02/02/2014 Sunday Politics West


02/02/2014

Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With Paul Kenny, Malcolm Bruce, James Wharton and Natalie Bennett.


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Transcript


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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. The unions helped

:00:36.:00:42.

him beat his brother to the top Now Ed Miliband wants to change Labour's

:00:43.:00:45.

relationship with them. Who will come out on top? We will be asking

:00:46.:00:49.

one union baron what he thinks. Cracks in the coalition after

:00:50.:00:52.

Education Secretary Michael Gove sacks the chairwoman of Ofsted. His

:00:53.:00:56.

Lib Dem deputy is said to be hopping mad. We will be talking to the new

:00:57.:01:00.

deputy leader of the Lib Dems, Malcolm Bruce.

:01:01.:01:04.

Caught a bout of the EU blues? David Cameron has been drowning his

:01:05.:01:06.

sorrows with the President of France. Who better? We will be

:01:07.:01:10.

asking if the EU referendum bill is dead in the water.

:01:11.:01:13.

And bad weather getting you down? Getting from A to B a bit of a

:01:14.:01:17.

nightmare? Fear not! The leader of the Greens will be here with her

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traffic and travel report. Dutch reassurance people want?

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Yes, all that and more in today s action-packed Sunday Politics. And

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blowing more hot air than I have had hot dinners, Helen Lewis, Nick Watt

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and Iain Martin. After the row about candidate

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selection in Falkirk, Ed Miliband said he wanted to reshape the

:02:00.:02:02.

relationship between Labour and the unions. The biggest changes involve

:02:03.:02:06.

union membership of the party, which in turn will affect future Labour

:02:07.:02:11.

leadership elections. Some claim this is Ed's Clause 4 moment. But

:02:12.:02:16.

the unions will continue to be powerful at conference and on the

:02:17.:02:19.

party's ruling committees, and they will still be able to bankroll the

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election campaign. Here is Labour's deputy leader, Harriet Harman,

:02:24.:02:32.

speaking earlier. What he is proposing for the March the 1st

:02:33.:02:36.

conference is a huge change in financing, in the election of the

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leader, in what goes on at local level. In due course, it might have

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implications for the NEC elections and conference. But this is already

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a big issue to take forward. Joining me now is Paul Kenny,

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general secretary of the GMB union and chair of the Trade Union and

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Labour Party Liaison Organisation. Is this Ed Miliband's Clause 4

:03:03.:03:08.

moment? I don't know about that It is certainly a bold move,

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particularly to have an electoral college, which as you said was the

:03:14.:03:17.

system which elected him in the first place. Everybody admits that

:03:18.:03:23.

has needed reforming for some time. Moving to a one member, one vote

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situation seems to me to be sensible. I know some people are

:03:29.:03:36.

upset, mostly MPs, who will lose their golden share. But it is

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nonsense that one MP should have the same vote as 1000 party members So

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the MPs have lost out. Have the unions lost out? Well, the system is

:03:50.:03:59.

currently that union members get a ballot paper, but they have to

:04:00.:04:04.

declare that they are a Labour supporter and they have to sign to

:04:05.:04:08.

that effect in order to participate. Then their vote is counted. At the

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last election, about 200,000 trade union members gave that indication,

:04:15.:04:19.

and they participated in that way. That will not change. The way it is

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organised will be different. The big change in the electoral college is

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that the logical weight given to MPs will disappear. I wonder if you have

:04:32.:04:38.

really lost anything. At the moment, there are about 3 million people

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automatically affiliated from the unions to the Labour Party. If only

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10% of them opt in, that will still mean twice as many union individual

:04:48.:04:52.

members, 300,000, versus about 180,000 Labour Party members. So

:04:53.:05:00.

union members and maybe even the unions will have as big an influence

:05:01.:05:03.

on the leadership elections as you do now, maybe bigger? Well, they are

:05:04.:05:09.

individual votes. Different unions support different candidates. It is

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lost in the media myth of barons and block votes, but there is an

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individual vote. Different unions recommend different candidates, and

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union members vote accordingly. Ed Miliband won more individual votes

:05:25.:05:30.

by a country mile than David, but it got messed up in the process of this

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electoral college. As I have understood the proposals so far

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they are not a done deal. There is a lot of discussion. But it seems

:05:42.:05:49.

there are three hurdles. Firstly, union members themselves will have

:05:50.:05:52.

to agree whether they want to affiliate to the Labour Party. If

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they don't, the rest of it falls. If they decide they do my they will ask

:05:56.:06:02.

union members to support that an individual basis the next five

:06:03.:06:06.

years, which will have financial implications. Then there will be a

:06:07.:06:10.

third position, which is that people who may want to agree with the

:06:11.:06:15.

union's position and affiliate with the Labour Party may want to go

:06:16.:06:18.

further and become active supporters of the Labour Party, participating

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in leadership elections. They will have to give their sanction to that

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at a third stage. So the implications in terms of

:06:29.:06:31.

constituency parties and so on are a lot less than the idea that the 3

:06:32.:06:38.

million who are currently affiliated will change. At the moment, the

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unions, because of the automatic affiliation, hand over a affiliation

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fees of about ?8 million a year to Labour. You will now get to keep

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that money, because the individuals will have to put up the money

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themselves. You can keep that money and determine if you give it to

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Labour to fight the election campaign, correct? Incorrect.

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Firstly, the affiliation fees are paid from what is called the

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political fund, which most unions have to set up in order to

:07:13.:07:17.

participate. The union will continue to pay the ?3 a affiliation fee for

:07:18.:07:23.

those members who want the union to be affiliated. But you get to keep a

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lot more money. In reality, we will see a transitional period of a few

:07:32.:07:37.

years. Less people will probably say yes, depending on how popular Labour

:07:38.:07:44.

are, about whether they want the union to give money to the Labour

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Party. The GMB has already done this. By the way, don't call me

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kneel. It is Andrew or Mr Neil. The unions will have a bigger chunk of

:08:04.:08:06.

money because the unions will not be handing over all of the money at one

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time. But you could still play a major part in funding the Labour

:08:11.:08:14.

election campaign. We'll how much you give the dependent on what the

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Labour Party puts in its manifesto? Of course it will. It will have to

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justify our support to Labour for the members who provide money to the

:08:29.:08:33.

political fund. If we did not argue for the cert is social justice

:08:34.:08:37.

campaigns and laws we want to see, we would be failing in our job. I

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don't intend to hide that from anybody. The unions are there to

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fight for their members. That is our job. So you will still be a major

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part of the bankroll of the Labour campaign. You will still have 5 % of

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the votes at a Labour conference, and you will still have a major part

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in the Labour National executive committee and the policy committee.

:09:01.:09:04.

It is right to say the unions are still at the heart of Labour, are

:09:05.:09:14.

they not? Well, if you sick to break the affiliated link between trade

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unions and the Labour Party, the whole thing collapses. That is what

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anchors the Labour Party as far as we are concerned. Many of our

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members think that when they want to look for ferrochrome and rights

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social justice, housing and the health service, Labour are better it

:09:31.:09:33.

quipped to deliver that for working people than the current parties

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That is why we have traditionally supported them. But not at all of

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our members support Labour, which is why we don't affiliate all of them

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to Labour. There are over 30 million people in the British labour force

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now. Union membership is only 6 5 million out of that 30. A 6.5% of

:09:54.:10:04.

that do not vote Labour, they vote Tory or liberal or nationalist in

:10:05.:10:10.

Scotland. So you are a relatively small pressure group. Why should

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Labour be in thrall to you? We are the biggest voluntary organisation

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in this country. Sorry about that, but that is the fact. People make

:10:21.:10:27.

conscious choices. My own union the GMB, has been growing for eight

:10:28.:10:30.

years. So this dying picture you are trying to paint... In terms of

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accounting for the fact that some do not support Labour, that is why

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unions do not affiliate all of their members to the Labour Party. We have

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adjusted to that. If you don't like being called Neil, I don't like

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being called a barren either. What about Mr Baron? I don't like that

:10:53.:11:00.

either. We are representatives of working organisations. It may be

:11:01.:11:02.

inconvenient for politicians to have to listen to working people, but we

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will continue to press. Lord Baron, thank you very much.

