17/04/2016 Sunday Politics Scotland


Presented by Andrew Neil and Gordon Brewer. Featuring discussion and debate on the EU referendum with Tristram Hunt, Liam Fox and US State Department spokesman Jamie Rubin.

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David Cameron thinks we'll be stronger, safer


Leave campaigners say the real risk would be a vote to remain.


So what are the dangers if we decide to stay?


On his final presidential visit to the UK, Barack Obama


will back the idea of Britain remaining in the EU.


But is the leader of the free world right to wade into our debate?


And before the referendum, there's the small matter


of national and local elections right across the UK.


And coming up on Sunday Politics Scotland:


We continue our series of interviews with the Scottish party leaders.


by the Lib Dems' Willie Rennie and by the Scottish


we hear from mayoral hopefuls Sian Berry of the Greens


And with me, as always, our panel of the best and brightest


political brains in the business, Nick Watt, Isabel Oakeshott


Now, the referendum isn't the only vote looming on the horizon.


Before the EU vote on June 23rd, voters across the UK will get


a chance to cast their ballot in a range of elections


There are seven sets of elections happening in May,


all of which will take place on the same day,


Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will hold national elections.


There are 60 seats up for grabs in the Welsh Assembly.


The Scottish Parliament, in which the SNP has held


a majority since 2011, will elect 129 members,


and in Northern Ireland, there are 108 seats that will be


decided for representatives to the assembly at Stormont.


124 councils have seats up for election.


35 metropolitan councils, 19 unitary authorities


and 70 district councils, and four cities in England


will elect mayors, London, Bristol, Liverpool and Salford.


Londoners will also elect members to the London Assembly


Finally, voters in 41 police force areas in England and Wales


will elect a Police And Crime Commissioner.


Joining me now from Glasgow is our election guru,


Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University.


Let's start with the local elections in England. How should we judge the


performance of Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party in these elections? We


have to appreciate that the seats up for grabs on me the these elections


were for the most part fought for three year is ago. We are looking at


the time of George Osborne's so-called a shambles budget when


support for the Conservatives fell away. These were the only set of


elections during the last parliament where the Labour Party began to put


in a performance where you might have thought they would have been


capable of winning the next election. Jeremy Corbyn's


misfortune, he is defending not a brilliant baseline, but a relatively


good one. Labour six or seven points ahead, as judged by their share of


the vote. The truth is that Jeremy Corbyn is not 67 points ahead. In


contrast to what we might have expected a few weeks ago, he is no


longer 67 points behind. Labour and the Conservatives seem to be quite


close to each other. That means that in practice Mr Corbyn may well be


facing losses. The figure of 150 has been bandied around. Will that be


good? Better than it might have been a few weeks ago. Is it the sort of


performance to persuade you that the Labour Party is on course to win the


general election? Certainly not. Is the biggest threat that they would


lose London, and would that be unlikely? I agree it would be


unlikely. If they were to fail to win the London mayoral election,


that would be a serious reverse for Labour. Back in 2012, although Boris


Johnson on the London mayoral election, Labour was clearly ahead


in the parallel election. Neither Sadiq Khan, the Labour candidate,


Northside Goldsmith, the concerted of the -- the Conservative


candidate, has the same kind of attractiveness to the public. Labour


did relatively well in London 12 months ago. If David Cameron were


not to win that election, Labour would have questions to ask itself.


Could Labour even come third behind the Scottish Tories? The answer is


that they could. There is another opinion poll lead this morning that


put Labour on the Conservatives neck and neck with each other. Some


opinion polls put Labour and the Conservatives together, but not by


much. Labour neglect the heading for a very bad performance. It would be


the worst result in any election since 1918. I do not think it will


tell you much about Jeremy Corbyn and his popularity. We have to


remember that what happens in Scotland is very distinct and


separate from what happens in the rest of the UK. The election in


Scotland is going to be, primarily, framed by people's views about


independence. The truth is the overall majority of people that


voted for independence are still determined to vote for the SNP. So


long as that remains the case, Labour will struggle another the


border. It has to do with Scottish politics and little to do with what


is happening in the rest of the UK. Is there really a Ukip surge in


Wales? The opinion polls suggest that Ukip are doing well in Wales.


But that is roughly where the opinion polls are putting Ukip


across the UK as a whole. In Wales, as in Scotland, and the London


assembly elections, the elections are being held by proportional


representation, not first past the post, so if Ukip can get the 15%


that the opinion polls suggest that the might get, they will get


significant representation in the Welsh assembly. Getting Ukip grade


is one of the things in which the opinion polls tend to disagree with


each other. Ukip will perhaps not do as well as that, they will get some


seats, but perhaps not as well as the parties hoping. Northern


Ireland, and the executive almost collapsed there last year. Will the


turmoil at Stormont, is it likely expected to change people's voting


patterns this time? We not expecting a vast in Northern Ireland. Not only


is the assembly elected proportionally, but so is the


elected -- the executive. The larger of the two Unionist parties and the


Nationalist parties might not be quite as strong as last time. No one


is expecting very much in way of a major change. Thank you for joining


us. Nick Watt, let me come to you. These elections are widely being


seen as Mr Corbyn's first serious test. What a Labour's real


expectations? The expectation is there going to do badly in Scotland.


That is in. They will do badly in Wales but the expecting that. They


will not admit that they could do very badly in the English local


elections, and that they could lose seats. If the Labour Party lost


seats in the local elections, it would be the first time since 1985


that an opposition party had suffered losses in local elections


in a non-general election year. It would be woolly bad. What did is


down two at the end of the day, I know we should not wish think about


London, a great picture of Glasgow behind John Curtice, but it is down


to London. Jeremy Corbyn needs one victory and he looks like he will


get one, Sadiq Khan in London. That will probably enough. He can do


badly everywhere else but as long as he holds onto London years save? I


think because the others are just priced in. If he can be seen to


notch up one victory, it is a bit like the old and Royston by-election


at the end of last year. Everyone assumes that they will do badly.


