08/12/2013 Sunday Politics West


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

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The morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. First, some Sunday


morning cheer, if you are an MP that is. You are set to get an 1%


pay rise. The Chancellor has gone from zero to hero for some, who


credit him for turning the economy around. We will be taking a fine


tooth comb to his Autumn Statement. Should this man get a pay rise?


Complete denial about the central facts... And 11% pay rise for Ed


Balls? He was certainly working hard to be heard last Thursday. We will


be reviewing his performance. What about this man? We will be joined by


His wife does the shopping so just how in touch with high street


had on the capital, its politics and those who met him.


With me, three scruffy eternal students. They would celebrate if


they achieved a C+. But they are all we could afford and there will be no


pay rise for them. They will be glued to an electronic device


throughout the programme and if we are lucky they might stop there


internet shopping and tweet something intelligent. But don't


hold your breath. Janan Ganesh, Helen Lewis and Nick Watt. Last


week, storms were battering Britain, the East Coast was hit by the worst


tidal surge in more than a century, thousands of people had to be


evacuated and Nelson Mandela died. The downed the news agenda was the


small matter of George Osborne's Autumn Statement. His giveaways his


takeaways and his first opportunity to announce some economic cheer


It might be winter outside, but in the studios it is awesome. Autumn


Statement time. -- autumn. This is a moment of TV history. Normally when


the Chancellor delivers these statements, he has to say the


economy is actually a lot worse than everyone predicted. This time, he


can stand up and say the economy is better than everybody predicted A


lot better. Britain is currently growing faster


than any other major advanced economy. Faster than France, which


is contracting, faster than Germany, faster even than America. At this


Autumn Statement last year, there were repeated predictions that


borrowing would go up. Instead, borrowing is down, and down


significantly more than forecast. But George Osborne said the good


numbers still mean more tough decisions. We will not give up in


giving in our country's debts. We will not spend the money from lower


borrowing. We will not squander the harder and games of the British


people. -- hard earned gains. In other news, further cuts to


government departments. The state pension age will increase in the


2040s, affecting people in their 40s now. There were some goodies, like


discounted business rates for small businesses, free school meals for


infants, favoured by the Lib Dems, and those marriage tax breaks below


that by the Tories. But, as with all big fiscal events, it takes a while


for the details to sink in. The marriage tax allowance is a


long-standing commitment that he could not abandon. It does help


those families were only one goes out to work. It does not go to


higher rate taxpayers, I don't think. Perhaps it does, I can't


remember. It makes me feel guilty, I am taking them very seriously,


but... Shall I give you them? There is the Autumn Statement. Have that,


a free gift from the Sunday Politics. Is there no limit to the


generosity of the BBC? In the meantime, Twitter was awash


with unflattering pictures of a red-faced Ed Balls giving his


response. Some pictures were more than flattering than others. Is Ed


Balls OK? Should we be worrying about him? He looks very stressed.


There is nothing to worry about in terms of Ed balls and his analysis.


He and Ed Miliband have been setting the pace in terms of the focus on


the living standards crisis. It was very telling that there was not a


mention of living standards last time, we got 12 mentions this time.


Never mind what he was saying, by now everybody has a copy of the


all-important paperwork. Time to hand over to number cruncher


extraordinaire Paul Johnson from the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Of


course it means that things are significantly better this year and


next than we thought they would be just nine months ago. That has got


to be good news. But it is also worth looking at the growth figures


a few years out. They have been revised down a little bit. The


reason is, the view of the office of budget response ability is that the


long run has not really changed very much. We are getting a bit more


growth now, but their view is that it is at the cost of a little bit of


the growth we will expect in the years after the next general


election. As the day draws to a close, the one place there has


definitely been no growth is the graphics budget of my colleague


Robert Preston. It's as good as it gets these days, I don't think the


viewers will mind. It's very Sunday Politics, if I might say. That is


very worrying. Was this a watershed for George


Osborne? Was it a watershed for Ed Balls? We can all make the case that


it is the wrong sort of recovery, a consumer led recovery. People are


spending money they don't have. At the end of the day, it for George


Osborne, it is growth, the first time he has been able to talk about


growth. It allows him to control the baseline, the fiscal debate for the


next generation. For Ed Balls, nearly not a good performance. But


don't write this man off. Judging by Twitter, Iain Dale, no friend of it


all is, said he did a good interview this morning on a rival TV channel.


I feel the fact that the Tories hate Ed Balls so passionately is probably


a good reason that they should hang onto him, in that Labour sends his


effectiveness. May be the Tories hope that they hold on to him as


well? A lot of people shouting at someone and mocking their speech


impediment, that is politics that doesn't make me want to engage. The


takeaway will be lots of people thinking that none of these people


are people they like. Who is the main heckler on the Labour front


bench West remarked I suppose he can't cast any stones. It would be


easier to sympathise with him, if it were not that David Cameron went


through a similar situation and John Bercow did not step in to stop the


wall of noise. It was guaranteed a good happen to a Labour politician.


