20/10/2013 Sunday Politics West


Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With communities secretary Eric Pickles and deputy first minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon.

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Good morning and welcome to The Sunday Politics. Alex Salmond says a


vote for Scottish independence would be an act of national self belief.


His deputy joins us live from the SNP conference in Perth. Is


Whitehall meddling too much in modern affairs? The Communities


Secretary, Eric Pickles, joins me for The Sunday Interview. Senior


coppers will be answering questions this


In the West, free food hand`outs treble, but why are so many relying


on places like this to feed them? London, does the London assembly


have one arm tied behind its back? All of that to come. And the Home


Office minister sacked by Nick Clegg, who says his party is like a


wonky shopping trolley, which keeps veering off to the left. He will


join us live at noon. With me to unpack all of this, Nick Watt, Helen


Lewis and Iain Martin. They will be tweeting throughout the programme,


using hashtag #bbcsp. It is the last day of the Scottish national party


conference in Perth. We have discovered that Alex Salmond has


been on the same diet as Beyonce. The SNP leader compared his attempts


to lose weight with the campaign for independence - lots achieved so far,


20 more to do. In a moment, I will be joined by the deputy leader of


the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon. First they report on the independence


campaign. September 18 2014, the date of destiny for Scotland, the


day when these campaigners hope its people will decide to vote yes for


independence. In a recent poll, only 14% said they knew enough to vote


either way. That is unlikely to change any time soon. I think the


Scottish people will be going to the polls next year still not knowing an


awful lot of stuff which is important, because the outcome, in


terms of taxation, debt, exactly what will happen to the allocation


of assets between the two countries, will come about as a result of


negotiation between a Scottish government and the UK Government.


That is not stuff which will be known year. At the moment, polls


suggest Scotland will decide to remain within the UK. A recent


survey found that 44% of those questioned planned to vote no, 5%


yes. But interestingly, the undecideds were at 31%, suggesting


that Alex Salmond's task might be tough but not impossible. There are


a number of reasons which make a vanilla campaign a good idea. It


does not put off cautious voters, it allows for people to imagine their


own version of what independence will be like, and crucially, it


allows for the yes campaign to take advantage of any mistakes by the no


campaign. In other words, the yes campaign are not out there with big


ideas, they are just waiting for the no campaign to trip up. What we do


know is that whatever happens next September, Scotland will be getting


more power. From 2016, a separate income tax regime will come into


force, giving the Scottish Parliament control over billions of


pounds of revenue. What we do not know yet is how the alternative


would pan out. There are issues which would be raised by


independence, issues about how the national debt is allocated, what the


currency will look like, how an independent Scotland would balance


the books, because it would have a bigger job to do, even down the


Whitehall government has to do. Those are really big issues, which a


Scottish government would have to face, on top of whatever negotiation


it had to have with the UK Government. The Scottish


government's White Paper on independence, two to be published


within weeks, should fill in some of the banks. But how Scotland votes in


September may yet be determined by what it feels rather than what it


knows. And joining me from Perth is Scotland's Deputy First Minister,


Nicola Sturgeon. Nicola Sturgeon, we meet again! Hello, Andrew. Former


leader of the SNP Gordon Wilson said, if this referendum fails, it


will fail on the basis that people put their British identity ahead of


their Scottish identity, so we have got to attack on the British


identity - what does he mean? Gordon Wilson is a very respected, much


loved former leader of the SNP. My view is that I do not think the


independence referendum is really about identity. I am secure and


proud of my Scottish identity, but this is a decision about where power


best lies. Do decision-making powers best lie here in Scotland, with a


government which is directly accountable to the people of


Scotland, or does it best lie in Westminster, with governments which,


very often, people in Scotland do not vote for? That is the issue at


the heart of the campaign. Let me just clarify, you do not agree with


him, that you need to go on the attack with regard to the British


identity of Scottish people? No I do not think we are required to


attack British identity. It is absolutely compatible for somebody


to feel a sense of British identity but still support Scottish


independence, because Scottish independence is about a transfer of


power. It is about good government, accountable government, ensuring


that decisions are taking here in Scotland, by people who have got the


biggest stake in getting those decisions right. I represent a


constituency in the south side of Glasgow, and if you speak to many


people in my constituency, if you ask them their national identity,


many of them would say Irish, Pakistani, Indian, Polish, and many


of them will vote yes next year because they understand the issue at


stake, which is the issue of where decisions are best taken. It looks


like you are changing tack ex-, you have realised the softly softly


approach, of saying that actually, nothing much will change, we will


still have the Queen, the currency, and all the rest of it, is moving


over towards voting for a left-wing future for Scotland... Well, I know


that what we are doing is pointing out is pointing out the choice


between two futures. If we vote yes, we take our own future into our own


hands. We make sure that for ever after, we have governments which


will be in demented policies which we have voted for. If we do not


become independent, then we continue to run the risk of having


governments not only that we do not vote for, but often, that Scotland


rejects. We are seeing the dismantling of our system of social


security. There are politicians in all of the UK parties who are


itching to cut Scotland's share of spending. So Scotland faces a choice


of two futures, and it is right to point out the positive consequences


of voting yes, but also the consequences of voting no. But you


are promising to reverse benefit cuts and increase the minimum wage.


