20/10/2011 Question Time


20/10/2011

David Dimbleby chairs the debate from Glasgow, with guest panellists Alistair Carmichael MP, actor Brian Cox, Margaret Curran MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg MP and Mike Russell MSP.


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Transcript


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Tonight we are in Glasgow at the University of Strathclyde. Welcome

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to question final. -- to Question Time. With me tonight, the

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Government's Deputy Chief Whip, Alistair Carmichael. Margaret

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Curran, the Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland. The film star

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and actor, Brian Cox. The Conservative MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg.

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The Scottish Education Secretary, Michael Russell. The Daily

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Telegraph columnist, Cristina Odone. APPLAUSE

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Just before we start, I should say we have six panellists and an

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audience with a lot of questions, so I ask everybody to be succint if

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they can be toe fight. For fear of terrible punishment! The first

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question from Emma Fleming. Were we right in interfering in the

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political affairs of Libya? Michael Russell? The UN resolution and it's

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appropriate for countries who support the United Nations and to

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see them enacted. The important thing is what happens next. Today,

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the man who lived by the sword died by the sword. What we have to do

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now is make sure the country has a fair opportunity to make sure the

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people get what they want. I hope it will get a great deal of support

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and not meddling. Cristina Odone? Yes. It was absolutely essential

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for us to intervene and I always remember, it was the first time

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that the social networks brought news to us that we otherwise

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wouldn't have had, of people saying, please, please, come and save us

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from this man. We can't do it on our own. Yes, the resolution was

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important, because we didn't want to do an Iraqi-style intervention,

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but I'm very proud of this Government for having gone in there,

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because a bad man has come to a bad end.

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APPLAUSE Brian Cox? Yes, unlike Iraq, it was

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the right thing to do and it was done in the right way. In what was

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was it the right way? Because it was done through the proper

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channels, which clearly Iraq wasn't. I think they learnt the lesson of

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Iraq, because actually it has come to great fruition. Do you think

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that there are dangers ahead, Jacob Rees-Mogg and in that sense were we

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wise to go in, in the first place? I thought I would answer the first

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question first. I think the gentleman is right. We were right

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it was striking leadership of David Cameron to do it and it was done

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legally, which is crucial. I don't want us to become the world

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policeman, so the fact we have been right once and it has worked and

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Gaddafi has gone is all good news, but we don't want to do this on a

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regular basis. Margaret Curran? Well, can I say in response to

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Emma's question who is a young lady, I believe, that I agree with other

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panel members. It seems to me that this is a momentous day in Libyan

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history and perhaps Middle Eastern world history. We should remember

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the victims of the Gaddafi regime and of course I think take one

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moment to pay tribute to the servicemen and women who were part

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of this, who undoubtedly there would have been slaughter in

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Benghazi had they not acted. I do think that there are lessons here

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for us to learn and we now need to think about the future of Libya.

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There's a debate to be had about being the world's police officer,

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but we have to recognise particularly with the Arab Spring

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there is a place for international solidarity and to help people

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develop a strong Libya that is democratic. Is there a place for us

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to do something in Syria? We would need to have a world discussion

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about that. The thing that happened in Libya was the fact we had the UN

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resolution, 1973, and we had the Arab League supporting it also and

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that is very important. Syria is desperate too. We have to

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understand that. I think, as Jacob says, we don't want to get in the

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situation where we are the world's police officer, but we have to

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remember that there are peoples in Syria and gemen as well and should

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we now turn there -- Yemen as well and should we now turn there to

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intervene? I think the question about being the world's police

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officer is a distraction from the main issue. Yes, we were obviously

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right to go in there. To intervene in the way that we did, because

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remember what the consequences would have been had we failed to do

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so. Gaddafi had said that anybody who opposed him would be hunted

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down like rats. We know that he would have done it, because he had

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done it to his own people for decades. The important thing,

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though, is the way in which we did it. It was done with all the proper

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authority of the UN resolution and I think that the long-term solution,

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the point at which we have seen the turning now, is that from here on

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in we have been seen as being a country which will respect the rule

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of law and not flaunt it, as was done when we invaded Iraq. If we

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had managed to get a UN resolution on Iraq clearly it would have been

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the right thing to do? If we had got the resolution, would you -- I

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be in favour? You are hedging your bets. No, you said the difference

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$here that we had backing from the UN and NATO. We were never going to

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get it because the basis on which the UN mandate on Iraq was being

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sought was an unfounded one. There is another judgment about whether

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it is something you can achieve or get international backing also?

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Which is why the authority is only the first step. I think we have to

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remember, as the UN Secretary- General said earlier, that this is

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not the end. It's a new beginning for many of the Libyan people. We

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have had the suggestion that democratic elections will take

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place in two years and if we have taken the step to intervene we need

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to see that to the conclusion and ensure that stability and democracy

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are implemented. You think we should be staying there? In the

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short-term, yes. Apart from going into Iraq, we had no plan and no

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ability to support. Making it up as we went along. What needs to happen

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in the circumstances is the positive help for the provisional

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government so there can be elections, but not meddling.

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Support, not meddling. You don't think we should have people on the

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ground. I don't think we should have the type of people on the

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ground that we had in Iraq, because it didn't work out. To be honest,

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I'm specifically talking about enemies, why don't we use people

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like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. If we start using our soft power in

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those countries people would rise more and solve their problems. We

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won't need to go for the military solution. I think we have to be

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very careful in our dealings with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. They are

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very important allies to us, that the oil that comes from Saudi

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Arabia is essential to the British economy. Why don't we use the soft

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powers for the allies, rather than interfering in other countries, and

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you can't predict it, but there could be some kind of soft power

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and some stand. In Bahrain protesters were being killed.