It's painful to remove him because he had a Parliamentary following and


he will kick up a fuss. I think he's much more pragmatic on issues like


business than Ed Miliband. I'm told he wasn't keen on the energy price


freeze. The problem with Ed Balls, to have the first words that you


say, the Chancellor is in denial, after he is presiding over growth,


it means nobody is listening to you. Who would replace him? Certainly not


Alistair Darling, the side of the referendum and even afterwards. Ed


Balls did get a roasting in the press and on Twitter. He seemed to


disappear from public view following the Autumn Statement. But a little


bird tells me he managed one interview this morning before he


went off to an all-important piano recital this afternoon. Watch out,


Jools Holland, he could be after your job. How bad was his


performance on Thursday? Here is the Shadow Chancellor in action. The


Chancellor is incomplete denial about the central facts that are


defining this government in office. He used to say he would balance the


books in 2015. Now he wants us to congratulate him for saying he will


do it in 2019, Mr Speaker. With this government, it is clearly not just


the badgers that move the goalposts. No mention of the universal credit


in the statement. IDS, in deep shambles, Mr Speaker. Chris Leslie


is the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. He is Ed Balls's deputy,


in other words. Why do more and more of your Labour colleagues think that


your boss is below the water line? I'm not sure I accept the premise of


your suggestion. I don't think my colleagues believe that George


Osborne has a superior argument I think Ed Balls will certainly trying


his best, loud and clear, to make the case there is a cost of living


crisis in this country and the Chancellor doesn't understand this.


That was essentially the heat of the debate on the Autumn Statement day.


One leading Labour MPs said to me that Ed Balls is always looking


back, fixated with the rear-view mirror, that was the exact quote. A


Labour MP told Sky News, Labour has a strong argument to make,


unfortunately it was not made well in the chamber today. Quoting the


Daily Mail, this is two poor performances. A quote that I can't


use because it uses too many four letter words. Baroness Armstrong,


speaking at Progress, a former Labour Cabinet minister, we are not


sufficiently concerned about public spending, how we would pay for what


we are talking about. Quite a battering? There were two sets of


quotes you were giving. The couple were about the strategy for tackling


public expenditure. I think it's fair that we talk about that. The


rest were pretty unattributed, nameless sources. You have never


given and of the record briefing? We have conversations off camera, but I


don't think you have a wealth of evidence to say that somehow Ed


Balls's arguments were wrong. He was making the point that, ultimately,


it is a government that does not have its finger on the pulse about


what most of your viewers are concerned about, that wages are


being squeezed and prices are getting higher and higher. You have


had time to study the Autumn Statement. What part of it does


Labour disagree with? It is a very big question. I think the overall


strategy the Autumn Statement is setting out does not deal with the


fundamental problems in the economy. What measures do you disagree with?


A lot of it is the absence of measures we would have put in if we


were doing the Autumn Statement If you are going to deal with the cost


of living crisis, you have got to get productivity levels up in our


society. One of the best ways of doing that is on infrastructure We


believe in bringing forward 's investment and housing, getting some


of the fundamentals right in our economy. By planting, the business


lending we have to do. We have seen a lamentable failing. There are big


structural reforms that we need Ultimately, the public are concerned


about the cost of living crisis That has got to be childcare help, a


10p starting rate of tax. Above all, and energy price freeze, which


still this government are refusing to do. On Friday, you told me you


supported the principle of a welfare cap. But you change bling claim the


Chancellor's cap included pensions. You have now seen the figures, and


it does not include pensions, correct? We do want a welfare cap.


The government have said they are going to put more detail on this in


the March budget. But it does not include pensions? We think they have


a short term approach to the welfare cap. They put in some pension


benefits. The state pension is not in the short-term plan because, as


we believe, a triple lock is a good idea. In the longer term, if you are


talking about structural welfare issues, you do have to think about


pensions because they have to be sustainable if we are living


longer. I think that is about the careful management. Let me show you


what Ed Balls said on this programme at the start of the summer. As for


pensioners, I think this is a real question. George Osborne is going to


announce his cap in two weeks time. I don't know if he will exclude


pension spending or including. Our plan is to include it. Pension


spending would be included in the welfare cap? That is our plan,


exactly what I just said. Over the long-term, if you have a serious


welfare cap structural welfare issues, over 20, 30, 40 year


period, you can't say that we will not work and pensions as part of


that. Pensions would be part of the Labour cap? In the longer term. What


is the longer term? If you win 015? We want to stick with the triple


lock on the pension, that is the Government approach to their


short-term welfare cap. In the longer term, for example, on the


winter fuel allowance, we should not necessarily be... There are lots of


benefits... I understand that, I am talking about the basic state


pension, is that part of your welfare cap or not? In a 20, 30 40


year frame... Even you will not be around in government, then. You are


writing me off already. You have to focus on welfare changes, pensions


have to be affordable as part of that. It's dangerous to say, well,


if you are going to have a serious welfare cap, we should not look at


pensions cost. It would be irresponsible. Will pensions be part


of the cap from 2015 until 2020 if Labour is in power? In our long term


cap we have to make sure... I'm talking about 2015-16. We haven t


seen the proposition the Government has put before us.


You claim people of ?1600 worse off under the coalition. That is true


when you compare to pay and prices. Can you confirm that calculation


does not include the ?700 tax cut from raising the income tax


threshold, huge savings on mortgages because of low interest or the


freezing of council tax? It doesn't include the tax and benefit


changes. If you do want to look at those, last year, the ISS said they


could be making people worse off. It might not include those factors The


VAT increase, tax credit cuts, child benefit cuts, they all add up. My


understanding is that the ISS figures have said people are ?8 1


worse off if you look at the tax and benefit changes since 2010. You have


to look at wages and prices. The ISS confirmed our approach was broadly


the right way of assessing what is happening. The Chancellor was


saying, real household disposable incomes are rising. He is completely


out of touch. Can you sum up the macro economic policy for Labour?


Invest in the future, make sure we have the right approach for the


long-term politicking. Tackle the cost of living crisis people are


facing. Now, let's talk to the Financial


Secretary to the Treasury, Sajid Javid.


Discovery, underpinned by rising house prices, increasing personal


debt, do you accept that is unsustainable?