They did well, it stabilises the leadership. He would probably be


safe even if you lost London? I think he would be. Those who would


like to see the back of have the difficulty that essentially his


supporters control the party membership. It is an interesting


question, how this is going to be judged. I spoke to one of Jeremy


Corbyn's critics within the parliamentary party this morning and


was surprised how upbeat he sounded. He said, I think we might put on a


couple of hundred seats. This is a terrible time for the Tory


leadership. I came off the phone and thought, this is about expectation


management. This is the critics of Jeremy Corbyn saying that we should


put on a few hundred seats. When they do not, they will see it as a


disaster. The setting him up to fail. The Tories are expected to do


quite well in these elections, even in Wales. We have had the budget,


the Panama Papers, the steel crisis, the split over the referendum. It


has got to take its toll on the Tories? It has in the opinion polls,


which are Sean at the minimum of the Tory lead, narrowing, and in some


cases Labour pulling ahead. I suspect some Tories would not mind


doing badly in the local elections in England if it relieves the


pressure on Jeremy Corbyn, who they want in place over the next four


years and contesting the 2020 general election. Even if Labour do


badly in Scotland, Jeremy Corbyn owes a debt to Sadiq Khan, because


his likely but not certain victory in London, judging by the opinion


polls, will attract more attention than elections everywhere, not


before it deserves -- not because it deserves to, but because the media


has a slight skew towards London. It is a slightly sexier office. It will


drown out any underperformance that Labour have in the rest of the


country. Is it too cynical to say that some Tories will not be too


upset if they do not win London because Mr Corbyn will then be


secure? I do not think that is cynical. That is absolutely the


case. Janan is right. There will be lots of post-analysis about how the


billionaire's son, Zac Goldsmith, lost the election. It is interesting


that the people who want to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour


