19/04/2012 Question Time


David Dimbleby chairs a debate from Leeds, with Yvette Cooper MP, Baroness Warsi, Tim Farron, George Galloway MP and David Aaronovitch.

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Tonight we are in Leeds, and welcome to Question Time.


With me here on our panel the newly elected Respect MP George Galloway,


victor of the Bradford west by- election. The Shadow Home Secretary,


Yvette Cooper. Co-chairman of the Conservative Party, Sayeeda Warsi,


President of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, and the Times columnist,


David Aaronovitch. APPLAUSE


Thank you vex. Our first question tonight from Peter Stevens please.


Should we now take control of our justice system in the light of the


farcical deportation of Abu Qatada. I think this has been farcical this


week. It's been completely chaotic. I think, look, we all want to see


Abu Qatada deported to Jordan as soon as possible, within the rule


of law but as soon as possible. I think he should be kept in custody


in the meantime. I think that's what everybody wants to see.


There've been too many delays. Delays in the British courts and in


the European courts. They should be reformed in order to speed up the


process. But I think the problems we've seen this week was seems to


have been a complete shambles of the Home Secretary's making. They


seem to have got a basic deadline wrong about the timing of appeals


to the European Court. The Home Secretary said it was Monday. The


European Court said it was Tuesday. Why did nobody ring up to just get


the basic facts right? I simply don't understand it. As a result of


that we could now have Abu Qatada able to delay the deportation even


further. We could have him more likely to be released back on to


our streets, and even having the chance to sue the British


Government as a result. I think that's chaotic, utterly


irresponsible. I think the Home Secretary needs to provide answers


pretty urgently and needs to get a grip of this shambles and sort it


all out. APPLAUSE Sayeeda Warsi. Yes Peter,


we do need reform, because we've been trying to deport this man


since 2001. For nine years Yvette's Government tried and for two years


we've been trying. So to try to make party politics out of this is


slightly disen Jennous. The delay has been because the European Court


of Human Rights has a backlog of about 150 ,000 cases. The purpose


for which that court was set up is not the purpose in which it has


been operating. Interestingly today there's been a conference taking


place in Brighton in which we have used our chairmanship of the


Council of Europe to get the other member states of the Council of


Europe to agree some changes. One, for them to accept that the


European Court of Human Rights has a subsidiary element. So there is


the element of subsidiarity. What that means our courts will have the


final say on how we protect the human rights of our population.


coming to the point, has it been a shambles over this deadline, as


Yvette Cooper says? The thing we won't agree on probably on this


panel is whether the Home Office lawyers are right or whether Abu


Qatada's lawyers are right. didn't she wait a day, as many


people have said, if it is just a matter of a day? On Monday Yvette


was saying you are taking too long. But if she had waited a day would


she have been able to deport him think what would please people in


this country is if we were to remove him. It took the previous


Government nine years and they didn't achieve it. I'm confident


we'll remove him fairly soon. Aaronovitch. There's a wonderfully


comic aspect is to this. It goes two ways. Had we been two years ago


we could imagine Yvette Cooper as the Home Secretary having exactly


the same problem and Sayeeda Warsi saying about her what Yvette Cooper


has just said about trim. It would've been completely... In


other words, forget about the shambles, all this kind of stuff is


always a shambles. Let's look at the issue itself. We do have,


mostly, control over our own justice system, but the European


Court of Human Rights was set up for a very good reason. It is a


classic idea, a really good idea that everybody thought was a good


idea at the time but has problems surrounding it now. This is part of


the problem, it is an absurdity that somebody like Abu Qatada, who


is under no threat if he goes back to Jordan, we've already got the


assurances from the Jordanian Government that he isn't, cannot be


deported from this country, given his record and what we know about


him and given what successive Governments have been able to show


the courts. So Sayeeda Warsi is right in this instance it shows a


need for a reform to the ECHR so she's changes can be made more


easily. But don't think it is going to be simple. If we find it easy to


go against what the European Court of Human Rights says, there are


people with much worse human rights records around Europe who would


like to be able to do the same thing. These things are complicated,


not simple. APPLAUSE $$TRANSMIT. Surely this is


a problem for liberalism how long we'll continue to tolerate the


intolerant in this country. OK. And the man in the fifth row. Italy


deported a man back to Algeria I believe it was, despite an ECHR


ruling, and all that happened to the Italian Government was a 2,5 00


euros fine. Why didn't the Government just do that? George


Galloway. The British Government has has in the past been ready to


assist the United States in rendering people, one of whom is


now suing the former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, because the


British Government returned him to the torturer tables of Colonel


Gaddafi. This was at the time of the kiss-in between Mr Blair and


the Colonel. I'm sure that Colonel Gaddafi gave the kind of assurances


that David Aaronovitch rather touchingly is ready to accept from


the Jordanians. In fact, every Arab Government engages in torture. And


every trial in an Arab court in any country is contaminated by this


looming spectre of torture. That's why the European Court wants to be


very clear that the assurances that David is ready to accept are worth


the paper that they are written on. I ran into in a motorway service


station just the other night some of the acolytes of this Abu Qatada.


