15/09/2013 Sunday Politics Scotland


Andrew Neil and Andrew Kerr with the latest political news. With Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna and former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown.

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Afternoon folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. Yes we're back


after the summer recess and the party conference season is upon us.


First up, the Liberal Democrats. And Nick Clegg has some convincing


to do. According to our very own Sunday Politcs poll his troops don't


like his Coalition bed mates. The country's not too keen either - the


latest poll has the Lib Dems languishing behind UKIP in fourth


place with only 9%. So can the Lib Dems claw their way


back come the election in 2015? We'll be talking to former leader,


now the party's General Election Commander in Chief, Paddy Ashdown.


George Osborne's a happy bunny these days. He's got some good economic


news to shout about. At last. So where does that leave Labour? We'll


be talking to the Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna. ?NEWLINE


and then Sunday Politics Scotland, who will delete womb in the


referendum? Bash Apple who will debate who?


signifies. And freshly showered from the Great


North Run and looking as fresh as daisies, the best and brightest


political panel in the business. Janan Ganesh, Helen Lewis and Iain


Martin, who will be tweeting throughout the programme.


Now, their leader is our Deputy Prime Minister. They are the junior


partners of our coalition government. They like the colour


yellow and they have not won a general election since dinosaurs


walked the earth. Now they are behind UKIP in the polls, so as the


party gathers for its annual bash this year in Glasgow, what is on


their mind? Who are the people gathering at the Clyde this weekend?


their mind? Who are the people Before they started drinking, we


surveyed 580 Liberal Democrat councillors in England and Wales,


with the help of some pollsters, comrade. The first question we asked


was, if the next election results in a hung parliament, which team would


you rather go into coalition with, the Reds or the blues? Lib Dem


councillors said Labour, two to one. the Reds or the blues? Lib Dem


Tories or Labour? It is not for us the Reds or the blues? Lib Dem


to say. It is for the voters to say. We will decide depending on


what the voters tell us. Your councillors favoured a coalition


with Labour. Well, it depends what is on the table. Who would you


rather play table football against? I would rather play against you,


because I am winning. So in the Lib Dems shop, which policies are


because I am winning. So in the Lib winning 's which ones are heading


for the bargain bin? The most winning 's which ones are heading


popular policy was a mansion tax on house is worth more than £2 million,


popular policy was a mansion tax on which was supported by 80 -- 86% of


councillors. The next most popular policy was scrapping the Trident


councillors. The next most popular nuclear deterrent, supported by 72%


of councillors. Then there was the nuclear deterrent, supported by 72%


reinstatement of the 50p top rate of income tax. 70% of councillors like


the look of that. When it came to the idea of banning the burka in


public places like schools and airports, 45% of councillors were in


favour. Finally, a ban on topless Page three model is won the support


of 33% of councillors. Why is it so popular, the idea of a mansion tax?


It is a much fairer tax. We know there are people out there with very


expensive houses. Which of these is most important to you? Banning


Trident. The cold war ended in 1989. Another one was the idea of


banning the burka in public places. No, I feel people should wear


whatever they like. If they want to No, I feel people should wear


wear the birth or a kilt or if they want to be naked or not wear


anything. We are the party of jobs. Thank you. Last night, a fully


clothed Nick Clegg rallied his troops, but if he was not around,


who would Lib Dem councillors want instead? Business Secretary Vince


Cable was most popular, with a third of the votes. In second place, the


party's president, Tim Farron, with 27%. 10% went to Danny Alexander,


Chief Secretary to the Treasury, while the business minister Joe


Swinson received 7%. The Energy Secretary Ed Davey scooped 6%, and


in last place, Steve Webb, the pensions minister, who got 5%. If


any of these councillors want to talk to me about it, I would be


delighted to hear from them. Is that a bid for a leadership campaign? It


certainly isn't. What do you think of these? That is quite a


collection. These are the contenders. But our survey is not


the only one that has got tongues wagging in Glasgow, because the Lib


Dem leadership have commissioned their own poll which showed that 75%


Dem leadership have commissioned of the country will never vote for


Dem leadership have commissioned the party, no matter what they do.


Also meeting here this weekend, this the party, no matter what they do.


group of bikers. But Liberal Democrats like to think they have


got just as much va-va-voom, even if a big chunk of the country doesn't.


Add, back in his hometown. So, the Lib Dems are on 9% in the polls.


Much of their party thinks they are Lib Dems are on 9% in the polls.


moving in the wrong direction. Earlier, I spoke to former party


moving in the wrong direction. leader Paddy Ashdown. He has been


put in charge of heading up the 2015 leader Paddy Ashdown. He has been


election campaign. I asked him if the mood in Glasgow was grim. No. In


many ways, as you know, Tory old commentator that you are just as I


am a hoary old member at the other end of the camera, we have been


there, done that and got the T-shirt. Where you are in the


midterm of a government, especially when you are in government and the


country is going for in a deep economic crisis, has almost no


relevance to where you might be when the nipple come to consider how they


will vote in 600 days time -- when the people come to consider how they


will vote. We do not dismiss polls, but they are a snapshot of what is


happening now and give little indication of where we will be. My


guess is, for what it is worth, that as we come to the election, the


public will be in a very serious, probably frightened mood. Their main


public will be in a very serious, thoughts will be, who maintains my


job, makes sure I don't have to pay thoughts will be, who maintains my


to higher mortgage? The coalition has delivered not only the required


policies to make Britain's economy prosperous, but also its society


fair. That is what people will want to see. I think coalition politics


are here to stay and we have a role to play in it. But you are in a grim


mood this morning. You tweeted that you were not happy with how the


Observer newspaper handled your interview. What was the problem? Is


there anything we can do to help? There is probably something they


could do to help. I have no arguments with the interview. The


headline they chose to put on it late last night was outrageous,


misrepresentative and in one case in accurate. What was the headline?


