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
hundreds of people but is the culling right. And we take on three
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2008 seconds
Welcome to Sunday Politics in the West. As the marksmen take aim, the
protesters are trying to stop them, could we be in very taste of the
Wild West? More on that later but first I will introduce you to a
couple of townies that are our guests this morning. Welcome to you
both. I hope you had a good summer. This has been the week of the
political apology with Nick Clegg. Is there anything you would like to
apologise for or should politicians say sorry in addition to Nick
Clegg? They should put their hands up and admit when they were wrong,
as long as they are sincere and it is not just said for their benefit.
But in Parliament this week we have the Hillsborough inquiry report,
and David Cameron issued what he said was a double apology for the
fact that it happened in the first place and that they had been a
cover-up. It is very rare that I am impressed by him. The other
encasing was the Bloody Sunday Inquiry and on dedications he
handled it well. -- occasion. Sometimes an apology can take so
long that the people that are given it cannot really take it sincerely.
Tony Blair apologised about the Irish famine for example. And
politicians apologise for mistakes made by predecessors. But in terms
of this week, he has made it in a short period of time and he was
right to do that. The Liberal Democrats are first or should I say
is sorry party. Nick Clegg's apology attracted some attention.
But the musical version online has been a massive hit. For I'm sorry,
I'm sorry. I'm so, so, sorry. There is no easy way to say it, I'm sorry,
I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I'm so, so, Surrey. There's no easy
way to said. I'm sorry, I'm sorry. We will hold our hands up...
are they singing from the same hymn sheet? Stephen abstained on the
issue and if you thought people had forgotten about it, the world has
been reminded. Once it was a mighty West Country fought for the Liberal
Democrats but some people think their days are numbered. We went to
see Nick Clegg and asked him why he was sorry. It was a mistake and it
was wrong and we shouldn't have done it. About tuition fees?
made a pledge against tuition fee rises under any circumstances which
we could not and did not do. But what we did do was that in the
circumstances, Labour had introduced tuition fees and top up
fees despite saying that they would not, we have, we have asked
students to have higher fees but in return, have a much more generous
form of repayment. It is worth remembering that if you were at
university last year, you start repaying these fees when you start
earning �15,000. Under the new system designed by Vince Cable and
David Willetts, you start paying at a much higher level of earnings. We
will never accept a word of apology about the other issue. I tried to
be totally upfront. But it could hurt you, could it? All of the
seats that you hold. The way that they are pain will be more
affordable. Actually, the money will go out of your account, week
in and week out, it will be less than the money that is coming out
of your account under the present system. That is not of course in
any way an excuse for making a pledge which we cannot stick to
which I have apologised for. But it is important that people understand
the reality of the system that has been introduced. It is different to
the allegations made about it. Other things have heard you in the
opinion polls. We have got one coming out in November. It has been
said that your best prospects are in the West Country. The Oval and
Somerset Police Commissioner and the Bristol may have. -- the Oval
and Somerset Police Commissioner. Do you agree they are your best
prospects? We are all is the very strong as a party with a great
reputation for a local service in Bristol and in Somerset and Avon.
We will contest the mayoral election and the police and crime
Commission election very vigorously indeed. It will be up for the
candidates... Do you think you can win? If you look at our platform
for the elections, people, whatever they think about what has happened
in the past couple of years with the difficult decisions, will
recognise that the Liberal Democrats are committed to Bristol,
Somerset and Avon in a way that no other party has been. You have got
a Wiltshire MP that has just been appointed to the parliamentary
private secretary position we have been told that a previous
parliamentary private secretary was very affectionate. We are not quite
as affectionate as that. I do not need that for the job that I am
enjoying and am privileged to do but I am a huge admirer of drunken
haze. I think he will be an Nick Clegg talking to Paul Barltrop.
Did you know that he was going to say sorry? Yes, he told MPs on
Monday that he was going to do that in the run-up to the conference
season. It came as a surprise but I am glad that he has done it. If he
had done that last year, I do not think anybody would have listened
because the anger was quite raw and this was probably the best time.
lot of people had forgotten about it and it is ancient history and
now he has reminded everybody and you represent a lot of students.
