19/01/2014 Sunday Politics Scotland


Andrew Neil and Gary Robertson with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Guests include chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander.

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Morning, folks! Welcome to the Sunday Politics.


Nick Clegg says Chris Rennard must apologise. What for, say his


friends. We'll ask senior Lib Dem Minister Danny Alexander whose side


he's on. What about the voters - what do they


make of the Lib Dems? We hear the views of a Sunday Politics Focus


Group. And donkey, they do other people 's


work. We'll get the verdict on Portsmouth


MP Penny Mordaunt's plunge from the highboard from - who else - but the


Minister for Portsmouth. On Sunday Politics Scotland: Does


the UK network of diplomacy really allow Scots to do more good in the


world and boost its foreign trade? We'll be asking an ex-ambassador and


a mEP. Johnson has pledged to recruit more


volunteers. Nick Watt, Helen Lewis and Janan Ganesh, who'll be tweeting


throughout the programme. First this morning, Nick Clegg is


considering a fresh investigation into the behaviour of the party's


former chief executive, Lord Rennard. Last week, a lawyer


appointed by the party decided that no action could be taken against


him, but that women who had accused the Lib Dem peer of inappropriate


behaviour "were broadly credible". More than 100 party activists are


demanding an apology. Chris Rennard say he's nothing to apologise for


and the party whip must be returned to him. Helen, this is not going


away. It is turning into a crisis for the Lib Dems? They have only got


seven female MPs. There is no female Cabinet Minister. There is a


reasonable chance that after the next election there might in no


female Liberal Democrat MPs at all. A scandal like this will not


encourage women into the party. Have they made a complete mess of it? You


feel for Nick Clegg, because he launched an utterly rigorous


process. He called in a QC. The QC looked at it and decided that the


evidence did not meet the burden of proof in a criminal trial. But


clearly he felt that the evidence from these women was very credible


and serious. He said it was broadly credible. Clearly it was serious.


Rennard is being advised by Lord Carlisle, fellow Liberal Democrat


peer, who is giving purely legal advice. He is saying it has not


reached that edge-mac, so do not apologise. This is a political


issue, so the agony continues. Nick Clegg was hoping to keep the party


whip withdrawn. But they did not launch an enquiry, the Webster


enquired it was not an enquiry, it was a legal opinion. You're right,


it was an internal opinion. The Lib Dems distinguished themselves from


the other two parties not with policy, but with ethics. They


presented themselves as being cleaner, and in possession of more


Robert Jay than Labour and the Conservatives. That will be harder


to do now. -- more probity. There are a Lib Dem peers that are more


relaxed about taking him back and letting him pick up the party whip.


That is the problem. There is a generational issue. The older Lib


Dems in the House of Lords, the kind of thing, he did not do anything


that wrong. The younger activists and those outside the House of


Lords, they think it is a pollen. Yes, there is definitely a sort of


what you are complaining about sort of thing. That is symptomatic of a


cultural difference. The report last year found that they tried to manage


the allegations. They did not do what any company would do if there


was an allegation of sexual harassment. If there had not in the


by-election in Eastleigh, this story may not have got the attention it


did. Channel four news are the one that really drove this. Without


their reporting, this might not have come out. It is not going to go


away, because the issue of whether he gets the party whip back will


come week. -- will come up this week.


So it's not been a great week for the Liberal Democrats and none of


this will help public perceptions of a party already struggling in the


polls. In a moment, I'll be talking to the second most senior Liberal


Democrat in the land, Danny Alexander. First, Adam Fleming went


to Glasgow to find out what voters there made of the party.


Let's put the Lib Dems under the microscope in Glasgow. We have


recruited some Glaswegians who have voted for them, and some who have


not. Hello, John. Let's get started. I will be watching them through the


one-way mirror, along with the former Liberal Democrat MP John


Barrett. Let's get to the heart of the matter straightaway. If the Lib


Dems were a biscuit, what would they be? Tunnock's Teacake. Hard on the


outside but soft in the middle. They give in. There is no strength of


character there. They just give in to whoever. Ouch. Rich Tea. A bit


bland and boring. Melts and crumbles under any sort of heat and pressure.


Morrison's own brand of biscuit, not top of the range like Marks


Spencer or Sainsbury's or Waitrose. A custard cream, sandwiched between


David Cameron and the Tories. I think they were concerned that they


had one exterior, but something else was really inside. They did not find


it too definitive, too clear, too concise, too tasty, too appealing.


Which means? It is a worry. If that is their gut reaction, literally,


let's find out what is behind it. The context of them being stuck


between a rock and a hard place, for them as a party, I feel slightly


sorry for them. I think people who voted for them will think they are


victims as well, being sold down the river by going to the coalition. I


think the ones, particularly student fees, that was an important one to a


lot of people. People felt cheated. I agree. Just going back on that, so


publicly and openly, it makes you think, well, what do they stand for?


It is trust. Harsh. But our group is feeling quite upbeat about the state


of the economy. What have the Lib Dems contributed to that? I am not


quite sure. It is George Osborne, a Conservative, who is the Chancellor,


so it is mostly down to him. The Liberal Democrats are mostly on


their coat tails, if you know what I mean. Have the Lib Dems done


anything, anyone? I think the Liberal Democrats were responsible


for increasing the tax allowance, ?10,000 for next year. I think they


have played a major role in that. Yes. I am glad somebody noticed


that. We will have helped everyone who is receiving a salary, and it is


interesting that nobody has mentioned that. Now, let's talk


about personalities. Everyone knows him, but what about say, this guy?