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soft power, you can persuade your allies? Absolutely. We should

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persuade the allies. I think you have to be very cautious about how

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you interfere in the affairs of other sovereign states, because you

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can make it worse. You can say we think it would be a good idea and

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that can lead to opposition to it purely because it is you who are

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saying it. We ran an empire in the past. We can't get back into that

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business. I think it was the right thing to intervene in inia, but we

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have to remember that a lot of people around -- in Libya, but we

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have to remember that a lot of people around the establishment

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were pro-Gaddafi for the years when we had reliable oil supplies,

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despite the fact he was supporting international terrorism. Do you

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criticise them for that? They don't really support the Libyan people

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until it suits them and then they are all for freedom. Before there

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was oil on the table - Thank you. think you are right. I think Libya

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- or rather Gaddafi's demise has emposed the great hip pock siz that

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western leaders have been very capable of -- but we have the great

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confidence in the soft power that Britain enjoys. What came loud and

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clear from the Arab Spring protesters was that in no way did

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they think that the West had the perfect setup and in no way did

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they think they would copy us. Yes, they wanted democracy, but not

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necessarily the kind that we have put in place. Afghan began bay and

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after the kind of hypocritical stuff that we have done both in

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Iraq and Libya, I can see why. have one or two questions that were

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asked whether Britain had blood on its hands. Does anyone - I don't

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know who asked that question. Did you ask that question? Did you ask

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it? I wonder what Tony Blair thinks about Gaddafi being killed today?

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What were you going to say and we'll go on. We are talking about a

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democracy in Libya and it's a shame we have missed the fact that

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Gaddafi is dead now. A beacon of democracy in Libya could have been

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him being tried and the results of that. It would have been a great

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start. APPLAUSE

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Thank you. We'll go on. Just a word if you are into tweeting. You can

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get in touch: One other thing, if you are a school pupil or a school

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teacher, we are running our usual annual Question Time-style debate

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for schools and if you want to get involved, the address is on the

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screen now. Another question from Anne Connelly. When is the UK going

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to stand up to the energy companies and stop the profiteering? This is

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in the light of the vague Government attempts to do things

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about the price of oil and people are just starting to feel this as

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the cold weather hits us. Alistair Carmichael, �125 per customer

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profit, not �15 as it before? Indeed. I think the answer applies

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not just within the hands of Government and I think there is a

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lot more that the Government can be doing, but within ourselves as well,

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because we as the consumers are given the opportunity - This is the

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old Chris Huhne line that we heard all last week. Shop around, shop

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around. Shop around. The fact is that by using your individual power

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you have a real opportunity. It's not the whole answer and we

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understand completely that the way in which the energy market is

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regulated as got to change. It is changing. However, it is going to

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be difficult. The Government understands that. The idea of us as

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consumers it is like walking into a shop and you see all these things

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on sale and you look for the price tag and either it's not there or

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there are three different price tags on the same item and you think,

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hold on a second. What kind of a shop am I in?

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APPLAUSE These are the very changes that

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Chris Huhne was talking about. he wasn't. He told us to check.

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Little things like the fact that at the end of the year energy

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companies are going to have to tell you how you can change. Michael

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Russell? The people in the worst fuel poverty are those who are

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furthest from the innet, so those people are the people who are least

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able to choose from this absolutely extraordinary situation. Three

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price tags would be fun. There are more than 30. Sorry, I clearly

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didn't exaggerate enough. 400. What we need to have is companies that

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offer their consumers the cheapest deal. That's not rocket science.

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They should be made to do that and any Government that fails to make

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them is condemning people not just to fuel poverty, but actually to

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people to die of cold in this country.

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APPLAUSE Maybe they should one the �1

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billion they were going to spend on the Fife carbon capture in

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providing cheaper energy to households. I thought they were

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trying to save money. Let's not get into that. That's another one.

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Margaret Curran? I think energy prices are one of the most

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important issues today. I think the Government are completely out of

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touch on this. What can they do? They are implementing a system that

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We know that prices go up like a rocket and down like a feather.

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What Labour are calling for is that they should share these excess

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profits that have gone up particularly quickly over the past

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few months. They should be told they have to put that back to help

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people pay their bills. That is one thing the Government can do. This

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problem has been around for a long time and Ed Miliband was energy

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secretary. What did he do? One of the things that he did was to

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insist Ofgem intervene and regulate more effectively. We have seen that

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the rates have gone up particularly over the past six months, I think a

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20%. Ed Miliband, in his position as leader of the Labour Party, has

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said we need to introduce market reform and is calling for

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significant market reform. What can you do? One proposal is to look at

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the pool of prices and how you access to electricity. The figures

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show you can bring down the bills in that way and that is something

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they should be looked at immediately and we should do that.

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But we cannot instruct Ofgem, because it is independent of

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Government, and that is how your party set it up. You can pass a

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simple all. We could draft it this evening. It would say, companies

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have to publish prices simply m customers have to get the lowest

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price. I think that would have a good effect. We could do it. I like

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the idea of punishing customers if they don't get the lowest price,

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implicit in what you said. The man in the white shirt. The answer to

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this is that we should not hold our breath for the Government to stand

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up to the companies, because I am sure the summit this week was

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choreographed so David Cameron could rule with an iron fist and

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give us a good deal. What happened? The energy companies stood their

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ground and we had Chris Huhne saying we have to shop around.

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kept something from the morning paper which says that 2700 people

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die in freezing homes in a year. That is more than die on the roads.

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That is terrible. And there are problems with the system as it

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currently works which need to be addressed so actually you have more

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competition, not more regulation, because competition brings prices

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down. We also have to look at green initiatives. We are currently

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talking �80 a year on bills from green initiatives, predicted to

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double over the next five years. Can you explain what you mean by

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green initiatives? Some of the things the Government is doing,

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subsidies for feed in tariffs... Which the oil and electricity

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companies have to do, hopes that they jump through. They have to pay

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for electricity that is fed in at a higher rate than they can resell it.

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Somebody has to pay for that and �80 extra on the bill for somebody

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who is poor could be the difference between eating their home or not.

