04/03/2012 Sunday Politics Scotland


Andrew Neil and Isabel Fraser present the latest political news including an interview with Alex Salmond, and Quentin Wilson on his campaign for lower petrol prices.

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Good afternoon and welcome to the Sunday Politics. Our top story.


Could wrangling in the coalition over the budget end with a new


mansion tax and the scrapping of the 50 p tax rate? I will be


speaking to the new Lib Dem Business Minister Norman Lamb.


Alex Salmond tells me he is so confident of winning a referendum


on Scottish independence, he will kick off the yes campaign this May.


Scotland's First Minister joins us for the Sunday interview.


As the price of petrol reaches record highs, should the Chancellor


cut fuel duty? A petrol head and a green campaigner go head to head.


And our political panel of the best and brightest, here every week to


analyse British politics in the week ahead and tweeting throughout


the programme. Scottish Labour shrugs off the sackcloth and ashes


as Johann Lamont talks wealth redistribution, social justice and


re-engaging with the unions. And was Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg


feeling the love at the party conference in Inverness, the former


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1492 seconds


stronghold wiped out in the People are spending more. Clothing,


food, household goods. You have moved the money from


spending on flu ordure t two spending on other things. What to


be wrong with that? If you look at the long term, if you are going to


spend money on things like this, you should spend it on getting


people out of car dependency. Any cut is just going to be followed up


by speculation. What you need to be spending money on his reversing bus


cuts, cutting inflation and rises in train fares. If you have not got


a car, and you local bus service has been cut, you cannot go


anywhere at all. A most of us do have a car, why should we have to


pay more than our European neighbours? I would accept the


delay in any further increase. But a cut is effectively Government


spending. That should be spent on getting us out of this problem.


will give people a relief that socially. Since 1997, the overall


cost of motoring, unlike the public transport sector, has fallen.


that to the people who write to me who are saying that because the


commute, they have had to give up their job. It as a deeply serious


issue that is the emasculating the economy, stopping people going to


work and interviews. High off of all -- half of all families in


poverty do not have a car and that is made even worse by the lack of


public transport. We have got to develop a transport system, but it


will take as 10 years and probably 100 billion it to do that. It is


important that the catch up. A cut in fuel duty would not help that.


But it would help ordinary families. He so would organising better bus


services. We have to have other ways of getting about. It will cost


hundreds of billions of pounds. doing are gradually, it would be


affordable. It is laudable and we should be doing it, but that will


not help now. We used to see that it was almost... Their due duty is


lower in real terms and it wasn't 2009 so you have had your cut.


of the price of fuel goes on tax. It does make business more


expensive. It is making us less competitive. Few prices will only


go up and the future. In that long term, we needed to reduce their


dependence of our economy on oil. How would you pay for it? You have


to find the money to pay for the fuel duty? A I would increase


economic activity. By reducing duty,... We will have to leave it


Good afternoon and welcome to Sunday Politics Scotland. Coming up


on the programme. Scottish Labour and the Lib Dems are in conference


groove this weekend. What plans and policies are they hatching? Johann


Lamont joins us to explain Labour's new strategy here. Off with


sackcloth and ashes and on with social justice and equality.


And as Scotland fights to be the location for the UK'S first green


investment bank, the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg tells us it could be


built on Mars, what matters is where it invests. And I am in Wales


to find out why the Scottish referendum has got this country


talking about its own political future.


When Labour gathered in Dundee on Friday, their UK leader Ed Miliband


wanted to talk about the economy. But off-stage, the issue of


Scotland's constitutional future just wouldn't go away. Johann


Lamont used her first conference speech as leader to announce a new


commission on further devolution within the UK. Niall O'Gallagher


Labour say their position is not desperate. But they have not got


much to laugh about after last year's defeat in the local


elections. That would simply guarantee another defeat. The


threat so to Scotland are two great and the risks are to deal for


Scottish Labour to settle for a quiet life of decline and a defeat.


