30/03/2014 Sunday Politics West


Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey and Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael.

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Morning folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics.


Can Ed Davey keep the lights on Can he ever deliver cheaper power? Or


the investment our energy market badly needs? We'll be asking the


Energy Secretary. Why has the anti-independence Better


Together campaign suddenly got the jitters? We'll be quizzing Scottish


Secretary Alistair Carmichael. And whatever happened to the BNP?


They could be heading And whatever happened to the BNP?


A survey shows that we are hn a confident


which runs the capital's Fire Service. The Mayor has a political


move designed to silence his critics.


And with me, as always, the most useless political panel in the


business, who we're contractually obliged to insult on a weekly basis.


But not today, because they are our chosen ones. They are the brightest


and the best, we've even hired a plane to prove it: Helen Lewis,


Janan Ganesh and Nick Watt who'll be tweeting throughout the programme.


Right, left and centre of the Westminster Establishment have been


unanimous in saying there would be no chance of monetary union with the


rest of the UK for an independent Scotland. Then an unnamed minister


spoke to our Nick saying that wasn't necessarily so, and that made the


Guardian's front page. The SNP were delighted and the anti-independence


campaign rushed to limit the damage. The faux pas has come at a time when


the Better Together side was already beginning to worry that things were


going the Nationalists' way. Let's speak to a leading light in that


campaign, Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael, who's in


Aberdeen at the Scottish Liberal Democrat spring conference.


Alistair Carmichael, why is there a sense of crisis now engulfing the no


campaign? I think that is something of an overstatement. What you have


got is, I am getting my own voice played back in my ear. What you have


got here is one story from an unnamed source, a minister who we


are told, we do not know for certain, who has speculated on the


possibility of a currency union actually happening. I do not think


that is helpful but it is not any big deal. You have to measure it


against what we have got publicly named on the record. We have got a


detailed intervention of the Governor of the Bank of England


Mark Carney, outlining all the reasons why a currency union would


not be a good idea. And then you have got independent advice from the


permanent Secretary of the Treasury himself saying actually, this is


such a bad idea, that I would never advise a chancellor to go ahead with


it. You set one against the other and you see that pretty much the


force of argument is very much against those of us who want to


remain in the United Kingdom. All the minister was saying is come the


day, if Westminster is negotiating with a new independent Scotland a


deal is to be done, Faslane where the nuclear deterrent is, there is


nowhere else in the UK to put that is, certainly not for the next 0


years, a deal would be done, the nuclear weapons would stay in


Faslane and Scotland would get a monetary union with the rest of the


UK. That is perfectly plausible isn't it? No, I'm sorry, it is


simply not plausible. The economy is more important than anything else.


What you have had here is very clear advice from the treasury officials


saying it is not in the economic best interests of the people of


England Wales, Northern Ireland any more than it is in the interests of


people in Scotland. Where do you put the nukes? The outcome will not


change. Where do you put the nukes when the Nationalists kick you out?


I do not believe that will be a problem because I do not believe


Scotland will vote for independence. But you might be asking the Scottish


Nationalists, who are apparently promoting this, are they then not


sincere when they say they want to remove nuclear weapons from


Scotland? It seems to be a curious mixed message. As you know, I have


not got the Nationalists, I have got you, so let me ask you the


questions. You are widely seen as running a campaign which is too


negative. The Nationalists are narrowing the gap in the poll found


you are squabbling among yourselves. This campaign is going pear shaped,


isn't it? No, let's deal with the polls. All the polls show that the


people of Scotland want to stay as part of the United Kingdom. Yes


there were a couple of polls last week that said the gap was narrowing


a little. The most recent poll of all, the poll on Wednesday which


actually polled people's voting intentions on the question come


September showed that only 28% of people in Scotland were prepared to


say they were voting yes, as opposed to the 42% who were on our side of


the argument saying they wish to remain part of the UK. That poll


said women were skewing towards a yes vote and it showed that the


don't knows were beginning to skew towards a yes vote. That is why you


yourself wrote this morning that if your campaign does not get its act


together, you would be sleepwalking into a split to quote yourself. No,


to quote myself I said it was not impossible that the Nationalists


could win that. That is absolutely the case. The biggest danger for the


United Kingdom camp in this whole argument is people will look at the


polls. They show us with a healthy lead consistently. As a consequence,


they think this will not happen It can happen. I have got to tell


everybody that it could, not least because the Nationalists have an


enormous advantage in terms of the amount of money they have at their


disposal to buy momentum. They will be advertising in cinemas, in


football matches and on social media. We have got to realise what


is coming and as a consequence, we have got to get our arguments in


place and our campaign as sharp as theirs. Thank you for joining us.


Nick, this unnamed minister who gave you the story, did he or she know


what they were doing? I do not think they were sitting there wanting to


blast this out there, because the agreed government position was there


will not be a currency union, if there is a vote for independence.


