28/11/2013 Question Time


David Dimbleby presents the topical debate from Falkirk, with Nicola Sturgeon, Alistair Carmichael, Annabel Goldie, Margaret Curran, Patrick Harvie and Eddi Reader.

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


And a welcome to you at home, and to our audience. On the panel last week


we only had three panellists. We are making up for it tonight with six


panellists. Scotland's Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon of the


SNP. From Westminster, the Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for


Scotland, Alistair Carmichael. Labour's shadow Scottish secretary,


Margaret Curran. The ex-leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Annabel


Goldie. One of the leaders of the Scottish Greens, and a member of the


Scottish Parliament, Patrick Harvie. And the singer and independence


campaigner Eddi Reader. So, it is just ten months before


Scotland is asked to decide whether it wants independence. This week the


SNP published its argument for independence. Tonight, we will be


debating that with an audience that is pretty well divided 50-50 on the


issue, evenly split. Let's take our first question from Stephanie Pride.


Can Scotland achieve true independence without an independent


currency? Nicola Sturgeon. Yes, absolutely, we can. France and


Germany share a currency but nobody would argue that they are not


independent countries. I want Scotland to the independent so that


we can be responsible for our own decisions, take decisions in our


best interest. But sometimes those decisions will be to cooperate with


others, in particular our friends in other parts of the UK. A shared


currency would not just be in Scotland's interests, but also in


the best interests of other parts of the UK. Why? Firstly, Scotland is


the second biggest export market for England, and England is Scotland's


biggest export market. Unless we want to incur unnecessary costs for


businesses, it makes sense to stay in the same currency. What do you


make of the argument John Major put today in his speech? He said a


currency union, which you assume is negotiable, would require the UK to


underwrite Scottish debt and that cannot and will not happen if


Scotland leaves the union, there will be no halfway house, no quasi


independence. I would recommend to John Major that he reads the work


done by the fiscal commission, that set out in some exhaustive detail


how this arrangement would work, including the governments


arrangements of the Bank of England, and what would happen if


there was any need, which we hope there would never be, to stabilise


the financial system, and the shared contributions that would be made by


Scotland and other parts of the UK. I do not accept that argument. The


second point about why it is the right arrangement is that Scotland


contributes massively to the UK balance of payments. Our oil and gas


exports are ?30 billion. If that was taken out of the UK balance of


payments, the balance of payments deficit would almost double, which


would be back -- damaging to the sterling currency. My final point is


that it is as much Scotland's pound as it is the rest of the UK, and we


will be expected to take on our share of the liabilities of the UK.


It is only right that we get our share of the assets as well.


Alistair Carmichael, do you believe it can work as simply as that? No, I


don't. Basically, we almost that currency unions are very difficult


to make work. You just need to look at what has happened in the eurozone


to see that. Effectively, what Nicola is offering to the rest of


the UK is the opportunity to import into the rest of the UK the problems


of the eurozone. Currency unions only work if you can align your


economy so they go in the same place, the same direction, at the


same speed, at the same time. If you are going to do that, to take your


point, I do not think you have a properly independent country at that


point. Why would Scotland, on day one, say, we are independent, and on


day two hand over control of interest rates, borrowing levels,


taxation and all the rest of it back to an institution in the rest of the


UK? From the point of the rest of the UK, you would be asking them to


underwrite banks and to have taxpayers in the rest of the United


Kingdom stand behind the Bank of England, the lender of last resort,


in circumstances where they had no control over these banks. It is not


in either party's interests to have it, and it just would not happen.


When you say it would not happen, if Scotland voted for independence you


are saying the Treasury, the Bank of England, the government at


Westminster would refuse to countenance it? George Osborne has


said it is highly unlikely. Different from saying it will not


happen. That can only be said by the government of the remainder of the


United Kingdom when it is constituted in that way. He said it


was logical and desirable. He did not, that is a misrepresentation. It


is not just Ed Balls George Osborne, but Carl Wynn Jones, First Minister


of Wales, says that he would not want it. This is not just a contest


between Westminster and Edinburgh. This is going to involve people in


all parts of the United Kingdom. Nobody should vote for independence


next year thinking that if they do so they will keep the pound. On


Tuesday, we should have heard what the alternative was. I think Patrick


Mabey has an interesting alternative, but you cannot vote yes


on the basis of keeping the pound. Nicola Sturgeon mentioned France and


Germany. That is the euro with Germany very much the lead country.