Alexander. Danny, they got it straightaway. I actually quite like


him. I think he talks very clearly and it is easy to understand what he


says. Fellow redhead Charles Kennedy is popular as well. He is very


charismatic and it is through him that I voted Liberal the last few


times. But who is this? I recognise him but I cannot tell you his name.


That is the party's leader in Scotland, Willie Rennie, and the


party's role in the upcoming referendum on independence draws a


blank as well. It does not feel like they have featured, it is SNP and


Labour and Conservative. They are last in a four horse race. We have


been talking about the biggest issue in Scottish politics, independence


and the referendum and the Lib Dems are nowhere. They are not mentioned


and they seem to think it is all about Labour and the SNP. The Lib


Dems are part of the Better Together campaign and we are being drowned


out among that. Looking to the future, what messages do voters have


for the Lib Dems? Get a backbone. Do not go back on your policies or your


word. Be strong and decisive. If you will pardon the expression, man up.


DIY, do it yourself. Do not award bankers and other people for


failure. Stand up. Be your own person, party. If that focus group


represented the whole country, what would the result for the Lib Dems be


at 2015 in the election? If they get the message across between now and


then, the result could be OK. If they do not get the message across,


the result could be disaster. Maybe they would do a lot better on their


own. I do not think you are seeing the true Lib Dems because they are


in the coalition. They maybe deserve another chance. Crucially for the


Lib Dems, that means there is some hope, but there is also plenty of


anger, some disappoint, and a bit of bafflement as well.


And watching that with me, senior Liberal Democrat and Chief Secretary


to the Treasury Danny Alexander. Welcome to the programme. One of the


things that comes through from the focus group is that if there is any


credit around for the economic recovery, it is the Tories that are


getting it, and you are not? What can you do about that? The first


thing to say is that the economy would not be recovering if it was


not for the Liberal Democrats. If it was not for our decision right


beginning in 2010 to form a strong, stable coalition government that to


deal with the problems, we would still be in the mess that Labour


left us with. Why are you not getting the credit? That was one


focus group. It was interesting to hear opinions. We have to work very


hard to get across the message that the economy would not be recovering


without the Liberal Democrats. People would not be seeing the


largest income tax cuts for a generation without the Liberal


Democrats. The ?10,000 threshold that one of the people referred to


is coming into peoples pay packets this year. Lots of people recognise


that. There was the one person in the focus groups. This is your


measure of success, raising the people at which people pay income


tax. But most of the voters do not even give you credit for that. The


role that we haven't British politics as a party, is that we are


the only party that can be trusted to deliver a fair society and a


strong economy. People know they cannot trust the Labour Party. We


saw it again from Ed Miliband this morning. You cannot trust the Labour


Party with the nation's finances. It may well be your policy, the income


tax threshold, but it is the Tories that are getting the credit? I do


not think that is true. I have spent lots of time meeting photos and lots


of people recognise that if it was not for the Liberal Democrats,


people would not be seeing those tax cuts. We are helping disadvantaged


children in schools. It is right that we have to work very hard


between now and polling day to do several things, to make sure that we


secure the recovery, there can be no complacency. The economic recovery


is in its early stages and we need to make sure it is sustainable. We


need to make sure the benefits of the recovery are shared out people


who have made sacrifices, people on low pay, people who have seen their


savings are eroded. The Tories have now hijacked another Lib Dem


policy, another big hike in the minimum wage. You spoke about the


need to make sure that people on low pay benefit from the recovery, a big


hike in the minimum wage. Did the Chancellor consulting on this? We


have been talking about it for some time. Vince Cable asked the low pay


commission for advice on this. Why did Vince Cable not make this


announcement, why was it the Chancellor? Let me say a few other


things about this. If we are going to secure the recovery, this year we


have to make sure that businesses start investing. We have got to get


Roddick typically rising. An increase in the minimum wage is


something that needs to follow that. We will not do it unless the low pay


commission adviser as it is important for the economy at this


stage. Did you know the Chancellor was coming out with that statement?


I did not know he was going to say something on that particular day. We


have worked together on it in the tragedy to see what the economic


impact would be, and to emphasise that it is the commission, which has


credibility with business, trade unions and government. It must not


be a politically motivated increase. So you did not know, and Vince


Cable, and it is properly a matter for him as the Business Secretary,


he did not make the announcement? I don't think that's right. I don't


clear every word I say with him, I don't expect him to do the same to


me. The Lib Dems have told us before it was the Treasury that was


blocking this from happening. We were going to ask the low pay


commission to advise us on bringing the minimum wage back up. During the


financial crisis, wages have been lower-than-expected but it's also


right, we shouldn't act in a hasty way, we should listen to what the


commission has to say, and if they don't recommend an increase we have


to make sure economic conditions are there to get it right. Not only are


the Tories getting credit for that, our Scottish voters group showed


that people have still not forgiven you for ratting on tuition fees, and


that was a broken promise that didn't even apply to the people in


Scotland, where there are no tuition fees! Nick Clegg has been very clear


about the issues that that brought up. If you look at our manifesto,


the University of London said we delivered about 70% of our policies


in the manifesto. They haven't forgiven you for the big one. The


big promise we made was to cut income tax the millions of people.


