23/05/2013 Question Time


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


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


Ireland Secretary, Theresa Villiers, her Labour shadow, Vernon


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


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


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


Islamist radical now runs an How is the UK going to protect


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


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


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


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


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


has been weakened due to the constant onslaught against their


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


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


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


situation, we cannot reasonably expect the security services in this


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


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


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


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


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


organisations that subscribe to Soviet coming as today? The reason


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


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


through the Soviet Communist Stalinist lens, the reason there are


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


institutional racism from Essex police force. Much has changed since


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


MacPherson enquiry concluded there was institutional racism in English


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


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


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


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


Afghanistan not provide the same basis that you were attracted by


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


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


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


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


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


to make the ideology as unfashionable as communism has


become. That requires civil society activism on the grassroots,


challenging the validity and credibility of that ideology,


promoting alternative symbols and leaders, promoting alternative


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


where still police officers and prison officers and members of the


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


multistranded approach to combating the evil people responsible for


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


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


need to be utterly vigilant in bringing to justice those


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


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


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


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


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


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


that allegedly the Liberal Democrats prevented you imposing to snoop on


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


equal citizens going forward, that will attract people from joining


these organisations. This term of radicalisation, I am always


conscious that we refer to members of the Muslim community as


radicalised. We never hear of Christians being radicalised.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


terrorist murders in Northern Ireland stands at six people. The


number of terrorist murders on the mainland presently stands, during


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


contradictory to say that all of us condemned terrorism wherever it


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


but political Islam. People who have turned their hardline interpretation


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


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


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


Afghanistan and elsewhere, the number one victim of Islamism is


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


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


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


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


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


universities many different Islamist style organisations who openly


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


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


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


hosted by universities. Some universities host gender segregation


where women are forced to sit separately from men at these


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


them? They should not tolerate gender segregation and those who


advocate violence should be prohibitive. But those who do not


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


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


the Muslim community who are standing up against these extremists


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


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


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


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


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


and towards fellow Muslims who do not share their hardline


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Really? No, about what the difference is between


multiculturalism and respecting different cultures and Islamism and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


of the people that seek to do us harm.


APPLAUSE I think at times such as this you


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


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


action anybody else takes, you should challenge yourself and


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


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


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


behind those meetings and force them to explain their ideology against


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


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


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


camera mention mentioned one of his motivations been the troops in


Afghanistan, and you mention mentioned radicalise radicalisation


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


aggressive policy? APPLAUSE


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


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


saying that. He was saying radicalisation will happen if you


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


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


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


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


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


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


to reradicalise the small number of individuals who espouse these brutal


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


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


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


country has free speech. We demonstrated in response to that


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


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


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


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


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


of eloquent expressions are coming across here tonight. Indeed Boris


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


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


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


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


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


whenever anything happens the police and the intelligence services look


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


hearing radical preachers preaching things that we ourselves would


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


with different organisations, with communities, with individuals, with


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


all or you lose the entire situation.


APPLAUSE Another question. Before we do, you


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


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


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


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


time for the Northern Ireland Assembly to follow suit?


APPLAUSE It seems to be not quite so popular


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


because it is a traditional Christian view. The reason


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


individual contacts from constituents saying to me, you must


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


election that the UKIP made significant inroads and chalked up


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


do stand by that? APPLAUSE


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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




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


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


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


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


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


people intending to vote Conservative at the next election,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


not married? My party brought forward recently about to the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


do not have the right to stop somebody else expressing themselves


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


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


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


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


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


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


traditional understanding of marriage has intrinsically and


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


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


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


people, that we understand traditional marriage as between a


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


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


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


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


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


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


supporter of marriage as an institution. I think it keeps


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


I could justify denying access to that institution merely on the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


when questioned about Northern Ireland, that a marriage in


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


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


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


of words. Campaigners are campaigning for the right to be


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


married. So this discrimination is relatively recent. Marriage has


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


cannot use tradition as a sole justification for anything. Slavery


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


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


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


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


anyone else practising traditional marriage? This is the vilification.


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


for the interpretation of traditional marriage between a man


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


prevents you or anyone else practising marriage in the


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


under threat, mate? A little bit, yes.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


is pro foundly and deeply offensive. APPLAUSE


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


of Ireland a safe haven for international corporate tax


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


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


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


special arrangement with the Irish Government to pay 2% corporation


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


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


their lifestyles are crumbling before them. They are losing their


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


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


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


the international community, the European Commission and hopefully


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


through billions of pounds and dollars, whatever currency they are


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


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


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


how big business is gaming the system to aggressively avoid paying


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


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


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


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


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


act internationally together to crack down on this aggressive


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


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


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


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


difficult to deal it with the problem completely on a unilateral


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


Government worth its salt seeing the way big corporations are


aggressively avoiding paying their fair share, any Government should


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


APPLAUSE Peter Tatchell? What we are talking


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


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


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


have allowed corporations and individuals to use and exploit.


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


of 160 billion is lost in pricing transfer trickery and falsified


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


economic blackmail. These people are damaging this country and every


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


There is a special arrangement between the Dublin Government and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the assumption that we are not competitive and we are judging


competitiveness with only the economic value that comes from it,


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


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


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


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


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


beyond the corporation tax rate. APPLAUSE


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


is interesting you mentioned corporation tax being 12%. These


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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




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


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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