An Jim Chaudhry and his crowd. And their low malevolence is indeed a


shadow over the country. But the presence of these people here is


not a reason for us to act like a rogue state. Because if we act like


a rogue state, for a start we'll have to stop lecturing other people


as rogue states. We have to follow the rule of law. It is clear from


Yvette Cooper's Stirling performance in the House of Commons


today that not only is the Home Office not fit for purpose, but


Theresa May is not fit for the job of Home Secretary, and she should


be sacked or resign. APPLAUSE Tim Farron, I saw Theresa


May say she takes responsibility for the decision that has been


taken. Does that mean she would resign if it turns out to have been


the wrong decision? I have no idea. Do you think she should? I take the


view that there is an Olympic-Stade screw-up here. What I am certain of,


Abu Qatada should be deported. He should be on a plane as quickly as


possible, but that the rule of law should be applied. If Governments


can't abide by the rule of law why should anybody else? I was really


impressed by Prime Minister stolen burg of Norway's recently. He said


you deal with terrorism, you deal with threats of your freedom and


democracy by having more democracy, more freedom and more openness. You


deal with people like Abu Qatada, who are a threat to our country,


who do want to undermine our democracy, not by closing up and


behaving like he would, but by being more democratic and abiding


by the rule of law. APPLAUSE We must not be a rogue


state and we must have more democracy, but when virtually every


elected person we have wants to get rid of this man and we are


prevented by unelected people in Strasbourg, it does call into


question things about our sovereignty. That's a different


issue thrown into the midst of this issue thrown into the midst of this


which must be addressed. discussions are about that, that


ultimately it should be our courts to decide on the human rights of


our citizens, and the only time the European Court of Human Rights


should get involved is when there's a substantial issue of


interpretation. It will happen. There has been agreement between 47


member states today and we think the implementation will take place


by 2013. This has been a huge step forward. This has been leadership


by the Prime Minister and this Government saying we have


chairmanship of the European Council, let's use it and do


something good for our nation. talk about sovereignty. It's a fair


point, but why is it this Government or those of any colour


are so quick to bow to our relationship to the United States,


as a young lad in Yorkshire has been extradited without question


for effectively file sharing while Abu Qatada gets this treatment?


APPLAUSE Do you want to... You served with Jack Straw, do you want


to reply to the point Jack Straw made about Jack Straw? I don't know


the details. Neither does he. He's forgotten. Tony Blair has forgotten


too. I do and you are wrong. There was no question of him being put on


a plane, as you were suggesting. The security services told the CIA


where he was. They collaborated in the rendition of someone to


Gaddafi's torture table. I know you like to defend Tony Blair but


surely this is indefensible even by you They collaborated with the


rendition of somebody who was an Al-Qaeda supporter. And he was, in


2005. And we rendered him to Gaddafi. It is interesting that you


never understand the problems the Government faced at that time. I


thought you were a journalist. Are awe journalist of a servant of the


Blairs? I am a critic of everybody who deserves to be criticised. One


of the things that was interesting about you earlier is you talked


about the Jordan Government when you have got down to the business


of licking the backside of Bashar al-Assad...


APPLAUSE Listen. Listen. George, hold on. Let him finish the point.


It was quite a long point. You said Syria had Bashar al-Assad as the


President. When I first met David Aaronovitch he was a Marxist


Leninist, licking the backside of Lenin and Stalin. He worked for


Tony Blair and now for Rupert Murdoch, so I'm not sure the


company people keep is your strong suit. Have I ever gone up to a


dictator and said, "You are a wonderful man?" Yes. Have I ever


spoken about the indefatigability of the Soviet union? Are awe


Communist? I was Communist but you are still to the left of me, George.


APPLAUSE I was in the Labour Party. He was in the Communist Party.


We'll go on to another question. If you want to join the debate or


Was the "Bradford Spring" just a spot of unseasonable political


weather or climate change? Sayeeda Warsi. Well, I think first


of all we have to accept that over 18,000 people Jack came out and


voted for George Galloway and none of the political parties should


begrudge him that, so congratulations on winning Bradford


west. It is right that when the electorate come out and vote for


somebody in such numbers, that in a way is democracy at work.


We would have loved to have won that seat rather than you, but what


I think was happening in Bradford West was the people of Bradford


saying that for decades we have had Labour as our Member of Parliament.


We have been ruled predominantly by a Labour council. And really


nothing's got better. It was a lashout at the Labour


Party to say, you can't take us for granted any more.