But what I was managing to get hold of whether thoughts that are in the


deeper recesses of people's minds, when they are looking at the polls


which have been narrowing, or there was Alistair Carmichael quite


rightly says, the pro-UK vote is still ahead. People are looking down


the line, what would happen after the 18th of September this year not


just the next day but the next year, in those very lengthy


negotiations that would take place, when there would be a lot of moving


places on the table. You talked about Faslane, what would happen


then and that is what I managed to get hold of, that there are thoughts


about all those pieces that would be on the table. It is not surprising


that some in Westminster think that. Let's take the Shadow


Chancellor Danny Alexander at his word, they do not want a monetary


union. But if they are faced with giving the Scots a monetary union in


a post-independent Scotland, or having to remove the nuclear


submarines from Faslane, where they have nowhere else to put them,


probably except North America, there is a deal to be done. I think


whatever minister gave Nick his story is probably onto something. If


the Scots vote for independence of course a deal will be done about the


currency because it is not in London's interests to have a


rancorous relationship with Edinburgh. Even if the deal is not


done, how does one country stop another country using its. That is


different. All London can really do is prevent Scottish intervention on


the monetary policy committee. The interest rate would be set without


any regard to the Scottish interest. Even that is only a fatal problem if


the Scottish economy becomes so out of sync with the UK economy. Except


it is a problem for Scotland's financial system because if you go


down that route there is no means of injecting liquidity into the


financial system in the financial crisis. That is why they would


rather have a monetary union. Is it not remarkable to hear the Secretary


of State for Scotland here that the Nationalists are spending too much


money, when he represents a campaign which brings together all the major


parties in the UK and all the resources of the UK and he is


bleating about the Nationalists having more to spend? I did think


that was a funny line and it was in the Observer. It lays into Alex


Salmond's plucky upstart idea that he's taking on this big


establishment. I thought it was a bizarre open goal, I am losing my


football metaphors, forgive me. The polls are so in favour of a no


vote. But the trend has been going their way. We have six months left


which is not enough to close the gap. They always tell you Alex


Salmond is a strong finisher. The plucky upstarts have this funding


from a millionaire. The Better Together campaign are being


incredibly cautious about where they get their money from. They do not


want to go to the City of London Police say, give us a couple of


million. Being Energy Secretary used to be a


bit of a dawdle, especially when North Sea oil was flowing. Now it's


very much a hot potato as Ed Davey has been finding out the hard way.


High household energy bills have been top of his inbox. The big six


energy companies account for 95 of the market. Off Johnson -- Ofgem


said there had been possible tacit coordination in the timing of price


rises and ordered an investigation by the competition and markets


authorities which will look at whether the big six should be broken


up. Where does that leave investment? The boss of Centrica


made the point that you would not spend money building an extension if


you knew in two years time your home might be bulldozed. The spare


margin, that is what is left in the generating system to cope with a


surge in demand on a cold winter's night, is due to drop to


historically low levels in 2016 according to Ofgem. Normally at


around 15%, capacity could drop to 2% after the next election and that


could lead to a surge in the sale of candles. Now where is that light


switch? Energy Secretary Ed Davey, joins me


now. Oh, we have found the light switch! The gap between a peak


winter demand and generating capacity could possibly reach 2


next winter or the winter after We will keep the lights on, that is for


clear. When we came to power, energy investment had been relatively low.


The Labour Party had failed to deal with the energy deficit. From day


one we have been pushing up massively. Investment has been


billion a year. Last year was a record. Spare capacity is now


heading to 2%. Why are you allowing it to get that no? Because we have


been increasing investment massively, last was a record level,


we will be able to keep the lights on. Some of the figures you are


showing suggests we are not doing anything. We have not only done


enough in our last three years, we have put in measures to stimulate


huge amounts of extra investment. We have the healthiest pipeline


investment in our history. We will come onto investment in a minute.


None of that change is the fact that we will be close to 2% next winter


or the winter after that. We have one major power station shut down,


or a cold winter away from having major problems with energy supply.


It is still 2%. Let me explain. The figures assume we are not doing


anything but we are doing something. Look at the National Grid. They are


able to bring in energy from interconnector is because we are


connected up to Europe. They are able to create a reserve so if we


get to problems, they will have a mothballed plant they can bring on.


You have not agreed with anybody on that. The decision was taken last


July. But no supplier has agreed to under mothball its plant. We would


not expect them to do that yet. Our plan is in place. On time, on


schedule, as we already thought it would be. But you have not got a


single agreement with a power supply who has mothballed plant to on the


ball it. We did not expect to. Our plan is in me National Grid will do


an election to allow those plants to come on. There is a huge amount of


interest. There are gigawatts of power that can come in to come on.


There is a huge amount of interest. There are gigawatts of power that


can come into that auction and we are not other measures we can take


and that is just in the short term. We have a plan for the medium-term.


