06/11/2011 The Politics Show London


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This week on the Politics Show. Late on Friday, I stood outside the


Parliament in Greece watching Papandreou face down his MPs in a


knife-edge confidence vote. He won. Tomorrow, the international markets


will give their verdict. So is this Greek tragedy beginning its final


Does Ed Miliband support the St Paul's protesters here at home? He


says this morning that only the "reckless" would ignore the "danger


signals". And David Thompson is in the skies


over Glasgow. The SNP believe it's time for Scotland to fly solo. But


could a plan to keep the UK in one piece actually have a profound


In the capital, months after it was condemned over its links with


Colonel Gaddafi, the LSE is in talks over a training deal with the


new regime. Could we soon see a new wave of Council House building here


I'll be talking to Labour's Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna.


And to two Scottish political heavyweights: Secretary of State


Michael Moore. And the First Minister himself, Alex Salmond.


Joining me for the whole programme today, Rowenna Davis from The


Guardian. And The Spectator's political editor, James Forsyth.


But first, the news with Adam Parsons.


Good afternoon, The Labour leader Ed Miliband has warned that "only


the most reckless" would ignore the message from anti-capitalist


protesters camped outside St Paul's Cathedral. Writing in today's


Observer newspaper, Mr Miliband says they reflect a frustration in


mainstream Britain about the disparity between people's values


and the way the country is run, as The Occupy protesters have been


camped outside St Paul's for three weeks, causing the temporary


closure of the cathedral and resignations at the top of the


Church. In an interview today, Ed Miliband warned that only the most


rectus would ignore or dismiss the I think the question of whether the


protests day is to be negotiated between the protesters, St Paul's


and the Corporation of London. My point is different, politics has to


recognise that, on this occasion, they may be a few hundred people


protesting at St Paul's, but there are millions and millions who are


thinking, the protesters, is not what I would do, but there are


issues which need to be talked about. Mr Miliband said many would


not agree with the protesters but he warned people let felt -- people


felt let down. The Prime Minister has been more cautious in his


response. Last week he said the Archbishop of Canterbury had spoken


for the whole country when he called for greater responsibility


at the top of society. He also said the freedom to demonstrate does not


include pitching a tent anywhere in London. The banker chosen by St


Paul's to head a group reconnecting the financial with the ethical, has


warned the market economy has slipped its moral moorings with


disastrous consequences. Within the last half hour, the Transport


Secretary Justine Greening has visited the site of the M5 crash


which claimed seven lives on Friday night. The motorway is likely to


remain closed between junctions 24 and 25 near Taunton in Somerset for


the rest of the day. Our reporter Louise Hubball is there.


This police investigation here it is still very much under way, the


police have confirmed to ask no more bodies have been discovered


here overnight, so the number of people who have been killed in this


horrific accident remains at seven. But the police investigation is


continuing, much of the wreckage was removed overnight. All of the


vehicles taken away. There remains an awful lot of debris. Dozens of


officers are still on site sifting through that debris, that


painstaking investigation continuing, to try and pieced


together what has happened here. The police are using a digger to


lift away some of that debris. It has been suggested the M5 will


remain closed until at least tomorrow morning. It seems, from


looking at those images of the motorway surface, that some


resurfacing of that section of that road will need to be done. Justine


Greening, the Transport Secretary, is here, taking a look at this


painstaking investigation, as the police tried to work out how this


accident happened. Holiday companies are warning that the


number of ordinary tourists expected to visit London next


summer during the Olympics could plummet. The European Tour


Operators Association says bookings are down by an average of 90%. It


says visitors are being deterred by inflated hotel prices, and a


misconception that all rooms have been sold to sports fans.


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are to make Kensington Palace their


permanent London home. They'll move into an apartment where Princess


Margaret used to live in two years' time, using other accommodation


there in the meantime. Their new home is being refurbished at the


taxpayers' expense. Palace officials says costs will be kept


to a minimum. There's more news here on BBC One


at 6pm. Until then, have a good afternoon.


It's a great filmic device to start with. A whole bunch of seemingly


separate, disparate events, and then seeing how they all come


together to form a central narrative. This week, a stockbroker


goes bust in New York. Greece teeters on the edge. The IMF moves


into Italy. World leaders gather in Cannes. And a bunch of protesters


sleep in tents at the foot of St Paul's. Ed Miliband has spoken


about the protesters and the fact they seem to represent much wider


concern, do they? Yes, I think they completely and utterly do. Ed


Miliband is right to say they have a right to be there. Actually they


do express a much wider grievance in society. Not everybody wants to


go down there and pitch their tent, that is understandable. For those


who do, they should be allowed to voice their opinion. Ed Miliband is


lucky he believes in politics, that being a politician can help to


solve these crises. But many on the streets feel this is their last


resort, that they're not being listened to. Do you agree?


