06/02/2014 Question Time


06/02/2014

David Dimbleby chairs from Gillingham, Kent. On the panel are Matthew Hancock, Tessa Jowell, George Galloway, David Starkey and Alison Wolf.


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Transcript


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tonight, we are in Gelling, in Kent, and welcome to Question Time.

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Welcome to you at home, to our audience, here to ask the questions,

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our panel, here to answer, and who are not told what the questions are.

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Tonight, Conservative Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew

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Hancock, former Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, tipped to be Labour's

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candidate for Mayor of London, Respect MP George Galloway, who

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could run against her, economist and author Alison Wolf, and his story

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Starkey. -- historian and broadcaster David Starkey.

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Our first question from Lisa Gibson, please. In the wake of two

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Coronation Street actors being cleared of sex abuse charges, should

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the accused be given anonymity in future rape cases? George Galloway,

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the coalition agreement between Labour, between the Conservatives

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and the Liberal Democrats did have a proposal that anonymity should begin

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than to the person charged. What is your view? It is tricky, because

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when accusations are made and the accused is named, sometimes people

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come forward with evidence, and sometimes with further allegations

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of other crimes. And it would obviously mitigate against that if

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the accused was granted anonymity. But in the light of what happened

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today, this fastly expensive, potentially devastating, disastrous

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set of false act is a nation is against an innocent man, cleared by

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the court, indeed, some of the charges were dropped well into the

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case, before even reaching the jury. I think that this matter will return

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to the agenda in a very big way. The accusers are, of course, granted

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anonymity, correctly, and I think the time may be coming for the

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accused similarly to be granted anonymity. You mean because there is

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an increase in the number of cases that are being put before the

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courts? Well, there appear to be, in these high profile cases, people in

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this post Jimmy Savile here, who are the victims of opportunistic

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accusation, and that seems to me to be invidious, unjust to them. I have

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no reason to second-guess the jury today, which was apparently

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absolutely unequivocal, but William Roache has spent many months under

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the cloud of suspicion, entirely unjustifiably, as it has turned out,

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and that can't be right. Tessa Jowell. What concerns me about rape

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generally is that it is a very heavily under reported crime. And I

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wouldn't want to see any step taken that would reduce the likelihood of

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women coming forward, being helped to come forward, in some cases many

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years later. Notwithstanding the case today, I don't think that this

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case, for all its celebrity and the suffering of William Roache and his

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family, is a reason to take what is a very major step, by allowing

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anonymity for those charged with rape. I think the major priority is

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to ensure that women who do suffer rape come forward, are supported to

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come forward, and that the police are, there is an insistence that the

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police take accusations of rape more seriously. Why is that affected by

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anonymity being granted to the accused? Because I think that, you

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know, in many cases women are afraid, they are not confident about

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the protection of their own anonymity. And I think that if you

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look at this in the round, the priority for us as a society is the

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protection of women who are subject to rape, and putting absolutely no

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obstacle in the way of their coming forward and being supported to come

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forward and bring cases of rape where they have suffered this

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terrible sexual violence. What about when they haven't? I agree with

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George Galloway, and the time has come for people accused of rape to

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be granted anonymity until the end of the trial. If they are found

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guilty, the name comes forward, but I cannot see why putting people

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through this helps in any way to encourage women to come forward with

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accusations. It seems to me that there is actually a huge number of

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unjust accusations being made against people in our society. Most

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of them do not hit the headlines. It is a living nightmare for many

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teachers, and I think it is perfectly possible to have a fair

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trial with the accused remaining anonymous. And I cannot see how we

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can possibly justify the number of innocent people who are being put

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through this. And of course, as many of them will say, there is this

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muttering, no smoke without fire, mud sticks. These things are

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perfectly true. What about the Stuart Hall case, where he pleaded

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and said these were all lies. His name came out and other people

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accused him and then he pleaded guilty. That is like saying that you

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should hang people because there are people who will not commit murder

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because they are terrified of being hanged. Our primary duty is to

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protect the innocent and make sure they get a fair trial. I think,

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given the way that the case ended, there was a clear lack of concrete

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evidence. Mr Galloway touched on that. But these allegations have

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potentially damaged women coming forward who genuinely have these

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gripes. It makes you think, she is making it up. These sort of things,

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the media intrusion into the accused and also the potential victim, it is

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damaging to the real victims. It has been horrible for William Roache,

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but what about the women who are scared to come forward because of

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this? There are two points I would like to make. The first relates

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specifically to the question, why was that idea of anonymity in the

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coalition agreement? It was directly because of the intervention of an

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old and dear friend of mine, Conrad Russell, who, when he was at York

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College, dealt as a Chuter with exactly the kind of case we are

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talking about. That is why it was there. The second thing is that we

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have got into a hopeless confusion on the whole question of rape. The

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word rape means violence. That is the Latin root. That is how it has

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always existed in English. That is how it has always been understood.

