,


which supplies the capital. And there are reports they


might now have taken the power Iraqi politicians are now admitting


that ISIS, the name of the Sunni insurgents, is


better trained, better equipped and far more battle-hardened than the


US-trained Iraqi army fighting it. Which leaves the fate of Baghdad


increasingly in the hands No good news coming out of there,


Janan. No good news and no good options either. The West's best


strategy is to decide how much support to give to the Iraqi


government. The US is sending over about 275 military personnel. Do


they go further and contemplate their support? General Petraeus


argued against it as it might be seen as the US serving as the force


of Shia Iraqis -- continue their support. Do we contemplate breaking


up Iraq? It won't be easy. The Sunni and Shia Muslim populations don t


live in clearly bordered areas, but in the longer term, do we deal with


it in the same way we dealt with the break-up of the Ottoman empire over


100 years ago? In the short-term and long-term, completely confounding.


Quite humiliating. If ISIS take Baghdad I can't think of a bigger


ignominy for foreign policy since Suez. If Iraq is partitioned, it


won't be up to us. It will be what is happening because of what is


happening on the ground. Everything does point to partition, and that


border, which ISIS control, between Syria and Iraq, that has been there


since it was drawn during the First World War. That is gone as well An


astonishingly humbling situation the West, and you can see the Kurds in


the North think this is a charge -- chance for authority. They think


this is the chance to get the autonomy they felt they deserved a


long time. Janan is right. We can't do much in the long term, but we


have to decide on the engagement. And the other people wish you'd be


talking turkey, because if there is some blowback and the fighters come


back, they are likely to come back from Turkey. Where is Iran in all of


this? There were reports last week that the Revolutionary guard, the


head of it, he was already in Baghdad with 67 advisers and there


might have been some brigades that have gone there as well. Where are


they? What has happened? I'm pretty sure the Prime Minister of Iraq is


putting more faith in Iran than the White House and the British. I think


they are running the show, in technical terms. John Kerry is


flying into Cairo this morning, and what is his message? It is twofold.


One is to Arab countries, do more to encourage an inclusive government in


Iraq, mainly Sunni Muslims in the government, and the Arab Gulf states


should stop funding insurgents in Iraq. You think, Iraq, it's


potentially going to break up, so this sounds a bit late in the day


and a bit weak. It gets fundamentally to the problem, what


can we do? Niall Ferguson has a big piece in the Sunday Times asking if


this is place where we cannot doing anything. He doesn't want to do


anything. By the way, that is what most Americans think. That is what


opinion polls are showing. You have George Osborne Michael Gold who


would love to get involved but they cannot because of the vote in


parliament on Syria lasted -- George Osborne and Michael Gove. This


government does not have the stomach for military intervention. We will


see how events unfold on the ground. All parties are agreed that


Britain's 60-year old multi-billion The Tory side of the Coalition think


their reforms are necessary and popular, though they haven't


always gone to time or to plan. In the eight months she's had since


she became Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Rachel Reeves


has talked the talk about getting people off benefits, into work and


lowering the overall welfare bill. her first interview


in the job she threatened "We would But Labour has opposed just


about every change the Coalition has proposed to cut the cost


and change the culture of welfare. Child benefit, housing benefit,


the ?26,000 benefit cap - They've been lukewarm about


the government's flagship Universal Credit scheme - which rolls six


benefit payments into one - and And Labour has set out only


two modest welfare cuts. This week, Labour said young people


must have skills or be in training That will save ?65 million,


says Labour, though the cost And cutting winter fuel payments


for richer pensioners which will Not a lot in a total welfare bill


of around ?200 billion. And with welfare cuts popular among


even Labour voters, they will soon have to start spelling out exactly


what Labour welfare reform means. Welcome. Good morning. Why do you


want to be tougher than the Tories? We want to be tough in getting the


welfare bill down. Under this government, the bill will be ?1


million more than the government set out in 2010 and I don't think that


is acceptable. We should try to control the cost of Social Security.


But the welfare bill under the next Labour government will fall? It will


be smaller when you end the first parliament than when you started? We


signed up to the capping welfare but that doesn't see social security


costs ball, it sees them go up in line with with inflation or average


earnings -- costs fall. So where flair will rise? We have signed up


to the cap -- welfare will rise We have signed up to the cap. We will


get the costs under control and they haven't managed to achieve it. The


government is spending ?13 billion more on Social Security and the


reason they are doing it is because the minimum wage has not kept pace


with the cost of living so people are reliant on tax credits. They are


not building houses and people are relying on housing benefit. We have


a record number of people on zero hours contracts. I'm still not clear


if you will cut welfare if you get in power. Nobody is saying that the


cost of welfare is going to fall. The welfare cap sees that happening


gradually. That is a Tory cap. And you've accepted it. You're being the


same as the Tories, not to. If they had a welfare cap, they would have


breached it in every year of the parliament. Social Security will be


higher than the government set out because they failed to control it.


You read the polls, and the party does lots of its own polling, and


you're scared of being seen as the welfare party. You don't really


believe all of this anti-welfare stuff? We are the party of work not


welfare. The Labour Party was set up in the first place because we


believe in the dignity of work and we believe that work should pay


wages can afford to live on. I make no apologies for being the party of


work. We are not the welfare party, we are the party of work. Even your


confidential strategy document admits that voters don't trust you


on immigration, the economy, this is your own people, and welfare. You


are not trusted on it. The most recent poll showed Labour slightly


ahead of the Conservative Party on Social Security, probably because


they have seen the incompetence and chaos at the Department for Work and


Pensions under Iain Duncan Smith. Your own internal document means


that the voters don't trust you on welfare reform. That is why we have


shown some of this tough things we will do like the announcement that


Ed Miliband made earlier this week, that young people without basic


qualifications won't be entitled to just sign on for benefits, they have


to sign up for training in order to receive support. That is the right


thing to do by that group of young people, because they need skills to


progress. We will, once that. - we will, onto that. You say you


criticise the government that it had a cap and wouldn't have met it, but


every money-saving welfare reform, you voted against it. How is that


being tougher? The most recent bout was the cap on overall welfare


expenditure, and we went through the lobbies and voted for the Tories.