Something about Ashdown wants a coalition with the Tories, or at


Something about Ashdown wants a least they gave that in for us --


inference. Let me make this point. We are coming up to the next


election. I am in charge of the campaign. Any journalist who in


these next two years says that any Liberal Democrat prefers anything


else in terms of the outcome of a coalition but the result of the


ballot box dictating that outcome, that any prefer one side to another


over and they want to see a that any prefer one side to another


coalition determined by the electors that any prefer one side to another


in the votes, will get a bloody hard time from me, no matter who they


are. We take the warning. A survey of Lib Dem councillors shows that in


the event of another hung parliament, only 16% of your


the event of another hung councillors want to renew the


coalition with the Tories. That is a councillors want to renew the


clear sign that your activists want a change of direction. I don't think


it is news that as a left-wing party, we find it more congenial


with those on the left wing, but that is not the issue. You saw it


was not the issue at the last election. We are servants of the


ballot box. We do watch the British people require us to do to provide a


stable government in the interests of our country. I am sure you have


got the point by now. I have fought of our country. I am sure you have


the Tories all my life. But when Labour run away from


the Tories all my life. But when responsibility to amend the economic


crisis, was this right for the country? That is what drives me. Let


me say again. The people will determine who are going to be in any


coalition, should there be one, the voters and nobody else. It is not


about what we like. I understand that. But your own internal polls


show that Mr Clegg and the leadership are not taking the party


with them on that. I don't think that is true. Nick Clegg has done


what no other party leader has done. He took the coalition agreement to


the party, and they voted for it. So it is not true to say that members


of the party are moving in a different direction. I think we are


extraordinarily united. I did not expect them to be so under these


pressures, but they have surprised me and made me joyful at the same


time. The party has done what it needs to do. This is what


time. The party has done what it done in local government for a long


time. We may have our private likes and dislikes, but the thing that


time. We may have our private likes dictates the formation of a


coalition is the ballot box. You have said that three times. I can


say it again if you like. Please don't! What if your party votes to


reinstate tuition fees as party policy afternoon? We will have to


reinstate tuition fees as party listen to that and act accordingly.


You must listen to the voice of the party and take it into account in


what you do. I am always quite careful, as you know, about


answering hypothetical questions. I don't think it is likely to happen,


but if it did, we would have to do consider it. I thought what


distinguished Lib Dems was that if your party conference voted for


something, it was in the manifesto. The manifesto is taken in its final


form before the party for decision. The party will express views at this


stage in all sorts of ways. It did in my leadership, too. The manifesto


is democratically agreed by the party at the time of the election,


not before. The Tory conference will be about how they think they have


been vindicated, that austerity has worked, the economy is turning a


corner. But Nick Clegg's conference announcements will be about plastic


bags. Have you got the hang of this coalition think? Andrew, you can


always be guaranteed to put things coalition think? Andrew, you can


in the most discreditable form! That is part of your charm. That was


about to be a minor announcement in the middle of his speech. But it was


discovered beforehand. It has not been very popular in terms of how it


has been received, but that is not the central message. That leads me


to what I think is the biggest danger you face at the next


election. Isn't the biggest danger that the Tories, not you, if there


is an economic recovery, they will get the credit for it? I don't think


that is true. By the way, I don't think the electorate does gratitude.


The only time people cast a thank you vote was probably for Mrs


Thatcher over the sale of council houses. We could have a different


discussion over whether that was a good idea. But what you have done is


the underpinning for the promise of what you will do. In this


government, we have stayed firm on a what you will do. In this


very tough economic policy. But will you get the credit? What we have


very tough economic policy. But will done by ourselves, which the Tories


would never have done, is make sure that when the pain is felt, it is


not the poor who feel it. We have seen the biggest shift of taxation,


lifting the poorest in the country out of taxation, that has ever


happened, including in the previous Labour government. You are presiding


over the biggest squeeze on living standards in modern times. Because


it is the biggest recession in modern times. When you speak to the


2.5 million people who have been lifted out of taxation altogether


because of the Liberal Democrats, speak to those who have had a £400


tax cut. You may be able to make the speak to those who have had a £400


connection, Andrew, you are a sharp observer, between a very deep


economic crisis and difficulty for everybody. But it is clear that if


the Tories had been by themselves, none of that would have happened. We


have sought to shift the burden away from the poorest in this country. I


am part of that. So when we go into the next election, the message will


am part of that. So when we go into be that if you want to continue to


have a prosperous economy and a society, only the Liberal Democrats


will deliver that. Tim Farron says he likes Ed Miliband and he does not


want to diss him. Can you confirm that there will be no dissing of Ed


Miliband? It is not much my style. I've never much liked comments about


the other leaders. I do not intend to make it so in the future. Can I'd


finish up on Syria? You said after the Syria vote that Britain was a


hugely diminished country. Given it was the British Parliament that said


both sides on a course which could now see Syria give up chemical


weapons without records to military action, would you like to withdraw


these remarks and admit that you should be proud and happy with what


Britain has done? No. You and I both know, because we are old observers,


that that would never have happened unless there had been an


underpinning of a threat to use force. The British Parliament


resigned from that. We have no part to play in the fact that Assad and


Putin have moved towards peace for to play in the fact that Assad and


fear of military action. We decided not to be part of that. It is


fear of military action. We decided exactly the opposite. Why would have


liked to have seen our country join in with those who are serious about


upholding an international law which has restrained even than axes and


talent, but instead we resigned and left others to make sure that we


moved towards peace. -- even the Maxis and Stalin. But if it had not


been for the British Parliament, we would not have had the time to allow


this to happen. It has avoided war. Job done, British Parliament. That


would be true if it was accurate but it is not. The resolution proposed a


delay, that we should wait until the inspectors came back. That time


frame was absolutely nothing to do inspectors came back. That time


with the parliamentary vote. The vote was going to incorporate that.


