15/09/2011 Question Time


David Dimbleby chairs Question Time from Londonderry in Northern Ireland. On the panel are Diane Abbott, Owen Paterson and Ian Paisley.

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Thursday night with our audience in place, waiting to quiz our panel,


And with me here in Londonderry, from the Cabinet, Northern Ireland


Secretary, Owen Patterson, Labour's Shadow Health Minister, Diana


Abbott, Sinn Fein's Martina Anderson, Northern Ireland Assembly


member for this city, the deputy leader of the Democratic Unionists,


Nigel Dodds and the business woman and investment manager, Nicola




Right, we start with a question from Zoey Whitelaw, please.


Was Ed Miliband right to call the strikes, "A mistake." Saying the


strikes in the summer were a mistake - was he right, Owen


Patterson? Yes, he was. When you think of the difficulties economies


are facing around the world, from a meeting the American Finance


Secretary is going to fly to, when you look at the problems here, the


deficit we inherited, where we are borrowing �232,000 a minute, where


we are having to spend �120 million a day on interest, I find it


completely amazing that any serious people are considering striking,,


when negotiations are going on. This is about the state of pensions


and I am very happy that people are living ten years longer. The


consequence of that is there is a cost. It is a question of fairness,


because there are people watching this programme, in the private


sector, who will be paying more to public pensions than they will to


their own. The trade unions say there is no question of negotiation,


the Government laid down the law and that's how it is to be and they


will not negotiate over anything serious. I think that's incorrect.


We've discussed this on many occasions. Francis Maude is


handling this. He is clear, negotiations are going on. The idea


of a 3% increase, or over 3%, that is negotiable, it could become a 1%


increase in pensions, or is that fixed? I will not second-guess


Government negotiators. A simple fact is, we're all in this together.


There are those in the private sector who've had to work longer


and take less. We have enormous respect for those who work for the


public sector, particularly here in Northern Ireland, where you have


people like the police and the fire brigade who are on the frontline.


Everybody must contribute. The right to withdraw labour for a


strike is a democratic right in any society.


Whilst I do believe that, on many occasions, when one does go out on


strike, that the end result is not always anyone who wins. With that


said, I do support the right of workers. Do you believe they should


strike over this issue of pensions? Are you with Ed Miliband saying


they shouldn't? I'm not at all with Ed, with regards to this. I do


believe they should ballot. I think they should respect the outcome.


Diana Abbott, there's a curious thing here. Ed Miliband said, "I


believe it was a mistake for strikes to happen." Ed Balls said,


"will you call off the strike?" he answered, no he wouldn't. Who is


right? They have not had a ballot yet. The most important thing to


remember, which no-one wants to talk about, is the unions have a


just cause. They are being asked to work longer, pay in more and in


some cases to get less. We're not talking about "fat cats", we are


talking about care assistants, nurses, teachers, people who work


in local authorities. The Tories at Westminster are so far removed from


ordinary people. When I was a child, if people's children got a job


working for the council, people were glad for them because it was a


steady job and it came with a pension. That's very important to


people who have given their lives to the public service. What about


the strikes, we've heard the background many times? People don't


talk about the real issue. "I believe it was a mistake for


strikes to happen. I continue to believe that." Your Shadow


Chancellor says, "would you ask them to call off the strikes?"


"No:" who is right? It is not a question of who is wrong or right.


The Government is not negotiating in good faith. It is determined to


make ordinary people pay for bailing out the bankers. They want


proper negotiation. They have to go out to ballot because if the


negotiations do finally break down they will have had to go through a


ballot to have a strike. I hope and everybody hopes that the


negotiations really work and the Government begin to negotiate in


good faith. If they have a ballot and they ballot for a strike, would


you be with Ed Miliband saying it was a mistake or if the trade


unions want to go on strike, having had a ballot, it is their affair


and legitimate and right and proper they should? I would be with Ed


Miliband saying it is regrettable, but I would suspicious it would not


happen if the Government negotiated. Many public sector workers are


angry about the cuts taking place, the disruption to the service. As a


teacher, I would, five to ten years ago, I would never have considered


striking and I would have been whole heartedly against strikes. In


my opinion it's the only way we're being heard. People who would not


have normally taken action are going to this time, simply because


their voice is not being heard. Would you favour a mass November


strike? It is early until a decision is made. If the Government,


and I think what Owen is saying is totally wrong. One day of action,


the impact it will have on the economy is minute suel, compared to


the impact that the current economic strategy is having, but


putting public sector workers out of work, who can no longer


contribute to the economy. What would it achieve? It sends a


message to the Government, that the economic recovery in terms of the


cuts and deficit must change. It is too much, too fast. The woman in


the middle there. APPLAUSE


I just think the unions are as guilty as the Tories of being


detached from ordinary people. It's not "fat cats" or Government who


are going to get the message or have their day disrupted by public


service strikes. It is ordinary private workers who equally are


having their day disrupted, whether because they have to take a day off


to look after their children or can't get the services they need.


