13/12/2015 Sunday Politics Scotland


Andrew Neil and Gordon Brewer are joined by Peter Lilley MP, Yvette Cooper MP, Richard Burgon MP and James Cleverly MP.

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After suggestions that David Cameron was diluting his EU negotiation


demands, Downing Street insists he's still pushing for curbs to in-work


But is there any evidence that the rest of Europe is listening?


Jeremy Corbyn says Stop the War is "one of the most important


And why all the fuss that he went to its Christmas fundraiser?


Yvette Cooper - one-time Labour leadership contender -


says Britain should be doing more for refugees and migrants


Coming up on Sunday Politics Scotland: This letter tells you that


from now on a portion of your taxes will go to the Scottish government -


They'll be tweeting throughout the programme.


Downing Street insists that David Cameron will still push


for curbs on in-work benefits for EU migrants in the UK,


despite earlier briefings to the contrary.


The Prime Minister will head to a crucial summit later this week


to make his case for a reformed British relationship with the EU.


However, several newspapers, citing official guidance,


report that Mr Cameron has failed to convince other European leaders


and is already preparing a fallback to replace his original demand


for a four-year wait for in-work benefits.


The Sunday Times headline says "Prime Minister 'caves in'


The Sunday Telegraph describes it as "Cameron's climbdown


And the Independent on Sunday goes for the same metaphor,


describing it as "Cameron's big EU climbdown".


Let's speak now to Conservative MP Peter Lilley.


He was a Cabinet minister in the Conservative governments


of both Margaret Thatcher and John Major.


Welcome to the programme. The Prime Minister is thought by many of your


colleagues not to be asking for a lot, yet he might not even get what


he's asking for. Could he sell a watered-down deal to his party? It


is more a question of whether he can sell whatever comes out of it to the


country. There are lots of Labour MPs who want to see democratic


powers returned to this country from the European institutions. That's


the key issue as far as I'm concerned. He will clearly get some


things because a lot of this has been pre-negotiated, so he will get


something to say about removing the phrase ever closer union, something


to do with benefits, even if actually it is something we could do


anyway ourselves, like apply a four-year wait to British citizens


as well as foreigners. There will be something, the question is will it


be substantial? Will it include a return of powers to this country to


govern itself? What major powers is he asking to be repatriated?


Publicly, there doesn't seem to be anything on the list, unless some


change in relation to free movement of Labour is somewhere up his


sleeve. I do occasionally hear rumours that he will come back with


some genuine return of powers, and if he does I will be dancing on the


rooftops. We have no evidence that's even part of the negotiation. That


is certainly disappointing, it is rather a strange strategy not to ask


for the principal thing we want and yet still hope to get it. Because we


have, over a series of treaties which David Cameron and I voted


against, conceded a whole lot of powers to Europe beyond what is


necessary. The trading area requires some common lawmaking, but beyond


that we concede a lot of powers. We would like to start the process of


getting those powers back. If we cannot, we will be on a slippery


slope to creating a single state. The reason we are in the position we


are, having to renegotiate, is that the countries of the eurozone are on


the road to creating a single state. There's never been a currency


without a single state to run it. They are forced, because they have


created this currency, without a government to make it work. The


question is can we be outside that process, can removing the opposite


direction and get powers back, or will we be sucked on the slipstream?


If we cannot overcome the two doctrines of Europe that everybody


is heading in the same direction, albeit at different speeds, and


powers can only ever go to the central institutions and never come


back to the States, if we cannot break those two doctrines as far as


Britain is concerned, he will not really have achieved anything. I


understand all of that. A quick final question, if he comes back


with even less than he's asking for, would you vote to leave? If he


doesn't come back with some increase in power to ourselves, I feel for


the first time in my life I would be voting to leave. I voted to stay in


1975 but I would be voting to leave in those circumstances.


Tom, it is turning into a real mess for the Government, is it not? A


huge mess. There was an exposer yesterday, of the 11pm call every


night, coordinated with the Downing Street switchboard which the


ministers have got to tune into. I can only imagine the horror that


went on last night during the call, which still happens, over the


headlines this morning. I think what's happened here is the


four-year ban on migrants' benefit is dead. You think he's just not


going to get it? It died I would say at least a month ago in the Chatham


House speech. He said so in his speech saying, here is what I want,


but by the way I will also accept what you choose to offer me. The


papers reported the next day that it was dead in the water, so we are


talking about the choreographing, how it happens and whether the Prime


Minister himself withdraws it. Or somebody else might put something


else on the table, doing the PM a favour, to bail him out and say if


you don't want this how about that. Peter Lilley And, when I said can


you sell this to your backbenchers comic said it is a problem for the


other parties too but it is overwhelmingly a problem for the


Conservatives and if he cannot achieve what is being asked for, I


would suggest half the Parliamentary party in my not go with him on this.


It is not the climb-down I would query, but the "big". He needed one


totemic issue that looked like he was doing something about


immigration. He couldn't look at the free movement of people or any kind


of free movement cap. He couldn't tell nostrils any major power he is


asking to be repatriated. It will be hard to make it look like he has


come back with something so that people can say OK, that has changed


my mind. If he gets one in February, can he have the referendum in June?


