30/03/2014 Sunday Politics Scotland


30/03/2014

Andrew Neil and Gary Robertson with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey.


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Transcript


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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics.

:00:35.:00:42.

Can Ed Davey keep the lights on? Can he ever deliver cheaper power? Or

:00:43.:00:45.

the investment our energy market badly needs? We will be asking the

:00:46.:00:48.

Energy Secretary. Why has the anti-independence Better

:00:49.:00:51.

Together campaign suddenly got the jitters? We will be quizzing

:00:52.:00:54.

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael.

:00:55.:00:59.

And whatever happened to the BNP? They could be heading for electoral

:01:00.:01:05.

oblivion. We will be asking why. Coming up on Sunday Politics

:01:06.:01:07.

Scotland. The pro-Union parties have ruled out

:01:08.:01:11.

a deal on currency, but does a newspaper report signal a change in

:01:12.:01:14.

the policy? We will be speaking to Alex Salmond live.

:01:15.:01:24.

And with me, as always, the most useless political panel in the

:01:25.:01:28.

business, who we're contractually obliged to insult on a weekly basis.

:01:29.:01:33.

But not today, because they are our chosen ones. They are the brightest

:01:34.:01:37.

and the best, we've even hired a plane to prove it: Helen Lewis,

:01:38.:01:44.

Janan Ganesh and Nick Watt who'll be tweeting throughout the programme.

:01:45.:01:51.

Right, left and centre of the Westminster Establishment have been

:01:52.:01:53.

unanimous in saying there would be no chance of monetary union with the

:01:54.:01:57.

rest of the UK for an independent Scotland. Then an unnamed minister

:01:58.:02:02.

spoke to our Nick saying that wasn't necessarily so, and that made the

:02:03.:02:07.

Guardian's front page. The SNP were delighted and the anti-independence

:02:08.:02:11.

campaign rushed to limit the damage. The faux pas has come at a time when

:02:12.:02:15.

the Better Together side was already beginning to worry that things were

:02:16.:02:20.

going the Nationalists' way. Let's speak to a leading light in that

:02:21.:02:23.

campaign, Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael, who's in

:02:24.:02:25.

Aberdeen at the Scottish Liberal Democrat spring conference.

:02:26.:02:36.

Alistair Carmichael, why is there a sense of crisis now engulfing the no

:02:37.:02:42.

campaign? I think that is something of an overstatement. What you have

:02:43.:02:50.

got is, I am getting my own voice played back in my ear. What you have

:02:51.:02:55.

got here is one story from an unnamed source, a minister who we

:02:56.:03:00.

are told, we do not know for certain, who has speculated on the

:03:01.:03:05.

possibility of a currency union actually happening. I do not think

:03:06.:03:09.

that is helpful but it is not any big deal. You have to measure it

:03:10.:03:12.

against what we have got publicly named on the record. We have got a

:03:13.:03:16.

detailed intervention of the Governor of the Bank of England,

:03:17.:03:20.

Mark Carney, outlining all the reasons why a currency union would

:03:21.:03:24.

not be a good idea. And then you have got independent advice from the

:03:25.:03:28.

permanent Secretary of the Treasury himself saying actually, this is

:03:29.:03:32.

such a bad idea, that I would never advise a chancellor to go ahead with

:03:33.:03:36.

it. You set one against the other and you see that pretty much the

:03:37.:03:42.

force of argument is very much against those of us who want to

:03:43.:03:46.

remain in the United Kingdom. All the minister was saying is come the

:03:47.:03:50.

day, if Westminster is negotiating with a new independent Scotland, a

:03:51.:03:54.

deal is to be done, Faslane where the nuclear deterrent is, there is

:03:55.:03:58.

nowhere else in the UK to put that is, certainly not for the next 20

:03:59.:04:04.

years, a deal would be done, the nuclear weapons would stay in

:04:05.:04:07.

Faslane and Scotland would get a monetary union with the rest of the

:04:08.:04:11.

UK. That is perfectly plausible, isn't it? No, I'm sorry, it is

:04:12.:04:18.

simply not plausible. The economy is more important than anything else.

:04:19.:04:21.

What you have had here is very clear advice from the treasury officials

:04:22.:04:25.

saying it is not in the economic best interests of the people of

:04:26.:04:29.

England Wales, Northern Ireland, any more than it is in the interests of

:04:30.:04:36.

people in Scotland. Where do you put the nukes? The outcome will not

:04:37.:04:43.

change. Where do you put the nukes when the Nationalists kick you out?

:04:44.:04:50.

I do not believe that will be a problem because I do not believe

:04:51.:04:54.

Scotland will vote for independence. But you might be asking the Scottish

:04:55.:04:58.

Nationalists, who are apparently promoting this, are they then not

:04:59.:05:02.

sincere when they say they want to remove nuclear weapons from

:05:03.:05:06.

Scotland? It seems to be a curious mixed message. As you know, I have

:05:07.:05:11.

not got the Nationalists, I have got you, so let me ask you the

:05:12.:05:15.

questions. You are widely seen as running a campaign which is too

:05:16.:05:27.

negative. The Nationalists are narrowing the gap in the poll found

:05:28.:05:29.

you are squabbling among yourselves. This campaign is going pear shaped,

:05:30.:05:33.

isn't it? No, let's deal with the polls. All the polls show that the

:05:34.:05:37.

people of Scotland want to stay as part of the United Kingdom. Yes,

:05:38.:05:43.

there were a couple of polls last week that said the gap was narrowing

:05:44.:05:48.

a little. The most recent poll of all, the poll on Wednesday which

:05:49.:05:55.

actually polled people's voting intentions on the question come

:05:56.:05:59.

September showed that only 28% of people in Scotland were prepared to

:06:00.:06:02.

say they were voting yes, as opposed to the 42% who were on our side of

:06:03.:06:07.

the argument saying they wish to remain part of the UK. That poll

:06:08.:06:13.

said women were skewing towards a yes vote and it showed that the

:06:14.:06:18.

don't knows were beginning to skew towards a yes vote. That is why you

:06:19.:06:23.

yourself wrote this morning that if your campaign does not get its act

:06:24.:06:27.

together, you would be sleepwalking into a split to quote yourself. No,

:06:28.:06:33.

to quote myself I said it was not impossible that the Nationalists

:06:34.:06:37.

could win that. That is absolutely the case. The biggest danger for the

:06:38.:06:41.

United Kingdom camp in this whole argument is people will look at the

:06:42.:06:45.

polls. They show us with a healthy lead consistently. As a consequence,

:06:46.:06:49.

they think this will not happen. It can happen. I have got to tell

:06:50.:07:05.

everybody that it could, not least because the Nationalists have an

:07:06.:07:07.

enormous advantage in terms of the amount of money they have at their

:07:08.:07:10.

disposal to buy momentum. They will be advertising in cinemas, in

:07:11.:07:12.

football matches and on social media. We have got to realise what

:07:13.:07:17.

is coming and as a consequence, we have got to get our arguments in

:07:18.:07:21.

place and our campaign as sharp as theirs. Thank you for joining us.

:07:22.:07:28.

Nick, this unnamed minister who gave you the story, did he or she know

:07:29.:07:35.

what they were doing? I do not think they were sitting there wanting to

:07:36.:07:41.

blast this out there, because the agreed government position was there

:07:42.:07:45.

will not be a currency union, if there is a vote for independence.

:07:46.:07:52.

But what I was managing to get hold of whether thoughts that are in the

:07:53.:07:56.

deeper recesses of people's minds, when they are looking at the polls

:07:57.:08:00.

which have been narrowing, or there was Alistair Carmichael quite

:08:01.:08:03.

rightly says, the pro-UK vote is still ahead. People are looking down

:08:04.:08:08.

the line, what would happen after the 18th of September this year, not

:08:09.:08:12.

just the next day but the next year, in those very lengthy

:08:13.:08:16.

negotiations that would take place, when there would be a lot of moving

:08:17.:08:21.

places on the table. You talked about Faslane, what would happen

:08:22.:08:24.

then and that is what I managed to get hold of, that there are thoughts

:08:25.:08:29.

about all those pieces that would be on the table. It is not surprising

:08:30.:08:32.

that some in Westminster think that. Let's take the Shadow

:08:33.:08:36.