I accept the OBE are also said the reason why this country is facing


more these challenges -- OBR. That is because we went through a


Labour recession, the worst we have seen in 100 years. But do you accept


that a recovery underpinned by these things I have just read out isn t


sustainable? We set out a long-term plan for recovery, and again this


week. We have shown with the tough decisions we have made already, the


country can enjoy a recovery. There are still a lot of difficult


decisions. The biggest risk are Labour's plans. The March


projections work at for those - for both business investment and


exports. Suddenly it is expected to rise 5% next year, a 10% turnaround


in investment. How is it credible? I have been in business before


politics. Any business person listening will know, when you have


gone through a recession, the deepest in 100 years, it will hit


investment, profits, you can't make plans again until you have


confidence in the economy. That is what this country is seeing now


under this government. This is an assumption made independently. The


fall in business investment is because of the recession. The


forecast increases, 5% next year, and so on, it is based on the


independent forecast. Based on fact. If you look at the investment plans


of companies, this week, the Chancellor went to JCB, Jaguar Land


Rover has plans to create more jobs, these investment plans are


coming through now because of the confidence generated by this


government, such as the cut in corporation tax which Labour would


increase. Are the export forecasts more credible? The 15 years, our


share of world trade decline. Suddenly starting next year, it


stops falling. That's not credible. I worked in finance the 20 years. I


have yet to find any forecast which is fully right. Under Labour, we


would have forecasts made by Gordon Brown who would announce he would


hit all his targets. Now we have an independent system.


Do you accept, if exports or business investment do not pick up,


then a purely consumer led recovery is not sustainable? We need more


than a consumer led recovery. We need consumer investment to go up.


On Xbox, it is noticeable that experts are primarily down because


the markets we trade with, the eurozone markets, are depressed


Many have just come out of recession. Or they are still in


recession. If you look at exports to non-EU countries, they are up 3 %.


120% to China. 100% to Russia. Will you keep the triple lock for


the state pension beyond 2015? Yes, long term. That's why it is not part


of our welfare cap. Chris Leslie cannot answer that question. It is


straightforward. House prices are now rising ten


times faster than average earnings. That's not good. House prices are


rising, partly reflecting recovery. Ten times faster than average


earnings, how can people afford to buy homes if it carries on? What you


would hope, this is the evidence, if you look at the plans of the month


companies, they are planning new homes which will mean that, as this


demand spurs that investment, more homes will come about. We need to


give people the means to buy those homes. We have introduced the help


to buy scheme. I accept the OBR says it will start rising again but as


household debt rises again Petr Cech reduces, -- as household debt


reduces, we need to make sure there are checks in place. Wages have not


been rising in real terms for quite some time. Over the next five years,


even as the economy grows, by about 15% according the OBR to the OBR --


but people will not benefit. These hard-working families will not share


in the recovery. What is the best way to help those families? The


government doesn't set wages. What we can do is influence the overall


economy. We don't have a magic lever. Wages have been stagnating


for five years. When will people get a proper salary? The best way for


wage growth is a growing economy, more jobs. We have more people


employed in Britain today than at any time in our history. The biggest


risk to recovery is if we let Labour into the Treasury with more spending


and more debt. Which got us into this trouble. By whatever measure


you care to choose, would people be better off come the 20 15th election


than they were in 2010? Yes, they will be. Look at jobs. Already more


people employed than at any other time in history. Will they be better


off? The best way for anyone to raise their living standards is


access to a growing job market. But will they be better off? I believe


people will be. Compared to 201 . Yes. In terms of take-home pay. This


is a credible measure. Now, what do you think the Education


Secretary, Michael Gove, was like at school? Hard-working? Hand always


up? Top of the class? Well, if he wasn't passionate about education


then, he is now. In fact, since he took office, it seems he hasn't


stopped working very hard indeed. When the coalition came to power,


Michael Gove evoked Mao, saying they were on a long march to reform


education. Just like Mao, they faced a baby boom, so pledged ?5 billion


for new school places. They extended Labour's academy programme. There's


now about 3,000 in England. But then, they marched even further


creating free schools run by parents, funded by taxpayers. 1 4


have opened so far. The schools admission code was changed, to give


parents more choice. And a pupil premium was introduced,


currently, an extra ?900 funding for each disadvantaged child.


An overhaul of the national curriculum provoked criticism.


Chairman Gove mocked detractors as "bad academia". But exam reforms


didn't quite go to plan. Although GCSEs got harder, plans to replace


A-levels had to be abandoned. Ultimately, the true test of these


reforms will be what happens in the classroom. The person in charge of


making sure those classrooms are up to scratch in England is the Chief


Inspector Of Schools, head of Ofsted, Michael Wilshaw, who joins


me now. Over the past 15 years, we have


doubled spending on schools even allowing for inflation. By


international standards, we are stagnating, why? I said last year


that mediocrity had settled into the system. Too many children were


coasting in schools, which is why we changed the grading structure, we


removed that awful word, satisfactory. Saying that good is


now the only acceptable standard and schools had a limited time in which


to get to that. We are seeing gradually, it is difficult to say


this in the week we have had the OECD report. Things have gradually


improved. I will come onto that in a minute. Explain this. International


comparisons show us flat-lining or even falling in some subjects,


including science. For 20 years our domestic exam results just got


better and better. Was this a piece of fiction fed to us by the


educational establishment, was there a cover-up? There is no question


there has grade inflation. I speak as an ex-headteacher who saw that in


examinations. Perceptual state is actually doing something about that.


Most good heads will say that is about time. We have to be credible.


Do politicians and educationalists conspire in this grade inflation? It


might suit politicians to say things are going up every year. As a head,


I knew a lot of the exams youngsters were sitting were not up to scratch.