Yvette Cooper. On the last point, it has not been a predominantly


Labour council in the last few years. It has in the last couple of


years, but before that there have been Conservatives. How long have


you held the seat for? Let's go back to the question, because this


was a bad result for us, of course. It was obviously deeply


disappointing for Labour as well. We have a lot of what -- a lot of


work to do in Bradford and we will do that. We lost the seat to


Respect in Tower Hamlets in 2005. We did a lot of work there to win


back votes and trust and that was successful. I think Labour has won


the votes back in Tower Hamlets. We have to do that again in Bradford.


We have to recognise that we did not do enough to engage with young


voters in the Asian community in Bradford, but also Muslim women as


well. We have to do a lot more than that. I think we also have to


recognise that only four out of 10 voters voted for any of the major


parties. So for Sayeeda Warsi to make this a party political thing


for the Labour Party, it is true it was disappointing for us because we


wanted to win Bradford West and we want to do so again, but for the


Conservatives this was a target seat at the last election and their


vote was just completely decimated. So it is a challenge to wall of the


parties. The parties in Government saw their votes collapse. Those


votes did not come to Labour. We know that the first step is to show


what a nightmare this Government is for Bradford, for the whole of


Yorkshire and the damage that it is doing. That is not enough to win


back votes for Labour. What does it say about Labour that it loses its


majority to George Galloway and he gets the majority of 10,000 votes


and your vote goes down by nearly a quarter, 20%? What does it say


about Labour? We talk about it as a tactician, but is there something


more fundamental? Ed Miliband has already been back to Bradford to


talk to people, to listen to people... That will have helped!


have been through this before in Tower Hamlets and we were


challenged their, and we had to work, again, as we will have to do


in Bradford. There are local factors and also some wider factors


about politics generally and about people's frustration about politics,


people wanting to see change, about people seeing terrible things


happening as a result of the economic problems and so on. They


want to see something different. We have to show people that politics


can make a difference, the Labour Party can make a difference, and


that means setting out alternatives as well. David Aaronovitch. George


Galloway essentially did at Bradford what the Liberal Democrats


have been doing for years but now they are in Government, so they


cannot. He is a modern Liberal Democrat, I suppose. What is that?


Testing the support for the major parties at a by-election and


discovering that a lot of parties do not like them at the time of the


by-election. Actually, voter support for the two main parties


has been falling since the 1950s. I was at the wire Forest in 2001 when


Dr Taylor won the Independent support. I felt at that election


that quite often is a halfway credible candidate could come along


in one of these seats, often they would pick up the votes. And then


there are there particular ways in which George Galloway appealed to


the voters of Bradford, which was an additional element in that by-


election. Which were what? George knows. When you have a campaign


leaflet saying, God knows who is a Muslim and he knows who is not,


instinctively, so do you, signed George Galloway, you think, how


does he know that God knows who is a Muslim? Did God appear to you in


tablets of stone? Was it written in fiery words on a stone wall, or was


Stalin was your God, God is my God. There is only one god, I believe.


You do not. We will both soon find out. The Bradford Bulls have won


four games in a row since I was elected. They even be the Leeds


Rhinos, and I was there. Bradford City football club even one last


Saturday, and that is a very rare event. So we have changed, to pick


up the point of the questioner, the political weather in Bradford.


did Blackburn do? We are coming to Blackburn next, don't worry. Yvette


Cooper talked for quite a long time about what the lessons for Labour


were, but she did not actually say anything. Let me short cut this for


her. The reasons that Labour voters do not find a new Labour credible


is because they caused a succession of wars in which more than 1


million people died, supported by David Aaronovitch, by Yvette Cooper


and by the leadership of New Labour, because all three of the major


parties support the war in Afghanistan, all three of the major


parties support austerity, as they describe it, which means poor


people paying the price for the crimes and mistakes of rich people


and powerful people in running the economy and the Government. Most


Labour voters say no to all those propositions. And until Labour


becomes Labour again, until they can find the vocabulary and express


the values that made Labour great, which changed this country, that is


why I was in it for 30 years -- 36 years, when Abramovich was a


communist, I was in it for 36 years, because I believed in labour. --


David Aaronovitch. And I want to persuade people to be able to


believe in Labour again. They will have to be Labour for that to


happen. Do you want briefly to answer that point. Simply to say


that Respect prosecuted as arguments in Tower Hamlets in 2010


and they lost. Labour won those constituencies by talking about


actually do things, I think, that matter to people, which is the fact


that people are losing their jobs, the fact that we should not have a


plan which involves taking more from children than it does from the


bank's... Was it Afghanistan that turned the corner for him,


Afghanistan, Iraq and the decision on war? People have strong views


about this. Is that why he won, as he claims? Respect have spent a lot


of time campaigning on those issues. We know that, but was it the


turning point, the decisive issue? Why don't you condemn the war? You


will do yourself a lot of good. Look into the camera and say, I


condemn the invasion of Iraq, and I condemn the invasion of Afghanistan.


