10/11/2011 Question Time


10/11/2011

From Newcastle with David Dimbleby. With Scottish Secretary Michael Moore; Rachel Reeves, Shadow Treasury Secretary; Nadine Dorries, Stephen Pollard and Prof Colin Blakemore.


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Transcript


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Tonight we're in the north-east in the great city of Newcastle.

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And with me on our panel, the Scottish Secretary Michael Moore,

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the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rachel Reeves, the

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Conservative MP who rebelled over the vote on a European referendum,

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Nadine Dorries, a professor of neuroscience, Colin Blakemore and

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the editor of the Chronicle, Stephen Pollard. Thank you very

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much. And Jake Unsworth has our first question tonight.

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If a private company can run a hospital at the same or better

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standards for less, why shouldn't it? This, of course, a reference to

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today's news that Cambridge's Hinchenbrook Hospital is going to

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be taken over or run by a private company, Circle. If it can do it

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better, why shouldn't it, Rachel Reeves? I think in this case there

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are particular circumstances, and I think that the hospital has had

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difficulties for many years, and it was looked at first to try to find

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a NHS organisation to try to take it over. That didn't work. So now

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this private sector company is coming in to take over the hospital.

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But about - not about this particular instance... Ahh.

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thought Andy Burnham was being very critical about it, your Shadow

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Health Minister. What we were saying is this is an exceptional

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circumstance because this hospital has had huge difficulty, but in the

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future when this health and social care bill gets through if it gets

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passed in the House of Lords, this won't just be the exception. Any

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qualified provider can come in and run an NHS hospital. And I don't

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think that that is right because I think there are certain values at

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the heart of the NHS that are about cooperation, about working together

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that can't be replicated by the private sector. At the moment just

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3% I think of NHS services are provided by the private sector in

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cases where it can be proved that that'll meet a particular need, but

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just saying anyone can come in and set up a hospital, I don't think

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that that is right, and I don't think that that's what the British

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public want. Michael Moore. I think it's interesting how Rachel

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responded there because in fact the difficulties for this particular

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hospital began when Andy Burnham was the Health Secretary, and so

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there has been some time for this to be worked through. The critical

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thing is that without an innovative solution like this, that particular

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local community wouldn't continue to enjoy services in their NHS

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which they value and think are important, and what we have here is

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an operation that'll ensure that the, in shhh remains free at the

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point of use and available to everybody and which will also - the

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model of the company that is involved is like a John Lewis

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partnership arrangement. It involves clinicians and others, and

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I think it is an innovative and really smart solution to what would

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have otherwise been a withdrawal of service. It is listed on the stock

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markets. Private backers get money if it makes a profit. The point is

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that patients who are using the service will not pay for it. It is

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free and accessible to everybody. The principles upon which our NHS

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are founded are continued and maintained by this arrangement.

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Because are suspicious about it, Colin, aren't they? I think

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everybody is suspicious about the potential changes to our NHS, and

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ideal predict this Government would be judged as much by the impact of

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the Health and Social Care Bill as it is by any other piece of

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legislation. We're very defensive of the NHS for good reasons. That

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isn't to say the private sector shouldn't be involved. It doesn't

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make its own drugs. It buys them from the private sector. The

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question is if a company can do a job as good as the NHS, why not? I

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would say why not? Crucially, can the hospital not just deliver care

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and service, but maintain an environment for teaching, for

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skills, for research, for all the things the NHS is so good at? And I

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doubt that a lot. The woman, the second row from the back? Wouldn't

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it be possible to say that any circumstances are exceptional

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circumstances, and you could play with statistics so that anything in

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a particular circumstance was exceptional? Nadine Dorries, if

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that's the argument... Well, we could say, however that they were

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very exceptional circumstances here, and it's not just a case that this

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process was started under the previous Health Secretary. Actually,

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the process for this hospital - I'm not sure that it's good enough,

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Rachel, to say it's OK for this hospital and not OK for others. One

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thing this organisation have guaranteed to do which no other

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organisation did - and many looked at this and walked away, which is

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why it's taken so long - is because of the amount of debt this hospital

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is in. This organisation have guaranteed they'll pay that off

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within ten years, so I think it's probably quite premature to think

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that they'll be an organisation that'll be able to take vast

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profits, because there's huge debt that needs to be paid off first. I

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do think also that that hospital has the staff who work at the

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hospital - actually deserve better than they have been working under

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for the last ten years. The patients in that hospital deserve

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better care than they have had for the last ten years, and I think if

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a private organisation can come in and turn that around and give those

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patients better care, and if they understand the private sector -

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because one thing that's always baffled me, and in my previous life

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as a nurse, I have worked in the NHS and in private hospitals - why

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can't we give our patients in the NHS the same care we deliver in a

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private hospital? If this organisation can come in and raise

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the standards of care in that hospital and pay off the debts and

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give patients who go into that hospital better treatment, better

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care, a better standard of care and the staff in that hospital a better

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working environment, then so be it. That can only be a good thing for

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everybody. APPLAUSE

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The thing is, you make it sound, Nadine, as if the treatment people

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get in NHS hospitals is somehow second rate to what they get in

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private hospitals. I think up and down the country people who have

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had treatment in the National Health Service rate it at the

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highest levels they have ever rated it, so I just don't think this is

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the time to reintroduce a top-down reorganisation of the NHS and real-

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terms funding cuts for the NHS when waiting lists were falling under

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the last government. Cancer treatment is at its best ever and

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satisfaction in the NHS is at its highest ever level. Why rock the

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boat? APPLAUSE

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The man at back. As a replay to Nadine Dorries, we thought Southern

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Cross was a responsible provider, so I am not really sure you can

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justify the incoming providers based on that. You're against what

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has happened at this hospital? particularly, but I don't think the

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justification for it can be based on the reputation... We'll talk

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about that in a moment. Stephen Pollard. I do find the debate we

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have about health in this country to be bewildering. There is a

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polarity as if there is the NHS or some dreadful American private

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model but all you have to do is cross the channel and on the

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continent they think it's unexceptional that you have a mix

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of mutual provision, charity provision, all kinds of things, and

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what counts is what patients get. Yet here we have this notion of if

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it's somehow not provided through the state it's moral. The NHS was

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completed in 1948 in a completely different world to what we have now

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when open rationing was the norm, when the state did indeed provide

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so many different things that now it would never - we would never

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conceive of the state providing to us. I heard a comedian once dismiss

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a heckler as saying, "Who counts your hair, the council?" Everyone

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laughed. We don't think twice about the council educating their

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children - not the council, but the state providing health care for,

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and yet when we talk about the idea of going to the local authority to

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have your hair cut would be ridiculous. Actually, we need to go

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beyond our ridiculous inslairty and just cross the Channel. Does it

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mean, then, every time the public sector gets into problems, we have

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to turn to the private sector? Where will it end? Is this going to

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be rolled out as a solution? Because you were talking about it

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very much as if it was the coming thing... Can I answer his question?