That is a policy which is putting money back into the pockets of


working people. It is only possible because we are delivering our


economic plan in government with the Conservatives. Now we have to make


sure, through tax cuts, through looking at issues like the minimum


wage and other groups who have made sacrifices, make sure that benefit


is shared. I am not going to agree to anything which undermines the


confidence of businesses to invest in this country over the next 12


months. Speaking of Scotland, the Lib Dems, why do they now look


largely irrelevant in the battle for the union? Not one of our focus


group even knew who your Scottish leader is. I don't accept that. I


have spent a lot of time with Alistair Carmichael and others, we


are all making the case every day. If Scotland votes to be independent,


it will be in a much worse financial position within the European Union.


Scotland will be contributing to the rebate for the UK, rather than


benefiting from it. It has been a disaster for your Scottish based to


have joined a coalition with the Tories. It may have been the right


thing to do, you say it is in the national interest, but Scottish Lib


Dems did not expect to be in a coalition with the Tories. By the


way I think it is also in the national interests and the interests


of the people for Scotland, cutting the income tax of Scottish people,


stabilising the economy. We are now seeing good growth. But you are in


meltdown. I don't accept that. We will see what happens in the 2015


election. I think we have a record to be proud of, we have played a


very important role in clearing up the mess Labour made in the


economy, of making sure the Coalition government tackles the


problems in this country, but does so in a fair way. I think the


biggest risks to the economic recovery over the next few years is


either a majority Labour government or a majority Conservative


government. Labour you cannot trust with the finances, the Tories want


us to play chicken with the European Union which would truly be a


disaster to investment in this country. You announced this week


that if Scotland votes to leave the UK, it would be the British Treasury


that would guarantee all British government debt. There wouldn't be a


negotiation, but the backstop would be that even if they didn't take


anything, we would still guarantee the debt. What was happening in the


markets that you needed to calm them down? We were getting quite a few


questions from the people we rely on to lend us money. We are still


borrowing billions of pounds every month as a country. Those people


were asking us to clarify this point. It was becoming a serious


concern? It wasn't reflected in the guilty yields. I follow the bond


market quite carefully and there was no sign this was having an impact.


That's why the right thing to do was to clarify this point now, rather


than the concerns being reflected in what you imply, and I think it is a


bad idea for Scotland to vote for separation but it would be wrong to


allow for the fact that question is on the table to cost taxpayers in


the UK more money and higher interest payments simply because


Alex Salmond has put that question on the table. That's why I think it


was the right thing to do. There were a lot of calls from the focus


group that you need to be different. Nick Clegg has embarked on this


aggressive differentiation. Where you can be different is the


bankers' bonuses. What conceivable reason could there be for anybody at


RBS getting a bonus twice in their salary? We have not been approached


by RBS in terms of those votes. I would be sceptical about an approach


from RBS if it can. It shows what we have presided over as a party in


government, massive reductions... I'm not asking you about that, I'm


asking what conceivable case there can be for a bank that has failed to


sell its branches even though ordered by the Government, still has


38 billion of toxic debt on its balance sheet, I ask again what


possible reason should they get twice salary as a bonus? Your right


to say RBS is in a very different position to other banks, it is


mostly owned by the state. RBS hasn't put a case to us but they


might do so I would like to look at what they would say, but I would be


sceptical as to whether a case could be made given some of the things you


said, but also the fact that it is a bank that has benefited from the


taxpayer standing behind it. Now RBS has to focus more on domestic


retail. Let me turn to Chris Rennard, ten women have accused him


of sexual harassment. He denies every case. Who do you believe? We


have been through a process on this as a party. A report has been issued


on this. I agree with Alistair Webster on this, he has made clear


that while he cannot prove what happened to a criminal standard,


that there is clear there has been considerable distress and harm


caused. I agree with him about that and that's why it is necessary for


Chris Rennard to apologise as he has been asked to do. If he refuses to


apologise, should he be denied the Lib Dem whip in the Lords? I don't


think he should be readmitted to the Liberal Democrat group in the House


of Lords until such time as the disciplinary process, including the


apology, has been done properly. We are very democratic party, it is a


matter for our group in the House of Lords in due course to make that


judgement. Party HQ has had a lot of complaints from party members about


the fact no apology has been made. The appropriate committee would need


to look at that and decide what action needs to be taken because


these are very serious matters. We as a party have learned a lot, taken


a long, hard look at ourselves, to change the way we work. The apology


does need to be made. We are told that Lord Newby, the Chief Whip of


the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, we are told he has shaken


hands with Chris Rennard and welcomed him back. That decision has


not been taken yet. I think Lord Newby would share my view on this.


Have you shaken his hand and welcomed him back? No, I haven't.


Does Nick Clegg have the power to deny Chris Rennard as the whip? I am


making it clear that a lack of apology is totally unacceptable, and


therefore we have to take steps if that is not forthcoming. His view


and my view is that Lord Rennard should not be readmitted to the


House of Lords if that is not forthcoming. In our party, our group


in the House of Lords has two in the end take a view for itself. And they


can override Nick Clegg's view? I hope that when they look at this...


Do they have the power to override Nick Clegg? They have the power to


decide who should be the whip. The failure to follow up the simple


human demand for an apology for the stress that has been caused is


totally unacceptable. Your party is totally down lighted on this --


divided on this. Here is what Lord Carlile had to say. A total


nonsense, hyperbole. It is a ridiculous statement to make and we


have seen Alistair Webster, the QC who did this investigation, comment


on that himself this morning. He has followed the process the party laid


down in its rules, which sets the standard for the investigation which


asked him to report on the evidence he has found, but he also has a duty


of confidentiality and responsibility under the data


protection legislation as well. Here is what your activists have said in


a letter to the Guardian. This shows there are strong opinions, but why


should Chris Rennard apologise for something he denies, unproven


allegations, on an unpublished report that Chris Rennard has not


been allowed to read? He should apologise because he wants to


continue to be a member of the Liberal Democrats and this is the


recommendation that has been made by the internal disciplinary process.


