22/09/2013 Sunday Politics Scotland


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

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Welcome to the Sunday politics. Labour are in Brighton for the party


conference this weekend. Ed Miliband promises policies galore. But a poll


finds that 13-mac of his councils do not bring his doing a good job. They


are partying like it is 2006 in Westminster. Memoirs to reunite the


Tony Blair /Gordon Brown waters. -- wars. The Conservative party


chairman gives his response to the rampant Tory bashing at the Lib Dem


conference. And a promise from the first minister to renationalise the


Royal mail under independence. Would it really work?


right? With me, the best and the brightest political panel in the


business. Isabel Hardman, Janan Ganesh and Steve Richards. They'll


be tweeting like demented Damians throughout the programme. First


today, scrapping the bedroom tax. Universal childcare for primary


school kids. More apprenticeships. Labour Conference only begins in


earnest today, but the policy and spending commitments are coming


thick and fast. Not before time, according to the Labour leader's


critics. He's been out and about this morning and told Andrew Marr


that he knew it was going to be a tough fight in the run up to 2015.


It is about a party that lost office three years ago. We are trying to be


It is about a party that lost office a one term opposition. That is


tough. I believe it is a fight that we can win and I am up for that


fight. The stakes are so high for young people who want a job, for


people whose living standards are being squeezed. For people who think


that this is not good enough for Britain. So what do key Labour Party


activists - its councillors - think about the direction Mr Miliband is


taking their party? Adam Fleming is in Brighton at the Party Conference


with all the details of our latest exclusive Sunday Politics survey.


Labour have unwrapped their conference set. Let us unwrap them.


Labour have unwrapped their With the help of an opinion poll we


surveyed 1350 Labour councillors across England and Wales. We wanted


to find out what they think as Labour gathers for its conference.


The Labour leader warmed up for the week by taking to his soap box in


Brighton city centre. It is great to week by taking to his soap box in


be here. In our survey 31% of councillors said they did not think


Ed Miliband was doing a good job as leader. 30% said they thought the


party would have a better chance if someone else was in charge at the


next election. You will see more of Ed Miliband as we run-up to general


election. He has been in the job for three years! Now it is crunch time.


The other Ed, Ed Balls, was disliked by roughly one third of the party as


well. Ed Balls is not a pop your man. He says things and he speaks


his mind. -- not a popular man. Sometimes he is not the most


diplomatic. Sadly Ed Balls did not seem to be that bothered about our


survey. Over at a conference centre the exhibitors were starting up.


When it comes to relations with trade unions, the majority of Labour


councillors thought things were absolutely fine. Just 9% thought


things with the unions were a little bit too close. Tricky because Ed


Miliband want to loosen the link. The shadow environment secretary


arrived in Brighton ride bicycle from London to raise money for


charity. When we as Labour councillors what they would do if


the next election results in a hung parliament, just over half said they


would tell the lid Dems to get on their bikes. We would never say no


to going into coalition. It gives us the chance to be in government and


prepare some of the damage of the last three years. So are you going


to start being nice about the Lib Dems? I always treat them with


courtesy. And the parties admitted that perhaps they had opened the


door to too many immigrants. It in our survey Labour councillors of


warming the felt that immigration had been positive for the UK.


We're now joined by the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rachel


Reeves. Good morning. Let us start with Ed Miliband. Is it true that


Reeves. Good morning. Let us start the team insisted that he be called


the leader? I just call him Ed and I the team insisted that he be called


think the rest of the Shadow Cabinet do. Do you welcome working for a


leader that says he is winning back socialism? We are a democratic


socialist party. We make no apologies for that. The most


important thing is that we have the apologies for that. The most


policies that will improve people 's lives and tackle the cost of living


crisis facing so many families. Policies like expanding childcare,


offering more apprenticeships, all policies that I think the country


are calling out for after three years of a flat-lining economy and


seeing prices rise faster than wages for 38 out of the 39 months but


David Cameron has been Prime Minister. I think that is the most


important thing. So it is OK now to risk their to the Labour Party again


as the Socialist party? The clue is in the name, we stand up for working


people. You are socialist party according to the leader. We have


always been the Labour Party, that is our name and we stand up for


working people, not the privileged few like this government with their


working people, not the privileged tax cuts for millionaires. Those are


policies that help just the privileged few. The Labour Party is


about helping everyone in Britain, all families. Interesting that your


run don't use the word socialist. In our survey one third of Labour


councillors said Ed Miliband was not doing a good job as leader. If he


cannot convince his own councillors, who can he convince?


Well you could say that two thirds of councillors think that he is the


right leader. But these are Labour councillors. The overall majority of


Labour councillors think that he is doing a good job. What matters is


the results on election day. Two thirds of councillors think that he


is doing a good job. That us see what they say at the end of this


week. Because I think the policies he is announcing will go down well


week. Because I think the policies with Labour Party people and will


also resonate with the British public. Policies like expanding


apprenticeships, giving a break to hard-working families who are


struggling. I think people will see what kind of a leader that he is.