The latest OECD study places us 36th for maths, 23rd reading, slipping


down to 21st in science. Yet, Ofsted, your organisation,


designates 80% of schools as good or outstanding. That's another fiction.


This year, we have. If we see this level of progress, it has been a


remarkable progress over the last years since we changed our grading


structure, then... In a year, absolutely. We have better teachers


coming into our school system. Better leaders. Better schools. The


big challenge for our country is making sure that progress is


maintained which will eventually translate into better outcomes.


These figures are pretty much up-to-date. Are you saying within a


year 80% of the schools are good enough? All of the schools we


upgraded have had better grades in GCSE and grade 2. We have to make


sure that is maintained. The Government has based its reforms on


similar reforms in Sweden. In opposition they were endlessly going


to Stockholm to find out how it was done. Swedish schools are doing even


worse than ours in the tables. Why are we copying failure? The


secretary of state believes, and I actually believe, as somebody who


has come from an academy model, that if you hand power and resources you


hand autonomy to the people on the ground, to the people in the


classroom, in the corridors, in the playgrounds, things work. If you


allow the great monoliths that used to have responsibility for education


in the past to take control again, you will see a reverse in standards.


You have got to actually empower those people that make the


difference. That is why autonomy and freedom is important. We spent a lot


of money moving what were local authority schools to become


academies and new free school czar being set up as well. When the


academies are pretty much the same level of autonomy, the free school


is maybe a little bit more, the evidence we have had so far is that


they don't really perform any better than local authority schools?


Indeed, Encore GCSE subjects, they might even be doing worse? These are


early days. We will say more about this on weapons they when we produce


the annual report. The sponsored academies that took over the worst


schools in the country, in the most difficult circumstances, in the most


disadvantaged communities, are doing much better now. What about GCSE?


They are doing GCSE equivalents the lass academic subjects question my


cull OK, but they are doing better than previous schools. If you look


at the top performing nations in the world, they focus on the quality of


teaching. The best graduates coming to education. They professionally


develop them. They make sure they spot the brightest talents and get


them into positions as soon as possible. We have got to do the same


if we are going to catch up with those jurisdictions. This isn't just


a British problem. It seems to be a European problem. The East Asian


countries now dominate the top of the tables. What's the most


important lesson we should learn from East Asia? Attitudes to work.


We need to make sure that we invest in good teachers, good leaders. We


have to make sure that students have the right attitudes to work. It s no


good getting good people into the classroom and then seeing them part


of teaching by bad behaviour, disaffected youngsters and poor


leadership. We see young teachers doing well for a time and then being


put off teaching and leaving from that sort of culture in our schools.


Are you a cheerleader for government education policy rather than


independent inspectors? I am independent, Ofsted is independent.


I believe we are saying the right things on standards. The Association


of teachers and lecturers say you are an arm of government. The NUT


has called for your resignation Another wants to abolish or


Inspectorate. Have you become a pariah amongst teaching unions? If


we are challenging schools to become better, that is our job, we will


carry on doing that. I am not going to preside over the status quo. We


will challenge the system to do better, we will challenge schools


and colleges to do better. We will also challenge government when we


think they are going wrong. Many people in the education


establishment think your primary purpose is to do the Government s


bidding by shepherding schools into becoming academies. Not true at all.


You are a big supporter of academies? Yes, I believe the people


that do the business in schools are the people that are free to do what


is necessary to raise standards I am a big supporter of autonomy in


the school system. But where we see academies Vale, where we see free


schools fail, we will say so. The study does not find much evidence


that competition and choice raise standards, but it does go with you


and say that strong school leadership, coupled with autonomy,


can make a difference. Can somebody with no experience in education be


in charge of a school? A lot of hot air has been expounded on the issue


of whether teachers should be qualified or not. If qualified


teacher status was the gold standard, why is it that one in


three teachers, one in three lessons that will observe are not good


enough. Taught by qualified teachers. I've not yet met a


headteacher that has not appointed by qualified staff when they cannot


get qualified teachers. Their job is to make sure they get accredited as


soon as possible and come up to scratch in the classroom. Do you


support the use of unqualified teachers? I do. I have done it. If I


could not get a maths, physics or modern languages teacher and I


thought somebody straight from university, without qualified


teachers start this, that they could communicate well with youngsters, I


would get that person into the classroom and get them accredited if


they delivered the goods. If we are going to allow schools to have more


autonomy and not be accountable to local authorities, free schools


academies, don't you have to do .. New entrants will be coming into the


market, the educational marketplace. Do you not have to act more quickly


when it is clear, and there has been examined recently, where it is


clearly going badly wrong and children's education at risk?


Absolutely. I made a point to the secretary of state and it is


something I will talk more about over the coming year. We need to be


in school is much more often. If a school fails at the moment, or


underperforms, goes into this new category, Her Majesty 's inspectors


stay with that institution until it improves. Sometimes we don't see a


school for five or seven years. That is wrong. My argument is that Ofsted


should pay a much greater part in monitoring the performance of


schools between those inspections. Are you enjoying it? It is a tough


job. Are you enjoying it? This is a tough job, but I enjoy it.


Sometimes. You are watching Sunday Politics.