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Answer that gentleman's question first. This hospital is an

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exceptional case. It has excessive debts, and there are - there is no

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other organisation that would take this on. But this is going to be -

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they already run NHS treatment centres and a private hospital

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already, so they're already running NHS services. How will they pay off

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the debt? I don't know the exact details, David. How much was it?

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�10 million? I don't know the business plan, but they're the only

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organisation that would take on this... Weird. We'll have to see.

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Michael Moore, how are they going to pay off... Their commitment is

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to ensure that they run the facilities more effectively, that

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they manage the way the workers run through the hospital more

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effectively. The clinicians will be right at the heart of the decision

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making, as they should be. But to answer the gentleman's question, I

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absolutely agree with you that this has to be an exceptional case. It

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started as a difficulty under the previous government. When you say

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it has to be an exception case, you don't want to see it applied to

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other hospitals? I don't see this as a model that's going to be

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rolled out... Nadine Dorries does? Why not, if it's successful? At the

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end of this pilot if we have a hospital that's running efficiently

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and providing excellent standards, why wouldn't we? You see the

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coalition! The thing is, as others have rightly said, we get first-

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class service from the NHS up and down the length of the country from

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doctors... The patients' association would disagree.

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course there are up and down the country instances - it's right we

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keep all of that under review. People want to know they can get

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the treatment in the local area... Why not now in the public sector?

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There are another 20 hospitals in trouble like this we were told

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today. Yeah. You think they won't all go the same way? I am going to

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go to the two women there side by side. You first. I am a

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radiographer. I have worked in the private sector under the NHS a long

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time. I have to agree with you, Nadine. I think that standards are

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far higher. What do you think? think it's appalling. I think when

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your motivation is profit, patient care suffers.

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The man up there on the right. the motive is profit that means

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surely people are choosing that care. For instance, if the private

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sector is providing good let care we want to pay for, surely that's a

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service that is worth paying for. The gentleman in the second row,

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and Rachel Reeves, you might pick up on this point. I think the track

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record of private companies running for whether it's PFI or public

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sector services has been so bad in the last 20 years, we all have no

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confidence, and often the owners of these businesses change hands. The

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assets strip, and they sell, and we see prisoners run and buy another

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company that is not committed to the same model or the same

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commitments in terms of the guarantees that they first pledged

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at the beginning of the acquisition. I think I might leave this and go

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on to another question. I am just puzzled about one thing which you

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could perhaps answer. How are they going to pay off this debt without

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money changing hands, and who is going to pay them to pay off the

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debt? The arrangement is around the way the hospital - the facilities

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are run, and they will look very carefully at all aspects of how

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that is done. I haven't looked at the business plan. I'm not the

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Health Secretary, but it is also about using the health resources in

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the hospital more effectively and efficiently. OK. Using the

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clinicians and the health staff the drive that. OK. Let's move on. By

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the way, if you want to join in this debate, of course, you know

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I should say one thing tonight - if you're a school pupil or teacher

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and want to get involved with the BBC's schools debate, go to our

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website, and you'll see how to do it there. Let's go on to another

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question, please. Julie Howells. a society that prides itself on

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freedom of expression, should we ban the burning of poppies? Should

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we be banning the burning of poppies? This is the decision by

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the Home Secretary to ban as from today a Muslim group called Muslims

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Against Cruisas who banned a poppy last year, and she's banned them -

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illegal to belong from midnight. Nadine Dorries, in a society that

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prides itself in froo freedom of expression, should this be done?

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think so, yes. I think what the poppy symbolises and represents is

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something quite special. I think not only does it represent the

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people whose lives - not just in the Great War, the Second World War,

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but young men who are losing their lives today for the sake of our

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freedom, and there is no greater sackify, and it is hugely symbolic,

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and I think also what it does is it lets those soldiers who are about

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to go to war on our behalf know we will remember them and they are

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These Muslim groups are opposed to the operations in Afghanistan.

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not think it is relevant that it is a Muslim group. Anyone who would

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want to have poppy burning ceremonies should be banned from

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doing so, because I think it goes very much against the grain of who

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we are, what we respect, what we stand for. I think it is the most

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incredibly disrespectful thing to I agree with what Nadine Dorries

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has said. On Sunday I will be at a remembrance service in Leeds and

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there will be veterans from wars gone by, but also families who will

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have husbands, wives, sons and daughters serving on the front line

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now. It sickens me that people would burn the poppy as some sort

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of symbol of defiance. I think it is right to ban these groups. I

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think whether or not you are in favour of a particular war, whether

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it be Afghanistan or Iraq, you should respect those people who

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fight him those wars, who give their lives in some cases, for the

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service of this country, to protect all of us. Whatever your view on

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the wall, you should respect those who serve in the war, and we should

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commemorate those who have died for us, but also the last serving today.

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Is it the act of burning the poppy, or the act of protesting on

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Remembrance Sunday, or as they did on the commemoration service for

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9/11? Is that what you object to and they should be banned for, or

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the symbolism of burning the flag or the poppy? In this case, it is a

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group that has been banned and I think it is right that group should

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be banned. It is just a manifestation of a previous group

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that has changed its name, so I think the Home Secretary is right

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to Bammer Group. I think most people would share the view that it

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is not appropriate or acceptable to behave in that way. It does not

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sound very effective if they are banned and they pop up under

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another name. I think it is effective if on Sunday they are not

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there by the Royal Albert Hall, or wherever they congregate, choosing

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disruption and for upsetting and angering people, and showing so

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little respect for people who have fought for this country and are

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fighting today. I think it is interesting what you say. I would

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like to add that, I think, by banning any groups who represent an

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extremist feeling of hatred, I do not think banning it is the right

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way to go about it. Banning it makes it go underground. It is

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still going to be there. You just cannot control it if you have

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banned it. We need to question why it is there in the first place and

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may be approached the cause, the prevention, rather than cause.

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agree with that. More important to identify the origins of hatred them

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to attack symbolic gestures like this. Five days ago we encourage

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our children to burn effigies of Guy Fawkes, a revolutionary who

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tried to blow up Parliament. It is not these futile, although hateful,

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gestures that matter, but the origin of those feelings that we

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I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding here. I would not

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disagree with anything that has been said, and clearly the people

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who would burn poppies are despicable human beings. But they

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are not being banned because they are burning poppies. If I took this

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off and tore it up, I would not be banned. They are being banned

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because they are in danger of inciting all kinds of racial hatred.

