BBC On The Record - Broadcast: 10.11.02

==================================================================================== NB. THIS TRANSCRIPT WAS TYPED FROM A TRANSCRIPTION UNIT RECORDING AND NOT COPIED FROM AN ORIGINAL SCRIPT; BECAUSE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF MIS-HEARING AND THE DIFFICULTY, IN SOME CASES, OF IDENTIFYING INDIVIDUAL SPEAKERS, THE BBC CANNOT VOUCH FOR ITS ACCURACY ==================================================================================== ON THE RECORD RECORDED FROM TRANSMISSION: BBC ONE DATE: 10.11.02 ==================================================================================== ANDREW RAWNSLEY: Good afternoon on this Remembrance Sunday. Is war against Iraq now inevitable? I'll be putting that to the Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon. And asking him what the Government will do if Iraqi defiance provokes America to go it alone? The deadly deadline facing Iain Duncan Smith. A Conservative backbencher tells us that the Tory leader has less than a year to prove that he's up to the job. Britain is drowning in a sea of waste. How will Ministers turn back the tide of rubbish? And will Scotland vote to turn a blind eye to prostitution? That's after the news read by Peter Sissons. NEWS RAWNSLEY: Unite or die - so Iain Duncan Smith told the Conservative Party. Will Tory MPs unite to kill off him? NIGEL WATERSON: "I don't think in this day and age that any leader can expect necessarily to stay in that role for the whole of a parliament if progress is not being made." RAWNSLEY: Instead of condemning prostitution- would it be better to control it? We'll be looking at radical proposals to create toleration zones for prostitutes and their customers in Scotland. The Government must do something to reduce the mountains of waste growing all over the country-everyone agrees, including the Government. MICHAEL MEACHER: "This is an extremely important issue for this country, we cannot go on increasing the level of waste by three or four per cent a year because it will double within a period of twenty years or so." ANDREW RAWNSLEY: Senior officials and politicians on both sides of the Atlantic believe that military action against Iraq is increasingly inevitable. This week the Americans will add more forces to the large number they already have in the Gulf and it's widely reported today that Britain will very shortly begin mobilising its forces. President Bush didn't get everything he wanted from the United Nations when the Security Council passed its resolution on Friday. Resolution 1441 does include tough new conditions for weapons inspections. But if Saddam frustrates the inspectors, there's no automatic trigger for war. The French, the Russians and the Chinese continue to insist that another resolution must be passed before any punitive action against Iraq can be launched. The words of the resolution are sufficiently fudged that the White House can say that they will go to war if Saddam Hussein impedes the inspectors of his arsenal. A war they will declare whatever the views of other members of the UN Security Council. And if that happens, it will finally confront our Government with the choice they've been desperate to avoid - do they stick with UN or follow the US? The Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, is with me. Geoff Hoon, okay you've got this resolution from the United Nations, but what possible reason is there to think that Saddam Hussein will co-operate with his own disarmament. GEOFF HOON MP: Because he said that it would. And the pressure from the International Community has been such that a new Security Council resolution was passed, unanimously, fifteen votes, including Syria in favour and clearly the pressure of the International Community is getting to him. RAWNSLEY: But you say that Saddam Hussein says he would. I mean he's a man you've described for months now as a man who breaks his word continually. He's always, on past form, even if he lets the inspectors in, he will simply frustrate them, won't he? HOON: Well that's obviously a concern that we have. But so far, because of the pressure that has been brought to bear through detailed discussions in New York and the United Nations, we do see some progress. It's progress that has been backed up by the threat of force and I make no apology for saying that because clearly that has changed Saddam Hussein's position. RAWNSLEY: But look, for months now, even years, you, Tony Blair, George Bush, you've all described Saddam Hussein as a cunning, wicked, completely untrustworthy man and suddenly this wicked, cunning man, is going to put up his hands, say come in, here are all my weapons, take them away. Beggars belief, I don't think you really believe that do you? HOON: He has a choice. He has the last opportunity that the International Community will give him for exercising that choice, whether he disarms voluntarily as you say, or whether he does face the threat of the use of force. It's a matter for him. It's in his hands, he can decide whether or not there is to be military action. RAWNSLEY: And on all past form, even if he lets the inspectors in, there will come a point where it's obvious he's not showing them all his weapons, won't it. HOON: Well that will be a matter for the inspectors to descide. RAWNSLEY: What's your hunch? That's what's going to happen. HOON: Well this is a very, very tough detailed resolution, it sets out all manner of detail about the kind of inspection that can take place, because having learned our lessons from the past where the inspection regime was less tough, we have been able to block off many of the gaps that he sought to exploit last time, presidential palaces for example, twenty-five square miles of Iraq that the previous inspection regime could not enter, now that's dealt with. So, we will know very quickly, I suspect, from the inspectors whether or not they are being frustrated. RAWNSLEY: We'll now quickly. Well, let's assume and I think this is the assumption we have to work on, I think you and the Americans are working on it, that Saddam isn't willing to disarm voluntarily. In those circumstances, has the United States, now got a mandate for a war? HOON: What the International Community have said and everyone is agreed on this, that there would be a further discussion. But there are a number of stages to be gone through, the inspectors, we hope, will be allowed access freely to Iraq, they will then report on what they find there, that report will go to the Security Council where there will be a further discussion amongst members of the Security Council. Everyone accepts that, the United States included, so we still have a number of stages to go through yet. RAWNSLEY: What does further discussion mean? I mean many people think America hasn't got authorisation for war on Saddam Hussein without a new fresh mandate from the Security Council, is that your view? HOON: I don't think that's necessarily the case no. RAWNSLEY: Not necessarily? HOON: Not necessarily. What we have to see is what happens. I.. clearly there are a number of possibilities that could occur over the next weeks ahead, but what I think is important is that we are all committed to this process, to the implementation of a United Nations Security Council resolution, Kofi