05/03/2017 Sunday Politics Scotland


The latest political news, interviews and debate in Scotland, from Sunday 5 March.

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It's Sunday Morning and this is the Sunday Politics.


The Chancellor says that to embark on a spending spree


in Wednesday's Budget would be "reckless".


But will there be more money for social care and to ease


The UK terror threat is currently severe,


but where is that threat coming from?


We have the detailed picture from a vast new study of every


Islamist related terrorist offence committed over the last two decades.


What can we learn from these offences to thwart future attacks?


The government was defeated in the Lords on its


We'll ask the Leader of the House of Commons what he'll do if peers


And coming up on Sunday Politics Scotland.


The quiet Conservatives are finding their voice.


I'll be speaking to their Scottish Leader Ruth Davidson.


All that coming up in the next hour and a quarter.


Now, some of you might have read that intruders managed


to get into the BBC news studios this weekend.


Well three of them appear not to have been ejected yet,


so we might as well make use of them as our political panel.


Tom Newton Dunn, Isabel Oakeshott and Steve Richards.


They'll be tweeting throughout the programme.


Philip Hammond will deliver his second financial


statement as Chancellor and the last Spring Budget


for a while at least - they are moving to the Autumn


There's been pressure on him to find more money


for the Health Service, social care, schools funding,


But this morning the Chancellor insisted that he will not be


using the proceeds of better than expected tax receipts to embark


What is being speculated on is whether we might not have borrowed


quite as much as we were forecast to borrow. You will see the numbers on


Wednesday. But if your bank increases your credit card limit, I


do not think you feel obliged to go out and spent every last penny of it


He is moving the budget to the autumn, he told us that in his


statement, so maybe on Wednesday it will be like a spring statement


rather than a full-blown budget. Tinkering pre-Brexit and in November


he will have a more clear idea of the impact of Brexit and I suspect


that will be the bigger event than this one. It looks as if there will


be a bit of money here and there, small amounts, not enough in my


view, for social care and so on, possibly a review of social care


policy. A familiar device which rarely get anywhere. I think he has


got a bit more space to do more if he wanted to do now because of the


politics. They are miles ahead in the polls, so he could do more, but


it is not in his character, he is cautious. So he keeps his powder dry


on most things, he does some things, but he keeps it dry until November.


But also, as Steve says, he will know just how strong the economy has


been this year by November and whether he needs to do some pump


priming or whether everything is fine. He said it is too early to


make those sorts of judgments now. What is striking is the amount of


concern there is an Number ten and in the Treasury about the tone of


this budget, so less about the actual figures and more about what


message this is sending out to the rest of the world. I think some


senior MPs are calling it a kind of treading water budget and Phil


Hammond has got quite a difficult act to perform because he is


instinctively rather cautious, or very cautious, and instinctively


slightly gloomy about Brexit. He wanted to remain. But he does not


want this budget to sounded downbeat and he will be mauled if he makes it


sound downbeat, so he has to inject a little bit of optimism and we may


see that in the infrastructure spending plans. He has got some room


to manoeuvre. The deficit by the financial year ending in April we


now know will not be as big as the OBR told us only three and a half


months ago that it would be. They added 12 billion on and they may


take most of that off again. He is under pressure from his own side to


do something on social care and business rates and I bet some Tory


backbenchers would not mind a little bit more money for the NHS as well.


He is on a huge pressure to do a whole lot on a whole load, not just


social care. There is also how on earth do we pay for so many old


people? There is the NHS, defence spending, everything. But his words


this morning, which is I am not going to spend potentially an extra


30 billion I might have by 2020 because of improved economic growth


was interesting. You need to hold something back because Brexit might


go back and he was a bit of a remain campaign person. If you think


Britain is going to curl up into a corner and hideaway licking its


wounds, you have got another think coming. That 30 billion he might


have extra in his pocket could be worth deploying on building up


Britain with huge tax cuts in case there is no deal, a war chest if you


like. He will have more than 27 billion. He may decide 27 billion in


the statement, the margin by which he tries to get the structural


deficit down, he will still have 27 billion. If the receipts are better


than they are forecast, some people are saying he will have a war chest


of 60 billion. That money, as Mr Osborne found out, can disappear. He


clearly is planning not to go on a spending spree this Wednesday. It is


interesting in the FTB and the day, David Laws who was chief Secretary


for five minutes, was also enthusiastic about the original


George Osborne austerity programme and he said, we have reached the


limits to what is socially possible with this and a consensus is


beginning to emerge that he will have to spend more money than he


plans to this Wednesday. This is not just from Labour MPs, but from a lot


of Conservative MPs as well. People will wonder when this austerity will


end because it seems to be going on for ever. We will have more on the


budget later in the programme. Now, the government was defeated


last week in the House of Lords. Peers amended the bill that


will allow Theresa May to trigger Brexit to guarantee the rights of EU


nationals currently in the UK. The government says it will remove


the amendment when the bill returns But today a report from


the Common's Brexit committee also calls for the Government to make


a unilateral decision to safeguard the rights of EU


nationals living here. If the worst happened,


are we actually going to say to 3 million Europeans here,


who are nurses, doctors, serving us tea and coffee in restaurants,


giving lectures at Leeds University, picking and processing vegetables,


"Right, off you go"? No, of course we are not


going to say that. So, why not end the


uncertainty for them now? will help to create the climate


which will ensure everyone gets to say because that's


what all of us want. That is why we have unanimously


agreed this recommendation that the government should make unilateral


decision to say to EU citizens here, yes, you can stay, because we think


that is the right and fair thing to do.


And we're joined now from Buckinghamshire by the leader


of the House of Commons, David Lidington.


