20/10/2013 Sunday Politics Scotland


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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics.


Alex Salmond says a vote for Scottish independence would be an


"act of national self-belief". His deputy Nicola Sturgeon joins us live


from the SNP conference in Perth. Is Whitehall meddling too much in


local affairs? Communities Secretary Eric Pickles joins me for the Sunday


Interview. Senior coppers face their own


questions in Parliament this week over the Andrew Mitchell affair. So


has plebgate damaged trust in the police? A former detective and a


critic of the police go head to head.


And on Sunday Politics Scotland: We'll be at Grangemouth for the


latest in the oil refinery dispute. And we'll be in Perth, speaking to


the First Minister the day after his leader's speech.


All of that to come. And the Home Office minister sacked by Nick


Clegg, who says his party is like a wonky shopping trolley, which keeps


veering off to the left. He will join us live at noon. With me to


unpack all of this, Nick Watt, Helen Lewis and Iain Martin. They will be


tweeting throughout the programme, using hashtag #bbcsp. It is the last


day of the Scottish national party conference in Perth. We have


discovered that Alex Salmond has been on the same diet as Beyonce.


The SNP leader compared his attempts to lose weight with the campaign for


independence - lots achieved so far, 20 more to do. In a moment, I will


be joined by the deputy leader of the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon. First,


they report on the independence campaign. September 18 2014, the


date of destiny for Scotland, the day when these campaigners hope its


people will decide to vote yes for independence. In a recent poll, only


14% said they knew enough to vote either way. That is unlikely to


change any time soon. I think the Scottish people will be going to the


polls next year still not knowing an awful lot of stuff which is


important, because the outcome, in terms of taxation, debt, exactly


what will happen to the allocation of assets between the two countries,


will come about as a result of negotiation between a Scottish


government and the UK Government. That is not stuff which will be


known year. At the moment, polls suggest Scotland will decide to


remain within the UK. A recent survey found that 44% of those


questioned planned to vote no, 25% yes. But interestingly, the


undecideds were at 31%, suggesting that Alex Salmond's task might be


tough but not impossible. There are a number of reasons which make a


vanilla campaign a good idea. It does not put off cautious voters, it


allows for people to imagine their own version of what independence


will be like, and crucially, it allows for the yes campaign to take


advantage of any mistakes by the no campaign. In other words, the yes


campaign are not out there with big ideas, they are just waiting for the


no campaign to trip up. What we do know is that whatever happens next


September, Scotland will be getting more power. From 2016, a separate


income tax regime will come into force, giving the Scottish


Parliament control over billions of pounds of revenue. What we do not


know yet is how the alternative would pan out. There are issues


which would be raised by independence, issues about how the


national debt is allocated, what the currency will look like, how an


independent Scotland would balance the books, because it would have a


bigger job to do, even down the Whitehall government has to do.


Those are really big issues, which a Scottish government would have to


face, on top of whatever negotiation it had to have with the UK


Government. The Scottish government's White Paper on


independence, two to be published within weeks, should fill in some of


the banks. But how Scotland votes in September may yet be determined by


what it feels rather than what it knows. And joining me from Perth is


Scotland's Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. Nicola Sturgeon, we