You voted against the benefit cap, welfare rating, you voted against,


child benefit schemes, you voted against. You can't say we voted


against everything when we voted with the Conservatives in the most


recent bill with a cap on Social Security. It's just not correct to


say. The last time we voted, we walked through the lobby with them.


You voted on the principle of the cap. You voted on every step that


would allow the cap to be met. Every single one. The most recent vote was


not on the principle of the cap it was on a cap of Social Security in


the next Parliament and we signed up for that. It was Ed Miliband who


called her that earlier on. Which welfare reform did you vote for We


voted for the cap. Other than that? We have supported universal credit.


You voted against it in the third reading. We voted against some of


the specifics. If you look at universal credit, they have had to


write off nearly ?900 million of spending. I'm not on the rights and


wrongs, I'm trying to work out what you voted for. Some of the things we


are going to go further than the government with. For example,


cutting benefits for young people who don't sign of the training. The


government had introduced that. For example, saying that the richest


pensioners should not get the winter fuel allowance, that is something


the government haven't signed up. You would get that under Labour and


this government haven't signed up for it. ?100 million on the winter


fuel allowance and ?65 million on youth training. ?165 million. How


big is the welfare budget? The cap would apply to ?120 billion. And


you've saved 125 -- 165 million Those are cuts that we said we would


do in government. If you look at the real prize from the changes Ed


Miliband announced in the youth allowance, it's not the short-term


savings, it's the fact that each of these young people, who are


currently on unemployment benefits without the skills we know they need


to succeed in life, they will cost the taxpayer ?2000 per year. I will


come onto that. You mentioned universal credit, which the


government regards as the flagship reform. It's had lots of troubles


with it and it merges six benefits into one. You voted against it in


the third reading and given lukewarm support in the past. We have not


said he would abandon it, but now you say you are for it. You are all


over the place. We set up the rescue committee in autumn of last year


because we have seen from the National Audit Office and the Public


Accounts Committee, report after report showing that the project is


massively overbudget and is not going to be delivered according to


the government timetable. We set up the committee because we believe in


the principle of universal credit and think it is the right thing to


do. Can you tell us now if you will keep it or not? Because there is no


transparency and we have no idea. We are awash with information. We are


not. The government, in the most recent National audit Forest --


National Audit Office statement said it was a reset project. This is


really important. This is a flagship government programme, and it's going


to cost ?12.8 billion to deliver, and we don't know what sort of state


it is in, so we have said that if we win at the next election, we will


pause that for three months and calling... Will you stop the pilots?


We don't know what status they will have. We would stop the build of the


system for three months, calling the National Audit Office to do awards


and all report. The government don't need to do this until the next


general election, they could do it today. Stop throwing good money


after bad and get a grip of this incredibly important programme. You


said you don't know enough to a view now. So when you were invited to a


job centre where universal credit is being rolled out to see how it was


working, you refused to go. Why We asked were a meeting with Iain


Duncan Smith and he cancelled the meeting is three times. I'm talking


about the visit when you were offered to go to a job centre and


you refused. We had an appointment to meet Iain Duncan Smith at the


Department for Work and Pensions and said he cancelled and was not


available, but he wanted us to go to the job centre. We wanted to talk to


him and his officials, which she did. Would it be more useful to go


to the job centre and find out how it was working. He's going to tell


you it's working fine. Advice Bureau in Hammersmith, they


are working to help the people trying to claim universal credit.


Iain Duncan Smith cancelled three meetings. That is another issue I


was asking about the job centre It is not another issue because Iain


Duncan Smith fogged us off. This week you said that jobless


youngsters who won't take training will lose their welfare payments.


