16/07/2012 Newsnight Scotland


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The SNP's long-standing policy of staying out of NATO is to be


updated. The party conference had been asked to go changed in a


policy of independence. Also tonight, why is the debate over


same-sex marriage angry? As this programme predicted, the SNP will


debate NATO after independence as long as Trident is removed. That


seems to be the substance of the The traditionalist MP view of the


defence has been to have a Scotland free of nuclear weapons and


involvement with NATO. There was great interest in the suggestion


that leading nationalist politicians were planning a change


in party policy to allow them to remain within NATO. That never got


to the council but today has confirmed that it will be debated


at the national policy conference in September. The motion in the --


is saying that they should stick with NATO as long as they remove a


Trident and can do is hit. Some Do you accept that in discussing


this policy it will be seen as a fundamental betrayal by significant


numbers of supporters... I am looking for it to the debate it.


The branches and constituency associations will decide on this


defence policy and I think To be fair, I know you are concentrating


on an aspect of the policy update. It is a detailed proposal and it


goes through the reasons why we should be able to make security


affairs debated in Scotland. Could a... And what that will mean in


terms of a defence in Scotland, it is important to understand that the


issue of Treaty relationships with neighbours and friends is part of


the update. I think it is a welcome debate to be had because in recent


years when I have been travelling around to understand the kind of


relationship that they might want to have with an independent


Scotland, it has become obvious that working together through


treaty organisations is absolutely key for them and we want them to be


good advice.... You understand that we have got a big gap in defence


policy and you are conceding that in what you say here. The proposals


have been made because having spoken to the SNP with a wide


ranging review and having spoken to external experts and having


travelled around neighbouring countries, it is clear that 10


years on from the last policy, we have got areas that do need


Updating. We face unprecedented challenges through cyber terrorism.


To we do not have a lot of time. Let's focus on NATO. A do you


accept that this discussion, whether or not the SNP are in or


out on whatever terms, is is not a messy policy discussion? It seems


like not just a change but a significant betrayal that he would


even discuss it. The you accept that? I do not a thinks so.


flexible are your principles? If they say that you cannot stay in


unless you keep Trident, what do you say to that? Nuclear weapons


had been stationed in other countries with bilateral


arrangements between the two countries and it does not involve


NATO. That would be the relationship between Scotland and


the rest of the United Kingdom. If we look at the history of the few


countries that have weapons, this would be the United States and they


have been drawn from Canada and Greece. We have got a


misunderstanding. What has been proposed is that after independence


and the resolution I am proposing would work together with neighbours,


friends and allies, on the basis that we would not have nuclear


weapons in Scotland. The majority of people do not want Trident in


Scotland and neither do I or the SNP. We have got an opportunity to


work closely with friends and neighbours and allies and get rid


of nuclear weapons and have appropriate defences in Scotland.


That is the duty of making decisions in Scotland. That is why


we need independence and to be able to set our agenda. Would it be the


case that if you did get rid of tridents that he would actually


allow vessels from other members in territorial waters? Were should


look at the policy of a northern European neighbours in NATO but


without nuclear weapons, like Norway. They have made it


understood that they did not train forces with nuclear weapons and


will not stationed them in the country. They did not want to be


part of them and neither do Scotland. We want to work with


neighbours and allies. That is what NATO is supposed to be about. That


is for us and it is primarily about conventional defence. Co-operating


together and watching one another's backs. That is what the neighbours


want. We do want to work together It is widely expected that the


Scottish Cabinet will discuss what it wants to do about same-sex


marriage. Cardinal Keith O'Brien made it clear that he wants a


referendum which was rejected by many of his opponents. Both sides


are used to extravagant language and generalisations have been


flying has brutally as offensive remarks. We will discuss what is


debate says about the society but first, we will get updated on the


story. It was gay pride in Glasgow on Saturday. A these days it is


more like a carnival and a campaigning rally. At gay men and


lesbians are fighting for equality, which has been won but they want


the abolition of Section 28 and perhaps most crucially, the idea of


straightforward prejudice is often considered to be beyond the pale.


