20/11/2011 The Politics Show West Midlands


20/11/2011

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


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This week on the Politics Show. How In the Midlands, we visit the homes

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that in the internet slow lane and we reveal our own hot spot and

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blackspots for getting online. High-speed rail, one MP the support

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2342 seconds

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sit says he would fight it himself Hello again from the Midlands. A

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little later we be hearing from the former Cabinet minister and now

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enjoying his new-found freedom to speak out from the backbenches.

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First though, you may be surprised to discover that if you live in

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Wolverhampton, you have faster internet connections than you do in

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London. That is according to the communications regulator Ofcom. But

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how is our countryside getting on in this turf war, battling for

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space on that much wanted level playing field? We are joined by the

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Cabinet minister who is hoping to grow the rural economy, Caroline

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Spelman, the Environment Secretary and Conservative MP for Meriden.

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And Gisela Stuart, representing Birmingham, the Labour MP for

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Edgbaston. Parts of our region are in the economic slow lane because

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of inadequate broadband. Our reporter has been out playing

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catch-up, where a super-fast Internet connections still seems to

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be anything but a racing certainty. Here at Herefordshire Raceway, the

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go-karts Kingdom up to 45 mph in just five seconds. Unfortunately

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for many people living in the country their internet does not

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match up to the same high-speed standards. And if you are a

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business who does not have broadband, in these days you may as

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well not even be at the races. And nobody knows more about the

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sluggish problems with the internet and this firm on the Welsh border.

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Healing Herbs is an alternative medicine business employing 20

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people from the surrounding Herefordshire countryside. Here

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they bottle plant extracts for customers around the globe, some as

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far away as China and even New Zealand. Having so broadband is

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holding the business back. In it is the only think that I really need

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for the business. We are at the survival point, but we know that

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the increase in traffic and the increase in Download times is going

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to get worse and how long can we survive, that is my question?

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how does going on line in Herefordshire compared to the rest

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of the west Midlands? Latest figures from Ofcom revealed the

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homes with speedy Internet connections compared to those stuck

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in the slow lane. In Wolverhampton, the place with the best broadband

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in the Midlands, 93 per cent of homes enjoy the government's target

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internet speed. In Shropshire, that falls to 82 per cent. In

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Herefordshire, only three-quarters of homes at internet speed that me

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to the government recommendation, 17 per cent less than the big city

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counterparts. And that is the gap the Government is trying to bridge

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with a 500 million pound project together rural communities a

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helping hand. High its will go ahead in the Highlands and Islands,

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north Yorkshire, Cumbria and Herefordshire. All this will help

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encourage the growth of our creative industries as a key part

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of the new economy we are seeking to build. What a year after the

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pilot was announced and plans to run a broadband parts of

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Herefordshire and Gloucestershire are well underway. When it is in

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place, it will mean homes around here will not have any problem

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watching the BBC iPlayer. It was changed everything, it was changing

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environmentally, people will be able to work from home, it will

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change its socially, education will be delivered over broadband and

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economically that will make a huge difference to our businesses.

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Worcestershire it is the village of Martley. Five years ago people here

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got so fed up with their broadband they decided to take matters into

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their own hands. 60 homes clubbed together to set up their own

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wireless network by tapping into an exchange a few miles down the road.

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Me to the Johnsons. They are one of the families who are reaping the

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benefits from the scheme. It used to be so slow beforehand that we do

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not even bother using it because it used to take too long. Now it is

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quite quick and we are using it for everything really, the children use

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it for their homework, we use it for banking, we use it for

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comparison website and everything like that. The Government continues

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full throttle in his race to get our broadband up to speed,

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promising a future in which we are all big internet winners.

