03/11/2011 Question Time


03/11/2011

For the first time, Question Time comes from the Houses of Parliament. David Dimbleby chairs a panel including Ed Balls, Theresa May, Shirley Williams and Benjamin Zephaniah.


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Transcript


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Just over 400 years ago, Guy Fawkes stood trial here in Westminster

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Hall, for trying to blow up Parliament. We have different ways

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of calling our leaders to account these days. Welcome to Question

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On our panel tonight, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, the Shadow

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Chancellor Ed Balls, from the House of Lords, the Liberal Democrat peer

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Shirley Williams, the Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens and

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poet and author who left school at 13 and is now a Professor of

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Creative writing at Brunel university Benjamin Zephaniah.

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Thanks. Our first question tonight from Geraldine hauxs please.

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Is it right for the public sector workers to strike when they've been

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offered a better deal? -- Geraldine Hawkes. We have seen at the very

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last moment after months of non- negotiation, the Government

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suddenly bring out a new offer and say that's take it or leave it,

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just at the last minute and I think the unions are right to say they

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want to look at the detail of this now. But I don't think it's the

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right way to do things. I would - there was a comment in The

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Telegraph today which said David Cameron is privately delighted that

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thedown-ons have rejected the deal, the view in Number Ten is that they

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have been craftily manoeuvred into a trap. I have to say, I don't

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think that's the right way to make decisions like this when you're

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talking about the long-term needs of the country. But also, low-paid

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people in the public sector, dinner ladies, nursing assistants who've

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worked hard for many years and deserve to be treated better than

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that. I think both sides should be round the table talking. The unions

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will have to give some ground, but the Government will have to give

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some more ground because at the moment what's being proposed isn't

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fair. This strike is entirely avoidable. When you say that,

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surely the Government's given ground, saying the offer is 8% more

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generous than what they had ten days ago which is the point? If you

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look at the details, it's only come out at the last minute, after many

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months of procrastination, finally some ground given. It's good the

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fooft's taken the negotiation seriously, but it's still the case

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that low-paid public sector workers are very hard hit by this. I was

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looking... -- the Government's taken the negotiation seriously.

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Would you like to see the strike called off now or is it not time

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for it to be called off, in your view. You know there's been a

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ballot by UNISON. I don't want a strike. Nobody wants it. Do you

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want it called off now as a result of what the Government has

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suggested? No, we do not need to have a strike but it requires both

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sides to give some ground. If you are a nurse, part-time nurse, on

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�17,000 a year, you are going to lose �900 a year as a result of

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this deal at the moment. That is deeply, deeply unfair. What

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happened was, the increase in contributions, which was sprung

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upon people before the Hutton Report hits the lowest paid workers,

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particularly women, hardest. It's not fair. Both sides must be given

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some ground. That's a way to avoid an unnecessarily strike. I think

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David Cameron wants a strike, that's the problem. Theresa May?

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The answer to the question is, no, I don't think it's right for them

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to strike. There have been negotiations now over several

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months about this pensions deal and the reality is that we are all

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living longer, that's good news, but that means people have to work

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longer and actually are being asked from the public sector to

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contribute more to their pensions. What I think is fair is ensuring

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that we have an arrangement for public sector pensions that gives

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public sector workers who work hard on our behalf but gives them a

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decent pension in their retirement, but also is a fair deal for the

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taxpayer. And the reality of the deal that's been struck is that yes,

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we have said that we will allow the pensions to accrue at a faster rate,

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meaning it will be a better deal, also for low and middle earners,

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many will find themselves receive ago larger pension than they would

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have done otherwise. As a result of paying more in? They will be paying

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more in. Then you expect to get more of a pension if you pay more

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in? Well, no, people will have to pay more in, they'll have to work

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longer as everybody else will. But crucially, these pensions, many of

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them, will be a lot better than people in the private sector.

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People remember, it's people in the private sector who've seen their

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pensions devastated. The taxpayers are paying for the public sector

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pensions. Baroness Williams? Theresa May is right about this. If

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you look at the expectation of life, which has gone up by eight years in

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the last 20 years, it's quite staggering how much longer we all

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live. That has to be paid for. If you want decent pensions for people

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living into their 80s, you have to accept that those current pensions

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will have to accept retiring later and possibly paying rather more

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towards their pension -- current pensioners. My feeling is that the

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Government, maybe at the last minute, as Ed suggests, came up

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with a very decent proposal which benefitted the lowest paid, the

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very nurses and teachers and so on that we are concerned about. If you

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retire on �38,000 as a teacher, you get �25,000 in a pension, a hell of

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a lot better than the private sector. The unions should say, we

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have to make a sacrifice. Even has to do that. It isn't to extreme,

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we'll accept it. APPLAUSE

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The man in the fourth row from the back on the gangway? You, Sir?

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a teacher and everyone's talking about fairness. Initially, the

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Government talked about the pensions being unaffordable. When

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that argument fell flat, they talk about fairness now. What's fair is

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the fact that eight years ago when I came into the proprofession, the

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Government promised me a deal and said if you work until you're 60,

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or now 65, they would guarantee me that retirement age. What you are

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doing now because I'm not within this golden ten year that the new

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deal is, it's not an improved deal for me, I've effectively lost eight

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years of my retirement and that's if by the time I reach 67 or 68 it

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hasn't upped again. Is that foyer on me not to honour what you

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promised me eight years ago? Peter Hitchens? The problem that you face

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is a similar thing to what other people face in the private or

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public sector. People face broken promises because we simply can't

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afford to pay the levels of pensions which we expected to be

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able to do. The real point about this is, if you go on strike and

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you are in the public sector, who are you striking against? You are

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striking against the public. Governments have no money, the

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money that you are requiring for your pension will come from the

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public. You can look at it in two ways, one you are disrupting

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services you provide for them, the other is saying, give me your money

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or I'll carry on misbehaving. That's not a moral way to behave.

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That is the case. So many people... We all sympathise with your problem,

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who could not, but so many people have no pensions at all to look

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forward to in the private sector and so many others have suffered

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grave losses worse than yours, you can't go do them and say, I've got

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to be special, you've got to pay for mine, it's just wrong.

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OK. Benjamin Zephaniah? I think when workers go on strike, they are

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making a sacrifice, they don't strike because it's fun or because

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they want to simply go on strike. I don't know the details of the

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negotiations that are going on, but if the Government comes to a point

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where it says take it or leave it, that is wrong. I'm going to answer

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the question very simply. Should they strike - yes they should. In a

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time when people feel their rights have been taken a I way from them,

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that ways of expressing themselves have been taken away from them, the

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right to withdraw your labour is probably the only real right

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workers have now and they have the right to strike.

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APPLAUSE Let me hear from some members of

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the panel with their comments. The woman in the fourth row, please?