You would renationalise the Royal Mail, though how you would do that


nobody knows. You are promising to cut energy bills. These are the kind


of promises that parties make in a general election campaign, not in a


once in 300 years extra stench or choice. Is the future of Scotland


really going to be decided on the size of the minimum wage? --


existential choice. A yes vote would be about bringing decision-making


powers home, but we are also setting out some of the things an SNP


government would do, if elected A decision on what the first


government of an independent Scotland would be would not be taken


in the referendum, that decision would be taken in the 2016 election.


And all of the parties will put forward their offers to the


electorate. We are setting out some of the things which we think it is


important to be prioritised. These are things which have a lot of


support in Scotland. We see the pain being felt by people because of the


rising cost of energy bills, there is widespread opposition to some of


the welfare cuts. So, we are setting out the options which are open to


Scotland, but only open to Scotland if we have the powers of


independence. Given that you seem to be promising aid permanent socialist


near Varna, if Scotland is independent, if you are right of


centre in Scotland, and I understand that is a minority pursuit where you


are, but it would be a big mistake to vote for independence, in that


case, wouldn't it? No, because the whole point of independence is that


people get the country they want, and the government a vote for. So,


right of centre people should not vote for independence? No, because


people who are of that political persuasion in Scotland get the


opportunity to vote for parties which represent that persuasion and


if they can persuade a majority to vote likewise, then they will get a


government which reflects that. That is the essence of independence.


Right now, we have a Westminster government which most people in


Scotland rejected at the last general election. That is hardly


democratic. It is right and proper that the SNP, as the current


government, points out the opportunities that would be opening


up. Can I just clarify one thing, when we spoke on The Daily Politics


earlier last week, you made it clear to me that Alex Salmond, we know he


wants to debate with David Cameron, but you made it clear to me that he


would debate with Alistair Darling as well, and Mr Carmichael... He


made it clear yesterday. Well, he said to the BBC this morning that he


would only debate with these people after he had had a debate with Mr


Cameron, so who is right? I was making the point last week, and Alex


Salmond was making it yesterday and this morning - let's have that


agreement by David Cameron to come and debate with Alex Salmond, and


then Alex Salmond, just like me will debate with allcomers. So if he


does not get the David Cameron debate, then he will not do the


others, is that right? Let's focus on is wading David Cameron to do the


right thing. So, in other words he will not debate, yes or no? Members


of the SNP government... We know that, but what about Alex Salmond?


He said yesterday, we will debate with all sorts of people, including


the people you have spoken about, but David Cameron should not be let


off the hook just putting aside the independence issue, energy prices


are now even playing into the SNP, so every political party has to do


something about energy prices. Yes, it is clearly it is interesting is


the difference between the SNP and the Labour approach. Ed Miliband


electrified the party conference season when he said he would freeze


energy prices for 20 months, seemingly having an amazing control


over the energy market, where we know that essentially what pushes


prices up the wholesale prices on world market. What Nicola Sturgeon


is talking about is actually saying, this amount is added to your bills


for green levies, and we are going to take them off your bills and they


will be paid out of general taxation in an independent Scotland. That is


a credible government, making a credible case, very different to


what Labour is saying, although playing to the same agenda. So,


Labour has got a populist policy, the SNP has also got a populist


policy, the one group of people that do not have a decent response to


this is the coalition? Exactly. What the SNP also have is a magic money


pot, so that speech yesterday, you are right, it was very left wing,


social democratic, but there was none of the icing like Labour has


been talking about, with fiscal responsibility. I think that is the


difference between the two. We know what the Tories would really like to


do, all of these green levies which were put on our bills in the good


times, when they were going to be the greenest party ever, the Tories


would like to say, let's just wipe out some of them, put the rest on to


some general government spending, but they have a problem, which is in


the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Not only that, they really


are stuck now. But there is something in the free schools debate


this morning, the parties are now determined to send a message to


their potential voters at the next election, that they are trying to


fight their coalition partners. Do not expected any change in coalition


policy or free schools policy before the election, but we can expect to


hear the parties try to pretend that they are taking on their coalition


partners. Mr Clegg has said, we would put this free schools policy


into our manifesto, so is it not possible that the Tories will say,


if you give us an overall majority, we will cut your electricity bill


because we will get rid of these green levies? I think that is


entirely possible. The Tories know that they are stuck on this, they do


not have a response to Ed Miliband. How much should ministers in


Whitehall medal in local decisions across England? In opposition, David


Cameron said he wanted a fundamental shift of power from Whitehall to


local people. He said, when one size fits all solution is...


Eric Pickles described it as "an historic shift of power". But the


Communitites and Local Government Secretary can't stop meddling. In


the past few months Mr Pickles has tried to ban councils from using


CCTV cameras and "spy cars" to fine motorists... Told councils how to


act quicker to shut down illegal travellers' sites... Criticised


councils who want to raise council tax... Insisted councils release


land to residents hoping to build their own property... And stated new


homes should have a special built in bin storage section. It seems not a


week goes by without a policy announcement from the hyper active


Mr Pickles. So is the government still committed to localism, or is


it all about centralism now? And Communities Secretary Eric


Pickles joins me now for the Sunday Interview.


Welcome. Nice to be here. You said in July you were going to give town


halls the power to wreak their local magic. So why issue diktats from


Westminster? It is not about giving power to local councils, it is going


beyond that to local people. If local councils refuse to open up


their books, we have to go straight to local people. You have attacked


councillors using so-called spy cameras to enforce parking rules.


Why is that your business? Because there is an injustice taking place.