We will be running the first auction for new capacity. The final decision


will be taken and we have learned lessons from what they do in North


America and other European countries so we can stay minute mothballed


plants and new plants to be built. I am absolutely clear there is not a


problem. You only build 9000 megawatts of new capacity from


2011-13. You have closed almost 22,000 megawatts. Why would you be


so cavalier with a nation's power supply? The last Government was


cavalier because we knew those figures are happening because we've


known for a long time a lot of power plants were coming to the end of


their life, coal power plants, nuclear power plants, and we had to


increase the rate of investment but we... That shows clearly you are


closing twice as much, you have to date, closed twice as much as you


have opened, hence the lack of spare capacity. We knew a lot of them are


coming back for the last Labour Government knew. We have increased


the new so that's increasing significantly, far faster than under


the last Government but also remember, you were very wrong at the


beginning of your clip, margins at 15% are very own usual. They are


historically high. The average margin was 25%. That was wasting a


huge amount of money. But since privatisation, we've had margins


between 5% and 10%. Normally, high margins historically, which is


costly. Now we will have historically low margins. People


have to pay for that, so we make sure the lights stay on, we have a


short-term policy I have described to you, and medium-term policy and a


long-term policy. The long-term policy comes huge investment between


nuclear and optional, policy comes huge investment between


on. Ofgem, Independent, says the chance of blackouts by 2016 has


increased fourfold under your watch. What they say, if you read the


report, if we did nothing, they would be problems. But we have been


working with Ofgem. We have been working with National Grid, and we


have agreed that there will be a reserve capacity which can come on


if we get to the peak for the Best not just on the supply side but


demand and into connectors. You talk about industry having to move to


off-peak times. We say, they are prepared to that you paid for it,


and it makes commercial sense for them, it's a sensible thing for the


Wii will pay them to move to off-peak. You have huge diesel parks


for the you talk as if that something new but it's been around


for a long time for the 200 these contracts out there. We want to


expand that. You have hundreds of diesel generators to click into


haven't you? There's a whole range of generators. Diesel generation,


dirty fuel. There's a of mothballed gas which can come. If you look at


the increase of the independent generators, many companies, a range


of power companies who are building a new power station and want to


build new ones. This is a healthy situation. You say you made over 100


billion new investment between now and the end of the decade to restore


capacity and meet renewable targets. Now you have referred the


Big Six to the competition commission, how much of that to


expect to come from them? We will see what the market delivers. We


have always expected independent generators to do a lot more than is


happening in the past. How much from the Big Six? It's not for me to say


it's going to be best from that company. The real interest is we


have huge amounts of companies wanting to invest. If you look at


independent analysis, they say Britain is one of the best places to


invest in energy in the world. We are the worldly do in offshore


wind, one of the best for renewables, one of the only


countries getting nuclear power stations. Rather than the bleaker


picture you're painting, the reverse is the case. We are seeing an


investment renaissance. You say that. Let me give you some facts.


Under this Government, only one gas plant has been under construction,


only one started under your watch for the others were done under


Labour. You have none in the pipeline. The Big Six has pulled


back from further investment including new offshore wind


investment and none of what you re talking about will come before 020


anyway. That's simply not true. The balance reserves I've talked about,


the reserve planned: Making sure the mothballed plant could come on, I


capacity market incentivising new power, will happen way before 2 20,


so that's not true. But doesn't answer the extra capacity. You have


no answer between now and the end of this decade. We have three answers.


Let me repeat them for you. I said permanent, not the short-term ones


you are putting in place to try to do with spare capacity. We have a


short-term plan, of course, that's very sensible. Medium-term plan


auctioning for new power stations. That can lead to both mothballed


plant and when you plant, permanent plant being built, and the long term


plan, to stimulator long-term investment, some of which will be


built and come online way before the end of the decade. I'm afraid, it's


a far rosier picture than your painting. It's also far more


expensive, too. Let's look at how you are replacing relatively cheap


energy with much more expensive sources of energy. Wholesale prices


is ?50 per megawatt. You have done a deal with EDF, nuclear, ?92 50. You


have indexed it for 30 years at 2012 prices.


All of that puts up our bills. First of all, the support of the low


Carbon is just 4% on bills. What has been driving peoples bills over the


last decade has been wholesale gas prices. No one knows what guys


prices are going to be in the future -- gas prices. When you look at the


Ukraine and other market indicators, many people are worried that by the


time nuclear power stations come online for example, the price of gas


could be significantly higher. You have indexed linked that for them by


the time you get any power from this, it'll be up to ?125 per


megawatt hour. The price of gas been going up far higher. Not recently.


Despite Iran, Ukraine, Libya, not recently. The long-term forecast,


Andrew, it's going to go higher but more importantly than that, this is


an area we could disagree on but it's very important that power


plants pay the cost of pollution. In those prizes, all of those prices


except the wholesale out a steep price, you have those power stations


paying the cost of air pollution. If gas and coal where paying the proper


carbon price, you would see nuclear and renewables as competitive. It's


very important that we ensure that power plants pay the cost of the


pollution. When you were last on this programme to talk about this in


May 2012, you said that the price of offshore wind was coming down fast.


You told me it would be down by 30% in the next few years. That figure


is 155, and for the deeper stuff, it's going to be ?165. That's the


first year of a limit control framework which had it coming down.


If you talk to many companies, Siemens had invested with their


partners, ?310 million with two new factories. They are talking about


lower prices because what they are saying to me is that, rather than


the 30% cost reductions I talked about, I was wrong, they are


targeting 40%. You said prices would come down 30% in two years for that


that was 2012 and they have gone higher. I absolutely did not say


that. Your exact quote was 30% in the next few years. Your exact few


years. You said two years, I sell a few years. I haven't changed a


single moment that you said two years, I said a few years. That s


what we are projecting. They will come down. You have to invest in


technology. Let me give you this example. When people invest in


mobile phones to start off with they were expensive, and they were


clunky and the costs were going down for the one final question. You put


the Big Six into investigation because they made a 5% return on


investment and you're done a deal with EDF, nuclear power, which will


guarantee them a return of 10% 15% every year for 30 years. Doesn't


that underline the shambles of your energy policy? You have mixed up two


separate things. The 5% Ofgem are talking about is on the supply


retail side. The percentage you quoted for EDF is in the wholesale


side of two different markets. It's the same return. It's not. You are


comparing apples and pears, dangerous thing to do. You have to


do have a high return but in the retail market, with a 5% stake,


there is less risk, says a low return. Ed Davey, I'm sorry we


haven't got more time. Thank you. Have me back. We will. Whatever


happened to the BNP? The far right party looked as if it was on the


verge of a major breakthrough not so long ago. Now it seems to be going


nowhere. In a moment we'll be speaking to the party's press


officer, Simon Derby. But first here's Giles. His report contains


some flash photography. For a moment in 2009 Nick Griffin and the BNP had


a spring in their step, smiling at their success of winning two seats


in the European Parliament. They already were the second largest


party in a London council and had a London Assembly seat. Despite


concerns from mainstream parties their vote was up. Our vote


increased up to 943,000. Savouring success was brief that morning as


anti-far right protestors invaded and egged the press conference and


forced the BNP MEPs into a hasty retreat. What is more significant is


that, in the years since, that retreat has been matched internally,


electorally and in the minds of those who had given them that vote.