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I think it's a shame this issue has come up in relation to pensions

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just now because I look at this a bit broader in that it's about how

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we view our Public Services and the people that work in them. I do

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think that there is a difference between the public and private

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sector in the fact that there are lower wages and also about what

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that gives to... What those people are giving to us as citizens and we

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need to recognise that in some way. Even though it's a special case

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unlike the private sector? Do you think they're a special case?

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I do actually, but wshedn't divide people in that way in terms of who

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is working where -- werbgdn't divide people. -- we shouldn't

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divide people. The man on the left? I wonder if

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the Members of Parliament on the panel could tell us what's

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happening to their pensions as public sector pensions themselves.

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I wonder if they know. Contributions are going up. It's

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been frozen as much as anybody else's. Ed Balls, you are looking a

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bit... There's a discussion happening between MPs and the IPSA

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authorities and they'll naught. chance of a strike, I suppose?

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such luck! It might be very popular, yes. The point is though, MPs on

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higher salaries get bigger pensions and we need to accept that we need

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to pay more and work longer to get our pensions. Theish you here is

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the lowest paid workers of the UK being asked to take huge cuts in

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their pensions, no MPs will get cuts, so why should that happen to

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nurses... Sorry, I must interrupt for a moment. That's not really

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fair. I agree that the Government was late many making the last offer,

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but the last offer clearly was directed towards the lowest paid

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public workers and gave nurses and teachers and others with an under

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�30,000 or �40,000 income a substantially better deal than

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before. You are saying that is right? Of course it is. I want to

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address Zephaniah though because Zephaniah is calling for a strike.

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I'm not calling for one, I'm just saying they have to right to strike.

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This particular case, to be honest, it's a strike of the better paid

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and the better pensioned against the less well pension because

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there's clearly the Government's made a clear bias towards the

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lowest paid pensions. The woman up there?

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So, some of the panel, are you saying that the lowly paid private

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sector worker should continue to subsidise the public sector worker?

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Ed Balls? That's a separate issue. Public sector workers and private

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sector workers will have to work longer and make bigger

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contributions to get their pensions. But nurses and teachers are not the

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lowest paid. If you look under �15,000, I checked today with the

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House of Commons library, a pre- nurse qualified, a nursing

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Assistant will see their pension cut by �500 a year and they're

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paying not just more VAT but extra contributions. But the woman there

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is talking not about that I don't think, make the point again?

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Earlier, you said about the lowest paid public sector worker which

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fine, I appreciate that. But what I'm saying, and I agree with

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Shirley and the others that, you know, the public sector has been

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asking and demanding for the private sector worker to continue

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to subsidise their pension at a time when the private sector worker

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can barely make their own ends meet, let alone make their own ends meet.

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The lowly paid worker, whether a bus driver or window cleaner and so

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forth can barely make their own ends meet yet they're expected to

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continue to subsidise the pensions. You are against the strike? Yes, I

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am. Have the unions "given up" on Ed Miliband and the Labour Party

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about pension reform. Why do you say that? Because the union leader

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said she'd given up about her pension reform. I don't understand

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you, that Labour aren't fighting hard enough? Yes, actually, yes.

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And you Sir, over here? I think it's rich that the Home Secretary

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thinks that people going on strike is wrong when she's dealing with a

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group of work,, police officers, who're not allowed to strike. When

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she came into office, she didn't realise that we paid 11% into our

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pension. They are now asking us to pay another 3.1%. How Mr Peter

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Hitchens can sit there and criticise people for withdrawing

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their labour when it's the last resort. When you go on strike, you

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don't get paid, it's a last resort. I take it you are a police officer?

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Yes. What happens to you if you strike? We can't strike. Theresa

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May, answer that, please, then another question. It's absolutely

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right that police officers aren't allowed to strike and they were

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making higher contributions to their pensions than most people in

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the rest of the public sector. 11%. And they were get ago more

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significant benefit out of their pension than other workers in the

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This is BBC News. The headlines at public sector. We are paying an

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extra 3.1%. Everybody in the public 11pm: Turmoil in Greece. George

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Papandreou faces a confidence vote sector is being asked to make

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tomorrow after a day of political increased contributions. It's being

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confusion and calls for his staggered, so to make it easier for

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resignation. Inside the Greek parliament tonight still no sign of

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certainty for the Greek Prime Minister.

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We want a deal that is fair to those in the public sector but fair

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World leaders meet in Cannes. to taxpayers as well. Public sector

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Three of Pakistan top cricketers pensions are being paid by the

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are jailed for their role in taxpayer. People in public sector

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cheating at Lord's last year. will continue to retire on

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guaranteed benefit pensions which are not available to the vast

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majority of people in the private A mass strike planned for British

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I would ask all panellists to be help workers.

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A very good evening. After a day of endless twists and turns police

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could be moving towards a new Luke Hilton Pierce, please. Does

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Coalition government -- Greece. the UK need special laws in place

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That is according to the Prime to stop protesters setting up

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Minister. George Papandreou will seemingly permanent residents in

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start talks with the opposition important public areas like St

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tomorrow. He also faces a vote of Paul's, or Parliament Square?

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Hitchens, do we need laws to stop confidence tomorrow. For the latest

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this? We already have laws to stop from Athens, our correspondent,

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this if anybody wants to use them. The problem is that the Church of

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Matty price. At the Greek parliament tonight

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England... Why are they not being they're waiting and watching,

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used? Because the Church of England fearful of where the country is

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does not want to use them. And now I think the Corporation of London

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says it does not want to use them heading.

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Inside the Prime Minister is against people outside St Paul's.

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That is their right. The last thing we need are any more laws. We have

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millions of laws and each government that comes in thinks it

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can solve the problems by making more. It is a question of whether

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we enforce them. Are you saying that we think these people ought to

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be compelled to move off the land in front of St Paul's Cathedral?

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There were protesters in Parliament Square for almost 10 years now.

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There are going to the protesters outside St Paul's for hundreds of

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years because they are anti- capitalist protesters. Do you

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object to that question mark I object to anti-capitalist

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protesters. It is protesting over something that is seemingly never

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going to change. Seemingly, it is protest for protest's sake. How can

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you say that? These people represent a lot of people in this

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country who are sick of the way that capitalism is going. They are

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absolutely sick of it. There are people all over the world rising up

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against their role is in different ways, and these people have said

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that they are sick of political corruption, sick of politicians

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doing favours for big business. Even if you want capitalism, why

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can't we create a new capitalism that puts people first? When banks

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have problems, we recapitalise the banks. Why do we not recapitalise

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people? We do not care about people. So these people have gone out there.