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So, is this a Clause 4 moment for Ed Miliband? Not really, but to his

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credit, he is going ahead with this. There was a point at which it looked

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as though Ed Miliband would back away from reform. To his credit he

:11:23.:11:27.

is trying to create a mass membership party again. But when it

:11:28.:11:32.

comes to the crucial business of funding a general election campaign,

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these reforms will make Labour more reliant on large donations from

:11:36.:11:42.

trade unions. They could have more power now, because they get to hold

:11:43.:11:46.

back this money, whereas beforehand, they had to hand it over

:11:47.:11:51.

automatically. As Mr Kenny just said, how much they handover will be

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dependent on good behaviour. Yes, but these are pragmatic reforms The

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fact that Ed Miliband has a lot of capital in not being seen as a

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Blairite has helped him get these through . The response has been

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muted, which suggests good party management on his behalf. That may

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be because they will still have 50% of the votes at a party conference.

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Mr Kenny was clear that that could be deal-breaker if they tried to

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take that away. They have more places at the NEC than anyone else,

:12:23.:12:28.

and party members, if only 10% of them signed up, they will outweigh

:12:29.:12:32.

individual members in the constituencies. It was interesting,

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how relaxed Paul Kenny was. He was taking thousands of pounds from the

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Labour Party a few months ago because he was annoyed about these

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reforms, and now he is relaxed because they still have 50% of the

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vote at Labour Party conference and Labour Party Parliamentary

:12:50.:12:52.

candidates are still selected in the same way. But there is a simple

:12:53.:12:56.

point here. Yes, you can pick apart what Ed Miliband said and said the

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unions have too much influence, but the only way he could have gone all

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the way was to break the link with the trade unions, and he was not

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going to do that. It was not the Labour Party that founded the

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unions, it was the unions that founded the Labour Party. Even Tony

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Blair did not break the link. In that context, Ed Miliband has gone

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incredibly far. For the last 50 years, this opting into the union,

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you have to turn to page 50 of your union terms and conditions to say,

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do you want to opt out of the political levy 's that is going to

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go, which will mean that when the next Labour leader is elected from

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the union votes, they will get their ballot from the Labour Party and you

:13:44.:13:45.

will append the fast where ballots went out from Unison macro and GMB

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with a picture of Ed Miliband on the front of the ballot paper saying,

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vote for aid. They were Stasi and Saddam Hussein ways of trade union

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members electing the Labour leader, which will go. I am sorry his

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Lordship is not still here to answer that question.

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HMS Coalition is not a happy ship. The lovey-dovey days in the rose

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garden are long gone. It is not a loveless marriage, perhaps even an

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open one. The latest split is over the decision by Education Secretary

:14:18.:14:19.

Michael Gove to replace Labour peer Sally Morgan as head of the schools

:14:20.:14:23.

inspectorate, Ofsted. Mr Gove's deputy, Lib Dem David Laws, is said

:14:24.:14:26.

to be spitting blood about her removal, although only through

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surrogates. He has not said a word on the record. Here was the

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Education Secretary a little earlier. If there is another

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opportunity for Sally to serve in a different role at a different time,

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then I would be delighted to support her in the role which she thinks it

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is appropriate to do. There is nothing wrong with Sally but there

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is a principle across government that there should be no automatic

:15:00.:15:04.

reappointment, and that after three or four years, it is appropriate to

:15:05.:15:09.

bring in a fresh pair of eyes. That is good corporate practice in order

:15:10.:15:13.

to ensure that you refresh boards, bring a new perspective, and have

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tough questions asked. We're joined now by the newly elected deputy

:15:23.:15:25.

leader of the Liberal Democrats Malcolm Bruce. He's in Aberdeen

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Welcome to the Sunday Politics. David Laws is said to be furious

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with Michael Gove, is he? I think he is because Sally Morgan has been

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doing a good job and that has been generally agreed across the whole

:15:41.:15:45.

spectrum. I think Ofsted is an impartial body that inspects all

:15:46.:15:48.

schools and it shouldn't be subject to some kind of political direction.

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That is the concern, that she is being removed when she was doing a

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good job and most people thought she should be reappointed. It is

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strongly rumoured her successor will be a high-ranking Tory backer. Why

:16:03.:16:15.

hasn't David Laws said this himself, have you spoken to him? I have, and

:16:16.:16:21.

I know he is not very pleased about it but he will want to speak to

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Michael Gove himself when he gets to see him on Monday. The question you

:16:27.:16:31.

have to take on board is that David Laws is the schools minister,

:16:32.:16:36.

effectively the one who has engagement with Ofsted, and he is

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seeing it being undermined by the Secretary of State. There is a

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question that if Michael Gove is so pleased with Sally Morgan why is he

:16:46.:16:49.

replacing her, and who will he be replacing her with, and on what

:16:50.:16:54.

basis? Maybe parliament should have a confirmation hearing so that we

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can be assured that whoever is put in charge is there because they are

:16:59.:17:07.

good at it. Why has he licensed his surrogates to save this rather than

:17:08.:17:12.

saying it himself? He didn't, he knew I was on the programme this

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morning so I am giving you the answers as best I can. David is

:17:18.:17:24.

perfectly capable of speaking for himself. He hasn't so far. You asked

:17:25.:17:31.

me to come on this programme and David was anxious for me to know he

:17:32.:17:35.

wasn't happy about it, and I can certainly tell you that. I can also

:17:36.:17:41.

give you my own opinion which is that Ofsted is not the Department

:17:42.:17:44.

for Education, it is an independent body. The question you have to ask

:17:45.:17:51.

is will Michael Gove but someone in charge of Ofsted who will have a

:17:52.:17:57.

political agenda? If so, that is not what Ofsted should be used for.

:17:58.:18:03.

Let's move on to your own position. You are 69, white male,

:18:04.:18:15.

middle-class, what is your answer to the party with diversity problems? I

:18:16.:18:20.

don't think that is what they voted on. They felt I had a wealth of

:18:21.:18:23.

experience that would be vulnerable to the party from the period now

:18:24.:18:28.

until the election, not least because the central issues that will

:18:29.:18:31.

concern voters are the economy, and I have a track record of promoting

:18:32.:18:38.

the party's economic policy over many years. But you are not even

:18:39.:18:44.

standing at the next election. No, but we need to get to the next

:18:45.:18:48.

election and my colleagues have confidence that I can do a useful

:18:49.:19:00.

job for the party in that situation. We have developed and delivered

:19:01.:19:02.

policies that I have helped to shape and I want to persuade people to

:19:03.:19:05.

understand the Liberal Democrats have made a fundamental difference

:19:06.:19:08.

to the economic recovery. But you know what has been happening with

:19:09.:19:12.

the Liberal Democrats and their problems with women. Wasn't this a

:19:13.:19:17.

chance to select a woman in a major part? You only have seven female MPs

:19:18.:19:23.

out of 57, not a single Lib Dem woman in the Parliament. Again, why

:19:24.:19:32.

you rather than making a break and bringing someone in onto major

:19:33.:19:37.

positions? My colleagues have concluded that the role I am best

:19:38.:19:44.

qualified to do it, that is why they voted for me. We do only have seven

:19:45.:19:50.

women and that is an issue we need to address. Two of those women are

:19:51.:20:01.

ministers, one is a government whip. We seem to have lost our line to

:20:02.:20:07.

Aberdeen, just as Malcolm Bruce was in full flight defending his

:20:08.:20:11.

position. I'm not sure if we can get the line back, just bear with me for

:20:12.:20:18.

a few seconds to see if we can get it. It looks as if we have lost

:20:19.:20:23.

Malcolm Bruce, I do apologise to Malcolm Bruce and the viewers that

:20:24.:20:27.

we were not able to continue that interview.

:20:28.:20:35.

Fierce winds, torrential rain and a tidal surge have brought more misery

:20:36.:20:38.

to thousands. Official records show that southern England has seen the

:20:39.:20:40.

wettest January since records began in 1767. I remember it well. The

:20:41.:20:44.

Somerset Levels have been hit by weeks of flooding, with little

:20:45.:20:49.

respite from relentless rain. And, the residents of one village on the

:20:50.:20:52.

Levels, Muchelney, has been cut off for almost a month. We sent our Adam

:20:53.:20:58.

out with his wellies and a properly filled out risk assessment form The

:20:59.:21:17.

very wet road to Muchelney. This village of about 100 residents has

:21:18.:21:21.

been cut off for about four weeks, and like the weather vane, it feels

:21:22.:21:29.

a little bit spooky. It came up to here and your front door was there.

