16/06/2013 Sunday Politics West


Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate, including the G8 and an interview with EDL leader Tommy Robinson.

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smoking. Should cigarettes be sold in plain


packets to cut sales, and how will that go down in Bristol where so


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2337 seconds


that is just for us here in the West. We are talking about these


things, fags. After the success of the ban on smoking in public places,


should the Government get a move on and take branding of cigarette


packets? That is coming up soon. Joining us in our no smoking lounge


today are a Lib Dem MP Stephen Williams and the Conservatives


candidate for Wells, jeans hippie. -- James Heatley. Stephen, any hopes


for a job for your good self? is always speculation about it. We


will just have to wait and see. Nick Clegg has my phone number. It is a


job I would like. There is nothing wrong with that while your party is


wrong with that while your party is in Government. Public Health


Minister would be a good one. going to be smoking -- talking about


smoking later on. Any thoughts you would -- about who you would like to


see promoted or kicked out of the Cabinet? I have no thoughts on who I


would like to be kicked out, but it is for David Cameron to build the


strongest team possible to take the country forward. The economic


recovery is still just beginning. There is plenty of work to be done


there. It is important he builds a strong team to take the country


forward and take the Conservative Party forward into pretty important


elections. You write the speeches for Liam Fox will stop would you


like to see him back? Liam was very kind to me when I told him he and


was going to leave the army last year. He offered me a job. It has


been great working for him. He has a data meant for this country, and it


would be great to see him back if there was a sport for -- spot for


him. Now, Weston-super-Mare's the Miss


outdoor swimming pool, the Tropicana, could remain empty and


boarded up four years according to local politicians. Last year, the


promised to knock the swimming pool down. However, local people appealed


that decision, and because of the political and legal process, it is


likely to stand empty for the foreseeable future. Who is to blame


for the delays? Weston on a bit. Marty. The sun,


sand new pier and happy holidaymakers. On the horizon, you


can just spot the sea. Cause the tide goes out so far, there is


little chance of a paddle for these youngsters, and that is where this,


the Trop, came into its own. In its day, it was the place to go, with


water slides, diving boards and even a wave machine. Thousands queued to


take the plunge here. But when new quarter -- water quality standards


were introduced, that all changed. It was back in 2000 that the doors


to the Trop were closed for the first time. The council said they


couldn't afford to run the swimming pool. We hope the private company


would take it over. He said that should happen within a few months.


13 years on and with the bop -- the building falling into disrepair, the


council say the only viable option is to knock it down. No queues at


the famous Tropicana pool. It is closed... �25 million. So the saga


has run on and on. Derek Mead is a local businessmen who built this


restaurant in the town. He thinks he has a solution that should save the


Trop from the wrecking ball. He says the council would listen and it is


getting personal. We want to turn it into a charitable trust, and be


better advised by our MP that the best way forward was to put it into


a charitable trust. That would open the door for lottery money, heritage


money or whatever. We don't think the figures add up. We don't think


the costs are realistic, and the ongoing revenue costs of running it


are dependent on resale. It has become a constant headache for the


Council, discussed in meeting after meeting. They say there is fed up


with it as local people. Too many, the other ones to blame. There is


nothing wrong with the building itself. To leave it to go to ruin,


like they are doing, is wrong. There is going to be a preservation order


on it, because it will be that old. This is a town that relies on to


list 's money, and having a building such as this empty is not good for


the city. The council wants to do something about it, but it is now in


the hands of Eric Pickles and the Department for local governor to


take the final decision. The problem could come if we don't get


permission to demolish, literally go from there? We have still got the


power under English law for a judiciary review. We don't want to


do that. Why should we waste more money that could be put into more


useful use than actually getting it going? While they fight it out over


what should happen to this once thriving pool, you can be pretty


sure that the boarded up swimming pool will be here for one more


summer and possibly many more. We did ask North Somerset Council to


appear on the programme, but they said no-one was available, which is


a shame. We are joined by the chair of the Weston-super-Mare to dress


for the association. -- restaurant Association. I think they are so fed


up abandoning the same questions over the last 13 years. Why did they


want to pull it down? They said it was an eyesore, and it is also


become a bit of a problem. It is unsafe. They feel they ought to put


down before there is any injuries. It has been going on for 13 years.


How do you feel about that? I personally feel that they should go


ahead. The restaurant Association should go ahead with that as well.


He should do what he wants. It is the perfect plan that we have been


looking at. He says if it doesn't work, he is willing to post on


himself and foot the bill and save the taxpayers. What has happened


between the relationship of the council and people like you? They


have stopped listening to the general public. The town council are


all in support, but it just seems that North Somerset Council doesn't


want to be listening. They have actually said in many meetings,


let's just go free this meeting without bringing the Tropicana at


all. Let's bring in our other guests. James, does it make you


proud to hear about this sort of fiasco going on for the last 13


years? I have to be honest and say that once -- whilst I've been to


their many times growing up, I have not involved in any way in the


Tropicana redevelopment. I feel uneasy talking about the details of


that. I do think that councils face a difficult challenge. There are the


needs of the community, needs to be developed, needs for economic


growth. That is never going to be complete agreement over projects.