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They are desperate. I saw a slogan saying, where would Jesus be? Of

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course, Jesus would be up there with the protesters. How do you

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know that? Regardless of how religious you are, you can read

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writers around the Bible who have said that Jesus walked among the

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poor. And not only would Jesus be out there. You know you have the

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Archbishop of Canterbury saying that he shows support and

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understand the feelings of these people. In my humble opinion, the

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Archbishop of Canterbury should be out there, too. The Church should

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be out there because that is the work of the Church, defending the

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poor against big business and big institutions, so they should be

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demonstrating. In response to the question, which referred to the

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protesters outside St Paul's and Parliament Square, we have now

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passed further legislation which will make it easier to deal with

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the protesters in Parliament Square. Easier to deal with, that is a

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politician's expression. Dock that mean they will not be there in six

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months when it is past? -- does it mean they will not be there? There

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will be extra powers for the Greater London Authority and they

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will be working with the police to decide what to do. Would you like

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to see the protesters go, and the protesters outside St Paul's?

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Personally, yes, I would like to see them go. Why? I would like to

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see them go because I think St Paul's is an important site. What

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we are looking at is an image of the UK and it is important that

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people coming to the UK are able to visit sites like that and they are

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able to carry on operating. But the point is, are there are issues

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about what we need to do in terms of how capitalism operates? I was

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very interested. These are anti- capitalist protesters but we have

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seen them drinking Starbucks coffee and using Apple Mac computers. But

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we do need to rebalance our economy. You think you cannot be an anti-

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capitalist campaigner and have a cup of coffee? I think you can be

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an anti-capitalist campaign and have a cup of coffee. But why is

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Starbucks there and why are Apple computers available, it is because

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of capitalism. I think we do need to rebalance our economy between

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financial services and manufacturing, look at issues

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around banks and corporate governance, but they do not think

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these are issues that are being raised by protesters outside St

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Paul's. It's come back to the St Paul's camp. In light of David

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Cameron's comments last week and what Theresa May has said, do we

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have a Government that cares more about tourism revenues them the

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right to protest? One good way of getting them to

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move on would be to address their concerns. Perhaps someone could

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drive the Robin Hood tax that the Archbishop suggested. Far they

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could try the robin and tax. It is not about Starbucks or Apple

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Mac computers, it is about unregulated casino bankers who have

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taken risks with taxpayers' money for so long. The second row from

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the back. With any protest, there are some people were there for

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protest's sake, I think these people have a genuine message, or

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the I do not think being at St Paul's is doing anything for the

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cause. I do not understand why they chose that in the first place.

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did not want to get beaten up by the police, so they went there. The

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idea of the police coming to St Paul's and beating them up would

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not look very good in Syria, would it? Exactly what is happening in

0:21:290:21:34

Oakland, California. The question was, do we need special laws to

0:21:340:21:37

stop people setting up permanent residence in St Paul's and

0:21:370:21:41

Westminster? The laws are there but it is good that the Church is

0:21:410:21:45

discussing with the protesters how to do this in a negotiated and

0:21:450:21:49

peaceful way. I am sure that is what the Home Secretary should be

0:21:490:21:52

doing about the protesters in Parliament Square. But this is

0:21:520:21:55

getting simplistic. In the last hundred years, there is no doubt

0:21:550:21:58

society is better off and we have made progress through our economic

0:21:580:22:02

system, a capitalist economic system. There is no doubt about

0:22:020:22:07

that, and alternative systems have failed. But there are different

0:22:070:22:13

kinds of capitalism. There might be people representing my constituency

0:22:130:22:17

in Yorkshire outside St Paul's, but there are also many who feel that

0:22:170:22:20

they work hard and the rules of the game do not work in the interests

0:22:200:22:23

of them and their children. They are not anti- Starbucks, but they

0:22:230:22:27

say, why did we have a global financial crisis, why did we not

0:22:270:22:33

have more investment in skills, investment in our economy? And why

0:22:340:22:38

didn't the Labour Party do it? politicians, we cannot dismiss this

0:22:380:22:43

as a bunch of middle class coffee drinkers. These are real concerns

0:22:430:22:46

in communities up and down the country and politics has to rise to

0:22:460:22:49

a better level and say we are going to make the system work in a more

0:22:490:22:53

fair and long-term way for the future. If we cannot do that, how

0:22:530:23:01

can we expect respect for our democracy from young people. So you

0:23:010:23:08

support the protesters outside St Paul's? Either you do or you do not.

0:23:080:23:12

I support the right to protest in our country. I do not know the

0:23:120:23:15

protesters and there will be many different points of view. But the

0:23:150:23:20

idea that if you say you are going to protest you are anti-capitalist,

0:23:200:23:23

and tea Starbucks and not legitimate, what a load of nonsense.

0:23:230:23:28

People have real concerns. If the Government want to make a

0:23:280:23:31

difference, they should repeat the bank bonus tax and use a Tikrit

0:23:310:23:36

100,000 jobs for young people. That would be to address the issues.

0:23:360:23:40

Bank levy we have introduced will raise more money each year than the

0:23:400:23:49

bonus tax the Labour Party had. Shirley Williams. I think it is a

0:23:490:23:52

very serious message from the protesters. I think the fact that

0:23:520:23:56

we are such an unequal country that the top 10% get 31% of the income

0:23:570:24:01

and the bottom 10% get 1.3%, and that is nothing to do with politics

0:24:010:24:04

because it happen under Labour and the Conservative Party and around

0:24:040:24:09

the world, I think it is really serious. People are angry as hell

0:24:090:24:13

about the degree of inequality and I think the gentleman who is said

0:24:130:24:16

that are above all what people resent is the feeling that their

0:24:160:24:20

money has gone into saving the banks and yet the banks seem to be

0:24:200:24:29

able to push out bonuses to on huge sums of money at a time when the

0:24:290:24:32

banks have been saved by the taxpayer, that makes people

0:24:320:24:40

absolutely furious. We can have different arguments that the best

0:24:400:24:47

way to deal with it but I want to just say that the people sitting in

0:24:470:24:51

tents in St Paul's, I hope they will agree to go in the end because

0:24:510:24:54

it is just bankrupting St Paul's at the moment, rather than where they

0:24:540:24:58

wanted to be, the London Stock Exchange, where they could not ever

0:24:580:25:02

get. But they are saying something we ought to listen to, as are the

0:25:020:25:06

people, don't forget Parliament Square began with a protest about

0:25:060:25:10

the invasion of Iraq and Britain's involvement in it. So it is a way

0:25:100:25:16

of watching all the time public anger and fury with what they think

0:25:160:25:20

is happening without fairness to the general board of the British

0:25:200:25:27

people. The man in the blue shirt. There is a slight difference

0:25:270:25:32

between the people who are outside here and Parliament Square, who

0:25:320:25:37

have been there for 10 years, and their gripe was against Iraq and

0:25:370:25:42

the Afghanistan war. The people at St Paul's, rather than gun as the

0:25:420:25:45

gentleman down the end said, speaking for all of us, half of

0:25:450:25:50

them go home every night and they are not in their tents. Half of the

0:25:500:25:55

tents are empty. If they represent the people, why

0:25:560:26:01

did they not stand for Parliament to make change the democratic way?

