15/03/2012 Newsnight


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Jeremy Paxman.

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Marriage is such a fine institution it should be available to all, the


Government line on its plans to make gay marriage possible is


trumpeted loud, not so fast, say figures like the head of the Roman


Catholic church in England and Wales, who claims that marriage can


only be marriage if it is between a man and a woman.


Why has the coalition Government picked this fight with an enemy


which includes many of its supporters and MPs. We are going to


hear all sides of the argument. One other issue tonight.


Hello love. What have you got for nose bag, I feel like a steak and


kidney pudding. You are beginning to look like one, salad, victims.


Is it time police pay and conditions got a current shake-up,


what about making sure to start with they are all reasonably fit


and competent. The author of this subversive idea is here with a


If you know cause or just impediment you have 12 weeks to


speak your mind or forever hold your peace, not that doing so will


make much difference, mind. The consultation announced by the


Government today is only about how to make gay marriage local in


England and Wales, not about -- legal in England and Wales, not


about whether to do it at all. This, say opponents, is absurd, since it


wasn't in any manifesto before the last election. On the one side is


the political establishment, and on the other, the churches. We asked


our correspondent why the Government had picked this fight.


I don't support gay marriage in spite of being a Conservative, I


support gay marriage because I am a Conservative.


Marriage is an institution that has served this country very well for


nearly 2,000 years, and I think we should change it at our pour Rhyl.


Modern day "middle England" in a town built in the Middle Ages, and


one the Government believes is ready to accept gay marriage.


This ancient ward city is represented by Julian Brozier, he


is one of the Tory MPs critical of the party leadership's bill to


finally go for it and legalise gay marriage. The Conservatives want to


do that because they think it emblematic of the journey its party


has been on, in touch finally with Britain. Some don't get it. They


don't understand why the party would spend time on something like


this. The Prime Minister makes this


argument, he believes in marriage, in all its forms.


But it then means redefining marriage, it also means rather


impartial. Does it really? They are not religious ceremonies, civil


partnership has redefined marriage. You have to ask yourself what


marriage actually is, it has traditionally been between two, in


some ways restricted people, they had to be a man and a woman, not


related, and what we are talking about here is not only a big step,


but it is also a partial step. Why gay marriage and not Sharia


marriage. In 2005, the then Labour Government


legislated to bring in civil partnerships, now David Cameron's


team want to put down their own contribution towards modernising


Britain. And so, they have started the


process of bringing in civil gay marriage, by opening a consultation


to cheering from some of their MPs. I have looked at three studies that


show children being brought up in strong relationships, whether they


be between men and women, or men and men, or women and women, do


just as well as each other, so it is important that we, not despite


being Conservative, but because we are Conservatives, support the


equalisation of civil marriage. So we are in Canterbury, what is


your feeling about your constituents, how would they want


you to vote? I have made my own mind up, because it is something


that I feel strongly about. But, in fact, the bulk of the


representations I have had so far, all but one of them, have been


against this measure. And what was the one person who was


in support of it, why did they say they support it? On the rights


point, on the point of equal rights. It seems to me that rights have to


be balanced against the wider needs of society.


So how did Julian Brozier's opinion fare on his streets. On the


religious angle I have a bit of a problem there, I'm not particularly


religious, but on the human rights angle I suppose you can't deny it.


I really haven't got strong feelings either way. I don't agree


with it at all. Why not? I don't think marriage is for not two


fellas or two girls, it is male and female. Even though you have civil


partnerships? Civil partnerships, not marriage. Don't they deserve


equal rights? In a diverse society it is fine. You have an MP who


thinks it is the opposite, he thinks it shouldn't be allowed?


He's being a bit of a dinosaur then. Quick-fire tests like these are


normally a fool's game, but on this question the Government has


certainly put thought into where opinion lies.


