15/03/2012 Newsnight


15/03/2012

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


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Transcript


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

:00:10.:00:14.

Government line on its plans to make gay marriage possible is

:00:14.:00:18.

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

:00:18.:00:21.

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

:00:21.:00:25.

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

:00:25.:00:28.

Why has the coalition Government picked this fight with an enemy

:00:28.:00:32.

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

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

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

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

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

:00:53.:00:56.

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

:00:56.:01:00.

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

:01:00.:01:10.
:01:10.:01:12.

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

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

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make much difference, mind. The consultation announced by the

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

:01:23.:01:26.

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

:01:26.:01:32.

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

:01:32.:01:39.

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

:01:39.:01:45.

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

:01:45.:01:53.

our correspondent why the Government had picked this fight.

:01:53.:01:57.

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

:01:57.:02:05.

support gay marriage because I am a Conservative.

:02:05.:02:08.

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

:02:08.:02:14.

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

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

:02:18.:02:22.

one the Government believes is ready to accept gay marriage.

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This ancient ward city is represented by Julian Brozier, he

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

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

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

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

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

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this. The Prime Minister makes this

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

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But it then means redefining marriage, it also means rather

:03:01.:03:06.

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

:03:06.:03:10.

partnership has redefined marriage. You have to ask yourself what

:03:10.:03:14.

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

:03:14.:03:20.

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

:03:20.:03:23.

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

:03:23.:03:29.

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

:03:29.:03:34.

marriage. In 2005, the then Labour Government

:03:34.:03:37.

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

:03:37.:03:40.

team want to put down their own contribution towards modernising

:03:40.:03:43.

Britain. And so, they have started the

:03:43.:03:47.

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

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

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show children being brought up in strong relationships, whether they

:03:55.:03:59.

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

:03:59.:04:04.

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

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being Conservative, but because we are Conservatives, support the

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

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your feeling about your constituents, how would they want

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

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

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

:04:30.:04:34.

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

:04:34.:04:38.

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

:04:38.:04:43.

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

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be balanced against the wider needs of society.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:05:26.:05:30.

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

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

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

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

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certainly put thought into where opinion lies.

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Downing Street think that the number of people at the next

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

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

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

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the round the Conservative leadership has decided there is

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

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

:06:09.:06:13.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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excited about. It is hard to find a more Godly

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

:06:47.:06:51.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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done with the authority of parliament, if that is what

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

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consulting about the extension of civil partnerships a couple of

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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believe in that institution. know the Lib Dems are claiming

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

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

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

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

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

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

:08:49.:08:54.

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

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

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

:09:02.:09:07.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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it forward after the next parliament. This sham of a

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

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

:10:19.:10:22.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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majority of marriages which are actually civil marriages, we have

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

:11:24.:11:27.

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

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

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

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

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

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the Roman Catholic church in England and Wales.

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

:11:51.:11:55.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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is it an important institution in this land?

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You believe marriage to be beneficial to hetrosexual couples,

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

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marriage is beneficial to society, because of the complex features

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

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

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

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

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difference together, different sexes, sometimes different families,

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sometimes different tribes, it has been used to bring kingdoms

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

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

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judgment, absolutely essential to that? The gender difference is

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

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consistently redefined marriage, you cited marriage as a political

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device, to bring about some sort of different relationship between

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

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you are talking about is different uses of marriage, different

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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me it is utterly astonishing that in the whole consultation document

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

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

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

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consultation document is reduced. It is excluding things that are

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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the best circumstances for conceiving and bringing up children

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

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

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That is why the change of the definition of marriage affects

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everybody. But the politic Catholic Church recognises civil marriages,

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

:15:45.:15:48.

Why not recognise civil gay marriages? Because what is proposed

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

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

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

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

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

:16:07.:16:12.

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

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

:16:17.:16:22.

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

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

:16:26.:16:31.

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

:16:31.:16:34.

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

:16:34.:16:40.

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

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

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

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

:16:53.:16:57.

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

:16:57.:17:01.

