20/10/2013 Sunday Politics South West


20/10/2013

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Good morning and welcome to The Sunday Politics. Alex Salmond says a

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vote for Scottish independence would be an act of national self belief.

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His deputy joins us live from the SNP conference in Perth. Is

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Whitehall meddling too much in modern affairs? The Communities

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Secretary, Eric Pickles, joins me for The Sunday Interview. Senior

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coppers will be answering questions this week over the Andrew bachelor

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for. In the South West: A warning the

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promise of affordable flood insurance for all is far from

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water`tight. And the sheep farmers calling for a relaxation of the

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hunting ban. All of that to come. And the Home

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Office minister sacked by Nick Clegg, who says his party is like a

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wonky shopping trolley, which keeps veering off to the left. He will

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join us live at noon. With me to unpack all of this, Nick Watt, Helen

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Lewis and Iain Martin. They will be tweeting throughout the programme,

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using hashtag #bbcsp. It is the last day of the Scottish national party

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conference in Perth. We have discovered that Alex Salmond has

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been on the same diet as Beyonce. The SNP leader compared his attempts

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to lose weight with the campaign for independence - lots achieved so far,

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20 more to do. In a moment, I will be joined by the deputy leader of

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the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon. First they report on the independence

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campaign. September 18 2014, the date of destiny for Scotland, the

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day when these campaigners hope its people will decide to vote yes for

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independence. In a recent poll, only 14% said they knew enough to vote

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either way. That is unlikely to change any time soon. I think the

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Scottish people will be going to the polls next year still not knowing an

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awful lot of stuff which is important, because the outcome, in

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terms of taxation, debt, exactly what will happen to the allocation

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of assets between the two countries, will come about as a result of

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negotiation between a Scottish government and the UK Government.

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That is not stuff which will be known year. At the moment, polls

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suggest Scotland will decide to remain within the UK. A recent

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survey found that 44% of those questioned planned to vote no, 5%

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yes. But interestingly, the undecideds were at 31%, suggesting

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that Alex Salmond's task might be tough but not impossible. There are

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a number of reasons which make a vanilla campaign a good idea. It

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does not put off cautious voters, it allows for people to imagine their

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own version of what independence will be like, and crucially, it

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allows for the yes campaign to take advantage of any mistakes by the no

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campaign. In other words, the yes campaign are not out there with big

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ideas, they are just waiting for the no campaign to trip up. What we do

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know is that whatever happens next September, Scotland will be getting

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more power. From 2016, a separate income tax regime will come into

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force, giving the Scottish Parliament control over billions of

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pounds of revenue. What we do not know yet is how the alternative

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would pan out. There are issues which would be raised by

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independence, issues about how the national debt is allocated, what the

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currency will look like, how an independent Scotland would balance

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the books, because it would have a bigger job to do, even down the

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Whitehall government has to do. Those are really big issues, which a

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Scottish government would have to face, on top of whatever negotiation

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it had to have with the UK Government. The Scottish

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government's White Paper on independence, two to be published

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within weeks, should fill in some of the banks. But how Scotland votes in

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September may yet be determined by what it feels rather than what it

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knows. And joining me from Perth is Scotland's Deputy First Minister,

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Nicola Sturgeon. Nicola Sturgeon, we meet again! Hello, Andrew. Former

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leader of the SNP Gordon Wilson said, if this referendum fails, it

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will fail on the basis that people put their British identity ahead of

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their Scottish identity, so we have got to attack on the British

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identity - what does he mean? Gordon Wilson is a very respected, much

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loved former leader of the SNP. My view is that I do not think the

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independence referendum is really about identity. I am secure and

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proud of my Scottish identity, but this is a decision about where power

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best lies. Do decision-making powers best lie here in Scotland, with a

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government which is directly accountable to the people of

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Scotland, or does it best lie in Westminster, with governments which,

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very often, people in Scotland do not vote for? That is the issue at

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the heart of the campaign. Let me just clarify, you do not agree with

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him, that you need to go on the attack with regard to the British

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identity of Scottish people? No I do not think we are required to

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attack British identity. It is absolutely compatible for somebody

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to feel a sense of British identity but still support Scottish

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independence, because Scottish independence is about a transfer of

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power. It is about good government, accountable government, ensuring

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that decisions are taking here in Scotland, by people who have got the

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biggest stake in getting those decisions right. I represent a

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constituency in the south side of Glasgow, and if you speak to many

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people in my constituency, if you ask them their national identity,

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many of them would say Irish, Pakistani, Indian, Polish, and many

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of them will vote yes next year because they understand the issue at

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stake, which is the issue of where decisions are best taken. It looks

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like you are changing tack ex-, you have realised the softly softly

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approach, of saying that actually, nothing much will change, we will

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still have the Queen, the currency, and all the rest of it, is moving

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over towards voting for a left-wing future for Scotland... Well, I know

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that what we are doing is pointing out is pointing out the choice

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between two futures. If we vote yes, we take our own future into our own

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hands. We make sure that for ever after, we have governments which

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will be in demented policies which we have voted for. If we do not

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become independent, then we continue to run the risk of having

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governments not only that we do not vote for, but often, that Scotland

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rejects. We are seeing the dismantling of our system of social

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security. There are politicians in all of the UK parties who are

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itching to cut Scotland's share of spending. So Scotland faces a choice

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of two futures, and it is right to point out the positive consequences

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of voting yes, but also the consequences of voting no. But you

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are promising to reverse benefit cuts and increase the minimum wage.

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You would renationalise the Royal Mail, though how you would do that

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nobody knows. You are promising to cut energy bills. These are the kind

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of promises that parties make in a general election campaign, not in a

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once in 300 years extra stench or choice. Is the future of Scotland

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really going to be decided on the size of the minimum wage? --

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existential choice. A yes vote would be about bringing decision-making

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powers home, but we are also setting out some of the things an SNP

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government would do, if elected A decision on what the first

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government of an independent Scotland would be would not be taken

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in the referendum, that decision would be taken in the 2016 election.

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And all of the parties will put forward their offers to the

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electorate. We are setting out some of the things which we think it is

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important to be prioritised. These are things which have a lot of

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support in Scotland. We see the pain being felt by people because of the

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rising cost of energy bills, there is widespread opposition to some of

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the welfare cuts. So, we are setting out the options which are open to

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Scotland, but only open to Scotland if we have the powers of

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independence. Given that you seem to be promising aid permanent socialist

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near Varna, if Scotland is independent, if you are right of

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centre in Scotland, and I understand that is a minority pursuit where you

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are, but it would be a big mistake to vote for independence, in that

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case, wouldn't it? No, because the whole point of independence is that

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people get the country they want, and the government a vote for. So,

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right of centre people should not vote for independence? No, because

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people who are of that political persuasion in Scotland get the

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opportunity to vote for parties which represent that persuasion and

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if they can persuade a majority to vote likewise, then they will get a

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government which reflects that. That is the essence of independence.

