27 November 2016
Guest: Sajid Javid, Chancellor of the Exchequer
Nigella: Our first guest just delivered the Autumn Statement, and has decided to come to our studio as our first ever guest. He is Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid! Hello Sajid and welcome!
Sajid: Thanks for having me, Nigella.
N: I was wondering if you were in the mood for something a little more exotic, a little more....southern today. Perhaps, Angleteric?
S: That sounds really good, actually!
N: Great! How about cherry tomato couscous with some freshly grated ginger and paprika, a little salmon wrapped in parchment, and a sumptuous, delicious roasted potato with chorizo and vegetables?
S: Delightful! Why don't we get started.
(The two wander around Nigella's large kitchen with Nigella pulling down random ingredients.)
N: Now, Sajid, you just handed down the Autumn Statement. For those people who don't watch politics internationally, what is that and why is it important?
S: The Autumn Statement is an update on the public finances of the United Kingdom. It's something that was started in 1976 with the Industry Act of 1975 mandating that there be two reports of economic forecasts by the Government. Some have combined it to make a fall budget and a spring statement, others have made one more important than the other. I treat them both fairly equally. They're important because it gives the Government a chance to update the standing of Britain's public finances and have its fiscal policy be scrutinised by the Parliament.
N: Were there any surprises in this one?
S: Well, typically DUP Governments tend to be fiscally responsible, and we've continued that trend but we've put investment in making Britain's economy more competitive internationally.
N: That can only be a good thing! Now, Sajid, can you pass me that bowl and the olive oil to your right.
S: Oh, cheers Nigella. Yes, it is a good thing. We want business to be the most competitive it can when going up against the two monolithic economies to the south who happen to be our biggest trading partners.
N: I'm sure you're referring to the Duxburian Union and Angleter? Okay. We're going to add that olive oil which I preinfused with garlic into the bowl. I'll get out the cherry tomatoes from the refrigerator. You know, I really love these delightful ruby jewels of sweet, bursting flavour.
(Sajid looks uncomfortably at the bowl as he pours in some oil and Nigella brings over the tomatoes.)
S: So we're going to let them sit for a while.
N: Yes, and we're going to let them soak in that delectable juice from the garlic olive oil. I'm going to prepare our salmon in parchment. I got a spring of thyme to put on top. Now, we've left the whole thing as is bar scales. I didn't take the head off of it, because I thought it would do a good job of sealing in those flavours. I'll be adding some more extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, quite a few cloves of garlic, a smattering of chilli powder, and paprika. Now, to the parchment we'll add a slice of lemon on top with the thyme sprig as well as an assortment of veg to go in there. Now, you're going to help me tie up the fish. Yes, hold that closed! Thank you!
S: No problem, Nigella. Everything smells really delicious so far.
(Nigella walks over to her refrigerator and pulls out a tray of chorizo.)
N: So, normally we won't get this political, but one more question on politics. The Democratic Unionist Party are about keeping the United Kingdom together....the SNP in Scotland and Plaid Cymru in Wales have been about independence. Now, we know that you have reached a historic devolution deal that gives parts of the United Kingdom the same levels of devolution. What does that mean?
S: The various parts of the United Kingdom, the regions of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales all can exercise executive authority on things that are devolved to them from Westminster, like the administration of the regional NHS, administration of education, rural affairs, transport, policing of transport and policing in general, and economic development. It's the most devolution than has ever happened before which has given us. Now, the British government has mandated out a lot of the structure in which varying changes and reforms at the regional level can be made, and more taxation powers to the devolved institutions have been given so they can raise an additional sum of money. They can also managed Ofcom, British Transport Police, and the Crown Estate in their regions. It's a lot of control we are giving to the regions and it is right to do so, bringing more control to people at a local level.
N: That's got to be quite fantastic.
S: Yes, it's going to help each region develop in ways that help them most. The UK Government will still deal with interregional issues like transport between regions, the NHS structure as a whole, education structure as a whole and other matters of funding and delivery as well as international politics and international trade, defence, etc.
N: That's interesting. Now, because I deal with food, what does that mean for food?
S: More local control over locally grown food, and hopefully more support for local farmers, fisheries, and producers of food. It's always good to have more choice than to always have to go to the supermarket.
N: That will be exciting. Okay, now we've put the fish in the oven, let's get the electric kettle on for our delightful couscous. Sajid, I'm going to let you choose the wine we have with dinner! It should be a white wine to go with the fish.
(Cut to commercial.)