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

:17:01.:17:05.

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

:17:05.:17:11.

lifelong friendship. Let's discuss this further with the

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

:17:16.:17:21.

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

:17:21.:17:26.

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

:17:26.:17:30.

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

:17:30.:17:37.

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

:17:37.:17:40.

wanting to show a commitment towards someone to say you will

:17:40.:17:43.

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

:17:43.:17:49.

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

:17:49.:17:52.

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

:17:52.:17:57.

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

:17:57.:18:01.

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

:18:01.:18:04.

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

:18:04.:18:08.

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

:18:08.:18:11.

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

:18:11.:18:15.

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

:18:15.:18:18.

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

:18:18.:18:20.

is a consultation about how to do something that the Government

:18:20.:18:23.

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

:18:23.:18:26.

not a consultation about the principle, we believe in the

:18:26.:18:30.

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

:18:30.:18:33.

bishop, did you agree with everything the Archbishop said?

:18:33.:18:39.

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

:18:39.:18:42.

before us is intellectually dishonest, it tries to say that

:18:42.:18:45.

there is two sorts of marriage, civil marriage and religious

:18:45.:18:49.

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

:18:49.:18:53.

marriage, solemnised in churches and registry offices, the ministers

:18:53.:18:57.

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

:18:57.:19:01.

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

:19:01.:19:04.

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

:19:04.:19:07.

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

:19:07.:19:11.

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

:19:11.:19:15.

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

:19:15.:19:19.

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

:19:19.:19:21.

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

:19:21.:19:27.

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

:19:27.:19:30.

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

:19:30.:19:35.

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

:19:35.:19:37.

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

:19:37.:19:43.

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

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

:19:47.:19:50.

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

:19:50.:19:54.

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

:19:54.:19:59.

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

:19:59.:20:05.

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

:20:05.:20:08.

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

:20:08.:20:11.

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

:20:11.:20:16.

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

:20:16.:20:18.

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

:20:18.:20:22.

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

:20:22.:20:25.

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

:20:25.:20:27.

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

:20:27.:20:31.

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

:20:31.:20:34.

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

:20:34.:20:38.

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

:20:38.:20:41.

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

:20:41.:20:45.

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

:20:45.:20:49.

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

:20:49.:20:53.

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

:20:53.:20:58.

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

:20:58.:21:03.

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

:21:03.:21:08.

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

:21:08.:21:14.

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

:21:14.:21:21.

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

:21:21.:21:25.

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

:21:25.:21:28.

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

:21:29.:21:33.

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

:21:33.:21:37.

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

:21:37.:21:41.

involved, and the two people involved would be instantly

:21:41.:21:45.

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

:21:45.:21:48.

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

:21:48.:21:52.

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

:21:52.:21:54.

difference between that and civil partnership. You are setting the

:21:54.:21:59.

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

:21:59.:22:03.

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

:22:03.:22:07.

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

:22:07.:22:13.

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

:22:13.:22:15.

that your religious belief is greater to you than your sexual

:22:15.:22:20.

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

:22:20.:22:25.

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

:22:26.:22:30.

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

:22:30.:22:34.

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

:22:34.:22:37.

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

:22:37.:22:42.

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

:22:42.:22:46.

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

:22:46.:22:49.

people like yourself will be arguing with people like him

:22:49.:22:52.

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

:22:52.:22:56.

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

:22:56.:23:02.

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

:23:03.:23:06.

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

:23:06.:23:11.

unfortunately give a voice to people who clearly hate homosexuals

:23:11.:23:15.

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

:23:15.:23:20.

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

:23:20.:23:27.

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

:23:28.:23:32.

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

:23:32.:23:39.

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

:23:39.:23:43.

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

:23:43.:23:47.

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

:23:47.:23:54.

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

:23:54.:23:58.

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

:23:58.:24:02.

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

:24:02.:24:07.

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

:24:07.:24:11.

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

:24:11.:24:15.

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

:24:16.:24:18.

partnership? Our children are baptised, we are practising

:24:18.:24:22.

