29/09/2013 Sunday Politics Scotland


Andrew Kerr with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew Neil interviews Foreign Secretary William Hague and Labour's Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint.

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Maureen, folks. Welcome to the programme. David Cameron should out


his scheme to help house-buyers. Is he merely stoking a new house price


bubble? As the activists gather in Manchester for their party


conference, we will have the results of an exclusive survey of Tory


councillors. I will be speaking to William Hague. Ed Miliband has made


headlines with his pledge to freeze energy prices for 20 months but as


the new policy stack? Caroline Flint to intimate. -- joins me. And on


Sunday Politics Scotland: A plum slot for the Scottish Conservative


leader at conference - speaking before the PM. Do the Tories "get"


Scotland ahead of the referendum? With me are a trio of top political


commentators. All three will be With me are a trio of top political


tweeting their thoughts, or in some cases just their thought through the


show, using the hashtag #bbcsp. The Conservative Party conference gets


under way in Manchester this afternoon. We have already been


bombarded with a series of policy announcements, a tax break for


married couples of up to £200 per year, more money on life extending


cancer treatments and, last night, the news that the second stage of


the Chancellor's Help To Buy scheme will start next week. That is


brought forward from the start of next year. David Cameron says it is


all about helping hard-working people. Right now, you can't get,


it's very difficult to get, a 90% or 95% mortgage. That means a typical


family with two people earning 20,000, 25,000, they are being


asked, to buy an average house, they 20,000, 25,000, they are being


are being asked to find a £40,000 deposit. They can afford the


mortgage payment, but they can't get the mortgage. They can't buy their


flat or house. As Prime Minister, I'm not going to stand back while


people's aspirations to get on the housing ladder, to own their own


flat or home, is being trashed. That is why we need to act. A predictable


attempt by party leadership to kick-start the conference with


eye-catching policies. The polls show a big bounce for Ed Miliband


and the Labour Party, with decent numbers for UKIP. What do party


activists think about David Cameron's leadership and the


challenge posed by UKIP? Adam Fleming has been meeting Tory


councillors as they travel to their party conference.


For the Conservatives this weekend, all roads and trams lead to


Manchester for their party conference, and as a scene setter we


asked ComRes to survey councillors are Finland and Wales. Councillors


asked ComRes to survey councillors like Tom, packing for conference at


home in Wellingborough. Immigration is an issue for him. He thinks there


are pros and cons. But we found that 54% of his colleagues feel


immigration has had a negative impact on the UK. I think it


reflects into this wider issue of our relationship with Europe. People


are very concerned about the possible influx of ovarian and


Romania emigrants. Obviously the issue of Europe is very big. --


Ukrainian. His colleagues in Corby are worried about the rise of the UK


Independence Party. In our survey, nearly a quarter of Conservative


councillors thought that their party should make a pact with UKIP. The


concern is, yes, will they take votes away from ourselves in 2015?


If that happens, maybe we don't get back in. Maybe a partnership is the


way to go. It depends what they want and we want. But we should be


talking about them. A pact? Depends what they say, anything is possible.


What would you like to see? Ideally, from my point of view, a national


pact. David Cameron arrived in Manchester last night. Around the


same time as these activists from London. I broke the news to them


that in our survey just 26% of Tory councillors think that the prime


ministers in touch with the lives of ordinary people. The same at all


Conservatives, you don't judge people by their background. It's not


where they come from, it is where they are going to. It is not a


where they come from, it is where problem that he is a bit on the posh


side? Cull you might describe him like that, I would not use those


words. Explain your T-shirt, it is a phrase that a senior Cameron person


is alleged to have used about you? It is a humorous way of letting the


party now that we are here to say what we think. Members are


important. We are not going away any time soon. A sentiment you will hear


a lot at this conference, because just 22% of councillors in our


survey said that David Cameron was any good at listening to the people


that work hard for his party. That was Adam. Joining me now from the


Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Foreign Secretary


William Hague. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. Good morning. Over one in


five Tory councillors in our survey support a pact with UKIP at the next


election. Why do you think that is? If it is one in five, it means a


large majority did not want a pact with UKIP at the next election. They


have noticed that UKIP, in local elections, has been receiving votes,


some of which would otherwise have been for the Conservatives. I think


we have to make sure that people understand that at a general


election they are choosing between a Conservative and Labour Government,


as David Cameron as Prime Minister or Ed Miliband. If people want to


get a referendum on Europe, the only way to do that is to have David


Cameron as Prime Minister. I think a general election is different from


the local government perspective. It is pretty unusual, some might say


unprecedented, for a large chunk of one of the big parties in this


country to want to go into coalition one of the big parties in this


with a smaller party before an election. When has that ever


happened? Looking at your survey, three times as many didn't want to


do that. As ever, with a survey, with statistics, you can highlight


it whichever way around you want to. The point is, we are not having


pacts with other parties, electoral pacts with other parties. You rule


it out? That is not going to happen. What we do want is to have a pact


it out? That is not going to happen. with the voters, if you like, as we


have often done in the Conservative Party. We have won over the voters


of other parties to support our policies and Prime Minister. That is


important with those people that say they want to vote for UKIP. By


default, they would produce a Labour government in the exact opposite of


many of the things they intend, if they would otherwise vote


Conservative and decide to vote for UKIP instead in a general election.


