13/02/2014 Question Time


13/02/2014

David Dimbleby presents the topical debate from Scunthorpe, with a panel including Damian Green MP, Chris Bryant MP, Janice Atkinson, Lord Winston and Cristina Odone.


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welcome to Question Time. Welcome to you at home, to our audience, who

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will ask the questions, and our panel, who do not know the questions

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until they hear them. Conservative Home Office Minister, Damian Green,

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Labour Shadow employment minister, Chris Bryant, from UKIP, one of

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their leading candidates for the European elections, Janice Atkinson,

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Daily Telegraph columnist Cristina Odone, and Labour peer, broadcast

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and Professor of science and society at Imperial College London, Robert

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Winston. The first question from Max Bell,

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please. Why does it take flooding to hit the south-east of England before

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the Westminster village notice or even care? Damian Green. I think

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that is half fare. Which bit? When you say the Westminster village, it

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is certainly true that the 24-hour news channels found it easier to get

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to the Thames Valley than they did to the Somerset Levels. But the

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truth is that the spread of the floods, and the incessant nature of

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the bad weather, has just made this a more important and bigger

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emergency as the weeks have passed. We now know that we have had the

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wettest period for 215 is, so it is not surprising that various

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authorities dealing with it are having to catch up around the

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country. -- 250 years. That is why we have schemes to help not just

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householders, but separate schemes to help farmers, rate relief for

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businesses and so on, because this is a very serious emergency in large

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parts of the country, and people need and deserve that help. That is

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why the Army have come in, and obviously the police are doing a

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good job, as always. But his point is different, that this has only

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happened because the flooding is in the south-east. Isn't that right?

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Absolutely. In Scunthorpe we have the River Trent and the River Humber

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which are extremely liable to flooding. Back in December, hundreds

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of people had to be evacuated. There are members of the audience here who

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had to raise thousands of pounds because they were not getting any

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help. There was no news coverage, nobody cared, there were no

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statements, nobody looking daft in wellies. It is -- if it is not

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within ten miles of London, they don't care. Do you agree at the

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back? I would like to quote some figures in relation to flooding

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historically in the UK. There is a blog currently on with Paul Hudson,

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that presents north-west weather. He has quoted that in 2007, there were

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23,500 homes flooded in the UK. Last year, in the Yorkshire and Humber

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region, there were 66,000 homes flooded. And you can compare that to

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the Somerset Levels which, apparently, 40 houses were flooded.

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I understand there are print -- plenty of other properties that were

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cut off, and I understand that in comparison to the south of England

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currently that pales into insignificance. You have heard the

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number of people complaining about how they were treated. I would be

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spitting with fury if I lived up here. Today it is announced that the

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people who were flooded in December will get the same money it was

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announced by David Cameron earlier this week and is going to people in

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the Thames Valley and in Somerset. Why did that not happen in Sepp Ash

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in December? -- why did it not happen in December. In 2007 there

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was major flooding in Hull. We had a scheme in place in two weeks. It is

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two months we have been talking about here, and longer in relation

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to the north-east. I remember when I was first elected in 2001, we had

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terrible flooding in the Rhondda Valley in two very small areas,

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basically because the local authority had not cleaned out the

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water channels for a long time. There were bricks and all sorts of

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stuff in there, which meant the water built up behind. Secondly,

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because the pumping station was frankly Victorian. I get really

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depressed that we still talk about Brunel's engineering and wanting to

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protect that. What about modern engineering? Why are we relying on

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Victorian engineering? You attacked the government, and everybody here

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was critical of the government for doing nothing in December. The

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?5,000 people are getting as a result of what happened in the

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Thames Valley, why wasn't it here? As I remember, the local council

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actually set up a compensation scheme straightaway which was very

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good and sensible. I remember at the time thinking, why is this not being

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reported? The truth was, as I remember, it coincided with the

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death of Nelson Mandela and the entire world media decamped to South

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Africa. Actually, I agree, it was certainly under reported. You, on

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the right. I think there is a serious lack of planning for

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flooding. David Cameron, the reason he had no involvement for maybe six

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or eight weeks was because he was letting the guys on the ground get

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it into some kind of order as to what they were going to do with the

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floods. For a start, people say, what is David Cameron going to do?