For a number of years they were performing better than the UK


Independence Party and other smaller parties like the Greens and respect.


The problem for the BNP if they didn't make any inroads into other


groups, they didn't go into the middle class, the young, they didn't


go into women and ethnic minorities for obvious reasons. So the party


was quickly handicapped from the outset. Not that you would have


known that at the outset. In 20 6 in Barking and Dagenham, the party won


12 council seats against a back drop of discontent with the ruling Labour


council and Government and picking up on immigration and housing


concerns in the borough. It's because of all the different


nationality people moving in the area, they are taking over


everything. My Nan and grandad lived there all their lives. I thought I


would vote for BNP. Hopefully, yeah, they will get elected over here


When I came to Barking, Dagenham and Redbridge in 2006, the BNP with a


second largest party in one of the local councils. You can even find


non-white people who voted BNP. Now they have no counsellors, and even


though can when you talk to people, you will find among the older white


working-class population concerned that the BNP claim to represent


everyone says they are nowhere. So what happened to that about? On


behalf of all the people in Britain, we in Barking have not just beaten,


that we have smashed the attempt of extremist outsiders. The local


Labour MP was as clear in 2010 as she is now. I always knew if we


could manage to ensure that wasn't a single BNP councillor left on the


council and I won my seat, it would stop the process of disintegration.


But what beat the BNP here in 2 10 was a mobilisation of the Labour


vote. And today it is not hard to find the same discontent over the


same issues. It's just finding a new political home. A couple of years


ago, I used to vote Labour. Obviously, they haven't done nothing


around here as much now, with jobs and unemployment, and housing and


stuff like that about, basically, BNP ain't around here no more. Now


it's more about UKIP and I believe that these UKIP are saying are true.


If I thought BNP would make the difference, I would vote but is not


in the people behind them. They all get bandaged with the same brush.


I'm going to vote UKIP because BNP didn't get anywhere. What they say


in UKIP, with a bit of luck, they will get somewhere. It's not racist


but it's just that our kids haven't got jobs. Nick Griffin's dislike of


UKIP is mutual but his once fellow MEP Andrew Brons who's now left the


party issued a statement to this programme saying BNP failure is


closer to home post 2010. It was after that election discontent arose


amongst sections of the membership. Those members who left or were


thrown out by Nick Griffin had already felt let down by his


appearance on Question Time. It was a national platform for the BNP


something they felt they had the right to through electoral success.


This was no big breakthrough moment for Griffin, unlike it was for John


Marina pen when he appeared on national television in France. He


went on to mobilise a national force. Despite there being some


voters tuned to their message, for the BNP, becoming such a force here


has never looked quite so difficult. And Simon Derby from the BNP joins


me now. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. It was not long ago you


had 55 councillors up and down the land, you now have two. You are on


the brink of extinction. That is not true. I have watched the film. It is


very negative as I would expect The party has faced a few problems. The


main thing to bear in mind is that the issues, the problems the country


faces have gone away. We won nearly a million votes in the European


elections. We brought that mandate to the establishment and we were


denied. Let's face it, we would -- were denied any opportunity to take


place in the political apparatus. You have been destroyed by a pincer


movement. UKIP has taken away or more respectable voters and the EDL


is better at anti-Muslim protests and street thuggery. The EDL is not


a political party. I take your point about UKIP. The power structure took


a look at us and so we were a threat to power. We were not making this


stuff up, we meant it and they have co-opted our message. This shameless


promotion of UKIP, you have evenly had him presenting the weather on


this programme. That is unbelievable. That was a joke.


Across Europe, in France, your sister party the National front will


probably do very well. You can see the rise of the far right across


Western Europe so why are you in decline? We are not far right, I


reject that label. How would you describe yourselves nationalists and


Patriots. Why are you in decline and other similar parties to yours are


on the rise? You mentioned Barking and it is very interesting because I


was involved in that campaign. What Margaret Hodge and her Labour Party


did, they replaced the white indigenous population in Barking and


Dagenham with Africans, that is how they won that election. For that was


true, you would be doing well elsewhere. You have now got a leader


who is declared bankrupt and your party is heading for bankruptcy


No, it is not. It is over. You would like that. What I would like is


irrelevant. Your membership is in deep decline. All parties have highs


and lows. In 2009 they said it is no way you will win any seats in the


European election. We did. And then you lost them. Parties win and lose


seats. The Lib Dems will be annihilated. You deny you are far


right. People used to say the BNP were neo-Nazis. Then Nick Griffin


appeared with Golden Dawn. They are not neo-Nazis, they are Nazis. It is


part and parcel of being in politics. You have to appear with


them? Of course we do, we have to speak to ordinary people. I am


perfectly happy speaking to you at the BBC, the BBC have a terrible


reputation but I am happy to be here. Mr Griffin has asked me, when


will the BBC apologised for trying to put him in prison twice, merely


for exposing a Muslim scandal. Why can't Nick Griffin appear on TV and


self? He would not appear. He was in Syria. He literally flew out to


Damascus and prevented a war. We decided we would not interfere in


Syria. The BBC never covered that. Please do not make out we are just


an ordinary political party you cover like everybody else. It is


completely different. All the signs are, membership, performance at the


polls, performance at elections the problem with your leadership is you


are now going the way of the National front, heading for


oblivion. As I said to you before, that may be the case, if all the


problems we had not highlighted and how we got a huge vote so many years


ago, six years ago now, five years ago, in 2009, if they were not


around. These things are only going to get worse. We are looking at a


prototype Islamic republic that is going to be set up in this country.