I don't think anyone can be happy with how the system is working. If


you are in favour of responsibility, you can't be happy with bankers


paying themselves massive bonuses years after the Bank's new brought


down the financial system. These protesters, what is remarkable is


how few people there are when you consider how unpopular bankers are,


how justified people are to fill with their discontent with the


system. We will see David Cameron going back to morally responsible


capitalism. The Chocolate Orange speech was saying, some of


corporate behaviour it is not practical to regulate again, but we


should call up companies who behave badly. Is that enough? It is very


political risk for Ed Miliband? People will be looking at the


protesters, thinking, you are making a mess of our national


monument, what are you doing there? It is tricky timing with


Remembrance Sunday. It would be a gesture to say, we will clear a way


next Sunday and come back. Miliband is saying, I understand


the anger felt by protesters which is also felt by a lot of people in


the country. He is not saying they should carry on or advocating other


people go down there. The other thing, that is what a democracy is


about, we have a right to put our tent down. Yes, sometimes it is


difficult but we have to negotiate. Those protesters are peaceful.


It's been another rollercoaster week for the world economy. Plenty


of ups, plenty of downs. And, like any good roller coaster ride, it


has left many left feeling terribly Home of the film festival,


Hollywood's glittering beau monde. This week, Cannes saw no glamour,


and you can forget Marilyn Monroe, Hepburn and instead, Nicolas


Sarkozy, David Cameron and a bemused Barack Obama took their


place on the red carpet as the leaders of the G20 came to


Croisette. Last week in Brussels, Europe thought they had an


agreement on the Greek bail out but suddenly the Greeks insisted on a


referendum. And we turned from Life Is Sweet to Apocalypse Now. This is


the Madness of King George, a Greek tragedy starring George Papandreou.


He ditched the referendum and had high noon with his Parliament late


on Friday. That country's Long Day's Journey Into Night is far


from over. If Greece is not saved, we will see chaos, an international


banking, good in -- Armageddon. It won't be confined to Greece, the


G20 has an Italian job. The decks in Italy are vast, world leaders


are getting Brassed Off. Two fifths of our exports go to the eurozone.


If they go down like the Titanic, so could we. David Cameron will not


commit to the bail-out but he has agreed to increase what we give to


the IMF which is already �29 billion. So can this disaster movie


have a happy ending? Is there a great escape? Everyone is trying to


do the right thing but there is no Stallone or Bruce Willis waiting in


the wings, and all too easily, tragedy can turn to fast. -- farce.


Labour's Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna is with me.


What difference... You have been saying David Cameron should have


done more. With Ed Miliband, how would it have been different at the


G20? I would ask you to contrast the approaches of Alistair Darling


and Gordon Brown. But that was a banking crisis, not eurozone.


is also a financial crisis. What I am try to do is illustrate to the


leadership which is needed. Gordon Brown was ridiculed for chartering


a plane, encouraging world leaders who were not that it -- intending


to attend, locking them in a room and insisting that the details of


the agreements were discussed. it can't be the case David Cameron


could be in the driving seat, dealing with the eurozone crisis,


when Britain is not part of the eurozone and decisions? We are


uniquely placed, partly because we have the city, the major financial


services centre in the world. There is a role there for the country to


play. On a wider level, it is not just a failure of leadership on the


part of the Prime Minster and Chancellor, but across the board.


We're not clear run the details. I looked at the communique which


spoke about an action plan for growth in jobs with a focus on


youth unemployment. What is the gunmen doing here to tackle youth


unemployment which has passed 900,000? What would Ed Miliband and


Ed Balls do? We would be instituted a feature jobs find scheme to get


people back into work to make a real difference.


Let us look at the other specifics. Danny Alexander has been speaking


to the BBC, talking about the ceiling of what could be the


contributions of Britain to the IMF. We thought the maximum it could be


without going to Parliament was a �20 billion. Danny Alexander spoke


about �40 billion. We need a detail. It is usual practice after a summit


like this for the Prime Minster to come to the Commons to give the


details which is what we need. We are not very clear from what Danny


Alexander said this morning what the commitment would be. It is


important to state that what we do here, we stand behind the IMF. And


we guarantee its funds. One of the things Christine Lagarde said on


Friday was that she had been given an assurance by the world leaders


that she would be given all necessary resources. What does that


mean? We need the Prime Minster to come to Parliament and explain this


to us and if he does not we will be asking the Speaker to make sure.