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Right now, we have a Westminster government which most people in

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Scotland rejected at the last general election. That is hardly

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democratic. It is right and proper that the SNP, as the current

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government, points out the opportunities that would be opening

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up. Can I just clarify one thing, when we spoke on The Daily Politics

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earlier last week, you made it clear to me that Alex Salmond, we know he

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wants to debate with David Cameron, but you made it clear to me that he

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would debate with Alistair Darling as well, and Mr Carmichael... He

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made it clear yesterday. Well, he said to the BBC this morning that he

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would only debate with these people after he had had a debate with Mr

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Cameron, so who is right? I was making the point last week, and Alex

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Salmond was making it yesterday and this morning - let's have that

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agreement by David Cameron to come and debate with Alex Salmond, and

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then Alex Salmond, just like me will debate with allcomers. So if he

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does not get the David Cameron debate, then he will not do the

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others, is that right? Let's focus on is wading David Cameron to do the

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right thing. So, in other words he will not debate, yes or no? Members

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of the SNP government... We know that, but what about Alex Salmond?

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He said yesterday, we will debate with all sorts of people, including

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the people you have spoken about, but David Cameron should not be let

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off the hook just putting aside the independence issue, energy prices

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are now even playing into the SNP, so every political party has to do

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something about energy prices. Yes, it is clearly it is interesting is

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the difference between the SNP and the Labour approach. Ed Miliband

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electrified the party conference season when he said he would freeze

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energy prices for 20 months, seemingly having an amazing control

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over the energy market, where we know that essentially what pushes

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prices up the wholesale prices on world market. What Nicola Sturgeon

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is talking about is actually saying, this amount is added to your bills

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for green levies, and we are going to take them off your bills and they

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will be paid out of general taxation in an independent Scotland. That is

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a credible government, making a credible case, very different to

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what Labour is saying, although playing to the same agenda. So,

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Labour has got a populist policy, the SNP has also got a populist

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policy, the one group of people that do not have a decent response to

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this is the coalition? Exactly. What the SNP also have is a magic money

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pot, so that speech yesterday, you are right, it was very left wing,

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social democratic, but there was none of the icing like Labour has

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been talking about, with fiscal responsibility. I think that is the

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difference between the two. We know what the Tories would really like to

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do, all of these green levies which were put on our bills in the good

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times, when they were going to be the greenest party ever, the Tories

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would like to say, let's just wipe out some of them, put the rest on to

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some general government spending, but they have a problem, which is in

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the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Not only that, they really

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are stuck now. But there is something in the free schools debate

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this morning, the parties are now determined to send a message to

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their potential voters at the next election, that they are trying to

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fight their coalition partners. Do not expected any change in coalition

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policy or free schools policy before the election, but we can expect to

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hear the parties try to pretend that they are taking on their coalition

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partners. Mr Clegg has said, we would put this free schools policy

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into our manifesto, so is it not possible that the Tories will say,

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if you give us an overall majority, we will cut your electricity bill

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because we will get rid of these green levies? I think that is

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entirely possible. The Tories know that they are stuck on this, they do

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not have a response to Ed Miliband. How much should ministers in

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Whitehall medal in local decisions across England? In opposition, David

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Cameron said he wanted a fundamental shift of power from Whitehall to

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local people. He said, when one size fits all solution is...

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Eric Pickles described it as "an historic shift of power". But the

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Communitites and Local Government Secretary can't stop meddling. In

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the past few months Mr Pickles has tried to ban councils from using

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CCTV cameras and "spy cars" to fine motorists... Told councils how to

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act quicker to shut down illegal travellers' sites... Criticised

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councils who want to raise council tax... Insisted councils release

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land to residents hoping to build their own property... And stated new

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homes should have a special built in bin storage section. It seems not a

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week goes by without a policy announcement from the hyper active

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Mr Pickles. So is the government still committed to localism, or is

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it all about centralism now? And Communities Secretary Eric

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Pickles joins me now for the Sunday Interview.

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Welcome. Nice to be here. You said in July you were going to give town

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halls the power to wreak their local magic. So why issue diktats from

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Westminster? It is not about giving power to local councils, it is going

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beyond that to local people. If local councils refuse to open up

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their books, we have to go straight to local people. You have attacked

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councillors using so-called spy cameras to enforce parking rules.

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Why is that your business? Because there is an injustice taking place.

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You cannot use fines to raise money and that is plainly happening. If

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you get yourself a ticket from a CCTV, it could be days or weeks

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before that lands on your doorstep and you have virtually no

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possibility to be able to defend yourself. But just leave it to

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people to vote out the council then. We are trying to enforce the law and

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it clearly states that you cannot use parking fines in order to fund

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general rate. So why are you not taking them to court if they are

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breaking the law? There have been a number of court cases taken by local

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residents. I am there to stand by local residents. Your even trying to

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micromanage, allowing motorist s to park for 15 minutes in local high

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street. Why is that your business? I'm trying to ensure that local

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authorities understand the importance of the town centre. If

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you look at all opinion polls, right now there is a five-minute leeway

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but there are many cases of people being jumped on by parking officials

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for quite trivial things. It is about saying, surely I can go and

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get a pint of milk. But a party that dines out on localism, that is a

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matter for local people, not the men in Whitehall. I have to be on the

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side of local people. That person who wants to go and get a pint of

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milk. Ultimately it is a matter for them. It is a matter for the

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council. But a little bit of criticism is not a bad thing. You

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have now declared war on the wheelie bin and suggested that new homes

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should have built in storage sections. You just cannot help

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meddling! I suppose that is possible. You are a meddler! I am in

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charge of building regulations and planning. So I may have some

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responsibility there. Another one, interfering in local planning

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decisions. A couple of places, you ruled in favour of developers. They

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want to build over 200 houses against the wishes of the parish and

:20:31.:20:38.

district councils. The local MP said the Secretary of State's decision

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runs roughshod over any concept of localism. Now I have to be a

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blushing violet because of course this is still potentially subject to

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judicial review. I have to act properly. And Apple went is entitled

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to justice. -- an applicant. A local authority has a duty to ensure that

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is adequate housing for people in their area. This was not a decision

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that I took as a personal decision, it was on the advice of an

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inspector. But you contradict what David Cameron himself said in 2 12,

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he spoke about a vision where we give communities much more say and

:21:36.:21:42.

local control. People in villages fear big housing estates being

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plonked from above. You have just done exactly that. After a proper

:21:47.:21:59.

quasi judicial enquiry. What we have is planning framework which local

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people can decide where it goes But they cannot say, nothing here. They

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have to have a five-year housing supply. Previous to this government

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decided exactly where houses would go, now local people can take the

:22:16.:22:23.

lead. Anna Silbury said because of the way your department rules, local

:22:24.:22:26.

authorities now have no alternative but to agree development on green

:22:27.:22:36.

belt land. I do not accept that I think around Nottingham there are

:22:37.:22:40.

particular problems with regards to the green belt. The matter has been

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referred back. the green belt. The matter has been

:22:49.:22:59.

want to see development on the green belt but on Brownfield site. We want

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to see underused land. But you have to remember why we have the green

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belt. Not to remember why we have the green

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nice, it is their to prevent conurbations bumping into one

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another. Your conurbations bumping into one

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is vocal about the need to deal what he calls the historic under

:23:19.:23:23.

provision of housing. Shelter says we need 250,000 new homes per year.