Is that not what we should be doing, entering the euro? And secondly, is


Alex Salmond in Wales to see if the Welsh Mint will make Scottish


pounds? You are saying the euro would be preferable to going into


sterling. Eddi Reader. Well, I ain't a politician, but, you know... I


don't have any problem with England and I don't think England has a


problem with us. The people of England and the people of Scotland


are sane people. They would not choose to have a fight about


something like this. Once it is simply explained what the actual


deal is, this union we are supposed to have, once it is explained to the


English and the Scottish people properly, by people with no agenda,


by the way, anybody, once it is said what it is, and I did a bit of


investigation. I was neutral this time. This time last year I was


neutral, completely neutral. I was a Labour traditional voter. And then I


started looking at what this was that was floating into our laps,


this referendum idea. What is it? I like the union. What is this


breaking up? I don't think it is that. I actually went and found out


what the deal is. Our deal is not that. Our vote does not affect what


happens in the rest of the United Kingdom. Our vote in Scotland is


generally centre-left, and the bottom part of England tend to vote


centre-right. Therefore, we have to put up with that. And there was a


time when they did go for a kind of socialist, socially useful


compromise with Tony and Gordon, but that had to go so far right that it


was not the Labour Party that I voted for, and it wasn't what


Scotland votes for. Scotland votes for welfare. It votes for people. I


do not want to deflect you, but we are coming to this question. All


right, what I want to say is that if we decide to be independent, I do


not see it as having a fight with anybody. Margaret Curran, do you


agree? No, I do not. The currency is absolutely fundamental to the


interests of Scotland. It is at the heart of what the SNP has proposed


and has not been explained at all. We were promised the answers in the


White Paper and we have not got them. To me, it is a strange


independence that says we will have all about tax powers, keep control


of tax powers, but the monetary powers, which determine interest


rates, mortgages, has huge imprecations for our economic


interests, they will be set by the Bank of England. The Bank of England


is under the legislative competence of the UK, but under Nicola


Sturgeon's model, will withdraw all political influence in that. I think


that is a very strange form of independence. Why would we give away


those economic powers? What is it that you independent Scottish


government would not be able to do if it had sterling as its currency?


We would have influence over interest rates. You say you set them


already? They are set for Scotland at the moment. We will debate this


as the year goes on but this is important. Under the proposals put


forward by the SNP, which their own experts have said it is stupid not


to have a back-up plan to this, under their proposals, they propose


to split tax powers from interest rates. The interest rates would be


determined by the Bank of England. The Bank of England, the legislative


framework of the governance of the Bank of England is determined by the


UK Parliament, from which the SNP want us to withdraw. What you think


they should do, if they for independence, have their own


currency or go into the euro? I think the best way to keep the pound


and economic stability is to vote no in the referendum. People are


saying, two panellists, saying we will lose control of interest


rates. That assumes we have control at the moment. In the waiting room,


we had Mark Carney's announcement which did not get much past the


property market in London. I would like to go for interregional


cooperation, rather than attacking the yes campaign. Can you answer his


point specifically, that interest rates are not fixed by the


government anyway? Interest rates come within the macroeconomic


framework. We have seen what has happened as the government has


struggled to cut the overall deficit in the UK. The government is trying


to do that to try to protect, for example, mortgage rates, to ensure


interest rates are not leaping out of control and people are facing


impossible bills to pay. Going back to the heart of this, Nicola used an


interesting example, I thought, to illustrate a currency operation.