I understand the Electoral Commission doesn't like the idea of


a referendum that would overlap with the elections in May, and the risk


in September is that we will have another summer migrant crisis and


that would be a terrible atmosphere for those who want to stay in the


European Union. There are a lot of hurdles, first you have got to get a


deal in February that looks like a success. The reason they have done


what they've done overnight is because it has been dragged down


into a legal quagmire and David Cameron has got to have a


conversation with his counterparts to set that entire renegotiation


back on the right track. I know that some people in Brussels as saying he


cannot get a deal by February, we will never get a deal, and if it


slips into 2017 you won't get a deal then either. In June


there is this tiny window because -- where you could practically hold a


vote. But then as you say you've got the migrant crisis, which pops up


over the summer. I'm told that dealing with the flow of migration


from Turkey will make an enormous difference to the optics of how


Europe is seen to be able to deal with the migration crisis. Even


though that doesn't have a huge impact on UK migration from the rest


of Europe, David Cameron's renegotiation depends on something


truly out of his control. So you're telling me it depends on the Turks


now. On Friday night Jeremy Corbyn met up


with some old friends Nothing unusual in that,


you might think, but this was a fundraising do


for Stop The War Coalition, the anti-war protest group that


Mr Corbyn chaired until his election And, in case you hadn't noticed,


it caused a bit of a stir. It was the biggest mass


demonstration in British history. The group that organised it,


the Stop The War Coalition, had been founded a year or so before


following the 9/11 attacks and George Bush's declaration


of war on terror. Around a million people marched


as Tony Blair prepared to send Among the speakers,


a backbench Labour MP. Thousands more deaths in Iraq


will not make things right, it will set off a spiral


of conflict, of hate, One of the reasons for its success,


I've always thought, is that everyone was united


around one single issue. We never got bogged down


in our political analyses of what we thought about


Saddam Hussein or what we thought about this dictator or that,


or how we thought the political We weren't there to offer solutions


to other people's problems and tell them how we thought it should be,


we were there to stop our government taking what we considered to be


a very bad and negative step. But despite the broad support,


the inner leadership has largely Stop The War's founding member


and convener Lindsey German was a member of the Socialist


Workers Party for over 30 years, Her partner, John Rees,


who's also co-founder of Stop The War and was a leading


figure in the SWP, he also He sits on the editorial board


of Counterfire, a political organisation created


after that SWP split. He also helped start up The People's


Assembly Against Austerity, Which has been organising


protests since 2013. He's often sparked controversy,


reportedly writing in 2006, for example, that socialists should


unconditionally stand with the oppressed


against the oppressor, even if the people who run


the oppressed country are undemocratic and persecute


minorities, like Saddam Hussein. Andrew Murray was the Stop The War


coalition chairman from He's a member of the Communist Party


and chief of staff of In 2014 he spoke at the launch event


of a campaign called Solidarity With The Antifascist


Resistance In Ukraine, which supports anti-government


rebels there. He took back the chairmanship again


in September this year, taking over from Jeremy Corbyn,


who'd held the post from 2011 As well as its elected officers,


Stop The War has patrons including Labour MP Diane Abbott,


George Galloway, the writer Tariq Ali, and Kamal Majid,


a founding member of the Stalin Society, formed in 1991


to defend Stalin and his work. The 2003 protest against the Iraq


war, which took place here in Hyde Park, was the high point


of Stop The War. The human rights activist


Peter Tatchell never played an official role at Stop The War,


though he has participated But this week he took a very public


step back and claimed the organisation has


lost its moral compass. The shortcomings in Stop The War


are driven by basically about half a dozen people at the top,


and those views increasingly are not shared by many of their long-time


grass-roots supporters like me People are turned off


by the sectarianism, by the selective opposition to war,


and by the failure to speak out against human rights abuses


by regimes that happen to be on the receiving end of US


and British military intervention. Critics like Tatchell have accused


Stop The War of trying to silence those whose views don't


fit their own. Nothing will be achieved by trying


to shout down speakers! This video shows a Stop The War


official clashing with a protester during a rally about western


policy in Iran in 2012, This meeting last month caused


controversy when Syrians in the audience said


they weren't allowed to speak. There is one reason there is no


Syrian from this room on the platform and that's


because they support intervention, and the meeting is


against intervention. APPLAUSE What's really disturbing


is the way in which Diane Abbott closed down the meeting rather


than allow Syrian Democratic left wing and civil society


activists to speak. It's given the impression


that she shares the questionable politics of Stop The War


on the issue of Syria. But Stop The War insists a Syrian


contributor did ask a question from the floor of that meeting


and have rubbished the suggestion they support those who Western


governments oppose. Obviously, you will have seen


in recent days Stop The War explaining that they were opposed


to Russian intervention in Syria as well as British intervention,


so they are evenhanded. The reason I think people may think


that is because we are a campaign based in Britain and our campaigning


is obviously overwhelmingly orientated towards changing our own


Government's policy. Welcome to Islington


in north London. In there is Jeremy Corbyn's


constituency office. This building is also home


to the Stop The War coalition, but it is the figurative proximity