You cannot use fines to raise money and that is plainly happening. If


you get yourself a ticket from a CCTV, it could be days or weeks


before that lands on your doorstep and you have virtually no


possibility to be able to defend yourself. But just leave it to


people to vote out the council then. We are trying to enforce the law and


it clearly states that you cannot use parking fines in order to fund


general rate. So why are you not taking them to court if they are


breaking the law? There have been a number of court cases taken by local


residents. I am there to stand by local residents. Your even trying to


micromanage, allowing motorist s to park for 15 minutes in local high


street. Why is that your business? I'm trying to ensure that local


authorities understand the importance of the town centre. If


you look at all opinion polls, right now there is a five-minute leeway


but there are many cases of people being jumped on by parking officials


for quite trivial things. It is about saying, surely I can go and


get a pint of milk. But a party that dines out on localism, that is a


matter for local people, not the men in Whitehall. I have to be on the


side of local people. That person who wants to go and get a pint of


milk. Ultimately it is a matter for them. It is a matter for the


council. But a little bit of criticism is not a bad thing. You


have now declared war on the wheelie bin and suggested that new homes


should have built in storage sections. You just cannot help


meddling! I suppose that is possible. You are a meddler! I am in


charge of building regulations and planning. So I may have some


responsibility there. Another one, interfering in local planning


decisions. A couple of places, you ruled in favour of developers. They


want to build over 200 houses against the wishes of the parish and


district councils. The local MP said the Secretary of State's decision


runs roughshod over any concept of localism. Now I have to be a


blushing violet because of course this is still potentially subject to


judicial review. I have to act properly. And Apple went is entitled


to justice. -- an applicant. A local authority has a duty to ensure that


is adequate housing for people in their area. This was not a decision


that I took as a personal decision, it was on the advice of an


inspector. But you contradict what David Cameron himself said in 2 12,


he spoke about a vision where we give communities much more say and


local control. People in villages fear big housing estates being


plonked from above. You have just done exactly that. After a proper


quasi judicial enquiry. What we have is planning framework which local


people can decide where it goes But they cannot say, nothing here. They


have to have a five-year housing supply. Previous to this government


decided exactly where houses would go, now local people can take the


lead. Anna Silbury said because of the way your department rules, local


authorities now have no alternative but to agree development on green


belt land. I do not accept that I think around Nottingham there are


particular problems with regards to the green belt. The matter has been


referred back. the green belt. The matter has been


want to see development on the green belt but on Brownfield site. We want


to see underused land. But you have to remember why we have the green


belt. Not to remember why we have the green


nice, it is their to prevent conurbations bumping into one


another. Your conurbations bumping into one


is vocal about the need to deal what he calls the historic under


provision of housing. Shelter says we need 250,000 new homes per year.


provision of housing. Shelter says Houston statistics are getting


there, but nowhere near that. - housing. You cannot


there, but nowhere near that. - localism agenda as well as meeting


housing demand. I do not accept that. We inherited a position where


the lowest level of building since the 1920s was in place. But it has


steadily improved. It does take a while. You cannot have a localism


agenda where people call the shots on housing as well as meeting the


housing demand. People have a duty to ensure that future generations


have somewhere to live. You cannot pull up the drawbridge. There is


nothing incompatible between that and localism. Because someone has to


be the voice of those people who are going to live there and to make sure


there is the proper amount. Plans now exist for more than 150,000


homes to be built on protected land, including the green belt. That will


mean riding over local concerns Each application will be taken on


its own merits. To suggest that there is an assault on the green


belt is as far from the truth as you can imagine. Should Andrew Mitchell


get his job back if the years exonerated? I would be honoured to


sit with Andrew Mitchell in the Cabinet. I have always believed his


version. But it is a matter for the Prime Minister who he has in


government. He would have no problem in seeing him back in Cabinet?


Absolutely not. Your mother answered Vulcan junior minister Nick balls


said about the Royal Charter for the press, there's nothing we have done


that troubles me as much as this. Is that your view? It is not. I accept


the compromise agreement put together. If the press want to have


an additional protection that the Royal Charter offers, then they can


move into the system. But if they want to continue independently that


is acceptable to me. But you previously echoed Thomas Jefferson,


you said for a free society to operate the river of a free press


has to flow without restriction That is what I said at the time We


had to find a compromise. And that seems to me to be a better


compromise. Let me just show you this little montage of pictures that


we have. I could not be happier Then you are in the Desert and there


you are in San Francisco. Then you are in the casino. That is my


personal favourite. These students took a cardboard cutout of you and


took it round the world with them. Did you ever think you would become


a student icon? I always felt secretly that that might happen one


day. But it came earlier in my career than I thought! Why would


they do that? I think they thought I could do with a bit of an airing! I


went to Norfolk earlier, but that looks better. Thank you.


On Wednesday senior police folk including chief constables, will be


questioned by MPs about what's become known as Plebgate. That's the


incident in Downing Street last year which led to the resignation of the


government chief whip Andrew Mitchell. Last week the Independent


Police Complaints Commission questioned the "honesty and


integrity" of police officers who met Mr Mitchell following the row.


So do scandals like this affect public trust in the police? Here's


Adam Fleming. It's a story of politics, the


police, and CCTV. No, not Andrew Mitchell, but an MP's researcher


called Alex Bryce and his partner Iain Feis.


