18/11/2012 Sunday Politics West


18/11/2012

Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate including conservative party chairman Grant Shapps and shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper.


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And in the west - a new dawn for west country politics. But the

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turnout in the police elections was pitiful - what does that mean for

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2383 seconds

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how they do the job? That's in 40 Thanks Andrew - you join us live

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this lovely morning for the Sunday Politics in the west. Bristol has a

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new mayor and the police forces have new commissioners. But these

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images taken at a polling station in Gloucestershire summed up

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election day - where did all the voters go?

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I'm delighted to say that I am joined by the new Mayor of Bristol,

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George Ferguson. And the new police and crime commissioner for Avon and

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Somerset, Sue Mountstevens. Welcome to you both. George, has it sunk in

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yet? Yes, it has. I feel deeply honoured that the people of Bristol

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have entrusted me. It is a huge responsibility. Tomorrow morning I

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will be starting. I will start the steadily, I will get into what the

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true situation is, in terms of the Budget and everything else. And I

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will start thinking about putting the Cabinet together.

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Mountstevens, you told me on Friday you were shocked. Are you still

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shocked? I am getting used to the idea. People have put their trust

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in me and I now have to deliver. I won the job to start as soon as

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possible so the residents can see a difference.

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The election day in Bristol was full of drama - on paper, the

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Labour candidate Marvyn Rees should have walked it. But in the end it

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was the independent - George - who will go down in local government

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history. He will be sworn in tomorrow, then it is just the small

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matter of selecting a cabinet from councillors who represent the

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parties he defeated, pushing through budget cuts, and

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transforming the city. In a moment, I will be asking him how he's going

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to do it - but first, Paul Barltrop It's six months since he was the

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first candidate to come forward. George Ferguson had assembled an

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army of volunteers, taken on the political establishment and won.

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Sweet victory for the independent, bitter disappointment for Labour,

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who had put big resources behind their candidate Marvin Rees. All

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sides are now contemplating what comes next. The new man in charge

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here faces formidable challenges. Financially, there's a hole in the

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budget, within weeks the mayor has got to find �28 million of savings,

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but the more immediate task is to form a cabinet of councillors. No

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political party is excluded, and this weekend the discussions and

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deliberations are already underway. Liberal Democrats emerging after a

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four hour meeting yesterday - they're happy to work for the mayor.

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After all, until recently, he was a member of their party. We want to

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Halpin do that well. We are in it for the future of the city and the

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residents of Bristol. -- help him. Tomorrow, his time as Bristol's

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last council leader ends. He thinks the new mayor won't be as big a

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change as many believe. He has no more power and few resources. It is

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no use people expecting miracles overnight. I don't think that is on

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offer. He'd like all parties to co- operate. But that's harder for the

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Conservatives' defeated candidate Geoff Gollop. He has talked

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critically of excessive spin being used by George Ferguson. Anyone who

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thinks they can solve all these problems is falling the people

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because it is not possible. So how someone is best to work with that

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is an issue that is yet to be resolved. One has to have an open

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mind in politics, and I do. For Labour, whose hopes had been so

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high, defeat hurts. One activist said they were gutted. They may

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choose to spurn the new mayor's advances - and possibly reap

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rewards at next May's council elections.

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Joining the debate are two local politicians. Peter Abraham is the

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Conservative group leader in Bristol and Thangam Debbonaire, who

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is the Labour candidate for Bristol West. But first, let's hear from

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the Mayor. Should I call you the mayor? From 2pm tomorrow I will be

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the mayor, yes. What will you do in your first 100 days? I think we

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have to change the mood. We need to look at what can be done within the

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very difficult economic circumstances that I am presented

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with. And we need to make sure that whatever is done it protects the

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most vulnerable. That has to have absolute priority. I think we have

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to change the mood about people's perception of the government in

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crystal -- Bristol. I think people are cynical and that has been shown

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in the way people don't vote in elections. I want to make everybody

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feel they are part of the governance of this city. We need to

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open up the council house and truly get into the communities, we need

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to have a much greater understanding of the needs of the

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Community's, and we have to share the Government's -- governance of

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the area. -- needs of the communities. If you look at your

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leaflets, you are the champion of this and a supporter of that, but