How many young people are not in work training or education? There


are 140,000 young people claiming benefits at the moment, but 850 000


young people who are not in work at the moment. This applies to around


100,000 young people. There are actually 975,000, 16-24 -year-olds,


not in work, training or education. Your proposal only applies to


100,000 of them, why? This is applying to young people who are


signing on for benefits rather than signing up for training. We want to


make sure that all young people .. Why only 100,000? They are the ones


currently getting job-seeker's allowance. We are saying you can not


just sign up to... Can I get you to respond to this, the number of


people not in work, training or education fell last year by more


than you are planning to help. Long turn -- long-term unemployment is an


entrenched problem... This issue about an entrenched group of young


people. Young people who haven't got skills and are not in training we


know are much less likely to get a job so there are 140,018-24


-year-olds signing onto benefits at the moment. This is about trying to


address that problem to make sure all young people have the skills


they need to get a job. Your policy is to take away part of the dole


unless young unemployed people agree to study for level three


qualifications, the equivalent of an AS-level or an NVQ but 40% of these


people have the literary skills of a nine-year-old. After all that failed


education, how are you going to train them to a level standard? We


are saying that anyone who doesn't have that a level or equivalent


qualification will be required to go back to college. We are not saying


that within a year they have to get up to that level but these are


exactly the sorts of people... These people have been failed by your


education system. These people are, for the last four years, have been


educated under a Conservative government. 18 - 21-year-olds, most


of them have their education under a Labour government during which


300,000 people left with no GCSEs whatsoever. I don't understand how


training for one year can do what 11 years in school did not. We are not


saying that within one year everybody will get up to a level


three qualifications, but if you are one of those people who enters the


Labour market age 18 with the reading skills of a nine-year-old,


they are the sorts of people that should not the left languishing I


went to college in Hackney if you you are -- a few weeks ago and there


was a dyslexic boy studying painting and decorating. In school they


decided he was a troublemaker and that he didn't want to learn. He


went back to college because he wanted to get the skills. He said


that it wasn't until he went back to college that he could pick up a


newspaper and read it, it made a huge difference but too many people


are let down by the system. I am wondering how the training will make


up for an education system that failed them but let's move on to


your leader. Look at this graph of Ed Miliband's popularity. This is


the net satisfaction with him, it is dreadful. The trend continues to


climb since he became leader of the Labour Party, why? What you have


seen is another 2300 Labour councillors since Ed Miliband became


the leader of the Labour Party. You saw in the elections a month ago


that... Why is the satisfaction rate falling? We can look at polls or


actual election results and the fact that we have got another 2000 Labour


councillors, more people voting Labour, the opinion polls today show


that if there was a general election today we would have a majority of


more than 40, he must be doing something right. Why do almost 0%


of voters want to replace him as leader? Why do 50% and more think


that he is not up to the job? The more people see Ed Miliband, the


less impressed they are. The British people seem to like him less. The


election strategy I suggest that follows from that is that you should


keep Ed Miliband under wraps until the election. Let's look at actually


what happens when people get a chance to vote, when they get that


opportunity we have seen more Labour councillors, more Labour members of


the European Parliament... Oppositions always get more. The


opinion polls today, one of them shows Labour four points ahead. You


have not done that well in local government elections or European


elections. Why don't people like him? I think we have done incredibly


well in elections. People must like a lot of the things Labour and Ed


Miliband are doing because we are winning back support across the


country. We won local councils in places like Hammersmith and Fulham,


Crawley, Hastings, key places that Labour need to win back at the


general election next year. Even you have said traditional Labour


supporters are abandoning the party. That is what Ed Miliband has said as


well. We have got this real concern about what has happened. If you look


at the elections in May, 60% of people didn't even bother going to


vote. That is a profound issue not just for Labour. You said


traditional voters who perhaps at times we took for granted are now


being offered an alternative. Why did you take them for granted? This


is what Ed Miliband said. I am not saying anything Ed Miliband himself


has not said. When he ran for the leadership he said that we took too


many people for granted and we needed to give people positive


reasons to vote Labour, he has been doing that. He has been there for


four years and you are saying you still take them for granted. Why? I


am saying that for too long we have taken them for granted. We are on


track to win the general election next year and that will defy all the


odds. You are going to win... Ed Miliband will win next year and make


a great Prime Minister. Now to the Liberal Democrats, at the


risk of intruding into private grief. The party is still smarting


from dire results in the European and Local Elections. The only poll


Nick Clegg has won in recent times is to be voted the most unpopular


leader of a party in modern British history. No surprise there have been


calls for him to go, though that still looks unlikely. Here's


Eleanor. Liberal Democrats celebrating,


something we haven't seen for a while. This victory back in 199 led


to a decade of power for the Lib Dems in Liverpool. What a contrast


to the city's political landscape today. At its height the party had


69 local councillors, now down to just three. The scale of the


challenge facing Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems is growing. The party is


rock bottom in the polls, consistently in single figures. It


was wiped out in the European elections losing all but one of its


12 MEPs and in the local elections it lost 42% of the seats that it was


defending. But on Merseyside, Nick Clegg was putting on a brave face.


We did badly in Liverpool, Manchester and London in particular,


we did well in other places. But you are right, we did badly in some of


those big cities and I have initiated a review, quite


naturally, to understand what went wrong, what went right. As Lib Dems


across the country get on with some serious soul-searching, there is an


admission that his is the leader of the party who is failing to hit the


right notes. Knocking on doors in Liverpool, I have to tell you that


Nick Clegg is not a popular person. Some might use the word toxic and I


find this very difficult because I know Nick very well and I see a


principal person who passionately believes in what he is doing and he


is a nice guy. As a result of his popularity, what has happened to the


core vote? In parts of the country, we are down to just three


councillors like Liverpool for example. You also lose the


deliverers and fundraisers and the organisers and the members of course


so all of that will have to be rebuilt. As they start fermenting


process, local parties across the country and here in Liverpool have


been voting on whether there should be a leadership contest. We had two


choices to flush out and have a go at Nick Clegg or to positively


decide we would sharpen up the campaign and get back on the


streets, and by four to one ratio we decided to get back on the streets.