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They are banned for public order offences, for all kinds of reasons.

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We made reference to the fact that they previously existed under

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another name, Islam for UK, and they were banned as that. The issue

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is not whether it is appropriate to ban people for burning poppies, of

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course it is not appropriate to ban people simply for burning poppies.

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The real issue is whether the legislation we having is in any way

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effective, given that in a previous incarnation, all they needed to do,

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it appears, to simply create another organisation and simply

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there -- suddenly they were allowed to conduct their activities. If

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there is something wrong with the legislation. I think Colin is

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profoundly wrong when he talks about looking at their grievances,

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because these people do not have sensible grievances. They are

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committed to turning Europe into a Caliphate. They are not mainstream

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Muslims. Most Muslims are peaceable and want to live alongside us, like

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Jews, like Christians, like Hindus. These people are outside any

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recognisable mainstream. They are as near to terrorists that we at --

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As much as I agree with the sentiments expressed by the panel

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with regards to poppy burning, I have to admit that I find it, I

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think we should be wary when it comes to banning organisations

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simply because we wholeheartedly and utterly disagree with them. I

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think that leads us into dangerous territory for future years. But it

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is not about his agreement, it is about an intrinsic threat to our

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existence as a society. -- it is not about disagreement. I disagree

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with Rachel, but I would not ban her. It is not about whether we

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disagree, it is about existing and operating completely outside the

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norms of the way democratic societies conduct themselves.

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question was about freedom of expression and our society. I think,

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if I might start by agreeing with everybody who has said it is

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utterly offensive that people should burn poppies. It would be

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offensive to the memories of people who gave their lives in the First

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World War, the Second World War, the many conflicts in between and

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more recently in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere. We have to

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remember the huge sacrifices people have made, and rightly this weekend

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we will pay tribute to that. The critical thing here is that freedom

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of expression, which we must promote at every turn, has to have

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limits. When it turns into promoting terrorism, which is what

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this group is dedicated to under whatever name it calls itself, then

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it has crossed a line. I think it is then legitimate for us to take

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further steps. In this country, tragically, in different parts of

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the UK we have experienced terrorism first hand. If we cannot

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tolerate a situation where we allow people to go out and openly do this.

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The offensiveness of what was being proposed hurts deeply, but the real

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danger from this group and others is about promoting terrorism, and

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that we should not allow. Do you want to come back on that? I accept

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what Michael Moore has just said, but, however, I do find it potent

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to point out that if you know what organisation to monitor, it is

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easier to do so. I am losing my words. But you can fight that level

:23:04.:23:08.

of extremism. Can we distinguish between what we know them to be

:23:08.:23:13.

like as individuals, and that will be handled appropriately by the

:23:13.:23:17.

security services, and what they seek to do, which, of itself, can

:23:17.:23:21.

be seen to promote terrorism? It is preventing those acts promoting

:23:21.:23:27.

terrorism that has to be where we are at a. I agree that burning the

:23:27.:23:30.

poppy is offensive, but if you say that we are banning it because it

:23:31.:23:37.

incites hatred and disrupts public order, why are the EDL march is not

:23:37.:23:46.

banned, because I would say that is promoting hatred? Can I point out

:23:46.:23:53.

that those marchers were banned, the EDL marches. The Home Secretary

:23:53.:23:58.

was not just talking about poppies, but glorifying terrorism. Let's go

:23:58.:24:02.

on to a question from Gary Day. Should we accept longer queues at

:24:02.:24:07.

our borders to protect our national security? Should we accept longer

:24:07.:24:12.

queues at our borders to protect our national security? This goes to

:24:12.:24:15.

the heart of what has been going on, if anyone knows what has been going

:24:15.:24:20.

on, at our borders. Nadine Dorries, longer queues, more security,

:24:20.:24:26.

shorter queues, less security. Which do you go for? Actually, it

:24:26.:24:30.

is neither of those. Let me focus on what did happen. What happened

:24:30.:24:37.

was that there were two things happened. One was that children...

:24:37.:24:42.

Let me explain why we are talking about, the row between the Home

:24:42.:24:48.

Secretary and the department. shorter queues delivered an

:24:48.:24:52.

increase in the number of illegal immigrants, 100% increase in

:24:53.:24:58.

illegal firearms, a 48% increase in forged documents. What are you

:24:58.:25:02.

talking about? I assume you are talking about the recent incident

:25:02.:25:07.

this week with regard to the Border Agency. I do think the pilot has

:25:07.:25:12.

been a success. If David will just let me explain why I think it has

:25:12.:25:16.

been a success. The queues were shorter, to a degree, because what

:25:16.:25:20.

was asked for was that only children coming from European

:25:20.:25:24.

economic Area countries did not go through the warning index checks.

:25:24.:25:29.

This was so that Border Agency staff could focus on those who were

:25:29.:25:34.

a higher risk coming from other countries, and that worked. That

:25:34.:25:37.

worked because of the statistics I have just given you. If the queues

:25:37.:25:41.

were shorter - I have no idea if they were - but the objective of

:25:41.:25:45.

the exercise was to free the staff up so they could work on the people

:25:45.:25:50.

that we knew would be a risk. And just by the 100% increase in

:25:50.:25:54.

illegal arms, the 10% increase in illegal immigrants which were

:25:54.:25:58.

detected and the 48% increase in illegal documentation brought into

:25:58.:26:03.

the country shows it was a success. Let's go to you, Rachel Reeves, do

:26:03.:26:09.

you agree it was a success, this experiment in cutting back on the

:26:09.:26:17.

Czechs? It increased security. Refined Nadine Dorries' answer to

:26:17.:26:21.

this question staggering. -- I find her answer staggering. We have no

:26:21.:26:24.

idea how many people were let in under this pilot, no idea of the

:26:24.:26:32.

scale of the breach in security. You let in 2.2 million! We still do

:26:32.:26:37.

not know which airports and which ports were operating this pilot.

:26:37.:26:41.

When a pilot is going on at a time when our threat level is severe,

:26:41.:26:45.

you would expect the Home Secretary to be monitoring the pilot, to see

:26:45.:26:49.

whether it is working, to see whether it is being implemented

:26:49.:26:54.

correctly. And yet none of that seemed to be going on. And the

:26:54.:26:57.

Government have already said that the number of people employed by

:26:57.:27:02.

the borders Agency is going to be cut by 1000 this year, by 5000 or

:27:02.:27:06.

more over the course of this Parliament. Unless the Government

:27:06.:27:10.

gets a grip on the UK Border Agency, I don't think that we can rest

:27:10.:27:15.

assured that this pilot and the Border Agency is going to have the

:27:15.:27:20.

handle on our national security and on people coming into this country.

:27:20.:27:24.