Chancellor Danny Alexander at his word, they do not want a monetary

:08:37.:08:43.

union. But if they are faced with giving the Scots a monetary union in

:08:44.:08:47.

a post-independent Scotland, or having to remove the nuclear

:08:48.:08:50.

submarines from Faslane, where they have nowhere else to put them,

:08:51.:08:56.

probably except North America, there is a deal to be done. I think

:08:57.:09:00.

whatever minister gave Nick his story is probably onto something. If

:09:01.:09:04.

the Scots vote for independence, of course a deal will be done about the

:09:05.:09:09.

currency because it is not in London's interests to have a

:09:10.:09:12.

rancorous relationship with Edinburgh. Even if the deal is not

:09:13.:09:16.

done, how does one country stop another country using its. That is

:09:17.:09:27.

different. All London can really do is prevent Scottish intervention on

:09:28.:09:29.

the monetary policy committee. The interest rate would be set without

:09:30.:09:33.

any regard to the Scottish interest. Even that is only a fatal problem if

:09:34.:09:38.

the Scottish economy becomes so out of sync with the UK economy. Except

:09:39.:09:43.

it is a problem for Scotland's financial system because if you go

:09:44.:09:49.

down that route there is no means of injecting liquidity into the

:09:50.:09:52.

financial system in the financial crisis. That is why they would

:09:53.:09:56.

rather have a monetary union. Is it not remarkable to hear the Secretary

:09:57.:09:59.

of State for Scotland here that the Nationalists are spending too much

:10:00.:10:03.

money, when he represents a campaign which brings together all the major

:10:04.:10:06.

parties in the UK and all the resources of the UK and he is

:10:07.:10:11.

bleating about the Nationalists having more to spend? I did think

:10:12.:10:14.

that was a funny line and it was in the Observer. It lays into Alex

:10:15.:10:19.

Salmond's plucky upstart idea that he's taking on this big

:10:20.:10:23.

establishment. I thought it was a bizarre open goal, I am losing my

:10:24.:10:30.

football metaphors, forgive me. The polls are so in favour of a no

:10:31.:10:37.

vote. But the trend has been going their way. We have six months left

:10:38.:10:42.

which is not enough to close the gap. They always tell you Alex

:10:43.:10:46.

Salmond is a strong finisher. The plucky upstarts have this funding

:10:47.:10:53.

from a millionaire. The Better Together campaign are being

:10:54.:10:56.

incredibly cautious about where they get their money from. They do not

:10:57.:11:00.

want to go to the City of London Police say, give us a couple of

:11:01.:11:03.

million. Being Energy Secretary used to be a

:11:04.:11:06.

bit of a dawdle, especially when North Sea oil was flowing. Now it's

:11:07.:11:10.

very much a hot potato as Ed Davey has been finding out the hard way.

:11:11.:11:17.

High household energy bills have been top of his inbox. The big six

:11:18.:11:26.

energy companies account for 95% of the market. Off Johnson -- Ofgem

:11:27.:11:33.

said there had been possible tacit coordination in the timing of price

:11:34.:11:38.

rises and ordered an investigation by the competition and markets

:11:39.:11:40.

authorities which will look at whether the big six should be broken

:11:41.:11:45.

up. Where does that leave investment? The boss of Centrica

:11:46.:11:49.

made the point that you would not spend money building an extension if

:11:50.:11:53.

you knew in two years time your home might be bulldozed. The spare

:11:54.:11:55.

margin, that is what is left in the margin, that is what is left in the

:11:56.:12:00.

generating system to cope with a surge in demand on a cold winter's

:12:01.:12:05.

night, is due to drop to historically low levels in 2016,

:12:06.:12:10.

according to Ofgem. Normally at around 15%, capacity could drop to

:12:11.:12:15.

2% after the next election and that could lead to a surge in the sale of

:12:16.:12:21.

candles. Now where is that light switch?

:12:22.:12:24.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey, joins me now. Oh, we have found the light

:12:25.:12:32.

switch! The gap between a peak winter demand and generating

:12:33.:12:37.

capacity could possibly reach 2% next winter or the winter after. We

:12:38.:12:44.

will keep the lights on, that is for clear. When we came to power, energy

:12:45.:12:48.

investment had been relatively low. The Labour Party had failed to deal

:12:49.:12:53.

with the energy deficit. From day one we have been pushing up

:12:54.:12:59.

massively. Investment has been 8 billion a year. Last year was a

:13:00.:13:04.

record. Spare capacity is now heading to 2%. Why are you allowing

:13:05.:13:10.

it to get that no? Because we have been increasing investment

:13:11.:13:13.

massively, last was a record level, we will be able to keep the lights

:13:14.:13:18.

on. Some of the figures you are showing suggests we are not doing

:13:19.:13:20.

anything. We have not only done enough in our last three years, we

:13:21.:13:26.

have put in measures to stimulate huge amounts of extra investment. We

:13:27.:13:32.

have the healthiest pipeline investment in our history. We will

:13:33.:13:35.

come onto investment in a minute. None of that change is the fact that

:13:36.:13:39.

we will be close to 2% next winter or the winter after that. We have

:13:40.:13:48.

one major power station shut down, or a cold winter away from having

:13:49.:13:54.

major problems with energy supply. It is still 2%. Let me explain. The

:13:55.:13:59.

figures assume we are not doing anything but we are doing something.

:14:00.:14:03.

Look at the National Grid. They are able to bring in energy from

:14:04.:14:07.

interconnector is because we are connected up to Europe. They are

:14:08.:14:12.

able to create a reserve so if we get to problems, they will have a

:14:13.:14:19.

mothballed plant they can bring on. You have not agreed with anybody on

:14:20.:14:25.

that. The decision was taken last July. But no supplier has agreed to

:14:26.:14:31.

under mothball its plant. We would not expect them to do that yet. Our

:14:32.:14:37.

plan is in place. On time, on schedule, as we already thought it

:14:38.:14:42.

would be. But you have not got a single agreement with a power supply

:14:43.:14:48.

who has mothballed plant to on the ball it. We did not expect to. Our

:14:49.:14:55.

plan is in me National Grid will do an election to allow those plants to

:14:56.:14:59.

come on. There is a huge amount of interest. There are gigawatts of

:15:00.:15:02.

power that can come in to come on. There is a huge amount of interest.

:15:03.:15:05.

There are gigawatts of power that can come into that auction and we

:15:06.:15:10.

are not other measures we can take and that is just in the short term.

:15:11.:15:14.

We have a plan for the medium-term. We will be running the first auction

:15:15.:15:20.

for new capacity. The final decision will be taken and we have learned

:15:21.:15:34.

lessons from what they do in North America and other European countries

:15:35.:15:36.

so we can stay minute mothballed plants and new plants to be built. I

:15:37.:15:39.

am absolutely clear there is not a problem. You only build 9000

:15:40.:15:49.

megawatts of new capacity from 2011-13. You have closed almost

:15:50.:15:55.

22,000 megawatts. Why would you be so cavalier with a nation's power

:15:56.:16:00.

supply? The last Government was cavalier because we knew those

:16:01.:16:03.

figures are happening because we've known for a long time a lot of power

:16:04.:16:06.

plants were coming to the end of their life, coal power plants,

:16:07.:16:11.

nuclear power plants, and we had to increase the rate of investment, but

:16:12.:16:15.

we... That shows clearly you are closing twice as much, you have to

:16:16.:16:21.

date, closed twice as much as you have opened, hence the lack of spare

:16:22.:16:25.

capacity. We knew a lot of them are coming back for the last Labour

:16:26.:16:29.

Government knew. We have increased the new so that's increasing

:16:30.:16:33.

significantly, far faster than under the last Government but also

:16:34.:16:37.

remember, you were very wrong at the beginning of your clip, margins at

:16:38.:16:41.

15% are very own usual. They are historically high. The average

:16:42.:16:48.

margin was 25%. That was wasting a huge amount of money. But since

:16:49.:16:53.

privatisation, we've had margins between 5% and 10%. Normally, high

:16:54.:16:57.

margins historically, which is costly. Now we will have

:16:58.:17:03.

historically low margins. People have to pay for that, so we make

:17:04.:17:08.

sure the lights stay on, we have a short-term policy I have described

:17:09.:17:12.

to you, and medium-term policy and a long-term policy. The long-term

:17:13.:17:15.

policy comes huge investment between nuclear and optional,

:17:16.:17:38.

policy comes huge investment between on. Ofgem, Independent, says the

:17:39.:17:43.

chance of blackouts by 2016 has increased fourfold under your watch.

:17:44.:17:48.

