24/01/2016 Sunday Politics Scotland


Andrew Neil and Gordon Brewer are joined by Michael Dugher, Ian Murray, Diane James and Damian Green. Janan Ganesh, Beth Rigby and Nick Watt are on the political panel.

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migrants, as the Port of Calais is forced to close overnight


after migrants attempted to force their way onto a Channel ferry.


David Cameron appears increasingly confident he'll bag a deal on EU


In the first of three Sunday Politics debates,


the leave and remain campaigns go head-to-head on immigration.


And speaking exclusively to this programme, Ed Miliband's former


pollster Deborah Mattinson criticises Labour's official report


into why the party lost the general election for failing to face up


I think it was a whitewash and a massive missed opportunity.


Coming up on Sunday Politics Scotland.


Is time being called on the government's


The independent poverty tsar calls for it to be scrapped and councils


weigh up their options over cuts to services.


So, the Port of Calais was forced to close for a while yesterday


after migrants managed to breach security and board a ferry.


Amateur footage captured the moment a group managed to break


through security fences and head towards the P ferry.


The incident happened during a protest at the port,


The head of the Road Haulage Association here in Britain has


renewed demands for the French military to intervene.


As it happens, the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn,


was in northern France yesterday, visiting the migrant camps


While he was there, he reiterated his calls


for the British Government to do more to help migrants.


I talk to people all over the country and not everyone is that


cold-hearted, not everyone else has a stony heart.


They are prepared to reach out, and I think we need a response


And indeed Germany has done an enormous amount,


other countries have done varying amounts,


and I think we should be part of helping


to bring a European-wide support to people, and that's what I'm


Jeremy Corbyn yesterday. Beth, what we make of the story, the government


will allow unaccompanied children refugees, already in Europe, to come


into Britain? Some of my government sources have suggested that is not


what David Cameron would like to do, if you think about how he dealt with


the crisis in August, he said we will take some Syrian refugees but


we will take them from the camps in Syria and around Syria, we will not


take them from Calais, because he thinks this is a push factor and it


makes people come over. What the government might end up doing, they


might agree to take refugee children unaccompanied, but only from Syria


and the Middle East, not from Calais. What about the kids who have


made it here? They could be bad way. Nick? The signals on government,


they have not made any decisions yet and the announcement is not


imminent, but Beth makes a very important point, the Prime Minister


said you do not want to encourage people to make that journey,


therefore the instinct is to take people from the neighbouring


countries. Apart from unaccompanied kids, they have come across in


terrible conditions, and they are in Calais and Dunkirk. The call to take


these children, from that report, that says that is a fair proportion


of the 26,000 unaccompanied children that have come to Europe. The


figures in that report are terrifying, in 2014, of the 13,000


unaccompanied children that ended up in Italy, 3000 went missing, and of


the African children that went to Italy, half of them had been subject


to some form of sexual abuse, it is the most horrific figures. That 3000


figure, endorsed by Jeremy Corbyn, also endorsed by the cross-party


International Development Select Committee, said there is edible


pressure on the Prime Minister on this one. -- formidable. The


humanitarian case has been strongly but by Jeremy Corbyn and others, but


it is marginal. 3000 children, that would be great for them, but 37,000


migrants have come to Greece in January alone, and the mud has not


even ended, ten times the number that came in last January -- the


month. The problem is getting bigger and bigger, and the response has


been wholly inadequate. It has, it looks marginal, but that is about as


much as you can expect, until there is EU wide agreement about how to


distribute what you might call the burden of the influx, but there is


nothing close to that agreement and there's not even a deal between the


EU and Turkey about ceiling borders and dealing with human traffickers


let alone a deal within the EU about which country bears how much of the


burden. Until then, you just have these improvised solutions, 3000


here, France taking a bit more, and there is no certainty that the


unaccompanied children are overwhelmingly Syrian, there is the


suspicion that Syrians travel as complete families and the


unaccompanied children are disproportionately from Somalia, for


example, similarly distress, but not the problem that they think they are


dealing with. This plays into the referendum question, there is the


nervousness in the in campaign, that a referendum in September, after a


summer of large sums of migrants coming in, kids or otherwise, would


affect the result one way or another. That is a big story, and we


will come back to that at the end of the show.


Last week, the long-awaited autopsy into Labour's defeat at the general


The report by Margaret Beckett concluded that Ed Miliband wasn't


judged to be as strong a leader as David Cameron, and that Labour


had failed to shake off the myth that Labour was responsible


But parallel research was also commissioned to inform


the Beckett Report, and despite being completed in July,


The former Labour pollster Deborah Mattinson carried out this


research, and has spoken exclusively to the Sunday Politics.


We are saying the Conservatives are the largest party.


We all know what happened on election night.


Instead of a hung parliament, David Cameron walked


back into Downing Street with a majority of 12.


Labour got it wrong, as well, suffering a net loss of 26


Friends, this is not the speech I wanted to give today.


Ed Miliband resigned within hours, but


it has taken eight and a half months for the party


to publish its own inquiry into what went wrong.


Margaret Beckett's report is called Learning The Lessons From Defeat.


It doesn't, says one pollster, who has worked for several former


Just a few weeks after the election defeat, Deborah Mattinson


was commissioned by the acting leader


Harriet Harman to research why Labour lost.


She says the evidence was meant to feed into the Beckett


I did brief Margaret Beckett so I was somewhat


disappointed not to see some of that reflected back.


Yes, I think she picked up on the economy but there


was actually no analysis, it is reduced effectively to one


And there is a lot of quite defensive stuff about


the fact this does not necessarily mean that anti-austerity is wrong.


"Of course we had a great business strategy, what a pity the voters


"That was probably the fault of the media".