I am sure there will be a statement. What if it is said we do not need a


boat, because of special instruments? This is a


controversial area. Effectively, that money by a back door go


towards the euro zone. The key thing for us in relation to the IMF


is, it isn't the job of the IMF to step in and perform the function of


the European Central Bank, and the bail out fund. IMF funds are there


to help individual countries which are facing solvency crisis, not to


Should they ECB be the Llanddarog last resort? You would expect that.


So he will be able to earth persuade Angela Merkel that?


asked if the European Central Bank should perform the role of a


central bank in Europe. That is what it should do. You're asking if


Ed Miliband would be able to instruct Angela Merkel... You have


made play over the last couple of days about the failure of


leadership. I'm interested if you think that Ed Miliband would be the


one to quash her over the head and changed her view? It isn't about as


quashing any of our counterparts over the head. What we want them to


come forward with is a solution. As you said in the lead-up to this


discussion, this has a massive effect on our economy. It isn't


just that a large amount of traders are in the euro-zone, the banks had


a certain amount of exposure as well. The Robin Hood Tax, the Tobin


tax, the transaction tax on banks, whatever you want to call it. You


are in favour? In principle, we like it. But it has to be something


done on a global basis, in particular, the Americans need to


be involved. Otherwise, it would leave the city exposed and it would


not achieve the aim we wanted to. What about if the European Union


pressed ahead and it wasn't global? That would hit Britain hard? That


is why we are saying it needs to be buy into it. Ed Miliband's comments


about St Paul's Cathedral and the protests this morning, would you go


down and join them? Well, I'm not sure it is a question of whether I


would go out there and drawing them or not. I think there is a bigger


issue. What they demonstrate is an unease with the situation that we


find ourselves in. Do you support them? Well, I don't think it's a


question of... It's a straight question! Do you have sympathy with


them? It's not a question of whether rise support or sympathise.


The challenge for politicians is to answer the questions they are


raising and address the concerns people have. What I would say is


that they represent a growing unease, which has felt across


families and businesses in the whole of the country. They don't


have a monopoly on that anger about the system that we have at the


moment. The question is, what are the answers we are going to come up


with? Did people let me to sit inside a tent? No, they elect


politicians to come up with the solutions to the problems they face.


99% played by the rules, the one presented use that. That seems a


little simplistic. The do you think the 1% includes the politicians


that have spectacularly failed to regulate the banks, who have bailed


out the banks without restrictions, does that include people from the


last government? Well, you're asking me whether that... Are no,


in your opinion. Does the 1% include the people that set up the


regulatory system that failed, that let the banks run riot? I've no


idea whether that is the perception. Do we have a responsibility? Over


our time in government, should we have better regulated the banks? Of


course. We have said that. We have to accept responsibility and I am


happy to do that. I think we should be humble enough to do that.


issue I am most interested in at the moment is whether Labour is


going to let the Conservatives get away with what seemed to me as a


massive failure in Cannes. Similarly, billions of pounds of


British taxpayers' money is now going to be going into the IMF, to


effectively bail out the eurozone. We didn't benefit from the euro, at


the same time we are going to be paying for them. Don't you think we


need a vote on this issue? As I said earlier, let's see the details.


At the moment, we don't know what we are being asked to vote for. The


number one concern people have in this country is the lack of growth.


