05/05/2013 Sunday Politics West


Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate.

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They gave councils the biggest shock in years gaining thousands of votes


across the west country. Can the party once called "fruitcakes" make


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2232 seconds


the programme just for us in the West. Today we are digesting what


the local election results mean after the UKIP bombshell fail on


West Country -- West Country politics. They did not get that many


seats, but in some areas over a quarter of voters gave them support.


They were called fruitcakes, but they have had the last laugh. We


will be talking to them later. First, let us introduce our guests.


They are at the Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Liberal Democrat


Jeremy Browne and for Labour, Sophy Gardner. First of all, how do you


deal with the problem of UKIP. would like to see the Conservatives


offer an electoral pact to them. If you look at the results, 48% of the


electorate voted for a right-wing parties, that is more than Margaret


Thatcher ever achieved. UKIP is clearly appealing beyond the base of


the Conservative party, into patriotically to and is across the


country and if we could pull all that together in an electoral pact,


it would be very exciting. You would be prepared to adapt UKIP policies?


So many of them are close to our policies anyway. What about


immigration? Conservatives have been tightening that up. On leaving


Europe, it is a question of does a renegotiation have the same affect?


Doesn't mean really repatriates the powers we need? Are you proposing


that in some seats, they should not be a Conservative candidate as a


deal that in other seats to should not be a UKIP candidate? There


should be an election were we support each other. I would like to


see Nigel Farage replaces Nick Clegg is the Deputy Prime Minister. I


think that would be a better bet for Conservatives. He wants a divorce.


That is a big announcement. We are committed to this coalition for the


lifetime of this Parliament. That is David Cameron's commitment as well.


David Cameron one of the Conservative leadership on a pledge


to modernise the Conservative party, he said we must stop banging on


about Europe, we must connect with people who had previously been


moderate. This is a dramatic departure from the basis on which


David Cameron one of the Conservative leadership. It is a


confession of weakness. The idea that the next General Election, the


Conservatives should not be a genuinely national party, that


people in some constituencies in the West should go and vote and there


would not be a Conservative on the ballot paper and they would be


invited to vote for UKIP instead, that would be a very dramatic


departure. You would go that far? is what we have done before. After


1885. We did it with the Liberal Unionists. British history is a very


long time periods. This if you have a party that you broadly agree


with... You called them fruitcakes! We called net Clegg the biggest joke


in electoral politics two weeks before he was deputy prime


ministers. -- neck Clegg. World would that leave you? I think they


would have an interesting time trying to rein in Nigel Farage. I do


not find that particularly worrying. I find it a scary one for Tories.


is correct about the proportion of people voting for right-wing parties


at a time when Ed Miliband is moving to the left. He is not. I do not


really see that UKIP is as big a deal, it was a protest vote. We got


that feeling on the doorstep. A lot of people said they would do it this


time. Other people said that they were voting UKIP to make a point.


When we spoke to the man pointed out how many times we had been to talk


to them compared to UKIP, they changed their minds and voted


Labour. After that to the big story of the week, the local elections.


UKIP are cock-a-hoop after scooping up a quarter of the votes in some


places. Before they get too carried away, it is worth remembering that


most people did not bother voting at all so it may be too early to burn


those EU style passports just yet. The faces said it all. For them


British politics has entered a purple patch. A party derided as


clowns and fruitcakes had upset at the electoral applecart, gaining a


formidable foothold in our council chambers. The number of seats that


they actually won across the West Country is fairly modest, eight, but


the level of support they received is remarkable. In Dorset it reached


as high as 27% and the impact that they have had is enormous, nowhere


more so than here. In the early hours of Friday, firm and an the


Forest. This corner of Gloucestershire normally swings


between the Conservatives and Labour. Now they have seats on the


county, district and town councils. There is a protest vote involved.


They also feel that they wanted to support what we have been saying.


They are angry with government and that has fed down to local level.


sends out a message. It sends out an important message to the government,


people are not happy with issues surrounding the European Union.


is a worry for the local Conservative MP viewers a member of


the government. It is disappointing when we lose a good counsellors. We


are in government, we have to take difficult decisions to clear up the


mess we inherited and voters have taken the opportunity to protest.


