29/01/2012 Sunday Politics West


29/01/2012

Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate including Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the treasury, on the state of the UK economy.


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In the West: Too small and not enough of them. Couples are

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struggling to find a house they can afford that's bigger than a rabbit

:01:23.:01:33.
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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2025 seconds

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hutch. Can our councils finally Welcome to the Sunday politics here

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in the West. If you are thinking of buying a home in the West it will

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cost a fortune if you can get a mortgage in the first place. Today

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we are asking if you need to be building begat and more houses for

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the growing need. We talk to one councillor he says we must build to

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protect our children's future. Talking of houses, welcome to my

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humble abode. Let me introduce my tenants. They are both grammar-

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school boys. The Conservative MP for Tewkesbury. Donald used to be

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on shaky ground in Bath, but in the last election he doubled his Lib

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Dem seat. Now they are in government together. You are like

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brothers, really, aren't you? A big debate I want to talk about this

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week. The proposed cap of �26,000 on benefits. Don Foster, do you

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think it is a good idea? I think it is a good idea. I think the public

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at large except that it cannot be right for somebody on benefits to

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be getting substantially more than a family that goes out to work. The

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problem we have got is, how do we get from where we are now to the

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imposition of the benefit cap. There will be a number of problems.

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So Lord Ashdown is wrong when he says it should not be imposed? Yes,

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I think it is wrong. The issue for me is transition arrangements. What

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we have not had enough from the government is what they are

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planning to do to resolve undoubted difficulties. There seems to be

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large public support for this? is something that has been building

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for decades and nobody has done anything about it. I get a lot of

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letters from people saying they have worked all of their lives and

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fought in the war and are so much worse off than people who have done

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nothing and on benefits. A lot of people on benefits through no fault

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of their own, but we have to make sure that nurses and teachers are

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not worse off. Do you know rich people on benefits? It depends what

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you call a benefit. Housing benefit is termed as a benefit so yes,

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there are some. The important thing to remember is someone has to earn

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�35,000 per year and, only 26,000. There are many teachers and nurses

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that do not and that money. This is what the debate is about.

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First, let's cut through estate agent will fall. If you want to buy

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a new home it will cost a bomb and that is if you can get a mortgage.

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For years, prices have been going up and rooms have been getting

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smaller. Local councils are now trying to sort out this problem by

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allowing new homes to be built. Jem and Gordon of first-time buyers.

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Like many, they cannot get on the housing ladder. We were mainly

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looking at two bedroom houses around �250,000. There are not many

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of them and not in very good locations. I just don't understand

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why they have to put them so that everyone is so on top of each other.

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I feel that all of the new estate, you are literally living so close

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together with no parking. From Whitehall to a village hall may you.

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Councillors across the West are now deciding where over half a million

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new homes will be built in a way region over the next 20 years.

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People say, what does sustainability mean. It means many

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things. The one thing it does mean is do not cheat on your children.

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We do not have a robust plan and a cheating the children of the future.

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We should not do that. For those living in villages where new

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housing developments are planned, there are real concerns. We are not

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NMB because what we are more concerned about is the potential

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for such a development on these green fields throttling the life

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out of Stroud town which is where we are all attached. We have had

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from our couple. They are worried about the size and price of these

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homes and this is something a former West MP is warning

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councillors to think about when drawing up plans. We need homes.

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There are people desperate to get into homes. The danger is, if you

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go for a large-scale development, they are not popular and often you

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are building the wrong sort of houses in the wrong places. I have

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always been in favour of dispersal. We need to make sure that we get

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housing for older people and younger people in the right place.

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What we are being asked for our views on us and plums, chairman and

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Gordon's search for their first affordable home goes on.

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An experience shared by many couples. Derek Davies is there

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councillor in charge in cheeks brief. At a stately age of 81, he

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is one of our most senior politicians. What can you do to

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help young couples in your area? They want a nice affordable house

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and not too small. Yes, well it is a case of haves and have-nots. If

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you live in a house, you are and how. If you are homeless, you are a

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have not. What we are trying to do is cut down and build more housing.

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The only way you can do that is by having a 20 year plans which we

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have. We have been talking about this for years. Why has this not

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happened? Perhaps you can blame previous governments. Not your

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government? Our government has made amazing move so far. So far they

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have taken 1000 pages of planning guidelines and scrap them and

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replace them with about 50 pages. These guidelines are to give

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planning permission. Very often it is difficult for local councillors

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because there is a lot of local opposition. Not a lot. Few have not.

