28/04/2013 Sunday Politics West


28/04/2013

Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate including Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to The Treasury, Danny Alexander.


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In the West: With a few days left of campaigning in the local

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elections, Government ministers are being asked to stay away as Tories

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2294 seconds

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and Lib Dems distance themselves By the coming up on the Sunday

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Politics South here in the West. Will the coalition in Westminster

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cost the Conservatives and Lib Dems boards in the local elections? In

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Gloucestershire Government ministers are being asked to stay

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away. You can cut the tension with a knife in the Sunday Politics

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studio. I am joined by two guests who are fighting tooth and nail. A

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Labour MP who is trying to get her job back and her Conservative

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opponent. Is that personal opponents? What is it like sitting

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next to each other? It cannot be personal, you would go wonder if

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you made it personal. We have to take a step back and be

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professional about it. Yes, but does that work in practice? Yes, of

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course, we have been crossing swords for 10 years. You do not

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need to be personal. We keep it professional, keep it clean and it

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is a good fight. And it is your job. I badly wanted her job the last

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time around and that is how deep real turned. No you are going to

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make it the best of three because it is one each at the moment. I

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believe in the Labour policies, it he believes in Conservative

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policies and we can have a bust up of a policy but not personal stuff.

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One of the big issues for both of them would be the economy. Swindon

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is struggling with job losses at Honda and the local construction

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trade is on its back. Money is not there. It is making sure you are

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finding work to pay for her wages, cover costs, then you are trying to

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find the next job which might be a bit more to cover costs. We see

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workers, labourers, builders of all types, they are usually flat out at

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this time of year but we are finding that there is not be

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outside work they like to do and they are having to take warehouse

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jobs. We avoided the triple dip recession. But things are not

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suitable for a town like Swindon. Swindon has done its very best to

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weather a tough storm. Let's not pretend, it has been very difficult

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for the individuals involved. But speaking to local developers there

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is a strong sign things are turning for the better. There are a large

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number of smaller companies that are picking up business and working

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very hard to continue the success story that has been Swindon. Still

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a long way to go. Labour do not seem to think it is necessary to

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have a creditable economic alternative. I think it is the

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Tories who do not have a credible alternative. They are flat lining

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the economy. I have not spoken to anyone in Swindon are who thinks

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the economy is turning up. They are worried about the cost of living,

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wages are stagnating or going down. Price rises are huge. The people

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are very, very desperate. It is not just the Honda redundancies but the

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knock-on effect of those redundancies on the other

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businesses in the town. I was speaking to someone today who was

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running a small business and they thought they might have to shut

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because they are not getting business. I think what would happen

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if we looked at a cut in VAT, that would get the manufacturing sector

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going and the building sector going again. It is slaughtered at the

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moment. We are not seeing construction sectors doing at all

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well. In the past we have been a boom town. Can the Government do

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anything to get things going? Government is right drink --

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underwriting more and more investment projects. The last

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Labour Government cut infrastructure spending which was a

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mistake. We are moving through that period now into more or

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construction underwriting, 1.2 5 million more jobs in the private

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sector since 2010. The private sector is going to be the engine of

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growth. Let's not talk our great down -- great town down in. It is

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the Government I am talking down. Things started to go horribly ill

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and wrong for our town in 2008 under Labour. It is the private

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sector that will lead other way out of recession. It is towns like

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Swindon with a big emphasis on the private sector that are growing.

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had 13 years, 10 of which were absolute boom time for Swindon.

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What you have done is cut to heart. What would you do about the

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deficit? I am just saying. You are borrowing more a. What is Labour

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going to do? What I am going to say to you is that we would have

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invested more into the economy of Swindon and the rest of the country

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where you have been cutting Swindon and not investing at all.

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infrastructure was you plan in 2010. We will leave it there. It is not

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personal! The local elections are just around the corner and

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candidates and exhausting themselves trying to persuade you

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to vote for them. Normally these humble footsoldiers would

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appreciate the glamour of a Government minister to inject some

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stardust into their campaign but now a cabinet ministers are being

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asked to stay away. What is going on? David Cameron made a big

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appearance this week in Gloucestershire courtesy of the

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Labour Party. The took a poster than two areas where they are

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expecting to do gain reports on Thursday. -- Ian votes on Thursday.