Coming up in just over 20 minutes, Diane Abbott will be joining us And


we Welcome. Coming up in our last


programme before Christmas, with the cost of living dominating the


political agenda, we take an investment fund manager turned MP in


a trip around the shops in his own constituency. Man man admits his


wife buys the grocery but should it matter whether your local politician


knows the price of bananas? `` Jacob Rees`Mogg. We will be testing these


politicians whether they know the cost of living. They are Labour s


Dawn Primarolo, James Gray and Stephen Williams. First, he was a


man respected about around the globe. Nelson Mandela and his legacy


touched millions of people, including many living in the West


Country. One of them is Rob Witchell, who is a poet in Bristol


and the development worker for the Bristol Forum. He has written this


born just for us about why he will be remembered by the young and old


for generations to come. Mandela, why did you have to die?


We held you in the place we hoped he would live for ever.


Passing piece, Madiba. Goodbye, father.


With Gandhi, was keen on why they call your name. When asked, who is


your hero? In Bristol, we know your name but


not what he stood for, we, from Bristol, British and more so


Mandela, man, you confuse us. Communist? National Trust?


Socialist. Our government had you down as terrorist.


With that sole person from this life, there is the most powerful


remember that you were mortal, like the rest of us. From Johannesburg to


Kingswood, from Cape Town to Kingston. We have no excuse to sit


back. With our model of hero. With all the contradiction. No reason to


stand back and wait for our own perfection. No option but to stand


up and for yourselves to freeze human conviction. Like Mandela,


Madiba, goodbye. Don, you have actually met Nelson


Mandela. What are your thoughts about? I would just want to see what


fantastic poem I thought that was. I was very privileged. I met him twice


briefly for a long period. It was at the Finance Ministers when Gordon


Brown and Tony Blair were putting together the finance package for


edited African Nations Cup and Nelson Mandela came to lobby and


support the plan that was being proposed. `` for African nations


which were ended. What can you say about somebody who has been defining


politics for generations about the struggle in South Africa? And yet he


did it with such grace, intelligence but always that twinkle in his eye


and that little bit of humour. He had a lovely way about him. I think


all of us as politicians wish that had we suffered as much as he had


and then be released after 27 years we would be as well as he did to .


And to leave South Africa to be the fabulous nation it is. What do you


gauge Nelson Mandela's impact on the quality issues in the West Country?


I think he is a Ousely and inspiration to many people. All


primary schools to visit across the West, the most diverse,


multicultural constituency in the south`west of England. They will all


have pictures of him alongside others to inspire the children. He


was inspirational to my generation has stopped I am very envious of


Dawn. When I was getting political myself in the 1980s, I used to go on


anti`apartheid demonstrations against Thatcher and it takes me a


little but, perhaps. He inspired many people in this country. The


left as well as the right? He was a grainy died very great man.


Knowledge fire him and shall miss them. The thing I admire most is


that when he came out of prison he could have attacked the people who


locked him up but he let bygones be bygones. `` he was a very great man.


We all admire him and shall miss him. I think everybody shall agree


with that. The outcome of the next general election will hinge on


places like Swindon. Whichever party wins in Swindon usually wins the


Government. The town was badly hit by the recession but appears to be


enjoying a good recovery. What does that mean for Labour in 2015? This


report does contain some flash photography.


He wants to paint the town red. Ed Balls rolled up his sleeves as he


came campaigning in Swindon. He has regularly rubbed shoulders with


Labour's candidates here and visited before all out cancellations last


year, which saw the Reds just failed to deprive the ruling Tories of


their majority. It was a tough ask given what had to be done. We did


well in Swindon and I am confident that as a platform to when the


Parliamentary seats and counsel They all know that it views to


become the next Chancellor of the Exchequer, Labour must succeed in


Swindon. We want to win a Labour majority back in 2015. That means


that we need to win at North, south, east and west in our country.


Swindon is vital for Labour. Need to have Labour MPs back in here, not


just for Swindon but so that we can get that majority. The area relies


heavily on private sector jobs full fare particularly badly when the


downturn came. The conservative` run council reckon recovery started


early. I think that people are feeling more confident. I speak to a


lot of businesses making investments and thinking about doing so. The


outlook is very positive. I appreciate that people are feeling


quite stretched with their private finances, particularly around


utility bills. A feel`good factor could be some way off. Many people


are financially worse off and anger over cuts to services may grow. I


think of resources continue to get pressed by the increase in demand


and reduction in government funding, people will start to see bigger


changes. `` if our resources. Who do you think the public would blame?


That is a good question! I suspect probably the party of government.


How are you? Back with Ed Balls and him meeting the next generation of


voters. He clearly wants some fans. The challenge is to get them to


actually vote in 2015. At least Labour will not have to worry about


the fans of Clegg. Swindon is largely seen as a two horse race but


the Lib Dems picked up one in six votes here in the last election


Will their participation in the core election, `` Coalition swing the


sports back to Labour? I'm guessing they have had a time of it from the


previous government and what they were left to deal with, the Lib


Dems, it is a tough one. It has definitely lowered my opinion of the


Lib Dems. I wouldn't vote for them on that basis again. I am not happy.