Webster himself said this was not an inquiry, it is an opinion. If Chris


Rennard apologises on this basis, he opens himself to civil lawsuits. He


says he is not going to do it. As a Liberal Democrat you join the party


because you believe in its values, you abide by its rules. One of those


rules is that we have a process if there are disciplinary allegations.


The committee of the party supported Webster's recommendations, one of


which was that an apology should be made because he clearly found


distress had been caused. Will there now be a proper inquiry? I don't


think any of these legalistic things, I don't think he can have it


both ways. Will there be a proper inquiry? Alistair Webster did do a


proper inquiry. There was a proper report into what happened at the


time and we have learned a lot from this is a party, and the most


important thing now is that Chris Rennard apologises. You have made


that clear. What kind of biscuits are you? Are you a Tunnocks? Soft on


the inside? It is good of you to be advertising a Scottish product. We


just wondered if you weren't tough enough to take on Ed Balls. Thank


you. More than tough enough is the answer to that.


Generally governments are a bit rubbish at IT projects. They tend to


run way over budget and never quite achieve what they promised. So the


revelations of a former spy that the US and British security agencies


were in fact astonishingly efficient at eavesdropping on the digital


communications of their citizens came as a bit shock. But just how


worried should we be about their clandestine activity?


In his latest revelation, former US by Edward Snowden has claimed that


America's National Security Agency operates a secret database called


Dishfire. It collect 200 million mobile phone messages every day from


around the world, accessed, he says, why British and American spies. This


week, the president has outlined a series of surveillance reforms,


including Ning to the storage of the phone call information of millions


of Americans, and no Morse -- and no more spying on allies like Angela


Merkel. Critics say that the British intelligence agencies have refused


to acknowledge even the need for a debate on the issue. The Foreign


Secretary William six says that we have a very strong system of checks


and balances. -- William Hague. ?? new line Nick Pickles is director of


the pressure group Big Brother Watch. The Labour MP Hazel Blears in


on Parliament's Intelligence And Security Committee. They're here to


go head to head. Welcome to both of you. Hazel


Blears, let me come to you first. President Obama has made some major


changes as a result of what we have learned that the NSA in America was


up to. But British politicians seem to, they are not up for this kind of


thing, they are hoping it will go away? It is not going away and that


is why my committee, the Intelligence And Security Committee,


has decided to launch an enquiry into whether the legal framework is


up-to-date. We have had massive technological change. We have had a


call for evidence. Some of the sessions will be open so that people


can see what the evidence is. Obviously some of the information


will have to be classified, but on the committee, there is a real


commitment to say, there is a big debate going on, let's see if the


system is as Rob asked as we can make it. The big question is


oversight and the call for evidence that the committee has issued is not


mention oversight. It is ten years since the Foreign Affairs Committee


said that the committee should be a fully elected committee chosen by


Parliament and not the Prime Minister. It has changed, actually.


The Prime Minister nominates people and the house gets to him -- gets to


approve. In America, they have a separation of power, the president


does not nominate Kennedy. Basically, Hazel Blears, you're an


establishment lackey? I do not think so. Most of the people on the


committee have some experience of intelligence and these issues. In


this country, we have robust scrutiny, compared to some of her


European neighbours. We have Parliamentary scrutiny, the


interception commissioners, and ministers have to sign the warrants.


But there may be room for improvement, which is why we are


having the enquiry. Do not forget, President Obama said that the agency


should not have the ability to collect data, he wanted to put more


safeguards in. That is essential for the work of the agencies. If you


cannot see the What bothers me is it was not the


intelligence committee in the states that did the work to bring that


number down, it was a Judiciary Committee. The value of having two


different bodies taking a lead means you do not get one organisation with


one particular view. They fell down on torture, 77, weapons of mass


destruction, how can people have confidence in a body washed up if


you go around Europe and the world, we are an oddity in not requiring


judges to sign off warrants. -- a body? I do not accept that. There


were two microphone report on the attack and if you look at that,


people would say widely due not know about them? -- two reports. The


agencies have to have capability but that has to be subject to proper


oversight and scrutiny, I entirely agree. Did you know about Dishfire?


I knew about the capabilities they have. We visit on a regular basis


and the director tells us about the capabilities they have got. Some of


the names of these programmes we would not have known because they


are American. Did you know that GCHQ had the capability to do Dishfire to


get Dishfire material from the NSA? The committee knew we had the


capability to collect meta data and these days, people do not write


letters and use landline telephones, they use Internet, e-mail, so it is


important to the agencies can keep up with that technological change


within a proper legal framework. What would you like to see happen?


