05/05/2013 Sunday Politics South West


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In the South West: The local elections dealt body blows to the


coalition parties, new footholds for Labour and the breakthrough UKIP had


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2227 seconds


Hello, I'm Martyn Oates, coming up on the Sunday Politics in the South


West...we'll hear from some of the region's brand new UKIP Councillors.


First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you,


and then you win. And for the next 20 minutes, I'm


joined by Conservative MP George Eustice and the Lib Dem peer John


Burnett. Strangely enough, we're kicking off with UKIP. In Thursday's


elections they took their first seats on each of the four South West


councils up for grabs. Across the patch that breaks down to one


councillor in Dorset, three in Somerset, four in Devon and six in


Cornwall. George, three of those are in your very marginal constituency.


You must be worried about that. Look, my constituency has always had


a strong UKIP contingent, I myself was a UKIP candidate before, I have


never hidden that fact or the reason why I left, which is that I felt


UKIP are counter-productive to the cause they claim to support. In the


case of the euro debate ten years ago, they said you couldn't keep the


pound and stay in the union, they have been proven wrong on that. Now,


they are counter-productive to the debate we are having about


negotiating. I've got a majority of 66, and with that majority, you are


never complacent. You can either threat -- fret about your components


or you can roll your sleeves up and get things done and have a record to


stand on for the next election. That's what I've been doing.


Nationally, I have read a campaign. John, you are a Euro-sceptic Lib


Dem. Many people probably don't even believe that exists! I remember Nick


Clegg wrote a paper about eight or nine years ago and the thrust of it


was Europe should do less and do it better. I hope he dusts that down. I


always was against the euro. What was George, campaign director of the


anti-euro group? I'm not Euro-sceptic, I'm a euro realist. I


don't believe the British people want to see that. I think David


Cameron's speech earlier this year hit the nail on the head in many


ways. We always have a problem in mid-term. Economy, immigration and


the EU are all important issues. In a moment we'll be joined by the


UKIP chairman Steve Crowther, to find out what we can expect from


UKIP councillors in office. But first, here's John Henderson with a


look a the rise of UKIP in the South West.


Making history, Cornwall's first ever UKIP councillor celebrates.


flabbergasted. We're very close in many seats and I think the main


parties are shocked. Perhaps picking up votes from its opposition to gay


marriage and a type of renewable energy. Wind turbines are a big


issue here. Not least because of the increasing recognition of the


concern over health effects. They won in Somerset. It sends a very


important message to the Government that the people are not happy with


issues surrounding the European Union. They won in Devon. Everyone


seems fed up, is the best way I can put it. With everything. And they


won in Dorset. Gandhi once said first they ignore you, then they


laugh at you, then they fight you, and then you win. You get started


life in the early 1990s. They got their first MEP in 1999. In 2004,


they got any other, and the party still got to South West MEPs. At


times, they made a lot of noise. This was William Dartmouth getting


high rate a few years ago. The Tories branded them a party of


clowns, but they cranked up their push in the South West. Nigel Farage


brought the party bus into battle. The party put up over 200 candidates


across the four Southwest counties, a record number with its leader keen


for even more. If anyone is here who is not yet a UKIP candidate, please


come forward. One such candidate was Susan Bowen. She bowed out as the


UKIP candidate after being disowned for speaking at a BMP perform a


rally in 2010. Some in the north Cornish town were nonplussed.


don't like the BNP as an organisation. There was no sign of


her on the campaign trail, but her name remained on the ballot paper.


She came second, beating the Conservatives. Immigration is what


we're all talking about but nobody listens to it. UKIP is a way of


protesting. Until Friday, UKIP councillors were thin on the ground


in the south-west. Julian Parrott has been the sole UKIP voice in


Torbay. For the past few years, he has been brushing shoulders with the


established political classes, the mainstream, which he says has run


out of ideas. We're seeing the breakdown of tribal boating on the


basis of one out ideology. Where is the bedrock Labour and Conservative


support? That now is a thing of the past. We're now talking about a


society which is very differently structured. UKIP remains a long way


from council control, but it has made a lot of people in the region


wonder, what might be next? George, is it not likely that UKIP


is making this breakthrough because, frankly, it is offering policies


which appealed to Tory voters when you are not, and in fact you often


dismiss and deride these policies? think what is absolutely true if


this is a big protest vote. There is a lot of disillusionment, and we


need to listen to that protest and respond to it. But when I've been


going around and talking to people, I find when I explain to them what


we've already done, promising an EU referendum and cutting immigration


by a third, sorting out the welfare system, they actually don't realise


the things we've achieved. So it is about helping people to understand


what this Government has achieved. Well, UKIP are opposed to gay


marriage, wind farms, they will protect the countryside. Aren't


these key things which are pressing buttons on the countryside? Yes. I


would say probably the majority of UKIP voters are former Tory voters.