We have had 0.5% growth as a result of government policies over the


last year. The worrying thing is that this is before you have


factored in the effect of the euro- zone crisis on our economy. We have


to leave it there. Now, six months ago the SNP won a stunning victory


in elections for the Scottish parliament. They crushed Labour in


its heartlands and wiped the Lib Dems of the face of mainland


Scotland. It has promised to hold a referendum on independence in


Scotland at some point commands some people already have the


anniversary of the battle -- Battle of Bannockburn circled in their


diaries. They would like to just be a straight yes or no. But there is


another option, it's called devolution max. Some people would


like that on the ballot paper as well. We sent David Thomson home to


Glasgow to find out more. Not much beats the duty of the


Scottish landscape, even just a few miles outside of Glasgow. The


political map is pretty fascinating as well. There is a real


possibility that Scotland will reinvent its relationship with the


rest of the UK with a referendum on independence. The SNP insist that


it is time to fly solo. But there is another option on the table. It


is called devo max. The idea is that Scotland remains in the UK but


is given tax-raising powers and responsibility for virtually


everything apart from defence and foreign policy. It keeps the Queen


and it keeps the pound. It is not independence, but it is pretty damn


close. That is why it is controversial. This is essentially


the maximum amount of powers we can have in terms of devolution. It's


also the ability of Scotland to raise taxes in Scotland to pay for


the services that we provide. I fear that if we don't have an


alternative to independence in the form of some kind of fiscal


autonomy, devo max, then I think the SNP will continue to do well. I


believe this keeps us in the Union, but it also means we transform the


relationship of Scotland within the Union. It also means that Scotland


will travel much further down do devolution road. You might expect a


former First Minister of Scotland to want more powers for Scotland.


But what about the view from London? There are some English Tory


MPs that are up for devo max, but with strings. If the Scottish


people want more physical autonomy, as a democrat I find it difficult


to see that is something we can object to. But it has to be honest


and fair to the rest of the Union. That means ending the current


subsidy that the Scots get, which is arbitrary and unfair because it


is not linked to the rest of the country. We also have to deal with


Scottish MPs in Westminster voting on issues that affect every voter


in the country apart from their own. Some people think that is a trap


for Scotland. You can negotiate for more powers, but you've got to


understand that if you take some of the good things, if you want to get


the oil revenues, then you've also got to accept that there is a huge


spending imbalance. England would rightly say, we are not going to


carry on with a situation where spending per head in Scotland is so


much greater than in England. That has consequences. Once you open the


door and start looking at these issues, there are some difficult


questions and they have got to be answered before people go to the


polls, not afterwards. At the moment, the Government is pushing


through the Scotland Bill. It gives the Scottish parliament the power


to raise as much as 35% of its own revenue, mostly through a Scottish


rate of income tax with the rest coming in a block grant from


Westminster. It falls short of devo max. So, how much appetite for


change is there in Scotland right now? And how much do people really


want devo max? In an exclusive poll for the Politics Show we found that


Scottish public opinion is pretty evenly divided. 29% said they


wanted to keep things as they are. Almost the same number supported


full independence. The most popular option was devo max, 33% wanted


increased powers, short of independence. But this is not just


about Scotland. Devo max would be a fundamental change to how the


United Kingdom as a whole is governed. Our polling suggests that


England may not be ready for it. There, the most popular option was


to keep things as they are. Interestingly, almost a quarter of


our England sample thought that Scotland should go it alone.


However, devo max, full powers short of independence, was only


supported by 14% of those in England. That could be a problem


that that was the option chosen by Scotland. Devo max is actually UK


federalism. Scotland cannot impose that on the rest of the country.


Neither should we. Can you imagine the outcry in Scotland of the


English people wanted to impose a form of government on Scotland


against their wishes? There is nothing to stop the Scottish


government holding a referendum. But only Westminster has the power


to make it binding. Scotland can demand what it wishes to demand. At


the end of the day, it can't expect to get everything and anything it


wants. There must be negotiation. The rest of the big -- United


Kingdom must be involved. So devo max is perhaps a messier option


than either status quo or independence. The SNP's referendum


is not planned to happen for at least another couple of years. The


Unionist parties have yet to formulate a response. The questions


it raises means that this is a pressing issue, not just for


Scotland's political landscape but for Britain as well.


The Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore joins us now from


Edinburgh. Thank you for being with us. Do you support devo max?


support Scotland continuing within the United Kingdom. As a Liberal


Democrat in the coalition government, I am delighted to be


piloting more powers for Scotland through Westminster so that we can


give the huge economic powers that your report pointed out. But we


would retain Scotland firmly in the UK. That interest in poll shows us


that the demand for independence is actually still at the historical


levels it has been, and declining. In Scotland, the debate is moving


on. People are beginning to worry about the possibility of a rigged


referendum. If more powers was the choice of the people of Scotland,


if independence got a majority of 51%, more powers 90%, that we would


somehow become independent. It feeds into uncertainty that people


are concerned about. In the business community, as we saw what


Citigroup, and their big warning about the investment in renewables.


Let's go back to my question, do you support devo max? You say that


you support your party in the Scotland Bill, you don't want


independence, we know that. Would you like to see home rule for


Scotland with a full tax-raising powers and only foreign affairs and


defence dealt with by Westminster? As a liberal, I have supported home


rule for as long as I have been a member of the party. My party is


continuing to develop what home rule means in a modern context.