:21:30.:21:35.

Anita is just relieved the water stopped here, practically on her

:21:36.:21:39.

doorstep. Now it is the practicalities that are the problem.

:21:40.:21:46.

Driving around for food is quite a hassle. You are foraging. It's not

:21:47.:21:53.

as bad as that but we do have a few bits in the vegetable garden still,

:21:54.:21:57.

and we had some nice apples until the rats ate them but we are not

:21:58.:22:02.

doing too badly on that score. It sounds like the medieval! That's

:22:03.:22:11.

what it feels like. Talking of retro, who knew Somerset still had a

:22:12.:22:19.

Coleman, this is Brian's first delivery since Christmas. Everything

:22:20.:22:25.

has gone old-fashioned. We are now talking to neighbours we might never

:22:26.:22:28.

have seen before or spoken to so we are getting to know more people in

:22:29.:22:34.

the village. She's right, there has been an outbreak of Dunkirk spirit,

:22:35.:22:39.

quite literally. The council and the Fire Brigade have put on this boat

:22:40.:22:46.

service to get people to work and school. The church has become an

:22:47.:22:55.

unofficial flood HQ. This is where people pick up their mail, and this

:22:56.:23:01.

is where the people who run the boat stopped for their tea breaks. It all

:23:02.:23:06.

seems quite jolly, if a bit boring, but it is no fun for the homes and

:23:07.:23:12.

businesses that have been inundated, or for the farmers whose land is

:23:13.:23:18.

underwater, an area the size of Bristol, or for the villages which

:23:19.:23:21.

are less isolated but where the flooding is worse. People like the

:23:22.:23:26.

parish chairman are starting to get angry with how the Government has

:23:27.:23:32.

responded. It was all a bit late. We knew what was going to happen with

:23:33.:23:38.

the amount of rain on the fields and the Government was so slow to

:23:39.:23:42.

react. The county council got the boat going quickly but it was

:23:43.:23:46.

another four weeks nearly before the button was pressed for the major

:23:47.:23:52.

incident. Right on cue, the cavalry arrived in the shape of emergency

:23:53.:23:57.

crews from other parts of the UK. The rumour is that they will bring

:23:58.:24:01.

in a hovercraft but the bad news is that the weather is becoming more

:24:02.:24:06.

grim this weekend. There has been a surge in bookings at the campsite

:24:07.:24:12.

where people have seen the Somerset Levels on holiday and would like to

:24:13.:24:16.

come on holiday, if it ever stops raining. I'm delighted to say we

:24:17.:24:25.

have got the line back to Aberdeen, somebody has put a shilling in the

:24:26.:24:29.

meter. We can go back to Malcolm Bruce. We were talking about the Lib

:24:30.:24:34.

Dem women and your election, I suppose the point some people are

:24:35.:24:40.

making is that your party has as many knights in Parliament as it has

:24:41.:24:48.

women and you are one of them. The good news is that for the five MPs

:24:49.:24:55.

who are standing down, who have had candidates elected in their

:24:56.:25:00.

constituencies so far, all five candidates that have been selected

:25:01.:25:05.

are women. We need to fight hard to get behind those women and get them

:25:06.:25:08.

elected so that we have a much better balanced parliament in the

:25:09.:25:13.

future, but given that we have few women, you really have to pick

:25:14.:25:16.

people appropriate for the job and we have appointed the women as I

:25:17.:25:34.

have said but we need our image to be balanced. How many women

:25:35.:25:41.

candidates will there be come the next election? At the moment, 1 ,

:25:42.:25:48.

five more than we have now, and we haven't finished selection. Where

:25:49.:25:51.

there are men sitting and standing again, that is not likely to change,

:25:52.:25:57.

but where they are standing down we are overwhelmingly choosing women,

:25:58.:26:01.

and in my view good and very able women. What I would want to say to

:26:02.:26:08.

people is that if you want to see the Lib Dems have more women, go to

:26:09.:26:16.

those seats and help us hold them. We are told that only 20% of the 57

:26:17.:26:23.

seats have female candidates and in the unlikely event that you were

:26:24.:26:28.

able to hold onto them all, it still wouldn't be a sea change to have

:26:29.:26:34.

20%. The point is you have to build them up. We are supporting female

:26:35.:26:41.

candidates. These are really good candidates who will make first-class

:26:42.:26:46.

MPs and I certainly believe you will gradually see the Liberal Democrats

:26:47.:26:50.

taking them on. We don't have 3 0 seats that we currently hold like

:26:51.:26:55.

other parties, but what I can tell you is that increasing --

:26:56.:27:02.

increasingly we will have female candidates. One newspaper has said

:27:03.:27:08.

that you will deal with the Chris Rennard fallout quickly and

:27:09.:27:12.

privately, what does that mean? It means I will not be telling you

:27:13.:27:18.

because these things are not helped by comments on the airwaves. I hope

:27:19.:27:22.

it will be possible to have a resolution without people going to

:27:23.:27:26.

court but I don't think it helps anybody for me to comment on any

:27:27.:27:30.

aspect of how this will be done and I'm not prepared to do so. If you

:27:31.:27:35.

are not in full possession of the facts, why did you say you will deal

:27:36.:27:44.

with this privately? I have come into this halfway through, I don't

:27:45.:27:48.

have full possession of the facts, I doubt you do, and we have a process

:27:49.:27:56.

that needs to be followed through. Any comments in public do not help.

:27:57.:28:01.

Isn't it hypocrisy of a high order to hear from a party that is

:28:02.:28:09.

constantly calling for transparency in other institutions but when it

:28:10.:28:14.

comes to your own, you say, I am not going to talk about it. There are

:28:15.:28:18.

all sorts of disputes that happen in the world and often people don't

:28:19.:28:22.

talk about them because talking about them aggravates the

:28:23.:28:27.

situation. I believe you have to deal with them privately and I don't

:28:28.:28:31.

think trial by media in this context is helpful and I don't believe that

:28:32.:28:35.

those who choose to make those comments are making it easier to

:28:36.:28:41.

solve them. There are problems in other walks of life and the Liberal

:28:42.:28:44.

Democrats are not the only ones with these problems. We are trying to

:28:45.:28:49.

change that culture and I think we will do it effectively in our own

:28:50.:28:53.

way. We have a pastoral care officer now and I think that is the right

:28:54.:29:05.

way to do it. Thank you for that. Let's now go back to the story of

:29:06.:29:09.

the flooding in Somerset. We are joined by the leader of the Green

:29:10.:29:17.

party, Natalie Bennett in Millbank. Natalie Bennett, don't the Green

:29:18.:29:22.

party bears some responsibility for these floods? You have sided with

:29:23.:29:29.

the Environment Agency in the decision not to dredge rivers and

:29:30.:29:35.

that is one of the reason why these places have been flooded. Firstly I

:29:36.:29:39.

want to give my sympathy to everyone dealing with these floods. The

:29:40.:29:46.

homeowners, the farmers seeing sodden fields for weeks and weeks.

:29:47.:29:54.

We get that, we all have huge sympathy, particularly because so

:29:55.:29:58.

little seems to be done to help them. What is the answer to my

:29:59.:30:03.

question? I think there is strong evidence that dredging is not the

:30:04.:30:08.

answer. If you think about the flow of the river, where the pinch points

:30:09.:30:15.

are is things like bridges, weirs and towns. If you dredge the river

:30:16.:30:20.

in between those barriers, you just make the water faster to those

:30:21.:30:24.

points. The experts are saying that dredging is not the answer, it may

:30:25.:30:29.

be in particular cases, but you have to look at each river system on its

:30:30.:30:33.

own merits and very often the best way of dealing with this is working

:30:34.:30:37.

out ways to slow the watered down and make sure that people don't

:30:38.:30:40.

suffer unduly while you are doing that. The west of England

:30:41.:30:49.

agricultural Society, which I would venture knows more about the

:30:50.:30:52.