What they say, if you read the report, if we did nothing, they

:17:49.:17:57.

would be problems. But we have been working with Ofgem. We have been

:17:58.:18:01.

working with National Grid, and we have agreed that there will be a

:18:02.:18:06.

reserve capacity which can come on if we get to the peak for the Best

:18:07.:18:09.

not just on the supply side but demand and into connectors. You talk

:18:10.:18:17.

about industry having to move to off-peak times. We say, they are

:18:18.:18:20.

prepared to that you paid for it, and it makes commercial sense for

:18:21.:18:25.

them, it's a sensible thing for the Wii will pay them to move to

:18:26.:18:29.

off-peak. You have huge diesel parks for the you talk as if that

:18:30.:18:31.

something new but it's been around for a long time for the 200 these

:18:32.:18:35.

contracts out there. We want to expand that. You have hundreds of

:18:36.:18:40.

diesel generators to click into, haven't you? There's a whole range

:18:41.:18:46.

of generators. Diesel generation, dirty fuel. There's a of mothballed

:18:47.:18:54.

gas which can come. If you look at the increase of the independent

:18:55.:19:02.

generators, many companies, a range of power companies who are building

:19:03.:19:07.

a new power station and want to build new ones. This is a healthy

:19:08.:19:12.

situation. You say you made over 100 billion new investment between now

:19:13.:19:16.

and the end of the decade to restore capacity and meet renewable

:19:17.:19:20.

targets. Now you have referred the Big Six to the competition

:19:21.:19:23.

commission, how much of that to expect to come from them? We will

:19:24.:19:28.

see what the market delivers. We have always expected independent

:19:29.:19:32.

generators to do a lot more than is happening in the past. How much from

:19:33.:19:39.

the Big Six? It's not for me to say it's going to be best from that

:19:40.:19:44.

company. The real interest is we have huge amounts of companies

:19:45.:19:49.

wanting to invest. If you look at independent analysis, they say

:19:50.:19:51.

Britain is one of the best places to invest in energy in the world. We

:19:52.:19:55.

are the worldly do in offshore wind, one of the best for

:19:56.:19:59.

renewables, one of the only countries getting nuclear power

:20:00.:20:03.

stations. Rather than the bleaker picture you're painting, the reverse

:20:04.:20:07.

is the case. We are seeing an investment renaissance. You say

:20:08.:20:14.

that. Let me give you some facts. Under this Government, only one gas

:20:15.:20:19.

plant has been under construction, only one started under your watch

:20:20.:20:22.

for the others were done under Labour. You have none in the

:20:23.:20:27.

pipeline. The Big Six has pulled back from further investment

:20:28.:20:29.

including new offshore wind investment and none of what you're

:20:30.:20:32.

talking about will come before 2020 anyway. That's simply not true. The

:20:33.:20:38.

balance reserves I've talked about, the reserve planned: Making sure the

:20:39.:20:43.

mothballed plant could come on, I capacity market incentivising new

:20:44.:20:46.

power, will happen way before 2020, so that's not true. But doesn't

:20:47.:20:52.

answer the extra capacity. You have no answer between now and the end of

:20:53.:20:56.

this decade. We have three answers. Let me repeat them for you. I said

:20:57.:21:02.

permanent, not the short-term ones you are putting in place to try to

:21:03.:21:06.

do with spare capacity. We have a short-term plan, of course, that's

:21:07.:21:10.

very sensible. Medium-term plan, auctioning for new power stations.

:21:11.:21:14.

That can lead to both mothballed plant and when you plant, permanent

:21:15.:21:17.

plant being built, and the long-term plan, to stimulator long-term

:21:18.:21:24.

investment, some of which will be built and come online way before the

:21:25.:21:28.

end of the decade. I'm afraid, it's a far rosier picture than your

:21:29.:21:32.

painting. It's also far more expensive, too. Let's look at how

:21:33.:21:37.

you are replacing relatively cheap energy with much more expensive

:21:38.:21:41.

sources of energy. Wholesale prices is ?50 per megawatt. You have done a

:21:42.:21:48.

deal with EDF, nuclear, ?92 50. You have indexed it for 30 years at 2012

:21:49.:21:51.

prices. All of that puts up our bills. First

:21:52.:22:08.

of all, the support of the low Carbon is just 4% on bills. What has

:22:09.:22:14.

been driving peoples bills over the last decade has been wholesale gas

:22:15.:22:18.

prices. No one knows what guys prices are going to be in the future

:22:19.:22:22.

-- gas prices. When you look at the Ukraine and other market indicators,

:22:23.:22:26.

many people are worried that by the time nuclear power stations come

:22:27.:22:30.

online for example, the price of gas could be significantly higher. You

:22:31.:22:33.

have indexed linked that for them by the time you get any power from

:22:34.:22:39.

this, it'll be up to ?125 per megawatt hour. The price of gas been

:22:40.:22:47.

going up far higher. Not recently. Despite Iran, Ukraine, Libya, not

:22:48.:22:51.

recently. The long-term forecast, Andrew, it's going to go higher but

:22:52.:22:55.

more importantly than that, this is an area we could disagree on but

:22:56.:22:58.

it's very important that power plants pay the cost of pollution. In

:22:59.:23:05.

those prizes, all of those prices except the wholesale out a steep

:23:06.:23:07.

price, you have those power stations paying the cost of air pollution. If

:23:08.:23:12.

gas and coal where paying the proper carbon price, you would see nuclear

:23:13.:23:18.

and renewables as competitive. It's very important that we ensure that

:23:19.:23:23.

power plants pay the cost of the pollution. When you were last on

:23:24.:23:27.

this programme to talk about this in May 2012, you said that the price of

:23:28.:23:31.

offshore wind was coming down fast. You told me it would be down by 30%

:23:32.:23:37.

in the next few years. That figure is 155, and for the deeper stuff,

:23:38.:23:42.

it's going to be ?165. That's the first year of a limit control

:23:43.:23:46.

framework which had it coming down. If you talk to many companies,

:23:47.:23:53.

Siemens had invested with their partners, ?310 million with two new

:23:54.:24:03.

factories. They are talking about lower prices because what they are

:24:04.:24:08.

saying to me is that, rather than the 30% cost reductions I talked

:24:09.:24:12.

about, I was wrong, they are targeting 40%. You said prices would

:24:13.:24:17.

come down 30% in two years for that that was 2012 and they have gone

:24:18.:24:22.

higher. I absolutely did not say that. Your exact quote was 30% in

:24:23.:24:26.

the next few years. Your exact few years. You said two years, I sell a

:24:27.:24:32.

few years. I haven't changed a single moment that you said two

:24:33.:24:37.

years, I said a few years. That's what we are projecting. They will

:24:38.:24:40.

come down. You have to invest in technology. Let me give you this

:24:41.:24:44.

example. When people invest in mobile phones to start off with,

:24:45.:24:48.

they were expensive, and they were clunky and the costs were going down

:24:49.:24:57.

for the one final question. You put the Big Six into investigation

:24:58.:25:03.

because they made a 5% return on investment and you're done a deal

:25:04.:25:05.

with EDF, nuclear power, which will guarantee them a return of 10% - 15%

:25:06.:25:12.

every year for 30 years. Doesn't that underline the shambles of your

:25:13.:25:16.

energy policy? You have mixed up two separate things. The 5% Ofgem are

:25:17.:25:20.

talking about is on the supply retail side. The percentage you

:25:21.:25:25.

quoted for EDF is in the wholesale side of two different markets. It's

:25:26.:25:31.

the same return. It's not. You are comparing apples and pears,

:25:32.:25:34.

dangerous thing to do. You have to do have a high return but in the

:25:35.:25:38.

dangerous thing to do. You have to retail market, with a 5% stake,

:25:39.:25:41.

there is less risk, says a low return. Ed Davey, I'm sorry we

:25:42.:25:49.

haven't got more time. Thank you. Have me back. We will. Whatever

:25:50.:25:54.

happened to the BNP? The far right party looked as if it was on the

:25:55.:25:58.

verge of a major breakthrough not so long ago. Now it seems to be going

:25:59.:26:02.

nowhere. In a moment we'll be speaking to the party's press

:26:03.:26:04.

officer, Simon Derby. But first here's Giles. His report contains

:26:05.:26:07.

some flash photography. For a moment in 2009 Nick Griffin and the BNP had

:26:08.:26:10.

a spring in their step, smiling at their success of winning two seats

:26:11.:26:14.

in the European Parliament. They already were the second largest

:26:15.:26:17.

party in a London council and had a London Assembly seat. Despite

:26:18.:26:20.

concerns from mainstream parties their vote was up. Our vote

:26:21.:26:32.

increased up to 943,000. Savouring success was brief that morning as

:26:33.:26:35.

anti-far right protestors invaded and egged the press conference and

:26:36.:26:38.

forced the BNP MEPs into a hasty retreat. What is more significant is

:26:39.:26:43.

that, in the years since, that retreat has been matched internally,

:26:44.:26:45.

electorally and in the minds of those who had given them that vote.