Downing Street think that the number of people at the next


election who will vote against them because of policies like this, well


they are minuscule, all three party leaders will be voting in the same


way. So as a way to decide your vote it won't be very helpful, in


the round the Conservative leadership has decided there is


more to be risked from not going for something like this, than going


for it. There is something else, if you get from the 37% of the vote


that the Conservatives got at the last election, to the 44% they need


to win a majority, you have to go for Labour and Lib Dem votes, they


think on policies like this they can do that. For the Prime Minister,


while there is a lot of principle involved, there is also a lot of


polling. Issues like gay marriage, et cetera, are things that could


make a difference. But to be honest, they are swamped entirely by things


like basic competence on running the economy, crime, this isn't an


issue that everybody in Britain is champing at the bit and getting


excited about. It is hard to find a more Godly


dwelling than Canterbury, and on this issue the church is ranged


against the Government. Writing this morning, the Home Secretary,


May, sought to reassure, she pledged the Government won't touch


religious marriage in any way. Churches, she insisted, keep their


right to preach that marriage is only between a man and a woman.


Son the Canterbury, Chaucer, told many tales about the trials and


tribulations of marriage, David Cameron, on the other hand, is a


much more pang losian chap, and on this occasion, he's xet dent he


won't be left at the at -- competent he won't be left at the


alter. Nick Herbert has been watching that report, this wasn't -


- altar. Nick Herbert has been watching that report, this wasn't


in the Lib Dem manifesto or the Conservative manifesto, it is a


major social change, what authority have you done to do it? It will be


done with the authority of parliament, if that is what


parliament will decide to vote for. I believe they will. When we were


consulting about the extension of civil partnerships a couple of


years ago, we realised that a lot of people were saying that this is


something that they believed in strongly. It is, fundamentally,


about the kind of society you want to build, and the important


principle of equality, it is also about strengthening an institution.


As David Cameron said, from the Conservative point of view it is


not in spite of being a Conservative that we want to ensure


equal marriage, it is actually because we are Conservatives, and


believe in that institution. know the Lib Dems are claiming


credit for this, public low claiming credit for it? I don't


think -- publicly claiming credit for it? I don't think it is about


claiming credit. There has been enormous strides in equality in our


society in the course of the last few years. That has been important,


but there is more to do. There are now far more, for instance, gay


members of parliament, of which I am one, there are people now who


can have civil partnerships, I am one of them. But we still have a


situation in this country where you have young people who are being


bullied in school because they are gay, where we have a tremendous


problem in sport, in particular football, in relation to homophobia.


We have homophobic abuse around the world, and the idea that actually


we can rest on this issue, I think is wrong. Symbolically, therefore,


as well as on the merits itself, I think it is incredible important,


that we should, as a society, be saying that the valuable


institution of civil marriage, is available to all. I should just


emphasise, it is civil marriage we are talking about. This is not


affecting, or has anything to do with religious marriage, which is


untouched by the prososals. Much of the running on the debate is


running with religious figure. With what are you saying with your


colleagues, on the same side of the fence? It is complete and utter


claptrap I have to say to the minister, to be polite. This is no


nobody's manifesto, it was not in the manifesto and there is no hint


of it. If you are going to change something that is 2,000 years old,


put it in your manifesto, see if people vote for you, and then bring


it forward after the next parliament. This sham of a


consultation, 12 weeks when you have decided to do it, makes the


party look appalling. It is a disastrous policy. What do you tell


your constituents? My constituents have written in to me since I got


involved in it, and 80/20 they agree with me. Although it is your


party that is doing it? It is not my party that is doing it, hang on,


it is not my party. It is the coalition Government. As you said,


this is because of a dirty deal with the liberals behind the scenes.


Nick Herbert denies that? I think actually the surveys are showing


that most of the public think this is a change that is being made.


They don't, 88%, get this right. think it is the right thing to do


in any case. In the end parliament will decide. Will it be a free vote,


Nick, a genuine free vote, where ministers will be able to vote


against the Prime Minister? sure it will. Certainly in our


party we have always had a free vote on these issues of conscience.


I do think it is important to realise this is affecting the


majority of marriages which are actually civil marriages, we have


made it absolutely clear that this is not something that should affect


churches, religious marriage, we should not be tell them what to do.


They are, as I said, the people making much of the running on the


moral aspects of this, the most vociferous voice of opposition to


the gay marriage scheme has been that of the Catholic Church. A


little earlier I sat down with the Archbishop of Westminster, head of


the Roman Catholic church in England and Wales.


Archbishop, no-one is going to require you to conduct a gay


marriage, so why have you got anything to say about it? This is


not a debate, actually about religious freedom, this is a debate


about the nature of marriage. That is why it is very helpful, I


believe, that this consultation has now started. I hope that the debate


can be measured and reasonable, and really pay attention to the central


point, what do we mean by marriage, what do we understand it to be. Why


is it an important institution in this land?


