23/05/2013 Question Time


23/05/2013

David Dimbleby presents Question Time from Belfast, where the panel includes Theresa Villiers, Vernon Coaker, John O' Dowd, Ian Paisley Jnr, Peter Tatchell and Maajid Nawaz.


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Transcript


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welcome to Question Time. And good evening to you watching at home.

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Good evening to our audience, and to our panel, Conservative Northern

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Ireland Secretary, Theresa Villiers, her Labour shadow, Vernon

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Coaker, the Democratic Unionist party MP at Westminster, Ian paid is

:00:32.:00:37.

in, education Minister in Northern Ireland, John O'Dowd of Sinn Fein.

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Gay rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, and Maajid Nawaz, former

:00:40.:00:50.
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Islamist radical now runs an How is the UK going to protect

:01:03.:01:08.

itself from the style of terror attack scene in Woolwich yesterday?

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Maajid Nawaz. The sad fact is that we are unable to predict such terror

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attacks. We are unable to stop somebody who has already adopted an

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ideology of hate from going into their kitchen, as Al-Qaeda has

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encouraged them to do for many years now, since their operational command

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has been weakened due to the constant onslaught against their

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leadership. We are unable to stop somebody going into their kitchen,

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pulling out a butcher knife, walking onto the street and attacking random

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passers-by. That is the sad state of affairs. In dealing with that

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situation, we cannot reasonably expect the security services in this

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country, the police, to be able to detect every individual who is

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hell-bent on engaging in this sort of action. So what do we do? There

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is another option ahead of us. The answer lies in a question which I

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would pose to everyone. Do we ever wonder why there are not thousands

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of young people joining a line to apply for membership to, or to join

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organisations that subscribe to Soviet coming as today? The reason

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why they do not, despite the fact that the same frameworks could be

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used to interpret foreign-policy grievances today, by viewing them

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through the Soviet Communist Stalinist lens, the reason there are

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not thousands of young people queueing up to join soggy at coming

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as is because it is no longer fashionable, trendy, no longer a

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brand. - macro Soviet communism. The way forward is to make the ideology

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of Islamism, not the same as Islam, to make it as unfashionable as

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commie and as has become. Did you join because you were -- because it

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was fashionable? How many years ago? I am 35 now, despite my silver

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fox look. At 16, there were two things that I was facing. One was

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violent racism on the streets of Essex 's, and I include

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institutional racism from Essex police force. Much has changed since

:03:16.:03:21.

then but this was the days before the Stephen Lawrence enquiry and the

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MacPherson enquiry concluded there was institutional racism in English

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police forces. The second thing was the Bosnian jump -- genocide. Those

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two things came to a head for our generation and it meant that the

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trend of our era in the 90s in the UK, if you wanted a form of

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resistance ideology, you would join the Islamist ideology. Why would

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Afghanistan not provide the same basis that you were attracted by

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when you were 16? At the moment, it is. I am trying to say that the way

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forward, because it is so difficult to predict these attacks when they

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are as amateurish as this, when someone gets a meat cleaver and

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attacks somebody on the street, it is so difficult to stop or predict.

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The way forward is to stop the recruitment flow. How you do that is

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to make the ideology as unfashionable as communism has

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become. That requires civil society activism on the grassroots,

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challenging the validity and credibility of that ideology,

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promoting alternative symbols and leaders, promoting alternative

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narratives. The most interesting thing you said was the reason is

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that you were attracted, which seemed to be paralleled. And the

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summary seems to be that there is not very much that you can do about

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individual acts like this. Do you agree with that? Or is there

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something government can do? There is action that government can take

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and is taking to combat terrorism in all its forms. It is sad that we are

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discussing this issue in a place that has suffered so much at the

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hands of terrorists and has worked so hard to move on from that, but

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where still police officers and prison officers and members of the

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military face a daily risk from domestic terrorism. But we have a

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multistranded approach to combating the evil people responsible for

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terrorism. We need to give all the support we possibly can to police

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and security services in stopping these attacks in their tracks. We

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need to be utterly vigilant in bringing to justice those

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responsible, and we also need to combat the poisonous narrative of

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hate that these terrorists feed off. To demonstrate that our arguments

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are the strong ones, that we are a vibrant, forward-looking, inclusive

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democracy and we will not be deterred by these kind of attacks.

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It only serves to unite us in our condemnation of the horrific scenes

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we saw on the streets of Woolwich. Would you like to see the powers

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that allegedly the Liberal Democrats prevented you imposing to snoop on

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Facebook restored as a result of this? There is ongoing debate about

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this draft red -- legislation. Presumably it will be speeded up

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because of this. We will continue to talk to our coalition partners. It

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is difficult to get the balance but -- between protecting our security

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and protecting our Civil Liberties. So you are not arguing for what I

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thought the Tory party of the coalition was arguing for, the

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ability to tap into Facebook? You are saying you do not want that?

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am very supportive of that. It would help in commenting terrorism, but we

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have to the issue right. John O'Dowd, our British soldiers

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legitimate targets? First, mice and that these to the family of the

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young man who lost his life yesterday in a terrible incident. --

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my sympathies to the family. I certainly do not want to see death

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on the streets of London any more than on the streets of Afghanistan

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or Iraq. There is no justification for what happened in my opinion. But

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I am also conscious that there are four suspects currently in custody.

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If they are charged, they will have two face a jury trial and we should

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be very careful about what we say about whether these people, or

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others, may have been connected to an organisation, whether this was

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terrorist related, or whatever the motivations were. From the Irish

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experience we have to learn to allow the police to do their job, away

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from media agendas, political agendas, or any other agenda. Allow

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the police to do their job and justice to prevail in these

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circumstances. That is how you combat many of the issues which you

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referred to. Where people believe there is a system in place which

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will lay and deal with their fears, ensure that they are treated as

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equal citizens going forward, that will attract people from joining

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these organisations. This term of radicalisation, I am always

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conscious that we refer to members of the Muslim community as

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radicalised. We never hear of Christians being radicalised.