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What we have tried to do is to take that word, with -- with all of its

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terrible associations, and apply it to a whole series of much more

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awkward, much more difficult to establish, much more contested and

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contentious sexual encounters, by focusing on the issue of consent,

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which so often boils down, as it did in this case, to his word against

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her word. Now, I cannot see that the law is at all good at dealing with

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this. It really isn't. It works very badly. And I think it encourages

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false accusation. It also encourages other things as well on the other

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side. It's a very, very awkward, difficult law. We are in a state of

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complete confusion about sexual etiquette, aren't we? Complete

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confusion about what is right and what is wrong. We are trying to use

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the law to change it, and you, Tessa, said something which I find

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deeply shocking. You said our interest as a society is on bringing

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forward more victims of rape. I am sorry, we have one interest in

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society when the law is applied, and it is called justice. Justice is

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blind, and justice is evenhanded. This sense of a very large female

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Paul resting on one pan of the scale is bad and it is wrong, and it is

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immoral. That is utterly reactionary Tosh. Rape does not have to involve

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violence. No means no. If you proceed, it is a comma whether there

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is violence involved or not. I am outraged at what you said, and so

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will half the country B. Good, because it might make them think.

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Just mouthing these things, no means no, I am not heterosexual. I have

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been in very complex sexual situations, being gay. I know what

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is involved, I know the complexities. No means no? In a

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relationship in which sex is the norm, then clearly, nobody watching

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this asks their wife verbally, would you like to have sex, dear, nobody

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does that in relationships. Let's go back to the question. Matthew

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Hancock, we have not heard from you. I think this case has been a

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high-profile disaster. It has been a disaster both on its own terms and

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for the impact on William Roache. But also because of how it has made

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this very debate more difficult. Because the concept of open justice,

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of everything being done in open in court is based on everybody taking

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the opinion of innocent until proven guilty. And the problem in these

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cases is precisely because of people not thinking of the perpetrators,

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the alleged perpetrators, as innocent until proven guilty. And I

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would rather try to establish the principle of innocent until proven

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guilty, because of the downsides of ringing in anonymity, which

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undoubtedly, making an accusation, if true, does bring forward other

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victims. How do you achieve that? It is about the national culture. It

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involves how the media respond. Innocent until proven guilty is an

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important principle on which our whole justice system is built.

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Talking about what George was saying, about asking your partner

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for intercourse. Most girls would complain after a couple of months

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that there is no spontaneous love, no care in the relationship, if you

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are asking every 20 seconds if you want them. Where is the spontaneous

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real love? We are on to the issue about what rape is, rather than

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anonymity. William Roache was never going to be anonymous. He is too

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famous. We should not use high profile cases to talk about a major

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change in the law. As for people being confused, I think that is

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rubbish. A man knows if he has had sex with a woman against her will,

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and chateau does she. There is no confusion. -- and so does she.

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I think, due to the media circus and frenzy that surrounded the cases, I

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believe in the premise of innocent until proven guilty. The fact that

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these are two famous household actors, they should be allowed to be

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in court, and in both cases a trial jury should decide rather than the

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press and the media. Tessa Jowell, do you want to come back, because

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David Starkey laid into you? Not that I noticed. My test for this

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is, does any change in the law make it less likely that some of the

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young women that I represent, and who I know turn up at the local

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hospital, go to the police, or they languish in school because something

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horrific has happened to them, does it make it less likely that they are

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going to come forward that the perpetrator is going to be charged

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and they are going to be given the help that they need? And I think

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that celebrity is a very bad moment at which to undertake a fundamental

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change in the law. I think the lady who made that point, perhaps rather

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better than I have, is the view that certainly represents what I want to

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say. If anonymity was granted, why would it make people less likely to

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come forward and accuse them? I think the absence of anonymity sets

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a higher threshold. That is the first thing. A higher threshold for

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somebody to be charged. I think also UC... Doesn't evidence do that? It

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is tempting to bring full style is when you want to harm somebody and

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hurt somebody. You do not care if they are acquitted. -- falls charges

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when you want to harm somebody. Many women in this country has suffered

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forms of sexual violence and never had the confidence to come forward.

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This has no relationship to the issue of anonymity. I will hand this

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argument over to you at home. Textual comments or use the red

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button. We will move on to another question. How can state schools be

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the same as private schools with half the funding and doubled the

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pupils? Michael Gove said you should be able to walk into a school and

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not be able to tell if it was private or state. Once upon a time,

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the sort of school I went to, which was a local grammar school, was in

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many ways indistinguishable from the middle right public school. I had

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the sort of education that boys up and down the road had. I have the

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same kind of extracurricular activities and the same enthusiasm

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of staff. I had the same range of subjects. My school may do no

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difference as to how I was treated when I got to Oxbridge. -- my school

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made no difference. Some of the motives were good but many were

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absolutely foul. We wilfully destroy our best schools in the public

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sector. We have been running behind hand ever since. That is what

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happened. George Galloway... If our state schools had the money, the

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resources, the playing field is that the private schools have, our state

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school playing fields are almost now all sold off by this government,

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which knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. Then they

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would be, many of them would be, the equal of private schools that we

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perversely called public schools in our language. I speak all the time