Party, the window they are talking about is not after the local


elections, but after the referendum at the end of June. We might be


focused on the Conservatives by then. I think the troubles of the


Tory party will take the focus then. So the referendum


campaign has begun. The official campaign groups have


been designated and the arguments The Prime Minister says we'll be


stronger, safer, and better off in. And a vote to leave,


says to Mr Cameron, But it won't have escaped your


attention that the EU is also facing challenges,


a migration crisis, economic So, if we do decide to remain,


what are the risks ahead of us? For some, the consequences of this


EU referendum are crystal clear. For the rest of us,


it is difficult to see the future after June the 23rd,


hard to predict. Of course, the politicians claim


to know our fortunes. This cannot be described as anything


other than risk, uncertainty, We have clearly elevated Brexit


as one of the serious downside risks I firmly believe that leaving the EU


would leave our country less secure. This lot, Vote Leave,


call it Project Fear. They say the other side is trying


to scare people into thinking that Instead they say that


the uncertainty is staying in. What will the EU look like in five,


ten, 15 years? For me, it would be an outdated


bloc, something that was created in the last century,


something that can neither control It has been foretold that migration


will be one of the dominant David Cameron insists his negotiated


emergency brake on migrants' in work benefits as well as changes to child


benefits will discourage EU migration, but some experts say it


will have little impact. Figures from the Migration


Observatory this week suggest that continuing economic instability


in the Eurozone is encouraging an increasing number of southern


European migrants to head to the UK Looking forward, it is very


difficult to know It is possible that if the gap


in economic performance between the UK and other


countries, for example, Italy, Portugal and Spain,


remains significant, there could be quite a pull factor


for some time. It is also possible if there is more


economic convergence that we could see the numbers


start to fall. Much has also been made this week


about the risk to both the British and the global economy if Britain


voted to leave the EU, In the single market we trade freely


right across Europe and we have a say in making


the rules across the Continent. If we leave, we give


all of that up with no idea The real economic risks are for


staying in the European Union. We might find ourselves on the hook


for bailouts for countries that are having difficulty staying


in the euro in the future. We might find that our rebate comes


under assault in the future, we might find that the amount


of money overall that we have to give the European Union


goes up and up and up. A few weeks ago, the Governor


of the Bank of England said that leaving the EU was the biggest


domestic risk to Membership of the European Union


brings risks as well, and the principal risk,


risks I should say, because there are more than one,


are associated with the unfinished On the issue of whether our laws


are made in Westminster or Brussels, for those wanting to leave the EU,


a vote to remain would mean handing Fewer and fewer things over


which we have the authority Fewer and fewer of our decisions can


be upheld in British courts And I also know that fewer and fewer


decisions will be made on European Union level


which will be in British interests. And yet one former minister told me


that pooling some decision-making The truth is that if you enter


into any international agreement, then you may agree that those


decisions should be Our Nato membership involves exactly


the same kind of arrangement. We allow Nato to take a decision


for our collective strength. Both sides seemed to agree a vote


to remain is not a vote Those who want to stay


in are confident, at least publicly, that the renegotiation will change


for the better our relationship Those who want out say that


relationship will only get worse. Quite how persuasive


those two visions are, I predict we will find out


on June the 24th. Joining me now is Labour MP


Tristram Hunt, he was a member of the Shadow Cabinet


under Ed Miliband. He is now campaigning for Britain


to remain in the EU. Do you accept, let's look at some of


the risks that could be associated with remaining, start with


immigration. Do you accept that as long as we remain in the EU we have


no real control of the numbers coming to our country? The European


Union is not perfect and it is quite right to have this debate about how


we reform Europe in the future. When it comes to our borders, we check


who comes in. There will remain passport controls but we have to


make sure that we explain to people that if we left Europe but still


wanted to trade with the single market, we would also have to have


the free movement of people just as Norway and Switzerland does. But in


the long run I think there is an interesting question about the


degree of free movement of people across the European Union. My point


is that Britain should be a part of that conversation. We should be


involved in that reform and change and if we are not at the table than


our voice won't be heard. The numbers would seem to be beyond our


control because that's the price of membership. Over the past five years


the number of EU nationals living in the UK has risen by 700,000, it is


now 3.3 million, it has doubled in ten years. As long as we remain in


the EU it is surely a risk that at least another 700,000 could come in


the next five years, it could be even more. Or it could be markedly


less. If we go back to a time when the British economy was worse in the


1980s, we saw large numbers of people going abroad to work in the


European Union. We are taking a snapshot at the moment and the point


about pooling risk across the single market is that when your economy is


in difficulty you can take opportunities in other parts of the


country. In the UK we should be supporting reforms to make sure


there are not benefit attractions to coming to the UK so I think the


Prime Minister's point about having to pay in before you take out, the


point about fairness is really important and I think people in


Britain think that if people are coming here to work, to pay their


taxes and contribute to society, that is fine. You say it's a


snapshot but let's look at this chart. Over the last five years, as


you can see from that, from about 2012, under five years in fact,


these are the absolute number, immigration from the EU has risen


dramatically. My point is it is not a snapshot, it is a clear trend. The


part of immigration over which we have no control is rising the


fastest, isn't that a risk? But we go back to 1975 so historically this


is a snapshot, and overtime this well change. We cannot have a system


whereby you turn up in the UK and claim benefits from day one. You


have to have a contributory principle. Also, those parts of the


country, Boston in Lincolnshire, parts that have experienced high


levels of immigration and we should be open and honest about this that


we have seen statistics show big changes and may have impacted


communities in big ways sometimes, they need the extra resource for


schools and hospitals that this brings in. The case I'm putting to


you this morning is that that is not necessarily a snapshot or that it


will necessarily change. Let's look at the risks we would face in the


years to come. Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, decided that last


year over a million Syrian immigrants could go to Germany.


Eventually they could come here if they wish. Why should we be at the


risk of unilateral decisions taken by a foreign leader? Obviously there


are issues about residency rights in Germany or Italy before anyone could


come to the UK. We retain border controls. If they become German


citizens they will be allowed to come here. This is a balance of


risks, on June the 23rd of voters have to weigh up these may bes. What


we have heard clearly from the governor of the Bank of England, the


Chancellor of the Exchequer, the head of the IMF, that there will be


a seismic economic shock to the British economy. I understand that


and there has been plenty of coverage of the risks of coming out,


but I'm looking at the risks of staying in. Let me give you another


one, I've given you the Angela Merkel example. Albania, Turkey and


others all want to join the EU. More people that could have a right to


come and live and work in the UK. That is a risk. We are already


seeing the risk of Brexit. The pound is falling in value, economic


decisions are not being taken at the moment. I'm not arguing that there


are risks to coming out, I perfectly understand that. I'm looking at the


risks if we stay in. Address this issue that the risk is of another 87


more people with the right to come to Britain. My point is the risks


are happening now,... What is your answer to the 87 million? The


extension of Europe has to be managed carefully. The broader


conversation about the total free movement of people across the


European Union is something that needs to be addressed but firstly we


won't have any say over that if we have left the European Union.


Secondly, those countries which trade with Europe like Norway and


Switzerland also have to accept the free movement of people. There's no


free ticket on this. What I want is a strong Great Britain at the


negotiating table making the case for our borders and security. When


it comes to the free movement of people you raised the issue of


Syrian refugees and concerns about security in the aftermath of


Brussels and Paris, being part of Europe and having security


connections with Europe makes us stronger. There's talk of another


Greek financial bailout, fears of an Italian banking crisis looming this


summer. If the eurozone plunges into another recession, the numbers


coming here could easily hit new record highs. We have also seen we


are not part of the Europe... They will come here looking for jobs. We


are not on the hook for the Greek bailout. We were with the last one.


Not to the same degree as other European members. We negotiated a


strong exemption from that. This is about Britain having a strong voice


at the negotiating table and you are offering up your own Project Fear. I


am taking a methodical look at the risks. The eurozone is stagnating at


the moment, that's why Spaniards, Italian and Portuguese are pouring


into this country in huge numbers. If the eurozone was to tilt into


another recession, that risks a lot more. It is a risk, and the British


answer to that should be to deepen the single market, to make it more


effective, to have growth across Europe. You do, if you have a strong


British voice arguing for growth across Europe. You're talking about


these potential threats in the future, we have a threat now.


Businesses in my constituency, Stoke-on-Trent, are not making


investment decisions. Indecision, two years of negotiation if we


leave. Hold on... Two years of indecision if we vote to leave. Why


are they eyeing the British stock exchange if there is indecision?


There will always be levels of flow and investment but what we are


seeing is fear and concern about the future. I think of workers in


Staffordshire who go to work at the Toyota plant in Derby, they have


jobs because of being part of the single market. I'm talking about the


risks if we remain. Do you deny that if we stay in we face further


integration? We have had a clear commitment from the Prime Minister


that we won't be involved in ever closer union and that is a big


philosophical moment, that Britain has a distinct and different stance


to the rest of the European Union. I think people will benefit from the


best of both worlds. If that is the case, you will be familiar with D5


president report, the official road map for greater integration into the


European Union. It calls for financial, fiscal and political


union by 2025. That could affect us. We have a clear commitment we will


not be involved in ever closer union. Have you read this report?


Not all of it. It is not a long report. It says much of what I have


just named, not all, but much of that could be achieved already


through a deepening of the single market, which is important for all


28 EU members, so we would not necessarily be excluded. I am in


favour of a deep into single market so that those 200,000 businesses in


the UK, exporting to Europe, have greater growth and opportunities.


People become richer. So there could be deeper integration. I would like


to see the digital and service economy grated more, we want more


jobs and growth across Europe that Britain will benefit from. Why would


we, when we face a global fear about downturn, decide to cut ourselves


off from the richest market in the world. You say it is the richest, it


is also stagnating. Because we cannot do our own trade deals with


the part of the world that is growing, our trade is therefore


hindered. It has taken seven years to reach a deal with Canada, it is


not complete, the free trade deal with Australia has been blocked by


Italy. These are all growth markets, unlike Europe, and we are unable to


do free trade deals with them. That is a risk. Do you honestly think


that if we left Europe and there were negotiations with India about a


free trade deal, the UK, 60 million people, would be ahead of the queue


of the European Union... Nothing is happening with India for nine years.