It seems bizarre to gain public support or get a message across to


cause this amount of havoc. Nicola Horlick, do you agree with that?


think the really important point is we're got to think about the impact


of slowing down. What is happening in Europe at the moment - if we


were to slow down, it would have an amazingly bad effect on our economy


ultimately because markets would take flight and Stirling would


start to collapse and people would not buy our bonds when we wanted to


raise money in the markets. Does a one-day strike, which she was


talking about, have any effect on the economy - just one day? It will


not have a huge effect on the economy. It is not about that. Yes,


of course it does have an impact on people if their children can't go


to school and you have to stay at home to look after them. You have


to think about the issue, which is, can we afford to pay people the


amount we have been paying them? Can we afford to have so many


working in the public sector? Can we afford the pensions? The answer


is, no. I have worked in the pension fund area for 28 years. I


have pension funds. I am telling you now it is not affordable or


sustainable. Who is paying those pensions? It is all of us - it is


the taxpayers. We are paying those pensions and it is not affordable.


Unfortunately, yes, of course everybody would like the status quo


to be maintained. I am saying it as someone who is not a politician,


not political, somebody who looks at it being in the industry for a


long time. These proposals will stripe one-third of my benefits.


Can I ask Mr Patterson to pledge to give up a third of his pension here


and now? APPLAUSE


All MPs, you will be pleased to hear, will make a larger


contribution to their pensions. We're not going to give up one-


third. We are all in this together.


No, no. You are getting more benefits now


than you were ten years ago. Is that right or wrong? Is it fair


that people in the private sector.... Is it fair that you get


more than me and your rates are going up? That is for the electors


to decide. Do you want to answer? The very


simple point is, there are people who are modestly paid in the


private sector, who will be paying more, as contributions to public


sector pensions than to their own. It is tremendous that people are


living ten years longer than they were 30 years ago. Have MPs done


their bit, is his point? If you say we're all in this together - have


MPs' pensions be cut in the same way his is cut? No the MP's country


luegs is going up. -- contribution is going up. 10%. You are asking me


to pay 14% over the next number of years. This is part of the


negotiation. This needs negotiating. It's not. The woman there in grey,


then I come to you. Yes, you. I would say that Ed


Miliband should hang his head in shame for the statement he made


along with George Osborne who said the unions are deeply irresponsible.


Danny Alexander, as far back as June, said that the contributions,


the increased contributions and the raise of pension age was going


ahead, regardless. That is not negotiation. Negotiation is when


you go in and change the outcome. He has already declared what the


outcome is. And the people... I'm a public servant as well. I cannot


afford to go on strike, but I can not afford not to go on strike.


They want me to work eight years longer, pay �70 more, to lose


�50,000 overall. Where's the fairness in that?


To answer the question directly.... Can you answer her question?


think the decision by Ed Miliband to take the stance that he did was


motivated more by the fact that as a politician he's aware and he's


looking at the Labour Party interest, essentially, he's aware


that strikes, like this, especially where they announce one after the


other by union bosses, which was unfortunate because it came across


as a co-ordinated, more along the lines to do with the Government's


general economic policy, rather than the issue of pensions. So, I


don't think that served the cause terribly well. I think he's


recognising that essentially these kind of major strikes across the


board, co-ordinated are not popular with ordinary people, apart from


those who are affected directly. That's the reality of it. Because


of the impact it has on public life and the impact it has on the


economy, and people are saying, well one day does not have much of


an impact. In fact, if you remember the extra bank holiday in April was


blamed for a slowdown in the economy. Having said that, of


course, it's not all one-sided, because the Government does have a


responsibility to negotiate properly. The decision on whether


to strike or not would have much more sympathy with the public at


large if the decision was made after the negotiation was finished.


I think it would have more public sympathy, because people would say,


"Why now?" What do you say to the lady's point, that actually the


Treasury announced what will happen and they are not seriously


I certainly hope that they are. The negotiation should be a serious


negotiation. The only point is to go pre-emptively to strike action,


to the general public, that smacks of being too premature. The man up


there, in the grey shirt? I've worked for local government for 23


years. We have had four years of a pay freeze. We are looking at


another two. Prices are going up. How are we supposed to run our


house economy is? You talk about mass economies, might wages, in


real terms, have gone down. I knew in favour of strike action? If we


have to take strike action, I'm in favour. Simply because I can't


sustain my family. What do I do? Go on the dole? You, in the front row?