meet again! Hello, Andrew. Former leader of the SNP Gordon Wilson


said, if this referendum fails, it will fail on the basis that people


put their British identity ahead of their Scottish identity, so we have


got to attack on the British identity - what does he mean? Gordon


Wilson is a very respected, much loved former leader of the SNP. My


view is that I do not think the independence referendum is really


about identity. I am secure and proud of my Scottish identity, but


this is a decision about where power best lies. Do decision-making powers


best lie here in Scotland, with a government which is directly


accountable to the people of Scotland, or does it best lie in


Westminster, with governments which, very often, people in Scotland do


not vote for? That is the issue at the heart of the campaign. Let me


just clarify, you do not agree with him, that you need to go on the


attack with regard to the British identity of Scottish people? No, I


do not think we are required to attack British identity. It is


absolutely compatible for somebody to feel a sense of British identity


but still support Scottish independence, because Scottish


independence is about a transfer of power. It is about good government,


accountable government, ensuring that decisions are taking here in


Scotland, by people who have got the biggest stake in getting those


decisions right. I represent a constituency in the south side of


Glasgow, and if you speak to many people in my constituency, if you


ask them their national identity, many of them would say Irish,


Pakistani, Indian, Polish, and many of them will vote yes next year


because they understand the issue at stake, which is the issue of where


decisions are best taken. It looks like you are changing tack ex-, you


have realised the softly softly approach, of saying that actually,


nothing much will change, we will still have the Queen, the currency,


and all the rest of it, is moving over towards voting for a left-wing


future for Scotland... Well, I know that what we are doing is pointing


out is pointing out the choice between two futures. If we vote yes,


we take our own future into our own hands. We make sure that for ever


after, we have governments which will be in demented policies which


we have voted for. If we do not become independent, then we continue


to run the risk of having governments not only that we do not


vote for, but often, that Scotland rejects. We are seeing the


dismantling of our system of social security. There are politicians in


all of the UK parties who are itching to cut Scotland's share of


spending. So Scotland faces a choice of two futures, and it is right to


point out the positive consequences of voting yes, but also the


consequences of voting no. But you are promising to reverse benefit


cuts and increase the minimum wage. You would renationalise the Royal


Mail, though how you would do that nobody knows. You are promising to


cut energy bills. These are the kind of promises that parties make in a


general election campaign, not in a once in 300 years extra stench or


choice. Is the future of Scotland really going to be decided on the


size of the minimum wage? -- existential choice. A yes vote would


be about bringing decision-making powers home, but we are also setting


out some of the things an SNP government would do, if elected. A


decision on what the first government of an independent


Scotland would be would not be taken in the referendum, that decision


would be taken in the 2016 election. And all of the parties will put


forward their offers to the electorate. We are setting out some


of the things which we think it is important to be prioritised. These


are things which have a lot of support in Scotland. We see the pain


being felt by people because of the rising cost of energy bills, there


is widespread opposition to some of the welfare cuts. So, we are setting


out the options which are open to Scotland, but only open to Scotland


if we have the powers of independence. Given that you seem to


be promising aid permanent socialist near Varna, if Scotland is


independent, if you are right of centre in Scotland, and I understand


that is a minority pursuit where you are, but it would be a big mistake


to vote for independence, in that case, wouldn't it? No, because the


whole point of independence is that people get the country they want,


and the government a vote for. So, right of centre people should not


vote for independence? No, because people who are of that political


persuasion in Scotland get the opportunity to vote for parties


which represent that persuasion, and if they can persuade a majority to


vote likewise, then they will get a government which reflects that. That


is the essence of independence. Right now, we have a Westminster


government which most people in Scotland rejected at the last


general election. That is hardly democratic. It is right and proper


that the SNP, as the current government, points out the


opportunities that would be opening up. Can I just clarify one thing,


when we spoke on The Daily Politics earlier last week, you made it clear


to me that Alex Salmond, we know he wants to debate with David Cameron,


but you made it clear to me that he would debate with Alistair Darling


as well, and Mr Carmichael... He made it clear yesterday. Well, he


said to the BBC this morning that he would only debate with these people


after he had had a debate with Mr Cameron, so who is right? I was


making the point last week, and Alex Salmond was making it yesterday and


this morning - let's have that agreement by David Cameron to come


and debate with Alex Salmond, and then Alex Salmond, just like me,


will debate with allcomers. So if he does not get the David Cameron


debate, then he will not do the others, is that right? Let's focus


on is wading David Cameron to do the right thing. So, in other words, he


will not debate, yes or no? Members of the SNP government... We know


that, but what about Alex Salmond? He said yesterday, we will debate


with all sorts of people, including the people you have spoken about,


but David Cameron should not be let off the hook just putting aside the


independence issue, energy prices are now even playing into the SNP,


so every political party has to do something about energy prices. Yes,


it is clearly it is interesting is the difference between the SNP and


the Labour approach. Ed Miliband electrified the party conference


season when he said he would freeze energy prices for 20 months,


seemingly having an amazing control over the energy market, where we


know that essentially what pushes prices up the wholesale prices on


world market. What Nicola Sturgeon is talking about is actually saying,


this amount is added to your bills for green levies, and we are going


to take them off your bills and they will be paid out of general taxation


in an independent Scotland. That is a credible government, making a


credible case, very different to what Labour is saying, although


playing to the same agenda. So, Labour has got a populist policy,


the SNP has also got a populist policy, the one group of people that


do not have a decent response to this is the coalition? Exactly. What


the SNP also have is a magic money pot, so that speech yesterday, you


are right, it was very left wing, social democratic, but there was


none of the icing like Labour has been talking about, with fiscal


responsibility. I think that is the difference between the two. We know


what the Tories would really like to do, all of these green levies which


were put on our bills in the good times, when they were going to be


the greenest party ever, the Tories would like to say, let's just wipe


out some of them, put the rest on to some general government spending,


but they have a problem, which is in the Department of Energy and Climate


Change. Not only that, they really are stuck now. But there is


something in the free schools debate this morning, the parties are now


determined to send a message to their potential voters at the next


election, that they are trying to fight their coalition partners. Do


not expected any change in coalition policy or free schools policy before


the election, but we can expect to hear the parties try to pretend that


they are taking on their coalition partners. Mr Clegg has said, we


would put this free schools policy into our manifesto, so is it not


possible that the Tories will say, if you give us an overall majority,


we will cut your electricity bill because we will get rid of these


green levies? I think that is entirely possible. The Tories know


that they are stuck on this, they do not have a response to Ed Miliband.


How much should ministers in Whitehall medal in local decisions


across England? In opposition, David Cameron said he wanted a fundamental


shift of power from Whitehall to local people. He said, when one size


fits all solution is... Eric Pickles described it as "an


historic shift of power". But the Communitites and Local Government


Secretary can't stop meddling. In the past few months Mr Pickles has


tried to ban councils from using CCTV cameras and "spy cars" to fine


motorists... Told councils how to act quicker to shut down illegal


travellers' sites... Criticised councils who want to raise council


tax... Insisted councils release land to residents hoping to build


their own property... And stated new homes should have a special built in


bin storage section. It seems not a week goes by without a policy


announcement from the hyper active Mr Pickles. So is the government


still committed to localism, or is it all about centralism now?


And Communities Secretary Eric Pickles joins me now for the Sunday


Interview. Welcome. Nice to be here. You said


in July you were going to give town halls the power to wreak their local


magic. So why issue diktats from Westminster? It is not about giving


power to local councils, it is going beyond that to local people. If


local councils refuse to open up their books, we have to go straight


to local people. You have attacked councillors using so-called spy


cameras to enforce parking rules. Why is that your business? Because


there is an injustice taking place. You cannot use fines to raise money


and that is plainly happening. If you get yourself a ticket from a


CCTV, it could be days or weeks before that lands on your doorstep


and you have virtually no possibility to be able to defend


yourself. But just leave it to people to vote out the council then.