Well he has a mountain to climb among all voters. Let me ask the


question. Just 12% see him as a Prime Minister in waiting, just 2%


see him as a natural leader. Why? If Prime Minister in waiting, just 2%


you look at the overall opinion polls, we are consistently ahead in


those polls. It is hard being leader of the opposition, you cannot


those polls. It is hard being leader demonstrate how you would be Prime


Minister. By nature you are in opposition. But he has taken on


Rupert Murdoch and the press barons. That is strong leadership, standing


up to the vast majority. If you look at his reforms to our relationship


with the trade unions, strengthening ties with individual members. I


think that he is a strong leader making the right decisions. If that


is the case, why has the Labour lead gone from 14 points one year ago to


at most four points now. What went wrong? Well we are six or eight


points ahead in the polls today. We are six or eight points ahead in the


polls today. We're still consistently ahead. It looks as if


we would get an overall majority if there was an election tomorrow. But


we have more work to do to convince more people to vote for Labour. But


this is a historic challenge, to be a one term Labour opposition. I


believe that Ed Miliband will be the next Labour Prime Minister and will


be an excellent Prime Minister. The big policy announcement today is the


guaranteed childcare for all primary school children. How much will that


cost? When Labour were in government, they ring fenced money


to provide after-school -- after-school and breakfast clubs. We


think that money should be ring fenced again. How much will it


cost? We are saying that schools within their budgets should be able


to provide that. At the moment they can charge for children to come to


their first clubs. But this is a policy that does not involve


additional money. As it was under policy that does not involve


the last Labour government it will be about ring fencing money because


we think that this is a priority. This is something that the schools


should do. You cannot ring fenced money you do not have. You saying


you could provide wraparound childcare for every family


schoolchild from eight o'clock in the morning until six o'clock at


night and it will not cost any more money? Well we did ring fence that


money in the last Labour government. That money is gone! It has not gone.


It is about priorities and we are saying that it should be a priority


to provide that wraparound care. So where is the money being spent now


that you would take it from? If we look at some of the things that this


government is doing, building free schools in areas where there are


already enough. That is capital spending. We are ring fencing that


many. Again, it is different priorities. We had the ring fence


when we were in government. It would be reintroduced so that schools had


to offer that wraparound care. Of course schools can charge a small


to offer that wraparound care. Of fee for their breakfast clubs and


after-school DVDs. But the important thing is that provision is there for


parents going out to work. Ed Balls and Ed Miliband are at the heart of


the Brown project. Damien Wright was the hit man. Is it not inconceivable


that they did not know what he was the hit man. Is it not inconceivable


up to. It is inconceivable that they did not -- Damian McBride. I am


asking about Damian McBride. What I'm saying is that I was not there.


I was not there under the last Labour government. But I do know


that these things are not happening under the leadership of Ed Miliband.


He has led by example. There is not that backstabbing going on. There is


no plotting against Ed Balls going on? I do not see that. And anyone


who briefed against colleagues should be sacked, I agree with that.