That will lead to huge problems Only the British National Party are


prepared to say that and deal with it. Word leaked out that I was doing


this interview with you before the weekend. Isn't it a sign of how


irrelevant you now are that not a single person has turned up at New


Broadcasting House this morning to protest? Used to be hundreds would


turn up when we said the BNP were on. That is the left for you, they


put the clocks forward and they could not be bothered to get out of


bed. I think they are still in bed. Thank you.


You're watching the Sunday Politics. We say goodbye to viewers in


Politics Scotland. Coming up here in Politics Scotland. Coming up here in


Welcome to the part of the show just for us here in the West. Thhs week,


will you have enough to livd on when you retire. We revealed the results


of a survey. And from pensions to students. We go back to University


and joined the students union. These people are campaigning, but most of


their friends won't vote. Why are we not interested in democracy


anymore? On the show, two men, Lord Tom


King, who served as Defence Secretary under Margaret Th`tcher,


and the Liberal Democrat MP Steve Webb, who is the pensions mhnister.


We will first talk about thd situation in the Crimea. A lot of


people talking about how we need to reverse the spending cuts. What you


think? It is a tough time now. I think that the plans that wd have


made are sensible. As long `s the reserves can back up the arly.


Would Vladimir Putin have done what he has done if you were in charge?


Crimea is a very special case. I saw were millions of Russians wdre


remembered for defending, adages important to see it, not as an


important part of a campaign to take on the west. We need to be ready and


make clear what will happen if he woke `` went into the rest of the


Ukraine. Would you agree with that? Would you fight for Crimea?


I think we need to remember that we are no longer the Wolves's


policeman. `` the policeman of the world. We do not have an empire


anymore. We need to look at cyber attacks. I think going back on


spending cuts would be a mistake. Are you worried about retirdment?


The government have decided to sort out our pensions. A survey shows the


challenge. 1000 people betwden 0 and 65 were survey. 30% werd worried


about their financial securhty in retirement. The figure was higher


for those in their 30s and those in lower paid jobs.


We'll be pensions revolution change that?


When the government announcdd changes to the pension systdm,


encouraging the newly retirdd to buy a new car was probably what they


were not expecting. The image they preferred was of the state becoming


less nanny driven. When the Chancellor talked `bout


rolling down the state, it went down well. There is a patronising view


that pensions cannot be trusted with their own pension. I reject that.


People who have worked hard and saved hard all their lives should be


trusted with their own finances That is what we will now do. Trust


the people. At the moment, everyone is saving


into a contribution pension, can take 25% of the pot as a tax`free


lump sum. With the rest of the money, most people have to buy an


annuity, which provides a monthly income until death. The average


pension pot is ?36,000. Frol April 2016, most people will not have to


buy an annuity, most may usd it to pay off their mortgage. Thex may be


taxed. But many people do not have a pension. Like this woman, who works


with the elderly. I have no pension at all. I have not even thotght


about it. I have not always worked full`time. You do not think about


the pension. I was married `nd I was relying on my husband's pension


From this week, that is changing. She and other staff will be put into


pension schemes unless they opt out. Experts are telling thdm more.


Your employer will contribute, the taxman will contribute.


Two years ago, enrolment began with big firms. Now this measure is being


expanded and Helen is happy. All we heard was that everyone will


be enrolled automatically. We were thinking that we have no choice


about this. But now it has been explained to us, it seems rdally


good. It seems a good option. For the same reasons that wd never


started saving, that it is `ll too complicated, will hopefully mean


that once we put in a pension, we will stay there. We will put people


in the right place, they will start saving for retirement.


Maybe not a new car now, but perhaps something more expensive on


retirement. Brian Hill is an independent


financial adviser. He is here to help us about pensions. But first,


we will talk to the Minister. ?36,000 is the average penshon. What


with that lie if you had to buy an investment?


A simple rule is that for ?0000 in your pot, you get ?1 a week. See you


would get ?36 per week for ` pension. It is not enough for most


people. That is why we are doing what you saw in the story, Helen had


no pension, she may never h`ve one into one. She automatically got put


into one, she would have to opt out. That is the way that it works.


If it is ?36,000 or more, you might as well take the money, go for a


cruise around the world and then worry about things.


We are trying to give peopld a choice. The state pension h`s been


simplified. It will be just above means testing. If that is all you


want to live on, that is fine. The pension is being set above the


benefit level, but the basic level will get you clear of the bdnefits,


and then you can choose whether to spend it throughout your retirement


or early on. But it will be your choice.


You are from a generation of final salary pension schemes. Is ht sad


that our young people are bding denied that? One of the big worries


is how poor the annuities work, because with the interest r`tes the


whole reward now which used to be much higher, it is a major problem


now that we face. When the country was much poorer,


now we are a rich country and we cannot give people these pensions.