Annan has made it clear that it is a matter for the United Nations to take very seriously and clearly as I said to your earlier, it is a choice now before Saddam Hussein. RAWNSLEY: But you see there is a clear difference of opinion here because the way the Americans are talking, they clearly think that's it, they have now got the mandate they need, if they want to take war to him, other people who signed up to this vote on Friday, don't take that view at all, the Syrian Ambassador doesn't think it gives a right to America to take unilateral action, the Russians don't think that, the Chinese doesn't think that, the French don't think that. What do you think? I mean who are you with in this argument - the French and the Russians or the Americans? HOON: Well I've not actually seen any evidence of the United States' position being what you say it is. The President when he spoke the other day, said the United States was absolutely committed to the UN process. They've spent months negotiating this, they've set out their position very clearly. RAWNSLEY: Right, so, if it came to the position where war had to be declared, you and the British Government would be urging the White House to go back and get another resolution would you? HOON: Everyone is agreed, as I said, that we will go back to the Security Council, that there will be further discussion... RAWNSLEY: For a chat, but what about a resolution? HOON: This is not a chat, we are talking about very serious matters here, about whether in fact military action is agreed upon. That's not a matter that will be done casually, it's a matter that will be done as a result of a serious discussion in the Security Council. RAWNSLEY: What if the Americans say no, we are going to have a war, we don't need another resolution, the Russians, the French, the Chinese go bananas at this point, where will Britain be? HOON: Well, again, I think it's important to go through the process. We've committed ourselves to this process, we've committed ourselves after a long period of difficult negotiation. No one pretends that this was straightforward. These are significant members of the International Community deciding on something absolutely fundamental to our security. RAWNSLEY: Something pretty ambiguous, that different people have voted for this resolution, but they can't really agree what it amounts to. HOON: What we need to do is to go through this process, to go to the next stage. We hope to allow weapons inspectors to go and look on the ground freely what Iraq is doing and that is a carefully worked out process. I think it's wrong to belittle it in this way. RAWNSLEY: Ah, well I'm not. Clare Short is very clear, your Cabinet colleague, Clare Short, she says and I'm going to quote her "the Security Council will decide what type of action will be taken", not the Americans alone, not America and Britain, Clare Short says it will be the Security Council. Is she right? HOON: It's always a matter for individual member states as it is for the United Kingdom to determine whether or not force will be used. It is a decision of the British Prime Minister to commit British troops. RAWNSLEY: So Clare Short's wrong? HOON: What I'm saying to you is that before... RAWNSLEY: Well you're saying she's wrong, but you don't want to say it in words of one syllable. HOON: What I'm saying to you is that before any decision is taken about military action, it will be a decision of the British Prime Minister if British troops are involved. RAWNSLEY: So...the impression people have, you see.. although you'll have discussions, the Americans, the British will have discussions with the UN Security Council because that's good public relations, but the impression people have is that if the UN Security Council doesn't fall into line, you'll do it anyway. HOON: Well, Kofi Annan as I've already said, has said that the United Nations Security Council and the United Nations must take its responsibilities seriously and what he is talking about is the responsibility to ensure that its own decisions are properly enforced. RAWNSLEY: But your interpretation of the UN's responsibilities is that they must licence a war by America and Britain. HOON: No, I think... RAWNSLEY: Some other members of the Security Council have a different interpretation of that responsibility. HOON: Well I didn't actually say that at all. I said that - and it will clearly depend on what happens. Iraq has less than a week now in which to decide whether to accept this resolution, it then has within thirty days to decide on what disclosure it's going to make over its existing weapons of mass destruction programmes, whether it has actually a programme on nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. We clearly believe that it has, it's a matter for Iraq now to decide whether it faces up to that. After that, we expect to see weapons inspectors returning to Iraq, to be allowed access. Now, all of those events need to take place before we have the kinds of conversations in the Security Council that you are referring to. Clearly, those discussions will be influenced by what happens on the ground. RAWNSLEY: Of course, but one thing you do in the Ministry of Defence probably more than anywhere else in Government is a lot of war gaming. You work out what you are going to do in various scenarios. I mean it's possible the crunch as you say could come within seven days. Saddam Hussein may turn round and say "no weapons inspectors, I'm not having them." When it comes to this crunch, will America and Britain go to war against him without a fresh resolution from the Security Council? That's the crunch question I'm trying to get you to answer, Secretary of State. HOON: As I have been trying to explain, it will depend on the circumstances. How Saddam Hussein reacts... RAWNSLEY: Oh, so, there's some circumstances where you ignore the rest of the Security Council and others where you may go for a mandate. HOON: The Security Council doesn't actually set out its position quite as clearly on what is a speculation, as you are suggesting. There isn't a clear view that you're describing. It will clearly depend on how the weapons inspectors are able to gain access to Iraq, what they find, what kind of report they make to the Security Council and, then, as everyone accepts and it's been stated quite clearly, on the record, that there will have to be a further discussion. RAWNSLEY: But not necessarily a resolution? So I'm going to take that as a yes and put this to you. Don't you think it would be terribly hazardous for the United States to launch any sort of unilateral war against Saddam Hussein? HOON: Well, the United States has not done that. RAWNSLEY: Yet. HOON: The United States has been consistently accused of wanting to do that, yet at every turn, they frustrated their accusers. People said that about Afghanistan, that the United States would hit out, in fact, they carefully assembled an international coalition and proceeded very cautiously with military action. People were saying that the United States would hit out at Iraq. In fact, the President made a decision to go through the UN process, he's carefully negotiated and reached a conclusion and again, there's no evidence of the United States behaving in the way that you suggest. RAWNSLEY: What there is, if there's