You can do the predictable rhetoric about the wars doors to I could do


predictable rhetoric back again and talk about dictators and so on. A


good thing that gets us anywhere. Why not just Iraq, condemn it.


view is that we were wrong about Iraq. That is not the same thing,


we were wrong. Like you were wrong about how you park your car. 1


million people died. I listened to you. I think in Afghanistan it is


right that we are part of the mission of 40 countries preventing


Afghanistan from being a terror haven. But I think people across


the country want to know what Respect, what Labour and the


Conservatives will do about their jobs, living standards and the fact


that they feel squeezed at the moment. They want people to stand


up for them. We need to stand up for them. We did not do enough in


Bradford, but we will do so and we are doing so across the country.


want one or two members of the audience. You are not doing enough


to stand up for people every day, Yvette Cooper, and that is the


problem. This was not a protest vote. What this was about, as a


public sector workers and trade unionist, was people rejecting the


austerity and the cuts agenda, fast cuts, slow cuts, we do not want


them. We want no cuts. That is why people voted for George Galloway. I


would like to say one more thing - I hope when it comes to May 3rd and


people get the chance to vote, we will not be talking about making


Bradford British, we will be talking about making Britain like


Bradford. Back to the original question, it was a staggering


result. I spend an evening there on the Tuesday before hand. Should you


not have gone a bit more, because you lost your deposit? If I had


gone even more, we would have done even worse. You went for one


evening as president of the party? Is that all? It was a long evening.


I think I met all of our voters! Hats off to George and his team. I


do not buy a lot of the explanations as to why he won. I


did not see much comment on austerity on any of the leaflets.


It was a foreign affairs election by and large, but it was a


brilliant campaign and it was something he deserves credit for.


It was exciting in British politics to see a different campaign that


motivated people. Why did it happen? For the last 50 years


people have been losing their allegiance to the main political


parties, and that is good. It means politicians have to work harder for


your vote. It is not comfortable for politicians but it is good for


you. It is bad news for the three main parties. What it shows us,


what George shows us and what Alex Salmond shows north of the border,


there are times when people want to vote against the Government parties


will stop if you give them the chance to vote against Labour, too,


they will bite your hand off. Directed at George, is it true that


in the press there was 100-1 against you becoming, winning that


seat? 200-1. And some people but �1,000 on it. People put money on


that debt, so you were obviously going to get all of the people who


had backed at the bookies. And the other thing was, is it true that


you canvassed within the mosques in Bradford? Absolutely. In the


mosques, churches, among white people, black people, I canvassed


for every vote. And you one. We heard that. Pre-by-elections are


different to the general election and I don't think George will be


grinning like the cat that got the cream by the time the general


election comes. The only invasion I am decrying is the invasion of


George Galloway into a city he knows nothing about that has enough


problems without him in it. Do you want to enlarge on that? I feel


like he is a Yes, yes, yes politician who will not keep his


promises and it will not be hard for Labour to win the seat again,


because he will let everybody down. The man on the gangway. I can see


that getting into Bradford, George, has got you back into government,


but what are you going to do for Bradford? There is a hole in the


ground which used to be a plan shopping centre. There is a big


pond, and one of the major buildings is crumbling. What are


you going to do to Bradford to make yourself stay there? If you look at


the local papers since I was elected, you will see page after


page of local issues. The one. I agreed with that Yvette Cooper made


was that actually the Tories are responsible for the hole in the


grounds. It was them that target. The Tories were in power in


Bradford City Council until the last couple of years. But two


cheeks of the same backside - nothing has changed in Bradford.


There is mass unemployment, youth unemployment has tripled in a year


and risen by 40% in 12 weeks. The poverty that stalks Bradford West


is a disgrace to both of these major parties. And that is why we


were elected. I think we can leave Bradford because we have


established that you won and we do not want to run the campaign all


over again. Another question from Ryan McDonagh. Is it fair that


parents of truants children should have fines directly taken from


their child benefit? This is the proposal from the Government's


adviser that this is how fines should be recovered, straight from


child benefit. Tim Farron, is this a coalition policy that you approve


of? Definitely not. The Government have turned down that aspect of


Charlie Taylor's report. It is right that Government should accept


those parts of the report that make a difference, but when all is said


and done there is a huge coincidence between poverty, high


levels of poverty and high levels of truancy in this country. If you


deal with it by taking benefit money from the parents of children


who play truant, you will just make the situation absolutely worse. The


Government is doing one thing which is already helping to tackle


truancy, and that is the crippled - - pupil premium, making sure kids


from the poorest backgrounds, those schools get the most money. That


helps with attainment and attendance, but the notion that you


should punish by taking money of the poorest parents in the country


to deal with truancy is counter- Is it consultation or has it been


turned down? I understand that at this stage it is something that's


been put forward. As far as I'm aware it is up for consultation.