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sitting in Belfast, where over 600 British soldiers were killed in

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Northern Ireland, some on the mainland and some here. Do you

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think, as an act of the people who oppose what the British government

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is doing in Afghanistan, the killing of a British soldier on the streets

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of Woolwich is justified, in the way that Sinn Fein justify the killing

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of people here in Northern Ireland? Sinn Fein did not justify the

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killing of people here. There was a conflict which raged and Sinn Fein

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was involved in bringing to an end. We brought a conflict to an end

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because we entered a peace process. The answer is that I do not believe

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it was justified. I do not believe the death of that young man was

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justified. Lee Rigby was a father with a two-year-old son and he was

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brutally and hellishly murdered in front of the pool on the streets of

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Woolwich. It must be condemned, and I am glad there has been no

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equivocation in the condemnation of his brutal and evil murderer. I am

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glad we are discussing this in Belfast to Mike, because we see the

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parallel. 25 years ago, a short way from here, we would have seen the

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murder of two soldiers, dragged from their car by Republicans and

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butchered in front of people. I am glad those days are over here, and

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there are things we have to learn. Between 2005 and 2013, the number of

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terrorist murders in Northern Ireland stands at six people. The

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number of terrorist murders on the mainland presently stands, during

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the same period of time, at 57 people, and 700 murdered. Ten years

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ago I would not have believed I could have said that statistic, but

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it is turned on its head. That is a wake-up call that we have moved on

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in Northern Ireland, and we have two ensure we learn from our experience

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and pass it to the rest of the citizens of the UK. Three things we

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should do. Respect for the rule of law. We have to have leadership to

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say it at every given opportunity. We have to get people within the

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community that have been radicalised to say it and to show that they have

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turned from it. And we have to give up people within these communities

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who have been radicalised and bring them to justice. You talk about

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making the argument, very good arguments. If I am a young

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Palestinian or Saudi, I hear these ideas. I am walking down my street

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and it hit her plastic lid and I think, who is paying for those

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bullets, who is paying for that soldier? Saudi Arabia is backed by

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the West. It is contradictory if I am in the Middle East looking for

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democracy and my masters are dictated by those in the West. Do

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you not find your argument contradictory? I do not think it is

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contradictory to say that all of us condemned terrorism wherever it

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occurs and there can be no justification for it on the streets

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of our country. That is what the Muslim Council written very quickly

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came out and condemned it. In this country, in our democracy, if you

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want to change things, there is a way of doing it. You can

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legitimately protest and try to bring about change. I do not think

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there is anyone at all in our country who would see what happened

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on the streets of London yesterday, or has been seen sometimes

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throughout Northern Ireland, and turn around and say in any way

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anything that happens anywhere can possibly justify that. We have to

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stand up and say it is wrong and we will condemn it. That is the first

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thing you do with any of these outrages and that is all people

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throughout Northern Ireland and the UK will thank you as well. You said

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the Muslim Council of Britain condemned the attack. Why did they

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have to do that? That one person who did that act, it was horrific and I

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think we can all agree on that, that one person does not represent all

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Muslims. In the same way, when the tragedy happened in Norway a few

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years ago, all white people did not have to apologise for what that

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white person had done. So the Muslim Council should have stayed silent?

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am saying it is not as simple as people are making it out to be.

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think we have a big problem with Islamism. Not Islam the religion,

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but political Islam. People who have turned their hardline interpretation

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of Islam into a political movement which seeks to have state power and

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has suppressed democracy and human rights around the world. Globally,

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the main victims of Islamism are Muslim people. In Pakistan, Iraq,

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Afghanistan and elsewhere, the number one victim of Islamism is

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fellow Muslims. In terms of the government was my response, I do not

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think the government response is anywhere near adequate. I think the

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government pays lip service but in reality it does very little to

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counter the ideas. I think in a democracy, countering the ideas is

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the way we will defeat Islamism. Right now we have in our

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universities many different Islamist style organisations who openly

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recruit, who hold public meetings on university campuses, where they

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advise and encourage anti-Semitism, the killing of women who have sex

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outside of marriage, attacks on gay people. There are people who are

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hosted by universities. Some universities host gender segregation

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where women are forced to sit separately from men at these

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meetings. You think the chancellors at the University should just ban

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them? They should not tolerate gender segregation and those who

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advocate violence should be prohibitive. But those who do not

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advocate violence, I think they need to be challenged. The ideas need to

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be challenged. The government needs to fund and empower people within

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the Muslim community who are standing up against these extremists

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but who are not getting sufficient support. I did a proposal recently

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to counter extremism, and the way in which anti-Semitism, homophobia and

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misogyny are the gateway to extremism. That is how it begins.

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These people do not do this overnight. They start by imbibing

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offensive hostile views towards Jewish people, gay people, women,

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and towards fellow Muslims who do not share their hardline

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interpretation. And if we challenge that kind of ideology at the

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grassroots, we will stop them progressing to the next stage, which

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is to condone the horrific events we have seen many parts of the world.

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Maajid, is that an interpretation you accept? Word for word. 100%. We

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were involved in the same proposal. But the role of universities being

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wimpish about clamping down on these things, is that true? I don't think

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it about being wimpish. There's a level of ignorance out there.

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Really? No, about what the difference is between

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multiculturalism and respecting different cultures and Islamism and

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the role of Islam. Just to pick up on a point made about the West and

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the United Kingdom supporting other nations. I don't think this is the

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time for anybody to be trying to score any political points, because

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this was an absolutely horrific act that happened and was perpetrated by

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two deranged loners. Can I just say, the cub scout leader who stood up to

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this man is an inspiration. The best way that we should not doubt our own

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democracy and rule of law, because then we are playing into the hands

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of the people that seek to do us harm.

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APPLAUSE I think at times such as this you

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should always be in a position to question democracy and the rule of

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law. You should never deny you have that regard. Regardless of whatever

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action anybody else takes, you should challenge yourself and

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challenge that your democracy and rule of law is fit for purpose. With

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regards to tackling extremism, of whatever grade, I would be concerned

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if we talked about banning meetings, but you should challenge those

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behind those meetings and force them to explain their ideology against

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yours. I wasn't saying meetings should be banned but I don't think

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on University campuses they should be able to have meetings... It is

:17:20.:17:28.

about applying that existing policy. One of the guys speaking to the

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camera mention mentioned one of his motivations been the troops in

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Afghanistan, and you mention mentioned radicalise radicalisation

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by Bosnian. It is inevitable if the West continues to pursue an

:17:48.:17:52.

aggressive policy? APPLAUSE

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I believe very strongly that there is nothing in UK foreign policy that

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could possibly justify or excuse this horrific act. He wasn't is

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saying that. He was saying radicalisation will happen if you

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have Government policies that a group of people strongly oppose, and

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is that inevitable? No, I'm much more optimistic than some of the

:18:16.:18:22.

audience are on this. I think it is possible to persuade people that

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Islam Islamism of an extreme form is destructive and should be abandoned.