I do not think you can claim what vote was going to incorporate that.


you claim. In the Balkans, I remember that diplomacy, which was


not reinforced by the threat of military action, does not work. It


is when diplomacy runs with a grain of military action that it works.


And if you want a fantastic illustration of that, look at what


is happening over the last two weeks. By regret to say that our


country, which has always been in favour of engagement and not


disengagement, had no part to play in that. They give a joining us,


Paddy Ashdown. Enjoy my old university city.


And you we would get to the Balkans eventually, and we did. His biggest


challenge is if the economy is looking reasonably good by 2015, to


get some credit for the Lib Dems, when the Tories will want to halt it


all. But his position is not to be the necessary axeman. That is George


Osborne's role. Their role is to be the chaser party, taking the edge


off. They will because of me going on about the pupil premium and


racing people out of income tax. That is what you will hear from


them, how they have taken the edge of the cuts. Will that work? They


are in a pretty good position. Even if they have lost two thirds of the


popular support, according to the polls, I do not know anyone in


Westminster methinks that will be matched in their parliamentary


representation. If they have 56 MPs now, they might lose a dozen but


they will not be decimated. Strategically, they are in a better


position than the reading of the polls would tell you. I think Nick


Clegg's survival has been one of the stories of this Parliament. He is


looking good at the comfort -- at the conference. When he was at his


lowest after the AV referendum, people were saying he would survive


and lead us into 2015 and beyond and I thought that was fanciful. Believe


it or not... Paddy Ashdown was wrong, you were wrong and... I


wasn't. I'm underestimated how bad his rivals are. If you are Lib Dem


member, however aggrieved you are with Nick Clegg, you do not think,


wouldn't it be great if Christian was in charge? Nick Clegg is the


best they have. -- Chris Huhne was in charge. Of course, the people do


not vote for the coalition government and it is a consequence


of the way they vote, a different matter. If Janan Ganesh is right,


and they lose 15 seats in the next election, they could be still


pivotal in the next government. It could be. But there is a danger.


Possibly the most amusing outcome would be a Labour or Tory overall


majority, which would be hilarious for the look on Paddy Ashdown's


face. The danger is they get trapped for the look on Paddy Ashdown's


constantly in talking about the politics of coalition and of a hung


parliament. And they are very puffed up and they enjoy Parliament and


they will enjoy the next one, but up and they enjoy Parliament and


there is a possibility they will not be. While they are talking about the


Polish and themselves, they are not talking about the issues facing the


country. -- talking about the coalition. It was interesting that


he said that we are a left-wing party, not a centre-left party or a


centre party, but a left-wing party. I'm going to put myself in the


firing line and say that there is a big split between the Tim Farron


firing line and say that there is a line who say they like Ed Miliband,


firing line and say that there is a and another one, Jeremy Browne in


the Home Office saying that Labour are intellectually lazy. The risk


clearly a clique around Nick Clegg who wants to be a synthetic party,


but that is not where the membership who wants to be a synthetic party,


and broad base is. The real activists are clearly of the left,


not just the centre-left. They are very pro-immigration and they want


to get rid of Trident. Mr Clegg's strategy has to be to take the party


to the centre. The something not happen at some stage? The poll


to the centre. The something not suggests it is a left-wing party.


to the centre. The something not Very left-wing. Other think the poll


would have yielded -- would have Very left-wing. Other think the poll


yielded the same results before the 2010 election. This is reflected by


the arithmetic. Whichever party is biggest will most likely be the ones


in coalition with the Lib Dems. Nick Clegg's on latitude to choose is


exaggerated by us. The choice is no tears, it is written into


parliamentary arithmetic. But if you remember the structure of the Lib


Dems, they can tie themselves up in infighting. -- the choice is not


ours. They are fundamentally infighting. -- the choice is not


stable. And Nick Clegg has had a good conference last year, and will


have another one this year. The good conference last year, and will


economy is better than it was a year ago. It could still go quite well


for him. Yes, it is one of the ago. It could still go quite well


stories of this Parliament, his survival and the way in which he has


prospered. But there are a lot of people out there, students,


campaigners, labour activists who have not forgotten what he has done


in government and are determined to get him. It will be a tough year and


a half. Tougher than he imagined. Now, not so long ago they were


writing George Osborne's political obituary. Be on the Omni shambles


budget of 2012 and a lacklustre performance of the British economy


meant his reputation work -- was in the dirt. -- the omnishambles. But


things have changed. The Chancellor is saying he has been vindicated. If


true, we're do that leave his critics? At your stuck on the


runway, it looks as though the British economy has taken off,


growing by 0.7% in the second British economy has taken off,


quarter. Forecasts for the rest of the year have been revised up words.