By people are paying more money for the things they buy. People are


seriously cash-strapped. They should fight against that, so that


they can feed their families. Paterson? Do you want to pick up on


I don't underestimate how difficult the current economic situation is


for everybody in this hall and everybody watching. The simple fact


is that we are borrowing �232,000 a minute. I said earlier, we are


spending �120 million of money a day in interest alone. That is


completely dead money. This business about, oh, we don't have


the money, can I just deal directly with Nicolas' point, that the


public sector pensions are not affordable. The Government's own


figures show that, as a proportion of GDP, it is going down. It's not


if we can afford them, it is if people like Owen want to afford


them. On that point, Lord Hutton said, that diagram, those figures,


they are misunderstood. They actually refer to the effect after


the changes have been taken effect, not... Up well, distinguished


economists say that they are affordable. What kind of society


will spend billions of pounds bail out bankers, but won't give a care


assistant Edison pension? I have never known people eager to go out


on strike. -- a decent pension. In this economic climate, it must be


frightening, the prospect of going on strike. The teacher that said he


would never consider going on strike before, but because of what


is happening, he is having to consider it, he is more typical


than a stereotype of people that are eager to go on strike. I said


that it was the union bosses, lining up one after the other, that


appeared to be keen to go on strike to the public. I agree with you, in


relation to ordinary people, the last thing ordinary people want to


do is to resort to that kind of action. If he would let me speak,


they do not want to do that. They would rather have been settled by


negotiation. That's not always true for union bosses, many of whom are


extremely well-paid. People do not believe there is genuine


negotiations taking place. That's the problem. There are several ways


Let's take another question, this time from Jude Lewis. Has the euro


Nigel Dodds? You have seen the chaos yesterday. Is the euro-zone


dead and finished? I think in its current form, it certainly is. I


think a smaller, core euro-zone, led by the Germans and some of the


wealthier European states. But in my view, the euro should never have


been born in the first place. It has been an unmitigated disaster


from day one. It was a one-size- fits-all approach to the European


economy and it was never going to work. You had a situation where you


didn't have a united government, a United finance ministry, a united


budget. That is the only way you can make a united currency work. If


you don't have any of that, United currencies are always going to lead


to problems. The question is if it is past its sell-by date. Most


things that have passed their sell- by date, they accept a day when you


can go on eating them, most things you can throw away. Do you think


that is going to happen? I think it's like those things that should


be thrown away, but they are not. The only reason it continues to be


propped up is that the Euro- federalists, who dreamed up this


scheme and the first place, they absolutely determined to keep it


going, even if it means bankrupting them and taxpayers. There is going


to come a crunch, sooner or later. We know, no matter what is done,


the Greeks are eventually going to default. That is the reality. You


cannot sustain the current situation. There was no confidence


in the market. The sooner that happens, I think the reality will


set in. It will be very painful, no matter what happens. It you


bankrupt Germany and the eurozone countries, that is painful. It the


banks go bankrupt in France because of the amount of debt they have in


Greece, that will be painful. But this pretence that the eurozone is


going to be maintained against all comers, that Chris is going to


remain in the euro-zone, it is nonsense. It flies in the face of


the facts. The euro experiment shows the folly of those that press


ahead with Euro-federalism and created as a principle above


reality, that you cannot create this stream above the wishes of the


people. Yes? I just had a point in relation to what Nigel has said


about the architecture of the euro. He has discussed the fact that the


reason why the euro was in difficulty was because it was not


political union at the same time as monetary union. I would just like


to remind Nigel that last week Jurgen Stark, the German member of


the ECB, actually resigned. He was one of the leading architects of


this stability and Growth Pact. Before the euro-zone members at the


time had actually followed what they were supposed to follow within


the constraints of that particular pact, we would not be seeing the


crisis that we are seeing at the moment. Nicolas Horlick, you are a


Business woman, what do you make of what is happening? Is the euro dead


and gone? I think it was ill con seen fit. Are you can't have


monetary union without fiscal union as well. -- ill conceived.


Certainly, to have people making decisions based on interest rates


and not having any ability to do anything about taxation is not


right, clearly it has failed. I think it would be pretty disastrous,


it would be like a Lehman Brothers times 1000 if you were to unwind


the euro. Why so? Or of the positions that are open in Euro-


currency, hedge funds, banks, it would be incredibly... It's not


just banks, it would be disastrous for ordinary people. It would be


disastrous for everybody if that were to happen. So, what would


happen? Let me finish, what has to happen is that Greece has to be let


go. They are going to have to have the drachma again. It's only fair


on them, because these austerity measures are so extreme that it is


very difficult for them. They need to be able to devalue. They can


only do that if they come out of the euro. Then there has to be some


sort of fiscal union. Maybe Nigel is right, maybe it's a smaller


group of countries, maybe not all 17. I think it's important to


maintain the euro. I didn't believe the euro in the first place, and


glad we didn't join. But we are where we are now, and you have to


be realistic. It would be very difficult to suddenly bring back


all of those different currencies. We have to find some solution.


