19/05/2013 Sunday Politics West


Andrew Neil and David Garmston are joined by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander and discuss Conservative UKIP electoral pacts with Conservative MPs.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 19/05/2013. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



shooting of thousands of badgers. The Government says it will reduce


the number of cows being slaughtered because of TB but farmers and


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2152 seconds


the Sunday Politics here in the West. Coming up: We are days away


from the first shots being fired in a cull of badgers. The Government


says killing them will help stop the spread of TB to cattle so they'll be


shot in two trial zones in Somerset and Gloucestershire. But with


animals rights campaigners against it, will it turn into badger wars? A


farmer and a protestor will be going head to head later in the programme.


But first, let's welcome two politicians to our set. They are the


Conservative MP in the Cotswolds, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, and for


Labour, Glyn Ford, who was a member of the European Parliament for 25


years. Let's talk about Europe, first of all. Geoffrey, is all this


banging on about Europe in the public interest? The UK Independence


party vote has focused everybody's minds, particularly the


Conservatives, as to how this might affect things next year and the


general election. Is it another Conservative civil war in the


offing? There is no civil war! The party are not clear about what


policies they want. What way would you vote? At the moment, if there is


no negotiation, I would probably vote to come out. I don't know why


he should stay on. I am involved in writing a book at the moment saying


the problem with Europe is too much of a Tory Europe. I say we need a


very different Europe that ends austerities. For his Europe, fine!


For the Europe I would like to see, people will want to stay in. What


this is about is saving David Cameron's career. He wants a


referendum in 2015. That's what it's about. If you're serious, do it


now! Why hasn't it become a much loved institution in this country:


The European Parliament? We don't expect every local institution to be


loved, do we? May be respected because we do make decisions that


shape peoples lives and the difference between where the


political centre of gravity is does make a difference. If you want a


different Europe, vote on another way.


The Government's cull of badgers is due to get underway very soon and


the first animals to be shot will be here in the West Country. Two zones


have been selected to try out the scheme and they are in Somerset and


Gloucestershire. But do the arguments for a cull stack up? We'll


be debating that shortly. First, here's Paul Barltrop.


Diseased and doomed. It's a dozen years since David Barton's farm near


Cirencester was first afflicted by bovine TB. But here, as elsewhere,


it's getting worse. This week, two more tested positive. I have been


doing this for ten, 11 years. When I have a lorry turn up taking all


these cars of mind that I have been breeding for years, that's a real


pain. He invited in the media on Friday to show how farmers suffer.


Also on the guest list were local councillors, among whom opinion


seems to be hardening against Government policy. The cull


continues to face considerable political opposition. This week, it


was once again debated by Gloucestershire County Council. They


voted that they didn't want it taking place on council-owned land


and called on the Government to concentrate on alternatives like


vaccination and improved biosecurity. In the Chamber, there


was much sympathy for farmers but more doubt than ever that shooting


badgers is the answer. It's important to put a marker down that


we believe the coal is the wrong way of going about this problem.


Vaccination is the way forward and we want to send a clear message out


to the Government to that end. Science is central to this argument.


Britain's biggest ever culling trial took place a decade ago in the West.


10,000 badgers were killed. In the end, scientists concluded culling


wasn't worth it. But a change of Government, and lasting benefits


from those trials, brought a change of tack. 100,000 badgers will be


killed for a reduction in bovine TB of 12-16%. Having looked at all the


evidence, I am utterly convinced that badger control is the right


thing to do. But MPs were not persuaded. In October, they voted to


abandon the cull. Can we have an indication from the Government that


the Government will go back and look again at the whole policy of the


badger cull and respect the democratic voice of this Parliament?


But ministers can - and have - ignored the vote. The shooting of


badgers could start within days. The benefits to cattle could take years


to emerge. Joining us is John Hore, who's a


farmer and NFU spokesperson in the West, but not from the cull zone,


and Jay Tiernan from Stop the Cull. How do you plan to stop the coal?


work week in, week out to stop hunts from a distance, and we will try and


stop the marksman by using light and sound. That sounds pretty


intimidating! It's not meant to be intimidating. Isn't it about going


into a pub and saying, no 1's going to get hurt if you do as we say?