Somerset Levels than either of us, has said that without dredging, this

:30:53.:30:56.

was a disaster waiting to happen. The local drainage boards have been

:30:57.:31:00.

calling for years for dredging to be resumed. The National Farmers' Union

:31:01.:31:06.

has called for it, and the chairman of the West Sussex flood defences

:31:07.:31:09.

has called for more drainage, and he is a drainage engineer by

:31:10.:31:12.

profession. So I don't know where your experts are, but the experts on

:31:13.:31:17.

the ground am not the urban ones in London, seem to think this has not

:31:18.:31:24.

been caused, but made worse by the failure of the Environment Agency to

:31:25.:31:29.

continue to dredge. If you look at the example of the planning and

:31:30.:31:31.

climate change coalition, which is led by the town and country planning

:31:32.:31:37.

Association, who you would not describe as a group of radical

:31:38.:31:39.

greens, these people have said we have to look at how we deal with

:31:40.:31:45.

flooding in the future. But not in Somerset. These are the people

:31:46.:31:48.

currently being flooded, not somebody sitting in a quango office

:31:49.:31:52.

in London. They have asked for this to happen and it hasn't, and they

:31:53.:31:56.

are now flooded in definitely. We have to look at what is happening on

:31:57.:32:02.

a case-by-case basis. If you look at Germany, there are many cases there

:32:03.:32:06.

were, to deal with flooding, many farmers are paid to hold water on

:32:07.:32:10.

their land. Maybe we need to introduce those systems, because we

:32:11.:32:14.

have to protect farmland, but we also have to protect urban areas for

:32:15.:32:20.

safety. We saw a horrible flood in Wales were lines were endangered --

:32:21.:32:28.

where lives were endangered. That is the priority, to protect lives,

:32:29.:32:33.

property and farmland. Lives are endangered at the moment,

:32:34.:32:37.

particularly as this stagnant water turns toxic. And yet we are in a

:32:38.:32:42.

situation, again encouraged by the Greens and the lobbying Environment

:32:43.:32:45.

Agency, it says it does not want to dredge because dredging is

:32:46.:32:48.

expensive, yet it spends millions on a bird sanctuary. That is getting

:32:49.:32:54.

everything totally wrong. The government is getting everything one

:32:55.:32:59.

by cutting on flood defences. It has not cut on a bird sanctuaries. I

:33:00.:33:06.

don't know the details of that. But looking at the broader issue, we

:33:07.:33:14.

have to prepare for climate change. The government has slashed funding

:33:15.:33:17.

to the Environment Agency and has cut back on the number of staff

:33:18.:33:21.

available to deal with it and has removed the requirement on local

:33:22.:33:24.

councils to plan for climate change. These are all gambling the future of

:33:25.:33:31.

our lives and property and the future of our environment. Hasn t

:33:32.:33:34.

the high watermark of greenery now gone well past? You don't come out

:33:35.:33:40.

of the Somerset Levels with any great reputation. The UK government

:33:41.:33:43.

is now going to start fracking as quickly as it can. Brussels is

:33:44.:33:48.

loosening the CO2 obligations for 2030. The President of America is

:33:49.:33:54.

about to give the go-ahead to the keystone pipeline, a totemic issue

:33:55.:33:58.

for American greens, and your party is in a state of civil war in

:33:59.:34:03.

Brighton. It is over, isn't it? Absolutely not. We are seeing large

:34:04.:34:08.

amounts of extreme weather around the world. Any one event is whether,

:34:09.:34:16.

but we are seeing a lot of it and people are recognising that climate

:34:17.:34:19.

change is happening. If we are going to quote international experts, I

:34:20.:34:23.

can quote to you Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary-General, not known as a

:34:24.:34:27.

radical green, and he said after the IPCC report came out that the heat

:34:28.:34:32.

is on and we must act. If you go to Christine Lagarde, head of the

:34:33.:34:34.

International Monetary Fund, again not a radical green, she was asked

:34:35.:34:38.

what kept her awake at night, and she said, we are not doing enough

:34:39.:34:43.

about climate change. So actually, people around the world are looking

:34:44.:34:46.

at what is happening around them are both people on the ground and people

:34:47.:34:50.

in high positions are saying we have to act on climate change. And in the

:34:51.:34:54.

case of Britain, that should absolutely not mean fracking. Sorry

:34:55.:35:00.

to interrupt, but I have evidence that you are planning a little

:35:01.:35:04.

career change. Don't go away. This is what happens when you let Nigel

:35:05.:35:08.

Farage present the weather. One thing leads to another and low and

:35:09.:35:13.

behold, the Sunday Politics now has a new traffic and travel reporter.

:35:14.:35:18.

Let's go back to Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett. Thanks, Andrew It

:35:19.:35:24.

is easy out that, so let's start with our airports. I am pleased to

:35:25.:35:29.

say that Heathrow's third runway, Boris Island and all short-haul

:35:30.:35:35.

flights are, just like our arguments, well grounded. We suggest

:35:36.:35:40.

making or alternative arrangements, like a re-nationalised rail

:35:41.:35:46.

network, although it would be a glaring omission if we did not admit

:35:47.:35:51.

that that plan is currently being delayed by Labour Party foot

:35:52.:35:54.

dragging. Speaking of trains, we are hearing that high-speed two may well

:35:55.:36:00.

be derailing, or at least getting bogged down in political fog. One

:36:01.:36:05.

viewer, Ed Balls, has texted in to say he is completely lost. Thanks

:36:06.:36:11.

for the update, Ed. You are not alone among political commuters

:36:12.:36:15.

Meanwhile, dumped UKIP manifestoes are causing major tailbacks across

:36:16.:36:20.

the South, apparently stretching all the way to Brussels. This does make

:36:21.:36:27.

driving road tricky, but UKIP's MEPs can, of course, just hop on their

:36:28.:36:37.

gravy train. The tree had a roundabout is blocked after reports

:36:38.:36:41.

of a political earthquake. It seems that a green unwound his beard to

:36:42.:36:46.

block a dodgy gas extractor. A motorist who turned out to be the

:36:47.:36:49.

environment minister object into the delay and was told to frack off as

:36:50.:36:55.

furious badgers demanded that he stopped moving the goalposts.

:36:56.:37:02.

Unregulated traffic in the city of London continues unchecked.

:37:03.:37:07.

Pedestrians should try to block bankers with sacks of loot rushing

:37:08.:37:10.

for the payments. But do beware the Lib Dem Exodus that is clogging up

:37:11.:37:18.

the motorways. Although they are in a jam, or is it a fudge, we are

:37:19.:37:24.

happy to make way for them, as, like all refugees, we say they are

:37:25.:37:27.

welcome here in muesli green. That is the travel. Back to you, Andrew.

:37:28.:37:35.

Natalie, I think you make my point. You are now preparing a new career

:37:36.:37:40.

in traffic and travel. Well, I do believe in lifelong education and

:37:41.:37:44.

that was an example of it. We know you have had a tough time today to

:37:45.:37:48.

get to our studio. Thank you for the effort.

:37:49.:37:55.

You are watching the Sunday Politics. Coming up in just over 20

:37:56.:37:58.

minutes, we will have Good morning and welcome to the part

:37:59.:38:16.

of visual just for us here in the West. Flooding in Somerset has made

:38:17.:38:21.

national news all week, the government message has been far from

:38:22.:38:25.

clear. First, the military were coming and then they were not. Then

:38:26.:38:29.

David Cameron appeared to overrule his own minister who was mobbed on a

:38:30.:38:33.

visit. We will examine how the coalition is coping any crisis with

:38:34.:38:40.

a professional spin Doctor. Joining me this week are to aspiring

:38:41.:38:45.

parliamentarians, a Labour member hoping to unseat illiberal member in

:38:46.:38:50.

the West in 2015, and a Liberal Democrat who wants to date Wiltshire

:38:51.:38:53.

from the Conservatives. Welcome to you both. Let's start by talking

:38:54.:39:00.

about labour's plans to bid at the top rate of tax to 50p. With the Lib

:39:01.:39:05.

Dems support that? I will say that what Israeli

:39:06.:39:13.

important is that the economy works, and for that we have got to say

:39:14.:39:17.

Europe is the big issue, not really the top rate of tax. It is

:39:18.:39:21.

absolutely essential that we stay in Europe.

:39:22.:39:27.