We are bruised and battered but we are still here, the orange flag is


still flying and one day it will fly over this building again, Liverpool


town hall. But do people want the Lib Dems back in charge in this


city? I certainly wouldn't vote for them. Their performance in


Government and the way they have left their promises down, I could


not vote for them again. I voted Lib Dem in the last election because of


the university tuition fees and I would never vote for them again


because they broke their promise. The Lib Dems are awful, broken


promises and what have you. I wouldn't vote for them. This is the


declaration of the results for the Northwest... Last month, as other


party celebrated in the north-west, the Lib Dems here lost their only


MEP, Chris Davies. Now there is concern the party doesn't know how


to turn its fortunes around. We don't have an answer to that, if we


did we would be grasping it with both hands. We will do our best to


hold onto the places where we still have seats but as for the rest of


the country where we have been hollowed out, we don't know how to


start again until the next general election is out of the way. After


their disastrous performance in the European elections, pressure is


growing for the party to shift its stance. I think there has to be a


lancing of the wound, there should in a referendum and the Liberal


Democrats should be calling it. The rest of Europe once this because


they are fed up with Britain being unable to make up its mind. The Lib


Dems are now suffering the effects of being in Government. The party's


problem, choosing the right course to regain political credibility


We can now speak to form a Lib Dems leader Ming Campbell. Welcome back


to the Sunday Politics. Even your own activists say that Nick Clegg is


toxic. How will that change between now and the election? When you have


had disappointing results, but you have to do is to rebuild. You pick


yourself up and start all over again, and the reason why the


Liberal Democrats got 57, 56 seats in the House of Commons now is


because we picked ourselves up, we took every opportunity and we have


rebuilt from the bottom up. least popular leader in modern


history and more unpopular than your mate Gordon Brown. You are running


out of time. No one believes that being the leader of a modern


political party in the UK is an easy job. Both Ed Miliband and David


Cameron must have had cause to think, over breakfast this morning,


when they saw the headlines in some of the Sunday papers. Of course it


is a difficult job but it was pointed out a moment or two ago that


Nick Clegg is a man of principle and enormous resilience if you consider


what he had to put up with, and in my view, he is quite clearly the


person best qualified to lead the party between now and the general


election and through the election campaign, and beyond. So why don't


people like him? We have had to take some pretty difficult decisions


and, of course, people didn't expect that. If you look back to the rather


heady days of the rose garden behind ten Downing St, people thought it


was all going to be sweetness and light, but the fact is, we didn t


know then what we know now, about the extent of the economic crisis we


win, and a lot of difficult decisions have had to be taken in


order to restore economic stability. Look around you. You will see we are


not there yet but we are a long way better off than in 2010. You are not


getting the credit for it, the Tories are. We will be a little more


assertive about taking the credit. For example, the fact that 23


million people have had a tax cut of ?800 per year and we have taken 2


million people out of paying tax altogether. Ming Campbell, your


people say that on every programme like this. Because it is true. That


might be the case, but you are at seven or 8% in the polls, and nobody


is listening, or they don't believe it. Once


is listening, or they don't believe doubt that what we have achieved


will be much more easily recognised, and there is no doubt,


for example, in some of the recent polls, like the Ashcroft Pole,


something like 30% of those polled said that as a result at the next


something like 30% of those polled general election, they would prepare


their to be a coalition involving the Liberal Democrats. So there is


no question that the whole notion of coalition is still very much a live


one, and one which we have made work in the public interest. The problem


is people don't think that. People see you trying to have your cake and


eat it. On the one hand you want to get your share of the credit for the


turnaround in the economy, on the other hand you can't stop yourself


from distancing yourself from the Tories and things that you did not


like happening. You are trying to face both ways at once. If you


remember our fellow Scotsman famously said you cannot ride both


remember our fellow Scotsman to the terms -- terms of the


remember our fellow Scotsman coalition agreement, which is what


we signed up to in 2010. In addition, in furtherance of that


agreement, we have created things like the pupil premium and the


others I mentioned and you were rather dismissive. I'm not


dismissive, I'm just saying they don't make a difference to what


people think of you. We will do everything in our power to change


that between now and May 2015. The interesting thing is, going back to


the Ashcroft result, it demonstrated clearly that in constituencies where


we have MPs and we are well dug in, we are doing everything that the


public expects of us, and we are doing very well indeed. You aren't


sure fellow Lib Dems have been saying this for you -- you and your


fellow Liberal Dems have been saying this for a year or 18 months, and


since then you have lost all of your MEPs apart from one, you lost your


deposit in a by-election, you lost 310 councillor, including everyone


in Manchester or Islington. Mr Clegg leading you into the next general


election will be the equivalent of the charge of the light Brigade I


doubt that very much. The implication behind that lit you


rehearsed is that we should pack our tents in the night and steal away.


-- that litany. And if you heard in that piece that preceded the


discussion, people were saying, look we have to start from the bottom and


have to rebuild. That is exactly what we will do. Nine months is a


period of gestation. As you well know. I wouldn't dismiss it quite so


easily as that. I'm not here to say we had a wonderful result or


anything like it, but what I do say is that the party is determined to


turn it round, and that Nick Clegg is the person best qualified to do


it. Should your party adopt a referendum about in or out on


Europe? No, we should stick to the coalition agreement. If there is any


transfer of power from Westminster to Brussels, that will be subject to


a referendum. No change. And finally, as a Lib Dem, you must be


glad you are not fighting the next election yourself? I've fought every


election since 1974, so I've had a few experiences, some good, some


bad, but the one thing I have done and the one thing a lot of other


people have done is that they have stuck to the task, and that is what


will happen in May 2015. Ming Campbell, thank you for joining us.


It's just gone 11.35am, you're watching the Sunday Politics.


Hello and welcome. This week, the in Scotland who leave us now


Hello and welcome. This week, the problems of attracting and retaining


headteachers. Is pressure from Ofsted and interference frol Michael


Gove to blame? We have a spdcial report. By two guests in thd studio


are from rival parties but they are both trying to unseat a conservative


at next year's general election More from them in a moment. Let s


start with a new political party. Launched in Durham this week, it is


called the north`east party. It wants the region to have its own


elected assembly with powers similar to those on offer in Wales `nd


Scotland. The party intends to field candidates in 12 constituencies at


the general election. Susan MacDonald is a former Labour Party


member and plans to stand. She says the region is getting a raw deal. I


don't think we have strong political representation. In fact, if you


remember when we had a lot of the cabinet members in the north`east,


we didn't have strong representation then either. What does it s`y about


Westminster? I would suggest it doesn't think a lot. With md now is


the chairman of the party, Hilton Dawson. There are plenty of people


within existing parties who don t get the best deal for Westmhnster.