:23:24.:23:35.

provision of housing. Shelter says Houston statistics are getting

:23:36.:23:35.

there, but nowhere near that. - housing. You cannot

:23:36.:23:38.

there, but nowhere near that. - localism agenda as well as meeting

:23:39.:23:40.

housing demand. I do not accept that. We inherited a position where

:23:41.:23:53.

the lowest level of building since the 1920s was in place. But it has

:23:54.:23:59.

steadily improved. It does take a while. You cannot have a localism

:24:00.:24:05.

agenda where people call the shots on housing as well as meeting the

:24:06.:24:10.

housing demand. People have a duty to ensure that future generations

:24:11.:24:16.

have somewhere to live. You cannot pull up the drawbridge. There is

:24:17.:24:21.

nothing incompatible between that and localism. Because someone has to

:24:22.:24:27.

be the voice of those people who are going to live there and to make sure

:24:28.:24:34.

there is the proper amount. Plans now exist for more than 150,000

:24:35.:24:40.

homes to be built on protected land, including the green belt. That will

:24:41.:24:45.

mean riding over local concerns Each application will be taken on

:24:46.:24:50.

its own merits. To suggest that there is an assault on the green

:24:51.:24:55.

belt is as far from the truth as you can imagine. Should Andrew Mitchell

:24:56.:24:59.

get his job back if the years exonerated? I would be honoured to

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sit with Andrew Mitchell in the Cabinet. I have always believed his

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version. But it is a matter for the Prime Minister who he has in

:25:12.:25:14.

government. He would have no problem in seeing him back in Cabinet?

:25:15.:25:23.

Absolutely not. Your mother answered Vulcan junior minister Nick balls

:25:24.:25:27.

said about the Royal Charter for the press, there's nothing we have done

:25:28.:25:33.

that troubles me as much as this. Is that your view? It is not. I accept

:25:34.:25:36.

the compromise agreement put together. If the press want to have

:25:37.:25:44.

an additional protection that the Royal Charter offers, then they can

:25:45.:25:49.

move into the system. But if they want to continue independently that

:25:50.:25:55.

is acceptable to me. But you previously echoed Thomas Jefferson,

:25:56.:26:02.

you said for a free society to operate the river of a free press

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has to flow without restriction That is what I said at the time We

:26:08.:26:15.

had to find a compromise. And that seems to me to be a better

:26:16.:26:22.

compromise. Let me just show you this little montage of pictures that

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we have. I could not be happier Then you are in the Desert and there

:26:35.:26:42.

you are in San Francisco. Then you are in the casino. That is my

:26:43.:26:56.

personal favourite. These students took a cardboard cutout of you and

:26:57.:27:02.

took it round the world with them. Did you ever think you would become

:27:03.:27:08.

a student icon? I always felt secretly that that might happen one

:27:09.:27:13.

day. But it came earlier in my career than I thought! Why would

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they do that? I think they thought I could do with a bit of an airing! I

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went to Norfolk earlier, but that looks better. Thank you.

:27:30.:27:37.

On Wednesday senior police folk including chief constables, will be

:27:38.:27:40.

questioned by MPs about what's become known as Plebgate. That's the

:27:41.:27:44.

incident in Downing Street last year which led to the resignation of the

:27:45.:27:47.

government chief whip Andrew Mitchell. Last week the Independent

:27:48.:27:49.

Police Complaints Commission questioned the "honesty and

:27:50.:27:51.

integrity" of police officers who met Mr Mitchell following the row.

:27:52.:27:57.

So do scandals like this affect public trust in the police? Here's

:27:58.:28:04.

Adam Fleming. It's a story of politics, the

:28:05.:28:10.

police, and CCTV. No, not Andrew Mitchell, but an MP's researcher

:28:11.:28:12.

called Alex Bryce and his partner Iain Feis.

:28:13.:28:19.

It started on a summer night in 2011. They'd been in Parliament

:28:20.:28:23.

After a few words with a police officer, Ian was wrestled to the

:28:24.:28:28.

ground. Alex came to have a look and the same thing happened to him. Both

:28:29.:28:32.

were arrested and charged. These pictures emerged on day one of their

:28:33.:28:37.

trial. A trial that was halted because the police version of events

:28:38.:28:44.

just didn't match the footage. A lot of people with incidence like this

:28:45.:28:51.

which we experienced, people think there is no smoke without fire. So

:28:52.:28:55.

when we said we did nothing wrong, people would think police just would

:28:56.:29:02.

not do that. There is always that underlying view that some people

:29:03.:29:06.

have. I think that has been challenged and people who know us

:29:07.:29:11.

believe that. This year the Met apologised and paid compensation.

:29:12.:29:14.

And it's led to an unlikely sort of friendship. When the truth came out

:29:15.:29:20.

about the Andrew Mitchell story I actually sent him an e-mail to

:29:21.:29:24.

congratulate him about the truth coming out. He did send a reply

:29:25.:29:31.

acknowledging that. So where are we with THAT saga? Remember last

:29:32.:29:34.

September? Andrew Mitchell had a row with police at the gates of Downing

:29:35.:29:38.

Street about his bike. He lost his job as chief whip after accusations

:29:39.:29:41.

he called the officers plebs. That, he's always denied. This week the

:29:42.:29:47.

police watchdog the IPCC suggested that three officers may have lied

:29:48.:29:50.

about a meeting with him at the height of the scandal. Add that to

:29:51.:29:56.

the charge sheet of cases that haven't exactly flattered the

:29:57.:30:01.

police. Like the revelation of a cover up over Hillsborough. The

:30:02.:30:05.

prosecution of an officer from the Met over the death of Ian Tomlinson

:30:06.:30:11.

during protests in 2009. Along with news that undercover officers were

:30:12.:30:14.

told to smear the family of Stephen Lawrence. During Thursday's protest

:30:15.:30:19.

by teachers in Westminster the police operation was really, really

:30:20.:30:24.

relaxed. And recent scandals have done nothing to affect society's

:30:25.:30:28.

view of the boys and girls in blue - or should I say hi-vis. About 6 % of

:30:29.:30:32.

the public say they trust the police. And that's not budged since

:30:33.:30:39.

pollsters started measuring it 0 years ago.

:30:40.:30:48.

Of course, in Britain, crime is down, so the perception might be

:30:49.:30:54.

that the police is doing a good job. And the rank-and-file recently

:30:55.:30:58.

seamed pretty chipper at this awards ceremony. Is it a good time to be a

:30:59.:31:04.

police officer? It is a good time. Despite all of the headlines? Still

:31:05.:31:10.

a good time. But speak to officers privately, and they say Plebgate is

:31:11.:31:14.

affecting how the public see them. Some of them also think

:31:15.:31:17.

politicians, the Tories especially, are enjoying that a little too much.

:31:18.:31:23.