Welcome back to the programme. The House of Lords has amended the


Article 50 bill to allow the unilateral acceptance of EU


nationals' right to remain in the UK. Is it still the government was


my intention to remove that amendment in the comments? We have


always been clear that we think this bill is very straightforward, it


does nothing else except give the Prime Minister the authority that


the courts insist upon to start the Article 50 process of negotiating


with the other 27 EU countries. On the particular issue of EU citizens


here and British citizens overseas, the PM did suggest that the December


European summit last year that we do a pre-negotiation agreement on this.


That was not acceptable to all of the other 27 because they took the


view that you cannot have any kind of negotiation and to Article 50 has


been triggered. That is where we are. I hope with goodwill and


national self interest on all sides we can tackle this is right that the


start of those negotiations. But it is not just the Lords. We have now


got the cross-party Commons Brexit committee saying you should now make


the unilateral decision to safeguard the rights of EU nationals in the


UK. Even Michael go, Peter Lilley, John Whittington, agree. So why are


you so stubborn on this issue? I think this is a complex issue that


goes beyond the rise of presidents, but about things like the rights of


access to health care, to pension ratings and benefits and so on...


But you could settle back. It is also, Andrew, because you have got


to look at it from the point of view of the British citizens, well over 1


million living elsewhere in Europe. If we make the unilateral gesture,


it might make us feel good for Britain and it would help in the


short term those EU citizens who are here, but you have got those British


citizens overseas who would then be potential bargaining chips in the


hands of any of the 27 other governments. We do not know who will


be in office during the negotiations and they may have completely


extraneous reasons to hold up the agreement on the rights of British


citizens. The sensible way to deal with this is 28 mature democracies


getting around the table starting the negotiations and to agree to


something that is fair to all sides and is reciprocal. What countries


might take on UK nationals living in the EU? What countries are you


frightened of? The one thing that I know from my own experience in the


past of being involved in European negotiations is that issues come up


that maybe have nothing to do with British nationals, but another issue


that matters a huge amount to a particular government, it may not be


a government yet in office, and they decide we can get something out of


this, so let's hold up the agreement on British citizens until the


British move in the direction we want on issue X. I hope it does not


come to that. I think the messages I have had from EU ambassadors in


London and from those it my former Europe colleague ministers is that


we want this to be a done deal as quickly as possible. That is the


British Government's very clear intention. We hope that we can get a


reciprocal deal agreed before the Article 50 process. That was not


possible. I understand that, you have said that already. But even if


there is no reciprocal deal being done, is it really credible that EU


nationals already here would lose their right to live and work and


face deportation? You know that is not credible, that will not happen.


