23/10/2011 The Politics Show Scotland


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This week on the Politics Show: where it does this man stand on the


euro crisis? Ed Miliband joins us alive. And on the Politics Show


Scotland, The First Minister Alex Salmond, fresh from firing up the


party, will a pledge to fight full square for independence in the


coming referendum. But will independence light also be on offer


to the Scottish voters - and who is going to tell us what it is? The


First Minister says only full blown independence will deliver for


Scotland and the current alternatives just don't make the


grade. Fiscal responsibility and real


economic power is a legitimate proposal. We could introduce


competitive a business tax and fair taxation. All good and necessary,


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1578 seconds


He raised huge amounts of money for the NSPCC. An excellent example of


corporate responsibility. You said you wanted Cameron in


Brussels and not Australia. But the Commonwealth summit, they will


expect him to produce �6 billion worth of new business. A chance to


engage with India. 53 countries, a modernising agenda. Turning the


Commonwealth in to a 21st century organisation. And you just say, up


viewers. I definitely did not say that. But


when there are crucial decisions be made about jobs and growth in this


country the idea that the Prime Minister can be here to squabble


with his party on Monday but then has to be -- but then cannot be in


Brussels on Wednesday to fight for the country's economic interest is


the wrong choice. Can I ask, on the vote in the House


of Commons, surely the problem is a back support for a referendum.


Surely there is a democratic deficit caused by the Government of


which you where a member saying there would be a referendum on the


European constitution. Then a win that was jumped by the people of


France and Netherlands it came back with a different name. -- when it


was junked. I am very clear about this. You do


not have to pay to play, as you say. Gordon Brown, at an important


summit in 2009, was part of the key decision-making. That is what and


responsible Prime Minister should do. Force at Burton's issues onto


the agenda. I do not accept your comments on the referendum. --


force Bratton's interests. -- Britain's interests. Some of these


issues reflect the way Europe has done business.


Finally, on Libya. We saw Tony Blair and Gordon Brown embrace


Gadaffi. David Cameron has overthrown him. Our congratulations


to you? Definitely. That is why I supported


him. And I am proud that we supported an intervention which was


not an army of occupation but which helped the Libyan people shake


Welcome to the politics show in Scotland. Coming up: the First


Minister, live from Inverness. We will ask, are there no limits to


his referendum options? And a disability campaigners on the


streets fighting for welfare reforms. They say they are enforced


and to poverty and isolation. First, the news. The SNP finance secretary


John Swinney will tell delegates in in a mess that Scotland would


become of the world's richest -- six richest country if it took a


fair share of North Sea oil. Essential argument will be that our


economic prospects are being held back by the union. He will say that


if you give Scotland a geographical share of oil revenues it could be


six richest nation in the world. The United Kingdom would be 16th.


And also on the topic of money the SNP will disclose a legacy of


nearly �1 million from the estate of their late poet Edwin Morgan.


They intended to spend that primarily on the referendum


campaign. The first passenger service -- ferry service sailed out


of Harris this morning heading for Uig. Caledonian MacBrayne had been


accused of ignoring local people who opposed sailings on the Sabbath.


They claim they went ahead with the crossing only after consulting the


local community. A memorial will be held this afternoon to commemorate


the victims of the Clarkston Toll gas explosion for 30 years ago. A


massive amount of gas escaped from beneath the shops and more than 100


people were injured. And the weather, the best of the brightness


over Orkney and the north coast. Mild and a breezy tonight. Winds


reaching a gale force in the north. After the Inverness conference


independence is being shouted from the podium by all the key speakers.


The First Minister claimed the party will campaign a full square


for independence in the referendum. But what is that lurking in the


wings which could muddy the waters? A devolution and Max auction there


may also be on offer. It is proving popular with the general public


according to the polls. Is it an insurance policy for the party or a


big mistake? I am joined now by the First Minister. Thank you very much


indeed for talking to us. There is a slight delay on the line but we


will be able to work that out between us. Well a devolution Max


option definitely be offered to the Scottish public in a referendum?


What will definitely be on the ballot paper is a yes/no question


to independence as spelt out on the White Paper. But I am open to


including a second question that on what is called devolution Macs or


fiscal autonomy. But opponents of that must come forward and give


their detail that we are already providing on independence so that


people can judge on that question also. I am in favour of increasing


options to the people of Scotland. Limiting choice is something that


Westminster politicians do. But from the SNP point of view a yes/no


question will definitely be on the agenda and I will campaign on


favour. When they you talk about giving the


Scots the auctions, and a number of options, when we look at what


Nicola Sturgeon said, she said, fell on nationalists, we have an


opportunity that many have worked hard for over years. A once in a


generation opportunity for independence and it is down to us


to grasp it. Some supporters may believe that by offering fiscal


autonomy you throw away your best chance at gaining independence.