That framework should include, if a company is cooperating, it should be


illegal for GCHQ to hack into them. One of the big drivers in the US is


this has put a ?35 billion hole in the US economy because people do not


trust systems to be secure and we need to know where there is a front


for, there is not a different drawer into the system by hacking or even


foreign intelligence. We need judicial oversight with judges is


not politicians signing off, and a proper accountable body to


Parliament to oversee the agencies and not the Prime Minister. The ISC


as a result of the changes is now accountable to Parliament and not


simply the Prime Minister, pushed changes are taking place and I am up


for the debate about whether we need more change. At its heart, I want


our agencies, like most British people, to have the power to protect


the people of this country. Thank you to both of you. You are


watching Sunday politics. Good morning and welcome to Sunday


Politics Scotland. Coming up on the programme: William Hague claims UK


diplomacy allows Scots to punch above their weight on the


international stage. We are on a journey to Cowdenbeath


to see how the candidates are preparing for Thursday's


by-election. And the Catalonian President Artur


Mas says he will press ahead with a referendum on independence this


year. In the latest of a series of


Scotland analysis papers presented by the Westminster government, the


Foreign Secretary, William Hague, was in Glasgow on Friday to outline


the case for Scotland remaining in the UK to further its foreign policy


objectives. Along with re-igniting the war of words over EU membership


and the terms on which an independent Scotland might expect to


gain entry, Mr Hague also pointed to the diplomatic network and


intelligence community which promotes and supports Scottish


national interests as part of the UK. Pro-independence supporters say


Scotland will play a full part in world affairs.


Mr Hague said being in the UK gives Scotland international influence and


Scots benefit from an extensive network of diplomacy which includes


267 embassies, high commissions and consorts, membership of the EU and


NATO, a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, MI5 and


MI6. United Kingdom will exercise its


functions in the world and I am confident about that, but Scotland


would be in a different situation and would be without easy access to


most things. The huge consular services that look after people all


over the world, support for businesses through UK trade and


investment. This would have to be reinvented somehow.


The Scottish of mud 's White Paper says Scotland would be a member of


international organisations and would have embassies, membership of


the EU, NATO and the UN, and an internal style agency and an


external MI6 agency an option. The Scottish government envisions an


independent nation able to make a contribution on the global stage. It


is not impressed by reports the UK might be using its diplomatic


network to campaign against any -- a Yes vote. There have been reports UK


officials have been speaking to the Spanish, Russian government, to


lobby their support. I have not heard any straight denials of that


from the UK government, if it is true, I think it is deplorable


activity and I would hope William Hague as Foreign Secretary would


stop it. I am joined now by Sir William


Patey, a former British Ambassador to Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and


Afghanistan. And speaking today for the Better Together campaign, and


the SNP MEP Alyn Smith. Good morning. Does Scotland benefit from


the current diplomatic setup? I always make a point, I will knock on


the door of the High Commissioner of the UK Ambassador. The network does


what it does in representing UK interests. The UK interest is not


exactly the same as the Scottish interest on all things at all times


and what we are talking about is setting up a network. Scottish


development International has already got Scotland house in


Brussels and various things to build on. That network will be 100%


focused on articulating Scottish interest, having had that interest


articulated and formulated in Scotland by the people of Scotland.


But it would be a quarter of the size so influence is diminished.


There is an ordinary before that but that is ignoring the point that


under the Lisbon Treaty, much of this stuff is done by the EU on


behalf of the member states. I was up the UN in November it in New York


and increasingly, the member state speaking with one voice -- New York.


That is then broadcast on a wider stage. The network will be smaller


which leads to cost savings, we will have a different network focused on


promoting Scottish interests and our aggressive values around the world.


As a diplomat, how much time did you spend promoting Scottish interests?


I rot, the EU did not secure opt out from Kashmir and sorted out


discrimination against the Scottish whiskey industry is that promotes


Scottish firms, so it is a myth that the EU represents the interests of


Scotland. Do you accept the point that sometimes the UK interest is


not always the same Scottish interest? I had 37 years in the


foreign service and there was never a dichotomy between the two. Would


that to promote Scotland as part of the UK -- we were there to promote.


Would looked at a Scottish interests and we did that, we looked after


Scottish citizens in trouble and promoted Scottish firms -- we looked


after. I do not understand the conflict of interest. The Better


Together campaign is based on the assumption that Scottish and UK


interests coincide, that is not true. Look at what we have done in


terms of council tax, student tuition, prescription fees. You seem


to suggest Scottish interests were not demoted? The question is, could


we do better? -- promoted. With a taste of independence, we have made


different decisions, Scottish solutions. Look at our


representatives in Westminster, 90% of MPs opposed to the bedroom tax,


the vast majority of Scottish MPs were opposed to privatisation of the


Royal Mail. It is operating to a fundamentally different set of


priorities that we would have chosen in Scotland. Does it matter if the


country the size of Scotland does not have a seat at every top table?


It means our influence is less. Scotland can clearly be independent


with its own diplomatic and intelligence services but it would


be a small country vying for attention in a crowded marketplace.


Over 180 countries in the UN. From my own experience and talking to


ambassadors from smaller countries, I know how difficult they find it to


get access and influence. Scotland can leveraged the broader influence


of the UK for allsorts of historical reasons, a seat on the Security


Council, a seat at the G20, these are places where the global system


is determined. Scotland has a much more direct influence on those and


it would if it had to convert with other allies and small groups of


countries. Scotland would pay more and get less. Is that a fair point?


That really is quite dated. We motoring in terms of developing. The


idea that Scotland will not be the UK, of course not, we will not have


nuclear weapons. The idea that we have a permanent seat on the UN


Security Council, we do not need or want one. We will formulate our own


decisions. I do not accept the point the UK is working on our behalf as


well as we could ourselves. There have been complaints and we heard


from Nicola Sturgeon she feels that sometimes the diplomacy is being


used to work against the issue of Scottish independence. Our colleague


Andrew Marr asked Vladimir Putin if he had any advice for David Cameron


on the question of Scottish independence.


Here is what he had to say. It is not a matter for Russia. It is


a domestic issue for the UK. People have a right to soft in a nation --


to self rule. I believe one should not forget that being part of a


single strong state has some advantages and one should not


overlook this. But it is a choice for every pupil according to their


own circumstances -- people. Perhaps the Scots could join the new


customs union? -- during your new. I would not rule it out.