We had historic links with India. What about Australia and Canada? We


are not owed a living in the world. We have to make our businesses grow


on their own terms and you do that by being part of the European Union.


You have a much greater weight around the world by being part of


this. My point is that we have the best of both worlds. We have the


historic connections with the Commonwealth, with America. But why


does the American trade representative say to us you would


be crazy to leave Europe. Why do our allies around the world say you


should be part of Europe? You say we won't be part of any further


political integration, you say we won't join the euro, we won't be


part of Schengen, and yet it is clear Europe will become at least


within the eurozone more and more integrated. We will have less


influence on that, we will essentially become a semi detached


country club. What is the point? The point is a growing market for


British businesses of 500 million people, and yes, this is the point


about the best of both worlds, we don't want ever closer political


union. We want access to the single market. The best of both worlds,


safer, stronger and better off in Europe.


Now, this week President Obama will make his valedictory


He'll even have lunch with the Queen to celebrate her ninetieth birthday,


presumably after she's watched the Daily Politics.


But it's another aspect of Mr Obama's visit


While he's here, the leader of the free world is expected


to endorse the idea of the UK remaining in the


Those campaigning to leave the EU are,


surprise, surprise, a


Here's what Boris Johnson had to say yesterday.


I just find it absolutely bizarre that we are being lectured


by the Americans about giving up our sovereignty,


The United States, for their own reasons, their own history,


traditions, based on the ideas of no taxation without representation,


a fervent belief in the inviolability of American democracy,


they would not dream of sharing sovereignty.


Is he in danger of making America look like a hypocrite?


Not in danger of it, I am afraid there is an intrinsic hypocrisy.


I do not know what he's going to say, but if that is


the American argument, of course it is nakedly hypocritical.


To discuss this I'm joined by James Rubin.


He was a spokesman in the US State Department during Bill


And Liam Fox, former Defence Secretary, and a leading


light in the campaign to leave the EU.


Why should the leader of her closest allies, with whom we have a special


relationship, on your regard as crucial to this country, not say


what he thinks is in our national interest? He is entitled to say what


he thinks is an America's national interest, but whether it is in the


interests of Britain is a different question. Of course the president is


entitled to say what he thinks, but we have to add a couple of caveats.


That is his view. There are other views in America, Senator Rubio for


example expressing a different view, he has expressed what he thinks


about the special relationship if Britain were to leave the European


Union. Tell me one previous American administration, Democratic or


Republican, that thought we should not be in the EU, or did not care if


we left? It is not a question of what the express, it is that they


should respect what Britain does. They all want us to stay? There were


strong elements of the last Republican administration, strong


Republican leaders at present, who do not think... I do not remember


the second President Bush saying that Britain should leave the EU.


The debate is now, about our future, our relationship with the rest of


the world. It is fair to say, though I might not use the same


terminology, it is unthinkable that I might not use the same


the United States would allow a court to overrule the Supreme Court


the United States would allow a or someone else to determine their


external borders, in a way that the European Union does for the United


Kingdom. Boris Johnson has made that point. President Obama, supporting


things for Britain, things that no European -- that no American


president would contemplate. Maybe we would be more inclined to listen


to the president if he favoured an open border with Mexico, and if


Congress was no longer the ultimate decider of federal law? Let me see a


couple of things. I am glad that my colleague agrees that the president


is attacked -- entitled to express his view of what is in the


President's interest. -- America's interest. America and the EU


together, they are the most powerful force for free markets and democracy


around the world. If Britain leads the European Union, we will be


weaker. We will might be able to pursue the great values that our


countries have pushed around the world. Written working with the


United States and the EU is able to do that. We have a joke in America,


but it is a serious matter. Friends do not let friends drive drunk. This


is not in our interest, or the interests of the world. What about


our interest? You will make that judgment. Is the president simply


going to say it is in the interests of America? I think he will avoid


telling Britain what is in Britain's interest. About the point on


hypocrisy, I know Boris Johnson likes to read biographies of the


past. Maybe he is living in the past when he thinks that America is a


very large country, a superpower, it has the world's largest military. It


does not have to do only what you choose is compared to the British.


Britain is a different country, not the superpower any more. Just


because we will not do something does not mean that the British


ignored. If the US president was coming here to support Leave, you


would be shouting it from the rooftops? I do not think we will


find out if that is true or not. There is an element of hypocrisy. We


need to get the balance. We need to stick to the issues. We recognise


the president is alleged to have his view, but it is not the only


American view of what is in America's interests. We have to


recognise it is a British debate ultimately. We will make our


decision. As to this point about pushing our values, Britain had the


same values before we joined the European Union in 1973. The fact we


will be changing our philosophical approach because we are part of the


group in union is not true. I mean that the EU is a very powerful


instrument in our world. The United States has great military power, but


there are other powers we need to achieve order and stability, and


promote free markets. We need the ability to promote sanctions and


provide aid. We need the ability to promote democracy. The EU is good at


that working with the United States. We are better able to do that when


our closest ally is within the EU. Let him come back on that. We think


our closest ally is within the EU. that the European Union is failing


and that the structural failures of the European Union are not good for


the West. We are seeing the re-emergence of nationalist tensions


across Europe. We are seeing fence building. That is not the fault of


the EU. It is a failure of the EU. building. That is not the fault of


We are seeing a whole generation of young Europeans unemployed as a


result of the single currency. It is creating tensions. You did not have


a problem with foreigners weighing in during the Scottish referendum.


You told the Scandinavian countries, if your analysis is that Scottish


independence is a threat to your security, why are you not standing


up and saying it? President Obama probably thinks it is a threat to


allow security, so why should they not see that? I thought it was a


risk to the security of Britain in the Scottish referendum if we left


Natal. If Britain pulls out of the EU, the Scottish will pull out of


Britain and there will be a hold-mac in Natal. I do not believe that to


be true. When were you last in Scotland? I was recently there and I


sat with the Scottish party leader. They have been clear that if the EU


does not include Britain, the Scottish want to lead. Interest is


one thing, having an opinion about what the SNP will do is different.


