28/11/2013 Question Time


28/11/2013

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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Transcript


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Scottish Parliament, Patrick Harvie. And the singer and independence

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

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

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

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

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

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Can Scotland achieve true independence without an independent

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

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

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independent countries. I want Scotland to the independent so that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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underwrite Scottish debt and that cannot and will not happen if

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

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

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

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how this arrangement would work, including the governments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Westminster would refuse to countenance it? George Osborne has

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mabey has an interesting alternative, but you cannot vote yes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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rates, mortgages, has huge imprecations for our economic

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

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

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

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

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those economic powers? What is it that you independent Scottish

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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point specifically, that interest rates are not fixed by the

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government anyway? Interest rates come within the macroeconomic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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proven currency which has actually stood up well to the very

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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wants currency union would be increasingly different -- difficult.

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

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

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option of creating an independent currency. Otherwise, UK Government

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could impose limits on borrowing, public spending and services and

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

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

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

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

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How will the Scottish Government accommodate the latest influx of

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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announced in Westminster about all these changes on benefits? You

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

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

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

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countries, Romania and Bulgaria, these changes that are being

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announced today, which are pretty straightforward and sensible

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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the part of Glasgow that has the biggest concentration of migrants

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

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

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challenge is challenges associated with the very significant and rapid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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women in green. Instead of encouraging migrants from whatever

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

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

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

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training and investing in our own young people?

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APPLAUSE I think that is a very important

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

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sometimes does cause Al-Qaeda conflict and tension around the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:25:21.:25:28.

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

:25:29.:25:33.

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

:25:34.:25:42.

came up from Gretna Green, travelling and listening to the

:25:43.:25:46.

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

:25:47.:25:51.

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

:25:52.:25:55.

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

:25:56.:26:01.

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

:26:02.:26:05.

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

:26:06.:26:09.

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

:26:10.:26:15.

sort out David Cameron 's immigration problem out because they

:26:16.:26:18.

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

:26:19.:26:23.

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

:26:24.:26:26.

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

:26:27.:26:32.

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

:26:33.:26:37.

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

:26:38.:26:44.

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

:26:45.:26:48.

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

:26:49.:26:52.

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

:26:53.:26:59.

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

:27:00.:27:07.

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

:27:08.:27:13.

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

:27:14.:27:17.

investing in building more social housing. Where there are problems

:27:18.:27:21.

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

:27:22.:27:25.

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

:27:26.:27:30.

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

:27:31.:27:35.

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

:27:36.:27:39.

infrastructure to have thousands, and hundreds of thousands of people

:27:40.:27:46.

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

:27:47.:27:53.

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

:27:54.:27:59.

There is capacity to invest in housing in Scotland for domestic

:28:00.:28:02.

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

:28:03.:28:06.

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

:28:07.:28:10.

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

:28:11.:28:15.

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

:28:16.:28:19.

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

:28:20.:28:26.

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

:28:27.:28:32.

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

:28:33.:28:36.

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

:28:37.:28:41.

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

:28:42.:28:47.

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

:28:48.:28:51.

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

:28:52.:28:56.

skill themselves. They want to financially provide for their

:28:57.:29:00.

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

:29:01.:29:04.

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

:29:05.:29:08.

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

:29:09.:29:14.

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

:29:15.:29:22.

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

:29:23.:29:31.

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

:29:32.:29:35.

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

:29:36.:29:39.

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

:29:40.:29:41.

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

:29:42.:29:45.

Europe. You would like an independent Scotland to be outside

:29:46.:29:50.

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

:29:51.:29:54.

about whether we would automatically become members, given the comments

:29:55.:29:58.

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

:29:59.:30:02.

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

:30:03.:30:08.

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

:30:09.:30:11.

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

:30:12.:30:17.

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

:30:18.:30:22.

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

:30:23.:30:26.

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

:30:27.:30:30.

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

:30:31.:30:34.

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

:30:35.:30:40.

would need their unanimous agreement, would put conditions on

:30:41.:30:44.

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

:30:45.:30:46.

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

:30:47.:30:52.

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

:30:53.:30:58.

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

:30:59.:31:02.

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

:31:03.:31:06.

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

:31:07.:31:12.

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

:31:13.:31:18.

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

:31:19.:31:26.

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

:31:27.:31:31.

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

:31:32.:31:35.

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

:31:36.:31:40.

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

:31:41.:31:47.

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

:31:48.:31:51.

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

:31:52.:31:55.

suggesting that Scotland, with everything we bring to the European

:31:56.:31:59.

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

:32:00.:32:09.

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

:32:10.:32:13.

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

:32:14.:32:18.

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

:32:19.:32:21.

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

:32:22.:32:26.

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

:32:27.:32:30.

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

:32:31.:32:37.

not be able to get the same opportunities that we currently

:32:38.:32:42.

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

:32:43.:32:46.

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

:32:47.:32:54.

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

:32:55.:32:58.

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

:32:59.:33:01.

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

:33:02.:33:07.

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

:33:08.:33:11.

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

:33:12.:33:23.

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

:33:24.:33:27.