Quite apologetic, lots of defensive stuff


in there, but nothing that actually really shone a light on what had


Do you accept that when Labour was last in power it


No, I don't, and I know you might not agree with that


Margaret Beckett's report acknowledges that Labour failed


to shake what she describes as the myth


that the party caused the financial crisis.


Deborah Mattinson says that for people in her focus groups


Frankly, they did not trust Labour to manage the economy


effectively, they were very concerned about that.


In their minds, they are seeing a conflation


rightly or wrongly, and their sense that


Labour would waste money, their money, and run the economy


Voters could not see him as Prime Minister.


But Margaret Beckett concluded that Ed


Miliband faced an exceptionally vitriolic and personal attack


People looked at Ed Miliband and did not see him


And if you look at every election since the 70s,


what we see, the party that has the leader with the best ratings


is the party that wins, there is no exception to that.


I get it, that people weren't prejudiced against immigration,


I get it and I understand the need to change.


The Beckett Report acknowledges that Labour did not quite get it


on issues like immigration and benefits, and that the fear


of the SNP propping up a minority government scared off many voters.


But Deborah Mattinson says Labour was losing support in Scotland well


before the independence referendum and the surge in SNP support.


Put simply, she said voters did not feel


that Labour was on their side, and the party still does not


I feel very concerned that the lessons


will be learned and I can't see how they will be learned,


because that was the vehicle, that was the moment,


and if this report does not address those issues then I'm not


No political party has a divine right to exist and unless Labour


really listens to those voters, that it must persuade,


it stands no chance of winning the next election.


And we've been joined by the former Shadow Cabinet minister


Michael Dugher - you might remember he was sacked by Jeremy Corbyn


Deborah Mattinson says the better report is a whitewash, is she right?


-- Beckett Report. That is a bit harsh, does it have all the answers,


though, of course not, and I think Deborah Mattinson make some very


fair observations in that piece, but what Margaret concludes in her


report, it is not a massive shock to those of us that were knocking on


doors last May and have thought long and hard about it since, we were not


trusted enough on the economy, and that was the big issue, but also on


immigration and welfare, we were seen as out of touch, and also


leadership being the most important thing in any race. She makes those


conclusions, in the report, and I think the key thing now, is to


listen to the issues that she raises, but also listen to Debra and


many others who have made a contribution since the report came


out. We have got to face up to the difficult issues as to why we lost,


if we are going to win again. Voters found Ed Miliband the


personification of the Labour brand, that was the problem, well-meaning


but ineffectual. I'm likely to deliver -- and likely to deliver on


promises. Did you detect that at the time? I was very close to Ed


Miliband and I gave him some advice, some of which he took and some of


which he didn't. I wanted him to be a success, I saw him in private and


you have strong he did beat, and often he got very unfair coverage in


the media and often he did not do himself justice in his performances


-- I saw him in private and how strong he did beat. The real lesson


here, for any lead at the Labour Party can you have got to play to


your strengths and you have got a fundamentally address your perceived


weaknesses. The private polling showed the Tories were in the late,


was that not a warning that things were going wrong? -- in the lead.


I'm not sure how much private polling I was shown. You did not see


this? The year before the election, I was appointed Shadow Secretary of


State for Transport, I was not so much part of the central operations


and I did not see private polling. Many of us thought that we were


getting difficult conversations on the doorstep, but we were told


consistently, including by the pollsters, that we were neck and


neck and there was a perception that we were doing better in the


marginals, as well. That turned out to be catastrophically wrong, but


one of the things that is not in Margaret's report is about the


organisational lessons, that does speak, if you have a million


conversations, what are you doing with the data? I remember in the


last two days of the campaign, I was sent to Derbyshire, Amber Valley,


and in Yorkshire, to Rothwell, but I should have been sent to Morley to


help Ed Balls, and Derby North to help Chris Wood this. The campaign


has got to base what they do on the information, and in 2010 we took


very hard decisions, six months away from polling day, based on the


information we had about prioritise in resources, but are not sure that


happens this time. -- I'm not sure. Deborah Mattinson looks at the


boundary changes before the next election, and she thinks the Beckett


Report made a failure to confront why you lost enough. Her conclusion


is this, Labour's future is in profound jeopardy - is it? I think


we have a massive challenge at the next election. I don't think any


political party has a right to be successful in the future. I am an


optimistic person. Labour, when we have got our act together, when we


have been in touch with the public we have shown we can win. Is


Labour's continued existence a question mark? We have got to start


getting in touch with the public. One thing the report did slightly


skirt around, the question over politics as an identity. People like


myself have been banging on about this, not just in the weeks before


the election but for months and years before, and we need to face up


to that. No political party has a right to exist, but I think if


Labour gets our act together, if we stop picking fights with ourselves,


if we face up to the difficult issues in this report and elsewhere,


we can be successful in the future. In what ways, as things stand at the


moment, what ways will Labour be better, in better shape, under


Jeremy Corbyn heading into the 2020 election than it was in the 2015


election? What is one of the main conclusions from the Beckett Report,


it said we did make some gains, 1.5%, but we were stacking up area


-- support in areas where we were already strong. If they think you


are out of touch on immigration and welfare, you had better start


talking about immigration and welfare. Jeremy Corbyn seems to want


almost no limit on immigration, it is hard to detect if he would have


any limits, and he is rather against welfare reforms. I'm not sure that


is an election winning strategy. On immigration, I made this point to


him, you have got to understand this is the second biggest issue


nationally, it is the biggest issue in many constituencies including


mine, and I said that many of the answers are about stopping pressure


on wages and conditions. There are good centre-left solutions to these


problems, about Europe dividing more help for communities facing these


changes. I made the point to him, on welfare he is right to say we should


be standing up to help the most vulnerable, but in my experience you


only get heard on those issues if the public think you are for real in


terms of wanting to be tough on people who are frankly making


decisions not to go into work so you have got to get the balance right.