One of the things that we are talking about which is excellent is


making people have a pension. It was classic in the clip that thd woman


had not been able to do so xet, like many people.


In broad terms, many of my colleagues are very happy that there


is more flexibility with pensions and taking money from it. The worry


that we have is the implementation. We are concerned to see durhng the


Budget that you mentioned that people would no longer have to buy


an annuity. That has been the case for 20 years. For those unddr 7 , it


applied for everyone. That hs old news.


Yes, but as the Chancellor was trying to do, he was trying to


simplify the message. Most people did not have the option, if they


already had a pension pot to do this.


We support the flexibility with financial advice. The idea that you


can provide in people 's holes to help people get high qualitx


guidance would not hit the lark at all. Most appeal that `` most people


that I deal with have three pensions. So if you have all of


these different advisers giving you different advice. The answer is as


the consult patients of the government said, it has to be high


quality advice from people who are qualified. There are a lot of people


around. Should this be factored in?


People do need help, and thdre are different factors for that. Everyone


should have the right for free independent advice, with soleone who


talks you through the basics. You then have to go through the choices.


People make the decisions incorrectly and then they c`nnot get


away from them. Why do we not all have the same


pension and then you make your own provision after that? We ard trying


to move in that direction whth the state pension, so there is one


simple state pension. But wd have built on history, that businesses


have given the pensions. Swdeping thataway, we may need to silplify,


but we do not want to have several different pensions. So now xour


pension will go with you whdn you change jobs.


The key problem is the effect on benefits as well. People will start


losing their benefits from the pension reforms.


From how we feel from getting older, to the concerns of young people


David Blunkett was talking to young people this week, saying th`t we


should be concerned about the levels of apathy. Students say that they


are interested in politics, but are being ignored.


You don't often see this on the Westminster Trail. It is a flash


mob, designed to get the vote out for the Bristol University tnion


elections. But for all the shouting, bribes


and... Vote for women. And the weirdness, more and more of


today's young are not voting. I have never voted. You have never voted?


Many sympathise with a cert`in comedian whose argument agahnst


voting has been watched 10 lillion times. It is not that I am not


voting out of apathy, it is that I am exhausted from the lies of the


political class that have bden going on for generations and has reached


fever pitch, where there is a despondent underclass who wdre not


represented. The headache for politicians is he


may have a point. In 2010, 60 5 of the public voted. A recent survey


showed that if a general eldction was held tomorrow, only 41% of


people would attend. And in young people, that is only 12%. Wd decided


to get to the bottom of all of this by setting up our own stall.


They seem untrustworthy. I think a lot of people our age are rdally


cynical. We do not trust thd politicians.


Hearing the fact that, as a result, people are worse off than they were


before is breeding mistrust in not believing in people. When you look


at the Budget that came out, it was focused on the older generation


So, I think from the point of view of our generation, we listen when


people say the idea is that they will put forward. We hear that we


are not being included. Some of the MPs are on Twitter, but


not any of my local MPs. So they are not being creative in making


themselves relevant. It seemed to be more teachers than


students who came to hear the Home Secretary talking about apathy. He


said it was the fault of thd Coalition Government. Peopld say


that maybe we should have compulsory voting like in Australia, btt then


they say that a lot of people vote with their feet. When there is a


coalition, people are concerned about what change we shall get. I


don't want is to have a coalition again. Nobody knows what thdy will


get. When they get it, it is not what they voted for.


So how do you in gauge the xoung and the poor people? I think we have got


to speaking a language that people understand, use more social media.


One of the biggest turnout hs that we had was in 1950 and that was not


an exciting election, but are `` mattered. People have to know that


when they vote, it matters. This is a polling station lhke you


have never seen before. There is a tablet on which you can cast your


vote. And why not have a chocolate while you are in the blues? But even


here, they think that the ttrnout will store below. `` while xou are


in the voting booth. There hs the fear that people may never vote if


they do not vote now. Here is the vice president of


education for the student union White can students not be bothered


to vote? In any election? In general elections, I think we are


in a negative feedback loop. Young people are not voting, so the things


that matter to them are not taken seriously. It is important to look


at the first years of this Parliament, people raised the


university fees and took aw`y the education maintenance allow`nce


Why are they not angry and protesting? There are not a


political party who are putting forward things that appeal to young


people. They do not offer a different vision.


Students in Bristol, people have a very nice life. Is it that they have


never had it so good and thdy do not feel they need to vote? No, I think


it is a conscious decision. People look at the politicians and ask if


they represent them. They do not come up with anything at all.


You concerned that young people are not interested in politics? I am a


bad person to ask, because H never got involved in politics until later


in life. It was when I was running a factory and we had nine different


unions trying to run the factory and having an extremely difficult time.


That was the big issue of the time and that is why I opt into politics.


I think that different issuds bring people in at different times. It is


nice if people do get involved, but I do not think it is new.


It is something that has bedn very important for me during the years


that I have been an MP, is being as accessible at as I can with the


people who want to contact le. I talk to people on Twitter and on


Facebook, asking them what hs on their mind.


There is an issue with the Liberal Democrats, with students, students


who perhaps were trying to vote against student fees, you got into


power and you did do it. So what is the point? I think that if we had


our time again, we would do things differently. One of the points that


David Blunkett made was abott apathy and communication. Parties need to


work together to go into thd elections, saying what they will do


and what they will stick to. You have to do that before the dlection.


I still don't think that anx of the political parties at the molent are


really putting forward a strong offer for young people.