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Build a wall around the country? There were 60 foot waves crashing on

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some of those beaches. We cannot stop those floods. We are talking

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about ground water coming up from the water table. We cannot prevent

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that. We have that much rain coming down. When I referred to the lack of

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planning, is it not time firefighters were used as a

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statutory obligation to respond to floods, because at the moment they

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are doing it out of goodwill and using parts of the budget that are

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therefore other activities? I agree there is not much David Cameron can

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do except where wellies and go around for a photo opportunity. But

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there is such a thing as the environmental agency. What I would

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like to point out to those of you who are very cross about the North

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and lack of activity, lack of support here, I have in-laws in

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Somerset and friends who are farmers in the Somerset Levels. They were

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calling the Environment Agency in December, before Christmas, and

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saying, look, the dredging of the rivers must happen now, because we

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can see, everybody is predicting a bad winter and we can see what is

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going to happen. And the Environment Agency said, no, it is not really

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necessary. So I think that Cameron himself, what could he do? But there

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is a regulatory body there. It is the Environment Agency. Why were

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they so inactive, not responding to people who were calling and saying,

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we have lived here a long time, we know what is about to happen, let's

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not dilly-dally? We hear now that dredging the rivers would not

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benefit people. It is just going to move the problem further downstream.

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Damian Green, comment on this, because you will remember that Eric

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Pickles, the Communities Secretary, said exactly what Cristina Odone is

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saying, I apologise, I am really sorry, we took the advice of what we

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thought, we thought we were dealing with experts. Is that right? Is it

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the feeling in government that you were let down by the Environment

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Agency? Or let down by Eric Pickles? There is clearly a crisis we need to

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sort out. Let's stick with Eric Pickles. He was very clear, he went

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on television and said, we thought we were dealing with experts. He

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criticised the Environment Agency for being responsible. My

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understanding, and I do not intend to become an armchair hydrologist.

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The nation is now full of people, who, just as we go to war, we all

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become armchair generals, we are now becoming experts on river flows and

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hydrology. I am not an expert. But my understanding is that in the

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Somerset Levels, dredging might have helped a bit but actually would not

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have been a magic bullet. In other places, such as the Thames Valley,

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there are so many locks and weirs and so on, that you do not alter the

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flow very much by dredging. Let's go back to the issue of whether it was

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because it was in the south-east that the government acted. Is it not

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the fact that it is highlighting the north- south divide again, and there

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are more Conservative seats down south than up north? Well, I don't

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think it is a political issue. I think we are missing the point

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entirely, actually, to tell you the truth. In a way, and I hate to say

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this, because it is a terrible thing to have your house inundated like

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this wherever you live, but in a way this is a good thing, because it

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should be an awful warning to what is going to happen increasingly in

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the future. Virtually all sensible scientific opinion is clear that we

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are undergoing climate change, that there is going to be increasingly

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chaotic weather around the world, overheating in some places like

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Australia, flooding in places like Bangladesh, which will kill

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thousands and thousands of people, hundreds of thousands of people. And

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even in Britain the Thames Barrier is now inadequate for the purpose.

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Perhaps it would be good if Westminster were flooded. I don't

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know. But actually, quite seriously, it is shocking to blame any

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minister, or indeed the Environment Agency. The Environment Agency has

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certainly been underfunded, that is clear. Therefore, it could not

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respond in the way it should have done. I think it is regrettable that

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Chris Smith did not visit the places earlier, as its boss. I think there

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was a big mistake. But in a sense, one has to say that 1000 years ago

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we had King Canute. In a sense, David Cameron is looking like King

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Canute, looking at the waves which are inevitably going to come in. The

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sea level has risen. We know that there is measured heating. We know

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it is changing. And we need to do something about the next generation.

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For a long time, scientists have been saying, we must look at

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flooding. It's going to be one of the most serious consequences of

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heating. Not simply crops drying up, or the shortage of water. In some

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places there will be too much water, and we are seeing that at the

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moment. The trouble is that we cannot prove it is the case. But

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now, in a place that Lincolnshire, you are desperately vulnerable. You

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have already said that. One of the problem is, of course, is that we

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know from history that you cannot beat nature. If you take reclaim the

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land, nature may well try and reclaim it again, and that is a big

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problem. So many hands up, I don't know where to go. I would like to

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come back to the original question, and I appreciate everything that

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Lord Winston has said. But my concern is that nobody did come up

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to this part of the world. And on the night of December the 5th, 120

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homes were devastated in one tiny village. Can any of you name that

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village? Janice Atkinson. The reason they went to the south-east is

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because that where the Tory heartland is. I can name it, but I

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have it written down, so it would be cheating. Nobody would name it,

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because if you are right that nobody knew it was happening, nobody knew

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it was happening, and that 700,000 chickens died in a shared. And one

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of the hotels closed and has not been able to open again. You can

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name it? I can't, but I did read earlier. In December, there were

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debates in the House of Commons. They were not reporting it, but

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local MPs were raising these issues. Let's come back to the main

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question. We have an environmental agency. They are the largest

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employer of the whole of Europe. So what were they doing? They were not

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dredging the Thames because they are frightened of upsetting the odd

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minute, the odd mollusc. It is actually right, Robert, it really

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promising us money am a blank promising us money am a blank

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cheque, and open cheque. We have ?1.2 trillion of debt. Where is the

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money going to come from? This government and the government before