Do you accept, given his huge support among party members, that


Jeremy Corbyn will lead you into the next election? He faces a big test


in May. We have seen the polls and the ratings, any big test is a real


election. He faces a big test because he was clear that a


left-wing agenda is the key to transforming our fortunes in


Scotland, I hope he's right. We need to win in London but we have got to


show we can make big gains in the rest of London as well and we have


got to hold onto power in Wales as well. But even if he fails these


tests, do you think there will be an attempt to remove him? We have got


to get behind Jeremy and he has got to show us that he can deliver and


turn things around. We need to get behind him. People are very clear


about what Jeremy stands for. He has achieved remarkable cut throughs.


Over the next few months we will see more of that so he has got to be


given a chance because he has a huge mandate by the party members but he


has got to show he can turn that into real support from the public.


That means also winning the support of people who voted Conservative


last time. It is not an easy challenge, we are behind him in that


but he has got to show he can learn the lessons that Margaret Beckett


has talked about and Debra and others as well. We have got to stop


it there, thank you. The hole Labour is in is deepest


in Scotland, where the once-mighty party now holds just


one Westminster seat. If Jeremy Corbyn is to win


the general election in 2020, he needs to claw back


support from the SNP, and the first test of his appeal


north of the border is coming up fast in elections to


the Scottish parliament in May. Speaking to Andrew Marr this


morning, the leader of the SNP took aim at Mr Corbyn, criticising


a plan he's floated to keep Britain's Trident submarines


minus their nuclear warheads. I wonder what you made


of Jeremy Corbyn's suggestion that you could keep the Trident


submarines, therefore keep the jobs in Scotland, but not have


nuclear missiles on them. I think it was ridiculous


and I think it's a sign of just how tortured these debates are becoming


within the Labour Party. On Trident, I agree


with Jeremy Corbyn. I'm not in favour of the renewal


of Trident, and we might have a vote on that in the House of Commons


sooner rather than later. I think the real challenge


for Jeremy Corbyn is, can he get his party


into the position he wants it to be in so we can have any


chance at all of stopping For Labour to sit on the fence


on this issue or have a free vote on this issue will leave them


without a shred of credibility. And I've been joined now


by the Shadow Scottish Secretary, Let's pick up on the point from


Nicola Sturgeon about Trident. In Scotland the electoral choice on


this is clear, if you are unilateral disarmament, you vote SNP. You


couldn't vote Labour on this issue because people don't know what you


stand for. The Labour Party has been clear, a motion was passed almost


unanimously to reject the renewal of Trident on that policy basis. But it


is not party policy. There is a policy review happening at the


moment so the Scottish Labour Party's policy on this is clear. It


is a Scottish election don't forget. These Trident issues are diverting


us away from big issues of policy in terms of public services. The


Deborah Mattinson research found Scottish voters felt abandoned by


the Labour Party. When did Labour start taking Scottish voters for


granted? It has been clear from a number of reports that have been


done that there has been a process in the party where we have not


devolved the party as much as Scotland. The Scottish party, in


1999 it was a tremendous opportunity for the Scottish Labour Party but I


don't think we have caught up with that. I think under Kesia's


leadership she is refreshing that. You face further electoral disasters


in Holyrood in May. No one is under any illusion this will be a


difficult election, but what Kesia is trying to do is get a positive


policy platform together, reconnect with Scottish people, respond to


what Scottish people have been saying on the doorsteps, and she's


doing that on the basis of responding to what the Scottish


people want. That's what people want to have. What the Shadow Cabinet was


told by your own election director is that he expects you to lose all


of your constituency MSPs, just as you lost all of your constituency


MPs bar you last May. What can you do to avoid that? The important


thing is to go back to Kezia Dugdale's policy. She wants to


change the policies of the Scottish Labour Party in order for us to have


a policy platform that is incredibly positive. What is the most


distinctive Scottish policy initiative since Jeremy Corbyn


became leader? This isn't about Jeremy Corbyn, it is about Kezia


Dugdale. We have helped to buy scheme for first time buyers, we


want to build 60,000 affordable homes, we want to put the 50p tax


rate back in to close the educational attainment gap, they are


just a few of the policies she has announced already. She is one of the


few people in this election campaign actually talking about the policy


issues of Scotland. Nobody is talking about these kinds of issues.


Do you think that collection policies you have outlined are


enough to stave off a further electoral humiliation? It is just


the start of a policy platform she will be announcing in the run-up to


the elections. Help to buy is a Tory policy. This is about resolving a


housing crisis that has been created by an SNP government. We are not


holding them to account because people are obsessing over things


like polls. The transport system is creaking at the seams. This has got


to be dealt with and there is a real opportunity to talk about the powers


the Scottish Government currently has and new powers. Let's talk about


tomorrow's Scotland. How much would a top rate 50p tax for Scotland


raised? Up to 10 million, depending where you would have any change but


every single penny would go into educational attainment. When the


Conservatives cut the tax rate to 45p, the Treasury were projecting it


would cost ?3 billion a year to satisfy. That was for the whole of


the UK, so 60-110,000,000 is a lot of money we can use to cut the


educational attainment gap. Why is Jeremy Corbyn not cutting much ice


north of the border? He has won a significant mandate within the


party, he needs to win that now within the country but what we are


concentrating on now is Kezia Dugdale as a new leader. I am


interesting that you stress all the time Kezia Dugdale, is Jeremy Corbyn


and asset or a liability in May? He is an asset because she wants us to


invest in public services, he wants to use the powers in the Scottish


bill to transform the Scottish Parliament... So why are the polls,


if you have got Kezia Dugdale and Jeremy Corbyn doing all the right


things, why are the polls so dire for you in Scotland? We will fight


for every single vote and seat, we fight to win every election but


whilst we are talking about polls and not holding the Scottish


Government to account for a dreadful record in Government for eight years


and not talking about positive policies being put forward, we will


not get any traction in the polls. Let's get this campaign onto real


issues that ordinary Scots want to talk about on the doorsteps, which


is about holding the Government to account for a dreadful track record,


and get some policies on there that says to the people the Scottish


Labour Party has changed and we can talk about tomorrow's Scotland and


how we can transform people's lives. Thank you.