That was the euro. Most people would look at the euro, with all of its


challengers recently, and regard it as an instructive experience. The


first part of the experience is, thank goodness we are not in the


euro. The other very instructive ins -- experience is, and the gentleman


was quite right, Germany actually controls the euro. It does not


matter what the other countries think, Germany is calling the shots


and Germany is determining what the borrowing and taxation levels are in


these other countries which use the euro. Is this a crunch issue for


you, the issue of currency? I think it goes to the heart, David, as to


whether or not we should go for separation and independence, or


whether to keep the pound the best thing to do is stay within the UK. I


think currency, frankly, is about the most important thing we can


think about. It affects us all, at any stage of life. There is no way


of not having sterling which would work for Scotland? Having its own


pound, or the euro? Theoretically, Scotland as an independent currency


could float its own currency. I think currency is a crunch issue,


yes. Why could it not float its own currency? Every expert has said that


is a very risky thing to do. You immediately placed yourself at the


mercy... Hang on, you have had an extensive survey. The markets,


David, would determine the worth of your currency. You would have no


control over that. With the pound, we have an established, tried and


proven currency which has actually stood up well to the very


considerable challenges. The markets decide the value of sterling. Yes,


but they have made a good judgement on sterling. Why would they not on


Scotland? There is no track record. The markets could say, we do not


know what this currency is like, or the economic policies. You are not


proposing it, but if you could not negotiate terms acceptable to you


and Alex Salmond... I am going to go to the audience again. The woman on


the left. I want to go back to Eddi Reader. I am sitting on the fence


and I cannot make up my mind. There is a lot of scaremongering. You are


saying all that about money, euros and pounds and it does not bother


me. I do not care. You said that in February... Was it February? I was


musing on it and I pose the question, what was this debate?


Somebody must have got through to you. Nobody has got through to you


about it. It is things that go right above your head. To get to the


people that matter the most, you need to come down to their level.


What would that be? We all need money. I find it surprising that you


all clap that it is about that. Is it not about democracy? As so often


in this debate, there is a bit of truth on both sides. I have no doubt


that in answer to the original question, yes, we could become


independent and continued to share a currency. I suspect the issue is a


bit of truth on both sides. I have no doubt that in answer to the


original question, yes, we could become independent and continued to


share a currency. I suspect the issues the UK Government currently


wants currency union would be increasingly different -- difficult.


In the longer term, and it might be a matter of years or longer than


that, but I do believe the Scottish Government should hold open the


option of creating an independent currency. Otherwise, UK Government


could impose limits on borrowing, public spending and services and


impose some form of austerity on us. I think we need to get away from


that. We have spent quarter of an hour on that and I want to get


through two or three aspects. I will move on to a question which perhaps


will touch on what you are saying. Chris Mulholland has the question.


How will the Scottish Government accommodate the latest influx of


European migrants in January giving the lack of jobs and housing? How


will you... The SNP says it wants to encourage immigration. How will that


work? I think that this should be prepared to welcome people to come


here from other parts of the world. Especially from the European Union.


If there are jobs and if they are coming here to make a contribution.


I take your point that we still have over 7% of our own people unemployed


so we should be looking at everything we can do to get them


into work. The truth of the matter is, whatever happens, we have an


ageing population in Scotland and that is the future. It will be


especially true if Scotland were to be an independent country. We will


need more people of working age to pay the pensions of people who are


retired. At the moment, the way things are going, Scotland is going


to be in an even more challenged position than the rest of the United


Kingdom in that regard. What do you make of what the Prime Minister


announced in Westminster about all these changes on benefits? You


originally said it would put us on the wrong side of the European Union


and I do not want to buy myself in that territory. I said, if you make


these changes solely in relation to people coming from the new accession


countries, Romania and Bulgaria, these changes that are being


announced today, which are pretty straightforward and sensible


managerial issues, if you come from another EU country, you're not going


to be able to claim jobseeker's allowance for the first three months


of being here. That will put us in the same position as Germany, the


Netherlands and other places. I have absolutely no difficulty with that.