It started on a summer night in 2011. They'd been in Parliament


After a few words with a police officer, Ian was wrestled to the


ground. Alex came to have a look and the same thing happened to him. Both


were arrested and charged. These pictures emerged on day one of their


trial. A trial that was halted because the police version of events


just didn't match the footage. A lot of people with incidence like this


which we experienced, people think there is no smoke without fire. So


when we said we did nothing wrong, people would think police just would


not do that. There is always that underlying view that some people


have. I think that has been challenged and people who know us


believe that. This year the Met apologised and paid compensation.


And it's led to an unlikely sort of friendship. When the truth came out


about the Andrew Mitchell story I actually sent him an e-mail to


congratulate him about the truth coming out. He did send a reply


acknowledging that. So where are we with THAT saga? Remember last


September? Andrew Mitchell had a row with police at the gates of Downing


Street about his bike. He lost his job as chief whip after accusations


he called the officers plebs. That, he's always denied. This week the


police watchdog the IPCC suggested that three officers may have lied


about a meeting with him at the height of the scandal. Add that to


the charge sheet of cases that haven't exactly flattered the


police. Like the revelation of a cover up over Hillsborough. The


prosecution of an officer from the Met over the death of Ian Tomlinson


during protests in 2009. Along with news that undercover officers were


told to smear the family of Stephen Lawrence. During Thursday's protest


by teachers in Westminster the police operation was really, really


relaxed. And recent scandals have done nothing to affect society's


view of the boys and girls in blue - or should I say hi-vis. About 6 % of


the public say they trust the police. And that's not budged since


pollsters started measuring it 0 years ago.


Of course, in Britain, crime is down, so the perception might be


that the police is doing a good job. And the rank-and-file recently


seamed pretty chipper at this awards ceremony. Is it a good time to be a


police officer? It is a good time. Despite all of the headlines? Still


a good time. But speak to officers privately, and they say Plebgate is


affecting how the public see them. Some of them also think


politicians, the Tories especially, are enjoying that a little too much.


Adam Fleming reporting there. Going head-to-head on this issue of trust


in the police, a Sunday Mirror columnist and Peter Kirkham, former


chief inspector. Peter Kirkham, let me come to you first. Plebgate, the


cover-ups over John Charles De menace, the death of Ian Tomlinson,


the industrial deception over Hillsborough, why is the culture of


deceit so prevalent in the police? I do not agree there is a cultural


deceit. These are all individual incidents which raise individual


issues. I would suggest that your short headline summarising each of


them has taken the most negative view of it. How can you be positive


about the police's behaviour over Hillsborough? It remains to be seen


with the inquiry but we are probably talking about a handful of senior


officers, dealing with the paperwork. Well over 100 testimonies


being doctored by the police. Well, those testimonies were true to start


with, so the officers have told the truth, and they have been changed


for some reason. By the police. By the police all lawyers we have got


this thing that the police conflates everything. There are 43 forces


there is ACPO, there is the College Of Policing... People say it was a


handful of police officers, it wasn't, it was six senior police


officers who were alleged to have doctored 106 D4 statements. Even


today we are hearing that more than 1000 officers are yet to be spoken


to about Hillsborough. -- 164. Do we pretend that Hillsborough, and some


of these examples, are the exception rather than the rule? What is the


evidence that this is now prevalent in our police? I think there is a


lot of evidence, and Plebgate is probably the thing which has


clinched it. The public want to know, how deep does this girl? The


audacity of a group of policemen who think they can set up a Cabinet


minister. Five of those who were arrested and bailed still have not


been charged. One of those officers actually wrote an e-mail pretending


to be a member of the public. I do not see what the problem is in


prosecuting them for that. Taking Plebgate, there are loads of


different bits of that incident There is the officers on duty in


Downing Street, the issue of who leaked the story to the Sun, there


are the officers who claim to have been there who would appear not to


have been there, and then we have got the West Midlands meeting


issue, which has sort of been resolved this week. There has been


misconduct. But at a lower level. But it is the audacity of an


organisation which thinks it can take on an elected minister and


destroy him for their own political purposes, at a time when the


Government are cutting please pay, when they are freezing their


pensions and reducing their numbers. It looks very much to all of us the


public, that the police are at war with the government, and they are


going to do anything they can to discredit the Government. The police


would have every reason to be at war with the Government, because there


if there is a crisis of trust.. But it looks like they fitted up a


Cabinet minister. That remains to be seen, it is being investigated. We


know that those Birmingham officers, they totally misrepresented to, if


not lied outright, about what was said. Again, that is a


misrepresentation of what happened. If you actually go and look at what


is said, it is plain from the context, they were saying, he has


told us nothing new. But he had in the transcript, it said he hadn t.


He would not admit he had used the word pleb. He apologised profusely,


he said it would never happen again, he said many things that he had not


said before. I agree, which is presumably... Thereon many police


forces in this country, they have one of the toughest jobs in the


land, they end up getting involved in almost anything which happens in


society, and there are obviously a number of difficult examples, but


what is the evidence that it is out of hand, other than just several bad


apples? This bad apples argument, we have some amazing police people


thank God, but it is because of those that we have to root out the


bad ones, the ones that are possibly corrupt. From where most of us are


standing, the ones who are being accused of being corrupt, there does


not seem to be any process to deal with these people. The trouble with


a rotten apple is that it spreads. It is not fair on the good cops to


be tainted by this, and I think the police force, as an institution ..