The huge influx of migrants into the EU from Syria and elsewhere


is putting the future of the EU in "grave danger",


that was the stark warning from the French Prime Minister


Tomorrow, EU interior ministers will discuss a possible two-year


suspension of the Schengen system of passport-free travel.


It all comes as David Cameron seeks to put the finishing touches


to a new deal for the UK inside the EU before


But how is the migrant crisis affecting his renegotiation?


Since January 2015, nearly 1.1 million migrants have arrived


in Europe, the vast majority coming by sea.


The International Monetary Fund estimates that nearly 4 million


migrants will have reached the EU by the end of 2017.


Tomorrow, EU interior ministers will discuss a possible suspension


of the passport-free Schengen area and the re-introduction of border


and introducing a new dispersal scheme to distribute migrants more


It's an extra headache for David Cameron as he seeks


to renegotiate the terms of our membership of the EU.


The Prime Minister's preferred option is a four-year ban on new EU


migrant workers claiming in-work benefits.


But that's unlikely to satisfy many Conservative backbenchers.


Former Cabinet minister Liam Fox, who has already said


he will campaign to leave the EU, said yesterday that he "didn't


expect a British prime minister to have to take the political


begging bowl around the capitals of Europe just to change our own


Over the next three weekends we will be staging three debates


Joining me now to discuss immigration and the EU are the Ukip


MEP Diane James, who's campaigning for Britain to leave the EU,


and the Conservative MP Damian Green, who supports


The French prime ministers as the future the EU is in grave danger, so


why would we want to stay in it? -- Prime Minister says. It is useful to


as, it makes us safer and more secure and more prosperous and


therefore it is worth saving, from our perspective and to the other


member countries. Why does it make us more secure? The way that we


cooperate with other European countries, the European


institutions, things like the European arrest warrant, data share,


these are very useful to our police and security services. We share data


with the United States, as well. But not on the same automatic basis as


we do with Europe. There is automatic sharing of intelligence


between Britain and the United States. There is can we have a


separate treaty with them, it is not as automatic and quick. -- there is,


we have a separate treaty. We can change information within minutes


with other European countries, and it takes days and weeks with other


countries, and that means in cases of terrorism and sadly we live in a


dangerous world, with global terrorism, that kind of European


cooperation is increasingly important. Diane, we face a


migration crisis, what is your solution, to turn Britain into a


fortress Britain? No, it isn't, but it is to regain border control for


the United Kingdom, and that is a position endorsed by a number of


countries, and number of member states across the EU, you have five


countries which every imposed border controls to some extent. There is


still free movement of people. France said last week they will


extend their border control, their passport control as an emergency


measure because of the terrorist attacks in Paris. Border control is


needed because under the current system freedom of movement, people,


services, transport, that also means freedom of movement for terrorists


and weapons, that come from the Balkan states. We don't have border


controls? Yes, but not sufficient, Balkan states. We don't have border


if someone comes in from the Mediterranean states or from the


Balkan states, they have gained entry into the European member zone.


They can't then move around. If they get their passport, ultimately...


That can take ten years. It is five years in Germany, it can be granted


sooner if the Dublin agreement is changed and asylum seekers get a


faster processing, they can then come to the United Kingdom. It is


not five years in Germany, it is a comment if you have a criminal


record, you can't get one, and the things that Niger Farage was saying


about the scenes in Cologne, that was wrong. -- Nigel. The out


campaign is saying that border controls are what we need, strong


border controls, and pulling out of Europe would have the practical


effect, our border controls which act have a, thanks to the treaty


with the French government, they would certainly come back to Dover


-- our border controls which we have at Calais. Migrants would find it


much easier to get to this country and claim asylum here. But if they


couldn't get in, they did not qualify, we would have the power to


deport them? We were, after a legal process, but they would be stopped


not at Calais, it would be at Dover, when they are in Britain, and once


they are here they can claim asylum and because we have proper legal


processes it takes a lot of time and expense to deal with that. He has


all the accused me of getting my facts wrong, but he has got his


facts wrong. The agreement in terms of stationing our teams and our


support staff and control, in the French ports, that is a France UK


agreement, it has nothing to do with the European Union. If you are


suggesting that the agreement between France and the United


Kingdom gets torn up because we leave the EU, that is fanciful and


misleading and I don't agree with you. France signed the treatment


with us as a fellow member of the EU and the French interior minister has


said that they would look at the treaty, of course it would be at


risk, do you think the people of Calais want that camp


help address any of this? The area of renegotiation and this is about


the extra pull factor that comes from the perception that the British


benefits system is easier to access compared with other countries, and


therefore there are people coming here simply to make the benefits


system and I think what many people think about immigration, they are


moral axed about people coming here to work and pay taxes but they don't


like people coming to use the welfare system -- they are more


relaxed. But it has been said this will not have a big impact, you


might marginalise one pull factor, but with rises in the national


minimum wage, you have increased the pull factor on the other hand. It's


a boiler fairness, that is what -- that is a boiler fairness, that is


what people want... It is unlikely to have a big impact. This will have


very little impact on the numbers. I think people can make a distinction


between those who are coming here to work, who benefit our economy and


benefit all of us. But we have agreed it is unlikely, even if it is


fair, it is unlikely to have any impact on the numbers. We don't


know. The OBR has had a good guess. They are guessing, it is a guess.