We are trying to enforce the law and it clearly states that you cannot


use parking fines in order to fund general rate. So why are you not


taking them to court if they are breaking the law? There have been a


number of court cases taken by local residents. I am there to stand by


local residents. Your even trying to micromanage, allowing motorist 's to


park for 15 minutes in local high street. Why is that your business?


I'm trying to ensure that local authorities understand the


importance of the town centre. If you look at all opinion polls, right


now there is a five-minute leeway but there are many cases of people


being jumped on by parking officials for quite trivial things. It is


about saying, surely I can go and get a pint of milk. But a party that


dines out on localism, that is a matter for local people, not the men


in Whitehall. I have to be on the side of local people. That person


who wants to go and get a pint of milk. Ultimately it is a matter for


them. It is a matter for the council. But a little bit of


criticism is not a bad thing. You have now declared war on the wheelie


bin and suggested that new homes should have built in storage


sections. You just cannot help meddling! I suppose that is


possible. You are a meddler! I am in charge of building regulations and


planning. So I may have some responsibility there. Another one,


interfering in local planning decisions. A couple of places, you


ruled in favour of developers. They want to build over 200 houses


against the wishes of the parish and district councils. The local MP said


the Secretary of State's decision runs roughshod over any concept of


localism. Now I have to be a blushing violet because of course


this is still potentially subject to judicial review. I have to act


properly. And Apple went is entitled to justice. -- an applicant. A local


authority has a duty to ensure that is adequate housing for people in


their area. This was not a decision that I took as a personal decision,


it was on the advice of an inspector. But you contradict what


David Cameron himself said in 2012, he spoke about a vision where we


give communities much more say and local control. People in villages


fear big housing estates being plonked from above. You have just


done exactly that. After a proper quasi judicial enquiry. What we have


is planning framework which local people can decide where it goes. But


they cannot say, nothing here. They have to have a five-year housing


supply. Previous to this government decided exactly where houses would


go, now local people can take the lead. Anna Silbury said because of


the way your department rules, local authorities now have no alternative


but to agree development on green belt land. I do not accept that. I


think around Nottingham there are particular problems with regards to


the green belt. The matter has been referred back.


the green belt. The matter has been want to see development on the green


belt but on Brownfield site. We want to see underused land. But you have


to remember why we have the green belt. Not


to remember why we have the green nice, it is their to prevent


conurbations bumping into one another. Your


conurbations bumping into one is vocal about the need to deal


what he calls the historic under provision of housing. Shelter says


we need 250,000 new homes per year. provision of housing. Shelter says


Houston statistics are getting there, but nowhere near that. --


housing. You cannot there, but nowhere near that. --


localism agenda as well as meeting housing demand. I do not accept


that. We inherited a position where the lowest level of building since


the 1920s was in place. But it has steadily improved. It does take a


while. You cannot have a localism agenda where people call the shots


on housing as well as meeting the housing demand. People have a duty


to ensure that future generations have somewhere to live. You cannot


pull up the drawbridge. There is nothing incompatible between that


and localism. Because someone has to be the voice of those people who are


going to live there and to make sure there is the proper amount. Plans


now exist for more than 150,000 homes to be built on protected land,


including the green belt. That will mean riding over local concerns.


Each application will be taken on its own merits. To suggest that


there is an assault on the green belt is as far from the truth as you


can imagine. Should Andrew Mitchell get his job back if the years


exonerated? I would be honoured to sit with Andrew Mitchell in the


Cabinet. I have always believed his version. But it is a matter for the


Prime Minister who he has in government. He would have no problem


in seeing him back in Cabinet? government. He would have no problem


Absolutely not. Your mother answered Vulcan junior minister Nick balls


said about the Royal Charter for the press, there's nothing we have done


that troubles me as much as this. Is that your view? It is not. I accept


the compromise agreement put together. If the press want to have


an additional protection that the Royal Charter offers, then they can


move into the system. But if they want to continue independently that


is acceptable to me. But you previously echoed Thomas Jefferson,


you said for a free society to operate the river of a free press


has to flow without restriction. That is what I said at the time. We


had to find a compromise. And that seems to me to be a better


compromise. Let me just show you this little montage of pictures that


we have. I could not be happier! Then you are in the Desert and there


you are in San Francisco. Then you are in the casino. That is my


personal favourite. These students took a cardboard cutout of you and


took it round the world with them. Did you ever think you would become


a student icon? I always felt secretly that that might happen one


day. But it came earlier in my career than I thought! Why would


they do that? I think they thought I could do with a bit of an airing! I


went to Norfolk earlier, but that looks better. Thank you.


On Wednesday senior police folk, including chief constables, will be


questioned by MPs about what's become known as Plebgate. That's the


incident in Downing Street last year which led to the resignation of the


government chief whip Andrew Mitchell. Last week the Independent


Police Complaints Commission questioned the "honesty and


integrity" of police officers who met Mr Mitchell following the row.


So do scandals like this affect public trust in the police? Here's


Adam Fleming. It's a story of politics, the


police, and CCTV. No, not Andrew Mitchell, but an MP's researcher


called Alex Bryce and his partner Iain Feis.