Nick Clegg's conference speech made it clear he was repaired to work


with Ed Miliband in the event of a hung parliament. Are you excited by


that prospect or is it just boring? That is very generous of Nick Clegg


to say that. With his poll ratings of 9%. I think it is up to the


to say that. With his poll ratings general public to decide who they


want to form a government. We are campaigning for an overall Labour


government at the next election. Are you excited by the prospect, or is


that just boring boring? I want to serve in a Labour government is not


a coalition government. That is what we are campaigning for. Thank you


for joining us. Steve Richards, what has Ed Miliband got to do this


week? He has got to start to win the argument about the economy. I think


they will be quite clever on that in terms of saying that the recovery


has begun but it is not going to benefit many of the voters. Unlike


previous economic recoveries. That is a strong line and they need to


make that again and again. The recovery has barely started. The


make that again and again. The interesting thing, Isabel, they want


to make a living standards the issue now because growth has returned,


let's return to living standards which have been squeezed. The polls


show that twice as many people blame Labour for the living standards than


the Conservatives. It is a great scene for them to mine, and it is


the only one before they announce big policies, but they have not


gained the trust of voters on the economy, so the Conservatives can


say they are finishing the job of fixing the recovery now and then


we'll focus on living standards, whereas Labour is trying to say, you


cannot quite trust us with the economy but we will talk about


living standards. Ed Miliband's main job this week is to begin


elucidating policies and not just themes, and that makes


elucidating policies and not just incredibly vulnerable. The only


thing worse than not having a policy for an opposition leader is to have


a policy. It gives the opposition something to attack, the media


something to scrutinise and it makes you bold rubble and you can see that


coming through already before the conference has started. You have


sketchy ideas on child, -- childcare. Spigot can he provide


wraparound childcare for free? -- can he provide wraparound childcare


for free? I don't even know what it is. Opposition is emphatically an


art form, and the art form, and the artform for them at the moment is to


announce policies without spending any money and it is very difficult


to do. You gave an illustration of how difficult it is. They are under


huge pressure, for the last year, to announce policies and they announce


one on childcare and you immediately say, how do you paper it? And she


immediately says, we will not spend a penny on it, because they are


terrified of spending anything. This is where it an artform. The tax


suspension before and election is crazy, because they will find money


one way or another, but in another way, they cannot say we will spend


money on this. It is a real problem. How do you measure the state of the


coalition after the Liberal Democrat conference? The Liberal Democrats


were in a very strong position after their conference, Nick Clegg had


faced and activists on some issues, including fracking, which they


supported, which seem to be the most important part of the conference. In


terms of the coalition, the Tories have had to sit and watch as Vince


Cable, Nick Clegg and Coe have basically criticised them and said


Cable, Nick Clegg and Coe have they are evil and only the Lib Dems


can make sure the Government is fair and works properly. So in terms of


how the coalition works, you can expect to see some revenge at the


Tory conference. The Lib Dems, Nick Clegg's followers, they had their


revenge. Mister Clegg may have convinced his own activists to stay


behind him, but he has a bigger challenge, which is called


convincing the British people. There is some interesting polling they


have done privately that suggests there is a market of about 25% of


the electorate which is plausibly open to them, and all they have to


do is target policies remorselessly at that group, rather than the


broader public, in order to do well enough at the next election to hold


the balance of power. That is why policies that seem weird to us, like


free school meals regardless of policies that seem weird to us, like


income, may perversely make sense to them. Because it appeals to their


demographic. It is a strange political world we are in, the


Labour strategists think they can political world we are in, the


win with 35%, the Lib Dems are going to concentrate on 25. The Tories


have seized to be a national party any more. We haven't been used to it


for a long time. In the 80s, one party dominated, the Tories. In the


90s into the 21st century, the policy matter delayed the Labour


Party dominated. -- the Labour party dominated. We are now here but we


have other parties hoping that 36% will give them a small overall


majority and it is the best they can get. It is a very odd situation


where the main two parties feel they can lose and the Lib Dems are openly


targeting only 25%. They have gotten rid of 75% already and it is a long


way from the policies of last couple of decades Nick Clegg talked about


all of the policies he had locked. There is a real opportunity for the


Conservatives to say that he is blocking all of the things that


voters outside of our bays are interested in, top immigration


policy, human rights reform, that sort of thing. David Cameron can say


that in Manchester next week. One thing was quite clear, it came out


of this awayday, and and this is this, that when you look at Mister


Miller band's polls, the Tories are going to make this a presidential


election -- Ed Miliband's polls. Which is why I am curious why they


are not more keen on TV debates. When the strength of your party is


the visibility of your leader against his opponents, why not have


him or her juxtaposed against them in 90 minutes three times a week.


Let's turn now to the coalition. The past week has given us inklings of


how the yellow half of the Government is planning on fighting


how the yellow half of the the General Election.


When the Lib Dems gathered for their annual shindig in Glasgow, some


ministers were non-too complimentary about their blue blood fellows. --


bedfellows. Vince Cable led the way about their blue blood fellows. --


in stick in the boot in, saying the Tories had reverted to type as a


nasty party and describe their politics as ugly, cynical, callous


and prejudice. Nick Clegg did not restrict himself to policies that


and prejudice. Nick Clegg did not the Lib Dems had champion, such as


and prejudice. Nick Clegg did not increasing the amount you can earn


before paying tax. The Deputy Prime Minister proudly listed all of the


things he had stopped the Tories from doing. Speak of scrapping


housing benefit the young people, no. No to ditching the human rights


act. No to weakening the protections in the equalities act. So how much


of a break have the yellow brigade being on Conservative ambitions


question mark in the two leaders shake hands again after the 20 15th


election, what policies were David Cameron insist on. -- 2015? No


matter how many times Nick Clegg says no?


matter how many times Nick Clegg And Grant Shapps joins me the Sunday


Interview. Grant Shapps, good morning. Nick


Clegg, Doctor Know himself, self-styled. He boasted to his


conference that he had stopped the Tories from going ahead with 16


policies in government. Is this accurate? I don't know but what I


can tell you, as your commentator Isabel said, some of the policies


that we wanted them if we were a majority government sent out to be


very popular things, like reforming the human rights act and some of the


problems that provides when it comes to sending people who have no right


to be in this country back. So there may be some things we could have


made progress on. You are in government, did he stop the


inheritance tax cut? I don't know the details, but I think it is


absolutely true to say that coalitions are a process of


negotiation and sometimes you can't get everything you want, and we had


done the best, given where the electoral maths left us. That is why


70 people in this country say they would rather see a single party


running the country -- why so many people. I have to say I agree. They


are not sure which single party. Give me a couple of major policies


that you would introduce if you had had a majority in 2010 and were not


held back by the Lib Dems. Speaking the one I just mentioned would be


the Human Rights Act. In This Country, we have had 1,000 years of


developing the law and we are more than capable of putting in place


sensible laws. you would have left the European Court of human rights.