Nigel Farage said he would cut immigration even if that meant lower


economic growth, do you agree? There are two parts to your question,


George Osborne has predicated his fiscal strategy on high numbers of


immigration, but we have done this on individuals who come here on a


points system to deliver real value to this country, who are not


subsidised by the tax credit option and who actually meet the needs that


we have in the United Kingdom, and currently, as we know, we want


engineers and medics and nurses and lawyers. Ukip strategy has never


been to stop those individuals coming, but what we are saying, the


impact of low skilled immigration on this country is negative. That is


our position. Even if it meant slow economic growth, you would still cut


the numbers? It would not mean slower economic growth. We have made


our position very clear in terms of the value of the money that we would


not be paying in terms of membership of the EU, coming back to the United


Kingdom's economy, and balancing the whole position, that would be a


positive for us as a country. The Prime Minister has refused to leave


a group of 40 Eurosceptic backbenchers in the Conservative


Party, who want to asking to do much more. Should he not make them? The


Prime Minister meets backbenchers all the time. He has not meant this


group, they wrote to him in November and he has not met them. -- he has


not met this group. Anyone who would like to meet the Prime Minister has


ample opportunities to do so, I'm a backbencher, I can speak to the


Prime Minister, and all of these points have been raised. It is


possible that this story is slightly overblown. Thank you very much. We


will be coming back to these stories in the weeks ahead.


And next week we'll be debating the economic effects of leaving


It's just gone 11.35, you're watching the Sunday Politics.


We say goodbye to viewers in Scotland who leave us now


High-quality childcare, an end to the council tax freeze,


and improving life chances for young people -


just a few of the recommendations from Scotland's


The debate about local services continues as the Finance Secretary


gives local authorities more time to decide


whether to accept his funding package.


David Cameron meets his Czech counterpart


in Prague to try and reach a deal over EU reform.


And will it be enough to prevent Brexit?


Now, the government's adviser on poverty caused a bit of a stir


this week when she suggested freezing


council tax might not be a very good way of tackling poverty.


She also made some fairly gnomic remarks


about other universal benefits and about whether young people


are treated fairly by the benefits system.


Let's try to find out exactly what she meant.


Naomi Eisenstadt joins me now from Dunstable.


The council tax freeze, why do you think it should be phased out or


even just abolished? There is a Commission on Local Tax Reform. It


is going to take a while to get that commission to make their


recommendations. In the meanwhile, the reason that the council tax


freeze does not help poor people is that the poorest people do not pay


council tax, it does help better off people because housing has not been


revalued for 25 years. People living and the most expensive properties,


their taxes have not changed. I think this benefits are better off


people. It disadvantages to people because local authorities need the


funding to fund services that help the poorest people in the main. In


effect, the council tax freezes subsidise middle-class people?


Exactly. Both Scottish Government does have ways of helping the


poorest families. I think there are progressive things that the Scottish


people are -- Scottish Government are doing, but more discretion is


needed over spending. The way they decided that discretion is deciding


needed over spending. The way they for themselves what to charge in the


property tax. Property tax is easy to collect because you can't move


your house offshore. It is our good tax, a progressive tax. What about


other universal benefits which are provided by the Scottish Government?


Does your argument not apply to them? It certainly applies to things


like the fuel subsidy but older people get. I get that subsidy. I


think that is wrong. My income is fine. I do not even have to ask for


it. There are some universal benefits in times of austerity, but


I think pensioners have benefited enormously... I was thinking of


prescription charges, without argument not apply equally?


It is arguably subsidising the middle classes. All universal


benefits help everyone, not just the poor is. The difficulty is that


there is our balance between the bureaucracy in administering means


tested benefits which can be costly and the stigma associated with means


tested benefits are against how do you spend your money most


effectively? I think that we have gone too far in Scotland on the


universal side, not far enough on the targeting. On the targeting, we


need to make a culture of public services more respectful and avoid


stigma that way. Have we gone too far on the issue of tuition fees?


That is interesting. I think the tuition fees are a good thing. The


argument I am making other better chances for young people is that we


haven't put a comparable effort, energy and thinking into those young


people who are not going to go to university. There has been a lot of


work on employability, the task force on unemployment, but just as


we sped huge amount of time and effort on understanding the under


fives, and we have won that argument on what a crucial period of life


that is, one of my recommendations is to think much more carefully on


what works for older children and young adults in the sense that...


Can I just ask you specifically about tuition fees? People might


argue that that money could be better spent on giving grants so


that more people from disadvantaged backgrounds can get into further


education, or indeed to help people who do not go into further


education. I think that I would like to look much more carefully first at


what policies would help, how much they cost and then if you need to


even it out. I would not want to say let's do away with tuition fees


before we have some evidence on what would replace it. What I am


recommending and the report is the current policies in place for


apprenticeships need to be strengthened, the need for urgency.