That could help to produce a Labour government. The chairman of the 1922


committee, the elected voice of Conservative backbenchers, he says


your party should spell out what had once back from the European Union


before next year's European actions. Do you agree? We will be spelling


out some things in the European elections. I will be talking about


this later on today. For instance, about the need the UK and the


European treaties the concept of ever closer union, a concept that in


Britain we have never really believed in. We would like that to


be changed, with all of the consequences that would flow from


that. We will be setting out the examples and principles of the


changes we want to say. Certainly over the next year, not only before


the European actions but the general election, if you are saying, let


have the exact list of anything that we are going to be able to


negotiate, that is difficult because there will be a negotiation of a new


deal in Europe if David Cameron as Prime Minister after the next


election. To some extent, that has to be negotiated. Only 11% of your


own councillors feel that people in their area think that George Osborne


is in touch with ordinary people. Why is he seemed to be so aloof? It


is not for me to explain why people say what they say in surveys. The


important thing is what we are delivering for the country. What


George Osborne is delivering his renewed economic growth. 1.4 million


new jobs in the private sector, help for hard-working people, by reducing


the tax for 25 million of them. The Help To Buy scheme that we are


highlighting today. That is what really matters to people, actually,


I think you will find. Let's talk about helping ordinary people. Ed


Miliband is guilty freeze energy prices. What are you going to do


about energy prices, we already asked energy companies to put people


on their lowest tariffs. This has not been amended. -- implemented.


Why not? This is going to happen within this government. It is going


to happen within this government when the... Why hasn't it happened


now? People are suffering now from rising energy prices. It has not


happened because my colleagues have been implimenting it. In the case of


Ed Miliband's policy, if you are asking why it has not yet happened


under this Government, it didn't even survive a few our's scrutiny in


opposition. In a few hours he had to concede that if there was a big


change in oil prices then the policy would not work. The trouble is, it


would dry up some of the investment in the energy industry. I don't


think it is a credible promise. For a party that presided over council


tax bills doubling in the next government, -- last government, it's


not very credible. Why is George Osborne going against the European


Union to protect banker bonuses? Well, we don't want to see the


European treaties used in a way that they should not be used. It's not


necessarily over this particular issue. It is over the power that the


European Union has over our lives and over this country. Can the


bankers look after themselves? We should be able to decide those


bankers look after themselves? We things in our own country. We have


never signed up to such matters in European institutions. If you allow


one thing that wasn't meant to be decided to be decided, you find


one thing that wasn't meant to be there are another ten or 20 things


that affect many other people. We are very vigilant about what we call


competence creep, with the European Union taking more powers than it was


meant to have. That is one of the reasons why people do want a


referendum, do want a new deal in Europe. That is what we intend to


give them. Let's look at in competence creep. A big city


institution, ICAP, fined for fixing the LIBOR rates. The founder of that


company has donated £5 million to your party. Shouldn't you give it


back? Aren't you ashamed to accept that money? He has donated his own


money to the Conservative Party. Which he made out of ICAP. As people


have to other parties, people are free to do that and they should be


free to do that. I am not aware of any plan for that to be repaid.


Because you can't afford to. Let's recap this. We have seen Tory MPs


parrot propaganda lines from the energy companies this week. We have


the Chancellor going to court energy companies this week. We have


fight for unlimited banker bonuses. We have a top Tory donor the centre


fight for unlimited banker bonuses. of yet another city scandal. Ed


Miliband is right when he says you lot are on the side of the vested


interests so the rich and powerful, isn't he? Well, again, look at the


record. I just did! 1.4 million extra jobs in the private sector, 25


million people with a tax cut, a Help To Buy scheme which is going to


help so many people, particularly young people have the house that


they need and deserve for the future. Council tax bills held down,


welfare reform so that it pays to work. Actually, this is a government


achieving things for hard-working people and that will be highlighted


to this conference. While President Laugharne he's


talking about peace, the Iranians are speeding up their nuclear


weapons programme. -- is talking. It would be hard to say from week


to week whether it is speeding up or slowing down but they are


continuing with it. That is why we say the new message - the new words


- from Iranian leadership are very welcome. I said that to the Foreign


Minister in New York over the last few days but it is the actions that


will count. At the moment, the nuclear programme continues. We


have agreed to commence negotiations on that and that will


be a very important test as to whether actions will match the


words. When will we know it if we are being strung along? He has


strung as a long in the past as a nuclear weapons negotiator. When


will we know if he is not just doing that again? Over the next few


weeks, it will be a very important time. He has said there should be


more transparency over the Iranian nuclear programme. It is not


transparent in many regards at the moment. The atomic agency is asking


for information that is not being given. One test is, in the coming


weeks, will they give more information? The information that


the international of authority is asking for about their nuclear


programme. We will be able to form a view of this in the coming weeks


or months. It is important we test their new willingness to talk to us


and negotiate with us. It is important to find out whether they


are serious about it. You are asking, is the nuclear programme


really continuing? Are they really going to be realistic about


negotiations and offer something they have not offer before?


Speaking of being strung along, what sanctions would President


Assad face if, in six months - the Year, Syria still has a chemical


weapons arsenal. In the resolution we voted through the UN Security


Council on Friday night, is the commitment that the Security


Council will take measures under Chapter seven of the UN Charter in


the event of non-compliance. Does that allow full force? I did not


catch that. Does that allow for force? It is similar to the


Security Council resolution about Iraq, which most people concluded


in not allow full force. It does not specify that. It talks about


terms seven of the charter. That is a message of the whole UN Security


Council that there will be measures - there will be consequences - if


the Assad regime does not comply. Russia has a lot riding on this. It


has a big commitment. I have spent a lot of time at my Russian


counterpart over the last week. Russia has said, this is something


you will have to do. We will work with Russia and others very closely


to check there is compliance will this resolution. Given the progress


that has been made, you must be very glad that the British House of


Commons stopped your rash to force against Syria. -- rush. The reason


Commons stopped your rash to force has happened is because there was a


credible threat of military action. President Obama did not get it


through Congress. They have not had the vote in Congress. There is no


other explanation as to why the policy changed. It was because


there was a debate about military action in the West that the policy


changed on theirs. That is why it changed. We were not in a rush for


military action. The boat put to the House of Commons was to have


another Aotearoa after the inspectors reported. It was before


we got to that point that the inspectors reported. It was before


Russian and Syrian policy changed. We need to make sure that works in


practice. Thank you. What do you make about this rushing forward


with the help to buy scheme which was meant to start next year -


coming forward mad to the next couple of weeks? I think it is a


terrible policy. The Treasury Select Committee, Perez a


fundamental problem with the Government having an interest in


mortgage lending. -- there is a fundamental problem. It should have


been set much lower to exclude London and the South East where


houses are dramatically overvalued. Many economists think freezing


energy prices is a terrible policy. These policies can be popular. If


you have no chance of getting a deposit, the Government will make


that possible because it will guarantee a big chunk of the


deposit. Do not forget George Osborne tried every single lever.