Labour were celebrating him made five games, but not as many as they


wanted. The basic numbers do not tell the full UKIP story. In world


should they got just one of the seats which stayed under clear


Conservative control. What worries us is many of them did not put any


literature out at all. That seems like a protest vote and I do not


like that. Local government services are too important to use a protest


vote. On the results, all these people voting for UKIP, they are the


ones who will create the difference in this country. That is why we are


here. Everybody says before you ask me, there is no protest vote, of


course it is. Protest was the word being bandied about in Bristol,


although here others benefited. Independents made a strong showing


and begin -- the Greens gained two seats. Those who did not prosper


were the coalition parties. The Liberal Democrats lost nine. Simon


Cook survived but several senior colleagues did not. It looks like a


protest vote against the coalition. People on doorsteps said that they


were not going to do that and we seem to be getting the blame and I


do not understand that. In the big coalition clash in Somerset, the


Liberal Democrat challenge faltered and the Tories held on, just. The


majority was slashed to one. We have been through the ringer. I am


pleased out where we are. I will be really pleased to take a day off


before I get back to the job on Monday. Back in Gloucester, there


was calm after the tumultuous events of the count. Mine is turned to the


daily business of running council services. Can you work with any of


the other parties? There is room for a group of political groups to come


together to form a coalition. Whether that is formal or some ad


hoc arrangements, that remains to be seen. Yes he did say another


coalition, that word may not please their supporters, but in


Gloucestershire, it could give UKIP their first taste of power. Joining


the debate here is UKIP's Jim Carver who is their South West regional


coordinator. You were listening in the wings when Jacob made his offer


for an electoral pact with UKIP. What do you think? I do not think we


would. What we saw on Thursday night was right across the south-west and


right across the country. It clarified that UKIP is taking votes


from all the parties. Thank you Jeremy, there are now four main


political parties and I think that has been borne out by the results.


Any talk of electoral pacts, it is early days, it is way above my pay


grade. I do not think the membership would go with that and we have


people from the Labour background who would not go along with the


Conservative party and I am sure people from Conservative backgrounds


would not go along with a pact with the Labour Party. That has blown


your plans? No. Rome was not built in a day. It would take time to


build a packed. The exact terms would have to be negotiated. What


would UKIP want to come into an arrangement with us? What would we


have to do in relation to the referendum? Would they require the


Prime Minister to use Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union?


Would be easier if you'd joined UKIP? No. I am a dyed in the wool


Conservative. I have a sympathy with their platform and their mode of


campaigning. Do you think the people who voted on Thursday voted for you


because they want out of Europe, which is your main campaigning idea?


It is clear, that is a key platform. You think that about everybody?


lot of people who did, but I know from speaking to some people, they


liked what we were saying about local issues and it is fair to say


some people wanted to have a go at the main parties. Where does that


leave Labour? There is certain to be a referendum. Where would Labour


stand? In terms of Europe? We have always said that we believe our


places in Europe. We do believe that we should be renegotiating some of


our positions. The UK is better of in Europe, the economy is better


off. Would you support people having a choice? It is difficult to call


now. We need to be concentrating on the economy. That is what people


want us to talk about. It is overwhelming, it is what people were


talking on the doorstep. It was the state of the economy, the effects


that people are feeling from the changes to their allowances and


benefits. It was also about immigration? Nigel Farage raised a


point when he said about Romanians and Bulgarians coming. Is it too


late to look at those policies and say, perhaps we should not have an


open door policy? We can look at how we apply them. There is an agreement


across the European Union. Hundreds of thousands of British people


retire to Spain. More British people live in Spain than there are


Spaniards living here. It is not a precise give and take. I wanted to


pick up on Jacob's point. The crucial thing is, as far as I can


see, there is one political party which is committed to getting to


grips with the economic problems, taking responsible decisions in


government about the economy, whilst still having an enlightened appeal


and that is the Liberal Democrats. The Conservatives are pulling off to


the right and talking about deals with UKIP. Labour are unwilling to


face up to any of the economic responsibility at all. Far from the


Liberal Democrats being marginalised, I think what is quite


interesting is the result of the traumas suffered by the


Conservatives, that we are the one force that is murdering British


politics on the responsible centre ground. You were annihilated in


Bristol. -- moraine British politics. We were patchy in parts of


the country. We had our best performances I became a candidate.


