23/09/2012 Sunday Politics West


23/09/2012

Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news and interviews, including chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and communities secretary Eric Pickles.


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Sunday Politics in the West... Marks men are taking aim at

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hundreds of people but is the culling right. And we take on three

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2008 seconds

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Welcome to Sunday Politics in the West. As the marksmen take aim, the

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protesters are trying to stop them, could we be in very taste of the

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Wild West? More on that later but first I will introduce you to a

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couple of townies that are our guests this morning. Welcome to you

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both. I hope you had a good summer. This has been the week of the

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political apology with Nick Clegg. Is there anything you would like to

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apologise for or should politicians say sorry in addition to Nick

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Clegg? They should put their hands up and admit when they were wrong,

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as long as they are sincere and it is not just said for their benefit.

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But in Parliament this week we have the Hillsborough inquiry report,

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and David Cameron issued what he said was a double apology for the

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fact that it happened in the first place and that they had been a

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cover-up. It is very rare that I am impressed by him. The other

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encasing was the Bloody Sunday Inquiry and on dedications he

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handled it well. -- occasion. Sometimes an apology can take so

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long that the people that are given it cannot really take it sincerely.

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Tony Blair apologised about the Irish famine for example. And

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politicians apologise for mistakes made by predecessors. But in terms

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of this week, he has made it in a short period of time and he was

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right to do that. The Liberal Democrats are first or should I say

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is sorry party. Nick Clegg's apology attracted some attention.

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But the musical version online has been a massive hit. For I'm sorry,

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I'm sorry. I'm so, so, sorry. There is no easy way to say it, I'm sorry,

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I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I'm so, so, Surrey. There's no easy

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way to said. I'm sorry, I'm sorry. We will hold our hands up...

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are they singing from the same hymn sheet? Stephen abstained on the

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issue and if you thought people had forgotten about it, the world has

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been reminded. Once it was a mighty West Country fought for the Liberal

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Democrats but some people think their days are numbered. We went to

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see Nick Clegg and asked him why he was sorry. It was a mistake and it

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was wrong and we shouldn't have done it. About tuition fees?

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made a pledge against tuition fee rises under any circumstances which

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we could not and did not do. But what we did do was that in the

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circumstances, Labour had introduced tuition fees and top up

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fees despite saying that they would not, we have, we have asked

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students to have higher fees but in return, have a much more generous

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form of repayment. It is worth remembering that if you were at

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university last year, you start repaying these fees when you start

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earning �15,000. Under the new system designed by Vince Cable and

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David Willetts, you start paying at a much higher level of earnings. We

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will never accept a word of apology about the other issue. I tried to

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be totally upfront. But it could hurt you, could it? All of the

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seats that you hold. The way that they are pain will be more

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affordable. Actually, the money will go out of your account, week

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in and week out, it will be less than the money that is coming out

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of your account under the present system. That is not of course in

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any way an excuse for making a pledge which we cannot stick to

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which I have apologised for. But it is important that people understand

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the reality of the system that has been introduced. It is different to

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the allegations made about it. Other things have heard you in the

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opinion polls. We have got one coming out in November. It has been

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said that your best prospects are in the West Country. The Oval and

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Somerset Police Commissioner and the Bristol may have. -- the Oval

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and Somerset Police Commissioner. Do you agree they are your best

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prospects? We are all is the very strong as a party with a great

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reputation for a local service in Bristol and in Somerset and Avon.

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We will contest the mayoral election and the police and crime

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Commission election very vigorously indeed. It will be up for the

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candidates... Do you think you can win? If you look at our platform

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for the elections, people, whatever they think about what has happened

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in the past couple of years with the difficult decisions, will

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recognise that the Liberal Democrats are committed to Bristol,

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Somerset and Avon in a way that no other party has been. You have got

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a Wiltshire MP that has just been appointed to the parliamentary

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private secretary position we have been told that a previous

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parliamentary private secretary was very affectionate. We are not quite

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as affectionate as that. I do not need that for the job that I am

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enjoying and am privileged to do but I am a huge admirer of drunken

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haze. I think he will be an Nick Clegg talking to Paul Barltrop.

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Did you know that he was going to say sorry? Yes, he told MPs on

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Monday that he was going to do that in the run-up to the conference

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season. It came as a surprise but I am glad that he has done it. If he

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had done that last year, I do not think anybody would have listened

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because the anger was quite raw and this was probably the best time.

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lot of people had forgotten about it and it is ancient history and

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now he has reminded everybody and you represent a lot of students.