I think it is perfectly obvious that everybody in the room

:27:24.:27:27.

deceiving and everybody at home his first and foremost concern about

:27:28.:27:32.

the security of the country. -- everybody in the room this evening.

:27:32.:27:35.

That is our responsibility as a Government and we take that very

:27:36.:27:39.

seriously. What we recognise is that those trying to cheat the

:27:39.:27:43.

system have become smarter at it, using different techniques,

:27:43.:27:48.

different technology. So what the pilot was seeking to do was to

:27:48.:27:54.

ensure that we reduced the checks on young children travelling with

:27:54.:27:57.

their parents from Europe, all with school parties, so they did not

:27:57.:28:03.

have to be checked against the warning lists, that the European

:28:03.:28:08.

parents, adults, were not being checked against the biometric chip

:28:08.:28:11.

in the passport which confirms the picture matches the person in front

:28:11.:28:17.

of you. But every single passport was still being checked. The result,

:28:17.:28:20.

according to the Home Secretary, is that we will never know how many

:28:20.:28:23.

people enter the country who should have been prevented from doing so.

:28:23.:28:28.

Wait a minute. There are two distinctions. One is the point that

:28:28.:28:31.

Nadine Dorries has made, that as a result of the pilot, still being

:28:31.:28:35.

evaluated, but early indications are that it court increased numbers

:28:35.:28:42.

of attempts to come into the country illegally. It has trapped

:28:42.:28:49.

weapons and also... She has said that, but what went wrong? What

:28:49.:28:56.

went wrong? The point I'm trying to make... I am just trying to get you

:28:57.:29:00.

to answer the question. I am answering the question and

:29:00.:29:03.

particularly what happened here was that officials in the UK Border

:29:03.:29:07.

Force went further than they had been authorised and removed some of

:29:07.:29:12.

the Czechs for others who should have been checked. Unfortunately

:29:12.:29:18.

that does mean there are gaps in what we know. Is a forgivable

:29:18.:29:21.

foreign Home Secretary who puts in an experimental plan not to make

:29:21.:29:25.

sure it is monitored closely enough for that to happen? The inspectors

:29:25.:29:29.

were the ones who found out what was going on. The officials in the

:29:29.:29:32.

Border Agency, the chief executive of the Border Agency found out what

:29:32.:29:36.

was going on from the UK Border Force and the senior civil servant

:29:36.:29:41.

was suspended. That is entirely right and proper. There are three

:29:41.:29:44.

different inquiries going on into this, we will learn lessons from it

:29:44.:29:48.

and continue to evaluate the pilot so we can be clever and smart about

:29:48.:29:51.

how we get our border forces deployed, how we use the technology

:29:51.:30:01.
:30:01.:30:03.

Let's go to the woman in the front and hear from some members of our

:30:03.:30:08.

audience about this. Of course everybody would choose security

:30:08.:30:13.

over shorter queues but if the coalition funded public sector

:30:13.:30:17.

departments correctly, we wouldn't have to choose. We would have the

:30:17.:30:19.

shorter queues and the security. APPLAUSE

:30:19.:30:23.

It is an interesting point whether national security is so important

:30:23.:30:26.

that it should have been outside the sphere of the cuts, isn't it?

:30:26.:30:30.

Colin Blakemore. I am really a bit confused here. I was out of the

:30:30.:30:35.

country when this issue blew up. Did you - I did manage, yes, only

:30:35.:30:37.

took 20 minutes. LAUGHTER

:30:37.:30:46.

If this pilot worked so brilliantly well, why on earth Hasbro bro been

:30:46.:30:53.

dismissed for extending it? Because it was only for countries were at

:30:53.:30:57.

high risk. What this really reveals is we just don't know enough about

:30:57.:31:05.

the best methods to control access, to select people for special

:31:05.:31:12.

selection. We need proper evidence. The only way is by proper data

:31:12.:31:15.

gathering, difficult when people trying to getly are not seen,

:31:15.:31:24.

difficult to know whether you have missed them or not. We need to

:31:24.:31:29.

introduce measures - people know when the planes are coming. Staff

:31:29.:31:33.

should be available to check people properly. The staff shouldn't be

:31:33.:31:37.

cut? If it's demonstrated a certain staffing level is needed to provide

:31:37.:31:42.

a level of security, obviously, yes. I'll come back to you in main. Yes.

:31:42.:31:46.

I don't think there is anything wrong with the principle of more

:31:46.:31:50.

targeted intelligence-led check, but the real problem that's caused

:31:50.:31:53.

this situation is the more discretion you give to people lower

:31:53.:31:57.

down the chain, the less watertight the system becomes because the less

:31:57.:32:01.

people that use the discretion, the less streamlined the policy becomes,

:32:01.:32:05.

the wider the gaps. You shouldn't give discretion? Not so much. There

:32:05.:32:09.

was a system. There was a policy, a procedure that was watered down,

:32:09.:32:13.

and that's how the gaps have developed. There is nothing wrong

:32:13.:32:19.

in principle, but when there are people involved, that's when risks

:32:19.:32:23.

develop. I think given the utter shambles that existed under the

:32:23.:32:26.

last Government, to hear Rachel Reeves berate this Government for

:32:26.:32:31.

one pilot programme that appears to have gone wrong is what in the

:32:31.:32:35.

Jewish Chronicle we'd certainly call chutzpah. We don't know what's

:32:35.:32:39.

happened. There is going to be in inquiry. Even if you take Theresa

:32:39.:32:43.

May's account at face value, what appears to be clear is she lost

:32:43.:32:47.

control of her department or the Border Agency. That's not

:32:47.:32:52.

necessarily a culpable offence. I spent about ten years ago I wrote a

:32:52.:32:54.

biography of David Blunkett when he was Home Secretary and spent quite

:32:55.:32:58.

a lot of time in the Home Office. It was very clear to me then that

:32:58.:33:03.

it was, as John Reid, Blunkett's successor referred to the Border

:33:03.:33:07.

Agency as not being fit for purpose. It was an absolute basket case. I

:33:07.:33:10.

think the absolute priority of any Home Secretary is to get a grip of

:33:10.:33:15.

the Border Agency. Now, clearly, Theresa May has not done that.

:33:15.:33:18.

Whether that's because of her own inadequacies or whether there is

:33:18.:33:21.

something so fundamentally wrong with it that no politician is

:33:21.:33:25.

capable of doing that is an issue I think we need to get to grips with.

:33:25.:33:29.

I mean, really, to have the Labour Party berate this Government for

:33:29.:33:32.

one pilot scheme that's gone wrong given the utter chaos that existed

:33:32.:33:35.

under the last Labour Government is preposterous.

:33:35.:33:44.