But I think we need a wider review on older children, young adults more


generally before we see the policy should be taking money away from one


group and giving it to the other. We do not know what needs to be done to


give it to the other. We have not done enough thinking and analysis on


this. Is there an argument on having universal benefits? The argument is


that gives the middle classes at stake in the welfare system. If you


get a benefit from it, you think you have a stake in bed. I think that is


absolutely right. My argument would be on child benefit would be to keep


it universal, but to tax it as part of income. Why shouldn't it be part


of family income and subject to that same taxes. Better of people would


pay back as part of their income tax. It's much easier to administer


universal benefit than a targeted benefit. I believe in the universal


NHS and I universal education system. But I universal NHS does not


mean everybody gets the same, everybody gets what they need. You


made a slightly ambivalent comment about the possibility of the


Scottish Government introducing reforms to the welfare system. You


urged caution because you said you were worried about tampering with


the UK wide benefit system. What did you mean? Unless you have complete


revolution, you are tied into some of the UK benefits. One of the most


damaging was things like sanctions, sanctions against people on


unemployment benefit who do not turn up for interviews. One of the women


I spoke to was sanctioned when she was in hospital on a ventilator.


That Scottish Government is not allowed to do anything to mitigate


sanctions. You mess with one bits of the system, but other bits are still


in place. There is a fundamental tension in benefits which is the


simpler you make them, the more rigid they are. The more confiscated


you make them, the more flexible BR to account for particular


circumstances, but they are difficult to administer. But that


balance between the simplicity so that they are clear and everybody


understands how it works, which is the purpose of Universal Credit,


that simplicity makes them Bridget and therefore for many people on


fear. -- makes them Bridget. Is there too much of against young


people -- too much of our bias? I cut myself as one of them. I


people -- too much of our bias? I is the reforms are being


overprotective towards older people. If you look at poverty rates in


Scotland, the only group that is better off after housing costs is


older people. If you look at families with children, after


housing costs, the poverty rate increases. If you look at young


people, after housing costs, the poverty rates increases. Thank you


for joining us. Well, Naomi Eisenstadt hasn't been


the only one to indicate concern Earlier this month, Moray Council


announced it was discussing the option of raising


council tax to pay for vital services, which would make


it the first to defy the SNP government and scrap the eight


year nationwide freeze. Since then, the Finance


Secretary, who lauded its continuance in his draft budget


in December, has said he will give all councils more time to consider


the funding deal after several indicated they couldn't make


a decision ahead of last week's David O'Neil is president of Cosla,


the local authorities' First of all, can we have some


facts? Have you had discussions with a Scottish Government about the


council tax freeze, any indication that they are prepared to


reconsider? The discussions I have had showed that they are not


prepared to reconsider the council tax freeze. They take the view that


the council tax freezes very popular, popular with families.


Something being popular does not make it right. I am dubious, there


is talk that there is going to be some movement here. You have not had


any suggestion from the Scottish Government that they might remove


the penalties on councils that do it up council tax? We have not


concluded discussions with the Scottish Government, we hope to do


that this week. But so far, there is no indication that they are going to


move. If Moray Council does decide to put its council tax up, it will


be penalised? That is what the Scottish Government are telling us.


You think the hazard tax freeze should go? It is an affront to local


democracy. Local authorities cannot decide what money they are going to


spend at where they are going to spend it. We are told by a national


politician how much money to spend at where to spend it. If national


politicians want to run local services, they should stand for the


council. The problem with that is for


politicians who have said tax will not or are they now have to turn


around and say the arm. This parliament is now effectively at a


named. It will dissolve in a couple of weeks before the new financial


year Texan. Government have delivered their manifesto


commitment. I do not know whether the intent to code it in their


manifesto for the elections of 2016 later this year but it is an affront


to democracy. National governments are telling local communities how to


run services and how much money to spend. How would you reply to a


point John Swinney made in a slightly different context to flood


relief. He made the point in a debate in Parliament that councils


have something like almost ?2 billion in emergency reserves. Why


not use that money? You can only use the reserve once. When it is gone it


is gone. Councils in terms of flood relief and any emergency will spend


the money as and when it is needed and worry about the processors later


but you can only use the reserve once. But they are not using them is


the point John Swinney was making. You can run down reserves and


rebuild them later. The point she was making that in the case of


things like flooding it was not reasonable for councils to start


handing more money when they already had money and the Scottish


Government said it would make money available later that the can spend


now. He would spend the money now but when flooding has taken place


local government will be via spending money and doing what needs


to be done and they will seek to get the money back later and no doubt


will use reserves to do that. What would you say to the council tax


there who might say I do not want my council tax to go up and I am hard


up and I do not see any difference to council services. Without the


effects of these cuts? For the ordinary citizen, what do the seat


that are the result of budget is being cut? Councils have been good


over the last seven or eight years at riding out inefficiencies that


you cannot keep doing that. -- driving out. They might say that is


good it proves the was found in the system that could be cut because


frankly my services have not been eroded so that proves it was


possible to cut the budgets of councils without any effect on


service. That is a fair comment to make that there was found in the


system but there is not now. You are now cutting lifeline services to the


most vulnerable. Hypothetically for council tax but you would say people


like David O'Neill were protesting against council tax cuts in 2010 and


now admitting Edward wrong to do that and the was fat in the system


so why should we believe that no? The low hanging fruit has all gone,


you are cutting into the bone now. Like what? A whole range of


services. Let me give you examples. Around about 75 cent of the budgets


that local authorities have spent on education, health and social care,


we have been told those unimportant services as, indeed, the R and the


our priorities. We have got to be protected and any cuts that have to


come art from the other 25%, libraries, leisure centres, roads.