We have already started the process of negotiation. There was some


progress, but limited, and we would like to move further. Let me give


you one other. I think this country has a great future but we can only


grasp that country if we make ourselves the best place in the


world to come and set up a business. ourselves the best place in the


If we make ourselves the best place in Europe to develop jobs and


entrepreneurship and I think there are a host of things we could do to


go further on cutting back red tape. And the Lib Dems have stopped you? I


think that is the case. In what ways, if any, have the Lib Dems


improved the coalition process? It has been a stable government. No one


talks about when the next election will come, we know it is in May 2015


but that is in part being in a coalition. The Tories wouldn't have


done that? It wasn't the plan of any party to go from... In the old days,


there would have been speculation. You turned it into a national


debate, you changed the British constitution in a fundamental way


and nobody got a say. It was debated on the floor of the Has, as all


constitutional changes are and there was a lot of agreement -- of the


House. Nobody has ever said to me that it is a problem that we now


have a fixed term parliament. Here it is, every five years. This is


what it has done, it has provided stability in an incredibly uncertain


economic time and that has been good for the economy. we will chalk that


up to delete -- Lib Dem. What about taking people out of tax, the Lib


Dems did that question mark it is a great policy. It is a conservative


led government, it is a Conservative government massively Chancellor.


This is a screen grab from your party's website, income tax cut to


25 million people. You are taking the credit for it, it wouldn't have


happened without the Lib Dems. It certainly came about because of the


coalition and we put it in the coalition agreement. It could not


have happened without a Conservative Chancellor making it happen. It is


right, 25 million people taken out of tax. Another 17 by this April


will not be paying tax at all. you didn't want to do it. Look at what


David Cameron told Nick Clegg during the leaders debate in 2010.


What Nick Clegg is promising is a £17 billion tax cut. We are saying,


stop the waste of 6 billion to stop the national insurance rise. I would


stop the waste of 6 billion to stop love to take everyone out of their


first £10,000 of income tax, it is a love to take everyone out of their


beautiful idea but we cannot afford it. It wasn't in your manifesto.


Mister Cameron said it was unaffordable and now you are taking


the credit for it. I feel like it is having a three year afterwards


argument, and we got into coalition because the British people put us


there and we agreed to make the best of it. And as it happens, if you


want to hear a confession, I absolutely think it is the right


thing to take as many people out of tax entirely as possible. Two points


7 million people pay no tax at all because of this rise in the


threshold. -- 2.7 million. I'm pleased it worked out. What are the


most important thing is a majority Tory government would do after 2015,


unencumbered by the Lib Dems? I think produce even more jobs when


unemployment goes down, because we think produce even more jobs when


are the most entrepreneurial place to set up a business. Are more


free-market economy? We make our money because we are out global


trading economy. That is why it is so important that we have to make


sure it is easy to trade around the world. One simple example, it is


crazy in my view that we have global tariffs that prevent some of the


hardest other countries in the world, in developing parts of the


world, from exporting to us and vice versa. I'm giving you a platform of


things that I think we would be more interested in progressing in. It


sounds like you are talking about even more Thatcherite, market led


agendas. I think that you did a huge amount to show this country that if


you want to help the least well off people in society, and the least


well off people in the world, around people in society, and the least


the globe, the way to do it is to trade, and I think we should have an


economy which is much more open to free trade. If there is another hung


parliament, and the poll suggest there might be, at the moment it is


all to play for on both sides, what would your non-negotiable Red Line


speak? We are still two years away from that, it is a long way away,


but there is a lot we want to lay out. What we are going to be saying


to this country is most people want a single party running the country,


they think it is clean and clear and you don't end up with negotiation


after an election. We will be setting out a very clear platform


which will be for hard-working people in this country who want to


work hard and get on in life. We would, I think, want to see the


welfare state that we have got into, where it is no longer about helping


those most in need but became a situation where you are better off


not working than in worker, I think we plan to ensure that this is an


incredibly fair place to go out and do a day's work and get the money at


the end of the day rather than thinking there is an alternative.


you have promised a referendum on UK membership of the EU in 2017, that


must be your first Red Line? We are clear, we want to see a referendum,


a reform European Union. So no poll... ? I should remind viewers


that there is an act of Parliament, a bill going through Parliament


right now, for a referendum on the EU, which comes back to the House.


It is past the report stage and comes back in November and we will


be discussing it. The Lib Dems, Labour, will have an opportunity to


support what the British people want. Lots may have changed. But it


would be a Red Line for any future coalition government question mark


we are clear that it is time to have a say. You will know from our


manifesto. What is wrong with yes or no? I cannot write the manifesto for


2015. You are asking me to project beyond that and see in advance the


election result and carry out the negotiations that are yet to come.


I'm just trying to work out how much... I know you are committed but


she won't tell me. Let's move on. Your party has been described as


nasty and blinkered. What do you feel when he says that? We are


interested in helping the most vulnerable people in society. I


think we're doing all that and more. And it is a shame that that language


was used because we have made so much progress together. Are you


getting to the end of your tether with Mr King? I do not think it is


terribly helpful for any Cabinet minister to make comments like that.