It looked like he could not do anything to get the economy moving.


It is moving. They have pulled it forward and there are signs it is


recovering. The reason why they are doing this is they want to show


this week at the conference there are real sort of understandable


issues you can explain very simply that really up going to improve


people's lives. The Conservatives were slightly spooked by Ed


Miliband's speech last week. The language used by David Cameron this


morning was that the tax policy was nuts. Much more cautious and --


language about the energy price freeze. They are nervous that Ed


Miliband may be touching a nerve on that one. What we will get this


week, I suggest, his Tory populism to counter Miliband populism. I


week, I suggest, his Tory populism think we will see that and it will


be a mistake. As long as it is think we will see that and it will


about The Picture, they are on relatively strong ground. When the


political conversation changes to more fiddly things, particularities


of energy prices or living standards, things that are some way


below that picture, I do not think they can win a bidding war with the


Labour Party. It is about borrowing against a party that stands for the


rectitude at a macro economic against a party that stands for the


It is about getting the conversation back to where


It is about getting the before the Labour conference, which


is unemployment, GDP growth and the warming economic picture. That does


not pay energy bills. Does not sound that the Tories have anything


not pay energy bills. Does not to counter the price freeze. -- it


does not sound. They have had a week to think about a great attack


line and they do not add anything. They have just said, the lights


will go out. Now they're saying, it will not


the credibility test. Ed Miliband said, if there were a big spike in


energy prices, he would not be able to keep his freeze in those


circumstances. to keep his freeze in those


credibility test. It to keep his freeze in those


politically acute announcement but it is about credibility. Being seen


as serious and grown-up is worth it is about credibility. Being seen


more than any burst of popularity. My worry about the announcement is


more than any burst of popularity. with the election campaign, it


begins to lose credibility, begins to seem a banana republic. It looks


a lot less wise than it did last week. I disagree. Every time energy


bills go up and they will continue to go up, it will be a reminder of


how much people are being hit in the pockets. People know by energy


prices are going up. There is a structural change in the world that


was not there before - China and India. These energy companies may


be making huge profit but, at the end of the day, what is driving up


the cost of fuel is China and India. Ed Miliband, great man that he is,


I am not sure he can take on the people Sammir on that one. How dare


you! -- the People's Army. Ed Miliband came out fighting at


Labour's Conference in Brighton last week. Dogged by criticism over


the summer of his leadership style and lack of policies, Mr Miliband


tried to demonstrate his strength of character with a series of bold


announcements, and attempted to position himself on the side of


ordinary Brits. The Labour leader told party members he would stand


up to the strong and take on the vested interests that hold back our


up to the strong and take on the economy. In a speech in which he


jokingly referred to himself as an action hero, Mr Miliband promised


to switch the forthcoming business action hero, Mr Miliband promised


tax cut from large firms to smaller businesses. He said he would force


big firms to train at an apprentice every time they bring in a worker


from outside the EU. He hinted that increasing the minimum wage would


be increased. He bowed to take on developers with a use it or lose it


threat to landowners and pledged to build 200,000 homes each year by


threat to landowners and pledged to 2020. He promised to freeze energy


prices and reset the energy market. The next Labour government will


freeze gas and electricity prices until the start of 2017. That


freeze gas and electricity prices provoked a rash of headlines -


hailing the return of red Ed macro. It has also given him a spike in


the polls. And Labour's Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint


joins me now for the Sunday Interview.


Ed Miliband says, our energy market is broken and does not work. In


what way is that market to date different from the one Labour left


behind in 2010? We have six companies that dominate the energy


sector. It is the same. They generate energy, and sell it on to


us. What we recognise and Ed Miliband recognised when he was


Secretary of State and asked for more information from the company


Secretary of State and asked for is on hold serve costs and profits,


all the things we have done to mitigate against that in terms of a


warm front programme and everything else has not dealt with the


fundamental problem that the Horsell market is too secretive and


it is too much about such supply. - - the wholesale market. We have


been raising with the Government in a co-operative way the argument for


resetting the market. It has got worse in terms of speed at which


prices have gone up. Labour put wholesale and retail together. It


was the start this dates back to Margaret Thatcher and the


privatisation. We took some reforms to reset the market. We have


realised it was not working and it was broken and we need to reset it.


Ed Miliband will be the first to say we did not do enough from 2005


onwards. Let's have a look at what happened to energy prices under the


Labour government. Electricity up 67%, gas up 139%. Overall prices up


by 48%. The market was broken and the Government as well. From 2005,


we saw prices biking as wholesale prices went up. The tick action on


the one Front programme, decent homes for social housing. -- we


took action on per warm front programme. Trying to do things


around social obligations needs to be looked at. Gas and electricity


bills are high partially as a consequence of the market you


presided over but as a consequence of Labour policy. Beds have a look


at the breakdown of dual fuel - gas and electricity bill. -- let's have


a look. The supply costs of getting it to us and so on. The policies


that were introduced by your government - Green levies - are


adding almost 10% to has told energy bills. £112 on average bill


of 1188. You have put the bill up. Eight -- social and green


obligations amount to £112. That helps the poorest insulate homes.