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There are a range of UK Government programmes that we are undertaking.

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The crucial thing is to engage with the Muslim community in our efforts

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to reradicalise the small number of individuals who espouse these brutal

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and vile things. Fundamentally disagree with this chap's point. I

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will tell you why, because if you are right we have the rule of

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jungle, not the rule of law. We have to get back to the rule of law. This

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country has free speech. We demonstrated in response to that

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crime, the police officers. In the United States those guys would have

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been not only shot but shot dead. I look forward to them being brought

:19:17.:19:20.

to the courts, held responsible for their crime and punished for their

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crime. That will be the biggest lesson for the perpetrators of the

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crime. In relation to this murder in Woolwich yesterday, there are a lot

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of eloquent expressions are coming across here tonight. Indeed Boris

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Johnson has said his rousing rhetoric on the matter, quite well

:19:39.:19:43.

in fairness, however, the security forces were allegedly aware of these

:19:43.:19:48.

perpetrators. They were on the radar, to use the quote. Surely the

:19:48.:19:51.

Government and the police were caught on the hop, and unfortunately

:19:51.:20:00.

they are going to be caught on the hop again. Vernon Coaker? Clearly

:20:00.:20:03.

whenever anything happens the police and the intelligence services look

:20:03.:20:08.

at what's happened, how it has happened and what they need to do to

:20:08.:20:13.

try to prevent it happening again. You are right to raise that, but at

:20:13.:20:17.

the present time we must not do anything that impedes to work of the

:20:17.:20:20.

police and intelligence services trying to see what went on and see

:20:20.:20:26.

what they need to do in the future. I think at the heart of your

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question is the, it goes back to earlier questions, we need to

:20:30.:20:34.

understand what it is that leads one or two individuals to turn from

:20:34.:20:38.

hearing radical preachers preaching things that we ourselves would

:20:38.:20:42.

fundamentally disagree with, what moves one or two individuals to move

:20:42.:20:46.

from that to do the wicked and terrible acts that we saw on our

:20:46.:20:50.

streets yesterday. That's the challenge for the police and the

:20:50.:20:53.

intelligence services. Let me add one other thing. When you say that,

:20:54.:20:58.

Northern Ireland saw exactly that didn't it? A massive collision of

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political ambitions and aim which is led to violence for many years. You

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can't be that surprised. You don't have to ask questions about it, it

:21:06.:21:10.

is here in this part of the United Kingdom, you can find out about it.

:21:10.:21:14.

What I was saying in this instance the intelligence service, what they

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need to try and understand is how some people move from attending

:21:18.:21:24.

radical mosques and hearing radical preachers and one or two moved from

:21:24.:21:27.

that and stay within the ambit of the intelligence service and moving

:21:27.:21:31.

to that violence. Let me add one important that is really important.

:21:31.:21:34.

Of course it is a policing and intelligence service response, but

:21:34.:21:38.

it is also the work that goes on in the different communities. Working

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with different organisations, with communities, with individuals, with

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schools, with the universities, to work with them to try and have a

:21:45.:21:48.

better understanding of what's happening. That's been shown true in

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Northern Ireland and it will be shown true in the whole of the UK in

:21:51.:21:57.

dealing with this threat. I think we should go on. We've only one woman

:21:57.:22:05.

on the panel and we will go on to another question. I would like to

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contradict John O'Dowd. If you look on the websites people are very

:22:09.:22:15.

angry indeed. It only takes build-up of that anger to explode intoed a

:22:15.:22:21.

calisation of anybody. Potentially it is there, if attacks continue on

:22:21.:22:27.

the country. The reason I raised that. The difficulty is this, you

:22:27.:22:32.

are only dealing with one part of the equation, with the radicalised

:22:32.:22:39.

Muslims. Their attacks in England last night taking place by far right

:22:39.:22:43.

groups who are largely Christian, if not all Christian, but largely

:22:43.:22:49.

white. Who radicalised the man who stabbed the 75-year-old man in

:22:49.:22:54.

Birmingham last week, a 75-year-old man. If you don't deal with the

:22:54.:22:59.

entire equation you are not going to answer the question. I'm not sitting

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here condemning Christians or HMS, but in each element of our society

:23:03.:23:08.

there are people on the extreme side of it. You need to deal with them

:23:08.:23:16.

all or you lose the entire situation.

:23:16.:23:19.

APPLAUSE Another question. Before we do, you

:23:19.:23:29.
:23:29.:23:38.

can join in the debate tonight by If you are listening on BBC Five

:23:38.:23:43.

Live tonight, welcome. The debate will carry on when we have finished

:23:43.:23:51.

here. Another question. This one is from Alan Scott.

:23:51.:23:55.

Is Parliament taking steps to introduce same sex marriage, is it

:23:55.:23:58.

time for the Northern Ireland Assembly to follow suit?

:23:58.:24:06.

APPLAUSE It seems to be not quite so popular

:24:06.:24:10.

in the Parliament here as in the Parliament, well it is not the

:24:10.:24:15.

Parliament here, the Assembly here. Ian Paisley, you had better kick off

:24:15.:24:22.

on this. Why ever should I? Look, I'm unapologetic on this, I take a

:24:22.:24:25.

very traditional view on marriage. I know it is very unpopular nowadays

:24:25.:24:29.

and I will be accused of being a dinosaur and being behind history

:24:29.:24:32.

and the rest of it. But I believe marriage is fundamentally about

:24:32.:24:38.

children. It is about creating children, who in turn create society

:24:38.:24:43.

and create family and society and create stability in that way. That's

:24:43.:24:48.

my interpretation that I have of it. I know I will be vilified now for

:24:48.:24:53.

having that view. No doubt I will be accused of being homophobic and

:24:53.:24:57.

close to be racist and everything that is nasty and bad in the world,

:24:57.:25:00.

because it is a traditional Christian view. The reason

:25:01.:25:04.