You believe marriage to be beneficial to hetrosexual couples,


why isn't it beneficial to gay couples? I think you have to say,


marriage is beneficial to society, because of the complex features


that come together in marriage. is presumably you also believe it


is beneficial for the man and woman concerned? Of course it is.


isn't it beneficial for the two men or women involved in the gay


marriage? Let's put it this way, marriage is about bringing


difference together, different sexes, sometimes different families,


sometimes different tribes, it has been used to bring kingdoms


together. It is about bringing difference together, out of which


comes a new life and start. And the gender difference is, in your


judgment, absolutely essential to that? The gender difference is


essential, for its creativity and its compliment arity. You have


consistently redefined marriage, you cited marriage as a political


device, to bring about some sort of different relationship between


different tribes, why can't we redefine it again? No, I think what


you are talking about is different uses of marriage, different


purposes to which it is put, not the definition of it. If this


debate was simply about extending marriage, I would be not bothered,


but it is not extending marriage, it is about redefining marriage.


That is the crux of it. So far in this conversation you have not


mentioned what most people believe marriage to be, which is a


statement of commitment between two individuals, don't you believe


that? Of course it is a statement of commitment between two


individuals. It is valid between two gay people as hetrosexuals?


is not only that. We esteem marriage in our tradition and law,


because it is also the place where the next generation is produced. To


me it is utterly astonishing that in the whole consultation document


that the Government has put forward today, on marriage, there is not


one mention of the word "child", there is no reference to children


at all. That shows that the vision of marriage contained in the


consultation document is reduced. It is excluding things that are


actually of the very nature of marriage. You would, marry, would


you, a man and a woman who knew themselves to be infertile? I would,


as long as their intention was to live as man and wife. And you know,


as I know, that sometimes there is permanent infertility, sometimes


there is not. But the fundamental point is the shape of marriage is


respected in that union. What about two lesbians who wanted to marry


and would conceive a child by artificial insemination? They would,


it would not be naturally their child. So it is about the nature of


sex they practice? It is about, in this case, it is about who the


parents of a child are. And what society says, I believe, is that


the best circumstances for conceiving and bringing up children


is the partnership between the two natural parents. That is what it


says, and I think that is why the law is there to protect marriage.


That is why the change of the definition of marriage affects


everybody. But the politic Catholic Church recognises civil marriages,


doesn't -- Catholic Church recognises civil marriages? It does.


Why not recognise civil gay marriages? Because what is proposed


is a change in the definition of marriage. You have a view on it,


others have other views? I hope we can debate it calmly and well in


these three months. I hope that people will pay attention to the


first question in the consultation, which is, "do you want this change


in the law or not?". I hope that too will be part of the debate.


want to stop it? I think it is not good, it is not in the long run a


good idea to change, to shake that fundamental idea of marriage, in


which a man and a woman call each other husband and wife. And if a


gay Catholic couple came to you and said we want to marry, and we want


it to be recognised by the church, within the confines of the church,


respecting religious belief, what would you say to them? I would want


to sit down with them, I would want to say to them that I understand


their desires, that I understand that their experience of love is


vitally important in their lives. I would want to say to them that they


are called, in my view, in the Channel Tunnel's view, to a very


profound -- church's view, to a very profound friendship in life, I


would want them to be respected, but to have a vision in themselves,


that what they are called to is not marriage, but a profound and


lifelong friendship. Let's discuss this further with the


minister, hush Nick Herbert and the rest of my guests, who represent


many sides of the debate. Why isn't the profound friendship enough?


is a sad misunderstanding of the relationship gay couples have if he


thinks it is a profound friendship, it is akin to the union between a


man and a woman in a hetrosexual marriage. And what is wrong with


wanting to show a commitment towards someone to say you will


spend your life with somebody, that you will look after someone, that


they will look after you. I don't seek to dictate to the bishop what


happens inside his church, and what standards he sets, and what he


seeks to do, it would be wrong for me and the state to seek to do so.


