15/09/2011 Question Time


15/09/2011

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,

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

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

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

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

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Nigel Dodds and the business woman and investment manager, Nicola

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Horlick. APPLAUSE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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completely amazing that any serious people are considering striking,,

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

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

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

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because there are people watching this programme, in the private

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Everybody must contribute. The right to withdraw labour for a

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strike is a democratic right in any society.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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negotiations really work and the Government begin to negotiate in

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

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

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

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

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

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happen if the Government negotiated. Many public sector workers are

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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the impact that the current economic strategy is having, but

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

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

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

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

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the middle there. APPLAUSE

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

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

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

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service strikes. It is ordinary private workers who equally are

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ultimately because markets would take flight and Stirling would

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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and now? APPLAUSE

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

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

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third. We are all in this together.

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No, no. You are getting more benefits now

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

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

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

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to decide. Do you want to answer? The very

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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the increased contributions and the raise of pension age was going

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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recognising that essentially these kind of major strikes across the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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responsibility to negotiate properly. The decision on whether

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

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

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

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

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Treasury announced what will happen and they are not seriously

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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they are misunderstood. They actually refer to the effect after

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

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economists say that they are affordable. What kind of society

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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:17:34.:17:45.

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

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:17:55.:17:55.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:18:33.:18:37.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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cannot sustain the current situation. There was no confidence

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

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

:19:25.:19:29.

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

:19:29.:19:33.

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

:19:33.:19:38.

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

:19:38.:19:41.

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

:19:41.:19:45.

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

:19:45.:19:49.

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

:19:49.:19:53.

ahead with Euro-federalism and created as a principle above

:19:54.:19:58.

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

:19:58.:20:05.

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

:20:05.:20:10.

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

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

:20:15.:20:19.

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

:20:19.:20:26.

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

:20:26.:20:32.

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

:20:32.:20:37.

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

:20:37.:20:40.

time had actually followed what they were supposed to follow within

:20:40.:20:44.

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

:20:44.:20:54.
:20:54.:20:57.

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

:20:57.:21:01.

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

:21:01.:21:05.

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

:21:05.:21:10.

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

:21:10.:21:14.

Certainly, to have people making decisions based on interest rates

:21:14.:21:18.

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

:21:18.:21:22.

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

:21:22.:21:30.

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

:21:30.:21:35.

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

:21:35.:21:39.

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

:21:39.:21:43.

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

:21:43.:21:48.

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

:21:48.:21:53.

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

:21:53.:21:57.

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

:21:57.:22:01.

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

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

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

:22:08.:22:12.

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

:22:12.:22:17.

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

:22:17.:22:21.

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

:22:21.:22:25.

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

:22:25.:22:29.

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

:22:29.:22:33.

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

:22:33.:22:38.

There are constitutional issues, clearly political issues, that

:22:38.:22:43.

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

:22:43.:22:46.

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

:22:46.:22:50.

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

:22:50.:22:55.

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

:22:55.:22:59.

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

:22:59.:23:03.

biggest problem we have faced, economically, for generations.

:23:03.:23:11.

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

:23:11.:23:16.

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

:23:16.:23:22.

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

:23:22.:23:32.

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

:23:32.:23:38.

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

:23:38.:23:44.

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

:23:44.:23:48.

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

:23:48.:23:52.

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

:23:52.:23:56.

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

:23:56.:24:01.

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

:24:01.:24:08.

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

:24:08.:24:12.

speculate when the gravity of the situation is exactly as Nicolas

:24:12.:24:18.

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

:24:18.:24:21.

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

:24:21.:24:27.

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

:24:28.:24:31.

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

:24:31.:24:37.

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

:24:37.:24:42.

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

:24:42.:24:48.

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

:24:48.:24:54.

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

:24:54.:24:59.

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

:24:59.:25:05.

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

:25:05.:25:09.

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

:25:09.:25:16.

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

:25:16.:25:19.

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

:25:19.:25:24.

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

:25:24.:25:28.

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

:25:28.:25:33.

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

:25:33.:25:40.

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

:25:40.:25:46.

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

:25:46.:25:53.

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

:25:53.:25:57.

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

:25:57.:26:02.

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

:26:02.:26:08.

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

:26:08.:26:11.

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

:26:11.:26:18.

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

:26:18.:26:22.

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

:26:22.:26:27.

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

:26:27.:26:31.

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

:26:31.:26:35.

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

:26:35.:26:40.

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

:26:40.:26:44.

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

:26:44.:26:49.

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

:26:49.:26:52.

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

:26:52.:26:57.