Slightly off`piste, but why has Labour gone off on this one? Why is

:39:28.:39:32.

it so important when for 13 years they did not have a top rate of tax

:39:33.:39:37.

of 50p? Towards the end of the Liberal

:39:38.:39:40.

government we did introduce the top rate of tax, and I am fully

:39:41.:39:43.

supporting introducing its next year because this is about fairness. It

:39:44.:39:49.

is about reducing inequality and promoting equality, and this where

:39:50.:39:53.

those with the broadest shoulders take the greatest share.

:39:54.:39:59.

Is it just a slogan? It is not, it is about how we pay

:40:00.:40:02.

for our schools and hospitals, and those who are earning the most are

:40:03.:40:07.

not going to be taxed 50p on every penny, just those over ?150,000 If

:40:08.:40:11.

you are a millionaire, you're only going to be being top tax on

:40:12.:40:18.

850,000, I think they can cope. Roads, public transport, those

:40:19.:40:22.

things all need money and it has to come from somewhere.

:40:23.:40:25.

As she have a point? I Don Everly have a problem with that.

:40:26.:40:31.

Good! There is some worried by the

:40:32.:40:34.

Conservatives that the top rate of tax would lead to a lack of

:40:35.:40:37.

confidence in the economy. The real fear must be in terms of overseas

:40:38.:40:42.

investment what happens with Europe, and that is where the Conservatives

:40:43.:40:47.

are rather letting us all down. As we speak, people living on the

:40:48.:40:52.

Somerset Levels are grappling with the floods which are continuing to

:40:53.:40:55.

blight their lives. Afterlife complaints from locals and some

:40:56.:40:58.

terrible headlines in the national press, the Prime Minister took

:40:59.:41:00.

personal charge of the government's response. But like the floodwater,

:41:01.:41:07.

the criticism is not going away It was not meant to be like this.

:41:08.:41:13.

Why have you only started doing this now?

:41:14.:41:17.

When the Environment Secretary visited the Somerset Levels he was

:41:18.:41:21.

berated by angry locals. His plan, that there would soon be a plan

:41:22.:41:25.

proved to be short lived. It was washed away in Westminster by a

:41:26.:41:30.

deluge of calls for action. And area the size of Bristol

:41:31.:41:37.

underwater for a month. The severe flooding in the Somerset

:41:38.:41:41.

Levels is causing acute distress. The Prime Minister stepped in.

:41:42.:41:46.

Dredging will start as soon as it is practical, soon as the waters have

:41:47.:41:51.

started to come down. It was a slap down. He has completed

:41:52.:41:54.

change the approach of the government to what is going on down

:41:55.:41:57.

there, and all of a sudden we have seen the kind of urgency and

:41:58.:41:59.

intervention that could have happened weeks ago.

:42:00.:42:02.

Trying to seize the initiative again, the Minister cheered a

:42:03.:42:05.

meeting of the government's emergency Cobra meeting and called

:42:06.:42:11.

in the military. The Minister of defence and the

:42:12.:42:14.

Department of local government are discussing how we could deploy

:42:15.:42:18.

specialist vehicles. The next day some soldiers were

:42:19.:42:20.

originally brought before the cameras, to the bewilderment of

:42:21.:42:25.

locals. I think it is actually going to be a

:42:26.:42:28.

bit too late. We are managing quite well.

:42:29.:42:32.

Dare I say it is a bit over the top? We are managing.

:42:33.:42:36.

Amphibious vehicles were not needed. Road supplies had resumed to

:42:37.:42:43.

the village. Four weeks would have been stockpiled in the church. No

:42:44.:42:47.

local authorities were putting on more of a show, only big as

:42:48.:42:51.

conference only to see the military were not needed.

:42:52.:42:56.

We are very comfortable that with the civil contingencies we have in

:42:57.:42:59.

place and the resources we have we can manage this.

:43:00.:43:03.

One consolation for ministers, the media can misjudge things badly as

:43:04.:43:09.

when a Page three girl was brought to the area by the Sun newspaper.

:43:10.:43:14.

You are taking the make. This is not a zoo.

:43:15.:43:19.

It began with a torrent of headlines making sometimes uncomfortable

:43:20.:43:24.

reading for the government. This could run and run.

:43:25.:43:30.

If you are flowed so, our thoughts are with you. We did ask to speak to

:43:31.:43:33.

the Environment Secretary about his handling of the floods but he was

:43:34.:43:36.

not available. We can, however, mulled over the performance of the

:43:37.:43:41.

government this week with a man who trains in the art of crisis

:43:42.:43:46.

management. How do USS the government's handling of all this?

:43:47.:43:50.

I think they have taken a long time to work out of the actually had a

:43:51.:43:55.

crisis on their hands, and what we had last week was a knee jerk

:43:56.:43:58.

reaction to the media and local people.

:43:59.:44:02.

What is the one key thing that companies or governments ought to do

:44:03.:44:07.

when there is a crisis? Companies and governments need to

:44:08.:44:10.

understand that most crises that cause damage come from issues that

:44:11.:44:13.

are unaddressed, and it has become clear in last week that they failed

:44:14.:44:16.

to address the whole issue of dredging. At the beginning of this

:44:17.:44:22.

flood, at the beginning of the year, it was not a crisis because it was

:44:23.:44:27.

felt to be a natural disaster. Nobody can control the rain, not

:44:28.:44:29.

even David Cameron or the Liberal Democrats, it is rain, it is flood,

:44:30.:44:35.

it is a natural disaster. But now people are saying, maybe it was not

:44:36.:44:39.

a natural disaster, maybe what has gone wrong is the dredging. And that

:44:40.:44:42.

is what has turned the story into a crisis.

:44:43.:44:46.

How important is it to be seen to be doing something?

:44:47.:44:49.

It is very important, and important to be seen to be doing something

:44:50.:44:53.

quickly. Even afford your doing does not matter?

:44:54.:44:57.

You need to take some action. As you did at the beginning of this, you

:44:58.:45:01.

should your condolences, should some sympathy to the people in the

:45:02.:45:06.

floods. What happened this week when the environment Minster went there,

:45:07.:45:09.

he went and stood in front of some pumps, or less to say, look, we have

:45:10.:45:14.

done something. He should have been chatting to the people who were

:45:15.:45:18.

affected by this. Should some sympathy for them, and then taking

:45:19.:45:22.

some action. Brian, what did you make of the way

:45:23.:45:30.

the common's handled this? I'm actually water engineer in my

:45:31.:45:33.

real`life. I've spent a lot of time with Water Aid, and normally that is

:45:34.:45:38.

looking at supplying water rather than getting rid of it, but here, it

:45:39.:45:42.

really seems to be a problem that goes back 20 years. That's from when

:45:43.:45:51.

the dredging stopped, and it is crazy, when you look at the ecology

:45:52.:45:55.

of the area and the systems that are in place, they go back must to Roman

:45:56.:46:03.

times. It is a competitive drainage system

:46:04.:46:06.

they have got there, but what Martin was saying that the government needs

:46:07.:46:10.

to feel your pain. Do you think it did?

:46:11.:46:14.

I think in terms of what has been going on, they have formed a local

:46:15.:46:18.

task force to deal with it and called on people, although it may

:46:19.:46:24.

have been slow to get off the starting line, I think now they

:46:25.:46:27.

really are trying to work together properly with the locals.

:46:28.:46:33.

Thangam, will you impressed with David Cameron when he seized control

:46:34.:46:37.

this week? That showed just how out of touch

:46:38.:46:40.

with people he is. UBC from that clip that people actually in

:46:41.:46:46.

Somerset have taken control the situation themselves and look very

:46:47.:46:50.

fed up, it too little too late. They have been under water for weeks and

:46:51.:46:55.

has affected their lives, children's ability to go to school,

:46:56.:46:57.

but the people of Somerset have taken control. I think it is adding

:46:58.:47:02.

insult to injury to turn up a bit late and turn up with all sorts of

:47:03.:47:06.

different ideas. In the course of the last 17 days they have changed

:47:07.:47:09.

their minds and not looked decisive at all. It would not inspire

:47:10.:47:14.

confidence in me. It was very interesting that a

:47:15.:47:17.

minister went down a couple of weeks ago, the moment secretary went down

:47:18.:47:23.

and said we will come up with a plan in six weeks. There were some bad

:47:24.:47:26.

headlines in the Daily Mail this week, by Minister got hold of it and

:47:27.:47:32.

then things happen. It is the something must be done

:47:33.:47:34.

approach that worries me. Just being seen to do something without it

:47:35.:47:41.

being thoughtful. Actually, this was a preventable disaster. Rain is not

:47:42.:47:45.

preventable, but having contingency plans, that is something you should

:47:46.:47:50.

do. If you cut the Environment Agency, which is what David Cameron

:47:51.:47:55.

did very quickly in 2010, with Nick Clegg's help, if you cut the

:47:56.:47:58.