Christians are vilified about this view is because we are to be be

:25:04.:25:08.

scared off from expressing that point of view. But I will express it

:25:08.:25:11.

proudly and honestly. It is how frankly the majority of my

:25:11.:25:15.

constituents feel. Over the last year-and-a-half I received a postbag

:25:15.:25:19.

on this issue, especially whenever the Prime Minister turned from his

:25:19.:25:23.

position of not having this in his manifesto to suddenly making it a

:25:23.:25:28.

primary party policy for the Parliament. I received some 3,000

:25:28.:25:30.

individual contacts from constituents saying to me, you must

:25:31.:25:37.

stand up against this. I received five letters of opposition to it. I

:25:37.:25:41.

must say, that is only a vox pop in my own constituency, I believe I'm

:25:41.:25:46.

in tune with the people who sent me to Parliament to say to Government,

:25:46.:25:50.

think again about. This it is divisive. It has divided your own

:25:50.:25:54.

Parliament, your own party. Indeed I walked through the lobby with more

:25:54.:25:57.

Conservatives than Theresa was able to walk through the lobby with on

:25:57.:26:00.

this point. It is ripping people apart. We've seen in the last

:26:00.:26:05.

election that the UKIP made significant inroads and chalked up

:26:05.:26:10.

this divisive policy on that road. I'm not opposed to homosexuals. I

:26:10.:26:18.

believe that homosexuals have... You Sarah Palin pretty repulsed -- you

:26:18.:26:28.
:26:28.:26:28.

say you are pretty repulsed. ALL TALK AT ONC I would never

:26:28.:26:34.

bulldoze David. In that case let me give you this quote, I am pretty

:26:34.:26:38.

repulsed by gay and lesbianism, I think it is wrong. You can't then

:26:38.:26:45.

say you are not against. I was talking about the actions, not the

:26:45.:26:51.

specific individuals. I'm repulsed on occasion by other individuals as

:26:51.:26:58.

well who are not homosexuals. Immoral and obnoxious, you say. You

:26:58.:27:00.

do stand by that? APPLAUSE

:27:00.:27:04.

I'm entitled to those views and indeed I will be challenged by them

:27:04.:27:09.

and accused of have having opposition You said you weren't

:27:09.:27:14.

against gay relationships and now it seems that you are probably. Are

:27:14.:27:17.

said I'm not against individuals. Parliament has now put this forward.

:27:17.:27:21.

It goes to the next session of Parliament with regards to the House

:27:21.:27:25.

of Lords. It will be interesting to see what comes back to us.

:27:25.:27:29.

Parliament is incredibly divided by it. We've got to recognise that it

:27:29.:27:33.

wasn't in any manifesto. There was no significant mandate and I can't

:27:33.:27:37.

for the life of me understand why this Government has decided to

:27:37.:27:41.

champion it at this particular time. No doubt it is an unpopular point of

:27:41.:27:45.

view. APPLAUSE

:27:45.:27:50.

Not entirely. Peter Tatchell? think the British people have spoken

:27:50.:27:56.

very clearly. All the opinion poles show that 71% of the British people

:27:56.:28:03.

believe that gay couples should have the right to marry in civil

:28:03.:28:08.

ceremonies and Register Offices. In total, 58% of religious people also

:28:08.:28:14.

agreed that gay people should be able to get married if they wish. Of

:28:14.:28:19.

people intending to vote Conservative at the next election,

:28:19.:28:23.

57% of would-be Conservative voters support equal marriage too. I think

:28:23.:28:27.

you would be hard pressed to find any issue in British public life

:28:27.:28:33.

where so many people were in favour. Your point, I'm sorry and sad that

:28:33.:28:37.

you've got these intolerant views but that's your right. Thank you.

:28:37.:28:41.

But in a democracy we are all supposed to be equal before the law.

:28:41.:28:46.

I object to the fact that you want to impose your particular religious

:28:46.:28:50.

faith and interpretation of religious faith on the rest of us.

:28:50.:28:55.

No I don't. Using the law of the land. You are saying that because

:28:55.:29:03.

you believe homosexuality is wrong, or obnoxious and repulsive you want

:29:03.:29:08.

to impose it on the rest of us. you can get married tomorrow, Peter,

:29:08.:29:13.

but not to a man. I think most people will see through that, but

:29:13.:29:17.

anyway. The point is, in a democratic society we should all be

:29:17.:29:22.

equal before the law. That includes the right of heterosexual coups to

:29:22.:29:28.

have a civil partnership. I supported the moves to open up civil

:29:28.:29:31.

partnerships to heterosexual couples and I'm sad and disappointed that

:29:31.:29:39.

the Government, which claims it is legislating equality for gay people

:29:39.:29:45.

in law won't have civil partnerships for straight people. That isn't

:29:45.:29:55.
:29:55.:29:57.

consistent. When you talk about marriage, the main thing about

:29:57.:30:00.

marriage being the creation of children, that is a slap in the face

:30:00.:30:04.

to any couple who choose not to have children, or who cannot have

:30:04.:30:14.
:30:14.:30:16.

children. You are shaking your head, but it is. Do you want me to answer?

:30:16.:30:19.

When you are talking about the issue of equal marriage that was tearing

:30:20.:30:24.

apart parties, the real thing that tears people apart is when our

:30:24.:30:32.

politicians are getting on a public platform and telling young lesbian,

:30:33.:30:37.

gay, bisexual and transsexual people that being gay is obnoxious and

:30:37.:30:41.

repulsive and disgusting. I feel sorry for you that you have those

:30:41.:30:46.

views. You have made your point. I want to come back to the Northern

:30:47.:30:50.

Irish issue and the element in it, with John O'Dowd. What is going on

:30:50.:30:55.

in the assembly? Parliament in Westminster has not yet passed, and

:30:55.:30:58.

it has to go to the House of Lords, but what is going on here and how

:30:58.:31:02.

can Northern Ireland stop something that happens in Manchester? If you

:31:02.:31:06.

go there and get married, and come back here, will you be told you are

:31:06.:31:11.

not married? My party brought forward recently about to the

:31:11.:31:14.

assembly calling for equal marriage which was defeated on the basis that

:31:14.:31:19.

the system here can work on the toes. D U P used their veto. I think

:31:19.:31:24.

that was the wrong to do. I fully support the right for a loving

:31:24.:31:30.

couple to have -- to get married. Ian concentrates on the sexual act

:31:30.:31:34.

and this sort of thing. Concentrate on the fact that there is a couple

:31:34.:31:39.

in love. Concentrate on the fact that there is a couple in love who

:31:39.:31:43.

want to come together under that marriage ban now. I think we should

:31:44.:31:48.

be supporting them in doing that. I respect his point of view. I am not

:31:48.:31:52.

going to label him with anything, but I would say to him that he is

:31:52.:31:57.

standing in the way of the wishes of the vast majority of people. I get

:31:57.:32:02.

mail bags of letters to, from both sides of the argument. I get mail

:32:02.:32:06.

bags from people concerned about it for a variety of reasons and

:32:06.:32:09.

supportive for a variety of reasons, but if there are two people in love,

:32:09.:32:18.

we should allow them to get married if they so wish. Here here. When I

:32:18.:32:22.

was 15, growing up in Essex, as I have mentioned before, if somebody

:32:22.:32:24.

had said the president of America would be black, the most lithic

:32:24.:32:34.

rapper would be white -- prolific rapper, and the Conservative Prime

:32:34.:32:37.