The SNP has said Scotland needs immigration. What Scotland needs is


a people to come here, work here and contribute here. We know that. There


may not be too much difference between Alistair and I on this


issue. The first point, we're a nation of immigrants. We are also a


nation of immigrants. Scots and descendants of Scots are living in


every corner of the globe. The starting principle should be we


should give people coming to live in Scotland the same welcome as we


would expect for Scots going to live in other parts of the world. There


are big issues here that make for important discussions. I represent


the part of Glasgow that has the biggest concentration of migrants


from Central and Eastern Europe in glass go. There are challenges. It


is not challenges associated with where people come from, it is


challenge is challenges associated with the very significant and rapid


rise in an area which was already densely populated. You need to make


sure the investment, services and work done to integrate and make


people welcome, we need to do that. The bigger issue is about the future


need of Scotland for people to come and do skilled jobs here, to have


targeted emigration -- immigration. Having an ageing population does not


make us unique. It is a good thing that our population is ageing. We


need to make sure a working population is going to support that


ageing population. Taking away the right of young people we educate to


stay here after they graduate to work, particularly after they get


degrees, is the wrong thing to do. We could put in place policies that


are sensible for our economy and that, I think, is one of the big


benefits. Want to go back to the question. Chris Mulholland, you


clearly had concerns. Can you explain your concerns? Both these


speakers have said as far as they are concerned, everything is fine. I


have no problem with people coming here with something to offer. It


seems too easy for people to come into Scotland and the UK and is get


preferential treatment over people already living here. I think that is


wrong. I have been in a situation where I have worked every week since


I left school, 23 years. I could not get a mortgage, I went to the local


council office. They more or less said to me, you are the wrong


nationality. To get anywhere on the housing list. I was forced into an


astronomical private letter which I can barely afford and I cannot save


up for a deposit. You are the wrong nationality in what sense? The


people who are immigrants are placed higher up the housing list than


people who are already living here and I think that is wrong. Do you


think that is the doing of the Scottish Parliament or that of


Westminster? I think it is both. Certainly, the issue is one reserved


for Westminster. That is correct. I found myself in agreement with


Nicola and Alistair. There is an issue for Scotland and that is we do


know, without a shadow of doubt, that our population is ageing


proportionately at a greater pace than the rest of the UK. As one of


the other questions indicated, we have two good thought about how we


support those who will have two have pensions paid and other service


needs. I think it is the case that we are a welcoming country. We are a


welcoming set of countries in the United Kingdom. We do need skills


that are not currently available. I am delighted if people can bring


these skills and can work. What Alistair was talking about was where


people were coming and may very well have been expecting to go on benefit


indefinitely, goes that if the system of welfare provision. What


the UK Government has said in relation to Bulgaria and Rumania,


no. You're going to have to qualify for benefits and you are simply not


going to get that after a certain time. That is all about it. The


women in green. Instead of encouraging migrants from whatever


country they come from, I know that they have two and EU rules, let them


come in. Instead of actively encouraging them to come in and


bring skills with them, why don't we concentrate on upscaling and


training and investing in our own young people?


APPLAUSE I think that is a very important


point. I do think, sometimes, the apparent failure to take action


sometimes does cause Al-Qaeda conflict and tension around the


debate on immigration. -- does cause conflict. We do need to tackle it in


order to go forward. On the general question, most people would accept


that immigration in principle is a good thing. It needs to be managed


and it needs to be fair and effective and we should be clear


about the rules that are applied to everyone. The rules should apply


fairly. I would be very concerned at any housing person saying, you


cannot get a house on the basis of your nationality. Do you think it


happens? I assume he is not a liar. I am sure I would have agreement


from my colleagues that that should be addressed. People should get


housing on basis of need and not nationality. It will have


implications on independence and we will need to think that through. I


came up from Gretna Green, travelling and listening to the


Richard Bacon show, they had several politicians and people talking on


their about this very subject. David Cameron, the Labour politician was


saying, they hate this policy he is bringing in from 1st of January. It


is a little too late. If the SNP gets the referendum and they start


pushing, Scotland is going to be wonderful, we are going to be the


land of milk and honey and there will be more people coming. We will


sort out David Cameron 's immigration problem out because they


will not want to stay in England, they will want to come to Scotland.


I am against it. We are the first line of defence and the ones whose


houses are getting taken over. People may laugh. Anyone who does


not know where they are going, they filter out from the border. They do


not pick up point on the map and think, I'm going to Aberdeen or


Falkirk. They say, where do we go? Talking about the first line of


defence is a wee bit of overkill. It's kind of pretends that foreign


equals bad and that immigrant equals threat. There are some real myths.


Immigration contributes more to the economy across the whole of UK than


welfare -- band received welfare payments. Where there are problems


around the supply of social housing, and there are, we should be


investing in building more social housing. Where there are problems


around public services, we should be investing more in public services.


Where there are economic problems which lead to a lack of skills and


employment, that is what we should be investing in. You are not


persuading him. He is shaking his head. We do not have the


infrastructure to have thousands, and hundreds of thousands of people


who may come in. These houses are not going to get made. There are not


the schools in place. There are not hospitals and the Fire Service.


There is capacity to invest in housing in Scotland for domestic


need and migration need. That is something we should be doing


regardless. If you look at the numbers coming in and out, it is


mostly the same country that people are coming in and out of the UK to


and from. Let's get this into a bit of perspective and recognise that


migration is as much an opportunity and we should not talk about it like


that. Who is frightening new about this big influx of people? Who is


frightening new about that? It is not a question of who is


frightening, it is the reality. It is what is going to happen. We are a


very prosperous European countries. All the other countries, the 29 that


are in Europe, a lot of them are not as prosperous as we are. It is just


natural that people will want to better themselves. They want to up


skill themselves. They want to financially provide for their


family. There has to be the infrastructure, the housing. When


that gentleman up there cannot get a house, and he has lived and paid his


taxes, gone to school, cannot get them, there is something morally


wrong. Whoever told him that, has to be fired.


We do not need Mr Cameron's suggestions that rich people should


be able to move. Surely there is a question about membership of


Europe. If we were an independent country, if we did not become a


member of the European Union there would not be the issue of


immigration, because the issue is migrants coming from the rest of


Europe. You would like an independent Scotland to be outside


the European Union? Not necessarily, but there does seem to be a question


about whether we would automatically become members, given the comments


from the Spanish Prime Minister. Do you think it is likely that it will


not be automatic? I think it is like the currency debate, where it is


something that people are putting up barriers at the moment but if we got


a yes vote in the referendum it would not be such an issue. Is it


really possible that Scotland would not be allowed into the EU, in your


view, as an independent country? I think it is not automatic. I would


hope Scotland could join the EU and be welcomed into it, but the


critical issue is the conditions attached to that. In terms of the


rebate, open borders, the euro, other member states, on whom we


would need their unanimous agreement, would put conditions on


that. It is the conditions attached to that which would materially


affect life in Scotland going forward. You think it might be


different from that position now. It could be very different. We might


not get the rebate. We currently have the opt out on open borders and


that might not apply, so it is very significant and there are no


guarantees and the white paper from the SNP gave no guarantees or


answers on this. To listen to Margaret Curran, you have to wonder


how 150 countries have managed to become independent since the end of


the Second World War. They clearly did not want to join the EU. Some of


the members of that you are newly independent countries. If we vote


yes next year, we do not become independent the day after. By


definition, we negotiate the transition of our membership. We are


not asking for any special terms. We are asking for the terms we have


right now to continue. The bottom line is, is anybody seriously


suggesting that Scotland, with everything we bring to the European


table, would not be warmly welcomed as a continuing member? That is


simply not credible. This is an endorsement of Scotland's strengths.


This comes to the crux of it. Nicola says we are not asking for special


terms. We have got special terms. If we walk away from the United


Kingdom, we walk away from these special terms. That is the fact,


that is what we heard from the Spanish Prime Minister, who told us,


yes, you can apply but you will have two apply as a new entrant. We would


not be able to get the same opportunities that we currently


have. We got a pretty clear signal of that from the Spanish Prime


Minister last night. The cars it is not in his interest to make it look


easy for an independent Scotland. I know you want to send a signal to


the Catalans, and he does not really support the idea that the Catalonian


's should decide their fate in a referendum. But the one thing I


thought we all agreed about in this referendum was it is the decision of


the Scottish people, not the Spanish prime minister. Briefly, what would


not be available to Scotland that is available as a member of the United


Kingdom? You have to wonder if Croatia, for example... We are


talking about the United Kingdom. Croatia has been told she cannot


have the same favourable terms as we have, but as joint anyway. So why


would Croatia agree? What are the special terms? The rebate on budget


contributions, the commitment to join the euro. The only risk of


Scottish membership of the euro is the in-out referendum being promised


by David Cameron. Perhaps the rest of the EU might be willing to accept


the swap of an independent Scotland for Spain or Greece? Let's move on


because we have many other questions. You can join in the


debate at home by text or Twitter. Let's take this question from Carol


Fox. The one certainty of independence after March 2016 would


be that Scotland would never again be ruled by a Tory government. Is


that not more than enough reason to vote yes? Margaret Curran, does that


put you on the yes side? Well, there is a curious thing about democracy,


and that is, you can't always guarantee what governments are going


to be in the future. Let me say to you, do not make a decision, the


momentous decision we have next year, just on the basis you think


you can have a guarantee that Tories will never have power and influence


in Scotland. Sometimes when I look at Alex Salmond and see what they


are doing to the poverty programmes in Scotland, I have my doubts about


some of the things that are currently happening. They have a lot


of Tories on their side as well. If Scotland decide to vote Tory, then


they decide to vote Tory. It does not make any difference. The point


is that Scotland has the choice. Scotland has the choice. Not all the


time. Are we a country? Of course we are, and a very proud nation and


very patriotic. Then why ignore the mandate of the Scottish people then?