We need it to change and change radically, not to disavow our


greatest beliefs. Scotland is giving Ed Miliband a headache. He


knows the independence would make it difficult for him to become


Prime Minister. But he is also concerned about plans to devolve


further tax to Holyrood. The SNP say that be want Scandinavian level


of public services. But you cannot create that if you are asking for


Irish levels of corporation tax. That is the reality. Then came a


plea to Scottish voters not to accept the Nationalist portrayal of


England as a Tory nation of. must reject attempts to divide our


country by ideology or geography. We are not left wing Scotland and


right wing England. We are one Ed Miliband largely stayed away


from the debate on more powers for Scotland in the United Kingdom and


whether support for such a question should be on the referendum ballot


paper. But his remarks on Labour's Scottish leader Johann


Lamont went to Aberdeen University to read the future of their video


games industry. It will have to be if the manoeuvring over Scotland's


future is set to dominate her leadership. She allows a commission


to look at devolution would they mack the United Kingdom. Our ideals


endured. But we have to strengthen the United Kingdom and Scotland's


place in Ed. Before we do that, we must take to the country the case


for Scotland remaining in the United Kingdom. Labour did not want


to spend this conference talking about the constitution. But with a


referendum on the horizon, they did not have much choice. We insist


that they are united on the issue of more powers, but we still do not


know what kind of devolution settlement they will be arguing for


when the referendum comes. Johann -- a Johann Lamont joins us


live now. What kind of radical proposals were you be coming up


with? I said that the choice in powers is not about how many powers


we can gather at the Scottish Parliament, it is about what works


in the interests of the people of Scotland. The devolution commission


will look at everything, tested against the evidence of their


impact on people's jobs and the economy. And corporation tax?


feels to me, and this is the case that we will look at, if you have


corporation tax, the only people that benefit are those who do not


want to pay corporation tax. It feels a good deal for businesses


but not for public services. But we will look and examine in detail the


consequences of this. You could always a raise corporation tax?


could raise corporation tax. You will end up at the same place


however. You will have competition across the United Kingdom. I am not


sure that is a rational way to run the economy. I did say that London


is one of the strongest and wealthiest hubs in the world. And


we are going to go into competition him with London and? Just to


clarify here, are you saying that if you raise corporation tax in


Scotland, you will have competition across the UK? The logic of having


corporation tax set at different levels across the United Kingdom or


feels to me that we will end up in a place with wasteful competition.


And a race to the bottom. But we will interrogate those options,


look at and examine the consequences of any of these models


other Test will be, is it in their interest of the people of Scotland,


will it create jobs and a stronger economy? I am sorry for the delay


on this line. You were talking about London being one of the


richest international hubs. It is quite a tricky area for Labour to


go into. You said, London is one of the register international hubs,


you could go down the road of perpetuating the myth of saying


that Scotland is too poor to compete? I do not accept that. The


United Kingdom is a partnership, we work in corporation. Where there is


lead, resources are distributed towards that made. That seems to be


to be a logical and rational. It is all the if you define yourself


entirely within the countries within the United Kingdom that that


it becomes at are the core concept to hold onto. In a difficult


economic times, coming together is the best place for the people of


Scotland. I am not talking Scotland down. The people of Scotland may


choose to separate from the rest of the United Kingdom, but we have to


have a rational debate about the strengths of being part of the


United Kingdom and the consequences of separation. He two-thirds of


people questioned recently said they wanted more taxation powers to


go to Holyrood. That is why I have established a devolution commission


and why I am committed to looking at those are right. It is not about


accumulating powers in the Scottish Parliament, it is how those powers


are used to. Do you their tax take has to be higher than it now is?


think we have to look at how, employ of times, we spend our money.


Equality is not just for when the sun shines. But you come out Lyme


how you want to spend it, but how do you want to raise it. -- outline.