He says this is not a matter for Russia but that being part of a


single strong state has more advantages and nobody should


overlook that, your response? Both sides of the arguments can quote


lines selectively. He started with, this is not a matter for Russia. He


does not have a boat in it and not many people are taking lessons and


democracy from Vladimir Putin! So people should not be quoting world


leaders? People are professional, they recognise a domestic debate and


a domestic decision. The people best placed to make about -- to make a


decision about Scotland are the people of Scotland and the rest of


the world will respect that. And to the Edinburgh agreement, we have a


cordial and grown-up agreement with the UK government that both sides


will respect. Do you expect world leaders to become embroiled in this


debate or will they stay out like? ? I do not think will get involved. --


like Vladimir Putin. It is for the UK and the Scottish people to decide


on this. But it is important that Scots understand the international


implications and the smooth the path that is outlined by the SNP that it


will all be rosy is not true. The reality is that Scottish


independence will cost more and it will be a difficult road, not


impossible. But Scotland will pay more for less.


We will return to this! Thank you both -- thank you, both.


It is the final weekend of campaigning in the Cowdenbeath


by-election. It has been a quick battle, really just getting off the


ground after the Christmas holidays. Called after the death of the


sitting MSP Helen Eadie, it seems the SNP only have a slim chance of a


win. The constituency managed to survive the nationalist avalanche of


2011, while others around it fell. Andrew Kerr has been to meet the


candidates. The butcher, baker, betting shop, a


typical Scottish town, welcome to Cowdenbeath. It is called, it it is


a by-election that has hardly set the world alight, but people are


talking about the issues that matter the most. -- cold. The state of the


High Street and local jobs. Small businesses are a major thing for me.


When you think of the High Street here, what can be done to help it?


The High Street is going to die a death, so hopefully some


regeneration will be goat. Regenerate the High Street for a


start. There is nothing left. It is deserted. Mainly that and the job


situation. It is about Scottish independence, that is a big vote


this year. That is very important and the structure but, we need more


information. So the constitution is also an issue, the Labour candidate


picking up on that on the doorsteps here. Labour need -- needs to set


out its vision for Scotland. Alex Rowley is the council leader in


Fife, Labour survived the SNP onslaught here in 2011 and it is


likely the party will pull through again. There is a traditional Labour


message on jobs, health and the referendum. Scotland has been put on


hold for a year, we see cuts happening, we see health and social


care whether a government in Edinburgh will not take


responsibility for its role so we are not taking anything for granted,


we will campaign for every vote. I message is loud and clear, in this


constituency, if elected, I will be a strong voice representing this


constituency in the Scottish Parliament.


What are the main issues for you? People are saying it is the pressure


on budgets. Current data is a hard nut to cross -- break for the


Nationalists. But there is optimistic talk from the candidates.


If we can -- speak to enough voters and give them the message that only


we can protect them then we can convince them and we could win. Not


so for the Lib Dems with 4% here last time. Look through the window


at a Lib Dem soul at this factory and what do you find? It seems


reporters are the anyone's asking about controversial welfare reforms.


People are talking about it. Their worries about independence and jobs


and taxes, but when it comes to these discussions, all I can say is


I understand there is a need for welfare reform and it has to be done


sensibly and fairly. A strong defence of UK Government policy from


the Conservatives. In Aber Dower, a promise to protect green spaces and


a promise to listen. I was brought up in Fife and I work with people is


at -- people and ask them what they want. I don't tell the man that


makes me unusual as a politician. UKIP claims they are also listening.


They are campaigning on the beach here.


The authorities pass the buck. If you vote for UKIP, we will make sure


things get done and this beach is cleaned up. From the bay, back to


the high street. After Thursday, voters will no longer be bombarded


with messages as the campaign teams hit the road and the visiting


politicians get back in their boxes. Here is a full list of candidates


could: polling will take place on Thursday


and there is more information on our website.


I'm joined by Professor John Curtice from Strathclyde University --


University. I think you have seen their the candidates try hard to


find local issues on which to campaign. As in Dunfermline, the


state of the town centre is being talked about. Equally, there are


claims about whether the independence referendum is or is not


an issue. Equally, there are claims and counterclaims about whether


people are voting for the policies of the UK or Scottish government. A


typical by-election mix here. Dunfermline, the SNP were trying to


defend a marginal seat that we did not expect them to hang onto.


Cowdenbeath is one of the 15 constituencies the Labour Party did


manage to hang onto in 2011. What makes different then? It makes it


different in the sense that it is not a by-election in which there is


a great deal of interest because even by-elections in opposition


seats, we find the government not doing terribly well. We usually find


the opposition hang on and make some progress. We will be looking to see


whether the SNP and the Labour performance is similar to or


different from the performance in Aberdeen in the summer and in


Dunfermline in the autumn. In truth, those are the two by-elections, they


provide us with a framework. Almost undoubtedly the reason why the


Labour Party hung onto the seat in 2011 is because of Helen Eadie's


personal popularity. Overall, what do by-elections like this tell us?