But I will stand corrected. Tim may know something that I don't know.


It hasn't been fully accepted. on a second. It's been put forward


as a proposal. You said it's been turned down. It's been turned down


expressly those aspects of fining parents of truanting chairman.


that right? I'm not sure about that. But you are the co-Chairman of the


party. They are doing the sums! Every child that doesn't go to


school and spends days or hours out of school is destroying their


future. Therefore we have to do two things. First of all we have to


inspire kids. We have to have the kind of schools that kids want to


go to. If you look at the academy programme, which has been extended


by hundreds of schools, which are school where is the head teacher


has the freedom to be able to set the uniform, set the parameters of


the kind of school and the feel that that school has, attendances


in academies is a lot higher than in schools that don't become


academies. We've seen an emergence of free schools, and you have one


in Bradford West, where in one of the most deprived communities a


free school has been set up paid for by the state. The kind of


education that those kids are getting is the type that most


people... We get the point. Are you in favour of the parents of


truanting children being fined, and if they are not paying the fines,


having it deducted from child benefit? No, but what I am in


favour of is relinking the concept of responsibility between child and


parent. It is not right that parents can say, it is not anything


to do with me. You can answer the question, are you in favour of


fines for parents of truanting children? I am in favour of parents


taking responsibility, whether it is financial responsibility or


responsibility to say they need to get their kids to school. Look, we


cannot... Hold on, I think we've got the answer from. I come to you,


Yvette Cooper. I think if parents want to avoid fines they should


raise their children properly and send them to school. Yvette Cooper,


do you approve of fines on parents of children who truant? It is one


option in certain circumstances but there have to be safeguards in


place. You've got to get children into school. The they play truancy


or if they are not in school, that will harm them for the rest of


their lives. The disadvantages they will face will follow them decade


after decade, so I do think we should take every action we can to


get children back into school that. May involve support, it may involve


support for the family as well as the child. It may in certain


circumstances where parents are refusing to take any responsibility


for their children or refusing to do the things that you need parents


to do as well also involve having court systems and having fines. The


problem with the issue of focusing on child benefit, I think that is


in danger of being a very difficult and unworkable and there are no


safeguards in place, in the way it was proposed, if the parent was


doing everything they possibly could and was already suffering and


living in poverty and struggling. What the Government is doing is


they are hitting child benefit for everyone. They are hitting the


value of child benefit, cutting the tax credit. Whether they are doing


the right thing as a parent, all families are losing out. I think


the policy of taking money from parents of truanting children is


just a lazy policy. It is simplistic and populist. There are


many reasons why children might truant. Including bullying and many


other reasons. I think it is much more complex the problem than is


appreciated. It can't be involved by this measure. You have to look


at what kind of education is provided. In current trend is to


narrow that to a more academic education. More and more young


people are going to find that that sort of schooling does not suit


them and they are not going to turn APPLAUSE I find it really


disappointing that people from let's say disadvantaged backgrounds


having experienced the lack of education themselves don't


encourage their own children to get that education, which is the next


step up to a better career. Do you think the fines that were


introduced eight years ago by a Labour Government are the right


approach? I think they are an approach. I don't think there is


one particular policy that is going to solve everything. OK. But as I'm


sure Yvette Cooper knows from the last years of Labour, they must


have tried this in their own Ed cation secretaries and failed


hisably. I'm sure under the last Conservative Governments, they


failed miserably as well. I'm told that absent teism isn't as bad as


it used to be. That's always a good thing. But I think you need a


comprehensive array of policies rather than focusing on one thing.


George Galloway. The Tories are so strongly in favour of children


going to school that they've cut the EMA, the education maintenance


allowance, that would have allowed working class children and poor


children to stay on at school and have some small amount of income to


help them. They are so? Favour of school that they asked the House of


Commons this week to celebrate the latest unemployment figures. Even


though... Truancy is the question, George. It showed 1 million young


people. That's one of the reasons why the schools and truancy is as


they are. Because children cannot see the benefit of sticking in at


school, because unemployment for more than 1 million of them is what


comes after school. But the idea that a family so dysfunctional that


the parent can no longer control their child will be helped by


taking their ever-shrinking child benefit away is something that only


Mr Blair or Mr Cameron could have come up with and both of them did.


APPLAUSE When I was at school about 100 years ago there was a bald man,


if you didn't go to school, the man was knocking on your door and would


take you there. That might be an alternative to reinstate that


profession. Did that happen to you? No! David Aaronovitch. I disagree


with Tim about this in a major way. This is not a moral issue at all.