Generally not happy with the way everything is going. You have not


been put off? No. I was quite glad that they got there rather than the


Tories getting there altogether Christmas is the season of goodwill


and politics may not feel that way. Let's discuss the state of the


parties, not only in Swindon but right across the rest. Stephen


Williams, some people were very angry with the Lib Dems when they


went into coalition with the Tories because it made this cuts agenda


possible. How are they feeling now? I think the Coalition made the cuts


agenda possible. Under the economic circumstance, it made it a necessity


forced `` I don't think. They were going to have to form the country's


first peacetime coalition against that backdrop and it was always


going to be challenged. They knew it would be tough in the early stages


of the parliament and then hopefully the economy would turn and the


public finances would be on the mend. You didn't plan for that


before the election so we didn't have a manifesto which warned this


was what he would be doing. When you write your next manifesto, isn't


going to mean anything? All three parties are actually going to be


fighting the next general election in a different way because we will


have had five years of coalition. I think all three leaders in most of


the will be slightly different. The manifestoes will be written in


different ways. The public will see that coalition can work. They can


take tough decisions. One of the things that was said at the last


general election was that coalition would lead to weak government. The


unions were predicting social unrest with the strikes, student protests


but it has never happened. Perhaps people are not as angry as you might


think. I think people are angry and I think that they believe, and the


polls are showing, that this Government is making the wrong


choices, that the Coalition is making the wrong choices. It is the


wrong choice to give a tax cut to millionaires whilst cutting


support. What you have been saying that fought going to wear a bit


thin. Very interesting you should say that. The poll that was done


immediately after the Autumn Statement on Thursday showed that


40% of people were saying they thought that Ed Balls had got it


right in terms of, I know where going to discuss this, the cost of


living. But actually, the issues around this Government and the cuts


that they are making, that the inherited an economy growing and


chalked the growth of, now it is coming back, thankfully, but a lot


of pain in between. Let James respond. First thing I would say is


that this business about cutting tax, the highest tax on millionaires


under Labour was 40% and under this Government it is 45%. We have put


the tax upon moaners. I am sure Ed Balls of the nice fellow but... With


that where you shouting at him in Parliament? We are seeing Ed Balls


trying to respond to the excellent Autumn Statement. It is not going as


well as when it was elected. We are having to be ?150 million per day on


the debts that Labour racked up Endlessly, a market in Bath said not


to come because was too busy. A lot of confidence around. We have to


talk about other things because it is the question that makes the blood


of an unwitting MP threes. Just how much do things cost in the shops?


David Cameron was tripped up recently with the price of a loaf of


bread. `` an unwitting MP threes. With the cost of living dominating


the agenda, one of our reporters to one of the West was the wealthiest


MPs on a trip to the shops. `` took one of the West's wealthiest MPs.


It has become the political catchphrase of the year. The Rag


cost`of`living crisis. Cost`of`living crisis. For all their


talk of the squeeze on cost`of`living, our politicians


really in tune with rising prices? I doubt very much they do their own


shopping so I think they are quite detached from the general public. I


cannot see why they would have any understanding of how much a weekly


shop would cost. Someone asked an MP how much a page of milk costs and he


said about a pound. It's like 3 p. I just think they have not got any


idea. I do not think they do their own shopping. Do you think MPs know


how much stuff costs in the shops? No. They probably haven't got a


clue, to be honest. They are not shoppers, are they? Like women! That


is true in the case of the local MP. Jacob Rees`Mogg he's the local shop


to someone else. By which takes charge `` my wife takes charge of


most of these things. Whim of the last time we went to the


supermarket? Is a partner in his own investment


management firm, Mr Rees`Mogg is a very long way from the poverty line.


Despite his lack of retail savvy, he agrees to a special challenge. Three


shopkeepers have agreed to put their local MP to the test on the cost of


some local results tables. First up, the bridge is. I have for delicious


Welsh double lamb chops. My challenge is how much do you think


that will cost? The correct I do not know. They were delicious. I doubt


would get much change for ?10. Let's find out. There are ?12.31. There


you go, an increase in the cost`of`living, otherwise I would


have been right. EV do guess but it is `` a vague guess but quite close.


They're changing the way they buy their food. We have noticed that


people are opting for the cheaper cuts of meat. Obviously for


students, home`made burgers, minced beef and things like that whereas


they might have had a romp state or sirloin steak. There is definitely a


change. Next on the tour, something frequent for his wife. `` fragrant.


We have some here so would you like to have a go at getting much this


bunch would cost? I think that really difficult. I know I have got


to be precise. I am not allowed to give a woolly answer. I would say


?30. That actually costs 35. I was right, flowers are expensive and


even more than I thought but they are very beautiful. Close again But


how will Eton and Oxford's finest fare against his nemesis? I am the


wrong person to ask about bananas because in those banana. I would


never buy bananas! I absolutely hate bananas. They have stumped me on


this one. What you think that would cost you? Being a use that for


pounds two kilos. ?3? You're weird. That is only about ?1 28. Still ?1


28 too much! It is a big slip on our final banana skin but can MPs


legislating in London ever fully understand those they represent I


think it is about empathy rather than experience. I always thought we


are a society of individuals. Nobody liked anybody else's life precisely


and so whatever your background you have to try to have an understanding


of what affect other people and work on that understanding. That is what


is important for politicians, rather than leading identical lives to


their constituents. They will not. The ability of well`paid MPs to


empathise with ordinary shoppers will be tested further as the


argument over the cost`of`living intensifies.


Thank you to Jacob Rees`Mogg for being a good sport and doing the


rounds of the shops for us. As it is Christmas time, we thought we would


have a little quiz for you all. First of all, for an ordinary pack


of water, you can see it behind me, you reckon? `` pack of water. ? .


?2.50. I tend to buy tops. ?1.2 . It is in fact ?1.50. So there is a


prize. Oh, it is unfolded! Excellent. Only the BBC. Our next


one is a Jo Brand resource as it is Christmas. I never buy it. ?2. Oh,


?2.20. ?3.50. It is ?1.50. It was you! Well, I never buy! Lucky guess.


That was, actually. It was a guest! That is my Christmas present sorted.