THEY ALL SPEAK AT ONCE What about Senator Cruise, he is


fighting for the Republican nomination with Donald Trump. He


said that Mr Obama's comments will make it more likely that England, he


means Britain, that England will pull out of the EU? I do not think


it will have a massive impact either way in terms of the British result.


I think it is important for us to recognise that this is a decision


for the United Kingdom. I do not agree with this assessment that the


European Union in its current model is good for the United States. It is


unstable. Now you're giving an opinion for us. You just asked me


not to do that. The United States and Britain working together have


made the world a better place for democracy, for a free market. We are


only able to do that successfully when our closest ally is part of the


EU. American foreign policy will be weaker, Western foreign policy will


be weaker if the British leave the EU. We look forward to the


President's visit, whatever he has to say. Thank you.


It's just gone 11:35, you're watching the Sunday Politics.


We say goodbye to viewers in Scotland who leave us now


Good morning and welcome to Sunday Politics Scotland.


Willie Rennie's been hard at work on the campaign trail and says


the Lib Dems are back to their best - but will voters agree?


And Ruth Davidson says she's going into this election battle


with a second-place finish for the Scottish Conservatives


The Liberal Democrats have been out of Government


A year in which the party's been trying to reassert


its individual identity - and gain back some


As May 5th approaches, the Scottish party leader


Willie Rennie says the Lib Dems' optimistic, uplifting approach


will help the party grow again at this election.


Huw Williams has been considering their chances.


The Scottish Liberal Democrats say this is the election at which they


get back to winning ways. The last five years has seen the parties


electrophoretic to in on the slide. Down to five members-macro at


Holyrood and one mile per hour Westminster. The leader was born in


Fife and is a keen runner. In past years worked for party headquarters


and as a PR assistant. Key campaign themes will include an emphasis on


civil Liberties, mental health and social care, and drug policy. But


still the dens are highlighting their plans to put the Scottish rate


of income tax up by 1p. The Liberal Democrats have gone back to the idea


of putting a penny on income tax to spend more on schools and colleges


of including children from less well-off backgrounds. That seems


like a popular idea. You might think that having been in


college and UK Government would be good for the Liberal Democrat's


credibility. But then again maybe not. The difficulty the Liberal


Democrats have is that the millstone of the coalition with the


Conservatives and above all the U-turn on student tuition fees is


something they have still not persuaded people to forgive them


for. The truth is until people are willing to forget that it is


difficult for the Liberal Democrats to get much of a hearing.


Willie Rennie said if the party tax rise plans, if nobody supported that


I would still advocate it. Opponents except that is believed that as the


idea of an election that you try to win?


In your manifesto you said the Liberal Democrats are looking for


the opportunity to ask people to pay a little more so that we are outward


looking and ambitious for the country. That has been missing in


recent years and we're back to its now. What been missing? That


ambitious agenda for the country. That looking out to grow. Do you


think the Liberal Democrats did not have that whenever in the coalition?


We were tarnished during the coalition years. There is no doubt


about that. Now we can be more positive and uplifting and people


are coming back to us as a result. Are you saying they were not


ambitious during the coalition? They were ambitious but what we were


tarnished by was that coalition needed. As a result the results in


subsequent years were more challenging. But now what we have


with this progressive agenda on tax, guaranteed Civil Liberties,


protecting the environment, meeting should be boost mental health


services... The problem you have got should be boost mental health


is this millstone around your neck. People will say, we do not like the


Liberal Democrats, they were in coalition with the Tories, and


particularly people say you cannot trust what people say. They lied


electrician fees. They give personal guarantees as candidates that they


would not put up tuition fees and then they did. That is what you need


to get over. Does not see much saying that you are getting it. What


you will say is that Liberal Democrats are not going to make that


mistake again. There is no doubt we heard the message loud and clear.


What people thought about the coalition, what people thought about


the tuition fees mistake, we understood what people were saying.


There is no doubt, we are never put to make that mistake again. We are


getting that across in this election. We have got an agenda now


that is positive and uplifting. When I was an hour yesterday, not


particularly a Liberal Democrat heartland, people were stopping me


in the street telling me that because of that positive uplifting


agenda they are going to vote for us for the first time. People still do


not trust you. People are coming to us because of that agenda. Would you


feel more or less comparable fighting the Scottish election


campaign if the Liberal Democrats were still in coalition with the


Conservatives at Westminster? You see for yourself the consequences of


the Conservatives running the Government by themselves. Everybody


sees the big cats. Are you more or less comfortable rest I am positive


with an uplifting campaign. I am a Liberal Democrat. I would rather the


Liberal Democrats were in charge by ourselves because we have seen what


this out when the Tories overcharged by themselves. You say you want to


use the new powers for gender equality in Scottish elections. In a


PR system, it is not just about candidates, it is about the chances


of getting elected. Many candidates, it is about the chances


would say that apart from a handful of constituencies that is the best


chance, in the regional list. But in the regional list you need


candidates in sex or even seven of the each regions are all men. Are


you comfortable with that. -- and six or seven of each region. The


plan is to have balance across parliamentary representation. It is


a weakness there. That is why I took firm action to come up with plans.


Seven out of eight lead candidates are men. I recognise what you are


saying that is why I took firm action. I know you recognise what I


am saying. You do not want this to happen again? I have done something


about it. What I want to have as equal representation in the


Parliament and to make sure that we are progressive and represent the


people we seek to represent. This will be the last time that seven out


of eight are men? You have seen the plans. 2019, 2020, we will have


gender balance. You say you are not interested in going into coalition


after the selection should the SNP failed to win an outright majority.


Unless that is one of your goals what is the point in voting Liberal


Democrat, even if you are Liberal Democrat? The real value is, what


you have seen in the last five years in Holyrood when we have punched


above our weight. That was not for us who would have the SNP? Why do


not want to go into coalition. You could have a big impact without


forming a coalition. You have just finished telling me how valuable it


was to have the Liberal Democrats in coalition with the Conservatives.