What's more, the office for National statistics says that the double-dip


recession never actually happened. Unemployment is down in the three


months to July and the number of people claiming jobseeker's


months to July and the number of allowance is falling at its


months to July and the number of spasticity rate since 1997. On


Monday, George Osborne said his policies were bearing fruit. We held


our nerve when many told us to abandon our plans. As a result,


thanks to the efforts and sacrifices of the British people, Britain is


turning a corner. The message for his Labour critics was clear. The


Chancellor thinks he was right and they were wrong. And Chuka Umunna


joins me now for the Sunday interview.


Good afternoon. Good afternoon.Do you accept that the economy has


turned a corner? I think it is good that a stalled recovery appears to


turned a corner? I think it is good have come back to life, but let's


turned a corner? I think it is good get this in perspective. We have had


three wasted years. We have the worst economic recovery in history.


Debt is up and we have record youth unemployment. If you ask your


viewers who are watching this programme if they feel better or


worse off, compared to 2010, the majority will tell you they feel


worse because, on average, wages are down by £1500 compared to May of


2010. That is the situation. The questionnaires, what is the


government going to do about it? And one of the things we have seen


talked about, Vince Cable has been talking about this as well, is what


is happening in the housing market. It seems that much of the solution


to powering the recovery in the eyes of George Osborne lies in sorting


out the housing market but the problem is, we are at risk of being


out the housing market but the another housing bubble. Because of


out the housing market but the research that came out this week, we


know that housing in the UK is three times more expensive than in the US.


know that housing in the UK is three We know that house prices are rising


five times faster than wages, but we also know that the government is


five times faster than wages, but we building new housing at a slower


rate, the slowest rate that we have seen since the 1920s. Labour


complaining about a housing bubble, isn't that like Satan complaining


about seven? -- seven. We all know that we cannot go back to business


as usual. We need to build a new model of growth. But the housing


bubble you talk about, it is not a bubble. It might turn into one. I


said the risk of a bubble. It is nothing like what happened on the


labourer when the prices soared. As I said, in 2009, we had the crash


labourer when the prices soared. As and we knew we needed to reconfigure


the way that our economy works. Having an economy based on crisis is


not a good thing. We need to rebalance the economy. We saw the


unemployment statistics this week, and it is welcomed overall, that


climate has come down -- unemployment has come down. At half


of the UK has seen unemployment go up. And it went down in other parts.


We know that we need to rebalance our economy, so that we do not just


rely on consumption, but that we grow our productive sectors. And


also that we grow our exports as well. We know we have a continuing


deficit. We always have a trade deficit. There was never a trade


surplus under Labour. Want to come onto what you have mentioned but


would you scrap the help to buy scheme? We have not said that we


would do that. Why not if it is causing the bubble? If you let me


finish, on one hand what that scheme does at the moment, at the moment it


is inhalation to a new scheme but tomorrow -- next year it will be in


relation to the existing scheme. If you do not sort out the supply of


housing, then that is a recipe for the problems we have seen. Our


argument is build more houses. Help more people to buy them by all means


but if you do not have the supply you will end up with rising prices.


That is obvious. Labour said that government austerity would prevent


the return of growth. Austerity is still with us but so is growth. You


were wrong. We never said that growth would never return. What we


said was that if you went for an growth would never return. What we


overly extreme deficit reduction package, you would choke the


recovery and you would choke growth. That is what we saw for three years.


If you say, look at the US economy, it has grown at three times the rate


of the UK economy. The German economy has grown at twice the rate.


But the British economy is growing quicker than the American or German


economy is now. But over time we have not seen that happen. But it is


now. That may be the case. But my point is that those three years saw


people undergoing huge stress and worry. It is good that we have


growth back again but the question is, what kind of growth? What we


have said... I'm going to come onto that but your credibility depends on


your previous analysis. And there that but your credibility depends on


are doubts about it. This is what you said not that long ago. In


2012. Our economy has flat lined near the 0% mark...


You and the Labour Party said it had choked off growth. You were wrong.


We were not wrong, because we had three years where the economy was


not moving. Let's remind ourselves. Claude Osborne was predicting that


the economy was going to grow by 6.9% between the start of this


Parliament and now. It has grown by 1.8%. We did not say we would never


have a return to growth. You never said that austerity would only


temporarily delay growth. We have looked through your speeches and Ed


Balls'. We can't find any reference to say this is simply delaying the


recovery. You said austerity would choke off growth. If that is true,


why has it returned now? Did we say it would choke off growth for ever?


why has it returned now? Did we say We did not. You have changed your


tune. I think your package at the top of this programme, to frame this


around George Osborne, this is not a Westminster soap opera, it is


people's lives, and the people who deserve huge credit for the growth


we are seeing are our country's businesses, who despite the tough


economic times, have succeeded. They are the ones who have powered this


growth. It is not for us in Westminster to take credit. But you


blame the government for lack of growth. So therefore, when the


growth comes, the government has to take some credit. Look at the


situation Britain is in now. We know the recovery still has to reach many


parts of the country, but this is the OECD annualised growth in the


G-7, the world's guest economies. That is looking pretty healthy. That


is a recovery. I am not denying that That is looking pretty healthy. That


we are seeing a stalled recovery, That is looking pretty healthy. That


but who benefits from the growth? On average, your viewers have sustained


a £1500 pay cut. That is the second biggest fall in the G20 since May


2010. Because we had the biggest financial services sector and took


the biggest crash. Financial services are still in decline.