Equally, I wonder why he should seek to dictate the institution of


civil marriage outside of his church, which is not a matter for


the church. I think if it is, what he's really saying is he's in


support of civil marriage for straight couple, but he can't


accept it for gay couples. I think we have the measure of this


consultation exercise, you are not going to listen? We are clear this


is a consultation about how to do something that the Government


believes is the right thing to do, parliament can then decide. It is


not a consultation about the principle, we believe in the


principle, we believe in equality. We have another bishop, an Anglican


bishop, did you agree with everything the Archbishop said?


think there is a problem about the catagories here, the report we have


before us is intellectually dishonest, it tries to say that


there is two sorts of marriage, civil marriage and religious


marriage, that is not true. The law of England has one thing called


marriage, solemnised in churches and registry offices, the ministers


have been going round for the past few weeks talking in rather loose


terms about civil marriages as if it is a different thing. It is not.


The reason why the churches are concerned, not merely because of


their own religious beliefs, it is about the fact that we believe that


marriage is a good for the whole of society, and you don't just lightly


change the nature of marriage, by saying, well, of course we know


people who are in committed partnerships, let's be nice to them,


because actually being nice to people is not a good reason to


change the law. Why are you shaking your head? We have got into the


situation where we have said the churchs are against it. There are a


number of bishops who are, on the ground, in the pews it is entirely


different situation. I'm afraid the bishops are out-of-touch with the


majority of people. A great many of us want it to happen. You are an


Anglican Clergyman, is there any reason why two men or women could


not get married? No. One of the problems with this thing from the


Government, it doesn't go far enough. It won't allow churches to


have gay marriage, even if they want to. So the state is dictating


to the churches, if the church or synagogue decides it wants to marry


two people of the same-sex, it won't be allowed to do it. The


state is saying to the churches, even if you want to do it, you


can't do it. It is a distinction we shouldn't be making, it is a


discussion about the nature of marriage we haven't had. The


Government has said we will do it any way, here is a called


consultation document, they are not allowing us to talk about the


nature of what it is we are changing. There is something about


the nature of marriage that hasn't been discussed, that is where the


Archbishop was right. The Government is just saying let's


reinvent it as we go along, let's make it up, let's be nice to gay


people, who do need to be able to have their commitments recognised,


but let's do it without thinking about the impact upon the whole of


society. Sitting behind you and shaking his head, Milo Yinnopoulos,


you are a Catholic and also gay? am, let me explain briefly the


problem I have. First of all, this doesn't sound like a Tory minister


to me, I'm confused about why David Cameron is doing this at the moment,


I think he -- I know, it's because he's sucking up to people who won't


vote for him any way, that is patronising. As soon as this hits


the statute books we will be besieged by test cases, seeking to


force churches, whatever the churches say, we will be besieged


with test cases that are seeking to force churchs to perform these


ceremonies. What will happen, can tell you one thing, the Catholic


Church is never going to perform a gay marriage, because the priest


involved, and the two people involved would be instantly


excommunicated, nor is any mosque, you are setting up something very


dangerous. It is all very well to say gay people should have these


unions and be respected and all of rest of it. I don't see any


difference between that and civil partnership. You are setting the


churches and the gay establishment against one another, my worry is.


You are saying all the churches think the same they won't. My worry


as someone with a foot in both camps is we will start a war here


that nobody can possibly win. gay Catholic you decide, do you,


that your religious belief is greater to you than your sexual


identity, fall in love with a man and wish to marry him, you would


not seek to do so within the church? I would not, no. It is not


my personal beliefs, my worry with this perpetual drive for equality,


we will drive people apart. Can I make a very simple point. I would


like to say, because somebody has to say this, look, there will be a


lot of people debating over the next few weeks and whatever this


issue, people will be talking about theology and legislation, and


people like yourself will be arguing with people like him


because he's aligning himself with something progressive you don't


believe in, all these discussions will take place. I'm really keen to


say that I think we should probably acknowledge that at times like this


it does unforth Natalie give a voice to people who just --


unfortunately give a voice to people who clearly hate homosexuals


who have deep rooted fears of themselves. He doesn't like the


idea of gay marriage and he's gay. That is a sweeping accusation you


have no way of justifying? I'm not talking about Milo.


Can I finish this point. Let me bring this these two guys here?


would like to hear why Peter feels so angry about Nick's support.


is not about Nick's support it is the democratic deficit. His point


was, as he clearly stated, that it was not in the manifesto of either


party in the coalition Government, therefore no-one had voted for it?