It's about trying to stop badgers from being shot in a culvert should


not be happening. I shouldn't have too organise this campaign. What do


you feel about that? As farmers, we have been given the go-ahead by


government. What is being proposed is totally legal. I just hope that


the anti-coal protesters remain on the legal side of the law. They have


said they will but they are talking about direct action. Intimidation


comes in all forms, doesn't it? That is a great concern to farmers. TB is


out of control to such an extent this is something we have to go


ahead with. This is the only option on the table at the moment. But it


is not that effective. We would dispute those figures of 10-15%.


That is relating to the trials that were done. Since they were done, the


areas have been increased, so we would expect a much better result


than 17%. Shouldn't risk -- shouldn't you respect the views of


people who work the land? Maybe they should respect scientists wishes. I


have been told there are not even any scientists and deaf at the back


of the coal. There are no scientists behind it, Parliament doesn't want


it. As far as I can see, it is the NFU and big business pushing through


something that is not wanted. They have to be seen to be doing


something. But no one kills badgers for fun. If you look on Facebook,


there are many people on pro-badger cull groups who are looking forward


to shooting them. If there was a better way, do you think as farmers


and politicians we would adopt that way? This is the only thing on the


table at the moment. Vaccination is probably ten years of way. I am in


favour of the coal because those figures show there are a large


number of farmers who are suffering. It's a real emotional


loss when they lose cattle. It's just how effective it is. We believe


this will produce a big reduction. Where it has been tried and done


properly around the world, it has produced a significant reduction. If


this is done properly and allowed to proceed, we will see a significant


reduction. It is reasonable to take that point and say, let's just try


to zones. The results have shown a reduction. So would going to wipe


out all badgers to see if it might work? There is no intention to wipe


out all badgers. You don't have many badgers there are! The coal was


called off in September, November, because of the new figures of badger


numbers. And another a lot of figures came out in February and


they were lower. The coal would not have succeeded. Parliament voted


against it and yet it is still going ahead. It was an unofficial vote on


a Thursday afternoon. On his intimidation point, we will put on a


website, to try and intimidate us. This sort of intimidation is


unacceptable. I would say to him and his colleagues, this has been


decreed by a democratically elected government. Let's see if it works.


They will breed again. Over 250,000 cattle have been killed over the


last ten years. You can't win on finances. Labour didn't actually


tackle this, did it? That's true. That doesn't mean to say we have to


follow this. I'm convinced on the economic is an environmental impact.


What we're trying to do... I understand farmers are suffering. I


live in the Forest of Dean. What I'm suggesting is this seems to be, we


have to do something and we're not sure whether this is the right to


do. All we are after is a healthy countryside, healthy badgers.


will it work? Badgers aren't even going to be tested for TB. The whole


thing is a farce! What percentage would be tested? 10%. Of the ones


that are killed, you will be able to One of the biggest beasts in the


political jungle was in Bristol this week, urging councils to storm the


barricades of Westminster in the quest for more money and power. Lord


Heseltine was trying to rouse what he called a "peasants' revolt". He


thinks it could reverse decades of decline in local government. Here's


In the 19th century heyday of local government, your council could do it


all: Building the roads, putting in parks, piping your gas and supplying


your water. But now, town halls like this one have been reduced in size.


The short summary is we've got centralisation on steroids in the


sense that central government keeps taking power away from the local


level and it's done this over 20 or 30 years now to the point that local


government is really a pale shadow of what it used to be in the past.


They may be a shadow of their former selves, but councils do still have


some important jobs to do, like providing housing and care for the


elderly. But as demands in these areas grow, it's becoming a big ask,


not least because councils on reducing budgets hold very few of


their own purse strings. Local authorities don't have that much


freedom to raise their own money. 60% of money is central government


grants. There are a an awful lot of rules governing how local


authorities raise that money. We would like to see a bit more


autonomy for local government. week, the Mayor of Bristol held a


summit. The keynote speaker was in a rabble-rousing mood, calling for up


to �80 billion of government money to be returned to the regions. But


can we, outside of London, be trusted with such sums? The general


question about the competence of the localities is a very good one. So


what's the solution, more centralism or put right the problem of local


administration? My own view, and every international precedent


supports that view, you've got to have effective local administration.