Why set up a new one? Simplx because we don't believe that any of the


established parties, the Westminster `based parties, are capable of


delivering regional devoluthon. We have good evidence for this. There


has been successful devoluthon in Scotland and Wales but that has been


achieved through the efforts of dedicated parties campaigning for a


base in those countries. Yot say that but it was a Labour government


that delivered that devoluthon. They are the only ones of who can deliver


it. We are going to stand c`ndidates across the north`east, in at least


12 constituencies at the next general election, to put prdssure on


the established parties and to hopefully get people elected to


Westminster, to make these points. Another memory for you, 2004, a vote


on the regional assembly in the north`east. It was overwhellingly


rejected. Very little support for it. Why will people change their


minds now? They did in Wales. It took 18 years. In 1979, Walds voted


almost exactly the same proportion as the north`east against


devolution. In 1997, they voted in favour. Over that time, a dddicated


party had campaigned to empower the people of Wales. That is wh`t we are


going to do. Do you think pdople in the north`east are worried `bout


jobs, hospitals and so on, that getting a bunch of politici`ns to


sit in Durham is better than those in Westminster? That is exactly why


we wanted. This region is the most neglected in England. We have the


highest unemployment, the worst social deprivation, the gre`test


poverty, some of the worst health, some of the poorest standards in


education. We need a much bdtter deal from the north`east for what


was rich ` because we are one of the richest countries in the world. This


is a comment on labour, isn't it? A lot of the people are ex`Labour


supporters. We have to look at the Conservatives's record on this.


We've had the scrapping of One North East and there is already a party


which are standing in for the needs of those in the north`east `nd it is


called the Labour Party. Thdse people have seen what the L`bour


Party has delivered. They are not confident you will deliver on your


promises. They think you nedd a bit of a poke from a new party. There is


that and some of the concerns are well founded about the negldct of


this region. I think that we can have thhs


argument about structures btt people out there are struggling. I don t


think we need to be arguing about structures. We need to be arguing


about issues which affect pdople 's lives. The Liberal Democrats are


always the party on deliverhng local power to local people. Rathdr than


turning to you, they are setting up their own party. That is right. I


have a lot of sympathy with Hilton's situation and what he has


done. What I would like to see more of and may be you starting tp this


party is going to provide the platform for it to arise th`t it is


the people themselves feeling that the north`east has been badly


neglected. I do believe that there are some things we have dond in


coalition government around the regional growth fund and th`t kind


of thing, setting up institttions. There is still a perceived `nd a


natural divide between North and South. Is the answer to work within


the political parties? Prestmably you would prefer that. Is a pattern


of people turning away from West Mr parties. They don't see the


Westminster parties as doing anything. We have to wake up to


this. As Liberal Democrats, we believe in greater devolution of


powers. What is local is re`l and immediate to people. I do bdlieve in


greater devolution of powers. You've had a huge opportunity in government


delivered some of it through the delivered some of it through the


local is a Mac. Powers have been handed to communities through that


and it will take a while for that to work its way through. It is all


relatively new. There are things there that can handle greatdr power


to people. Like I say, I do have something the ` some sympathy. How


will you judge your success here? Have you any realistic proposition


of winning? I think the first thing you're going to do, definitdly, is


to revitalise the debate. Wd will get more people engaged in politics.


We will hopefully get more people voting. I think we are good for


democracy. We are a breath of fresh air to the local political scene.


What we are absolutely aimed to do, is to make the case for the


north`east. We will see what happens next. Let's


talk about another big issud. Schools and education. In the


north`east, they are facing problems recruiting the next generathon of


head teachers. More than half of their heads in the region who


replied to a survey said thdy were considering leaving the profession


early. They blame government reforms and rising workloads. Ministers


insists they are making school leadership more attractive by giving


heads greater control. Whether it is keeping order in the


playground or keeping up st`ndards in the classroom, the job of head


teacher has always come with heavy responsibilities. But for hdads like


this one, the pressure has grown. Over the weekend, there was a lot of


work to be done with making sure we have classes in place. We asked her


to keep a diary of her schedule over the last seven days. It camd to 56


hours, which was more than H had expected, but when you think about


things like the evening work, the work that gets done at weekdnds and


out of school hours... One thing that is important is that wd have


long hours. But she sees thd real problem is the constant uncdrtainty


created by everything from Ofsted inspections to government rdforms.


There has been a fast rate of change in education. The headteachdr is


ultimately responsible. Somdtimes we feel like football managers, in


fact, if something goes wrong, you are going to be the head of roles.


This might put off middle ldadership from moving further. For all that,


she is happy in her job but others seem less so. More than 100


headteachers responded to a survey by the teachers network, Schools


North East. Among the most commonly cited reasons for wanting to leave


early, work workload, polithcal interference under pressure from


Ofsted. Good quality school leadership in the north`east. We


need those leaders to be taking up those posts and staying in them We


are hearing from governors that they are not getting the applications and


people are not up for that challenge because of the instability that we


have in the system currentlx. We need a period of stability, to make


sure that we can grow those new leaders. Is there a danger we put


people off from wanting to run schools like this one? The


government rejects any suggdstion of an impending crisis in head teacher


recruitment and retention. Ht points out that vacancy rates are very low


and it says by giving extra powers and freedoms to heads, throtgh the


academy programme, it is making the job more attractive, not less. What


we need is more heads to cole into the system but we are doing that by


making it a situation where academies are more availabld to


people, there is a greater degree of freedom and we want to get out of


the way of headteachers werd doing all they can to support peoples We


do that by giving them more money. Could this be part of the solution?