Let me bring in you two, you are a couple? We have been together for


25 years this April. Monogamous couple. Have you got children?


have five children together, our oldest two are 12, an eight-year-


old and It Takes Two-year-olds, healthy, well balanced, well


adjusted children, in our family relationship. You are in a civil


partnership? Our children are baptised, we are practising


Christians in the local church. I want to get married in my church.


With my Reverend who wants to marry us, but legally can't do it. It


goes back to your comments, we have a vicar in our parish in Essex, who


wants to marry us, but legally can't do it. This takes us into the


key area of the relationship between the state and the church.


Nick Herbert I will ask you in a second, you heard him say he's not


seeking to compel any church to do this. Maybe you should? Maybe you


should. He's compelling them not to. We can't compel the churches to do


something they don't want to. Neither the Anglican Church nor


Catholic Church would want to do this.


I accept there is an issue with the some denominations. They will not


do that, a very simple thing. want the same right as every other


man and woman in this country. Please don't all talk at once.


gay man, we are the only section of society, and you are a gay man too,


sitting here, that are locally discriminated against. If I was


black, anything else, it is ridiculous. My mother and father.


If we throw it over to men and men, why not let people have six wives.


Some people do. You don't find that abhorrent.


Don't all speak at once, please. (all speak at once) Hang on, you


have made your point, one at a home. I don't want six wives, I want the


same as a straight couple. Stop, let me say this. You have made that


point. Stella. For a start, you keep, Newsnight has been doing it


all day, talking about gay marriage, it is not gay marriage, it is


marriage. Equal marriage is what we are asking forks equality under the


law, the minute you add "gay" to it, you quantify it. It is simply


marriage. That said, what would be brilliant is if the church would


listen to itself, and render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. And stop


interfering what is going on in the rest of the world and go back to


its work. The gospel will tell you to butt out.


This lacks any sense of history, what we have in this country is a


judeo-Christian tradition from which we have inherited marriage,


you can't just write that could have. We have had only priests of


marriage for 500 years. You are shar I don't know James, you speak


for the traditional view of marriage. What do you make of this


conversation? I think that talking about religion is actually side


tracking the issue, I would like to move the discussion completely away


from religion, and say that the consultation and the ministers say


that introducing equal marriage, if you want to call it that, will


strengthen the marriage institution. Let's look at the evidence in


countries that have introduced, as we call it here, equal marriage,


the first thing, the marriage culture has been weakened. In the


Scandinavian countries that have introduced it, rates of childbirth


outside marriage have increased. The Netherlands have introduced it


and the next thing legalising threesomes, in Canada they have


taken the term "natural parent" out of the legal system and there is


pressure for group marriage. Marriage culture is weakened.


Suggesting that it will make marriage better, the evidence says


otherwise. When you hear a couple here at the back talking about, you


know, it's a very dually conventional life in many respects,


they have lots of children, they are committed, why not get married?


In that case why did the biggest gay rights group in the country not


come out in favour of gay marriage until 2010 they are the biggest gay


rights lobby, they said up until 2010 that the rights given by civil


partnerships are sufficient, and still gay couples say that. What


does the minister make of that argument? I don't think the


argument that some how having equal marriage has undermined the


institution would be a question of cause and effect. The truth is


marriage is an institution that has been systematically undermined by


lots of things. Over many decades. Actually, I'm one of a number of


people, and it is the view actually in my party at the moment, and of


the Prime Minister, that marriage is a really important institution


that we should be seeking to strengthen. Our starting position


is not to seek to undermine it, but that it is an important institution.


In a funny sort of way isn't it great to talk about how we


strengthen that institution, there is a disagreement here about it.


That is what we want to do. I think that it does come down to really


quite a straight forward proposition, which is why when a


straight couple are able to have a civil marriage, and a civil


ceremony, which is outside of a church, is that not available to a


gay couple as well. Yes we can have a civil partnership, I'm incredibly


grateful that was possible. But to me and thousands of other people it


is not the same, it makes us feel different. It makes us feel that we


are not treated equally to others, and we want to share, and be part


of an institution that has been so important in our country.


Gay relationships are not the same as straight relationships, it is


ridiculous to say they are. A man and a man loving each other is the


same, I love my husband the same as my mother loved my father. That may


be your view. The only difference is I'm male and he's male. I can't


believe as a gay man you feel that way. I believe the relationship


between a man and a man and a woman and a man are completely different.