It started on a summer night in 2011. They'd been in Parliament.


After a few words with a police officer, Ian was wrestled to the


ground. Alex came to have a look and the same thing happened to him. Both


were arrested and charged. These pictures emerged on day one of their


trial. A trial that was halted because the police version of events


just didn't match the footage. A lot of people with incidence like this


which we experienced, people think there is no smoke without fire. So


when we said we did nothing wrong, people would think police just would


not do that. There is always that underlying view that some people


have. I think that has been challenged and people who know us


believe that. This year the Met apologised and paid compensation.


And it's led to an unlikely sort of friendship. When the truth came out


about the Andrew Mitchell story I actually sent him an e-mail to


congratulate him about the truth coming out. He did send a reply


acknowledging that. So where are we with THAT saga? Remember last


September? Andrew Mitchell had a row with police at the gates of Downing


Street about his bike. He lost his job as chief whip after accusations


he called the officers plebs. That, he's always denied. This week the


police watchdog the IPCC suggested that three officers may have lied


about a meeting with him at the height of the scandal. Add that to


the charge sheet of cases that haven't exactly flattered the


police. Like the revelation of a cover up over Hillsborough. The


prosecution of an officer from the Met over the death of Ian Tomlinson


during protests in 2009. Along with news that undercover officers were


told to smear the family of Stephen Lawrence. During Thursday's protest


by teachers in Westminster the police operation was really, really


relaxed. And recent scandals have done nothing to affect society's


view of the boys and girls in blue - or should I say hi-vis. About 60% of


the public say they trust the police. And that's not budged since


pollsters started measuring it 30 years ago.


Of course, in Britain, crime is down, so the perception might be


that the police is doing a good job. And the rank-and-file recently


seamed pretty chipper at this awards ceremony. Is it a good time to be a


police officer? It is a good time. Despite all of the headlines? Still


a good time. But speak to officers privately, and they say Plebgate is


affecting how the public see them. Some of them also think


politicians, the Tories especially, are enjoying that a little too much.


Adam Fleming reporting there. Going head-to-head on this issue of trust


in the police, a Sunday Mirror columnist and Peter Kirkham, former


chief inspector. Peter Kirkham, let me come to you first. Plebgate, the


cover-ups over John Charles De menace, the death of Ian Tomlinson,


the industrial deception over Hillsborough, why is the culture of


deceit so prevalent in the police? I do not agree there is a cultural


deceit. These are all individual incidents which raise individual


issues. I would suggest that your short headline summarising each of


them has taken the most negative view of it. How can you be positive


about the police's behaviour over Hillsborough? It remains to be seen


with the inquiry but we are probably talking about a handful of senior


officers, dealing with the paperwork. Well over 100 testimonies


being doctored by the police. Well, those testimonies were true to start


with, so the officers have told the truth, and they have been changed


for some reason. By the police. By the police all lawyers we have got


this thing that the police conflates everything. There are 43 forces,


there is ACPO, there is the College Of Policing... People say it was a


handful of police officers, it wasn't, it was six senior police


officers who were alleged to have doctored 106 D4 statements. Even


today we are hearing that more than 1000 officers are yet to be spoken


to about Hillsborough. -- 164. Do we pretend that Hillsborough, and some


of these examples, are the exception rather than the rule? What is the


evidence that this is now prevalent in our police? I think there is a


lot of evidence, and Plebgate is probably the thing which has


clinched it. The public want to know, how deep does this girl? The


audacity of a group of policemen who think they can set up a Cabinet


minister. Five of those who were arrested and bailed still have not


been charged. One of those officers actually wrote an e-mail pretending


to be a member of the public. I do not see what the problem is in


prosecuting them for that. Taking Plebgate, there are loads of


different bits of that incident. There is the officers on duty in


Downing Street, the issue of who leaked the story to the Sun, there


are the officers who claim to have been there who would appear not to


have been there, and then we have got the West Midlands meeting


issue, which has sort of been resolved this week. There has been


misconduct. But at a lower level. But it is the audacity of an


organisation which thinks it can take on an elected minister and


destroy him for their own political purposes, at a time when the


Government are cutting please pay, when they are freezing their


pensions and reducing their numbers. It looks very much to all of us, the


public, that the police are at war with the government, and they are


going to do anything they can to discredit the Government. The police


would have every reason to be at war with the Government, because there


if there is a crisis of trust... But it looks like they fitted up a


Cabinet minister. That remains to be seen, it is being investigated. We


know that those Birmingham officers, they totally misrepresented to, if


not lied outright, about what was said. Again, that is a


misrepresentation of what happened. If you actually go and look at what


is said, it is plain from the context, they were saying, he has


told us nothing new. But he had in the transcript, it said he hadn't.


He would not admit he had used the word pleb. He apologised profusely,


he said it would never happen again, he said many things that he had not


said before. I agree, which is presumably... Thereon many police


forces in this country, they have one of the toughest jobs in the


land, they end up getting involved in almost anything which happens in


society, and there are obviously a number of difficult examples, but


what is the evidence that it is out of hand, other than just several bad


apples? This bad apples argument, we people worry that if you can set up


a Cabinet minister then you can set up anyone. I disagree. We are yet to


year what has happened at the gates of Downing Street. What we know


about the gates of Downing Street is that we were told by the police


officers that passers-by had her this incredible row where


Mitchell's file rant was appalling. We now know that is not true. We


don't know that there was no one around. But it is clear that the


Police Federation and elements within that jumped on this as a


politically motivated campaign. I have always said that politics


should be kept out of policing. I think this was just too overly


political. Do we need a better way of monitoring the police Rune Master


we need a more competent tarmac every police officer... Your Mac


that is the police force your God. This It's approaching 11:40am.