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at the very best of these private schools, where the cost of the

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parents is in the case of Harrow ?32,000 a year. 35,000, I think, at

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Eton. Errors are getting what they are paying for. They are not paying

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it for nothing. -- parents are getting. They have wonderful school

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teachers and facilities. Then I go back to Bradford and I can see we

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are not getting what we pay for. We are being starved of the resources

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and of the creativity from the centre, from the state, that would

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rescue these schools and rescue these children, who are, of course,

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the vast majority. I am very candid about this or that they'd might

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cancel my next invitation to eat in or Harrow. We should abolish public

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schools, starting with abolishing their charitable status. If it is a

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charity, you get it deducted from your tax. These same comment, these

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same idiots who never learn. You people never learn. You are on a

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cycle of destruction. People like you. You quoted Shakespeare. I am

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furious. The children in my constituency are amongst the worst

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schools in the country. That leans, when they leave school, their life

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chances, unlike you, will not reach these Elysium Fields of pop history

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and academia that you have reached. I am absolutely furious about it. It

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is my job to sound off about it. Every child has the same right to a

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good education. Of course. Unconnected to how much money their

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parents have got. The thing is, you are talking about getting rid of the

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private school sector. Where do those children go? Do they go into

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the state school sector and the classroom sizes go from 30 to 60?

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That will not improve the situation. I am becoming something of an expert

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on this question. My university is setting up a state school. We are

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setting up a specialist mathematics School for 16 to 19-year-olds which

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will be funded as a state school. At one level, you cannot do it with the

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same amount of money as other state schools. If you are a private school

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you have more money to play with. Private schools are caught in and

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amenities arms race. One has one covered some wall so the next has to

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have two covered summing. That is not what schools are about. We

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believe we can create a school which is just as good, academically, and

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in terms of encouraging creativity and excitement, that the best

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schools do, with the sort of funding we can get. What has gone wrong in

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Bradford? I think a lot of things have gone wrong in Bradford. I

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suspect one of the major things that has happened in Bradford is very few

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teachers have stayed in Bradford. One of the things I do believe that

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both actually the previous Labour government which started in

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academies and this government, which encourage free schools, has done, is

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to create enthusiasm and energy for teachers. You get a good school when

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you have a group of staff that give themselves a day and night for it.

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On the present funding... It will not be eaten but can you produce a

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really good school on the current funding? Yes, you can. It is a bit

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unfair to automatically assume because it is a state school it is

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not a good school. I am a teacher myself. There are lots of very good

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teachers in the school I teach out. Just because you are in a private

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school, it does not mean that teachers are better but they have a

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lot better facilities and it makes it a lot easier. What is behind your

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question? It is hard to compare when it is not on an even playing field.

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You cannot say to a school where students paid ?30,000 a year, when

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they have facilities out of this world, and compare it to a school

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with one football pitch and maybe a couple of hard courts, it is not the

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same. You cannot compare the two. Is his aspiration that you should not

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be able to tell the right aspiration for a Secretary of State for

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education or is it fatuous? At the moment, it is factual. I would love

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the same facilities that private schools have. If that is the case,

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maybe Mr Gove will give us more money and reduce class sizes and

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give us more holidays. I agree with a lot of what you have said. You

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have left out an essential question and so has Allison. The key thing

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about public schools is the implied contract between the parents, the

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teacher and the people. In other words, those pupils are there and

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they will learn and there are virtually no disciplinary Robins. --

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problems. My experience on Jamie 's dream school makes it clear that the

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key issue is that of discipline. This is what Michael will share has

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been on about and you must not insult peoples. -- the pupils. Good

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teachers insult their pupils the whole of the time. Telling one he

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was too fat to learn... I do not want to go down That Road any

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further. Askew Hancock. I agree very strongly with the gentleman who just

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spoke. This is a vision, obviously, not a reality now. The reason that

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this is a goal towards which we should march is because it is

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possible, doable, to have very high standards in the state sector, even

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though obviously cash is much tighter. We know that even with

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tight cash you can dramatically improve the standards because it has

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happened. It has happened over the last five, ten years. I have paid

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tribute to some of the Labour ministers. Some of the schools in

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the worst areas of London are now some of the best schools in the

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country and this is increasingly happening across the country. One

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thing has not been mentioned yet and that is a core driver of how this

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happens and that is expectations. These schools that have really

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improved set very high expectations for every child - every child to

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reach potential. Even if they are not naturally gifted or they have

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had a difficult time so far, you set high standards and expectations and

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huge challenge children to get to those expectations. Boy, have we

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discovered through trial and error, that if you set high expectations

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for children, more likely than not they reach them. I care passionately

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about doing that in the state sector. There is a huge, huge golf

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that we have got to get over. Can we move in that direction? Absolutely,

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yes we can. What about the suggestion from George Galloway

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about cutting the charitable status? I think there are two reasons it

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would be a disaster. As the lady said, you would end up with more

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people in the state sector. We do not have much cash in the state

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sector. We are borrowing ?100 billion a year still. There is cash

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for banks, cash for bankers bonuses, cash for tax cuts. You are giving it

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away to your powers, your fellow public school boys and girls. That

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is what you are doing with the cash. With the spectacles in the

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background. You have not got spectacles on, that is my bad

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eyesight. Frequently, the debate is more aimed at bringing the top down

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rather than bringing the lower school back up. We should not be

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caring down the top layer, we should be bringing below will air back up.