When you hear these protestations of genuine affection, and a desire


to be treated merely the same as everyone else, don't you feel a


bigot? Not at all, because there are actually gay and lesbian people


who say that civil partnerships give all of the rights that they


require, and they do not want to see the tradition of marriage


redefined, they believe marriage is good for society. This is the


second time you have done to quote what you say gay and lesbian


organisations say, I'm interested in your personal feelings are, it


would make me feel uncomfortable? Not at all, I believe marriage


predates the state and church, it goes right back, it is a natural


institution between men and women, and the majority of people in this


country think you can respect the rights of gay and lesbian couples


and live in a tolerant society, we all want that. And also. It is not


about being tolerated, I'm not second class to anyone else.


Why is the gay and lesbian community clamouring for this?


Clearly they are not clamouring. We would like equality. It is very


simple, only asking for equality. agree with Stella, what's the big


deal, don't we all, listen, bottom line, actually cross-party, the


current state of the world, OK, human beings are actually the most


depressed, medicateed, anaesthised they have ever been, there is a


massive crisis. We think we live in a happy world. We should be moving


towards being more compassionate, and being more open-hearted and


accepting, we should all be moving towards equality. It pains me to


want to agree with anything that comes out of a Conservative's mouth,


at the same time, can I just point out a quick contradiction, I hope


you will be applying this great compassion for equality to all the


people who are losing out with all the massive public cuts you are


making and the health service and all the working-class people.


to the point! The point is that all of us should be moving forward in a


truly open-hearted way, where we would like equality. Now, if people


like yourselves, you know, extremely right-wing stories,


members of the church, and marriage coalition whatever it is called, if


all you guys think that marriage is so great and so special and it is


the ultimate place, which it is not, by the way, because human


relationships are complex. OK, OK, OK. Why not allow gay people who


want to join that. You can explain this? Peter why


shouldn't I be able to marry my partner of 25 years. I have got the


message, I just think it is a very simple case that marriage is


between a man and a woman, it is rather like saying an apple is a


pear, it is not. Marriage is between a man and a woman, that has


been for 2,000 years. Tauring about tradition. Thankfully things change.


(all talk at once) Things move on. Absolutely you can redefine


marriage, but you can't do it if there is not a democratic mandate


for it. You can read anywhere, you can read any of the manifestos


there was not a hint this was coming on, that is my view.


I think the reason there is so much heat in these discussions is


because many of us believe that the arguments people present against


equal marriage are actually a cover for homophobia, actually that is


what really is going on. That is a very serious accusation to make.


is Jeremy. That is what many people feel, that, I mean, it may not be


in certain circumstances, but actually in a number of


circumstances. Bishop are a homophob? I don't think it does any


credit to this to play the homophobia card. It is not. Hear


him out. What you need is a serious discussion about the nature of


marriage. I would be quite content for us to be having this


conversation at length, 12 weeks of a consultation, called, that says


we are going to do it any way, how do you want us to do it. That is


not a consultation. A serious debate in society about the nature


of what we believe in marriage, such that you can convince people


like Peter if you want to, that actually it might be worth thinking


about changing it. That would be a rational thing for us to do. This


is a thoroughly rushed, irrational bit of playing to the gallery that


is going on. Is any of this going to make a difference? Yes because


it is a consultation about how we do something, and big issues that


we haven't talked about, like how civil partnerships are affected. It


is important that we continue to listen to views. This is something,


as I say, that the Government wants to do, and then parliament will


decide. All those gam rouse police officers on TV are fiction. It


turns out large numbers of police have enough trouble getting out of


their chair in the canteen. The exmost extensive review of the


police in England and Wales, suggests they should be tested for


fitness and suitableness for conditions, and should have pay cut


if they don't measure up. The police trades union responds


that their's is not happy lot. Good evening all, I'm the mug


tonight. Faced with what's being called the biggest change to


policing since George Dickson was a lad, Andy Young isn't happy, it


took him 21 years to go from beat Bobby to inspector. He doesn't like


the plan, part of today's proposals from the lawyer, Tom Winsor, that


talented newcomers could get his rank on entry to the force. I want


officers who understand what the role of the job is, and their


personality in temples of being able to be decisive and -- terms of


being able to be decisive and empathise with the members of the


community they work with, are more important than qualifications.