Overwhelmingly, looking at your graph and the figures I have,


wholesale costs are worth more than half. What we have seen, based on


figures we now have, in Eni macro, a wholesale costs fell by 39% and


that was not reflected in our bills. Do you have plans to do anything


about the £112? If you took that off, you could cut bills by 10%


tomorrow. Or if you were in power. It is important that restimulate


the opportunity to grow clean energy. It -- we stimulate. If we


do not have clean energy, we will be beholden for ever-more to fossil


do not have clean energy, we will fuels that are depleting. It will


create jobs and bring in investment will start in the last few years,


we have seen investment in renewable energy half. -- in


investment. If I could go back to competition in the markets,


whatever advance there are, looking at whether the money raised through


energy companies to deliver energy efficiency, is that doing as well


as it might? Could it be better delivered by another agency? They


are fair questions. We need to get ahead of that and look at the


market. Can we make the market will competitive make sure when there is


downward pressure on wholesale prices, that is reflected on our


bills? That is the bigger picture argument. Also the freeze to help


people during that period. As you complain about the energy


prices, it was as a result of your actions. Ed Miliband introduced the


climate change act. He admitted prices would have to rise to pay for


decarbonisation. He said, we are prices would have to rise to pay for


going to minimise the costs as much as possible, but it is true there is


not a low-cost energy future out there. It is important that we


address the pressures on bills, but also recognise that if we are going


to build a better future where we can have more home-grown British


energy and, in the long-term, cheaper, we need to invest in


renewables. Truth is it is about the market. I acknowledge I acknowledge


eyes what you say about the 112. I am not going to disagree. But


wholesale prices have fallen. They fell in 2009, we got a reduction in


bills of 5%. Which are saying that the big companies are overcharging


customers. We are seeing profits going up, but we haven't seen the


amount of investment suggested by going up, but we haven't seen the


those profits coming through. But that £125 is going to get worse,


because your leader said in his speech in Brighton that Labour will


have a world leading commitment in Government to take out all carbon


from energy generation by 2030. That is not that far away. By 2030, no


more coal generation, no more gas generation, only much more expensive


nuclear and much more expensive renewables. It cannot be done


without bills going up even further? Hang on a second. The 2030 target to


remove carbon from the electricity supply, we have said we


your commitment is to get rid of all carbon from power generation by


2013. Only electricity. So you still have gas? We will need gas for


decades to come. We will still need gas the decades to come, we are only


talking about electricity supply. You will be increasingly dependent


on expensive nuclear, EDF are currently demanding the double of


the market price, and renewables which are four times the market


price, our bills are going up under your policies. And the Coalition 's


policies, too. On the clear, we did take a decision that we needed to


revitalise our nuclear power sector help us meet our targets in terms of


clean energy and make sure it could do the heavy lifting. Totally agree.


The government at the present time are engaged in discussions with EDF


about what the price should be, I don't know what that's going to be.


It's important that stands up to scrutiny in terms of value for


money. But I go back to our market reforms. We won't just have a


contract the difference for nuclear, we will have it for renewables as


well. That makes it even more important that we have a transparent


markets in which energy is bought and sold so we can have a riposte


reference price in which those issues can be judged against. --


robust. Michael Gove recognised at the other night that the market


wasn't working, the Daily Telegraph use the term cosy cartel, and we


have former advisers to David Cameron and former ministers saying


something needs to be done and I'm surprised David Cameron doesn't


acknowledge that. You are going to freeze prices for 20 months and then


you will, with a new regulator. Will that regulator have the power to


control gas and electricity prices? What the regulator will have existed


at a rate responsibility to monitor the wholesale cost will get doesn't


have. -- statutory responsibility. As result, it will have the power


that if the wholesale prices fall, it can force the energy companies,


if they don't pass on reductions in bills, but it will not have what we


see in some parts of the EU, in 15 countries, they have a variety of


price controls which at things below inflation and what have you. In


France, Spain, Italy. It won't do that, because we are looking at a


temporary price freeze to reflect the reduction in wholesale prices in


the last few years to give the British public some respite from


ever climbing bills while we get our reforms, because of the end double


this, what we want is a competitive market that is more transparent. But


we do believe it is right that we need a regulator that has much more


of a role in making sure that market is working effectively. Are you


accusing the energy companies of profiteering? I am accusing them of


overcharging, yes, of overcharging, of not passing on wholesale


reduction in costs to their customers. I am accusing the


companies of making profits in a way which undermines the consumer.


Because I do believe that the level of profits that they have passed on


to their shareholders is high compared to the reductions they


could have provided the consumers. Let's look at the evidence. In the


last fiscal year, they made combined earnings of £4 billion.


Where in these figures is the profiteering? My figures, their


reporting to the regulator and to work done by other organisations,


show that in Centrica 's case, they have something like an eight button


to return on profit margins on the retail side, that goes up to


something like 24% on their generation side. They have passed


on, in terms of their profits, something like 74% through dividends


to their shareholders... But they're just invested £3 billion! I am just


reporting the information that has been passed on to the regulator. But


they have never accused them of profiteering. I have... Can I do is


finish my point. It is acknowledged that across the sector, across the


big six, something like 60% of the profits have gone over to


shareholders as dividends, in the guise of Centrica, it is 74%. In


that example, even though they have their highest profit margins, they


have invested the least. So I think it is fair to question... None of us


really know what the true price of energy is and that is why our policy


to reform is necessary. Finally, if they continue putting prices up,


even after your price freeze, if they don't invest in the way they


do, do you rule out wholesale nationalisation? Absolutely, I want


a more competitive market and that is why we are resetting


Good morning and welcome to Sunday Politics Scotland. Coming up:


"Better Together" or Better Apart? We've heard from Yes Scotland, now


it's the turn of the pro-union campaign as both sides tussle over


who will debate with whom. I think I will keep my eyes set on the Prime


Minister, on the organ grinder, in this particular campaign. You could


hardly do it with somebody who has no control over these issues. Nice


try, but no one is going to fall for it. We'll put that to the leader of


the "Better Together" campaign, Alistair Darling. And a prime slot


for the Conservative leader Ruth Davidson at the party's conference


in Manchester - do the Tories now "get" Scotland? Two weeks ago we


heard from the First Minister as the one year countdown started to the


referendum. With 353 days to go now, we'll talk to his main opponent. But


the two men won't speak to each other as the argument rages about a


TV debate showdown. With that issue and more, here's Steven Godden with


his "capital look" at ""Better Together"". Take a stroll through


the centre of Edinburgh and almost everywhere you turn, there is an


unmistakable landmark, but the political climate, what you see is


great piles of and mortar, and it depends on your own perspective.