Minister would legalise gay marriage, I would have laughed. That

:32:37.:32:46.

tells us, Ian Paisley Jr, that you are yesterday's news, basically.

:32:46.:32:50.

Because the president of America is black and one of the most prolific

:32:50.:32:53.

rappers is white. The world has turned upside down, whether you like

:32:53.:32:57.

it or not, and the Conservative minister has forced through gay

:32:57.:33:02.

marriage equality. And what you just said almost sounded like, I am not

:33:02.:33:09.

racist, Mark -- my best friend is black, but... You have the right to

:33:09.:33:13.

your opinion but it is the equivalent of me, as I used to say,

:33:13.:33:16.

sitting here promoting bigotry, homophobia, anti-Semitism, wanting

:33:16.:33:20.

to kill women because they had sex before marriage and saying, these

:33:20.:33:24.

are my opinions and I want to lobby to bring them about. The fact is

:33:24.:33:29.

that they are bigoted opinions. You did not want to say it, but I will.

:33:29.:33:32.

They are bigoted opinions and they need to be challenged. You have the

:33:32.:33:37.

right to speak, but I have a right to challenge those views.

:33:37.:33:41.

Absolutely, and I accept your position. And what you said to Peter

:33:41.:33:45.

was below the belt. Frankly, you have the right to those opinions but

:33:45.:33:48.

do not have the right to stop somebody else expressing themselves

:33:48.:33:53.

in their own way, so long as they are not harming you, not entering

:33:53.:33:57.

your bedroom and forcing you to sleep with a man. Do not force them

:33:57.:34:05.

to sleep with a woman. Is there anybody here who would side with Ian

:34:05.:34:12.

Paisley's view? Because we do not want a 1-sided argument. I do not

:34:12.:34:19.

have hate in my heart. I do not have anger or vilification in my heart. I

:34:19.:34:25.

do not have anything against anyone else. But throughout centuries, the

:34:25.:34:30.

traditional understanding of marriage has intrinsically and

:34:30.:34:35.

inherently being between a man and a woman. That is how I understand it.

:34:35.:34:41.

I do not hate anyone, gay, black man was limp. I am not angry, but I

:34:41.:34:46.

think you have two understand, and I speak on the half of millions of

:34:46.:34:49.

people, that we understand traditional marriage as between a

:34:49.:34:55.

man and a woman. And to redefine something so fundamental is

:34:55.:35:02.

tantamount to trying to redefine dogs so that it includes cats. Do

:35:02.:35:07.

not have a go at me because I am not angry against anyone. I am standing

:35:07.:35:16.

up for what I believe is the traditional way of marriage.

:35:16.:35:25.

Conservative party would once have taken exactly that view. I am a

:35:25.:35:35.
:35:35.:35:36.

former sliver lied to loony, for the record. -- swivel eyed loony.

:35:36.:35:39.

supporter of marriage as an institution. I think it keeps

:35:39.:35:42.

couples together and supports families, and I simply did not think

:35:42.:35:46.

I could justify denying access to that institution merely on the

:35:46.:35:53.

ground of someone's sexuality. I was very struck when I was in Derry

:35:53.:36:00.

Londonderry a few weeks ago, where there was a lecturer and Sir Ian

:36:00.:36:03.

McKellen gave the lecture. He pointed out how over the last 30

:36:03.:36:08.

years, bit by bit, the legal discrimination against the gay

:36:08.:36:12.

community has been dismantled, but there is this last bastions that had

:36:12.:36:17.

yet to be dismantled, and that was the law on marriage. It is a

:36:17.:36:21.

difficult issue and I respect people's views. It is vital that no

:36:21.:36:26.

religion, no faith is compelled to conduct same-sex marriage, but it is

:36:26.:36:31.

a vital step forward in removing any stigma that could be attached to gay

:36:31.:36:34.

relationships, and it sends a strong signal to young people who may be

:36:34.:36:39.

grappling with their sexuality, who may be confused, seeking acceptance

:36:39.:36:44.

that it is OK to express themselves in whatever way they want to. It was

:36:44.:36:51.

a good day's work when the House of Commons voted for this. We were once

:36:51.:36:55.

told Northern Ireland was as British as Finchley, but Northern Ireland is

:36:55.:36:59.

being left out of this same-sex marriage bill. Either we have the

:36:59.:37:03.

same rights and liberties as people in Finchley, or not. We are British,

:37:03.:37:09.

or we are not. What is the position, that the assembly will not vote, or

:37:09.:37:17.

it has voted? Maria Miller made a statement in the house. She made it

:37:17.:37:22.

when questioned about Northern Ireland, that a marriage in

:37:22.:37:26.

England, a same-sex marriage in England, when those people if they

:37:26.:37:30.

were to move to Northern Ireland it would be recognised only as a civil

:37:30.:37:34.

partnership. What is the difference anyway? We were told it was a matter

:37:34.:37:39.

of words. Campaigners are campaigning for the right to be

:37:39.:37:42.

married. No one is talking about imposing this on any of the

:37:42.:37:48.

churches. Hold on. If you are married as a gay couple, married in

:37:48.:37:52.

England and you come to Northern Ireland, and suddenly it is a civil

:37:52.:37:55.

partnership and not a marriage, in what sense is it different? What

:37:55.:38:04.

does it mean? It is in relation to inheritance. Inheritance is there in

:38:04.:38:10.

a civil partnership. It is tax breaks. I don't think anybody knows

:38:10.:38:16.

this. You need to ask Maria Miller because it is Conservative party

:38:16.:38:23.

policy, introduced on Monday night. I think people should be able to

:38:23.:38:28.

choose. If same-sex marriage is available to couples in England and

:38:28.:38:31.

Wales and Scotland, it should be available to people in Northern

:38:31.:38:35.