It is in no great surprise. That was the line we took in the last


Parliament. No surprise to anybody. I am just sticking to what was said


during the election campaign. We received an overwhelming election


majority and want to keep faith with the people who gave us it. So


we will bring forward the independence referendum in the


timescale we said during the election campaign. Nicola Sturgeon


was correct to say we are confident about the result. We will have to


work hard but that is something the party is good at doing.


But my point is that most people in the polls support fiscal autonomy.


Allowing that to go forward as a question are lessons are your


chances of full-blown independence. Potentially.


I do not accept that. For two reasons. First of all, I do not pay


attention to opinion polls. But the last two which tested this issue


showed independence in the lead. They also show the SNP in an


extraordinary lead. And we have been here before in Scottish


politics. Their wealth to straight questions in 1997 - do you want a


parliament, on a parliament with economic powers? Lot of people said


that the second question would not be passed but it was a yes/Yes vote.


So why do not believe that this logic of another auction at


limiting people's chances of voting for the first holds up to scrutiny.


It is up to the people of Scotland to look at the choices before them


and vote accordingly. Do you accept that in order to make


informed choices the people of Scotland will have to have far more


details from all of the parties involved about what the options


actually are and their consequences could be?


Yes, I do. That is why the process involves the publication of white


papers. That explains things in great detail. It is a consultative


referendum as it has to be. So we look at the White Paper and Basque


a question based on it. Again, as we did in 1997. There is nothing


innovative about proceeding in that fashion and the Scottish Parliament


is perfectly capable of doing exactly that.


Can you, at this stage, answered all the questions? Scotland's share


of the national debt is �77 million. You will have to keep bond markets


on side in an independent Scotland. Why would they favour a less


austere approach to spending than the Westminster government is fit -


- producing at the moment? They there are two reasons our


fiscal position would be stronger. We have been in a stronger position


even within the confines of the UK during the last five years. People


in the bond markets will pay attention to your immediate balance


when weighing up your indebtedness. And whilst the UK is in debt to one


that trillion of pounds - I will say that again, one that trillion


pounds - Scotland's share would have to be put up again. So the


second thing of the bond markets would look at is what the assets of


a country where in comparison with the liabilities. As John Swinney


will explain this afternoon there are few other countries in the


world which have few -- more assets in terms of oil and gas and other


natural resources than Scotland. Our biggest resource is the


ingenuity and talent of our people. It will because a substantial and


economic success. You are saying that oil revenues


would steady nerves in the bond markets and pay for innovative


programmes. And you are also spoken about a trust fund for future


generations. These are three objectives for won the pot of money.


You cannot have a triple spend on this.


We end you look at the last five the years and take the relative


surplus compared to the United Kingdom, if you had chosen to put


that sockless - instead of disappearing down the whole of the


London Treasury - if you had created an oil fund as the


Norwegians did 15 years ago, it would already be at several million


pounds and the interest would be making a substantial contribution


to the budget balance. -- several billion pounds. The biggest failure


of oil and gas in the United Kingdom in the last four decades


has been that the failure to establish an oil fund as the


Norwegians dead in such spectacular fashion. From small beginnings that


is now worth 300 billion of pounds. But that is my point. You cannot


save it and spend it. That point I am making is that if


you had done that over the last five years - and this was


demonstrated during the election campaign with people showed their


satisfaction with the SNP over five years - if we had put that we would


have a substantial surplus when compared with the United Kingdom.


The interest from the oil fund would be contributing to the budget


balance of Scotland. The lesson of Orwell and pension funds in the


Norway is you can start from small beginnings. -- oil and pension


funds. But from small acorns, mighty oaks grow.


There is a sense that whoever owns devolution of Max, because of its


popularity, would be on the front foot. Is there any way that the SNP


can own independence and own a devolution of Max?


I am not interested in ownership of these things. I am interested any


illegitimate proposal. Whether it is Henry McLeish, Malcolm Chisholm,


a respected Labour MSPs, or the reform Scotland Group, either way,


they must produce a proposition which can be put to the people in a


yes/no question. But is it an insurance policy for


the SNP? People might say that If fiscal autonomy goes through you


are still moving, more gradually, in their direction that you want to


go. Do you see it that way? No. I am saying that I am not


ruling out the options available to people in Scotland but what we said


during the election campaign was that we would bring forward the


independence referendum. We're going to do that. We said we are


open to fiscal autonomy and if that can come forward and a crystallised


fashion I am friendly too often people an auction. My only


requirement is that people get the opportunity to vote for


independence. Apart from that I want to open up options not try to


for close them. Say, hypothetically, fiscal


autonomy wins the day. You are still and a majority government.