Adam Fleming reporting there. Going head-to-head on this issue of trust

:31:24.:31:30.

in the police, a Sunday Mirror columnist and Peter Kirkham, former

:31:31.:31:36.

chief inspector. Peter Kirkham, let me come to you first. Plebgate, the

:31:37.:31:42.

cover-ups over John Charles De menace, the death of Ian Tomlinson,

:31:43.:31:48.

the industrial deception over Hillsborough, why is the culture of

:31:49.:31:53.

deceit so prevalent in the police? I do not agree there is a cultural

:31:54.:31:58.

deceit. These are all individual incidents which raise individual

:31:59.:32:02.

issues. I would suggest that your short headline summarising each of

:32:03.:32:05.

them has taken the most negative view of it. How can you be positive

:32:06.:32:14.

about the police's behaviour over Hillsborough? It remains to be seen

:32:15.:32:18.

with the inquiry but we are probably talking about a handful of senior

:32:19.:32:20.

officers, dealing with the paperwork. Well over 100 testimonies

:32:21.:32:31.

being doctored by the police. Well, those testimonies were true to start

:32:32.:32:36.

with, so the officers have told the truth, and they have been changed

:32:37.:32:41.

for some reason. By the police. By the police all lawyers we have got

:32:42.:32:45.

this thing that the police conflates everything. There are 43 forces

:32:46.:32:51.

there is ACPO, there is the College Of Policing... People say it was a

:32:52.:32:59.

handful of police officers, it wasn't, it was six senior police

:33:00.:33:03.

officers who were alleged to have doctored 106 D4 statements. Even

:33:04.:33:07.

today we are hearing that more than 1000 officers are yet to be spoken

:33:08.:33:16.

to about Hillsborough. -- 164. Do we pretend that Hillsborough, and some

:33:17.:33:19.

of these examples, are the exception rather than the rule? What is the

:33:20.:33:26.

evidence that this is now prevalent in our police? I think there is a

:33:27.:33:31.

lot of evidence, and Plebgate is probably the thing which has

:33:32.:33:34.

clinched it. The public want to know, how deep does this girl? The

:33:35.:33:38.

audacity of a group of policemen who think they can set up a Cabinet

:33:39.:33:44.

minister. Five of those who were arrested and bailed still have not

:33:45.:33:48.

been charged. One of those officers actually wrote an e-mail pretending

:33:49.:33:51.

to be a member of the public. I do not see what the problem is in

:33:52.:33:57.

prosecuting them for that. Taking Plebgate, there are loads of

:33:58.:34:00.

different bits of that incident There is the officers on duty in

:34:01.:34:03.

Downing Street, the issue of who leaked the story to the Sun, there

:34:04.:34:09.

are the officers who claim to have been there who would appear not to

:34:10.:34:12.

have been there, and then we have got the West Midlands meeting

:34:13.:34:15.

issue, which has sort of been resolved this week. There has been

:34:16.:34:24.

misconduct. But at a lower level. But it is the audacity of an

:34:25.:34:27.

organisation which thinks it can take on an elected minister and

:34:28.:34:32.

destroy him for their own political purposes, at a time when the

:34:33.:34:35.

Government are cutting please pay, when they are freezing their

:34:36.:34:39.

pensions and reducing their numbers. It looks very much to all of us the

:34:40.:34:43.

public, that the police are at war with the government, and they are

:34:44.:34:46.

going to do anything they can to discredit the Government. The police

:34:47.:34:51.

would have every reason to be at war with the Government, because there

:34:52.:35:00.

if there is a crisis of trust.. But it looks like they fitted up a

:35:01.:35:05.

Cabinet minister. That remains to be seen, it is being investigated. We

:35:06.:35:11.

know that those Birmingham officers, they totally misrepresented to, if

:35:12.:35:16.

not lied outright, about what was said. Again, that is a

:35:17.:35:20.

misrepresentation of what happened. If you actually go and look at what

:35:21.:35:24.

is said, it is plain from the context, they were saying, he has

:35:25.:35:31.

told us nothing new. But he had in the transcript, it said he hadn't.

:35:32.:35:37.

He would not admit he had used the word pleb. He apologised profusely,

:35:38.:35:42.

he said it would never happen again, he said many things that he had not

:35:43.:35:47.

said before. I agree, which is presumably... Thereon many police

:35:48.:35:52.

forces in this country, they have one of the toughest jobs in the

:35:53.:35:56.

land, they end up getting involved in almost anything which happens in

:35:57.:36:02.

society, and there are obviously a number of difficult examples, but

:36:03.:36:08.

what is the evidence that it is out of hand, other than just several bad

:36:09.:36:16.

apples? This bad apples argument, we have some amazing police people,

:36:17.:36:18.

thank God, but it is because of those that we have to root out the

:36:19.:36:22.

bad ones, the ones that are possibly corrupt. From where most of us are

:36:23.:36:27.

standing, the ones who are being accused of being corrupt, there does

:36:28.:36:30.

not seem to be any process to deal with these people. The trouble with

:36:31.:36:34.

a rotten apple is that it spreads. It is not fair on the good cops to

:36:35.:36:39.

be tainted by this, and I think the police force, as an institution...

:36:40.:36:42.

For all of us, we have to respect the police. There is a problem, is

:36:43.:36:50.

there not? People do worry that if you can fit up a Cabinet minister,

:36:51.:36:56.

you can fit up anybody... . I would disagree that anybody has proved

:36:57.:37:00.

that anybody has been fitted up. We are yet to hear what happened at the

:37:01.:37:04.

gates of Downing Street. But what we do know about the gates of Downing

:37:05.:37:09.

Street is that we were told by the police officers that passers-by had

:37:10.:37:16.

heard this incredible row, where Mitchell's file went was bullied.

:37:17.:37:26.

That is not true... . They did not use those words, actually. All

:37:27.:37:32.

right, but it is clear that the Police Federation jumped on this as

:37:33.:37:43.

a politically motivated campaign... I have always said that politics

:37:44.:37:47.

should be kept out of policing. The federation, they cannot go on

:37:48.:37:51.

strike, but this was to covertly political, so I criticise them for

:37:52.:37:55.

that. Do we need a better way of monitoring the police? We need a

:37:56.:38:01.

more competent and properly resourced Independent police

:38:02.:38:07.

commission. But if you look at those Bravery Awards, every police

:38:08.:38:11.

officer, every year, who acts with bravery... That is the police force

:38:12.:38:18.

we want to believe in. That is the police force you have got. We will

:38:19.:38:24.

leave it there. Coming up in just over 20 minutes, I will be speaking

:38:25.:38:27.

to former Lib Minister Jeremy Browne. And in The Week Ahead,

:38:28.:38:38.

Hello, I'm Martyn Oates. Coming up on the Sunday Politics in the

:38:39.:38:44.

Southwest: No hogwash, I hope, but we will be talking pigs with this

:38:45.:38:48.

expert who is now the farming Minister. Well, George Eustice, new

:38:49.:38:52.

DEFRA minister and pig breeder, is here in our mud`free studio

:38:53.:38:55.

alongside my other guest this week, the Labour councillor Rosie Denham.

:38:56.:39:14.

Welcome to you both. We're kicking off with petrol prices. There had

:39:15.:39:18.

been high hopes in the region that the government would recommend parts

:39:19.:39:22.

of Devon and Cornwall for the rural fuel rebate, which knocks five pence

:39:23.:39:25.

off a litre of petrol. Until Friday, that is, when ministers announced

:39:26.:39:28.

they were only seeking EU approval for Lynton in Devon. It is clear to

:39:29.:39:37.

see there was an expectation this would not boil down to one single

:39:38.:39:40.

town in the Hall of Devon and Cornwall? I am disappointed.

:39:41.:39:48.

Cornwall would have hoped to have one of the tones down here

:39:49.:39:54.

designated as well. They were looking at very isolated areas and

:39:55.:39:58.

we are the costs were consistently much, much higher than the national

:39:59.:40:03.

average. The rules were stripped, but couldn't they have contained

:40:04.:40:15.

expectations are bit? `` strict. Andrew George said he expected more.

