11/12/2011 The Politics Show Wales


11/12/2011

Jon Sopel and Aled ap Dafydd with analysis of the political scene shaping Wales.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 11/12/2011. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

Later in the programme: After a referendum and election a euro zone

:01:09.:01:13.

crisis and an economy on the break, how was 2011 for you?

:01:13.:01:18.

We look back on the political year with representatives from our four

:01:18.:01:28.
:01:28.:01:28.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1806 seconds

:01:28.:31:34.

Hello and welcome to the final Politics Show Wales. Stay with us

:31:35.:31:38.

for the next half-an-hour. It's our end-of-year show. We thought we'd

:31:38.:31:42.

take a look back at 2011 and also try to work out where we'll all be

:31:42.:31:45.

going in 2012, especially at a time when the winter chill is running

:31:45.:31:48.

through the economy. We have representatives from the four main

:31:48.:31:53.

parties - a party chairwoman, an AM and MP and an MEP. Sadly even

:31:53.:31:57.

though it's Christmas, there's no Lord-a-leaping.

:31:57.:32:00.

Anyway back to 2011. Here's our reporter Adrian Browne's snapshot

:32:00.:32:09.

of the past 12 months. His report does contain some flash photography.

:32:09.:32:15.

As 2011 started, Wales did its way through the big freeze. The

:32:15.:32:21.

financial freeze has stayed with us. Vat jumped to 20% and was quickly

:32:21.:32:25.

reflected in petrol prices. George Osborne twice told MPs that

:32:25.:32:32.

economic growth forecasts had been slashed. The euro-zone sclerosis

:32:33.:32:40.

escalated and Wales's MEPs hope to way through could be found. In

:32:40.:32:44.

spring along came one of those Welsh devolution referendum

:32:44.:32:51.

campaigns that tend to crop up every 15 years or so. A resounding

:32:51.:32:57.

Yes vote for more law-making powers for the National Assembly was one,

:32:57.:33:06.

albeit on a poor turnout. Later Cheryl Gillan launched a commission

:33:06.:33:15.

to consider devolving tax-raising powers. The first election saw the

:33:15.:33:19.

Labour Party secured 30 out of 60 seats in Cardiff Bay. There was no

:33:19.:33:28.

return for the Labour/Plaid Cymru Coalition. There was a long

:33:28.:33:35.

farewell to the leader of Plaid Cymru. Conservatives leapfrog them

:33:36.:33:41.

to become the assembly's second biggest party. Their leader also

:33:41.:33:48.

lost his seat. He was replaced. The Welsh Liberal Democrats lost one of

:33:48.:33:52.

their six seats to Labour. Their leader, Kirsty Williams, suffered

:33:52.:33:57.

the indignity of having two of her AMs suspended because they were not

:33:57.:34:04.

eligible to stand for election. One was reinstated and the other

:34:04.:34:12.

replaced. Carwyn Jones's programme included 500 new police community

:34:12.:34:16.

support officers and increased access to GP services. The

:34:16.:34:21.

opposition asked whether meaningful targets were? A new compulsory 5p

:34:22.:34:25.

charge for carrier bags was the most talked about was government

:34:25.:34:29.

policy of the year. The Liberal Democrats gave the Welsh government

:34:29.:34:34.

the numbers needed to get the budget through in return for an

:34:34.:34:38.

extra �20 million for the poorest school pupils. Lib Dems were

:34:38.:34:42.

accused of seeking to distance themselves from the UK government

:34:42.:34:47.

partnership with the Conservatives before local elections next year.

:34:47.:34:51.

That Coalition at Westminster spaced public sector strikes over

:34:51.:34:59.

pension changes a summer riots across English towns and cities.

:34:59.:35:05.

Euro crisis summits came and went under pressure on David Cameron

:35:05.:35:11.

with his pro European Lib Dem Coalition partners on the one side

:35:11.:35:15.

and Euro-sceptics on the other increased. His decision to veto

:35:15.:35:20.

treaty changes leaves Britain's relationship with the heel

:35:20.:35:23.

uncertainty say the least. After the bitter blow of losing a

:35:23.:35:28.

referendum on changing the way MPs are elected, Nick Clegg continued

:35:28.:35:37.

to argue plans such as limiting senior executive pay it was a price

:35:37.:35:43.

worth paying. At the Labour front line at Westminster united in

:35:43.:35:50.

opposing plans to cut the number of Welsh MPs from 40 to 30. As 2011

:35:50.:35:57.

draws to a close, there are 16,000 job vacancies advertised at

:35:57.:36:02.