rather than the literal one that I spoke to a number of Labour MPs


who voted against air One told me that he wasn't so much


worried about Stop The War and the influence it may have


on Jeremy Corbyn and policy, but more that Jeremy Corbyn


simply shares their views. There's dissent at


the grass roots too. Stop The War is not


a Labour Party organisation. and probably continue


to oppose the Labour Party. I don't believe they hold


to the values of solidarity, We also spoke to a number of Labour


MPs who were relaxed We're joined now from Leeds


by the Labour MP, Richard Burgon. Morning, Andrew. The Communist Party


of Britain, which has prominent members in stop the war, says


attacks on stop the war are, quote, members in stop the war, says


a systemic and vicious propaganda oi offensive designed to obscure


British imperialism's agenda in conducting the bombing campaign in


British imperialism's agenda in Syria. Do you agree with that? Well,


first of all I think I'm in a good Syria. Do you agree with that? Well,


position to answer some of these questions, pause I've only ever been


a member of the Labour Party. questions, pause I've only ever been


joined when I was 15. What I really want to focus on is not the members


of small political parties who want to focus on is not the members


be involved in Stop The War Coalition, but the tens of


thousands, in fact they've got an e-mail list of 150,000 people, many


of whom are not in e-mail list of 150,000 people, many


party, many of whom are in the Labour Party. The chairman who has


taken over from Mr Corbyn is a member of the Communist Party of


Britain, so what's the answer to my question? I think the attacks on


stop the war are proxy attacks on Jeremy Corbyn. We haven't had that


previously. When Charles Kennedy was speaking against the Iraq war, which


previously. When Charles Kennedy was 2 million people attended, Charles


Kennedy wasn't attacked for that, and rightly so. But he wasn't a


member of Stop The War Coalition. He spoke on the stop the war platform.


But he wasn't a member? I'm not a member, there's a really important


point here, it is right that people in democratic society express their


views to MPs, march against things they think are incorrect. I do think


the line and the leadership of the Stop The War Coalition hasn't


changed in the 14 years since it was founded. What has changed is that


Jeremy Corbyn has become leader of the Labour Party, so people in the


media and elsewhere who wish to attack Jeremy Corbyn are using stop


the war to do so. Of course it is not just the media, is it? It is not


even the media. Labour MPses, Tristram Hunt, Stella Creasy, many


more, they've attacked Stop the War Coalition and Jeremy Corbyn's


support for it. I think the majority of Labour members agreed with Jeremy


Corbyn on his analysis on whether or not we should agree to David


Cameron's proposal to bomb Syria. But what do you say to their


criticism of Mr Corbyn's continued association with Stop the War


Coalition? I think they are mistaken. I think that stop the war,


we've got to look at how stop the war has involved people from right


across the political spectrum. When I was on that historical march in


2003, there wasn't just the Lib Dem leader speaking but other people I


spoke to, Conservative voters, so it is not just 57 varieties of


Trotskyite groups that are involved. If it were the case it were merelily


people on the ultraleft you wouldn't have 150,000 people involved or on


the e-mail list. Who is not either a cop thirst, a Trotskyite or a


Stalinist? Well, there are plenty of trade unions involved in the lip...


Among the leadership, the people who lead this, whose names are


associated with it, who doesn't Paul into that small hard left category?


Well, it is a coalition, and that's the point of it. So give me another


name that doesn't fall into that. Well, I wouldn't even know the full


list of people on the board of stop the war, but what I do know is that


there are people from trade unions supporting it, trade unions


supporting it, probably in terms of the membership of Stop the War


Coalition, the biggest composite of that are Labour Party members. But I


do think this is a distraction of the democratic issue. We can't say


that in this country being a member of a Stop the War Coalition


campaign, campaigning against military interventions that were


proven to be disastrous in Iraq and Libya is wrong. It is part of an


open democratic process. People shouldn't be demonised for being


part of it, or Jeremy Corbyn. I'm not doing that, what I'm trying to


do is find out what stop the war really stands for and whether it is


right to Jeremy Corbyn and other Labour people should be associated


with it. They are had an article titled, Sociopaths United. The


United States, Britain and their allies are no less sociopathic than


the enemies they propose to hunt down. So British security forces are


on a par with the beheaders, do you agree with that? I certainly don't


agree with that. I think there've agree with that? I certainly don't


been things published on blogs on the stop the war website which are


essential wrong, which I wouldn't agree with and the vast majority of


people who are members of the Stop the War Coalition wouldn't agree


with. I was reading in the paper this morning that the management of


the website of the stop the war has changed. If that shows that they are


going to be more careful to ensure that the content of the website on


every occasion mirrorst or reflects, sorry, the view of the leadership of


the Stop the War Coalition, then that's a welcome move. Well, it is


certainly, if it is such a splendid organisation, it has to delete lots


of articles it has published. It blamed the Paris attacks on French


policy, claimed that the threat to the Yazidis was largely mythical, in


fact force. And published a poem that quotes a well known anti-Semite


and Holocaust denier. All of that it has had to take down. Does that


sound like a respectable organisation that the Labour Party


should be associated with? Well, the views that you've uncovered aren't


views that I or members of the Stop the War Coalition would agree with.


But the big picture is this. In a coalition there are always sorts of


small numbers of individuals who come out with unacceptable views.


