Serious Riots and recalls of Parliament apart, The political summer break provides space each year to think ahead. Hence the discussion in Westminster among many about how we are starting to see the end of stage one of this coalition government and will now enter a second period, looking ahead to how the later years will develop for the coalition, building up to the next election in 2015. One former Lib Dem MP I bumped into during this recess pushed a theory that Nick Clegg should grab hold of the vexed issue of the Union and announce a timetable for a referendum on Scottish independence. This eye-catching, only partially mad, idea would have two benefits. Clegg could prevent the SNP from running ahead with the issue, as they always do. It could also provide him with a serious project and momentum that will never be provided by constitutional reform. As I’ve learnt to ask in politics, why not? As we see how the coalition ties up the reforms of its first, manic period in government, you will see and hear an awful lot about Francis Maude. It was, therefore, an ideal time to put the calm, behind-the scenes Cabinet Office minister in pride of place on this month’s cover. He has been around seemingly for ever, but this is his moment of glory. His work at the Cabinet Office could fundamentally change the way governments work in the future – more open, able to handle data – and a new relationship with those who work with the government. Turn to p48 to discover why he’s the man who tells colleagues “they can’t do the things they want to do”. A very different but equally compelling character bursts off the pages in our fantastic interview with Ken Livingstone on p38. Ken Livingstone is widely dismissed. Even his own party, particularly in Parliament, are unsure he is the man Labour needs for next year’s mayoral election. As Francis Maude continues his quiet work, the London battle will be a loud, bruising clash between two of the largest personalities in politics. It will be gripping, but not pretty.
en Duckworth • Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor Ben Duckworth Political Editor Amber Elliott Staff Writer Caroline Crampton Art Direction and Design Antonello Sticca Executive Editor Shane Greer Books Editor Keith Simpson Contributing Editors JB Seatrobe, Andrew Hawkins, Paul Linford Resources Director John Simmons Advertising Director Jeremy Halley dd: 020 7091 1261 email@example.com
4 | September 2011 | Total Politics
Strategic Partner ComRes Publisher Iain Dale Events & Production Executive Henry Rubinstein
Photography Getty Images, unless stated otherwise.
Our address Westminster Tower 3 Albert Embankment London, SE1 7SP
Editorial 020 7091 1268 firstname.lastname@example.org
Advertising 020 7091 1261 email@example.com
Subscriptions 01778 392023 firstname.lastname@example.org
Published by Biteback Media Limited registered office: 17 Marina Court Castle Street Hull, HU1 1TJ Biteback Media is a limited company, registered in England. Company number 06455159
Printed by Warners, Peterborough
Distributor Seymour Distribution 2 East Poultry Avenue London, EC1A 9PT 020 7429 4000 email@example.com
Newstrade Select Publisher Services 3 East Avenue Bournemouth, BH3 7BW 01202 586848 firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2011 Biteback Media Limited. Reproduction in whole or part of any article is prohibited without prior written consent. Articles written by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of the organisation.
ISSN 1757 - 0492
ABC application approved 15th February 2011
On the cover Francis Maude photographed exclusively for Total Politics by Alisa Connan on 25 July 2011 at the Cabinet Office, London.
Send your letters by email to email@example.com or by post to: Westminster Tower, 3 Albert Embankment, London, SE1 7SP
I f y o u w o ul dli k e y o u r l e t t e r p r i n t e d,
pl e a s eli mititto1
w o r d s.
T o t al P oliticsreservestheri g h t t o e ditl e t t e r s.
E-VOTING is TOO PRONE TO FRAUD The problem with comparing electronic tax returns (TP, August) to electronic voting is that no one wants someone else’s tax bill. Thus, there’s no incentive for fraud, which there can be with voting.
At some point, it’s possible that a foolproof system can be developed. However, until then, the current method of putting a cross on a piece of paper, which is then counted in full view of candidates and their agents, is simple, effective and (with the exception of postal voting) almost entirely free from fraud or impersonation.
Electronic voting could be subject to hacking and its secrecy could be imperfect. There’s the old phrase: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Jacob Rees-Mogg MP Member of the Commons procedure committee
DON’T CUT THE ARTS Jeremy Hunt betrays his disdain for, and lack of interest in the arts (TP, August) when he accuses me of treating the “11 per cent cut” to the Tricycle Theatre’s funding “as the end of world”. He is completely wrong on both counts, and it’s sad that he hasn’t made more effort to master his brief.