You have a very ambitious programme of what you want to do. People will


be wondering where that money will come from? Should the tax take the


higher? The if you have a strong economy and strong economic


activity, you will have more money to spend. That is the impact.


in the meantime? Until then, we have to do with the situation that


we are in. The difficulty that I think we have a relation to council


tax, the Scottish government is committed to a council tax freeze


but they are not funded it. That is the challenge that our councils are


us facing at this time. Should we be looking at them, when it


Scotland is considering where it goes, should we be looking at


targeting businesses more, raising corporation tax? Troubles the sort


of areas that should be looked at? I think you have to look at all of


these things. There was something you said in your speech that you


were going to look at the whole system of selecting candidates, how


they come forward and how the party brings them on. You said that the


party machine could stifle talent, what did you mean by that? I think


like all political parties we end up becoming obsessed with the


machine and the bureaucracy of making decisions when in fact


people want to be engaged with the political debate and active in


understanding how people live their lives. We need to open up our


structures. It does mean that unless you are prepared to sit


through 100 different meetings about matters arising you tend to


think you will perhaps not bother. We need to create a culture that


refreshes the idea of why political parties exist and encourage people


to engage in politics. That is really part of the whole of our job.


In terms of who actually goes on to represent Labour in Scotland, do


you think that sitting MPs and MSPs should be more open to challenge


rather than the situation at the moment where they just get rubber-


stamped by the constituency party? No one who has a Labour candidate


or or Labour elected member has a job for life. Any Labour candidate


has to earn the right to be a candidate. How do you enforce that


practical issue? I think we have to set a standard and engage with our


elected members. We have spoken about contracts for elected members


which I think is one way that it can be done. It is critically


important that elected members are engaged with and involved with


their constituents and also in engaging with the important


political debates of the day. terms of setting standards, Eric


Joyce says he will not contest the next election, do you think he


should stand down before then? have been very clear that the


allegations made against him suggest an abuse of trust in his


position. We cannot make him stand down but I think people would


expect him to do the right thing. Which in your opinion is to stand


down? I think the people of Falkirk deserved a representative that


reaches the standards we would expect of somebody in elected


position. So is that a yes that he should stand down? It is my view


that he should stand down but that is not under my control. I believe


that his actions are those of someone who is not fit to represent


people. Are you confident that you would win a by-election there if


Eric Joyce stands down as you want? We are confident in Labour's


message. All will we lost the last election we did not lose our values


or our commitment to the people of Scotland. That is the case we


should take to the people if there is by election. Her have you spoken


to Eric Joyce? No. So how have you managed to satisfy yourself as to


his version of events before you make a decision to that he should


stand down now? What I have said is that if the allegations are true


then in my view he is not fit to be a Labour candidate for a Labour MP.


Can I ask you about D Green Investment Bank, do you think the


referendum debate makes that more or less likely? I think in general


terms the debate on the referendum must now move beyond process. I


have said I want a referendum earlier rather than later because I


am concerned for the uncertainty and businesses have come out and


said that in recent weeks. We need to get on to the core of the debate


as to what Scotland would look like in the case of independence. You do


not have a debate as to whether Scotland being independent would


sweep the Westminster banks? I am supportive of the United Kingdom,


Scotland strong, and shading the benefits of investment across the


UK. I would clearly prefer Scotland within the United Kingdom with a


green investment bank coming to Scotland. 500 days rather than


1,000 days after the consultation ends, is that a timescale you would


time -- sign up to? I started off with my new year message which


feels like a very long time ago seeing that we should make 2012 the


year of the referendum. The process should be started and we should


make a decision in 2013. I think it is a debate that needs to be


brought forward. Thank you very much indeed. The issue of


independence has also been a central thread running through the


Liberal Democrats' Scottish conference. Activists say the party


is bouncing back from its drubbing in last year's Scottish


parliamentary elections. A striking combination of plush visuals and


knife-edge drama. Not quite the Lib Dems Scottish conference but the


venue shows films to. After their dismal showing in last year's


elections this could have been the main showing this weekend but the


party seemed to have a spring in its step. We got a drubbing last


year, there are no two weighs about that. We did not put our message


forward terribly well. People are picking themselves up and getting


on with it. What has been exercising the minds of the party


faithful this weekend? The elephant in the room is one the Liberal


Democrats did not invite, the SNP plans for an independence


referendum, that has popped up in just about every single keynote


address. I C two D SNP, quit stalling, let's work together, get


the wheels in motion and allow people to decide their future in


500 days. -- I say to the SNP. timing of the referendum should be


dictated by Scotland's national interest. My hope and that of my


party is that the people of Scotland choose to stay within the


United Kingdom. As an English man I believe that our countries are much


stronger together than they would be a part. We all in Scotland want


to get on with this debate. Let's have it sooner rather than later.