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Their campaign supremo was one of several Labour big guns to come to

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the county. The coalition partners dominate the chamber here but

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Government cuts and other changes could affect them on the second.

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There have been no big-name visits from senior visitors --. The ruling

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Conservatives are trying to defend their majority without outside help.

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Why are you not getting visits from big Conservative figures, can

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administers for example? -- cabinet ministers. I believe in speaking to

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people on the doorstep. It is a personal service. He has faced

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plenty of flak for cuts to council services but says most voters

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understand. Where you see what is happening in communities that have

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stepped up and met the challenge on youth or library services, there

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things are going well and we are unable to spend more money on

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things like adult here than ever before. Gloucestershire's main

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opposition party criticise the cuts but know they will likely continue.

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There possibly might have to be more cuts but we will look at the

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State of the council finances. We will be kinder and feed her to the

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people of Gloucestershire in the services we provide and we will not

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just go and cut budgets for the sake of it. The Conservatives I

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think rather enjoys slashing and burning public services. Some

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issues do feature large in the campaign. It is not a choice

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between landfill and incineration. At this debate there was much about

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the troubled plan by the Council for a waste incinerator. The best

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environmental choice is not supported by a whole stack of

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organisations. What we need to do is to reduce our waste and not just

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look at recycling. Labour are happy to focus on national issues. How

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much are you finding discontent with the coalition is working in

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your favour? It is but there is an anti-politics mood out there. It is

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about people saying you're are all the same and we are not going to

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vote or we will give UKIP a chance. The dominant parties in the county

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council expect to suffer and the underdogs to thrive. Joining us is

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a professor from the University of the West of England. Thank you for

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popping in, you are in expert on these things. I'll be local

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elections about local issues or national events? I think it is a

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mixed picture. Many people are taking the national picture into

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account when they go to the polls. Many are also driven by the local

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picture which I think they should be. What is troubling is the amount

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of voter turnout in local elections. It is quite troubling. We will come

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on to that but let's take this extraordinary scene of Lib Dems and

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Conservatives apparently telling their readers to clear off. Does

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that tell you there is a disconnect between what is happening

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nationally and locally? Whatever party happens to be in power, you

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will get a drawing away from local issues. The leader of Gloucester is

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right to talk about local issues. It is a county-wide election. The

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decisions he and his colleagues have to make our on local issues

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and things like adult social care. Focusing on these issues I think is

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the best way to increase participation and turnout. We have

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heard there is an anti-politics feeling out there as well. I think

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there has been an anti-politics feeling for as long as I can

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remember. I have been doing it for 20 years and in the first election

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I to Parkin I was told watch out, they will set dogs on you. -- took

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part in. Or on the fauns and doorstepped there are millionaires

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getting tax cuts which annoys people. There is a lot of

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resistance to the culture of the country. People feel at this

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empowered. This is not the fault of one party. It is a general drift

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which is really quite worrying. Thousands of people in Wiltshire

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will miss out on the chance to vote in the elections. Six of the seats

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are going uncontested. People have said how pleased they are I will be

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going on for another four years but it is probably the fact that the

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opposition, mainly the Liberals and UKIP have looked at the whole

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picture, they have seen where people had a large minority at the

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last election, the look at their resources and say these are the

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ones we will go for, we cannot cover the lot and that is what we

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will do. I think that is what happened in this case. If only all

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elections were that easy but what does that say about democracy that

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Labour are not planning to put up candidates? We have more candidates

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in the south-west and we had four years ago so we are putting up

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candidates but these are elections in mainly true-blue Tory territory

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so for our people it is difficult in some the areas but we have got

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100% in certain area is and we are hoping to pick up gains in Bristol

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and Gloucestershire. Do you think there is any point having

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represented -- elected representatives in some wards?

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do want to see a contest for the local vote and certainly for a

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unitary as authorities, there are important functions, maybe you

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could argue in certain parishes, it might be difficult to get a contest

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in every seat but when it comes to a unitary a authority I really

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think voters should have a choice. Do you think it is odd that people

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can be elected to reasonably important posts without any

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competition? I think it is unnerving. I think it is strange

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that other parties cannot give people a choice. The concept of

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uncontested seats is alien to us. One thing that has been said about

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these elections is that the turnout will be really law. Our people even

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aware they are going on and will be bother to vote? Do you know

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anything about the local elections? Do you think they are important?