Take the castle. An early stronghold of Scottish kings, today it


generates millions as a tourist attraction, but the centuries it has


also been home to British army soldiers, assemble, ""Better


Together"" supporters say, of the protection and security offered by


the union. The big banking institutions were at the centre of


the recent financial collapse, but supporters of the union would argue


it is -- its interconnectedness helped people whether the storm and


it would do again if necessary. With the year to go milestone having


passed by with much fanfare, campaigners are taking their message


to the doorsteps in a bid to hammer it home. The main message we have


seen from "Better Together" is it has the rest of both worlds, at the


moment this is not a debate between Scotland and the rest of the UK, it


moment this is not a debate between is a bait here about the best future


for Scotland and from our point of view, we have the best of both


worlds, we can take decisions here in Scotland but we are part of a


whole, a community of nations across these islands will stop stop.


Supporters of independence have a different perspective. According to


them, Scotland is being led down a dark path that plays on a fear of


the unknown, the accusation is that the "Better Together" campaign are


attempting to scare voters by suggesting that in an independent


Scotland, a fright looks round every corner. Accused of being short on


answers, yes Scotland say the upcoming paper will flesh out the


campaign for independence insisting project fear, as it has been dubbed,


is destined to fail. The important thing is, get the government you


vote for in Scotland, we don't often get that. Set the agenda, take part


in democracy, and let's make your community and your country what you


want it to be. I think that's the bonus that people are tapping into.


As for the debate itself, something of an awkward triangle has emerged.


Alistair Darling, the leader of the better campaign in pain, wants to


debate with Alex Salmond, who says he's not interested, and he says he


wants to debate with the organ grinder, David Cameron. This week,


David Cameron has written to Alex Salmond says he won't face him and


he should face Alistair Darling instead. One of those questions that


need to be answered ahead of the big Western next September.


I'm now joined live from Edinburgh by the former Labour Chancellor and


leader of the "Better Together" campaign, Alistair Darling. Thanks


for joining us. First, let's look at this TV debate issue. The Prime


Minister, reiterating that he wouldn't debate with Alex Salmond


and it was up to you to debate with him. But Alex Salmond says David


Cameron is in an impossible position. He is willing to step in


and take part in the debate but not actually debate the issue itself. We


know what Alex Salmond is up to here, he wants to make this a


contest between Scotland against England. People aren't going to fall


for that. This is a debate we need to have within Scotland is to the


future of our country. Where do we stand, where do we go from here?


When Sami people get their information from television, it


would be a huge mistake not to have a debate between those of us who


live in Scotland, who have about on this referendum, as to the key


issues, whether it is Europe, pensions, we saw bogus claims being


made this week, all in relation to the currency of the future of our


country. Alex Salmond 's problem is not David Cameron, it is that he is


failing to convince the people of Scotland, it is an argument he needs


to have within Scotland not outside. But who do you percent apart from


the voters of Edinburgh South West? I am part of a campaign seeking to


persuade people that we are stronger together as part of the UK. In this


campaign there will be two opposing sides, "Better Together" against the


SNP side. It is up to each of us to decide who we put forward but I can


see what Alex Salmond is up to, he wants to make it at contest between


Scotland and England, he wants to create divisions where there


shouldn't be. Rather than continuing this silly posturing, he would be


better to knuckle down join with us, speak to the broadcasters and see


what we can arrange. Instead of calling it posturing that you not


think it is natural progression from the two men signing the Edinburgh


agreement? David Cameron has made clear that he regards this as being


a matter of the people living in Scotland who are going to vote in


the referendum next year. He has said it is up to the people of


Scotland. Alex Salmond is saying he does not want to debate with the


people of Scotland, he wants to debate with someone else. David


Cameron has said he's not going to debate, so why doesn't he accept


that, we should start dealing with issues that matter, like pensions.