:26:46.:26:56.

For a number of years they were performing better than the UK

:26:57.:26:58.

Independence Party and other smaller parties like the Greens and respect.

:26:59.:27:02.

The problem for the BNP if they didn't make any inroads into other

:27:03.:27:05.

groups, they didn't go into the middle class, the young, they didn't

:27:06.:27:10.

go into women and ethnic minorities for obvious reasons. So the party

:27:11.:27:13.

was quickly handicapped from the outset. Not that you would have

:27:14.:27:19.

known that at the outset. In 2006 in Barking and Dagenham, the party won

:27:20.:27:22.

12 council seats against a back drop of discontent with the ruling Labour

:27:23.:27:25.

council and Government and picking up on immigration and housing

:27:26.:27:34.

concerns in the borough. It's because of all the different

:27:35.:27:37.

nationality people moving in the area, they are taking over

:27:38.:27:40.

everything. My Nan and grandad lived there all their lives. I thought I

:27:41.:27:47.

would vote for BNP. Hopefully, yeah, they will get elected over here.

:27:48.:27:53.

When I came to Barking, Dagenham and Redbridge in 2006, the BNP with a

:27:54.:27:57.

second largest party in one of the local councils. You can even find

:27:58.:28:01.

non-white people who voted BNP. Now they have no counsellors, and even

:28:02.:28:05.

though can when you talk to people, you will find among the older white

:28:06.:28:10.

working-class population concerned that the BNP claim to represent,

:28:11.:28:14.

everyone says they are nowhere. So what happened to that about? On

:28:15.:28:21.

behalf of all the people in Britain, we in Barking have not just beaten,

:28:22.:28:26.

that we have smashed the attempt of extremist outsiders. The local

:28:27.:28:30.

Labour MP was as clear in 2010 as she is now. I always knew if we

:28:31.:28:38.

could manage to ensure that wasn't a single BNP councillor left on the

:28:39.:28:41.

council and I won my seat, it would stop the process of disintegration.

:28:42.:28:44.

But what beat the BNP here in 2010 was a mobilisation of the Labour

:28:45.:28:48.

vote. And today it is not hard to find the same discontent over the

:28:49.:28:52.

same issues. It's just finding a new political home. A couple of years

:28:53.:29:00.

ago, I used to vote Labour. Obviously, they haven't done nothing

:29:01.:29:04.

around here as much now, with jobs and unemployment, and housing and

:29:05.:29:08.

stuff like that about, basically, BNP ain't around here no more. Now

:29:09.:29:12.

it's more about UKIP and I believe that these UKIP are saying are true.

:29:13.:29:17.

If I thought BNP would make the difference, I would vote but is not

:29:18.:29:21.

in the people behind them. They all get bandaged with the same brush.

:29:22.:29:25.

I'm going to vote UKIP because BNP didn't get anywhere. What they say

:29:26.:29:30.

in UKIP, with a bit of luck, they will get somewhere. It's not racist

:29:31.:29:34.

but it's just that our kids haven't got jobs. Nick Griffin's dislike of

:29:35.:29:39.

UKIP is mutual but his once fellow MEP Andrew Brons who's now left the

:29:40.:29:42.

party issued a statement to this programme saying BNP failure is

:29:43.:29:51.

closer to home post 2010. It was after that election discontent arose

:29:52.:29:53.

amongst sections of the membership. Those members who left or were

:29:54.:30:10.

thrown out by Nick Griffin had already felt let down by his

:30:11.:30:14.

appearance on Question Time. It was a national platform for the BNP,

:30:15.:30:17.

something they felt they had the right to through electoral success.

:30:18.:30:27.

This was no big breakthrough moment for Griffin, unlike it was for John

:30:28.:30:33.

Marina pen when he appeared on national television in France. He

:30:34.:30:37.

went on to mobilise a national force. Despite there being some

:30:38.:30:40.

voters tuned to their message, for the BNP, becoming such a force here

:30:41.:30:44.

has never looked quite so difficult. And Simon Derby from the BNP joins

:30:45.:30:51.

me now. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. It was not long ago you

:30:52.:30:56.

had 55 councillors up and down the land, you now have two. You are on

:30:57.:31:02.

the brink of extinction. That is not true. I have watched the film. It is

:31:03.:31:08.

very negative as I would expect. The party has faced a few problems. The

:31:09.:31:12.

main thing to bear in mind is that the issues, the problems the country

:31:13.:31:19.

faces have gone away. We won nearly a million votes in the European

:31:20.:31:24.

elections. We brought that mandate to the establishment and we were

:31:25.:31:34.

denied. Let's face it, we would -- were denied any opportunity to take

:31:35.:31:39.

place in the political apparatus. You have been destroyed by a pincer

:31:40.:31:44.

movement. UKIP has taken away or more respectable voters and the EDL

:31:45.:31:51.

is better at anti-Muslim protests and street thuggery. The EDL is not

:31:52.:31:58.

a political party. I take your point about UKIP. The power structure took

:31:59.:32:02.

a look at us and so we were a threat to power. We were not making this

:32:03.:32:08.

stuff up, we meant it and they have co-opted our message. This shameless

:32:09.:32:13.

promotion of UKIP, you have evenly had him presenting the weather on

:32:14.:32:16.

this programme. That is unbelievable. That was a joke.

:32:17.:32:22.

Across Europe, in France, your sister party the National front will

:32:23.:32:27.

probably do very well. You can see the rise of the far right across

:32:28.:32:32.

Western Europe so why are you in decline? We are not far right, I

:32:33.:32:38.

reject that label. How would you describe yourselves nationalists and

:32:39.:32:56.

Patriots. Why are you in decline and other similar parties to yours are

:32:57.:33:01.

on the rise? You mentioned Barking and it is very interesting because I

:33:02.:33:05.

was involved in that campaign. What Margaret Hodge and her Labour Party

:33:06.:33:10.

did, they replaced the white indigenous population in Barking and

:33:11.:33:14.

Dagenham with Africans, that is how they won that election. For that was

:33:15.:33:17.

true, you would be doing well elsewhere. You have now got a leader

:33:18.:33:23.

who is declared bankrupt and your party is heading for bankruptcy.

:33:24.:33:25.

No, it is not. It is over. In 2009, they said a party with a

:33:26.:33:45.

platform like yours would never win, and we did. Win or lose seats, the

:33:46.:33:50.

Lib Dems would be annihilated in the next election, that will be the big

:33:51.:33:56.

news. You deny that you are far right, but people used to say that

:33:57.:34:01.

the BNP were neo-Nazi, and then Nick Griffin appears with golden dawn

:34:02.:34:11.

from Greece, they are Nazis, and Nick Griffin appears with them. As a

:34:12.:34:17.

pan-European organisation, we have to appear. You have to appear with

:34:18.:34:26.

the Golden Dawn? I am happy to appear with everyone. The BBC has a

:34:27.:34:32.

turbo reputation now, but I am happy to be here. Why can't Mr Griffin

:34:33.:34:44.

come onto the BBC, common to TV and do an interview with us? You will to

:34:45.:34:50.

an interview. He flew out to Damascus and prevented a war, he was

:34:51.:34:58.

instrumental in sending a letter to the UK Parliament where we said we

:34:59.:35:01.

would not interfere with Syria. The BBC never cover that, so do not make

:35:02.:35:04.

out that we are not ordinarily political party that you cover like

:35:05.:35:07.

everybody else. It is completely different. All of the signs are that

:35:08.:35:14.

membership of the polls, performance and elections, the problems with

:35:15.:35:19.

leadership, it is that you are now going the way of the National

:35:20.:35:24.

front, heading for oblivion. That may be the case, if all of the

:35:25.:35:28.

problems that we hadn't highlighted, and how we got that

:35:29.:35:31.

you'd vote so many years ago, six years ago, in 2009, if they weren't

:35:32.:35:38.

around. They are only going to get worse. These things will only get

:35:39.:35:47.

worse. We're looking at a prototype, Islamic Republic that will be set up

:35:48.:35:49.

in this country that will lead you to problems. And only the BNP are

:35:50.:35:52.

prepared to say that and deal with it. Word leaked out that I was doing

:35:53.:35:55.

this interview with you before the weekend, isn't it a sign of how

:35:56.:36:02.

irrelevant you now are, that's not a single person has turned up at new

:36:03.:36:05.

broadcasting house this morning to protest appearance, as there used to

:36:06.:36:09.

be, hundreds which turn up and be said the BNP was coming on. That is

:36:10.:36:15.

the left for you, they put the clocks on this morning and they

:36:16.:36:18.

couldn't be bothered to get out of bed. Maybe they just could not be

:36:19.:36:26.

bothered, they're not interested. Now, time for the programme in

:36:27.:36:31.