It seems to me perfectly adequate that we could do this within 500


days. We do not need to wait the best part of three years. Despite


this eagerness to push Alex Salmond towards an early poll in the


corridors and bars I felt a lack of buyers at this conference. The


speeches and debates were worthy and largely well attended but where


was the passion? I do not think Liberal Democrats get up and shout


about it, they get on and do it. I had a good conversation with Vince


Cable which was gentle but informative. That is our starting


block. We are not going to get up and shout, we are quietly


passionate. Politicians have got their heads buried in the sand. We


have to try every avenue we can to get them to wake up and changed


policy, change direction and stop wrecking our heritage. You can


often judge party conference by the number of exhibitors or lobbyists


keen to push their point of view and products. You in Inverness this


weekend they seem to be a bit thin on the ground. I think it is a bit


quieter than in Perth last year. There are certainly more people but


there seems to be less of the third sector, the voluntary sector this


time round. The party in Scotland has moved on from the shock of last


May when their number in Holyrood was sliced from 17 to just five.


That was then, this is now, say activists. The council elections


beckon in just a few weeks and the Lib Dems are confident. The theatre


posters may just see it all. I spoke to Nick Clegg just after his


speech. He opened by saying liberals from the Highlands and


Islands have always been at the heart of the party. So, was the


loss of every seat in the bastion of Highland liberalism a price


worth paying for a coalition Government? If anyone has an easy


alternative to the current economic plight of the country stick it on a


postcard and send it to me. The Two's says there are no easy


solutions. We have inherited this economic mess from Labour where the


banks gorged themselves on bonuses and pushed the economy right to the


edge. We in this Government happen to be dead people who have to start


putting the pieces back together again. It requires unpopular


decisions and controversial decisions. My judgment is doing


best repair job to the economy is our first duty. I make no apologies


at all in seeing that four time to time it is not bad for politicians


to do the right thing. It might not easy to do the right thing in the


national interest. I certainly feel that even those people who were


angry last year are at least now prepared to accept the motives of


the Liberal Democrats entering the coalition when you compare what is


going on in other countries of the eurozone, ours are good motives.


we look at how some Liberal Democrats in Government conduct


themselves, you mentioned Danny Alexander, you said he is good at


negotiating with the unions, do you sense there are many Lib-Dem voters


who feel that Danny Alexander has engaged in union-bashing with


unseemly haste? First, I would suggest a little sense of humour is


always worthwhile. Not nesses sadly when pensions are going down the


stream? -- ness Sally. -- necessarily. The pension system we


inherited is widely recognised to be unsustainable. I think what


Danny Alexander has done in negotiating a fair pension


settlement with the trade unions is to guarantee public sector pensions


to remain among the best pensions available in the UK. It is an


incredibly Porter and.. You casually suggest that somehow


public sector pensions are being decimated, they are actually being


retained as some of the best. We do not have anything remotely like the


pensions elsewhere. Someone like Danny Alexander is especially


favourable and protective to get a progressive and come. People in the


Highlands, if there are boundary changes, whose lines do you think


time best with the voters here in the Highlands? I think both China


with they're voters. But to do you think will win? I am not going to


pretend that they are at the opposite ends of some political


scale. Perhaps they both believe it is important for people in politics


to combine something that is unique to the Liberal Democrats. There is


nothing feared by simply struggling -- shrugging your folders and


saying we will get our children and grandchildren two p of this debt.


We have to do the hard work for the future demonstrations -- future


generations. The Liberal Democrats have a progressive instinct to


reform the pensions and tax needs. You say you are not stopping at the


Scotland Bill. Is it being overtaken effectively? No. It would


be very odd to spurn the Scotland Bill when it is the largest


transfer of money since the Act of Union. Why not tell people who you


are actually? That is like seeing if you are on a journey you should


not take the first step because you may not take the last step.