This is an issue about what works. The gentleman was right, truancy


has not increased. It has stabilised and has been at a stable


level. The problem that's identified here is there is a core


truancy which is incredibly difficult to get at. It is very,


very hard to reach. It is very difficult to persuade people. The


question we have to ask ourselves is this: do we think by society


effectively saying we think so lowly of the behaviour of not


getting your children to school that we are prepared in a sense to


stick ma ties it and make you suffer financial hardship because


of it? Now, it has to be said that during the '60s and '70s crime


rates went up in Britain and America partially because we had


given the message out that we must be much more understanding, that it


is alright to rebel and to be criminal. We spent a lot of time


trying after that to get the message over that actually crime


wasn't OK. We went in for "zero tolerance" policies and said we


wouldn't tolerate crime at low levels. We started talking about


antisocial behaviour. Gradually crime came down. More serious crime


has come down. Do we think this is likely to work? That's the only


question that really matters. It is not a moral question but whether or


not you will end up helping or harming those children by ago that


that action? Frankly I would like to see the evidence on it, because


I don't know. APPLAUSE Let's go on. Let's return


to the big event of the last month. Wendy Fletcher, your question,


please. Is the Budget proving to be omnishambolic? Omnishambolic - the


quote from The Thick Of It. Pasties, caravans, churches and charity and


the rest of it. Tim, do you think it is omnishambolic, this Budget?


Or do you think George Osborne, your Chancellor, brilliantly


conducted and thought through every measure that was put to the House


of Commons? Well put. The Government is so committed to


fairness that they are method Ilkley and systematically making


sure that we offend absolutely everybody. But we've run out of


easy options, let's be honest. The big ticket item in the Budget was


the lifting of 23 million people's income tax, removing the income tax


for the 2 million lowest paid people and cutting the income tax


of 23 million next lowest paid. It was well trailed in advance. Lost


during and now we are talking about smaller things. The reality is


these are all difficult things. We did the easy things early on. This


Government inherited a Bassett case and had to take tough decisions. We


did the easy stuff earlier on. �15 billion Labour was going to waste


on ID cards, we scrapped that. Now there is no easy stuff left. The


Budget was redistributed from the rich to the poor. That's the big


news as far as I'm concerned. Yvette Cooper. This is just rubbish.


You've got a Budget in which pensioners are being asked to pay


hundreds of pounds more whilst millionaires are being able to pay


�40,000 a year less. How can that be redistributive from rich to


proper? It is going to other way around. It is taking money from the


poor and giving it back to the rich. APPLAUSE


If that was true I would be with you on that. Tim is trying to claim


credit for a pension rise, buts because pensions are going up in


line with inflation and inflation is high. 75P rise? Pensions would


have gone up like this regardless. The Government has done nothing to


push up pensions. What they have done is taken money away. The so-


called granny tax is taking money from pensioners in order to give it


to the richest people in the country. Clearly the donors to the


Conservative Party have been having the kitchen suppers with David


Cameron and George Osborne. The shocking thing about what Tim is


doing is the Liberal Democrats are signing up to every word of it.


that was true I would be with you, but it is not true. The rich are


going to be paying five times more than they would lose or gain from


the 50 pence rate going, which I wasn't happy about anyway. That is


a seriously redistributive Budget. This is the biggest increase in the


rate of the pension... You are kidding yourself. What do you say


to the point... Millionaires will not get �40,000 back as a result of


this Budget? Do you think that's untrue? The 50p rate going down to


45 is something I do not agree with. It it was price that George Osborne


exacted for the Liberal Democrats getting 23 million poorer people


out of paying income tax. Part-time workers on the minimum wage are


having to pay thousands of pounds more because they are not on enough


to pay tax, but you are taking their tax credits. It is shocking


and disgraceful what the Liberal Democrats signed up to. I have


enough form on this, shall we say, when it comes to sometimes not


following the Government line. If that was true I would not... I


would agree with you. Was it a shambles, yes? The Budget was a


shambles. Tim has said it was a shambles. He said there was stock


market really good stuff there but nobody noticed it because of all


the other stuff George Osborne stuck in there. Thatna was always


the definition of In The Thick Of It of a shambles. And Tim had to


say all the good bits were Liberal Democrat bits and the bad bits were


the Tories. Yvette says the million airs benefited when at the moment


Labour is incredibly worried. The self-same millionaires having to


pay tax on their charitable donations. It is a toss-up as to


which of you, Baroness Warsi or you, Yvette, is toughest on the


millionaires. At the same time the granny tax was probably the one


measure in the Budget which had to be taken, because the big problem


we don't have in this country is richer pensioners. Our problem long


term is poorer teenagers and poorer young people. That's the problem


that's coming up at us. That's the problem the Budget has to deal with.