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-- caring down. Surely, private schools will always want to be

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better than public schools so it will always be a tit for tat. Great,

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then they would all get better. You will spend more money on public

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schools. Surely that will be a waste of money. This question touches on a

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whole number of issues. It is absolutely not the case that all

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public schools, all independent schools, are better than state

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schools. There are fantastic state schools in which brilliant teachers

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are teaching up and down the country, across London in my own

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constituency. I think this is first of all an argument we should

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reject. State means inferior in every case to private school. I

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think the argument tends to be dominated by four or five very

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famous high achieving, highly selective private schools that tend

:29:41.:29:45.

to dominate the entrance to Oxford and Cambridge. What is it that makes

:29:46.:29:51.

a good school? It is a combination of things. It is excellent

:29:52.:29:57.

leadership by a motivated and brilliant head. It is also dedicated

:29:58.:30:03.

staff. It is engaged parents. The other thing is, and I think this is

:30:04.:30:08.

a really important thing, children go to school to learn, so that they

:30:09.:30:14.

are informed, confident and so forth. The diversity of state

:30:15.:30:18.

schools is what is teaching children to be citizens of the modern world.

:30:19.:30:26.

That is what I think is so important and so incredibly uplifting about a

:30:27.:30:30.

lot of our primary schools and a lot of our secondary schools. Of course

:30:31.:30:34.

we have got to do better and do more. The ambition in a way never

:30:35.:30:40.

stops because there are more children from disadvantaged, poorer

:30:41.:30:44.

families, unmotivated families in state schools.

:30:45.:30:50.

What did you make of Michael Gove's comparison of the state and private

:30:51.:30:56.

system of having a burly and wall between them which he wanted to

:30:57.:31:01.

knock down? I represent a constituency with a large number of

:31:02.:31:06.

independent schools, and a large number of increasingly successful

:31:07.:31:12.

state schools. So the comparison is wrong? Also, I think this assumption

:31:13.:31:16.

that you walk into an independent school and fine excellence, and you

:31:17.:31:22.

walk into a state school and find mediocrity is deeply insulting and

:31:23.:31:31.

untrue. There will always be a difference between private schools

:31:32.:31:35.

and state schools. The cultures are different. But I think Michael

:31:36.:31:41.

Gove's point was that he is trying to say that the standards, the gap

:31:42.:31:46.

in standards can be closed. One of the examples he gave was a longer

:31:47.:31:51.

school day, which is what they do in private schools, extracurricular

:31:52.:31:53.

activities, help with home works and stuff like that, which would help

:31:54.:31:58.

people from poorer backgrounds, and also discipline. David Starkey

:31:59.:32:03.

mentioned that, and it is a huge thing that needs to be migrated from

:32:04.:32:06.

the private to the state school more, where there is a gap. We are

:32:07.:32:12.

going to go on. A question from Joan Morris. Should workers in essential

:32:13.:32:19.

services be refused the right to strike? Matthew Hancock, thinking of

:32:20.:32:28.

the current difficulties that have brought London to a halt for 48

:32:29.:32:34.

hours. Many of us were delayed on the way down here. I support the

:32:35.:32:39.

trade union movement and I work with the trade union movement, for

:32:40.:32:42.

instance, on expanding apprenticeships. And I think that

:32:43.:32:45.

they are badly served by their bosses. Because there was not a

:32:46.:32:52.

majority of trade unionists who voted for this action. The majority

:32:53.:32:57.

of trade -- of workers on the tube did not vote for this action and

:32:58.:33:02.

were driven into it by their bosses. And I think that we do need to look

:33:03.:33:08.

at the way that those votes take place. We also need to think about

:33:09.:33:13.

whether essential services can be brought to a standstill. For

:33:14.:33:19.

instance, the police cannot strike because you would not want a moment

:33:20.:33:22.

when all of the police in the country were not at work. Are you in

:33:23.:33:29.

favour of essential services being refused the right to strike? I

:33:30.:33:32.

believe the New York subway have no right to strike. I think we need to

:33:33.:33:39.

consider it. What does that mean? Well, I do not think we should do it

:33:40.:33:46.

in the midst of a strike which has been so destructive. Why not, is

:33:47.:33:51.

that not the right moment? On the one hand, we need to balance the

:33:52.:33:55.

right to withdraw your labour, but just as important and, I would say

:33:56.:34:01.

this week, more important, is the ability to keep our country going

:34:02.:34:04.

and the ability for people to be able to get on with their lives. The

:34:05.:34:08.

strike this week has shown that, despite the fact that a majority did

:34:09.:34:11.

not vote for it, they managed to have a big disruptive impact,

:34:12.:34:16.

meaning doctors have been unable to get in to treat patients, teachers

:34:17.:34:19.

have been unable to get into schools to teach. I think this strike was

:34:20.:34:23.

absolutely wrong and we need to look at whether we need to change the

:34:24.:34:28.

rules about it. Do you want the right to strike refused?