David Baldwin is executive headteacher of two schools. This


secondary and another in Sotth Shields. It's an approach hd says


helps nurture the heads of the future. It allows a people who you


might see as assistant heads, they can have an opportunity to test out


their own leadership skills in a safe environment, with someone who


has the experience and will take the ultimate depravity. They can then


work with that person to experience the excitement of what headship is


all about. How the young ard taught remains a hot debate among


politicians and the public `like. But that education also depdnds on


the people leading our schools. How to retain and recruit them hs a


frightful calculation. You are a school governor, H


believe. Does this tally with your experience? There is a lot of


pressure at the moment on hdads It was interesting that you had to


report there, one from a prhmary school and the other a secondary


school. There are different problems for both those sectors. Secondary


school heads typically speaking they are able to take advantage of


greater freedoms. Even though they are ultimately accountable, there


are more layers underneath them and can share power. The problel is


really at primary level, whdre headteachers, typically those


schools are not able to convert to academies because they are not big


enough to be able to do it `nd have the confidence to do it with a


structure behind them. Thosd headteachers, I think, are feeling


the stress. Hopefully, things like the alliances which we have set up,


through the coalition government, are helping. Schools working


together, making a big diffdrence to standards. Most of us if asked would


want to retire early. These are high`pressure jobs but parthcularly


in rule schools, we are finding headteachers who are looking at two


schools, headteachers who h`ve to look at the budgets, manage staff


and also have to teach. The problem that we have, that we are f`cing, is


that the best teachers don't want to come within a mile of these jobs and


it is because of the reforms that we are seeing. It's because of the


pressure of Ofsted. The two pledges made by the sitting MP for Hexham,


that we should get out of the way, they are actually doing the


opposite. Isn't it Michael Gove saying, I want the best education


possible for the children of this country? That is fair enough, isn't


it? You do that by working with heads, not by setting up thhs system


which is like a top`down, dictatorial system. He has removed


?400 million from the budgets to spend on free schools. This puts


extra pressure on heads. Thd coalition... We are in coalhtion but


we do have our own distinct policies when it comes to education. Do you


like what Michael Gove is doing Most people would probably `gree


with that. David laws has achieved a lot. One of the major things we have


achieved is the pupil premitm, where we are directly targeting ftnding at


disadvantaged children to m`ke sure they can achieve just as well as


their peers. That is massivdly significant. The other thing liberal


democrats are very concerned about is harnessing the power of the


professionals and working whth professionals as much as possible.


And investing in them, giving them more responsibility. I would say we


are quite distinct in that way. The problem is, a change of govdrnment


will not solve this. Labour will come in with their next set of


ideas, with constant revolution under more pressure. I've worked as


a teacher for a lot of years and I've seen the effects of thhs. What


we need is the best heads working in the most challenged schools. Heads


are put off going into challenging schools because Ofsted can come in


at no notice and brand them. Rather than having to plan for months and


months before Ofsted, they just have to run a good school. They do. David


laws has headed up the free school programme and is diverging funds. He


is the schools minister. He has to take responsible at it. What we are


seeing is Lib Dems tried to distance themselves from conservativds. They


voted for all these policies. We are a Democratic party and you will see


from the record of our confdrences that we voted against free schools.


As far as the pity concerned... You are not going to agree on is so


let's leave it there for thd moment, while we search for solutions.


When the sun is shining, it is easy to forget flooded homes which


dominated the news last winter. Ministers say they are spending more


than ever on flood prevention. That doesn't satisfy MPs on the select


committee this week. On a rdport, they said works such as rivdr


dredging is at a bare minimtm and they have warned that staffhng costs


in the environment agency are putting communities at risk. And


Mackintosh chairs the committee While there is a role for physical


flood defences, they are not the most cost`effective so therd must be


regular dredging and maintenance. For every ?1 spent, we must get ?8


saved. There must be walked reliance on natural flood defences. @mongst


those hit by flooding were Simon and Julian. They were forced to leave


their home in County Durham in 012 and have only recently been able to


return. Our correspondent wdnt to see them.


My daughter lost all her toxs, she lost her birthday presents. It was


devastating. I had to take plaster off the walls. I had to takd them


floors up. Everything had to go out of this house. The kitchen was


ripped out and everything. Ht looked like a bonsai. ` bomb site. When we


came in the next day, the w`ter came up to about here. There was a tidal


mark. We need more flood protection because I think it will defhnitely


happen again. They need to think about the people that it is


affecting. If they don't invest in it, it will have them all the more


and it will wipe out all peoples lives.


MPs from all parties are on this committee and they have all


criticised the investment. We are undergoing the process of climate


change. We have now got to step up to the challenge that it brhngs


There is going to be more flooding. There is a lot more we need to do.


More money or do we have to manage expectations but what we can do In


the ideal world, yes, more loney but we are working in very stringent


times. Hopefully, down the line there will be more money whdn the


economy is improving. It is improving now and hopefully there


will be more money down the line. In the meantime, we can be smarter with


the money we've got. Some of the recommendations in the report around


greater localisation of funding so that actually, the people who know


that area where the river is or where the sea is coming in `nd


flooding, they have greater local knowledge about how to addrdss those


issues. That is one thing. The government is spending a record


amount, ?3.5 billion, on flood protection but every time, the


Labour Party says more needs to be done. There is no blank chepue but


one of the acts of this govdrnment was to cut flood defence spdnding by


?100 million. This is a short`term is. We can see that spending on


flood defences is one thing but then having to clear up the mess that


these floods create and the damage that these floods due to peoples


lives costs more than that. This is an investment in the future. It s


not as simple as. If you cotld predict, you would be a millionaire!


To say we need more money, that s not the solution. They are spending


more than any other governmdnt has ever done. You cannot keep spending


more. Well, I was in a vill`ge just north of Hexham which has bden


affected. The communities are doing their best. People are fillhng


sandbags. These communities have been let down badly. They are


sacking environment agency workers, whose job it is to mitigate these


issues. Litigation against the effects of climate change is cheaper


than dealing with the mess that it leaves behind. Haven't politicians


got to be more honest? Therd is an awful lot more that can be done


However much we spend, therd are some communities which identified.