Scotland. Good morning and welcome to Sunday

:36:32.:36:35.

Politics Scotland. Coming up on the programme... An unnamed UK minister

:36:36.:36:38.

tells a newspaper there COULD be a deal on sharing a currency. We'll

:36:39.:36:43.

speak to the First Minister live. At their conference, the leader of

:36:44.:36:46.

the Scottish Liberal Democrats tells delegates the focus should be on

:36:47.:36:49.

making the UK work. And a year after the Coalition

:36:50.:36:51.

government introduced major reforms to Housing benefit, we'll look at

:36:52.:36:56.

how it's working in Scotland. Good morning. You'll remember a few

:36:57.:37:00.

weeks ago the Chancellor came up to Edinburgh to formally rule out a

:37:01.:37:03.

currency union, supported in a rare show of unity by his Labour and Lib

:37:04.:37:07.

Dem counterparts. The Scottish government said it was a bluff and

:37:08.:37:10.

maintained their stance of no Plan B. But a report in yesterday's

:37:11.:37:13.

Guardian quoted an unnamed UK government minister as saying there

:37:14.:37:17.

COULD be a deal to share sterling in the event of a vote for independence

:37:18.:37:20.

in September's referendum. We'll be speaking to the leader of

:37:21.:37:23.

the Scottish Liberal Democrats in a few moments, but all three

:37:24.:37:26.

pro-Unionist parties have said the report is wrong. So just how

:37:27.:37:30.

credible is it? Joining me now from Aberdeen is the First Minister, Alex

:37:31.:37:36.

Salmond. Thank you for joining us this afternoon. Do you accept that

:37:37.:37:40.

the statement from the three men who would be Chancellor after the 2015

:37:41.:37:47.

election is a political one? Of course it is a political one, to be

:37:48.:37:51.

stated at the time when they made at first that it was bluff and bluster

:37:52.:37:57.

and ambling, and it looks like we have been proven to be correct. You

:37:58.:37:59.

cannot say incidentally that the report was wrong, unless they are

:38:00.:38:04.

saying that Nicolas Walter is not irresponsible journalist at the

:38:05.:38:07.

Guardian and that it it's not responsible newspaper. The minister

:38:08.:38:14.

doesn't oppose government policy? They say that a minister in the

:38:15.:38:18.

government has it as a campaign tactic, and negotiating position. If

:38:19.:38:22.

a minister in this government says this and believes this, why on earth

:38:23.:38:30.

should the Scottish people be irritated by a combination of George

:38:31.:38:35.

Osborne and Ed Balls? You may well say that this is not in the interest

:38:36.:38:39.

of Scotland in the UK, but your opponents might disagree. You make a

:38:40.:38:45.

political decision, these three men make the same decision, why would

:38:46.:38:50.

they not go through with this? I thought if he asked me whether to

:38:51.:38:53.

political decision, was at a political tactic? That is what the

:38:54.:38:56.

unnamed minister has said to the Guardian, it is what the unnamed

:38:57.:39:03.

minister has said to the Guardian, to the campaign tactic. But of

:39:04.:39:05.

course, the obvious point is, if that is what the people in their

:39:06.:39:07.

organisation in their own ministerial team believe, then why

:39:08.:39:10.

on earth should the Scottish people believe any different? We know that

:39:11.:39:14.

opposition to a currency union was a new-found thing. Alistair Darling

:39:15.:39:21.

described the currency as logical and desirable. Only last December,

:39:22.:39:24.

Alistair Carmichael said it would not be sensible to rule out a

:39:25.:39:30.

currency zone, so it was a new-found tactic, dreamt up by Alistair

:39:31.:39:33.

Darling and Andrew Dunlop, persuading the Treasury to do this.

:39:34.:39:37.

Now it has been seen through that the bluff has been called and the no

:39:38.:39:41.

campaign will have to take the political consequences, which will

:39:42.:39:51.

be severe. It was said that the currency union would repeat the

:39:52.:39:54.

mistakes of the euro crisis, and a currency union without a fiscal year

:39:55.:39:58.

Min. That is the problem with what you're proposing, isn't it? No, we

:39:59.:40:07.

put forward in the fiscal commission report last year, the measures that

:40:08.:40:09.

it would make and how a currency zone would work. Mark Carney did not

:40:10.:40:13.

rule out a currency zone, you stated provisions he would have to make a

:40:14.:40:25.

currency zone work. You cannot argue that UK parties are against a

:40:26.:40:27.

currency zone in principle, when Jackson Carlo, the debited leader of

:40:28.:40:29.

the Conservatives in Scotland that he would go to the barricades to

:40:30.:40:34.

obtain one. So incoherent at the heart of the neo-con pain, this has

:40:35.:40:41.

now been exposed as a campaign tactic, something to intimidate the

:40:42.:40:44.

Scots. London before you can set them in

:40:45.:41:16.

Scotland under your proposals? There has to be responsible budgeting, but

:41:17.:41:20.

you need that under any circumstance. You cannot say that

:41:21.:41:24.

currency zones do not work. There was one for 70 years between Belgium

:41:25.:41:27.

and Luxembourg that worked extremely well. That led eventually to a

:41:28.:41:36.

political union. No, Belgium and Luxembourg are still independent

:41:37.:41:40.

countries within the European Union and of course, throughout that

:41:41.:41:44.

period of currency union, there was different taxation rates, different

:41:45.:41:48.

personal taxation rates, different corporate taxation rates. It was a

:41:49.:41:52.

working a sample of a currency zone within the heart of Europe, so it is

:41:53.:41:57.

not an argument in principle, it is an argument as the fiscal commission

:41:58.:42:01.

working group of foreword, and it is to the best advantage of Scotland

:42:02.:42:13.

and the rest of the UK. Otters been exposed from the other side by the

:42:14.:42:16.

unnamed minister is that this is a campaign tactic which was wanted by

:42:17.:42:19.

Alistair Darling and Andrew Dunlop. -- what has been exposed. It was

:42:20.:42:26.

designed to intimidate the Scots. Do you accept the rest of the code for

:42:27.:42:29.

the Minister said that the UK wants to keep Trident nuclear weapon that

:42:30.:42:36.

Faslane and the Scottish Government once a currency zone, can you see

:42:37.:42:43.

the outline of a deal? No, not on the question of nuclear weapons. I

:42:44.:42:48.

will explain to you why that is not correct to suggest that they are

:42:49.:42:52.

half right. The opposition to nuclear weapons is not a negotiating

:42:53.:42:57.

position, or a campaign tactic, it was alkaline and in the White Paper,

:42:58.:43:02.

it is one of the reasons why we believe in Scottish independence.

:43:03.:43:05.

What will be negotiated in terms of a artist currency zone will be all

:43:06.:43:10.

about monetary aspects, because the situation could forward via George

:43:11.:43:15.

Osborne and Ed Balls, if you claim the assets of the UK, like the Bank

:43:16.:43:19.

of England and the BBC, then you get stuck with all of the liabilities

:43:20.:43:24.

like the huge national debt and the hundred and ?25 billion which

:43:25.:43:27.

otherwise, as we put forward in the White Paper, would be happy to take

:43:28.:43:32.

responsibility for. That is what was being negotiated about a currency

:43:33.:43:36.

zone. Or opposition to Trident and nuclear weapons, that is fundamental

:43:37.:43:43.

to this case. Willie Rennie says that if there is a Nova Road, your

:43:44.:43:46.

party should be involved in shaping the extra powers that the Unionist

:43:47.:43:53.

powers have said for Holly Ruud? Would you get involved in that. --

:43:54.:44:03.

if there is a Nova. -- no vote. Let me say clearly to Willie Rennie, I

:44:04.:44:07.

want full involvement of the Liberal Democrats in the negotiating of the

:44:08.:44:12.

best settlement of Scotland and the rest of the UK after Scotland votes

:44:13.:44:17.

yes on the 18th of September. And if it goes the other way, the SNP would

:44:18.:44:23.

give full co-operation? We are in visiting a yes vote, we will always

:44:24.:44:27.

battle for the best for Scotland in all circumstances, but think we have

:44:28.:44:31.

the wind at our back at the present moment. Tuesday is the anniversary

:44:32.:44:35.

of the poll tax, and Andrew Dunlop, the same person who was mentioned in

:44:36.:44:42.

the Guardian story as being the architect of this merry wheeze about

:44:43.:44:44.

ruling out a currency zone, he was one of the architects of the poll

:44:45.:44:48.

tax, so not content with wrecking the Prime Minister ship of Margaret

:44:49.:44:54.