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

:26:57.:27:02.

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

:27:02.:27:10.

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

:27:10.:27:15.

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

:27:15.:27:20.

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

:27:21.:27:26.

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

:27:26.:27:30.

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

:27:30.:27:35.

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

:27:35.:27:43.

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

:27:43.:27:48.

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

:27:48.:27:54.

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

:27:54.:27:58.

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

:27:58.:28:04.

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

:28:04.:28:08.

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

:28:08.:28:14.

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

:28:14.:28:18.

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

:28:18.:28:22.

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

:28:22.:28:26.

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

:28:26.:28:31.

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

:28:31.:28:39.

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

:28:39.:28:42.

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

:28:42.:28:46.

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

:28:46.:28:52.

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

:28:52.:28:56.

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

:28:56.:29:01.

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

:29:01.:29:06.

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

:29:06.:29:12.

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

:29:12.:29:22.
:29:22.:29:22.

One more point, from the man up there.

:29:22.:29:26.

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

:29:26.:29:33.

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

:29:33.:29:37.

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

:29:37.:29:41.

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

:29:41.:29:46.

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

:29:46.:29:50.

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

:29:50.:29:55.

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

:29:55.:30:02.

finance its banks. The whole system could collapse.

:30:02.:30:12.

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

:30:12.:30:16.

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

:30:16.:30:19.

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

:30:19.:30:28.

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

:30:28.:30:34.

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

:30:34.:30:39.

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

:30:39.:30:43.

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

:30:43.:30:50.

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

:30:50.:30:56.

on to a question completely different.

:30:56.:31:04.

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

:31:04.:31:14.

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

:31:14.:31:20.

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

:31:20.:31:24.

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

:31:24.:31:28.

have to remember that Roman Catholic priests have not always

:31:28.:31:34.

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

:31:34.:31:38.

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

:31:38.:31:47.

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

:31:48.:31:53.

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

:31:53.:31:57.

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

:31:58.:32:02.

Catholic Church. Increasing numbers of Archbishops, not just your

:32:02.:32:07.

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

:32:07.:32:13.

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

:32:13.:32:19.

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

:32:19.:32:24.

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

:32:24.:32:32.

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

:32:32.:32:38.

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

:32:38.:32:47.

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

:32:47.:32:57.
:32:57.:32:59.

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

:32:59.:33:04.

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

:33:04.:33:11.

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

:33:11.:33:15.

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

:33:15.:33:20.

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

:33:20.:33:25.

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

:33:25.:33:30.

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

:33:30.:33:37.

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

:33:37.:33:42.

law and all the discussions. have Catholic priests who are

:33:42.:33:45.

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

:33:46.:33:53.

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

:33:53.:33:56.

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

:33:56.:34:00.

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

:34:00.:34:07.

painful issuesvy found I am dealing is around historical institutional

:34:07.:34:12.

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

:34:12.:34:17.

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

:34:17.:34:21.

institution that is an all male institution, that perhaps would

:34:21.:34:26.

attract the kind of people that have been unfortunately within

:34:26.:34:33.

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

:34:33.:34:38.

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

:34:38.:34:45.

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

:34:45.:34:48.

should happen and it should happen very soon.

:34:48.:34:54.

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

:34:55.:34:57.

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

:34:57.:35:02.

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

:35:02.:35:05.

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

:35:05.:35:12.

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

:35:12.:35:19.

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

:35:19.:35:23.

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

:35:23.:35:28.

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

:35:28.:35:32.

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

:35:32.:35:37.

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

:35:37.:35:42.

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

:35:42.:35:45.

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

:35:45.:35:49.

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

:35:49.:35:52.

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

:35:52.:35:57.

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

:35:57.:36:01.

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

:36:01.:36:05.

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

:36:05.:36:09.

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

:36:09.:36:14.

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

:36:14.:36:22.

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

:36:22.:36:29.

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

:36:29.:36:34.

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

:36:34.:36:40.

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

:36:40.:36:46.

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

:36:46.:36:51.

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

:36:51.:36:55.

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

:36:55.:37:02.

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

:37:02.:37:10.

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

:37:10.:37:16.

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

:37:16.:37:24.

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

:37:24.:37:34.
:37:34.:37:35.

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

:37:35.:37:43.

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

:37:43.:37:48.

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

:37:48.:37:51.

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

:37:51.:37:55.

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

:37:55.:38:00.

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

:38:00.:38:06.

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

:38:06.:38:13.

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

:38:13.:38:20.

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

:38:20.:38:27.

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

:38:27.:38:35.