What I would say is that Nick Clegg minister to make comments like that.


is the leader of the Lib Dems and entitled to have a view on it


himself. Look at these figures on party membership. Why has your party


lost half of its members since Mr Cameron became leader? I would like


it to be more. But I think the world has changed. People do not rush out


and join political parties as they used to. Instead they support you in


different ways. If I released the number of people who give to the


party in different ways, through donations for example, through


friend memberships. If you include that that figure goes back up. But


your membership has fallen by 50% at a time when UKIP has doubled. I do


not want to to misinterpret what I want to say. It is important to gain


members. I think we will have done that by the time of the next


election. But one statistic of interest, in the last election I had


a 17,000 majority in my own constituency. The difference was I


had 1000 people helping me to deliver leaflets and knock on the


doors. The Conservative party has changed. We now have an army of


people, volunteers who are not necessarily traditional members. The


days when you expect people to give you £25, before you accept their


support, those days have passed. You spoke about your most vulnerable


marginal seats. This is a poll from spoke about your most vulnerable


Michael Ashcroft. The 40 most marginal seats that you will be


defending. Labour is way up, you are way down and UKIP is also up. What


is happening, the Lib Dem Mo -- both are moving to Labour. And


disillusioned Conservatives are moving to UKIP. If these figures


came at an election he would lose 32 of these 40 seats. The point about


any opinion poll is that it is perhaps accurate at the moment it is


taken. We are now in The people being ask about these


things will be interested in their own standard of living. The mortgage


payments they are making. Why are you doing worse in marginal seats


than nationally? You are the net and top with Labour nationally, you are


way behind on the marginals. That is not the picture people will see in


25 nine. They will see a government that stuck to its guns. -- 2015. We


have a record that dam and straights that the last thing you want to do


is get the car keys of the economy back to the people who crashed at


the calendar first place. The chap that Vince cable calls a Rottweiler,


has one message was to go all out and attack Ed Miliband. It will be a


nastier lection, won't it? We will focus on the policies of Ed Miliband


when he finally announces some. But it will mean more borrowing, taxing,


spending. Ed Balls said that they will be absolutely ruthless with


spending commitments. Just if you months later, £27.9 billion extra


spending committed by Labour. Those are your figures. They are Treasury


tested. You have done some jiggery-pokery. We are out of time.


You are watching the Sunday politics.


Welcome to Sunday politics Scotland. Coming up: The Royal Mail sale


dominates the debate. A promise to renationalise after an ultimatum


made on the programme last Sunday. Rather than pre-empt a decision by


the Scottish people in one year's time, the pre-Minister should have a


moratorium to load the Scottish people -- to allow the Scottish


people to decide what to do with our share of that great national asset.


Harriet Harman joins the Scottish Labour Party at the national


conference. Ed Miliband hoping that the tide will turn in his favour. A


new twist in the Royal Mail story was delivered by the first Minister


this week. A promise to renationalise after independence,


quickly seized on by opponents. It is set to be the biggest


privatisation for more than 20 years. The UK government planning to


sell off part of its stake in the Royal Mail. It says it is about


giving the Royal Mail freedom to raise the money to invest in the


future. Critics say that the government is simply selling off and


asset to make money for the Treasury. The Royal Mail is now a


separate organisation from the post office with a duty to provide a


universal service to even the most remote corner of the country. The


cost of hosting a letter -- posting has to be the same, whether it is


being sent to the centre of London or an isolated island. What happens


if this goes ahead then Scotland votes for independence next year?


Alex Salmond made a clear declaration. An independent Scottish


government that I lead, but it will be the decision of the Scottish


people, with brown Royal Mail back into public ownership. -- would


bring. But would really nationalising the company be


feasible -- renationalising? How could it be cleanly split from the


rest of the business? Some analysts are sceptical. It will be such a


long and expensive process that even at we imagine from the one that it


is what they wanted to do, it would take five or six years at least to


do it. The complications, the procedure is, in tombs of


governmental procedures, that they would have to go through to get to


that stage. The valuation of assets, the negotiations. The future of a


privatised Royal Mail in an independent Scotland would not be


decided in negotiations between Edinburgh and London which would


follow the Yes vote. Any move to renationalise it with be a political


decision for an independent Scottish government, which, of course, may


not be an SNP government. It is a populist policy. Political mood


music. It is giving out a signal. The cost, the money, this will be


popular with voters. The privatisation of utilities in the


1980s were controversial at the time. Few in the mainstream and


would now argue they should be brought back into the hands of the


state. Well the argument over the Royal Mail go the same way?


We need to discuss the issue the Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and


