Just a few snippets of Evan Davis from last night's PM:
Evan Davis: Now you might say, well, economic forecasts are hopeless, but do bear in mind these are not forecasts. They are not saying what will happen in 2033, because lots can change. They look at what happens if you change just one or two things - trading arrangements or migration - so, to take an analogy, it's hard to predict precisely how long any of us will live but it is much easier to analyse the effects of smoking on average length of life, cos you're just changing that one thing, smoking. Also note these projections tell a similar story to others that have been done by independent economists. They're all in line. These scenarios are the economic consensus. Rebel economists have different figures, but sometimes to get them they've assumed that we changed our economy in quite radical ways.
Robert Buckland MP: And there's a good reason for that. It's not about me being secretive, Evan, it's about a convention that has long existed within government, and not just this government but governments across the world....
Evan Davis: (interrupting) You can break the convention. Parliament has actually voted on this one. You didn't oppose the vote in Parliament. Why didn't you oppose the vote in Parliament if you wanted to stick by this convention?Robert Buckland MP: I made the arguments very clearly, Evan, that the convention was there for good reason, which is about the indivisibility of collective decision-making...Evan Davis: (interrupting) But Parliament...Parliament was aware of that when it unanimously supported the idea of publishing, on this occasion, for this particular vote, all the legal advice.Robert Buckland MP: Yeah, but, what,what I think we are seeking to do is to strike absolutely the right balance between the need for openness and understanding by parliamentarians across the House as to the legal basis for the government's decision-making and also respecting what I'm afraid is an unavoidably important constitutional convention. If this starts to break down, then what future to we have for proper collective cabinet decision making. I shudder to think frankly...Evan Davis: (interrupting) Oh come on! (laughing)Robert Buckland MP: ...and that's why it's important. I'm sorry, Evan, it is...Evan Davis: (interrupting) We're not going to have children starving if we publish government legal advice! We take your point, Robert Buckland, Solicitor General, and the Speaker may rule on whether it's a contempt of Parliament. But you've made the case for keeping some of it back. Thank you very much for talking to us this evening.