A lot of people in your party agree with these policies. Well, we have


been trying to get the planning policy changed so that we can reject


more wind farms. We are doing a lot to sort out the school system. You


don't have to go back to grammar schools to improve the education


system. Steve, is this a protest boat? It isn't just a protest vote.


There is this language in politics which party is used to explain away


bad results at half term. That is not what is happening. We've spent


20 years building up to where we are. What's interesting is you


mentioned a number of things to George. They are not conservative


policies, they are the policies of all the other parties. There is


nothing to choose between them. This is why UKIP has gained a seats


nationally. It is not any EU vote, it is about disillusionment.


Essentially, there is no differentiation between the other


parties in Government. A lot of those things they are supporting,


people do not like. There is no question that a lot of your policies


appealed to Tory voters. We've got to get away from this idea that UKIP


takes away Tory voters. It has taken away large numbers of labour and Lib


Dem voters. It has also done one other thing, which I'm very proud


of, which is bringing new people back into the democratic process. In


the Eastleigh by-election, 15% of people were those who hadn't voted


in years. We believe in renewable energy, of course we do. That is


what the planning system is all about. We are fully supportive of


the academy programme. If you ask the Labour Party now, they would be


against that programme. So let's just look at it in the context of


history. I don't dismiss lightly what UKIP have done, but only a


third of people went to vote last time, and in addition to that...


Sorry, I just want to come back to the policy on and -- on wind farms.


Is their concern over the health associated with wind turbines?


something we are looking very closely at. But I would like to


point out this is not about wind farms. It is about energy. Well,


your objection to wind farms is people argue they are ugly. That


isn't our objection. Our objection, the problem is - and it is the great


illustration of where we have come from dashed the other governing


parties have left us in a pickle. They have entirely failed to equip


this country with the resources that we will have need of. There will be


soaring prices and massive energy poverty. All the governing parties


have contributed to that. That is why we find ourselves rising in


popularity. We have been utterly let down by our governing parties. Even


the chairman of gem is coming on to the BBC, saying we're facing a


catastrophe. Are you at all concerned that any of your


councillors might embarrass you in office in the way some of your


candidates in Paris due during this campaign? I'm very campaigned -- I'm


very proud of our candidates. happens very embarrassing incidents


during the campaign. I'd like to point out less than 0.5% of the


candidates were in any way embarrassing. But you don't


routinely get this with other parties, do you? The media would be


on it like a shock if one of the governing parties had an


embarrassing candidate who spoke at a BNP rally, for example. The point


is, there was a concerted effort by the other parties to actually trawl


through every word that any of our candidates had any -- had ever put


on the Internet and tried to find embarrassing things. If we had done,


it would've been a more fair playing field, to be honest. I'm very proud


of our candidates. They are ordinary folk who have worked for years. You


will see now what it means to elect UKIP could representatives. They


will work at the grassroots and represent the views of their


electorate. Steve Crowther, thank you. Now, with


a whistlestop tour of how all the other parties did on Thursday,


here's Ben Woolvin. The Tories kept control of Devon and


Somerset county councils, their relief almost palpable. The people


of Somerset have spoken, they said they clearly understand some of the


tough decisions we've had to make, but they'd seen the plan we have for


the future, the plan for jobs, for investment, for looking after


vulnerable children. They've said yes to that plan, and I'm really


happy. But voters had a different message for the Conservatives of


Cornwall, who now face the prospect of opposition, having lost 18


councillors, including their former leader, Alec Robertson. It's really


sad. I was a council leader myself mid-term, and it is really awful


when hard-working councillors who have served their communities well


lose their seats because people want to send a message to Westminster.


It's really sad. The Lib Dems only lost two seats here, making them the


biggest party on Cornwall Council. In Dorset, the Lib Dems lost four,


in Devon, where they once enjoyed control, the party has been reduced


to nine. The man who leads them is preparing for the bunker. I love an


old saying by our party president which is that after the nuclear


war, the two things that would be left would be cockroaches and


Liberal Democrats with leaflets knocking on doors. Around here, we


claim to be indestructible because we aim to serve the public well.