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What do you mean? What I mean by that is that if you ask anybody

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that says we do not want these houses all sorts of various reasons,

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I call those the haves. The weaker minority, and they are the minority,

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they are homeless or without a satisfactory home, they do not have

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a voice. I get it. Let's bring in the MPs here. You often the same

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patch, how many homes do you think I needed? It is difficult to put a

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figure on the next 20 years. I used to work with homeless people before

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I went in Parliament. It is not a bad enough houses, it is about the

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economy. What happened at to the credit crunch building societies

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and banks lend far too much money. That had the effect of pushing up

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the price of property to an unsustainable level. That is one of

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the problems and needs correcting. Don Foster, how do you build houses

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in Bath? One of the things that we have had is that the government has

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provided additional financial support. We have already heard

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about the support in terms of planning. They have also made

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government land available so in Bath we are going to have three

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disused MoD sites where a lot of housing, probably around 1500 homes,

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will go there. We are developing Western Riverside as well. If you

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go to a place like Bath, at the moment it will cost you 14 times

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the average salary to be able to pay for the average price house.

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That puts the finances out of the market. Let's bring you back him.

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Is it that there are not enough houses or people cannot afford

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them? Well, we have not built in of houses over the last 20 years. That

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puts the price up and as a result, developers have been stagnant, that

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is what we are taking on now, a stagnant position. What we have to

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do is use innovative ideas on top of what the government has done.

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someone complains about a housing estate on a green belt, are you

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going to say on your bike? Or are you going to say yes, I support

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she? Of course we have to build in the right area. Coming from

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Tewkesbury and though the damage that can be done to the green belt

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and the flood risk area. We had terrible floods four years ago

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where people were living in caravans as a result. Derek is

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right, the number of houses being built did drop off and it started

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at the point of the credit crunch. There were no changes in planning

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at that time, it was a change in the economy. That caused the

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problem. Derek, you are right. We will leave it at that last word.

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Thank you for coming in. For anyone angry anti-Europeans

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meddling in our affairs, it has been a big week. David Cameron

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toured Europe including a stop in Strasbourg to put the Court of

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Human Rights in its place. At least that is one version of events.

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They laid on a red carpet in Strasbourg this week even if the

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visitor was threatening to give them a carpeting. David Cameron

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spent two hours at the Council of Europe which controls the Court of

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Human Rights. Some of his MPs were here all week. Joining

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representatives from 47 countries which are members. These West

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Country Conservatives are aware of sceptical views back in their

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constituencies. We are just talking about press coverage in the UK.

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pieces in the Mail and Telegraph. Bob water leads the British

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delegation. He only started a year ago and reckons reform is overdue.

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The cost of this place is astronomical. If you say to people

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in Somerset or Bristol, what do you know about the Court of Human

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Rights, the experience for them is pretty Honourable. You see clerics

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who should not be allowed out, you see a lot of other things and think

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it is mad. It all comes from here. The message that we have to put

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across as the British is that this has to change. But Wednesday, David

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Cameron was accompanied by Bob water his role is even more

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significant at the moment. Prime Minister asked me to be

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leader of the UK delegation. The important work that needs to be

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done. Now with the British chairmanship, the important work

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that is going to be done on the reform agenda. Britain is in the

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chair for six months which is why David Cameron was here making his

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big speech. The court should ensure the right and not act as a small

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claims court. Some of those watching were not impressed.

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Prime Minister has gone for a GP it. He has come here looking for

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favourable headlines because we agree with the. He is making, but

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it does not advance the agenda for human rights in our continent for

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one single centimetre. But there was warm applause, not just from

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West Country Tories. David Cameron's performance seemed to go

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well because he talked about making things better and not pulling

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Britain out. The government are talking to two

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very different audiences. At home they want to sound tough, over here

:47:37.:47:47.
:47:47.:47:49.

it is about diplomacy -- diplomacy. Twilight in Strasbourg and Bob

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water is among the big no trees in this service to honour the war dead.

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This area was badly effected by World War Two. To help prevent

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future conflicts, the country has resolved to work together.

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Council of Europe brings together the whole of Europe and the whole

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of Europe on the basis that we never want to see as having to

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create war memorials like this a game. No one would argue with the

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ideals, but there is disagreement with how best to achieve them.

:48:20.:48:25.

Today we are joined by Caroline BT, then manager of Bristol refugee

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rights. Why do we need the European Court

:48:30.:48:35.

of Human Rights, do you think? think it is crucial to have some

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kind of independent oversight of areas where the perceived national

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interest might clash with the rights and freedoms are very

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vulnerable people living in this country. There is a perception it

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is used a lot. The Prime Minister talked about the European Court of

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Human Rights in the tribunal. Is that your experience? Not at all.

:49:00.:49:04.

It is very difficult to get a case to European Court. What is

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important now is that immigration judges have a mind to the European

:49:09.:49:14.

Court rulings and will make decisions ultimately to support

:49:14.:49:20.

people with those rights. For instance, in the last quarter there

:49:20.:49:25.

were two Rawlings to show that detentions of mentally ill people

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was not only unlawful, but inhuman and degrading. That his article 3.