:40:16.:40:19.

It was the pilot in the Isles of Scilly. It is never easy. We have

:40:20.:40:28.

also got to recognise what the government has done. We have frozen

:40:29.:40:35.

fuel duty every year since we have been in power. George Osborne says

:40:36.:40:39.

he will freeze fuel duty right up until the next election. That has

:40:40.:40:46.

taken around 10% off of what these prices would have been. Danny

:40:47.:40:53.

Alexander said today I would like a longer list of pounds benefiting

:40:54.:41:01.

from this. Labour, in all the years in government, did nothing about

:41:02.:41:09.

this. I think people in these towns will see a cost of living crisis and

:41:10.:41:15.

able think is their of the government can offer? I think they

:41:16.:41:18.

will be looking to the government to come up with something more

:41:19.:41:22.

substantive. What will the government do about the fact people

:41:23.:41:27.

cannot get on the housing ladder? We still have a lot of young people out

:41:28.:41:32.

of work. What will the government do about the fact prices have been

:41:33.:41:35.

rising much, much faster than income. We will expand the debate

:41:36.:41:43.

but we must move on to flooding. Flooding has ruined countless homes

:41:44.:41:46.

in the south`west in recent years and many families are now having

:41:47.:41:49.

trouble getting flood insurance. Some have been quoted excesses of

:41:50.:41:52.

more than ?10,000. One analyst blames uncertainty over the scheme

:41:53.:41:54.

ministers promised would guarantee affordable insurance for flood

:41:55.:42:00.

victims. More on that in a moment. But first, this report from John

:42:01.:42:08.

Danks. Floods brought misery to many here last year. The drainage system

:42:09.:42:15.

in this village was overwhelmed by the amount of rain that fell. This

:42:16.:42:20.

woman who runs the village shop was one of the lucky ones. The

:42:21.:42:27.

floodwater kept all the way up here to abide here. It came to the top of

:42:28.:42:34.

the curb. It did not come across the pavement. It did not come into the

:42:35.:42:40.

shop over the year. By Cannes she was lucky until she received the

:42:41.:42:46.

renewal notice for the insurance on her shop. I would understand it if

:42:47.:42:54.

we had made a clean, but we did not make a claim, it did not even come

:42:55.:42:59.

over the pavement. This year her quote had risen to more than ?2700,

:43:00.:43:06.

the excess for flooding was an eye watering ?10,500. We really felt

:43:07.:43:15.

like we would like to close, it just was not worth being. If we had to

:43:16.:43:19.

use all the money we have in the bank for cash flow we just could not

:43:20.:43:27.

do it. We would be bankrupt. The principles agreed between the

:43:28.:43:32.

industry and government are in the process of change. Analysts believe

:43:33.:43:36.

this could be why some premiums are becoming unaffordable and excesses

:43:37.:43:42.

increasing. Ministers say the new plan means people no longer have to

:43:43.:43:47.

live in fear of being uninsurable. Under the plans household insurers

:43:48.:43:51.

would be into a fund which would cover the cost. Premiums would

:43:52.:43:59.

become more competitive for those in high`risk homes by bidders still

:44:00.:44:03.

concerned some insurers would try to charge high excesses. This woman got

:44:04.:44:13.

a better policy with someone else. She may however face a similar

:44:14.:44:16.

struggle when her policy comes up for we knew all next year. ``

:44:17.:44:25.

renewal. John Danks reporting. One charity which helps flood victims

:44:26.:44:28.

who are struggling to get insurance says it has seen a rise in calls to

:44:29.:44:32.

its helpline. Earlier, I asked the National Flood Forum's Paul Cobbing

:44:33.:44:35.

to explain why. When people are buying and selling houses it may

:44:36.:44:38.

well be that solicitors are doing searches on flood risk. Some of the

:44:39.:44:43.

other aspects of that, in terms of premiums, these have been around

:44:44.:44:50.

insurance companies are appealing for what was going to be the end of

:44:51.:44:55.

the statement of principles. Eight macro when you see was going to be,

:44:56.:45:00.

you are suggesting the transition will not happen as the government

:45:01.:45:06.

says it will? There were proposals made in July which we approve of.

:45:07.:45:13.

The government says it is getting people peace of mind a deal that

:45:14.:45:18.

will guarantee affordable flood insurance, that sounds concrete. We

:45:19.:45:26.

have got a proposal in principle. We have a detailed negotiation going on

:45:27.:45:31.

to secure that deal. If it goes through, as stated, it will be

:45:32.:45:37.

really good. Unlike now, where the current arrangements cover access to

:45:38.:45:42.

insurance but not affordability, these new arrangements will cover

:45:43.:45:46.

affordability. The issues are that it is not guaranteed and will be a

:45:47.:45:51.

deal. It is significant because part of the deal lies `` relies on state

:45:52.:45:59.

aid approval from The European Commission. That is significant.

:46:00.:46:03.

There are some big cash flows for the insurance industry that need

:46:04.:46:08.

agreed. We have to make sure this is something they whole insurance

:46:09.:46:12.

industry can buy into. They have agreed in principle but significant

:46:13.:46:17.

details need sorted. What happens otherwise? There is a plan B which

:46:18.:46:28.

the industry will not like either. That is a regulated arrangement

:46:29.:46:32.

whereby insurance companies are required to offer flood risk

:46:33.:46:35.

insurance at affordable rates to householders. Because the insurance

:46:36.:46:40.

industry really does not want that, nor does government, the pressure is

:46:41.:46:47.

on to make this deal work. At the moment we have a temporary extension

:46:48.:46:51.

to the statement of principles. I'll be seeing this problem at the

:46:52.:46:57.

moment? When I talk to insurance companies they all tell me that the

:46:58.:47:02.

household insurance market is very, very competitive. The margins on it

:47:03.:47:08.

are very small and they actually sometimes make losses. That is part

:47:09.:47:23.

of insurance. I think what they are probably doing is making adjustments

:47:24.:47:25.

to true market conditions. This does not help people who are trying to

:47:26.:47:29.

ensure their homes. Paul Cobbing from the National Flood Forum

:47:30.:47:33.

talking to me earlier. This seems a worrying conflict of opinion. DEFRA

:47:34.:47:39.

say affordable flood insurance will be guaranteed that he is suggesting

:47:40.:47:43.

that is far from the case in reality. It is the case it will be

:47:44.:47:49.

guaranteed. The statement of principles we have had for the last

:47:50.:47:53.

few years has helped people get insurance but it is not a perfect

:47:54.:48:00.

long`term insurance situation. How big are the obstacles? There was an

:48:01.:48:07.

agreement this summer which will now take cheap with the Water Bill which

:48:08.:48:13.

is imminent. You are seeing this will definitely happen? That is

:48:14.:48:21.

right. There will be elements in the Water Bill which relate to this

:48:22.:48:27.

agreement. All insurance `` all insurers will pay into it and charge

:48:28.:48:33.

a small levy from all of their customers to make sure there is a

:48:34.:48:41.

pool of money to pay for these high`risk homes. It was a

:48:42.:48:51.

complicated negotiation. I think officials would have been looking in

:48:52.:48:55.

great detail and they are confident they have managed to find a way of

:48:56.:48:59.

