13/11/2011 The Politics Show West Midlands


Jon Sopel and Patrick Burns are here with the top political stories of the week.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 13/11/2011. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



In the Midlands, we will remember them. Bob Ainsworth reveals their


heavy responsibilities and frustrations of high office. And


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1884 seconds


Hello again. Later we will be asking why MPs are giving their


backing to high-speed rail. First, �6.7 million was raised in this


region alone last year by the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal, to


help and support the armed forces. That was nearly one-fifth of the UK


total. What sort of shape are the defence forces in? Peter Luff


should know, he is responsible for equipment and technology. Steve


McCabe, Labour MP for Birmingham Selly Oak. That constituency


borders the internationally renowned Centre for Defence


Medicine in Queen Elizabeth Hospital. We also have a Dawn


Turner from Rubery in Worcestershire. She is a very proud


mother, who has two sons that you are serving in the military. Tell


us about them. One is in the Royal Artillery, the other is in the


Royal Horse Artillery. They both joined at 16. The eldest has done a


tour in Iraq, the younger one has done a tour in Afghanistan. We are


no rating -- we're waiting for my eldest son to go back to


Afghanistan. You must be extremely proud of them. As a family, you are


just perfectly committed to the cause they are engaged in?


course. I am very proud. Pride always comes with a price, and that


is the worry of the knock on the door. The ringing phone. I am


extremely proud. All of us can identify with that. Plenty to talk


about today. I have been talking to Bob Ainsworth, the former Secretary


of State for Defence. He joined me in the Westminster studio to


reflect on his period at the men and -- his period at the Ministry


of Defence. There was a lot of debate about equipment. When you


have people in harm's way, Afghanistan is about the most


difficult operation the British forces have done since Korea, there


can never be enough. Just the other night, I spent some time with the


brigade that have just come back, and they are getting the benefit of


decisions that were taken a very long time ago. To talk about the


delay like that, that is difficult if you think about the love one's


of soldiers who are right there. One reason problem was getting


ballistic protection for small vehicles. -- one reason problem. We


now have it. It has been built in the Midlands but it was designed


from scratch in order to get that dynamic. The military covenant is


something that you and other ministers have spoken of in strong


support. It enshrines the obligation from the state to be


able to put their way -- from the State for people who put their


lives on the line. You have put it in a document. I did, it put


obligations on every department of government to deliver for around


forces. We had it in our manifesto. -- are our own forces. But we


should have read in a legal document. David Cameron said he


would. The Colonial Service gives us good value for money. --


coronial service. But there is no good standard that runs throughout


it. They teach the other departments lesson, but at worst


they are dreadful. Does it surprise you there might be to -- and


jealousy that creeps in. There is a resentment that other people feel


the service community are getting preferential treatment? Nobody else


is asked to put their lives on the line and take orders to walk into


extreme danger. When people are injured in those circumstances, it


is absolutely appropriate. The overwhelming majority of civilians


if they think about it, support that. It is not special treatment.


Is his return for sacrifice and for services given to the nation. -- it


is a return. Bob Ainsworth giving us a sense of the extreme pressure


on any Secretary of State. Peter Luff, can you identify with that


frustrations he felt. There is the delay, night time goggles, body


armour, getting them out to the front. I can, and there is to


sources of that delay. Political will and technical issues. -- two


sources. There is no point having new equipment taken out to


Afghanistan if they cannot use it. Training is important. It does take


a long time. The troops have never been better equipped than they are


now. So would you say to Dawn Turner, whose sons are out there,


that the situation is now resolved. I can. Like all, I met three


Commando last week. They are delighted with the equipment. They


say it is performing better than expected. I can say that our boys


and girls have exactly what they need. You are benefiting from a


hard work that Bob Ainsworth put in? He did. He did a lot of good


work. But we inherited a financial mess and we kept the process going.


I am very happy that the people in Afghanistan have that equipment now.


Steve, you will be keeping watch on this issue. I think where they are


taking measures to protect the troops, we will give them our total


support. People do not want to see political parties squabbling about


the treatment of the armed services. Obviously some areas we have


reservations, we want to know what has happened to the dedicated wards


but the Prime Minister promised. We do not think the decision on


pensions is correct. We think a number of people who stand to lose


out quite heavily. -- will lose out. So we will push them in those areas.


Those issues resonate very strongly in this part of the country. We are


told that one in eight of all new recruits are from the West Midlands.


There is a real affinity in this part of the country, is there not?


There is. It is important these guys keep contact with your family.


