10/02/2014 The Papers


10/02/2014

No need to wait to see what's in the papers - tune in for a lively and informed conversation about the next day's headlines. Presented by Clive Myrie.


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career begins. He is not wanted by his country any more. And there is

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the latest from Sochi. British medal hopes have been dashed by eight

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crash. That is all coming up after The Papers. -- by a crash.

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Welcome to our lookahead to what the papers will be bringing us tomorrow.

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With me are the Deputy political editor of the Financial Times, Beth

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Rigby, and the writer and broadcaster John Kampfner. We start

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with the Independent, each has an exclusive story about the possible

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influence of a lobbying company on the NHS. It claims NHS bosses

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allowed the firm, which was employed by some of the world's biggest drugs

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companies, to write a draft report which could help shape NHS policy.

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The Metro has a pun on the weather situation. The Financial Times has a

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striking photograph, showing the impact of all the floods, referring

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to the claim by Lord Smith, the head of the Environment Agency, that he

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had told ministers massive cuts would hit flood defences. The

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Telegraph has picked up on slightly different comments from Lord Smith.

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It says he has inflamed the situation by telling flooded

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residents they were partly to blame I choosing to live in high risk

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regions. The Prime Minister has waded into the row, according to the

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Guardian, ordering ministers to stop the blame game. Finally, the Express

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features the floods. It says, even Windsor Castle has got a new moat.

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Some of those headlines, trying to have a laugh about all of this! The

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Daily Telegraph, homeowners, you knew the risk, the boss of the

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Environment Agency inflames tensions, it says, by saying anybody

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who buys on a flood plain needs to think about that threat. Does that

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not sound sensible? It does. But insensitive? Yes. The problem for

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Kris Smith I do not think has been the actions of the Environment

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Agency, or necessary his own actions, it has been the

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perception, of which the Cabinet and the government are also culpable, of

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just being a bit too slow and casual. And maybe,

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behind-the-scenes, all of the stuff was happening which should have been

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happening, within the financial and other constraints, but that

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perception was allowed to be built up. But on the specific point, if

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you live next to a river, and a high flowing river, or if you live in a

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potential flood plain, if you are in America, and you live in an

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earthquake zone, on a fault line or whatever, your insurance premiums

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are much higher anyway. So, in that respect, everybody does calculate

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risk. We do it all the time. I was on the Somerset Levels yesterday, in

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Burrowbridge, by the River Parrett, and the people there, they are used

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to flooding, it happens every year, it is part of life. It is the

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frequency of the floods this year is freaking them out. And also, the

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fact that they believe that with the increased frequency, there should be

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increased government involvement and that does not seem to have

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happened. And actually, tonight, David Cameron has cleared his diary,

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off he goes. He now knows that he is in a crisis situation, where he

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needs to be seen to be doing stuff. There was a COBRA meeting today, and

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a flurry of it over to you tonight, apparently. They are cutting the

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cost of flights from Newquay and increasing airport capacity. They

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are centralising the control of sandbags, putting the military on

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stand-by. Because what they are trying to do is actually to get a

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grip on the situation. And what the Daily Telegraph is picking up about

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homeowners who knew the risk is just a sort of inflammatory headline,

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whereby Lord Smith is getting blamed for what is happening. It is a

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situation where there has been a gradual build-up over many weeks, of

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water. It does not help those thousands of people who have got

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three feet of water in their living rooms. What is perplexing is that

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for all of the previous inaction, and Beth has just come out with a

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very good list of measures, but they have been having these COBRA

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emergency committee meetings for weeks. They love the external

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panoply, it sounds terribly military, they do it for

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anti-terrorism, they do it for wars. It invokes a warlike spirit, and the

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attempt is to show that the Government is in control, but on the

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rather than glamorous and basic lists which you have just

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reviewed... We were talking about the foot and mouth crisis earlier,

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which set Gordon Brown, when he first became Prime Minister, and he

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took it on and was at the forefront, and his son the ratings spiked. --

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his poll ratings spiked. He was in a sweet spot. David Cameron knows that

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this is going to put him in a really bad spot, especially if his cabinet

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spends the whole time arguing about who is to blame. E-border not care

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about that now. Have that discussion in a few weeks' time. -- people do

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not care about that. Moving onto this one, Nick Clegg, we would tax

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the rich to clear the deficit. You have just finished a book on the

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super-rich. People got cross last time when I plugged a book! I am

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looking for deep insight into this now. What would the Medicis have

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felt about that? What is interesting is the differentiation. It is

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obviously a policy thing, but it is Nick Clegg saying, not quite lying

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in the sand, but it is saying that there is only so far -- line in the

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sand -- that any government wants to go. This idea that you have to

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always have low tax to encourage enterprise, but at what cost? Do

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politicians really think that if tax rates go from 50 Pete to 40 5p,

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somehow, you are going to stop this mass exodus to Switzerland in