We're working through that at the moment. Wait a minute. The point is


that, over time in Scotland, while we have developed our thinking


about devolution, we have developed the idea is on numerous occasions.


We have then sought to get common ground and consensus with other


parties, with business, trade unions, civic Scotland. Then, when


we've got the mandate, we have legislated. At the moment, with


respect to your poll, many people oppose the idea of devo max. It is


ill-defined. It is something the First Minister talks about, without


telling us what it means. That's not surprising, he doesn't tell us


what independence means. Until we get that clear, the people Scotland


can't be expected to make an informed decision. If you could


clarify, would you like to seek a question about that on the ballot


paper? What the Scottish people want is a clear choice. They got


their mandate to bring forward a referendum. But they haven't spelt


out the details of when it will come and what it will be about. I


think the critical thing with growing uncertainty in the business


community, with people worried about a rigged referendum is that


we get a clear question, a decisive answer and then we can get on with


focusing on what people want us to focus on, the future of jobs and


economy. We heard in that film that has will maybe be 2014, the date of


the referendum. Ruth Davidson, the new leader of the Conservatives,


has said that it Alex Salmond is not going to tell us, London and


Westminster should decide when it should be. Would you support that?


This is a matter for the First Minister. He is the one that


brought forward the proposition. He has been very sketchy about the


details of what he will do and when. We need to get that clarified. We


have repeatedly asked for details of the referendum to be spelt out,


for us to see a draft bill so that we can see what is proposed. My


priority, as a double Democrat, we are reducing taxes for hard-working


families across the country. We are trying to sort out the economy in


the context of the terrible problems in the international


economy. Meanwhile, we have uncertainty about what question


will be asked and when. We want to see it sorted. The First Minister


can do that. If devo max came about, you can get as far as you can go


without devolution without having full independence. Doesn't the West


Lothian question become even more acute? How can Danny Alexander the


ruling as the Chief Secretary for Britain, for England, when in


Scotland, in his constituency, next to no one will be affected? I don't


think there is dispute anywhere in the UK that we need to look at the


constitution of the whole United Kingdom. That, as a coalition


government, is what we are doing with the coalition on the West


Lothian Commission, question, Surrey, and we are looking ahead.


Once the finances are sorted out, we are looking at how we are


allocating funding around the United Kingdom. The comments in


your report are increasing something very important, that devo


max is about the UK at as a whole. Let's hope the whole of the country


is involved in that debate. Alex Salmond joins us now from


Aberdeenshire. Thanks for being The First Minister of Scotland Alex


Salmond joins us now from Aberdeenshire.


It is a wonderful day here. What did you make about the poll


findings which suggest of the three options possible, independence is


the least popular? The one thing you can tell from the


opinion polls is in every single poll, the support for independence


is increasing. One month ago, with a straight question on yes or No to


independence, we got a majority of support for independence. But your


poll says that the vast majority of people, 2-One, want to go much


further than the Tory liberal coalition at Westminster are


proposing. The appetite for change in Scotland is substantial and it


is growing. You talked about that other poll, what was the sample,


wasn't it 180 people only? No, I am talking about the Scottish poll in


September which asked the question, do you support independence and it


got majority. Unlike your poll by the same organisation which did not


include all the options which gave that spread. Even your poll


indicates that the vast majority of people in Scotland want far more


economic power than the UK government is suggesting. I support


independence but I also support the choices of the people of Scotland.


I am not going to join the Westminster band like Michael Moore


who want to foreclose on people's choices. When will you answer those


questions Michael Moore set out about when the referendum is going


to be and what the questions are going to be? We campaigned in the


election, and said we would have a referendum on a straight question


of independence and it would take place in the second half of this


parliamentary term, with the option of asking a question on the devo


max and financial responsibility. In response to that time scale, we


got the most overwhelming mandate in Scottish political history, an


absolute majority in a proportional representational system which had


been designed to stop that have been. Having promised the people to


hold a referendum on that timescale, why would I go back on that now and


take orders from the Tory liberal coalition at Westminster? The


people in Scotland are in charge of this process. A bit people do vote


for independence, what would be the currency? We would keep stirring


until such time it was an advantage to move elsewhere -- sterling.


you still want to join the euro? There are good arguments, but only


when it is stabilised and to Scotland's economic advantage and


with the support of the people in a referendum. Until such time, then


we do not move. The driver for economic independence is about


controlling the fiscal powers and resources of Scotland. That is the


argument in economic terms. There are many arguments on the economy,


and beyond, on a fair and just society. We read in the newspapers


about public sector strikes. Say you got independence 10 years


ago, you would now marked correction that -- you would by now


be part of the euro. RBS would be up in flames, with huge collective


liabilities. Scotland would be in a worse state. Or in a better state


than the UK, like Sweden, Finland, but incidentally, maybe we would


have regulated our backs better, not like Westminster. Maybe we


would be joining in with the International Committee to


stabilise finances. If Scotland became an independent


country, we would be the 6th most prosperous country in the OECD. Not


just because of oral and gas resources. -- oil. Scottish


renewables are also at a massive source of wealth.