When you have Nicola Sturgeon saying that somehow we can retire earlier


and it was affordable, but then admitted that she had no idea what


the cost was, or when we discovered that Scottish schemes would have to


be fully funded, this is one issue which the Scottish people deserve to


have debated so that people can actually understand the risks, they


can understand what the Nationalists are offering. If the pensions is


anything to go by, it will be an act of fiction. With Alex Salmond saying


he wanted to debate with the organ grinder, what does that make you? Do


you find that offensive? Know, if you have no Alex Salmond for long


enough, these things run off your back. -- if you have known him. I am


not bothered about name-calling. The people of Scotland, there is every


chance that if this remains as a political spat that people will turn


off. None of us can afford that. This is the biggest issue affecting


people living in Scotland, within 300 years. We deserve better than


political posturing. What we are entitled to is a proper debate where


we can look at the facts and reach a decision in a grown-up way, that is


what I will pursue. We are looking at the one-year countdown, two weeks


on from that, how significant is the one-year countdown for your


campaign? The campaign will gather pace between now and next September,


I have already said on numerous occasions, it's a ludicrously long


campaign but that was Alex Salmond 's decision. What we need to do


between now and then is look at the things that will matter in deciding


whether or not we want to become independent, look at things like


what currency we will use. If there isn't a currency union, what does


that mean for Scotland? I mentioned pensions. You can't have a debate


that depends upon all these claims being made, which falls apart


whenever experts look at them. In issues like Europe, defence, these


are the issues people want to see discussed, they want to consider the


facts before it comes to a decision. We will continue to make a positive


case for being part of the UK, we will also not be put off challenging


some of the lead Chris claims being made by the Nationalists which we


have seen fall apart. The King at the polls, do you sometimes think it


will be fine, do you think you are in danger of being complacent? --


looking at the polls. The don't knows could play a big part in the


campaign. I have been around long enough to know that opinion polls


are all very well. There are a lot of people who have to make their


minds up, people can shift either wager in the course of what is a


very long campaign. This campaign won't be finished until the polls


close in September next year. It is better to be ahead and behind, let's


not kid ourselves, but there is an awful lot of uncertainty around and


all the more reason why people in Scotland are entitled to have a


grown-up debate on television and the other media so they can discuss


these issues. The things that will affect their job prospects, their


security in their old age and what is looking best for Scotland as a


whole. A lot of that could be resolved with the publication of a


white paper coming out in November. I know you are ready and waiting to


pounce on currency, pensions, debt. Do you think this mega C -- negative


response could backfire on "Better Together"? Every time I'd do


interviews like this I make the Together"? Every time I'd do


point that there is a positive case for remaining part of the UK in


terms of the opportunities that come for our people, as well as the fact


we can share risks. You mentioned the collapse of the banks five years


ago, which I couldn't have done if I was just crying on a Scottish


Treasury, it wouldn't have been big enough. There is our influence on


the EU and the cultural and emotional ties between the countries


of the United Kingdom. But in Russian to this white paper, I am


seriously concerned, as a result of what we saw, that the Scottish


Government is producing statistics which are highly dubious and dodgy.


Frankly, I expect better and there is a real risk that the civil


service, who will serve fearlessly...


We have spoken about pensions but I want you to pick up on the point


about the scaremongering. I know Better Together they scaremongering


Bingle but this has been a fairly negative campaign so far. Let me


finish. What is the real positive case for the union? What is the


positive case for remaining in the United Kingdom? I will give you two


examples of what you call negativity. We asked where the legal


opinion was that nothing would change as far as Europe concerned.


There never was a legal opinion. You may say that is negative, I think a


public service was done there in exposing that claim for what it


was. Secondly, I will mention pensions again. You cannot go around


saying, don't worry, we will pay you more pensions... You have mentioned


pensions several times. I have. What is the positive case for Britain?


Let me finish this. What I am saying is that women people make claims


that don't stand up, you call it negative asking about them but I


think people deserve to know. -- I am saying that when people make


claims. If you look at the big economic case, for jobs and


prospects, you have a market of 60 million people, not 5 million. If


you take away our universities, some are world-class, they have access to


UK research funds which would not have. If you look at the vast


resources the images can draw on because whilst it might be


administered separately it is part of one that stretches across the


United Kingdom. Also, it is not just the opportunities which we depend


upon to get jobs but the risk-sharing. The fact that we have


an ageing population that is spread across the shoulders of 60 million,


not 5 million. We have huge benefits from being able to share those risks


if something goes wrong, as we have seen in the banking crisis. I have


mentioned, there are very many powerful cases. We have one of the


oldest economic, social and political unions and it works


because there are strong ties and bonds between the two others. You


asked for the positive case, there it is. I want one final point.


Results this week revealed only 80% of people here think they are


Scottish and British. That was quite a surprising result and perhaps bad


news for your campaign. You may consider yourself to be Scottish and


are now less Scottish than believing -- for believing we are better as


part of the United Kingdom. This was a snapshot in 2011. You're talking


about Paul's earlier, it is very interesting. I believe we can


convince the majority of people that there is a strong and -- strong case


for being Better Together as part of the United Kingdom. We will continue


to do so and ask hard questions. Alistair Darling, thank you very


much. The north-west of England is hosting


this year's UK Conservative party conference. Thousands of Tories from


across Britain are heading to Manchester and many from Scotland


are heading south too. The party appears to be taking the referendum


seriously, with Ruth Davidson being granted an absolutely plum slot this


year. The PM arrived in Manchester


yesterday evening. At this stage, David Cameron needs to start putting


the trips an election footing for 2015. -- the troops. The Tories have


a good news story to tell the economy as looks like there is


turning. Labour perhaps have their own positive tale with a plan to


freeze energy prices. It comes across as being on the side of the


people. While the Conservatives might be regarded as a little


distant. The Tories will want to ensure they side with ordinary folk.


There is also a very clear message to voters in Scotland. All the facts


and figures stack up for the UK but I want to say very clearly that we


want you to say. We think that the United Kingdom is better off with


Scotland insider, not just dropped on being better off. He was the man


who enabled the referendum to happen. Although Mister Cameron


doesn't want to be the Prime Minister who lets Scotland leave the


UK on his watch. The Tories are hypersensitive to the needs of


Scotland. The Strathclyde omission is looking at more powers for


Holyrood. To be clear, the menu of what is on offer will be made after


the referendum. All the party leaders, conservative, Liberal


Democrat, leader, -- labour, have all said that there is an open


discussion and debate about what powers can be devolved, how we get


into an even better shape. Let's have that debate after discovering


whether Scotland wants to stay or go. Ruth Davidson is the woman


leading the party's charge in Scotland. The Tories claim they have


been revitalised by the referendum campaign. A commitment to the fight


ahead is evident from where they have decided to place her speech,


right before the PM's Before we came on-air this morning, I caught up


with the Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson before she


headed to conference. I began by asking her if the Tories


now "got" Scotland. First of all, I don't accept the premise of your


question. I am passionate about Scotland and the Conservatives that


I know are passionate about Scotland and the United Kingdom. We have said


that we want to take a full part in the campaign going forward. We are


the most committed on the union side of any of the three men parties, as


polling has shown. -- three main parties. We strongly believe that


Scotland's best days are ahead of it, as part of the United Kingdom.