For all of us, we have to respect the police. There is a problem, is


there not? People do worry that if you can fit up a Cabinet minister,


you can fit up anybody... . I would disagree that anybody has proved


that anybody has been fitted up We are yet to hear what happened at the


gates of Downing Street. But what we do know about the gates of Downing


Street is that we were told by the police officers that passers-by had


heard this incredible row, where Mitchell's file went was bullied.


That is not true... . They did not use those words, actually. All


right, but it is clear that the Police Federation jumped on this as


a politically motivated campaign... I have always said that politics


should be kept out of policing. The federation, they cannot go on


strike, but this was to covertly political, so I criticise them for


that. Do we need a better way of monitoring the police? We need a


more competent and properly resourced Independent police


commission. But if you look at those Bravery Awards, every police


officer, every year, who acts with bravery... That is the police force


we want to believe in. That is the police force you have got. We will


leave it there. Coming up in just over 20 minutes, I will be speaking


to former Lib Minister Jeremy Browne. And in The Week Ahead,


Thank you. Welcome to the Sunday Politics here in the West. Today,


why are so many people turning to food banks? According to a local


charity, three times as many people are using them to feed themselves.


Are the Coalition benefit reforms really to blame? Joining us are two


local politicians come from opposite ends of political spectrum. ERD


conservative Chris Skudder, and David Drew, who lost his Labour seat


in Stroud at the last general election. First, the top story of


the week. The government was forced to announce that the badger cull has


fallen short of its target. DEFRA admitted fewer than half of their


Lords target over the six weeks were killed. `` lowered. First, let us


speak to one of the ministers in charge of the badger cull. Thank


macro for joining us. `` thank you. Why has it failed? I do not think it


has failed. These were pilot culls. There were people in the industry


last why we did not get on with it nationally. We said no, we want to


try and test this and learn lessons before we rule it out more widely.


But you have tested it and it failed. Now, the trial in Somerset,


they got to 60% and had an extension to their licence. Able get more


closer to the 70% by the time it finishes. In Gloucestershire has


been more challenging. There are a number of reasons for that. There


are different landscapes. You run department said, the following


requirements must we met. Killing of badgers must be limited to a


six`week period. They have had the six weeks and have not met the


target. The evidence we have is that is more important to get closer to


the target than do it all within six weeks. When it comes to learning the


lessons from this, we will work out whether we need to use trapping


more, or controlled shooting. Learning lessons from things like


the existence of crops and how that affects the movement of the animals


and their willingness to go into traps. We want to learn lessons The


evidence from trials done under the last government is that even in


those areas where you have a slow start, where you perhaps only get


30% in the first year, you can catch up. But the DEFRA report recommended


the culling should take place in a period of six weeks, or preferably


less. Yes, in an optimum situation, you would. But in that trial, there


were three areas in the randomised Badger culling trial where they only


got around 30`35% in the first year but they caught up and they got


significant benefits in terms of disease reduction. The important


thing to remember, if you look at a country like Ireland, they had


problems with TB. I started a cull in 2000, and have had a 40%


reduction in TB. `` they started a cull. If there was an easy way to


solve this problem, I would love to do it. If I read badger, I would


have packed my bags and got out `` if I were badger. The fact is, that


badgers in a zone of calling moved to other areas in a short`term. That


can lead to a short`term increase in the infection in the area around it.


That it is a short lived experience, and the evidence from the rider Mize


`` randomised trial says that it has gone down, the disease. Thank you.


You can not be surprised that it has not hit its targets. Yes, when sex


get attacked, after a couple have died, `` setts. Free shooting does


not work. We do not want any sort of cull. If we have not had the sort of


experience that the Minister has mentioned, and that TB in cattle


came down, would you change your mind? I would never change my mind


about killing them in any way. So you are fixed on no badgers being


cold ever? Cattle vaccination should be the key thing we are looking at.


This is quite an `` contentious issue. What is going to happen in


Stroud? The trouble with the government is it is incomplete


denial of the science. The scientists involved with the


previous independent investigation have come out against culling


because it will make it worse. Why do we not listen to the scientists


and act on their advice and move for a full`scale vaccination programme


initially with badgers and then moving onto cattle? Let the Minister


comeback. What do you think about what David has said? If there was an


easy answer, we would do it. No single measure on its own can solve


this. We need to do more and deal with cattle movements, but we have


done a great deal already. We have pre`movement tests for cattle moving


into safe areas, post`movement tests, big restrictions on this We


are spending ?4 million a year developing vaccines for badgers and


cattle. That will have a role, but only once we have reduced the


population because the problem with the vaccine is it cannot cure


badgers with the disease just now. It has to be a combination of lots


of things. It is wishful thinking. The saddest thing the Coalition did


was remove the areas where they were carrying out the vaccination areas.


If they had kept the six trial areas we would be a lot further forward in


terms of science, and we would know what we could do to deal with the


wildlife reservoir of TB then move on to the capital cattle. What would


it take to make this pilot scheme fail? We need to continue along the


lines of what we are doing. We want to learn lessons in this. The


evidence about whether reducing the badger population and dealing with


the reservoir of the disease in the badger population has an important


role to play in this. We know that it is not enough, and long`term it


will take eight or ten years. But it has to start with a cull of badgers


as well. We have to be that the Thank you very much indeed.