Jobcentre Plus in Wales. The bad news is the country has 137,000

:36:02.:36:07.

people who are unemployed with few forecasters predicting the economic

:36:07.:36:15.

gloom will lift any time soon. Who are the winners and losers in

:36:15.:36:23.

2011 and what will shape the political landscape in 2012? Plenty

:36:23.:36:26.

to discuss with the Plaid Cymru Chairwoman Helen Mary Jones, Labour

:36:26.:36:29.

AM Jenny Rathbone, Jenny Willott MP from the Liberal Democrats and Kay

:36:29.:36:33.

Swinburne the Conservative MEP. The economy has been the most

:36:33.:36:37.

talked-about subject in the political year. Who's blame is it?

:36:37.:36:40.

It is a national crisis but we had a Labour government he did not

:36:40.:36:44.

regulate the bankers properly and they ran wild. They played ducks

:36:44.:36:49.

and Drakes with our pensions and the jobs in the future. None of the

:36:49.:36:53.

political parties can hold their heads up high on this. What do we

:36:53.:36:57.

need to do? Plaid Cymru is of the view that the level of austerity

:36:57.:37:02.

and public spending cuts that we are facing, while it might keep

:37:02.:37:06.

international bankers happy, risk driving us into a double-dip

:37:06.:37:11.

recession. We must be very careful unless we that is where we end up.

:37:11.:37:15.

We want to see the Welsh government and the UK government investing in

:37:15.:37:20.

infrastructure to provide jobs and facilitate the economy for the

:37:20.:37:23.

future. We are disappointed the Liberal Democrats did not support

:37:23.:37:28.

our call for extra money in the Welsh budget. Unless we get people

:37:28.:37:32.

working public services will suffer. We face a very difficult situation.

:37:32.:37:39.

It is absolutely clear that since 2008, we have had a real challenge

:37:39.:37:44.

to regulate the banks. We have a completely skewed economy. We

:37:44.:37:48.

desperately need to revive our manufacturing sector. We will not

:37:48.:37:53.

be able to do that unless we have a better control on how our finances

:37:53.:37:58.

are spent. It is a disappointing that David Cameron has walked away

:37:58.:38:05.

from Europe which is where most of our trade is done. The situation

:38:05.:38:11.

looks absolutely dire. You have got to acknowledge that your party had

:38:11.:38:15.

15 years are when they could have regulated banks and invested in

:38:15.:38:20.

manufacturing and economy and got the banks under control and they

:38:20.:38:26.

didn't. I think Labour has agreed that we should have regulated the

:38:26.:38:32.

financial sector. None of the other parties were saying that we needed

:38:32.:38:38.

to regulate it... That is absolutely not true at all! Vince

:38:38.:38:41.

Cable was saying for years that we needed to regulate the financial

:38:41.:38:46.

sector better. Everybody knew outside of the Government. It was

:38:46.:38:49.

quite clear there was a growing problem and Vince Cable was saying

:38:49.:38:55.

for a long time before the crisis. As somebody who deals with economic

:38:55.:38:59.

monetary affairs on behalf of the Conservatives, most of this is not

:38:59.:39:04.

a UK function. It is a single market function of Europe summit is

:39:04.:39:09.

the Europeans that regulate the banks and we regulates it --

:39:09.:39:14.

implemented. It was Europe that got it wrong. It is a single market

:39:14.:39:18.

issue. The regulation comes from Brussels. I deal with the

:39:19.:39:27.

legislation day in day out. We need to be very careful about the blame.

:39:27.:39:32.

It has to be a regulation rather put -- in has been directed rather

:39:32.:39:39.

than a regulation. Let us look at some Welsh specific issues such as

:39:39.:39:45.

the rate of unemployment. How do we deal with unemployment which is

:39:45.:39:52.

rising, especially youth unemployment. In our view we have

:39:52.:39:56.

to be investing in the economy, in economic development here in Wales.