How often do we come back to the independence referendum?


I have pointed out any number of interviews that in my view the


independence referendum is once in a generation. Luckily, I think


people will vote Yes and this will be the independence generation.


How should you or MPs to vote tomorrow in the EU referendum


debate. Presumably you cannot vote against a referendum.


The group at Westminster will come to its own mind before the vote.


That is how we work in the SNP. But a very strong argument is that to


vote for a referendum it must have been in your manifesto. The


Scottish Government has legitimacy in putting forward this referendum


because we campaigned for it and won an overwhelming majority. The


trouble with the euro referendum is the only people who stated they


wanted one where the Liberal Democrats. Anybody else put in it


for what is doubt Senate on the people without informing them of it


in the election last year. That is just opportunistic politics. I was


at, incidentally, amused to hear today that there was Sable --


sabre-rattling from William head. He said we could not have a


referendum in Europe because he wanted to concentrate on the


economy. They are in disarray in To clarify and confirm, the


Scottish referendum date - 2014? will be in the second half of the


parliamentary term. It is quite true that the second half starts


and 2014 but we have not specify I think it was to you yourself that I


said in the election campaign we will argue for the referendum in


the second half of the parliament. Having promised that to you and the


Scottish people, I can hardly go back on that. That is why I hope


you would confirm it was 2014 because of that special


relationship but we will have to leave that.


Thank you. Hundreds of disabled people have been gathering in


Edinburgh this weekend to protest against the UK Government's planned


reforms to disability benefits. Campaigners say they're terrified


that proposed welfare changes and forthcoming local authority cuts


will push Scotland's disabled into further poverty, isolation and debt.


Similar demonstrations have been taking place elsewhere in the UK.


Here's Christine Macleod. People with disabilities and the


about proposed welfare reforms. They are fearful that way, more


than any other group, will bear the brunt of government spending cuts.


They are terrified that money will be cut to the extent they have to


make choices between food and heating. Choice is that we do not


expect people do have to take in a civilised state. Protesters here


say it/is the disability benefits could see a lot of money cut over


the next four years. That is before they know what the impact of


forthcoming local authority cutbacks will mean for their care


charges and services. In particular, many worry that changes to


disability living allowance and employment support allowance will


hugely dent their income. DLA is to be replaced by personal


independence payments. A benefit the Government intends to cut by as


much as 20%. 59-year-old Paul McCann from Helensburgh has a


learning difficulty and lives in supported accommodation with is


severely disabled life. He is afraid he will not qualify for as


much money as he did under DLA, forcing him to make tough choices


over what he and his wife can afford to eat. I go, this is my


shopping list. Eggs, milk, soup. Not a very balanced diet and you


cannot live off of cups of tea. year-old David Nicol has cerebral


palsy and lives in supported accommodation in Edinburgh. He


fears the proposed changes will take away his mobility and the


independence that goes with it. They cut the De La so much that it


is impossible for me to have a wheelchair or pay for things. --


DLA. Fears had been heightened they will lose benefits they are


entitled to. The assessment test has been widely criticised for up


rejecting people when the appeals process is later proved them wrong.


It is wrong that two million people have been at written-off to a life


on benefits. That needs to change in people be judged on what they


can do rather than what they cannot. More protests against disability


cuts. This time not in Scotland, but the Netherlands, where they are


cutting care budgets by 50%. Could this be a path more countries are


forced to take in times of austerity.


In the studio we have Pam Duncan from Inclusion Scotland and Andrew


Lowe who is Director of Social Work for Borders Council and also


President of the Association of Directors of Social Work. Thank you


both. I know you're horse because you're on a demonstration yesterday.


When we are looking at this, how significant the you think it is in


terms of disabled people's rights? Disabled people tell us at


Inclusion Scotland this is the biggest attack they have faced in


40 years. They are facing the double whammy of the cuts as they


are disproportionately affected. Not just specific cuts to


disability benefits, such as the 20% reduction of disability living


allowance, but the impact of the Independent living Fund closing its


doors. They are also facing huge impact to the cuts in other areas.