`` leave it there. Thousands of people are turning to


charity to help them feed themselves and their families. Trust based in


Wiltshire says demand is up 300 . The government has been asked to


hold an enquiry into why is many people cannot afford the basics of


life. `` so many people. These are one of


the hundreds of thousands using Britain's burgeoning food banks


Tracy and Chris get benefits. Many of the jobs he might get wood, he


reckons, leave their family worse off. As it is, they seek extra help.


It is scraping the bottom of the barrel and saying, OK, we will form


the food bank. If this was not available, what would I feed my


kids? The first thing you do is not eat yourself. This man has got by on


benefits for eight months, but after missing an appointment, the


Jobcentre halted payments. I find it horrendously difficult. Obstacles


put in front of you, people not helping you, not communicating. So


you turn for help to the Swindon food bank where they feed


ever`increasing numbers. If we did not take in some any items at


harvesting, it would be a struggle. However, the demand is 22% up on


last year. They distribute enough food for three days to those like


Graham, give vouchers by agencies. So what is driving the increase The


benefits system is undergoing dramatic changes. There are big cuts


in the crisis loans helping people through emergencies and a sharp


increase in sanctions where benefits are stop temporarily. And there are


wider economic factors, wages have fallen back. Food and energy prices


have surged. There is another reason, though. There are more food


banks than ever. Did 400 nationally, with a few opening every week.


Charities are calling for the government enquiry. We are the


seventh richest nation in the world, and it is scandalous that so many


people are finding themselves in such deep difficulty. A lot of the


reasons behind this are problems with social security systems, with


the welfare system changes which have not been implemented


effectively or efficiently. Many politicians agree. There are certain


things you should not fall below. Natalie Bennett made a big issue


that during a visit to the West It is a tragedy that in 2013 in


Britain, half a million people today are dependent on food banks to get


enough good to eat. I really value the work of the volunteers running


them and people donating to them, but we have two ask ourselves, do we


want people having to depend on charity for the basics of life?


Chris is getting advice on how to better organise his finances. Graham


is trying to get his benefits restored, but for them, using food


banks has become part of ordinary life.


The director of the citizens advice bureau in the West joins us. Thank


you for coming in. You issue vouchers for these food banks, not


just anyone can turn up. What criteria do you use? The issuing of


a third major comes from normally a complex piece of work we are doing


with the client. A client comes to us with a range of problems, and we


discussed the money they have coming in, we deal with housing and


employment problems, and it is a complex picture. So you do not just


dish them out? Not at all. It is difficult to get food voucher. If


someone turned up and you could see they were smoking 20 or 40


cigarettes a day, what they get a voucher? We work with the client


regarding debts and benefits and spending, how they manage their


money. We do a lot of work around financial capability and helping


people manage better. Chris, will this be one of the injuring images


of the Coalition government? Queues at food banks? I hope not. The most


important thing to get across as we do not want to see food banks as


being a stigma. Under the last government, they refused people to


access these pictures of they turned up at a Jobcentre. We do not see the


problem with charities getting involved in setting up food banks.


There is real pressure on wages on household income. At at the same


time, one of the reasons why food bank use has gone up is because we


have allowed people to use food banks when they were previously not


allowed to do so. David? I am a supporter of the food banks in


Stroud. What happens now, DWP have a very clear message to people who are


in desperate straits, and that is that they will signpost people but


they will not issue vouchers. They stopped issuing vouchers months ago


in Stroud. I am a voucher holder and I will issue them, and often when


people have been sanctioned, they will come to me. Sue is right. We


are careful about who we issue them to. It is a myth that there has not


been a huge increase. Batters connected to the benefit situation,


but also the worsening economic situation. `` that is connected Do


you think they'll is a genuine need for food banks? When someone has


been sanctioned, they have nothing. I speak to people who have been


sanctioned on a regular basis. People walk out of the Jobcentre and


do not know where their next meal is coming from. It is my duty to find


them food. I will do that. If it puts up figures, that draws


attention to the need of those people and how we need to reform the


benefit system so we should never put people in that situation. Chris?


We have to take the situation with welfare in the context of reducing


welfare payments. The cost of living is going up and wages are going


down, so it is not surprising that people need food. But if you look at


what the government has done, we have raised the threshold for income


tax, we have frozen council taxes, frozen bedroom tax, so we are doing


the best we can to make sure people have more money in their pockets.


The people we deal with are not at that level, they are at the bottom


rungs of society, where they get picked up by food banks. And you,


Sue, for coming in. There has been a response to last


week 's programme where the immigration minister came


face`to`face with an asylum seeker and told him to go home. The man has


been living in Bristol for six years and had his case rejected five


times. He has had the chance to claim


asylum, his case has been looked at carefully, and we did not find it


credible. We have a system where he can go through a legal process and


the judge did not find his claim credible. He has no right to be in


the United Kingdom and he should leave. Cannula than five times a


day? `` can you live? But with the greatest respect, the taxpayer


supported you when you were claiming asylum. You now have note right to


be your. You need to go home. Their confrontation made national


headlines, with dozens of readers and viewers writing into the papers


and online forums giving their views on whether he should be a latest a.