Yes, the Tropicana seems to have been dragging on over quite a while,


but it is difficult to comment on the details of that case went and


saw unfamiliar with it. It is the ability of a council to act


reasonably quickly. Stephen, what do you think of the performance of the


Council on this issue? As a point Western Europe, it is something you


have to do it many times over the years. As a boy, I swum in the


Tropicana and played on the dodgems at the pier. The Tropicana saga


seems to have gone on for many years. It is a puzzle why the


council hasn't got a grip on this and sorted it out. The sun doesn't


shine all the time in the area, so you do need dry attractions for


people to enjoy. What may be puzzling to some viewers is that it


is going to Eric Pickles to make the decision. If the council can't even


decide what happens to a pretty average swimming pool on the


seafront, without going all the way to the Government, does that


indicate something has gone very wrong watermark I think it indicates


absolutely the way that planning has been done previously in this country


is indeed very wrong. I think what the Government introduced last year,


which is to empower local authorities to make decisions that


have been arrived at through consultation with the local


community and plans developed, the expectation is that as those changes


come into effect and as those plans are developed, less things will need


to be referred. Do you think local people would have sorted this out?


They would have sorted it out in no time. Thank you very much. Let's all


for some sunny weather. The latest wheeze to stop smoking.


I've not of Bristol was built on tobacco and it is still the


headquarters of Imperial, which has announced profits of more than �1


billion in just six months. But now the company is fighting to protect


its pants. It spends millions on nice, shiny packets like this. But


no campaigners want all branding stripped off and cigarettes sold in


drab containers like this one. They all look the same. The Government


seemed up for the idea but nothing happened.


It was once tobacco city. Crystal prospered manufacturing cigarettes.


A jobs with -- a job with Imperial Tobacco was much sought-after.


Workers were given free fags. One who worked at the giant complex was


George Bookham. That was the head office, and I used to work over


there. He started smoking as a child and only stopped after the end of


his quarter-century with the firm. I think the majority of blokes


smoked. I mean, we were all brought up like that and note it could do


any harm or anything. He pleases parliament for the 2007 ban on


smoking in public places. One of the staunchest supporters was Bristol


West MP Stephen Williams, whose work has been recognised with an award


from the world health organisation. Presenting it, Health Minister Anna


Soubry. It was all part of making smoking socially unacceptable. That


had a big impact on me. Government is thought to have


stalled on standardised packaging, she hasn't. The result is a bit of


resistance, and certainly that can be said about the ban on smoking in


public places. All these years later, with the huge success of it,


you think back to it, and say, how was that not ever seen is a great


idea? It has beautifully handwritten Vogue, and they are very alluding to


young people. This is what they would like to see the place it. --


replace it. This is the sort of pack we are keen that they bring in


because it tones down all those holograms, all those pretty Paschal


collars. The idea is spreading. is a, Australia became the first


place to make the change. Ireland is following suit. Research at Bristol


University showed people different packs and work to be impact with


people, especially those who aren't committed smokers. We used an eye


tracker to see exactly where people looked at packets, and what we found


is that standardised packaging increases the amount of time people


look at the health warning. Fighting the change are big, profitable firms


like Imperial Tobacco have their headquarters here in south Bristol.


The industry has lobbied hard and spent money on newspaper and


magazine advertisements. They have proved much more reluctant to


publicly face journalist questions. A spokesman declined request for an


interview, admitting that doing TV can be counter-productive. They gave


us a statement saying that standardised packaging would make it


easier for counterfeiters and that half a million people had indicated


they were against plain packaging. One of their former employees


disagrees. George Bookham hopes it could detect them people from


starting. Knowing what I know now on the medical side, I think that is a


good idea. You can still put on their warnings or whatever, but


people want a packet of cigarettes. They will soon get used to what the


packet is and what is inside it. may not be a question of whether,


more a matter of when. Joining the debate is Simon Clark,


the director of Forest. We will continue in a moment or two. Stephen


Williams, why wasn't this in the Queen's Speech? Why is the


Government going to on this idea? The Government has done a


consultation exercise on whether people favour plain and standardised


packaging, and those results are being sifted through. It is also on


behalf of the Welsh, and Northern Irish governments. I'm hopeful it


will go ahead. I confident all the ministers in the Department of


Health wanted to happen. There is a discussion as to whether it will


happen. There is overwhelming goodwill towards the needs of the


public, but also to health campaigners as well. It is pretty


cynical, isn't it? Your campaign against standardised packaging which


would take the glamour away from packets of cigarettes which look


appealing. I would say it is a fallacy that children start smoking


because of so-called glitzy packaging. There is no credible


evidence to suggest that. For years, it has been accepted that teenagers


start smoking because of family influence or because of pier


pressure. Packaging had nothing to do with it. There is no credible


evidence that plain packaging would actually stop young people smoking


or convince adult smokers to give up. Only one country in the world...