We have had tremendous upsets and sometimes they have gone to plan. Do


they actually feed that much into the national picture? Occasionally


changes the national mood substantially. They had a dramatic


impact last year on the position in UK wide politics. You have to look


at them and say, as compared with other by-elections is it exceptional


and telling us something is changing? If the Labour Party ends


up with around 50%, which is what you would expect given what happened


in Aberdeen and Dunfermline and given what they did in this


constituency in the 2012 local elections, we will say not much has


changed. If the SNP end up at around 3031%, that is consistent with their


performances in previous by-elections and in the 2012 local


elections. 30 or 31%. I think we need to see what happened previously


in local elections and by-elections and that gives us a guide as to


whether this is more of the same and we shouldn't be terribly surprised


or whether, in fact, something is changing. We're constantly told the


electorate here is sophisticated. Will that mean we can read anything,


therefore, into the forthcoming referendum as a result of this? I


would be wary of that. If you look at the SNP's average vote share, it


is around 40%. Average vote for independence is around 38 or 39, not


that far apart. But, at the end of the day, remember that governments


tend not to do terribly well, even if they are popular. It is still


relatively popular as the government, albeit not as popular as


three years ago. Snowdrops in by-elections will undoubtedly


exaggerate the reek -- weakness of the SNP's position. The drop in this


by-election will be greater than any drop for independence. Thank you for


that. You're watching Sunday Politics


Scotland and the time is coming up for midday. Let's cross now for the


news from Reporting Scotland with Andrew Kerr.


Good afternoon. Police have arrested and charged the mother of the


three-year-old boy, Mikaeel Kular, in connection with his death. This


report from where the boy 's body was found.


The house here remained cordoned off today. The body of Michael Adebolajo


was removed yesterday afternoon. To communities have been affected by


the little boy 's death and hundreds turned out for a church service in


the area of Edinburgh where he had lived with his family for the last


18 months. His Merc -- mother has been charged in connection with his


murder and she is due to appear in court tomorrow. A man has died after


being pulled out of the sea at Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire. Two


members of the public and a police officer rescued the man yesterday


afternoon. He was then airlifted to hospital in Aberdeen. The


43-year-old died there in the early hours of this morning.


Health boards have been told to cut down on their use of the private


sector. The new guidance has come from the Health Secretary, Alex


Neil. The most recent figures indicate NHS spending on independent


health care was less than 1% of the budget. Labour had said using the


private sector was a "sticking plaster" approach to health care.


Dry and brighter conditions across the south-west corner. Staying windy


across the North East with lighter wind elsewhere.


That's all for now. Catalonia's president has praised


Britain's pragmatic approach to Scottish independence. Artur Mas


told the BBC that he would press ahead with the controversial vote on


independence in Catalonia in November even though the Spanish


government says it is illegal and they will block it. The two


campaigns for independence are similar but there are key


differences. Once, the Catalan language was


banned in schools here. Now, Catalan children grow up with the national


identity distinct from the rest of Spain. Support for independence is


growing. This demonstration in September 2012 attracted more than 1


million people. Scotland has seen nothing like this. Spain says it


will block Novembers referendum as illegal. I asked Catalonia's


president whether it would encourage Catalans to invite -- vote for


independence if Scotland voted yes first. I don't think so. I think


there are some similarities between Scotland and Catalonia but there are


also differences. I think that both countries have enough personality,


even from a political point of view, to follow their own ways. I


wouldn't say that everything is similar between the Scottish process


and the Catalan process, although there are some similarities. Do you


see Scotland as an ally or does it complicates things? I don't think


the Scottish case complicates things in Catalunya. Let me say that we


envy a bit what is happening in the United Kingdom because what we would


like is an agreement with the Spanish central institutions. Our


aim is to reach an agreement and organise the consultation in


accordance with the opinion of the Spanish government, but the


difference is that, in Spain, the central government says you don't


have the right to vote. So you would rather be dealing with David


Cameron? Of course. Not exactly with Mr Cameron, but with the British


mentality. That is to say, if you have a nation - Scotland or


Catalunya, you have a broad majority of the population asking for a


referendum, asking for real democracy, what do you have to do?


To sit at the table and talk about it and reach agreements and to let


people vote. That is the British way. If Scotland and Catalunya were


to vote yes, would they carry on as members of the EU in their own right


on slightly different terms, or would they have to reapply as new


members? This is what we don't know. Frankly,


we don't know what will happen, but nobody knows. The Spanish government


doesn't know what will happen and the European Commission doesn't


know. What do you think will happen? I think common sense is the most


important point. Common sense shows us that if a European country


belonging to the European Union wants to stay in the European Union,


the European Union has two make it easy. There is another big


difference between the two. In Scotland, support for independence


has been solid at around 30% arguably for decades. In Catalonia


it has shot up to 50% in the last few years and many anti-independence


campaigners believe it is a short-term response to a short-term


economic crisis, but one which could have profound and irreversible


long-term consequences. Opponents of the referendum one tough action


funds gained -- Spain to rain Catalonia in. For instance, we could


suspend the autonomy. We hope it will not be a scenario that will


arise, but our democratic constitution gives us some tools to


stop illegal misuse. But the popular mood seems unmistakable. In a


country where even eight-year-old child for independence, Spain 's


refusal to grant a referendum risks pushing more Catalans into the


independence camp. In a moment, we will discuss the big


events coming up in Holyrood. First, a week at -- a look back at the


week. The Treasury pledged to honour all


UK debt in the event of independence, it is hoped.