I am not ignoring the mandate. I do not accept that. You know we vote


centre left all the time. Please let me make the point. Why can't we have


a government that reflects us. Why can't we do that? The last 16 years,


Scotland has voted Labour and Scotland got a Labour government. We


do get to vote in Scottish Parliament. They had to lean so far


to the right that it was unrecognisable. And went toward in


Iraq. I voted for that Labour. Hold on, hold on, hold on! Enough! Eddi,


enough, for the moment, please. You are having a conversation among


yourselves. There are four other people here and 120 audience


members. I think the real reason Margaret Curran does not want


independence is because she realises Labour will never be in power again


in the UK. Not at all. You need the Scottish vote to get into


Westminster. Four governments since 1945, Labour governments, have been


supported by the Scottish vote and would not have been there if it had


not happened. Annabel Goldie, what do you say to the question that the


Tories would be dead meat in Scotland if Scotland votes


independence? That is very in courage in, implying a present state


of life, which I know there to be. I can understand why the lady poses


the question and why Eddi launches into her impassioned diatribe. I


actually think... I actually think there is something much deeper to


this about the whole constitutional debate. Because actually there are


many reasons why people may form a view. We have listened to some of


the views from those who favour independence for Scotland. They can


have that view, they are titled to it and I respect it. I would argue


very strongly that if you do believe, and according to the


opinion polls a lot of people do believe this, if you do believe that


this extraordinary and unusual social and economic and political


union which is the United Kingdom has actually worked well for the


last 300 years, and that does not mean you always get the government


you want at Westminster, for 13 years I did not get the government I


wanted at Westminster, but I still believed in the concept of the


United Kingdom, because I think it has served Scotland well and there


is a lot of evidence to demonstrate how effective the union has been.


What I am saying is that I think there are deeper, broader and bigger


issues which should determine Scottish minds when they make that


decision next year. For my own part, I have never said Scotland could not


be independent. Theoretically, Scotland could be independent. That


is not the question. The question is, which arrangement suits Scotland


better? My apartment is that I think we have the best of both worlds. We


have the benefit of ace drunk Scottish Parliament which looks


after domestic issues, and we have the framework of the bigger


partnership which gives arenas of influence on the international


stage. We have seen that to good effect in recent days, whether the


talks taking place about Iran, and how we stop Iran's nuclear


programme, whether it is all of the help we are managing to give in the


tragic situation confronting the Philippines, we are able to do all


that. We would not have these arenas if we were independent, so there are


bigger, broader issues than whether you like or do not like the Tories


in Scotland. No wonder people become disinterested in politics when we


have seen a display like this this evening, and just in the last few


minutes. People want the facts that they can then make up their own


minds. We want the truth. We want to know what is going to happen. OK, so


you can have power with uncertainty, or you can have no power with


uncertainty. Because nobody can tell us what is going to happen if we


stick with the status quo. We have 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds


getting the vote for the first time. They need to be helped to make up


their mind. Therefore, they need the truth. We cannot have people


bickering. You cannot turn on the TV or open a newspaper and get the


facts. I had to find it on the internet, had to look for it. Do you


believe there is a truth to be got at? I believe... I am not talking to


you. Do you believe there is a truth to be got at, or do you believe it


is a matter of judgement which nobody can ascertain at this stage?


I do not think we have heard any truth from any of the politicians on


this. We have published a White Paper and I hope people will read


it. We have tried to answer as many questions as possible and we will


answer more if we can. People have to look at the arguments and come to


their own decision. On the democracy point, I am no fan of the Tories but


for me this is not an anti-Tory point. It is a pro-democracy point.


Never in my life has Scotland voted Tory and yet for more than half of


my life we had a Tory government. That is not democratic and cannot be


right. With independence, we do not get landed with a government we have


rejected. I do not understand the Labour position on the referendum.


On many social and economic things, Labour supporters, SNP supporters


probably want much the same things. We want a fairer economy, a decent


welfare state, to see the back of nuclear weapons, and we are far more


likely to get these things through independence than through Labour


teaming up with the Tories in a Better Together campaign. Wouldn't


the argument about being represented by Tories for a long period of time


and not getting what you want, wouldn't that be equally applied to


parts of England that are consistently Labour voting and


support Tory governments, and parts of Britain that are consistently


Tory voting and support Labour governments? Why should Scotland be


so special? My grandmother was from Sunderland and that part of England


I am sure does not like Tory government is any more than we do.


You are not saying independence for Sunderland. My grandmother probably


would have argued that, but that is a different story. We are a nation


and we have the opportunity to assert that, to be independent and


take our own decisions. That is what it is about. I believe passionately


in the social, cultural, family union with other parts of the UK,


but I want us to be politically and economically responsible and we only


get that if we are independent. Alistair Carmichael. The lady in


blue said this was bound for politics because we were all


bickering. -- bad. I have two point out it is the one non-politician in


the middle who is bickering. It is my home and it is where I live. I


live here as well. I am a Scot and I am also passionate about being


British. It is possible to have more than one national identity. We have


lived with that for long enough. Part of the danger is how you


consider things in a referendum with how you would consider them at an


election. In an election, if you make a decision and decide to vote


for a government you do not burn like, you can change it at the next


general election. -- then like. If we make the wrong decision next


September, if we vote for an independence we do not like, there


is no going back. I am afraid Nicola just does not seem to get the grasp


of democracy. In my community, I live in Otley, we have never voted


for the Nationalists. -- I live in Orkney. We still have a Nationalist


government. That is how democracy works. Are you saying it is


undemocratic to have a vote on independence? Absolutely not. Who


says we cannot go back? All I am saying is why have we not got the


power to make the decision? If we speak to the English about what kind


of alliances we have, why do we have to have this old, ancient empire


structure. I think they could do with a bit of a rejuvenation of the


electoral system as well. The women in the bedroom from the back. You do


not need to be nationalist to vote yes. Working-class women are not


able to make equal pay claims in Scotland. No one in Scotland ever


voted for that. If you want to change that their new boat for other


parties at the next general election. -- then you vote for other


parties at the next general election. I want to start actually


by agreeing with something that Annabel from the Conservatives and


Margaret from the Labour Party said. It is a deeper, longer-term issue


than who will form the next government. I hope if you are


undecided, or if you are sat at home watching the programme and you are


undecided, I hope you do not make the decision on who the next


government will be. I have made my decision on the basis of a political


landscape I think needs to be fundamentally challenged. The UK


political landscape, whichever party is in power, has been delivering


minor variations on a centre-right scheme for far too long. It is the


opportunity for fundamental change. I think we will get that changes we


decide to take responsibility for ourselves and build our own


political culture in Scotland, our own political landscape which


reflects the values of the Scottish people. It is not easy and it is not


a guarantee. The only way to guarantee failing to achieve that is


not to try. The woman in red. We are talking about democracy and


democracy for Scotland and the future of Scotland. Democracy is


something Scotland is very passionate about. I would like to


ask Alistair Carmichael to explain the democracy of him bolstering a


Tory government, imposing legislation in Scotland like the


bedroom tax. Also the these good job tribunal is, except read. How can he


possibly justify that to be Scottish people? -- also the fees for job


tribunal 's. It is the government of the United Kingdom. The two parties


in the coalition across the whole of the United Kingdom got 57% of the


votes. I think we are perfectly entitled to Govan. Let me take


another point. Margarets, four years, the Labour Party in Scotland


says do not vote SNP or the Tories will get in. -- Margret. There is a


basic premise I would put forward. I think we have a strong Scottish


parliament. Because we have a shared interest with the rest of the United


Kingdom, I do not believe Scotland should pull away from that because


of family and connections. I think the best way to do that if the


alliance that Eddie talks about. We have a democratic structure in


Scotland and a Democratic structure will shared interests. Let me


finish. I think we have to make sure we put forward these arguments. You


can have a strong Scottish parliament but you also, where you


have shared interests, be it the currency or macro economic issues, I


ran some European membership, defence, foreign affairs, I think


that is best governed by having the UK Parliament with representation


across the UK and is accountable to the people it represents. Want to


take the woman there. Can I ask the panel, if we vote for a yes vote


next year and the SNP did not get in, is there anything in the White


Paper, all these promises that have been given to us in this huge


document yesterday, that any of the other parties would accept? Would


they take that on board or would a completely new paper be written up?