So why would they not be interested in young people? This is wh`t I mean


about a negative feedback loop. Because young people are not voting,


there is almost a cynical calculation that the people that you


need to focus policy on are not young people.


Who are getting all the bendfits? The old people? I think olddr people


are being looked after bettdr than younger people and I think people


who own property and are more likely to vote for the government.


Yes, when you say not making a good offer for young people, the most


important thing for peoples in university is that they will have


the possibility of a job. Is he right when you say th`t


politicians are more interested in older people? It is not for older


people that we have to turn the economy around. There are now


starting to be far more job opportunities. You are the future


and we have to turn that cotntry around will stop good thing is,


although it is not offered to young people, about a student grants, the


key thing is that what you `re looking and hoping for is the chance


of a good opportunity career in the future. That is what we havd to do


for all your colleagues and young people in this country. Most


importantly, it is starting to happen.


Now we will look back at thd political week in 60 seconds.


On Thursday, the funeral was held for one of the West's polithcal


giants. Hundreds gathered to remember Tony Benn, who served as


Bristol MP for over 30 years. The Red Flag was played as his coffin


left the church. On last week's programme, wd


reported on rumours that thd government would relax its ban on


fox hunting. It came from f`rmers whose land was being attackdd by


hunters. `` attacked by foxds. This week, they got the answer. That


letter has been received and has been considered, but I regrdt to say


that I don't think there will be government agreement to go forward.


This empty and expensive buhlding in Taunton may finally have a tenant.


The regional fire control cdntre was built in 2007, but never usdd. A


deal is being struck to rent it out. And yesterday, the wedding bells


finally rang out for this h`ppy couple. They were the first in


Bristol to tie the knot aftdr the law was changed to allow sale`sex


marriage. Yesterday was quite a day for gay


weddings. Would you go to a gay wedding if you


were invited? Only if they were close friends. We have all had


difficulties over this issud. I would not refuse, but I havd never


been introduced yesterday. `` I would not be very enthtsiasm.


And what about you? You votdd in favour. I think that we will accept


that marriage is equal and that two people who love each other should be


able to call it marriage. Next week, we will hear abott how


businesses feel about leaving Europe. For now, it is back to


London. boundaries. Sorry, run out of time.


Thanks very much indeed. Andrew back to you.


Now let's get more from our political panel. If the BNP


finished? They were never spectacularly successful to begin


with but one of my childhood memories was a huge fuss in London


about the fact that they won a few council seat on the Isle of dogs


back in 1993. That was enough to cause a panic. As if they are


falling from a great tit and I think the big difference with the National


front in France is that they are building on decades of successful


that they finished second in the presence of elections in 2002, I


think. And, even in the 60s, they were versions of their politics So


they are building on a lot whereas the BNP are working with incredibly


few raw materials in this country. It is interesting that the BNP does


seem to be in decline in terms of its membership and financially, but


in France, the far right party, not as far right as the BNP, but pretty


far right, will probably do well in the second round of the French local


elections. You could say the same about Golden Dawn in Greece. Parties


prosper when the picture is pre-rolled for them. If mainstream


parties talk endlessly about immigration, saying you cannot get a


council house because it has gone to an immigrant instead of saying it is


because there are not enough council houses, that creates the conditions


in which the far right can thrive. We are lucky that all the members of


the BNP fell out with each other. As extreme members of the far right and


left do. You can see that with the comedian in France, he has got a lot


of support from people on the left as well. I asked Simon Derby was


here victim of a pincer movement that UKIP were taken away voters and


EDL has captured the Street protest. Yes, and Giles still not mention


that the Labour Party has got its act together. They got the act


together in Dagenham. Margaret Hodge and Jon Cruddas did a very good job.


I think UKIP would say, not a racist party but they are picking up votes


from people who would once have voted BNP. But it is interesting the


difference between Britain and France. Why is it that the Front


Nationale came second in 2002 when they are not far right? I think they


were on a five-year cycle because the next election was 2007. 200


they came second when Jean-Marie Le Pen came second. They are not as far


right as the BNP. Marine has put them -- cleaned them up a bit.


Diplomatically there is a much harder vote which spreads further


across the electorate in France than there is in this country. This is a


much more tolerant country. If Marine Le Pen does well today, she


will not win that many because the centre-right and centre-left will


always gang up against terror in the second round, but it sets the tone


for the European elections. It does and for the next French presidential


election as well. I think what she's doing masterfully is combining a far


right politics with what you might call a far left economic politics.


She's not just picking up votes from xenophobes, she is picking up votes


from who feel victimised from globalisation. They are people who


would be voting for socialists but are put off by the current


president. That is what I do not think the British far right parties


have been able to do. You sort Simon Derby try to tell you that the BNP


are not far right party. I think he was going to say if you look at


issues of protectionism, standing up against globalisation, they are


quite statist. That is where the phrase National Socialist comes


from. That is why a little bit of electoral success is often a killer


for far right parties. They get a few council seats and then they are


rubbish. They are not getting people's bins collected so they


become part of the system that people were voting against in the


first place. Lets go on to the Labour Party. If you are a Labour


Party supporter and you want to be cheered up, you pick up the Sunday


Times where you see a poll where the leader is up to seven points. If you


are Tory Lib Dem and you want to be cheered up, you pick up the


Observer, the left-wing paper, where the Labour leader is still 1%. I


have read in the paper that there is quite a lot of of the record


briefings going on at the top of the Labour Party. Give us a sense of the


mood. Clearly, they are unsettled. One pol looks OK but there has been


a run of polls where there is a lead over the Tories which is closing.