a war, there is increasing evidence that Britain will be joining the United States in an invasion of Iraq, someone has been briefing today's newspapers that Britain will be mobilising its forces this week. Is that correct? HOON: It's not correct, although I have seen this briefing, so called, on a number of occasions, so I suppose eventually one or another of the newspapers will actually get it right. RAWNSLEY: None of it is coming out of your department at all then? HOON: Certainly not with my knowledge and authority, absolutely not. We made clear, as the Prime Minister did to the House of Commons in September, that we will be prepared. It's absolutely essential that Saddam Hussein realises that the international community is prepared to back its resolution with the use of force. RAWNSLEY: Absolutely, to make the make the threat of punitive action real, of course you are going to have to have considerable forces in the Gulf. How many service men and women in total do you think we will need to commit to the Gulf as a country? HOON; Well, no decisions have been taken. RAWNSLEY; I can't believe that, you must be close to decisions then. HOON; I have to say that no decisions have been taken and the Prime Minister indicated in the House of Commons that we would be prepared, and we are prepared. RAWNSLEY: Can you give us a rough ball park figure... HOON; The issue is when that decision is taken, clearly it is a matter that has to be reported first of all to the House of Commons. And that is a basic constitutional principle. RAWNSLEY: Let me put it this way then, when do you expect to be giving a proper formal announcement about mobilisation, the numbers involved, to the House of Commons? HOON; Well, again, I'm not going to announce that today. What is important is that we are prepared, that we have appropriate contingency plans in place and we will take those decisions when they are needed. RAWNSLEY: You see some say there won't be a big enough force to deal with Saddam until February next year. Which gives him more than three months to muck about with the inspectors. If it's necessary when will we and the United States really be in a position to invade Iraq? HOON; Well I'm not going to those kinds of details on your.... RAWSLEY: Well, are those reports correct, that we won't be ready until February? HOON; Those reports are not correct, no... RAWNSLEY: Will we be ready? HOON; Equally, I'm not going into guessing games,... RAWNSLEY: But not as late as February? HOON; ... when we might be ready. What I'm saying is that we're prepared, at each stage we have taken the appropriate and necessary decisions, but what is important is that we give this UN process time to be effective. RAWNSLEY: You see there are doubts at the very highest levels of the armed forces about Britain's capability to join a war against Saddam. I want to quote the Chief of the Defence Staff himself, Admiral Sir Michael Boyce. He says that front line troops have been stripped out to provide would-be fire-fighters. He goes on to say, if this runs into next year we shall have extreme difficulty. Is he right? HOON; I can assure you that we will be prepared in the event of the Prime Minister deciding to commit British troops. That is something which I discuss on a regular basis with the Chief of the Defence Staff, and we will be ready if it does come to that....and I want to emphasise it's a last resort. RAWNSLEY: So you think we could cope with having lots of forces in the Gulf and a fire-fighters dispute at the same time? HOON: Well, again, we will take those decisions when they're needed. They are not yet needed. RAWNSLEY: It wasn't a question of taking a decision, it was knowing whether we could cope with a fire-fighters strike and action in the Gulf simultaneously. HOON; We will cope, we will cope. RAWNLSEY: The Chief of the Defence Staff,. he's got an office right next door to you, he doesn't think we can cope. HOON: Well, I see him probably rather more often than you. RAWNSLEY: I'm sure you do. But maybe you don't talk to each other. HOON: We have regular conversations. I spoke to him this morning in fact at the Cenotaph, and I assure you that we will be ready, we can cope and we can deal with these eventualities. RAWNSLEY: Did you tell him that comment was helpful? HOON: I have seen that comment and I think you'll find that you're taking it out of context. RAWNSLEY: No, it was very plain what he said. I mean here's the quote again. "If this runs into next year we shall have extreme difficulty" That's not out of context, that's what he said. HOON: He went on to explain that we will be able to manage a number of different commitments, but it clearly does depend on all the circumstances, and again it isn't helpful at this stage to indulge in this kind of speculation. It is speculation. I'm saying to you that in the event of there being a need for military action in relation to enforcing the UN decisions in the Gulf we will be prepared and we will be ready. RAWNSLEY: I assume that when the Cabinet discusses the dispute with the fire-fighters you must be one of those voices hoping the Chancellor will come up with the money. I mean, after all, if Saddam Hussein is the menace to humanity you've described him as what's a few million pounds for the fire-fighters. We have to get our priorities right. I presume that's your advice to the Chancellor is - buy them off. HOON: It's not my advice to the Chancellor. The Ministry of Defence is clearly present at those discussions because it is important that we are able to provide an alternative fire service should there be a strike. Clearly we all hope there is not going to be a strike. We've been very encouraged by the negotiations that have taken place so far. Everyone wants to see those to be successful. RAWNSLEY: It's entirely possible that we could have large numbers of forces in the Gulf. Others may have to be deployed on fire-fighting duties. Is there going to be anyone much available to protect Britain itself from the sort of horrific terrorist attacks that David Blunkett was warning about only the other day? HOON: Yes, there is, and again one of the consequences of the appalling events of September the Eleventh was that I commissioned some work to be done looking at the impact of those new threats on the consequences. And I announced the results of that very recently, is that we have available now some at short notice, reserves who will be able to go and assist the civil authorities in the event of a crisis, but I do want to emphasise that it has always been the case in the United Kingdom that the primary responsibility for managing an attack within the jurisdiction of the UK lies with the Home Office, lies with the civilian authorities. We assist, the Ministry of Defence will assist, but it is assistance to the civilian power. RAWNSLEY: Of course any military action involving Britain in Iraq would be risky, and it's actually an unnecessary risk isn't it. I mean the Americans with their amount of forces at their disposal don't actually need us for this war do they? HOON: I don't accept that for a moment and I would invite you to look at the military action that took place about a year ago in Afghanistan where the UK armed forces played a vital role supplying reconnaissance, providing air to air refuelling, a