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

:33:28.:33:34.

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

:33:35.:33:37.

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

:33:38.:33:45.

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

:33:46.:33:48.

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

:33:49.:34:01.

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

:34:02.:34:07.

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

:34:08.:34:11.

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

:34:12.:34:20.

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

:34:21.:34:23.

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

:34:24.:34:43.

Fox. The one certainty of independence after March 2016 would

:34:44.:34:46.

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

:34:47.:34:50.

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

:34:51.:35:09.

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

:35:10.:35:18.

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

:35:19.:35:22.

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

:35:23.:35:25.

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

:35:26.:35:31.

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

:35:32.:35:35.

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

:35:36.:35:37.

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

:35:38.:35:42.

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

:35:43.:35:48.

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

:35:49.:35:52.

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

:35:53.:35:59.

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

:36:00.:36:05.

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

:36:06.:36:11.

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

:36:12.:36:16.

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

:36:17.:36:22.

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

:36:23.:36:28.

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

:36:29.:36:35.

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

:36:36.:36:39.

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

:36:40.:36:48.

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

:36:49.:37:01.

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

:37:02.:37:11.

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

:37:12.:37:15.

yourselves. There are four other people here and 120 audience

:37:16.:37:22.

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

:37:23.:37:25.

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

:37:26.:37:35.

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

:37:36.:37:41.

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

:37:42.:37:44.

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

:37:45.:37:48.

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

:37:49.:37:51.

Tories would be dead meat in Scotland if Scotland votes

:37:52.:37:58.

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

:37:59.:38:01.

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

:38:02.:38:06.

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

:38:07.:38:14.

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

:38:15.:38:19.

this about the whole constitutional debate. Because actually there are

:38:20.:38:25.

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

:38:26.:38:29.

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

:38:30.:38:33.

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

:38:34.:38:39.

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

:38:40.:38:43.

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

:38:44.:38:46.

this extraordinary and unusual social and economic and political

:38:47.:38:50.

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

:38:51.:38:54.

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

:38:55.:38:58.

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

:38:59.:39:01.

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

:39:02.:39:05.

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

:39:06.:39:09.

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

:39:10.:39:13.

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

:39:14.:39:16.

issues which should determine Scottish minds when they make that

:39:17.:39:20.

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

:39:21.:39:24.

be independent. Theoretically, Scotland could be independent. That

:39:25.:39:29.

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

:39:30.:39:33.

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

:39:34.:39:38.

have the benefit of ace drunk Scottish Parliament which looks

:39:39.:39:43.

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

:39:44.:39:46.

partnership which gives arenas of influence on the international

:39:47.:39:50.

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

:39:51.:39:54.

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

:39:55.:39:58.

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

:39:59.:40:02.

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

:40:03.:40:07.

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

:40:08.:40:10.

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

:40:11.:40:27.

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

:40:28.:40:30.

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

:40:31.:40:37.

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

:40:38.:40:42.

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

:40:43.:40:52.

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

:40:53.:40:56.

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

:40:57.:41:02.

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

:41:03.:41:04.

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

:41:05.:41:09.

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

:41:10.:41:16.

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

:41:17.:41:20.

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

:41:21.:41:26.

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

:41:27.:41:32.

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

:41:33.:41:36.

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

:41:37.:41:41.

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

:41:42.:41:48.

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

:41:49.:41:52.

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

:41:53.:41:55.

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

:41:56.:42:00.

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

:42:01.:42:04.

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

:42:05.:42:11.

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

:42:12.:42:15.

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

:42:16.:42:20.

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

:42:21.:42:24.

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

:42:25.:42:29.

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

:42:30.:42:32.

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

:42:33.:42:37.

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

:42:38.:42:41.

likely to get these things through independence than through Labour

:42:42.:42:45.

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

:42:46.:42:54.

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

:42:55.:42:57.

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

:42:58.:43:00.

parts of England that are consistently Labour voting and

:43:01.:43:05.

support Tory governments, and parts of Britain that are consistently

:43:06.:43:08.

Tory voting and support Labour governments? Why should Scotland be

:43:09.:43:14.

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

:43:15.:43:17.

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

:43:18.:43:23.

You are not saying independence for Sunderland. My grandmother probably

:43:24.:43:26.

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

:43:27.:43:31.

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

:43:32.:43:34.

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

:43:35.:43:39.

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

:43:40.:43:43.

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

:43:44.:43:53.

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

:43:54.:43:59.

blue said this was bound for politics because we were all

:44:00.:44:07.

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

:44:08.:44:13.

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

:44:14.:44:21.

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

:44:22.:44:27.

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

:44:28.:44:30.

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

:44:31.:44:39.

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

:44:40.:44:43.

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

:44:44.:44:47.

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

:44:48.:44:53.

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

:44:54.:44:57.

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

:44:58.:45:05.

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

:45:06.:45:12.

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

:45:13.:45:19.

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

:45:20.:45:25.

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

:45:26.:45:29.

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

:45:30.:45:44.

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

:45:45.:45:48.

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

:45:49.:45:52.

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

:45:53.:45:58.