:49:31.:49:35.

What people are concerned about is that human rights can become a

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tyranny whether rights of the individual are looked after by the

:49:39.:49:44.

rest of society has to lump it. The example of that is the cleric he

:49:44.:49:49.

wants to cause damage but cannot be deported. It is a pity that people

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see it like that. The point of human rights is that they should be

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accessible to everybody. It is about freedom and safety for all.

:49:58.:50:02.

Why does David Cameron launched this against the European Court of

:50:02.:50:08.

Human Rights? I think he feels that it is involving itself in what our

:50:08.:50:13.

individual and small cases that nobody would have an objection to

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the articles in the original declaration. It was a noble aim.

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But what has happened is that it has gone way beyond its original

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remit. So we have all these cases which have been heard and they set

:50:25.:50:31.

a precedent. It is very frustrating. In the original articles, there

:50:31.:50:35.

were the rights of governments to determine their own policies.

:50:35.:50:39.

Foster, how did you feel when David Cameron went to Strasbourg this

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week and let loose at them? He was absolutely right to say that we

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need to reform it. It has 150,000 case backlog. We need to have

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higher quality judges. We need to give it more resources and would

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probably need to have more cases dealt with in their own countries.

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Having said that, nobody is saying we need to get rid of it. It is

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crucially important we have a body covering 47 countries that ensures

:51:09.:51:12.

we can do something, after all we invented the thing, it was

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Churchill pushing for it, that we have something where countries less

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good on Human Rights, foreigners since Russia and former Soviet

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countries, can be held to account. The point is that if we say we do

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not want to obey that particular role, when Russia breaks one, they

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can say the same thing. The court was set up to oversee what was

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going on. What has happened is it is getting involved in small

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matters which it was not set up today. Nobody would disagree with

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the original article, but it has gone way beyond that now. This

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tends to happen. Don is absolutely right, it is to focus on what it is

:51:54.:52:00.

there to do. It has 150,000 cases waited to be heard. They say they

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are a victim of their own success. The third point is also enforcing

:52:05.:52:10.

it. When it actually comes to decisions. That is another weakness

:52:10.:52:14.

of present arrangements. Thank you for coming in and talking to us

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today. So what has been the top of the

:52:17.:52:25.

political charts this week? Here is our 62nd round up.

:52:25.:52:31.

This is the West's own spaghetti Junction. It is getting and �90

:52:31.:52:34.

million facelift. The government says it will make journeys safer

:52:34.:52:40.

and shorter. These are some of the 13,000 campaigners who are against

:52:40.:52:44.

a new nuclear power station being built in Somerset. They submitted

:52:45.:52:48.

objections this week. Policing in Gloucestershire will be

:52:48.:52:53.

pushed to a cliff edge if the force of forced to make more cuts.

:52:53.:52:58.

risk is that it starts to impact on frontline policing.

:52:58.:53:02.

The power of the Bristol Channel help generate energy of the future.

:53:02.:53:06.

Companies in the West are being encouraged to lead the way in

:53:06.:53:13.

designing new age technology. And politics is all about finding a

:53:13.:53:19.

voice. We say a final farewell to Western's town crier. He won the

:53:20.:53:27.

town crier complete tissue and with his distinctive voice. -- town

:53:27.:53:32.

crier competition. Another hectic week. Let's talk

:53:32.:53:38.

about one of those issues that came up there. Policing. That warning by

:53:38.:53:41.

the Chief Constable, they are heading to the clifftop because of

:53:41.:53:51.

cuts. You are the party of law and order, aren't you? We are. By meet

:53:51.:53:56.

Tony regularly and he says what he said on the film. I say to him that

:53:56.:54:03.

we have to make cut somewhere. I know Conservative politicians keep

:54:03.:54:08.

going on about that, but it is a fact of life. What Tony has been

:54:08.:54:12.

active in doing is making sure there are more police on the beat,

:54:12.:54:17.

on the front line. He has been very successful. Don, people will be

:54:17.:54:22.

cross if they lose visible policing. I think people will be cross if

:54:22.:54:27.

they see crime rising. One important thing is that we try to

:54:27.:54:31.

address the causes of crime. One thing I raised following the riots

:54:31.:54:35.

with the Prime Minister on the floor of the House was that we all

:54:35.:54:39.

know that a high percentage of crime is caused by totally

:54:39.:54:43.

dysfunctional families. Instead of saying, yes that is true, and doing

:54:43.:54:47.

nothing, the government has bought a vast amount of money in the to

:54:47.:54:55.

work with various agencies to deal with that. We all suit need to do

:54:55.:55:00.

more smarter policing. Half of the policing still does not have the

:55:00.:55:05.

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