There is a lot about the Winsor review he doesn't like, in the


words of one who drew it up, they are not looking for supermen or


comic book heros, on Winsor's evidence, that is just as well. He


has found 52% of male officers in the country's biggest force, are


overweight, 1% are morbidly obese. Winsor says there should be fitness


tests and disciplinary action for those who fail. Winsor says current


starting pay at over �23,000 is too high, 15% above similar grades in


other emergency services. Inspector Young sun impressed. You can be be


-- is unimpressed. You can be expected to work extended hours for


short notice. Pretty good reason? Reasonable for what we do. Winsor


wants to cut starting pay to �19,000, it is claimed all of this


could save a total of �1.9 billion by 2017, most of that, �2.1 billion


would be used to increase the salaries of the most skilled stpe,


a switch to performance re-- officers, a switch to performance


related pay. Don't you think it is a good idea


to cut that pay and given to those performing well? If you cut the


starting pay you won't get the quality of officers that the police


are trying to attract. The Conservative Party always


portray themselves as the party of law and order. From the start of


this Conservative-led coalition, the Government has been seen as


determined, one way or another, to take the police on.


There is history here, David Cameron was adviser to the then


Home Secretary, Michael Howard, when the Sheehy report on police


reform was considered and dumped. That was in 1993. And the politics


were different. The police were very united in


their opposition, and frankly, they had bigger fish to fry, they had a


prisons' crisis to deal with. Here we are 20 years later, some of the


same analysis, a lot of the same recommendations and the Government


this time round will see it through, I think. The economy squeezed, the


police are falling in public popularity, and this time, ACPO,


the Chief Constables, rather like the idea of greater flexibility in


handling staff. So the Government have the police management on their


side, and the shop floor, like the Police Federation's Inspector Young,


on his late shift, are facing a struggle. What about this


suggestion that 52% of officers in the Met, for example, are


overweight, 1% morbidly obese? Technically I'm overweight. What


are you going to do about it? That's another issue. But we need


to be careful on the way that is implemented, especially if there is


disciplinary powers behind it or consequences. Another five minutes


to sign off. Then the fun will start, night blokes will get the


lot. Hold it, customer. George Dixon served his time, and then


some, the actor was 80 when he left Dixon of Dock Green. In the real


world they will have to shape up. Are you entirely comfort of


producing a picture of the police that presents them as overpaid, not


sufficiently competent, and unfit? That is not the picture that time


painting. That is the implication of the recommendations? No. They


are not overpaid, I'm not making recommendations. Why are you


suggesting their pay be cut? not, I'm suggesting the starting


salary for new constables, not existing ones, is lowered, because


there is not a recruitment crisis, and we can get the same calibre of


officers for the lower salary. I'm suggesting the pay scale remains


where it is, and people go up the pay scale faster. You believe in


payment on merit? Payment for stree performance and the acquisition --


satisfactory performance, and acquisition of skills. How can you


be against that? We are not against payment for perrite, we are against


this being a complete attack on police officers pay. This is a


cost-cutting exercise, Tom Winsor took �300 million in the first


report, and �800 million here. It is not about reform but cost


cutting. There is no shortage of recruits, is there? Just because


you have a lot of people who want to be police officers, you justify


slashing their pay by �4,500, because you want people to be


police officers. You have heard of supply and demand, presumably?


There is a supply and demand. We should be saying we want the best


people to be police officers. The average age of a police officer now,


joining is 27. You have got 40% of them with degrees, they are coming


in with skills we need. They will not come in for �19,000 a year.


Where will they go instead? They won't join. They will not join the


police service. If you have a degree you will join on �21,000 a


year, and not �19,000, you will go up the pay scale faster, there is


no pay grade for existing officers, and new officers will go up the


scale faster. You concerned about what is mentioned in the report,


the fitness of the police? That is a real concern. The police will be


surprised to know that after initial training there is no test


of physical fitness unless you are in a specialist part of the police


like firearms. That is staggering? There are many officers who do have


to take fitness assess thements. 52% of the Metropolitan Police --


Assessments. 52% of the Metropolitan Police? They are


erroneous figures. They are the Metropolitan Police's own figures.