Will then not BACs of unknown faces in the crowd? Not many Scottish


Tories. On the contrary. We'll take a big contingent. If you're talking


it elected Westminster MPs then we would like have more but our MSP


group will be down. Over 100 councillors across Scotland, an


activist based and over 1000 people have said that while they are not


members of the Conservative party, they want to stand and fight with us


on this issue. A big issue to Margaret Thatcher at the


conference. If Scotland finally getting over her, do you think? Are


you finally put in her memory to rest to help revitalise your party?


If you are talking about Margaret Thatcher's popularity, good to


remember that her general election in 1979 when she recorded a double


the votes that Alex Salmond got in 2010 or 2011. She had a residence in


Scotland but was very rising. Not just in Scotland but right across


the UK. While there were many people that think, in fact, she has been


voted Scotland's best and worst peacetime feminist by Scots. She


does polarise. Not just by the contribution that she made, not just


across the UK, but in terms of fighting the cold war, fighting for


freedom. -- peacetime Prime Minister. It is right and proper


that at the Conservative party conference, that we recognise her


achievements. You are writing in one of the Sunday newspapers about the


changing Conservative party. I have the toxic legacy, as many people


have been putting it, is now over. -- perhaps the toxic legacy. I never


called at that. Do you think you are now trying to get over that, to


refresh the party? Are you trying to put that images? We are working hard


in Scotland. After 1997, when we lost all of our MPs at Westminster,


it was very difficult for the party, it was hard for us not to be trendy


little bit and we perhaps did. We perhaps spent too long talking to


ourselves and are not different people across the country. I am


trying to change that. Working very hard to bring forward policies,


bring forward people to generate policies that matter to them,


perhaps not Conservatives. We are also changing the face of the


Scottish Conservative party. We are attracting a large number of younger


people, people in the 18-25 age group in our second best voting


group. We are seeing a new generation of conservatives become


elected. More than one third of our councillors in the 2012 election


have never stood before, many in their 20s and 30s. We have a good


young candidate at the more or less. You will see changes in the future.


Lots of changes on the face of it but do you think it could still be


regarded as the nasty party? In a new book, serialised in the Sunday


Telegraph, David Cameron is quoted as talking about Same Sex Marriage


Bill "if I had known what it was going to be like, I would not have


done it. " Does that suggest that is the real face of the Conservative


party question why absolutely not. I have had on relations with the prime


ministers and he is 100% committed to Same Sex Marriage Bill stop he


believes that love is love and commitment is commitment and that


the time is right for people who love each other and are committed to


have that recognised by the state and not have the Government tell


them that their love is less valid than other people. He feels


incredibly strongly about that and so dry. But Ed Miliband stole a real


market on the Conservative party with his promise to freeze energy


prices if he becomes PM. What can the Conservatives do? It looks like


you are on the side of a vested interest and not of ordinary people.


First of all, I think it was a headline grabber from Ed Miliband, I


will give you that, but it started to fall apart is that as he said it.


Not with ordinary people. Your own commentators have said so. If you're


looking at how to be on the side of ordinary people, look at what we


inherited and what a Conservative government has done. 1.4 million new


private-sector jobs. 25 million people having their taxation cut.


2.4 million taken out of tax altogether. That matters, not just


because of the numbers but, because it is the best way to improve


people's life chances, prosperity and opportunity, to make sure that


they get a job and work. That those jobs are there and that they get to


take, keep more of that money and run pocket. So this is the fight for


more of -- for the 2015 election Mister Mark when it comes to the


referendum, yours seem at the conference is why Britain is put


together. Looking at the Scottish census result when most people see


themselves as Scottish and not British, that is not good for the


Conservatives, is it? I do not recognise how you have got from one


to another because I feel Scottish, I would always say that I am


Scottish first and British after. But that does not mean that I did


not want to remain part of the United Kingdom. I think that is true


for a number of Scots and if we are... And you are using research


there, if you're looking at boat across the country, consistently, a


number of Scots say they feel the same. There are 11 months to go


until the referendum and we will fight for every vote. We will show


why we are better off financially, have more stability, safer, but the


opportunities that we have going forward are standing with our


friends and neighbours in the other home countries. Let's look at what


might be an offer after the referendum if there is a no sold.


The Strathclyde commission will vote back. Will you give the Scottish


people a real genuine offer about what might be available. -- if there


is the no vote. What we have said and have been perfectly transparent


from the beginning, we have asked Lord Strathclyde to go away with


experts, real leaders in their field, not just in politics and how


Westminster and Holyrood works, not just constitutional law, not just


economics at business people and the sort of people for whom it is


important that you have the constitutional right but it is what


you do with it that counts. How do we make life better for ordinary


Scots? How do we have devolution improve the life chances and job


prospects of Scots? The only restriction is that I have given a


Strathclyde commission and panel of experts is that they have to come


back a good time before the referendum so that the people of


Scotland can see what they come up referendum so that the people of


with. I am not going to prejudge what the come back with something


and I have not put any restrictions on what they look at. They can look


at any of policy that they so wish that that will return back before


the referendum so that people can see what is on the table.


You're watching Sunday Politics Scotland from the BBC and the time


is just after midday. In a moment, we'll be taking a look at the Week


Ahead with our guests of the day - the blogger Kate Higgins and Richard


Sullivan, Chair of the Glasgow Conservative Association. But first,


let's cross to Graham Stewart for Reporting Scotland.


Good afternoon. The flu vaccine is being offered for


the first time to every child in Scotland, in the form of a nasal


spray. It's part of the country's largest ever immunisation programme,


which has been launched by First Minister Alex Salmond, who received


the vaccine in a surgery in Aberdeenshire. A fifth of the


Scottish population will be offered a free flu vaccine, including people


aged over 65 and those with conditions that put them at greater


risk. The First Minister is urging eligible Scots to get protected


before the winter. A climber has died in Wester Ross.