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We have to be really serious about what we wish for in terms of the

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green agenda. -- heating their home. The man up there with the

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spectacles. With the green agenda, what is the Government going to do

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with the finds that they impose on big energy companies when they do

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not meet their carbon reduction targets? The under the green deal,

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if the large energy companies do not hit carbon reduction targets,

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they will be fined a percentage. Should they give it back to

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consumers who have been paying for it? It is obscene. It is just

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I think that some elderly person who does not know how to shop

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around, these people are being marginalised more and more and

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there are more of them. They are increasing. There are more elderly

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people around. The whole notion of this kind of profit is obscene and

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it is part of the whole horrible business of what has been going on,

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how people are being ripped off systematically, day after day after

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day, and it goes right back to banking, the whole system. Do you

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think the six main companies to deliver the energy are in cahoots

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with each other? Of course they are. There is no real competition. I

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don't think you should talk about a market in heating an old lady's

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home. I don't think you should say that is subject to the market. She

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does not understand that, she is just trying to keep warm, and I

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think it is obscene. The man on the right. The problem is that the

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energy companies are controlled by shareholders. Shareholders only

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care about profit. They do not answer to anyone other than

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shareholders. My concern is that the 20% increase

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in energy prices, how does that equate to civil servants who have

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been told to take a two you pay freeze? Where is the justice?

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you speaking as a civil servant? Yes. And the UK Government is

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attempting to enforce a rise in pension contributions. It is

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inequitable and it will lead to more fuel poverty and more deaths,

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inevitably. I think it is patronising for Chris Huhne and

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David Cameron to tell consumers to shop around, as if we do not have

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the intelligence to do that already. I think the issue is that when you

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do shop around it is so complex, in the amount of tariffs and the

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amount of deals, it is not an easy process. I think the deals that are

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on the market need to be simplified for consumers. You never meet

:20:37.:20:47.
:20:47.:20:49.

anybody who says they understand Most of the people tell me that it

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is difficult for them to shop around on the computer. They are

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unable to use the computer and it is really difficult for them to

:20:55.:21:05.
:21:05.:21:07.

find the right prices for the right tariff. The woman on the far side.

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I am wondering when are the Government going to stop blaming

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the previous Government and actually start acting and standing

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on their own feet. It usually takes 13 years! I have shopped around in

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the past four different energy suppliers and each time I have

:21:31.:21:34.

changed, it has been a complete nightmare and the savings have been

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minimal. The stress levels go up and the savings are just about hear,

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and then you have to do it again. The companies should give us

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savings if you are a loyal customer. It used to be that loyal customers

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got a discount but now you have to find the discount. What goes wrong

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when you change? It is a nightmare. Difficult instructions and

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difficult complicated ways of doing it. It becomes a nightmare.

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hidden charges. I wanted to change but I am paying by direct debit and

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I thought another company look more interesting. They were trying to

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lure me with a cheaper package. I found out that because I was direct

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debit with the other one, I would have to pay a charge to get rid of

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them. It is outrageous. When we are told by the Government that there

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is nothing to do, that the wholesale fuel prices are so high

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and they cannot help it, of course they cannot. But they certainly

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could sit down with the six creatures and say to them, you are

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not going to profit from other people's misery. Let's go on. This

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question is from Michael Rossi, please. Why do the three main

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National Party is not want a referendum on UK membership of the

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EU? There has been this 100,000 signatories, and there is a debate

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which was going to be next Thursday in the House of Commons and will

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now be on Monday so that the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary can

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be there. It seems that all three major UK national parties are going

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to tell their members to vote against the referendum, despite

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what they have said at various times in their manifestos. Jacob

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Rees-Mogg, why is everybody against a referendum? I think, to use a

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word Margaret Thatcher once used, they have come to the conclusion

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that most people in the UK do not actually like Europe, they think

:23:36.:23:40.

the EU has failed, the euro is in desperate decline. This weekend we

:23:40.:23:44.

will see whether it survives. Instead of saying we need a new

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relationship with Europe speedily, we want to go back to free trade,

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which we agreed to, and not be governed un-democratically from

:23:54.:23:58.

Brussels, they hope the problem will disappear, but it will not. I

:23:58.:24:01.

think we will have a referendum but not on the motion that has been put

:24:01.:24:05.

forward but on new treaties that will be debated to work out where

:24:05.:24:09.

Europe goes to deal with the collapse of the euro. How will you

:24:09.:24:18.

vote on Monday? I have not finally decided. But... I have spoken to

:24:18.:24:24.

the whips. I will probably support the motion. I do not think it is a

:24:24.:24:27.

perfect motion, but I think it is an important symbol of how Euro-

:24:27.:24:31.

sceptic this country is, and that we have to be clear that we need a

:24:31.:24:36.

new relationship with Europe. And we have to work towards that with a

:24:36.:24:40.

renegotiation of the treaties and powers coming back to the United

:24:40.:24:44.

Kingdom, and possibly coming to the Edinburgh parliament as well,

:24:44.:24:47.

depending on where the British people want them to go. But there

:24:47.:24:57.

are powers. The Liberal Democrats said they were committed to a

:24:57.:25:03.

referendum, Alistair Carmichael. Why are you and your irate Chief

:25:03.:25:05.

Whip for the Liberal Democrats, why are you going to be telling your

:25:05.:25:10.

people that if they don't vote for this they cannot look for

:25:10.:25:14.

preferment in future? I will be saying no such thing to any of my

:25:14.:25:19.

colleagues. How will you put it? will not reveal the secrets of the

:25:19.:25:22.

whips office on national television, because it is much less exciting

:25:22.:25:30.

than everybody thinks. Really! answer the question, I do not think

:25:30.:25:34.

the three main parties are closed to a referendum. We are not

:25:34.:25:38.

necessarily going to be supporting the motion on Monday, which as

:25:38.:25:43.

Jacob has indicated, is somewhat defective in its terms. But I think

:25:43.:25:47.

at some stage we are going to have to have this referendum and this

:25:47.:25:52.

debate. The Government has already, actually, enacted the position that

:25:52.:25:56.

we had stood on in our manifesto, which is that the next time there

:25:56.:26:01.

will be a treaty change that sees a proposal for sovereignty to go from

:26:01.:26:06.

the United Kingdom to the EU, there will be put to the British people.

:26:06.:26:10.