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

:24:22.:24:27.

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

:24:27.:24:32.

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

:24:32.:24:38.

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

:24:38.:24:41.

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

:24:41.:24:44.

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

:24:45.:24:50.

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

:24:50.:24:57.

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

:24:57.:25:00.

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

:25:00.:25:05.

Catholic Church would want to do this.

:25:05.:25:10.

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

:25:10.:25:14.

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

:25:14.:25:21.

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

:25:21.:25:25.

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

:25:25.:25:29.

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

:25:29.:25:35.

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

:25:35.:25:41.

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

:25:41.:25:46.

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

:25:46.:25:51.

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

:25:51.:25:56.

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

:25:56.:26:00.

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

:26:00.:26:06.

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

:26:06.:26:10.

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

:26:10.:26:13.

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

:26:13.:26:19.

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

:26:19.:26:22.

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

:26:22.:26:28.

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

:26:28.:26:31.

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

:26:31.:26:35.

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

:26:35.:26:41.

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

:26:41.:26:44.

judeo-Christian tradition from which we have inherited marriage,

:26:44.:26:49.

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

:26:49.:26:52.

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

:26:52.:26:57.

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

:26:57.:27:00.

conversation? I think that talking about religion is actually side

:27:00.:27:05.

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

:27:05.:27:10.

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

:27:10.:27:13.

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

:27:13.:27:16.

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

:27:17.:27:20.

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

:27:20.:27:26.

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

:27:26.:27:33.

Scandinavian countries that have introduced it, rates of childbirth

:27:33.:27:38.

outside marriage have increased. The Netherlands have introduced it

:27:38.:27:42.

and the next thing legalising threesomes, in Canada they have

:27:42.:27:47.

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

:27:47.:27:51.

pressure for group marriage. Marriage culture is weakened.

:27:51.:27:55.

Suggesting that it will make marriage better, the evidence says

:27:55.:27:59.

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

:27:59.:28:04.

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

:28:04.:28:12.

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

:28:12.:28:17.

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

:28:17.:28:23.

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

:28:23.:28:28.

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

:28:28.:28:32.

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

:28:33.:28:37.

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

:28:37.:28:41.

argument that some how having equal marriage has undermined the

:28:41.:28:44.

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

:28:44.:28:48.

marriage is an institution that has been systematically undermined by

:28:48.:28:52.

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

:28:52.:28:56.

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

:28:56.:28:58.

the Prime Minister, that marriage is a really important institution

:28:58.:29:01.

that we should be seeking to strengthen. Our starting position

:29:01.:29:04.

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

:29:04.:29:08.

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

:29:08.:29:11.

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

:29:11.:29:16.

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

:29:16.:29:21.

quite a straight forward proposition, which is why when a

:29:21.:29:25.

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

:29:25.:29:28.

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

:29:28.:29:33.

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

:29:33.:29:36.

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

:29:36.:29:41.

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

:29:41.:29:46.

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

:29:46.:29:51.

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

:29:51.:29:56.

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

:29:56.:30:00.

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

:30:00.:30:05.

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

:30:05.:30:09.

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

:30:09.:30:13.

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

:30:13.:30:18.

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

:30:18.:30:22.

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

:30:22.:30:27.

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

:30:27.:30:31.

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

:30:31.:30:34.

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

:30:34.:30:40.

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

:30:40.:30:44.

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

:30:44.:30:48.

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

:30:48.:30:52.

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

:30:52.:30:55.

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

:30:55.:30:59.

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

:30:59.:31:02.

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

:31:02.:31:05.

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

:31:05.:31:10.

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

:31:10.:31:15.

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

:31:15.:31:19.

Why is the gay and lesbian community clamouring for this?

:31:19.:31:24.

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

:31:24.:31:27.

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

:31:27.:31:34.

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

:31:34.:31:39.

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

:31:39.:31:44.

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

:31:44.:31:48.

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

:31:48.:31:52.

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

:31:52.:31:56.