Shetland, Alistair Carmichael, and GSM the business spokesperson, Mike


Weir. -- the SNP. A massive, uncosted promise. Possibly a blank


cheque. Was this up and pledge on and remark? A planned. I have made


no secret of the fact that I believe we should renationalise it if it is


privatised. But this should not go ahead at this stage. As an


independent Scotland we should be able to get our hands on our share


of the Royal Mail. The government have not said they are selling the


hole share of Royal Mail at the moment. They are starting the


process. But it could take quite a long time. In an independent


Scotland would it be fully renationalise? And how much would


that cost. We have made clear that we would renationalise Royal Mail,


an important economic asset of Scotland. Part of the economic


infrastructure and not to be treated as just another business. We have


made that clear. Until we see the structure we cannot be certain of


the cost. We have made no bones about that and being open and


truthful on that point. Alistair Carmichael, you must be pleased that


the SNP government promised to protect the postal service of your


constituents whilst you put it in jeopardy. We are doing no such


thing. We have put in place protections that will guarantee a


universal service across the whole of United Kingdom. You are seeing


the latest example of what is, from a political league point of view --


political point of view, tactically stupid from the SNP. They are seeing


what they think people want to see other in order to be better disposed


to independence. What makes Weir is proposing here, and this is an


important point, the Royal Mail offers the opportunity to send an


acre and the length of the United Kingdom. He is talking about


separating the Scottish postal service. Presumably we will end up


having separate stamps, different costs. At the end of the day he does


not know how much it will cost. I am interested to know how big your


postbag is in Lerwick about complaints about the possible


privatisation. Many people contact me with perfectly legitimate


concerns. I unable to tell them that when this goes through the regulator


will have the power to impose a levy on private operators currently in


will have the power to impose a levy competition with Royal Mail, who can


cherry pick the easy bets. If they are as a threat to universal service


cherry pick the easy bets. If they they can be made to hear the subsidy


which will guarantee we continue in daily service to every door in the


country. That is a meaningful protection. I want to go to make


Weir. You do not look happy. The independent review a few years ago


advocated the privatisation of the Royal Mail. Alistair is wrong. I


will not take a lecture from a liberal on this. They have abandoned


their pledges from before being in government. Universal service is not


safe. Ofcom will decide that. Anybody paying gas and electric els


will not be greatly reassured by the fact that is just a regulator. --


else. -- bills. Ofcom would look at changes in the universal service,


reduction, a compensation fund. That is not just the company, but the


users of the service. That means higher prices. If that was not


suitable they would put it out to tender. Does anybody really believe


that... This is blatant scaremongering. We see this all the


time. The reason you are feeling at today is because Alex Salmond has


shot from the hat. He has come up with something that will destroy a


universal service across the United Kingdom. That is what Scottish


people want. It just shows the weakness of the case for


independence. This Scottish people want the privatisation of the Royal


Mail? Let me finish. The first minister pointed out that only 90


plus -- 90% of Scottish MPs do not want privatisation. MSPs will bang


their desks behind Alex Salmond and the chamber. That is no surprise.


The people of Scotland want guarantees they can have a service,


six days a week, to the door, a uniform price. One of the threats to


that universal service is doing nothing. If you do nothing you leave


the Royal Mail exposed to competition from Li Na private


sector competitors. -- leaner. The Labour Party and now this. They


tried to do it in the last parliament. Taking steps that will


protect the service rather than obsessing about who owns the


provider. What does this possible threat to a private company to


renationalise, in a hypothetical situation, what does it mean to the


business friendly SNP? Would you renationalise other companies?


Alistair Carmichael has not read the legislation, or does not understand


it. The threat to universal service from this privatisation will not be


bound to keep this up in the long-term. As for the specific


question, Royal Mail has not been privatised yet, we could still stop


it. But hypothetically, if it is, it is a threat to renationalise private


companies. It is a commitment to keep a company that is currently in


public ownership in public ownership in an independent Scotland. The


point is, it has not been privatised yet. It is unlikely to be fully


privatised at the point of independence. We have a real chance


of stopping it. I want to move onto another issue. These Scottish


Government saying today that the Scottish pension age could be one


year award. Is this another extravagant claim? More details will


be available tomorrow but we have made clear that we are uncomfortable


with the rush to continually raise the retirement age. What we are


seeing as there should be a commission to look at this in more


detail. The different demographics and Scotland and we have a different


life expectancy. We need to look at this in more detail. We are not


going the same way as Westminster. It is up to 66 and perhaps 67 or


father. What is your reaction? It is perhaps a kind of vision people want


to see the different Scotland? If you are going to have that vision,


you have to tell people how much that will cost. Just as with any


other number of examples, this is another populist idea with no price


tag attached. It is all very well coming up with the wish list that


presents an independent Scotland as Candy Mountain, but at the end of


the day it will cost. They cannot tell you how much it'll cost than


that tells you all you to know. Thank you very much.


Last week it was the Lib Dems here in Glasgow, this week Labour have


their conference turn by the seaside in Brighton. Eyes are firmly fixed


on the main prize, victory at the 2015 general election, but Scottish


Labour are also buoying up their troops ahead of the referendum. The


whole thing kicked off with an important policy announcement.


Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman is swept off her feet dancing


to a Scottish tune. Delegates from across the UK joined Scottish


comrade in Brighton hoping for an upbeat conference designed to cement


Ed Miliband's authority. Accused this week of being any policy


vacuum, he has given a clear commitment to housing benefit


reforms. We are abolishing an unfair tax which is hurting tens of


thousands of people across Scotland and causing misery to disabled


people. We will pay for it by scrapping hedge fund tax breaks for


companies that George Osborne introduced. An announcement foretold


by the Scottish welfare spokeswoman last week. This will help the party


to steal the SNP's thunder. When it comes to the referendum, Ed Miliband


backs the suggestion of Douglas Alexander about a national


convention be held in the event of a no vote. F as I hope Scotland


remains part of the United Kingdom, it is good if people can get


together after the referendum to consider Scotland's future within


the United Kingdom. I think it is right to think about that again,


what future Scotland has and it is a good idea of Douglas Alexander has


suggested. Ed Miliband says things have moved on since Falkirk but the


issue of unions is still stormy. There has been a blast from the past


with the recent Expose of Labour's internal warfare during the Blair


Brown years. The party is now hoping for the revival in fortunes,


starting with the wind in next year's referendum.


