20/10/2013 Sunday Politics South West


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


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


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


Whitehall meddling too much in modern affairs? The Communities


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


coppers will be answering questions this week over the Andrew bachelor


for. In the South West: A warning the


promise of affordable flood insurance for all is far from


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


conference in Perth. We have discovered that Alex Salmond has


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


negotiation between a Scottish government and the UK Government.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


force, giving the Scottish Parliament control over billions of


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


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


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


currency will look like, how an independent Scotland would balance


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


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


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


it had to have with the UK Government. The Scottish


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


independence referendum is really about identity. I am secure and


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


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


government which is directly accountable to the people of


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


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


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


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


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


attack British identity. It is absolutely compatible for somebody


to feel a sense of British identity but still support Scottish


independence, because Scottish independence is about a transfer of


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


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


biggest stake in getting those decisions right. I represent a


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


government of an independent Scotland would be would not be taken


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


people who are of that political persuasion in Scotland get the


opportunity to vote for parties which represent that persuasion and


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


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


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


Scotland rejected at the last general election. That is hardly


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


government, points out the opportunities that would be opening


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


electrified the party conference season when he said he would freeze


energy prices for 20 months, seemingly having an amazing control


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


week goes by without a policy announcement from the hyper active


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


it all about centralism now? And Communities Secretary Eric


Pickles joins me now for the Sunday Interview.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


before that lands on your doorstep and you have virtually no


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


authorities understand the importance of the town centre. If


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


should have built in storage sections. You just cannot help


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


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


responsibility there. Another one, interfering in local planning


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


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


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


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


blushing violet because of course this is still potentially subject to


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


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


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


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


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


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


local control. People in villages fear big housing estates being


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


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


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


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


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


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


authorities now have no alternative but to agree development on green


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


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


referred back. the green belt. The matter has been


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


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


belt. Not to remember why we have the green


nice, it is their to prevent conurbations bumping into one


another. Your conurbations bumping into one


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


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


provision of housing. Shelter says Houston statistics are getting


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


nothing incompatible between that and localism. Because someone has to


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


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


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


mean riding over local concerns Each application will be taken on


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


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


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


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


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


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


Absolutely not. Your mother answered Vulcan junior minister Nick balls


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


On Wednesday senior police folk including chief constables, will be


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


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


government chief whip Andrew Mitchell. Last week the Independent


Police Complaints Commission questioned the "honesty and


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


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


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


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


called Alex Bryce and his partner Iain Feis.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


police watchdog the IPCC suggested that three officers may have lied


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


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


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


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


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


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


by teachers in Westminster the police operation was really, really


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


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


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


pollsters started measuring it 0 years ago.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the industrial deception over Hillsborough, why is the culture of


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


deceit. These are all individual incidents which raise individual


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


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


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


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


officers, dealing with the paperwork. Well over 100 testimonies


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


organisation which thinks it can take on an elected minister and


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


Government are cutting please pay, when they are freezing their


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


more competent and properly resourced Independent police


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


substantive. What will the government do about the fact people


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


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


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


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


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


trouble getting flood insurance. Some have been quoted excesses of


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


ministers promised would guarantee affordable insurance for flood


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


this could be why some premiums are becoming unaffordable and excesses


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


you are suggesting the transition will not happen as the government


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


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


will guarantee affordable flood insurance, that sounds concrete. We


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


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


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


insurance but not affordability, these new arrangements will cover


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


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


aid approval from The European Commission. That is significant.


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


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


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


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


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


whereby insurance companies are required to offer flood risk


insurance at affordable rates to householders. Because the insurance


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


ensure their homes. Paul Cobbing from the National Flood Forum


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


say affordable flood insurance will be guaranteed that he is suggesting


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


complicated negotiation. I think officials would have been looking in


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


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


statement of principles. Until then, the statement of principles


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


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


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


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


because the government has not actually taken the initiative to


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


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


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


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


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


climate change is that there might be one overwhelming incident which


would overwhelm this fund. The government stands behind the insurer


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


lambs are increasing and they need more freedom to control nuisance


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


previously expressed doubts about removing the ban completely. There


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


successful method they can use to control foxes. This proposed


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


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


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


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


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


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


proposed amendment is certainly going to help farmers. We support


farmers and we would hope that the government would seize this


initiative to push this amendment through and help our farming


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


might lose it? Government generally do not bring forward legislation


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Gloucestershire pilot Carl Phil massively short of the government's


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


will be down immigration, but not in any way


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


today. Are the Lib Dems like a wonky


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


difficult position, to look inwards, to look for reassuring


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


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


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


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


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


keeping interest rates low, and also, distinctive Liberal Democrat


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


have had two very significant and troubling reports in the last


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


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


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


Britain lags behind our competitors, the other


industrialised countries, in terms of the educational attainment of


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


situation in this country where two thirds of children from


disadvantaged backgrounds are failing to get five Grade A to Grade


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


could have an interesting conversation about how we are able


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


liberal reforming instinct, which is about putting more power and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


years old. I have campaigned tirelessly for the Liberal Democrats


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


is interesting that Jeremy Browne came out with the outrageously


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


three years because they were annoyed about him meeting the Dalai


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


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


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


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


Chinese banks are being given a special, light touch regulatory


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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




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