significant presence on the ground, something that the United States looked for and welcomed from the United Kingdom. RAWNSLEY: Given all we know about Saddam, given how determined the Americans are to deal with him even remove him, be honest with the British people on this Remembrance Sunday Secretary of State. We're heading for war aren't we? HOON: I'm consistently honest about these matters, and particularly on Remembrance Sunday I'm not going to take lightly a decision to deploy British forces in support of a UN Resolution. Nevertheless, if that is necessary, it will be a decision that a British Government will take. RAWNSLEY: Geoff Hoon, thank you. HOON: Thank you. RAWNSLEY: Now coming up on the programme, how long has Iain Duncan Smith got left to prove to Tory MPs that he's the man for the job of leading them? Before that, a look back at some of the main stories of the week. Not quite an Iraqi referendum result, but close enough. Ninety nine per cent of Gibraltarians told Tony Blair that they want to be British, not Anglo-Spanish. Surely, he can't argue with that. Well, actually, he can. Talks with Spain will continue and an 'official' referendum will be held when a deal has been made. It's deja vu all over again. The threatened fire strikes were postponed for the third time, but the Union insist that unless a better offer is made soon, strikes will definitely begin on Wednesday, which is what they said last time. Labour selected Nicky Gavron as the Party's candidate in the next contest to be Mayor of London. Of course, she'd like the job, but she doesn't sound as though she'd be too upset if Ken Livingstone kept it. Lucky devil Ken. NICKY GAVRON MP: I do think it is important to keep the Tories out and I never disguise that fact that I will co-operate with Ken on that. RAWNSLEY: The BBC drama The Project, starts tonight. The Prime Minister's Director of Communications and uber-spinner, Alistair Campbell, denies that he ordered Labour Party staff not to co-operate with its producers. They claim that the dirty tricks drama is based on conversations with more than a hundred former or present members of Labour staff. So much for control freakery, then. ACTUALITY: Ok, how are we going to make this look good? UNNAMED MAN: There is no way it can be made to look good. We kill this story as quickly as possible. RAWNSLEY: Rubbish - we're all producing far too much of the stuff. And we're running out of places to get rid of it. At the moment, most of our waste ends up being buried in massive landfill sites. They are ugly to look at and bad for the environment. So the European Union is telling us to stop pouring so much rubbish into holes in the ground. But how can we be persuaded to produce less waste or to recycle much more of it. Taxing rubbish is one answer, but that will require the Government to risk unpopularity in the name of the environment and the European Union. Can we see that idea getting any further than Downing Street's waste paper basket? This report from Terry Dignan. TERRY DIGNAN: Our green and pleasant land is where we dump our rubbish. Environmentally unsound, yes, but it's cheap. Here on the Isle of Wight as elsewhere space for landfill is running out. Just as well because it produces methane - a powerful greenhouse gas. Now Europe warns the UK - change your ways or be fined. We put thirty million tonnes of rubbish annually into our dustbins and we bury most of it in landfill sites like this one. The rate at which we are producing rubbish is growing all the time and we must find more environmentally-sensitive ways of dealing with the problem. But that would require tough action by a brave government. MICHAEL MEACHER MP This is an extremely important issue for this country. We cannot go on increasing the level of waste by three or four per cent a year because it will double within a period of twenty years or so. That is simply not sustainable, we've got to change direction. DIGNAN; Compared to other EU countries the United Kingdom sends a vast amount of household rubbish to landfill - seventy-eight per cent. In France the figure is forty-nine per cent and in Holland just twelve per cent is dumped in the ground. Our Government is pledged to drastically cut the amount of waste going to landfill. Barbara Foster is an elected councillor on the Isle of Wight where nearly a third of waste goes to recycling or composting. She separates food and garden waste as well as paper and glass. The EU Landfill Directive requires a cut in the amount of biodegradable waste going to landfill by nearly half in the next ten years and by two thirds within twenty. Biodegradables include everything from cotton and cardboard to woollen socks and baked beans. They'll have to be treated differently - at considerable extra cost. PETER JONES Waste will either be processed biologically, for soil manufacture and compost, where it could be converted, not by necessarily direct combustion, but it could be converted to energy, or obviously in the case of recycling, where it has to be recovered and reused in its original form, particularly in the case of glass packaging and plastics and so forth. DIGNAN; But our record in recycling municipal waste is poor compared to other EU countries. In Holland forty-seven per cent is recycled but in England and Wales only eleven per cent. Scotland recycles just four per cent. The Government's target is thirty-three per cent by 2015. The Government's think tank, The Strategy Unit, has been asked by ministers to come up with ideas for achieving this figure. Every year in this country we use more than six billion glass containers and most of them are not recycled. Indeed some local authorities manage to recycle just one per cent of all the rubbish they collect. The problem is that burying and burning waste is cheaper than recycling and we are still waiting for the Government's answer to this dilemma. MEACHER: We can look at deposit and return systems for glass or other kinds of containers. We are looking at that at the present time. And of course, one can always give fiscal incentives for recyclers, that's a matter for the Chancellor, but of course those are options if we need to improve that recycling rate. DIGNAN We could get nearly all our glass from recycled bottles, so the Chancellor, Gordon Brown is being told, make recycling more competitive by massively increasing the tax on dumping rubbish in the ground. Currently councils pay thirteen pounds a tonne in landfill tax. KAY TWITCHEN: I think until we do have a higher landfill tax, we are always going to be too land fill dependent, as a cheap option. So the effect of a landfill tax and increase would be to equalise the costs of landfill with the costs of other processes, like recycling, which is very expensive to do. And you then have a more level playing field. JONES: Our view was that it came in at seven pounds, when it should have started at fifteen, and today, we're advocating that nothing much will happen in this area until land fill taxes in the UK match those in Europe, and I'm talking there about thirty five, forty, forty-five pounds per tonne, compared to thirteen pounds per tonne at the moment. DIGNAN; Local authorities hand over hundreds of millions of pounds a year to the Treasury for using landfill sites to dump the rubbish they