Environment Agency it will have consequences. We have seen those

:47:59.:48:04.

consequences this week, the Environment Agency doing their best,

:48:05.:48:08.

but they are struggling. What will the Prime Minister's spin

:48:09.:48:12.

doctors be advising him on this at the moment?

:48:13.:48:16.

We will probably say that this will go a quickly once the flood waters

:48:17.:48:19.

subside, but they then have to follow through with promises they

:48:20.:48:22.

have made. This is a typical unresolved issue that turned into a

:48:23.:48:27.

crisis. Too little and too late is what most of the people in Somerset

:48:28.:48:30.

are saying, it may not be too little, it certainly is too late.

:48:31.:48:34.

They should have been in the very beginning doing something. It is a

:48:35.:48:39.

typical example of politicians following the media. The media story

:48:40.:48:42.

at the beginning of this was, as we saw, it was a fun story and it has

:48:43.:48:49.

now turned into a serious story Thank you very much.

:48:50.:48:54.

It may be a British institution but the number of pubs closing down is

:48:55.:48:58.

rising at an alarming rate. Politicians blame the pub companies

:48:59.:49:03.

which on one third of our pubs. Landlords are being forced to buy

:49:04.:49:08.

beer at inflated prices. E`mail or click a landlord, as with

:49:09.:49:15.

over 14,000 other publicans, Nigel is pulling pints behind the bar

:49:16.:49:17.

owned by one of the big pub companies. Their leases are known as

:49:18.:49:22.

ties, and many are complaining that they are just too binding. Here is

:49:23.:49:31.

how it works . Republican guest only pub they could not otherwise

:49:32.:49:34.

afford. We should get some support from the pub company. In turn, that

:49:35.:49:40.

chicken must stop beers supplied by the company. That could be a mark`up

:49:41.:49:51.

of more than 50%. When a Wetherspoon is opened almost next door serving

:49:52.:49:55.

cheaper drink, this landlord was annoyed that an agreed discount on

:49:56.:50:00.

the beer was not renewed by his landlords. Anger at the system and

:50:01.:50:04.

ill`health has prodded him to retire.

:50:05.:50:09.

These big pub companies are bullies. They believe leaseholders

:50:10.:50:13.

and tenants because they know it might of hours that worked, the fact

:50:14.:50:17.

that we have to buy the beer from Punch, it is on flow lines, they

:50:18.:50:22.

know exactly what we are dispensing. We have to keep the beer

:50:23.:50:31.

at the correct temperature. To do that, the electricity bills are in

:50:32.:50:37.

the region of ?7,000 every year We probably buy or spend with Punch in

:50:38.:50:42.

the region of ?200,000 per year When you total out over 56 years, it

:50:43.:50:47.

is a lot of money. Punch taverns sent us this

:50:48.:50:53.

statement. " Punch complies with illegally

:50:54.:50:59.

binding code of practice which sets out what a tenant can expect from

:51:00.:51:04.

Punch. Then that is an objective or any tenant at a cost of ?200 to

:51:05.:51:08.

refer Punch to the industry's arbitration service. Today, Mr

:51:09.:51:14.

Warren has not chosen to take any specific grievance with us to that

:51:15.:51:20.

body. " complains over the beer tie are a common refrain, as are the

:51:21.:51:23.

cost of repairs and fixtures and fittings.

:51:24.:51:26.

But why would you landlords to undermine the business of one of its

:51:27.:51:32.

own tenants? The Campaign For Real Ale has its own theory.

:51:33.:51:36.

They are keen to turn assets into cash when they can. If there is an

:51:37.:51:40.

opportunity to turn a pub into a supermarket they will do so, as

:51:41.:51:44.

opposed to saying, what can we do to keep this as a viable business?

:51:45.:51:49.

The estimate that a local pub can contribute as much as ?100,000 a

:51:50.:51:52.

year to the local economy, but despite this, 26 pubs are set to

:51:53.:51:59.

close each week, and 57% of publicans earn less than ?10,00 per

:52:00.:52:04.

year. At this brewery, the past is

:52:05.:52:08.

celebrated. They are also keen not to repeat historic mistakes.

:52:09.:52:12.

Politicians are talking again of regulation three statutory code of

:52:13.:52:19.

practice. It could sever beer ties, meaning Ted Macleays can buy the

:52:20.:52:27.

beer on the market. I'm a bit nervous. There has been a

:52:28.:52:32.

fair bit of consultation. We have not seen what other people would put

:52:33.:52:37.

in stop Mike there could be some resistance. There is debate as to go

:52:38.:52:44.

around the table. If there is to be legislation we have to go back to

:52:45.:52:47.

what we were talking about earlier. If you push something through and

:52:48.:52:49.

put in what you're done, can cause a problem further down the road.

:52:50.:52:59.

But speed seems to be of the essence for a government that knows that pub

:53:00.:53:03.

politics plays well with voters Labour has tried to push for

:53:04.:53:06.

legislation this summer, but the coalition said it needed more time

:53:07.:53:10.

to sift through the response to its consultation. Vince Cable has

:53:11.:53:16.

likened a lot of the tight landlord to David against Goliath. He knows

:53:17.:53:20.

many more Davids make all time at the bar before this is resolved

:53:21.:53:28.

Johnny as is the Chief Executive of the British Beer And Pub

:53:29.:53:31.

Association. What do you make of pub landlords in

:53:32.:53:37.

tied establishment earning ?10, 00 per year?

:53:38.:53:43.

The tie is a wonderful way to run your own business. If you had to buy

:53:44.:53:47.

public properly cost you ?250,0 0. You could be running a tight pub for

:53:48.:53:52.

around ?30,000. Pub companies but huge investment, investment that

:53:53.:53:56.

anyone in the high Street, would love to have. It's about ?2 million

:53:57.:54:03.

per year. Specifically, some of the complains we're getting about people

:54:04.:54:07.

who took on long leases when the economic limit was very different,

:54:08.:54:14.

some of them also bought a premium, so they have a mortgage on top of

:54:15.:54:18.

what they are having to buy from the pub company.

:54:19.:54:21.

Body you say to the allegation that it is an abusive relationship, and

:54:22.:54:26.

you hold all the trump cards? I think it is a supportive

:54:27.:54:30.

relationship, and if we lost the tie, there is a real danger that

:54:31.:54:33.

many more pubs would close because they would not have the support of

:54:34.:54:38.

the benevolent landlord. You are a benevolent landlord which

:54:39.:54:43.

insists that you buy beer at one and a half times the price you can get

:54:44.:54:47.

it at the supermarket. The way it works is that you pay

:54:48.:54:51.

more for your wet rent. QPR in January, you haven't got the

:54:52.:54:55.

customers in January, you don't sell much beer. You haven't got the cost

:54:56.:55:00.

of the increase of costs in this month. In me, you will pay more for

:55:01.:55:04.

your beer budget and have lower rent.

:55:05.:55:08.

Wire summary landlord quitting if it is such a great deal?

:55:09.:55:11.

There are not many landlords quitting. Actually, there are more

:55:12.:55:15.

pubs closing that are independent and pubs that are tied. That is a

:55:16.:55:20.

fact. This year and every year for the last four years beer has been

:55:21.:55:23.

cheaper in tied pubs than an independent pubs.

:55:24.:55:30.

Gent`mac to, as she convinced you that regulation is not necessary? ``

:55:31.:55:39.

Thangam. The Labour Party has been really

:55:40.:55:41.

pleased to try to push the government to introduce legislation

:55:42.:55:45.

sooner rather than later. What would it entail?

:55:46.:55:51.