Ireland. What I would say to the Northern Ireland executive is to

:38:35.:38:39.

think again and actually allow that to happen. This is about love, about

:38:39.:38:43.

equality before the law. People in Northern Ireland should have the

:38:43.:38:46.

same rights as everybody else across the rest of the UK and that is what

:38:46.:38:54.

I want to see happen. You are saying it is about love and equality, but

:38:54.:38:58.

how can you have something that is defined as a same-sex marriage? How

:38:58.:39:03.

do you define that when the definition of it does not add up. It

:39:03.:39:09.

is not equal. Ian Paisley Jr actually made a point that you have

:39:09.:39:14.

a male and a female. Mail and mail is not equal to male and female.

:39:14.:39:19.

That does not add up. You are talking about love. You can commit

:39:19.:39:22.

adultery with a woman because you love her but it does not make it

:39:22.:39:28.

right. When you boil it all down to this, it becomes a moral issue. And

:39:28.:39:32.

you are talking about what churches say, or what they should do. A

:39:32.:39:36.

problem with the churches, and it is interesting that when you read in

:39:36.:39:41.

the Bill, some of the legislation about how churches should deal with

:39:41.:39:45.

this, part of the problem is that you are not going to get churches to

:39:45.:39:49.

step into some wing where their creed, their doctrine says clearly

:39:49.:39:55.

that that is not what you do. When you talk about equality, you cannot

:39:55.:39:58.

have equality simply because of the definition of same-sex marriage

:39:58.:40:04.

compared with heterosexual marriage. Can I remind everybody that the main

:40:04.:40:08.

marriage law in this country, the 1949 marriage act does not stipulate

:40:08.:40:14.

that marriage partners have to be male and female. The ban on same-sex

:40:14.:40:19.

marriage was only introduced in this country in 1971. Until that time

:40:19.:40:22.

there was no legal impediment to people of the same-sex getting

:40:22.:40:27.

married. So this discrimination is relatively recent. Marriage has

:40:27.:40:34.

evolved. Centuries ago it used to involve child brides and polygamy.

:40:34.:40:38.

Until recently, rape was legal in marriage, a man could rape his

:40:38.:40:44.

wife. Marriage has evolved and this is part of the revolution. My final

:40:44.:40:48.

point to Ian is this. Are you telling me that you have looked your

:40:48.:40:54.

own do you gay members in the face, members who are in same-sex

:40:54.:40:57.

relationships, and you have told them you would not countenance them

:40:57.:41:03.

having equal rights? Have you told them that? I have told them I

:41:03.:41:07.

believe there is equality but the law should be like this. They are

:41:07.:41:11.

entitled to disagree with me. That is the beauty of this democracy. If

:41:11.:41:15.

I am wrong on this issue, Parliament will vote that way. If I am right,

:41:15.:41:21.

it is my conscience that I have to answer for. When did you say

:41:21.:41:26.

same-sex marriages were taking place, until when? They were not

:41:26.:41:32.

taking place but there was no legal impediment until 1971. Why did

:41:32.:41:37.

nobody take advantage of it? They tried, and that is why the law was

:41:37.:41:46.

introduced. They tried.Not many, but there were a few cases.

:41:46.:41:50.

cannot use tradition as a sole justification for anything. Slavery

:41:50.:41:59.

was a tradition for many thousands of years. We have moved aeons that.

:42:00.:42:04.

Second of all, I would like to ask Ian Paisley, what aspect of allowing

:42:04.:42:09.

gay people to get married and enjoy the same legal privileges as anyone

:42:09.:42:13.

else who wants to get married, what aspect of that prevents you or

:42:13.:42:21.

anyone else practising traditional marriage? This is the vilification.

:42:21.:42:26.

If you have this point of view, you can be scared from making it. I am

:42:26.:42:28.

for the interpretation of traditional marriage between a man

:42:28.:42:33.

and a woman. That is what I believe and that is what I think marriage

:42:33.:42:36.

should be. If you want to call your same-sex relationship something

:42:36.:42:40.

else, that is fine, but do not call it marriage, because that is not

:42:40.:42:46.

what it is. Invent a new word for it. Call it what you want, but do

:42:46.:42:51.

not call it marriage, something that it is not. It is not a marriage of a

:42:51.:42:56.

man and a woman. The question was that you feel threatened as a

:42:56.:43:01.

married person. What aspect of allowing other people to get married

:43:01.:43:05.

prevents you or anyone else practising marriage in the

:43:05.:43:12.

traditional sense. I do not feel threatened. Do I look like a guy

:43:12.:43:22.
:43:22.:43:24.

under threat, mate? A little bit, yes.

:43:24.:43:30.

I think the position that is taken by Ian Paisley and other Unionist

:43:30.:43:37.

politicians on this is hypocritical. We see it in relation to gay

:43:37.:43:41.

marriage and other things, like abortion legislation. They go on

:43:41.:43:44.

about how much they value British citizenship and Northern Ireland's

:43:44.:43:47.

place in the union right up to the point where that clashes with their

:43:47.:43:52.

personal prejudice, up to the point where somebody tries to exercise a

:43:52.:43:56.

right that is available across the water, and then the mask slip 's,

:43:56.:44:01.

and you see that they are British went it suits them and they are

:44:01.:44:10.

Ulstermen when it does not. subtext of those opposed to same sex

:44:10.:44:14.

marriage is they don't belief gay people are fit and worthy, and that

:44:14.:44:17.

is pro foundly and deeply offensive. APPLAUSE

:44:17.:44:27.
:44:27.:44:28.

We move on. A question from Aubrey Calderwood, please. Is the Republic

:44:28.:44:30.

of Ireland a safe haven for international corporate tax

:44:30.:44:40.
:44:40.:44:41.

avoidance? John O'Dowd? Listening to the events happening in the Senate

:44:41.:44:44.

and information coming forward on Europe, it is up to the Irish

:44:45.:44:48.