collect. Increasing this tax will hit them hard. They'd like the money back to pay for a huge increase in recycling. TWITCHEN It's very expensive at the moment and a lot of local authorities are not doing it, simply because it is expensive. Now if they've then got to pay extra landfill tax, as well as being expected to provide all the gear that will make recycling work, I don't think we've got a hope of meeting the terms of the directive. DIGNAN; One answer is to burn more of our rubbish as many other European countries do. While England and Wales burn just eight per cent or municipal waste, in Holland thirty-four per cent goes to incinerators, in Denmark fifty-five per cent, but many here want to tax incineration. JACOBS: If you build a massive incinerator, it needs massive amounts of waste, and then there is an incentive for the local authority which runs the incinerator to encourage more waste. ACTUALITY. "Britain's not for burning. Britain's not for burning." DIGNAN: Outside DEFRA, the Department for the Environment, protestors demonstrate against incinerators. They believe ministers want many more of them - because burning is cheaper than recycling. Despite much stricter controls over emissions of harmful dioxins, few want an incinerator in their area. SUE DOUGHTY MP: Incineration is a vote loser across all parties. Now no MP will be able to stand up with confidence and say I support incineration, and expect to retain the seat. I think it's as strong as that. MEACHER: There will be some increase in incinerators. Some people say the government has a figure in its back pocket as to what it intends. That is complete rubbish, if I could use that word. It's totally untrue. DIGNAN; Most of us say we want to save our environment but it doesn't stop us from filling our bin bags with more and more of this rubbish. Perhaps the time has come to make us pay for all this. The government is considering a dustbin tax and even a tax on the plastic bags we use for our shopping, the only thing is - these taxes may not be terribly popular. As we grow richer, so we waste more. Perhaps coercion is the only solution. The Government's Strategy Unit has been to Ireland where taxing plastic bags has had dramatic effects. It's also looking favourably at allowing councils to charge householders for rubbish collections. Environment ministers like this idea too. MEACHER; They are already paying for it through their council tax. The problem with that is we're all paying the same amount. So, if you generate a very little level of waste, say twenty pounds, or some - twenty pounds worth in weight or something like that, someone else generates two hundred pounds worth in weight, both pay the same amount, even though it costs ten times more to dispose of one compared to the other. The rationale for the proposal which we're certainly looking at, is that people should pay in some way related to the waste that they generate. DIGNAN; At the Island Waste Depot on the Isle of Wight another load of rubbish arrives to be separated for recycling. It's argued a dustbin tax might be more acceptable to voters if, in return for putting aside much more of our rubbish for recycling, we were exempted from paying the charge. TWITCHEN; If people only have to pay for the stuff they throw away, if they have the option to put their bottles and bags and glass and stuff out for recycling, and they just have to pay a reasonable charge for the residual waste, I think most people would go along with that. DIGNAN; On the Isle of Wight they try to extract anything that can be recycled even after the bin bags have been collected. The suggestion we should be taxed for the rubbish we produce might be put out for consultation when Mr Brown makes his pre budget statement. But some of those who support taxes on waste say charging householders may fail. JACOBS: It would seem to me that to have a system in which householders are charged per bag would require very strong elements of civic responsibility, so that the vast majority of people simply felt they were willing to pay the charge and they wouldn't fly tip. I'm not sure whether we've got that. DIGNAN; Separated waste is transported to its next stop in the recycling process. We may have to spend three billion pounds on plants like this to rely less on landfill. Wouldn't it be better for manufacturers to stop producing waste in the first place? Shouldn't they have to pay extra taxes? JACOBS: We need to be moving further up the production stream, so that we're saying to firms, why are you producing this waste in the first place. Why have you got so much packaging on these products, and if firms can do that, then you'll find that consumers don't have the waste and you've reduced the problem at source. DIGNAN; Even if the Strategy Unit recommends using taxation to cut down on all this waste, there's a political risk as the fuel tax protests showed two years ago, yet some ministers believe tackling the ever-growing problem of waste requires bold action. MEACHER: We need to incentivise people, it's much better to give people incentives than to penalise them, but we do have to say that in the last resort, you cannot continue to do this. DIGNAN; On the Isle of Wight the garden clippings are prepared for composting. This is the future of waste management - or so it could be. First the Government must decide whether to take some tough decisions because digging holes in the ground to dispose of our rubbish is no longer an option. RAWNSLEY: Terry Dignan reporting. Is the Conservative Party doomed? This week, Iain Duncan Smith led them to the abyss and told his MPs to stare into it. "Unite or die" shouted the Quiet Man. And it appeared to have some effect. It seemed to scare his critics into silence. But on past form, that's unlikely to last. In a few minutes I'll be talking to the former Tory Cabinet Minister, Leon Brittan. First, Martin Popplewell reports on the waves of panic surging through Tory MPs. ACTUALITY FROM DAD'S ARMY: Don't panic, don't panic. MARTIN POPPLEWELL: For supporters of the Conservative Party the week has been far from amusing. ACTUALITY FROM DAD'S ARMY: I'm in charge now, I'm in charge now. POPPLEWELL: The Tories have been described as the most successful political party in the Western world, but some observers say their performance this week has more closely resembled a farce. MICHAEL BROWN: Iain Duncan Smith is supposed to be an Army man, but this is more a Dad's Army man and he's going round like Captain Mainwaring stamping his feet and you've got the Corporal behind him saying "don't panic, don't panic". Well, that's not the way to run a serious political party. POPPLEWELL: This time last week there was few signs that the Conservative Party was about stumble into the biggest political crisis since Iain Duncan Smith became its leader. But, by Monday morning, officials here at Conservative Central Office were busy trying to deal with the resignation of John Bercow - a member of his Shadow Cabinet - over the issue of adoption. By that evening more than forty Tory Members of Parliament had failed to vote in support of the party line and the problems for Iain Duncan Smith weren't ending there. When Captain Mainwaring was looking after the Home Guard, homosexuality alone would put you in prison. But, in a sign of how