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

:38:36.:38:41.

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

:38:42.:38:46.

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

:38:46.:38:49.

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

:38:49.:38:53.

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

:38:53.:39:00.

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

:39:00.:39:04.

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

:39:04.:39:09.

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

:39:09.:39:16.

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

:39:16.:39:26.

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

:39:26.:39:33.

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

:39:33.:39:37.

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

:39:37.:39:41.

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

:39:41.:39:48.

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

:39:48.:39:54.

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

:39:54.:39:57.

should have celibacy. APPLAUSE

:39:58.:40:02.

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

:40:02.:40:06.

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

:40:06.:40:11.

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

:40:11.:40:17.

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

:40:17.:40:22.

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

:40:22.:40:25.

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

:40:25.:40:34.

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

:40:34.:40:38.

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

:40:39.:40:44.

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

:40:44.:40:48.

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

:40:48.:40:53.

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

:40:53.:40:59.

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

:40:59.:41:04.

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

:41:04.:41:08.

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

:41:08.:41:11.

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

:41:11.:41:15.

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

:41:15.:41:19.

That's completely, you have completely missed all the

:41:19.:41:23.

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

:41:23.:41:28.

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

:41:28.:41:38.

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

:41:38.:41:43.

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

:41:43.:41:48.

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

:41:48.:41:52.

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

:41:52.:41:56.

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

:41:56.:42:00.

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

:42:00.:42:03.

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

:42:03.:42:07.

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

:42:07.:42:13.

establishment of an inquiry into historical institutional abuse. You

:42:13.:42:17.

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

:42:17.:42:25.

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

:42:25.:42:28.

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

:42:28.:42:33.

to turn. APPLAUSE

:42:33.:42:37.

Nevertheless, the question was about celibacy and whether it

:42:37.:42:47.
:42:47.:42:47.

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

:42:47.:42:51.

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

:42:51.:42:54.

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

:42:54.:43:00.

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

:43:00.:43:04.

the law. If the lady knows of cases, she

:43:04.:43:10.

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

:43:10.:43:14.

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

:43:14.:43:17.

please. Leo Cullen, break away from

:43:17.:43:21.

Northern Ireland and the UK for just a moment.

:43:21.:43:31.

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

:43:31.:43:35.

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

:43:35.:43:40.

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

:43:40.:43:43.

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

:43:43.:43:48.

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

:43:48.:43:53.

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

:43:53.:43:58.

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

:43:58.:44:02.

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

:44:02.:44:05.

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

:44:05.:44:10.

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

:44:10.:44:15.

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

:44:15.:44:20.

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

:44:20.:44:26.

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

:44:26.:44:33.

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

:44:33.:44:38.

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

:44:38.:44:43.

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

:44:43.:44:53.
:44:53.:44:56.

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

:44:56.:45:00.

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

:45:00.:45:04.

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

:45:04.:45:08.

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

:45:08.:45:15.

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

:45:15.:45:19.

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

:45:19.:45:24.

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

:45:24.:45:28.

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

:45:28.:45:33.

Gaddafi with extraordinarily little civilian cost. But Diane is quite

:45:33.:45:37.

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

:45:37.:45:43.

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

:45:43.:45:47.

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

:45:47.:45:51.

that, people really pleased to be getting their freedom.

:45:51.:45:56.

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

:45:56.:46:01.

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

:46:01.:46:05.

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

:46:06.:46:12.

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

:46:12.:46:17.

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

:46:17.:46:22.

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

:46:22.:46:28.

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

:46:28.:46:32.

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

:46:32.:46:35.

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

:46:35.:46:40.

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

:46:40.:46:45.

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

:46:45.:46:48.

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

:46:48.:46:52.

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

:46:52.:46:58.

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

:46:58.:47:02.

favour of any international interference. I was in favour of

:47:02.:47:06.

the people of Libya themselves demanding the human rights and

:47:06.:47:10.

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

:47:10.:47:14.

people themselves to decide the kind of system of government that

:47:14.:47:19.

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

:47:19.:47:22.

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

:47:22.:47:29.

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

:47:29.:47:32.

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

:47:32.:47:37.

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

:47:37.:47:42.

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

:47:42.:47:45.

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

:47:46.:47:50.

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

:47:50.:47:54.

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

:47:54.:47:59.

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

:47:59.:48:04.

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

:48:04.:48:09.

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

:48:09.:48:13.

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

:48:13.:48:18.

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

:48:18.:48:23.

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

:48:23.:48:30.

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

:48:30.:48:37.

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

:48:37.:48:41.