Financial services are about 10% of the economy. They are not the only


contributor to the economy. The point is, who benefits? Unemployment


is falling, but we don't just want people to have any job, we want them


to have decent jobs that pay a weight you can live off and


Over the last 20 years people are less secure at work than ever. The


other thing is the uneven spread of this across the economy. In places


like the north-east, the Northwest, Yorkshire, they have seen


unemployment increase. I understand there is a regional imbalance but


this service sector is growing. Financial services are in decline.


The reed balances happening. It is not happening to the degree that we


need to transform our economy. We need to reconfigure our economy.


Your party conference is coming up next week. Why do Ed Miliband's


approval ratings get worse the more people see of him? I do not accept


that. I am just giving you the figure. Surveys go up and down.His


approval rating is consistently down. What matters are votes. We


have seen the Labour Party put on new candidates. We have been putting


on votes and members as well. Your leader is no more unpopular than


Gordon Brown was when he too laboured to the worst defeat in


living memory. -- when he to Labour. Votes are what matter.Twice


as many people think Elvis Presley lives on the moon. We are winning


support in important areas. Since 2010 we have put on thousands of


members. Compare and contrast that to the Conservative party, which has


not won a general election since 1992. Why will you not pledge to


renationalise Royal Mail? That would be like writing a blank cheque. We


do not know how much the Government will receive from the sale of Royal


Mail. We do not know how much it would cost to buy it back. That


would not be responsible. The Government is not lead to do this


right now. Sources in the city and Whitehall tell me that if Labour


pledged to renationalise it it would kill off the flotation. So if you


are against it why do you not do it? That would be like writing a


blank cheque. But if you put it in the prospectus, people in the city


who know more about these things than you or I, say it would not


happen at all. Why do you not do it? That would not be responsible.


It would be like writing a blank cheque. You would not have to write


a check if it had not happened. I had to deal with the facts. I will


not deal with what anybody might speculate about. For me to pledge to


renationalise it is now would be like writing a blank cheque. We want


to be fiscally responsible as a Government. You are watching the


Sunday Politics. Good afternoon and welcome back to


Sunday Politics Scotland. Coming up on the programme - jawing at the


battle lines on independence. How will the campaign be sustained? Alex


Salmond should be prepared to debate with his opponents in Scotland on


television. You would expect that in this day and age. I cannot


understand why he is refusing to do a televised debate with anyone other


than David Cameron. We will be putting that to the First Minister


Alex Salmond live in Fraserburgh this afternoon.


The Liberal Democrat conference is being held in Glasgow. We will hear


from the Scottish leader Willie Rennie.


On Wednesday campaigners will mark an important milestone in the run-up


to next year's referendum on independence. After the summer


cease-fire, if you can call it that, the battle for Scotland's future


will be rejoined with only a year to go until the decisive vote. Here is


our political correspondent. These days the battle over


Scotland's future are fought with words, not swords. But the struggle


now and we could be no less significant than those woven into


the tapestry on display in Holyrood. In politics the word historic is


vastly overused. But in one year from now one such event will take


place. Scots will be asked should Scotland be an independent country.


Those arguing to maintain the 300-year-old union said public


opinion as on their side. They insist the referendum is not sewn up


yet. Flying the flag for the UK on the streets of Scotland, they say


that Alex Salmond is spinning voters and Yarm. You cannot tell us what


currency we would have. He cannot tell us because he does not know. Or


take what will happen with debt. He says he will default on debt. I


really really going to start off by saying that Scotland is a country


that will default on debt? Yes campaigners say they want the


Scottish Parliament to take on more responsibilities from Westminster.


It is because we have decision-making over education that


young people can still go to university in Scotland. Because we


have got the Scottish parliament we have got three personal care for


older people. We could have been nitty in their old age. These are


the kind of decisions we can take. -- they can have dignity in old age.


As MSP is prepared to vote on the principles of the referendum Bill,


one figure warns for temperance. The public has no great impression of


politicians as it is. Another shouting match will cement that


negative perception. The great tapestry of Scotland covers


thousands of years of history. But there is one panel missing. Next


year we will know what form it will take as Scots take the decision that


will be time and the pattern of the nation future.


I enjoyed now by First Minister Alex Salmond from Fraserburgh. An


interesting time ahead. Just minute ago. I am interested to gauge how


significant is that for you? It shows the piece is quickening. We


are going to see a process over the next year where more and more Scots


engage with the arguments. As people engage with these arguments more


people will support an independent Scotland. You have stated


emphatically this week that you would abolish the spare room subsidy


or bedroom tax. What is your real big vision for Scottish


independence? You spent the summer talking about maintaining the


unions. We want to create a more prosperous country and a more equal


society in Scotland. Constitutional change is an argument in itself.


That is a noble ideal. An independent Scotland is also a means


by which we can have a more prosperous country. Also,


importantly, a more just society. That is an attractive vision.


Compared with the dismal future if we stay and London control it is an


exciting and galvanising vision. What other policy areas reduce you


to change? A whole range of policy areas to make Scotland a more


competitive country and therefore more prosperous economic league. A


range of measures to avoid bearing down on some of the most vulnerable


people in society as is being done at the present moment. Policies


which keep public assets under public control like the Post Office


at the present moment. Policies which mean that the great natural


resources in Scotland, oil, gas, renewables, are treated as natural


resources and go to the benefit of the people and the nation. These are


quite different policies than the ones produced by Westminster. Add to


that the fact that the Scottish Parliament has already written about


the environmental challenge on greenhouse gases, shows that we can


rise to the occasion. We can do that with the economy as well. You


mentioned the privatisation of Royal Mail. What is the problem with that?