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there is no detail. You are not looking at the detailed document. I

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carefully did not give promises about numbers. I think chasing

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numbers is a silly game. You know, the number of houses or the amount

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that you pay to go on the bus. Those are the sort of cynical

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political promises that come out of party manifestos. Can I give you

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one number you will have to grapple with? �28 million in cuts in the

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next six weeks. It is time to tell us what you're going to do. I shall

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be telling you what I will do when I have dug down into this figures

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and I can see where the spending is, where it has to be prioritised. I

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cannot do that because it's -- before I go into office, and it

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would be silly to go and say that. When I became president of the are

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BAe in 2003, that first meeting I had was a shock about the hole in

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the finance -- final salary pension scheme. -- president of the RBA. It

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has 40,000 members, it is a serious national organisation. And the same

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principles apply. I then had to look at how we make best use of the

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barns. -- funds. You like being popular, there is no doubt about

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that. You're going to be sworn in on Monday and possibly sworn at on

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Tuesday. I've had people swear at me and then sell meat during the

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selection. Indicating that I am some sort of sleaze back. -- and

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insults me during this election. All I know is that I am here to

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serve the people of Bristol. Peter, you are a seasoned political

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operator. What do you think will happen when he takes office? When

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the spin, if you'll forgive me, has to stop and he gets down to it,

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what will happen? Let's be clear, you talked about the deficit will

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need to find. Work is under way with that and has been for some

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while. So I thought will not have a blank sheet of paper. -- George

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will not have. My job is to support and to get the best possible deal

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for the people of Bristol. What I learnt on Thursday is that people

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are fed up to the back teeth with as arguing amounts ourselves. I

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hope it we can sit down... So you would serve in his cabinet if he

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asked you to? Are not looking for a job. I want to serve. I've always

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worked for Bristol. That I will continue to do. This weekend, I

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checked with my group because I won the strength of that, that they

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want to work with him as well, totally. So what has been said in

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the heat of the moment is just not the case. We want to work together

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and get this Budget, which is our first priority, a right. Thangam

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Debbonaire, Kenny believe that George one? -- can you believe that

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George won? I can believe he won, he is a great candidate. We were

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disappointed that our candidate did not win. I think there are many

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reasons. I spoke to Labour supporters recently, and some of

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them were not convinced that Bristol should have a mayor. Yes,

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there was a referendum, but there was quite a low turnout. At think

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that is something to be concerned about. On paper, Labour should have

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won. If you add up the votes they councils get, it is a Labour city.

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George, he has said he will serve with you. Labour, will you? Just

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like the Conservatives, the Labour group will be discussing this. This

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is not something that I can make up. Certainly, the leader of the Labour

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group will be talking to all the Labour councillors over the next

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few days. But the trouble is at the moment we were -- don't know quite

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what it is George once. -- wants. Have you been making phone calls

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about who you will have on your Cabinet this weekend? I will look

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at that over the following week. I will talk to all parties and some

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individuals within those parties. That doesn't allow us anything!

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Well, it does tell you that this needs to be properly considered and

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it has to have due deference to the individuals and the party's. -- the

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parties. George Ferguson's victory in

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Bristol set a trend for independents. Apart from Wiltshire,

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they won all the local police elections in the west. The turnout

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was terrible, but Sue Mountstevens here slammed the Tory favourite to

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win and got the biggest vote in the country. Let's look at some of the

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I will listen to all residents, especially the quiet voices.

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Understand their needs and help shape police priorities across the

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The people of Dorset have spoken loud and clear. Party politics in

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We've worked hard over the last couple of months in the county,

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trying to tell people what this I've never stood for office before

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so I don't know the protocol. I will stay independent, I promise

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you that. I will represent all those who voted for me and another

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candidate and all those who even felt the need to spoil their ballot

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papers. Well, Sue Mountstevens has joined us for a bit of questioning.

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Well done again. But do you consider that you have a strong

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mandate? When you applied for a job, nobody asks you about the process.