Devolution is a process, not a tablet of stone. It is a process


and a debate. If you look at Catalonia in Spain. It is a


constant shifting debate about how many powers devolved from the


centre to the nations. My own view, very clearly, is that you cannot


have that debate. Liberals believe in home rule long before the SNP's


began debating for independence. We set up a commission to seek to


define what home rule looks like. You cannot really have that debate


of further devolution to Scotland or for that matter, Wales, until


you know whether the United Kingdom Without for one moment it turning


one's nose up at a Scotland gaining far greater authority over how


money is raised at unspent. Scots cannot make up their mind about


whether they want to stay in the United Kingdom unless they have a


very clear idea about what the options will be if they say no to


independence. Perhaps it is about treating the electorate in Scotland


as adults. What the SNP is suggesting, that you put the


prospect of independence on the ballot paper, and then you put them


further options on devolution. That is mixing things up and is somewhat


cynical in I -- in my view. It is if they do not have the courage of


their convictions. They want to take out an insurance policy at the


same time. If you have those two Questions, and everyone says yes to


both, which one do you pick? The experience I have had from


referendums and observers also say this, if you want to be grown up


with the electorate, give them a simple choice on a key question. Do


not mix things up. I think everybody can understand that.


There is a simple chronology. First, decide whether Scotland remains in


the United Kingdom, then have this debate which we are kick-starting


hear about further devolution of powers to Scotland. If you look at


the Calman Commission and the Scotland Bill... You think progress


is a rapid and radical? If you look at the progress from the


establishment of the quarry rid of Parliament through to the Scotland


Bill in a matter of years, compared to hundreds of years of nothing


moving at all. Could you explain your comment about not putting


Scotland in a box? The choice of taking Scotland out of the United


Kingdom or keeping things as they are, just advocating the status quo


would be like putting Scotland in a box. If we move onto the green


energy statement, how do deliver that agreeing economic renaissance?


We are delivering that already with hundreds of millions of pounds of


investment into Scotland, producing hundreds and thousands of jobs. We


are innovating as a government, setting up a green investment


bank... Is that definitely coming to Scotland? That announcement will


be made to by Vince Cable. If you want a renaissance in alternative


energy in Scotland, that would be a logical thing to do? There is


competition between different cities and towns over who is to


host the Green Investment Bank. It could be located on Mars, it does


not really matter, because what it does is provide money for renewable


energies. If we get it right, it could mobilise about �15 billion of


money. A real cream investment revolution. And Scotland has these


fantastic natural resources, almost unparalleled in the world. But the


government pulled their funding from the Longannet project on


carbon capture. That project did not work in the way in which it had


been designed. There was a considerable amount of money


invested. I personally believe that carbon it capture projects are


incredibly important. Talking about her energy bills, in the Highlands,


the fuel duty a reduction, Charles Kennedy is saying this should be


extended throughout the whole of the Highlands. In Caithness and


Sutherland, people have to travel for greater distances. Wherever you


go and the country, people see it would be good to extend it. If I


asked my constituents in Sheffield, people would say it would be nice


to have a fuel duty exemption in South Yorkshire as well. Fuel is


very expensive or. We have the highest prices ever. But the pilot


that Danny Alexander has pioneered is incredibly important and he has


made a compelling and successful case that is the areas to which it


applies face quite a unique challenges. So that is a negative -


- and no to the rest of the Highlands? We will have to see how


the pilot works. On Friday, a conference hosted by


The Times in Edinburgh debated the future of the Union. The Sunday


Politics met up with constitutional experts, economists and leading


politicians who debated the issues to sample their views on the future


of Scotland and the independence The union has been in a state of


organic change it ever since 7007. There have been adjustments, --


1707. This could be seen as an attempt to the -- it to be invented


the union. It is not a question of economics. It is a question about


identity. Who do the Scots have think they are? I think the near


future, it is our very interesting conversation for people throughout


this country about who we are, what is the nature of our identity?