I think that is absolutely necessary, speaking as somebody who

:26:10.:26:14.

actually believes in the European Union and who wants to see it

:26:14.:26:22.

succeed. What is wrong with this one? The deal that people were

:26:22.:26:25.

given in 1976 was a very, very different one from what they have

:26:25.:26:31.

now. I think if people like myself, who believe in the European Union,

:26:31.:26:36.

who want to see it prosper, are going to be able to engage properly,

:26:36.:26:40.

then we have to have a current mandate, not one for something

:26:40.:26:44.

different that is 30 years old. This says you should have a

:26:44.:26:47.

referendum in the next session of Parliament on whether the UK should

:26:47.:26:51.

remain a member, or whether it should leave the European Union, or

:26:51.:26:55.

whether it should renegotiate the terms of its membership to create a

:26:55.:26:59.

new relationship. What is wrong with that? Simply because the final

:26:59.:27:04.

part is they can leaves too much open. I think the real clincher is

:27:04.:27:07.

that it would be a massive distraction at this time, when

:27:07.:27:10.

every politician should be straining every sinew to

:27:10.:27:15.

reconstruct our economy, to go off on a major exercise in

:27:15.:27:22.

constitutional navel-gazing. cost of joining the European Union

:27:22.:27:26.

is around �40 million a day, so how do the panellists justify what are

:27:26.:27:30.

the benefits that we are deriving as being part of the European

:27:30.:27:37.

Union? Does it balance with the �40 million a day? I stood in the May

:27:37.:27:40.

election very clearly on a policy in favour of a referendum about

:27:40.:27:44.

distant government. It was actually about Scottish independence and

:27:44.:27:48.

distant government from London. are not having that one either, are

:27:48.:27:53.

you? We are going to. You do not know when you're going to have it.

:27:53.:27:57.

We do know exactly when we are going to have it, the second half

:27:57.:28:03.

of this Parliament, which is what we said when we were elected. The

:28:03.:28:06.

curious thing is that the party's muttering in the corner are the

:28:06.:28:10.

ones who are trying to force this referendum early on the Scottish

:28:10.:28:17.

people but are denying a referendum south of the border on other things.

:28:17.:28:21.

What does forcing a referendum mean? Surely, a referendum can be

:28:21.:28:26.

heard at any time. People know their own minds. The Scottish

:28:26.:28:31.

government was elected on a clear platform. I am sure you were here.

:28:31.:28:34.

Margaret and Alistair definitely worth. There was a clear commitment

:28:34.:28:37.

to hold a referendum on independence in the second half of

:28:37.:28:42.

the parliament. It is not in your manifesto. Now we are hearing from

:28:42.:28:46.

south of the border that Labour thinks it is a good idea to have

:28:46.:28:48.

the referendum at the time of the choosing of the Westminster

:28:48.:28:51.

government, the Westminster Parliament, not the Scottish

:28:51.:28:55.

Parliament. That would be an affront to democracy in Scotland.

:28:55.:28:58.

In terms of the European issue, it is essential to recognise the

:28:58.:29:02.

importance of Europe to a small country like Scotland. I am

:29:02.:29:08.

unequivocally in support of that. hope to address the issue of the

:29:08.:29:13.

Scottish referendum, too. To repeat the question, why do the three main

:29:13.:29:18.

parties not want a referendum on membership of the EU? What is

:29:18.:29:21.

interesting about this is the process that has got us here,

:29:21.:29:26.

because I do think that this model that we have, where people can e-

:29:26.:29:28.

mail in and say they think this is what Parliament should be debating

:29:28.:29:33.

has been very useful. We saw a moving and powerful debate about

:29:33.:29:36.

Hillsborough last week which was a reflection of what people wanted us

:29:36.:29:41.

to discuss. And obviously this is important and the EU referendum is

:29:41.:29:44.

part of that. We have rising unemployment and the Tories are

:29:44.:29:50.

fighting about Europe. I have deja- vu. The one. I agree with, the big

:29:50.:29:55.

issue is the economy and a lot of Tory MEPs want to talk about Europe

:29:55.:29:58.

all the time. There is a bit of that but I do not want to indulge

:29:58.:30:03.

because we have the issues to face. Why is Labour opposing the

:30:03.:30:06.

referendum call? You say was a wonderful bit of democracy, 100,000

:30:06.:30:13.

people asking for it and now you say you will vote against it.

:30:13.:30:16.

policy is unequivocal. We said in our manifesto we do not support a

:30:17.:30:21.

referendum. It seems, to answer the young gentleman's point, our

:30:21.:30:25.

economic future is tied up with Europe. I think the eurozone is a

:30:25.:30:27.

bigger issue we should be talking about and there is no point in

:30:27.:30:37.
:30:37.:30:38.

denying that our policy is very It seems to me that there's a fear

:30:38.:30:42.

of the fact that people would say let's get out of Europe. I think

:30:42.:30:45.

that's what really motivates the fact that three parties are not

:30:46.:30:50.

wanting to have a referendum, because they are afraid of opening

:30:50.:30:55.

that particular Pandora's box and what will happen. That to me is so

:30:55.:30:59.

obvious. Europe is a massive problem. It was too quick, too soon,

:30:59.:31:04.

too much happened too soon. It moved far too fast a pace and we

:31:04.:31:07.

couldn't keep up and we now have the mess that we have got. All the

:31:07.:31:11.

parties are afraid to face up to the fact that people might say,

:31:11.:31:17.

"Let's get out of Europe." APPLAUSE

:31:17.:31:22.

Should they take that risk, in your view, or are they right? I can

:31:22.:31:27.

understand why they don't, because I'm pro-European as well, but

:31:27.:31:31.

Europe does necessitated looking at. It's a big mess. Do you think a

:31:31.:31:35.

referendum that had the option of pulling out of Europe, whatever

:31:35.:31:43.

that may mean, entirely, would be successful? I'm not sure. I really

:31:43.:31:48.

am not sure. This is all surely about democracy in action. The

:31:48.:31:53.

people have asked for this debate. Surely a political leader should

:31:53.:31:57.

give our representatives the option to vote freely on this matter and

:31:57.:32:02.

respect the wishes of the democracy in asking for this debate.