much society has changed, the Adoption Bill, which this week became law, allows unmarried couples, including gays and lesbians, to adopt children. INTRODUCTION TO ADOPTION DEBATE 4th NOVEMBER 3.38 PM: The clerk will now proceed to read the orders of the day. Adoption and Children Bill, consideration of Lords' amendments. POPPLEWELL: The legislation goes to the heart of the debate, dividing the Conservative Party. Some modernisers support the legislation saying the Party needs to represent the Britain of 2002, not 1942. Even more MPs say there should have been a free vote. NIGEL WATERSON MP: Well, I voted with the Party line because that happens to be what I agree with. I think it was inappropriate to have a three line whip. There was a lot of muddle over whether it really was a three line whip or not and I think in retrospect everyone accepts it was a mistake. POPPLEWELL: For many the sense of panic and the bunker mentality was exacerbated by Iain Duncan Smith calling a press conference to make a personal statement. The word resignation was on everyone's' lips. IAIN DUNCAN SMITH MP: Over the last few weeks, a small group of my Parliamentary colleagues have decided consciously to undermine my leadership. For a few, last night's vote was not about adoption, but an attempt to challenge my mandate to lead this party. POPPLEWELL: According to the former MP, Michael Brown, the statement was a tactical disaster. BROWN: This was the week when Iain Duncan Smith, true to form, 397 years to the day, 5 November, after the gun powder plot, that he decided to blow up the Conservative Party, if not the Houses of Parliament, but I don't know whether there are any plots around, if there is a plot, Iain Duncan Smith has lost it. POPPLEWELL: The end result of the week's events is fevered speculation about the leadership of Iain Duncan Smith and his chances of surviving. We've spoken to a number of Conservative MPs who do want a change in the leadership. They believe that more poor performances in the Commons and judgements which produce rebellions like this week's on adoption, could well lead the Conservative Party to adopting a new leader, and now even more MPs are willing to openly call for an improvement in their leader's performance. WATERSON: Well, I think everyone recognises, including Iain, that we've got to do better. He has got to do better personally and I think he has been improved, particularly at Prime Minister's Questions, we all have to do better as a party. We've got to get off this plateau in the low thirties of the opinion polls and I think there have been a couple of stumbles recently, which although blown up out of proportion, I think just remind us that you know he has some way to go before he, before he's battling Tony Blair on equal terms. BROWN: Another gaff could set it all off next week. I mean, he's got a big speech coming with the Queen's Speech, first time he's ever made a response to the Queen's Speech, a big forty minute/forty five minute set piece occasion in the House of Commons, it could be a wonderful oratorical triumph. I'm not holding my breath but it could be and if it is, he could be with one bound free and we would be writing up you know 'on the way to Downing Street', on the other hand he could flop, and if he flops he can't afford to and I suspect that the end could come quite quickly. POPPLEWELL: Some MPs are now risking the political equivalent of a court martial by implying that Iain Duncan Smith is on probation. WATERSON: Well, I don't think in this day and age that any leader can expect necessarily to stay in that role for the whole of a Parliament if progress is not being made. I think it's far too early too early to be talking about any of this, but half way through this Parliament, which coincides to some extent with the May elections, local and other elections, would be a good time to review things. POPPLEWELL: But others who are eager to escape the gloom which still consumes the Conservative Party say the final push against IDS him could even come before May. ACTUALITY FROM DAD'S ARMY: We're doomed, doomed. RAWNLEYS: Martin Popplewell reporting. ANDREW RAWNSLEY: And I'm joined now by the former Conservative Cabinet Minister and Vice-President of the European Commission, Leon Brittan. Is it possible, Leon Brittan, that we are witnessing the strange death of Tory England? SIR LEON BRITTAN: I don't think so. The Labour Party was considered doomed when we beat them hollow in election after election in the 1980s and look where they are. What we need... RAWNSLEY: Not a great parallel for you of course because they spent eighteen years in opposition. BRITTAN: They took a long time. I was going to say the question is how long it will take to get back, not whether we'll get back and what we need is cooler nerves and a less frenetic atmosphere and a longer timescale and a longer view. The point is that the strategy that has been followed by the Party, I believe, has been roughly right, the tactics, as we've seen in the last week, have been pretty unfortunate. RAWNSLEY: You say we need cooler nerves. Now, who are you talking about, are you talking about Conservative MPs, or are you talking about the leader? We heard a Conservative MP saying in public just now in the report what many of them are saying in private, that Iain Duncan Smith has to raise his game and he's only got until next summer to prove he is up to the job. Is it his problem, has he created this febrile atmosphere you talked about? BRITTAN: No, we all have to is the answer. RAWNSLEY: Oh, you're all to blame? BRITTAN: In a way, because Iain Duncan Smith has made mistakes, nobody's doubting that, himself as well, but he hasn't exactly had much support from the Party in the House of Commons and by all this kind of talk that we have of deadlines and timescales and so on and so forth, it doesn't help the Party. You can't stop commentators and journalists doing it, but I think the Party itself ought not to join in. One thing is quite clear, if anybody thinks that another contested leadership election with all the passions and disagreements that goes with that is the way to improve the position of the Conservative Party in the country, they really need to think again, that is not the way to do it. RAWNSLEY: Let me be clear about this. You're saying then that Iain Duncan Smith should remain safe as leader until the next election? BRITTAN: No, I think Nigel Waterson's right ... RAWNSLEY: Or are you not saying that? BRITTAN: Nigel Waterson's right in this sense that politics move fast and you can never be sure of anything, but I think to talk about having a leadership election at this stage is a great mistake, what you need to do is quite clear. You need to press the points made at the Party Conference, the new ideas on policy, on the public services, that's what you've got to stress... RAWNSLEY: Okay... BRITTAN: And then, of course, see how it goes. RAWNSLEY: Ah, see how it goes at this stage. So how long do you give Mr Duncan Smith? BRITTAN: I'm not's not for me to give him or any... RAWNSLEY: But you've a very experienced seasoned Conservative politician - how long do you think he's got? BRITTAN: I don't think there's any particular period of time that he has got, or that the party has got, and I think the less you talk about periods of