23/09/2012 Sunday Politics West


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


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