Thatcher, Andrew Dunlop seems to be instrumental in hauling the Unionist

:44:55.:44:59.

case below the water line, perhaps he's by secret agents at the heart

:45:00.:45:04.

of Whitehall! Well this issue of a currency union

:45:05.:45:08.

has been one of the talking points amongst Scottish Liberal Democrats

:45:09.:45:11.

at their party conference in Aberdeen. With senior coalition

:45:12.:45:13.

ministers Danny Alexander and Alastair Carmichael both continuing

:45:14.:45:16.

to insist it isn't going to happen. Meanwhile the party's leader Willie

:45:17.:45:19.

Rennie has been trying to bring some 'sunshine' to the granite city and

:45:20.:45:22.

the debate on independence. Responding to comments that the no

:45:23.:45:25.

campaign is being too negative he's being outlining the benefits, as he

:45:26.:45:28.

sees them, of remaining in the union. I'll speak to Willie Rennie

:45:29.:45:32.

shortly but first from Aberdeen our political correspondent, Glenn

:45:33.:45:32.

Campbell, reports. The Liberal Democrats Scottish

:45:33.:45:56.

leader has adopted a sort of Morecambe and wise approach to

:45:57.:46:02.

politics. It is what he called his sunshine strategy. It is to

:46:03.:46:05.

emphasise the progress that we are making as a party, the fact that we

:46:06.:46:11.

have an expansion of 30,000 more jobs in Scotland, the taxes are

:46:12.:46:15.

down, pensions are up. That is the sunshine strategy. Emphasising what

:46:16.:46:19.

Lib Dems are doing in government but also the fact the UK is good for

:46:20.:46:23.

Scotland in Scotland is good for the UK. They oppose independence, but

:46:24.:46:28.

their federal party leader concedes that the UK is not perfect, and is

:46:29.:46:40.

in need of reform. Let me be unequivocal, rejecting independence

:46:41.:46:42.

will not be choosing the status quo. It would be the start of a new

:46:43.:46:45.

chapter. A different era. It must, I believe, be a giant leapt towards

:46:46.:46:51.

are long-term, liberal definition, home rule. Nick Clegg called three

:46:52.:47:00.

United front with Labour and the Conservatives in the referendum

:47:01.:47:04.

campaign. But this was the weekend when one unnamed coalition minister

:47:05.:47:08.

broke ranks, telling the Guardian that of course, there would be a

:47:09.:47:12.

currency union after a yes vote, despite the fact that the UK

:47:13.:47:16.

government has explicitly ruled that out. In Lib Dem ranks, one

:47:17.:47:27.

independent supporting former party treasurer thinks that the currency

:47:28.:47:30.

position is a bluff. The pound is not England, it is Britain. We are

:47:31.:47:33.

part of Britain, we own as much of the pound as they do, they need to

:47:34.:47:36.

negotiate with us. But Danny Alexander and sister will be no

:47:37.:47:41.

pound sharing deal. It is nonsense, myself, the Shadow Chancellor, the

:47:42.:47:45.

Chancellor, we have all been clear on clear advice of the Treasury that

:47:46.:47:50.

a currency union would not work for an independent Scotland or the rest

:47:51.:47:55.

of the UK, so it will not happen. Having Lib Dems like Danny Alexander

:47:56.:47:58.

in Cabinet gives the party a high profile, but power comes at a price.

:47:59.:48:04.

Some coalition policies are a hard sell in Scotland, and the party has

:48:05.:48:17.

lost seats in local government and at Holyrood. It has lost some of the

:48:18.:48:21.

bedroom tax is at Westminster, but worst of all, because of the U-turn

:48:22.:48:24.

on tuition fees, people now do not trust the Liberal Democrats. We're

:48:25.:48:28.

sometimes perceived as being liars, and to mutter what we say, it is not

:48:29.:48:34.

going to convince them. We have got to prove by accidents. Willie Rennie

:48:35.:48:38.

once housing benefit changes to be scrapped. It is not working as

:48:39.:48:45.

intended, and I think it should just go. Big smiles! The Lib Dems are

:48:46.:48:54.

awesome! Nick Clegg has hinted on giving Holyrood more power to offset

:48:55.:48:59.

the income tax may be coming sooner. Willie Rennie may raise a

:49:00.:49:06.

glass to that, but only avoiding election setbacks would call for a

:49:07.:49:14.

knees up in a brewery. Joining us now from the conference centre is

:49:15.:49:17.

leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Willie Rennie.

:49:18.:49:24.

Let me ask you firstly about the currency union story. This is a

:49:25.:49:33.

bluff? I was disappointed with the interview with the first Minister.

:49:34.:49:37.

He is treating this as some sort of game. It is not a game. He is not

:49:38.:49:45.

understanding the advice that was given by the Treasury. The position

:49:46.:49:53.

has not changed and instead of taking the opportunity to set out

:49:54.:49:56.

what the alternative would be, he carries on as usual, bluffing away

:49:57.:50:07.

in his own way. But they have said all the time that this was a bluff

:50:08.:50:10.

and behind the scenes, he may be getting proved right. The United

:50:11.:50:19.

Kingdom Government has not changed. The stance of the Labour Party or

:50:20.:50:22.

the Liberal Democrats has not changed. This was a mistake. A

:50:23.:50:31.

minister out of the room who did not understand the policy. It is not a

:50:32.:50:41.

change of policy. What Alex and his needs to set out as the situation

:50:42.:50:45.

which will occur if we do not have a shared currency. Alex Salmond seems

:50:46.:50:56.

certain that the yes campaign can win. Do you think that is possible?

:50:57.:51:03.

Of course it is possible. I hope and I am campaigning with every inch of

:51:04.:51:07.

my body that the latter is not the case. But no one should take this

:51:08.:51:13.

for granted. A campaign which is very much alive. It is alive in part

:51:14.:51:18.

a cause of the amount of money the yes campaign have been flowing into

:51:19.:51:25.

this. They have the fortune in the war chest. We need to make sure we

:51:26.:51:29.

compete every step of the way to match that. We need to put across

:51:30.:51:34.

our messages, the messages I have been putting across this weekend

:51:35.:51:39.

about the benefits of the currency union, and energy union. All of the

:51:40.:51:46.

great things in the United Kingdom at great news for Scotland. Is this

:51:47.:51:51.

new-found positivity on your part and what seems a trend in the

:51:52.:51:59.

opinion polls towards a yes fort, down to the fact that the no

:52:00.:52:02.

campaign has been too negative until now? We should not exaggerate. I do

:52:03.:52:12.

not think there is a real trend. We have to get the balance right. I am

:52:13.:52:17.

not afraid to ask difficult questions. I am not afraid to do

:52:18.:52:23.

that on the big subjects, the likes of the currency union, the single

:52:24.:52:30.

market and energy union. We need to get the balance right. I have always

:52:31.:52:35.

been an upbeat type of person who will always accentuate the

:52:36.:52:42.

positives. The fact we are able to drive forward that, renewable energy

:52:43.:52:47.

ambitions in Scotland with in the United Kingdom. I want to tackle

:52:48.:52:52.

climate change and make the best use of the assets we have here. I think

:52:53.:52:57.

the United Kingdom is the best platform to do that. That message

:52:58.:53:07.

has not reached some in your party. A couple of high-profile Liberal

:53:08.:53:16.

Democrats have backed the yes campaign. Why can you not convince

:53:17.:53:19.

senior members of your party to back the Better Together campaign? The

:53:20.:53:25.

whole point of party is that we are called liberals, people with the

:53:26.:53:30.

party different views. But I think you could count on the fingers of

:53:31.:53:36.

one hand the number of people in the party who are in favour of

:53:37.:53:41.

independence. Looking at your electoral fortunes as you go into

:53:42.:53:45.

the European elections campaign, and much of the policies of the

:53:46.:53:49.

coalition government parting the party in Scotland? Let us look at

:53:50.:53:56.

the facts. Taxes are down, pensions are dropped, there are more jobs.

:53:57.:54:03.

But looking at things that don't, you'll fought in Cowdenbeath, you

:54:04.:54:10.

fought in Dunfermline. I want to tell you about the good things.

:54:11.:54:15.