For the speedy is what I want to do is accept the maximum pressure on


the next Parliament to make sure that liberal values at the heart of


Parliament. In the last five years a big challenge on the police,


guaranteeing civil liberties, the super ID database, guaranteed


expansion of nursery education. I am not interested in coalitions. Your


penny on tax to spend on education will raise about ?500 million per


year. ?170 million goes to the people premium. That goes direct to


schools. It does not go through local authorities. This goes direct


to schools. The mechanism makes sure that people from disadvantaged


backgrounds get extra support that people from disadvantaged


tuition, homework support. That is given to headteachers. Yes. What


about the rest of the money? Does that go through local authorities?


70 or ?80 million will go through local authorities. College funding


is ?108 million. Nursery education is 100 million. How much it goes


through local authorities in total? The exact mechanism will be partly


tied in entitlement to nursery education people premium. You will


ring fence that money. You're not education people premium. You will


just give it to local authorities. It is an entitlement. The money will


be guaranteed to go into that area. Every penny you get a local


authorities to spend on education there will be a legal requirement to


spend it on education. There is a pot of about 70 million or ?80


million which will go to local authorities to reverse the education


cuts. Half of what local authorities do is education. I know what you are


driving at. The vast bulk... What I am driving at this why should people


want to have their taxes go up for money that may or may not be spent


on education? ?190 million per year for a pupil premium, the Scottish


Ajit is ?30 billion. Are you saying you cannot find money for that


without putting up tax? ?500 million will go directly into education


funding in Scotland. That is a big investment. People will know what


they are getting for that investment. We have got an urgent


situation. New Government in the UK implemented the pupil premium. We


did not pay taxes up. You have asked me this question before. The


situation in Scotland is so urgent. Used up one of the best education


systems in the world. We spend more money on education per capita than a


month does. We used to have the best education system in the world. We


cannot wait on the SNP anymore. They have been sitting to mentally for


nine years in Government whilst the education system has slipped down to


average. I want... Children cannot wait for the SNP anymore. If we


carry on the path that the SNP are pursuing they will be waiting. The


SNP are reducing national testing which will be one way that we could


no it is spending this money could have any effect. You are a case


that? Of course, because it disrupts the relationship between the pupil


and teacher. Prior to the question? Wait back a phrase you use,


according to you, with the peg, do not fatten the pack. What this


disrupted the relationship between pupil teacher and that is critically


important. The second thing it does is it undermines the curriculum for


important. The second thing it does excellence, which is supposed to be


important. The second thing it does put power back into the hands of


teachers. What testing does is strives teaching to the test, it


also makes sure that resources go into areas that are being tested,


rather than the areas that improve all-round education. What I am


getting at is how under your prog -- how do your policies would we know


if you extra spending has had any effect? You have the inspection


regime that is there, that tests how schools are performing. They go in


and investigate schools to see the schools are performing. They go in


property of investigation. We would have fewer failing schools, is


property of investigation. We would what you're saying? Make sure the


fundamentals of education are right by having proper investigations and


put power back in the hands of teachers. If you can do that and


allow them to teach pupils in the way they were trained to then I


think we will get an improvement in our education system. You can


think we will get an improvement in understand how some people watching


this thing hang on, we're being asked for our taxes to go for money


that may or may not be spent on education and they are against the


measure is the SNP are proposing, which would enable us to tell


whether the spending is having any effect not. I disagree with that


completely, what we are seeing here is the SNP ripping right into the


heart of the week education works in Scotland, we need to trust the


teacher to do their job. We need to make sure they have the B sources to


do their job. That way we can have an improvement in our education


system. Of course you can review how education is performing, we have the


OECD conduct their own studies as that is showing that education in


Scotland has gone from one of the best to just average. That is not


good enough. Policing is one of your biggest issues, why are you not


proposing to break up the national police force and put it under the


control of local authorities? I do not think it would be a good idea to


impose another top-down... But you have been one of the biggest critics


of this. And we were right. Look at what has happened. Industrial skill


of this. And we were right. Look at stop at steps, there have been some


terrible things happening to the police. -- industrial scale stop and


search. In other mass of your organisation would be the wrong


thing to do. If they had listened to us in the first place he would not


have gone through this pain and agony. We are going to allow them to


do their job. Apart from seeing local policing plans should be


agreed by local people, none of your proposals in policing seem to do


very much to restore... That is nonsense. What we want to do is spit


out the target culture in the police, if you speak to the Police


Federation they would agree wholeheartedly with what I'm saying.


The second thing we would do is make sure -- we would allow local


authorities to agree policing plans to inject democracy back in.


Effectively local authorities would have a veto in policing policy and


local authority areas. That would inject democracy back in and return


Scottish policing to where it was before the SNP started meddling with


that. Why argue reluctant to impose the named person legislation? We


gave cautious support initially. A lot of people are opposed. Let me


answer the question, you are very good at the drop in, let me answer


the question. We need to make sure it is reviewed properly. Primarily


because it came from a bottom-up exercise and a pilot conducted in


Highland in Edinburgh, that made sure that there was nobody going to


slip through the net. I recognise that there are considerable concerns


from parents and others, that is why I want to review it, to make sure


that local authorities do not overreach, they do not do more than


they are entitled to do and if they do then we will recommend pulling


back but I think it is right to make sure that we try and progress this


and review it. But you are not against it in principle, a lot of


the opponents of this and say the are engaged in principle, the idea


of having a named person. I am not against it in principle, I want to


review it carefully to insure it discipline to properly. Drugs, you


see a new manifesto that the Liberal Democrats in favour of legalising


cannabis, why not do it here? We propose a sense that I was a system


like Portugal that has decriminalisation and ensure that


rehabilitation is essential part. This will push the powers that the


Scottish probe that has rights to the edge but we believe this is the


enlightened way to do it to tackle the real problem we have in Scotland


of drugs. We must finish there. Your plans and resolution for the


campaign, puppies, but it -- bunny rabbits, pigs are out, right? Maybe!