We need the Royal Mail in public hands. We are spending hundreds of


lines of pounds in terms of the spread out of five and broadband


around Scotland to make sure that all the areas of Scotland have


access to that wonderful new technology. We think it will do


amazing things to the ability of businesses to sustain themselves in


real areas. That depends on the infrastructure of Royal Mail. It


depends on having a reliable and cost-effective postal delivery. Many


of the great private companies who use the internet also use the Royal


Mail as the best way of getting to people across the country. We should


also look at it from another point of view. How to business people get


their goods and services? You need that Royal Mail service. I


jeopardise that? Why place it in private hands? My challenge to the


Prime minister is clear. We are debating the future of Scotland over


the next year. 80% or more of the Royal Mail is owned by the people of


Scotland. -- 8%. What right does David Cameron have to cell of that


before the people of Scotland have the opportunity to the assets like


that into Scotland's hands? What do you mean by that? Are you wanting a


moratorium on the Royal Mail cell of the four independence? I want a


moratorium on the sale of Royal Mail to allow the people of Scotland to


come to a decision whether that a national asset should stay in other


cans -- stay in public hands or beehive off as the London Government


intends to do. I am demanding that the Prime Minister, rather than


pre-empt the decision of the people of Scotland, have a moratorium, so


that we can decide what to do with our share of that national asset.


This is a reserved issue. Real areas are represented by Lib Dem MPs. With


all due respect to you to say that the UK Government cannot proceed


with this sale? We are divided over three of the mandate lies on this.


Two years ago and overwhelming majority of Scottish MPs voted


against privatisation plans. But if those proposing privatisation wants


to put that matter to the Scottish people after independence then that


to put that matter to the Scottish is a matter for them. I think they


will get short shrift. I do not think many Lib Dems will be


surviving a process which combines selling off the Royal Mail and


imposing the bedroom tax. This is about how we should treat the assets


and resources of this country. The empowerment of the people through


the referendum has to be expressed in their ability to make these


decisions. That is why I am making a challenge to the Prime Minister to


call a halt at this stage. The other challenge to the Prime Minister is


your challenge to debate them. Alistair Darling is calling for you


to debate. He says why not debate with them? Are you running scared of


debating with Alistair Darling? I will keep my eyes set on the Prime


Minister on this particular campaign. The Royal Mail issue is an


exact example of that. I debate that should take place against the


different futures that Scotland has should include issues like the


bedroom tax, like the Royal Mail, whether these are right or wrong for


the Scottish people and who should make these decisions. We cannot


debate with somebody who has no control over these issues at the


moment. The Prime Minister and myself have been given a joint award


for democratic innovation in Edinburgh agreement. That agreement


allowed the referendum to take place on a statutory Asus. -- statutory


basis. Despite all your campaigning over the summer the opinion polls


have not shifted. An American pollster said that you would need a


crisis in England for the yes campaign to be successful next year.


There is plenty of crisis developing and constitutional politics across


the country at the present moment. The bedroom tax is a crisis but many


people at the present moment. Look at the opinion polls this morning.


If Scotland voted against independents Westminster was put


Scotland in the dustbin file somewhere. An opinion poll in a


Sunday newspaper has said that 50% of people are not sure yet. There


are a lot of people like that at present. The one thing we can say


about the opinion polls this morning is that it is game on. Secondly we


can say that as people get more information about the different


futures of this country then I think people will move towards acquiesced


position for Scotland. what dated November can colours for the White


Paper being released? We have all ways so that it will be in the


autumn. I think the debate with the Prime Minister should be on St


Andrews Day, what better day to have the finest acting against Scottish


independence, me arguing in favour is to mark that would be a grand


day. I think you can anticipate that the White Paper may be in the public


domain by November, as Nicola Sturgeon said. Now, the tans are


fading, the holiday credit card bills are dropping through the


letterbox. Yes, summer is well and truly over and autumn is here.


Politicos are bristling with excitement as party conference


season now begins. The Liberal Democrats have taken their UK


conference to Glasgow for the first time in ten years, telling voters


they've got a track record now on jobs and the economy. The UK


conference on the doorstep across the Clyde. The lip Dems are trying


to build a bridge into the future, a fresh start looking ahead to the


election after a difficult years in government. Senior figures and 5000


party members have descended on Glasgow. Security is pretty tight


here. Even the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has to have his pass


carefully checked. These protesters gathered to complain about the spare


room subsidy, which they call the bedroom tax. It is difficult for


some delegates to keep calm like these people. They are angry about


the bedroom tax and the U-turn on tuition fees. Do you think it was a


good idea to go into coalition? No, I don't. I have lost a lot of my


benefits, I have lost my home, I am struggling. When you are in


coalition there always enjoy going to have to compromise on. Being in


government has damaged the party 's popularity that it is because of


being in government that we are working in the national interest.


Nick Clegg is unapologetic. I was always very open that it would be a


risk politically but the biggest duty for us was to provide jobs and


a sense of economic well-being to the people of Scotland and written.


Jobs and the economy, that is what he is trying to put the focus on,


claiming a strong track record. That is the message they are desperately


trying to get across as they try to rebuild support here in Scotland and


trying to get across as they try to further afield. I spoke to the


Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Willie Rennie, a little


earlier as he prepared to make his speech to conference this afternoon.


I asked if it had been the right decision to go into coalition. Nick


Clegg and the party made the right decision in 2010 for the whole


country. We make that step in order to secure the economy and to secure


fairness in the wider society as well. It was not easy. To go in with


the Conservatives was a big step for the party but it was the right thing


to do. In 2010 there was chaos throughout Europe. There was chaos


in the economy. Now what we have got is GDP up, unemployment is going


down, the prospects are far better. You also have big improvements like


tax cuts for those unloading comes, tension rises, many things which if


the Tories were running the country on their own would never be done.