:32:02.:32:05.

Absolutely. You have taken the words right out of my mouth. I

:32:05.:32:13.

can't bear the thought of the whips telling the politicians, "You must

:32:13.:32:16.

follow up." Telling them not to listen to constituents. I think

:32:16.:32:21.

it's not what I call real politics. It's certainly not part of

:32:21.:32:26.

Parliamentary politics. Like most of the panellists, I do think that

:32:26.:32:30.

Europe - that Britain should stay in Europe, but I think

:32:30.:32:32.

renegotiation of the terms of engagement is probably called for

:32:32.:32:36.

at this point, especially as we are watching the euro sink every day

:32:36.:32:44.

more. I think we should have one, but stay in the EU. Mr Rees-Mogg,

:32:44.:32:50.

you speak about the euro collapsing, as if it will have no vehicle on

:32:50.:32:57.

Britain. British banks have one trillion euros in loans that would

:32:57.:33:00.

be worthless. Alistair Carmichael, we have established that all three

:33:00.:33:07.

political parties are ignoring the 100,000 people and telling - They

:33:07.:33:11.

are right to get the debate. Is it not also true that however you vote

:33:11.:33:16.

on one of these issues that has been raised by the public, it's not

:33:16.:33:20.

binding on Parliament? That is the rules of Parliament. It is not

:33:20.:33:24.

binding. You are still fussed about it even though it's not binding.

:33:24.:33:32.

would be a brave Government that ignored the world Parliament.

:33:32.:33:37.

went in 1976 and it was the Common Market, which I don't think anyone

:33:37.:33:41.

has got problems with, but since then governments have creeded more

:33:41.:33:46.

and more -- ceded more and more legislation away. Power has gone to

:33:46.:33:51.

Europe and that's the problem that most people don't like. We have no

:33:51.:33:55.

control in this country over our own affairs, basically none.

:33:55.:33:58.

Everything is to be done the European way. Nobody voted for that

:33:58.:34:08.
:34:08.:34:11.

or got asked for that. That is what we want back. Mike Russell stresses

:34:11.:34:14.

the fact that Scotland needs to make sure we don't forget about

:34:14.:34:18.

Europe and how important it is. What he's forgetting is if we

:34:18.:34:21.

achieve independence Europe will forget about Scotland. We'll get

:34:21.:34:31.
:34:31.:34:33.

chucked out of the I could give you chapter and verse -- EU. I could

:34:33.:34:36.

give you chapter and verse saying that that is simply not true.

:34:36.:34:40.

Scotland will continue to be a member, or actually neither part of

:34:40.:34:44.

the old United Kingdom would continue to be a member. That's

:34:44.:34:53.

what would apply. Would we be in the euro? We are similar to you and

:34:53.:34:57.

the argument was at some stage it would be worth considering, but

:34:57.:35:02.

using the sterling north and south of the border. A Scottish pound?

:35:02.:35:06.

We have said we would like to keep sterling for the foreseeable future

:35:06.:35:10.

and that's a reasonable currency. The Australians, when they were

:35:10.:35:20.
:35:20.:35:20.

independent in 1906 kept the pound for another ten years. One more

:35:20.:35:24.

point from the audience. Scotland was to gain independence

:35:24.:35:30.

would there be fi real point exiting one union and joining

:35:30.:35:35.

another? -- there any real point exiting one union and joining

:35:35.:35:45.

another? You talk about powers from Brussels. The vast amount of powers

:35:45.:35:52.

in Brussels are nothing compared to Westminster. You would also have -

:35:52.:35:56.

We have moved off the question. It was about the EU in the UK. It's

:35:56.:36:04.

not often I actually agree with Brian Cox, - Does he know that?

:36:04.:36:08.

I'm telling you now, yes, the Parliamentarians are scared of the

:36:08.:36:13.

answer they might get from the referendum, but surely if the

:36:13.:36:16.

answer is no it is strengthening the power that they'll have to go

:36:16.:36:23.

to Europe and renegotiate terms? you think i Jacob, that the Prime

:36:23.:36:28.

Minister and William Hague have handled this deftly, moving it from

:36:28.:36:32.

Thursday to Monday and looking like a panic measure? I think the Prime

:36:32.:36:36.

Minister and Foreign Secretary are the greatest geniuss we have ever

:36:36.:36:42.

had in Government in the history of mankind. They have handled it well,

:36:42.:36:45.

but this may not be quite deft enough for me to support them on

:36:45.:36:50.

Monday evening. The whips are watching you. I think they know

:36:50.:36:55.

where he stands. Another question. This one is from Holly McCormack.

:36:55.:37:01.

Liam Fox has condemned the media frenzy following rezlations about

:37:01.:37:06.

his relationship with -- relationship with Adam Werritty. Is

:37:06.:37:14.

this another politician looking to blame others for his mistakes?

:37:14.:37:17.

attacked the press and rather curiously said the Ministerial Code

:37:17.:37:20.

has been found to be breached. That's an odd way of putting it.

:37:20.:37:25.

Cristina Odone, what do you think of this affair and this attack on

:37:25.:37:32.

the press? I think that the press was there when we needed it and I'm

:37:32.:37:39.

very, very pleased that the man who was in charge of defence secrets

:37:39.:37:44.

was caught bringing somebody who hadn't been cleared through

:37:44.:37:51.

security, to American generals, where they were discussing the most

:37:51.:37:57.

important security business. He brought him to conferences with

:37:57.:38:02.

Arab leaders, who were also going to be discussing very, very

:38:02.:38:09.

important security measures. And, continuously for many, many years -

:38:09.:38:15.

well, not many years, but more than one year, we have had this man, Mr

:38:15.:38:20.