One of the interesting things here is, would you accept if devo max


came in, you would need for fiscal autonomy and the only money spent


in Scotland would be the only money raised in Scotland?


Yes, the whole principle of devo max is you raise all funds in


Scotland and are in charge of all expenditure. If you have for


financial and fiscal responsibility, it replaces the current formula. We


would be hoping for your advocacy and support. If... English people


are pretty supported -- supportive. If they are really so concerned, in


terms of subsidised Scots, why are they not fully supporting the


campaign for financial independence?


I want to ask who can vote in the referendum? You have taught about


the Scottish nation. While Scottish people who live in England or


abroad be able to vote? The mandate is from the people


resident in Scotland, and includes people who are abroad but


registered over the last 10 years. It is the taxation base of Scotland.


It is whether you are contributing to Scotland as a country,...


what about overseas voters? We do have registered overseas voters at


present. This is not unusual or different. That is the basis on


which we have a referendum on devolution in 1997. There is no


real argument about that. Just as in other elections.


The bank you very much. -- thank you very much.


A little later in the programme, viewers in Scotland can hear what


the new leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson makes


of all that. For all of us, it's time for the Politics Show where


Welcome to the London Politics Show. Coming up later, will new financial


powers for local authorities revived Council House building in


the capital? First, the reputation of the London


School of Economics took a serious knock with its links to Colonel


Gaddafi and his family and regime were revealed, leading to its


director resigning. Did that all lead to a severing of the colleges


links with Libya? No, in fact, there have been talks with the new


regime about reinstating a training programme for civil servants.


Seven years ago, Britain decided it would be better to beat with Libya


than not. It was not just Labour who embraced this co-operation. The


LSE also made friends with Colonel Britain played a role but in the


end this is what the Libyans did themselves. Colonel Gaddafi was out


enemy again and back in London. Two of the university's leading light


resigned. We have learnt the LSE has met with a loo -- the new


The there are concerns about their willingness or ability to stop


human rights abuses by anti- Gaddafi forces beside -- despite


condemning them. Eyebrows have been raised about the


fact the LSE's main contact with the regime was with Mahmoud Jibril,


the man who brokered the original deal. Gaddafi was just a figurehead,


it was Mahmoud Jibril who gave the money. It is very odd, the whole


thing. Just typical of the worst kind of academic, self serving, the


worst kind of materialism. The LSE Could it be that the LSE's rush to


enter into talks may worsen the Joining us, Lukas Sothus from the


LSE student union. Robin Lamb. Were the LSE wrong in


providing this training for civil servants under the Gaddafi regime?


I do not think they were wrong, no. Questions that troubled the LSE


management and led to the resignation were more about the


acceptance of funding from the Gaddafi foundation run by Saif al-


Islam Gaddafi. I think that is the real problem. It was worth �2


million, you do not think that part of the relationship between the


Libyan administration under Gaddafi with the LSE was a problem? I do


not think so at all. I think the whole policy of normalisation which


you should have mentioned, is in the interests of Britain and the


whole of the world. It was to try to normalise relations and there


were beneficiaries from this which were not necessarily part of the


Gaddafi regime but the ordinary people of Libya.


For given that, the former director and senior academic recognise the


closeness of the links and relationship had become


embarrassing and controversial, leading to their resignations. Are


you surprised to see so soon, with the new regime, that discussions


have started again about resuming links? As I said, adding up in the


embarrassment should strictly have been about the course itself. It


was more to do with the money taken from the Gaddafi Foundation. I am


not at a ball against resuming discussions now up and I hope


others will resume discussions with the new Libyan of a tease. They


have had a revolution and need to build a new society and economy.


There are a lot of good people in Libya and they deserve our support


and the way to give that is through engagement.


Do you have a problem with the opening discussions with the


opponents, the new regime? The LSE is an educational institution, it


is not a front for British foreign policy. Our universities should be


wondering, did we go too far in these relations with Libya. And we


talk about a new regime but there isn't a new regime in place, it is


a transitional council. There have not been democratic elections yet.