We got twice as many seats in my constituency as all the political


parties added together. For all your talk, you have got eight


councillors. We got 833 second places. If I can go back and the


point needs to be made, what we have brought to the selection is on the


issue of Europe, clarity, and what we have heard from Jacob. What we


have, they have the view, let us go for Europe wholeheartedly and what


we say is let us step back, have an amicable withdrawal. What is on


offer from the Conservatives and Labour... We have heard what William


Hague had to say, there is no shift to the right. I agree with Roy


Jenkins, he was right in what is said about Europe and that is


something for UKIP. He said there are now only too clear positions


with regards to our membership of the European community. All in or


all out. We have looked at it on balance and what the Conservatives


and Labour are talking about is really go see is, let's have the


good bits are not the bad bits, but that does not work. We have to make


a decision, as my party says, we believe we are better off out or


take the view, that we are all in. want to return to immigration. Does


Labour accept some of the -- responsibility for the


disenchantment? We have. We were talking about it this week. We


should have done things differently with controls. We need to make sure


that the national minimum wage is enforced so that people are not


employed on very low wages which draws on immigration illegally.


Those are the sort of things which are not being tackled by the current


government. Why do Scotland want to go into Europe, do you think?


are a different situation. The argument has been raised already. I


am not going to stand here to defend Scottish Independents. Nigel Farage


is like the Alex Salmond of England. I think he would take that as a huge


compliment. If we look at where the SNP came from, they started off by


winning a by-election many years ago and maybe it will not be so long. We


had a lot of second places. We could win a parliamentary by-election and


who knows what will come from that. Them is one thing about these


elections which will worry all politicians that was how few people


actually voted. In some areas as many as 82% did not bother. The


West, in the grip of electoral fever. After weeks of campaigning,


and thousands of postal vote applications, the ballot boxes


arrived and the polling stations were armed and ready for eager


voters. Look, there are some. Four years ago turnout was around 40%,


could it be matched this time? The cancer is... Nope. One of the most


notable things in these elections was the sheer number of people who


did not bother to use their polling cards are both at all. Here in the


centre of Bristol we had the lowest turnout with just over 17% of people


bothering to vote. That was reflected across the West. Bristol


had the lowest overall turnout at just under 25%. Somerset had the


highest turnout, reaching the dizzy heights of 36%. Here over one third


of people actually bothered to vote. In one seat in Bristol it was clear


how close things can get. I1-macro by one vote. It is fair to say that


every vote does matter. In the Eastville ward there was concern is


about younger people. It is a shame. People lost their lives for the


vote. You are entitled to vote, you should use it. In elections doesn't


really matter how low things go? The fact is the candidate with the most


votes will still be elected, even if only 17% of people turned out. With


the turnout solo, is there any real democracy in these local elections?


As long as people have the right to vote, if one person votes, then the


person who gets that vote wins. What are we doing wrong as politicians


that mean people are not interested in voting? When you see the


disconnect between the political elite and the electorate, not just


in this country but across Europe, there is a feeling that it is them


and us and UKIP has broken into that. I think some politicians on


both the left and right overcome that problem, Boris Johnson in


London is a good example from the right, and we need politics that


excites people. What is interesting is the number of second places you


got. If you had had your way and persuaded the British public to have


proportional representation, they would be a powerful force. I think


people should vote, they should feel a sense of civic obligation. I


recognise lots of people do not politicians have some responsibility


to ask why that is. To build on that point, you hear at Labour


politicians say we can win the General Election with 31% of the


vote. If you got a General Election UKIP got over that and did not win


any seats and Labour had an outright majority, you would have a crisis of


confidence. There is a sense that a lot of our political system... If it


is not broken, it needs attention. This was a problem in the old days.


We are building up through local councils. It is time now for our


weekly round-up in just 60 seconds. The government have been accused of


condoning the death penalty for refusing to pay the legal fees for a


Lindsay Sandiford who is facing a firing squad in Bali. She was


sentenced to death in January for smuggling more than �1.5 million


worth of cocaine into the country. The author Jilly Cooper at lent her


support to the pro-badger movement this week. Campaigners have been


asking politicians to declare if they will help stop the planned cull


of 2500 badgers from going ahead in the county in June. Remember these


yellow lines? They were painted on a tiny alley in Swindon that was too


narrow for any car. Charlotte Leslie wants the government to back a new


Royal College of Teaching, a professional body to improve


training and standards. Teaching unions say they are unconvinced by


the idea. That was the week. Just before we go, they are barely meet


asked Jacob what saves the Conservatives would not stand in any


pact with UKIP. I hope not mine! You have to work out which seats it


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