We have already under our own system law whereby some people who have


been lawfully resident and working here for five years can apply for


permanent residency, but it is not just about residents. It is about


whether residency carries with it certain rights of access to health


care. I understand that, but have made this point. But the point is


the right to live and work here that worries them at the moment. The Home


Secretary has said there can be no change in their status without a


vote in parliament. Could you ever imagine the British Parliament


voting to remove their right to live and work here? I think the British


Parliament will want to be very fair to EU citizens, as Hilary Benn and


others rightly say they have been overwhelmingly been here working


hard and paying taxes and contributing to our society. They


were equally want to make sure there is a fair deal for our own citizens,


more than a million, elsewhere in Europe. You cannot disentangle the


issue of residence from those things that go with residents. Is the


Article 50 timetabled to be triggered before the end of this


month, is it threatened by these amendments in the Lords? I sincerely


hope not because the House of Lords is a perfectly respectable


constitutional role to look again at bills sent up by the House of


commons. But they also have understood traditionally that as an


unelected house they have to give primacy to the elected Commons at


the end of the day. In this case it is not just the elected Commons that


sent the bill to be amended, but the referendum that lies behind that. It


is not possible? We are confident we can get Article 50 triggered by the


end of the month. One of the other Lords amendments


will be to have a meaningful vote on the Brexit deal when it is done at


the end of the process, what is your view on that? What would you


understand by a meaningful vote? The Government has already said there is


going to be a meaningful vote at the end of the process. What do you mean


by a meaningful vote? The parliament will get the opportunity to vote on


the deal before it finishes the EU level process of going to


consideration by the European Parliament. Parliament will be given


a choice, as I understand, for either a vote for the deal you have


negotiated or we leave on WTO rules and crash out anyway, is that what


you mean by a meaningful choice? Parliament will get the choice to


vote on the deal, but I think you have put your finger on the problem


with trying to write something into the bill because any idea that the


PM's freedom to negotiate is limited, any idea that if the EU 27


were to play hardball, that somehow that means parliament would take


fright, reverse the referendum verdict and set aside the views of


the British people, that would almost guarantee that it would be


much more difficult to get the sort of ambitious mutually beneficial


deal for us and the EU 27. Your idea of a meaningful vote in parliament


is the choices either to vote to accept this deal or we leave anyway,


that is your idea of a meaningful vote. The Article 50 process is


straightforward. There is the position of both parties in the


recent Supreme Court case that the Article 50 process once triggered is


irrevocable. That is in the EU Treaty already but we are saying


very clearly that Parliament will get that right to debate and vote. I


think the problem with what some in the House of Lords are proposing, I


hope it is not a majority, is that the amendments they would seek to


insert would tie the Prime Minister's hands, limit and


negotiating freedom and put her in a more difficult position to negotiate


on behalf of this country than should be the case. One year ago you


said it could take six to eight years to agree a free-trade deal


with the EU. Now you think you can do it in two, what's changed your


mind? There is a very strong passionate supporter of Remain, as


you know. I hope very much we are able to conclude not just the terms


of the exit deal but the agreement that we are seeking on the long-term


trade relationship... I understand that, but I'm trying to work out,


what makes you think you can do it in two years when only a year ago


you said it would take up to wait? The referendum clearly makes a big


difference, and I think that there is an understanding amongst real the


other 27 governments now that it is in everybody's interests to sort


this shared challenge out of negotiating a new relationship


between the EU 27 and the UK because European countries, those in and


those who will be out of the EU, share the need to face up to massive


challenges like terrorism and technological change. All of that


was pretty obvious one year ago but we will see what happens. Thank you,


David Lidington. Now, the Sunday Politics has had


sight of a major new report The thousand-page study,


which researchers say is the most comprehensive ever produced,


analyses all 269 Islamist telated terrorist offences


committed between 1998-2015. Most planned attacks were,


thankfully, thwarted, but what can we learn


from those offences? For the police and the intelligence


agencies to fight terror, Researchers at the security think


tank The Henry Jackson Society gave us early access to their huge


new report which analyses every Islamism related attack


and prosecution in the UK since 1998, that's 269 cases


involving 253 perpetrators. With issues as sensitive


as counterterrorism and counter radicalisation, it is really


important to have an evidence base from which you draw


policy and policing, This isn't my opinion,


this the facts. This chart shows the number


of cases each year combined with a small number


of successful suicide attacks. Notice the peak in the middle


of the last decade around the time of the 7/7 bombings


in London in 2005. Offences tailed off,


before rising again from 2010, when a three-year period accounted


for a third of all the terrorism cases since the researchers


started counting. What we are seeing is a combination


of both more offending, in terms of the threat increasing,


we know that from the security services and police statements,


but also I believe we are getting more efficient in terms


of our policing and we are actually A third of people were found to have


facilitated terrorism, that's providing encouragement,


documents, money. About 18% of people


were aspirational terrorists, 12% of convictions were related


to travel, to training And 37% of people were convicted


of planning attacks, although the methods have


changed over time. Five or six years ago,


we saw lots of people planning or attempting pipe bombs and most


of the time they had Inspire magazine in their possession,


that's a magazine, an Al-Qaeda English-language online


magazine that had specific More recently we have seen


Islamic State encouraging people to engage in lower tech knife


beheading, stabbings attacks and I think that's why we have


seen that more recently. Shasta Khan plotted with her


husband to bomb the Jewish In 2012 she received


an eight-year prison sentence. She's one of an increasing


number of women convicted of an Islamism related offence


although it is still overwhelmingly a crime carried out


by men in their 20s. Despite fears of foreign terrorists,


a report says the vast Most have their home in London,


around 43% of them. 18% lived in the West Midlands,


particularly in Birmingham, and the north-west is another


hotspot with around 10% Richard Dart lived in Weymouth


and tried to attend a terrorist He was a convert to Islam, as were


60% of the people in this report. He was a convert to Islam, as were


16% of the people in this report. Like the majority of cases,


he had a family, network. What's particularly interesting


is how different each story is in many ways,


but then within those differences So your angry young men,


in the one sense inspired to travel, seek training and combat experience


abroad, and then the older, recruiter father-figure types,


the fundraising facilitator types. There are types within


this terrorism picture, but the range of backgrounds


and experiences is huge. And three quarters of those


convicted of Islamist terrorism were on the radar of the authorities


because they had a previous criminal record, they had


made their extremism public, or because MI5 had them


under surveillance. To discuss the findings of this


report are the former Security Minister Pauline Neville-Jones,


Talha Ahmad from the Muslim Council of Britain, and Adam Deen


from the anti-extremist group The report finds the most segregated


Muslim community is, the more likely it is to incubate Islamist


terrorists, what is the MCB doing to encourage more integrated


communities? Its track record on calling for reaching out to the


wider society and having a more integrated and cohesive society I


think is a pretty strong one, so one thing we are doing for example very


recently I've seen we had this visit my mosque initiative, the idea was


that mosques become open to inviting people of other faiths and their


neighbours to come so we were encouraged to see so many


participating. It is one step forward. Is it a good thing or a bad


thing that in a number of Muslim communities, the Muslim population


is over 60% of the community? I personally and the council would


prefer to have more mixed communities but one of the reason


they are heavily concentrated is not so much because they prefer to but


often because the socio- economic reality forces them to. But you


would like to see less segregation? Absolutely, we would prefer more


diverse communities around the country. What is your reaction to


that? Will need more diverse communities but one of the


challenges we have right now with certain organisations is this


pushback against the Government, with its attempts to help young


Muslims not go down this journey of extremism. One of those things is


the Prevent strategy and we often hear organisations like the MCB


attacking the strategy which is counter-productive. What do you say


to that? Do we support the Government have initiatives to


counteract terrorism, of course we do. Do you support the Prevent


strategy? We don't because it scapegoats an entire community. The


report shows that contrary to a lot of lone wolf theories and people


being radicalised in their bedrooms on the Internet that 80% of those


convicted had connections with the extremist groups. Indeed 25% willing


to Al-Muhajiroun. I think this report, which is a thorough piece of


work, charts a long period and it is probably true to say that in the


earlier stages these organisations were very important, of course


subsequently we have had direct recruiting by IS one to one over the


Internet so we have a mixed picture of how people are recruited but


there's no doubt these organisations are recruiting sergeants. You were


once a member of one of these organisations, are we doing enough


to thwart them? If we just focus on these organisations, we will fail.


We -- the question is are we doing enough to neutralise them? The


Government strategy is in the right place, but where we need to focus on


is the Muslim community or communities. The Muslim community


must realise that these violent extremists are fringe but they share


ideas, a broad spectrum of ideas that penetrate deeply within Muslim


communities and we need to tackle those ideas because that is where it


all begins. Are you in favour of banning groups like Al-Muhajiroun?