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But the anger has faded and that is the right time for him to make an

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apology for something we should not have done at the last general

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election. I am sorry for my role as well. You abstained. It yes. It was

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a situation where you promised the earth because he did not think that

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you were going to be in power. have been quite candid about this

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in the run-up to the election. I think that we should have either

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dropped completely or amended that pledge that we made about tuition

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fees to make it more realistic but we lost that argument inside the

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party. We tried to behave like a pressure group and not a political

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party. It is back on the agenda. Should Labour apologise for

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introducing tuition fees in the first place? We should have an

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element of students meeting the cost of their education. We are

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exploring options but we were against the tripling of the tuition

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fees. It was perfectly obvious to people. It was obvious it could not

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be afforded. I understand that Stephen did fight the case and he

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was aware it was going to be difficult, but he still put on his

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literature, may tuition fees. -- not to have tuition fees. They were

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feeling that they could have made these promises because they did not

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think they were going to be held accountable. Could you ever worked

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together? You have got your own Coalition with the Tories. Could

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you see a pact with the Liberal Democrats and Labour? One of our

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concerns is that we get this era of Coalition politics and the Liberal

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Democrats are bouncing backwards and forwards between the parties. I

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do not think people will work with Nick Clegg. That is because of the

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extent to which he has supported a very draconian Tory government

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economic plan. I have got people coming into my surgery affected by

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the Cup's all of the time. You have DUP -- the cuts. What the Tory

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government is doing with the help of the Liberal Democrats is

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stifling economic growth. We need that to be able to look for things.

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Lots to talk about because it is not just the Liberal Democrats

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getting ready for the conference this weekend. UKIP have met for two

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days in Birmingham, encouraged by what is happening in Europe. But it

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is back home that they need to make more progress. UKIP are smiling.

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European troubles have brought a surge in membership, including some

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people defecting in councils. The local party proudly paraded two for

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the Conservatives in South Gloucestershire, but they have got

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a tough battle in local elections. That might explain why UKIP have

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not come up with candidates for the West's next big contests for the

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mayoral elections and the police and crime Commissioner election. He

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said he will not tolerate that. will be disappointed if we did not

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come up with good candidates for Police crime Commissioner. All I

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can tell you is that the other parts of the country I have been

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too, we are finding candidates and good candidates and we intend to

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fight a proper campaign. I will be talking to UKIP South West this

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weekend. The European Parliament is where they have fared well

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electorally. Especially this MP. it will now move to the next

:45:52.:46:02.
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speaker... He is wonderful, he has great vigour and in the European

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Parliament, more than any other member, he is thoroughly enjoying

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what he is doing and he is relishing the idea in 2014 in the

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West Country, topping the opinion polls. His strategy is Clare. To

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advance elections at the expense of Joining us is the chairman of

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Bristol West Conservatives. Welcome to the programme. How much of a

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threat is UKIP to the Tories at the moment? UKIP remains a protest vote

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and a minority division macro and will always be that way. -- vote.

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We need Europe and they need us. One not do a deal with them?

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terms of fielding candidates? because otherwise they will split

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your vote. What we must did before we consider that is make our

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position clear on Europe. We do need Europe in some form or other.

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We cannot just be saying, should we be in or out of Europe. Why are so

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many members of your party hung up about Europe? Why does it get such

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passion? That is a very interesting question. In all honesty, I am not

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sure. Do you agree with it? Europe is not really and area of expertise

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for me. -- an area. It is complicated. It is not. They hate

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Europe. I think people are keen that we do not drop our currency

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and use the European currency. That is part of the hatred of the Union.

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More to talk about later. What could be the biggest ever official

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slaughter? Wild animals in Britain. Gloucestershire has got his licence

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and Somerset's welcome in days but will culling badgers reduce TB in

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cattle? We have had concerns about safety as police take on marksmen.

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A time for action begins. This is what will soon be happening in West

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Country fields. The BBC's Country File programme spoke to a marked

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man that will be involved. He asked to be anonymous for fear of

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becoming a target himself. I went on a detailed training course and

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it was a very long day. The quality of the training I thought was very

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good. It was a mixture of theory and practical sessions and I had to

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complete an exam at the end. After that I had to go to a near the

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place and do a shooting assessment. -- Another Place. These activists

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have for months been seeking information about the coming and

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have been outside government offices and are prepared to break

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the law. It will be a challenge, said one former Chief Constable.

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will work hard to make sure that it can be done lawfully. But it will

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be very tricky. That is because of the complex legal situation and the

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fact that people at once to sabotage Beagle for enterprise,

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they will know when they can strike. -- the law for enterprise. -- legal

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enterprise are. But will it turn I am joined by a farmer in favour

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of the culling and our other guests are still here. Why do you want the

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badgers shot? I think politicians have ducked this issue for too long

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and the problem is getting worse. Have you lost animals on your farm?