addressing concerns. This is a solution, a better solution than the

:49:00.:49:08.

statement of principles. Until then, the statement of principles

:49:09.:49:13.

will continue. So I guarantee from the Minister, presumably Labour

:49:14.:49:19.

would be in the same position, how would you have handled this? When

:49:20.:49:26.

this government came in the knew the statement of principles Woodend and

:49:27.:49:29.

would run out. Here we are three years later with an extension

:49:30.:49:36.

because the government has not actually taken the initiative to

:49:37.:49:41.

sort this out earlier. Would you have this scheme kneeled down? I am

:49:42.:49:49.

not sure it is kneeled down. In August it was questioned whether the

:49:50.:49:54.

amount set aside took into account climate changed and the increase in

:49:55.:49:58.

properties which might become under risk which are not in `` at risk

:49:59.:50:10.

just now. We have dealt with concerns. The worst concern about

:50:11.:50:15.

climate change is that there might be one overwhelming incident which

:50:16.:50:20.

would overwhelm this fund. The government stands behind the insurer

:50:21.:50:24.

as a last resort in really extreme situations. There will be some

:50:25.:50:31.

backstop reserve powers. We would not want to use those, we want the

:50:32.:50:37.

system to work. There will be some backstop reserve powers to compel

:50:38.:50:41.

insurers to do these things if they will not voluntarily take part. Like

:50:42.:50:49.

Mark The fox hunting debate was rekindled this week when the Prime

:50:50.:50:52.

Minister's spokesman said he had sympathy with people who want the

:50:53.:50:55.

rules of the hunting ban relaxed. Hill farmers say fox attacks on

:50:56.:50:58.

lambs are increasing and they need more freedom to control nuisance

:50:59.:51:02.

foxes. But opponents say it is an attempt to get a full repeal of the

:51:03.:51:06.

ban by the back door. This report from Tamsin Melville contains images

:51:07.:51:08.

which some viewers may find upsetting. This man has farmed these

:51:09.:51:21.

dark more films for 25 years. It is a tough way to make a living

:51:22.:51:30.

excesses they are at risk from foxes. As long as man has been here

:51:31.:51:36.

foxes have been a problem and we have to control them. If we have a

:51:37.:51:44.

problem at lambing time and we try to shoot foxes with ?2 in a needy

:51:45.:51:50.

alike that it is crazy. The early hundred acres of forestry. It is

:51:51.:51:57.

totally impractical. `` they are 200 acres of forestry. One hound is

:51:58.:52:06.

completely insignificant, with to be any better? Farmers in Wales have

:52:07.:52:16.

produced evidence that shows attacks on lands from foxes is an increasing

:52:17.:52:28.

problem. They say that a pack of hounds are better than two dogs to

:52:29.:52:39.

flush foxes out. The maths does not stack up in terms of the House of

:52:40.:52:43.

Commons vote for a repeal so they are trying a back door attempt

:52:44.:52:51.

weakened the hunting act. The Prime Minister has previously indicated a

:52:52.:52:54.

free vote on the hunting with dogs and would take place before the next

:52:55.:52:58.

general election. This remains uncertain. This week he was said to

:52:59.:53:05.

have sympathy with the specific issue of pest control. Some say this

:53:06.:53:12.

is about the impact the hunting act is having on their livelihoods in

:53:13.:53:16.

some of the most marginal farmland in the country. We asked of the

:53:17.:53:23.

South West MPs if they would support a listing of the two dogs limit. All

:53:24.:53:28.

the conservatives who responded said they would, including one who has

:53:29.:53:33.

previously expressed doubts about removing the ban completely. There

:53:34.:53:37.

are warnings about taking this direction. I am sure MPs are weird

:53:38.:53:44.

of their constituents feelings on this issue. It is a brave MP who

:53:45.:53:51.

flies in the face of the majority of the constituents views. This farmer

:53:52.:53:58.

insists it is not about politics but the realities of hill farming. We

:53:59.:54:04.

have got to do whatever and they act as it is just now just makes it more

:54:05.:54:12.

difficult. With the issue of hunting have improved so controversial in

:54:13.:54:16.

the past, even hunt supporters are warning the Prime Minister should,

:54:17.:54:20.

for now at least, let sleeping dogs lie. We are joined now by a member

:54:21.:54:27.

of the countryside Alliance. You would like to see a full return to

:54:28.:54:33.

hunting with dogs. This realisation would be a significant move in that

:54:34.:54:43.

direction? It will not make much difference, this amendment. You

:54:44.:54:52.

could flush it then shoot the fox? This is more about shooting foxes

:54:53.:54:55.

than hunting them. This proposed amendment will allow dogs or hounds

:54:56.:55:05.

to flush foxes to guns. This is different to how it was prior to the

:55:06.:55:11.

act. For the vast majority of packs of hounds they will continue to hunt

:55:12.:55:18.

trails as they have always done. The impact on Upland farming from

:55:19.:55:22.

destruction from foxes, they must be able to do something about it. The

:55:23.:55:26.

recent survey that took place in Scotland showed that by using more

:55:27.:55:32.

hounds or blog stand the two that are allowed at the moment needed

:55:33.:55:37.

twice as effective in controlling foxes. Anyone who has an interest in

:55:38.:55:42.

animal welfare will accept that hill farmers have got to have a

:55:43.:55:45.

successful method they can use to control foxes. This proposed

:55:46.:55:52.

amendment will help them hugely. You would not see this as a move to

:55:53.:55:56.

return to full hunting? It is not, it is about flushing foxes to shoot

:55:57.:56:03.

them effectively, not about hunting with dogs. Like macro would you like

:56:04.:56:12.

to see a free vote on repealing the ban? Hunting is not up here with the

:56:13.:56:21.

government priorities. They have lots of things to deal with. We

:56:22.:56:27.

would like it to happen but we are realistic that it is unlikely. This

:56:28.:56:32.

proposed amendment is certainly going to help farmers. We support

:56:33.:56:37.

farmers and we would hope that the government would seize this

:56:38.:56:41.

initiative to push this amendment through and help our farming

:56:42.:56:47.

community. You shoot the sympathy of the Prime Minister? Theory is

:56:48.:56:52.

anecdotal evidence there has been a big increase in attacks on lands by

:56:53.:56:59.

foxes. `` the is anecdotal evidence. Dealers also a difference between

:57:00.:57:04.

the law in Scotland this is allowed. `` David is also a difference.

:57:05.:57:14.

They'd is also evidence this is about protecting lands. It is

:57:15.:57:20.

something we would look at. It is highly unlikely in this parliament

:57:21.:57:23.

that it would be a bill to repeal the hunting act. Parliament is quite

:57:24.:57:33.

divided on the issue. Would you not have the vote because you think you

:57:34.:57:39.

might lose it? Government generally do not bring forward legislation

:57:40.:57:44.

they have no hope of winning. This is a specialist issue about helping

:57:45.:57:48.

Welsh farmers. We will look at the report. You do have to control

:57:49.:57:56.

wildlife population. It is often said that Tony Blair said one of the

:57:57.:58:00.

things he regretted in office was seeing through the hunting ban. Do

:58:01.:58:04.

you think this argument is a good idea? I think I would share the

:58:05.:58:11.

concerns that a lot of people do shield which is about exactly what

:58:12.:58:15.

is being proposed here and whether it would lead in future down towards

:58:16.:58:19.

the slow repealing the hunting ban. That is not something most of the

:58:20.:58:26.

people `` population want to see. Now our regular round`up of the

:58:27.:58:38.

political week in 60 seconds. The number of badgers killed in the

:58:39.:58:42.