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

:31:56.:32:00.

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

:32:00.:32:04.

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

:32:04.:32:07.

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

:32:07.:32:10.

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

:32:10.:32:14.

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

:32:14.:32:19.

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

:32:19.:32:24.

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

:32:24.:32:27.

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

:32:27.:32:31.

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

:32:31.:32:35.

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

:32:35.:32:39.

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

:32:39.:32:44.

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

:32:44.:32:50.

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

:32:50.:32:53.

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

:32:53.:32:56.

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

:32:56.:33:00.

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

:33:00.:33:04.

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

:33:04.:33:14.
:33:14.:33:17.

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

:33:17.:33:23.

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

:33:23.:33:27.

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

:33:27.:33:31.

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

:33:31.:33:37.

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

:33:37.:33:40.

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

:33:40.:33:45.

because many of us believe that the arguments people present against

:33:45.:33:50.

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

:33:50.:33:55.

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

:33:55.:33:59.

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

:33:59.:34:03.

in certain circumstances, but actually in a number of

:34:03.:34:06.

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

:34:06.:34:11.

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

:34:11.:34:15.

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

:34:15.:34:19.

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

:34:19.:34:23.

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

:34:23.:34:28.

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

:34:28.:34:30.

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

:34:30.:34:34.

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

:34:34.:34:37.

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

:34:37.:34:41.

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

:34:41.:34:44.

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

:34:44.:34:49.

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

:34:49.:34:53.

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

:34:53.:34:58.

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

:34:58.:35:01.

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

:35:01.:35:05.

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

:35:05.:35:15.

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

:35:15.:35:18.

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

:35:18.:35:24.

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

:35:24.:35:28.

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

:35:28.:35:32.

fitness and suitableness for conditions, and should have pay cut

:35:32.:35:39.

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

:35:39.:35:43.

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

:35:43.:35:48.

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

:35:48.:35:52.

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

:35:53.:35:57.

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

:35:57.:36:02.

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

:36:02.:36:05.

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

:36:05.:36:08.

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

:36:09.:36:13.

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

:36:13.:36:16.

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

:36:16.:36:19.

community they work with, are more important than qualifications.

:36:19.:36:23.

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

:36:23.:36:27.

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

:36:27.:36:32.

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

:36:32.:36:37.

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

:36:37.:36:42.

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

:36:42.:36:46.

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

:36:46.:36:52.

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

:36:52.:36:57.

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

:36:57.:37:03.

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

:37:03.:37:07.

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

:37:07.:37:11.

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

:37:11.:37:19.

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

:37:19.:37:23.

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

:37:23.:37:29.

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

:37:30.:37:33.

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

:37:33.:37:42.

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

:37:42.:37:47.

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

:37:47.:37:51.

are trying to attract. The Conservative Party always

:37:51.:37:55.

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

:37:55.:37:58.

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

:37:58.:38:02.

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

:38:02.:38:06.

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

:38:06.:38:10.

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

:38:10.:38:14.

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

:38:14.:38:19.

were different. The police were very united in

:38:19.:38:24.

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

:38:24.:38:28.

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

:38:28.:38:31.

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

:38:31.:38:35.

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

:38:35.:38:39.

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

:38:39.:38:43.

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

:38:43.:38:46.

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

:38:46.:38:51.

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

:38:51.:38:55.

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

:38:55.:38:59.

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

:38:59.:39:03.

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

:39:03.:39:08.

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

:39:08.:39:15.

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

:39:15.:39:18.

disciplinary powers behind it or consequences. Another five minutes

:39:18.:39:24.

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

:39:24.:39:30.

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

:39:30.:39:40.
:39:40.:39:43.

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

:39:43.:39:47.

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

:39:47.:39:52.

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

:39:52.:39:56.

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

:39:57.:40:00.

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

:40:00.:40:05.

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

:40:05.:40:09.

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

:40:09.:40:15.

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

:40:15.:40:20.

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

:40:20.:40:25.

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

:40:25.:40:30.