But the fact is I'm interested in the democratic point, in the 2


million people that marched on 15th February 2003, in the thousands that


protested against the intervention in Libya and intense the


intervention in Syria. I'm not a pacifist but I think that the truth


is that the Stop the War Coalition and the ordinary people from vicars


to pensioners who marched against the war in Iraq, who marched against


the intervention in Libya and have demonstrated against the


intervention in Syria, they've got it right. Many of the people


attacking Jeremy Corbyn and many of the people attacking the Stop the


War Coalition have got it completely wrong. It is a topsy-turvy world we


are in when attending Stop the War Coalition events is controversial.


We are still pretending that Tony Blair and others got it right in


Iraq. We haven't got much time Mr Burgon. Mr Corbyn stuck to his guns


and went to the fundraiser. His spin doctor says the Labour Party is now


slowly co hearing round Mr Corbyn's views, across a range of issues. Do


you agree with that? I do. As I minced earlier, Jeremy Corbyn didn't


instruct or order Labour MPs to vote against David Cameron's plan to bomb


Syria. He gave them a free vote, and that that was the right thing to do.


By a ratio of 2 to 1 Labour MPs agreed with Jeremy Corbyn's


analysis, and by 2 to 1 members of the Shadow Cabinet agreed with Mr


Corbyn. But on working tax credits, police cuts, issues such as ech


attacking George Osborne's failed cuts and privatisationings the vast,


of Labour MPs and members, and a lot of the public agree with him.


Richard Burgon thank you for joining us and for persevering with the


earpiece. I'm glad you stalk with it. Thank you. Take care. Bye.


Yvette Cooper came third in the contest to become


Her campaign only really came to life back in early September,


when she became the first front rank UK politician to call for Britain


to take in 10,000 refugees from the Syrian war.


Now, in her new role as Chair of Labour's Refugees Taskforce,


she's been on a fact-finding visit to the Jungle refugee


6,000 people are currently living in what, in most generous terms,


Yvette Cooper, a former Shadow Home Secretary,


a Labour leadership contender, argued over the summer Britain


should take more Syrian asylum seekers than


Now a backbencher, she is returned as a guest of citizens UK not


to argue we should fling open the doors but that the jungle


was a problem nobody has tried to find a solution to.


Why do we not have UNHCR here doing proper assessments of everybody?


And therefore actually they need to go back through


You've got to have a proper process to assess people's refugee status


and at the moment that's not happening.


That's the real big tragedy of here, the people have got stuck


here in these awful conditions and there's no


Some would call it hell, that's a little hyperbolic,


It's really purgatory, since there's a real sense nobody


is going anywhere, unless to climb on board a lorry and illegally


And a camp unsuited to summer is preparing for a winter it's


There's an argument which says, if you help refugees,


then somehow that will create a crisis.


No, the crisis is here and now, the crisis is happening.


You've got to have a basic humanitarian aid in place.


At the Medecins Sans Frontieres clinic on-site, the issue


of the conditions and winter is a problem itself.


The problem when we see the camp, it's very cold, the hygiene


And what happens, the condition...the simple


flu passes sometimes in the bronchal...and that's it.


There are many women and children - yes, they are outnumbered -


but they're housed in two sections of the camp we're not allowed


to film in, though clearly some choose to live in other parts


of the camp and walk the roads around.


in the UK that is worrying some of the volunteers.


So, there's a ten-year-old boy separated from his family and just


There are eight-year-olds, nine-year-olds, ten-year-olds


with family in the UK desperate to look after them,


and come here to visit them and bring them things


Do you suspect that people back home will see this and their natural


humanity will say, "this is awful, that looks really dreadful,


we still don't want lots of them to come"?


The problem is you look around this and you think,


how is this northern Europe, how can this be just a few miles


How can this be what is happening in France?


Yvette Cooper would be much happier if those minors were taken


in with their families, and seems to be singing from a song


sheet that says whether we take more refugees, fewer or none,


it may well be a pressing question, but that the jungle in Calais


Welcome back to the Sunday Politics. Should adults from this can be


allowed into Britain? It depends on their circumstances. Most of them


should be playing in France for asylum and that I think is what you


would expect to happen. Some of them may not be refugees, some of them


may have safe homes to go to and should do so. Clearly there's a lot


of people there who have fled Syria, Afghanistan, who we know are fleeing


conflict and persecution. There's a question about the children. We saw


unaccompanied children. There are people traffickers, some cases where


aid workers said they had families in Britain we were trying to reach.


For example I spoke to a 15-year-old whose brother, his nearest relative


is in Britain and he wants to join him. That's why he is in Calais.


Should we let them in? We should have a process for him to be able to


apply. We should be providing that sanctuary. I understand the children


issue but I'm still not quite clear what your attitude is towards the


adults there. Although a lot of people in this camp may have started


as refugees, they are now in France. They are not in immediate danger of


their lives so they now want to come to the UK because they think


economic prospects are better here than in France. That makes their


role economic migrants now. That's not the reality. They have no safe


home at the moment, and I agree they should be playing right now and they


should be assessed where they are. The French authorities should be


doing a full assessment. So why are they not in there? Good question.