Gloucestershire pilot Carl Phil massively short of the government's

:58:43.:58:51.

TB tackling target. `` fell short. Animal abusers should face stiffer

:58:52.:59:00.

sentences says one Torbay MP. At the moment it is only six months and I

:59:01.:59:04.

think a year or two would be more appropriate. Calls for pics will to

:59:05.:59:10.

be legalised again, and after the foot and mouth outbreak. This is a

:59:11.:59:18.

way of addressing a major source of waste going into the waste stream.

:59:19.:59:24.

And plans for Cornish devolution double. May sometime in the future,

:59:25.:59:33.

possibly never, can I be insured that in terms of devolving greater

:59:34.:59:39.

powers to the people of Cornwall is something that will come from the

:59:40.:59:46.

dispatch box? It was good fun to see you bear with the pics, there is an

:59:47.:59:51.

argument for bringing back pics will as good nourishing food for animals

:59:52.:00:03.

and to prevent waste. The foot and mouth disease and the crisis we had

:00:04.:00:08.

ten years ago was devastating to British agriculture. It was a

:00:09.:00:12.

tragedy for our industry. We do not want to take any risks. We have to

:00:13.:00:17.

be very cautious about changing the rules. There are other things to

:00:18.:00:22.

deal with waste, anaerobic digester and, reducing electricity from food

:00:23.:00:32.

waste. You will probably not be interested in things like you will

:00:33.:00:36.

be very interested in waste disposal, what do you think? We have

:00:37.:00:44.

always to look at ways we can dispose of waste, particularly

:00:45.:00:48.

household food waste. Any proposals which come forward should be looked

:00:49.:00:55.

at in a scientific way. So you might consider this being the visited? I

:00:56.:01:00.

am interested to see the proposals but I would share the concerns about

:01:01.:01:06.

opening us up to unnecessary risks. I would be willing to look at

:01:07.:01:10.

evidence but I would take a lot of persuading that we should take any

:01:11.:01:18.

risks. Thank you for joining me. We did not quite get onto badgers. We

:01:19.:01:24.

will be down immigration, but not in any way

:01:25.:01:33.

which links in with this. Thank you to both of you for being my guests

:01:34.:01:34.

today. Are the Lib Dems like a wonky

:01:35.:01:49.

shopping trolley? Why is Nick Clegg kicking off over free schools? And

:01:50.:01:55.

what about Boris and George's love bombing of China? All questions for

:01:56.:02:01.

The Week Ahead. We are joined now by the former Home Office minister and

:02:02.:02:05.

Liberal Democrat MP Jeremy Browne. Jeremy Browne, let me ask you this

:02:06.:02:14.

key question - ??GAPNEXT who is in the ascendancy in your party, those

:02:15.:02:17.

who would fear to the left, or those who would fear to the centre? The

:02:18.:02:23.

point I was making in the interview that I gave to the times was that I

:02:24.:02:28.

want us to be unambiguously and on up genetically -- and

:02:29.:02:39.

unapologetically a Liberal party. I do not want us to be craving the

:02:40.:02:44.

approval of columnists like Polly Toynbee. I do not want us to be a

:02:45.:02:48.

pale imitation of the Labour Party. I think we should be proud and

:02:49.:02:53.

unambiguously a authentic Liberal party. That is my ambition for the

:02:54.:02:58.

party. If it is, as you put it, fearing to the left, then I think

:02:59.:03:02.

that is a mistake, I think we should be on the liberal centre ground But

:03:03.:03:08.

is it actually veering to the left, your party? I think there is a

:03:09.:03:12.

danger when a party, or any organisation, feels that it is in a

:03:13.:03:18.

difficult position, to look inwards, to look for reassuring

:03:19.:03:26.

familiar policy positions. I do not want us to be the party which looks

:03:27.:03:30.

inwards and speaks to the 9% of people who are minded to support us

:03:31.:03:34.

already. I want us to look outwards and speak to the 91% of the

:03:35.:03:38.

population, for whom I think we have got a good story to tell about the

:03:39.:03:41.

contribution we have made to getting the deficit down, cutting crime

:03:42.:03:45.

keeping interest rates low, and also, distinctive Liberal Democrat

:03:46.:03:50.

policies for example on income tax and pupil premiums. If we look like

:03:51.:03:55.

we are a party which is uneasy and ambivalent about our role in

:03:56.:03:59.

government, people will not give us credit for the successes of the

:04:00.:04:02.

government, and we will not be able to claim the authorship which we

:04:03.:04:05.

should be able to claim for our policies excesses in government I

:04:06.:04:09.

want us to be confident, outward looking, and authentically liberal.

:04:10.:04:16.

If we are that, people real sense that and they will respond

:04:17.:04:20.

positively. Does that not therefore make it rather strange that Nick

:04:21.:04:23.

Craig should choose to distance himself from the coalition's schools

:04:24.:04:30.

policy? Well, I support free schools, I think they are a liberal

:04:31.:04:40.

policy. Education is a fascinating area, so let's explore it a bit We

:04:41.:04:44.

have had two very significant and troubling reports in the last

:04:45.:04:48.

fortnight, one from Alan Milburn, saying that social mobility has

:04:49.:04:51.

stalled in this country, in other words, what your parents do is a

:04:52.:04:55.

reliable guide to how you will get on in life and the other saying that

:04:56.:05:00.

Britain lags behind our competitors, the other

:05:01.:05:02.

industrialised countries, in terms of the educational attainment of

:05:03.:05:07.

15-year-olds. Both of those are worrying. We have a scandalous

:05:08.:05:11.

situation in this country where two thirds of children from

:05:12.:05:13.

disadvantaged backgrounds are failing to get five Grade A to Grade

:05:14.:05:23.

C. Some get none at all. If we were the world leaders in education, we

:05:24.:05:27.

could have an interesting conversation about how we are able

:05:28.:05:30.

to maintain that position, but we are not. Whether there are good

:05:31.:05:33.

things one less good things which have happened in our schools over

:05:34.:05:38.

the last 30-40 years, we really need to raise our game and stop letting

:05:39.:05:43.

young people down who need a good quality education in order to

:05:44.:05:45.

realise their full potential in life. It sounds like you do not

:05:46.:05:52.

share Mr Clegg's designations? I think there are two big dangers for

:05:53.:05:57.

us as a party. I do not think we should be instinctively statist and

:05:58.:06:02.

I do not think either we should be instinctively in favour of the

:06:03.:06:06.

status quo. I want us to have a restless, radical, energetic,

:06:07.:06:11.

liberal reforming instinct, which is about putting more power and

:06:12.:06:13.

responsible at the end opportunity in the hands of individual people.

:06:14.:06:19.

