04/12/2011 The Politics Show South


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Here in the south: that was the week that was. The Autumn Statement,


the public sector strike at the MP's assistant clear there being a


Russian spy. And were asking of were any better prepared than one


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fight China Joe to become a Vice- Lord. How do you think that makes a


younger I feel? Man, China due just told me to stand down. Sitting here,


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hugging and creamy macro. White micro how you doing, son? Sion


macro into raptures, even though their intentions are more ball and


they did, sometimes want always score but it the right way. They


are not in the streets any more. You can't take law in your own hand.


You can't. As an interrupt her, that has been one of her greatest


challenges. Re macro with violence and weapons we have to use the


threat of violence to mediate a conflict. This is where the robber


makes the road, because, in reality, you cannot mediate conflicts


without confrontation. Reina Gros he left me a voicemail. Me macro I


got a call, Garry I met in jail die I met in jail. He said he's got


since the police Query macro he's doing a legal thingscorner. Said


the police kicked his door in, not through his brother, put handcuffs


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house. He is looking for them he is looking for them. Been done no good


to have us around here. Look Broddle there are look... White


mackerel make, but if you, you got to bring it on. These mother


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already know how I get in. I'm sorry they should know better,


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My name's Peter Henley. Harold Wilson said a week is a long time


in politics - and if you go by how much got packed in, this last week


has felt very long. We had the autumn statement - we'll be talking


about that later. We had the public sector strike - we'll be talking


about that later. And as the weather started to take a chillier


turn, we had questions about whether we're better prepared this


year for a big freeze - we'll be talking about that later. But first,


the Chancellor's autumn statement. Aside from a few roadbuilding


projects and an improved railway line between Oxford and Bedford,


there didn't seem that much to help rev up the so-called engine of the


economy here in the south. But maybe our guests have spotted


something that will. John Denham, so it under a Labour MP, the leader


of Portsmouth City Council, and, Burns, Bournemouth West,


Conservative MP. There is a scheme in Portsmouth that is getting a lot


of money. Is that evidence of projects that will create growth?


Yes, there is �20 million coming from Government and �13 million has


to be found by the council to open up an area that has been derelict


of the motor way, for redevelopment. We think we will get 1200 homes,


1300 jobs, so a good proposal in an area that has been derelict for


many years. Corer burns, what have you spotted? This is about


delivering for Britain. This is about the Government in very


difficult times trying to release money, so that when growth comes,


the British economy will be in a better position to take advantage


by having improved railway, roads and broadband. We are in very


difficult circumstances with what is going on in the eurozone on our


doorstep, it is not going to be quick, but it is about preparing


but in so that when the economy picks up, the infrastructure is


improved, to enable businesses to take advantage. It feels like a


finger in the dyke when you hear about Mervyn King talking about the


situation with the eurozone. situation is worse than it should


be. One year ago the Chancellor said that if we make deep cuts


quickly in public expenditure we will get more growth and jobs and


we'll get borrowing down. What we have been told this week is that


unemployment is going up, inflation is up, and, far from reducing


borrowing, the Government is going to bore or �158 billion more than


it said one-year record -- to borrow. The Government has got the


central question of the economic strategy wrong. We need people in


work, to pay taxes, to get the deficit down. Youth and -- youth


unemployment improved massively under the last Labour government.


We will be spending more at the end of the Parliament in real terms


than the were at the beginning. Even if we have not eliminated the


structural deficit will not repay any of the national debt that has


accumulated in recent years. Do country was told when you recall,


do this in public expenditure. up with these cuts and unemployment


will come down. He said the corner we will grow, and we will reduce


there might we have to borrow. One year later, all three of those


things are wrong. We did not know that the eurozone would be in the


shambles that it is in. The British economy performed worse than all


but three eurozone countries. When you see projects like the one you


described in Portsmouth, who is paying for it? Low-income working


families. Decisions taken this week mean that a family on the minimum


wage will lose a week and-a-half's worth of wages. It is surely wrong


of the Lib Dems and the Tories to single out families that were, to


suffer so much. -- that poor. Alexander was asked how he was


going to go into this next election, promising growth or saying that


there will have to be more cuts after the election? He says, more


covers. You work -- can you going back with Conservatives actually


saying that? To that you will have to go in promising more cuts.