It is too rushed to engage in these deals. Robin Lamb says there wasn't


a problem with the training provided for a civil service for


government managers. If the National Transitional Council wants


to turn into way government, it needs to get training from places


There are many ways that Libyans will servants can get support from


the international community. Our institution is an academic


institution. We are not here to support or go against British


foreign policy. That is not what we should be concerned with. Rather


than taking a stance in Libya, we should follow what was said at the


time. The late scholar Fred Halliday said this is extremely


problematic. It is not worth the risk. If they are coming to the LSE


for its expertise, to provide a trained civil service to insure


transition and stability in that region, that's got to be a good


thing? As I say, our institution is not run on the principles of


providing executive education. It is provided on the basis that you


apply to university, if you get admission then you go to university.


I have spoken to plenty of Libyans at LSE, and there are lots of good


Libyan people out there. But I think it is problematic for the


institution. Given a history, given the track record of our institution,


mired in so much controversy worth Sheikh Said, Satoshi Kanazawa, the


academic that was in trouble last year. We have heard some emerging


concerns about human rights abuses, potentially about the way that the


law could develop. Don't you think at least the LSE has been very


hasty in rushing into discussions, or looking like it might be


interested in doing a new deal, with the new Libya? I think it will


take time for any negotiations on any business relationship to come


to fruition. It will be bound up with the formation of the new


government. There are certainly a time to start those sorts of things.


As you said earlier, it is very important to support the


Transitional Council and the creation of the new government,


which will take up to 24 months. The last thing we want is anarchy.


On the human rights issue, I agree. They have been distressing


violations on the side of the revolution. It has been a


revolution. People's emotions have got high and that has carried them


through against the regular forces. But it is more the position of what


the Government has said, which is that it has undertaken to stop


human rights abuses and to investigate those that have already


been carried out. Robin Lamb in Brighton, thank you very much


indeed. 30 years ago, Margaret Thatcher


took away many council freedoms to build new homes and decide what to


do with the money from rents and sales. From last -- from next year,


much control over local housing finance is being restored to


councils. A new report, commissioned by London Council,


says the reforms could allow them to build a significant number of


new homes for the first time in decades. We asked Michael Collins,


who made a documentary on the history of housing, to assess what


Castle Housing was introduced over a century ago to address the


housing conditions of the working classes. Most notably in those


darker streets of London, that were considered to be slum-like and


unfit for human habitation. This estate, the Redbrook estate in


Westminster, is one of the first to be built, just down the road from


the Houses of Parliament. Council housing is again on the agenda to


address the current potential housing crisis. In the 21st century,


who is council housing for and what should it look like? This question


of who it is for came up in the 1970s. It had largely been for the


working classes and all that. Back row. But the Labour government


brought in legislation in 1977 that made the homeless a priority.


Suddenly, council housing was allocated on the basis of need.


This created a system that was open to abuse. In the mid-70s, it was a


state like this in south-east London, as well as Broadwater Farm


in Scotland and nearby North Peckham estate. They were meant to


exemplify everything that was good about council housing. Very quickly


date became defined or stigmatised by crime, dysfunctional behaviour


and dilapidation. So, how is council housing to be allocated in


the 21st century? I put the question to the Government minister


responsible. It is for any body that needs it, for as long as they


need it in their time of need. I think it should be there as a


springboard for people to meet their own aspirations. Quite often


in this country, people would like to own their own homes, we should


enable people to do that when they want to, have decent quality


housing available when they don't want to. We need to ensure that


social housing, which is limited by its very nature, is at least going


to people that are genuinely vulnerable and need that support.


But you have got a situation that is different from the past. You


have people that can't get onto the property ladder and you've got


people renting in the private sector. You've got this need for


council homes as well. That goes across the board in somewhere like


London, it is cross class, people of all different professions. How


do you create a system based on need in that situation? You have to


start with a six. Why is housing so unreasonably expensive in this


country? Until we solve that problem, until we have housing on a


long-term, sustainable footing, and when I used the word affordability,


I don't just mean full council tenants, I mean for everybody, then


we will not start to solve the problems. It goes beyond housing,


it is the social and economic issue of having housing taking up too


much of people's monthly expenditure. This is key to the


history of castle houses. Two of the things that do find it were


affordable rents and assured long- term tenancy. Do you see that


applying to council housing in the future as well? Do I think we've


got a much more mobile population. In which case, we need 21st century


housing that achieves that goal. If we can do that as well by having


flexibility. I don't think we are going to go back to monolithic


estates. Maybe they were right for their time, in many cases they


weren't even right then. I think we can live in a country where we have


different kinds of houses, but there is no plaque outside saying


that this is a social house, this is a home that has been purchased.