In the case of Bristol, you need a mayor. Now you've got one, I believe


it's having a very salutary effect. What about the cuts? In this


five-year period, they are cutting back funding by a third. I don't


have any problems about the cuts. If you actually look at the graph, you


find this huge explosion under Gordon Brown. We were administered


perfectly well before the splurge and we can't afford it. There have


to be cuts and the public sector has to face its share of it. Those cuts


seem to be hitting the services councils aren't obliged to provide


by law the hardest, services like the arts. Some question whether


galleries like this one in Bristol should receive a penny of public


subsidy when services for vulnerable people are under threat. I used to


appear on the television defending the arts for the Arts Council.


Someone put up a slide for a care home that's about to close and you


thought, "Uh-oh! I'm losing the argument." It's very, very difficult


but there are hard arguments about the arts and I think - as Keynes


said - poverty of aspiration is as important as the other five giants


of physical poverty, and those days, it was seen as up there on a level


with public funding for education, of health and all those things that


were renewed after the War, but public funding for the arts was seen


as important for all of those. God, we've slipped since then! It's about


time we went up the agenda again. the future of an increasingly


strained local government seems to lie in restoring the glories of its


past. Next month, we'll find out if Lord Heseltine's cry to put the


regions in charge of billions of pounds of public spending has been


taken seriously by Westminster. In the meantime, Westminster has


promised to devolve down more borrowing powers. But without a


significant transfer back of money and power, our squeezed councils may


soon find themselves with a giant So are councillors capable of


running bigger budgets? Yes, absolutely. What Michael Heseltine


did in the 1980s, these were all done with local partnerships.


Councillors are capable of spending more money, but they should not be


spending it for the sake of it. is the mentality in Westminster?


Each local area is different from the next one. You need to unlock


local enterprise and energy to see how you can improve the area.


no reason why politics should not be reflected in the local council. I


was a local councillor for eight years. We introduced Japanese,


Arabic and Russian into the school curriculum. We abolished film


censorship. When you do decentralise, people say it is a


postcode lottery. You can get this service in Bristol but not in


Cheltenham. It is a reflection of different politics. It's perfectly


possible for Bristol council to have a different set of policies than


what they do in the Cotswolds or Liverpool, Glasgow or Cornwall.


better councils will produce more jobs and more investment and a


better standard of life for people. And that's democracy.


It's been a busy week. Let's take a look at some of the other political


stories making the headlines. Things were as heated as in Gordon


Ramsey's kitchen when the Bristol Mayor was caught on camera swearing


at a member of the public. George Ferguson claims Paul Saville was


harassing him so he told him to F off! But Mr Saville says he was just


raising a democratic point. I'm not a programme politician and I will


occasionally react in what might not be seen as the best way.


The family of right-to-die campaigner Tony Nicklinson from


Wiltshire have been back to court in a bid to make voluntary euthanasia


legal. They hope judges will overturn last year's ruling that


blocked him from ending his life with a doctor's help.


And Liam Fox, the Conservative MP from North Somerset, has been in


court, suing a Dubai businessman who revealed details about his unusual


working relationship with his friend Adam Werritty. Dr Fox resigned as


Defence Secretary over the allegations.


Every member of staff at Wiltshire Council is to be asked if they want


to take redundancy. 340 jobs are to go as the council tries to save


millions of pounds. Let's pick up on the swearing. Is it


ever right for a politicians to use the F word? Occasionally, we get


provoked to the extreme! Swearing is never acceptable, but sometimes,


it's difficult not to. Have you ever been tempted to do a John Prescott?


Very tempted! Why should politicians just sit there and be called scum or


whatever by other people? It's not very far between swearing and


getting violent. Once you start swearing, you have lost the


argument. Easier said than done, but it is incumbent on politicians to


set a example. Not a lot of politicians, is there? There's


probably less respect now than for a while. People never desperately


looked up to politicians in the past, but as a class, no.


Andrew Neil and David Garmston are joined by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander and discuss Conservative UKIP electoral pacts with Conservative MPs Jacob Rees-Mogg and Jackie Doyle-Price. As well as all of the weekend's other political news, and debate with the weekly panel of journalists.

Download Subtitles