Firstly, I absolutely understand that all government expenditure must take some share of the cuts, but the Tricycle Theatre will receive 27 per cent less funding from statutory grants in the next financial year than it received in 2010/11 – these cuts come about because of the coalition’s policies, and the Tricycle, in common with most regional theatres, has now had to suffer the double whammy of cuts in Arts Council funding as well as those of London local authorities.
Secondly, I never suggested that this was “the end of the world”. I resigned after 27 years to make way for a newer pair of hands, with hopefully more energy, to fight these short-sighted policies. The withdrawing of investment in the arts will only succeed in ensuring that the creative industries throw more talented young people out of work, and stop theatres like the Tricycle earning more money in this country and abroad for the Treasury in taxes and national insurance.
The government’s reliance on philanthropy to provide a quickfix replacement to its long-term investment in the arts is short sighted and unachievable. Medium and smaller arts organisations, like the Tricycle, are being unfairly hit by these policies because they’re precisely the sort of organisations that cannot raise a quarter of their budget overnight from philanthropy.
The Irish government, beset with more financial problems than our own, has, through its investment in Culture Ireland, recognised the contribution the arts makes to its economy. I only wish that our own government recognises the strength and success of the British creative industries before it’s too late. Nicolas Kent Director, Tricycle Theatre
PLEASE ADJUST YOUR THINKING Jon Wilson makes a strong case for getting beyond the right’s obsession with the size of the state (TP, August). He’s also right to say that the left should care not just about what the state does, but how it does it. In the end, it’s people and our relationships with each other that make life worth living, and if we started from that insight we would think differently about policy and statecraft.
For instance, we’d think about the welfare state less as a mechanism for delivering a set of individual rights and more as a way of doing the right thing by each other. This is what underpins the proposal for National Salary Insurance, put forward in my recent IPPR paper. It would offer working people who had made their national insurance contributions, but lost their job, up to £200 a week in non-means tested monies for up to six months, compared to just £67.50 now. This reform would protect people much better in a risky world, while rebuilding the contributory principle that people get something out in return for putting something in. Graeme Cooke Visiting fellow at IPPR HS2: A BENEFIT FOR ALL? Both protagonists in the debate on HS2 (TP, August) made some good points but there is a missing question in all this: will HS2 do something for all of us in terms of better, more sustainable transport?
HS2, if it is built, will have to pass that test, because we know that we must, as a country, develop new and updated transport systems that deal with our congested rail and road links, and do so at a far lower carbon cost than now. If it integrates into longer distance journeys that can be made by rail rather than by plane, then it will have a big impact on transport CO2 emissions. The climate change committee’s fourth carbon budget, for example, considers that an extended system could save two megatonnes of CO2 equivalent per year. If it enables better use of other parts of the rail system, then it will have an even greater positive effect.
These are all benefits over and above faster, better north–south communication, and the economic uplift that brings. But to do so, it has to be built alongside those other planned changes that can give it added value. Alan Whitehead Labour MP for Southampton Test
GET African BALANCE RIGHT Andrew Mitchell is right to emphasise Africa’s position as “a continent of innovation, enterprise and opportunity” (TP, August) and deserves credit for the UK government’s commitment to African development.
The UK has a vital role to play, and should be persuading the G20 to push its development agenda beyond headline GDP figures and focus on growth that reaches poor people.
But the UK government also needs to get the balance right between encouraging enterprise and making sure that multinational companies are accountable to local communities. John Ruggie, the UN special representative for business and human rights, has warned that by increasing the cost of legal action, the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill currently before Parliament would “constitute a significant barrier” to victims of corporate abuse seeking redress.
For Africa to realise its economic potential, it needs a private sector that is both energetic and accountable. Penny Fowler Oxfam head of private sector advocacy team
Food security is a global issue
Microbiologists are playing a key role in supplying safer food in a sustainable way.
Heme s o c i e t y f o r g e n e r a l
For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org Microbiology w w w . s g m . a c . u k
Total Politics | September 2011 | 5