But the anger has faded and that is the right time for him to make an
apology for something we should not have done at the last general
election. I am sorry for my role as well. You abstained. It yes. It was
a situation where you promised the earth because he did not think that
you were going to be in power. have been quite candid about this
in the run-up to the election. I think that we should have either
dropped completely or amended that pledge that we made about tuition
fees to make it more realistic but we lost that argument inside the
party. We tried to behave like a pressure group and not a political
party. It is back on the agenda. Should Labour apologise for
introducing tuition fees in the first place? We should have an
element of students meeting the cost of their education. We are
exploring options but we were against the tripling of the tuition
fees. It was perfectly obvious to people. It was obvious it could not
be afforded. I understand that Stephen did fight the case and he
was aware it was going to be difficult, but he still put on his
literature, may tuition fees. -- not to have tuition fees. They were
feeling that they could have made these promises because they did not
think they were going to be held accountable. Could you ever worked
together? You have got your own Coalition with the Tories. Could
you see a pact with the Liberal Democrats and Labour? One of our
concerns is that we get this era of Coalition politics and the Liberal
Democrats are bouncing backwards and forwards between the parties. I
do not think people will work with Nick Clegg. That is because of the
extent to which he has supported a very draconian Tory government
economic plan. I have got people coming into my surgery affected by
the Cup's all of the time. You have DUP -- the cuts. What the Tory
government is doing with the help of the Liberal Democrats is
stifling economic growth. We need that to be able to look for things.
Lots to talk about because it is not just the Liberal Democrats
getting ready for the conference this weekend. UKIP have met for two
days in Birmingham, encouraged by what is happening in Europe. But it
is back home that they need to make more progress. UKIP are smiling.
European troubles have brought a surge in membership, including some
people defecting in councils. The local party proudly paraded two for
the Conservatives in South Gloucestershire, but they have got
a tough battle in local elections. That might explain why UKIP have
not come up with candidates for the West's next big contests for the
mayoral elections and the police and crime Commissioner election. He
said he will not tolerate that. will be disappointed if we did not
come up with good candidates for Police crime Commissioner. All I
can tell you is that the other parts of the country I have been
too, we are finding candidates and good candidates and we intend to
fight a proper campaign. I will be talking to UKIP South West this
weekend. The European Parliament is where they have fared well
electorally. Especially this MP. it will now move to the next
speaker... He is wonderful, he has great vigour and in the European
Parliament, more than any other member, he is thoroughly enjoying
what he is doing and he is relishing the idea in 2014 in the
West Country, topping the opinion polls. His strategy is Clare. To
advance elections at the expense of Joining us is the chairman of
Bristol West Conservatives. Welcome to the programme. How much of a
threat is UKIP to the Tories at the moment? UKIP remains a protest vote
and a minority division macro and will always be that way. -- vote.
We need Europe and they need us. One not do a deal with them?
terms of fielding candidates? because otherwise they will split
your vote. What we must did before we consider that is make our
position clear on Europe. We do need Europe in some form or other.
We cannot just be saying, should we be in or out of Europe. Why are so
many members of your party hung up about Europe? Why does it get such
passion? That is a very interesting question. In all honesty, I am not
sure. Do you agree with it? Europe is not really and area of expertise
for me. -- an area. It is complicated. It is not. They hate
Europe. I think people are keen that we do not drop our currency
and use the European currency. That is part of the hatred of the Union.
More to talk about later. What could be the biggest ever official
slaughter? Wild animals in Britain. Gloucestershire has got his licence
and Somerset's welcome in days but will culling badgers reduce TB in
cattle? We have had concerns about safety as police take on marksmen.
A time for action begins. This is what will soon be happening in West
Country fields. The BBC's Country File programme spoke to a marked
man that will be involved. He asked to be anonymous for fear of
becoming a target himself. I went on a detailed training course and
it was a very long day. The quality of the training I thought was very
good. It was a mixture of theory and practical sessions and I had to
complete an exam at the end. After that I had to go to a near the
place and do a shooting assessment. -- Another Place. These activists
have for months been seeking information about the coming and
have been outside government offices and are prepared to break
the law. It will be a challenge, said one former Chief Constable.
will work hard to make sure that it can be done lawfully. But it will
be very tricky. That is because of the complex legal situation and the
fact that people at once to sabotage Beagle for enterprise,
they will know when they can strike. -- the law for enterprise. -- legal
enterprise are. But will it turn I am joined by a farmer in favour
of the culling and our other guests are still here. Why do you want the
badgers shot? I think politicians have ducked this issue for too long
and the problem is getting worse. Have you lost animals on your farm?