Yes, it was the right thing to do and I can tell you the community has


moved a long way, Al-Muhajiroun does not have support. Do you agree with


that? Yes, but it is very simplistic attacking Al-Muhajiroun. ISIS didn't


bring about extremism, extremism brought about ISIS, ISIS is just the


brand and if we don't deal with the ideological ideas we will have other


organisations popping up. The report suggests that almost a quarter of


Islamist the latest offences were committed by individuals previous


unknown to the security services. And this is on the rise, these


numbers. This would seem to make an already difficult task for our


intelligence services almost impossible. Two points. It is over


80% I think were known, but it shows the intelligence services and police


have got their eyes open. But the trend has been towards more not on


the radar. That has been because the nature of the recruitment has also


changed and you have much more ISIS inspired go out and do it yourself,


get a knife, do something simple, so we have fewer of the big


spectaculars that ISIS organised. Now you have got locally organised


people, two or three people get together, do something together,


very much harder actually to get forewarning of that. That is where


intelligence inside the community, the community coming to the police


say I'm worried about my friend, this is how you get ahead of that


kind of attack. Should people in the Muslim community who are worried


about individuals being radicalised, perhaps going down the terrorist


route, should they bring in the police? Absolutely and we have been


consistent on telling the community that wherever they suspect someone


has been involved in terrorism or any kind of criminal activity, they


should call the police and cooperate. As the so-called


caliphate collapses in the Middle East, how worried should we be about


fighters returning here? Extremely worried. They fall into


three categories. You have ones who are disillusioned about Islamic


State. You have ones who are disturbed, and then you have the


dangerous who have not disavowed their ideas and who will have great


reasons to perform attacks. What do we do? Anyone who comes back, there


should be evidence looked into if they committed any crimes. But all


those categories should all be be radicalised. You cannot leave them


alone. Will we be sure if we know when they come back? That is


difficult to say. They could come in and we might not know. There is a


watch list so you have got a better chance. And you can identify them?


This is where working with other countries is absolutely crucial and


our border controls need to be good as well. I am not saying and the


government is not saying that anyone would ever slip through, but it is


our ability to know when somebody is coming through and to stop them at


the border has improved. An important question. Given your


experience, how prepared are away for a Paris style attack in a


medium-size, provincial city? The government has exercised this one.


It started when I was security minister and it has been taken


seriously. The single biggest challenge that the police and the


Army says will be one of those mobile, roving attacks. You have to


take it seriously and the government does. All right, we will leave it


Now, Brexit may have swept austerity from the front pages,


but the deficit hasn't gone away and the government is still


Just this week Whitehall announced that government departments have


been told to find another ?3.5bn worth of savings by 2020.


Last November the Independent office for Budget Responsibility


said the budget deficit would be ?68 billion in the current


It would still be ?17 billion by 2021-22.


On Wednesday the Chancellor is expected to announce


that the 2016-17 deficit has come in much lower than the OBR forecast.


Even so, the government is still aiming for the lowest level


of public spending as a percentage of national income since 2003-4,


coupled with an increase in the tax burden to its highest


So spending cuts will continue with reductions in day-to-day


government spending accelerating, producing a real terms cut of over


But capital spending, investment on infrastructure


like roads, hospitals, housing, is projected to grow,


producing a 16 billion real terms increase by 2021-22.


The Chancellor's task on Wednesday is to keep these fiscal targets


while finding some more money for areas under serious


pressure such as the NHS, social care and business rates.


We're joined now by Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.


Welcome back to the programme. In last March's budget the OBR


predicted just over 2% economic growth for this year. By the Autumn


Statement in the wake of the Brexit vote it downgraded back to 1.4%. It


is now expected to revise that back around to 2% as the Bank of England


has again. It is speculated on the future. It looks like we will get a


growth forecast for this year not very different from where it was a


year ago. What the bank did was upgrade its forecast for the next


year or so, but not change very much. It was thinking about three or


four years' time, which is what really matters. It looked like the


OBR made a mistake in downgrading the growth in the Autumn Statement


three months ago. It was more optimistic than nearly all the other


forecasters and the Bank of England. It was wrong, but not as wrong as


everybody else. We don't know, but if it significantly upgraded its


growth forecast for the next three or four years, I would be surprised.


It also added 12 billion to the deficit for the current financial


year in the Autumn Statement, compared with March. It looks like


that deficit will probably be cut again by about 12 billion compared


to the last OBR forecast. It is quite difficult to make economic


policy on the basis of changes of that skill every couple of months.


That is one of the problems about having these two economic event so


close together. My guess is the number will come out somewhere


between the budget and the Autumn number will come out somewhere


Statement numbers. There was a nice surprise for the Chancellor last


Statement numbers. There was a nice month which looked like tax revenues


were coming in a lot more strongly than he expected. But again the real


question is how much is this making a difference in the medium run? Is


this a one-off thing all good news for the next several years? If


growth and revenues are stronger, perhaps not as strong as the good


news last month, but if they are stronger than had been forecast in


the Autumn Statement, what does that mean for planned spending cuts? It


probably does not mean very much. Let's not forget the best possible


outcome of this budget will be that for the next couple of years things


look no worse than they did a year ago and in four years out they will


still look a bit worse, and in addition Philip Hammond did increase


his spending plans in November. However good the numbers look in a


couple of days' time, we will still be borrowing at least 20 billion


more by 2020 than we were forecasting a year ago. Still quite


constrained. George Osborne wanted to get us to budget surplus by 2019.