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do think the an important but I have no idea what they are about

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really. Have you had any literature through? Have the candidates been

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out campaigning? Do you think they are doing a good job? I have not

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heard anything, not even through the door. The at the local

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elections on 2nd May. That is all I know really. I have not had anyone

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campaigning or putting things through my door. I have had one

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young chap come to my door from the Conservative Party but I haven't

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come across anybody else and don't know much about it except that the

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ballot cards are sitting on the side ready to be used. Do you think

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it will be about local issues or national issues? I will vote on

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national issues. Do you tend to votes the same way for local and

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national issues? It usually. should be about what is going on in

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your council tax and things like that not what is happening in the

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big picture. Do you think people are fed up with politics at the

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moment? Definitely, they do not trust them. I have two doctors, 22

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and 28, neither of them have ever voted than they do not want to

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because they are not interested and do not trust what politicians say.

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It does not matter what way you vote they will just carry on the

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way the arts. I have spoken to the Lib Dem candidate in my area who is

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the only one who has bothered so to be honest I might vote for him but

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I am not sure what difference it will make. Those are some

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interesting views. It is it -- is it the boaters fault that they do

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not taking interest or default of the parties that they do not engage

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us? -- the voters fault? average turnout in the 70s in local

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elections was about 43%. It drifted down in the 90s to 36% and last

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year it was the 31% actually turning out to vote in the local

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elections. That is a significant downside. Voters are intelligent.

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They can see that power has been ripped away from local authorities

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sought they wonder why they bother voting. In other countries it is

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not like this. Is it that there is really not much between you?

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think there is quite a lot actually. I do feel a sometimes it is quite

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difficult for the general public to find out about political parties

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and what do from political parties stand for. It is not easy for

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political parties to get the manpower, the person power to go

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out and knock on doors and people expect that to happen. People do

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not necessarily like politicians coming to the door but they do not

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like it if they do not come. I find people are glad to see a politician

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taking the time to engage and to try to make politics real. You do

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see where political parties are working hard we do keep a good

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voter contact going from all the political parties. I don't think

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voters are never happy, I have to say, in my experience. We will

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watch with great interest of course on Thursday. Thank you. Now it lets

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take a look at the rest of this week's political news in 60 seconds.

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It was a fraud on a national scale. Explosive detectors sold around the

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world. It was described as an abhorrent trade. There should have

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been a much quicker reaction at the time. I do not think there was

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investigated at the earliest opportunity and it should have been.

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There are threats that plans will be scuppered for and you nuclear

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power station at Hinckley Point. Bristol is to follow in the

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footsteps of order or by closing its city centre to traffic once per

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month. The mayor pop onto as cycling piano this week. He hopes

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it will attract street dance and guided walks. I could not quite

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work out why the Mayor was on that piano. Perhaps it is me! Let's pick

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up on that car story. Is there anything to be said for closing

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city centres of and letting the town be once a month? I think in

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cities like Bristol where there are massive congestion issues it is

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worth a try. A town like Swindon has actually benefited from reduced

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parking charges and we have seen an increased footfall in the town

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centre which is welcome. You have to look at each city or town very

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carefully before coming to a decision like that. In order to

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save Bristol from the car a lot more has got to be done than

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shutting the town centre for one weekend per month. I hope the mayor

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is working on other measures. In Swindon I would like to see the

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cycle path ETA. They should be finished off. It is quite dangerous

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in some places in Swindon. The Magic roundabout is lovely.

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cycling around that bad boy! Does it make you envious when they have

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a mayor, a clear leader who can set an agenda and that you can follow

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whereas perhaps in sending you have a council, a committee and all that.

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We have had a debate about this in the past, I do not think there is a

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groundswell of opinion to have a mayor in Swindon. I would love to

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see a day when I could cycle with my children from where I live up

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into town. That is a big issue I know my fellow residents agree with.

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That is all we have time for today. Thank you to my guests for joining

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