You're watching the Sunday Politics. Good morning and welcome to Sunday


Politics Scotland. Coming up on the programme: I'll be live in


Grangemouth ahead of a planned demonstration - as the conflict


continues between the employees and the management at the plant.


Fresh from his leadership address to the SNP party conference, the First


Minister Alex Salmond joins us live from Perth.


And Andrew Carnegie, Robert the Bruce, Barbara Dickson and


by-election upsets. That's what Dunfermline's famous for. So who


will be crowned victorious on Thursday?


A demonstration organised by the Unite union is due to get underway


at Grangemouth this lunchtime. It's been a tit-for-tat affair this week.


There had been a strike planned - it was called off. But the plant's


operators Ineos said for safety reasons they had to close the


operation down just in case. Talks have been held but there's no sign


of a breakthrough in what has become a particularly bitter dispute. The


next deadline is tomorrow night when staff are due to return letters the


company has sent asking them to agree to new pay and pension


conditions. The company's owners are due to discuss the outcome on


Tuesday. Andrew Anderson is there for us now. Is what is the purpose


of this demonstration? You described it as a bitter dispute. It is one of


the biggest and most veteran disputes, I would suggest, in


Scotland for the last 20 years. As you can see, workers are gathering


the year for a rally due to start at 12 o'clock. As they see it, they are


fighting for their livelihoods and the life of this plant. It is one of


the biggest of its type in Europe and it has been in Grangemouth and


grown over the past 90 years. It produces about 80% of the petrol


that we buy in Scotland and about 10% of the oil that comes in from


the North Sea. Management say it is losing ?10 million per month and


they want workers to sign up to new pay and conditions. Those include an


end to the final salary pension scheme, a freeze on conditions and


shifting alliances. Unite have taken out full-page adverts in which they


make a series of accusations against Ineos. They say they are holding the


workers and Scotland to ransom. The stakes are very high. It is a bitter


dispute and one that has political ramifications as well. It started


over a dispute over a union official and now has become wider. How


crucial will this week be for the plant? This is perhaps the most


crucial week in the plant's 90 year history. The company had given the


workers a deadline to sign up to this new pay and conditions package.


They have bypassed the union and gone straight to the workforce and


delivered papers to their homes at end of last week. They have been


given until 6pm tomorrow to indicate whether they are willing to sign


up. If they are not, he is saying that if they don't, the


prospects for this plant are bleak and Ineos has already suggested it


could close by 2017. If workers sign up, they are promising millions of


pounds of investment to guarantee the long-term future.


There was a rousing reception for Alex Salmond yesterday as he


addressed the SNP faithful in Perth - their last full gathering before


next year's independence referendum. The First Minister told delegates


they were the independence generation and that a yes vote next


year would be, for Scotland, "an act of national self-confidence and


self-belief". He also confirmed we'll get the Scottish Government's


prospectus for independence in their white paper on the 26th of November.


Confidence is clearly high, yet polls seem to suggest that a


majority of the public isn't yet caught up on that wave of


enthusiasm. So what does Mr Salmond have to do to make his dreams a


reality? From Perth, David Porter reports.


It is a pretty apt question and one that is increasingly focusing minds.


Where is the ship going to sail to? It will be more than a decade before


these children can vote at next year their parents well. Alex Salmond


relishes the role of captain. He likes to lead from the front. As the


good ship independence sets sail, is Scotland bound for a new course or


will the SNP's hopes founder. As he consults his political charts, a key


theme is a major sing -- emerging. The key thing is who can be trusted


to make the best decisions for Scotland? Our own Parliament or a


Westminster system which barely represents the votes or values of


the Scottish people? But he knows nothing in politics goes entirely to


plan. The opinion polls are yet to move his way. Those close to him say


he will leave nothing to chance. Here's a campaigner but a man with a


clear vision of what Scotland should have. Yet to the opinion polls are


still resolutely unfavourable. What the opinion polls tell you is about


people whose default position is now. They just need to be persuaded.


But there are a big group who wants to be persuaded. The job of the yes


campaign is to persuade them over the next months. I think that is


perfectly possible. He, too, will be the town that is set. Tone is very


important. As we move towards the vote and the publication of the


white paper, as people begin to engage in the arguments, what will


independence look like? It is important for the yes campaign to


focus on the positives. Be under no illusion, if we don't vote yes,


Westminster will turn of the screw. Despite ramping up the rhetoric,


senior figures insist they will remain positive. We are all Scots


and people who live in Scotland. Everyone has a right to different


views. So long as we remember that we are involved in a historic and


exciting debate, I am sure we will have a yes vote and come out a bit


stronger and more respectful. As a student of political history, Alex


Salmond is aware of the importance of events. Developments at


Grangemouth are just one example of how the agenda can change at a


moment 's notice. It is a very difficult trick he has got to do. He


has to persuade people of his vision but also reach people who are not


associated with the yes campaign or the SNP. He must reach into the


middle ground of politics and persuade people that it is a safe


thing to do to go for a better future. But he must do that in a way


that makes it not appear obsessed with the SNP or yes. Those on board


now it won't be plain sailing. They insist the referendum can be won.