That has gone. Philip Hammond is quite happy with a big deficit and


is not interested in that. But what he is thinking to a large extent, as


you have made clear, there is a lot of uncertainty about the economic


reaction over the next three or four years. He says he wants some


headroom. If things go wrong, I do not want to announce more spending


cuts or more tax rises to keep the deficit down. I want to say things


have gone wrong for now and we will borrow. And I have got some money in


the kitty. He will not spend a lot of it now. I understand the


Chancellor is worried about the erosion of the tax base and it is


hard to put VAT up by more than 20%, millions have been taken out of


income tax, only 46% of people pay income tax, fuel duty is frozen for


ever, corporation tax has been cut, the growth in self-employed has


reduced revenues, is that a real concern? These are all worries for


him. We have as you said in the introduction to this, got a tax


burden which is rising very gradually, but it is rising to its


highest level since the mid-19 80s, but is not doing it through


straightforward increases to income tax. Lots of bits of pieces of


insurance premium tax is here and the apprenticeship levied there, and


that is higher personal allowance of income tax and a freeze fuel duty,


but at some point we will have to look at the tax system as a whole


and ask if we can carry on like this. We will have to start increase


fuel duties again, or look to those big but unpopular taxes to really


keep that money coming in to keep the challenges we will have over the


next 30 years. He is going to set up a commission on social care. He has


had quite a few commissions on social care. Thank you for being


with us. It's just gone 11.35,


you're watching the Sunday Politics. Good morning and welcome


to Sunday Politics Scotland. Finding their voice -


is the quiet Conservative I think conservatives are starting


to become more vocal and open, I think that is to do with the


detoxification of the Conservative brand.


I'll be speaking to the leader of the Scottish Conservatives,


Ruth Davidson, following their conference in Glasgow.


And is Scotland's education really bottom of the class?


Saying you're a Conservative out loud hasn't always been a popular


thing to do in Scotland, but are things changing?


The party's been winning new support from people who are opposed


to another independence referendum - and that was the key


message at this week's Scottish Conservative conference.


In a moment we'll be speaking to the party leader, Ruth Davidson,


but first, Andrew Black's been trying to find out if the phenomenon


known as the Shy Tory is becoming a thing of the past.


After years in the wilderness, the Scottish Conservative Party is now


having its most successful period in 60 years. More than doubled its


number of seats in the last Holyrood election, and thanks to a collapse


in the labour vote, it has now become the main opposition party.


However, being a Conservative voter has not always been fashionable,


especially in Scotland, which has given rise to the term Shy Tory, but


given the new-found success, does that mean its supporters are more


willing to talk about who the vote for? People were reluctant to say


that they were Tory, or that they would vote Conservative, but I


think, as you see, they are being more open about it. It is not a bad


thing, I have always admitted it to my friends and family. I am only 19


so I have only managed to vote Conservative ones, but they are


starting to become more vocal and open, I think that's maybe to do


with the detoxification of the Conservative brand after the dark


days, if you can call it that, of the New Labour Erath. Until recently


we were shy, retiring, heading behind-the-scenes supporters. Even


the word Tory, I shied from. And in Scotland it is very much seen as


elitist. I think that is why everyone is quite. But as you can


see from the conference there is a lot more younger people coming


through. Use of the end of the Shy Tory was welcomed by even some of


the party's strongest critics. Any politician who has the bottle to


publicly stop and put their position,... They had the courage to


come out and say, actually, these are my politics, these are the


issues we need to debate. But for the Conservative leadership, there


is more to it than that. The result of the EU referendum has caused


divisions in the party. And let us never stop making loudly and clearly


the positive, optimistic and passionate case for our precious


union of nations and of people. Then there is the Conservatives' ongoing


fight against the second independence referendum. Come the


party capitalise on recent election success? We will know after the


council elections in two months. The leader of the Scottish Conservatives


joins me now. Ruth Davidson, can I just ask you about something that


has come up this morning? There is a House of Commons cross-party


committee on Brexit, which produced a report saying the British


government should unilaterally safeguard the position of EU


nationals living in Britain. Is that something you would support? I have


said from the start I want to make sure people have the assurance they


need. That is why I was so pleased that the Prime Minister tried ahead


of Article 50 to get that agreement, not just for EU nationals here, but


for Brits living abroad as well. I thought it was a real shame that


other countries in the EU did not want to do that. But when the Prime


Minister laid out her 12 point plan, I was pleased she had it in there as


one of our key objectives and one she wanted to get done first. But do


you agree with the House of Commons cross-party committee that Britain


should unilaterally guarantee the position? I have not read the report


to which you are referring, so I am not sure what is in it. I am not in


the House of Commons. Sorry about that. I want to make sure we have


the insurance people need right here. I am pleased to have seen


David Davis has come out and said four people already living here, who


have been here for a number of years, the scaremongering that has


been going on that there may be some change to their circumstances, is


not true. And the query assurances that the Prime Minister has made,


wanting to get this done before Article 50, but it is also one of


the things she gets done first. Shortly after the referendum last


year you said you wanted guarantees for EU nationals living in Britain


and you wanted them, your phrase was, pretty quick. You still do not


have them. The Prime Minister started to get it -- try to get it


done ahead of Article 50. But the Lords are seeing that they want


Britain to just do it unilaterally. But I think a House of Commons


committee, I absolutely respect it, I have not read that report, I do


not sit in the House of Commons, but the Prime Minister has to look at


the 2.7 million Brits who live abroad and get assurances for them.


She wants to get it now, before the process starts. It is a real shame


that other countries said no to that. She also said it is at the top


of the 12 point plan to what she wants to get done first. It is a


shame that other countries said no to do this right now. It is


important that the UK Government has come out strongly to see those


people living here, do not listen to the scaremongering, it is not going


to change. The Scottish Government has submitted a paper of which the


British government is considering on Brexit and it proposes a mechanism


British government is considering on by which Scotland can stay in the


European free trade area, and therefore the European economic


area, and get access to the single market while remaining in the UK. Do


you think there is any merit on what they Scottish Government is


proposing? The Scottish Government paper had a number of


recommendations, and some of them made it into the 12 point plan. But


what about their preferred option? No in the Scottish Conservative


Party, we ordered an expert panel review looking at trade


specifically, and they came to a slightly different view on what they


thought was best because the most important issue for Scotland is


making sure we stay part of our biggest trading area. Again, I come


back to this point, if the Scottish Government's attempts at getting the


British government to agree and negotiate on its behalf the


particular deal they propose, do you think that is actually going to


happen or is the British government, in your view, or should they say no?