APPLAUSE It's a kind of - it is interesting

:33:44.:33:49.

that Theresa May was on Question Time when Beverley Hughes was

:33:49.:33:53.

Immigration Minister... Exactly. And she was attacked, Beverley

:33:53.:33:58.

Hughes, over her policy to admit immigrants to the UK without checks,

:33:58.:34:04.

and Theresa May said on Question Time, "I am and tired of the Labour

:34:04.:34:11.

Party who simply blame other people when things go wrong." If the hat

:34:11.:34:15.

fits... Didn't blame anybody. did. No, she did not. You must get

:34:15.:34:19.

the facts right. It was Rob Whiteman, his boss, who suspended

:34:19.:34:24.

him and who alerted Theresa May to the problem. Theresa May did not

:34:24.:34:28.

suspend him. It was not her inadequacy. It was the inadequacy

:34:28.:34:32.

of the member of staff who took the pilot too far and his boss who

:34:32.:34:36.

suspended him when he found out, as he should have done. There is going

:34:36.:34:40.

to be a court case now. So you're saying she's never uttered a word

:34:40.:34:46.

of, "It was not my fault"? What I am saying is - Rachel, to say there

:34:46.:34:50.

will be cuts in the Border Agency - there will be 18,000 staff working

:34:50.:34:52.

in the Border Agency at the end of this Parliament. That's exactly the

:34:52.:34:56.

same number of staff who were working in the Border Agency when

:34:56.:35:02.

Ed Miliband was deciding the budget when he was working at the Treasury.

:35:02.:35:06.

That is chutzpah... Is it true, what she says? I think it's going

:35:06.:35:12.

back to... Absolutely true. In 2006, we were increasing numbers, and

:35:12.:35:15.

numbers have been increasing in the Border Agency to deal with the

:35:15.:35:20.

scale of the challenges we're facing. They're coming down now.

:35:20.:35:24.

The challenge is you have 450,000 papers of asylum seekers locked in

:35:24.:35:28.

a cupboard somewhere. You let 2.2 million illegal immigrants into the

:35:28.:35:33.

country. You actually opened up our border when the rest of Europe said,

:35:33.:35:37.

no, we'll wait such years - let everybody pour in. This question

:35:37.:35:43.

was about a specific issue that arose about 15 months into this

:35:43.:35:46.

coalition Government. The pilot scheme. That went horribly wrong -

:35:46.:35:54.

a pilot scheme that went horribly wrong. OK. You don't take no

:35:54.:35:58.

responsibility for it, Nadine. Let's leave the point there. Let's

:35:58.:36:04.

go to the woman in the fourth row. Besides the fact I think the

:36:04.:36:09.

terrorist threat is majorly exaggerated, I also think the

:36:09.:36:13.

rhetoric and the action on these issues - you talk tough and try get

:36:13.:36:16.

votes through scare-mongering, but you're not actually believing what

:36:16.:36:23.

you're saying. Sorry? There's lot of talk and scare-mongering by the

:36:23.:36:26.

Conservative, but you obviously don't believe the terrorist threat

:36:26.:36:32.

is that big a deal, not as big as it was made out to be. Let's go on.

:36:32.:36:37.

Let's take this question from Erica Whyman, please.

:36:37.:36:42.

Do you agree that regions like the north-east are the UK's equivalent

:36:42.:36:46.

of the southern Europe states that are in so much trouble? And if you

:36:46.:36:48.

do, when are you going to bail us out?

:36:48.:36:58.
:36:58.:36:59.

APPLAUSE Stephen Pollard, you're in southern

:36:59.:37:03.

Europe. It's a bit colder, but that's where you are tonight.

:37:03.:37:06.

Absolutely. I think the issue of bail-outs is actually at the heart

:37:06.:37:11.

of so much that's gone wrong with economic policy for so long and is

:37:11.:37:14.

obviously specifically about what's going on in Greece and Italy,

:37:14.:37:19.

possibly, and so on... Hold on. Let's do the first part. Do you

:37:19.:37:22.

accept that the north-east is the UK's equivalent to southern Europe

:37:22.:37:27.

in economic terms, in... Do we mean - if we're talking - the answer to

:37:27.:37:30.

that is no in that I don't think that workers in the north-east of

:37:30.:37:34.

the UK and the at tuds in the north-east are anything like the

:37:34.:37:38.

attitudes in Greece and in parts of Italy and other parts of southern

:37:38.:37:42.

Europe. In terms of being an impoverished part relative to the

:37:42.:37:45.

rest of the country, then clearly that's the case. The issue is what

:37:45.:37:50.

you do about it. I don't think you create economic growth by

:37:50.:37:54.

Government diktat the way you create Government growth is people

:37:54.:37:57.

set up businesses and start hiring. People take failing businesses, and

:37:57.:38:02.

they turn them around. How do you do that? I think one of the

:38:02.:38:05.

problems we have got with growth at the moment in this country is we

:38:05.:38:08.

have too much red tape, too much interference. I am an employer at

:38:08.:38:13.

my nu. I would love to be able -- newspaper. I would love to be able

:38:13.:38:17.

to take on people for short-term projects, to see whether they'd be

:38:17.:38:21.

worth keeping in the long term. I can't do that because the moment I

:38:21.:38:26.

start hiring, all kinds of laws come into effect, and I can't

:38:26.:38:31.

guarantee I'll be able to keep them on. The answer is we don't hire

:38:31.:38:35.

people. The real problem I think with prosperity in regions like the

:38:35.:38:39.

north-east and all kinds of areas across the UK is precisely this

:38:39.:38:42.

attitude that everything is going on solved through the Government.

:38:42.:38:46.

It's not the Government that's going to create prosperity. It's

:38:46.:38:52.

real people doing real jobs creating real prosperity, hiring

:38:52.:38:55.

people, spending money and buying, creating and investing our way out

:38:55.:39:02.

of poverty. Erarea, are you looking for a bail-out? Is that what you

:39:02.:39:08.

meant by the question? I didn't mean that we had any kind of

:39:08.:39:12.

lackadaisical attitude. You seem to be suggesting that teachers and

:39:12.:39:15.

nurses and those people who work in the public sector in the north-east

:39:15.:39:20.

don't have real jobs is that what you mean by that last remark?

:39:20.:39:25.

at all. Clearly you have teachers and public sector workers and all

:39:25.:39:30.

of those kinds of things. But they're not creating wealth. It's

:39:30.:39:34.

business. It's not teachers and nurses that create the wealth. They

:39:34.:39:38.

are part of the products of that wealth.

:39:38.:39:42.