There are worrying number of people who are what are called the 35s and


they are people who thought all the Labour Party needs to do is sit


still because there are a number of Liberal Democrat voters who hate the


coalition. Because the Conservatives did not get through the boundary


changes they needed to win, we can sit tight and it will all be fine.


What a few wise old heads are concerned about is they feel this


has a feel of 1987 about it when the Labour Party was united. They had a


very good leader. The leader was impressive, the party was united and


then what happened? They met the British people and an election. The


British people said, terribly sorry, you are not occupying the party


political territory where we will vote for you. There are some people


from the Blair era who say it feels a bit complacent and there may be a


bit of a shock when they meet the voters. We talk about people being


unsettled but Ed Miliband is not unsettled. His defining


characteristic is you might call it steadiness or you might call it a


lack of agility. He could not respond to the pension stuff in the


budget which was thrown at him. But he's very good at separating the


signal from the noise. They may think this will all change in me.


The Tories may be on the back foot after the European elections. He has


the ability to set the political weather. He did it with the price


freeze. There is no doubt that Mr Davey would not be referring these


energy companies to the competition authorities if it had not been for


that speech by the Labour leader. And we read today he has come up


with another policy which will be attention grabbing to cut student


tuition fees. It is easy to forget that before he announced the price


freeze he was in as much vertical trouble as he is now. I think the


Labour poll lead will expand up to five or 6% by the summer, assuming


the Tories do badly. The question is, is five or 6% enough? Nick


through the analogy with 1987. This reminds me of the Conservatives in


2009/10. You have a steadily sinking poll lead, differences in what


campaign they should be running and personal animosity behind the


scenes. It led to them throwing away an election which seemed to be


winnable. There is an important difference with the 1980s which was


because you did not know when the election would be. Will it be in 87


or 88? They do not need to make up their mind until next year. What


they are telling the pollsters now, we do not like this government


because of course, you do not like the government. But next January or


February they will be making up their minds. Is there a lot of


animosity among the leading Labour figures behind-the-scenes? It must


be personal or tactical because there are not big ideological


differences between them, is there? Yes and no. What is striking is how


little support Miliband gets from the shadow cabinet. He does not have


outriders. That has been a continuous theme. Said he feels he


is on his own? That they feel they do not get support from him. There


was a column by Jenni Russell saying he is distant and detached. And


Andrew Walmsley touched on this in the Observer. One of the divisions


is Ed versus Ed. There is a terrible structural problem between those


two. It is a real problem. Ed Miliband believes Ed Balls has not


done enough to get economic red ability. Ed Balls believes Ed


Miliband is making airy fairy speeches and it will not cut with


the electorate. Neither Mr Cameron nor Mr Miller band took part in the


debate which happened earlier this week between the Lib Dems and UKIP.


We have got another one coming up on the BBC on Wednesday night. Let s


remind ourselves of what happened in last week's debate.


I will ask Nick to open the batting. We are better off in Europe...


Frankly not working any more. A referendum on Europe. I agree with


you. I agree with you. If you can read the small print. Pull up the


drawbridge, pool drawbridge up. . We have 485 million people... It is


simply not true! Not true. Not true. Not true. Identical with Nick. I


don't agree with Nick. Based on facts, facts, the facts, facts, the


facts... Thank God we did not listen to you. The food is getting better


here. Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. You have never had a proper job. Great


not little England. Good night. I think it is seven o'clock BBC Two.


Helen, what was the outcome of that and how do we mark our card for this


week? It was not a great time for pundits. Everybody called the debate


for Nick and then they said actually, we think it has gone the


other way. Consensus emerged later on that Nick Clegg made a difficult


argument. I think the most important thing Nigel Farage said was he


distinguished out the immigration policy by saying we're not just


closing day over, we want people to come, we just do not want mass EU


immigration. That is an important thing for him to say to get away


from the echoes of the far right. I suspect Nick Clegg will not ask us


to read the small print. That was 11 turn he took. It compounded his


reputation for being sneaky. I slightly disagree about the pundits.


I say this as someone who thought far it would win. -- Nigel Farage


would win. The fact that the public disagree with you and the public


favoured Nigel Farage does not mean the public were wrong. The question


is, who is going to tune in for the second one? What is the answer to


that? Phil Collins argument is a man who is on 8% is fantastic. It is a


binary choice in this debate. Clearly they need to brush up on


opposite areas. Nigel Farage needs to brush up on facts and Nick Clegg


needs to brush up on the motions because he did not connect very


well. Where Nick Clegg may go after Nigel Farage is when the -- when he


said the EU has blood on its hands with Ukraine. He then came back to


talk about the vanity of EU foreign policy and said European Union had


made what was going on in Syria worse. It is one thing to say I do


not think the UK should be part of the joint European foreign policy,


it is part of another thing to say that Europe which will act with or


without the UK is responsible for blood on the streets of Kiev and


also responsible for exacerbating the Civil War in Syria. Maybe an


hour is too long for Nigel Farage's shtick? That may be the case but


Nick Clegg has precedence. He does that show and he has had to deal


with the worst thing with dealing with what is thrown at him so he has


honed his view consistently. We will see what happens in part two.


That's all for this week. The Daily Politics is on BBC Two at lunchtime


every day this week. I'll be here next week at the usual time of 1


o'clock. Remember if it's Sunday, it's the Sunday Politics.


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