`` allowed to stay. Public opinion, according to Mark Harper, is with


the government. I do not see any problem in saying to people who have


no right to be here that they should not be here any more. This is one of


the examples about why we do not trust politics are politicians any


more. It has been quite a week following


that appearance on the Sunday Politics. I am joined by Mark


Shepherd, who is a lawyer representing asylum seekers. Can you


tell me why people like this can still be in this country after they


have lost five hearings? First of all, I am not his lawyer, and I


understand he is from Iraq. Situation in Iraq is a situation of


potential civil war. Every asylum seeker is different, from different


countries, and you cannot just send someone back to a place like Iraq or


Iran, where their life could be in danger. The maid be refused on their


personal circumstances, but that does not mean you can just send them


home. Can you see why people are frustrated by the asylum system


where people are told they do not have a claim, but they are still


here? Yes, I am frustrated by the system, but you have to look at


whether the system is working. For example, the home affairs select


committee report reported ten days ago that nearly one in two women


that go through the system have the decisions overturned in court. The


blame is not necessarily on the people claiming asylum. The home


affairs report said there was a disbelief within the system. In


other words, you come to the country and Europe to grand almost not to


believe them. Does you come to the country and we are generally not


believing them. Will have to ask why people are hopping over 15 countries


to get to Britain. We have to tackle that head`on, but until then there


will be problems. People will ask why they are coming here, is it just


for benefits? If you have genuine asylum seekers, we should help them,


but if the law says... I do not think anyone would volunteer to be


in a situation like this. Is it located tell them they should go


home? Someone has been put through the system and has been found to


have no case, and the country they are from is safe, they should be


given the opportunity to voluntarily go home. Of the ones that you see,


how many fit into that category Most people I meet have some form of


claim to be here, but whether that meets the legal tests is something


that can only be determined by Home Office decision`makers.


Thank you for coming in. Letters have a look at some of the


other political news making the headlines 60 seconds.


`` in 60 seconds. Thousands of teachers whereon


straight this week with Michael Gove the figure of hate. David Laws is


his number two, and he took to the airwaves to defend the policies The


unions are wrong to blame the government for this. The union have


got their members into this mess. David Heath, the MP with one of the


smallest majorities in the country, is standing down. It is a huge


pressure. There comes a point where it is time to move on. Tend to look


for something more regular and less stressful. Emir of Marlboro has been


talking about the second big frame in his town. First jewellers shop


was raided and now someone has made off with his chain of office. It is


solid gold. `` big crime. Waiters pick up on David Heath s


resignation. You know what it is like to be in a marginal


constituency. Is it worth the heartache of being booted out? In


politics, I did not understand how anyone can go into any election with


the guaranteed to win, so you have to get used to the fact that you


will lose some of them. In terms of David Heath, he has decided to go,


probably hardly to do with calling `` probably partly to do with his


stance on calling. You do not think this is a job for life, and it would


be complacent to think like this. You do this to help able, and it is


better having a majority of one than 10,000.


Here today, gone tomorrow, true of all of us. Thank you for joining us


today. which links in with this. Thank you


to both of you for being my guests today.


Are the Lib Dems like a wonky shopping trolley? Why is Nick Clegg


kicking off over free schools? And what about Boris and George's love


bombing of China? All questions for The Week Ahead. We are joined now by


the former Home Office minister and Liberal Democrat MP Jeremy Browne.


Jeremy Browne, let me ask you this key question - ??GAPNEXT who is in


the ascendancy in your party, those who would fear to the left, or those


who would fear to the centre? The point I was making in the interview


that I gave to the times was that I want us to be unambiguously and on


up genetically -- and unapologetically a Liberal party. I


do not want us to be craving the approval of columnists like Polly


Toynbee. I do not want us to be a pale imitation of the Labour Party.


I think we should be proud and unambiguously a authentic Liberal


party. That is my ambition for the party. If it is, as you put it,


fearing to the left, then I think that is a mistake, I think we should


be on the liberal centre ground But is it actually veering to the left,


your party? I think there is a danger when a party, or any


organisation, feels that it is in a difficult position, to look


inwards, to look for reassuring familiar policy positions. I do not


want us to be the party which looks inwards and speaks to the 9% of


people who are minded to support us already. I want us to look outwards


and speak to the 91% of the population, for whom I think we have


got a good story to tell about the contribution we have made to getting


the deficit down, cutting crime keeping interest rates low, and


also, distinctive Liberal Democrat policies for example on income tax


and pupil premiums. If we look like we are a party which is uneasy and


ambivalent about our role in government, people will not give us


credit for the successes of the government, and we will not be able


to claim the authorship which we should be able to claim for our


policies excesses in government I want us to be confident, outward


looking, and authentically liberal. If we are that, people real sense


that and they will respond positively. Does that not therefore


make it rather strange that Nick Craig should choose to distance


himself from the coalition's schools policy? Well, I support free


schools, I think they are a liberal policy. Education is a fascinating


area, so let's explore it a bit We have had two very significant and


troubling reports in the last fortnight, one from Alan Milburn,


saying that social mobility has stalled in this country, in other


words, what your parents do is a reliable guide to how you will get


on in life and the other saying that Britain lags behind our


competitors, the other industrialised countries, in terms


of the educational attainment of 15-year-olds. Both of those are


worrying. We have a scandalous situation in this country where two


thirds of children from disadvantaged backgrounds are


failing to get five Grade A to Grade C. Some get none at all. If we were


the world leaders in education, we could have an interesting


conversation about how we are able to maintain that position, but we


are not. Whether there are good things one less good things which


have happened in our schools over the last 30-40 years, we really need


to raise our game and stop letting young people down who need a good


quality education in order to realise their full potential in


life. It sounds like you do not share Mr Clegg's designations? I


think there are two big dangers for us as a party. I do not think we


should be instinctively statist and I do not think either we should be


instinctively in favour of the status quo. I want us to have a


restless, radical, energetic, liberal reforming instinct, which is


about putting more power and responsible at the end opportunity


in the hands of individual people. As I say, we look at the education


system, of course there are good teachers and good outcomes in some


schools and for some pupils, overall, our performance in this


country is not good enough, so the status quo has not been a successful


stop I am interested in how we can innovate. -- has not been a success.