Why are we leaving people in such awful conditions? If the French


authorities cannot, we should get the UNHCR to come in and do a full


assessment. There will also be people, I spoke for example to a


single mother with two small children who had left Syria when her


husband was killed in an Assad jail. She was trying to reach her father


and brother, also in Britain. There should be a process for her to apply


for sanctuary in Britain. If you had a fair system to apply, you might


prevent people coming to Calais in the first place. Should we set up an


asylum seeking vetting operation in Calais ourselves? We have a system


the Government set up under pressure to take refugees from the camps in


Syria. I'm talking about the camps in Calais. I agree but I'm saying we


should prevent people coming to Calais in the first place. Once


people have got to Calais, I think there is a case particularly for


those children... We understand the children but I'm asking about adults


because it is hard to know what your policy is on this. Should we start


to say some of them are asylum seekers, the French are not doing


their jobs properly, we will take them in once they go


This refugees. Britain is taking photos and refugees a year. We


should stop people coming and injured a sports in the 1st place.


--4000 refugees. If we do not solve it it will get worse. By giving


proper status to people here you will encourage more people to come.


People will come anyway. The crisis is going to happen. There is viewed


the government took with it were arguing we should not have search


and rescue in the Mediterranean because that would force other


people to come. I think that as a model. People have come. They are


travelling across Europe. What you have to do is have a system that


supports them. It is still not clear. Let's take over the million


migrants who have made it into the EU this year. The German government,


although taking most itself, try to spread the burden through member


states. Should we volunteer quarter quest Mark at the beginning I said


we should take 10,000 people. Why? The Germans are taking a lot more


and the Swedish are taking a lot more, why only 10,000? That meant we


would be talking about 10 families for every city or county across the


country and I think the best way to do this is to work with local


councils and communities and faith groups across the country and seeing


how many refugees do you think you can support in each area? In Germany


the labour market and housing are in different situations. They have a


different demographic. 10,000 out of a million would be the British


response? I think that would be a good thing to do. All countries will


have to work together on this and is not a simple answer either so it is


not just about what you do in terms of the number of refugees you give


sanctuary to but also what you do to prevent people travelling and that


is why you think we should be be uniting refugees by smack families.


We have not talked about in the thing that you on that report is


people living in terrible conditions with France and Britain being 2 of


the most powerful countries in the world, you would've thought it is


not beyond wit of those 2 countries to make sure there is proper


humanitarian relief and sanitation and proper heating for people who


will suffer not just from scabies but also terrible conditions in


those camps. A colleague of yours said that your


party is moving firmly towards the direction of Jeremy Corbyn. Do you


agree? The challenge for the Labour Party is that we have an internal


focus looking inwards as ourselves. We need to look out and we had good


campaigns on a series of things and we cannot let the Tories off the


hook. Is your party moving broadly in the direction of Jeremy Corbyn


are not? I'm not sure what that means because we're having a debate


on the part of the moment about what the policy should be the future and


it is right we should do so. The trouble is we cannot make that


debate just in words when the Tories are being let off the hook on Europe


and on Heathrow and on tax credits and a series of things. I will try


to make the question more clear next time.


We say goodbye to viewers in Scotland who leave us now


Coming up on the programme: This letter tells you that


on a portion of your taxes will go to the Scottish government -


What are the options open in Wednesday's budget?


Next Wednesday we'll see the practical results


of the Calman Commission which in 2012 decided that Scotland


could increase or decrease income tax.


It will be clear in this week's Holyrood budget what option


the Finance Secretary John Swinney has chosen against the background


And of course factored into that, we shouldn't ignore the looming


In the last few weeks taxpayers across Scotland have received a


brown envelope along with the Christmas post. The letter is from


the Inland Revenue and it is informing us that from April next


year some of our income tax will be paid to the Scottish Government.


This is a change from the current system puts sees all tax going to


the UK Government. I caught up with 1 person who has received his


letter. I would like to know where the tax was getting distributed. I


am on my way to Stirling University to meet an economist will hopefully


answer some of Paul's questions and look at the option for John Swinney


Winnie announces the the back decision next week. -- when he. Rate


will be set where all income tax bands will be set so that will be a


Scottish rate that applies across all of the tax bands. If he sets the


Scottish rate at 10p, actually nothing will change. But if he sets


it at 12p, the basic would go up to 22p and higher rate would go from


40p to 42p and additional rate would go from 45p to 47p. -- the basic


would go up from 20p to 22p. Speaking ahead of the budget,


Finance Secretary John Swinney says tough choices have to be made


because of the 12% cut his finances by the UK Government that he gave no


indication what he might do with his new powers over income tax. What I


will have to do for the 1st time is set to Scottish rate of income tax.


That is an essential part of the budget process within Scotland and


those decisions will be set out to Parliament on Wednesday but we take


those decisions against a very difficult backdrop of the financial


reductions that have come from the UK Government against the


determination of the Scottish film to make sure that we take every step


we possibly can do to protect the vulnerable public services which


matter to the people of our country. The political reality is this budget


is 5 months ahead of a Scottish parliamentary election. I would


expect the opposition parties to say you have those new powers and those


new opportunities. Why not doing more with them? In that sense


bracelet tit-for-tat blame game as usual but the political reality is


that this is a pre-election budget and therefore we should not expect


too much in the way of dramatic developments. It is traditional in


these situations to save the Rabbit? If that is a rabbit it will be a


very bunny indeed. -- where is the Rabbit? Next Wednesday will find out


if John Swinney is more Scrooge than Santa.