Uncertainty about the sharing of debt is pushing up the cost of


borrowing. Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said plans to abolish


corroboration would he delayed to review the impact of reform, some


believe it could lead to miscarriages of justice. The


Scottish government is creating a veterans commission at to champion


the interests of ex-servicemen and women. Scotland's economy grew by


0.7% last year, the Finance Secretary John Swinney welcomed the


figures. They show over the last six quarters sustained and accelerated


growth in the Scottish economy and the annual growth of the Scottish


economy is at 2.1%. Research by Edinburgh University found police in


Scotland carry out four times more stop and searches than in England


and Wales. Well, that was the Week in Sixty


Seconds. Let's have a look at the headlines and what is coming up this


week. And joining me to have a look at


what the next few days hold is Times political correspondent Lindsay


McIntosh, and the political editor from the Sunday Herald, Tom Gordon.


Good afternoon. Let's start with the story on the front pages of most of


the papers, the death of the-year-old Mikaeel Kular


dominating the papers. This seems to have touched the whole country. It


is hot waking, instant identification for parents like


myself, a child goes missing with tragic consequences --


heartbreaking. No surprise it is dominating the front pages, a


terrible story. Police have been praising the efforts of people in


Edinburgh. It is easy to be cynical and think people are on caring, but


that is not the case. Their striking images of hundreds of members of the


local community coming forward -- there are striking. Conducting


searches with the police. Mothers came out and said, if this had been


my child missing, I would hope everybody would come and help. And


it has had this heartbreaking end. More on this story in the coming


days. Let's talk about diplomacy. You have got a story in the Sunday


Herald about how the SNP sees foreign policy developing. This is


intriguing, it could be a great idea or a hostage to fortune. They want


the policy of, do no harm, is strong ethical dimensional to it. It would


mean stopping exporting arms to reprehensible regimes. So please


stop with the best of intentions, these things -- so these things


start with the best of intentions but it will be interesting to see if


they carry it off. We have heard about ethical policies before, Robin


Cook 's idea before Labour came to power and it did not last long. It


is a nice phrase and it is in the White Paper. It is not something


everybody will oppose but how do you see that question --? Also


recognition that Scotland's role in the world will be different to the


role the UK has played when it comes to intervention. Very much, we have


had from Angus Robertson a lot of discussion about Scotland becoming a


centre for peace and reconciliation and if you can that with the UK


government, we have had illegal wars in Iraq. I want a different


direction, much more peaceful and co-operative. I want to break away


from being the in the pocket of the US. There will be talk about Scots


having a different attitude to immigration. Is the SNP likely to


say that? This is not quite a myth but I do not think the facts pan out


as the SNP presents them. If you look at opinion polls in this area,


Scottish attitudes to immigration and the EU are pretty similar to the


rest of the UK. To an extent, it is an exaggeration from the SNP that we


are somehow there are different to the rest of the UK. When it comes to


anti-EU sentiment, that seems to be encapsulated by UKIP, not the same


North of the border? UKIP are a shambles North of the border and the


leadership structure has virtually collapsed. They have yet to achieve


by percent of the vote in a by-election. -- 5%. Could change


with the European elections in May, but no sense of that. How helpful to


the Better Together campaign into Jack is like the one on Friday from


William Hague? Do those campaigning against a Yes vote CDs Westminster


figures as being helpful? -- CBEs. William Hague and Danny Alexander


did very well on Friday. Where the interventions have been unhelpful is


where we have had unnamed Tories from down South passing comment on


the Better Together campaign from a distance. We had remarks that I was


to dialling is comatose to and that is not helpful -- Alistair Darling.


But William Hague produced a helpful contribution. And Danny Alexander.


There had been interventions from George Osborne is and some feel that


helps their campaign. -- George Osborne. That always the Bay are a


recruiting Sergeant for the Yes campaign if they come North -- they


always say that they are. It annoys them because the message can


resonate with some Scottish voters and they would like them to stay out


completely. We have got the publication of the latest instalment


of the Scottish attitudes survey and this will look at independence. Is


either side changing minds in this debate? I think it is fractional at


the moment. There is possibly a sense that the Yes vote is getting a


bit of traction in the sense that the polls will narrow, but I do not


think we will see a huge swing. Since the White Paper has come out,


the book are starting to weigh the argument is a lot of than they have


in the past -- people. I cannot see social attitude surveys showing


anything significant we -- significantly different. Do you feel


the public are engaged? But as much as they will be. Even if the


campaign went on longer, five years, people would only switch on in the


last couple of months. They will only get engaged in the closing


period. What will be interesting is if there is any kind of difference.


We are seeing increasingly undecided voters and perhaps people moving


into the may be camp, but it is quite slow. I do not think they will


poll of enough momentum. -- pick up enough momentum. We just hear


arguments reiterated and we cannot look for anything new from either


campaign pushed up -- campaign? We have got another four or five


campaigners system of the arguments they made initially will be brought


out in finer detail. From the other side, they will have to put flesh on


the bones of a lot of the propositions they make in the White


Paper, which is supposed to be their manifesto. I do not think we will


see anything left field. But a long eight months to go! It has been a


long year and a half! One of the big political stories will be the


Cowdenbeath by-election, it does not set the world on fire! Maybe it is


the time of year the weather, I cannot see it it upset. The SNP


rolling their eyes as a safe -- and seeing it as a safety seat. These


things can cost up to ?100,000 a time and this is the third in quick


succession and I think they would rather save their energy for the big


one. So pity the poor people in Cowdenbeath! Indeed, it is not going


to be the most engaging by-election. We heard from John


Curtis earlier, it looks like it will be Labour. The feeling in


Holyrood is, let's get this over and move on. We get the result and


Friday morning. Thank you for coming here. -- on Friday morning.


That is all from the us this week. I will be back at the same time next


week. Until then, goodbye.


Political magazine presented by Andrew Neil and Andrew Kerr.

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