Cranberries 's! Isn't because it's Christmas. To get back to the


political point, the cost`of`living, that is going to be very much the


agenda for the next election, his Ed Miliband actually been surprised at


them sitting that agenda? No. It is slightly overshadowed by the death


of Nova Mandela but we can see that the economy is better. `` Nelson


Mandela. Who feeling richer? People fear more secure in their jobs ``


feel more secure in their jobs. Look at the predictions on growth in the


economy figures that George Osborne denied. Very encouraging indeed You


are quite right in saying that prices are going up, particularly in


energy. `` George Osborne give out. In the doorstep, in the mailbag


people are very concerned about rising prices of food and their


energy bills. They feel they have got no slack in their budgets. They


are cutting back, even as we run into Christmas, and they are


absolutely worried that something, their heating boiler, might go and


they will need a house repair. What is the Government doing to address


those concerns? The first thing is give people more money in their


pockets by reading the income tax allowance. That is worth ?700 per


year to people. We have frozen fuel duty, cancelled a lot of the fuel


duty rises that Labour had planned. We have frozen council tax. That is


much more significant for many people than their energy bills and


this week, the Lib Dem imagery secretary reduced action on ?50 No,


stopping them going up as much. That is not quite the same thing. `` just


energy bills by ?50. People are saying that the things they need for


their daily lives are too expensive is. They are feeling more expensive


and they are struggling. We cannot always deal with every single price


rise but what we can do is have the economic conditions, more people


going to work, unemployment has fallen below with it was the last


general election, put more money into people's pockets by income tax


changes. Let's take a final run to the political week. This is our 62nd


round up. `` 60 second round up There was anger in the West's


universities. Lecturers and support staff from three unions, saying an


offer of a 1% increase in pay was my belly `` miserly. We have members


who have to put food banks and we do not that is right. But the curtain


will rise again in the Brewhouse Theatre. The venue had been


threatened with closer but is now to be run by a community group. I think


it is great. Now we have got a mountain to climb. There is a lot to


do. Nick Clegg it came to the West. He


stopped by in the Lib Dem seed of Bristol West and Chilton on to


answer questions from the public. Labourers selected its candidate for


Bath, only 18. In his first interview, he showed signs of being


a good addition. Who is your serial, Tony Blair or Tony Ben? There are


both fantastic politicians! Oh, you are going to be on the politics show


for years to come! Well, let us young things discussed


that. What is the appropriate age to become an MP? Well, I think that he


showed a wise head on young shoulders and there are many of


those around. We have lots of in Dom I can MPs. When I was 18, I thought


my father was a fool. When I was 25, I was amazed at how much he had


learned in seven years. 18 is a good age to go to the pub and smoke a


cigarette. 16 is too young to vote. Speaker I have tried to reduce the


voting age to 16 and it passed in January. By the next election I do


not know but by the next general election they may be able to vote.


Thank you. That is Menzies Campbell have to leave things for this


afternoon, or this morning, because that is it for their West this week


and this year. `` that is it from us. We are going to have to leave


this. Thank you for entering into the festive spirit. If you want to


watch this part of the programme again, you will find it on the BBCi


player. Tomorrow, the House of Commons will


pay its tributes to Nelson Mandela. Our nation has lost its greatest


son. Our people have lost a father. The first thing I ever did that


involved an issue or policy, or politics, was protest against


apartheid. I think his greatest legacy, to


South Africa and to the world, is the emphasis which he has always put


on the need for a conciliation, on the importance of human rights. He


also made us understand that we can change the world. We can change the


world by changing attitudes, by changing perceptions. For this


reason, I would like to pay him tribute as a great human being, who


raised the standard of humanity Thank you for the gift of Madiba.


Thank you for what he has enabled us to know we can become.