There are ongoing conversations. That paper had a number of


recommendations on it... But I am asking about the key one? The Welsh


government joined Labour... The review that came back last week for


us took a different course. Having read the work that has gone on, it


was led by a former ambassador, a chap that had run the fiscal


Association for the time, said there were more important things to look


after than what the Scottish Government has said. There is no


surprise to any of your viewers that Nicola Sturgeon and I have


disagreements about a number of things. Not least some of the things


she is asking the UK Government to consider. You have said before on


this programme that you accept the Scottish Government to hold another


independence referendum, but you do not think they should do it, and you


have also said the British government should not block the


Scottish Government for doing that. But I'm curious, do you think there


is a case for the British government to say you can have a referendum,


but not while we are negotiating Brexit, it might be in the interests


of everyone if you wait till we know what the Brexit deal is? When you


ask that question on a day when yet another poll shows that support for


the second independence referendum has fallen, today's poll says it is


only a quarter of Scots who would like to be dragged back to that


divisive situation. I think the question should be for Nicola


Sturgeon, are you going to stand question should be for Nicola


up... OK, we will talk to her on the occasion of her party conference. I


am asking you, you have a right to hold a referendum, but not while we


are negotiating a Brexit deal, do you think that is what the UK


Government should say? Myself and the Prime Minister have also agreed


and recognised and said the rate to self-determination, which is why in


2012 bid was that -- there was a clear mandate, and the process


happened. But the majority of the people in Scotland do not want this.


Again you're really not addressing... Nicola Sturgeon argues


she will be able to hold a referendum whenever she likes.


Should she? That is unfair to say I'm not answering the question.


There could be another referendum, but the question for the First


Minister is, should there be another referendum? At the moment, when she


has no clear mandate, she lost her majority, and the majority of Scots


do not want it she should not have another referendum. She argued she


should be able to have one whenever she likes. Should she? The power for


holding a referendum is held at she likes. Should she? The power for


Westminster, so in terms of whether a hypothetical referendum to happen,


she would still need the agreement for those powers to Passover, and if


she wants to change that she should have put that forward in this myth


report, to see that the Scottish Government should be in charge of


holding a future referendum. In terms of, am I going to try and help


the SNP do what they have been doing for the last nine months -- 12


months and make it seem another referendum is inevitable, and that


is not my job to do that, I am opposing this, I am on the side of


the majority of Scots. If she does try to hold one, she will take a


massive hit from it because Scots do not want dragged back there, they


have told us time and again they do not want dragged back. If she moves


against the public opinion, she will pay a heavy price. Can I assume you


would not be in favour of another referendum being held on the basis


of yes is pro-independence and no is to stay in the UK? My focus is to


stop rendering -- referendum to happen because we made a decision


three years angle, and we were told it would last a generation. I will


not start answering hypothetical questions about the wording of a


question I do not want asked is going to be. I am not playing that


game. One of the stipulations is that both


sides would respect the result. Do you Scottish Government and SNP have


breached that? I don't hear that respect of the result. I genuinely


do not. I think the first sign of just how the pursuit they were going


to do, just how cynical the pursuit was the second independence


referendum was going to be, we saw on the day after the Brexit vote.


Sturgeon stood up and the votes were still being counted and she said she


had already instructed civil servants in Scotland to draw up a


second Referendum Bill. She did want to thought of the public or listen


to them all come to Parliament, she had already instructed that before


people had even had their breakfasting on to work that day. It


is absolutely cynical and I think she'll pay heavy price for it.


There's a perception, not just amongst the SNP supporters of


independence, that the British Government has not been settled in


the way they've played this and that it could come to Scotland say, look,


you've got an interest in this and here is what we are proposing to


devolve to Scotland as part of the repatriation of power from Brussels.


I know you will say that is still up for grabs, but the perception is the


British Government is coming over and saying no. Do you think there


should be a bit more imaginative in making it much more difficult for


Nicola Sturgeon to call and the referendum by saying, look here is a


shed load of things we could be beat shed load of things we could be beat


-- repatriated and it's the interest the people of Scotland and let us


get your response to that? I think the way you've asked that question,


so the difference between the UK and the Scottish Government and the


narrow political dull that fronts and fuels everything the SNP do. And


that practical considerations are people working in Scotland and


trying to make a living here that the UK Government is trying to


protect. In the Prime Minister's speech, she said not a single power


being held in Government is going anywhere else. In the first


instance, power coming out Brussels go back to the member state and then


a mature happen about... We are out of time. Quick one word answers,


please. If there's another independence referendum, you have


said the SNP will take a hit. How much do you think this day side


would win by? The economic case... There is every opportunity. And you


will be the next First Minister? That is what we are working towards


in 2021. To be a proper, professional ten to Government, a


real choice for Scotland and one opposes businesses and people first


and not a narrow political ideology of independence first. What you


didn't say that was yes, I will be the First Minister! Well, come back


to the 2021. The hard work starts now, four and a half years out from


the election and we will be fits to fight for that election and we will


be a proper alternative Government for Scotland. Ruth Davidson, thank


you. Nicola Sturgeon said education


would be the defining mission But that mission came under pressure


at First Minister's Questions this week as opposition leader


after opposition leader had a pop at the First Minister


over Scotland's schools. She staked a reputational reforming


the schools of Scotland and what have we seen? Literacy standards


have slipped, numerous is standards also, curriculum for excellence is


failing and now we seen her Education Secretary stalling. She


keeps putting at the referendum on the front foot, but everyone else on


the back burner. Standardised assessments are being introduced in


teacher judgments and there is more data than ever before been published


so we can determine how well schools are doing and what more we need to


do to support those who work in the front line in our education system.