But at what cost to your party for the future gesture marked up poll in


the Sunday Times suggested your ratings have gone down from 19 to


7%. That would work out with you losing half of your Scottish MPs.


But if you look at the elections across Scotland, in Aberdeen


powerboat went up and we overtook the Tories. If Melrose, all these


elections, powerboat went up significantly and the others went


down. We are making progress in real votes in real elections. I am not


pretending that things are smooth. But when we put the message across


people understand that we are making a difference to equal slice. There


was the U-turn over tuition fees, there is the bedroom tax, we have


the Sarah Teather, the MP, saying she will not stand again because she


is angry at the progress of the party. What kind of progress is


that? We are making progress, in terms of reform, in terms of welfare


reform. If we were not there, that would not happen. Is that what the


protesters would like, for us not to be involved and to make that


difference? We are making a difference on things like cutting


tax. There are about 2 million people in Scotland who have no tax


bills as a result of us. We have raised the threshold to 10,000 which


has made a big difference to ordinary working people. It makes


work pay. Another poll in another newspaper suggested that act of this


was shifting in their attitude newspaper suggested that act of this


towards a coalition with Labour or a confidence and supply agreement with


Labour, away from the Conservatives. It is difficult to know what the


circumstances will be in 2015. We have worked in Scotland with Labour


for nine years. Across Scotland, we form administrations with the SNP in


local councils. We are prepared to work with others. What would you


like to see, Conservative or Labour? It depends on how may people vote


Liberal Democrat in that election. The more people vote Liberal


Democrat, the more site we can have. If we can persuade the others


to come in form a joint programme, we are prepared to do it. You have


that joint programme at the conference over the river just now.


You're talking about exposing argument with the Conservatives. Is


this just creating some artificial died between the two of you? People


need to understand that we are fighting our corner, we are standing


up for things. Making sure that things like the green investment


bank, which is coming to Edinburgh, was fought for by the Liberal


Democrats. There's no in hiding it. Get out there and tell people how we


are making a difference. We're not there to drop the Conservatives,


were there ensure the Liberal Democrats are delivering policies


and we are stopping them from doing Democrats are delivering policies


their worst. You're going to be addressing the delegates this


afternoon, but as you fight your corn in the argument about


independence, where is the argument about more powers. And? The Liberal


Democrats say they want federalism, but why can't the UK Government is


more powers for Scotland after the referendum? Listen to Nick Clegg


this weekend and the CPI event earlier this month. He made it clear


that in 2015 the Liberal Democrats will be campaigning in the manifesto


for home rule in a federal UK. We think Ed Miliband and David Cameron


should hold their hands up and say they will commit to more powers as


well. We are leading the way on this. If you look at the polls and


listen to the people on the door is this. If you look at the polls and


what they say is that they want to reject independence, because they


want to stay in partnership, but they want more powers over the


domestic agenda. They want more financial power and more


constitutional power. I think we are developed in a consensus. You look


at some of the think tank, some of the academic, who are arguing this


is where the common ground is. We think we can get Labour and the


Conservatives to join us on it. Why can you not come to some common


ground in the UK Government and make that kind of offering to the people


of Scotland? You have to take a step at a time. What we are committing to


is to do more after the referendum. Now does not mean no change, it


means more change will stop but within the United Kingdom, because


the UK is good for Scotland. As a decentralising party, we want power


to be in the nations. A great concern to many people in rural


communities in Scotland is the privatisation of the Royal Mail. And


they are represented by Liberal Democrat MPs in many parts of


Scotland. How can you MPs be agreeing to this? They will not lose


out. The universal service guarantee is in law and will remain. It brings


more money into the Royal Mail. For years and a Labour in decline.


Thousands of job were lost, post offices closed. We have protected


sub post offices and we are investing in the Roma. This will be


good for Royal Mail, it will make flourish. If you just stay as you


are, it will stagnate. We need to invest 81 of the best mail services


in in the whole world. Let's cross now for the news, with Clive Myrie


and Graham Stewart. Good afternoon. Nick Clegg says victory for either


the Conservatives or Labour at the next election would put at risk the


economic recovery. Speaking at the Liberal Democrat annual conference


he said it would allow the government to finish the job of


repairing the economy fairly. If we go back to the bad old days, not of


coalition and balance politics, but of either the left or right


dominating government on their own, you will get a recovery that is


neither fair nor sustainable. I think Labour would wreck that


recovery and under the Conservatives you get the wrong kind of recovery.


219-year-old women arrested after fatal stabbing in Leicester Thursday


have been released without charge. Police are trying to discover if


there is a link between the killing and fired nearby. Five people in all


still being questioned in with the blaze. A Syrian government minister


has described the agreement drawn up by America and Russia to displace of


his country chemical weapons as a victory. The minister claims that


the deal helps the Syrians out of a crisis and adverts war. The US


Secretary of State is in Israel to brief the Prime Minister Binyamin


Netanyahu on the proposal. Britain's Mo Farah has missed out on


winning his first half marathon by around one second. He was taking


part in the Great North Run between Newcastle and South Shields. He was


the favourite following his two gold medals at the world Championships.