Werritty, coming in to places where he had no business being. I think

:38:20.:38:26.

that for the press to have flushed this out, for the press to have

:38:26.:38:32.

protected our security, is a great thing. It is almost made me forgive

:38:32.:38:39.

my industry, my profession, for the whole Murdoch mess, so, yes, I'm

:38:39.:38:46.

pleased. Almost, but not quite. What he said was that it was

:38:46.:38:50.

unacceptable that family and friends who are nothing to do with

:38:50.:38:55.

central issues should be hounded and intimidated. Nobody was hounded

:38:55.:39:00.

and intimidated. Questions were asked that should have been asked

:39:00.:39:04.

by governments and politicians and all the generals. They all should

:39:04.:39:09.

have said, "Who is this guy?" finally, the press did ask. I think

:39:09.:39:16.

we did the write thing. Jacob Rees- Mogg? I'm with the Duke of

:39:16.:39:19.

Wellington, publish and dedamned. We want a press that the

:39:19.:39:22.

governments don't like. The Government likes the press then the

:39:22.:39:27.

press isn't doing its job. Having said all that, I'm very sorry Liam

:39:27.:39:31.

Fox has gone. I think he's a decent and honest pan, but it's not the

:39:31.:39:38.

fault of the press - Honest? Well, - I'm sorry. What was honest about

:39:38.:39:43.

that? He's not taken any money corruptly. He was clearly unwise to

:39:43.:39:47.

travel with Mr Werritty. I'm not beginning to pretend he wasn't. I'm

:39:47.:39:52.

saying - Mr Werritty could have been a terrorist. Mr Werritty could

:39:52.:40:02.
:40:02.:40:02.

have been anything. Let's ask the audience, if you've got a friend

:40:02.:40:06.

you've known for 20 years who was your best man, do you think he's a

:40:06.:40:16.

terrorist? Really? You don't. You have to allow politicians to have

:40:16.:40:25.

long-standing friendships to people who aren't involved in poll -- in

:40:25.:40:30.

politics and Cristina Odone is wrong. I'm a nurse and I'm sure he

:40:30.:40:34.

would be thrilled to see me in a professional capacity and I brought

:40:34.:40:38.

a close chum along. He knew from day one it was wrong

:40:38.:40:43.

APPLAUSE Absolutely. I think what has

:40:43.:40:46.

happened here is straggering, but there are many questions that still

:40:47.:40:50.

remain. The fact that so many things seemed to have happened

:40:50.:40:53.

outside government, that the Civil Service were unhappy about it, but

:40:53.:40:56.

it wasn't properly resolved. We need to ask questions about that.

:40:56.:41:00.

More than MIG else, what I want to know is are any other practises

:41:00.:41:04.

going on in a similar nature in this Government, because the Prime

:41:04.:41:06.

Minister seems to have been the last to know this and that is very

:41:07.:41:12.

serious. The issue of security is not as easily dismded as he would

:41:12.:41:17.

like it to be. -- dismissed as he would like it to be. We need to

:41:17.:41:21.

know how many others were involved. What were the practises involved

:41:21.:41:30.

and I don't think we have got to the bottom of this at all yet.

:41:30.:41:33.

the report actually said was that as he went regularly overseas with

:41:33.:41:37.

military top brass and other advisers, having Werritty him and

:41:37.:41:41.

particularly seeing all the movements in the diary, posed a

:41:41.:41:45.

security risk not only to Dr Fox, but also to the accompanying

:41:45.:41:50.

official party. That was the security risk. Not that Werritty

:41:50.:41:55.

was the terrorist, but anyone else could have become involved.

:41:55.:42:00.

security risk was known by someone who was not in a secure area, but I

:42:00.:42:05.

do think that public figures are entitled to a private life and that

:42:05.:42:11.

security is there to protect the principle not to control his moves.

:42:11.:42:16.

The Cabinet Secretary is wrong. think he's unreasonable, to say

:42:16.:42:21.

that people should always in high office have their movements

:42:21.:42:24.

determined by what the police say is wise. I think we have to make

:42:24.:42:28.

the decisions for themselves and we see that the Queen sometimes

:42:28.:42:31.

ignores security advice when she thinks it's the right thing to do.

:42:31.:42:36.

I think that's absolutely proper, otherwise you get politicians

:42:36.:42:40.

completly encapsulated in an area where -- completely encapsulated in

:42:40.:42:44.

an area where they cannot get about. A politician shouldn't be

:42:44.:42:50.

complaining about the press in this situation. The press can behave in

:42:50.:42:55.

an appalling fashion. They are not angels, but the fault lies with

:42:55.:43:03.

Liam Fox and nobody else. What do you mean by that in this context?

:43:04.:43:08.

think I would call in the definition that just as it would

:43:08.:43:12.

not always apply to matters of morality and money, but it would

:43:12.:43:18.

apply to pretending yourself as something that you were not --

:43:18.:43:22.

presenting yourself as something that you were not. He was running a

:43:22.:43:31.

parallel foreign policy. It's an odd Government you are not a member

:43:31.:43:37.

of. Brian Cox. I think it was David Cameron who said that the

:43:37.:43:42.

Government was going to behave with probity. It seems to me that he

:43:42.:43:46.

said this was very important that we didn't have the issues that we

:43:46.:43:51.

had before. Liam Fox has not behaved with probity. He's behaved

:43:51.:43:57.

stupidly. Absolutely stupidly. Then to be in the state of denial about

:43:57.:44:02.

it and clearly this is - clearly, he's a gifted man, but the folly is

:44:02.:44:12.
:44:12.:44:14.

ridiculous. It is theatrical, actually. I don't see why he can't

:44:14.:44:19.

see that. The fact that then to come back and say, "Well, you know,

:44:19.:44:25.

friends and others are involved. They are involved ." That's the

:44:25.:44:34.

level he's gone to. I think Mr Werritty has also behaved like a

:44:34.:44:44.
:44:44.:44:50.

Alistair Carmichael. Liam Fox was guilty of an error of judgment and

:44:50.:44:59.

he admitted that. As a consequence, he has resigned. I think he did the

:44:59.:45:02.

absolutely right and only thing he could do. Should he have criticised

:45:02.:45:07.

the media when making his resignation statement? I do not

:45:07.:45:11.

know. That is a question of judgment. In his circumstances, I

:45:11.:45:16.

would not have done it that way. He was the one making the statement.