In that sense the Government was right to. Get a whole lot of things


right and then to throw it away in the 50 pence tax increase and you


look like the rich person's party and you by association the rich


person's party adjunct, that is my definition of a shambles. Sayeeda


Warsi. On that point. The cut from 50 to 45 %. Well this, isn't a


decision that was taken in terms of how we had to give money to the


rich or the poor. What I want to see is to take more money from


people who earn more money. The way you do it... So you cut from 50...


The way did you that is by making sure that you set your tax at a


level which actually attracts people to come into this country,


set up their businesses here, create jobs here and pay their


taxes here. Right now the 50p tax makes us the highest higher-rate


tax understand the G20. We live in a global world. We can't expect


London or the UK to live separate from the rest of the world. When


people look at business opportunities they look at the


United States, France, Germany. They look at the UK. And businesses


will not come to those places where they feel that we run a high-tax


economy. I'm confident that by reducing the right to 45 we'll gain


more investment, more jobs, more opportunities for the future and


therefore more tax for our coffers. Why are you against it, very


To be honest, I think she is wrong on this point. In the end, it was a


coalition budget. I took the view that 50p did not raise a vast


amount of money, but what it did do was to send a signal that the


wealthiest must pay their fair share. Whilst the Liberal Democrats


may have quintupled the amount of money we get from other sources,


nobody knows. There seems to be coalition on that side of the table


between the various people who say that the default setting is that


the rich must be Robert to support the poor. Hear me out. -- the rich


must be robbed. The point is, how long comeback go on before you have


the situation that Baroness Warsi is talking about where the rich say,


have had enough of this, you cannot have a default setting that


whenever we need more money we dip into the pockets of the rich.


George Galloway. You do not have to be a pasty eating granny with a


caravan to conclude that this has been a disastrous Budget. Few


budgets survive the publicity of the day after, but this has been


cataclysmic and shambolic. And we have seen it here. These two people,


in case you did not know, are in the same Government together. In


fact, they do not agree, apparently, on very much. But Tim, you are very


impressive, much more impressive than Nick Clegg. I don't know why


they don't replace him with you. But you are committing electoral


suicide keeping this lot in power with a Budget like that, because


the whole country can see that this is a big dog of 23 millionaires out


of 29 in the Cabinet. -- a Government frock. People are so


filthy rich that they do not even know their wealth. George Osborne


thought he was not paying the higher rate of tax. If he is not,


he should be behind bars, because his income, as can be easily


discern, is in the upper tax bracket. This rich man's Government


is being kept in power by you. If not for you, they would be out


there. That is not true. You lost your deposit in Bradford, you are


losing your deposit all over the country, you are going to be


annihilated at the next general election. Get out of bed,


metaphorically speaking, with these people. Do yourself a favour.


you lost the last election in 2010, there was an election result and


the arithmetic left us with two options. 1, sit on our hands and


let David Cameron go to the country with a massive Tory majority, or


else do a politically difficult thing, which is hard for us but


better for the country. This Government is surely Moorgreen,


more fair, more liberal for as being in it. Do I expect to get any


credit for it, we will wait and see. And even the things the Budget was


supposed to do, the things George Osborne and Nick Clegg promise to


do, support jobs, growth, get the economy rolling, none of that has


happened either. The grand promises they made when the coalition came


together, when Tim Farron and Sayeeda Warsi, Proms as they were


making, they are not being delivered. Instead we have over 1


million unemployed and the economy stalled when the US economy is


growing twice as fast as the British economy. There is so much


hypocrisy in your position. Let me give two examples. Before the


general election you wanted to put up national insurance, you are now


asking for a freeze on it. Before the general election, you had a


fuel escalator tax in place which you were going to put in year one


year. Now you want to cut it. You are completely hypocritical in the


position you took before the general election and the position


you are taking now. He made a mess of the country and you are now


being opportunist in opposition. -- you made a mess of the country.


would like to say that the last election, which produced the


coalition, was not in fact not a strong vote for the Conservatives,


it was a damning vote for Labour. I think if you talk about the Liberal


Democrats going into oblivion, so does Labour. OK. And the man behind


you. I was thinking about Baroness Warsi. I think Investment is not


coming into the country because there is no growth in this country.


We still have 0.5% income tax with the Bank of England, and inflation


is growing, not coming down. What did you think of the Budget?


thought it was a shambles. They have not got their ideas straight.


The economics of austerity is not going to work. We need to generate


growth, increased the interest rate and get some money into the economy


and get growth going. De Labour Party proposed a tax on


bankers' bonuses which would have created �2 billion towards getting


some of the 1 million young people back into work. Why have the


Government not introduced this? Is it more important to please a few


rich bankers, or to enable this generation not to be the next lost


generation? Do we not think the reason growth


has not occurred in this country is because of the fear that the crisis


in the European Union is going to affect the British economy in the


long run anyway? That is the priority, you think. We have five


minutes left. Another question. it right for British drivers to


participate in the Bahrain Grand Prix won a pro-democracy movement


is raging? This is the row over whether the Grand Prix on Sunday


should take place with the pro- democracy demonstrations going on.