He lost out in a split finish. A carnival atmosphere in Newcastle for


the start of the 33rd rate North run. Thousands limbered up and for


some it was about the challenge, for others simply dressing up for fun. I


am walking it, so I have no time in mind, I just want to get round,


enjoy it, and appreciated the crowds. Both these athletes, today's


race was about who would be first over the line. Despite the wind and


rain, large crowds turned out for the world 's most popular half


marathon, which attracts some of the finest women's runners as well.


There were high hopes for Britain's double Olympic champion Mo Farah.


After a long sprint finish, he was narrowly beaten by an Ethiopian


runner. It was a great race, it was a great finish. When he went with a


mile to go I thought the pace was ridiculous and I thought I could


come back and close the gap. You cannot take away what he has, he has


great read. Wheelchair athlete David Weir won his race for a fourth time.


More than £200 million has been raised since the Great North Run


began. That is it for now. Though be more News at 6:50pm.


The first Minister Alex Salmond has called for a moratorium on the


privatisation of Royal Mail until after the independence referendum.


The service has undergone that people with job losses and price


rises in recent years. Alex Salmond said privatisation could have a


serious impact on the Scottish economy. I am demanding of the Prime


Minister that he has a moratorium on the sale to allow the people of


Scotland to decide what we want to do with our share of that great


national asset. A young Scottish woman held in a


Peruvian jail on suspicion of trying to smuggle £1.5 million worth of


cocaine is reported to be preparing to plead guilty in exchange for a


short sentence. Melissa Reid told a Sunday newspaper that she hopes a


plea deal will allow her to return home in three years. She is also


expected to apply to serve her sentence in a prison in the UK.


The weather is causing disruption. Ferry passengers are being advised


to check for delays and cancellations. There are also


warnings of high winds on the Forth and Tay bridges. You is the full


weather forecast. We are brightening up this


afternoon. We have lost the persistent rain to the South East.


The Met office still has a warning for deal force winds across many


parts. This afternoon there will be some heavy showers. More in the way


of sunshine for the East but there is still wind gusting to deal force.


In the east we will see the best of the sunshine and the top


temperature. This evening we keep a feed of showers coming in across


western parts. Drier and clearer in the East but that will be a cold


night everywhere. The Autumn term at Westminster has


begun. There is a big year ahead for independence campaigners.


I am now joined by Ian Blackford from the SNP and Pauline McNeill


from Labour. Welcome to you both. Let us look at the headlines in the


Sunday newspapers. Quite a stark page there. How


important is this anniversary as it where for campaigners? This is the


marathon towards the vote next September. There is a great deal of


excitement about the importance of the decision we will all take next


year. As part of that we should be having a debate on the kind of


society we want. How do we create economic role? How do we deliver


social services in Scotland? These things should be central to the


debate. Talking about the people of Scotland, is this debate going


beyond that? One person is quoted as saying he will wait until two weeks


before the referendum to make up his mind. This is a critical stage in


the run-up to the referendum. The fact that it is one year will make


people sit up and realise there is a decision to be made. In the coming


year people will want politicians to come out of that bubble. They will


want clarity around the consequences. The publication of the


White Paper is a very important point for the yes campaign. That is


the time you need to set out with some clarity what it will mean going


independent in relation to pensions, welfare, all of these


issues. People want to trust the information on both sides. This is a


Big Issue. He wants to be able to trust the issue on the no campaign.


Can you give us an insight into what the campaigners are thinking? When


you look at the opinion polls you can see it is all to play for. A lot


of people have not decided. People want information. What are the


consequences of Scotland going independent? Those of us on the yes


side have got to spell out with clarity how we will deliver economic


growth and social services in a fair Scotland that we believe people


should aspire to. It is important that the no side also shows how they


perceive Scotland within the UK. I hope we go beyond talking about


process and that we have a more details debate on the kind of


society that we all aspire to on both sides. We have two remain


positive. We have to show that we can make a difference and that we


can protect those in our society from policies such as the bedroom


tax. You pay for that by making sure that you can deliver sustainable


economic growth. What are the strategists on the no side saying?


There is a clear lead in the opinion polls. I agree with Alistair


Darling. He is taking a cautious approach to this campaign. He


acknowledged that the voters are quite fluid in their approach to how


they vote. That is the right approach. We cannot take the results


were granted. An important opinion poll today shows that voters who are


going to vote no also want change. In the coming months the Labour


Commission on devolution will be important because it will fill in


some of the gaps about how we would bring about change. There will be no


complacency in our campaign even though we clearly have a Leeds. Let


us turn our attention to the Lib Dem conference across the river. Nick


Clegg said, we took a hit but we did it for Britain.


The Lib Dems have been damaged by going into Coalition. When you hear


some of the stories coming out today, they are having to defend the


bedroom tax, they are backing the privatisation of Royal Mail, it does


that the Liberal Democrats in Scotland are in big trouble. -- it


does highlight that the Liberal Democrats in Scotland are in big


trouble. The bedroom tax has become a political football. The starting


point is that Labour and the SNP are opposed to the bedroom tax. At


Labour opposed to it? I knew you were going to ask me that. It is


quite clear that if there is a Scottish Labour Government it would


abolish the bedroom tax. The reason the Scottish Parliament exists is


that it can mitigate some of the policies of a Labour Government. It


is within the needs of the SNP to completely deal with this. As far as


the Labour position on this is concerned, you need to watch this


space. They need to develop a policy for 2015. Labour are clearly opposed


to the bedroom tax. The Liberal Democrats are clearly not. They are


struggling to call themselves the party for fairness here. That is all


for this week. We are back at 1130 AM next week. Goodbye.


Political magazine presented by Andrew Neil and Andrew Kerr.

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