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I think a government have to think about the process. But at the end

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of the day, I got 125,000 votes. The that's first and second

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preference. Yes, and I have now got the job, and it is now up to me to

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improve the morale of the police, to increase confidence. How do you

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propose to do that? I think now I can be the voice of the residents,

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so I will make sure that voice is heard at every level of policing

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decisions. So, in practical terms, you know what the residents will

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say. You were been campaigning for a couple of months. What will he be

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telling the chief constable when you get sworn in? I will be working

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with him. I won't tell them. But together, we want to make all our

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residents feel safe. So we will look at the priorities are set out

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- anti-social behaviour, burglary and violent offences against women

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and girls. That is what we will prioritise. He may well tie you

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that those are already his priorities. -- tell you. Well, we

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will write a plan together. Do you think that these PCCs are a good

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idea? There's been contempt for the process. The number of people who

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spoilt their ballots. A I think there was a clear message on the

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residents saying they did not want party politics in any way shape or

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form involved in policing. That is what I will deliver. Politicians

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are not going to get in the way of me listening to residents, speaking

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to the police and working together. The chief constables, not

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necessarily with you, but in other areas, could well say that these

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people had barely got any mandate. It is up to you to speak to other

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bins. I can only speak to myself. - - to other PCCs. Thangam Debbonaire,

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is this a good idea? Were all, it is an idea that David Cameron

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brought in. It is a shame that he bought it in and then did not get

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behind it. This was a flagship element of his big society plan. I

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think it's as a lock the people won't convinced by an -- I think it

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says a lot that people were not convinced by it, including David

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Cameron! People at my polling station were saying that they had

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not heard of the candidates. People without the internet and were at a

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disadvantage. Or could it be that people are relatively happy with

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the police and see no great desire for change? If people were unhappy

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with the police, thousands would have been out there. I think you

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are absolutely right. The role of the police and crime commission or

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is wider than the previous police authority. Peter, it was a

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devastating defeat in your area for your man. Again, as he was the

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clear favourite and yet people rejected party politics right

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across the board. Except in Wiltshire. I feel quite strongly,

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and I support the police commissioner, I thought it was a

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good idea. I still do not today no re the chairman of the police

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authority was. I've met Sue Mountstevens, I know her. I think

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that is very important. There is a need for the public to be

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represented. I 100% support the police, I think they do a

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marvellous job, but there is a level where we need somebody like a

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police authority, now a commissioner, to be able act for us.

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What I'm critical of is not the decision of the police and crime

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commission at, but the advisers to the government had thought you

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could cover an area like Avon and Somerset without any financial help.

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-- commissioner. Even the party machines struggle. I think that is

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ridiculous. Where were the advisers, the electoral commissioners are

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saying to the government, this is not on? You are right, the

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residents were very angry. The a have a lot answer for, I think. --

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they have. You are now probably the most influential politicians in the

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West Country. I suppose we are. I know we will work well together. I

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was voting -- rooting for her, because I felt strongly that we

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should have an independent bin. -- PCC.

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We did ask the new commissioners for Gloucestershire and Wiltshire

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to come in today, but they didn't get back to us. Let's take a spin

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through the other political stories making the headlines this week in

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our 60 second roundup. David Cameron and 26 members of his

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coalition cabinet held their weekly meeting in a school near Bristol

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this week. The Prime Minister was quizzed by pupils at John Cabot

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Academy - so did he get top marks? I've never really taken much

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interest in politics before, but after meeting the Prime Minister, I

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think it is something I should be more interested in.

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The west's smallest local authority is on the brink of bankruptcy -

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losing �100,000 a year. The Conseravtive leader of West

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Somerset says it is not due to incompetence, but the rural nature

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of the area. If it goes bust, it would be the first council to go

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under ever. We're not getting the income that are people deserved.

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And when budgets were cut for youth clubs in Somerset, some feared they

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would all close. But the local community have rallied around and

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the good news is most have stayed Of course, it was dominated by-

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elections. George, this is the start of a new life for you. Any

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chance of new trousers, or...? be different shades, but the same

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colour! Will you change? Nothing will change me. I am what I am, I

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am now the servant of people of Bristol. Will you get a car, horses

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and it carried? And no, you are getting a confused with a different

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sort of mayor! And what you have to swear on Wednesday, remind us?

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is an oath of impartiality, and that I'm there to represent all

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voices, every Biddy, whether they voted for me or didn't vote.

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That's all we've got time for today. Thank you to all of our guests. The

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