0:26:010:26:05

Because they see this little game going on about taxing them a bit

0:26:050:26:08

more, and the Labour Party not doing anything when they were in

0:26:080:26:18

power, and then the Tories coming in, and they see no change. Can ask

0:26:180:26:20

why an entirely self-appointed group of people who decide to

0:26:200:26:23

clutter up a beautiful public space in the heart of our capital should

0:26:230:26:28

be treated with such exaggerated respect? I went down day yesterday

0:26:280:26:32

afternoon and talk to a lot of them. They have nothing interesting to

0:26:320:26:36

say about economics. They know nothing about it. They have nothing

0:26:360:26:39

interesting to say about anything. They are simply a bunch of

0:26:390:26:45

protesters who are against poverty, war and injustice. Who is not? All

0:26:450:26:49

this stuff about what would Jesus 2, Jesus had nothing to do with

0:26:490:26:54

politics and specifically rejected it. My kingdom is not of this world.

0:26:540:26:58

These people should not be treated as if they deserve exaggerated

0:26:580:27:02

respect. It is time they went home. They are making a mess and they are

0:27:020:27:12
0:27:120:27:17

actually rather silly. I am going to move on. Sarkozy said today, if

0:27:170:27:24

the euro explodes, so does Europe. Was he right? The French President

0:27:240:27:28

said, if the euro explodes, so does Europe. It centres on what is going

0:27:280:27:31

on in Greece and probably even tomorrow we will not know what is

0:27:310:27:38

happening in Greece, or maybe even for a few weeks. Shirley Williams?

0:27:380:27:42

Not necessarily, but there is no doubt it would do a great deal of

0:27:420:27:44

damage to the morale of the European Union. They are not the

0:27:440:27:48

same thing, but nevertheless the point is well taken. Let me be

0:27:480:27:54

quick about it. I think George Papandreou, a courageous Prime

0:27:540:27:57

Minister in Greece, called for a referendum at first because he

0:27:570:28:01

wanted see whether the Greek people would actually vote in favour of

0:28:010:28:05

the desperately tough measures that are being taken, the way people

0:28:050:28:09

here did in fact vote to some extent for accepting austerity

0:28:100:28:19
0:28:200:28:21

measures. When they voted a minority Tory party into office?

0:28:210:28:28

they voted Lib Dem they were voting against it. Earth did they vote

0:28:280:28:34

against Labour, or in favour of Tory? Let me get back to what you

0:28:340:28:37

were saying. The crucial point is that the eurozone was created out

0:28:370:28:42

of a lot of optimism which was misjudged. They brought in people

0:28:420:28:46

like Greece and Portugal, which were extremely poor, and tried to

0:28:460:28:50

blend them into a single currency zone with countries like Germany

0:28:500:28:55

and the Netherlands and the other countries around which were

0:28:550:28:59

powerful countries with strong, good economies. I think it was a

0:28:590:29:03

mistake. I think it was led to some extent by an illusion. But I also

0:29:030:29:09

think that the idea that if the eurozone falls apart we should hope

0:29:090:29:12

that European Union would fall apart would be a huge mistake for

0:29:120:29:16

this country. You think the eurozone might fall apart if Greece

0:29:160:29:22

falls out? The eurozone, not the European Union. So everybody would

0:29:220:29:28

go back to their own currency? some members of the eurozone would

0:29:280:29:32

fall out, starting with Greece. Essentially, the question is

0:29:320:29:36

whether it would be followed by Italy, in which case you would have

0:29:360:29:42

eight non-Mediterranean zone. One last point which I want to make

0:29:420:29:47

strongly. I think it is crucial that in Italy the people of Italy

0:29:470:29:51

decide that their president should go and that they should actually

0:29:510:29:56

start making some serious provision for the situation of debt. You are

0:29:560:30:06
0:30:060:30:10

calling for Berlusconi's I always thought it was

0:30:100:30:14

Parliamentary etiquette that you didn't call for heads of state in

0:30:140:30:17

other countries. Some gentlemen don't deserve etiquette.

0:30:170:30:21

Theresa May, this is a fairly explosive statement that Europe

0:30:210:30:25

will explode if the eurozone explodes. Do you believe it? Or was

0:30:250:30:30

he saying it for the sake of effect? I'm not sure I do agree

0:30:300:30:36

that the if the eurozone explodes then the whole European union would

0:30:360:30:40

cease to exist. It's important we remember how significant it is for

0:30:400:30:44

us and our economy that the eurozone doesn't explode, that what

0:30:440:30:50

we need to see happening is this issue being brought to conclusions

0:30:500:30:57

in the sense of something being done. Last week, the agreement

0:30:570:31:00

bought a degree of stability, the market showed positive reaction to

0:31:000:31:03

it. Obviously, what's been happening in the last couple of

0:31:030:31:07

days has brought back a degree of uncertainty and instability. What

0:31:070:31:11

we do need to see happening is Europe to reinforce the bail out

0:31:110:31:17

fund, the firewall, we need to recapitalise banks, we need to see

0:31:170:31:22

the Greek debt crisis resolved. blunt terms, are we threatened here

0:31:220:31:27

in Britain by what's going on in Greece? Oh, what's happening in the

0:31:270:31:30

eurozone economy is actually impacting on our economy, yes.

0:31:300:31:34

Fortunately, because of decisions that we have taken as a Government

0:31:340:31:37

to bring stability into our economy, the decisions we have taken to

0:31:370:31:41

ensure that we are going to deal with the deficit that was left by

0:31:410:31:45

the last Government, and that has involved taking some tough

0:31:450:31:48

decisions, we have put our economy in a better position, but there is

0:31:480:31:51

no doubt that economies around the world are affected by what's

0:31:510:31:57

happening in the eurozone. Ed Balls, can I restate the

0:31:570:32:03

question. Nicolas Sarkozy said if the euro explodes, so does Europe.

0:32:030:32:07

Hyperbole? Ffrpblgts Europe explodes, it would be an absolute

0:32:070:32:11

and total catastrophe for Europe, Britain and the world. It's

0:32:110:32:13

absolutely essential that it doesn't happen. Leaders have to

0:32:130:32:18

rise to the challenge and make sure it doesn't happen. I, as a pro-

0:32:180:32:21

European, have always been very cautious and sceptical about the

0:32:210:32:25

euro, precisely because it was such a risky venture. That's why Britain

0:32:250:32:28

didn't join. However, now it's there, they've got to sort it out.