:39:56.:39:59.

We must spend more on the infrastructure but in fairness the

:39:59.:40:03.

Welsh government has had its capital budget stuck -- cut so it

:40:03.:40:07.

is hard for them to do it. Winnie the economy to be made a priority

:40:07.:40:11.

but the government has barely done anything. You had this idea that

:40:11.:40:16.

would create 50,000 new jobs and your manifesto is based on the

:40:16.:40:21.

principle and idea. The Welsh come to -- the world public did not vote.

:40:21.:40:25.

There are all sorts of reasons why we did not do well in the election.

:40:25.:40:28.

It is interesting that the SNP government in Scotland is

:40:28.:40:32.

implementing something very similar to our programme so it will be

:40:33.:40:37.

interesting to see if that enables them to have a good influence on

:40:37.:40:41.

the economy. We know there are international and UK wide issues

:40:41.:40:45.

but there are things that devolved administrations can do and it is

:40:45.:40:50.

disappointing to see the Welsh Labour government beat so moribund

:40:50.:41:00.

on the economy. The assembly are hoping to get 42,000 people into --

:41:00.:41:05.

more people into jobs but we must do more. We must do all manner of

:41:05.:41:10.

things. We put �50,000 into creating the Welsh jobs fund and

:41:11.:41:15.

his apprenticeship schemes. At the end of the day we only have the

:41:15.:41:20.

resources we get from Westminster. Our tools are limited. We have to

:41:20.:41:24.

protect and preserve as far as we can be Welsh economy from the storm

:41:24.:41:30.

that is coming, both from the UK government and from Europe. One of

:41:30.:41:35.

the most promising things that we are doing is the learning and

:41:35.:41:39.

skills measure that will improve the training that people are

:41:39.:41:44.

getting which is much more focused on the jobs that are available and

:41:44.:41:49.

the needs of manufacturing industry. You pointed out in your piece

:41:49.:41:55.

earlier that there were 6,000 jobs and 130,000 people on the dole. We

:41:55.:42:01.

need to fill those 6,000 jobs but the key has to be to attract more

:42:02.:42:07.

investment into Wales, to rebuild our manufacturing industry so that

:42:07.:42:13.

we can actually sell to Europe and further afield... The Liberal

:42:13.:42:18.

Democrats supported the Budget because you got �20 million for the

:42:18.:42:23.

most disadvantaged children in our schools but that was not the people

:42:23.:42:30.

premium that you're asking for which was in your manifesto. It is

:42:30.:42:35.

a version of it. There was also investment in apprenticeships.

:42:35.:42:39.

concentrate so closely on the money for school children when the

:42:39.:42:43.

obvious crisis is the economy and a lack of growth and a lack of jobs.

:42:43.:42:47.

One of the biggest problems in the Welsh system is a lack of skills

:42:48.:42:54.

among slung people and a lack of proper education... What about the

:42:54.:42:57.

people you do not have jobs? That is where I said that some of

:42:57.:43:00.

Baroness more went into increasing apprenticeships. In England there

:43:00.:43:05.

have been significant investment in apprenticeships and it is starting

:43:05.:43:09.

to see a big difference in some areas, particularly where there are

:43:09.:43:13.

deprived communities where there has been heavy investment. It is

:43:13.:43:16.

really important that we do not just look at the current situation

:43:16.:43:20.

but we look to the future as well to ensure that the current group of

:43:20.:43:23.

children who are going through our schools do not come out and face

:43:24.:43:28.

the same problems that the current pupils do. We are tackling youth

:43:28.:43:32.

unemployment for those who are 18 to 24 now but we are also tackling

:43:32.:43:36.

the problem with the skills gap and making an -- making sure your own

:43:36.:43:39.

people from disadvantaged communities have a better chance to

:43:39.:43:43.

get work and build successful careers. One way of creating jobs

:43:43.:43:47.

is through capital spending but we know the money coming from

:43:47.:43:53.

Westminster has been slashed. Why is there enough money to cut the

:43:53.:43:59.

tolls on the Humber Bridge for a �500 million tunnel through the

:43:59.:44:05.