I must agree with Peter, my sons have commented on what an


improvement has been made on the equipment. The helmets bit better,


the lights do not fall down. These things make the difference. -- fit


better. Are you satisfied that the armed forces covenant is been taken


seriously? To a certain degree. There is


obviously areas that need to be looked at. For example? A few weeks


ago there was a young soldier who lost his life, and his family were


absolutely devastated when his wages came through, and he was


docked 10 days because he died 10 days before the pay-day. We know


all politicians do not discuss individual cases, but the Ministry


of Defence does need to look into this to make sure that that is


prevented in the future. Peter Luff, that does seem particularly bad.


was wrong and should not have happened. The overall picture is


encouraging. The principles are now in lot. We can be held to account


for anything. -- now in law. It is very good. Given the proximity for


the centre of defence medicine deer -- the Centre for Defence Medicine


to your constituency, what you say to the people who say armed forces


are getting special treatment? have not encountered that myself.


When I have spoken to civilians, they have been quite proud of what


goes on there on behalf of our troops. There will always be one or


two people, it is always possible to find someone like that, but the


general feeling is everyone is benefiting because some of these


young people were very badly injured but it tests the doctors to


the limits in terms of the work they are doing. The civilian


population benefit as a result of these medical advances. Your son


received some treatment there himself, did he not? He did, when


it was based in Selly Oak. He broke his ankle. Where did he get his


injury? Afghanistan. We found out it was his cousin that flew them


home. Obviously, Dawn Turner is reassured, but the difficulty as


Bob Ainsworth said is that this defence cover and we have been


talking about evolves all the time, so that next service and the next


service will continue. You cannot keep up with that. -- defence


covenant. I happen to disagree with Bob Ainsworth about the top --


about the chief coroner. It is about a whole service. We believe


the reforms we need to make to make it better for military families can


be made more rapidly. It has been very good to talk to you Dawn


Turner, and for the moment, thank you very much indeed.


There is a good case to build a high-speed rail line, so says the


Transport Select Committee. They have been examining plans for a new


generation of bigger, faster trains, starting with a link between


Birmingham and London. As Andrew Adonis once said, everybody wants a


station, nobody wants the line. Our transport correspondent found the


project is not yet a done deal. Believe the spin and you would


think the committee had given HS2 a ringing endorsement. Go through the


report and you find a different story. Although the concept gets a


thumbs-up, there is doubt. The Transport Select Committee are


asking very deep questions. They have been misgivings about HS2.


information they are asking for work will completely devastate the


case for a chest do. The committee is concerned about not only the


strength of the business case but also investment levels on the


existing network. MPs want to know how a test to fit into the


transport strategy. This will go through a long parliamentary


process, and we suggest the key questions that need to be asked.


For those affected by a Test do, last week's report says they are


not the only ones with misgivings. It will become more heated next


month when the public consultation results are printed. Ministers


certainly seem to have their work cut out if they are going to have a


considered response ready in time for the big announcement, following


public consultation. Steve McCabe, in common with most Labour MPs, all


the big centres, you are a supporter. But these are not just


idle criticisms. The environmental impact, financial, damage to rural


economies, this is substantial staff. There -- substantial stuff.


That is why we have select committees. My view is this country


does not have a great history in dealing with these major


infrastructure transport projects. This one has tremendous potential.


The benefits to the Birmingham economy are enormous. It is quite


right that before you embark on a project like this, some of the


questions and criticisms are addressed. Peter Luff, a final word,


you are very knowledgeable on the railway industry, should we not


take on these criticisms? We will listen to the criticisms, that is


what the select committee does. It is the right idea to build this


line. We must get the detail right. Will this be on the statute book


What links Crawshawbooth in Lancashire, Congelton in Cheshire


and Knowsley Safari Park on -- the statute book?


There are many beneficiaries of Children In Need. Each year, the


fund-raising campaign swings into action. We have been to see how one


minibus has been delivering a healthier way of living for some


Staffordshire children. It is lifestyle and lack of exercise that


is the major cause of obesity. Youngsters play computer sport


rather than doing it. I was the class clown. Just silly comments.


They would all add up. Now at 15, he is a boxing champion and is


totally dedicated. His father cannot believe the turnaround.


transformation has been unbelievable. He is not interested


in going out with his friends any more. He wants to be at the


gymnasium. His attitude is completely different. He is a


different person. Tamworth Amateur Boxing Club, established 1969. Part


of the big society before it started. It punches well above its


weight in a poor community. Although it has had lottery funding,


people feel it has had one hand tied behind its back. I do not know


when the big society will happen. It has not changed anything for us.


We are struggling for space. If it was to work, we would have that


space. Without BBC children In Need funding this minibus, pupils would


struggle to get here. Some of these teenagers could have been expelled.


They are now tot by boxing coaches, and have landed 150 GCSEs. It is a


lot more fun. They make the lessons more fun. I am not in school so I


come here and it makes me feel better. It is better than school.


The budget has have for alternative courses. -- halved. Some doctors


are worried about health inequality. I would agree nationally we have


got to make certain we do not lose healthily quality -- health


inequality. The best way out of poverty is education, and people


who are educated quite simply live longer. In parts of the West


Midlands, a quarter of children are obese. More than a third live in


Download Subtitles