Labour made 17 gains across the region. They now have eight


councillors in Cornwall, including a former MP. They lost the only seat


they were defending here. Jude Robertson was beaten by 40 votes.


The Greens got their first councillor in Cornwall and held on


in Totnes. The Cornish nationalists gained one. But the people of


Cornwall once again find themselves with no overall control. The Lib


Dems have started power-sharing talks, but with very little love


lost between them and some of the more influential independents, those


negotiations are likely to be seated. We're joined now by two more


guests, Michael, the new Labour councillor in Cornwall, and


political analyst Adrian Lee. I want to begin with you, Michael, because


your result is very interesting indeed. There are few places in the


south-west which are traditional pockets of support. There is really


no recent tradition where you are from. Yes, Labour went from fifth to


first and I'm aware that is a very strong personal boat. Across


Cornwall, I think Labour went from one councillor to eight. There are


no no-go areas for the Labour Party. When you say it was a personal


boat, are you suggesting it is a one-off? I'm proud to be Cornish and


Labour and that was an important part of me standing. I'm very proud


of my principles, which I've had that over 20 years. People knew I


was a strong Labour candidate, someone who would stand up for our


local area, so I think it is a combination of trust for me as a


politician and a representative to speak up for the people, but also a


recognition that I have strong principles, a progressive programme,


a positive approach to working together, and standing up for our


communities. Adrian, has significant do you think this is? We pore over


the traditional Labour areas after every car -- after every election,


don't we? Well, Labour had a disastrous result in 2009. This


time, they have made considerable headway. We now back to where they


were in the 1990s. The fact there is no Liberal Democrat representation


in Exeter any more, it is entirely Labour apart from a couple of


conservative areas. Elsewhere they did fairly well, particularly well.


And of course getting seats like gun is late, which was almost a


hereditary Labour supporting position. Elsewhere, in Somerset,


they held onto Wellington. They've got a base upon which they can


expand, but they were starting from a very low base indeed. George, the


Conservatives had a really grim day, didn't they, in Cornwall?


was disappointing, and we lost a lot of good councillors because a lot of


our support voted UKIP. In some cases, that allowed UKIP candidates


to win outright, but in other places it allowed the Lib Dems to take


seats from is. That is disappointing but we have to listen to that. It is


always sad when hard-working people lose their seats as a result of a


protest vote. A drink, how bad was it for the Lib Dems? Pretty bad.


They held on better in Cornwall than elsewhere, especially south


Cornwall. But in Devon, Dorset and Somerset, therefore in the share of


the vote was fairly uniform. The only bright spot for the is of


course their position in Cornwall. John, you must be worried, not least


if Labour is spreading into fresh areas, because you two have had


Billy -- had the region basically sewn up. We did well in Cornwall, we


didn't gain any seats, we didn't lose any seats. Devon wasn't good


for us, I admit that. What is interesting for others is to see the


protest vote not just being with Labour, but Labour and UKIP. I think


history does teach us lessons. Labour is on the march in the


south-west, you will suffer, when you? We will. But let's see. The


economy is not in a good position, if it has improved by the election,


I think the governing parties will get the recognition that. The


deficit has gone down by a third. We will have a good story to tell and


we will concentrate on the policies of the other two parties. We've got


to draw the line there I'm afraid in. It's time for our political


round-up of the week in 60 seconds. Demand for food banks continues to


increase, bringing the total in the region to 18, according to one of


the biggest providers. This is an ongoing thing, not just a recent


thing. Concern from doctors as a private


company takes on the running of nonemergency ambulances across most


of the south-west. This has to be a concern.


Solicitors claim legal aid cuts will damage justice. They are going to be


pressurised to plead guilty. Somerset farmers asked the


Government health -- help after a year of disastrous flooding. People


are still adamant that they want the job done.


And Plymouth submits its bid for UK city of culture 2017.


John, you are a lawyer. Do you share these concerns? All I would say is


legal aid for all criminal matters has been retained, anything to do


with children has been retained, and at the end of the cutbacks, we will


still have the most generous legal system probably in the whole of


Europe. George, do you sympathise with the lawyers? We've got a lot,


the biggest legal aid bill and we need to reduce it. I think we should


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