Government to answer that question. If Apple is right they have a

:44:48.:44:53.

special arrangement with the Irish Government to pay 2% corporation

:44:53.:44:57.

tax, that's scandalous. The ordinary citizens in the republic are under

:44:58.:45:03.

severe pressure from austerity cuts which mean that many, many people,

:45:03.:45:06.

their lifestyles are crumbling before them. They are losing their

:45:06.:45:11.

homes, all their worldly possessions and hope, which is the most

:45:11.:45:15.

devastating impact of this. I think the Irish Government have a lot of

:45:15.:45:19.

questions to ask in relation to this. But there is a question for

:45:19.:45:22.

the international community, the European Commission and hopefully

:45:22.:45:30.

the G8 when they come to these shore. If corporation corporations

:45:30.:45:36.

can set up ghost companies to funnel through billions of doll, a I think

:45:36.:45:43.

they were alleging that $30 billion went through one of those companies

:45:43.:45:48.

in the Republic, that's disgraceful. You want Northern Ireland to become

:45:48.:45:56.

a tax haven? No, we want corporation tax here at the same rate. The

:45:56.:46:00.

corporation tax in the south is 12%. Apple are alleging they have a

:46:00.:46:03.

special arrangement with the Irish Government of 2%. Some are

:46:03.:46:09.

suggesting zero. 5%. That is not the arrangement. We can't corporations

:46:10.:46:14.

paying a fair share of tax, the tax which is set through legislation.

:46:14.:46:19.

You want a lower tax rate than the rest of the United Kingdom, correct?

:46:19.:46:25.

I want to set up an economy here separate to the United Kingdom.

:46:25.:46:33.

could unite with Dublin and therefore keep... No It is unfair

:46:33.:46:36.

to... Ordinary citizens in the south of Ireland are being nailed over

:46:36.:46:41.

tax. They are losing their homes had, losing their worldly

:46:41.:46:44.

possessions, and the worst thing they are losing is hope for the

:46:44.:46:48.

future. Multinational corporations are using it as a base to funnel

:46:49.:46:53.

through billions of pounds and dollars, whatever currency they are

:46:53.:46:59.

operating in. And that is not right, it is not proper and it should be

:46:59.:47:04.

brought to an end. Theresa Villiers? I don't think the problem is the

:47:04.:47:07.

rate of corporation tax in the Republic of Ireland. The problem is

:47:07.:47:12.

how big business is gaming the system to aggressively avoid paying

:47:12.:47:17.

their fair share of taxes. The UK Government is committed to a

:47:17.:47:21.

competitive tax system. We are reducing corporation tax but we want

:47:21.:47:25.

to make sure that big business actually pay their fair share.

:47:25.:47:29.

That's why David Cameron is putting it firmly and squarely on the agenda

:47:29.:47:34.

for the G8. That is the only way we will deal with this problem, if we

:47:34.:47:37.

act internationally together to crack down on this aggressive

:47:37.:47:42.

avoidance. And change the law? They are only obeying the law aren't

:47:42.:47:48.

they? Google say you make the rules and we obey them and if we can get

:47:48.:47:57.

away with this amount of tax, so be it. If we do it unilaterally it is

:47:57.:48:00.

going to be much more effective to do it internationally. It is very

:48:00.:48:04.

difficult to deal it with the problem completely on a unilateral

:48:04.:48:13.

basis. You would first of all try to do it internationally. I think any

:48:13.:48:18.

Government worth its salt seeing the way big corporations are

:48:18.:48:21.

aggressively avoiding paying their fair share, any Government should

:48:21.:48:24.

say we are not having that. It is not fair. Companies are making

:48:25.:48:29.

billions of pounds of profit in the UK and rerouting that into other

:48:29.:48:33.

countries. In my own constituency and throughout the land you see

:48:33.:48:37.

sometimes people pursued by HMRC for a few pounds. They are threatened

:48:37.:48:42.

with court, threatened with action. And we see big corporations actling

:48:42.:48:47.

according to a completely different set moral code. I think people think

:48:47.:48:51.

it is unacceptable. They want something done about it. What we

:48:51.:48:55.

should see at the G8 and at the European level is action at an

:48:55.:48:58.

international level to say to companies, enough is enough, you pay

:48:58.:49:03.

the fair share of tax, stop trying to avoid it, and I think if we did

:49:03.:49:10.

that, people would accept it. But let me say this, if the G8 or others

:49:10.:49:15.

can't do it, the Government should take action on their own. I said

:49:15.:49:22.

David Cameron but it was Ed Miliband who would take action. What action

:49:22.:49:28.

could they take against Google who are acting in Dublin? It is hot air

:49:28.:49:37.

isn't it? I make this prediction. With him to go to Google and say

:49:37.:49:40.

what you've done is wrong and to say the UK Government will look at what

:49:40.:49:46.

rules they will introduce, the I make this prediction, you will see

:49:46.:49:54.

lots of big companies paying tax. The morality will affect them.

:49:54.:49:57.

Customers will tell them and we should see that done as soon as

:49:57.:50:03.

possible. I think that's what people think across the board with that.

:50:03.:50:05.

APPLAUSE Peter Tatchell? What we are talking

:50:05.:50:13.

about is a global problem. The tax justice network estimates that

:50:13.:50:21.

between 21 and 32 trillion US dollars hidden in tax havens. 21 to

:50:21.:50:25.

32 trillion US dollar as hidden in US tax haven which is Governments

:50:25.:50:29.

have allowed corporations and individuals to use and exploit.

:50:29.:50:37.

Christian Aid did a report which suggested that every year a minimum

:50:37.:50:43.

of 160 billion is lost in pricing transfer trickery and falsified

:50:43.:50:52.

accounts. In those two mechanisms $160 billion US lost in tax revenue

:50:52.:50:55.

worldwide. We do need Government action at an international level.

:50:55.:51:01.

And I don't see it from the G8, the G20, the IMF and World Bank. I don't

:51:01.:51:06.

see them taking the initiative. We need those big institutions to take

:51:06.:51:13.

a stand and not to constantly be blackmailed by big business. That's

:51:13.:51:19.

what big business does. Big business says, if you don't give us what we

:51:19.:51:25.

want, we'll close down the plant and move abroad. That's a form of

:51:25.:51:29.

economic blackmail. These people are damaging this country and every

:51:29.:51:34.

country. We need to call them out. If they truly love this country or

:51:34.:51:37.

every country in which they reside, they should pay their fair share

:51:37.:51:43.

ofta. It is in their own self interest, because the the world

:51:43.:51:47.

economy goes bottom up they will lose much more. Because they are not

:51:47.:51:53.

paying enough tax? This should and would, they should pay tax, but why

:51:53.:51:58.

should they if they are not forced to? They can't all lose customers.

:51:58.:52:03.

I'm saying politicians have got to force them. Google is right.

:52:03.:52:10.

Dublin will be saying we can get all this business here. What Dublin said

:52:10.:52:15.

and what we are arguing is there should be a 12% corporation tax.