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Cyprus? -- from 50p to 40p. A lot of it is showboating. Nick Clegg is

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making it clear, it is a rehash, but it is very calf early targeted

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insane, -- very carefully targeted, in saying, while using the language

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they like to use, we, the Lib Dems, are different. Lib Dems want to tax

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wealth, not income. That is the point of the mansion tax. It is to

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tax assets, not income. In this story, the Telegraph says, how could

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this affect a possible second coalition deal with the Tories? I

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think the Lib Dems are trying to find five or six key policies to put

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on the manifesto, to say, this is what we are about, which can then

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become their red lines. The fact that he is highlighting the mansion

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tax, something that they wanted to do within the coalition, but they

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could not, because the Tories are absolutely opposed to it, but does

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that mean, what does that mean, for trying to form a coalition, if this

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is Nick Clegg's redline? The Institute for Fiscal Studies last

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week said that the top 1% pay 30% of income tax. Does that explain the

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emphasis on taxing assets, because the rich are being soaked enough as

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it is quick and Mark also, there is a principle, which is, why just tax

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income, why not tax assets? Lots of people come here and have second

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homes and live abroad. -- enough as it is? Why can we not start taxing

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these properties instead of hitting everybody with income tax? The

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problem is, if you are super-rich, if you are in not just the 1%, but

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the 0.1%, you do not own properties in your name, they having credibly

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completed devices, they are not even paying the council tax. The

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extraordinary thing is, you look at those amazing ?70 million apartments

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in Knightsbridge, a lot of oligarchs, they are doing it through

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offshore devices, Cayman Islands, whatever, Westminster Council and

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the others, they cannot get the money.

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The Conservatives would argue with a policy like this that what is unfair

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is that somebody might be a wealthy pensioner, in the sense that they

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have an iPhone that they have lived in all their lives and it has

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appreciated because it is in London. -- nice home that they have lived

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in. They don't have disposable income to pay an extra tax. It is

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interesting. It is a differentiating policy. It will not raise much

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money, will it? Really? It is the same thing with is Labour are going

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back up to 50% tax rate. It is not always just a question of how much

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you can race but how much you will raise by people not disappearing.

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You always get the counterargument against higher taxes by saying that

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everybody will like it too Switzerland or somewhere else. And

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actually for all the huffing and puffing, very few people, very

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little happens. Let's go back to the flooding. The PM says stop the

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flooding blame game. Chris myth of the Environment Agency issued a

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warning to ministers. -- Chris Smith. It concerned the funding for

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the Environment Agency. The FT did an interview late in the day-to-day

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with Lord Smith, and it is on our front page, in which he says that he

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did warn the Government that massive cuts to their budget, the

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Environment Agency budget, would affect their ability to defend the

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against flooding. This goes in direct contradiction to what the

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Government have consistently said over recent weeks, which is that as

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a whole, they have increased spending in this area. Actually the

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independent climate committee, the details are in the FT, but they say

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there has been cut to funding. Lord Smith has actually been slightly

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hamstrung by the fact that he has not been able to put the money into

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flood defences that he would have liked. That comes back to the point

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of don't attack the Environment Agency when you are in the middle of

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a crisis because what actually begins to happen is that he feels

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defensive and said you are partly to blame. Ministers say they are to

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blame and it is very tawdry. You would have thought that Eric Pickles

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would have been brought up to speed with the exact situation with

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funding and the Environment Agency and so on and so forth when he was

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given the job of stepping into the breach to take over from Mr

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Paterson. Which is what the Guardian and other newspapers are quoting. So

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bizarre. Shooting from the hip? If that was the case, why was he not

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briefed? Saying it was all down to Environment Agency and what a bunch

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of bloggers they are. Today it is saying that it is entirely wrong to

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say I have made the slightest criticism of their marvellous work.

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It is ridiculously hammed up. My admiration for the Environment

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Agency exceeds everything. And Owen Paterson, who has gone off to have

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an eye operation, and according to the Guardian was so cross about Eric

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Pickles's attacks on Chris Smith as the Environment Agency, and we had

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two Cabinet ministers fighting each other, Pickles said of Paterson that

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they are two peas in a pod. We are brothers from another mother. What

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is he on about? I heard that as well! A mental typo. We will stop it

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there. You guys will be back in another hour for a look at the other

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stories. Stay with us on BBC News for that. At 11 o'clock we will have

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much more on all the flooding situations and the developing

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situation around the Thames Valley because more rain is forecast. Not

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looking good. Stay with us for that. Now it is time for Sportsday.

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Hello and welcome to Sportsday. I'm Hugh Ferris. Coming up on the

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programme: He won't play T20 for England any more but he will be

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playing in England. Kevin Pietersen re-signs for Surrey for the revamped

:14:40.:14:43.

T20 blast. British medal hopes on day three in

:14:44.:14:45.

Sochi are

:14:46.:14:46.

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