:34:29.:34:33.

Personally, I think members of the London Underground who decide to

:34:34.:34:36.

strike, I think it is an essential service. If you look at horrific

:34:37.:34:41.

situations, such as a terrorist attack, you look at those

:34:42.:34:46.

supervisors, the number of people in stations who helped to evacuate

:34:47.:34:49.

people who were in the tunnels, who were in those moments, those crucial

:34:50.:34:55.

moments, where they were then supported by emergency services, you

:34:56.:34:58.

can see the focus and the importance of that service, and you can see the

:34:59.:35:02.

importance of it to London as a financial capital. The real losers

:35:03.:35:07.

at the end of the day are going to be the millions of Londoners who

:35:08.:35:11.

have not got to work, are unable to get to work. The economy then

:35:12.:35:15.

suffers. To be honest, personally, I find the fact that the RMT officials

:35:16.:35:21.

have not really met properly with Boris Johnson, there is a breakdown

:35:22.:35:24.

in communications, frankly ridiculous. This is what happens

:35:25.:35:33.

when you elect a clown is the Mayor of London. And it's not very funny.

:35:34.:35:39.

And the suffering that has occurred over the last 48 hours is not funny

:35:40.:35:43.

for anybody. It's not funny for the workers, who had to lose two days

:35:44.:35:48.

pay over it. By the way, the workers voted to strike. I wouldn't like

:35:49.:35:54.

anyone to be misled. You support trade unions like the rope supports

:35:55.:36:00.

a hanging man. The truth is that Boris Johnson provoked this strike

:36:01.:36:07.

by issuing a Fiat to close every ticket office in London and make

:36:08.:36:11.

hundreds of people redundant, without negotiating with the people

:36:12.:36:15.

who are paid to represent the interests of the staff. It is not

:36:16.:36:22.

rocket science. Five years, Boris Johnson has not met with the leaders

:36:23.:36:29.

of the RMT. This is contempt, Tory contempt for working people and

:36:30.:36:33.

their organisations. And in the final analysis, working people only

:36:34.:36:37.

have their labour to withdraw. They don't have your money. They don't

:36:38.:36:42.

have the money that the people in the City of London have. They don't

:36:43.:36:46.

have any power except their own they buy power and the right, legally,

:36:47.:36:51.

democratically, to decide to withdraw it for a day or two. Only

:36:52.:36:59.

30% of members of the RMT voted for this strike. You are assuming the

:37:00.:37:05.

others are against it. Only 30% of people voted for Boris Johnson. The

:37:06.:37:14.

plan is reasonable and not to close every ticket office. It is to close

:37:15.:37:18.

every single ticket office on the London Underground. You do not even

:37:19.:37:22.

know what your own mayor is doing. That's just not true. Also, it is

:37:23.:37:28.

well covered by people applying for voluntary redundancy. It's a

:37:29.:37:31.

perfectly reasonable plan and there is no reasonable argument for

:37:32.:37:36.

bringing London to a halt. Firstly, I think it is unfair of you to

:37:37.:37:39.

suggest that people are just striking to prevent people getting

:37:40.:37:43.

to work. They are striking because they are angry. If politicians are

:37:44.:37:47.

going to say they will only consider helping them in the future, it is no

:37:48.:37:50.

wonder they want to strike to begin with.

:37:51.:37:56.

I totally support the right of anyone to take strike action, but

:37:57.:38:00.

the London Underground is one of the most expensive underground systems

:38:01.:38:06.

in Europe. Surely this is a way of improving efficiency on the

:38:07.:38:08.

Underground system and hopefully reducing the fares. Let's come to

:38:09.:38:13.

the issue of whether it is so important there should be no right

:38:14.:38:16.

to strike in this and other essential services. Generally, the

:38:17.:38:22.

rule is that there should be no right to strike. What is happening

:38:23.:38:25.

in this strike and has happened in the London Underground over the last

:38:26.:38:30.

15 to 20 years is a process of pure extortion. Bob Crow is not an

:38:31.:38:42.

ineffective trade union leader. Bob Crow. The large fat man with the

:38:43.:38:46.

pinochle larder. He is an incredibly effective trade union leader. They

:38:47.:38:53.

are paid ?52,000 a year. Heaven forbid! How much do you earn? A lot

:38:54.:38:58.

more than that for a less owner is job. They could be replaced by a

:38:59.:39:06.

dummy. Most of the trades are designed to run automatically. --

:39:07.:39:11.

most of the trains. They are designed to run automatically as

:39:12.:39:15.

every subway system in the world is increasingly doing. London

:39:16.:39:18.

Underground has been mismanaged by Ken Livingstone and by the current

:39:19.:39:23.

mayor. Ken Livingstone deliberately encouraged the trade unions. Boris

:39:24.:39:27.

is a hopeless administrator. Ken Livingstone is a maligned genius.