:52:15.:52:20.

There is a special arrangement between the Dublin Government and

:52:20.:52:24.

major corporations to pay less. That's totally unjust and unfair.

:52:24.:52:27.

What we are hearing is cloud-cuckoo economics. These companies whether

:52:28.:52:33.

we like it or not are obeying the law. They are residing and they are

:52:33.:52:37.

getting tax advice, the best place to reside your business in this

:52:37.:52:40.

instance is the Republic of Ireland. If the tax regime is change there

:52:40.:52:46.

had to attack them they will move to Hong Kong, where it is 10%, or to

:52:46.:52:49.

Canada where it is something else else. We do need an international

:52:49.:52:55.

agreement where people will obey the law. Us in Northern Ireland and us

:52:55.:52:58.

the United Kingdom, is reduce the corporation tax to below Northern

:52:58.:53:03.

Ireland, 10%, and your take-up of tax will increase and we'll have

:53:03.:53:09.

more money to spend and the British public. This is something which your

:53:09.:53:12.

Government failed to do and which the current Government is failing to

:53:12.:53:18.

do. What was the rate you want, 10%? I would like it to be 10%. Is that

:53:19.:53:25.

fair for the rest of the UK? No, for the whole of the UK. Maajid? I think

:53:25.:53:29.

we've got Google, Amazon, Apple and Starbucks, these are big American

:53:29.:53:35.

companies. The we just wonder who pays taxes and who doesn't. When

:53:35.:53:40.

you've got these companies that are acting within the law, then what

:53:40.:53:49.

needs to happen, as Nick Clegg said toer Mick Schmidt and as Ed Miliband

:53:49.:53:56.

said, if the law was change changed they would change because it doesn't

:53:56.:54:01.

make sense. The tax laws as they stand are antiquated and out of

:54:01.:54:06.

date. They must be reformed. That must be could with efforts

:54:06.:54:10.

internationally. If we reduce corporation tax rates in the UK on

:54:10.:54:13.

the assumption that we are not competitive and we are judging

:54:13.:54:16.

competitiveness with only the economic value that comes from it,

:54:16.:54:19.

what we are doing is underestimating what the United Kingdom provides to

:54:19.:54:23.

the market. Companies may want to move to Hong Kong but I don't Hong

:54:23.:54:27.

Kong has the level of people pro efficient in the English language

:54:27.:54:32.

that the United Kingdom has. And the many other skills of the European

:54:32.:54:37.

Union and the history of the United Kingdom are assets this country has

:54:37.:54:44.

beyond the corporation tax rate. APPLAUSE

:54:44.:54:48.

I take the point about it being an international issue but at the same

:54:48.:54:52.

time the UK Government needs to be asking questions of institutions it

:54:52.:54:56.

has control over. We bailed out banks in London and the UK

:54:56.:55:02.

Government has to ask whether we bailed them out just to help large

:55:02.:55:09.

companies avoid tax. OK.Surely the reason why there is no scandal of

:55:09.:55:12.

the tax avoidance in Northern Ireland is because we don't have a

:55:12.:55:19.

lot of big business. Surely that's the real scandal. The fact that we

:55:19.:55:26.

just have this dearth of industry that's left us below the UK. That's

:55:26.:55:31.

why we need the tax rate to get the businesses in here. And you, Sir.

:55:31.:55:36.

is interesting you mentioned corporation tax being 12%. These

:55:36.:55:40.

instances of Google and Apple are special deals that people wouldn't

:55:40.:55:46.

know about. It is interesting Eric Schmidt's response to Ed Miliband,

:55:46.:55:51.

and it was supposed to be less than 1% was the accusation. He said we do

:55:51.:55:55.

want to pay tax but you have to draw the line somewhere or it could be

:55:55.:56:01.

three or four times amount. Even at four times amount of less than 1%

:56:01.:56:07.

could be only 3%. It is one tenth of what the standard sort of tax that a

:56:07.:56:13.

normal working person would pay. They need to get a reality check,

:56:13.:56:18.

Schmidt and Tim Cook. I agree with much of what you just said. The key

:56:18.:56:23.

thing is people just didn't know how much of this was going on. I

:56:23.:56:27.

honestly think one of the biggest things we can do is make this much

:56:27.:56:30.

more transparent so people can see what's going on with the companies

:56:30.:56:34.

and the big corporations, in terms of the amount they are getting in

:56:34.:56:37.

profit and the amount they are paying in tax and how they are

:56:37.:56:42.

arriving at that amount. I think people have been genuinely shock

:56:43.:56:47.

shocked by... At what the Labour Government failed to spot? No. If

:56:47.:56:51.

you look at it the last Labour Government introduced a number of

:56:51.:56:57.

things about transparency. What I'm saying is if we shine a light on

:56:57.:57:01.

this practice I think you will get the big corporations to change. It

:57:01.:57:09.

is millennium moral. I want to hear from frank Allen. When will the

:57:10.:57:15.

recession end and get us back to the good old days? I wanted to ask you

:57:15.:57:22.

what the good old days were? Your view? In my day it was always good.

:57:22.:57:26.

That's worth going back to. We have to stop there. We are going to be in

:57:27.:57:33.

London next week. We have Alan Johnston for Labour, Diane James for

:57:33.:57:36.

UKIP and Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey on the

:57:36.:57:40.

panel. The week that have we'll be in Blackburn. If you would like to

:57:40.:57:45.

be in Blackburn in a fortnight or be in Blackburn in a fortnight or

:57:45.:57:51.

London next week go via our website. That's the easiest way. If you have

:57:51.:58:00.

been listening on 5Live you can continue the debate. It is presented

:58:00.:58:09.

by Steven Nolan and John Pienaar. LAUGHTER Why? It is the Nolan they

:58:09.:58:18.

are laughing at. He is called Steve Nolan. He can't help it. I don't

:58:18.:58:25.

think that's what he is known for. He's big over here. He is certainly

:58:25.:58:28.

big! APPLAUSE

:58:28.:58:33.

Big over there too. And he is on 5Live tonight. And you will be on

:58:33.:58:38.

David Dimbleby presents Question Time from Belfast, where the panel includes Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers, shadow Northern Ireland secretary Vernon Coaker, education minister John O' Dowd, MP for North Antrim Ian Paisley Jnr, gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and former Islamist radical and chairman of the Quilliam Foundation Maajid Nawaz.


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