And the Indian team apparently today had to take refuge because


their car was firebombed on the way back from practice. George Galloway.


There is blood on the tracks and anyone who drives over them, anyone


who sponsors the team striving over them will never be forgiven. -- the


team's driving over them. And the massacre in Bahrain, because it is


a massacre, in proportion to the population, which is very small, is


bigger than the death-rate in any of the Arab revolutions. If it were


in Egypt, it would be the equivalent of 12,000 dead people.


And yet the king of Bahrain is coming to Windsor Castle at our


expense to take luncheon with the Queen to celebrate her Diamond


Jubilee. David Cameron entertained that King in 10 Downing Street and


now Formula One, in the peculiar form of Bernie Eccleston, the


former funder of Mr Blair and New Labour, thinks it is fitting to run


a sporting event through the flames that nearly engulfed the Indian


team today, and across tracks stained with the blood of people


that asking for a vote, asking to be able to elect their government.


The Prime Minister of Bahrain has been the Prime Minister since 1960,


before the Beatles. And the Beatles are 40 years gone. He has been the


Prime Minister for 52 years, and nobody elected him. OK, so you want


it cancelled. The FIA takes the decision about where it should take


the Grand Prix, not the Government. We can give advice in relation to


the political situation and in relation to the security situation


and we have seen challenges around the security situation. But the


Government cannot stop British drivers taking part in a Grand Prix.


That has to be their decision. Just like we cannot stop businesses from


operating there and travellers from going. What about the visit to


Windsor Castle and the relationship with David Cameron? The decision


will be keen to attend the Queen's Diamond Jubilee is a decision taken


by the Royal Family. -- for the King to attend. That is not true,


the Prime Minister advisers on these matters. I accept that, but


it is a decision that ultimately has to be taken by the Royal Family.


And if it is a decision, if the Queen has decided that on her


Diamond Jubilee she would like certain people present at a


celebration, then I really think we can stop being mean about it and


allow the Queen to have her Diamond Jubilee. If it was not for the


Formula One, would we be even discussing this? Also, with the


race going ahead, it will probably get more publicity than it would


without it. This is a hideous moment for me because I agree with


every word George Galloway said. Every single word. The Formula One


Grand Prix is being used by the Bahrain government as a major


signal to the international community and its own people that


everything is all right in Bahrain, when everything is not all right in


Bahrain. There are basic denials of democratic rights, the imprisonment


of human rights campaigners and so on. There are Artillery at the


moment parked on the roundabout where the demonstrations used to


take place. The Bahrain government is stopping journalists getting in,


by using all kinds of strange bureaucratic means to cover this.


At the same time, a former head of the Metropolitan Police, John Yates,


is acting as a shield for the government by saying everything is


lovely, the water's lovely, everybody should come on. Police


that we could do, politicians could say to Formula One, look, this


would be better not happening. And not only that, but with regard to


the gentleman's point, say publicly why you are not going. Say that


this is not a place where we want to raise at the moment, OK. Yvette


Cooper, what would your advice be? I think it should not go ahead, I


do not think British drivers should go. I think the Formula One should


not go ahead in Bahrain for exactly the reasons that David and George


have talked about, and the fact that you have violent


demonstrations -- demonstrations by democratic protesters who have been


violently suppressed. Although it should be a matter for the sport to


decide rather than the Government, I do think Government ministers can


express an opinion. I think all of us on the panel can express an


opinion and it should be very clear - this should not go ahead. It


would send the wrong signal. Windsor Castle and the Jubilee?


Government has diplomatic relations that it has to use, to set out


policies in order to put pressure on governments. I think they have


to be very careful how they handle this. I think they need to maintain


the pressure on the Bahrain regime. I think they need to consider very


carefully how they handle that and the way in which they do so.


answer the question, the race should be cancelled because the


very fact that the FIA are taking the formula One race there endorses


and legitimises the regime. Many of us were involved in the movement in


the 1970s and 1980s to help to end apartheid, which was about


boycotting the regime, through cultural and sporting boycotts. It


was hugely powerful in making sure we brought down, collectively,


internationally, that appalling regime. You do not give succour to


tyrants by taking a wealthy roadshow there to make it look as


if we endorse them. We must stop. Next week, we moved to Romford, a


week away from the local elections across the UK and the big battle


between Boris and 10 in London. And the week after that we will be in


Stratford in east London. If you want to romp -- come to Romford or


David Dimbleby presents Question Time from Leeds. On the panel: the shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, the Conservative party co-chairman Sayeeda Warsi, Respect MP George Galloway, president of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron, and the Times columnist David Aaronovitch.

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