There are constitutional issues, clearly political issues, that


arise. In Germany, how on are the Germans going to want to carry on?


Clearly, if he or German, you're going to be upset about what is


going on. What do you see in the crystal ball? A smaller number of


people, still the euro, Greece are not in it, and hopefully we will


get through it. Let me emphasise, this is really serious. This is the


biggest problem we have faced, economically, for generations.


Potentially. Martina Anderson, what do you think? Well, when you look


at Greece and Ireland, the so- called bail-outs that took place,


it wasn't Krays what island that was bailed out. It was the bankers.


-- it wasn't Greece Walk Island What would you do with the banks?


Default. Let them closed down? would have entered into an


arrangement about how we would have paid that in the future. How would


people have gone to a cash point and got their Euros out committee


poll -- followed that policy? didn't believe that the banks would


have collapsed. We didn't believe it would have been a consequence of


defaulting. Do you think the euro is past the sell-by date? You have


heard what Nicolas Horlick has said. I don't think it's helpful to


speculate when the gravity of the situation is exactly as Nicolas


said. I was interested in Martina's comments. When the Irish problems


came to the surface in November, we discussed this. It isn't good


enough to say, let them go. The eurozone, as we know, is a few


miles from here. We sell more to the Republic of Ireland than we


sell to Brazil, China, India and Russia combined. It is a huge


market for us. There are many, many people across the United Kingdom


who depend on as having a stable and prosperous republic of Ireland.


So, in our case, we contributed a bilateral loan, on top of the EU


and IMF loan. I think it was 3.8 billion euros. I think that was the


right thing to do. What about Greece? I told you so is not a good


economic policy. There are many of us, right from the beginning, that


had doubts, clearly expressed by Nigel. The problem is, this is a


huge international problem. We've got the American finance flying


over to Poland tomorrow at. Thank goodness we are not in the euro. It


was absolutely right that we stayed out. We do have control of taxation,


we do have control of our interest rates. We do have a competitive


exchange rate. We are in a position to be helpful from the outside. On


the question of Rhys, we had a meeting yesterday with Sarkozy and


Angela Merkel. -- Greece. You have seen the markets steady today. The


17 countries in the euro have very, very difficult decisions to make.


From our point of view, speculation on what they should do is unhelpful.


But, it is in our interests that these problems are resolved over


time. That is not in our interest that the euro should break-up. But


we should all be thankful we are not in the euro ourselves. It's


interesting for me to watch, I live and work in Dublin. Regardless of


the arguments over whether the euro was right or wrong, I find it


ludicrous that the UK politicians don't understand that if the


eurozone fails, Ireland, north and south, fails. This is a big deal


for the UK. Huge trade and investment links. For that reason,


why isn't David Cameron the Udinese negotiations? Why doesn't the UK


offer to reduce some of its debt in eurobonds? Why it isn't it looking


to make more aggressive solutions, rather than dancing on the grave of


the euro? It's just over the border, as you say. I still don't feel


you're going far enough to do anything more than just say, well,


the euro is dead. That is not a fair interpretation of what I said.


In the case of Ireland, we were quite clear that we stepped in and


made a bilateral loan. That was a clear decision because we have a


huge, vested interest in keeping a prosperous and stable economy next


door. Not just for more than Ireland but for the whole of the UK.


But beyond their, I understood, but beyond that there seems to be a


disengagement. Diane Abbott? think we have Gordon Brown to thank


for keeping us out of the euro. He is a man, I think, that posterity


would will deal with kinder than at the moment. No, I think that's true.


I understand what you're saying, it is a huge deal. But I've always


been sceptical about economic and monetary union. It was, essentially,


a political project. It never made much economic sense. It was fine


when we had a boom internationally. Now it has fallen apart. To be fair


to Her Majesty's government, whatever the rhetoric, clearly


David Cameron has to please his Euro-sceptics. They have been


active, behind the scenes, trying to help southern Ireland. But I


think Nicola is probably right. The poor Greeks cannot sustain the


level of cuts to stay within the euro. If you spoke to German


central banks, which I did in the 90s, they were always sceptical


about having Latin countries in the euro. The economies were so


different from those of Germany. I don't want to speculate, but I


think that Greece's position is not sustainable. We just have to hope


that the German taxpayer is going to be willing to fund weaker


countries within the eurozone into the foreseeable future. So, our lot


turns on Angela Merkel and her ability to persuade hero and voters.


