25/11/2015 The Papers


25/11/2015

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


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the Manchester United game against PSV, and Man City against Juventus,

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and we meet the teenage weightlifting sensation after the

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Papers. Hello and welcome to our look

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ahead to what the the papers With me are Isabel Hardman,

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assistant editor at the Spectator, and Ben Chu, the Independent's

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economics editor. The FT says the government's deficit

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reduction strategy will now depend more on tax rises

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than on further cuts, as the public appetite

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for austerity wanes. The Metro echoes the famous

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declaration of Margaret Thatcher, as it headlines

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Mr Osborne's two policy reversals. The i has the same play

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on the Thatcher quote. The Guardian highlights the squeeze

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on local government, it says councils will see a near halving

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of their central government grant. The Express says the Chancellor's

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protection of foreign aid spending is

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a political gamble when taxes rise. The Telegraph says the U-turn on

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working tax credit marks the end of austerity. The Daily Mail would like

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to know, whatever happened to austerity? We will start with the

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Metro, the Tories are for turning, everyone expected a softening of the

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cuts to working tax credits, not that they would be completely

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scrapped, but he has completely scrapped them, surprised everybody.

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A smart move by the Chancellor, no-one and could pick over the

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details of the mitigation, saying that there is a problem here or

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there. Everyone was so surprised that he had managed to scrap those

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cuts entirely, so even though some people will still be affected by

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lower tax credit payments when they are rolled into universal credit, it

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became a good news story for him. And I think it rectified some of the

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damage that has been done to his reputation, to his character over

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the past few weeks, to have someone saying, I have listened to concerns

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and changed my mind is quite important in politics, particularly

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for George Osborne. He looks reasonable. He had carried on

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resisting those concerns for too long. The 27, 29 billion stuff down

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the back of the sofa, when would he have found out about that? In the

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weeks leading up to the statement. OK, in the weeks leading up to the

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statement, sober for the vote on working tax credits? I am not sure

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of the timing, but the Chancellor generally has good sign of what

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numbers are going into the Autumn Statement, not least because there

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is too and fro between the Treasury and the OBR about what will go into

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the document. You would not have thought before and? Not judging by

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the look on his face when he lost the vote! These headlines are about

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three quarters right, on tax credits, it is a big reversal, on

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public spending, the squeeze will be considerably less than was

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expected, but there is a lot of departments which are still having

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extremely large squeezes, and he will still get this 10 billion

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surplus at the end of the Parliament, and this is something

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that a lot of economists say is not necessary to get the public finances

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on an even keel. They think you only need a current budget surplus,

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excluding capital spending. I do not think we should take this too far

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and say austerity is over, but there will be a lot of public spending

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cuts to come. Let's go to your paper, do the numbers add up? A Venn

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diagram, some kind of diagram, like a wheel with lots of black bits and

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red bits, can we bring that up for the viewers to see? There it is.

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Now, I am going to let you explain this diagram, do the figures add up?

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Well, what you're looking at is a Catherine wheel of a income that is

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the best way to describe it. The red bars are cuts announced today, so

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very big for transport, justice, local government, Home Office. The

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protected departments, overseas aid, health, you can see the bars going

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up, and you can see the pain since 2010, since austerity started, so

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over the full decade you can see how big some of the cuts have been to

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places like transport, business, justice, getting on for 50%, perhaps

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even more. It is really trying to sum up the whole decade of

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austerity, if you like, you can see how uneven it has been, how some

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departments are fared relatively well, others have been hit really

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hard. Some of these departments have a lot of pain to come, local gun

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and, huge difficulty in meeting their social care requirements. --

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local government. Justice, the Home Office, we have not heard much from

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them, but they will be making very difficult decisions in the weeks

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and. But at the same time, it seems as if the leader writers have

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decided that it is the U-turn that is the big thing, if we look at the

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front pages, which means, as you are saying, he comes across as a

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reasonable man who listens to the public, a potential leader. I think

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he has got the headlines he was hoping for four tomorrow's papers,

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but I think the diagram and the headlines illustrate what sort of

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Chancellor George Osborne is. A lot of his critics get him wrong and

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Sadie is ideologically of. He is not, he is politically driven. --

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and say he is ideologically driven. Some departments are big and still

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growing, others have been slashed, and if he were an ideologically

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driven Chancellor, he would have kept going on tax credits, saying,

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you are just complaining and making apocalyptic predictions, as you did

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in 2010. And he would have banked the 29 billion, had a bigger

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surplus. If he continued to play to the image that a lot of people feel

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that he exhibits, of a man who is ideologically driven, obsessed with

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austerity, someone who has got to balance the books at whatever cost,

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no matter how it might affect all mean to ordinary people at there.