But campaigners insist that there is more to be done. That same-sex


marriage is the current battleground. When we came out


initially, I was not for, or against. But what is now happening


is the campaign against it. When I was being referred to as a doctor


in a field and do better than bestiality and that sort of thing,


then I started supporting the Civil partnerships did same-sex


couples the same legal rank as heterosexual couples. Some people


refer to them as gay weddings. But in law, they are not weddings.


they are not the same things as a marriage. It does not have the same


respect and the same rights. government insists that the Church


will have to conduct same-sex weddings. But this has not calm


anxieties, especially in the Roman Catholic Church. One concern is


that they could be a situation where they are forced to hold gay


weddings. Some groups have been pushing the agenda of quite some


time and they have definitely skewed the balance of public


opinion. It is time to have a balanced discussion and debate


about that reasonably. And then day will see we have to keep this going.


We had a variety of views here today. It is the same-sex marriage


that I am against in the Catholic Church. I feel that the civil


partnerships and the legal rights that they want and the financial


rights, and I think that my personal belief is that marriage is


a union between a man and a woman. A devout Catholics and activists


are a part of diverse society and according to a survey, downright


hostility to gay marriage is a minority view. When people were


asked its same-sex couples should have the right to marry, 60 %


agreed and 19 % disagreed. But other surveys have not had decisive


results. We have had progressive governments around the world


legalising same-sex marriage. The majority of politicians have fought


for this. The modern SNP sees itself as a progressive social


democratic party. But in gay weddings, members did not speak as


one of. This former leader is a staunch opponent. And at the


conference last year a small minority at a fringe debate


demonstrated the conviction of some critics. I think that whether the


nation goes forward team independence under the SNP will


depend on what the SNP does with the best, whether we continue to be


blessed by God and able to lead the nation, or whether his blessing


will fall from us, if we allowhomosexual marriage as opposed


to partnership. -- allowhomosexual marriage. Thousands of people


responded to the survey and whatever decision is made, some


people will be upset and it might influence strong views in favour of


In Dundee, we have Professor John Haul-Dane, director of St.Andrews


University's Centre for Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs. And