:45:16.:45:19.

He was complaining about friends and family being harassed by the

:45:19.:45:23.

press. I do not know what he meant, but I have known it happen to

:45:23.:45:27.

others in the past. You do hear stories of people being doorstep to

:45:27.:45:31.

about stuff they do not know anything about. I actually think

:45:31.:45:35.

that instead of talking about our relationship with the press, the

:45:35.:45:41.

real issue that comes out of this is the way in which politicians in

:45:41.:45:48.

Westminster in particular interact with lobbyists. This has just

:45:48.:45:52.

lifted the lid. David Cameron himself, in the last Parliament,

:45:52.:45:56.

identified this as being the next political scandal coming down the

:45:56.:46:00.

line. And I think, I hope that we as a government are now going to be

:46:00.:46:04.

to move on with more speed and urgency on the work we have already

:46:04.:46:08.

started. You think lobbying was involved? You think there was

:46:08.:46:14.

unfair access to ministers, is that what you're saying? If we had a

:46:14.:46:17.

proper registration system where those who were lobbying were doing

:46:17.:46:20.

it openly and transparently and you knew what was going on and where

:46:20.:46:30.

the money was coming from... Just to clarify, are you saying that

:46:30.:46:36.

Werritty introduced lobbyists for to the Secretary of State? I do not

:46:36.:46:40.

honestly know the detail of that, but I do not know the detail

:46:40.:46:50.
:46:50.:46:51.

because the practice of lobbying is so opaque. Advocacy of any cause is

:46:51.:46:57.

a criminal offence for members. Our code as criminal... You cannot talk

:46:57.:47:03.

to him Minister and say, we want this to happen. Advocacy from any

:47:03.:47:09.

organisation to an MSP is a criminal offence. Isn't bad going a

:47:09.:47:14.

bit far? What do you mean paid advocacy? Nobody can come to talk

:47:14.:47:20.

to you about education? Paid advocacy is quite clear. I would

:47:20.:47:23.

define it as when a company is giving money to any individual, as

:47:23.:47:27.

they were in Werritty's case, and that individual is going round the

:47:27.:47:32.

world with a minister. I think that comes pretty close to paid advocacy,

:47:32.:47:38.

in my view. That is not right and should be illegal. I would say to

:47:39.:47:42.

the member of the Government here today, it is simply not good enough.

:47:42.:47:46.

We have had a report, which I tried to read, which gave no clear

:47:47.:47:51.

answers. We saw his glorious resignation, where he fell on his

:47:51.:47:55.

sword. There were no real answers. You have said yourself that you do

:47:55.:48:00.

not know. This man was in charge of the Ministry of Defence, nothing

:48:00.:48:03.

more important perhaps than that. There is too much smokescreen and

:48:03.:48:09.

we need real answers. There are other investigations going on. So I

:48:09.:48:12.

think there is still more to be looked at and doubtless more

:48:12.:48:19.

answers will come. Let's go on to another question. Caroline Miller.

:48:19.:48:22.

Would members of the panel be prepared to downsize their home to

:48:22.:48:29.

make way for young families? I do not know how elderly the members of

:48:29.:48:33.

the panel are, and whether they qualified. This is a report from

:48:34.:48:35.

the Intergenerational Foundation, which I don't think anybody had

:48:36.:48:39.

heard of until this report came out, but it was given a huge publicity

:48:39.:48:45.

today, saying that about one-third of all homes are under occupied.

:48:45.:48:49.

People over 65 now live in homes with two more bedrooms than they

:48:49.:48:52.

need, and old people are urged to leave their homes and move into

:48:52.:48:57.

smaller homes. Who would like to start on that? I have to be careful

:48:57.:49:03.

who I go to first. Margaret Curran, what do you think of it? I was

:49:04.:49:09.

quite shocked by this proposal and I daresay... Were you surprised by

:49:09.:49:13.

the information, or not? That there were so many people living in half-

:49:13.:49:20.

empty houses? No, I am not surprised by that. But I am shocked

:49:20.:49:25.

that it has been said in such a blunt way. I do not know if that is

:49:25.:49:28.

the solution to the problems we face. In Scotland we have a number

:49:28.:49:32.

of housing issues, with the way the budget has been cut. In England

:49:32.:49:37.

there are housing pressures. I do not see this as a solution to that,

:49:37.:49:40.

and it is not fair to say to elderly people that somehow they

:49:40.:49:44.

are at fault and to blame. I would rather get this Government get

:49:44.:49:47.

their finger out, get the economy going and that is the way we saw

:49:47.:49:57.

these kind of problems. What really upset me about this report, this

:49:57.:50:05.

proposal, was that it was, yet again, away for this society to

:50:05.:50:11.

sideline, marginalise and make feel about this big, the elderly. When

:50:11.:50:15.

this is coupled with what happens to the elderly in care, when it is

:50:15.:50:19.

coupled with what happens to the elderly and hospitals, it makes me

:50:19.:50:25.

so ashamed. One thing that we could learn from Asian and African family

:50:25.:50:32.

is his to cherish, cherish the older generation, because they are

:50:32.:50:38.

wise, they have seen it all, because they are going to give you

:50:38.:50:41.

their big house when they are ready, not when you are pushing them to

:50:41.:50:47.

get out. There is another side of this. Earlier in the week you had

:50:47.:50:49.

this Westminster Government telling people on housing benefit that they

:50:49.:50:55.

would have to move house if they had a spare room. This is the most

:50:55.:50:59.

extraordinary thing. I think this proposal is pretty daft. But when

:50:59.:51:02.

people would be forced, as is the proposal, to move house because

:51:02.:51:05.

they will not be paid housing benefit because they have a spare

:51:05.:51:12.

room, I think we're getting to the obscene stage. That man, are you of

:51:12.:51:17.

an age to want to kick an older person out? I work in a profession

:51:17.:51:20.

around housing as a trainee solicitor. There is a severe lack

:51:20.:51:25.

of affordable housing in this country. How many unoccupied houses

:51:25.:51:32.

are there in Scotland? I am told 25,000. I do not know the figure,

:51:32.:51:34.