Chiltern Hills when there seems to be no money to extend roads to

:44:05.:44:13.

Swansea and/tolls on Welsh bridges. It seems that Wales is at a

:44:13.:44:16.

disadvantage. I would disagree that that is the case. It is all based

:44:16.:44:20.

on a business case that has been put forward. The Welsh Office are

:44:20.:44:25.

putting forward a case for Wales, in terms of extra investment

:44:25.:44:30.

priorities, particularly electrification of the line and

:44:30.:44:34.

potentially the Swansea link as well. Outside of that we have

:44:34.:44:38.

something we can do immediately in Wales. We have not spent half of

:44:38.:44:43.

the structural funds available to us. That is over �1 billion that we

:44:43.:44:48.

still have to spend. Why not read a wreck that money now into economic

:44:48.:44:52.

initiatives? Put the money into short-term jobs prospects like

:44:52.:44:57.

apprenticeships and let the public sector use that money now to

:44:57.:45:02.

generate growth for our cop economy. We need to use all the tools at our

:45:02.:45:05.

disposal. Long-term projects are all well and good but it will not

:45:05.:45:09.

deliver in the next decade. We need to be direct that money right now

:45:09.:45:15.

into the economy. It is therefore competitiveness reasons and that is

:45:15.:45:20.

why the get the money and let us make ourselves more competitive by

:45:20.:45:25.

redirecting that money and it is massive amounts compared took

:45:25.:45:28.

anything. One of the big problems that business it faces is

:45:28.:45:34.

infrastructure... You cannot use structural funds for that and you

:45:34.:45:42.

know that perfectly well. We are very bad at using the structural

:45:42.:45:45.

funds. I am not saying it is six strategic as it could be but when

:45:45.:45:49.

your government is taking great lumps out of the Welsh Assembly

:45:49.:45:53.

budget for capital projects, you cannot create jobs out of nowhere.

:45:53.:45:56.

You cannot create jobs if you do not have a road or railway to get

:45:56.:46:02.

people to work and goods to market. It is not there to focus solely on

:46:02.:46:06.

structural funds. There are issues there but without the capital spend,

:46:06.:46:16.
:46:16.:46:19.

how is Wales supposed to make best It is disappointing that the UK

:46:19.:46:24.

Government slashed at the rate by 50%. That meant that thousands of

:46:24.:46:27.

families who are about to get panels on their roofs which would

:46:27.:46:31.

bring down energy bills and contribute to tackling global

:46:31.:46:41.

climate change, was a polished. Slashed overnight. -- abolished.

:46:41.:46:45.

That has meant that people have been told that they will not have

:46:45.:46:50.

these schemes. These were effective ways of getting people to use their

:46:50.:46:55.

equity to invest in jobs in the here and now. Plumbers had to train

:46:55.:46:58.

up for these schemes and now they are saying that the market has

:46:58.:47:04.

disappeared. Another issue which will affect

:47:04.:47:14.
:47:14.:47:14.

workers in Wales as a public sector pay and pensions. Coalition -- the

:47:14.:47:17.

coalition in Westminster wants to renegotiate the terms. We know that

:47:17.:47:22.

there are plenty of people in Wales and the public sector. Do you see

:47:22.:47:27.

them being at a disadvantage in the future?

:47:27.:47:33.

The position right now is unsustainable. There is consensus.

:47:33.:47:40.

The previous Labour Secretary of State agreed. It is very important

:47:40.:47:44.

that people on the public sector have a pension to retire on and

:47:44.:47:50.

that is safe and they can rely on that. But at the moment, the system

:47:50.:47:55.

is that you can retire significantly earlier in the public

:47:55.:48:00.

sector than in the private sector. That is not possible -- it is not

:48:00.:48:06.

possible for that to carry on. But will we see pensions going

:48:06.:48:11.

down? And because of the review of regional pay, here in Wales, a wage

:48:11.:48:19.

cut also? We are not seen pensions go down.

:48:19.:48:27.

People are having to pay more in there. That is a form of production.

:48:27.:48:30.

But they will see a better pension at the end of it.

:48:30.:48:35.

That is not what is happening. The money is going straight back to

:48:35.:48:44.

George Osborne. That is a complete misunderstanding.