A14 thank you very much. The Scottish Conservatives have big


ambitions for this election. They want to overtake Labour and


become the biggest opposition party. There's been some sneering


that the Tory leader Ruth Davidson is not even claiming she's


going to win. But there's no doubt coming


second would be a huge But have they really any


chance of doing that? The Scottish Conservatives under


Ruth Davidson's leadership claim that in this election they really


are snapping at Labour's heels to take second place behind the SNP.


She was born in Edinburgh, worked as a newspaper reporter then at BBC


Scotland, she left the BBC to study at Glasgow University and joined the


Conservative Party. She is a member of the Church of Scotland, a kick


boxer, a Dunfermline athletic supporter and has been promised a


new puppy by her partner once the campaign is over. The parties try to


position itself as the go to option for no voters after the dependence


referendum and tested against the idea of tax rises as Holyrood has


power over rates. The Conservatives seem to be playing a popular tune on


key issues north of the border, one undoubtedly is tied to keep taxation


the same as England, half of Scots like that idea and have strong


commitment to increasing spending on the health service. That is


something that most Scots would like to see happen.


But the Conservatives face a long-standing difficulty if they


want to generate mass support in Scotland again. The problem the


Conservatives face is the one they have faced ever since the late 90s


and that is that people are still not convinced that this is a party


that puts Scotland first as opposed to Britain as a whole. Despite the


fact that the new devolution settlement that Scotland will enjoy


was written by a Conservative UK Government, it is still plagued by


the perception that it is an English party that originally wanted to deny


Scotland's devolution. Despite talk of a party on the up the reality


remains that in last year's Westminster general election


Scottish Conservatives took the lowest share of the vote for a


century and a half. Your big pictures -- your big


picture for you is to stop independence? I would love to be


First Minister tomorrow but what we need here is a strong opposition to


the Scottish Government because we have not had won the last nine


years. I was going to ask you, have you written of people who voted yes?


Now, but we must start, the SNP want to start a campaign to reopen this


in the summer but we must plan for the long-term. What would you say to


someone who voted yes? I to listen to them and reassure them that the


someone who voted yes? I to listen ambitions we have for our country


can exist within the newly re-empower Scottish parliament and


can exist within the newly in order for our country to come


back together we need to do less shouting and more listening. Problem


you have as you know is that many people say that Ruth Davidson is


really nice but many people like Annabell Goldie as well. There is


this resistance in Scotland, isn't there, people think I can actually


say that I cannot bring myself to vote Conservative. You still have


the image of the nasty party. What we are seeing is there is a really


specific job I will do for you if you vote for us. This does not make


you a trolley or died in the wool trueblue but what people see as we


can do you a job because this country needs a strong opposition.


We have passed some bad laws in the last nine years, we have nine years,


six leaders had no success for a Labour Party in opposition. That


Scottish sense of fair play kicks in, give someone else a try. I will


hold the SNP to account and say no to a second referendum. U just ask a


few questions. To test this image problem the Conservatives have had.


Nicola Sturgeon has proposed a register of controlling interests


which in the wake of the Panama papers affair would allow us to know


who owns land in Scotland. Would the Conservative support that? We always


said by the land reform was coming through that we want a register of


who owns the land in Scotland. What we did not support was absolute


right to buy which stops the entrants coming in. Do you think we


should know who the beneficial owners are of all land in Scotland?


That is why we supported the land Registry just a few weeks ago. What


a new manifesto would cut the number of people relying on food banks?


Getting more people into jobs. That is a bit like the old Monty Python


Getting more people into jobs. That joke about blue Peter, isn't it? Did


lots of trenches and film absorb water. Of course growing the economy


would help people not going to fit bikes but there is nothing


mentioning new manifesto and that is bikes but there is nothing


not a specific proposal. If you look at the SNP government's own, every


year they must publish a big paper on poverty in this country that


shows that poverty levels are down, income is up, there are fewer people


in poverty in Scotland that there has been, few people in child


poverty and that this is specifically because even the


Scottish Government acknowledges this, more people in Scotland are in


employment and more people have more hours of deployment than previously.