0:32:280:32:32

The idea that the leaders are sitting in Cannes watching what's

0:32:320:32:36

happening in Athens, as if that is the biggest event, that isn't the

0:32:360:32:40

big event. The big event is what will happen potentially in Italy,

0:32:400:32:44

in Spain, and we need some leadership. First of all to say

0:32:440:32:48

you've got to have the financial clout, the detail to to stand

0:32:480:32:51

behind these big powerful systemic countries on the other hand is not

0:32:510:32:55

there. Despite the promises of last week, there is no deal which can be

0:32:550:33:00

fit for purpose. Secondly, people have got to realise in Greece, in

0:33:000:33:05

Portugal, in Italy, in other countries too, simply ploughing on,

0:33:050:33:09

saying cut more, raise more taxes, have higher unemployment, austerity

0:33:090:33:13

will solve the problem, is not solving the problem if Greece, the

0:33:130:33:17

deficit is getting wore, the debts are getting worse, the policy is

0:33:170:33:21

getting worse, we lived through this in the REM0 years ago when

0:33:210:33:25

people said stay the course, stick with it, throw more money at it, it

0:33:250:33:29

was an unmitigated catastrophe and leaders have to show leadership.

0:33:290:33:31

That includes our Prime Minister and Chancellor. At the moment, we

0:33:320:33:37

are on a very, very dangerous road indeed. If Greece falls out...

0:33:370:33:44

APPLAUSE If Greece falls out, is that the

0:33:440:33:48

euro exploding, as Sarkozy put it? No. So you could wear Greece going?

0:33:480:33:51

The thing about Greece is that it's a small country with high debts

0:33:520:33:54

which had no real access to financial markets and it's

0:33:550:33:58

supported by Governments telling the Greek people to do things which

0:33:580:34:03

aren't working. However, Italy and Spain, massive countries, huge

0:34:030:34:08

exposure to banks, a real question mark politically, but also is the

0:34:080:34:12

European Central Bank going to be a Central Bank? We are being told by

0:34:120:34:15

the Prime Minister the IMF may need to step in to solve it. The

0:34:150:34:18

eurozone should step in and solve the problem. They've got to accept

0:34:180:34:22

the reality of the monetary union, the mutual obligation, the need for

0:34:220:34:26

financial fire power, all of this procrastination is unbelievably

0:34:260:34:31

dangerous for Europe and the world. Unbelievably dangerous. Let me hear

0:34:320:34:35

from the audience, then I'll come to the two other members of the

0:34:350:34:41

panel. You with the blue shirt and the red 250. Mr Doze koz said it

0:34:410:34:46

was a mistake to let Greece enter the euro -- Mr Sarkozy. It's a

0:34:460:34:50

problem of their own making. The British Government shouldn't be

0:34:500:34:55

worried about it at all. You Sir, here? I'm worried that the nature

0:34:550:35:02

of the bail out doesn't fix the issue of solvency, it only solves

0:35:020:35:06

liquidity and I'm concerned that's pushing the problem down the track

0:35:060:35:11

The problem is two fold. Firstly, there's nothing within the eurozone

0:35:110:35:15

treaty to allow any member to exit. Secondly, more importantly, when

0:35:150:35:19

you look at the amount of tain the last austerity measures put on to

0:35:200:35:26

the Greek nation, then essentially it's similar to what was imposed on

0:35:260:35:30

Germany after the First World War with the treaty. Do you mind if

0:35:300:35:34

Greece falls out of the eurozone or not? Personally it doesn't concern

0:35:340:35:39

me but it concerns me about... it affect us? Of course. Well then

0:35:390:35:43

it must concern you? The exit doesn't concern me, the nature of

0:35:430:35:46

the exit. Stkpwh right. The woman with the green scarf? Would it be

0:35:460:35:52

less damaging for Greece to leave the eurozone now than to lurch from

0:35:520:36:01

one bail out to another? Peter Hitchens? It needs to be sorted out

0:36:010:36:10

soon. Huge amountss of money be being hurled on to a bonfire at the

0:36:100:36:12

moment. Ed Balls was quite right to recall the exchange rate mechanism

0:36:120:36:16

which we were told by all our leaders we had to stay in over and

0:36:160:36:21

over and over again, and again, we tossed hospitals and warships and

0:36:210:36:25

schools into the sea, billions and billions and billions of pounds

0:36:250:36:31

trying to keep our status in the REM, then when we left it, we

0:36:310:36:34

embarrassed on probably the most prosperous economic period of our

0:36:340:36:38

recent history. I think the euro, and those of us, like me, who

0:36:380:36:42

opposed it on principle from the beginning were derided by much of

0:36:420:36:46

conventional politics as xenophobes and little Englanders and worse

0:36:460:36:50

words than that for saying it. Also said from the start, this is a

0:36:510:36:55

crazy project, the economical equivalent of making water Flo up

0:36:550:36:58

hill, building the roof of the house before you've built the walls,

0:36:580:37:01

it was never going to work. The question now is how they are going

0:37:010:37:05

to get out of it doing the least damage. My suspicion is, as with

0:37:050:37:08

the ERM, the sooner they begin to think seriously about getting out

0:37:080:37:13

of it, the better for all of us. that Greece you are talking about?

0:37:130:37:17

Or collapsing the whole system? Greek people having austerity

0:37:170:37:20

measures imposed on them will make no difference to the state of the

0:37:200:37:23

country which seems to be collective punishment. You can see

0:37:230:37:28

the frustration and despair that the perfectly honest,

0:37:280:37:31

straightforward hard-working people in Greece are undergoing at the

0:37:310:37:36

moment. I can't see any advantage in that. To sit here and say let it

0:37:360:37:39

get out and fall out seems to be irresponsible because of the

0:37:390:37:42

disastrous consequences that might follow in the banking industry if

0:37:420:37:47

it fell out. I think those in charge should stop clinging

0:37:470:37:50

dogmatically and ideologically to their belief that preConservativing

0:37:510:37:53

this crazy Single Currency project is the most important thing for

0:37:530:37:58

Europe to be doing. It was a mistake. Reversing out of it doing

0:37:580:38:03

the least possible damage is what has to be done. The woman with the

0:38:030:38:07

spectacles. I would like to know how the Greeks are expected to work

0:38:070:38:13

their way out of the problem? In nine years' time, they will still

0:38:130:38:19

owe 120% of GDP. Where is the light at the end of the tunnel for those

0:38:190:38:24

people? Benjamin Zephaniah? It's interesting the talk about this

0:38:240:38:27

subject. The gentleman was the only person that talked about the people

0:38:270:38:31

of Greece. The people of Greece have been - sorry to talk about the

0:38:310:38:36

people again - they've been on the streets protesting for month after

0:38:360:38:41

month lately and now their leader says or suggests there may be a

0:38:410:38:49

referendum, it's actually too late. Will the project collapse - I don't

0:38:490:38:55

think it will. Greece got in because it cooked the books. And

0:38:550:39:01

Portugal probably the same. And Italy, our friend there, probably

0:39:010:39:06

the same. So they got in on false pretences anyway. If you believe in

0:39:060:39:10

the European project, which I don't, you've got to play the game, you've

0:39:100:39:13

got to play by the rules and they didn't in the first place so I

0:39:140:39:17

think the euro, lots of things have happened to the euro, but the

0:39:170:39:20

European project I think why not let a country leave if they want to

0:39:200:39:24

leave or have to leave? It's important to say, our Prime

0:39:240:39:27

Minister and Chancellor have been saying to Greece for the last year-

0:39:270:39:30

and-a-half, you should raise more taxes, raise VAT and cut spending

0:39:300:39:33

like we are doing in Britain, because it will work for you.