:48:44.:48:49.

It is not. Low-paid workers are having to pay even more of their

:48:49.:48:57.

salary. And that has already been frozen. The way that the UK

:48:57.:49:01.

government is approaching this is likely to mean more people opting

:49:01.:49:09.

out of their pension scheme which means it will store up problems.

:49:09.:49:13.

Not everybody accepts that these public sector schemes are

:49:13.:49:16.

unsustainable. Changes have already been carried through in the last

:49:16.:49:23.

few years. But the Government is not playing.

:49:23.:49:29.

Some people would say, even more cause to build up the public --

:49:29.:49:36.

build up the private sector. But we have a baroness recently stating

:49:36.:49:40.

that there were people in the Labour Party at suspicious of the

:49:40.:49:45.

private sector. That does not feed and to the feeling that Labour are

:49:45.:49:55.
:49:55.:49:57.

on the side of the private sector. On the contrary.

:49:57.:50:04.

But the comment, she regrets the capitalist system.

:50:04.:50:09.

That is her personal historic view. But she has created economic

:50:09.:50:15.

zones... By what measure are we are judging

:50:15.:50:21.

her effectiveness? If the business community feel they have got the

:50:21.:50:29.

Government behind them, well, that is not the message I am hearing.

:50:29.:50:32.

The businesses I talked to are finding that the Welsh government

:50:32.:50:40.

is a very focused on the economy. But it is extremely fearful of the

:50:40.:50:47.

macro-economic policies coming from London which are simply not working.

:50:47.:50:51.

Effort some body is unemployed they are clearly not making any

:50:51.:50:56.

contribution by way of tax. George Osborne's plan is completely

:50:57.:51:02.

hopeless and that has been borne out by the increasing deficit. We

:51:02.:51:08.

need a plan B. An indication that the UK Government is serious about

:51:08.:51:15.

investing in infrastructure. Leads wind the clock back. Starting

:51:15.:51:19.

with the referendum. If you landed from Mars you could argue that

:51:19.:51:24.

nothing has changed. Well, the institution now has the

:51:24.:51:28.

power to do things. Another thing is the Government actually getting

:51:28.:51:33.

on with doing it. After six months the first to measure was only

:51:33.:51:38.

recently. It may be good or bad but I have not even looked at it yet.

:51:38.:51:44.

But you cannot blame the powers for the fact that the Government is not

:51:44.:51:48.

using them. The whole of Wales has said that they wanted these

:51:48.:51:52.

decisions are made in Wales, that we could look after ourselves and

:51:52.:51:58.

each other better. That was a great day.

:51:58.:52:01.

Did you take your eye off the ball at the election after concentrating

:52:01.:52:07.

and that? I do not know, is the honest answer.

:52:07.:52:12.

But I know that we worked extremely hard on the ground. People in Plaid

:52:12.:52:16.

Cymru and other parties. We have an internal review which will look at

:52:16.:52:22.

it. But in the end, Plaid Cymru is about the good of Wales, not the

:52:22.:52:26.

good of Plaid Cymru. So you could argue it was the right decision to

:52:26.:52:34.

make. New ministers get on top of their

:52:34.:52:40.

portfolio. It is important to get their measures right. Properly

:52:40.:52:45.

scrutinised. It is no good are rushing it.

:52:45.:52:50.

You cannot scrutinise it until it is implemented.

:52:50.:52:55.

Of course you cant. But you need to have a draft so there is not so

:52:55.:53:00.

much work to do it when it needs to be scrutinised. So the Government

:53:00.:53:05.

is entirely focused on improving the delivery up of public services.

:53:05.:53:12.

And of trying to protect the jobs and skills. It is an extremely

:53:12.:53:15.

difficult environment we are working in. But the government is

:53:15.:53:21.

getting on with it and his United. Are the Liberal Democrats ending

:53:21.:53:28.

the year on a better note than the where have we through it, I just

:53:28.:53:33.

wonder, who are the Liberal Democrat? The Friends of the

:53:33.:53:37.

Conservatives? Befriends a Labour? Sometimes when you try to be

:53:37.:53:42.

friends with everybody you become friends with no one.

:53:42.:53:45.