I have met with 800 police officers part of the TSG group. Tactical


support group? These are people told 50% of them are overweight,


these are very fit police officers, they are big police officers. Now


that just points out, whatever the figures are saying, they are


erroneous, these are big, fit, individuals. We are not saying that


every division of the Metropolitan Police has 50% of its compliment


overweight. That is not what it is said, and the Metropolitan Police


gave us -- it is their figures. What about fitness testing, we are


not against it, an average force of 4,000 officers, how would they


assess 4,000 officers and the remedial work toe get them fit and


do it again every year, the cost of that will be probibive. 15 --


Prohibitive. It takes 15 minutes, given at the same time as officer


safety training. 15 minutes a year will be bureaucratic? You have to


get people to assess them, remedial work. They are the ones who have to


get fit, not the force.Less's on the ones unfit and overweight


with health issues. Let's not put every police officer through a test


that is pointless. We rather expect when we pay police officers that


they will be able to do what we expect police officers to do, if


that requires them to be fit, why aren't we entitled to expect that?


The majority of them are fit for the role they now carry out. Most


officers are fit. We need them all to be fit. It was said today the


majorbt of police officers are fit. What is that majority, we want them


all to be fit. Let's focus on the ones not fit. We will just waste


time and money. How determined do you think the Government is to push


through your reforms? That is a matter for the Home Secretary. I


think these ministers in this Government do have a significant


political appetite for reform. It is the last unreformed public


service. This is a pay structure designed in...I Don't know why you


are shaking your head, it is unreformed? He using a mantra and


report from decades ago with no substance. I have been an officer


for 30 years, everything has been changed by my terms and conditions.


The last time we had a change to our pay was in 2004. I'm not saying


there is no reform, but the structure was established in 1920,


it was last majorly reformed in 1978, it has been tinkered with


ever since, but the fundamentals of just being paid for turning up,


those have not been reformed. We will leave it there. Thank you


both very much. Budget Day next week, and no end of speculation as


to what horse trading may go on between the coalition partners. In


tomorrow's Guardian a report that the coalition is ready to scrap the


50p top rate of tax when the Chancellor gets to his feet next


Wednesday. The Liberal Democrats, it is claimed, recognise they are


unable to stop the move. Our political editor is here. What do


you know about this? I think we are actually at long last nearing the


end of George Osborne's fight to get rid of the 50p rate of tax.


think he will do it? There is a phone call that most of the big


players are in at the moment. There is a phone call tomorrow, a meeting


on Monday ahead of Wednesday's budget. Osborne has been pushing


since almost he came in to get rid of it. They are worried even more


so because they have been seen to be banker-bashing with new stories


on Goodwin and Hester, they have to do something to say Britain is open


for business. He has been pushing and pushing. The most interesting


thing is it is not just Liberal Democrats who have been reluctant


to let him do what he wants. The Prime Minister himself is really


queasy about it. When talk to people in Downing Street, they say


hold on a second, we have to have big numbers to make the case


finally on this, the opinion poll is so uncertain. The public don't


yet want to slash this rate. indeed they will ever want it. What


will the Lib Dems get in return? They are going to say they will get


this tycoonry, some action on tycoon tax. My feeling is when we


did the David Laws interview, he said the most critical move we want


is the move on the personal allowance, the move up to �10,000,


we will have to see how much they get that, they have got one


increase and we will have to wait and see how much over. Bits on


tycoonry were never going to get what they were after. More tomorrow,


Another grey murky start to the day tomorrow. Mist and fog around. Rain


for parts of Northern Ireland and Scotland. Heavy bursts too, edging


its way down into the more north western parts of England and Wales


later on. Further east, much of the Midlands and eastern England,


broken cloud and sunshine through the day. It will feel pleasant with


temperatures into the low to mid- teens. We can't complain,


reasonably mild for the time of year. Cloud down towards the south


coast and much of the south west will be overcast. Rain knocking on


the door of west Cornwall, Pembrokeshire and Cardigan Bay.


Further east across Wales it will probably stay dry through daylight


hours. For Northern Ireland after a wet start to the day, things will


brighten up, a few showers left behind. That is the story for the


more north western parts of Scotland. Early rain clearing


through, sunshine arriving later on. Down towards the border it will


stay cloudy and damp. Locking ahead to the weekend, as you can --


looking ahead to the weekend, you can see showers around. Cold enough


for the showers to fall as snow, up over the high ground, where as


further south, we could see prolonged rain as we get into


Saturday. Some of that rain could be heavy and possibly thundery. The


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