0:39:330:39:37

What's happened in Britain, our economy's flatlined for a year,

0:39:370:39:42

unemployment is rising, austerity, I'm afraid, Theresa May, is leading

0:39:420:39:46

to slow growth in Britain. We shouldn't lecture other people to

0:39:460:39:50

do what's not working in Britain and we should put our own house in

0:39:500:39:55

order. Theresa May? And we all know what

0:39:550:39:59

your answer to that is, Ed, your answer is that actually we should

0:39:590:40:03

go and do more borrowing, even more, because you seem to think that the

0:40:030:40:06

way to get out of having a debt on your credit card is taking out

0:40:060:40:10

another loan and we all know that's not the way to do things. If we

0:40:100:40:13

follow what you are suggestling, what would happen is the markets

0:40:130:40:16

would turn against us, interest rates would go up, it would be

0:40:160:40:20

costly for businesses and even will be paying more on their mortgages

0:40:200:40:25

that.'s the impact of what you are proposing. That is economic

0:40:250:40:28

incoherence. The idea you can talk about a country in that way - we

0:40:280:40:32

were told a year ago if we cut faster than every other country

0:40:320:40:37

we'd grow strongly and the economy would create more jobs. The

0:40:370:40:42

economy's flatlined, we've grown slowly than other European

0:40:420:40:49

countries. Has the private sector created jobs? Unemployment is

0:40:490:40:59
0:40:590:40:59

falling and -- rising and employment is slowing. It's time

0:41:000:41:06

for a Plan B. As a fellow supporter of the

0:41:060:41:09

Government along with Theresa May, Baroness Williams? The dilemma is

0:41:090:41:14

we have an Italy paying nearly 7% interest rate, we are paying 5%

0:41:140:41:17

below that, and of course, what happens is, if you cannot persuade

0:41:170:41:21

the markets of what you are doing, you are punished very hard indeed.

0:41:210:41:25

Italy is being punished beyond its capacity to respond. I'll take a

0:41:250:41:29

couple more points from the audience. You in the front please?

0:41:290:41:34

Just a comment, if you would, not a question. I guess I feel that the

0:41:340:41:37

economies of the countries in Europe around the world are much

0:41:370:41:41

too reliant on the markets. You mentioned that if we were to change

0:41:410:41:44

our austerity measures, then we would not be supported by the

0:41:440:41:49

markets. What's happened in Greece has made the markets go crazy,

0:41:490:41:53

maybe this is something the protesters outside St Paul's are

0:41:530:42:00

saying, but maybe wshedn't be so reliant on the markets -- we

0:42:000:42:02

shouldn't. Sarkozy said there shouldn't be a referendum in Greece.

0:42:020:42:05

It would have been the moral authority to the Government to

0:42:050:42:09

enact those austerity measures. This strikes me as anti-democratic

0:42:090:42:12

on the part of Sarkozy and the others who said the same thing.

0:42:120:42:19

OK. You Sir at the very back? just want to correct Shadow

0:42:190:42:25

Chancellor, the economy is not flatlining, it recently grew by

0:42:250:42:31

0.6%. Reduce your hands at PMQs because it's really annoying.

0:42:310:42:35

on. Our camera didn't catch you doing the gesture, perhaps you

0:42:350:42:41

would do it again? He does that at PMQs. I'm afraid over the last year,

0:42:410:42:47

the economy's barely grown at all. His point is it's gone up 5%?

0:42:470:42:51

bit, down a bit, across the year, basically flat, that's why

0:42:510:42:55

unemployment's rising and borrowing is going up too. It's not working.

0:42:550:43:01

It's still growing, that's the point. There's a light at the end

0:43:010:43:05

of the tunnel. Why wront you welcome the growth there has been?

0:43:050:43:10

Your Plan B would involve more bow rowing yuend can't borrow your way

0:43:100:43:16

out of a debt crisis -- -- more borrowing and you can't borrow your

0:43:160:43:21

way out of a debt crisis. We are here in Westminster Hall in

0:43:210:43:24

Parliament. It's interesting. A specialised question from Anthony

0:43:240:43:30

Ryan, please? In a democracy, should members of the Royal Family

0:43:300:43:35

be allowed a veto? This was the revelation this week that Prince

0:43:350:43:39

Charles has been invited to comment and can complain and object and

0:43:390:43:46

have removed items from 17 Bills since 2005 where they apply to his

0:43:460:43:52

private concerns and private company. Theresa May? Is it right

0:43:520:43:55

that Prince Charles should have legislation handed to him with a

0:43:550:43:58

letter like this saying would you like to comment, I need your

0:43:580:44:04

agreement? I need your consent? Are we a democracy, or is Prince

0:44:040:44:07

Charles separate? We are a democracy and the decisions, final

0:44:070:44:11

decisions are taken by elected representatives, ministers and

0:44:110:44:14

Members of Parliament through the debates that take place. I think

0:44:140:44:17

it's been well-known for a number of years that Prince Charles does

0:44:170:44:21

make his views known to people. Sorry, you say that laws are made

0:44:210:44:26

by Parliament, but here you are, I write to formally request the

0:44:260:44:29

consent of His Royal Highness to provisions in the Government's

0:44:290:44:32

prosed local democracy, economic development and construction Bill.

0:44:320:44:37

There are 17 of these, you must have followed this story, you are

0:44:370:44:47
0:44:470:44:47

I am not responsible for letters from Prince Charles. This is not a

0:44:470:44:51

letter from Prince Charles. He is allowed to strike out legislation

0:44:510:44:56

in his role as Prince of Wales. Do you think that is right? I think it

0:44:560:44:59

is right that final decisions are taken by elected representatives.