We are an independent party with a clear vision of what we want to

:53:45.:53:49.

achieve and will work with whoever we think and help us achieve as

:53:49.:53:53.

much as possible. There was an opportunity with the Welsh a budget

:53:53.:53:56.

to insecure that there was real Investment elderly on and

:53:56.:54:05.

disadvantage. So we took the opportunity to do that.

:54:05.:54:10.

Somewhat cheaply, according to the opposition.

:54:10.:54:15.

Of course, the opposition would say that. In Westminster we have a

:54:15.:54:20.

clear prog -- programme we are working on with the coalition. We

:54:20.:54:24.

have achieved a number of things that were in our manifesto. It just

:54:24.:54:28.

goes to show that we will work with different political parties in

:54:28.:54:33.

different situations to achieve as much of what we want to see done.

:54:33.:54:39.

On a personal note, do you regret the coalition and Westminster?

:54:39.:54:42.

Absolutely not. There is a huge amount being done there would not

:54:42.:54:47.

be done without the Liberal Democrats in government. The income

:54:47.:54:53.

tax threshold being raised. There has been huge investment in

:54:53.:54:59.

environmental measures. We have seen the pupil premium in the Wales

:54:59.:55:03.

as well as England doing a huge amount of good in schools in

:55:03.:55:09.

deprived areas. And there is a whole load of things around

:55:09.:55:12.

identity cards which the Labour Government was going to bring in,

:55:12.:55:17.

we have scrapped, all sorts of civil liberty measures the we have

:55:17.:55:21.

changed as Egg direct result of Liberal Democrat been in government.

:55:21.:55:25.

Yes, coalition government is difficult, but we have seen a real

:55:25.:55:31.

market for the Liberal Democrats can do in government.

:55:31.:55:37.

How big a blow was it for the Conservatives to lose their leader.

:55:37.:55:43.

-- their leader in Wales? It is always a blow but we have

:55:43.:55:49.

increased our election in -- increased our vote in every

:55:49.:55:54.

election. We lost a talented leader but he will go on to other things

:55:54.:55:59.

and we may not have seen the last of him as a politician. We have a

:55:59.:56:02.

strong new leader. But the issue is local government elections and

:56:02.:56:06.

making sure that that trend we have seen over the last five years

:56:06.:56:10.

continues. That is the reason we have grown over the last five years

:56:10.:56:15.

- we have taken our message to the people and made them understand it

:56:15.:56:19.

directly. When they come on board with us, then hopefully they will

:56:19.:56:26.

stay on board over the long term. Another challenge for the New Year

:56:26.:56:32.

is the new leader of your party. Who should that be?

:56:32.:56:35.

As the party chair I am politically responsible for making sure the

:56:35.:56:41.

election run smoothly so I am unable to select or state a

:56:41.:56:45.

preference. But the party will decide which way it want to go then

:56:45.:56:50.

will choose the leader that can take us there.

:56:50.:56:54.

Now that the Liberal Democrat support you on the Budget, do the

:56:54.:56:59.

Labour group now feel slightly more comfortable? Knowing that when you

:56:59.:57:05.

need support it is there? We need to get our budget through

:57:05.:57:10.

in the context of economic crisis we're all trying to manage.

:57:10.:57:15.

Uncertainty is one of the worst things for business. But, are you

:57:15.:57:20.

know, we do not know what the future relationship will be with

:57:20.:57:25.

the Liberal Democrats in the assembly. But we certainly have to

:57:25.:57:30.

be mindful of what is going on in the rest of the world. Events on

:57:30.:57:38.

Friday with David Cameron completely losing it in Europe...

:57:38.:57:46.

This is going off track. We only have 90 seconds left.

:57:47.:57:53.

20 seconds for each of you. A wish for the New Year.

:57:53.:57:58.

Economic growth, reduce unemployment.

:57:58.:58:04.

All politicians are working for Wales.

:58:04.:58:07.

Investment in infrastructure to reduce unemployment, especially

:58:07.:58:12.

youth unemployment which is terrifying.

:58:12.:58:17.

Tackling climate change, keeping people's bills down.

:58:17.:58:23.

I thought you about to predict a general election!

:58:23.:58:33.
:58:33.:58:33.

Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS