12/01/2012 Question Time


12/01/2012

David Dimbleby chairs a debate in Tower Hamlets in east London. He is joined by Justine Greening, Paddy Ashdown, Douglas Alexander, Nicola Sturgeon and Kelvin MacKenzie.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

We are in London for this first edition of the new year. Welcome to

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Question Time. With me here, the Transport Secretary, Justine

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Greening. The Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander.

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Former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Paddy Ashdown. The

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Deputy First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon and the former

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editor of the Sun, now Daily Mail Thank you very much. First question

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tonight from Monika Flang, please. Nearly 33 billion is going to be

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spent on high speed rail to get to Birmingham 30 minutes earlier. Is

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there really no better way you can spend our money? �33 billion on

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high-speed rail to get to Birmingham. No better way to spend

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the money. Justine Greening, you can't give all the answers, but

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what is your answer to that basic question. If it was 33 billion to

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spend just going to Birmingham, it probably wouldn't be. It's 33

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billion to do the entire line up to Leeds and Manchester. That will

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save even more time for people and if you are heading up to Scotland

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it will be 30 minutes faster after phase one, and after phase two, an

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hour off the journey time and it will add the capacity that we need

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to the network. We are still on the Victorian network, built over 100

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years ago. It will make it faster and connect up some of the major

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cities in the way they've never had before. All in all, it's a really

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good thing we need to do. We have to plan ahead and that's what we

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are doing. The Victorians got the public to pay. They didn't do it

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through tax. They had companies set up. Why are the taxpayers having to

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do this? We are hoping we may get private sector contributions, but

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we have done the business case based on the assumption that the

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taxpayer may well have to pay and I think that's the right thing. If

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you look at the benefits, they are going to huge. I was up in

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Birmingham, talk ing to them about the kind of impact that High Speed

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Two can have on their city and the West Midlands. It is going to be

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transformational in the way in which it connects up the country,

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but most of all, we have got to get the capacity. The network was

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always going to get full. We can't wait. We have to plan ahead and

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that's what we are doing. The woman there. I don't really understand

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why it's a spending priority for the Government at the moment. It

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sounds like it's more of a nice to have, more than necessary given

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other cuts, with people losing their jobs and healthcare. Kelvin

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MacKenzie. Answer that. It's not a priority? I am puzzled at

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everything I hear from the Prime Minister and the coalition

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Government, that we are broke. Suddenly, to dream up 33 billion is

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a hell of an investment. I have one other issue, my other issue is this

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- I'm a daily commuter into London for work. It costs me �21 a day and

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every night I go home and it's not a BO issue, I have to stand. Why is

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it I'm treated like a sardine today? Why don't you take some of

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that money and make the stations and platforms longer and get the

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trains better? Why is it that this money has to be spent in this

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direction, where actually the powerhouse that will drive our

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country is London and the south- east and we are treated in such a

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disgraceful manner? That's what we are doing. You will not find one

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commuter in this country, in London and the south-east, who has one

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decent word for the train system. It's a nightmare. We are putting in

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the short-term investment. We got a deal with Bombardier and agreed

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with southern railways for more carriages, but isn't the sluection

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-- solution - When am I going to have extra carriages? We'll invest

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in nearly 3,000 extra carriages, but isn't the ultimate answer to

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your question, you took about standing. Surely the answer is more

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capacity. That's what high speed rail will do. Not for his commute.

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I don't want to go to Paris. Birmingham? Well - Not much by the

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sound. Let's come back to this. is important, because when we have

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high speed rail it is going to release capacity on the existing

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network two, so the critical issues you have got can't be solved any

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more by just adding more carriages. That network is full. We need a new

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line, in the same way the motorways took the pressure off the A roads.

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That is what the rail will do. running up and down. When people

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are coming in from Essex. And probably in Scotland. Douglas

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Alexander, what do you think? support this. In terms of the cost,

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it's right that it is an expensive project, but equally it's not due

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for completion even to Birmingham until 2026, so the expenditure will

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be phased. Secondly, if we want a more balanced economy, with every

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part of Britain contributing to that economic growth in the future,

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then one of the things we should be investing in, in the years ahead is

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the quality of the infrastructure. Look at the number of airports and

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railways in China and other countries. The other point is there

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is no free lunch. We upgraded the west coast main Lewin. -- West

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Coast Main Line. It's an expensive business. It is conducting open-

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heart surgery on a Victorian railway. That has increased the

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capacity there, but the East Coast Main Line is filling up rapidly and

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the Midland too. The Government had a choice and I think they made the

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correct choice, which is not simply in a rather British way to patch

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and mend, but to say, let's invest like others in 21st century

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infrastructure. It doesn't just benefit Birmingham. I have got

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assurances that trains will run through Birmingham, so trains can

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travel at high speed and then on the existing track. It will cut the

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journey time to Glasgow and Edinburgh by an hour. We want to

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see work starting work early on Manchester and Leeds so jobs are

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created not just in the south but in the north of England as well.

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There are real benefits that I think will be generated over the

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years ahead, not just in terms of the kind of expenditure and

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infrastructure we should be seeing at this time of economic downturn,

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but long-term economic benefits for the whole of the United Kingdom.

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The woman here. I do have a question regarding long-term

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benefits of the high speed rail link. Shouldn't we look more into

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international transport? Heathrow Airport is completely at capacity.

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Shouldn't we look to expand that, so we can get to India, China,

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South America, Russia. We can't fly to their airports. Shouldn't we

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look at, seeing as we are falling behind in GDP, look ing to expand

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that? Nicola Sturgeon? I support it. I don't think it's the be all and

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end all, but I believe it's good for the economy and I believe it

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will help link up different parts of the UK and help reduce

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unnecessary air travel as well, so for all the things I think it's

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good. I'm disappointed in the timescale set out earlier this week.

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I'm depressed to work out that I'll be 61 when it gets to Leeds and

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Manchester. It won't surprise anyone here for people to hear that

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I would like it to link up Scotland more quickly. We have had good

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discussions with Justine's colleagues this week to see how we

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can play our part in trying to get it to Scotland much more quickly. I

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have some sympathy when I hear people contrast this scale of

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investment with the cuts that people are living through and

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experiencing right now though. We have heard Justine and her

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colleagues this week talk about the economic importance of an

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investment like this. Not just the importance of having high speed

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rail, but the economic impact of this kind of investment and

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creating jobs around the construction. That does beg the

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question, why the Government is cutting capital investment right

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now, when the economy is teetering on the brink of recession by 30%.