I'm sorry. I completely disagree. The wealth of this country lies in

:39:42.:39:45.

our ability to have a coherent society and a community we're proud

:39:45.:39:49.

to live in, and that includes businesses that create profit, of

:39:49.:39:54.

course, but it also includes great schools, great universities, a

:39:54.:39:58.

great culture in our country, all of which is being cut... If you

:39:58.:40:01.

don't have business that is prosperous, you don't have any of

:40:01.:40:05.

that. No. You're taking it away. You're taking it away in the south-

:40:05.:40:08.

east and in many other parts of this country. Michael Moore.

:40:08.:40:15.

APPLAUSE First of all, I would disagree with

:40:15.:40:17.

the comparison. I don't think that the scale of the challenges within

:40:17.:40:22.

the UK are anything like what we're seeing in the south of Europe, but

:40:22.:40:27.

that is not to play down the very serious issues that areas like the

:40:27.:40:31.

north-east and other parts of the country fair, and I realise that

:40:31.:40:35.

we've got a big responsibility as a Government to assist whatever else

:40:35.:40:39.

is said about that, and as a Government, we're committed to

:40:39.:40:42.

supporting the north-east and the rest of the country with the

:40:43.:40:46.

enterprise zones, with our investment in infrastructure,

:40:46.:40:51.

whether it's the east coast main line improvement as the are coming

:40:51.:40:54.

along or another the regional growth funds which we have been

:40:54.:40:59.

able to support in recent months which support jobs of 15,000

:40:59.:41:02.

directly, another 25,000 indirectly. That's just some specifics for this

:41:02.:41:06.

part of the country, but more generally, our major task is to get

:41:06.:41:11.

the economy back on the right track and make sure we get it rebalanced

:41:11.:41:16.

away from the financial-services orientated south-east that we had

:41:16.:41:19.

for generations and exacerbated under the last Labour Government so

:41:19.:41:22.

that things that are really important in this part of the world

:41:22.:41:26.

like manufacturing get the support they need. And when we see world-

:41:26.:41:29.

class companies like Nissan and others based here producing cars to

:41:29.:41:33.

export all over the world, we want to support them, but - and the

:41:33.:41:36.

final thing is this about the context in which we're considering

:41:36.:41:43.

all of this - we export to Europe, to the eurozone a huge amount of

:41:43.:41:47.

what we produce in this country, and that means that we've got to

:41:47.:41:51.

see the problems there sorted out, and that's another urgent priority

:41:52.:41:55.

for us, but more importantly for the countries in the eurozone.

:41:55.:42:00.

me hear some views from the audience. You, sir, the man with

:42:00.:42:03.

the beard. I think one of the classic inconsistencies between the

:42:03.:42:08.

north and the south, for example is the duelling of Air One. We have

:42:08.:42:13.

fault for years, if not decades, to get that dual carriageway - it's

:42:13.:42:19.

one of the most dangerous roads in the country. Whichever party is in,

:42:19.:42:24.

they promise the earth, and it never happens, yet if they want a

:42:24.:42:30.

high-speed railway down south, they get that. Can't we support that

:42:30.:42:35.

particular project, which would create a lot of jobs and save a lot

:42:35.:42:39.

of lives? Infrastructure. APPLAUSE

:42:40.:42:44.

I think a lot of it has to do with the property prices. London

:42:44.:42:49.

property will always hold its value, whereas we're suffering more in the

:42:49.:42:52.

north-east, even though I am not originally from the north-east.

:42:52.:42:56.

But what do you think can be done about that? What would your bail-

:42:56.:43:00.

out scheme that was talked about... It would be difficult because

:43:00.:43:04.

London does always hold its value, always has done, always will do,

:43:04.:43:08.

but the north-east - we're suffering because of the job

:43:08.:43:11.

situation and the recession. The north of the country always seems

:43:11.:43:17.

to suffer more in a recession. Rachel Reeves. Well, representing a

:43:17.:43:21.

northern constituency, these are the issues that I know from where I

:43:21.:43:26.

live. Can I just come back to the follow-up point that Erica made. I

:43:26.:43:30.

think she was absolutely right when she said that the economy benefits

:43:31.:43:36.

from teachers, doctors and nurses, and, you know, of course we need

:43:36.:43:39.

businesses to pay taxes to fund public services, but businesses

:43:39.:43:43.

would not succeed unless we have fantastic teachers, fantastic

:43:43.:43:47.

hospitals, fantastic nurses because they're the people who make sure

:43:47.:43:51.

that we're healthy and make sure we've got a well-educated workforce,

:43:51.:43:57.

so we need both to make a successful economy. That's

:43:57.:44:02.

important Under Labour this problem was still as it is now. There were

:44:02.:44:05.

fewer start-up businesses here under Labour. If you look at cities

:44:05.:44:10.

like Newcastle, like Liverpool, like Leeds, there has been huge

:44:10.:44:14.

regeneration, and it has made a big difference. The universities have

:44:14.:44:18.

grown and expanded, theatres, art, but also business. If you look at

:44:18.:44:22.

Nissan and the Leaf car investment - you know, making a huge

:44:22.:44:27.

difference to jobs and growth in this region, but now unemployment

:44:27.:44:33.

in theest. 11.3%. In the UK as a whole it's 8.1%. We know what the

:44:33.:44:36.

scale of the challenge is and Michael Moore says we need the

:44:36.:44:40.

regional growth fund. We had a Regional Development Agency in the

:44:40.:44:44.

north-east, One North-east. That had three times as much money as

:44:44.:44:48.

the fund that's replaced it, so if this Government are really serious

:44:48.:44:51.

about jobs and growth in the north- east, they need to put their money

:44:51.:44:54.

where their mouth is because the north-east is not getting the

:44:54.:44:56.

investment, the support for offshore wind, for manufacturing or

:44:56.:45:01.

for public services, and that's why the north of England is back in

:45:01.:45:05.

recession. You would increase Government spending to...

:45:05.:45:10.

reality is... I never understand the Labour policy on money at the

:45:10.:45:16.

moment. Our jobs and growth plan includes a cut in VAT and a

:45:16.:45:19.

National Insures... That would all be directed here? No, there would

:45:19.:45:23.

be national programmes but we'd have a future jobs fund

:45:23.:45:26.

guaranteeing jobs for young people. We have almost a million young

:45:26.:45:30.

people out of work. At the moment we're paying for economic failure.

:45:30.:45:39.

The Government is borrowing more in Let's not get into the statistical

:45:39.:45:48.

How can you expect the north-east to catch up with the rest of the

:45:48.:45:54.

country when the number of jobs is decreasing in the north-east?

:45:54.:45:58.

completely that they have been huge disadvantages for the north-east. -

:45:58.:46:03.