time, the less you talk about leadership elections and the more you talk about the actual issues, about the mistakes the Labour Government is doing...making, about the policies that were put forward at the Party Conference, that increases the chances of us making progress. How quickly we make it, and how the leader will fare and how he will do, I think focusing on that is the best way of ensuring that we don't make the progress that I think we can make, faced with a very vulnerable Government and perfectly sensible policies except, of course, on Europe, where I do disagree with them... RAWNSLEY: Yes, we'll come that in a minute. You see, admire Mr Duncan Smith or not, the Conservative Party did elect him for a Parliament, he was elected by a majority of Tory members, what right have Tory MPs to reverse that decision before the next election, however he performs, whatever rating the Conservative Party gets in the polls, you're stuck with Mr Duncan Smith until the next election, aren't you? BRITTAN: Well, it's not a question of stuck with him, he has been elected leader of the Party. I have made it quite clear that I don't think a fresh election for the leadership of the Party... RAWNSLEY: Just now. BRITTAN: Or generally - I can't think of any situation in which an election for leadership of the Conservative Party is going to be a way forward. On the other hand, you know, the Parliamentary Party are keeping, they see what's happening on a day to day basis and they have to take their responsibility to do what they think is in the interest of the Party. RAWNSLEY: If that includes putting a revolver to Mr Duncan Smith's head and pressing the trigger? BRITTAN: Well, I've just now said that I think having a leadership election isn't now going to help... RAWNSLEY: Now? BRITTAN: And I can't see any circumstances in the future where a contested election of that kind with somebody putting up against him is really going to help. RAWNSLEY: You see you voted for your old friend Ken Clarke last time round, it was defeated then and by quite a large margin. He was defeated the time before. Twice now, Ken Clarke has been rejected by the Conservative Party. Isn't it time your old friend retired gracefully from the scene because every time Ken Clarke talks about his continuing ambitions to lead the Tory Party, he simply undermines Mr Duncan Smith? BRITTAN: But he doesn't keep talking about his ambitions. RAWNSLEY: He did only the other day. He said he's got this hobby of running for leadership. BRITTAN: What he said...well what he actually said is that he is not seeking the leadership of the Conservative Party but people like you keep pressing him and say... RAWNSLEY: It is our job. BRITTAN: Of course it's your job keep saying do you rule it out?, is it impossible?, is it inconceivable? Well anyone who is seriously on the political stakes is not going to say that because the circumstances... you don't know what might arise and he has a perfectly honourable ambition, he's not pressing it, he's not pushing it, he's not part of a plot. I think it was a mistake of Iain Duncan Smith to accuse those who voted on a particular issue of plotting, that was unsustainable and, of course, it's particularly difficult for a leader of the Party who made his reputation by voting again and again against John Major's Government to play the loyalty card. RAWNSLEY: There we must leave it, I'm afraid, on that advice to Iain Duncan Smith. Leon Brittan, thank you very much indeed. RAWNSLEY: Prostitution is the oldest profession- and just about as old are attempts to stop it. There are a growing number of people arguing that the laws against prostitution don't really work. They even make it worse. Criminality, drugs and serious public health risks- especially AIDS- are all associated with red light districts. So is there an alternative approach. As Iain Watson reports, there's now a controversial proposal in Scotland to create tolerance zones, what you might call green light districts, where prostitutes are allowed to ply their trade. IAIN WATSON: Scotland's capital by night; as the sun sets on Edinburgh, there are some sights in this city you won't see highlighted in the latest short break brochures. Around the dockland area of Leith, the dark pages of an Ian Rankin or an Irvine Welsh novel are made flesh. Even though this is Sunday, you're not going to be treated to an uplifting tale of fallen women made good. A happy ending isn't guaranteed. Prostitution isn't illegal; but soliciting for business is. So you would imagine that politicians would be calling for a crackdown on the women who work these streets. But in fact, there is a bill before the Scottish Parliament which would allow police to turn a blind eye to those who are touting for business in designated areas, just so long as local councils agree. Edinburgh police once operated an unofficial 'toleration zone' in this area. They wouldn't arrest women who were simply looking for business. But after complaints from new residents, the zone was abandoned a year ago The women who worked there say this has put them not only at a greater risk of prosecution; but at a greater risk of attack. TRACY: The girls are like looking out, looking behind their backs thinking, oh, would it be safe to stand here, are the police going to come and get me and things that like. WATSON: What kinds of risks are you facing now? TRACY: Being out there wondering if any girls are, if when they go in that car are they going to come back in the same car they went away in. Everybody should be there for everybody, but because there's no zone, there's nothing. You think to yourself, oh, will this be my last night and things like that. WATSON: Leading the charge to make toleration zones legal is the veteran SNP politician Margo MacDonald. She say her Bill won't impose them on places that don't want them. But she believes the experience in Leith proves they can work; if they're confined to non-residential areas MARGO MACDONALD MSP: The idea of tolerating street soliciting inside a strictly defined area centred around this area, because it used to be old warehouses and it was frankly run down and not all that many people around but in common with lots of places, you know near waterfronts and cities and so on, it's been upgraded, it's very nice, very pleasant indeed. Lovely new houses and you can't really blame the people for saying, well we've got this house at some considerable cost and we don't want it to be thought of as being in the middle of a red light district. WATSON: She says the zone here benefited not just prostitutes, but the law-abiding public too. MARGO MACDONALD MSP: Firstly there was a lower rate of criminality associated with street prostitution because of the intelligence that the police had built up in the area, no pimps and things like that. Also there were no under aged girls working as prostitutes, and there now are because there's no tolerance zone, the police don't exactly know where ,you know, the women are going to be. And thirdly, the huge benefit to public health, of the woman being in touch with the health services, the fact that the HIV infection which should have been rampant amongst street prostitutes in Edinburgh was actually at a lower rate of infection than it is amongst the general public WATSON: Now