year that I haven't the cows on Portsmouth under either Labour or


Conservative governments, we have had to find cuts. Every year, the


public expenditure round seems to reduce the amount of money going to


local government. It is about the debt that each and every one of us


carries. You can only pay for it, but you cannot pay for it by going


further into debt. Every family knows that is the route to disaster.


The problem we have caught is that economies across Europe have been


doing extremely badly and we have been caught up and that. You cannot


insulate us, we are part of the world, and of the world economy is


going through a tough time, the British economy is, too. We have


ended up borrowing �158 billion more than he said when you ago, but


to get them down you have got to get people into work and paying


taxes. Politicians across Europe have got to face up to this grim


situation we face, and if we thought this week was bad, if the


eurozone actually collapsed, we have knife-edge talks this week it


will be worse than anything we have heard this year and we will all


have to take that into account. Corner Burns, the foundations for


the future, this is still going to be miles away. Where will the jobs


come from? It will come from growth. We have got Greek levels of debt


but we are able to borrow at German levels of interest rates because


the markets are confident in what we have announced in terms of the


austerity package and debt reduction. That is going to be


important in stabilising what is going on. One thing the public


wants is total honesty and that is what they got this week from Danny


Alexander and George Osborne in the reality of where we are, that this


will go on beyond the next election. They want us to be honest, and not


to pretend there is an easy solution, because there isn't.


be said when you are going is that if you cut public spending too fast,


your lender where we are today. I hope the Government has the


humility to recognise it did not get everything right. I am in


favour of bringing forward investment in capital. We need to


do more of it more quickly. We need a cut in VAT to put money in


people's pockets, and I would like to see a much bigger tax levied on


bank bonuses to help fund its jobs for that crucial generation of


young people face in long-term unemployment. -- facing long-term


unemployment. That was Tuesday - moving on to Wednesday, it was the


public sector strike. Billed as the biggest protest for thirty years,


just how did it impact on the south of England? Ian Paul reports.


Thousands of public sector workers took to the streets across the


region, but the effects were patchy. Despite the much-trailed


possibility of meltdown at the UK borders, getting through passport


control at Gatwick was no worse than usual. It was pretty easy to


get through. There was no queues on nothing. More than 1,000 schools


closed their doors, which gave many parents childcare headaches. As a


mother who works, to have to arrange alternative charter, it is


very inconvenient. In the health service, many non-urgent operations


and outpatient appointments were cancelled, 300 in Salisbury alone.


It did not take long for the spin to start. According to the Prime


Minister it was a damp squib. According to the TUC general-


secretary Brendan Barber, an unprecedented day for the Labour


movement. Film is from Unison joins us now. -- Phil Willis. Many people


striking who had never been on at day's strike before, will that last


in their memory, and do you intend to take people out again? It will


be huge in it people's memories. Whether we take people have as we


go again it will depend on the offers the Government eventually


gets round to making us. We will consult our members and on the


basis of that we will decide what action we need to take in future.


Many of the people who were out on strike resented having to be out on


strike, not presenting the union for being out a strike but for the


Government, for forcing them into that position. Only 18% of council


workers Inst -- in Portsmouth had been out us right. My understanding


is that numbers were higher than that. What about Heathrow and


Gatwick? Ind in the ambulance service, for example, there were


not many people out there. We did not bring ambulance drivers out,


all mass. Could you not just a goal it's right for 15 minutes like


Francis Maude suggested? It was the first time that a Tory Government


had said people should go on strike. Francis Maude was recommending


people to go out on strike. That shows the silly position we are in.