Many people will say what world is she living in when we have had a


report from the Castle trust seeing the number of people visiting fit


bikes in Scotland is up by 30% at the rate of increase in Scotland is


higher than the rate of increase in the rest of the UK. You have not


told me anything specifically about food banks. F I was quoting my own


figures they would be right to say that, but I am quoting the figures


from the Scottish Government. Your specific proposals were not to


anything about food banks apart from creating jobs. We want to cut the


appointed by for disabled people, we want to use our powers to insure we


have a dedicated appointed agency, we want to grow the Scottish


economy, freeze business rates to allow people to hire more people and


create more skills for people leaving education that do not find a


place in college. We want to increase the number of


apprenticeships. If I were a young man or woman... This is more people,


very specific policies. If I were a young man or woman who has perhaps


had relationship problems and mental health problems, lost her job, I


have been sanctioned for some reason or other by the DWP, been refused an


emergency loan and I were watching this before visiting the feedback I


would think, well that is just waffle. There's nothing there that


specifically addresses by problem. If you want specific segment that


worked choice, and it which exists to help people who have either


mental or physical disabilities get into the workplace. It is


voluntarily, it is for people who want to have obscurely, extra


skills, he was confidence and help in terms of application. 5000


people, the furthest from the jobs market, have gone into that. Down


south there is a movement to combine up with other employment agencies,


we say that under the new powers in up with other employment agencies,


Scotland will have that is something we will keep going. We will have a


specific pledge in our manifesto to have an increased by ?300 million


over the course of Parliament to help fund it. You said specifically


for people of mental health issues and that is one that will help


address that. David Cameron's Panama papers adventures, that presumably


has not been very helpful to you try to run a campaign to convince people


that the Conservatives have a different image. The people of


Scotland aren't daft, they know what this election is about, it will be


your First Minister that he will be the Leader of the Opposition. I can


do a good job for people as the Leader of the Opposition. I have put


my own tax affairs out there. There's nothing to hide there. It


was on the Internet for all to see. Are you saying I am not like David


Cameron at all? And seeing how the press the ballot paper, I'm the


person voting for. Do you think he did make a mistake in not being more


open about what he... He has put more information in the public realm


in any previous Prime Minister. Do more information in the public realm


think it would have been better if he did it all at the beginning


rather than over a couple days? In retrospect, yes. Your tax commission


recommended a 30p rate of tax. What happened to that? We looked at it


and how much it would cost of the also looked at ways in which we can


call the Scottish economy and we have a real philosophical belief and


it is backed up by today's polling that 60% of people across goal and


believe us, that we should not have tax rates higher in Scotland than


the rest of the UK, so we're seeing things like the vessel to change for


the additional rate of tax, the threshold change for the operator


tax, and that moves that up to about ?45,000 and beyond. We cannot a way


with in their constrain spending to make sure that we were able to do


that at this time. It was one that we thought that we


as a country could not afford right now if we wanted to have the same


level of services. I am fairly sure that Ukip will not


be travelling the scorers at this election. You say in your manifesto


you would allow councils to put in place a moratorium on wind farms. So


if local people lobby fodder and councils bought Phillip there will


be no wind farms? We would be the most densely properly to the country


and the entire world with wind turbines. We think that local people


should have a level and degree of control over what happens in the


area. That is why you have local Government. Local Government should


be empowered to make some decisions. You sit there is a precedent for


this in your manifesto because of that moratorium on fracking. But you


are in favour of fracking. Again with local authorities giving it the


Green light. They are happy with it is up to them. Local authorities


will be able to have moratoriums on fracking. Absolutely but we do not


think there should be a blanket ban fracking. Absolutely but we do not


on gas extraction. We also see fractured extraction happening


on gas extraction. We also see offshore in Scotland right now. You


see that schools should be allowed to operate outside local authority


control. How is that going to work? The policy of the Conservatives in


Westminster is to take all schools in England out of local authority


control? We have had a different education system here since the dawn


of time. We want more schools and more school leaders, headteachers


and others in the school board, to have control over hiring and firing.


How do you get it? If you are a parent watching this and Ruth


Davidson is the next First Minister, how do I get my school out of local


authority control? There is a school that is going to be shut down. It is


a catholic school. Their patents they have a business model that is


ready to go. They think we have got the plan in place and the teaching


in place to rant at outside local authority control. We see this


should not be stopped from doing so. We have a good example in Jordanhill


and Glasgow, a school that has been run outside local authority control


for some time. It is not completely new but that should be allowed to


happen. Whether schools are in or out of local authority control are


you saying you are agnostic? No. I am not good to be proscriptive but


all schools must be one or the other. The point about believing as


I do that children are not all the same, should not be topless scene,


it about empowering the leadership of the


school -- should not be topped the same. People feel disconnected from


Holyrood. Local oversight is not beer. Centralisation of colleges and


services. People should be empowered to make decisions when they know


better than faceless bureaucrats at Holyrood. The graduate tax, you say


you want ?6,000... Contribution. What a lot of people will think is


that there is a low the level in England. Scottish universities are


at a disadvantage and they would still be in the though there a


graduate tax. Scottish universities say they want more money in the


system to compete. Universities punch above their weight in the


world. People say this is the thin end of a wedge. We are seeing this


as the policy, this is how we want to roll it out. Inters... Parliament


this is for people who then graduate and are earning more than ?20,000.


You give no guarantee. The ?6,000 is for an honours degree. In end


understand that ?1000 it is now ?9,000 why should anybody believe


that under a Conservative administration would not start at


?6,000 for an honours degree course and writer ?25,000? Because we have


a separate education system. These are my proposals. Once you breach


the principle of having three higher education there will inevitably be


pressure from the educational establishment, the situation in the


economy, to produce these up. Nothing is inevitable. There used to


be a contribution. It was then scrapped. We are looking at a model


by which we know that people who graduate with a degree are likely to


earn ?100,000 in their working life more than somebody without. We are


asking them to pay a small proportion of that back into the


education system which has helped them. We want to charge students


from overseas and Europe or June be a penny for the degree that they get


out off Scotland. They do not have to make any contribution. That would


raise ?100 million to help the further and higher education in


Scotland. Yes the state should put in lots but this should be a


contribution that those that directly benefit. And the important


thing is the money would be used to help people from Bhullar backbones


get into university because in Scotland that is not happening. --


help people from less well-off backgrounds. If people to leave the


help people from less well-off European Union and I know you are


against that, and the SNP say they want to have a referendum, should


against that, and the SNP say they David Cameron block that? I do not


think there is any grounds at all... David Cameron block that? I do not


Should the British Government have the right to say that is it we will


not allow you to do that? There is no mandate for the SNP party to say


that Brexit is the trigger. There is no mandate for that. In the same way


Scotland have voted yes... Let me finish. She said this is a material


change was not the you thought that the other way. Scotland voted yes in


2014 with the other side of that I would be that I could see letters


have another referendum because the oil price tanked, that is a material


change. No. The egg in it was signed by the UK Government and the


Scottish Government to say the the result of the referendum. After this


election will you be the main opposition? Yes. And I will work so


hard for people to hold them to account. We asked Willie Rennie but


you will be doing for the rest of the campaign. Do you have any plans


to sit on a tag any form of lethal weapon? No thanks in this campaign


that there might be other forms of transport.


We'll have continuing coverage of the election campaign


On Tuesday, energy and the environment is the subject


of an hour long debate on Scotland 2016.


A studio audience will get their chance to put


questions to politicians, chaired by Shelley Jofre.


That's on Tuesday on BBC Two Scotland at half past ten.


I'll be back at the same time next week.


Presented by Andrew Neil and Gordon Brewer. Labour's Tristram Hunt talks about the potential effects of the UK remaining in the EU, former defence secretary Liam Fox and US State Department spokesman Jamie Rubin debate whether President Obama should intervene in the EU referendum, and Professor John Curtice details the forthcoming elections in May.

Nick Watt of the Guardian, Isabel Oakeshott of the Daily Mail and the FT's Janan Ganesh keep Andrew company throughout the programme.

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