There is a lot more that we need to do in addressing climate ch`nge


about how you spend more ` spend money more smartly. You can


mitigate. You confident that the coalition government is doing enough


about climate change? There is a lot that we are doing. This report does


point out ways forward for ts that we will be adopting. It is `bout


prevention because we do know these events are going to happen lore and


more. We have to think much more long form about how we mitigate


against the effects of flooding That is in prevention, rathdr than


in cleaning up as my colleague was saying.


Thank you very much. The de`ths of two teenage girls in the River Wear


last summer prompted an MP to wait raise the issue of water safety in


the Commons this week. Farmers could lose out on ilportant


payments because the process has to be done online, according to the MP


for Bishop Auckland. She told a Commons debate that poor rural


Internet connections are ond of the main problems. Newcastle cotncillors


warned another ?40 million of cuts will have to be made from 2015. It


won't be until the autumn that more details emerge. Washington `nd


Sunderland West MP says prilary schools must do much more to teach


swimming, following the deaths of two teenage girls. Almost 20% of


schools and 25% of academies don't know their swimming attainmdnt rates


or don't offer swimming at `ll. 51% of primary school children `re


unable to swim 25 metres by the time they leave primary school. The NHS


trust in North Cumbria has ` deficit of more than ?23 million, according


to new figures released this week. South Tees and South Tyneside are


also in the red. That is about it from us. If you


live on Teeside, there is a chance to put your question to the


transport minister next Friday morning. The Minister, also the MP


for Scarborough and Whitby, will be in the hot seat, your calls. We will


be back next week. I hope you can join us then. Goodbye.


information, you can apply to them and they will be obliged to tell


you. Thanks for joining us. Andrew, back to you.


think you'd want to. Labour grandees are not queueing up to sing his


praises. Look at this. In my view, he is the leader we have and he is


the leader I support and he is somebody capable of leading the


party to victory. Ed Miliband will leave this to victory, and I believe


he can. If he doesn't, what would happen to the Labour Party? We could


be in the wilderness for 15 years. At the moment he has to convince


people he has the capacity to lead the country. That's not my view but


people don't believe that. We had a leader of the Labour Party was


publicly embarrassed, because whoever was in charge of press


letting go through a process where we have councillors in Merseyside


resigning. It was a schoolboy error. Having policies without them being


drawn together into a convincing and vivid narrative and with what you do


the people in the country. You have to draw together, connect the


policies, link them back to the leader and give people a real sense


of where you are going. Somehow he has never quite managed to be


himself and create that identity with the public. And we are joined


by the president of you girls, Peter Kellner. Welcome to the Sunday


politics. -- YouGov. The Labour Party is six points ahead in your


poll this morning. So what is the problem? On this basis he will win


the next election. If the election were today and the figures held up,


you would have a Labour government with a narrow overall majority. One


should not forget that. Let me make three points. The first is, in past


parliaments, opposition normally lose ground and governments gain


ground in the final few months. The opposition should be further ahead


than this. I don't think six is enough. Secondly, Ed Miliband is


behind David Cameron when people are asked who they want as Prime


Minister and Labour is behind the Conservatives went people are asked


who they trust on the economy. There have been elections when the party


has won by being behind on leadership and other elections where


they have won by being behind on the economy. No party has ever won an


election when it has been clearly behind on both leadership and the


economy. Let me have another go The Labour Party brand is a strong


brand. The Tory Bramleys week. The Labour brand is stronger. That is a


blast -- the Labour -- the Tory Bramleys week. A lot of the Tories


-- the Tory brand is weak. Cant you win on policies and a strong party


brand? If you have those too, you need the third factor which isn t


there. People believing that you have what it takes, competent


skills, determination, determination, whatever makes to


carry through. -- whatever mix. A lot of Ed Miliband policies, on the


banks, energy prices, Brent controls, people like them. But in


government, would they carry them through? They think they are not up


to it. -- rent controls. If people think you won't deliver what you


say, even if they like it, they were necessarily vote for you. That is


the missing third element. There is a strong Labour brand, but it's not


strong enough to overcome the feeling that the Labour leadership


is not up to it. Nick, you had some senior Labour figure telling you


that if Mr Miliband losing the next election he will have to resign


immediately and cannot fight another election the way Neil Kinnock did


after 1987. What was remarkable to me was that people were even


thinking along these lines, and even more remarkable that they would tell


you they were thinking along these lines? What is the problem? The


problem is, is that Ed Miliband says it would be unprecedented to win the


general election after the second worst result since 1918. They are


concerned about is the start of a script that he would say on the day


after losing the general election. Essentially what the people are


trying to do is get their argument in first and to say, you cannot do


what Neil Kinnock did in 1987. Don't forget that Neil Kinnock in 198 was


in the middle of a very brave process of modernisation and had one


and fought a very campaign that was professional but he lost again in


1992, and they wanted to get their line in first. What some people are


saying is that this is an election that the Labour Party should be


winning because the coalition is so unpopular. If you don't win, I'm


afraid to say, there is something wrong with you. Don't you find it


remarkable that people are prepared to think along these lines at this


stage, when Labour are ahead in the polls, still the bookies favourite


to win, and you start to speak publicly, or in private to the


public print, but we might have to get rid of him if he doesn't win.