One more point, from the man up there.


Is it not fair to say if the euro collapses it might take the system


down with it? Do you believe in that? They expect 25% in British


business. We get funded from British business, at the end of the


day. Do you think that assessment is right? Yes, potentially. What


you have to remember is there is a pile of debt in other countries


like Italy. When you look at who lent that, it's the French banks.


That is why you have read in the papers that France may have to re-


finance its banks. The whole system could collapse.


A brief point from you, Sir. If you look at all currencies, the dollar,


$14.4 trillion in debt. I don't know what the UK is. You have


highlighted the problem there. All currencies have red balloons. The


fact is, sooner or later, they will have to come to the solution that


it is useless. Wipe the slate clean and start again. That is what they


did after World War II. Germany and Japan had their slates wiped clean.


Within 20 years they had the strongest economies in the world.


We'll see. Right, well on that gloomy note, let's move on. We move


on to a question completely different.


Do you agree with the retired Bishop of Derry that priests should


be able to marry if they wish, within the Roman Catholic Church?


Do you think Catholic priests should be able to marry? I am not a


Catholic. It is with some care that I comment on this. First of all, we


have to remember that Roman Catholic priests have not always


had to be sell bait. I think it came in the -- celibate. I think it


came in the 11th century. It was for spiritual and other reasons.


Also, people say, the Church at the time wanted priests to leave their


land to the Church. There are Roman Catholic priests with families now.


Those are those Anglican priests which have come across to the Roman


Catholic Church. Increasing numbers of Archbishops, not just your


bishop here, your former Bishop.... Your description is fine - what is


your answer? I think, in the erm terms of a paper that was -- in the


terms of the paper that was signed in 1970, the Catholic Church needs


to open up this issue and have a debate. Clearly there'll always be


a case for celibate priests. Nobody is going to enforce marriage!


point is this paper was signed in 1970 by nine Catholic theologyians,


one of whom is the present Pope. you agree that it should not be on


Bill Clinton Tory? As a former -- should not be obligatory. I don't


agree with for different reasons,vy to say. I think the former Bishop


is respected in our city and rightly so. I have heard some


comments from people who have said they would have liked him to have


said it a lot sooner. I do think that, without doubt, I think it is


an issue and I am a Catholic. I do believe that at the same time that


we must confront it and address it. I think it will take a long time


for the workings of it. Why? think, you know once you go through


law and all the discussions. have Catholic priests who are


married already - they came from the Church of England. There is an


issue here. I would like to address it. I'm junior minister to Martin


McGuinness in the office of the first and Deputy First Minister.


One of the important issues I am dealing with and one of the most


painful issuesvy found I am dealing is around historical institutional


abuse and clerical abuse. Whilst I do not believe that there is a


direct connection, perhaps, but I think that when you have an


institution that is an all male institution, that perhaps would


attract the kind of people that have been unfortunately within


those institutions and has caused the damage and the pain to young


children, I think this is a wider discussion that we need to have. I


think this is one element of it. I do believe, without doubt, that it


should happen and it should happen very soon.


OK. The man up there in the striped tie. Speaking as a recovering


Catholic myself, I can say the Church has a lot of reforming to do


if they are going to survive, basically. You have one or two


priests...: What is a recovering Catholic? A humanist now.


Somebody, you know, there's very few people ordained if at all any


more on the island. In America this debate has gone on as well. Also on


the issue as whether woman should have an equal role. The Church has


to look at itself and really ask serious questions, as was said


about other issues as well, if they are going to survive. Nicola


Horlick? I am not a Catholic, but my mother and my husband is. It is


difficult to comment when you are not a member of that particular


church. It has to be right. I completely agree that looking at


all the things which have happened, it has to be right to give people


the choice. Not everybody has to get married. It would be a good


idea to allow priests to be married. There are, certainly in this


country, Anglican priests who have moved across who are. I think that


would be a sensible thing. Do you agree with what she implied and


stated, if you had more married priests within the Roman Catholic


Church you might not have the problem of child abuse which have


been continually.... Can I? That was your implication. When you have


an all-male institution I think you provide an opportunity for perhaps


what some of us may describe as paedophilia and other types of


activity going on. I'm not saying that to get married that that would


address that. I think that you allow for access into an


institution like that for people who have, unfortunately, those kind


of tendencies. I think if you have then the options of being married


that you could address some of them. It smacks of heinous desperation


that the Catholic Church would say, let's go down the road of abolish...