- I accept completely. There are divergences in opportunity across

:46:03.:46:06.

the country. The variation even within London between south of the

:46:06.:46:10.

river and north of the river is huge. It is a cause of great social

:46:10.:46:14.

discontent which has to be addressed. Bail outs are not a

:46:14.:46:18.

permanent solution to this kind of problem, but they are a help, to

:46:18.:46:21.

improve the infrastructure, increase the opportunities for the

:46:21.:46:25.

north-east to do what it is capable of, improving its own lot. But it

:46:25.:46:30.

needs help to get there, a helping hand. And it is within our country.

:46:30.:46:34.

We need more social coherence. We need the Big Society, which the

:46:34.:46:39.

Prime Minister tells us so much about, and that has to include you.

:46:39.:46:44.

When you say it is a help but not a solution, what is the solution?

:46:44.:46:48.

solution, of course, is for every region Tapper capacity to do its

:46:48.:46:54.

own job. As the -- as Stephen said, bail-outs are not a permanent

:46:54.:46:58.

solution. But the opportunity to work your way up to the point where

:46:58.:47:04.

you can sustain yourself is essential. I work for one of the

:47:04.:47:08.

area's biggest property lawyers and we are having to merge with other

:47:08.:47:12.

companies because people are scared of the future. In the last few

:47:12.:47:16.

weeks, six or seven solicitors went bust. We are eager to give billions

:47:16.:47:20.

to foreign countries but a few million would make a massive

:47:20.:47:24.

difference in Newcastle. Nadine Dorries. This week the Prime

:47:24.:47:29.

Minister has announced a �95 million fund. One problem is that

:47:29.:47:32.

many businesses are not able to borrow because the banks are not

:47:32.:47:37.

lending, which is ironic, really. The point that the lady made about

:47:37.:47:40.

the house prices in the south-east retaining value, one of the reasons

:47:40.:47:43.

why that is is because the banks were bailed out and people kept

:47:43.:47:49.

their jobs and property prices kept their levels. So they insulated the

:47:49.:47:51.

south-east because of the bank bail out, which had a huge contribution

:47:51.:47:58.

to that. But the north-east has to take the brunt of that.

:47:58.:48:03.

completely agree with you. But this fund, the Prime Minister recognise

:48:03.:48:06.

this, the Government recognises this. The banks that have been

:48:06.:48:13.

bailed out are not lending to businesses. So this fund is being

:48:13.:48:18.

created and businesses can apply and borrow up to �500,000 when the

:48:18.:48:22.

banks will not lend to them. It is a measure which has been introduced

:48:22.:48:26.

to bypass the banks, who frankly needs sorting out, if the

:48:26.:48:30.

Government has to lend the money and the banks are not. You can

:48:30.:48:34.

borrow up to 500,000, so it would only help 200 companies. It depends

:48:34.:48:42.

how many companies applied. course, but... They do not have to

:48:42.:48:48.

borrow half a million. I was just trying to test... Without

:48:48.:48:52.

investment in education, there are a lot of children at risk of

:48:52.:48:55.

actually not being able to be employed in those jobs because they

:48:55.:49:00.

are already in areas of multiple deprivation. Things like cuts to

:49:00.:49:04.

the people premium that has been introduced are going to make a

:49:04.:49:12.

massive difference in schools. woman in red. I agree with Rachel

:49:12.:49:16.

Reeves that we need to have a more educated workforce, and it is

:49:16.:49:19.

interesting that the amount of university applications has fallen

:49:19.:49:24.

this year. I would be interested to see how many have gone down in the

:49:24.:49:30.

north-east, compared to the south. I believe the Government are doing

:49:30.:49:34.

little or nothing for the north- east. We have heard about

:49:34.:49:37.

investment in business. Over the last 20 years we have lost an

:49:37.:49:41.

enormous amount of industry, a lot of jobs. I cannot see that being

:49:41.:49:48.

made up. The small employer cannot borrow, so he cannot employ more.

:49:48.:49:52.

The answer is to encourage some large employer to come in, like

:49:52.:49:59.

Petacci, but that is only going to create 500 jobs. We keep hearing

:49:59.:50:02.

about Nissan, the only large employer around here. We are in the

:50:02.:50:05.

wilderness at the moment and the quicker the Government realise that

:50:05.:50:15.
:50:15.:50:15.

and help the people of the north- Are you talking about willful

:50:15.:50:21.

neglect of the north-east? Yes. both governments? By both

:50:21.:50:25.

governments, definitely. Why do you think there would be wilful

:50:25.:50:30.

neglect? We are miles away from Parliament, from London, miles away

:50:30.:50:35.

from the rich counties round London. I think we are forgotten, and there

:50:36.:50:40.

is a lot... Durham University is about the third best university in

:50:40.:50:45.

the ratings. We have some wonderful educational opportunities appear.

:50:45.:50:49.

And the quicker that people in the south realise that and help us in

:50:49.:50:59.
:50:59.:50:59.

the north-east, the better. The man in the glasses. It is pretty rich

:50:59.:51:04.

for Michael Moore to say that the the Lib Dems were keen on investing

:51:04.:51:09.

in business and developing the region. The region, a few years ago,

:51:09.:51:12.

was a hub for computer games development. In the last few years

:51:12.:51:17.

that has collapsed. Before the election, yourself and the

:51:17.:51:20.

Conservatives both supported tax breaks for the computer games

:51:20.:51:23.

industry to give us a level playing field to compete with the

:51:23.:51:26.

international market. As soon as the election happened and you got

:51:26.:51:34.

into power, you changed your mind completely. Very briefly.

:51:34.:51:39.

understand the point, but what we have sought to do is to make sure

:51:39.:51:43.

we get the economy as a whole rebalance and sorted out.

:51:43.:51:47.

Considering the mess we inherited from the last government, as the

:51:47.:51:53.

gentleman said at the front, there were 20 years of neglect. That

:51:53.:51:57.

predates this government by some distance. It actually goes back to

:51:57.:52:07.

the last Conservative government! And as a Liberal Democrat, I am

:52:07.:52:09.

happy for Nadine Dorries to answer on that particular point. The

:52:10.:52:14.

important point is that we get the tax system sorted, reduce

:52:14.:52:17.

corporation tax to help all businesses wherever they run the

:52:17.:52:20.

country and whatever they do, help them with getting finance, whether

:52:20.:52:24.

it is through the project Merlin that is increasing the amount that

:52:24.:52:27.

goes to businesses, and through things like the regional growth

:52:27.:52:31.

fund, which will ensure that we get investment in the north-east and

:52:31.:52:35.

other parts of the country. promise that you could speak

:52:35.:52:39.

because you have been patient. Michael Moore says the Government

:52:39.:52:43.

cares about the north-east. We have the highest unemployment rate in

:52:43.:52:51.

the country and it has been going up. Frankly, he is lying. I have

:52:51.:52:59.

just had a fairly acute point made. The lady at the top made a really

:52:59.:53:03.

important point about the people premium, which as a Liberal

:53:03.:53:06.