There is a technical conversation, how to be run our economies, and


pay for our cells in the future? -- ourselves. Scotland would in


economic terms be in much of the same place as an independent


country as part of the union. Not much better or much worse. There


are some big issues that need to be looked into. Post independence,


would Scotland be a high tax, high spent country, or would it be a


low-tax, low spent country? That has huge implications. For Scotland


to be successful, it is better to do it within the union. But to be


successful, Scotland needs greater fiscal powers. We would suggest


that Scotland is given the wherewithal to raise the money it


needs. It is a revolving Union. It changed a hundred years ago, it


changed 10 years ago. But most people want to have a common


political identity with people in England and Wales. A very strong at


the very reasonable argument can be made for more powers short of


independence. It is not one that I support, but there is an argument


that can be made. But there is no cohesion, no clarity and low sense


of coming-together on the unionist campaign at the moment. There will


be an all-party campaign which will particularly the case for people


staying in the United Kingdom. Canada, in Quebec, they had an


independence referendum. This issue of Scotland's relationship with the


union is one that will be continuously negotiated. Across the


UK, thoughts have been turning to what independence might mean for


the other home nations. This Thursday saw Wales celebrate St


David's Day. We have been finding out why Wales is taking such a keen


It became clear that the Scottish people will vote on independence in


just over two years. It may be Scotland's referendum, but that


cannot be separated from Wales' future. It cannot be underestimated


how a major a ripple effect the current debate is having across the


rest of the UK. Especially in Wales. From the Welsh point of view, of


what would be left would be unrecognisable. If Scotland votes


for independence, Wales would be part -- of a rump. The Welsh


Assembly building sets in Cardiff quo stop some Assembly members say


that the outcome of the Scottish debate is so important that it


cannot be ignored by Welsh unionist politicians. We do not get a boat


in the Scottish referendum, but we need a voice. It has an effect on


what will happen to us in the future. Last year, the Assembly got


power to make laws in devolved areas. Nationalists believe that


they can use the Scottish debate to push for further powers here,


perhaps even independence for Wales. He if the Scottish people board es


in an independence referendum, the United Kingdom will no longer exist.


We need to be thinking what kind of future we have for Wales. There is


a danger that we will remain within a United Kingdom per England is so


completely dominant that are voice will not be heard. -- our voice.


recent BBC Wales and Paul suggests that patriot is it does not


transferred into a national -- into a desire for independence. The


First Minister Carwyn James hosted celebrations for St David's Day in


Brussels. I am ever keen to follow anybody off the edge of a clever


boy stop it is a matter for the people of Scotland what happens


there. We need to look at the structure of the UK now rather than


wait to see what happens in Scotland. It is something that


affects the whole of the UK. comments have been echoed by a


former First Minister of Wales who said that Unionists should campaign


positively across the UK. general, I think it is much easier


and more positive to be campaigning for a yes it to something. It is


either yes to independence, adage should be yes to constitutional


Convention and a commission which determines the funding formula that


determines what Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and England get in