even those people who support toleration zones admit that the difficulty of putting their idea into practice will centre on the age old problem of location, location, location. Margo MacDonald does have some ideas about where new toleration zones could be sited in Edinburgh, but she won't let on for fear of sparking a residents revolt. So we took a bit of a look around ourselves and who knows, we may even have found the ideal place. Over here is a large hill - not many residents there and on the other side there's an office block, when office workers go home in the evening, they are hardly likely to hang around and be offended by the sight of streetwalkers and there's a construction site behind me. Unfortunately, it's going to be the home of the new Scottish Parliament and politicians certainly don't want to see a toleration zone in their backyard. Unsurprisingly, neither do the residents of Leith. ROB KIRKWOOD: Well, this is one of the many public places that the girls bring their customers. If you walk around here, around about around 11/12 o'clock at night. WATSON: Inside the play park? KIRKWOOD: Yeah. You are likely to come across one of the girls at work with one of the kerb crawlers, so it's not something that the residents obviously feel very happy about. WATSON: Rob Kirkwood is the spokesman for the Leith links residents association. He says since the toleration zone was ended in his part of Edinburgh, prostitutes have been straying into residential areas, leaving behind unwelcome souvenirs - used condoms and syringes. But he's sceptical that a new toleration zone would end this night time invasion. KIRKWOOD: You can for example get a zone which could be described as industrial and non residential and the girls may very well stand there looking for customers. The problem is where will they take their customers. I suspect that many of them will branch out into the back streets of the residential areas. So if a zone is going to be set up that problem needs to be looked at. WATSON: But location isn't the only issue. While some of Scotland's top police officers are in favour of toleration zones, the police federation - the body which represents the rank and file - oppose them in principle. CHIEF INSPECTOR COLIN DUNN: How do you ring fence an area and say well the normal public are not allowed in to this area, but the public who are wanting to pay for sex and the public who are wanting to provide that, that is turned over to them, that cannot be right in a society that claims to care for its public. We haven't it done with assault and robbery and we haven't done it with murder. It remains on the statute book, we don't set aside areas where people can commit an offence that's on the national statute book or is an offence against national law. MARGO MACDONALD MSP: It will not be illegal to solicit inside a designated area and so therefore there's no question of turning a blind eye. You would be applying the law. The law would be outside the tolerance zone, soliciting is illegal, inside legal. WATSON: In Scotland's largest city a different approach to street prostitution is being taken. By night, Glasgow operates what's known as a 'safe zone'. Unlike a toleration zone, they don't like to shout about its existence, to stop it becoming a magnet for prostitutes and punters alike. That said, ask just about anyone in the city, even a Presbyterian maiden aunt and they could give you an exact location. The police keep an eye out for any assaults here, but they reserve the right to prosecute the women for soliciting. So they're not sending out a signal that this lifestyle is acceptable. And local politicians say Margo MacDonald's got her priorities wrong. PAUL MARTIN MSP: She doesn't deal with the issue of men who demand these services first of all. I think also it's tolerating that women must live like this. Tolerating that it is acceptable for women to put themselves at risk, day in and day out, it is not acceptable and we have to support women during that period, we have to support them in terms of their re-housing prospects, their employment prospects and supporting them and their families WATSON: So Margo MacDonald's Bill may yet be sunk. But if it does make progress and delivers a safe haven for women who work the streets, then Aberdeen may provide a sneak preview of how toleration zones could operate in the future. At Aberdeen's newest leisure centre, you can enjoy a burger, take in a block buster, even play a game of bingo. But just a few yards away, down rather more dimly lit streets, less wholesome entertainment is taking place. This is Scotland's last remaining toleration zone for street prostitution. It's just gone six in the evening. As a nearby leisure park begins to do a roaring trade, these women are also hoping to attract business. Police here set up this informal toleration zone a year ago. Drugs Action is a charity which works with the women here, as almost all of the prostitutes are also heroin addicts. They believe that putting the zone on a legal footing, where the council would have to consult on its exact location, would help overcome any local truculence about its proximity to public amenities. SENGA MACDONALD: Having a tolerance zone is allowing the situation to be managed and also for the local community and residents to have some means of negotiation in the whole process, whereas without the tolerance zone, that opportunity is not there. ANNE CAMPBELL: One very strong comment that somebody said to us last night was that she didn't want to just be tolerated, she wanted to be accepted. WATSON: A local member of the Scottish Parliament doesn't support Aberdeen's informal toleration zone. Instead he wants a more radical rethink where prostitution is certainly accepted, but only behind closed doors BEN WALLACE MSP: We should look at the options of getting them off the street, into establishments where perhaps they can be better protected, where the police can keep an eye on those places and where the public can be protected from the nuisance that is often caused or disturbs some people, when their areas would be I suppose categorised a tolerant zone. WATSON: So legalised brothels? WALLACE: Well I think certainly we should go some way down that. MARGO MACDONALD MSP: Even if you tried to do that, I think some women would probably still work on the streets. They've been doing for rather a long time. WATSON: Scotland's street prostitutes are unlikely to leave the oldest profession via the route favoured by Hollywood movies. Few rich benefactors trawl these streets to 'take them away from all this'. So politicians have a choice - either to tolerate soliciting within certain zones, or to do much more to encourage women off the streets entirely. But it's unlikely that they can convince everyone that a red light simply means STOP. RAWNSLEY: Ian Watson. And that's all we have time for this week. Don't forget our website packed with exciting things about the programme. John Humphrys will be back at the usual time next Sunday ..... good afternoon. 26 FoLdEd
NB. This transcript was typed from a transcription unit recording and not copied from an original script. Because of the possibility of mis-hearing and the difficulty, in some cases, of identifying individual speakers, the BBC cannot vouch for its accuracy.