We are joined now by the Labour MP Diane Abbott. You met Mr Mandela not


one after he was released from prison in 1990. He went as an


election observer for the first one person, one-vote in South Africa. I


would guess, of all the people you met in your life, you must have been


the most impressive and biggest influence? He was extraordinary He


had just come out of prison, 28 years in reason. He had seen a lot


of his colleagues tortured, blown up and killed. He was entirely without


bitterness. That is what came across. That was key to his


achievement, to achieve a peaceful transition. Everybody thought that


if you have black majority rule you might have a bloodbath. It's down to


Nelson Mandela but didn't happen. I remember FW de Klerk saying that


Mandela was the key to getting a peaceful transition. Absolutely the


key, an amazing man. London was one of the centres, people talked about


it as being the other centre of the anti-apartheid struggle. That


anti-apartheid struggle in London, it had an effect on black politics


in Britain? Oh, yes. If you were black and politically active at the


time, the apartheid struggle, the struggle against white supremacy in


South Africa, was very important. Whatever your colour, the


anti-apartheid struggle, for our generation, was the political


campaign. We have the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's


assassination. Mr Mandela's death. We are kind of running out of people


that inspired us? I will never forget where I was when I saw him


come out of prison, hand-in-hand with the women, I might add. If you


have spent your whole teenage years and 20 is boycotting, marching,


picketing, to see him actually come out was amazing. Do you think it was


more exciting to meet you or the Spice Girls? I think the Spice


Girls. What did the Labour backbenchers think about Ed Balls's


performance after the Autumn Statement? Luck, Ed Balls is a


brilliant man, but I think even he would say that it was not his best


performance. But if you look at the polls, the public liked the points


he made. The backbenchers were quiet, there was something wrong? I


noticed that. It was like a wall of sound, deliberately. They know that


under pressure his stamina might come back and it is difficult for


him. That is what they were trying to incite. I have had experience


first hand, a look at all of these anonymous and sometimes not


anonymous quotes in the media. The spinning has begun against him? This


is the party of brotherly love, no matter what the Tories say, we can


say worse about each other. How could it be that two former aides to


Gordon Brown do not like each other? Far be it from me to say. If he


wanted to do it, and I'm not saying he does, is Mr Miliband ruthless


enough to get rid of Ed Balls? I mean, he got rid of you, he got rid


of his brother? One thing you should not do is under estimate Ed


Miliband's capacity for ruthlessness. If he feels it is the


right thing to do, he will do it. It's not just a matter of... Ed


Balls is a big, powerful personality. He's great to interview


because he is across his subject, you can have a really good argument


with him, a man that knows his brief, his facts. But it's not just


about the personality. There is a kind of sense that Labour needs to


look forwards more on economic policy. Of course, the standard of


living has been hugely successful for Labour. But it needs more than


that on economic policy? I think he has been one of the most effective


member 's Shadow Cabinet, and he's always associated with the Brown


years, where there is always an element about, you were the guys


that got it wrong. I think Ed Miliband will be very tempted to


replace him with Alistair Darling. The scenario goes like this,


Alistair Darling saves the union and then in September he saves the


Labour Party. Ultimately, I don t think he would do it. Talk about


shifting tectonic plates, it would, wouldn't it? But it is a step too


far. Ed Balls would not be too happy. It is not something you would


want to do lightly. That sounds a bit of a threat. Not from you. I


can't see Ed Balls magnanimously retreating and say, go on, Alistair


Darling, take the job I have been after all career. Where do you put


him? Do you make him a middle ranking business or welfare


secretary? He wouldn't do that. If you sack him, he would retreat to


the backbenchers. He might take up knitting and practices piano scales,


or he might have a blood feud with Ed Miliband. I don't know which


could be. You look back to when he was schools Secretary, you could


feel he was constantly fuming. I think he is better inside the tent,


looking out, than the other way around. The thing one Labour


strategist said to me was that he is too much looking into the rear-view


mirror, when it comes to economic policy. He needs to look ahead


through the windscreen. That had some resonance? He was at the centre


of Labour's economic policy-making from the mid-90s. So it's hard for


him but he has to look forward. There is an interesting comparison


with 2009. Gordon Brown got in trouble when he said the choice is


between Labour investment and Tory cuts. Everybody knew it was between


Labour cuts and Tory cuts. In other words, he was not acknowledging


reality. With Ed Balls, OK, we can say it is the wrong sort of


recovery, but there is a recovery. Does he not need to absorb that


punch and say there is a recovery, then people will listen to him?


Possibly. We know that the macroeconomics are looking better.


We also know people are not experiencing it as a recovery in


living standards. No one, not even Tories, really believe that David


Cameron knows what it is like for middle-income people to live normal


lives. Living standards is particularly powerful because of the


composition of the government? Don't go away. This time last year we


ambushed our political panel with a quiz. They didn't come out of it


smelling of roses, but they did come out rather smelly.


Will the coalition still be in place a year from now? Yes. Definitely. I


say definitely as well. From now, one year, will we know the date of


the European referendum? Yes. No. I say no as well. How much growth will


there be? Less than 1%. Father Christmas is less qualified than me,


but I will go for one. I will go for a quarter of that. 0.4%. Sorry, a


third of that. I am with you, and 1%. We didn't do too badly. What


will growth be next year? I will remind you, the OBR has upgraded to


2.4%. Better stick with the OBR got it wrong last year. Well, they went


down in March and then went back in December. I'm going to go under and


claim credit where it's higher. I'm going to say 1%. Deliberately get it


wrong. Given our record, if we say there is going to be spectacular


growth, does it mean we're going to go into recession? There is


incentive to be cautious. 2%. 2 4%, because the housing market in London


is rocketing. It would be closer to 3% and 2.4, mark my words. We'll Ed


Balls be Shadow Chancellor by this time next year? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes,


I value my life. Will UKIP mean the European elections, by which I mean


have the highest percentage of the vote? Yes. Second behind Labour


Second behind Labour. Will Alex Salmond win the independence


referendum? No, but it will be closer than we think. No, unless


they do something catastrophic like let Cameron debate him. Too close to


call. Controversial. How many Romanians and Bulgarians will come


to Britain in 2014? Far fewer than anyone thinks. The entire population


of Romania and Bulgaria, like Nigel Farage thanks. I'll go with that,


I'm confident. A change of tone for your magazine. Not many will come,


but a lot here already will normalise and be counted into


figures. Too many for most right-wing commentators. I think


quite a few will come, but not the kind of numbers that made such a


huge difference. This time, everybody is open. They do like to


speak English, that is the reason they want to come. We'll all three


of you still be here by this time next year? Yes. Would you recommend


that? Yes, keep them. And he has lovely boots. Shiny red boots. If


you can keep affording me, I will be here. I hope so, it sounds like you


have a firing squad outside. I hope so, maybe you will find some true


talent. Very pragmatic, aren't they? Let me put this to you, I think you


will agree. The coalition will not break now, this side of the election


next year? There will not be... They will not go their own ways by this


time next year? Of next year, maybe just after. Early 2015. This side of


the election? What is the UKIP view? I don't think there is an advantage


to either of them. If the Lib Dems pulled out, they would look like


there were a lodger in the Tory house of government. I think it


would suit the Lib Dems to break just before the election. I think


that is what Vince Cable wants to do. I don't think it is what Nick


Clegg would like to do. The Tories would love it. They would have all


of the toys to themselves. Yellow marker they would look like the


grown-ups. The problem for Vince Cable is that he's not the force


that used to be after his temper tantrum at the Conference.


I will be back with the Daily Politics next week. If Santer gives


you a diary in your stocking, pencil in Sunday the 20th of January, the


first Sunday Politics of 2014. Remember, if it is Sunday, it is the


Sunday Politics. Unless it is Christmas. And New Year.


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