terms of tax take. All parties agree that Wales is badly served by


the Barnett formula which is how money is allocated to the devolved


nations. An independent report found a short fall of �300 million


a year missing from the Welsh budget. Scotland is widely regarded


here as being over funded by Barnet. Alex Salmond told me that he would


not support my campaign for a change in the Barnett formula and a


change in the way that the Barnett Formula is allocated unless


Scotland had control of its own oil and gas resources. At the moment,


the Assembly has no control over taxation. But a recent survey


suggests two-thirds of voters wants that to change. The Calman


Commission is considering whether for the powers would be useful for


the Welsh Assembly. And some of the smaller taxes may have come to the


Welsh government. These are children of a devolved to Wales. By


devolution is a process, not an event. The signs are that things


will continue to change. For Scotland does it may go some way to


shipping exactly what those changes I am joined now by an expert in


Welsh politics. What is your impression of the effect of the


Scottish debate in Wales? I think we need to distinguish between the


popular level and the political class. At the popular level it is


not all about Scotland. The Welsh people, having just approved


devolution by the narrowest of margins, have moved quite rapidly


into embracing the concept. One year ago today was when we were


looking at the results of the last referendum. That is not really


impacted by what is happening in Scotland, so far at least. The


political class, on the other hand, is actually increasingly obsessed


with what is going on in Scotland and think this is momentous. Many


of them seem to believe that Scotland will vote yes in a


referendum. They think that Alex Salmond's nationalists are winning


the debate. Therefore, they are very concerned. It does not have


that kind of resonance and the popular level. But imagine what we


have just heard, the Secretary for Wales and former First Minister are


seeing we should have a constitutional convention for the


whole of the UK. We have the present First Minister for Wales


saying that it Scotland goes Independent we should federalising


what remains of the UK. These are very radical solutions. There is a


suggestion that even in Wales the status quo is possibly not an


option in the long term. We have a commission meetings here in Wales


at the moment looking at the issue of proper tax-varying powers. Plaid


Cymru are actually involved in this. They will almost certainly


recommend some form of tax are being powers to Wales. The unions


are very nervous about that and want to look again at the Barnett


formula. People here in Wales believe that gives Wales a bad deal


and we tend to think that Scotland get far too much money out of the


Barnett formula. Linking those things together makes it extremely


difficult for the UK Government to find a way through that. What was


interesting is when you look at the BBC survey about who wanted more


powers, 36 % overall said that there should be. Off fluent Welsh


speakers 54 % said there should be more powers. The identity politics


as it were, someone who identify is very strongly with Wales thinks


there should be more powers? Absolutely, although that has


changed since 1997. At that point that tendency was even more


pronounced. Welsh speakers were overwhelmingly in favour of more


powers than non-Welsh speakers. Wales has become more unified


around this issue than it used to be and less divided along


linguistic lines even though that remains quite a striking Division


looking from the outside. I am sorry, we are out of time on this.


You could write a whole book on this, I know you have. There is a


plug! Now the lunchtime news with Gillian smart. Margaret Curran will


use her speech in Dundee to the Labour conference -- target the


Labour conference. Where is Michael Moore? He is missing in action. He


is hands-on when it comes to welfare cuts. Love can be 8,000


disabled children who will lose their benefits. He has been sitting


with the Tories and it is just not acceptable. Willie Rennie has told


the Lib Dem conference he is prepared to work with the SNP to


deliver more Holyrood powers but only after the 'no' vote on


Scottish Independence. It may be that after the 'no' vote the SNP


can survive the ending of their dream. We and we could well be able


to work together afterwards to shape the future for Scotland. Does


welcome noises we have heard recently from Labour will need to


be nurtured as well. There were allegations in the Sunday newspaper


against Bill Walker over allegations of domestic violence.


Police forces say they have received a number of calls


reporting what is believed to be a meteor. Reports of a bright light


with an orange grove came in in the north of Scotland amid fears that a


plane had crashed. Now the weather forecast. It is a West/East split


in terms of the weather with the band of rain, sleet and snow


finally cleaning from the North Sea coast. There will be sunny spells


and wintry showers in the West. Temperatures around seven Celsius.


It will be a cold night tonight. Tomorrow will be brighter generally.


Probably the best day of the week as it is turning unsettled. That is


all for now. Back to Isabel. In a moment we will be discussing the


big events in Holyrood but firstly a more detailed look back at the


week in 60 seconds. De devo plus campaign called for a substantial


increase in powers for Holyrood. In a statement to Parliament Kenny


MacAskill denied allegations about the release of Abdelbaset al-


Megrahi. I did not suggest to anyone connected with the Libyan


Government ought to Mr al-Megrahi himself that abandoning his appeal


against conviction would in any way eat or affect his application for


compassionate release. The Fraser of Alan institute predicted one in


10 people would be out of a job by the end of the year. This man


admitted posting a picture of Neil Lennon covered in bullet wins on a


social networking site. And now a new season of political conferences


will stop --.. I am joined by the Labour political blogger, Ian Smart.


And that the Liberal Democrat the Scottish Lib Dem blogger, Karen


Lindsay. Thank you for joining us. Do you think all has been forgiven


and forgotten when Nick Clegg walks through the doors at Inverness?