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Let's have more capital investment to create jobs and keep the economy

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growing or get the economy growing. Political classes seem to be in

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favour. Among the questions from the people, there was a lot of

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opposition to it. The man in the blue. I'm against it because there

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seems to be a preoccupation with time with the politicians. Douglas

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Alexander goes on about the north- west and The Trainline going up

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there. I have used that for 30 years and the trains used to stop

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every train at Watford Junction. Now they don't any longer. There

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are two a day and one of them is ten to six in the morning. You want

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to get off there, do you? I want to go to Lime Street. What I have to

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do is get on at Watford and get a train to London Euston and go up to

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Lime Street. In the official literature it is saying that the

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train time now is 2 hours and 40 minutes. That is because it doesn't

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stop anywhere. People can't get on or off it.

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LAUGHTER I'll put it to Justine in one

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moment. Paddy Ashdown. Perhaps you know about the stopping places on

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the route to Liverpool? No, I don't, I have to say. Look, the question I

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think was is there another way. My answer is there is no other way

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that is better than this. First the cost. At present there is going to

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be no cost, because we are currently spending more Crossrail.

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When the Crossrail project is finished in 2014, I think or 15,

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that budget line is transferred to this. There is no extra cost at

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present. There will be an extra cost that comes on in 2015 and 16,

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because the budget spent on Crossrail will be transFord, but

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hopefully the economy will be -- transferred, but hopefully the

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economy will be growing. Kelvin's trains, we need to spend. You are

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absolutely dead right and the Government is doing that. But the

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fact that you are doing things to tackle the short-term problem

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doesn't mean you shouldn't plan for the long-term one. This is about

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long-term investment and giving the country a modern high-speed

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infrastructure of the sort that France and Germany has. I don't

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think doing what you want to see done, which I would argue the

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Government is making some attempts to do, deminutishes the long-term

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thinking. Then there is the very - You haven't travelled on my line.

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travel on my own line and it like that. There is no point in

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improving the air trant port to China, when businessmen can't

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travel in the same way they can travel efficiently in other

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countries. This about internal infrastructure. We are a crowded

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island and small. The roads are clogged up and the rail system is

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failing. Surely it is time to start investing in a proper, modern,

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futuristic, long-term infrastructure for the country?

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This does it and my view is that the reason why this is right is not

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because of the Government's cost analysis, it's because it would

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cost more not to do it in the long term. Justine Greening? Is it true

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that three quarters of a billion has already been spent before even

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a hole has been dug in the earth on the planning? We will spend that

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over the course of the Parliament. We spent some of it already. We

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have done a public consultation, but we have to do a lot of detailed

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work to understand the very detailed environmental impact and

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that is costly. How much will it cost to go to Birmingham standard?

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The total project is 16.3 billion. If he wanted to go to Birmingham.

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We projected that you would spend on the existing kind of journey, so

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we are not doing an uplift. costs �80 roughly and it will cost

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that when this comes on-line? have worked on the assumption you

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would pay a comparable price. The point on the existing network, one

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of the reasons we have lost connectivity we keep on having to

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prioritise the carriages to stop at the places where most people are.

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The best way to get more capacity for people like you is to relieve

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the pressures on the existing network already there and that

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means high speed rail. He is shaking his head. That is not true.

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You are taking public money and there is a Government subsidy that

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goes to Virgin Trains at the moment of �20 million a year. Public money

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is going into the trains. I'm not getting any service whatsoever. For

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30 years trains stopped at Watford Junction. They are not stopping

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there any longer. Let's leave Watford for one moment. We have a

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number of others there. I want to come back on Paddy's point, because

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basically in France, yes, we have got a high-spread train and it's

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really good, but it was costing me �30 to go on the same distance to

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work. Here it is costing me �130. We should first make a point on the

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commuting as a basic community where Westminster are using it

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every day. You pay four times in The High Speed Two is estimated to

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cost the taxpayer �1,000 each. If you want to generate the North,

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wipe out some VAT and income taxes for the lowest paid instead if you

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really want to regenerate the North now. Interestingly, that's not what

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the North thinks. If you go to Manchester, Birmingham, Nicola's

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talking about the benefits of high- speed rail and what it can do for

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Scotland, that's not what people who live in that part of the

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country think. They recognise just how vital this project is for them,

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for connecting them up, for allowing their country and

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companies to compete. High-speed one phase one will create 40,000

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jobs alone. We have to do this, we have to solve that gentleman's

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capacity problems. The best way is to get more capacity, meaning a new

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line. If you are going to have a new line, why would you have a

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conventional speed line when you can have a high-speed line? We'll

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bring you back in 26 whenever it is and see whether your problem has

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been solved... Buy you a ticket. Xanthe Mosley, please? Who would be

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worse off if a marriage breaks up - England or Scotland? Kelvin

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MacKenzie? Well, I think that, to be truthful, I think that David

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Cameron's playing a very cunning game. I don't think he's in favour

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of unity at all. In fact, he'd be absolutely nuts from his

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perspective to be in favour of unity. Scotland has 41 Labour MPs.

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They disappear in a tries and that would then lead to England being a

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Conservative-controlled administration for as long as the

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eye can see -- in a trice. So he's winning and saying, I want you to

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all be unified. But behind his back, he's saying to the colleague, the

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quicker we dump the Jocks, the better. When you think of the

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advantage that any politician would make-over any other politician at

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anything else, this time it's fantastic. He'd have an in-built

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Conservative majority for ever and a day. That's not true. We have to

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think about this, it's only once since the war that a Labour

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Government's needed Labour votes in Scotland, Labour seats in Scotland

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to stay in Government. Only Cameron this time, Cameron this time in

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2010, would not have needed to form a coalition if you wipe out all the

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Scottish MPs. Well, yes. Every Labour Government has had a

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majority in England? Right, but hold on a second. I'm playing

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Leveson. Where do you get this stuff from?! Tell you what, I'm

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going to have to have a word with my researcher.

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APPLAUSE The point is, Labour would be

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massively under the cosh and, of course, if you reverse the idea and

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ask the English do they wish to have these rather recalcitrant

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neighbours who seem to be doing well with the free prescriptions

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and university places for their people, not our people, you would

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find it goes 70-30 in the other direction. I wish the Scots every

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success as an independent country. I do not believe we need unity in

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order to conduct ourselves in a reasonable manner. Scotland's a

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lovely place and I think they should have their own independence.

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I'm a massive admirer of Alex Salmond. The only politician in my

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lifetime who's had one policy and stuck to it. God bless you, Alex,

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let's have your free country. APPLAUSE

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I was relying on Jock bashing from Kelvin to send Scottish

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independence through the roof. You have disappointed me. David ruined

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my argument before. That was the only argument you had,

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was it? Yes. Oh, I see. Nicola Sturgeon?

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Who will be worse off? We'll both be better off. Scotland would get

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to stand on our own two feet, take responsibility. England it's often

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said would lose a lodger and gain a neighbour is. England would no

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longer have... Do you see yourself as a surly lodger? No, other people

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do, I'm talking about Kelvin again. England wouldn't have Scottish MPs

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like Douglas in the House of Commons voting to impose tuition

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fees on English students when he can't do it in Scotland because the

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Scottish Parliament hasen sured that tuition for Scottish students

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is free. After independence, England and Scotland will be the

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best of friends at the closest -- and the closest of allies and we'll

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both be better off. Perhaps Scotland on occasion can show a

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protkpresive alternative to some of the policies -- progressive. We are

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not privatising our National Health Service, for example. We have shown

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the way in other things as well, banning smoking in public places,

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taking tough action on minimum pricing for alcohol. We care for

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our elderly with free personal care, so sometimes we can show the better

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alternative. At the English expense. Scotland's not sub Sid sized at all,

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it pays her way and I won't let anybody say any different. Would

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Douglas Alexander say any different. Scotland pays its way and show a

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better example on many issues than Labour and the Tories? I think

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Scotland and England would be diminished if we see the break-up

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of Britain. There are issues of accountancy. We'd all benefit from

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sharing risks, rewards and resources in this multinational,

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multiethnic, multidull churl union of ours. This is not an issue of

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accountancy. It's far more profound than that. This is about what we

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believe and who we are -- multicultural. I'm proudly and

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passionately Scottish but I've never believed to build up Scotland

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you have to break up Britain. It's not simply that our parents and

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grandparents fought together against fascism and then worked

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together to build a National Health Service, it's not simply that we

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share common institutions from the monarchy and Armed Forces to the

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BBC and to the National Health Service. It's, I believe, a

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quintessentially modern idea that we work together, that we are

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stronger together and would be weaker apart in the 21st century.

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That's why I think it's important that we reject a politics of grudge

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and grievance and narrow nationalism on whichever side of

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the border we find it and may common cause and say in the 21st

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century we are stronger together and would be weaker apart.

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APPLAUSE The man up there in the back? You,

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Sir? Nicola Sturgeon makes a very impassioned case for Scottish

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independence. I'm confused why they are trying to delay the referendum

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to 2014. I put forward the point that it's down to the opinion polls

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that show that support for Scottish independence is down to 38% and you

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want to take the long-term case forward. I'll let you into a secret,

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autumn 2014, we think Scotland's going to win the World Cup in the

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summer of 2014. In the raeld world, there's two reasons why -- real

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world. It's probably safe then. reasons why we have said awe full

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2014. The first was, it was an election commitment. We said the

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referendum would be in the second half But it wasn't in your

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manifesto. It was a commitment made by the First Minister, he made it

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clear. Four days before the election he suddenly said it would

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be in the second half. You thought you might win? The second half of

0:22:200:22:27

the Parliamentary. It might be a novel concept but we think it's a

0:22:270:22:31

good idea to keep promises. SNP? The other point is a practical

0:22:310:22:35

point. We are about to consult on the arpbsments for the referendum -

0:22:350:22:39

- arrangements for the referendum. We are going to have legislation

0:22:390:22:42

over the course of next year. In 2007, the Scottish Parliament

0:22:420:22:45

elections were a bit of an administrative disaster. Douglas

0:22:450:22:48

was in charge of them but we won't go there just now. There was a

0:22:480:22:52

report and that said there has to be six months between legislation

0:22:520:22:57

for an election or referendum and that taking place. We don't want

0:22:570:23:00

into coincide with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Autumn 2014 is

0:23:000:23:04

when it's going to be and let the people of Scotland decide. You are

0:23:040:23:08

frightened. Let the people have the debate. The border question

0:23:080:23:11

dominates. Do you think the Scottish aren't intelligent enough

0:23:110:23:15

to reach a decision. You are like a doctor that says, I can cure your

0:23:150:23:20

illness but I won't give it to you for two years.

0:23:200:23:26

What's the problem in waiting, Douglas Alexander? If Nicola is the

0:23:260:23:30

Deputy First Minister and Alex Salmond is the First Minister, her

0:23:300:23:35

whole raison detre in politics is to take the difficult decisions in

0:23:350:23:37

Government... Difficult decisions in Government are made every day.

0:23:380:23:41

We hear rubbish from the other parties about the economic

0:23:410:23:43

uncertainty. The Institute of Directors in Scotland have said

0:23:430:23:46

that is rubbish. I have a long list of companies investing in Scotland.

0:23:460:23:51

Scotland is doing well. It can do better with independence, I look

0:23:510:23:57

forward to the referendum. doesn't the UK Government encourage

0:23:570:24:07
0:24:070:24:09

Scotland to take a - maybe we can have another Bank Holiday to

0:24:090:24:16

celebrate the fact we are not subsidising Scotland any more.

0:24:160:24:19

Dueblg with subsidise Scotland -- do you believe we cub Sidise

0:24:190:24:22

Scotland? At the end of the day, we have a single economy. We both

0:24:220:24:26

benefit in terms of trade between Scotland and England. I do want to

0:24:260:24:30

see us stick together but a lot of people, as the gentleman said at

0:24:300:24:35

the back, are slightly confused about how can Alex Salmond feel

0:24:350:24:37

passionate about independence but doesn't seem to want to get on with

0:24:370:24:42

it. This week, we have said, right, we are going to consult on how

0:24:420:24:45

welcome remove a key legal barrier that might mean the referendum

0:24:450:24:49

might not be legal, we are going to consult on how to make it legal,

0:24:490:24:54

decisive and fair. I do think it's time that Scottish people had their

0:24:540:24:58

say, sooner rather than later. I think the reason for that, is that

0:24:580:25:02

business is in danger of being harmed in Scotland and the CBI in

0:25:020:25:08

Scotland are saying that. I think it's intuetive. If you have such a

0:25:080:25:11

fundamental question facing the country you are interested in or

0:25:110:25:14

investing in, you are bound to wonder what your plans ought to be

0:25:140:25:17

going forward if you don't know what the situation will be.

0:25:170:25:21

The man on the right? I think the argument for Scotland remaining in

0:25:210:25:27

the UK is eminently winnable in 2011. The problem we have in

0:25:270:25:31

Scotland in the Scottish Parliament is with don't have anyone credible

0:25:310:25:34

to articulate it. David Cameron is not the man to articulate it. Until

0:25:340:25:38

we find someone who does, the SNP will continue delaying until the

0:25:380:25:42

reisn'tment of a Tory government is at its maximum in 2014 and try and

0:25:420:25:45

use that opportunity to get a vote. People like Douglas Alexander have

0:25:450:25:48

gone down to Westminster and not fought? This is the problem.

0:25:480:25:53

would rather he went up there, would you? Paddy Ashdown?

0:25:530:25:58

answer to Xanthe Mosley's question is, who would suffer most, the

0:25:580:26:01

answer is, we both would. I've had experience of separatists who break

0:26:010:26:06

up their country and it's not a happy one. We are immensely strong.

0:26:060:26:09

You are talking about Bosnia- Herzegovina? I won't draw

0:26:090:26:14

comparisons but I have experience in those areas and it's not a happy

0:26:140:26:19

circumstance. The thing to learn today is to work together and not

0:26:190:26:22

break apart. We are immensely stronger together than we would be

0:26:220:26:27

apart. In what way? The United Kingdom stands much taller as a

0:26:270:26:32

United Kingdom than it would as a... Look, I have to tell you, I'm as

0:26:320:26:36

opposed to little Englanders as I am to little Scotland,, frankly and

0:26:360:26:41

I'm a Great Britain man. We stand taller doond better if we stand

0:26:410:26:47

together than breaking apart -- taller and do better if we stand

0:26:470:26:50

together than breaking apart. This debate is going to develop. It's

0:26:500:26:54

the most important debate we've had in Britain, constitutional debate

0:26:540:27:00

for 300 years. The people are going to make this decision - are the

0:27:000:27:03

Scottish people alone, speaking with a sovereign voice. But it's

0:27:030:27:06

right that the rest of Great Britain has a part in this, and the

0:27:070:27:10

United Kingdom Prime Minister has a part in it too. There's a legal

0:27:100:27:14

position that Justine's talked about. What worries me is that this

0:27:140:27:20

debate's now got off at a very, very bad pace. We have got two high

0:27:200:27:24

pressureed egos fighting each other on the TV screens. By the way,

0:27:240:27:28

recognise this, as well as being the biggest debate in our

0:27:280:27:31

constitutional future, it's a high profile debate, high noon, only one

0:27:310:27:36

of the two men will be standing at the end. David Cameron cannot

0:27:360:27:41

continue as Prime Minister of grun if he loses and, in my view, Alex

0:27:410:27:46

Salmond can't continue as Scottish Prime Minister. -- Prime Minister

0:27:460:27:51

of Great Britain. What is the... Let me answer this... You are

0:27:510:27:56

answering your own questions. gentleman was asking who's handled

0:27:560:28:03

this right, the answer is Michael Moore. He's taken a bungled launch

0:28:030:28:06

and bought this down to the level of statesmanship. We need to

0:28:070:28:11

discuss not who will win this referendum, but how can we give the

0:28:110:28:14

Scottish people the been fit of a referendum that is quick, as you

0:28:140:28:18

need to answer that question quickly, that is fair, in other

0:28:180:28:23

words it's overseen by the right body, and that is de-ice i? If

0:28:230:28:26

David will allow many, I'll try and address those. I'll come back

0:28:260:28:36
0:28:360:28:45

because you have had a long say if you don't mind -- -- decisive.

0:28:450:28:48

believe every country should be independent and the Scottish people

0:28:480:28:54

should be independent. I believe that if Scotland is going to be

0:28:540:28:58

Scotland, Wales should be Wales and Ireland should be Ireland. But

0:28:580:29:06

having said that, it's Scotland for 300 years who've been British, as

0:29:060:29:12

we are. So if Scotland after 300 years want their independence, how

0:29:120:29:20

long is it going to take the European Union countries of 27 to

0:29:200:29:24

realise that they are individual countries and they should have

0:29:240:29:28

their independence and make their own laws? They all leave the

0:29:280:29:34

European Union? Absolutely. In time they will, because we are all as

0:29:340:29:38

countries of one independent people. Douglas Alexander? I don't feel any

0:29:380:29:42

less Scottish because we are part of this United Kingdom. The truth

0:29:420:29:45

is, Paddy is correct to the extent that this is a momentous choice

0:29:450:29:52

that we face. But I think while we can celebrate our diversity on

0:29:520:29:54

those islands, we can strong do better and be stronger in the

0:29:550:29:58

future by working together. I didn't come into politics tond

0:29:580:30:02

Britain, I'm motivated by ending poverty, providing opportunity, but

0:30:020:30:05

something changed in Scotland in May. The Scottish National party

0:30:050:30:09

won a political mandate for a referendum. That is why I think

0:30:090:30:12

it's right to recognise the scale and significance of the choice that

0:30:120:30:18

we face and that is why I think it's vital that we reject a

0:30:180:30:21

politics of grudge and grievance and I think we have to conduct a

0:30:210:30:25

different quality of debate on this issue. So when Alex Salmond's

0:30:250:30:28

personal ministerial aide this afternoon in the Scottish

0:30:280:30:31

Parliament stood up and questioned the patriotism of those of us in

0:30:310:30:34

Labour who don't want to take Scotland out of the United Kingdom,

0:30:340:30:39

I just think that is despicable and wrong. I would ask Nicola this

0:30:390:30:43

evening not to question the patriotism of the millions of Scots

0:30:430:30:49

who stand tall within the United Kingdom. The fact is, Alex Salmond

0:30:490:30:53

won an historic victory last May, nobody should pretend otherwise,

0:30:530:30:57

but he won it despite a commitment to independence, not because of it.

0:30:580:31:02

That's why support for independence tonight... We can't go on about

0:31:020:31:11

I want to agree with Paddy Ashdown. This is the most important decision

0:31:110:31:16

Scotland will have taken in 300 years and I want it to be a

0:31:160:31:19

positive debate. I I think it's a perfectly legitimate opinion for

0:31:190:31:22

somebody to say that Scotland should stay within the United

0:31:220:31:26

Kingdom. I don't believe it is anti-Scottish for people to want to

0:31:260:31:30

stay within the United Kingdom. What I think is wrong and what I

0:31:300:31:36

think - Was she wrong? What does a great disservice and you hear this

0:31:360:31:40

more often from politicians in Scotland than south of the border,

0:31:400:31:44

is when people say Scotland cannot be independent, that we are too

0:31:440:31:48

small or too poor or we are too weak. This should be a positive

0:31:480:31:53

debate. I'll make it positively, because I believe independence -

0:31:530:31:59

Was she wrong? The essence of independence is taking the matter

0:31:590:32:05

in Scotland. Please, say it. She was wrong. The links are strong,

0:32:050:32:09

but I believe Scotland should be proud. Would you answer his

0:32:090:32:15

question? APPLAUSE

0:32:150:32:23

John McAlpine was saying that politicians that politicians who

0:32:230:32:29

talk -- talk Scotland down are anti-Scottish. "I absolutely make

0:32:290:32:35

no apology for saying that the Liberal Democrats, Labour and the

0:32:350:32:39

Tories are anti-Scottish." She should be ashamed of herself.

0:32:390:32:44

talking Scotland down. That is what Joan mac an pine was talking about.

0:32:440:32:50

-- Joan McAlpine was talking about. The woman there. I'm still confused

0:32:500:32:53

about this argument that we want Scotland to stay as part of the

0:32:530:32:59

union. I don't know where I stand, but there is a lot of talk about we

0:32:590:33:04

are stronger together and it's all quite airy fairy and there doesn't

0:33:040:33:09

seem to be any strong argument. Is it that Scotland - I don't know, is

0:33:090:33:12

it that you think Barack Obama is thinking, "Oh, well they have

0:33:120:33:18

Scotland on their side, so I want to talk to them."? Paddy Ashdown,

0:33:180:33:22

you were the one who said it was visceral with you that the UK

0:33:220:33:29

should stay together. Economically stronger, politically stronger.

0:33:290:33:34

Why? If you are thinking about making a contribution to a

0:33:340:33:37

situation which threatens security of this country, there is just no

0:33:370:33:41

doubt in my mind that the United Kingdom armed forces will make a

0:33:410:33:43

better contribution than the individual armed forces of England

0:33:430:33:47

and Scotland. If you are talking about having a voice in the world

0:33:470:33:51

which is peace and issues related to the reform of the economy,

0:33:510:33:54

Britain's voice is going to be far stronger than the individual voices

0:33:540:34:01

of gland and Scotland, so that is the issue. Can I come back to a

0:34:010:34:05

really key issue, because all of these will be argued out in the

0:34:050:34:10

great campaign ahead. I'm really concerned to make sure that we get

0:34:100:34:14

the structure and context of that campaign right. What worries me and

0:34:140:34:20

if I may address this to Nicola, what worries me about the present

0:34:200:34:25

propositions are they seem designed with too much politics in mind and

0:34:250:34:29

too little trying to arrive at the right conclusion for the Scottish

0:34:290:34:33

people. Two issues worry me. Frankly, the timing issue doesn't,

0:34:330:34:37

if you fixed it by autumn 2014, I don't think we should make a great

0:34:370:34:41

issue. But not allowing the United Kingdom's Electoral Commission to

0:34:420:34:45

oversee this. If you are not going to and I'm sure you are not, going

0:34:450:34:49

to gerrymander and put your own cronies in to your own committee to

0:34:490:34:55

oversee the fairness of the referendum, why do you feel the --

0:34:550:34:58

fear the commission? Secondly and the bit that really worries me, you

0:34:580:35:02

seem to be proposing a three- question referendum. I was looking

0:35:020:35:11

up the figures. There have been six broadly constitutional multi-choice

0:35:110:35:14

referendums in four of those six they needed a second to sort out

0:35:140:35:19

and decide on the answer to the first. The answer is simple,

0:35:190:35:24

because what you get is 45% voting for A and 35 for B and 25 or

0:35:240:35:28

whatever it is that is left over for C. A is accepted at 45, but

0:35:280:35:32

more people voted against it. A three-question referendum does

0:35:320:35:36

absolutely nothing. This is the idea of a third question, if you

0:35:360:35:44

don't want independence. Nicola Sturgeon doesn't want one. That is

0:35:440:35:54
0:35:540:35:55

what they are proposing. "We want a straight yes or no." I believe in

0:35:550:35:59

independence for Scotland. We know that. We are not beginners in this

0:35:590:36:03

argument. Let me get a word in and I'll answer the question. That is

0:36:030:36:06

the question we want to see on the paper, but there is a strong body

0:36:060:36:12

of opinion in Scotland that says we should have more powers. That is a

0:36:120:36:18

different issue. Why? You have had devolution and Wales had a

0:36:180:36:21

referendum on whether it should get more powers. That was a specific

0:36:210:36:26

issue. This is a question about independence. It is quite different.

0:36:260:36:30

Why should by restrict the options Answer one question at a time.

0:36:300:36:35

of the politicians in their Scottish forms spent the last four

0:36:350:36:40

years trying to block a referendum. Now they want to restrict the

0:36:400:36:44

options. We believe it's the right of thepm to -- right of the people

0:36:440:36:51

to choose. We must close this down, because we'll go on forever. Surely

0:36:510:36:56

you understand that a three- question referendum leads to an

0:36:560:37:00

indecisive result. Is that what you want? We are about to consult. Let

0:37:000:37:05

people have their view. Would you recognise that? We have heard the

0:37:050:37:07

voluntary organisations in Scotland and the church there saying that

0:37:070:37:11

option should not be closed down. The referendum to set up the

0:37:110:37:19

Scottish parl ment -- Parliament, as people - asked people if they

0:37:190:37:23

wanted a Parliament and then one with taxation powers. The people

0:37:230:37:26

are perfectly capable of making the decisions. What is wrong with

0:37:260:37:29

allowing the people to have the choice? Paddy Ashdown has said what

0:37:290:37:34

he sees as wrong. There is one other issue, Justine Greening, you

0:37:340:37:37

were at the Treasury, and that's the question of Scotland, if it

0:37:370:37:41

does choose independence, does it A have to join the EU or as Alex

0:37:410:37:45

Salmond said last night, is it already in the EU? Secondly, does

0:37:450:37:51

it have to join the euro, or can it keep sterling? The Chancellor

0:37:510:37:56

seemed to be suggesting that they could not keep the pound unless

0:37:560:38:00

Westminster allowed it. What is the position? In terms of Scotland and

0:38:000:38:05

the EU, if you look at the population it would probably have

0:38:050:38:08

voting rights like Slovenia, substantially lower than the UK at

0:38:090:38:12

the moment and in terms of the currency, I think the Chancellor

0:38:120:38:15

was talking about the policy that we understand Alex Salmond has,

0:38:150:38:19

which is that he wants to go into the euro. I don't think it was a

0:38:200:38:23

threat that Scotland would be out of the pound, sterling system. I

0:38:230:38:27

think it was more reflecting the promise that Alex Salmond has made

0:38:270:38:32

to take Scotland into the euro. they wanted to retain sterling for

0:38:320:38:35

fairly obvious reasons, given the current state of the euro. Would it

0:38:350:38:38

be a question for Westminster to decide or would it be accepted that

0:38:380:38:42

Scotland could have the power? think it would be one of those

0:38:420:38:46

questions that we would have to have a discussion with the Scottish

0:38:460:38:52

Government about. It's not axiomatic? There is a difference

0:38:520:38:56

between a country that decides it wants independence, which is its

0:38:560:39:02

right to vote on. A difference between that and a country deciding

0:39:020:39:05

alongside other countries in a currency bloc about whether the

0:39:050:39:10

rest of the countries in that pound area want Scotland to remain within

0:39:100:39:14

it. It would be a rough little negotiation. I think what it shows

0:39:140:39:21

is that there are a number of very serious, important questions that

0:39:210:39:24

will arise as part of the independence, which is is it is

0:39:240:39:28

better to have it sooner. Kelvin MacKenzie you have been silent for

0:39:280:39:36

a very long time. I don't want to see the family fallouts. I don't

0:39:360:39:39

know whether anyone has tried to pass a Scottish five pound note in

0:39:390:39:44

London, which is a big enough problem. I wonder what trying to

0:39:440:39:49

pass off a Scottish euro would be like. There isn't any such thing,

0:39:490:39:59
0:39:590:40:02

as you well know. There might well be. My sense about England right

0:40:020:40:06

now is that they wish Scotland to be independent. They want them to

0:40:060:40:10

go out there and make their way in the world and see if they are as

0:40:100:40:14

clever as they believe they are and personally I wish them well.

0:40:140:40:19

have got to move on. I know you all have much more to say and no doubt

0:40:190:40:24

we'll come back to it many, many times, but Question Time depends on

0:40:240:40:27

answering questions from the audience. If you are twittering

0:40:270:40:37
0:40:370:40:39

remember the hash tag: A question from Jessica Caruth. Can the

0:40:390:40:45

tabloids survive the Leveson Inquiry? Douglas Alexander. You

0:40:450:40:49

have heard what has been going on this week. And all the allegations,

0:40:490:40:53

this week, the last two months. What do you make? The biggest

0:40:530:40:56

threat is not the inquiry, but the fact that increasing numbers of

0:40:560:41:00

people are choosing not to buy newspapers. It is the logic of

0:41:000:41:04

economics that is causing such difficulties for newspapers, rather

0:41:040:41:10

than an inquiry which I think was necessary and overdue. I think when

0:41:100:41:13

we see what emerged last summer in terms of hacking, it was right and

0:41:130:41:17

necessary that action be taken. Not because celebrities or politicians

0:41:170:41:22

needed to be protected, but as we have seen in the inquiry, because

0:41:220:41:27

ordinary people had their lives torn apart by practises and ethics

0:41:270:41:37
0:41:370:41:38

that are unjies final. I don't think responsible -- unjustifiable.

0:41:380:41:40

I don't think responsible newspapers have a thing to worry

0:41:400:41:46

about. We need a fearless and independent press. It's not a

0:41:460:41:50

popular thing to say, but we need good journalists holding public

0:41:500:41:54

figures and others to account. Uncovering wrongdoing. Journalism

0:41:540:41:59

matters, but my sense is that the journalism of the future is not

0:41:590:42:05

necessarily going to be bearing much resemblance to that which we

0:42:050:42:15
0:42:150:42:16

grew up. Younger people find it odd to pay for their news. In that

0:42:160:42:20

sense I think it's economics not the inquiry that journalists have

0:42:200:42:28

to worry about it. Kelvin MacKenzie, you appeared before Leveson. Your

0:42:280:42:30

music-hall act is on YouTube doing your John Major, for anyone who

0:42:300:42:35

wants to see it. What do you make of the effect of Leveson? You

0:42:350:42:39

seemed to rather give up the ghost and say that newspapers should be

0:42:390:42:43

fined if they gave false information to the PCC and all

0:42:430:42:46

that? That's not giving up the ghost. I was asked to make a

0:42:460:42:50

suggestion, which I thought might be helpful and that was my

0:42:500:42:56

suggestion, that since newspapers are commercial entities that if

0:42:560:43:00

they did something which misled the regulator, they should be fined in

0:43:000:43:05

the same way as they would be fined by Ofcom. The state would come in?

0:43:050:43:10

Not necessarily, but there would be a sort of arrangement. I suspect

0:43:100:43:16

that is what will happen. I do not expect Lord Leveson to come back

0:43:160:43:20

with licencing journalists or anything like that. I don't think

0:43:200:43:24

it's happening. Nor do I believe, in a sense it's going to fight an

0:43:240:43:27

old battle - there was an organised criminality. I don't know how many

0:43:270:43:32

people have been arrested so far. 17 people arrested and when they

0:43:320:43:34

start rounding up the rest of the police officers I suspect that

0:43:340:43:43

number may well go into the mid-20s. This investigation by the police is

0:43:430:43:48

the biggest single investigation by money in the history of the Met. It

0:43:480:43:52

is bigger than - it's bigger than Lockerbie and that kind of thing

0:43:520:43:56

and the great train robbery. This has been taken seriously. On the

0:43:560:44:01

question of what is the future of news - news can be delivered in

0:44:010:44:08

lots of different ways now. I agree. For newspapers, these are tough

0:44:080:44:13

times. However, if you are going to have news, you are still going to

0:44:130:44:16

need journalists and in a sense they are going to have to be

0:44:160:44:21

continued to be regulated. I do not believe that Lord Leveson, who

0:44:210:44:26

after all has made his entire career, out of the analysis of free

0:44:260:44:29

speech, the ability to go into a witness box and listen to evidence,

0:44:290:44:35

I do not believe he is going to do anything to curtail it and the Lord

0:44:350:44:38

Chief Justice has already made that clear. This is a massive wake-up

0:44:380:44:42

call. Perhaps it's a wake-up call for people like me. Certainly it is

0:44:420:44:48

for all the editors that I know, that the game has changed and that

0:44:480:44:58
0:44:580:45:07

the consumer himself or herself What did you make of what the

0:45:070:45:14

Editor of the Daily Express said today? He described the Daily Mail

0:45:140:45:21

as Britain's worst enemy, the tone of everything was so negative.

0:45:210:45:26

he's a competitor, he's hardly likely to say it's the greatest

0:45:260:45:29

paper under God's earth, he owns the Daily Express. The reality is

0:45:290:45:34

that the Daily Mail was massively successful, a counterer cyclical,

0:45:340:45:38

by the way, to the rest of the newspaper industry, selling well

0:45:380:45:44

over two million a day and, Richard Desmond who I know and like, his

0:45:440:45:48

paper sells 600,000. So the consumer is deciding what they

0:45:480:45:52

prefer. Is there such a thing as a

0:45:520:46:00

responsible editor any more though? Kelvin was when he was at the Sun?