General welfare reform, the housing benefit, and there really genuinely


facing a disproportionate impact on them. When we hear these things and


everybody says they have to take a cut in their budgets, what impact


does this actually have one real people's lives? Disabled people


have been coming together under the banner of the hardest hit because


they genuinely are the hardest hit. We don't have the broader shoulders


to bear the brunt. 47.5 per cent of disabled people live in poverty and


that many disabled people and work have their jobs under threat as a


result of redundancies. The majority of those who do work work


in the public sector and their jobs under threat. For those who don't


work, the majority of disabled people, face cuts in their pocket.


They are terrified of the impact of the cuts. Presumably, and an


intensely competitive job market it is more and more difficult for


disabled people to get work? A lot of the cuts are focused on what


people can do rather than what they cannot. That is the language that


disabled people have used for a long time. We have spoken about


being contributed to society and what we need to get there. The


answer is not to pull the rug from under us. I have seen a statement


from the Department of Work and Pensions that speaks about how much


they spend on disabled people. There are already huge inequalities


in terms of poverty and access to housing. That �40 billion simply


does not cover the genuine experience that disabled people are


having. It is also another message that disabled people cannot


contribute to society and that is something we need to start


challenging. When we look to the funding, there is a statement


amount of money. Do you think it is being used appropriately just now


are could there be more grassroots initiatives? This is the obligation


of this issue. Very few people doubt we need welfare reform


because at the moment that is complicated and not always


equitably distributed. That being said, there is a complicated over


layer of a need to make savings. Sometimes one is used to disguise


the other. If you say to me, is it necessary to make these reforms, I


don't think these reforms are necessary and we should not be


putting a price on the independence of people with disabilities. It is


outrageous. Every local authority is required to promote social


welfare. That is our founding statute and what we have to deliver.


Clearly, there is a challenge but we have to find a way. We will


continue to try to find ways to make sure that we can promote the


independence of people. It is quite interesting that if you don't, what


we're seeing in the English courts, is people going into court and


saying this is not a case of I don't want to do it but I am


obliged under statute to do this. Could we see more of this in


Scotland? A this is clearly an issue that could become a litigious


issues. That would be regrettable. The coalition government in


Westminster has got enormous challenge is to meet. There is a


need for reform but we have to find a way through that does not throw


people back into the 1970s. I was in the House of Lords for the


debate on the second reading of the Reform Bill. Ba and S Campbell,


another contributor to public life in the UK, was saying it my life is


built on stores. If you take them away, it collapses. While


understanding the need for reform, we are passionate about the need to


retain the place of people and control of their own lives and we


have to find ways to do that. that is so intensely political,


will you see Michael Moore? We have asked Michael Moore if he would set


a meeting up with Mario Mullah and disabled people's organisations and


Scotland to talk about the issues so they can hear it from the


horse's mouth. So they can have an understanding of the genuine fear


disabled people are experiencing. I mentioned there is one woman


yesterday so terrified that the cuts being made, as well as the


rise in charges over community care, that she did not want to take her


dog with her to the rally in case someone judged her for it. That to


me is a measure of where we are in society. We have asked Mario Mullah


and Michael Moore to come to Scotland to talk to disabled people


but that has not yet come to fruition. We would invite them to


come to Scotland and talk to disabled people about these issues.


We have to lead that there as we are out of time but we will come


back to it. It set it says here The lovely


Angus Macleod from the Times has been up in Inverness. You are here


because of your expertise in things political. What you think about


devolution Max being on a referendum paper? Good for the SNP?


I think what Alex Salmond is trying to do here is. The way for the


opposition parties. He obviously wants the opposition parties to


embrace some concept of evolution MACS in order to get himself


political cover with his own party, to put it on the referendum.


Whether end of the opposition parties Gaspar embrace that


opportunity is a moot point. One of the problems of evolution Max is no


one quite knows what it is. There are several questions bouncing


around stretching back to the steel commission of 10 or 11 years ago. I


think he probably wants a two option a referendum. The difficulty


Alex Salmond may have is, I was interested in his parallels with


1997, when the death Aleutian referendum that year. The parallel


is not quite right. The first question there was about the


principle of setting up a Scottish Parliament. The second was what


else do you want as well as the parliament? This referendum, he


seems to be going towards two alternatives. Not directly opposed


to each other but certainly two alternatives for voters to choose


between. We are almost out of time, but wherever it goes, we have to be


clear about what the options are. Absolutely, but that is the


opportunity for the opposition parties. They might then be on the


right side of the argument in terms of evolution Max. The SNP have to


tell us what evolution Max's. only that, but people like reform


Scotland and this deal Commission have reduced their own models. It


Political magazine presented by Jon Sopel and Isabel Fraser.

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