Yes, over a number of years and last year in particular. It is
constant and at the moment we are not sure when it will get better.
The it must be heartbreaking as a farmer. But are you absolutely sure
that you can blame the badgers? think the evidence suggests that
they are part of the tuberculosis problem. It is not just them. We
have got other wildlife involved. But I think the scientists do think
that Thatcher's are the primary source of reinfection. -- badges. -
- these animals. The Conservatives are allowing this. As the party got
it right? I do not think they have. I do sympathise completely. This is
a big problem in this country. Not just for the likelihood of farmers
but for the taxpayer. It will cost �100 million every year. But
culling badgers, we understand through research that has been
conducted by the last government, it has been scientifically proven
that it cannot contribute to reducing TB in cattle. That was the
conclusion. But it said that if you kill them, T B will come back.
best outcome is a 10% reduction but then after nine years, you are
still spending �85 million. Your party wants to cull them and you do
not agree with it. You did not agree with it either, do you?
may well be a government policy for the Government department to go
ahead with. But I happen to disagree. I have written to
hundreds of people telling them that. I think what would make the
biggest difference is perhaps more control with the movement of cattle.
Not just exterminating badgers, we should be looking for a vaccine.
will come back to Kerry. We must deal with this issue. But also
vaccination programmes. They are happening across the West Country.
We have got scientific evidence which has suggested that culling
would be ineffective if it had any effect at all. But who should be
government been listening to? Quayside tests. David. --
scientists. David. We are responding to the report. We might
have a situation where the initial reduction in outbreaks is actually
improving. People often talk about between 12 and 16 % but if we look
at trial areas with the latest information, these numbers are
increasing. And B vaccination argument, what about that? Cowls or
badgers? Both. The problem is that if you vaccinate badgers that have
already got TB, you on not having any results at all. Cattle vaccine
is fine. But at the moment I do not think that you can go between a
vaccinated animal and one that has got proper tuberculosis until you
can differentiate, you are in a very difficult position. -- because
until you can differentiate. Why is this such a difficult issue? I have
raised this in Parliament for years and when the Government got elected
I was worried they were waiting for political opportunism to get away
with it. It was very clear the Minister wanted the culling to go
ahead but they had a big row about forests which derailed the issue
for a while. But I think now that the legal challenges have failed,
that is why public attention is back on this issue. But I think we
will have a big outcry that people do not want badgers killed. They
will be an outcry and saboteurs are threatening to get out onto the
field. Do you think it should go ahead? Yes, I think it should. It
is not the complete answer but we must start somewhere. This is the
first step. Thank you for coming in. Time to catch up on other political
stories making the headlines this Mr Speaker... Age has not held back
his 65-year-old MP from the Liberal Democrats. He made his first speech
this week as communities minister. It is good to see that experience
can triumph above youth. A after hours of debate, a decision about
how much the mayoral candidate should be paid has been deferred.
It has been a bit indecisive after failure to agree on whether it
should be 40,000, 65,000, or somewhere in between. And one of
the candidates, he is almost as red-faced as his trousers. He
called one city to Irish and has since apologised and he has been
criticised in a Twitter storm will stop a bunch of politically
motivated eight-month --. A bunch of politically motivated hate
mongers. This is local currency in Bristol, launched at this week.
Those Bristol pounds are very attractive. We can pick up on one
of those stories on Twitter with George Ferguson after this Irish
comment. You are one of the people that objected. It was just a
foolish thing to say. I was offended when he said that he
adored the Irish and that they were some of his best friends. But to
use that phrase a little bit Irish as a metaphor for something being a
bit stupid, we have gone on from that, surely. You made a comment
about people behaving selfishly on trains and somebody saying that
they wished he had not been born and nobody apologised about that.
It was obviously a joke but what he said, he uses that phrase as a
metaphor for something being a bit stupid. I think he made it worse by
then patronising the Irish as well. It is dangerous, Twitter, isn't it?
Kerry is more they stole wart on Twitter. But you have got to be
careful. -- is more experienced on Twitter. Sometimes you hear
comments about the Welsh more than that you would like and you can get
some abuse. Thank you very much. That is all we have got time for
today. Thank you to Kerry and Stephen for joining us. If you