Get rid of celibacy in some how to address the issues of the past. If


a man has molessed a child, if the -- molested a child, if the


Catholic Church feel they can some how relief these men by letting


them marry women. It smack desperation. I am lapsed because of


this horrific stuff we have heard. I begrudge even bringing my


children to Catholic schools. I want them to go to integrated


schools. I don't want them to be brought into this whole thing. We


talk about it at the school gates. We don't want our children to be


alter boys or girls. Our trust has been completely broken. We have no


confidence in the Church at the minute as a parent. Second row from


the back? I wonder if they would allow gay partnerships for priests.


It is one thing to be OK in an open relationship with a woman, but why


can't they be in a relationship with a man? Nigel Dodds? I have to


say on the issue, the backdrop to the former Bishop's comments, the


lady who has spoken has spoken very powerfully and I have heard other


people speak like that in my constituency and so on. It is a


very, very difficult time for a lot of people in the Roman Catholic


faith. I have to say, I suppose, it is difficult, as Nicola said to


make any real comment if you are not a member of that church. It is


a matter for the Roman Catholic Church at the end of the day.


not a matter for society to comment on whether you think, whether he's


right to say that celibacy should not obligatry? On all matters like


this -- obligatory? On all matters like this we should go back to


Christian faith, which is the holy scriptures. It is not the matter


just to decide, well what should the Church do? What's the modern


day view? It is what do the holy scriptures teach? What did God lay


down in his word? There is nothing in the word of God to say that you


should have celibacy. APPLAUSE


What do you say to the view from the back that civil partnerships


should be allowed? Again that is a matter entirely for the Roman


Catholic Church. Again, what comes out of that should be based on a


proper examination and study of the holy scriptures. It is for church


people to discuss that. In my view, these matters should be examine nds


the light of scripture, not in the light of men's thoughts of what


they think is best. Owen Patterson? I think when somebody as


distinguished makes a statement like this, I think one should prick


up one's ears. I think, similar to Nigel, for myself I am a member of


the Church of England. I'm not an expert on Catholic


doctrine. I really don't think it's appropriate for me to make comments.


This is a matter for the Catholic Church to work out for itself.


Say it again. I would disagree with him when he says it is a matter for


the Church to work out. That is what they've been doing for how


many years in relation to child abuse. They have been allowed to


cover this up. You have just said, let them get on with it themselves.


That's completely, you have completely missed all the


discussion if that is your viewpoint. They are not above the


law. They think they are above the law. They aren't. To let them get


on with it themselves, that is what has gone wrong. APPLAUSE


If that's the position, as I heard it as well, you know, for a state


at the minute that is trying to bring some kind of closure on the


whole issue of institutional abuse, I think as Secretary of State you


need to clarify your position. Nigel, I would offer to you to


clarify your position. The members of the assembly and there are


representatives in Government, here in the north, need to clarify their


position, now at this point, as we're coming up to the


establishment of an inquiry into historical institutional abuse. You


need to clarify your position. I have the greatest respect for the


Bishop. I think maybe it's too late and a subject to offer to the


Church on. They may not be for turning. It will have to be forced


to turn. APPLAUSE


Nevertheless, the question was about celibacy and whether it


should be obligatry. -- obligatory. I am aware of the


anguish these cases have caused. The question was about marriage.


That is something for the Church to decide within its own rules. If


there has been any law-breaking, by anybody, we are all equal before


the law. If the lady knows of cases, she


should go to the police. I think we'll go on to another


question. Let's take this one from today's news from Leo Cullen,


please. Leo Cullen, break away from


Northern Ireland and the UK for just a moment.


Does Libya have a better future We hope so. In my view, Iraq was an


illegal invasion in the first place and you had years of bloodshed. I


saw David Cameron in Libya today, looking very triumphant. I felt


rather nervous, I remember Tony Blair looking triumphant in Kosovo,


we know what that led to. I think the thing is not over, you can't


claim victory yet. It's very important that at every point both


the British and the French make it clear that they really were


supporting the Iraq rebels to defend human rights, and not to get


access to oil. I think it's important that the British and the


French make it clear that this is a Libyan lead issue, this is for the


Libyans to go where they want to go. I'm glad we were able to stop some


people being slaughtered in Benghazi. But it's too wally to


claim victory. Do you think we will benefit in terms of oil? -- it's


too early to claim victory. I sincerely hope that was not the


motive... That was the question, do you think we will benefit? A human


nature is human nature, what can I say? I don't know, what would you


say? Let Owen and so, he knows if Pick up the challenge. I think that


she is quite right, it is not all over. There are pockets of


resistance. But when you look back six months ago, and you saw the


prospect facing the people of Benghazi, there was a prospect of a


real massacre, right on Europe's doorstep. I fully paid tribute to


David Cameron for working with President Sarkozy, the Arab League,


and getting together a UN resolution. At a huge tribute to


the enormous scale of armed forces and NATO, for getting rid of


Gaddafi with extraordinarily little civilian cost. But Diane is quite


right, this is not all over. We have a transition Council at the


moment. We need to see a fresh government properly established.