Joining me now is SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson, who is convenor


of the Fiscal Commission and Labour MSP Jackie Baillie,


who is the party's spokesperson on public services and wealth


I want to ask about a couple things that have come up today such as the


Forth Bridge. The new allegation that very heavy vehicles have been


stopped from going on for some time, the implication being they knew


there was a problem. I think as each day passes that is another


revelation and I do think it is time that the SNP government to come


clean will stop 1st we had the question of whether maintenance


contracts were cancelled and not and then we hear that was a 59% cut in


the budget and now we hear today about this. What do you want the


government to do what it is not doing already? I think they need to


be transparent. You only need to listen to people in phone in


programmes to understand how agitated about this. We do need to


learn from our mistakes and we did with the Scottish treatment to put


everything in the public domain and be transparent and not to engage in


ever-increasing amount spent to hide the truth from people about cut


budgets and maintenance contracts. Would you accept, Kenneth Gibson,


that whatever the rights and wrongs of it, this has not been handled


very well? It has not been handled well by the Scottish Government? I


think this is bound to happen and such an emotive issue which has


disrupted tens of thousands of people's lives. We have seen a lot


of transparency and the Minister made a statement to Parliament which


were discussed for 20 minutes of First Minister 's questions. It


seemed to be contradicted by what he said on the radio the next morning.


To be fair it is a movable feast and new things are coming out. If Jackie


Baillie said something in Parliament 1 day and is something else on radio


the next day you would not just say I take my hat off to her. You would


say, come on what is going on? I think everything has been put in the


public domain. It clearly has not. Derek Mackay has been frank about


what the difficulties are in the First Minister made this crystal


clear that this at a problem which was fined a few weeks ago and not


been picked up on previous maintenance because it was only a


new floor in the bridge itself that was picked up. I also wanted to ask


about Donald Trump. We learned this morning that Alex Salmond has signed


a petition saying he should be banned from entering Britain. Is


that something you would go along with? A number of my SNP colleagues


and a number of Labour colleagues support that point of view. I do not


support the point of view and I think that when Nick Griffin


appeared in question time some years ago a lot of people wanted him


banned but when it came on he made such a fool of itself it undermined


a lot of the support the BNP had. I'm not sure that is the way


forward. Whatever you think of his ideas has


forward. Whatever you think of his makes his investments but is not


allowed to visit them or he sells off to someone else? I do not


believe it should be a ban on Mr Trump coming to the UK. What do you


think of that? I don't Trump coming to the UK. What do you


what he Trump coming to the UK. What do you


reprehensible and people have been very clear about that and people are


made our views known. very clear about that and people are


imaginable is that that the system ought chance that this man could be


the president of the United States. -- I find it unimaginable there is


that ought chance. -- remote. John Swinney will have too set a rate of


income tax. It has delayed getting this point because of reality he


will do anything different to what he's doing already? The Finance


committee a lot of lot of evidence right across the board from the


to the CBI to the Scottish council for voluntary organisations and all


of the muster the same thing which is that in the 1st year of this tax


they do not see this should be any change. I do not know whether John


Swinney will increase taxes are lower them or give them the same.


Would you be disappointed of nothing happened? Not necessarily because


people say let's have some stability the 1st year. A lot of people


watching would ask if this is the Scottish National party, the same


people who demand power after power after power and then when they are


given powers to and around and say, we want more powers but these once


you have just given us, you do we do not want to use them? The reality is


we cannot even change the bandings of the flesh at this stage. If it


goes up it is the same for everybody. If increased it for


higher taxpayers it would be the same for lower taxpayers. The people


who are vastly out there who run businesses and the trade unions,


etc. They same for the 1st year letters keep it as it is. -- lets


keep visitors. -- as it is. People would ask you why you do not put


taxes up to counter the steady policies of the Conservative


government. People with low wages have had pay rises above inflation


for a few years and this is not the time to increased taxation which


would be across the board. He believes some money in their pockets


and this is not the time to do it. We brought in attacks for land and


buildings last year which was a huge difference to what the United


Kingdom. Jackie Baillie, you're quoted today saying that Scottish


Labour will offer real alternative to a sedative at different decisions


on tax to the Tories and to the SNP. -- on a steady. -- is. --Austerity.


There is no comprehensive spending review and we believe it should be a


budget for the medium to long term. We see doing the sensitive sort of


thing that Kenny Gibson was talking about between the bands. We have


said we would introduce a 50p top rate of income tax and we would not


take a cut in passenger transport duty.


This was supposedly because you were not going to have people suffering


from the tax credit cuts that George Osborne was going to make but he has


not made those cuts. He has delayed those cuts, let's be clear about


that. Are you saying that people on the existing system will not be


affected but when new people come on they may get less than they would


have done in the current system. Are you saying that the Labour


government in Scotland would mitigate all the effects of that new


system? We would need to examine the system but we have already


identified financial leaders we reduce to ensure we have an


anti-steady budget. The SNP have been silent on what budgets they


would bring in. We have been seeing a budget for an election and not for


the long-term. With new powers over taxation and welfare people expect


cuts. What would you do if you read John Swinney next week? He has a


number of options. What rate of tax would you said? We do not think


there should be a differential on tax at this time. You hit a done as


much as you do the wealthiest. What we are saying is there is a big


debate to happen about the kind of tax powers we want to see in the


future and hope we reduce them. We are prepared to set out in the


agenda and the SNP are being silent. John Swinney is already seeing the


terrible decisions you will have to make because of this dreadful Tory


austerity. What is this government cut? If you look at it, we have not


enabled to spend as much on local government services, 60,000 people


have left the. A lot of the services we would like to deliver our not


being delivered. Like what? We would like to deliver better health


services than we have. We would like to make significant improvements.