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Yes, over a number of years and last year in particular. It is

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constant and at the moment we are not sure when it will get better.

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The it must be heartbreaking as a farmer. But are you absolutely sure

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that you can blame the badgers? think the evidence suggests that

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they are part of the tuberculosis problem. It is not just them. We

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have got other wildlife involved. But I think the scientists do think

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:50:53.:50:54.

that Thatcher's are the primary source of reinfection. -- badges. -

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- these animals. The Conservatives are allowing this. As the party got

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it right? I do not think they have. I do sympathise completely. This is

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a big problem in this country. Not just for the likelihood of farmers

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but for the taxpayer. It will cost �100 million every year. But

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culling badgers, we understand through research that has been

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conducted by the last government, it has been scientifically proven

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that it cannot contribute to reducing TB in cattle. That was the

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conclusion. But it said that if you kill them, T B will come back.

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best outcome is a 10% reduction but then after nine years, you are

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still spending �85 million. Your party wants to cull them and you do

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not agree with it. You did not agree with it either, do you?

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may well be a government policy for the Government department to go

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ahead with. But I happen to disagree. I have written to

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hundreds of people telling them that. I think what would make the

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biggest difference is perhaps more control with the movement of cattle.

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Not just exterminating badgers, we should be looking for a vaccine.

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will come back to Kerry. We must deal with this issue. But also

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vaccination programmes. They are happening across the West Country.

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We have got scientific evidence which has suggested that culling

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would be ineffective if it had any effect at all. But who should be

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government been listening to? Quayside tests. David. --

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scientists. David. We are responding to the report. We might

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have a situation where the initial reduction in outbreaks is actually

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improving. People often talk about between 12 and 16 % but if we look

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at trial areas with the latest information, these numbers are

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increasing. And B vaccination argument, what about that? Cowls or

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badgers? Both. The problem is that if you vaccinate badgers that have

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already got TB, you on not having any results at all. Cattle vaccine

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is fine. But at the moment I do not think that you can go between a

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vaccinated animal and one that has got proper tuberculosis until you

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can differentiate, you are in a very difficult position. -- because

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until you can differentiate. Why is this such a difficult issue? I have

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raised this in Parliament for years and when the Government got elected

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I was worried they were waiting for political opportunism to get away

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with it. It was very clear the Minister wanted the culling to go

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ahead but they had a big row about forests which derailed the issue

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for a while. But I think now that the legal challenges have failed,

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that is why public attention is back on this issue. But I think we

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will have a big outcry that people do not want badgers killed. They

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will be an outcry and saboteurs are threatening to get out onto the

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field. Do you think it should go ahead? Yes, I think it should. It

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is not the complete answer but we must start somewhere. This is the

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first step. Thank you for coming in. Time to catch up on other political

:55:07.:55:16.
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stories making the headlines this Mr Speaker... Age has not held back

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his 65-year-old MP from the Liberal Democrats. He made his first speech

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this week as communities minister. It is good to see that experience

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can triumph above youth. A after hours of debate, a decision about

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how much the mayoral candidate should be paid has been deferred.

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It has been a bit indecisive after failure to agree on whether it

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should be 40,000, 65,000, or somewhere in between. And one of

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the candidates, he is almost as red-faced as his trousers. He

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called one city to Irish and has since apologised and he has been

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criticised in a Twitter storm will stop a bunch of politically

:56:06.:56:09.

motivated eight-month --. A bunch of politically motivated hate

:56:09.:56:19.
:56:19.:56:20.

mongers. This is local currency in Bristol, launched at this week.

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Those Bristol pounds are very attractive. We can pick up on one

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of those stories on Twitter with George Ferguson after this Irish

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comment. You are one of the people that objected. It was just a

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foolish thing to say. I was offended when he said that he

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adored the Irish and that they were some of his best friends. But to

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use that phrase a little bit Irish as a metaphor for something being a

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bit stupid, we have gone on from that, surely. You made a comment

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about people behaving selfishly on trains and somebody saying that

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they wished he had not been born and nobody apologised about that.

:57:02.:57:08.

It was obviously a joke but what he said, he uses that phrase as a

:57:08.:57:15.

metaphor for something being a bit stupid. I think he made it worse by

:57:15.:57:22.

then patronising the Irish as well. It is dangerous, Twitter, isn't it?

:57:22.:57:27.

Kerry is more they stole wart on Twitter. But you have got to be

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careful. -- is more experienced on Twitter. Sometimes you hear

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comments about the Welsh more than that you would like and you can get

:57:39.:57:46.

some abuse. Thank you very much. That is all we have got time for

:57:46.:57:50.

today. Thank you to Kerry and Stephen for joining us. If you

:57:50.:57:54.

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