Education budgets are being cut to for years. Over 4000 teachers and a


thousand support staff. Pico 150,000 student places in our college. He


cut university budgets and slashed fronts for students as well. He now


faces the consequences of his own decisions. School league tables have


the information here. It is published by the Scottish


Government. Our own Government has published this information on


experimental information. National school league tables. She promised


that would never, ever happen. But that is exactly what is happening.


Those other politicians, but what are the issues facing education in


Scotland? Lindsay Paterson gave his views on some of the burning


questions. The problem in a sense is no one clearly knows, because the


problems are so immense. The fundamental thing that most changes


what looked -- what children are learning. All the evidence is that


things we've been trying to teach them for 15 years or more are


causing them to earn less than their counterparts in other countries. I


can understand why they've decided to postpone this bill, because being


a large number of responses to the consultations on it. On the other


hand, it is about the structures of education are not addressing the


fundamental point, which is the quality of the curriculum and an age


of the learning that the children are doing. The important reforms are


what is going to be done about the curriculum assessment and


attainment. All the evidence suggests the curriculum for


excellence is at the core of the problem and that is the reason why


we seen quite a drastic fall in the level of attainment of Scottish


children compared with a pastime compared with other countries now.


We know from lots of international research that the kind of curriculum


that curriculum for excellence is, that is an emphasis on skills rather


than knowledge, is ultimately quite bad and even disastrous for the


attainment of children. So, very quickly, it ought to be learned in


Scotland from these international studies. The whole point of this is


misconceived Amanita fundamentally revised what is being done. --


fundamentally revised what is being done. The attainment gap has never


been completely closed in any period since the beginning of the 20th


century. So the chance of Scotland, daily closing it is very small. But


what can be done is make progress toward that. You can provide more


opportunities, emphasise the things that would enable children are


living in poverty ought to circumstances to do better than they


have in the past. They can be some progress, but to set up targets of


completely ending the attainment gap is a realistic, unless of course,


there is to be a change in the quality of what is learned and the


criteria of what counts as having learnt it. In other words, dumbing


down rather making sure everyone learns the same kind of quality


things. Standardised assessments are the only way we can get object


things. Standardised assessments are neutral scientific evidence on what


is going on. They are not the owner of measuring progress, but without


them, any other way will be purely subjective and wouldn't get enough


hard evidence for policymakers. So standardised assessments of the way


in which education can achieve the same kind of objective, and


neutrality, that we would expect of a new scientific project. It has to


be that kind of evidence if we are not so just speculate on what


children are achieving rather than measuring it. League tables can


become controversial and if they are used purely for competitive


purposes, they are rather dangerous. But that's not the league tables as


such, but the ways in which they are used in public debate and in


newspapers, media and conversations amongst parents and so on. The


tables themselves or the publishing of information and the longer that


is complex and addresses all the different temperatures of education


and the set of context, there is no more reason to object to information


on schools than would be to object to informational universities. --


information on universities. Well, to disucss this,


earlier I spoke to James Dornan from the SNP, who's also convenor


of Holyrood's Education Committee, and Alex Cole-Hamilton


from the Lib Dems. Alex Cole-Hamilton, what you make of


the delay in the education bill? It is astonishing but not surprising.


We have local Government elections coming up and are a lot of questions


record on education. It isn't in the record on education. It isn't in the


-- Nicola Sturgeon said she wanted to be judged on, yet consistently,


this Government have failed the children in Scotland that they are


sliding down the international league tables as a result of the


scores that were announced earlier this year and it is a real millstone


around the neck of the SNP. So it's not surprising it has been delayed.


But were always demanded that politicians should think about


things and listen to what the people are saying to them, rather than just


coming up with snap headlines and John Swinney argues that it will be


perfectly sensible to say, I've got a response to this may change my


ideas on it, so I want a bit more time. That would have currency if


the SNP were listening. But if you look at the standardised assessments


they want to bring in, which is effectively national testing by any


other name, they are going people like the EIS who said it will crush


staff and pupils alike. Yes, if I believe the Education


Secretary was listening to professionals, then full marks to


him, but he is not. And I think national testing is a perfect


example of that. James Dornan, I assume you would not claim that the


record on education is anything other than pretty poor at the


moment. Do you think John Swinney is right to take a bit more time to


consider what to do about it? It is more important to get things right


than do things early. You take the time to make sure what is going to


come out in the bill is exactly what the Cabinet secretaries looking for


and that what the people of Scotland require. I heard Alec talking about


the fight the Tories are in favour of it doesn't necessarily mean it's


a bad thing, but he is part of a Government that spent... I was


wondering how long it will take you to mention that. It's more than to


sentences. That because I'm a gentleman thought I would


sentences. That because I'm a other point first. Of course the


Cabinet Secretary is right to take his time. But also, if we talk about


standardised assessments... Right, OK. They said in 2015 we needed a


robust system and had to learn about the learning in progress, so this is


the only way to do that. It has today standardised system right


across the whole of education. We have to know how children are doing.


Be that only works... What I have to know how children are doing.


still unclear about is that as you do tests and you produce the results


and publish them in whatever way, school by school or whatever, then


fine. But there was talk that these would not be raw results, but there


be mixed with teacher assessments, which makes the whole thing entirely


subjective. Which is to be? Which do you think it should be? The


important thing is that we get the information and we have the


information. It has to be that the information... We have to know how


different schools are doing. We have to have pupils are doing in terms of


where they are in the system. But my point is if you have an element of


teacher assessment in the results, then that is what you publish.