Only one country in the world has introduced this kind of packaging,


which is still you. It is far too early to draw conclusions. You have


opposed every move to try and limit smoking in public places and all the


rest of it. Isn't this just exactly what you always do? That is not true


at all. I am like everyone here. I don't want to see children smoking.


We will support all reasonable measures to discourage that. We


suspected -- we supported region the age of which cigarettes should be


sold to children to 18 years old. We don't think that plain packaging is


reasonable that it will work. Looking at the Imperial website, as


I did this afternoon, it is about growth. They want more and more


sales. I am here to represent the consumer, and this is all about the


normalisation. We receive funding from the organisation, but why


should... But you represent the industry customer --? We represent


the consumer. Experts, retired and seven Place officers, for example,


believe it will help illicit trade and increase false cigarettes.


Criminal gangs will sell to children. Stephen Williams, if all


cigarette packets look the same, then you might just as well buy the


cheapest and the might be counterfeit with all sorts of


rubbish in them. Counterfeit cigarettes are a big problem, that


needs to be dealt with. It can be done the moment with the existing


design of packs. Having a standardised design is not go to


make it any more easy or difficult for criminal gangs to do that. Simon


says there is no evidence that tobacco companies use glitzy


packaging to attract children into smoking, but why do they do it? Why


do they have cigarettes packaged with lipstick chips? I have seen


packaging in the shape of iPods or camera phones, obviously designed to


appeal to teenagers. If these tactics don't work why do they do


then? It is a legitimate industry, they pay their taxes. Why should


customers be treated like scum? Well, anyone who is in favour of


treating 's customers like scum... I don't think any parent would


rationally once the child to start smoking, but most people start


smoking in their mid to late teens. But what I am about is trying to put


everything we can, all our values, of stopping cigarettes appealing to


susceptible minds. I do have a slight concern of, is this the tip


of the iceberg? Will we get to the stage where there is no branding on


beer taps and -- in pubs quit you might -- in pubs? We do need to


drive down the number of smokers. How we package cigarettes is one way


of doing it. Encouraging healthy lifestyles is another. Advertising


campaigns of showing the impact of smoking on the human body is also


important. There is room for what Stephen is doing, but we need to do


much more. That is a slippery slope, because confidence in Ireland last


week called for plain packaging on alcohol. That is the way we're


going, will be state intervenes in perfectly legitimate businesses and


them of their intellectual property. At the same time, they have asked


consumers, and yet, tobacco is perfectly legal. Would you say the


same thing if we were saying the same thing and a cancer ward and not


in this nice to you? I think adults should make an informed choice, and


that is what most adults do. Time to take a spin through the


other political stories in our 62nd round up. -- 60 seconds round-up.


Drivers beware. There will be more speeding tickets issued in even and


Somerset if the new Chief Constable gets his own way. He has written to


local councils offering them help to switch councils back on. More than a


year, this 22-year-old has been at the battle with the council.


He says the council has acted illegally by shutting down dedicated


youth services. Three judges and the appeal court will take the final


decision. Weston General Hospital has been


issued with more warnings that it must improve after failing to meet


five out of six national standards. The local MP says it is not good


enough. And congratulations to Tony


Robinson, the left-wing Bristol activist and actor who has been made


in night. Sir Tony says he will use the statist to boost his campaigns


for better care homes for the elderly.


What would Blackadder say? Let's pick up on one of those subjects,


speed cameras. The new Chief Constable in Avon and Somerset one


symptom back on. What do you think, James? As I have been going around


in my constituency, people are concerned with the speeds that


people drive. I would say that where cameras are placed to genuinely


improve road safety, there is a place for them. It is a suspicion


that they might have been previously put in place to maximise revenues.


We need to need sure safety is the priority. The danger is they do


criminalise tens of thousands of motorists? Deservedly so, in that


case. Speed kills. One of the lessons I learned 20 years ago when


I was first elected to the council -- county council was a


demonstration by road safety officers at what happens when a car


hit you at 20 mph, 30 mph and 40 mph. There is a catastrophic


difference. Driving at speed is a huge danger. Is there evidence that


cameras stop that? It must change the behaviour of people.


shouldn't be doing it anyway. you ever been over 30 with your Mac


-- over 30? No-one is a saint, but speed cameras can make a difference.


That is all we have time for this week. Thank you to our guests for


joining us. If you want to e-mail us with your comments or stories, the


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