Democrat I'm delighted we have introduced. I am also delighted we

:53:06.:53:09.

are reducing the tax burden on hard-working families and also

:53:09.:53:13.

ensuring that for pensioners we have a guarantee that they will get

:53:13.:53:20.

better treatment than they ever did under the last government. Really!

:53:20.:53:24.

Living in a parallel universe, if Michael Moore thinks that the

:53:24.:53:27.

policies being pursued by this conservative-LED Government are

:53:27.:53:32.

going to help the north-east. You talk about corporation tax being

:53:32.:53:35.

cut but capital allowances are being cut, which will hurt

:53:35.:53:38.

manufacturing industry in this region. The woman at the front who

:53:38.:53:42.

said about unemployment, it is the highest in the country and it is

:53:42.:53:45.

going up. Youth unemployment in many parts of this region, long-

:53:46.:53:50.

term youth unemployment has doubled in the last nine months. Instead of

:53:50.:53:53.

just saying, everything is fine and we are doing great things, things

:53:53.:53:58.

are getting better, it does not hold water. We go to a last

:53:58.:54:07.

question from Daniel bottom, please. Was Tom Watson right to compare

:54:07.:54:12.

James Murdoch to the head of the Mafia? The Labour MP, Tom Watson,

:54:12.:54:16.

St James Murdoch, you must be the first Mafia boss in history who did

:54:16.:54:22.

not know he was running a criminal enterprise. -- saying to germs --

:54:22.:54:27.

saying to James Murdoch. Mr Murdoch said, I think that is inappropriate.

:54:27.:54:33.

No, he was not right. Forget whether it is true or not. In terms

:54:33.:54:37.

of coverage and demeaning himself in the hearing, he was completely

:54:37.:54:40.

wrong to do that because there was a lot of forensic questioning going

:54:40.:54:45.

on, serious questioning, and Tom Watson, who has really lead this,

:54:45.:54:49.

behaved stupidly in doing that. I am probably the only person in the

:54:49.:54:57.

country remains a fan of Rupert Murdoch and News International. We

:54:57.:55:01.

want a broad and a free and prosperous press in this country.

:55:01.:55:04.

If it was not for News International, for Rupert Murdoch,

:55:04.:55:10.

the Times would not exist. It loses millions of pounds every year.

:55:10.:55:13.

Murdoch puts that money in. The Times is a wonderful newspaper. I

:55:13.:55:18.

do not write for it. Just cutting through this, did you say he is a

:55:18.:55:22.

man who has done more to enrich our lives than any other single cumin

:55:22.:55:28.

being of the past generation? Absolutely. And he should be a hero

:55:28.:55:34.

for his commitment to freedom. Absolutely. We will take Sky, and

:55:34.:55:38.

when it was introduced it look like it would collapse his business. He

:55:38.:55:41.

was regarded as a maniac for gambling the business on it, and it

:55:41.:55:46.

is now regarded as a licence to print money. What went on at the

:55:46.:55:48.

News of the World was clearly criminal and the people involved

:55:48.:55:51.

should serve a long prison sentences. It brings disgrace to

:55:51.:55:56.

the profession of journalism. But that is not what freedom, not what

:55:56.:56:00.

the Times is about, not what Sky was about, not what many of the

:56:01.:56:04.

great things Rupert Murdoch has done for this country are about.

:56:04.:56:08.

Rachel Reeves, did Tom Watson go over the top by calling him a Mafia

:56:08.:56:14.

boss? There were a criminal activities going on at News

:56:14.:56:18.

International. I am not saying he is a mafia boss. I think what Tom

:56:18.:56:22.

Watson said was, are you a Mafia boss? He said, you must be the

:56:22.:56:27.

first Mafia boss in history. say that Rupert Murdoch is some

:56:27.:56:32.

great bring her of freedom. I would just say one other name to you,

:56:32.:56:37.

Milly Dowler. I said what went on at the News of the World was

:56:37.:56:41.

despicable and criminal and they should serve long prison sentences.

:56:41.:56:44.

Either James and Rupert Murdoch knew about it, which is disgraceful,

:56:44.:56:48.

or they did not know, in which case they were incompetent at running

:56:48.:56:57.

News International. You can have it one way or the other. Exactly

:56:57.:57:00.

Rachel's point. I used to run a news organisation and I would have

:57:00.:57:04.

been out of the door if something like this had gone on and I had not

:57:04.:57:06.

known about it. It is either incompetence or criminal and we

:57:07.:57:10.

will discover that through the legal process. I would object to

:57:10.:57:14.

the notion that what the Murdoch empire has achieved in this country

:57:14.:57:19.

is great and glorious. One good outcome from this will be to change

:57:19.:57:25.

the attitude of politicians to media moguls, and their insidious

:57:25.:57:29.

single individual influences on policy in this country we hope will

:57:29.:57:37.

be eliminated. I would say to Rupert Murdoch about James, it was

:57:37.:57:47.

the Sun wot lost it. We have the coalition here. Do you both have to

:57:47.:57:52.

answer? I think what has gone on his absolutely outrageous. People

:57:52.:57:56.

are sickened by what has happened within News International. I think,

:57:56.:58:00.

sadly, this has been a sideshow and a distraction from some serious

:58:00.:58:04.

questioning and it is important to continue with those questions.

:58:04.:58:09.

you believe Rupert Murdoch is one of the few genuinely great men of

:58:09.:58:16.

our times, as Stephen wrote? No. told you, I was the only person in

:58:16.:58:20.

the country. I think Tom let himself down today. To his credit,

:58:20.:58:25.

he has pursued this and has not let it go. I think perhaps he has got a

:58:25.:58:29.

bit close to it, because someone described him as having jumped a

:58:29.:58:33.

shock today. When you make comments like that, you begin to lose your

:58:33.:58:38.

integrity. He has done more than anyone else. He has been fantastic

:58:38.:58:44.

but sometimes we get carried away. I think he is angry, like most of

:58:44.:58:49.

us. On that happy note of unity, except for the Murdochs, we come to

:58:49.:58:53.

the end of Question Time because our time is up. Next week we will

:58:53.:58:58.

be in Aberystwyth, and the week after that in Bath. If you want to

:58:58.:59:08.
:59:08.:59:11.

Question Time is in Newcastle this week. The panel includes: Michael Moore, Secretary of State for Scotland; Rachel Reeves, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury; Nadine Dorries, Conservative MP; Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle; and Professor Colin Blakemore. Chaired by David Dimbleby.


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