Well, the First Minister Alex Salmond joins me now from the last


day of the SNP conference. Good afternoon. Let's start with the


situation in Grangemouth. Is Ineos holding the country to ransom?


Sorry, I don't have a monitor here. On Grangemouth, I will concentrate


absolutely on saying on tarmac her I believe we can get out of the


impasse. This is what I think should happen. I think Unite should give a


no strike without strings guarantee. Once that is done, Ineos should fire


up the plant. Then consultations should take place against the


background of a working plant, not a plant that is lying cold. Both union


and management say they see a great future for the complex F investment


comes in. If they both support that investment and build on these


aspects of common ground and get the plant working again, then the other


consultations can take place on a much better atmosphere than at


present. Workers are told they have to make a decision by tomorrow.


Would you ask the company to polls on that? This is so important. The


key aspect that I can see is that if we have all of this taking place,


the exchange of press releases and tweeting and arguments back and


forward against an idle plant, that is the underlying difficulty for the


company and for the workforce and for Scotland. Let's get the plant up


and running so that everyone has a vested interest in coming to terms


in a plant that is working as opposed to the present situation,


which is wholly dangerous for the workforce and the Scottish economy.


I grew up in Linlithgow. The fires burning in Grangemouth have been


part of my life as long as I have been alive. These fires are no alt


-- now out. In terms of the long-term future of the plant, when


you have talked to Ineos, have you discussed nationalisation? I have


discussed investment in the plant and what the Scottish Government


could do to support it. There are also discussions with the government


and the green investment bank. Is nationalisation and option? When I


talked to Unite I asked them if they wanted the Scottish Government to be


discussing it investment plan. They said yes. I am concentrating on


getting the plant up and running and an investment to secure the plant's


long-term future. The union and the company agree that Grangemouth has


an exciting long-term future. Let's try to bring the parties together,


get the plant up and running and look about that investment to secure


its long-term future. You said yesterday that


renationalisation of the Royal Mail is a priority for you and you have


nationalised Prestwick Airport. Have you had any conversations about


nationalising Grangemouth? If this was just a political interview and


people's lives were at stake with one of our major industrial plants


idle and cold at the moment, I would go into a whole range of politics,


but I am trying to concentrate on what I believe will help, finding


common ground. For example, I have seen the agreement that was almost


made at ACAS in the early hours of last Wednesday morning. That


agreement was within touching distance of being made. Despite


everything that has been set on either side, I don't think we were


very far from making an agreement last Wednesday morning, and


therefore trying to get back into the situation where the plant is up


and running and people can have these discussions in a more


constructive and productive atmosphere seems to be a priority


for the Scottish First Minister and the Scottish government at the


present moment. I will not be deflected on that and I will not


enter into aspects which would be controversial on either side. I am


trying to build on the common ground for the sake of the plant and the


workforce and for the sake of the Scottish economy. Let the Askew a


bit about what you said in your speech yesterday -- let me ask you.


How much detail will the White Paper gives on taxation, for instance? You


support the aims of the Scottish Common Weal movement, the idea of


following a Scandinavian or Nordic model on economic policies. Will we


get greater levels of taxation in an independent Scotland, in the White


Paper? The White Paper will lay out the basis of the independence


settlement. That means what we'll take Scotland to between a yes vote


in the referendum next year and the spring of 2016. This is


fundamentally not about the policies of the SNP all of the Scottish First


Minister, but about the democratic right of people in Scotland to


choose a government of their own. The second point of the White Paper


will lay out the vision of the SNP. That means, what we would do if we


were chosen to be that government. As part of that, but we get taxation


levels? As far as the aims of the Scottish Common Weal are concerned,


it is to look and consider some of the item is being put forward as is


right and proper, because they are interesting and substantial


arguments. In terms of SNP policy, I don't think you have been short of


SNP policies over the last few days, for example, Nicola Sturgeon's


attack on food bills in Scotland, to take the necessary spending as far


as energy efficiency is concerned. My clarion call yesterday to set a


minimum wage at ?6 31 -- ?6.31 per hour... First minute, that is my


point. You have given us a lot of spending commitments for an


independent Scotland. People may well ask, how do we pay for that?


Don't people deserve to know the answer to that question as part of


the SNP's policies ahead of the referendum? The White Paper will not


lack detail on the SNP's vision for an independent Scotland and this


conference has not lacked detail on policies. The ask about


affordability. May I remind you that in 2011-2012, the last year for


which we have figures, there was a relatively better physical situation


in Scotland comparatively to the UK -- fiscal situation. If you took it


over five years, the average has been over ?2 billion better for


Scotland than for the UK. Let's start from the acceptance that


Scotland is in a stronger relative fiscal position than the UK as a


whole, and it will be a -- a good basis from which to chart the


policies for an independent Scotland. The key thing is how the


policies must make the country more prosperous and just, and that is


what the SNP have been outlining this week. Can I have some clarity


on your earlier interview on the BBC this morning? You said that what you


had disposed of the Prime Minister comedy would debate with all and


sundry. Is that mean that if David Cameron continues with his position


of saying no, that you are unlikely to debate with Alistair Carmichael,


Darling and others? It was not meant to be a literal disposition! It was


a figure of speech. I was saying that we should debate Prime Minister


to First Minister first, and once we get that debate, and I think it must


happen for reasons I outlined yesterday, on the basis that David


Cameron is pulling the strings on this debate and therefore he has to


take democratic accountability... If he continues to say no, what effect


does that have? I intend, by one means or another, to tempt the Prime


Minister into that television debate, because I think it is


fundamental that it is Prime Minister to First Minister,


different prospectors for the future of Scotland, it will then get into a


debate of basically any other candidates that the no campaign care


to field. But if he is tempted by your offer, will be other debates go


ahead and molest? I think the task is to make sure that he cannot


sustain that position. I did say there is an alternative, of course.