in Edinburgh, Richard Holloway, a writer and former Episcopalian


bishop of Edinburgh. Thank you for coming in. This is obviously a very


interesting area where law an morality can collide. It might be


useful to look at a legal principle of harm here. If a gay Christian


couple wish to get married in a church, something supported by


their particular church and faith, and yet are prevented from doing so


by an existing law, which is then in that reading enshrining,


formalising, prejudice and discrimination and so mitigating


against a pleuralistic approach to society, you can see the legal harm


to those individuals and society as a whole? On the other hand, where


is the harm actually to those churches and individuals who oppose


gay marriage, when there's no compulsion on them to conduct or


condone these marriages? Well, that's a complex question. Look, I


think there is at least three ways to look at this. One a set of


political issues. Then there are legal issues and then ethical or


cultural issues. As far as the legal issues are concerned, my


understanding is that there is an awareness there is some complexity


here and there may be a question as to whether or not there might have


to be change in equality legislation to protect those church


that's do not want to conduct gay marriages and don't want to be


exposed to legal action on that score. But that seems to me is a


legal question. I take it that what most people are interested in, a


technical legal question,if you like, I suppose what we would say


something like this: We want the law to protect the interests, to


the extent it's possible, of all the citizenery. Clearly here we


have contest over a central issue. We have to find a way, to the


extent it's possible, of allowing people space in which to express


their views and recognising the rights of others to do so. If there


are conflicting interests, clearly as there are in this, and there is


no element of compulsion on one party, but there is an element of


denying something to another party, why is it not reasonable to say


that in the best interests of society as a whole, we will not


deny things to people and equally we won't compel others to do


something they don't want to do? Precisely, the question of


compulsion is what's at issue here. This is where there is this


question as to whether or not under the current equalities legislation,


whether the rights of those who do not wish to conduct such marriages


can be protected against civil action. If they could, would that


satisfy you? Well, I mean, I'm not so much interested, I take it we're


interested in larger questions about respect and so on and I mean


the gay marriage issue, my own part, I'm not opposed to civil


partnership. The point about marriage is that I don't think


marriage is a rights issue, it's a common good issue. It's about how


society wants to regard it fl is. It's a larger question. In some way,


is it not tempting to frame this in a legal way because when you come


out of a legal pair dime and have a moral debate, it gets ugly quickly,


does it not? That's not surprising. Big cultural shifts are always


painful. What we're seeing at moment in Scotland and in the whole


of Britain is a shift in a direction that's been resisted,


understandably, by institution that's have a different


understanding of what's right, legal and moral. Just think of the


over giving women the vote. A lot of similar arguments were used


against that, but institutions are very cumbersome creatures to change


and the ecology requires most of us to reference them -- reverence them


and keep them stable. If they're too unchanging they don't adapt to


new realities. We're seeing the slow adapting of our culture


politically to the status of gay people. I think the other thing I'd


say is that on the whole, the state is very sensitive to religious


opinions and convictions here and religious institutions are already


exempt from a lot of equalities legislation. They cannot be sued,


for instance, for refusing to accept women priests or employ


women in sacred professions like that, so I think that politicians


are well aware of the complexities here. My hunch is, I may be wrong,


my hunch is once the dust has settled and this is past, in a few


years, churches all round, the one that's oppose and ones that favour


it will adjust and find that the earth hasn't opened and swallowed


them up. We need to have these fierce debates to move things on.


You said in the past anything less than approbation becomes a target


for legal action, in what regard do you think that's likely? Well,


again, you're pressing the legal question and that's a technical


question. Probably what you're referring to is this: I've observed


in the past there has been a slide, I think, over the notion of


toleration. So, toleration means put up with that of which you do


not approve. Whereas there is a tendencey to say you are not


tolerant unless awe prove or indeed celebrate. It's for the reasons


Richard touched on, in many ways these are devicive issues, debates


about the economy, military issues, there are a range of issues we


debate in society. It's important we are able to find a way of


tolerating the fact that there are people who disagree with us. That's


got to be true for all of us. This is a question of cultivating a


civility. Toleration doesn't mean approving what others' think or the


way they live, it means adjusting to the fact that they do have these


opinions and live in that way and so on. I would hope that Richard


agrees, that toleration is a very important social virtue, but it's a


question precisely of accepting, as fellow citizens, people with whom


one doesn't agree. I do agree with. That I find tolerance a kind of


neutral word. I prefer words like generosity, the ability to let


someone have a point of view that you passionately disagree with and


yet a bit of you is actually glad of that, because in the ecology of


idea it's by passionate disagreement that we move on and


even sometimes adjust our own thinking. But also, this is open to


subjective interpretations of what is a reasonable way to respond and


what is a tolerant attitude. Obviously, you're lining up on


opposite sides of this, both arguing for tolerance here. Picking


up something John mentioned, the sorts of things with which the


church is interested now. We understand from theologians there


are four occasions when Jesus talk abouts sexual relations and many


occasions when he talk abouts money, usery and justice. Are churches


obsessed with private sexual autonomy? You could argue that. It


seems to get us in a real mess. The Anglican Church has been endlessly


debating this. It doesn't other important things, but that's the


issue the press is interested in. You could say that public opinion


zeros in on these issues because the press is interested. We


actually debate many other issues. You're right, Jesus doesn't say a


lot about sex in the New Testament at all. He's wanting generosity and


forgiveness in relationships and we all fail. Most theologians today


realise we've moved on a lot and away the -- the way we affirm


different relationships. The church used to have a grudging attitude to


sex in marriage. The old prayer book used to say that marriage wore


people who couldn't be celibate. Celibacy was the highest vocation.


You got married, it was like being on methadone maintenance programme,


if you couldn't do without sex, you got a lie sefpbs for it. Churches


do move on and change, slowly. you accept that Christian morality


evolves? Yes, in some sense that is so. Our understanding of things


evolves and so on. I think it's just two things briefly, one is the


idea that the church is preoccupied with sex seems curious. The other


one, I'm sorry, we're out of time. Just the importance of cultivating


the value of civility. That's a good note to end on. We agree on


good note to end on. We agree on that. Thank you both. Quick look at


tomorrow's papers: The Herald leads with the story we covered first,


SNP reveals plans for policy switch on NATO.


Scotsman - going with that. SNP leaders set for U-turn on defence.


The Guardian - ten days to the Games, what could go wrong? I think


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