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Incidentally, the deputy leader of dust... He thinks broadband access

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is important for rural communities, as important as what a. Caroline

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Spelman, we get the message, but is that an overstatement. You are

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distinctly disadvantaged if you do not have internet access. Farmers

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are expected to fire their forms online and children are expected to

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find homework on line these days and you lose access to important

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information for your business, if you try to run at the end be in the

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countryside, and you do not have internet access, you will miss out

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on custom. It is a game changed and that is why we have allocated over

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�500 million to try and provide that super-fast prop banned. Also,

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the example of that community shows they can also help themselves and

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we hope to announce a fund so that that kind of project can be more

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widespread. Let me remind you what you say to your party conference in

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Manchester. He said that Labour's legacy to rural England and Britain

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was years of opportunity squandered in the absence of modern-day basics

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like broadband. When you look at Gisela Stuart in the eye and say

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this is your view of Labour's record? We are behind other

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European countries. We are behind some of the emerging economies in

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terms of the speed of roll-up. Jeremy Hunt said that by 2015 we

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will have a super-fast prop banned three at the countryside and that

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is our aim. Bury are, Labour neglected the countryside and his

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government is giving it �500 million. And the greatest of

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respect, you may be picking an argument here. I think successive

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governments have realised that in terms of economic competitiveness,

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modern technologies are vital. Creative Industries play a vital

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part and allow people to work in the countryside and be able to stay

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there. Access to information is vital. If week say the we could

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have done it quicker and most of the time we could have done things

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quicker. In terms of countrywide coverage of broadband, we are doing

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pretty well. A you willing to congratulate the Government on this

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pilot that we have seen in Herefordshire? It be it is a step

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in the right direction. That it is a game changes. People would like

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to live and work in the countryside. You cannot if you do not access to

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the internet. This is an important choice. It is a commitment so that

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people have so but as broadband access and can work from home in

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the countryside. By does it have to beat Bath prop banned?

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Wolverhampton apparently gets better service than London yet no

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one can say it is actually holding the capital back against the Black

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Country? Is it. Have to at the Bath prop banned. You will not move back

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if you are used to better service. The the government realise that

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these were absolutely essential. It is a continuous improvement. The

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only danger now that we need to look that is the question of

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security, cyber security, to insure that does not work that we rely on

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remain reliable. Are you surprised that there are such marked

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variations, not just across parts of the Midlands, by losses of

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figures that suggested that Evesham had a terrible drop off during peak

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times. Rural areas have got neglected because it is more

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difficult to lay cables and access more remote properties. With those

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kind of community broadband projects, you take a hub like a

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school that has a fast broadband access and many can bolt they say

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60 homes to it and that is how you improve the Connectivity. I think

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we will see a lot of growth in rural areas, because people would

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like to live and work in the countryside, but to do that they

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need the tools of modern business. You have commend and the Government

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on one thing and the other seems to be that the big society is working

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there in Martley. I'm sure David Cameron would be delighted to see

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how that has worked in marked Leith. The big society was all was a

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concept at that I could not understand why it was not as much

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and Labour as Conservatives. It is also a question of isolation of

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elderly people in rural areas. I do not think it is a party political

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issue. Come on, I have tried to make it one! I thing it does break

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the isolation. Some of our order yours do have the confidence to use

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the internet. Teenagers can talk to the grandparents and it does make a

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difference. In all sorts of ways, socially, economically and indeed

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environmentally, because you would not need to commute, and you could

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work from home. Of that not threatened at a traditional view of

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the rustic ideal. If you have a rural businesses with their high-

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tech connections. The countryside has to be a living working place.

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The shop floor of an industry, Herefordshire certainly, but in

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terms of the future, internet access will transform the

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opportunities for young people as well as the elderly. Thank you.

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You have to make the compromise in the former Cabinet minister, now

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enjoying what we Westminster watchers call the freedom of the

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backbenches. You can resign, stay at a government and say what you

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like but you have no power to do anything about it. The reflections

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of the now backbench Labour MP for Coventry North East and former

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Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth. If you were watching last week you

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will have seen his into the about the challenges are getting much-

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needed kit at any troops on the frontline in Afghanistan. In a

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wide-ranging interview recorded in our Westminster studio he also

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spoke frankly as he never could in government about drugs policy,

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elected Mayer's and high speed rail. We need a massive new capacity on

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the railways. You cannot squeeze any more out of the existing

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network. We have done it already. You could invest millions again and

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disrupt been at work and get very little. It there are suggestions

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you can upgrade the existing system. You could but it is a nonsense. We

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need new capacity. We need aAnd if you are going to build a new line,

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why build a slow line? I believe the people of Coventry are really

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opposed him. It is a vociferous campaign and I understand why they

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are coming from. They are personally affected and most of

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them offer living in villages affected. If I was living in one of

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those villages I would be opposed to it. In the national interest,

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this must also be heard. Moving on to directly elected mayors.