Joining me now, live from the conference hall in Brighton - leader


of the Scottish Labour party, Johann Lamont. Thank you. The bedroom tax


announcement from Ed Miliband, is this a turning point? I am hoping it


is a turning point for the people of this country because we now see that


if we get a Labour government in 2015, they will scrap the bedroom


tax and it is a cost that proposal. That is not an issue of independent


spot of justice and the Scottish government could act now to mitigate


the bedroom tax. They have chosen not to do so because John Swinney


does not want to let Westminster off the hook. Vulnerable people in


Scotland have to suffer in case they cannot make the case for


independence. We have to deal with the real issues and in Scotland,


they are not concerned about that. Everything is concerned with the


referendum. Ed Miliband took a while to come to this decision. People


called it a malaise at the top of the leadership. They are hampered by


who are hampered by who are poor ratings and all the Damian McBride


revelations. Is he a good leader? Here's a good leader and a great


asset to Scotland and the United Kingdom because he is a man who


wants to talk about what has happened to families and


communities. He wants to talk about what is happening to our elderly


population and that is in stark contrast to an SNP Government who


want to talk about separating Scotland from the United Kingdom. My


policy is about addressing the real challenges families face and those


are Ed Miliband's politics as well. I want to pick up on another Ed


Miliband issue. He said when it comes to Falkirk, nobody can be


proud of what happened. The union have been cleared but do they do


something wrong or that they not? If we get the message to the people of


Scotland that we presume there are support and end up having a fight,


we do everyone a disservice. We have investigated Falkirk thoroughly and


will move to elect a candidate who will build up support and trust. We


have no place for entitlement and presumption. We have just been


having a discussion on Royal Mail privatisation and a lower pension


age. These are real promises that appeal to young people. A real


version, some people have been saying. Alex Salmond has written to


Ed Miliband asking him to match the pledge. Ed Miliband could call the


whole thing off by saying he would renationalise Royal Mail will stop


it is self-evident nonsense. We are appealing to Liberal Democrats to


act now to stop the privatisation and campaign to make sure it does


not happen. My uncle was a postman for 50 years and they know how


precious the universal obligation is to rule communities. For Alex


Salmond to say nobody can make the commitment on renationalisation, it


is a ploy to get him through the next year. He is pretending that


Lara not hard choices to be made and he does not have any credible that


lack any credibility. That is not treating people in Scotland with


respect but contempt. On Wednesday we are having the debate in the


Scottish Parliament and he made a very passionate speech in defence of


the union. Even some critics applauded you for that. What is


Labour's vision for Scotland? What can Labour offered to people? We


need to offer people a consideration of the real world. What I was seeing


on Wednesday is that Scotland stands strong and we share more than


divides. There are radical and progressive voices across the whole


of the United Kingdom that want to address these issues. I am keen to


strengthen devolution within the United Kingdom. The government is


using the Scottish Parliament to break up United Kingdom rather than


using devolution to protect people. The test that Alex Salmond applies


as what do I do to get myself past September 2014 and what we are


increasingly seeing is a man who will put his own obsession with


independence at head of the people of Scotland. When we talk about


powers it is for the purpose. You talk about these powers but as we


both know, they are growing calls for those powers to be made known to


the people of Scotland before the referendum. Are you clear that he


will set that out? Will you set them out before the referendum? We have a


prospectus for independence that cannot even tell us what currency we


will have. Some rational deep bait is required. The devolution


commission as an interim report and we are looking at the consequences


of the proposals. We will make clear to people in Scotland ahead of the


referendum what the proposals are. In implementing them, we have to


talk to one another. For too long it has been about dividing Scotland


from the United Kingdom. I want the organisation of powers to be about


how it affects or the organisation of powers to be about how it affects


ordinary families. How we make sure we have shared prosperity across the


United Kingdom and that vulnerable people are not the scapegoat. My


work is to bring politics and the real world together. The report


today is that you expect to win the referendum. The SNP are calling this


a blunder. Where does the confidence come from? From listening to people


across Scotland telling me they want to stay as part of the United


Kingdom. We are not complacent and we will redouble our efforts to talk


to people about their concerns. The real blunder is an SNP Government


who apply the brains of the civil service to an imagined world after


2014 rather than addressing problems now. They are doing nothing now


because they are complacent about what will happen next year. I am


confident the people of Scotland will embrace United Kingdom in


September 2014. Coming up after the news, we'll take


a look at the Week Ahead with our three pundits. You're watching


Sunday Politics Scotland from the BBC. With the time coming up to


midday, let's cross to Sally McNair for Reporting Scotland.


Good afternoon. The Labour leader Ed Miliband has said he believes the


pro-union parties are "winning" the referendum campaign and that Alex


Salmond has been "found wanting." Mr Miliband was addressing Scottish


delegates on the eve of the party's UK conference in Brighton. The


Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said she believed nationalism would


be defeated over the next 12 months. A woman's died after a collision


between a coach and a car towing a caravan near Inverness. The accident


happened yesterday afternoon on the A82 Inverness to Fort William road,


near Dunain. A 78-year-old passenger in the car died - the driver is in a


stable condition in Raigmore Hospital in Inverness. Police are


appealing for witnesses. Independence could mean people in


Scotland picking up their state pension earlier than those in the


rest of the UK. A Scottish Government paper to be published in


the coming week will set out that if there is a Yes vote in next year's


referendum, the Scottish Parliament will determine the state pension


age. Ministers say Scotland needs a distinctive system, taking account


of the fact that Scottish life expectancy is lower.