That type of spend will bear the front of the cuts. We are way beyond


the time of having found in the system. We are way beyond the time


of seeing easy systems and savings to be made. You think the council


tax is appropriate? It is way beyond its sell by date and the council tax


freeze had made that worse. What should replace it? The COSLA view is


that we should be replacing the council tax with a proper tax for


the reasons your previous contributor stated, the raft good


reasons to continue with the property -based tax. Thank you very


much. David Cameron continued his charm


offensive in Europe this week in his attempt to reach


a deal on EU reform. Meanwhile, here, the former SNP


deputy leader Jim Sillers announced that he would be campaigning


to leave Europe, which, he said, had opposed


Scottish independence. Our reporter Andrew Black has been


looking at whether the PM is making It's the final countdown. As the


date of this referendum draws ever nearer, David Cameron has been


continuing his tour of European countries hoping to woo foreign


leaders into backing his vision to renew the terms of written's EU


membership. His latest stop was in Prague where he met the Prime


Minister of Czechoslovakia who promptly rejected Mr Cameron 's


proposal for a four-year ban on in work benefits to new arrivals to the


UK. Not great for the PM given that welfare changes are crucial to


getting a the form deal but has he dropped by the economic forum in


Davos earlier this week Mr Cameron has been keeping up date in the hope


he might get an agreement on alternative welfare cards. Meanwhile


he told local business leaders who want Britain to remain in a reformed


EU to get out there and start making their case. I call further


developments, the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, once the UK to stay


in the EU even though she thinks a vote to leave could trigger another


Scottish independence referendum. This week came the news


veteran independence campaigner, Jim Sellers, would be fighting for the


UK to leave the European Sellers, would be fighting for the


Meanwhile, for David Cameron, the clock is ticking, he is hoping that


at the EU summit next month clock is ticking, he is hoping that


will be talks before calling the EU referendum which might come as early


as June. Matt Qvortrup is a professor


of Political Science and International


relations at Coventry His latest paper is


about the EU referendum. You have a brick sent on it, please


explain? I tried to make a mathematical


explain? I tried to make a countries will leave or stay in the


EU and things will be decided. Economies can predict the rate of


economic growth and so on. In a similar way, not quite scientific


work in a similar way you can predict the outcome of referendums.


What is the outcome? It depends. You are qualifying already. It depends,


let me finish, please come it depends on the turnover rate. If


there is a very high turnout that is collocated with the no vote then a


lot of people not normally interested in politics will pen to


be, as we know from the 44 other referendums we have had on this


titular issue, if we have the height turnout a lot of people not normally


interested in politics would come out to vote and the lot would be


negatively predisposed towards the EU and would vote to leave. If we


have a turnout close to the Scottish referendum then there will be a no


vote of 40% but if we only have a turnout of 65% likely had in the


parliamentary elections then David Cameron will just sleep in with 64%.


I should add to listeners that I wrote an article for the Scotsman a


couple of years ago without predicted the outcome for the


American presidential election that was more accurate than opinion polls


so I do have some sort of credibility. Right! What makes you


think that the referendum you have looked at in Europe have in about a


load of different things, not necessarily great in out EU


referendums, what makes you think you can extrapolate from these past


ones which might have been about specific treaties or is the civic


measures for things like security, you can extrapolate from that to an


end or I'd referendum in Britain? We had the 1975 referendum here in


Britain where, had we not voted for the right ministers renegotiated


treaty back then in 1975, we would have left the EU we also had more


exotically Greenland ported to leave the EEC as it was then. We have a


number of examples of, specific example. The other ones are to do


with whether really like Europe or not, most voters do not have an


encyclopaedic knowledge about the various bits of the treaties but it


is basically do you like the United Europe or do you like a less united


Europe. One of the tendencies we have seen, of course you can never


be like with like, but it is generally is eating in most of the


referendums about the campaign whether you want more Europe or not.


The other thing that we also see in referendums is it is often about the


economy and most politics is about your daily life, do you want higher


inflation or lower inflation and most people will not spend all their


time reading political articles and what have you. They will focus on


the economy. One of the paradoxical factors we have had also in all of


the other 44 referendums, if the economy is good then people tend to


vote against the EU and if the economy is bad they feel the


probably better stick with it even if they do not love it that might be


a good idea for pragmatic reasons. Your advice to the campaigns to stay


in the European Union would be by all means campaign but make it


really boring? Yes, and do not get a lot of people to turn out which


matrix Link by David Cameron, all jokes aside, I he would want the


vote in the summer when most people are planning holidays and might even


be away on holiday. The other reason why he is any bit a holiday is that


most referendums, irrespective of whether on the EU or any other


thing, the longer you have been in office the less likely you are to


win. If you take the Scottish referendum last year, that was held


after, I think, it was a second term they had been in office for a long


time and had disappointed quite a lot of voters and therefore where


less likely to be given the benefit of the doubt. If we go back in


recent Richie Shastri the give Aleutian referendum in 1997 it was


only a couple of months after the Tony Blair government had won and it


was still a honeymoon field. David Cameron is now in his second term


and is in danger of being out of the honeymoon period. It has only been a


conservative government for a year but the general tendency is you lose


2%... I want to ask about something I found very interesting. You find


that spending shed loads of money on a campaign does not mean you will


win it? You can spend a lot of money but it depends how you are spending


it and what really decides a referendum is not money. We have had


loads of referendums. The Irish referendums, often they have said no


to the EU and well it has been out by a factor of one two 20 the no


camp have been able to Lyon things to dream the debate in a way that


resonated with the a lot of Irish voters. Don't you think it is not


just about money one of the things that will be cheering up the people


of written is we had Len McCluskey from the Unite union saying he would


campaign for staying in. The CBI well. It is the fact right across


the board you have politicians, your bosses and your trade union saying


this is not a good idea, your jobs could be at risk? There is a


tendency, sorry if I sound boring like a statistician, that is what I


am, here is a tendency when the elite consensus, the big and


powerful are all in favour of it you have do think carefully before you


make your decision. At the same time we have had referendums in


comparable countries like Ireland, Denmark and Sweden where the whole


establishment where in favour of more integration and the voted no.