Taxes are down, pensions are up and that is more provision for childcare

:54:16.:54:20.

and more jobs. That could not be happening without the Liberal

:54:21.:54:24.

Democrats. That could not be happening if we did not take part in

:54:25.:54:29.

government in the early days to put forward our views. I know things are

:54:30.:54:36.

coming for the party. Things are getting better. And I know what is

:54:37.:54:46.

happening on the ground. I was quoting your figures from recent

:54:47.:54:51.

elections. You said in a conversation with Brian Taylor that

:54:52.:54:56.

the bedroom tax should be scrapped. Has Nick Clegg given any indication

:54:57.:55:02.

that that will happen? There will be an announcement in the coming

:55:03.:55:07.

weeks, which will meet the bequest from John Swinney to raise the, so

:55:08.:55:13.

it is effectively quashed in Scotland. Should it be scrapped in

:55:14.:55:20.

Scotland? I understand the principle of it. We need people to make the

:55:21.:55:26.

best use of their assets, but it has not what. Thank you very much for

:55:27.:55:32.

joining us. The reforms were controversial from

:55:33.:55:36.

the start and as we have just heard, this week Scottish Liberal Democrat

:55:37.:55:38.

leader Willie Rennie said Westminster welfare changes aimed at

:55:39.:55:41.

cutting under-occupancy in social housing should be scrapped. His

:55:42.:55:44.

comments come as a BBC investigation suggests the changes have failed to

:55:45.:55:46.

tackle overcrowding leaving thousands of tenants in rent

:55:47.:55:49.

arrears. A year on since the policies introduction, Megan

:55:50.:55:52.

Paterson looks back at the impact it has had here. Over the last year,

:55:53.:56:06.

the people in this house have been interested in the people living in

:56:07.:56:09.

our house is. In that reducing the welfare bill, it reduced benefits

:56:10.:56:16.

for people in social housing deemed to have a spear room. I was worried

:56:17.:56:23.

about being if it did. It was very stressful for me and for my two

:56:24.:56:27.

girls. This was my grandparents house. Fiona is one of the 72,000

:56:28.:56:34.

people affected by changes to housing benefit. She is considered

:56:35.:56:41.

to have a spear room so has had her benefits reduced and is now in rent

:56:42.:56:46.

arrears. She is fighting her case with the help of shelter Scotland. I

:56:47.:56:56.

cannot really afford it. I am on benefits and I am struggling. I wake

:56:57.:57:01.

up in the middle of the night, I cannot sleep. It is horrible, it is

:57:02.:57:09.

not nice. Almost 80% of Scotland's councils responded to the survey. If

:57:10.:57:16.

over 15,000, a hundred households in rent arrears for the first time

:57:17.:57:20.

after the introduction of the benefit change, just over 25%. In

:57:21.:57:30.

Edinburgh, 58% find themselves in arrears in Dundee, 53%. Temporary

:57:31.:57:36.

support is available in the form of discretionary housing payment. But

:57:37.:57:40.

some councils have not spent their allocation, mainly because many

:57:41.:57:44.

people who are entitled to have not claimed. Like manager council has

:57:45.:57:52.

the highest spend in the United Kingdom in this regard. There were

:57:53.:57:57.

always challenges before even the bedroom tax was in Broughton.

:57:58.:58:06.

Unfortunately, with the difficulties of the bedroom tax, it has caused

:58:07.:58:14.

the speak in the amount of disruption and I am pleased we have

:58:15.:58:21.

been able to keep that to a minimum. ?36 million in total was set aside

:58:22.:58:26.

for the scheme, housing charities say the rugby a shortfall of ?14

:58:27.:58:31.

million between what it cost to implement and it returns. The fewer

:58:32.:58:36.

the shortfall will have to be met by local authorities. It means that the

:58:37.:58:43.

business plan for individual housing authorities will become less viable

:58:44.:58:50.

as time goes on. All in all, it is a bad policy. It is a policy being

:58:51.:58:58.

closely monitored by the independent housing monitoring Scotland. It

:58:59.:59:06.

certainly has great health risks to social landlords. It could be as

:59:07.:59:13.

negative for them as it could be for tenants. Less than 2% of those

:59:14.:59:20.

affected by the changes have moved to smaller properties. Maybe was one

:59:21.:59:25.

of them. She moved to a one-bedroom flat in the same street in

:59:26.:59:33.

Motherwell. It made certain changes. There where some personal things, I

:59:34.:59:37.

had to throw away a lot of memories in that house. I was a bit tearful

:59:38.:59:45.

when I moved them, but I am getting there now. She still has rent

:59:46.:59:51.

arrears, but the Department for work and person say there is enough

:59:52.:59:54.

financial support available for people like her and the policy will

:59:55.:59:58.

lead to fairness and social housing known and in the future.

:59:59.:00:02.

Joining me now in the studio is Housing Minister Margaret Burgess

:00:03.:00:05.

and in Aberdeen, Alex Johnstone from the Scottish Conservative. This

:00:06.:00:13.

policy has not worked yet? I think it has the potential to work. There

:00:14.:00:20.

are a number of organisations in Scotland who have been working very

:00:21.:00:24.

hard to make sure it does not work. It was designed to ease

:00:25.:00:30.

overcrowding, but only 2% of people have done so and moved. We could

:00:31.:00:39.

probably get about 20% of people in every given year moving to smaller

:00:40.:00:44.

accommodation. The fact that it's only 2% in Scotland shows you the

:00:45.:00:49.

amount of opposition there has been to it. Have you been deliberately

:00:50.:00:57.

steaming this policy? Of course we have not. Housing is devolved in

:00:58.:01:05.

Scotland. It is for social landlords in Scotland to determine, not for

:01:06.:01:12.

the United Kingdom Government. Alex Johnson said 20% of people could

:01:13.:01:16.

potentially moving to smaller homes, the house is available. Could it

:01:17.:01:22.

work in practice? No, the houses are not available. There is not the

:01:23.:01:35.

house is the and the policy is not working and is unfair. We have that

:01:36.:01:40.

the report that few owner does not want to move from her house because

:01:41.:01:47.

it was her parents home, for grandparents home. What do you say

:01:48.:01:53.

to someone in her position? What I see as we have a government in

:01:54.:02:03.

Scotland which is working at changes to social housing. We have tens of

:02:04.:02:07.

thousands of families waiting for social housing. The policy is

:02:08.:02:12.

designed to make the best use of housing stock available. How do we

:02:13.:02:21.

make sure that we do match people to the house is available? Since the

:02:22.:02:27.

Scottish comment came to power, we are building more social housing

:02:28.:02:31.

than previous administrations ever built. There is 32% more social

:02:32.:02:38.

housing being built since the Scottish National party came into

:02:39.:02:42.

power. What we are not prepared to do is force people to move from

:02:43.:02:49.

their houses as the do not want to. If someone wants to move, we would

:02:50.:02:54.

help and support and encourage that, but if they do not want to move,

:02:55.:02:59.

they should not have to do it. The policy is not working. People cannot

:03:00.:03:03.

afford to do it in the house is not there. Lifting the cap on

:03:04.:03:11.

discretionary payments was difficult to do and she says that is why the

:03:12.:03:15.

Scottish gunmen had asked Westminster to do that. Are you

:03:16.:03:21.

asking for the impossible? No, we are asking for something simple. It

:03:22.:03:29.

allows Westminster to make the cuts they need to do, but allows the

:03:30.:03:35.

Scottish gunmen to assess people affected by the bedroom tax. It is a

:03:36.:03:42.

simple change in legislation. Even Nick Clegg has said it is a sensible

:03:43.:03:48.

thing to do. All we need to do is get the United Kingdom Government to

:03:49.:03:52.

let us get on with it. I should not this not be instigated? I think it

:03:53.:03:58.

was a mistake for them to ask for the to be lifted. I think it is

:03:59.:04:04.

possible to lift the cap and ensure that has currently for consideration

:04:05.:04:08.

in front of the Chancellor. In the last day of January this year, less

:04:09.:04:13.

than two thirds of discretionary housing payments money had been

:04:14.:04:18.

allocated with only two months left. I would suggest the Scottish gunmen

:04:19.:04:24.

should have listened about how additional money could be used in

:04:25.:04:29.

other ways. As a consequence, there could have been underpinning schemes

:04:30.:04:36.

similar to the one in East Renfrewshire, for they are using

:04:37.:04:47.

money to improve the housing. Just a brief response? This is the only way

:04:48.:04:54.

that we can get money into rent account on a regular basis, and that

:04:55.:04:58.

is why it is so important to get the cap lifted, and the point that Alec

:04:59.:05:04.