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

:48:41.:48:46.

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

:48:46.:48:50.

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

:48:50.:48:54.

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

:48:54.:48:58.

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

:48:58.:49:02.

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

:49:02.:49:06.

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

:49:06.:49:10.

streets celebrating freedom, is a dramatic and unbelievable

:49:10.:49:15.

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

:49:15.:49:21.

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

:49:21.:49:25.

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

:49:25.:49:28.

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

:49:28.:49:33.

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

:49:33.:49:38.

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

:49:38.:49:43.

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

:49:43.:49:46.

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

:49:46.:49:49.

People would have been rightly saying, you could have done

:49:49.:49:53.

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

:49:53.:49:57.

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

:49:57.:50:01.

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

:50:01.:50:08.

intervene. David Cameron, Ed Miliband, the entire Western

:50:08.:50:12.

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

:50:12.:50:16.

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

:50:16.:50:21.

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

:50:21.:50:25.

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

:50:25.:50:29.

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

:50:29.:50:32.

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

:50:32.:50:35.

for crimes against the people of Northern Ireland, the Irish

:50:35.:50:38.

Republic and Britain, because tens of thousands of innocent people

:50:38.:50:43.

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

:50:43.:50:47.

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

:50:47.:50:50.

have thought that Nigel would have been more concerned about the

:50:50.:50:56.

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

:50:56.:51:01.

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

:51:01.:51:05.

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

:51:05.:51:10.

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

:51:10.:51:16.

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

:51:16.:51:23.

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

:51:23.:51:32.

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

:51:32.:51:39.

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

:51:39.:51:46.

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

:51:46.:51:50.

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

:51:50.:51:54.

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

:51:54.:51:59.

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

:51:59.:52:04.

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

:52:04.:52:10.

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

:52:10.:52:15.

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

:52:15.:52:20.

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

:52:20.:52:26.

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

:52:26.:52:31.

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

:52:31.:52:38.

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

:52:38.:52:44.

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

:52:44.:52:48.

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

:52:48.:52:52.

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

:52:52.:53:02.
:53:02.:53:07.

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

:53:07.:53:10.

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

:53:10.:53:14.

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

:53:14.:53:19.

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

:53:19.:53:23.

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

:53:23.:53:27.

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

:53:27.:53:32.

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

:53:32.:53:36.

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

:53:36.:53:43.

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

:53:43.:53:48.

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

:53:48.:53:54.

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

:53:54.:53:59.

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

:53:59.:54:03.

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

:54:03.:54:08.

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

:54:08.:54:14.

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

:54:14.:54:18.

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

:54:18.:54:24.

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

:54:24.:54:27.

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

:54:27.:54:31.

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

:54:31.:54:37.

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

:54:37.:54:40.

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

:54:40.:54:43.

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

:54:43.:54:49.

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

:54:49.:54:52.

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

:54:52.:54:57.

kind of action, liberal interventionism? If Libya turns out

:54:57.:55:03.

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

:55:03.:55:08.

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

:55:08.:55:12.

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

:55:12.:55:18.

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

:55:18.:55:27.

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

:55:27.:55:34.

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

:55:34.:55:37.

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

:55:37.:55:41.

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

:55:41.:55:51.
:55:51.:55:52.

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

:55:52.:55:56.

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

:55:56.:55:59.

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

:56:00.:56:04.

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

:56:04.:56:09.

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

:56:09.:56:12.

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

:56:12.:56:17.

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

:56:17.:56:21.

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

:56:21.:56:28.

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

:56:28.:56:34.

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

:56:34.:56:39.

programme, Britain and America had been sending prisoners to be

:56:39.:56:43.

brittle the interrogated in countries like Libya. Do you think

:56:44.:56:49.

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

:56:49.:56:52.

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

:56:52.:56:58.

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

:56:58.:57:02.

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

:57:02.:57:09.

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

:57:09.:57:15.

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

:57:15.:57:19.

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

:57:19.:57:23.

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

:57:23.:57:29.

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

:57:30.:57:36.

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

:57:36.:57:41.

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

:57:41.:57:46.

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

:57:46.:57:50.

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

:57:50.:57:54.

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

:57:54.:58:00.

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

:58:00.:58:04.

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

:58:04.:58:08.

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

:58:08.:58:13.

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

:58:13.:58:18.

while agreeing there were no previous arrangements with allies

:58:18.:58:23.

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

:58:23.:58:27.

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

:58:27.:58:31.

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

:58:31.:58:35.

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

:58:35.:58:39.

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

:58:39.:58:49.
:58:49.:58:54.

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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