As I say, we look at the education system, of course there are good

:06:20.:06:22.

teachers and good outcomes in some schools and for some pupils,

:06:23.:06:26.

overall, our performance in this country is not good enough, so the

:06:27.:06:30.

status quo has not been a successful stop I am interested in how we can

:06:31.:06:42.

innovate. -- has not been a success. Are the Tories wooing you? Well I

:06:43.:06:48.

do not know if that is the right word, I have been reported, and I

:06:49.:06:55.

have set myself, that the Conservatives have, if you like

:06:56.:07:00.

made some advances or generous suggestions to me, but I am a

:07:01.:07:04.

liberal, and I am a Liberal Democrat. I have been a member of

:07:05.:07:08.

the Lib Dems since the party was founded, I joined when I was 18

:07:09.:07:12.

years old. I have campaigned tirelessly for the Liberal Democrats

:07:13.:07:17.

for my entire adult life, so I am not about to go and join another

:07:18.:07:20.

political party. I would turn this on its head, let me put it like

:07:21.:07:28.

this, I think there are quite a few liberals in the other political

:07:29.:07:30.

parties, people like Alan Milburn, who wrote a report on social

:07:31.:07:34.

mobility, people like Nick Bowles in the Conservative Party. Our

:07:35.:07:39.

ambition, as Liberal Democrats, should be to attract liberals from

:07:40.:07:42.

other political parties, and no political party, to the Lib Dems.

:07:43.:07:53.

Just briefly, have you suggested that the Tories do not run a

:07:54.:07:56.

candidate against you in the next election? I have not suggested

:07:57.:08:03.

anything of the sort. The Conservatives have to make their own

:08:04.:08:05.

decisions about which candidates they select, and I will take on

:08:06.:08:11.

whoever is select it from each of the political parties. Thank you for

:08:12.:08:24.

joining us. There is a danger not from Jeremy Browne, but from Mr

:08:25.:08:27.

Clegg, in that, having been part of a coalition which has gone through

:08:28.:08:32.

an enormous squeeze in living standards for three years, it did

:08:33.:08:36.

not look like both was coming, it was being regarded overall as a

:08:37.:08:40.

failure, but now, it may be turning the corner, so why would you then

:08:41.:08:45.

start to disassociate yourself from the coalition's policies? Yes, the

:08:46.:08:52.

danger for Nick Clegg is that he makes the Liberal Democrats looked

:08:53.:08:55.

like visitors in a guesthouse, a guesthouse which is owned by the

:08:56.:08:58.

Conservatives. As you say, they were there for the three difficult years,

:08:59.:09:02.

and just at the moment when the economy seems to be coming right,

:09:03.:09:06.

and we are getting some nice growth, they seek to distance themselves. It

:09:07.:09:11.

is interesting that Jeremy Browne came out with the outrageously

:09:12.:09:14.

disloyal statement that he supported free schools statement. That is a

:09:15.:09:18.

disloyal Liberal Democrat view, but on Thursday, of course, the Liberal

:09:19.:09:22.

Democrat party was in favour of free schools, because in that statement

:09:23.:09:26.

about the Al-Madinah school, David Laws made a passionate defence about

:09:27.:09:29.

what Nick Clegg is now criticising, which is having on qualified

:09:30.:09:37.

teachers. If things are now coming right, the big risk for the Liberal

:09:38.:09:42.

Democrats always was that they would not get the credit anyway. Well if

:09:43.:09:47.

they diss associate themselves like this, they definitely will not get

:09:48.:09:53.

the credit. It depends which voters their opinion poll ratings are dire,

:09:54.:09:57.

he spoke about 9%, and sometimes it is less than that. So, where are

:09:58.:10:01.

they going to get those voters from? They have not got those

:10:02.:10:07.

anti-Iraq war voters. Is it not Mission impossible, getting Labour

:10:08.:10:11.

voters test surely the left of the Lib Dem vote is peeling off towards

:10:12.:10:17.

labour, not away from Labour? I wonder to what extent, and this

:10:18.:10:25.

might be speculation, this might be organised and arranged, that Cameron

:10:26.:10:29.

and Clegg both understand that they have groups of voters that they need

:10:30.:10:33.

to get, so they need to send messages out to different groups, it

:10:34.:10:38.

looks like a bit of a setup to me. Boris in China, along with boy

:10:39.:10:49.

George - let's have a look... Who, according to JK Rowling, was Harry

:10:50.:10:53.

Potter's first girlfriend? That s right, and she is Chinese overseas

:10:54.:11:00.

student, is that not right at Hogwarts? Actually, we are not sure

:11:01.:11:07.

it is right, she is actually from Scotland. It is not only London

:11:08.:11:11.

which has a diverse society. Putting that to one side, we are inviting

:11:12.:11:17.

the Chinese into finance our power stations, to run big banks in the

:11:18.:11:22.

cities, we are giving out more visas to them, are we right to embrace the

:11:23.:11:26.

Dragon? What worries me about the power stations then, it is 30% of

:11:27.:11:31.

investment, and it reminds me a lot of PFI, the idea that you do not

:11:32.:11:36.

want a huge investment on your balance sheet, but if somebody bails

:11:37.:11:39.

out halfway through, we cannot stop with a half finished power station.

:11:40.:11:46.

It is EDF, the French company, which will actually build it, and we will

:11:47.:11:54.

be guaranteeing the debt for them. It is extraordinary that there has

:11:55.:11:58.

been so little adverse comment after George Osborne and Boris's trip to

:11:59.:12:02.

China, and is it now really the UK Government policy, to sell Britain

:12:03.:12:12.

to the Chinese? There was a debate in government about this, as they

:12:13.:12:16.

were getting ready for the trip and there will be at some point in the

:12:17.:12:20.

next six months be a David Cameron trip to China. He has had to wait

:12:21.:12:23.

three years because they were annoyed about him meeting the Dalai

:12:24.:12:27.

llama. There were some people in the Foreign Office who were saying,

:12:28.:12:30.

fine, but tread carefully. George Osborne's view is absolutely not,

:12:31.:12:36.

get in there, I do not care about any of these problems, get stuck

:12:37.:12:45.

in. I think he is storing up five years since the financial crisis,

:12:46.:12:49.

Chinese banks are being given a special, light touch regulatory

:12:50.:12:53.

regime. What could possibly go wrong?! There is lots to see. Energy

:12:54.:13:02.

prices have continued to dominate this week. We have got the EDF deal,

:13:03.:13:10.

whereby we are going to be giving them twice the market rate for their

:13:11.:13:13.

energy. But for the coalition, all eyes are on the GDP figures. The

:13:14.:13:22.

expectation and hope is that the recovery will be stronger than the

:13:23.:13:24.

figures have suggested so far, on which basis it can influence the

:13:25.:13:30.

result of the next general election. The chief economist at the

:13:31.:13:35.

Bank of England was saying on Twitter last week that the Bank of

:13:36.:13:39.

England may now bring forward the assessment when it says, maybe we

:13:40.:13:43.

are going to have to change monetary policy, if unemployment goes below

:13:44.:13:48.

7%. And we know what that means interest rates. The Bank of England

:13:49.:13:57.

on Twitter! That is it for today. The Daily Politics is back tomorrow

:13:58.:14:01.

on BBC Two. I will be back with prime Minster 's questions on

:14:02.:14:04.

Wednesday, and of course, we will be back at 11 o'clock on BBC One next

:14:05.:14:06.

Sunday.

:14:07.:14:13.

Andrew Neil and Martyn Oates with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With communities secretary Eric Pickles and deputy first minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon.


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