:39:28.:39:32.

Transport for London needs shaking up from top to bottom. The reason

:39:33.:39:36.

the fares are scanned the list the expensive is mismanagement on an

:39:37.:39:42.

unbelievable scale. -- scandalously expensive. Is it so essential that

:39:43.:39:46.

the law that applies to the police and the military that they are not

:39:47.:39:51.

allowed to strike should apply? In any other European country, it would

:39:52.:39:55.

be. We are the only country in Europe without a coherent body of

:39:56.:40:00.

law defining essential services, and defining what you have to do in the

:40:01.:40:04.

event of a strike. It is not about never being allowed to strike, but

:40:05.:40:08.

if you do go on strike there is a basic minimum you are obliged to

:40:09.:40:12.

maintain. I was astonished. Every country in Europe except us as a

:40:13.:40:17.

clear body of law relating to that, and it includes public transport in

:40:18.:40:22.

large cities. What would the effect be in London? It would mean you have

:40:23.:40:27.

to keep the service going on every line-out is certainly a full. It

:40:28.:40:32.

would have meant that people who really had to get around occurred.

:40:33.:40:38.

In terms of withdrawing labour, I have friends who have lost large

:40:39.:40:41.

amounts of money because their businesses effectively had no

:40:42.:40:46.

takings over the last two days. It is pure extortion, a protection

:40:47.:40:50.

racket. They are essential because they are essential to allowing other

:40:51.:40:55.

people to carry out their normal life, essential to allowing people

:40:56.:40:58.

to get to doctors appointments, get to school, to work, to businesses.

:40:59.:41:08.

Tessa Jowell, you may be the person who challenges the Mayor of London.

:41:09.:41:16.

Many people tip you to be Mayor of London. If you were Mayor of London,

:41:17.:41:22.

what would you do? First of all, I would not support withdrawing the

:41:23.:41:25.

right to strike from public sector workers. In response to Alison's

:41:26.:41:29.

point, I got the Chu, the bus yesterday. It was inconvenient, long

:41:30.:41:36.

delays, but it was possible. It met your standard of a basic service.

:41:37.:41:42.

But I think withdrawing the right to strike assumes that public sector

:41:43.:41:45.

workers undertake industrial action in a kind of reckless, unthinking

:41:46.:41:55.

way, and they don't. Bob Crow does. David, stop it! This was a strike

:41:56.:42:02.

that was completely preventable had, first of all, Boris Johnson not

:42:03.:42:07.

broken the promised that he made when he was elected. He promised

:42:08.:42:11.

that no ticket offices would be closed. I actually think that there

:42:12.:42:18.

is a case for getting people out of ticket offices and out on the

:42:19.:42:22.

platforms. All of that could have been negotiated, had we not had the

:42:23.:42:30.

farce of Boris Johnson and Bob Crow. The only way they could talk to each

:42:31.:42:34.

other was by phoning LBC and having their discussion mediated. That is

:42:35.:42:50.

not the way to do it. Boris stood on a clear platform of modernising the

:42:51.:42:54.

Chu. You know why we need to modernise the Chu. He promised to

:42:55.:43:03.

keep the ticket offices. In 2010, the mayor takes his promises to

:43:04.:43:07.

London extremely seriously. Every station that has a ticket office

:43:08.:43:11.

will continue to have one. Statement from City Hall. The question is, how

:43:12.:43:17.

many people do you put in ticket offices? And our people bet on the

:43:18.:43:20.

station platforms, this is the proposal, on station platforms

:43:21.:43:29.

helping people? Only 3% of the travelling public use the ticket

:43:30.:43:34.

offices. So why did he go out on a limb to say every station will have

:43:35.:43:39.

a ticket office? Because there will still be places you can go in each

:43:40.:43:46.

station. You are struggling there! No, I am very clear. There will be

:43:47.:43:52.

people available for when people have difficulties. This is called

:43:53.:43:59.

the student loans moment! The important thing is that then we

:44:00.:44:03.

could keep the prices down. You cannot keep the travelling public

:44:04.:44:06.

moving at a reasonable cost if you set everything in stone and say

:44:07.:44:12.

that, when 97% of people who used London Underground do not go through

:44:13.:44:15.

a ticket office, we need to have because Bob Crow says so. Everyone

:44:16.:44:26.

should have the right to strike. It depends on a job. What about the

:44:27.:44:45.

firefighters? You have said everyone should have the right to strike. Are

:44:46.:44:49.

you saying the police should have the right to strike? Well, yes. The

:44:50.:44:59.

threat of that strike should make decisions. I do not think it is wise

:45:00.:45:11.

to insult the audience, David. I will take one more point. I think

:45:12.:45:20.

the most important thing in this is being lost. The people involved in

:45:21.:45:26.

the underground, who work for TEFL, are being completely forgotten. You

:45:27.:45:30.

have to eat goes dominating the argument. The media are spinning it

:45:31.:45:35.

to be a Bob Crowe versus Boris Johnson. If you take away the

:45:36.:45:40.