All the political parties will put forward the manifesto. The yes or no


choice on independence is simply about that question, should Scotland


govern itself and make its own decisions decided by the Scottish


Parliament and the political balance that the people of Scotland choose


to put into that Parliament? There are things in the White Paper that


the SNP has put forward which sound like political proposals, like


childcare. It is like a manifesto for an election rather than


independence. We have been very open about that. Some things are very


important in terms of fundamentals like the currency and to the EU. We


have said we want to demonstrate and illustrate how you can use the


powers of independence to make Scotland better and grow the


economy. That is why we have put forward proposals. You are


absolutely right, we may not be the government. We have managed to do it


in Westminster. Childcare in the rest of the United Kingdom is far


ahead of where it is in Scotland. You have the power, you have the


money, why don't you just get on with it? We can only do that if we


are independent. We have had a lot of questions about Falkirk. One


question from John McCall, on an issue that has been exercising the


political classes and other people. My MP, Eric Joyce, has brought shame


on for Kirk. Should his constituents and myself be able to vote for his


dismissal? APPLAUSE


In other words, Eric Joyce was fined ?3000 and banned from pubs and even


a 12 month community order for committing an assault on another MP.


Should you be able to get rid of him in this period or should he be able


to sit there? I think lots of stuff goes on we do not get a clear


picture of. There are definite agenda is going on. I think there


has been some sneaky behaviour happening. I do not want to be


trashing all trade unions because people make mistakes or Eric Joyce,


I do not really... I do not live in this part of the country and I do


not know much about him. I know he punched somebody in the face. I am


not clear what is going on between Unite and the Labour Party. Unite


are accused of fixing the choice of candidate. Eric Joyce did bring


shame on for Kirk and the Labour Party and we were right to suspend


him. Should it go to the wider population? The legislation did not


come forward in the House of Commons. It becomes a very complex


process and that will need to be discussed. As Labour come clean


about what goes on in the selection process? -- has Labour come clean?


When concerned became public, the Labour Party took immediate action


to deal with that. We put the constituency into special measures.


You bring in senior officials. What we did do was to ensure that the


members, through that investigation, the members were now floating in the


new selection procedure all predated any of the concerns. Has Labour come


out with a clean face from this, do you think? It has not been the


happiest of experiences. Has it all being cleared up? All parties have


problem with candidates. That has happened in Scotland in the recent


period. You must investigate it. What is important is moving forward.


It is about addressing the needs of the people of Falkirk will stop we


have a good candidate. What has happened to Falkirk is very


unfortunate. I think it is regrettable that, I am a


politician, I am acutely aware that the public perception of politicians


is not high. When something like this happens, it reaffirms public


perception. I think that is profoundly regrettable. There are


broader strands and two things will have helped. I do not think a bad


smell will go away unless whatever the report was that the Labour Party


commissioned is made public. Why should it not be made public? You


have suffered. You have been the victims. Another aspect is


troubling. Let me say I believe in trade unions. That may sound


improbable. Responsible trade unions have an important role to play. I am


deeply concerned at the way Unite has operated. Since Ed Miliband


became leader of the Labour Party, the biggest element of donations has


come from Unite. All of that is made public. There is no dependents to


the extent that Labour is dependent on trade unions. Why can't Labour


disengaged itself from Unite, come clean, hold its hands up and say, we


are trying to put it right. Why is Ed Miliband not doing that? This


whole thing stems back from the time when the Labour Party


disenfranchised Dennis Canervan. He was an excellent MP for this area.


Eric Joyce made it no easier. When the whole thing started, he should


have stepped down immediately. The thing has been started by the fact


we have got, if you like, a clean slate coming up with the new


selection of the new three candidates. I think the whole thing


is, our MP, Mr Joyce, should have stepped down immediately. Falkirk


has had a bad press because of that. I will have two stop there. We have


run out of time. I have two stop or I shall be hung, drawn and


quartered, which I would not like. Next week we will be in east London.


It is on the day of the Chancellor 's prebudget report. Politicians


will include the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, David Davis for the


Conservatives, Mary Beard will be on the panel and Amanda Patel. The week


after that we will be in Swansea. If you want to come to ease London or


Swansea, applied to the address on the screen. -- east London.


The debate goes on on radio five live. From Falkirk, thank you to our


panel and all of you who have taken part in the programme. Good night.


But you're saying the scale of theft is huge.


David Dimbleby presents the topical debate from Falkirk, with Scotland's deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP, Liberal Democrat secretary of state for Scotland Alistair Carmichael MP, former leader of the Scottish Conservatives Annabel Goldie MSP, Labour's shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran MP, co-convenor of the Scottish Greens Patrick Harvie MSP and the singer-songwriter and member of Artists for Independence Eddi Reader.

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