Around 1:45pm yesterday, the emergency services were called to a


man who had collapsed in the Beinn Dearg hills. Attempts to revive him


failed and he died. Next of kin are being informed.


Now for a look at today's weather. A cracking afternoon of weather


across the country, including those areas that had cloud and rain


yesterday. Much better. There will be a bit of a breeze from the south


east and certainly across eastern parts, more cloud. In that sunshine


in the West, feeling warm. Even for the Northern Isles, after a damp,


cloudy morning, improving the dry and bright conditions. Staying dry


and settled into the season. That is the forecast for now.


That is all for now. Thanks Graham. Now in a moment,


we'll be discussing the big events coming up this week at Holyrood, but


first, seven names will be in the election


to replace the former MP. The Scottish and UK governments were set


to agree an early decision. The two governments should strike a deal


before Christmas. Supporters were clear about the consequences. MSPs


at Holyrood discuss controversial plans to scrap the need for evidence


to be backed up uncorroborated income rated court cases. Nearly two


thirds of people in Scotland identify themselves as Scottish


only, according to results from the latest census. It was the first


survey to include a question on national identity. And a new shared


equity scheme designed to help people get onto and up the housing


ladder was unveiled by the Scottish Government. They said the scheme


could be a game changing initiative for the industry. Now let's look at


the big stories of the week and what's in store for the week ahead.


Joining me now is the Burdz Eye View blogger Kate Higgins and Chairman of


the Glasgow Conservative Association, Richard Sullivan.


Thanks to joining me. First, let's look at it together. The Alistair


Darling interview, this arguing going on about who will debate with


whom, what do you make of what he had to say? Let's set out people 's


rentals. A list that Darling is effectively a backbench opposition


MP with too much time on his hand. Alex Salmond is the Democrat can the


elected First Minister of Scotland. There is an issue about parity and


respect. David Cameron is his equivalent in the UK in terms of


being elected Prime Minister. There is no doubt that the debate should


be between the two democratically elected leaders of Scotland and the


UK. Why make it Scotland versus the UK, that is his point? That is what


the debate could be seen as? The issue is that David Cameron is the


issue of the UK -- promised of the UK and a supporter of the union.


Alex Salmond is it critically elected leader -- the democratically


elected leader of Scotland, that is who the debate should be between. I


think the point made about McHattie parity is a good one. But I is


essentially a debate between a Scot against another Scot. He is always


telling the Prime Minister to keep out of Scotland 's business, so he


really is just wanting to cherry pick as to when he wants to engage


with the Prime Minister or not, which is wrong. Better to die --


"Better Together" is led by Alistair Darling, I think he's the best


person to abate against. But who does Alistair Darling represent? The


same point as what was said about Alex Salmond presenting Scotland, he


doesn't in terms of this debate, he represents the people who agree with


him. Otherwise they would be 100 isn't agreement that Scotland should


be independent. The same goes for Alistair Darling can he represent


the Scots like me. But nobody elected Alistair Darling. The people


elected Alex Salmond and the SNP to form the Scottish Government.


Knowing full well that a referendum on independence was part of the


platform. So they voted for the SNP and our First Minister to lead


Scotland in that debate, nobody elected Alistair Darling into his


position. What do you make about the more general debate, we have had the


set piece interviews from Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling, what


about the debate going ahead for the year? I think it's really exciting,


it is hotting up, we are off the presses and into the substance of


the debate. And there are big issues to be debated, I found it helpful in


terms of setting a deadline for when people need to put forward their


options and their case to the people of Scotland so we all have time to


do that. I have to say the Scottish Government is working to that


timetable, it will publish its White Paper well before Christmas, when we


get the options from the various parties, who knows, whether we get


them before the referendum or not remains to be seen. A campaign that


is too long, as Alistair Darling was saying? I think so, a lot of people


are feeling the fatigue of this, but I think both parties have to up


their game. I think there is a year to go, we are getting to the issues,


I do a lot of the issues we have had so far, pensions, Europe, they need


to be clearer and less duplicity between both groups. Because there


is counter argument counterargument. I think it should be a more honest


debate. Let's look at your party, you restore what of the Tory party.


We have this interview with Ruth Davidson. The party...


Do you agree? Yes, I spoke at a public meeting during the week where


got a random applause for everything I set and the Labour candidate


didn't, or indeed the nationalist. I do know that is my own charisma


perhaps! But I have been a candidate at various elections since 2004 and


the reception of the doors to buy have personally had has changed, it


is warmer. What do you make of Ruth Davidson 's leadership? She able to


shed the toxic brand? As it was regarded by many? I think one of the


things that is positive is as Ruth says, they are bringing in younger


people into politics. I might not agree with younger people supporting


the Conservatives but more people in politics is a good thing. But she's


up against it. She is detoxifying the brand but she has her UK


counterparts coming out and taking us into legal battles to defend the


bankers, you have the hated bedroom tax doing its worst in terms of


hitting the most vulnerable in Scotland as well as other welfare


reforms and you have also got news of the latest Tory donor to be mired


in a city scandal. If that is the justification, she has her work cut


out. One other story, a call for the shake-up of the Yes campaign, Blair


Jenkins has been handed an almost impossible task, a quick reaction


from you? It is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. It is the


product, not the way it is structured. Blair Jenkins, an


impossible task? They say they have clearly defined goals and everything


is where they want it to be. Yes Scotland has always been about a


grassroots campaign, it is huge, it grows day by day. Margo should be


listened to carefully, she has important things to say, what we


need to do is make sure there is a role for all the fantastic people


who are on the advisory board, because they are fantastic at taking


the positive message of what independence could mean two Scots


will stop I've heard them speaking at panels, I think there is a role


for all of them to play. We will have to leave it there, thank you


both very much. That's all from the us this week. I'll be back at the


same time next week. Until then, goodbye.


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