I said he could either step up to the plate or get out of the debate.


What he can't do is take the present position, which is that we have a


fusillade of secretaries of State he wanted to take -- dictate the terms


to Scotland but not subject themselves to democratic


examination. It is a straight choice. Either step up to the plate


as Prime Minister or agree to get out of the debate and that seems to


be pretty fair. My preference, incidentally, would be to get him


into a debate and let the? Prospectus for the future of this


country be absolutely clear, First Minister of Scotland to Prime


Minister of London. Thank you very much.


The final few days of campaigning will take place in and around


Dunfermline this heat ahead of Thursday's by-election. It was


called after Bill Walker resigned following his conviction for


domestic abuse. He was originally enacted as an SNP MSP in 2011 but


latterly became an independent. Bread-and-butter issues have


included schools services and hospital closures. It is a close


thing between the SNP and the Labour Party as to -- as they take their


campaigns to wet and windy doorsteps.


The medieval central -- centre of Dunfermline, no stranger to


political intrigue, once the seat of royal power. King Robert the Bruce


is famous in the wider constituency. Who will emerge the


glorious and he will be consigned to history? As the Lib Dems campaign in


this by-election, they are encouraged by former glories. This


place is known for its political upsets. Willie Rennie, the current


leader, knocked at Labour in 2006. People are now coming back to was


mainly because people remember the very hard-working team that they had


here. Willie Rennie is a well cant face and name on the doorsteps you.


People remember how hard he worked as an MSP. They want is that strong


Lib Dem team back again. The Conservatives' James Beattie is a


young entrepreneur with a cider making business. Pressing the


economy forward as one of his aims. We want to make banks think about


cheaper mortgages. That is a positive thing in an area like this


where people aspire to buy their own home. We have seen an income tax for


nearly 2.5 million people. David Cameron has announced a national


insurance could for small businesses, which is great for group


-- for Scottish businesses. And we want to cut income tax. West in


Blair Hall, Labour's candidate is Kara Hilton. She has been criticised


by the SNP in one of the key policy battle grounds. They claim she has


distanced herself from the Labour school closure programme. That is


critical -- hypocritical, she says. The reason for the by-election is


also brought up. The only reason we are having this by-election in


Dunfermline is because of Bill Walker and the fact that Alex


Hammond and Nicola Sturgeon ignored all the warnings about this man.


Dunfermline deserves better than a disgraced wife-beater as an MSP.


This election gives us the opportunity to give Dunfermline and


MSP to campaign on everyday issues that affect people here in our


town. The SNP say they have apologised about Bill Walker and are


focusing on other issues. Health is a key part of the SNP's campaign. We


have put through a strong message that we are having a constructive


dialogue with the chief executive. I'm pleased that I have already had


a dialogue with him to work out a timetable for a diagnostic and


treatment centre here at the Queen Margaret, including a midwife


modernity led unit -- midwife led that -- maternity unit. Those are


the challenges in this campaign and as the winner gets grim in


Dunfermline, there are others hoping for a breakthrough. We are calling


for there to be improved public transport serving the town on both


in terms of regulation of buses and serving the Western villages as


well, with people being forgotten about that. There are many people


here who are open-minded and undecided and have not firmly come


down on one side or the other, so they will listen and read my


material. It is a hopeful sign. I will work with them to improve the


state of concern them and Scotland. There should be a partnership


between the government and the people. Back at the Abbey, the


legend about Robert the Bruce and the spider's attempt to reach a Web


is probably good advice for potential politicians. If at first


you don't succeed, try again. We will have live overnight coverage


of the counter this Thursday on BBC Two. I will speak to all of the


candidates tomorrow night in a special Newsnight Scotland hustings


programme, which starts at 10:30pm. For now, here is the Rune Master, as


he was described in the Observer this morning, Professor John


Curtice. What are the rooms are saying? The first thing to realise


is this is a tough fight for the SNP. They only had a 2% lead over


the Labour Party back in 2011 will stop in fact, even though they won


the seat, this was the 13th lowest SNP share of the vote on the


occasion that election. In truth, is a by-election, he constituency they


won in 2011, between Labour and the Lib Dems. It is a tough fight. Is --


governments usually don't do well in by-elections. The lowest swing was


back in 2005 in Cathcart. Even that kind of swing, small blow out is --


small though it is would be enough to unseat the SNP. Although they are


still writing relatively high in the polls, they are not as high now as


they were in 2011. It is difficult to see how the SNP are going to hang


on, or to put it conversely, if they do manage to defend this


by-election, I think they will be able to regard it as a stupendous


achievement. What can a by-election which is about hospitals and schools


and other issues, tell us about next year's independence referendum? In


truth, not a great deal. This is a battle which primarily is being


fought about local issues such as schools and hospitals and police


stations in much the same way as the Aberdeen dons side by-election a


couple of months ago was primarily about a particular roundabout and


the state of Aberdeen's roads. There is a body of people out there who


think the SNP are indeed doing a good job of running Scotland's


government, he might still be willing to vote for them in a


Scottish Parliament election, but may well not as yet be willing to


vote yes in a referendum. Equally, people will often just use a


by-election to say, hang on, not quite so happy with things and I am


going to issue a word of caution to the incumbent government. Either


way, these are not considerations that are relevant to the referendum.