Only a year ago you were asking people to vote to leave the UK


because of this dreadful Tory austerity policy. What are these


huge cut? What are they? You will see this week eight ?300 million...


Everyone would like to spend more money on the NHS but what are these


cuts, what would people have got if it was not for posterity? What tools


are not getting prepared, schools are not being billed as quickly as


they would have, bridges. I thought you claimed your school programme


was a triumph of capital spending. Name a skill that has not been


built. -- school. If you want to look at schools even in my own


constituency the Gaelic Academy could have in-built earlier with the


money to build it and that is being built now. We read this austerity


then? Scotland has a 27% cut on capital funding if you're trying to


say that has now affect. There is a growth of ?500 million. It is 70%.


-- 17. What do you remember


about this year? Was there one political event


that stood out for you? Hundreds of thousands of Syrian


refugees crossing the Mediterranean? As we approach the year end


of 2015, here's the A to Z No, no, no, order. The house will


show it's a PC Asian in a way other than flapping. -- its appreciation.


Hello. Good afternoon. We love you, Charles.


Taking a desk, having a a go, that pumps me up and if I am


getting lively about it that is because I feel lively. -- taking a


risk. Our basic pleasures for a plan for working people. Shall I tell you


something about JCB? They made their tell got. -- made this helicopter.


Right across this campaign it is about making...


LAUGHTER We are not going to have a


coalition, we are not going to have a deal. Will you put to bed rumours


that you plan to cut child tax credit and respect child benefit to


two children? I do not want to do that. That is ludicrous you are


lying. Why would we ever believe anything else you say? Am I tough


enough? Hell, yes, I am tough enough! # it's the final countdown.


# for you I have two listed all


because the writing's on the wall. # I will be resigning as leader of the


Liberal Democrats. Now it is time for someone else to take forward the


leadership of this party. # this is the industry, this is the


industry # why have you got a tie on? You at any job. -- I have you


not 40 tie on? An elected Labour and Liberal lords


have voted down a matter passed by the elected House of Commons. #


don't believe me just watch! # but you have oil? Yes. Maybe invade you?


You don't usually ask permission. This is an exit poll very carefully


calculated. He returns. Ten o'clock and we are saying the Conservatives


are the largest party. If this exit poll is right I will publicly eat my


hat. English votes for English issues,


terribly simple. It is an incomprehensible mess. I will oppose


it until my dying day. The wealthier powers of the Smith commission. Fall


short subject to negotiation and agreement. No vetoes. I will believe


it when I see it. SNP MPs will vote against air


strikes in the House of Commons. Public opinion is moving


increasingly against what I believed to be an ill thought out rush to


war. Do we go after these carers in their heartlands where they are


plotting to kill British people or do we sit back and wait for them to


attack us? # here I go again on my own. # # going down the only road


I've ever known. # like a drifter I was born to walk alone. # focus on


me. # Conservative Party candidate 18,848.


You will be a leadership election for the next leader of UK inset


Amber and I will consider over the course of this summer whether to put


my name forward to do that job again. He is standing down but he


may stand again? When is toast not post? # sisters are doing it for


themselves. # because I am an MP, not only am I


the youngest but I am now also the only 20-year-old in the Hall of the


UK that the Chancellor was prepared to help with housing.


I'm joined by a trio of commentators.


Severin Carrell is the Guardian's Scotland correspondent,


Katie Grant is a journalist and author and Paul McNamee


I watched that earlier on and what struck me more than usual was the


earlier it seemed a long time. The relatives because everyone has


changed so much no one expected the Conservative government on Labour in


Scotland to be completely wipe out? It has been an enormous year but I


am reminded that once I looked into the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the year


2066 -- 1066 it said nothing much happened this year. I wonder if the


Pope will look back and see it as we see it. The thing that struck me


most was how many successful female politicians there where. This has in


the year of the woman politician. Nicola Sturgeon, Kezia Dugdale, Ruth


Davidson. Even with Yvette Cooper it would have in a lovely hat-trick. It


has been a Europe with the domestic and global have walloped into each


other and so we have an half with our eyes firmly focused on Syria and


half with our eyes firmly focused on seismic events at home and it is not


often a year that we get so much change in EU both abroad and here.


Do you think it has been seismic? Yes. I think it has been an


extraordinary year. I think when historians come to look back over


this period of our history they will see 2015 as a more important year


for Scotland than 2014 because we are now in an SNP either. This could


the anti-pork defining moment. Not truly geologically but in the narrow


frame of life we now have the generational shift. A number of SNP


's. The number they are on the cusp of having a second majority


government at Holyrood. The sense in which the opposition parties as well


are now so diminished by the shift in what happened in May 2015I think


actually is going to define the next couple of generations. Whatever the


outcome of May 2016, the SNP will be in power for the next five years in


Scotland. The outcome could be different but based on the old know


the difference we are looking at next meet is only any couple of


seats even the for the SNP which I think is hugely significant. It is.