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

:45:59.:46:03.

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

:46:04.:46:07.

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

:46:08.:46:20.

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

:46:21.:46:28.

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

:46:29.:46:32.

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

:46:33.:46:39.

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

:46:40.:46:46.

by agreeing with something that Annabel from the Conservatives and

:46:47.:46:50.

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

:46:51.:46:54.

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

:46:55.:46:59.

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

:47:00.:47:02.

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

:47:03.:47:07.

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

:47:08.:47:12.

landscape I think needs to be fundamentally challenged. The UK

:47:13.:47:16.

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

:47:17.:47:21.

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

:47:22.:47:26.

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

:47:27.:47:30.

decide to take responsibility for ourselves and build our own

:47:31.:47:35.

political culture in Scotland, our own political landscape which

:47:36.:47:38.

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

:47:39.:47:43.

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

:47:44.:47:52.

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

:47:53.:47:55.

democracy for Scotland and the future of Scotland. Democracy is

:47:56.:47:58.

something Scotland is very passionate about. I would like to

:47:59.:48:02.

ask Alistair Carmichael to explain the democracy of him bolstering a

:48:03.:48:08.

Tory government, imposing legislation in Scotland like the

:48:09.:48:15.

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

:48:16.:48:22.

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

:48:23.:48:36.

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

:48:37.:48:40.

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

:48:41.:48:45.

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

:48:46.:48:54.

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

:48:55.:48:59.

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

:49:00.:49:09.

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

:49:10.:49:14.

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

:49:15.:49:18.

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

:49:19.:49:22.

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

:49:23.:49:28.

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

:49:29.:49:33.

Scotland and a Democratic structure will shared interests. Let me

:49:34.:49:37.

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

:49:38.:49:41.

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

:49:42.:49:46.

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

:49:47.:49:51.

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

:49:52.:49:54.

that is best governed by having the UK Parliament with representation

:49:55.:50:01.

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

:50:02.:50:07.

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

:50:08.:50:11.

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

:50:12.:50:15.

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

:50:16.:50:20.

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

:50:21.:50:26.

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

:50:27.:50:31.

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

:50:32.:50:36.

choice on independence is simply about that question, should Scotland

:50:37.:50:41.

govern itself and make its own decisions decided by the Scottish

:50:42.:50:44.

Parliament and the political balance that the people of Scotland choose

:50:45.:50:49.

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

:50:50.:50:53.

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

:50:54.:51:06.

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

:51:07.:51:11.

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

:51:12.:51:16.

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

:51:17.:51:20.

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

:51:21.:51:24.

powers of independence to make Scotland better and grow the

:51:25.:51:29.

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

:51:30.:51:32.

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

:51:33.:51:44.

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

:51:45.:51:48.

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

:51:49.:51:52.

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

:51:53.:52:02.

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

:52:03.:52:08.

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

:52:09.:52:13.

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

:52:14.:52:20.

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

:52:21.:52:25.

dismissal? APPLAUSE

:52:26.:52:36.

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

:52:37.:52:41.

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

:52:42.:52:46.

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

:52:47.:52:52.

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

:52:53.:52:58.

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

:52:59.:53:02.

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

:53:03.:53:07.

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

:53:08.:53:13.

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

:53:14.:53:18.

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

:53:19.:53:25.

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

:53:26.:53:31.

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

:53:32.:53:38.

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

:53:39.:53:45.

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

:53:46.:53:51.

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

:53:52.:53:56.

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

:53:57.:54:00.

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

:54:01.:54:11.

When concerned became public, the Labour Party took immediate action

:54:12.:54:16.

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

:54:17.:54:20.

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

:54:21.:54:29.

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

:54:30.:54:35.

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

:54:36.:54:39.

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

:54:40.:54:49.

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

:54:50.:54:58.

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

:54:59.:55:03.

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

:55:04.:55:07.

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

:55:08.:55:22.

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

:55:23.:55:26.

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

:55:27.:55:37.

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

:55:38.:55:40.

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

:55:41.:55:52.

perception. I think that is profoundly regrettable. There are

:55:53.:55:57.

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

:55:58.:56:02.

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

:56:03.:56:08.

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

:56:09.:56:15.

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

:56:16.:56:20.

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

:56:21.:56:26.

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

:56:27.:56:32.

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

:56:33.:56:38.

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

:56:39.:56:49.

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

:56:50.:56:55.

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

:56:56.:57:01.

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

:57:02.:57:07.

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

:57:08.:57:14.

whole thing stems back from the time when the Labour Party

:57:15.:57:25.

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

:57:26.:57:30.

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

:57:31.:57:35.

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

:57:36.:57:39.

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

:57:40.:57:43.

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

:57:44.:57:49.

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

:57:50.:57:56.

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

:57:57.:58:01.

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

:58:02.:58:07.

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

:58:08.:58:12.

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

:58:13.:58:17.

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

:58:18.:58:21.

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

:58:22.:58:26.

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

:58:27.:58:32.

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

:58:33.:58:42.

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

:58:43.:58:53.

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

:58:54.:59:18.

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

:59:19.:59:21.

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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