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You are saying that it is not who he is. I think that is misunderstanding

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the Chancellor, he is a very strategic man, and the fact that he

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not only announced he would protect police budget at the end of speech,

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so that John McDonnell was scribbling away, and mending his

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response seconds after the Chancellor had sat down, he a

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political Chancellor, not some dry columnist who would like to sit in a

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think tank. He thinks about the next move on the chessboard. My sense is

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that he veers between the pragmatic Osborne that Isabel has been

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describing and the pragmatic Osborne that Isabel has been describing Andy

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Moore the wind in his sales, he thought he could move very hard on

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tax credits. Now he is back in practical mode, and he has tempered

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austerity, done a reversal on tax credits, thinking more

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strategically. He goes between the two, he still has an element of

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ideology, by targeting the surplus, which doesn't really make economic

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sense. It makes some rhetorical sense, because most people think

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that a government's budget is the same as a household budget, and if

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you are not in balance, you are going to go bankrupt, which is not

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true. It worked for Margaret Thatcher! To the Guardian, the 27

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billion U-turn on the front, it talks about councils, Isabel, that

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local councils are going to see their budgets, their central grant

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cut drastically. They will have control over corporation tax, and

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they can raise council tax by 2%, if it is used for social care, but they

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are one of the big losers out of this. Absolutely, and this is where

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we will see real opposition to this, not from the Labour Party, which I

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am sure we will get onto, but from local governments and Conservatives

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in local government included. Today a Conservative leader of the local

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gun and association was stinging about the effect of these cuts on

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local government. We talked about a black hole that they will not be

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able to plug. -- the Local Government Association. He says they

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will be in a great deal of trouble and that services that people rely

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on are going to deteriorate. Now, again, the Tories might say, a lot

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of these people gave dire warnings in 2010, but it is significant that

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Conservative councils are criticising this Spending Review,

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not putting on a show of unity, seriously worried about their

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services. Conservative MPs that I talk to agree about this, they are

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worried in a slightly cynical way that the people who vote will start

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to notice the cuts to services, whereas they have been able to

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sustain some of them because the cuts may have been born by people

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who were disenfranchised already. Very briefly, the Financial Times,

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Osborne swaps axe for taxes, he pivots to the centre, some have

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suggested this is a tax and spend Spending Review and Autumn

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Statement, is that how you see it? There is some element of truth in

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it, a very slight, almost Gordon Brown stealth tax rise by Osborne,

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saying, no, we will bind our hands going into the general, no income

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tax, no VAT but a significant chunk of tax rises in the Budget after the

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election. He has done it again, damp duty is going up for buy to let

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people with second homes. There is going to be various cuts at

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renewable energies games, company cars, lots of things like that. The

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apprenticeships Levy, a big chunk of change will come from that, it will

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hit companies, the OBR think it will be passed on to employees. The

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non-tax-raising Chancellor pads up tax. Who would have thought you

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could compare Gordon Brown and George Osborne? Staying with the

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Financial Times, Isabel, the Labour response, John McDonnell's great

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leap backwards, not the best of days, some would suggest in terms of

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the Labour leadership and how it has responded to the Autumn Statement.

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It is now much easier to compare Gordon Brown and George Osborne than

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Gordon Brown and John McDonnell. It is very difficult for a Shadow

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Chancellor to response to an economic statement, you have seconds

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to decide what you are going to say, scribbling out a bit as the

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Chancellor surprises you. John McDonnell has never done this

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before, but all of that taken into account, his response to the

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Spending Review was very bad today. Labour MPs were ashen faced to begin

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with, because they don't want him to be Shadow Chancellor, but when he

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produced Mao's little red book and started quoting from it before

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handing it to George Osborne as a gift, he could have wrapped it up,

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here is a little gift, you could see all of them sinking down into their

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seats. Actually, journalists enjoy the stories, they are interesting

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and fun, but there is something very sad about what is happening to the

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Labour Party at the moment. You have hundreds of thousands of new members

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who would save they are doing what we believe they should be doing. But

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not what the electorate believes. Ben, very briefly, can Labour

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recover? He needs to put the little red book away and start reading from

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the basic book of politics. If you are going to make a high risk joke,

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make sure it is funny expert well, we are laughing, but not many of the

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Labour Party are, I am afraid. We will look at a few more stories in

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an hour, many thanks for that. Stay with us on BBC News, much more

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coming up, but now it is time for Sportsday.

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