I think it is always impossible when you look back in the year to single


out 1 particular point. Especially when you look back at a film like


that you wonder what is the key moment when the international and


domestic worlds came together such as the C Heddle attack.


--Charlie Hebdo. Then you can look at me and when David Dimbleby read


out the exit poll. -- look at the month of May. There was a very


dramatic moment earlier in the morning when John Curtis said it


could be a Conservative majority. --Curtice. I see that as a big


moment for us but not in the Globe. Governments come and governments


goal but it is not as if they have such a stonking majority the


Conservatives could do as they like. And then overtaken by events as


always. I was thinking about what you were saying about the SNP and


the Forth Road Bridge might loom very large and growing larger every


day because closure of the bridge is something affects Scotland very


particularly and it affects people very directly every morning so I


wonder if maybe 7th, of course I think the posters have been wrong in


the past, but there will be an SNP majority, but I think these sort of


seemingly quite small events can suddenly escalate and derail whole


political leaders. I wonder. Clearly the opposition parties to be SNP


would love the bridge to be a giant example of the narrative they are


trying to create which is that the SNP go on about independence but but


meanwhile back in the backyard everything is going to rack and ruin


because they have not been paying attention. Is the even the slightest


chance that narrative would work? I think 1 of the really interesting


political challenges for the opposition parties is that for a lot


of the Scottish electorate that appears to be this disconnect


between the performance on day-to-day domestic policies that


the Scottish garment is there to fulfil and the way the SNP opinion


poll rating appears to be so buoyant. That is no connection they


make between it is Nicola Sturgeon who is responsible but surely we


should be going for an alternative now. You may find that the bridge


that it is an incremental thing that adds to the crisis over the NHS and


the crisis in education spending and so on and so forth and people start


to think maybe they are not up to the job. But the problem for the


opposition parties is that they have to appear to be a credible


alternative and as things currently stand sturgeon is still the


pre-eminent politician in Scotland and the Forth Road Bridge. To really


annoy thousands of voters in 5 will be enough to bridge that gap? In the


Kingdom of Fife. Labour are also supposedly involved in this


regeneration narrative. How do you think that is going Christmas not


terrifically well. Jeremy Corbyn says it is going swimmingly because


he is just won an election and people say he would have done very


badly and if not lose a safe Labour seat. Jeremy carbon came out rather


well and he managed to get a set amount of people who would vote


Labour to vote for him but that does not necessarily reflect on people in


the wider sense. If he had lost in Oldham, the disaster would been


told. That is no way they would have lost that matter who's in charge to


think is a false reading saying that because Labour won the leadership of


Gerry Corbyn is going well. I think Casey Dugdale is a good young reader


--Kezia. -- leader. But Ruth Davison seems to clips and seems to be the


rising voice of an alternative point of view and talking about women


becoming much more dominant this year, she will have an incredible


role to play in 2016 running up to Hollywood elections. If she can


galvanise a particular vote the change in Scotland could be marked.


I was just thinking that maybe the big S this year 's scrutiny. Corbyn


supporters would say you have underestimated us. You keep saying


it will be a disaster and it is not. It is not a disaster yet because


there has not really been anything to be as acid about. I agree with


Paul, I do not see how they could have lost the Oldham by-election


although I do remember that he was not involve much in it. I think the


great test for the Labour Party is still to come. We have just seen


Jeremy carbon go to the stop the War Christmas party and I think actually


that is a sort of echo chamber for a Jeremy Corbyn which is quite


dangerous for him that he will be buoyed up by his own supporters and


take very little notice of what is going on the rest of the country.


Again, playing devils advocate, his supporters would say people are


getting this wrong. For example, in splits over Syria, the issue for a


lot of people was not about whether that would Labour splits over Syria,


it is nice that that is a proper debate about this for once and


frankly we do not care. We cared about Syria but not the splits. I


think that is true but do people really care about Syria when the


care most about the economy and jobs and proper management and thinks the


government should be doing Gate today. Syria for most voters are


still apart from their everyday concerns. What Labour and the Carbon


leadership team have to accept is that they have challenges right in


front of them such as the May elections in Scotland and Wales and


local government downside. The report from a lot of Labour MSPs in


Scotland is that Corbyn is not sufficiently attractive to a lot of


Labour voters they need to take back on board. On the doorstop they are


hearing voters saying that they are not sure Corbyn is the man for us.


They think they might be able to finally achieve liftoff in this


election in May, the Conservatives. I do not think the world because


when it comes to putting across the box people will still be resistant


but Ruth Davison has done really good job at making the Conservatives


look nice, if that is possible word. I think she herself her manner is a


very good advertisement for them. That's all from the us


this week and for 2015.


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

Andrew speaks to Conservative Peter Lilley about climate change, Labour's Yvette Cooper about refugees, shadow Treasury minister Richard Burgon on Stop the War and Conservative MP James Cleverly on Europe.

The newspapers are reviewed by Janan Ganesh of the Financial Times, Helen Lewis of the New Statesman and Tom Newton Dunn of the Sun.

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