0:44:590:45:03

On planning issues, there are statutory console tease, who have

0:45:030:45:08

an opportunity to put forward views on any proposals taking place. What

0:45:080:45:12

matters is that at the end of the day the decisions are brought to

0:45:120:45:16

Parliament and are taken by Parliament. It was Baroness Andrews

0:45:160:45:21

who wrote this letter. You must know this story. What do you think

0:45:210:45:25

of the constitutional propriety of it? The truth is I don't know

0:45:250:45:31

anything about the story. should, shouldn't you? About a

0:45:310:45:34

junior minister in the communities to palm and writing about a

0:45:340:45:40

planning issue to Prince Charles. No, a lead story in two national

0:45:400:45:44

papers saying they had written to Prince Charles to seek consent to

0:45:440:45:49

introduce legislation. I do not know the details but I will answer

0:45:490:45:51

the question which is, do I think Prince Charles should have the

0:45:510:45:55

right to veto legislation about his planning issues, tax issues, many

0:45:550:45:59

issues, absolutely not. We have a democracy in which we have a

0:46:000:46:03

monarch and beacons of the monarch on budgets and tax matters but in

0:46:030:46:06

the end, should they have a right to veto, of course not. That does

0:46:060:46:11

not mean you cannot politely ask people. I think if the minister had

0:46:120:46:16

written and said, Prince Charles, take it or leave it on our deal, he

0:46:160:46:19

might have thought that was rather confrontational. Maybe the previous

0:46:190:46:24

Labour government was going about things in a better way. Benjamin

0:46:240:46:30

Zephaniah. This goes to the heart of our democracy. Our royal family,

0:46:300:46:37

this royal family, should not meddle in politics. We are told we

0:46:370:46:42

elect our politicians and they do the business of running the country

0:46:420:46:45

and that the royal family stay out of it. I think Prince Charles

0:46:450:46:51

should have nothing to do with vetoing. It is obviously true that

0:46:510:46:57

he has been doing this. He should be told off, told not to do it. A

0:46:570:47:01

long time ago, there is an island called Diego Garcia, and British

0:47:020:47:05

citizens were moved off that Ireland for an American base to

0:47:050:47:11

come on. In the British courts, the people of Garcia won the right to

0:47:110:47:16

return. And because of some antiquated law, some rule, people

0:47:160:47:21

went into a room with the Queen and they stood up and the Queen just

0:47:210:47:28

overrode the decision of the court. When we say we have a democracy in

0:47:280:47:32

this country, this is why a lot of people are angry. We vote every

0:47:320:47:35

four or five years but when we go on the street and get angry about

0:47:350:47:39

things, people say we are being anti-democratic, messing up the

0:47:400:47:44

streets. Really, we are not being democratic if politicians make

0:47:440:47:47

decisions and members of the royal family can veto them. That is not

0:47:470:47:53

democracy. The issue of Prince Charles and the Duchy of Cornwall

0:47:530:47:56

is a technical one and hugely exaggerated by republican

0:47:560:48:02

newspapers which ate the monarchy anyway. Thank heaven, we are not a

0:48:020:48:11

democracy in this country. Repeat that. Thank heaven, we are not a

0:48:110:48:15

democracy in this country. The politicians hit the -- sit at the

0:48:160:48:19

head of parties relying entirely on dodgy billionaires and state

0:48:190:48:23

support to keep themselves going, they are themselves immensely

0:48:230:48:25

incompetent and inexperienced. They have brought us nothing but

0:48:250:48:32

disaster, mass immigration, and controlled crime. I could do a

0:48:320:48:42
0:48:420:48:43

better job than you any day of the week. Why should we be so glad to

0:48:430:48:47

be run by these people who have no experience of anything, no nothing

0:48:470:48:51

and make a mess of everything they do? The crisis at the moment is

0:48:510:48:54

caused by democratically-elected politicians, allegedly. Why should

0:48:540:48:58

we not be glad that somewhere there are restraints on them? I think

0:48:580:49:03

there should be more. I think the democratically-elected politicians

0:49:030:49:06

have messed up, but are you seriously saying the country should

0:49:060:49:13

be run by the monarchy? No, but this is a constitutional monarchy,

0:49:130:49:17

the best form of government known to man if it is properly run. Is it

0:49:170:49:22

is run by the dead political parties we have at the moment, it

0:49:220:49:30

needs restraints on what they do. Let's call for a lovely general

0:49:300:49:37

like it Idi Amin or Gaddafi. That would be a great alternative!

0:49:370:49:40

Straightforwardly, Prince Charles should be free to express his view

0:49:400:49:46

but should be not be free to have a veto. Which he has at the moment?

0:49:460:49:52

If that is right. Let's go to another question. We have 10

0:49:520:49:58

minutes left. A question from Simon Marshall. Do fathers have the right

0:49:580:50:05

to equal access to their children once they divorce? This is because

0:50:050:50:11

of a report which has just come out which says that legislation, no

0:50:110:50:15

legislation should be introduced that allows a parental right to

0:50:150:50:19

shared or equal time for both parents. It was a question about

0:50:190:50:25

the role of the fathers when families split up. The report said

0:50:250:50:29

that there should be no legislation creating a risk of a perception

0:50:290:50:35

there is a parental right. Benjamin Zephaniah. I am not sure I

0:50:350:50:40

understand this. So the father does not have the right... Statutory

0:50:400:50:45

right, equal with the mother. cannot keep telling fathers to have

0:50:450:50:53

equal responsibility and not give them equal rights. Theresa May,

0:50:530:50:58

will this be adopted by Government? I cannot say whether we will adopt

0:50:580:51:02

that particular part of the proposals. This is a report that

0:51:020:51:10

was commissioned by the last Government. By you? This has caused

0:51:100:51:13

concern for Members of Parliament across the house in all parties for

0:51:130:51:17

some time. There are some issues in there that I know we will be

0:51:170:51:22

wanting to take on, things like the speeding up the care process. But

0:51:220:51:26

one of the things that I have been concerned about for some time, and

0:51:260:51:29

when I spoke for the party and family policy in opposition I very

0:51:290:51:35

much thought that there should be a legal presumption of shared

0:51:350:51:40

parenting. I think there should be more emphasis on mediation. Because

0:51:400:51:44

what happens when couples split up and children are involved, sadly we

0:51:440:51:48

see bitter disputes going through the courts. It is an adversarial

0:51:480:51:52

system. I do not think it does the best for any body and certainly not

0:51:520:51:57

for the children involved. Sir mediation up front. There has been

0:51:570:52:01

good work in parts of the United States and Australia about shared

0:52:010:52:06

parenting plans. I wanted to ask, what would happen, a lot of the

0:52:060:52:08

times when mothers move to different countries with their

0:52:080:52:13

children, what would you propose to make sure fathers also get a chance

0:52:130:52:17

for custody if the child is in a different country? Ed Balls, you

0:52:170:52:22

called for this in your capacity as Children's Secretary. What do you

0:52:220:52:28

make of this particular clause in the review? This is a complex legal

0:52:280:52:32

matter and I am not a lawyer. I commissioned the report precisely

0:52:320:52:37

because I was worried about issues around access of fathers and

0:52:370:52:42

grandparents. In the interim report, he said he wanted to look at the

0:52:420:52:47

issue of having a legal right for fathers. And then he went and

0:52:470:52:50

studied some of the international experience, in particular the

0:52:500:52:54

Australian experience where this was done five or six years ago, and

0:52:540:52:57

the result of establishing the legal right was a huge increase in

0:52:570:53:02

the number of child custody cases which moved from mediation into

0:53:020:53:05

long, protracted court battles, making it more likely, as I

0:53:050:53:09

understand it, that you would end up with legal battles, which are

0:53:090:53:13

damaging for children, rather than being sorted out through mediation.