The Government is still making off was that substantially reduced the


pay of Unison members and other union members right across the


public sector. And that is what people resent. People also resent


not being able to talk about the losses they will sustain as a


result of Government action. the answer to this is economic


growth, you have damaged economic growth on act one day. It is a bit


like having a royal wedding, it will damage the economy, for one


day, but the damage done to the economy with austerity has been


massively greater than the damage done by this one day strike.


Posterity has not work. You do not develop growth by stopping public


expenditure. Why should the Government make the public sector a


special case? We are not asking for that. You are, because the private


sector does not offer the same level pensions. The private sector


has systematically taken away these pension schemes for low-paid


workers will stock that has kept them all higher-paid workers, it


has kept them for the senior bankers who caused the recession.


50% of directors and that C 100 companies are still in receipt of


defined benefit pension schemes. In the private sector, it has been


taken away. The TUC is clear. We believe any sensible government


should be getting people to provide a penchant for their security to.


People are living longer and are going to any pensions. And we're


all going to have to pay for it, somehow. A year ago this week, the


south was gripped by the chaos that traditionally follows a heavy


snowfall. Lots of talk at the time about how lessons had been learned


- but have they? Nicola Murray's been finding out if we're any


better prepared this time than we were last time. Almost one year ago,


to the day, it was covered with snow. Across the south, thousands


of people had to endure 48 hours of the white stuff, and freezing


temperatures. Flights were rounded, trains cancelled, driving


conditions make treacherous. And put thousands of children, it was a


winter Wonderland, with the majority of schools forced to close.


Last year was exceptional, and took us by surprise. We had planned for


grit and everything, but it overwhelm us, several feet of snow,


again and again, so even though we worked amazing miracles including


the snow, days later, it would all arrive again. That was last year.


The question now is, are we better prepared this time around? Having


been caught short when you recall, local authorities have much larger


supplies of salt. Hampshire County Council has increased its stocks by


50%. It has installed 200 extra salt bins, and all of that does not


come cheap. So on businesses love the snow more than children love


sledging on it. This might look bikes no, but I am at Southampton


docks. One company is looking to make big bucks out of freezing


conditions. It does not just distribute salt, it is also the


biggest importer in the country. Supplies are brought in by ships


from Sardinia, and India. We have 5,000 tonnes we have to distribute


around the UK. People have ordered early, and are more prepared, so


people who have approached the company are able to buy it and


store it you, and they can access it, when required. That might be


the roads taken care of, but what about schools? 700 had to close


their doors across Hampshire this time last year. Our pupils, parents


and teachers better prepared in at 2011 F temperatures plummet and


snowfalls? We are keen on having our own resources in terms of salt


and it. We have produced a are on, to be very self-sufficient. That


will be used referred the winter, because on any icy day we would be


using sold around the site. come we keep getting caught out by


the weather? Forecasting rain or snow cannot be that difficult. All


you need is a room full of computers, a formula, and a team of


boffins. But it is not that simple, according to the European Centre


for Medium Range weather forecasts, based in Reading. We used the basic


laws of physics and mathematics. You programme that in a computer


and you calculate the weather. We cannot describe every detail of the


weather. And sooner or later, that gives us errors in the forecast.