In Sweden, for example, everybody from Abbott to Volvo campaign for


Sweden to adopt the euro and they had a slogan saying what about my


mortgage if we bought for Europe? -- Abba. We have two capture minds and


imaginations. OK, the Swedes defied Abba, almost unthinkable. Now to end


off with, you have been very critical saying the busy good chance


of the no vote at your conclusion nonetheless is that most referendums


actually end up owing in the favour of the pro-Europeans? The lazy there


is a myth that people are against it.


On average, the yes side gets over 60% of the vote. It is for the


government to lose that momentum, which they might be doing in this


case. But overall, statistically speaking, the probability of winning


the referendum is much greater than the probability of losing it. Thank


you. Let's look at what has been


happening this week and look at what is coming up


in the week ahead. Joining me now is Shabnum Mustapha,


who is a former special adviser to the Liberal Democrats,


and Isobel Lindsay, who is the co-vice


chair of Scottish CND. That must have cheered you up at the


end. You are getting very depressed. I was. It is going to be a public


vote, in the hands of the public. It could go either way. There is a


possibility that the UK could vote to leave, but the possibility they


could vote to domain. I am in favour of Britain remaining within the EU


and all our political leaders should be making a positive case. One of


the things highlighted the is it is not necessarily a foregone


conclusion? Not at all. And one of the big differences between this and


the campaign in 1975 is that then there was still an element of


idealism around the European project. I think that has gone. I


think have seen it... There was our big left-wing campaign against


Europe at the time. The left-wing campaign was principled. But there


is an ugly campaign around racism and protection of the status quo.


But I think the differences now people are looking at Europe and the


RCN some appalling governments there, looking at... Particularly


some of the Eastern European ones, the racial attitudes... Are the more


likely to conclude we have got to stay in Europe a change of those


attitudes or conclude we do not want anything to do with that? For those


wanting a yes vote, that has got to be the argument. And the SNP are not


quite getting this right at the pleasant. By and large, they are


doing art let's vote yes, it's in Scotland's interest. They have got


to be much more critical and use the kind of argument that we deplore a


lot of what is going on, but we need more liberal voices. We have to use


that other co-department. Otherwise they will be just seen as part of


the noise, the elite consensus noise. Talking of the SNP, what Nyom


a eyes and start receiving. -- Nyom a ice and


that universal benefits are subsidies to the middle classes?


Masquerading as progressive taxes. I think there is a bit of that and


what she said. She made it very clear about the benefits, the


universal NHS and universal education, we are talking about


benefits to pensioners... But also prescription charges, council tax


freeze, three buses. I think there is or was going to be a debate


amongst parties about what things to give away to people. That is why but


the last few years, we have seen a lot of parties have positive


policies for pensioners. They have done quite well. In the past, they


were not doing well and there was a lot of pensioner poverty. These are


important issues, but if you start targeting a lot of benefits, people


who pay taxes will question what they get out of this. All parties


had to get a balance between universal and targeting. Whether you


target all benefits I'm not sure all taxpayers would... It is a difficult


one for the SNP. If politicians cut your taxes, it is difficult for


anyone to say they are going to go up. It is difficult for all the


parties. The council tax freeze came in because the SNP was thwarted in


its intention to perform local taxation. It desperately needs


reformed. We know that. But we are the quality of virus was quite wrong


is... If you are a politician, all the options are unattractive. An


attractive to some sections of the community. People who lose make a


lot of noise, people who gain ten to stay quiet. But she was wrong in


suggesting that the council tax did not affect the low paid. One of the


big problems of the council tax, probably in terms of absolute games,


yes, one time only the well of game more, but the council tax hits the


low paid very badly. I want to highlight some things in the paper.


The Sunday Herald had a story about Pete Wishart, again about the


election. Are you happy with this? There seems to be a chorus of people


of Syrian independence, can we forget about that for file? I think


the manifesto, there has got to be the permission requested to have,


under certain circumstances, another referendum. That is not a guarantee.


David Cameron has already said not on my watch. If Scotland's votes to


stay in Europe and the UK leave, we want another referendum, the UK


Government will turn around and say you do not have a mandate. This is


why, in the manifesto, there has to be a form of wording which seeks


authority to do this under certain circumstances. But it has to be


qualified. You are presumably against independence, but there does


seem to be people coming out and just saying calm down, we are not


going to do this, why do you think that is? Even if you remember during


the general election debates when you had the Scottish bid and the


Scottish party leaders, Nicola Sturgeon was booed by the audience


when the issue of a second referendum came up, I think they


have come to realise that it is not our fault winner for them, it is not


popular. This morning, Nicola Sturgeon said that if the UK votes


to leave the EU, that could trigger a second referendum. But if she does


not have a mandate for that in her manifesto, how would she then


trigger it? It seems to be a bit of a mess. In your view, there should


be something. But it would have to be an stark commitment. If Scotland


votes yes, and the rest of the UK votes no, we will do this? They will


not know by the time of the Woodward collection -- Holyrood elections,


but I think the house to be something in the manifesto which


said it could happen. Like you both very much.


I will be back at the same time next week.


Andrew Neil and Gordon Brewer are joined by former shadow culture secretary Michael Dugher and the shadow Scotland secretary Ian Murray, about why Labour lost the last election. Andrew also discusses EU immigration with UKIP's Home Affairs spokesman, Diane James and former Home Office minister, Damian Green. Janan Ganesh, Beth Rigby and Nick Watt are on the political panel.

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