But what we have seen today is an extraordinary outburst, I accept


that, people really pleased to be getting their freedom.


distinguish between this and what happened in Iraq? I think Diane's


point is very similar to Iraq. It's too early to tell. As I understand,


Iraq is a very chaotic place. It has free press, people have mobile


phones, they ran difficult -- there are different political parties.


It's not a Ricky dinky Scandinavian democracy. But I still think it's


better than it was under Saddam Hussein. But we did need to


intervene in Iraq and I think it can't be defended. I agree, we


didn't need an illegal war. We heard about weapons of mass


destruction, and we also heard the truth of the fallacy of what was


told to us. I hope that in Iraq that we have a high standard of


international... In Libya, that we have a high standard... Are you in


favour of the intervention in Libya? If I think that Colonel


Gaddafi should have stood down earlier. That's fair enough, were


you in favour of the intervention? NATO? Absolutely not. I was not in


favour of any international interference. I was in favour of


the people of Libya themselves demanding the human rights and


equality that they were entitled to. I believe it is up to the Libyan


people themselves to decide the kind of system of government that


they want. I hope that the human rights protections that they are


entitled to our maintained. The man at the back and then I will come to


you. Why has there not been intervention in Syria, Bahrain? The


British government is holding hands with the Saudis. If you look at


their human rights record, you don't see them going and precision


bombing or whatever. Do you mean you shouldn't go into Libya because


you don't going to Saudi Arabia? You have to do nothing or


everything? People are being slaughtered in Syria. I can't see


them making any effort at all. you think they should? I don't


think it solves anything at all. Would it sold it in Libya? It's too


early to say. Some of the people involved in Libya are people that


Britain had down as being Al-Qaeda terrorists or whatever. They don't


even know how clear that is with the Government. All of the weapons


that they had put into the country. On the gangway? I think we run the


risk of becoming an international watchdog. The fact that we have


tried to intervene in every world's crisis. I think we need to be they


reached -- need to be very selective. To base it on how much


oil they have, it's for the wrong reasons. I knew in favour of the


action in Libya? Some aspects, I didn't agree with arming rebels in


a country we don't know much about. I think Colonel Gaddafi should have


steps down. He was obviously a tyrant. But I think that there are


countries that have needed our help for much longer. Nigel? I remember


being in Tripoli a few months ago, standing in Green Square. To


imagine that it's now been renamed Martyrs' Square, people are in the


streets celebrating freedom, is a dramatic and unbelievable


transformation in a very short time. At that time, people would not talk


to any Westerners. They would not make any expression of opinion


because they were terrified by Gaddafi. He not only terrorised his


own people, but we also have experience in Northern Ireland of


him supplying the IRA. Many people were murdered as a result of his


help to the IRA. The fact of the matter is that I think it was right


to intervene. Remember, had we not intervened at the time that we did,


tens of thousands of people would have been slaughtered in Benghazi.