0:46:000:46:05

If somebody comes with a story, the paper will probably run it because

0:46:050:46:08

they'll think, if they don't come to us, they'll go to another

0:46:080:46:11

newspaper. Where does this stop? Is it our fault because that's what we

0:46:110:46:15

want to read or your fault because you are publishing it? Kelvin gave

0:46:150:46:19

in his submission to Leveson, he said if a story sounded right, it

0:46:190:46:24

probably was right and we'd lob it in and I didn't spend too much time

0:46:240:46:29

pondering the ethics of how the story was gained. This is all you,

0:46:290:46:39
0:46:390:46:42

isn't it? Yes. You can watch it on ub tube. We felt -- ub tube. It's a

0:46:420:46:51

very cavalier attitude -- YouTube. It's uncomfortable to me. I can't

0:46:510:46:56

disagree with a word Kelvin's just said. Kelvin, just because the

0:46:560:47:00

question was would the tabloids survive, not would the news survive

0:47:000:47:03

- news will always survive and it grows in all sorts of different

0:47:030:47:09

ways in Twitter and the other new media ways as well, but will the

0:47:090:47:12

tabloids survive. My worry is that the tabloids will be the last to

0:47:120:47:17

survive. The people who'll go first with the broad sheets, the serious

0:47:170:47:21

newspapers, for the reason Douglas talked about, people aren't paying

0:47:210:47:24

for newspapers any more. The reality is, if you are in

0:47:240:47:27

newspapers on the one hand and books, and I write books, better

0:47:270:47:31

get used to the fact that the artefact, the piece of paper, is

0:47:310:47:36

going to be a thing of the past in ten or 15 years. That is one of the

0:47:360:47:40

reasons why the tabloid press has gone down market. That's one of the

0:47:400:47:45

reasons why they've broken some of the rules. The way you sell in this

0:47:450:47:48

increasingly competitive market place, is to be more sensationalist.

0:47:480:47:52

That doesn't sound as though I'm with Kelvin but I am to this extent.

0:47:520:47:55

I think the press is properly called the fourth estate. It holds

0:47:550:47:59

us to account. Frankly, I am dissatisfied that our Parliament is

0:47:590:48:03

good enough at holding the executive to account. We need a

0:48:030:48:06

powerful press. Sometimes, and this is a rather unusual thing perhaps

0:48:060:48:09

for me to say, sometimes I think having a powerful press that is

0:48:090:48:13

prepared to investigate means taking the risk of having from time

0:48:130:48:16

to time an irresponsible press. Now, they've gone beyond the limits,

0:48:160:48:20

they have to be, but I would be wholly opposed to any legislative

0:48:200:48:24

control of our press. We have to find other means to do this. The

0:48:240:48:31

preservation of the right of free speech, even especially win it's

0:48:310:48:35

uncomfortable to those in power is a crucial part of our democracy.

0:48:350:48:42

I'm clear Leveson will not go that far but there is a danger that the

0:48:420:48:48

pendulum will be allowed to swing too far and I strongly oppose it.

0:48:480:48:53

You at the very back? Kelvin said the game has changed. Isn't that

0:48:530:48:58

just it, that the press seem to act as if it's a game? Where are the

0:48:580:49:01

morals and responsibilities for the things they print and where's that

0:49:010:49:07

gone and how do we get that back? APPLAUSE

0:49:070:49:11

Justine Greening? Part of this question is what sort of a press do

0:49:110:49:17

we think we deserve? I think at the end of the day, part of what the

0:49:170:49:20

Leveson Inquiry can do is to part to build some trust between the

0:49:200:49:23

public and the newspapers they rely on to get their news from. One of

0:49:230:49:28

the questions we've all got to ask ourselves is, what standards of

0:49:280:49:31

journalism do we want and if we are buying papers that we know to have

0:49:310:49:36

low standards, in a sense, we are going to perpetuate that. I

0:49:360:49:40

actually hope, in many respects, that the broad sheets, where there

0:49:400:49:44

is more investment, can keep going. But I think what Leveson is doing

0:49:440:49:49

is absolutely right. It's time we got to the bottom of all of this.

0:49:490:49:52

There are clearly sharp practises that have happened across the

0:49:520:49:55

industry, not just necessarily in the tabloids. We have got to get

0:49:550:49:59

all of that out in the open, see what Lord Leveson thinks. He'll

0:49:590:50:02

report back in September this year and then I think we'll have some

0:50:020:50:05

very difficult discussions around how we can make sure we protect the

0:50:050:50:08

freedom of the press but make sure the press have some standards that

0:50:080:50:13

we can really rely on. Remember, it's not only about the Hugh Grants

0:50:130:50:17

of this world. One of the important modules of this will be the

0:50:170:50:21

relationship between the press and the politicians, including, of

0:50:210:50:28

course, your own Prime Minister, the leader of Conservative Party

0:50:280:50:31

who's wooed the Murdoch empiefr then immediately, as the wind

0:50:310:50:35

changed in its direction, called in Leveson as it began to come

0:50:350:50:39

slightly close on him -- Murdoch empire. He'll be in big trouble

0:50:390:50:45

himself and I suspect Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and the others will have

0:50:450:50:48

serious questions to answer. I believe there should be a massive

0:50:480:50:51

separation between the press and the politicians, rather than

0:50:510:50:56

everybody getting into each other's bed all the time. Nicola Sturgeon

0:50:560:51:02

wooed Murdoch as well didn't you? You are blushing? No, the Sun

0:51:020:51:06

backed the SNP in the election. there were no communications

0:51:060:51:10

between... I think any politician that would sit here and try to say

0:51:100:51:13

they had no conversations with the Murdoch press would be telling you

0:51:130:51:16

untruths. We all did. That's one thing that politicians have to

0:51:160:51:18

reflecten in terms of the relationship between politicians

0:51:180:51:21

and the press. I don't think there's anybody who doesn't have

0:51:210:51:29

some lessons to learn about what we saw unfold last year. P tabloids

0:51:290:51:32

brought Leveson on themselves, no two ways about that. I think it was

0:51:320:51:38

Paddy that said one of the ironies I suppose is that the way they were

0:51:380:51:41

hounding people who perhaps should have been held to account to some

0:51:410:51:45

extent, those people were getting off the hook. I hope Leveson does

0:51:450:51:49

act to improve the standards by which the tabloids operate, but

0:51:490:51:53

others have said it before, Leveson's not the big challenge for

0:51:530:51:56

the traditional media, that's the different ways in which people

0:51:560:51:59

access news. As a politician who used to buy piles of newspapers

0:51:590:52:03

every day, I don't buy newspapers like that any more, I get most of

0:52:030:52:07

my news online. A few years' time, I doubt there will be many people

0:52:070:52:12

picking up hard copies of newspapers. Those who adapt to that

0:52:120:52:15

will survive, those who don't won't. I believe passionately, like

0:52:150:52:19

everybody does, in a free press, but that can come in many ways and

0:52:190:52:23

I think everybody in the media has to think very hard about how they

0:52:230:52:28

adapt to that if they are going to Suhr vie. Time for one more

0:52:280:52:32

question -- survive. Alison McMillan? Should the NHS be

0:52:320:52:37

paying for the removal potentially for faulty breast implants

0:52:370:52:41

purchased privately for cosmetic reasons? A very complex question to

0:52:410:52:48

answer in a short time. The news today that Andrew Lansley supports

0:52:480:52:54

the NHS with these cosmetic breast implants that are dangerous or

0:52:540:52:57

supposedly dangerous. Justine Greening, is it right for the NHS

0:52:570:53:01

to pay for that and should they not pay for a replacement or something?