peoples right to strike, what else do they have? If the unions are not

:45:41.:45:45.

working, what protection is that for common man? Have you heard of

:45:46.:45:55.

employment law? Do you know the huge structure of employment protection

:45:56.:45:59.

that exists? Strikes in the public sector are extortion against you and

:46:00.:46:05.

me. That is why they are paid 52,000 a year. Some underground workers

:46:06.:46:11.

earn 52,000 a year. The drivers, who do nothing. 52,000 is a bad month 's

:46:12.:46:23.

bonus for a banker in London. Give me a cheap driver, that is a

:46:24.:46:28.

responsible and important job. If the bankers went on strike, we would

:46:29.:46:33.

all be better off. Now for another question. Why are there still so few

:46:34.:46:44.

women in Parliament? This issue surfaced yesterday in the House of

:46:45.:46:47.

Commons when the Labour front bench seemed to be entirely made up of

:46:48.:46:51.

women and the Tory front bench seem to not have one single women on it.

:46:52.:46:57.

Much was made of this. Why are there still so few women in Parliament?

:46:58.:47:04.

Labour has 34% of its membership and the Conservatives about 16. After

:47:05.:47:09.

the next election, we hope that proportion will increase. My party,

:47:10.:47:15.

the Labour Party, has since 1993/94, being impatient to increase the

:47:16.:47:19.

number of women. Why is it important? When you look at

:47:20.:47:23.

Parliament and are at the receiving end of the laws we were talking

:47:24.:47:28.

about rape earlier, that Parliament passes, you can be confident they

:47:29.:47:31.

are made by a parliament that is representative of the country. A

:47:32.:47:37.

balance between men and women. You know, it does not happen. The

:47:38.:47:41.

Liberal Democrats and the Tories have been very critical of us in

:47:42.:47:46.

doing this. It does not happen and if you have a period of positive

:47:47.:47:51.

action. We have all women short lists. That is why we have a bigger

:47:52.:47:55.

proportion of women in parliament than any of the other parties. These

:47:56.:48:03.

are constituencies where you do not allow men to stand. It is half hour

:48:04.:48:13.

winnable seats. Almost in every case, I think in every case, we will

:48:14.:48:19.

replace women who are standing down with all women short lists. Half

:48:20.:48:25.

hour winnable seats will have short lists. We live in great hope and

:48:26.:48:35.

strong campaigning. I hope that this can change. I am a passionate

:48:36.:48:39.

supporter of having more women in Parliament. What is the answer as to

:48:40.:48:48.

why there are so few? There is the question about passage of time.

:48:49.:48:53.

People tend to be in Parliament for a long time. The Conservative Party

:48:54.:48:59.

went from 17 women to 48 women when we first introduced positive action

:49:00.:49:03.

to get more women into Parliament. It does take time. There is another

:49:04.:49:11.

reason as well. In the past, the way Parliament has operated, frankly,

:49:12.:49:16.

has been antifamily. It has been designed on a principle of

:49:17.:49:22.

19th-century -- a 19th-century principle with folks at 10pm,

:49:23.:49:31.

10:30pm in the evening. I was proud to campaign amongst MPs to change

:49:32.:49:34.

the sitting hours so we could start earlier in the day and finish at

:49:35.:49:38.

7pm. That is not desperately early but it does help with those who have

:49:39.:49:43.

families and it helps with the work/ life balance, so you can then go

:49:44.:49:47.

home. Changing the way that Parliament operates to make it more

:49:48.:49:54.

family friendly will help. What about the match in masculine culture

:49:55.:49:57.

we see on display every Prime Minister's Questions on a Wednesday?

:49:58.:50:05.

What about the way that Prime Minister is on both sides conduct

:50:06.:50:10.

their business and the Corsa two of Cabinet members who are women. The

:50:11.:50:21.

proportion of Conservative Cabinet ministers is the same as was under

:50:22.:50:26.

Gordon Brown. I wish it were higher. I imagine it will be higher.

:50:27.:50:31.

I do not want to predict who will be in the cabinet in the future but I

:50:32.:50:36.

wish it were higher. Taking action will take time but we have got to

:50:37.:50:46.

get that. The man up there... Seeing more women in politics will be

:50:47.:50:51.

wonderful. I do not think having all women short lists is the way to go

:50:52.:50:57.

about it. I think it is a deeply patronising gesture. I think women

:50:58.:51:02.

should go into politics on their own merit. They are more than capable of

:51:03.:51:08.

competing with men. We're not going to see all homosexual short lists or

:51:09.:51:12.

Asian short lists. Women should get into Parliament on their own merit.

:51:13.:51:24.