People would have been rightly saying, you could have done


something about it. I agree with the point about Syria and all of


the rest of it. Why can't we do it everywhere? But why can't we do it


everywhere is not an excuse about doing nothing at all where we can


intervene. David Cameron, Ed Miliband, the entire Western


establishment would have been criticised, left, right, centre,


you allowed a massacre to happen as a point of principle. I don't think


that's right. I think NATO did a great job, I think it's essential


that they apprehend Gaddafi because I think as long as he is at large I


think he poses a threat and causes instability. I think when he is


brought to justice, not only of crimes against his own people, but


for crimes against the people of Northern Ireland, the Irish


Republic and Britain, because tens of thousands of innocent people


everywhere were murdered as a result of his regime. Do you want


to comment on that, Martina, as a past member of the IRA? I would


have thought that Nigel would have been more concerned about the


British government's relationship with Gaddafi. Both. Can you comment


on the arms supplies from Libya? Well, that is a story that has been


out there and spoken about. People have had all sorts of discussions


and debates. It is 30 years old. The reality is that the IRA is off


the scene now. We I in a peace process. I can say, as a former


member of the IRA, I accept wholeheartedly that we caused her


to here -- we caused HIP here. But we were not alone. What we need, in


order to advance this peace process, is a genuine truth Commission. And


I am, as a former IRA member, willing to go forward and enter


into that process. I don't know Nigel. If you can put your hand on


heart and say that you would be able to encourage either yourself


or others to go for it, about the Ulster Resistance, more of those


guns, I don't know if the British government would be willing to go


for it and speak to us about the kind of relationships that have


been there. Let us just talk about one agent, when we talk about


almost the quickie divorce that took place within a two day trial


between the state and the agent... They had the opportunity to get the


trip to a commission and a reduced cost of a Nigel! You refuse to give


evidence to the Bloody Sunday We're talking about Libya, you have


made a point. Sinn Fein would not give evidence. I think it's an


important part, with all due respect, if you let me finish, with


regards to the British government's establishment cut back I think


you've said NF about it. -- I think Nicola Horlick? I feel really


believed that it worked out in Libya. If you go back and think


about what was said when the unrest began, I remember John Simpson


saying it was going to be over by tomorrow. It wasn't, we intervened


and everybody was saying it would be over within a week. Then it went


on. I really do agree with what was said by the gentleman near the back


earlier. I'm not sure there is any rhyme and reason to when we


intervene. It is a bit random. Thereat other countries where we


should intervene. I completely agree. I'm sure I would notice a


difference between now and when Gaddafi was in charge. It's


fantastic for those people to feel freedom. But the policy is a little


bit random. Why haven't we got into Bahrain or anywhere else? I feel


slightly cynical about the oil thing. I think we will benefit as a


result of what we have done. There are countries that, over many years,


have had so many years of distress and unhappiness. Zimbabwe, for


example. We have never intervened there. I think it would be a good


idea, if we consider, as someone said, why are we acting as the


policeman of the world? It's a little bit arrogant that we think


we should go in and impose our will on other people. These are tribal


societies. I don't know how it will pan out. I hope it will pan out


well for Libya. But these are not easy countries. They are not like


our countries. Whether they are able to embrace democracy, I don't


know. But I very much hope that they will. We have heard from you,


sir. Is at more than likely that British governments will take this


kind of action, liberal interventionism? If Libya turns out


to be a success? Zimbabwe is always mentioned, nothing has been


mentioned about Mugabe. I hope we are not going to become liberal


interventionists. The whole point about Libya is that MPs voted to


give our support. With a UN resolution? With a UN resolution.


What we were frightened of was put on the ground and another Iraq.


why are we not doing anything about Syria? I think we need to revisit


what international war says. Until we have clear international law,


there will always be suspicion that we intervene when there is oil, if


there is not, somehow we don't see The man in the blue shirt? There


are so many countries in the world with problems. You can't going to


everyone. But it's hard to know how they pick and choose. Of course


there will be oil deals for Britain and France. Of course that was at


the top of Cameron and Sarkozy's minds when they went in. Was at the


main reason? Probably not. Would they have had the success with


targeted bombing in Syria? Probably not. It has to be a bit tongue-in-


cheek with the British, who they support, their history in the world


is not exactly a white slate. just like to expand on that last


I's point. Two weeks ago in the Independent, about the rendition


programme, Britain and America had been sending prisoners to be


brittle the interrogated in countries like Libya. Do you think


that the British and French were right to go in? I think it is right


for Gaddafi to step down, but I think this is typical Western


imperialism. At a brief comment? I'm saddened by that comment. I


thought Nigel's remarks were very interesting. This was a really,


really bad man. He was a tyrant. He was a torturer. And he's gone. At a


very good thing. We can't go into every country. People talk about


Syria and other places. In this case, there was about to be a


massacre. The Arab League and NATO works together to get a UN


resolution. In all of the discussions that I saw, it was a


serious legal recommendation by the Attorney-General. It was discussed


very openly. Oil was not mentioned by anybody. It was to stop a


dreadful massacre, by a tyrant Command Europe's doorstep. Diane


was right. We don't know how it will pan out, but we hope that


Libya will develop into a free, prosperous country. The fact that


Gaddafi is not there this evening, that two properly elected Western


politicians go to Benghazi and Tripoli and are welcomed, it has to


beat a good thing. That brings us pretty much to the end. Just to


clarify what was said to day in Tripoli, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil said,


while agreeing there were no previous arrangements with allies


and friends, as a faithful Muslim people we will appreciate these


efforts and they will have priority. Within a framework of transparency.


Make of that what you can! Next week we are going to be in


Birmingham. It is the Liberal Democrat conference. Among those on


the table, Vince Cable, Harriet Harman, Ian Hislop and the founder


David Dimbleby chairs Question Time from Londonderry in Northern Ireland. On the panel are Labour MP Diane Abbott; Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland; and Ian Paisley, Junior MP of the DUP.

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