0:53:010:53:05

I gather they are only going to pay for removal of what could be

0:53:050:53:09

dangerous. Is that sensible or practical? For women who've had a

0:53:090:53:12

breast implant on the NHS, we are offering to have that replaced by

0:53:120:53:18

the NHS if it's a PIP implant. For women who've had that done

0:53:180:53:24

privately, we want to see their private health care companies who

0:53:250:53:28

did that operation remove the breast implant if there is a

0:53:280:53:34

medical opinion that says that is the right thing to do. If the

0:53:340:53:39

private provider refuses to do that or cannot do that, then the NHS

0:53:390:53:43

will, if there's a clinical opinion that it's needed, remove the

0:53:430:53:47

implant. But we'll seek to get the costs of those back from the

0:53:470:53:51

private sector provider who should have done that operation. Who say

0:53:510:53:54

they are going broke and can't afford to do it so you won't get

0:53:540:53:58

much back, will you? We'll try to get the money back that we've tried

0:53:580:54:01

to invest. The key thing is to understand what the clinical need

0:54:010:54:04

is of the patient concerned. At the end of the day, having an operation

0:54:040:54:10

is a risky matter in itself, so whatever the outcome, it has to be

0:54:100:54:14

one based on a clinical diagnosis and that has some agreement with

0:54:140:54:18

the patient. Are you a medical doctor? Yes, I am. What is your

0:54:180:54:23

view? This question was posed purely as a provocative question

0:54:230:54:27

and I'm not in that field because I couldn't make those decisions, so

0:54:270:54:30

I'm asking that question as a member of the public, as a taxpayer,

0:54:300:54:34

and I think I'm trying to propose the question in the future we are

0:54:340:54:37

going to have to make choices in the NHS and we are going to have to

0:54:370:54:42

decide how to spend the funding in the NHS as the public and as

0:54:420:54:47

taxpayer. You talk about people who had it done privately for cosmetic

0:54:470:54:52

reasons as though somehow this was less worthy of NHS support, is that

0:54:520:54:56

what your implication is? question was posed, it doesn't

0:54:560:55:00

express my opinion and my one solution would be as pop posed that,

0:55:000:55:06

as a caring society, we should help these people, we can provide the

0:55:060:55:11

service on the NHS but we should try and recoup the costs from the

0:55:110:55:13

private industry. Nicola Sturgeon, you're Health Secretary for

0:55:130:55:20

Scotland as well? I am. What do you think Our position is substantially

0:55:200:55:25

the same as the UK Government. For me, the well-being of the woman is

0:55:250:55:28

absolutely paramount. That's what's most important. In Scotland, we

0:55:280:55:31

don't think, as far as we can tell that, the NHS implanted PIP

0:55:310:55:35

implants into any woman, but if it's found that that has been the

0:55:350:55:39

case, the NHS will take full responsibility. Where a woman is

0:55:390:55:44

left high and dry by a private provider, the NHS will also provide

0:55:440:55:48

support, but make no mistake, I believe that the private providers

0:55:480:55:53

do have a moral duty to take responsibility. I don't believe the

0:55:530:55:58

NHS should be picking up the tab for this. APPLAUSE

0:55:580:56:02

For me, this is one of the problems of private medicine. The private

0:56:020:56:06

companies make the money when they do the operations. But when

0:56:060:56:10

something goes wrong, they often expect the NHS to pick up the

0:56:100:56:15

pieces. It's one of the many reasons I don't believe in the

0:56:150:56:18

privatisation of the Health Service. Presumably the doctors can be sued?

0:56:180:56:22

We have only got a minute left so I'm going to have to be brief here.

0:56:220:56:25

That is true, but let's just recognise there is a moral

0:56:250:56:29

obligation on the private providers, the private care homes and so on,

0:56:290:56:33

but there's also a moral obligation I think that rests with the health

0:56:330:56:37

and medicines and health care Regulatory Authority that said

0:56:370:56:41

these implants were fit for purpose. I can see where the NHS is coming

0:56:410:56:45

from and Lansley too, but at the end of the day, I think the phrase

0:56:450:56:48

that both Justine and Nicola used, which is the needs of the patient

0:56:480:56:52

must come first, is right, I think the moral and maybe legal

0:56:520:56:55

obligation is quite mixed here, so at the end of the day, my guess is

0:56:550:57:01

the NHS will end up having to pick up those that can't be done by any

0:57:010:57:05

other means. Shocking. Last night on the BBC 10 o'clock news they had

0:57:050:57:10

a smug chairman many there of one of the companies that had put the

0:57:100:57:14

implants in simply saying, we haven't got the money and that's

0:57:140:57:18

the end of it. B what I can't understand is why they weren't

0:57:180:57:23

insured and secondly, I think this should be tested. These guys were

0:57:230:57:27

literally, the mark-up on those breast implants is fantastic.

0:57:270:57:32

They've made a lot of money, I think we should go after them and

0:57:320:57:38

the directors. There's a very good point made, not very often aI agree

0:57:380:57:41

with Government ministers but if somebody sells you a car and the

0:57:410:57:44

clutch doesn't work, you don't say it wasn't our clutch, you got it

0:57:440:57:47

from Germany or something like that, so we should pursue these people

0:57:470:57:51

and make them pay and if they are not going to, we should bankrupt

0:57:510:57:55

them and flog their assets and hand out the money.

0:57:550:57:59

Douglas Alexander, very briefly? Very briefly, as you have heard,

0:57:590:58:03

there's not much that the panel agree on. This is one of them, the

0:58:030:58:07

safety and clinical needs of the women has to come first. There is a

0:58:070:58:11

moral obligation on the private providers and North and South of

0:58:110:58:16

the border, the Government has to meet the obligations. Our hour is

0:58:160:58:20

up. Next week, we'll be in Shrewsbury, the week after that,

0:58:200:58:23

Plymouth. If you want to come to either

0:58:230:58:27

programme, give us a call, go to the website if it's easier or ring

0:58:270:58:34

us. It would be good to see you and take part in the vigorous debate

0:58:340:58:42

David Dimbleby chairs a debate in Tower Hamlets in east London. He is joined by a panel comprising of transport secretary Justine Greening; former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Paddy Ashdown; Labour's shadow foreign secretary, Douglas Alexander; deputy first minister of Scotland and deputy leader of the Scottish National Party, Nicola Sturgeon; and Daily Mail columnist and former editor of the Sun, Kelvin MacKenzie.


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