I totally agree. I am against all women short lists. You can have half

:51:25.:51:33.

and half short lists. I do not think that makes it representative. I have

:51:34.:51:37.

never understood why a female who has gone to Oxford and go straight

:51:38.:51:41.

into politics is more representative of a country than a male. I think

:51:42.:51:47.

that is an artificial way of doing it and it does not encourage really

:51:48.:51:51.

good women to come forward. As to why there are so few, I think it is

:51:52.:51:55.

partly time and that things will improve. It is partly, curiously

:51:56.:52:04.

enough, on the conservative side, a reluctance for females to be

:52:05.:52:09.

selected as candidates. That is part of a changing culture. I think it

:52:10.:52:13.

will always be difficult to get women who are in their 30s and 40s

:52:14.:52:21.

and have children to be active Members of Parliament and do the job

:52:22.:52:25.

properly. The reality is it is a very demanding job. It is not just

:52:26.:52:31.

about our culture. I am full of aberration for people who managed to

:52:32.:52:34.

do it and doubly for people who managed to do it with children. --

:52:35.:52:40.

admiration. One of the best ways to increase numbers of women in

:52:41.:52:49.

Parliament would be if we were ageist. If we were to encourage

:52:50.:52:53.

people in their 50s to go into Parliament, rather than it being

:52:54.:52:59.

seen so much as a full-time job which you start doing when you are

:53:00.:53:04.

18 and do carry on doing it. I think that would do a huge amount for the

:53:05.:53:16.

balance. It should be done on an individual 's ability to stand as an

:53:17.:53:23.

MP. It discriminates against men with a women 's short list. I want

:53:24.:53:30.

to see more working class people in Parliament. Parliament is full,

:53:31.:53:35.

unfortunately, in all three parties, of public school, young,

:53:36.:53:41.

careerists, like Matthew, God bless him. I hope he does well but that is

:53:42.:53:47.

what he is. Parliament is full of researchers, who go from a good

:53:48.:53:52.

school to Oxford University and you can see them looking at the older

:53:53.:53:56.

Members of Parliament walking across the tea room, wondering whether they

:53:57.:54:00.

are going to fall over and there might be a by-election and they can

:54:01.:54:07.

get a place. I want to see positive discrimination in favour of better

:54:08.:54:10.

Members of Parliament who do not fill their pockets at the public 's

:54:11.:54:17.

expense of charging their dinner, charging scatter cushions, charging

:54:18.:54:23.

to get notes cleared out. Why are there still so few women? We have

:54:24.:54:28.

had women. Margaret Thatcher was the woman and it did not make her any

:54:29.:54:33.

good. Tessa and her friends told us for years in the Labour Party, if

:54:34.:54:37.

only we could get more women into Parliament, there would be fewer

:54:38.:54:44.

wars, less aggression. There were 101 Blair babes elected and all but

:54:45.:54:48.

three of them voted for every war that Tony Blair took us into. I am

:54:49.:54:56.

not big on this. I sort of agree with George. I think we need to ask

:54:57.:55:02.

some very hard questions. Why is it so important that there be an even

:55:03.:55:07.

balance between men and women? Why do we not have a similar quotient

:55:08.:55:12.

for Asians, homosexuals, left-handed people or whatever? If we demand

:55:13.:55:19.

that Parliament reflects us, that is a question worth asking. What is it

:55:20.:55:27.

that women actually bring? This needs answering and it needs

:55:28.:55:33.

thinking about. Are we talking simply about social justice? Are we

:55:34.:55:37.

saying, as George was hinting, that women are supposed to do it

:55:38.:55:43.

differently? My sense in politics is that successful women are at least

:55:44.:55:47.

as brutal and nasty as successful men. Margaret Thatcher is an

:55:48.:55:52.

outstanding example. Some of our very worst ministers have been

:55:53.:56:00.

women. Please let's confront this. Nobody is stopping you. We had left

:56:01.:56:05.

down Morris, who at least had the merit of realising she could not do

:56:06.:56:09.

the job and decide within a year. She knew she could not do it. And we

:56:10.:56:16.

had Jacqui Smith, who is probably the worst Home Secretary ever and

:56:17.:56:21.

was, of course, sprouting the trough in the largest possible way. Women

:56:22.:56:27.

are not a panacea. They do not bring a miracle or do mysterious good. Can

:56:28.:56:33.

we all start to be adult and think? On that note, we have to stop

:56:34.:56:39.

because the hour is up. Sky one more thing. David Cameron has had more

:56:40.:56:46.

people for dinner called Michael than he has women. So, why don't we

:56:47.:56:55.

start a twitter campaign nominating women to have dinner with the Prime

:56:56.:56:58.

Minister? All right. Prizes for the list of my

:56:59.:57:24.

calls. And the women. Time is up. Next week we go to Scunthorpe in

:57:25.:57:28.

Lincolnshire. The week after that we will be in Swindon. Take your choice

:57:29.:57:33.

of Scunthorpe or Swindon. The website gives the address you can

:57:34.:57:35.

apply to all call us. If you have been listening to us on

:57:36.:57:46.

the radio, the argument goes on. Thank you to the panel and all of

:57:47.:57:52.

you who came to take part in Gillingham. Good night.

:57:53.:57:55.

David Dimbleby presents Question Time from Gillingham in Kent. On the panel are skills and enterprise minister Matthew Hancock MP, former culture secretary Tessa Jowell MP, Respect MP George Galloway, historian David Starkey and economist Professor Alison Wolf of King's College London.


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