Johnson makes about not all local authorities using it, that is the

:05:05.:05:06.

whole point that we are arguing, that it is not distributed

:05:07.:05:10.

properly, so the areas where it is needed most, they are not getting

:05:11.:05:13.

enough, and the areas were perhaps they do not needed, they are getting

:05:14.:05:23.

too much. Thank you both very much. You're watching Sunday Politics

:05:24.:05:25.

Scotland. Let's cross to the news now from Reporting Scotland with

:05:26.:05:28.

Andrew Kerr. Good afternoon. The First Minister

:05:29.:05:32.

is predicting the Better Together campaign is going to "get worse"

:05:33.:05:35.

following the leak on the currency union, but the UK government say no

:05:36.:05:39.

deal will be done. Alex Salmond was speaking after yesterday's report in

:05:40.:05:42.

which an unnamed minister said a Westminster opposition to Scotland

:05:43.:05:45.

keeping the pound would fall away in the event of a yes vote. But cabinet

:05:46.:05:48.

ministers say whatever happens, a currency union will not take place.

:05:49.:05:57.

If the Scottish people were to vote for independence, there would be a

:05:58.:06:01.

protracted negotiation about many issues and the future of the base at

:06:02.:06:06.

Faslane would be one of those issues. What I'm saying to you about

:06:07.:06:10.

a currency union is that is not just another item that could be

:06:11.:06:14.

negotiated, because there are clear, economic reasons why it would not

:06:15.:06:21.

work. A man has died after falling on Ben

:06:22.:06:24.

Nevis in the Highlands. The 57-year-old from Glasgow was

:06:25.:06:27.

climbing with a friend on the north face of the mountain in Lochaber

:06:28.:06:30.

when the accident happened yesterday morning.

:06:31.:06:32.

Now a look at the weather forecast, here's Christopher.

:06:33.:06:39.

A disappointing afternoon, dry and cloudy. Some brighter skies in the

:06:40.:06:45.

south-west and later in the north-west and quite warm when the

:06:46.:06:51.

sun comes out. 15, 16 degrees. Generally, about ten, 12 degrees and

:06:52.:06:56.

down the eastern side, the easterly breeze continues to be quite chilly.

:06:57.:07:01.

Plenty of sunshine for a Shetland, but cooler with nine degrees. Cloudy

:07:02.:07:04.

with further fog in the east, that is your forecast.

:07:05.:07:09.

That's it. I'll now hand you back to Gary. It's time to have a look at

:07:10.:07:13.

what's in the Sunday papers and what is coming up in the week ahead.

:07:14.:07:18.

Joining me this week - Political Editor of the Scottish Daily Mail,

:07:19.:07:23.

Alan Roden, who's in Aberdeen. And here in the studio is Kevin McKenna,

:07:24.:07:27.

who's a columnist with the Observer. Good afternoon to both of you, Alan,

:07:28.:07:31.

you are in Aberdeen, Europe and watching the Willie Rennie speech,

:07:32.:07:35.

how would you characterise the spring conference? I thought his

:07:36.:07:42.

speech was quite positive. It has been an incredibly tough couple of

:07:43.:07:47.

days for the no campaign. It's dominated proceedings here in

:07:48.:07:50.

Aberdeen. A lot of work is being done by the Lib Dems and other

:07:51.:08:06.

parties to resurrect Better Together. At the moment, in England

:08:07.:08:18.

and Wales, his party is trailing UKIP. He did give a good upbeat

:08:19.:08:24.

speech. Perversely, if Scotland were to vote yes, I think it would

:08:25.:08:28.

benefit not only his party, but the other parties of the union in

:08:29.:08:33.

Scotland. There is urgent in fortunes? -- a research and is. He

:08:34.:08:46.

recognised that the Lib Dems had suffered for their association,

:08:47.:08:50.

especially in Scotland, with the Conservative Party. So, it stands to

:08:51.:08:54.

reason that if Scotland were to vote yes, the Lib Dems may be able to

:08:55.:08:58.

reclaim quite a lot of their support they have lost up here. On the issue

:08:59.:09:03.

of the referendum campaign, we have this unnamed minister at Westminster

:09:04.:09:07.

saying that yes, that could be a deal on the currency union, clearly

:09:08.:09:13.

as we heard earlier from Alex Salmond on the ass campaign. That

:09:14.:09:15.

was buoyed by this. Can we look back on this and see it as a significant

:09:16.:09:19.

potential turning point in the campaign? -- on the yes campaign. I

:09:20.:09:28.

am confident that the no campaign will win this referendum. It has

:09:29.:09:34.

been the most damaging week for this no campaign. The race is getting

:09:35.:09:37.

closer, senior ministers and politicians coming out to criticise

:09:38.:09:40.

Alistair Darling and others and crisis talks at Better Together for

:09:41.:09:46.

the need for a new positive advertising campaign. There are

:09:47.:09:49.

still an element of complacency in Better Together believes to be

:09:50.:09:59.

stamped out, because this fight has got very, very real. Do you think it

:10:00.:10:05.

is a turning point? It is a significant point in the campaign,

:10:06.:10:08.

this journalist immediately knew the significance of what he was being

:10:09.:10:13.

told. He was on the programme earlier, and also on the panel was

:10:14.:10:18.

the financial Times journalist who said that what this minister was

:10:19.:10:21.

saying made sense. You get the impression that people in England,

:10:22.:10:27.

if Scotland were to vote yes, and the rest of the UK, they would

:10:28.:10:30.

immediately go into business mode, it just makes sense for the rest of

:10:31.:10:37.

the UK to share currency. Could it be harmful for some people in the

:10:38.:10:40.

rest of the UK at Scotland has at that moment said, yes, we do not

:10:41.:10:45.

want to have part of what you are offering? They are giving the hard

:10:46.:10:49.

sell at the moment and they hope that they will never be asked to

:10:50.:10:52.

deliver or to decide. They are hoping that there will be a vote for

:10:53.:10:57.

no, and then that this will be forgotten about and as such, it will

:10:58.:11:01.

not been a significant point in the campaign, however, Alex Salmond is

:11:02.:11:14.

certainly on to something when he says that there is a lot of bluster

:11:15.:11:17.

about this. It's an fee does not make sense. Are we expecting a

:11:18.:11:19.

Chancellor of the rest of the UK to say to tens of thousands of English

:11:20.:11:22.

businesses who are already being squeezed by the big banks to lend

:11:23.:11:24.

and increase overdrafts, then it will actually cost them more money

:11:25.:11:29.

to deal with Scotland and Scottish business and Scotland after all is

:11:30.:11:32.

England's second biggest trading partner. On the direction of travel

:11:33.:11:42.

for Better Together, you talk about a meeting this week that could be

:11:43.:11:50.

characterised as a crisis meeting or otherwise, Better Together tell us

:11:51.:11:57.

that they will continue to make many positive reasons for staying in the

:11:58.:12:01.

UK, but this seems to be a shift, and Willie Rennie is exemplifying

:12:02.:12:04.

this in the message they are trying to get across. Yes, he described it

:12:05.:12:12.

as his sunshine speech. The negativity of the no campaign has

:12:13.:12:16.

worked to some extent. There are these warnings about currency, and

:12:17.:12:22.

the argument is heading to the ship workers, and there are swathes of

:12:23.:12:28.

people in housing schemes in Glasgow and Edinburgh that are being

:12:29.:12:35.

attracted to the yes cause, and they need to save this great nation of

:12:36.:12:43.

ours. What do you make of this sunshine campaign, is there a

:12:44.:12:54.

mileage in it for Better Together? Many of these people working on this

:12:55.:13:01.

campaign are Labour activist, they come from working class areas which

:13:02.:13:07.

are home to families that are living below the breadline and they know

:13:08.:13:11.

that this would be a hard sell for people like them. I heard Alistair

:13:12.:13:14.

Carmichael's speech yesterday, the day before, and he was talking about

:13:15.:13:22.

what Britain has done for us in the context of what the Romans did for

:13:23.:13:24.

us in the Monty Python sketch. That is all very well. A lot of these

:13:25.:13:32.

issues about currency, about taxation, that is way beyond, way

:13:33.:13:36.

above the radar for ordinary, poor, low-income families of which there

:13:37.:13:41.

are many in Scotland. The recent trends have shown that they are more

:13:42.:13:45.

likely to vote yes. Thank you both very much indeed.

:13:46.:13:52.

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

:13:53.:13:55.

week. Until then, goodbye.

:13:56.:14:00.

Political magazine presented by Andrew Neil and Andrew Kerr.


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