05/05/2013 Sunday Politics West


05/05/2013

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

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

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2232 seconds

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

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the local election results mean after the UKIP bombshell fail on

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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the Conservative party, into patriotically to and is across the

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

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

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

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immigration? Conservatives have been tightening that up. On leaving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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David Cameron one of the Conservative leadership on a pledge

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

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

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

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David Cameron one of the Conservative leadership. It is a

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

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Conservatives should not be a genuinely national party, that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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in electoral politics two weeks before he was deputy prime

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Forest. This corner of Gloucestershire normally swings

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

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

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

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

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

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people are not happy with issues surrounding the European Union.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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although here others benefited. Independents made a strong showing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Conservative party and I am sure people from Conservative backgrounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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that people are feeling from the changes to their allowances and

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

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

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

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

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across the European Union. Hundreds of thousands of British people

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

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

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

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

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grips with the economic problems, taking responsible decisions in

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government about the economy, whilst still having an enlightened appeal

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

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

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

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Liberal Democrats being marginalised, I think what is quite

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interesting is the result of the traumas suffered by the

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

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politics on the responsible centre ground. You were annihilated in

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Labour accept some of the -- responsibility for the

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

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

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

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employed on very low wages which draws on immigration illegally.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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elections which will worry all politicians that was how few people

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

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

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and thousands of postal vote applications, the ballot boxes

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arrived and the polling stations were armed and ready for eager

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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disconnect between the political elite and the electorate, not just

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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recognise lots of people do not politicians have some responsibility

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:59:36.:59:46.

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

:59:46.:59:49.

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

:59:49.:59:54.

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

:59:55.:59:58.

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

:59:58.:00:04.

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

:00:04.:00:08.

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

:00:09.:00:14.

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

:00:14.:00:19.

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

:00:19.:00:24.

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

:00:24.:00:32.

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

:00:32.:00:36.

Royal College of Teaching, a professional body to improve

:00:36.:00:41.

training and standards. Teaching unions say they are unconvinced by

:00:41.:00:51.
:00:51.:00:52.

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

:00:52.:00:58.

asked Jacob what saves the Conservatives would not stand in any

:00:58.:01:03.

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

:01:03.:01:12.

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