0:53:140:53:17

When the Home Secretary says she wants mediation, I think the review

0:53:170:53:20

is saying that is why you should make sure you change the culture of

0:53:200:53:25

the courts and the way in which the process operates. If you simply go

0:53:250:53:28

for changing the legislation, you move away from mediation and back

0:53:280:53:32

to children being badly damaged in Court processes. It is a complex

0:53:320:53:36

area but we do not want kids dragged through long court battles,

0:53:360:53:40

so I think that is why he has made the recommendation he has.

0:53:400:53:44

should not be about the sex of the parent comet should be about the

0:53:440:53:49

content of the character. But there is this issue about fathers finding

0:53:490:53:56

it more difficult to have access. There definitely should be a move

0:53:560:54:00

towards more mediation, but if you're making it harder for a court

0:54:000:54:04

case to come into power, sometimes children need that. Sometimes

0:54:040:54:07

mediation is out of the question and one of the parents is abusive,

0:54:070:54:14

not able to look after a child. The powers-that-be seem to fall

0:54:140:54:18

over themselves to apply human rights and equality to different

0:54:180:54:23

sections of society, but why can't they give divorced fathers the same

0:54:230:54:29

courtesy? Peter Hitchens. Of course fathers ought to have the freedom

0:54:290:54:32

to see their children but in practice it will not work out that

0:54:320:54:37

way. There is a huge mass of case law since the 1969 divorce law

0:54:380:54:41

reform which makes it harder and harder for fathers both to have

0:54:410:54:44

custody of the children and indeed to have any say in the disposition

0:54:440:54:49

of the property of the broken marriage. The real question here is

0:54:490:54:52

not in the arrangements you make after the divorce but in the fact

0:54:520:54:55

that we have a disastrous divorce law. Another part of this report

0:54:550:55:00

speaks of making it possible to begin a divorce now on the internet.

0:55:000:55:04

Divorce in this country is far too easy. It is easier to break up a

0:55:040:55:09

marriage than it is to get out of a car leasing agreement. This was an

0:55:090:55:13

arrangement made in the 1960s when we thought it would be a tremendous

0:55:130:55:16

liberation for adults trapped in unhappy marriages. It may well have

0:55:160:55:21

been such a thing, but the problem is that people who paid the price

0:55:210:55:24

of that were the now millions of children who have been the victims

0:55:240:55:29

of their parents divorcing. It does not matter what sort of

0:55:290:55:33

arrangements you make for custody or Child Support or anything else,

0:55:330:55:37

every time a marriage breaks up, the children suffer. It is time we

0:55:370:55:41

re-examine the divorce reforms of the 1960s and realise that at the

0:55:410:55:44

very least the divorce law should distinguish between parents with

0:55:440:55:49

children and parents who do not have any. It has been immensely

0:55:490:55:53

crawl and disastrous for children. Great for selfish adults, not so

0:55:540:56:00

good for children. Shirley Williams, briefly. I think it is right for

0:56:000:56:04

the report to say the primary issue should be the welfare of the child.

0:56:040:56:09

I think we are selfish in many ways in seeing children as secondary to

0:56:090:56:13

the interests of adults. In that sense, I have some sympathy with

0:56:130:56:18

what Peter has said. I think we have to face up to the fact that

0:56:180:56:21

UNICEF and other people find that British children are among the most

0:56:210:56:25

unhappy in the Western world and we have to address that. We should

0:56:250:56:30

address that. In that respect, Theresa May and Ed Balls are right

0:56:300:56:36

to say this is an attempt to get it right. We just have time, since you

0:56:360:56:41

mention happiness, for one more question. What do you think is the

0:56:410:56:46

essential ingredient of GWB, general wellbeing? This is the

0:56:460:56:49

Government proposal through the Office for National Statistics to

0:56:490:56:55

measure wellbeing as alongside gross national product and the rest

0:56:550:56:59

of it. What do you think is the essential ingredient? I will just

0:56:590:57:03

go round the panel. One of the things, are you satisfied with life,

0:57:030:57:08

with your husband, do you trust Parliament? Benjamin Zephaniah,

0:57:080:57:11

what would it be for you? Are you happy with your personal income,

0:57:110:57:18

perhaps? What makes me happy his breathing. That may sound crazy but

0:57:190:57:24

I wake up in the morning, I am happy I am alive. And I do not

0:57:240:57:30

expect too much from this life. am tempted to stop there, but thank

0:57:300:57:33

you. Theresa May, what do you think is the essential ingredient of

0:57:330:57:37

general wellbeing, leaving aside whether it is sensible for the

0:57:370:57:42

taxpayer to be paying for the investigation? The trouble is that

0:57:420:57:45

with something like this you are always going to get a raft of

0:57:450:57:49

things because for any individual it is something different. For you?

0:57:490:57:56

Power? For me, I think it is actually a good solid relationship

0:57:560:58:03

with somebody else. Ed Balls. do not say that, I will be in

0:58:040:58:08

trouble! For me, it is easily seeing our children growing up and

0:58:080:58:10

flourishing and our obligation is to make sure the world is fit and

0:58:100:58:15

proper and fit for purpose for them for the future. Undoubtedly, seeing

0:58:150:58:19

your kids grow up and develop his most fabulous thing in the world.

0:58:190:58:22

They have three months to decide these questions, so everybody can

0:58:220:58:32
0:58:320:58:32

contribute. Has Prince Charles been consulted? Shirley Williams.

0:58:330:58:36

best things in life are free - family relationships, friends and

0:58:360:58:44

the countryside. Faith in God. is not down here either. I did not

0:58:440:58:51

think it would be. The BBC do not believe in God. It is not the BBC!

0:58:510:58:56

This is not the BBC! Have a care, Peter Hitchens. This is the Office

0:58:560:59:06
0:59:060:59:08

for National Statistics. Which may I am sorry, we have to stop. This

0:59:080:59:12

has been the first edition of Question Time from inside the house

0:59:120:59:15

of parliament in the splendid setting of Westminster Hall. Next

0:59:150:59:20

week, we will be in the Northern Stage in Newcastle and a week after

0:59:200:59:24

in Aberystwyth, Wales will stop if you would like to come to either of

0:59:240:59:34

those, call the number. Or you can go to the website and apply. It is

0:59:340:59:37

great to have people to these programmes who plays such a lively

0:59:370:59:40

For the first time in the programme's history, Question Time comes from the Houses of Parliament.

David Dimbleby chairs a panel including Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, Home Secretary Theresa May, Lib Dem peer Shirley Williams, poet Benjamin Zephaniah and the Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens.

Part of Parliament Week.


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