Now let's get the forecast with Judith.


The weather is actually looking very summary considering we are reaching


the end of September. Good spells of sunshine affecting eastern Scotland


and that will spread westwards through the course of the day.


Holding onto thick cloud in the North West and the rain clearing


from Orkney. Temperature is widely reaching 20 Celsius, possibly 23


across eastern Scotland. That's all for now, I'll be back with this


evening's bulletin. Thanks, Sally. Now in a moment, we'll be discussing


the big events coming up this week at Holyrood, but first, let's take a


look back at the Week in 60 seconds.Now


Billy Connelly is being treated for prostate cancer and symptoms of


Parkinson's. He says he will keep on working. One


year ahead of the referendum, MSPs debate the Scottish future holiday


route. The people of Scotland will claim that opportunity. Bill Walker


has been sentenced to one year in jail for domestic abuse.


What a racist comment! UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom has had the party whip


removed. Yes campaigners headed to


Edinburgh. Supporters marched through the city. The capital


city's kazoo is celebrating the birth of a baby koala.


Turning attention to the week ahead now. I am with the historian Michael


Fry, broadcaster, Katie Grant, and from the Labour conference, David


Torrance. Katie, the Royal Mail story. A lively discussion from our


guests this morning. Most people are just interested in how the mail will


be deliberate. -- delivered. We just want it to work. How it best works


as a bit of a mystery. What does this mean for business and an


independent Scotland? Businesses are more and more use private means of


conveying mail. Commercial junk and bills from various branches of


government, I am not very anxious for the Royal Mail to survive. I


much preferred my local supermarket delivering things to my door. The


Royal Mail has rather slipped out of my life and I would regret it if it


goes. For young people it sounds like something out of history. They


do not rely on it at all. Outdated? Off-the-cuff of preplanned? It is


certainly off-the-cuff. You could see that from the responses he did


to questions. But this could be a hostage to fortune. It is a very


different creature in Scotland than the rest of the UK. Predominantly


rural in terms of geography. The cost of delivering is much more


expensive. I would be interesting to see if the Scottish but is


profitable. Retire early with independence. That is on the front


page of the Scotland on Sunday. An interesting pledge. What is


interesting is that the SNP has resorted to bribes. This is a silly


bribe. We know that people are living longer and will have to work


longer. We cannot afford to keep the pensions age exactly where it is. I


do not see the point. This is unrealistic. An own goal. We have


talked about division on the programme today. Is this not what


people are looking for in a different type of Scotland? If the


SNP offers rights to the electorate, that makes it unique amongst


political parties in the world! Unheard-of! But it might just work


and help them win an election. What is the point that it cannot be


sustained? It was not a pledge. Just a review. At independence rests on


practical bribes it will not work. A different story from what we usually


your own pensions. -- what we usually see your. It is clear from


opinion polls and surveys that Scots as much as those in the list of the


UK are acutely aware that the economy is in difficulty. The


demographic picture on pensions, wealthier, so on, it will get worse,


not better. It is an attempt at a fightback by the SNP. They had a


rough ride over the last few months. They hope to regain some lost


ground. Talking about that, Labour trying to turn things around for Ed


Miliband. But surrounded by the Damian McBride revelations. He has


had a far more difficult ride than any other British politician over


the summer. We were talking once about labour being ahead and David


Cameron facing a severe problem. It has turned out exactly the opposite.


This week as a chance for Ed Miliband to seize the initiative


back again. It may determine his future. If he takes it back we can


look forward to a closely fought general election. If not, I think he


is finished. Make or break for him? I don't like that idea. It never is


make or break. But he just does not look like a credible leader. The


McBride stuff, it makes the party look like squabbles, it just does


not look good. And he is not a big enough personality to rise above


it. Also, the vision, we'll is he going? I can never understand what


he is for. What do people make the revelations. Do they believe Ed


Miliband get past them? It is the usual new Labour tittle tattle. Very


entertaining. But no killer blow. Nothing with a direct link to Ed


Miliband that could pose him real problems. People see it as an


irritation and distraction but nothing debilitating. Yesterday he


made a range of pledges in relation to the minimum wage, bedroom tax,


and so on. They thanked this week will go well. And it has to. He made


a good speech in Manchester last year introducing the one nation


theme, but no follow-through. No great plan of action. He needs that


this time of the next election is certainly lost. Can Johann Lamont


keep Labour in connection with the Scottish people? They have fallen


out of love with them at Holyrood. I struggle to see what Scottish Labour


are about. Other than negativity. We don't know what they will offer if


there is a note in the referendum. Just that they will offer something.


-- No. Can they reconnect? I think the party has completely lost its


way. It does not offer much. She's not charismatic enough to carry


things along without a real message. That is all from us this week. I


will return next week, until then, good afternoon.


Political magazine presented by Andrew Neil and Andrew Kerr.