but I know there are people wanting to get on the housing market but

:51:35.:51:41.

they cannot because there is not affordable housing. That could help

:51:41.:51:45.

the construction industry and help the economy as well. We need more

:51:45.:51:48.

affordable housing. What do you think about putting pressure on

:51:48.:51:54.

older people to move out? I think it is two things. It is endemic

:51:54.:51:56.

that it would reduce the opportunity for family being

:51:56.:52:01.

together, so instead of encouraging inter-generational relationships,

:52:01.:52:07.

it would reduce that. And who is going to buy these so-called large

:52:07.:52:11.

houses for the elderly? Young people can hardly buy smaller

:52:11.:52:17.

houses. So who is expecting... It is just not practical. The problem

:52:17.:52:22.

would be that it would reduce the opportunity for a build up of

:52:22.:52:26.

family relationships and family coming together and gatherings,

:52:26.:52:35.

rather than... So you need rooms for the grandchildren. I do and I'm

:52:35.:52:45.
:52:45.:52:46.

sure lots of people do. I was just going to say, old people

:52:46.:52:50.

have big houses but very few friends. Young people have got lots

:52:50.:52:54.

of friends but no houses. Maybe we could arrange some sort of trade-

:52:54.:53:00.

off. I would like to agree with Mr

:53:00.:53:04.

Dimbleby. Perhaps the company has done this because it will get

:53:04.:53:08.

attention for a previously unknown company, because it is a ridiculous

:53:08.:53:11.

report which cannot be legislated for and we are all speaking about

:53:11.:53:19.

it. Jacob Rees-Mogg. It is the silliest idea anyone has ever come

:53:19.:53:22.

up with. Surely people should be free to live in their house if they

:53:22.:53:27.

own it. I am tempted to say an Englishman's home is his castle, an

:53:27.:53:33.

IOC may Scotsman's home is his castle, as well, and indeed ladies,

:53:33.:53:37.

too. You should be able to live in your house as long as you like. The

:53:37.:53:40.

pressure from the state to be told to move house because you have too

:53:40.:53:48.

many rooms, it is bonkers. I know many elderly people who do live on

:53:48.:53:52.

their own and do not have family and friends who could move in and

:53:52.:53:55.

make use of all their spare bedrooms, but the fact is there are

:53:55.:54:00.

no social housing they could move into. There is not the same

:54:00.:54:04.

sheltered housing accommodation available to them. They are stuck,

:54:04.:54:07.

and those are the ones we are picked -- who are paying additional

:54:07.:54:11.

fuel and heating bills. They cannot afford to heat their homes, so you

:54:11.:54:16.

are perpetuating this because there is nowhere for them to go.

:54:16.:54:22.

answer the question, I might well at some stage in the future want to

:54:22.:54:26.

sell my house and get something smaller, come that happy day when

:54:26.:54:32.

my children have grown up and flown the nest. It is not happy, it is

:54:32.:54:41.

not happy! You are losing votes by the score. What is wrong with your

:54:41.:54:46.

children? One of them plays the trumpet and the other one plays the

:54:46.:54:51.

violin. There may well come that time, but I certainly would not do

:54:51.:54:57.

it because they think tank told me I had to do it. I think if this

:54:57.:55:01.

bizarre notion raises a question at all, it maybe should give us pause

:55:01.:55:07.

to reflect on how we have changed as a society and how we have lost a

:55:07.:55:11.

sense of community. Because this is only the sort of notion that can

:55:11.:55:17.

come from a society that has lost the sense of community we used to

:55:17.:55:23.

have, which we still have in places like Orkney, where I live. I think

:55:24.:55:30.

there is a deeper and more serious problem. It is the fact that the

:55:30.:55:35.

old people are under siege in some way. We had this report last week

:55:35.:55:39.

about the NHS and how they were being treated, old people, which,

:55:39.:55:43.

because I do not live here and I live in America, I was completely

:55:43.:55:48.

shocked at this, the country that I come from, this was going on. And

:55:48.:55:54.

when I hear something like this, we really have to establish, and as

:55:54.:55:58.

people are getting older and we are going to have more older people, we

:55:58.:56:02.

really have to get our act together in taking care of them and actually

:56:02.:56:06.

honouring them in some kind of way. I would like to see more young

:56:06.:56:10.

people involved. I kept thinking, wouldn't it be a great thing if

:56:10.:56:15.

young people, as a service, as a public service, could going and

:56:15.:56:18.

talk and take care and speak to these elderly people, who are

:56:19.:56:22.

rapidly becoming more and more disenfranchised. And this is just

:56:22.:56:27.

another way of disenfranchising them. I think it is an awful

:56:27.:56:33.

situation. That is how life used to be, and we have lost that. The Boy

:56:33.:56:42.

Scouts will be starting Bob Bird Job Week again. -- Bob a job. We

:56:42.:56:48.

have come to the end of our time. Since you mentioned New York, what

:56:48.:56:51.

is the electricity price in New York. You were pontificating about

:56:51.:56:59.

prices here. It is all in. Where I live, it is all in, because it is

:56:59.:57:06.

part of the rent. So you keep warm, 70 degrees. And I live on top of a

:57:06.:57:10.

high-rise, so I get heat from everybody below. That brings us to

:57:10.:57:13.

the end of the programme. Next week, we will be in Winchester and we

:57:13.:57:19.

will have on the panel the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan-

:57:19.:57:26.

Smith, and also Julian Alexander, who happens to be the creator of

:57:26.:57:29.

Downton Abbey. The week after that, we will be somewhere that Question

:57:29.:57:34.

Time has never been before, Westminster Hall in the Houses of

:57:34.:57:37.

Parliament, at the invitation of the officials there. If you want to

:57:37.:57:41.

David Dimbleby chairs the debate from Glasgow.

On the panel are: Alistair Carmichael MP, Deputy Chief Whip; Brian Cox, actor; Margaret Curran MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland; Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, Conservative MP; Mike Russell MSP, Scottish Education Secretary; and Cristina Odone, Daily Telegraph Columnist.


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