There was nothing to forgive him for. He has led our party into


Government. He is delivering so many of our manifesto promises. He


has cut taxes for people on low and middle incomes. He is putting �60


per month back in people's pockets. I think what I would say about that


is that we need to find another way, people do not feel particularly


rich, but we need to say we pay people's council tax on a couple of


months, fill their car for five times. We have given the biggest


cash rise in State pension this year. Nick Clegg has been


absolutely fantastic. Accepting that you feel that perhaps the


message has not gone out as you would like. I do not want to dwell


on this but Tavish Scott the former leader had said that Nick Clegg's


decision on tuition fees had dried the party into gutter politics.


Other members indicated the coalition came at the wrong time


for the party going into the Holyrood election. Are you really


saying, I think Nick Clegg even in our interview said people were very


angry at some of the choices that had to be made. I think that is


right. The fact that we inherited such a mess from Labour. If the


coalition Government had not taken the action that it had an hour


credit rating would have gone, you have seen what has happened in


Greece and Spain, we would have bigger deficits than they had. It


has been a very, very difficult time. We have had to make difficult


decisions. In some ways we are used to that. Lib Dems have taken power


in places like Aberdeen and Edinburgh. Labour had left the


chronic financial mess. Now Audit Scotland are seeing what a good job


has been done in putting the councils on a surer financial


footing. Ian, what did Johann Lamont have to do and did she do


it? She had to survive and she did. She made a joke about the big


beasts or men, do you think there is too much testosterone floating


about the debate at the moment? I think there is not enough


discussion at the moment. What she had to do was present herself as a


credible alternative First Minister. How far do you think the party has


to go in getting that image across and also interestingly, what Labour


have been trying to do, linking Scottish identity with UK identity,


is that an important path than they have to go now? I think the party


is trying to find its way slowly to the right position on the national


question. The interesting speech was the Douglas Alexander's speech


on the Friday which I think did open up the serious in a more


worthwhile way. I think what Johann Lamont is on her way to do is to


establish herself as a credible leader of the opposition. I think


she has a long way to go to establish herself as a credible


First Minister. Douglas Alexander was trying to be more radical.


Johann Lamont says she is coming up with more radical solutions.


think that is dishonest. There are differing opinions. I am more on


the Douglas -- Danny Alexander side of the argument. Gordon Brown will


be involved in this campaign and Alistair Darling will be involved


in Labour's Campaign. How important do you think it is that there is


some cross-party co-operation now or do you think, and I am asking


you this as a Lib Dem, is that a good or a bad thing if Gordon Brown


appears on the platform with David Cameron? I think that it is


important that we hear voices from across the political spectrum in


this independence referendum debate. What I thought was fantastic


yesterday was travels Kennedy on the platform here saying he would


live for the family -- the party in the know to independence campaign.


Willie Rennie said this morning we have got such a long record on home


rule. If we can encourage those sorts of feelings and other parties


work with other politicians to develop a home rule solution for


Scotland which I think most people would actually want. What do you


think of some of these policy areas that Johann Lamont has brought up,


be the sound familiar? I've got the best bet of her speech was when she


was talking about the policies we could usefully be pursuing, policy


choices we would have made differently. The point she made


about the future of higher education expenditure was a very


well made. And the idea that we are getting this no tuition fees policy


on a cost fee basis is actually meaning people in further education


are paying for free higher education. And what she was seeing


on income taxes? How realistic that is. It seems to be her response.


Whatever the party line, that seems I do concede that. She is arguing


for increased expenditure. She is silent on the second half of the


equation. Adding part of the problem that Labour has got at the


moment is that they do not make the distinction between better public


services and more expensive public services. We have to be on the side


of better public services. Do you have any sense that the Lib Dems


have done enough to motivate the grass roots? Absolutely it. It has


been a lot of work and it has been going on for many months. Lib Dems


campaign all year round. There is an amazing sense of optimism around


here. Long-term optimism. Liberal youth had the most successful fund-


raising event ever. I have been setting up a mentoring programme.


We have seen it new people coming into the party, talented people,


and I look forward to working with them. Candidate selection. Johann


Lamont says that has to be looked at. Yes, I hope so. They do not


bring you on here to be discreet. We need to have a better diversity


Political magazine presented by Andrew Neil and Isabel Fraser.

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