Are the Tories wooing you? Well I do not know if that is the right


word, I have been reported, and I have set myself, that the


Conservatives have, if you like made some advances or generous


suggestions to me, but I am a liberal, and I am a Liberal


Democrat. I have been a member of the Lib Dems since the party was


founded, I joined when I was 18 years old. I have campaigned


tirelessly for the Liberal Democrats for my entire adult life, so I am


not about to go and join another political party. I would turn this


on its head, let me put it like this, I think there are quite a few


liberals in the other political parties, people like Alan Milburn,


who wrote a report on social mobility, people like Nick Bowles in


the Conservative Party. Our ambition, as Liberal Democrats,


should be to attract liberals from other political parties, and no


political party, to the Lib Dems. Just briefly, have you suggested


that the Tories do not run a candidate against you in the next


election? I have not suggested anything of the sort. The


Conservatives have to make their own decisions about which candidates


they select, and I will take on whoever is select it from each of


the political parties. Thank you for joining us. There is a danger not


from Jeremy Browne, but from Mr Clegg, in that, having been part of


a coalition which has gone through an enormous squeeze in living


standards for three years, it did not look like both was coming, it


was being regarded overall as a failure, but now, it may be turning


the corner, so why would you then start to disassociate yourself from


the coalition's policies? Yes, the danger for Nick Clegg is that he


makes the Liberal Democrats looked like visitors in a guesthouse, a


guesthouse which is owned by the Conservatives. As you say, they were


there for the three difficult years, and just at the moment when the


economy seems to be coming right, and we are getting some nice growth,


they seek to distance themselves. It is interesting that Jeremy Browne


came out with the outrageously disloyal statement that he supported


free schools statement. That is a disloyal Liberal Democrat view, but


on Thursday, of course, the Liberal Democrat party was in favour of free


schools, because in that statement about the Al-Madinah school, David


Laws made a passionate defence about what Nick Clegg is now criticising,


which is having on qualified teachers. If things are now coming


right, the big risk for the Liberal Democrats always was that they would


not get the credit anyway. Well if they diss associate themselves like


this, they definitely will not get the credit. It depends which voters


their opinion poll ratings are dire, he spoke about 9%, and sometimes it


is less than that. So, where are they going to get those voters


from? They have not got those anti-Iraq war voters. Is it not


Mission impossible, getting Labour voters test surely the left of the


Lib Dem vote is peeling off towards labour, not away from Labour? I


wonder to what extent, and this might be speculation, this might be


organised and arranged, that Cameron and Clegg both understand that they


have groups of voters that they need to get, so they need to send


messages out to different groups, it looks like a bit of a setup to me.


Boris in China, along with boy George - let's have a look... Who,


according to JK Rowling, was Harry Potter's first girlfriend? That s


right, and she is Chinese overseas student, is that not right at


Hogwarts? Actually, we are not sure it is right, she is actually from


Scotland. It is not only London which has a diverse society. Putting


that to one side, we are inviting the Chinese into finance our power


stations, to run big banks in the cities, we are giving out more visas


to them, are we right to embrace the Dragon? What worries me about the


power stations then, it is 30% of investment, and it reminds me a lot


of PFI, the idea that you do not want a huge investment on your


balance sheet, but if somebody bails out halfway through, we cannot stop


with a half finished power station. It is EDF, the French company, which


will actually build it, and we will be guaranteeing the debt for them.


It is extraordinary that there has been so little adverse comment after


George Osborne and Boris's trip to China, and is it now really the UK


Government policy, to sell Britain to the Chinese? There was a debate


in government about this, as they were getting ready for the trip and


there will be at some point in the next six months be a David Cameron


trip to China. He has had to wait three years because they were


annoyed about him meeting the Dalai llama. There were some people in the


Foreign Office who were saying, fine, but tread carefully. George


Osborne's view is absolutely not, get in there, I do not care about


any of these problems, get stuck in. I think he is storing up five


years since the financial crisis, Chinese banks are being given a


special, light touch regulatory regime. What could possibly go


wrong?! There is lots to see. Energy prices have continued to dominate


this week. We have got the EDF deal, whereby we are going to be giving


them twice the market rate for their energy. But for the coalition, all


eyes are on the GDP figures. The expectation and hope is that the


recovery will be stronger than the figures have suggested so far, on


which basis it can influence the result of the next general


election. The chief economist at the Bank of England was saying on


Twitter last week that the Bank of England may now bring forward the


assessment when it says, maybe we are going to have to change monetary


policy, if unemployment goes below 7%. And we know what that means


interest rates. The Bank of England on Twitter! That is it for today.


The Daily Politics is back tomorrow on BBC Two. I will be back with


prime Minster 's questions on Wednesday, and of course, we will be


back at 11 o'clock on BBC One next Sunday.


Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With communities secretary Eric Pickles and deputy first minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon.

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