It would provide a place for disputes to be settled, and that

:55:52.:55:55.

would allow small landlords to be able to take on the pub company

:55:56.:56:00.

fairly and with an independent arbiter. It would also allow them to

:56:01.:56:08.

be able to have much more scope for negotiation. I think locking

:56:09.:56:13.

landlords in like that is unfair, that is why we are on the side of

:56:14.:56:14.

landlords who are trying to the thing I was told about recently,

:56:15.:56:46.

the beer orders from 1988 allowed pubs, even tied pubs, to have guest

:56:47.:56:49.

beers, and this seems to be something that either has been

:56:50.:56:53.

forgotten or certainly needs to be brought back.

:56:54.:57:02.

It is something that CAMRA are talking about.

:57:03.:57:10.

CAMRA allege that you are not fussed if people give up because then the

:57:11.:57:15.

building can be sold and turned into a supermarket and you can walk away

:57:16.:57:19.

with a profit. Is that fair? Absolutely not. It costs companies

:57:20.:57:25.

?40,000 if they even have to change a licensee. We're passionate about

:57:26.:57:30.

pubs and a great pubs out their Is statutory regedit would cost ?1

:57:31.:57:33.

million. We have a low`cost regulator at the moment, you can

:57:34.:57:37.

complain about anything. Who else on the high street can make those sorts

:57:38.:57:42.

of complaints? The beer orders were a complete disaster, we don't want

:57:43.:57:47.

to go back on them. If you legislate in haste you will have problems in

:57:48.:57:50.

the future. A lot of people say it was Labour's

:57:51.:57:54.

ban on smoking which caused much of the decline.

:57:55.:57:59.

Banning smoking in public places has improved the health of some of the

:58:00.:58:03.

thousands and millions of people, I will never regret the ban on

:58:04.:58:06.

smoking. It has helped smokers to give up, it does help children and

:58:07.:58:10.

other adults not to be damaged by passive smoking. Closing pubs is not

:58:11.:58:15.

directly to be deported a ban on smoking, however, Labour is trying

:58:16.:58:18.

to support pubs and I think it is astonishing that the Lib Dems and

:58:19.:58:23.

Tories voted against this. Charlotte Leslie did not even support this

:58:24.:58:29.

legislation. There was plenty of political news

:58:30.:58:32.

this week that it not involve the flooding in Somerset. Here is our

:58:33.:58:36.

round`up in 60 seconds. The Kingswood MP, Chris Skidmore,

:58:37.:58:39.

has called for tougher sentences for drivers who are repeatedly convicted

:58:40.:58:43.

of dangerous driving. A suspended sentence is an injustice that few

:58:44.:58:48.

can agree is acceptable. His comments followed the death of a

:58:49.:58:51.

couple who were killed when a driver on drugs crashed into them while

:58:52.:58:55.

they were out cycling. The West's biggest police force is

:58:56.:58:58.

to axe more than 130 office posts as part of a review. Avon and Somerset

:58:59.:59:03.

police said it was the biggest shake`up in the history of the

:59:04.:59:06.

force. It is trying to find ?1 million in savings next year. More

:59:07.:59:10.

than 700 fines were issued to parents in the West for taking the

:59:11.:59:14.

children out of school last autumn. The government is tightening up

:59:15.:59:17.

rules on allowing children out for holidays. Schools are calling on

:59:18.:59:20.

travel operators to offer cheaper deals. And the leader of Wiltshire

:59:21.:59:25.

Council has decided not to accept a rise in her allowances. Jane Scott

:59:26.:59:29.

said she had changed her mind about taking a 40% increase because the

:59:30.:59:41.

issue was overshadowing her work. Let's talk about taking children out

:59:42.:59:46.

of school and fining parents who do. Brian, do you agree with that?

:59:47.:59:52.

I think it should be up to the head, and it should be a debate between

:59:53.:59:57.

the headmaster and parents. If it is an educational holiday, there may be

:59:58.:00:02.

a good reason for doing that, but if it is just a matter of lying on the

:00:03.:00:04.

beach. . I think it is why that's job and

:00:05.:00:43.

should stay in schools the mac. And that's it from the West this

:00:44.:00:49.

week. My thanks to Thangam and Brian for taking part. You can keep

:00:50.:00:52.

up`to`date with the latest on the floods this week on your BBC local

:00:53.:00:56.

radio station, and if you wish to watch this programme again it is

:00:57.:00:57.

available on BBC iPlayer. Not a complete denial! Hopefully a

:00:58.:01:01.

Conservative mayor again. Not a good week for David Cameron on

:01:02.:01:17.

the tricky European front last week. President Hollande said he was not

:01:18.:01:22.

interested in major treaty reform for 2017. That is when Mr Cameron

:01:23.:01:26.

hopes to hold his in-out referendum. And the private member's bill to put

:01:27.:01:29.

that referendum on the statute bill was killed by Labour and Lib Dem

:01:30.:01:34.

peers in the Lords. James Wharton was the Tory MP behind the bill and

:01:35.:01:41.

he joins me now. What happens now? It is out of my hands what happens

:01:42.:01:46.

now, because Labour and the Liberal Democrats conspired in the Lords to

:01:47.:01:50.

kill off my bill. One of the options is for another private member to

:01:51.:01:54.

bring a bill forward when they have the next private member's bill at,

:01:55.:01:58.

and we can try again. The prime minister has indicated that he will

:01:59.:02:01.

support that. But whatever happens, it will be in the Conservative

:02:02.:02:08.

manifesto at the next election. Do you accept that cost this is Tory

:02:09.:02:13.

policy and not government policy that the government policy elite

:02:14.:02:17.

macro cannot bring forward a bill? That is the problem. The Liberal

:02:18.:02:22.

Democrats, despite having promised a referendum in their manifesto at the

:02:23.:02:25.

last election, now will not allow government time for a bill to

:02:26.:02:30.

enshrine that in law. That was why I brought it forward as a private

:02:31.:02:34.

member's bill. David Cameron and the Conservative Party through

:02:35.:02:37.

everything behind that. To many people's surprise, we got it through

:02:38.:02:40.

all the House of Commons stages Sadly, to their discredit, Labour

:02:41.:02:45.

and Liberal Democrat peers, doing the bidding of their masters in the

:02:46.:02:50.

Commons, is conspired to kill it. Do you accept that it is Conservative

:02:51.:02:54.

policy, but not government policy, that you could not use the

:02:55.:02:58.

Parliament act to get this through the Lords? That is not the case The

:02:59.:03:01.

Parliament act is clear that if a public bill passes through the House

:03:02.:03:06.

of Commons twice in one Parliamentary period, there is a

:03:07.:03:10.

certain amount of time that has to be between both bills being

:03:11.:03:14.

presented. There are some procedural steps to be overcome, but there is

:03:15.:03:18.

no legal reason why the Parliament act could not come into effect. I

:03:19.:03:22.

was talking about you not having a majority in this case. That remains

:03:23.:03:27.

to be seen. We saw previously that Labour and the Liberal Democrats

:03:28.:03:30.

sent enough people to frustrate its progress to make it as difficult as

:03:31.:03:35.

possible, but not huge numbers to vote against it. On a Friday, huge

:03:36.:03:40.

numbers of MPs do not attend normally. Getting that number might

:03:41.:03:46.

prove difficult. The Parliament act, which is a bit of an atomic bomb in

:03:47.:03:51.

constitutional terms, if that was used, they would turn up to vote

:03:52.:03:55.

against you. Is it not the case that after the countryside Alliance tried

:03:56.:04:01.

to involve the courts in the hunting ban that it was made clear that the

:04:02.:04:06.

Parliament act was not to be used for constitutional issues? I don't

:04:07.:04:11.

think we know how many would turn up and we don't know how they would

:04:12.:04:16.

vote. One of the things that has been revealed as I have gone through

:04:17.:04:19.

the process of getting this bill to get a referendum through the Commons

:04:20.:04:23.

is that there are big splits in the Labour Party. One of the reasons we

:04:24.:04:26.

did not see them turning up in large numbers to stop this bill from

:04:27.:04:30.

happening was that Ed Miliband knew that if he tried to lead his own MPs

:04:31.:04:33.

through the lobbies to block a bill, the only purpose of which is

:04:34.:04:38.

to let Britain decides to give people a say on membership of the

:04:39.:04:43.

union, a lot of his MPs may not have followed him. It is all fantasy

:04:44.:04:47.

politics anyway. The French president has made clear that he has

:04:48.:04:52.

no interest in treaty change this side of 2017. He would need a

:04:53.:04:58.

referendum as well . And he needs that like a hole and had. Merkel is

:04:59.:05:03.

not keen, as she is in coalition with the social Democrats. Without

:05:04.:05:06.

the French or the Germans, it will not happen, end of story. The policy

:05:07.:05:14.

is that we will try to negotiate on getting a better deal. I hear what

:05:15.:05:18.

you are saying, but I don't recognise it as reality. We have a

:05:19.:05:22.

strong bargaining position. But whatever the result of that

:05:23.:05:25.

negotiation, it will be put in an in-out vote to the Britain people.