Everything you say about labour in this situation has been said about


the Tories. We wondered whether Boris Johnson would tie himself to


the mask and he is the next leader in waiting if Cameron goes. It's a


mirror image of that. We talk about things being unprecedented. It's


unprecedented for a government to gain seats. All the things you say


about labour, you could say it the Conservatives. That's what makes the


next election so interesting. But in the aftermath of the European


elections and the local government elections, in which the


Conservatives did not do that well, the issue was not Mr Cameron or the


Tories doing well, the issue was the Labour Party and how they had not


done as well as they should have done, and that conversation was


fuelled by the kind of people who have been speaking to nick from the


Labour Party. Rachel Reeves cited their real-life performance in


elections as a reason for optimism. When in fact their performance in


the Europeans and locals was disappointing for an opposition one


year away from a general election. What alarms me about labour is the


way they react to criticisms about Ed Miliband. Two years ago when he


was attacked, they said they were 15 points ahead, and then a year ago


there were saying they were nine or ten ahead, and now they are saying


we are still five or six ahead. The trend is alarming. It points to a


smaller Labour lead. Am I right in detecting a bit of a class war going


on in the Labour Party? There are a lot of northern Labour MPs who think


that Ed Miliband is to north London, and there are too many metropolitan


cronies around him must I think that is right, Andrew. What I think is,


being a pessimist in terms of their prospects, I do think the Labour


Party could win the next election. I just don't think they can as they


are going at the moment. But the positioning for a possible defeat,


what they should be talking about is what do we need to change in the


party and the way Ed Miliband performs in order to secure victory.


That is a debate they could have, and they could make the changes I


find it odd that they are being so defeatist. Don't go away. Peter is a


boffin when it comes to polls. That is why we have a mod for the


election prediction swings and roundabouts. He is looking for what


he calls the incumbency effect. Don't know what is a back-up -- what


that's about question don't worry, here is an. Being in office is bad


for your health. Political folk wisdom has it that incumbency


favours one party in particular the Liberal Democrats. That is because


their MPs have a reputation as ferociously good local campaigners


who do really well at holding on to their seats. However, this time


round, several big-name long serving Liberal Democrats like Ming


Campbell, David Heath and Don Foster are standing down. Does that mean


the incumbency effect disappears like a puff of smoke? Then there is


another theory, called the sophomore surge. It might sound like a movie


about US college kids, but it goes like this. New MPs tend to do better


in their second election than they did in their first. That could


favour the Tories because they have lots of first-time MPs. The big


question is, what does this mean for the 7th of May 2015, the date of the


next general election? The answer is, who knows? I know a man who


knows. Peter. What does it all mean? You can go onto your PC now and draw


down programmes which say that these are the voting figures from a


national poll, so what will the seats look like? This is based on


uniform swing. Every seat moving up and down across the country in the


same way. Historically, that's been a pretty good guide. I think that's


going to completely break down next year, because the Lib Dems will


probably hold on to more seats than we predict from the national figures


and I think fewer Tory seats will go to the Labour Party than you would


predict from the national figures. The precise numbers, I'm not going


to be too precise, but I would be surprised, sorry, I would not be


surprised if Labour fell 20 or 5 seats short on what we would expect


on the uniform swing prediction Next year's election will be tight.


Falling 20 seats short could well mean the difference between victory


and defeat. What you make of that, Helen? I think you're right,


especially taking into account the UKIP effect. We have no idea about


that. The conventional wisdom is that will drain away back to the


Conservatives, but nobody knows and it makes the next election almost


impossible to call. It means it is a great target the people like Lord


Ashcroft with marginal polling, because people have never been so


interested. It is for party politics and we all assume that UKIP should


be well next year, but their vote went up from 17 up to 27%. Then that


17% went down to 3%, so they might only be five or 6% in the general


election, so they might not have the threat of depriving Conservatives of


their seats. Where the incumbency thing has an effect is the Liberal


Democrats. They have fortress seats where between 1992 and 1997 Liberal


Democrats seats fell, but their percentage went up. They are losing


the local government base though. True, but having people like Ming


Campbell standing down means they will struggle. We are used to


incumbency being an important factor in American politics. It's hard to


get rid of an incumbent unless it is a primary election, like we saw in


Virginia, but is it now becoming an important factor in British


politics, that if you own the seat you're more likely to hold on to it


than not? If it is, that's a remarkable thing. It's hard to be a


carpetbagger in America, but it is normal in British Parliamentary


constituencies to be represented by someone who did not grow up locally.


It is a special kind of achievement to have an incumbency effect where


you don't have deep roots in the constituency. I was going to ask


about the Lib Dems. If we are wrong, and they collapse in Parliamentary


representation as much as the share in vote collapses, is that not good


news is that the Conservatives? They would be in second place in the


majority of existing Lib Dems seats. For every seat where Labour are


second to the Lib Dems, there are two where the Conservatives are


second. If the Lib Dem representation collapses, that helps


the Conservatives. I'm assuming the Tories will gain about ten seats. If


they gain 20, if they'd had 20 more seats last time, they would have had


a majority government, just about. So 20 seats off the Lib Dem, do the


maths, as they say in America, and they could lose a handful to labour


and still be able to run a one party, minority government. The fate


of the Lib Dems could be crucial to the outcome to the politics of


light. On the 8th of May, it will be VE Day and victory in election day


as well as Europe. The Lib Dems will be apoplectic if they lose all of


the seats to their coalition partners. The great quote by Angela


Merkel, the little party always gets crushed. It's a well-established


idea that coalition politics. They can't take credit for the things


people like you may get lumbered with the ones they don't. They have


contributed most of this terrible idea that seized politics where you


say it, but you don't deliver it. Tuition fees is the classic example


of this Parliament. Why should you believe any promise you make? And Ed


Miliband is feeling that as well. But in 1974 the liberal Democrats


barely had any MPs but there were reporters outside Jeremy Thorpe s


home because they potentially held not the balance of power, but were


significantly in fourth. Bringing back memories Jeremy Thorpe, and we


will leave it there. Thanks to the panel. We are tomorrow on BBC Two.


At the earlier time of 11am because of Wimbledon. Yes, it's that time of


year again already. I will be back here at 11 o'clock next week.


Remember, if it is Sunday, it is the Sunday Politics.


to the beating heart of today's vibrant shops.


Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew is joined by Labour's work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves to discuss what reforms Labour would make to the welfare department. Plus, what Nick Clegg needs to do to keep his grass roots happy.

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