I don't think, unless we see something remarkably spectacular


decline in the SNP vote, I think, in truth, we will probably say this is


too much what you would expect for a government in mid-term and the


political caravan will move on. Thank you very much.


You are watching Sunday Politics Scotland from the BBC. Still to


come, a look at the week ahead with the Guardian's Scotland


correspondent Severin Carrell, and former SNP MSP and historian


Christopher Harvie. First, the latest news from Reporting Scotland.


Good afternoon. The First Minister has called for both sides in the


Grangemouth dispute to meet on common ground so the plant can be


"fired up again". This is the scene at the plant as a


workers' rally gets underway. Ineos management has asked the Unite union


not to call further industrial action this year. Unite said it


would agree, but only if there were no cuts. Speaking on the programme,


Mr Salmond said it was critical for Scotland that Grangemouth goes back


on-line. This is what I think should happen. I think Unite should give a


no strings, no strike guarantee. Then, Ineos should fire up the plant


will stop and then consultations on terms and conditions should take


place against the background of a working plant.


The SNP conference in Perth will end this afternoon with a rally for


independence. Our political editor Brian Taylor is at the city's


Conference Hall. The conference will close this


afternoon with a rally for independence. Although the entire


event has been just that. There has been substance. The Justice


Secretary stressed his determination to press ahead with reforms and


mandatory demand for corroboration in the Scottish courts system. He


says one in ten domestic abuse cases. The prosecuted because of it.


Extra money was announced for college bursaries and student


loans. An eight-year-old girl is being


treated for serious facial injuries after being mauled by two American


bulldogs in Glasgow. The incident happened in the Garthamlock area of


the city on Friday evening. Police say the dogs have been seized and a


man and a woman in their 30s have been charged under the Dangerous


Dogs Act. Now, the weather. More sunshine today than recently.


We still have persistent rain and strong winds overshadowed. -- over


Shetland. There will be rain and possibly some hail.


Now, in a moment, we'll be discussing the big events coming up


this week, but first let's take a look back at the week in 60 seconds.


A company pled guilty to health and safety failures after a double sank


on the Clyde. Scottish gas customers face bigger bills than the rest of


the UK after a decision by the owners to increase prices. Shares in


Royal Mail went up in price on the company's first day of full


trading. The government claims they are under price. Andy Murray


received his OBE from Buckingham Palace. He said he was almost late


due to a random drug test. I was just getting ready and they turned


up. I was worried I would be late but to the taxi driver did a good


job. Edinburgh zoo have confirmed they are no longer expecting a hand


at birth. -- Panda. Now, the week ahead.


And I'm joined this week by the historian, author and former SNP MSP


Christopher Harvie. And from Perth - where he's been at the SNP


conference for the last few days - the Scotland correspondent for the


Guardian Severin Carrell. Let's start with the situation at


Grangemouth. The headline is 24 hours to save Grangemouth. I think


it is important and the policies we bring to their net are ones we have


to think of very carefully. It may not be just a case of


nationalisation. The Scottish Government should be prepared to go


to accompany like Statoil. Rather than activities in the early 2000s


which of land that is -- landed us with these companies. Alex Salmond


is urging both sides to get back around the table. People are


worried. It is a high-stakes game. The problem for the Scottish


Government is that they are dealing with a company which behaves in a


very, without being pejorative, aggressive way. It is very tough to


deal with and it is certain about its capacity to pull the plug.


Normally, the First Minister is in a position to help reconciliation.


This time, he is dealing with one immovable object and a trade union


fighting for its life. We had coverage of Alex Salmond's speech at


the SNP conference. How do you rate what he said and how he has tried to


galvanise support? I thought it was a very safe and solid speech. His


colleagues are delighted and think it is one of the best he has given.


I am not certain it will resonate much outside of the conference hall.


It is not a speech which will win the referendum. The Sunday Times had


no mention of the speech. There was a splash about Ineos and the speech


got mentioned on page two. I think he is saving his energy and


ammunition until the White Paper comes out. I think there is an


element of holding out and looking for a more comprehensive approach. I


think there should be a much stronger industrial policy,


particularly about the North Sea and renewable energy. It is something


not catered for by the government in the South. Do you think that level


of detail will be an the White Paper? I think so, yes. He knows


about those links to Europe and we have to realise that with a degree


of Confed will power, sovereign power but with an agreement of


elements we have in common with the South, that's give of sovereignty


which allows us to make cooperative choices with European allies is


something that much be -- must be pushed. Do you think that is what


the White Paper will be about? The question of energy cooperation is


essential to Alex Salmond's strategy. Some of the other elements


were allowed to -- all you did to. There is a harmony in that way of


approaching things. He does want to be able to see Scotland as a player


on a much larger stage than just simply within the UK. Does that


resonate with the public? I think so. Alistair Darling slams the HS2


scheme. In other words, better together but further apart.


That's all from the us this week. I'll be back at the same time next


week. Until then, goodbye.


Political magazine presented by Andrew Neil and Andrew Kerr.

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