They can look and feel very similar. 100 years ago, this street in


south-east London would have been filled with tanneries and pubs,


workshops and factories. It was an urban, working-class neighbourhood.


Now you can see how much the demographic has changed. I feel


quite passionate that council housing has a place in London, in


the future. But I think it needs to move away from the kind of council


housing that came up in the 60s and 70s. These expansive estates that


were supposedly homes for the 21st century. But after 30 or 40 years


there have been demolished. I think it needs to return to the original


ideas of council housing at the beginning of the 20th century, the


end of the 19th century. Estates like Millbank. In order to go


forward into the future, I think that council housing needs to look


to the distant past. Joining me now are a councillor


from Lambeth Council, speaking for London Council, the organisation


representing London authorities today. Eileen Short is the chair of


Defend Council Housing. In their local Istanbul, local authorities


having restored to them the rights to spend more of the receipts from


rent and so on, how important could that be? The bitter positive change.


For many years we had a system that wasn't very transparent and only


made sense to a handful of people in the country. The Government


collected rents, it awarded a subsidy to local authorities based


on a notional debt figure. It was completely incomprehensible to most


people. It was done on an annual basis. Tenants were not able to


understand how finances was spent. The change that was first


introduced by a Labour government, in its last year, and I'm pleased


to see it has been adopted by the Conservative government, it enables


us to see what we can do over a 30 year period. It enables us to


borrow money that we could then invest in our council stock. We


could also use it to build council homes. That will vary from bar to


borough. In general, it is very positive. Is it nailed down, the


details of how much you can borrow and from where? Are there limits on


it? It is not all signed on the dotted line. One of the key things


I want to get across today is that we are signing up to a 30 a


programme of financial management, which is great, because it enables


us to work with tenants to assess what their needs are. That is very


important. But you can't suddenly change the resources. In Lambeth,


one of the key bits of the package is the decent homes money. The


Government has reduced that to two fifths of what we need and what we


were promised by the Labour government. It is critical that we


get that money so that it stacks up. Realistically, a crowded city, it


is expensive to build as well. Realistically, what can we see


happening? What effect could it have on waiting-lists? Hold on, I


don't think that freedom, in itself, will necessarily generate a huge


new council house building programme. It will enable some


local authorities to do that. Other local authorities, such as the one


I represent, will be putting a lot of the money into bringing up two


ladies and standard the homes that we've got. Let's hear what Eileen


Short thinks of this. Do you think it has been overstated? Is this


somehow going to lead to a revolution or a resumption of


serious housebuilding, providing enough housing for the people that


want it? The 5 million people on housing waiting lists, I think we


definitely need a big programme to build more council houses. We need


1 million new council houses nationally over the next five or 10


years. The problem, I think, with this package is that it has been


set up to fail. We have already, in face of what they call self


financing for councils, we have got councils saying that they are going


to demolish over 1000 homes to reduce their debt. We've got


Barking and Dagenham council saying they might privatise all of their


council housing. This is all because it has been set up to fail


because there is not enough money being put in. But local authorities


make decisions locally about how much they can afford to borrow,


what they need. That's got to be a good thing, to take central


government out of the equation? Well, what the Government is doing


is continuing the robbery of rents and the receipts from the sale of


housing. It is building that into the debt figure, which they are


dumping of local authorities. Even according to the Government's own


research for self financing, the money that they need to put in to


make this really sustainable for council housing, which we were


promised, is about double what they are putting in. Is that right? The


debt is being dumped on you? I do think that there are challenges in


the model. But I do think it is an improvement from where we are at.


Do we think that by giving councils the ability to be able to borrow,


the ability to be able to manage their resources, they will be able


to do a better job than national government? Yes, we do. But I don't


think all of it will hinge on a council building programme. One of


the key things is, and it has been hyped as such than it shouldn't


have been, we have a big crisis in London with the availability of


housing. Over the last 10 years, waiting lists have increased by 80%.


That is a huge demand and it is not going to all come from council


house building. It also needs to look at things like housing


associations. What I am concerned about is the way that the


Government has changed the way housing associations are able to


gold. They are making it more likely that it will be tough for


them in future. Some of the welfare reforms are going to have a


devastating bat... We will be returning to this agenda. Thank you


That is all we've got time for this week. We've heard a lot recently


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