:05:26.:05:30.

It is time people were allowed to decide. It has been over a

:05:31.:05:34.

generation since we last had a say. David Cameron has committed to

:05:35.:05:37.

delivering that referendum. The Conservative Party will have it in

:05:38.:05:41.

our next manifesto for the election. Whatever happens to my bill or any

:05:42.:05:45.

other of the bill that comes forward. If people want a

:05:46.:05:49.

referendum, the only party that can deliver that in British politics is

:05:50.:05:56.

the Conservatives. Let me bring the panel in. Nick, where is this going?

:05:57.:06:01.

It is clear to me and anyone who follows European politics that there

:06:02.:06:03.

is no appetite for major treaty change in the short run,

:06:04.:06:06.

particularly for the kind of major changes that Vista Cameron says he

:06:07.:06:12.

is going to get, and yet the Tories are talking about Europe again when

:06:13.:06:16.

they should be talking about the economy. And Francois Hollande is

:06:17.:06:19.

looking at 2017, the year we are meant to have this referendum. There

:06:20.:06:24.

will be a French presidential election going on, and Nicolas

:06:25.:06:28.

Sarkozy will be back in play by then. But James has an interesting

:06:29.:06:34.

point, which is that it is down to Angela Merkel. She would be more

:06:35.:06:39.

receptive to David Cameron's ideas of reform than people assume. She

:06:40.:06:43.

has looked over the edge at a Europe without the UK and said, that is not

:06:44.:06:48.

acceptable, and I am willing to pay a price, not any price, but a price

:06:49.:06:52.

to keep the UK in the European Union. And the French, because the

:06:53.:06:57.

UK and France are the only serious military powers in Europe, will

:06:58.:07:01.

eventually come to that position. So there is more support for David

:07:02.:07:07.

Cameron than people assume. The French are also not a strong

:07:08.:07:10.

position in terms of the euro and French economy. The Foreign Office

:07:11.:07:19.

seem a bit more optimistic about it. Of course they are. Douglas Hurd

:07:20.:07:29.

once told me, we are winning the arguments on the single currency. Of

:07:30.:07:32.

course anything from the Foreign Office comes with a health warning,

:07:33.:07:36.

but if David Cameron had won a majority and was determined to

:07:37.:07:40.

renegotiate, he is in a strong position with Merkel. There is a

:07:41.:07:45.

possibility that the French could eventually be talked around. So it

:07:46.:07:48.

is not entirely bleak on that front for Cameron. When do the Tory party

:07:49.:07:55.

managers say, look, stop banging on about Europe again? The economy is

:07:56.:08:00.

going away. We still have an electoral mountain to climb. Let's

:08:01.:08:04.

just talk about that and not be divided. They should have done that

:08:05.:08:09.

some time ago. It is already too late. The Tories need a seven point

:08:10.:08:15.

lead in the polls to get image are tea. The way things are, that would

:08:16.:08:20.

require a huge change from where we are now . It is very unlikely to

:08:21.:08:24.

happen. So all this is happening in some bizarre imaginary space with

:08:25.:08:33.

wonderful rainbows and sunshine But we can detect the beginnings of a

:08:34.:08:38.

shift in the last couple of weeks. If you talk to Tory backbenchers,

:08:39.:08:44.

Douglas Carswell is now saying in public that it is time to stop the

:08:45.:08:48.

fighting. If they are to get even close to winning the election, they

:08:49.:08:56.

can't do it if they are all against each other. I don't think it is an

:08:57.:09:01.

imaginary space. It is likely that David Cameron will have the largest

:09:02.:09:05.

party in the election. If it is a hung parliament and it is the

:09:06.:09:08.

Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Party, David Cameron

:09:09.:09:13.

will save to Nick Clegg we gave you an AV referendum, I am having this

:09:14.:09:16.

referendum. And it will be difficult for Nick to say no. Let me go back

:09:17.:09:22.

to Mr Wharton. You are going to get a referendum in the manifesto. Other

:09:23.:09:26.

than Ken Clarke, everybody wants it. So why don't you just banked that

:09:27.:09:31.

and get behind the leadership Institute causing endless problems

:09:32.:09:36.

and coming across as a Europe accessed, divided party? I am

:09:37.:09:40.

absolutely behind the leadership. David Cameron announced the policy I

:09:41.:09:45.

am trying to bring forward in this bill. It is in line with the speech

:09:46.:09:51.

he gave this time last year. But getting that commitment into law

:09:52.:09:57.

will help to kick-start the negotiation process and mean

:09:58.:10:04.

everyone will know where we stand. But whatever happens, the

:10:05.:10:06.

Conservatives are committed to delivering a referendum. And to

:10:07.:10:10.

address the point that we talk about Europe too much, that is not the

:10:11.:10:13.

case. We have a good message on the economy, on tackling immigration and

:10:14.:10:20.

reforming welfare. There is more to do, but this is also an important

:10:21.:10:26.

part of policy. But at a time when the economic news seems to be

:10:27.:10:32.

turning in your direction, you are talking about the European

:10:33.:10:36.

referendum. Your backbench colleagues are trying to change the

:10:37.:10:39.

Immigration Bill every which way. Dominic Rather is putting in an

:10:40.:10:44.

amendment is and Mr Nigel Mills has been on this programme, putting in

:10:45.:10:49.

amendments that are clearly illegal. How is that helpful? The fact is

:10:50.:10:54.

that we are in a coalition, so there are areas of policy where

:10:55.:10:56.

Conservatives might want to go further and we are not able to do

:10:57.:11:03.

that. In other areas, we are delivering good reforms. But this is

:11:04.:11:06.

not a matter of going further. The mill 's amendment was clearly a

:11:07.:11:13.

contravention of the Treaty of Rome. That is where you get the headlines

:11:14.:11:17.

from. Some of your colleagues have a death wish? Would they rather have a

:11:18.:11:22.

Miliband government if the choice is an impure Cameron one instead? I

:11:23.:11:27.

don't think anyone in their right mind would rather have a Miliband

:11:28.:11:32.

government. Then why are they behaving that way? We have had some

:11:33.:11:36.

disagreements into the leak and debate within the party, but it was

:11:37.:11:42.

talked about on the panel just now. The Conservative Party is behind

:11:43.:11:46.

David Cameron and focused on winning the next election. Europe is one

:11:47.:11:50.

part of that. We have policies in a range of areas, but we are getting

:11:51.:11:56.

back on the right track. Thank you for being patient with us.

:11:57.:12:02.

Is this ghost story going to go somewhere? Mr Laws is talking

:12:03.:12:06.

through surrogates at the moment, but there is a strategy by the Lib

:12:07.:12:12.

Dems make these differential points now. I think it is fantastic

:12:13.:12:19.

coalition sports and entertaining, but in terms of out there, it has

:12:20.:12:23.

almost no traction whatsoever. I don't think any voters know who

:12:24.:12:28.

Baroness Morgan is and it sounds like one but politicians shouting at

:12:29.:12:30.

another bunch of politicians about their ability to give each other

:12:31.:12:35.

jobs. There is a larger point about the way Michael Gove runs his

:12:36.:12:40.

government. He is notoriously a very polite man surrounded by Rottweiler

:12:41.:12:44.

is, his advisers. He has made enemies of a lot of people in the

:12:45.:12:47.

media, and some of that will come back on him in the next 18 months.

:12:48.:12:52.

We shall see if Mr Laws himself sticks his head above the parapet.

:12:53.:12:56.

That is it for this week. The Daily Politics is on throughout the week

:12:57.:13:01.

at midday on BBC Two, except on Wednesdays, when we are on at

:13:02.:13:05.

11:30am. I will be back next week at the same time. Remember, if it is

:13:06.:13:08.

Sunday, it's the Sunday Politics.

:13:09.:13:15.

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