You're not getting that data you are talking about, because... Be them as


a separation between both of those things. You have to have the actual


data. What is wrong with that? If you publish date of that kind in any


format that will invariably lead to a league tables, as we saw under the


Conservative Government under Margaret Thatcher. The result of


that and if you listen to teaching unions and teachers, you can see


pressure on staff within primary schools and hot housing kids so that


they can make sure their school shows up favourably on the league


tables. I can see why some people in the trade unions may be against it


because it puts pressure on them if they are not performing well. I


cannot see that argument applied to they are not performing well. I


either the interests of the children or their parents. Why is it not


reasonable for parents to want to know how their children's School


compares against other similar schools? It is reasonable for


appearance to want to know how their children are getting on in class,


but you would also want to know that your children are not being


artificially hot housed to one single day of exams, when the


curriculum for excellence... Your argument would make sense if we


said, standardised tests are not the way to do this, this is our version


of how we will compare schools with others so we know which are


performing well and which badly, but you do not have any alternative


suggestion. Take Edinburgh, for example, there has been standardised


assessment in Edinburgh for a while, but that is not published in league


tables that invariably what the government are planning will be to,


but it gives educational authorities and schools and understanding -- and


understanding of what is happening within schools. So you're saying


that standardised testing is OK, and league tables ROK as long as the


secret? Not at all. This is a national framework. I am talking


about the way individually benchmark the progress of the individual


children within schools. This is not a secret. It is used within schools


to see what need certain classes and individual children have, but let us


remember the pressure we are putting our kids under. A charity which


deals with the mental health primary school children published a survey


which said 60% of primary seven children worried about something.


Mango I would suggest that it is a disaster, the system has been geared


to fail the children when the exact opposite is the case. We cannot talk


about pigeonholing children while at the same time having curriculum for


excellence in there. It makes no sense. But doesn't your idea of


standardised testing, the Conservatives are calling for the --


a review of curriculum for excellence. Arguably that has


already been implemented by John Swinney and Nicola Sturgeon because


the standardised testing singles against the grain of curriculum for


excellence. Perhaps correctly, given the problems with it, but it is not


consistent with its. The whole thing was supposed to be about individual


assessment, there was even talk in primary schools of children taking


part in their own assessment. That not fit at all with standardised


testing in primary schools. Curriculum for excellence is about


giving the broader base and that easier way of learning for the


child. But we still have to know that insurgents subjects that


children are reaching specific benchmarks we can target resources


where they are required. Curriculum for excellence has proven to be a


great success and trendy schools, it is starting to show it can be a


great success in primary schools -- a great success in secondary


schools. We have to leave it there. Now time to look back


at the week gone by and ahead to the next seven


days, in The Week Ahead. This week, I'm joined


by the journalist Kathleen Nutt, who writes for the National among


others, and the political David, this referendum thing,


something has got to give. Theresa May says no, it should not happen,


and Nicola Sturgeon increasingly stridently saying yes, it will. What


gives? In two weeks Article 50 will be triggered, and we have the SNP


conference. It is unlikely that Nicola Sturgeon will use the


conference to formally call for another referendum, but she might


conference to formally call for request the power to do so, but


things do feel like they are coming to a head. There was an element of


doublespeak that the Scottish Tory conference which I find interesting.


Speaker after speaker said we will oppose a referendum, we will do


everything possible to stop a referendum, but every journalist


knows behind the scenes they are effectively saying they have no


choice to agree -- back to agree to one if it is requested, but they


will attach caveats. The caveats being to do with timing? Yes, timing


is the crucial thing. Some people think it should be after Brexit. I


think after Theresa May's speech on Friday, the chances of a second


independence referendum are much stronger now. I think she came up to


Scotland and gave the SNP a hard time for raising the issue of


constitutional politics,... I think it was not politically astute of her


to raise the prospect of power is coming back in devolved areas, that


these powers over agriculture, environment and fisheries would stay


with Westminster. Rather than coming up to Holyrood. This would be


interpreted as a weakening Scotland at a time when she wants to


strengthen the union, which I think will backfire on her. Conservatives


like Ruth Davidson and her colleagues, they say, it is not fair


to say that, when I say, could you not be a bit more imaginative about


that? Would it not be possible for the British government to say, this


is a fantastic opportunity, here is what we're proposing, and challenge


the Scottish Nationalists to reject it. Do you not think they could be


more imaginative? On the powers? On they could talk about immigration.


Politicians could always be what imaginative. They are coming over as


just seeing no. They are hamstrung by promises made by leave


campaigners, when they got carried away saying, there will be all these


amazing powers. Now they are pulling back slightly. I find it slightly


difficult to believe that a second independence referendum will turn on


agricultural and fishery subsidies. And the weakening of devolution. It


is more nuanced than that. It is more in the remake of shared powers,


and about a change of middleman, really. Now we're leaving the


European Union, the subsidies and so one... In truth it is fiendishly


difficult and can be interpreted in any way you like, obviously, but I


think for most voters, they will not be altogether interested. On the


other side, just some obvious examples, there might be a case for


the British government saying we have to have control over


agriculture for example in times of emergency we need food security.


There are also arguments about common standards across the UK,


which is in the interest of Scottish Parliament cos you are exposed


mainly to England. I think the SNP and Scottish Government would agree


with that, they will work together on the shared powers, but at the


same time, we're talking about an independence referendum. That does


not necessarily need to happen if Theresa May actually agreed to your


proposals, which would allow Scottish to remain. Can Nicola


Sturgeon backdown on a referendum? Scottish to remain. Can Nicola


She has made it very difficult for her to backdown. If she does, she


will lose a tremendous amount of face, like Gordon Brown in 2007 with


the election. I think the pressure is on balance for calling another


one. Can she backdown? If Theresa May promises to keep Scotland in the


single market, in a special Brexit deal, but otherwise no.


All right, we have to leave it there.


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


The thing that's so clear is that it's 100% honest.


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