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

:40:30.:40:38.

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

:40:38.:40:42.

satisfactory performance, and acquisition of skills. How can you

:40:42.:40:47.

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

:40:47.:40:54.

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

:40:54.:40:57.

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

:40:57.:41:01.

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

:41:01.:41:05.

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

:41:05.:41:09.

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

:41:09.:41:14.

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

:41:14.:41:17.

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

:41:17.:41:21.

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

:41:21.:41:25.

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

:41:25.:41:30.

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

:41:30.:41:35.

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

:41:35.:41:39.

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

:41:39.:41:44.

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

:41:44.:41:49.

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

:41:49.:41:57.

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

:41:57.:42:00.

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

:42:00.:42:05.

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

:42:05.:42:07.

surprised to know that after initial training there is no test

:42:07.:42:12.

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

:42:12.:42:15.

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

:42:15.:42:22.

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

:42:22.:42:28.

Assessments. 52% of the Metropolitan Police? They are

:42:28.:42:31.

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

:42:31.:42:36.

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

:42:36.:42:39.

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

:42:39.:42:43.

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

:42:43.:42:47.

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

:42:47.:42:52.

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

:42:52.:42:57.

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

:42:57.:43:04.

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

:43:04.:43:09.

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

:43:09.:43:13.

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

:43:13.:43:16.

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

:43:16.:43:24.

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

:43:24.:43:30.

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

:43:30.:43:33.

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

:43:33.:43:38.

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

:43:38.:43:43.

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

:43:43.:43:47.

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

:43:47.:43:51.

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

:43:51.:43:54.

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

:43:54.:43:58.

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

:43:58.:44:03.

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

:44:03.:44:09.

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

:44:09.:44:12.

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

:44:13.:44:18.

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

:44:18.:44:21.

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

:44:21.:44:25.

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

:44:25.:44:28.

think these ministers in this Government do have a significant

:44:28.:44:33.

political appetite for reform. It is the last unreformed public

:44:33.:44:37.

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

:44:37.:44:43.

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

:44:43.:44:46.

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

:44:46.:44:50.

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

:44:50.:44:56.

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

:44:56.:44:59.

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

:44:59.:45:03.

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

:45:03.:45:06.

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

:45:06.:45:11.

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

:45:11.:45:15.

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

:45:15.:45:20.

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

:45:20.:45:24.

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

:45:24.:45:28.

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

:45:28.:45:31.

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

:45:31.:45:35.

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

:45:35.:45:41.

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

:45:41.:45:45.

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

:45:45.:45:50.

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

:45:50.:45:53.

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

:45:53.:45:57.

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

:45:57.:46:02.

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

:46:02.:46:09.

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

:46:10.:46:13.

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

:46:13.:46:20.

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

:46:20.:46:23.

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

:46:23.:46:26.

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

:46:26.:46:30.

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

:46:30.:46:36.

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

:46:36.:46:40.

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

:46:40.:46:44.

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

:46:44.:46:50.

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

:46:50.:46:55.

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

:46:55.:46:59.

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

:46:59.:47:03.

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

:47:03.:47:07.

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

:47:07.:47:13.

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

:47:13.:47:18.

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

:47:18.:47:28.
:47:28.:47:32.

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

:47:32.:47:36.

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

:47:36.:47:39.

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

:47:40.:47:44.

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

:47:44.:47:49.

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

:47:49.:47:52.

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

:47:52.:47:56.

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

:47:56.:47:59.

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

:48:00.:48:04.

the door of west Cornwall, Pembrokeshire and Cardigan Bay.

:48:04.:48:09.

Further east across Wales it will probably stay dry through daylight

:48:09.:48:12.

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

:48:12.:48:15.

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

:48:15.:48:19.

more north western parts of Scotland. Early rain clearing

:48:19.:48:22.

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

:48:22.:48:27.

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

:48:27.:48:30.

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

:48:30.:48:34.

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

:48:34.:48:38.

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

:48:38.:48:42.

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

:48:42.:48:46.

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