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Coventry is on the list of places that will be invited to make the

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decision of whether to have a referendum. Do you see yourself as

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comedy's first directly elected mayor? I was a councillor for eight

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years. I believe in local government and I believe we ought

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to delegate more power to local government, but no party, the

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Conservative Party or the Labour Party has delegated any of the

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powers that are necessary to local government in order to do the job

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that they have under the existing system. They is Bob Ainsworth he

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did man to do that job for Coventry? The if they were to vote

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for in Mayor, my party would need a candidate and in those

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circumstances I would be interested. Equally, I would be interested in

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backing another person for the job. I believe in the system itself.

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party colleague has said that it is arrested before a power freak. You

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are not a genuine and accountability without visibility.

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Ask them who the leader of the councillors and they would not know.

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Do you held a variety of ministerial positions, including

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responsibility for drugs in the Home office. Since moving to the

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backbenches you have had some tough things to say about drugs policy in

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this country. You have said it was a disaster and you have suggested

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that possession of certain drugs that are banned at the moment

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should be decriminalised. You know what happens when politicians say

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things like that, they are accused of going soft. How much times have

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we looked at our local newspapers and see a big seizure of cocaine or

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heroin. Did it make any difference? The police are like small boys on

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the beach, damming up the streams that inevitably get to the sea. No

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matter how much work they put into it, you can break up the big crime

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syndicates and you have to do that and that is what the police are

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doing, but they do not stop the flow of drugs, it still gets to the

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people who demand them at the end of the day. It provides massive

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fortunes for criminal empires and undermines government itself in

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some countries. See this as a health problem, get them into

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treatment and get the doctors' prescribing these drugs instead of

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the pictures prescribing and in the back alleys and the schools.

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Ainsworth there. You can find my reflections on that conversation on

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my block. Gisela Stuart, you chair the all-party group that supports,

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high-speed rail, Bob Ainsworth said appeared there he would oppose it.

:56:09.:56:19.
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Look at what was said about high- speed one, and a lot of the fears

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were... Did not materialise. This is a big infrastructure project and

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I remember getting the money and at that stage we thought we would

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never get high-speed two. Then I very much a but towards the end of

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December, they will support a project, because it is not just for

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us in London, it is also betrayed we do with the rest of the regions.

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It is part of the backbone of this country. If you're constituency

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gain the size of North Warwickshire which you have to support a high-

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speed rail. It the all through my existing constituency and it is

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difficult for people who live in settlements were the rail route

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goes around them. West I will do everything I can to help them with

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their compensation claims, I have to point out that there is very

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little spare capacity on the West Coast Mainline. Demand for rail is

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increasing, because people find the cost of filling up their cars is a

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problem and they are using the trains are more. Freight had come

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off the West Coast Mainline. Do we have a capacity problem and we need

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to bring the North of England closer to the south of England to

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bring the jobs closer to the people. Be no No the Transport Select

:57:47.:57:57.
:57:57.:57:57.

Committee warned that the impact on the rural economy. It has to be

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bounced in there. My constituency is close to the first station. The

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businesses in the rural community will benefit from very fast real

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access as well as the internet access that we are providing. We

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have to think about the future, it is about the next generation, that

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needs to be able to travel and we need to provide a good quality

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public service transport system that is that the the 21st secretary.

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A what is your position regarding Meyers in Birmingham? A I have said

:58:30.:58:35.

I am interested! Were due mind if other people through their hats in

:58:35.:58:45.
:58:45.:58:45.

the ring? I would put my name forward. So for the Labour Party

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has managed to produce three credible candidates and it is a

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shame that none of the other parties have really put their money

:58:53.:59:00.

where their mouth is. Thinking of your own party, what to think of a

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colleague in who said it was a power freak? I think he should go

:59:06.:59:16.
:59:16.:59:19.

back and see what the powers of the mayoral role is. What you have got

:59:19.:59:22.

his new still have a Cabinet and the rights -- and the Government

:59:22.:59:27.

are right to consult on extra powers for the mayor. Caroline you

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are halfway between Coventry and Birmingham are yourself. Would you

:59:32.:59:40.

throw your hat in the room? I think both cities would benefit. If I

:59:40.:59:43.

think they would flourish under the leadership of an individual

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