There is always one group who never seemed to get it wrong, the


bookmakers. It has been an exceptionally mild winter, but


Ladbrokes has more than half its ports for a white Christmas in less


than a week, from 10-1, down to 4-1. Rely on data from the British


weather data services. We take into account how many people have had a


bit on snow falling on Christmas Day, in the these locations. So


cutting the odds means that people have had their it's, and it also


means that the data provided -- have had their it's, and it means


that the data provided says there is more of a chance of snow than


there was two weeks ago. The last time the bookies paid out for a


white Christmas was back in 1999. The single snow fall has to fall on


the roof of the Met Office in London on Christmas Day, and that


has only happened 10 times in the last century. Who do you trust? The


meteorological computer, or Ladbrokes, the vetting people? I


think crowd saucing is not a bad way off -- the betting people. --


crowd sourcing. Do we have to build more slack into the system? We have


to be more flexible. There are lots of people able to work from home


now, which was not the case previously. This time last year,


this was the day which had the biggest impact. Most businesses


found they came to a halt for two or three days, then came back to


normal. Generally speaking, This year, businesses are gearing up to


what could happen. They are resilient enough to stand the loss


of takings are not able to get staff in? It is interesting, some


of the figures suggest the losses to the economy over one week could


be anything up to five or �6 billion. In 2009, the net loss was


in the region of 30 billion-35 billion. Last year that those,


because the big freeze to call for a longer period. -- last year, that


rose. Our budget now will be �5 billion, for this year. And that


shows an increase from 2 million, only three years ago. So we have


made quite an investment. We have trebled sought stocks, beyond the


maximum that the Government lays down. We have grip Benn's, 2,000


more. -- grit bins. We would be able to do continuous sorting on


major roads for 15 days -- salting. It is it that of a punt. What if it


doesn't happen, have you wasted the money? Last year was a one in 100


years event. The year before was a one in 100 years event, so, are we


looking at 200 years of moderate weather? That is a statistical


problem! What about a snow plough a blaze? Snow shovels been given out


to parish councils. You are trying to encourage people to do things


for themselves. Can these challenges encourage innovation and


people pulling together in business? We have 2,000 businesses


in Hampshire, there is plenty of innovation going on there, it is


good to hear about enervated by the is coming forward. As far as


businesses are concerned they just want to be kept on the move and


kept informed. One of the key things that came out of last year


was the communications process. It is important that there is that


information continuously flowing. Because of the World Wide Web,


there is no reason that that should not be able to happen. We did get


notice of the snow coming. This year, we are more geared up. It is


good news for business. In Southampton, there are some


investments going on. What I also want to point out is that


businesses will be pleased to hear local authorities are publishing


their winter maintenance service leaflets. Southampton has prepares


up on the way in recent weeks. That means businesses cannot that,


because they have the information. So the promises that things will be


better this year, than last? I will say yes, but keep my fingers


crossed! Another chill wind that blew into Portsmouth on this


weekend last year was the allegation that Portsmouth MP Mike


Hancock's assistant was a Russian spy. That allegation was thrown out


this week, and on the morning the decision was announced, I went and


interviewed the Lib Dem MP. Over 18 months, the health of Mike Hancock


has suffered. The revelation of an affair with his Russian researcher


forced his resignation from the Commons select committee. Are I had


known for a long period of time, when this first came up and she was


first detained, she said, what should I do? Icy, have you done


anything wrong, and she said no, and they said, no, in Britain, we


fight these things, we do not get into the Establishment and the


system. You took on someone from Russia. You had a relationship with


her. In that situation have you not compromised security or you're


position? I do not believe that to be the case. If I thought there was


any shadow of evidence to prove to the contrary, then Katia


Zatuliveter would not have continue to work for me. The security forces


on no occasion suggested to me that she should not continue to work for


me. In fact, she was vetted twice by the House of Commons. She had a


visa moved twice and the security services did not object. Dig the


security services and opera our relationship? I think they did,


they you everything else. But the first time Katia Zatuliveter or


myself was contacted was when the security forces wanted her to work


for them. Do you think someone was trying to get to you, politically,


through this? I think there is a little bit of that. There is a


leading journalist and political adviser who told me they had been


led to believe that News International, that this was about


getting to me, which is sad, isn't it, and trying to get any, because


at that time, I was being very much against the coalition. I was


waiting for things I believe to be right, for my constituents. I did


not want to compromise to my political masters or to be


persuaded by the security services to stop. I was just working hard


for my constituents. This has taken its toll on your health. Will you


still want to be the MP for Portsmouth after this election?


Tory opponents have been wishing you to politics for a long time.


Come the next election, I might be close to 70 and I have to think


then, long and hard. But you have not made your mind up? No, I have


it. He is a survivor! The Christmas tree outside Number 10 is from


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