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this present coalition are spending money on useless wind farms. 1000

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million pounds has been spent on useless wind farms. Coming up on the

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train, just a few miles from here you have a very rich landowner and

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he has invested in hundreds of the wind farms. And the reason why is

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because there is a vested interest in this. It has become an industry,

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the climate change industry. That man is creaming off hundreds of

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thousands of pounds of taxpayers money. That is lowing come families

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and pensioners. That man is David Cameron's father-in-law and I think

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that is disgusting. -- low income families. If we had invested in

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flood defences and dredged the rivers, we would not be in this

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mess. I would say to you, the reason why it has not been reported, what

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happened to people up here, is because of the London centric media

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and the Tory heartland. They are all running around in their wellies in

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the Somerset Levels trying to shore up their votes, not to shore up your

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rivers. You are not blaming gay marriage for the God's retribution

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from the floods? I have never held that position. It was never UKIP's

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position? He was a Tory. He was a Tory? No, he was a Tory... So were

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you, weren't you? You can never tell which party they are in! As soon as

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he stepped over to UKIP, and all of a sudden, the old parties are all

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over us. Chris's party has got a unit that is dealing with UKIP at

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the moment. They should be dealing with the policies. Alright. Can I

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return to flooding? There will be people watching this programme

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worried that their house is going to flood. I think it is a serious issue

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that deserves serious attention. I disagree with Janice about wind

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farms. All of you do! If you take Robert seriously, who is the most

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distinguished scientist on this panel, and if therefore you think it

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is likely or even very possible that climate change is caused by man-made

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emissions and that climate change is contributing to these terrible

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events that we are seeing, then having renewable energy to generate

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our electricity is a good thing. It is a good thing that we are moving

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down that route. I agree. I want to disagree with another point. I don't

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think dredging is always the answer. There are places where, as Richard

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Benyon, a former Conservative Minister, I think he was a very good

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Environment Minister. One of the things that he was saying this week

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was - there are many places where, if you dredge, you will be doing

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dramatic damage. You didn't want to set yourself up as a professional...

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He said that! You don't mind? I'm saying that I think you have to have

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different responses in different places and that is why you need...

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It is also maintenance of the hedges, of the plains. It wasn't

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just dredging. Let's hear more from our audience. Lord Smith said that

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Government funding is only available if you get 800% economic return on

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money spent. ?8 for the ?1. That is probably why the Thames easily

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meets, the Thames Valley meets that criteria. We, in the rural

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communities, don't. We get 50% less Government funding than urban

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communities. Even in this situation, we get kicked in the teeth and say

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because you don't give us enough return on investment, you don't

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deserve help. OK. Hold on. The man with the beard? Given the risk of

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flooding and that very likely there will be - we can't guarantee funding

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in the future, do you think it might be negligent, or irresponsible of

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local authorities to grant permission for housing to be

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developed on floodplains? Do you think that ought to stop? Or it

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should be... ? I think there may be - you may have to design - you might

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be able to design housing to be able to be not so affected by flooding.

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The lady in the front? I was going to say our council is about to give

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planning permission for 60,000 homes on a floodplain. What will happen if

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they get flooded? Are they going to be able to get insurance? The

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council knows it's floodplain? Of course they do! It is under water

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every winter because of the snow and the rain! You can go behind Tescos

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and... Right here? Yes. You, Sir? North Lincs Council are not keen on

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that but there's very little planning criteria that we can avoid

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doing it. Going back... Are you on the council? Yes. You can't say no

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because you get appealed and it is turned down? The appeals have cost

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us ?400,000 when we have tried to stop them. That is not for flooding.

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We tried to stop things. Going back to the flooding in South Ferriby, I

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was down there, I got my feet wet and was there for five days

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afterwards trying to help people. It was a tragedy. I came across a guy

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in a foot of water in his slippers who joyfully told me I could have

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done without this, I'm just back from hospital, I have had my first

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chemotherapy. It was devastating. However, I do feel - and I will not

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be popular - in 1953, when the flood defences were not as good as they

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are now, and we were flooded by a flood that was not as serious as the

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one that we have just had, 300 people were killed, 300-plus people.

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Thankfully, nobody has been seriously injured or killed, apart

:20:15.:20:20.

from 75,000 chickens, 45 sheep and a dog. Now, in looking at it, and I am

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going to give a plug to the Environment Agency, the Environment

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Agency invested a lot of money because we have a haven that comes

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in, which was the old harbour into Barton. I was looking over that

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haven. They did a big civil engineering job there and it was

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within six inches of the top of it. I was head and shoulders above the

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grass bank and I was on tip-toes looking over the flood defence. You

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look like you are about 6ft 6in tall? I am. We would have lost 1,000

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houses in Barton. Without that? If that defence hadn't been there. We

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lost two. Tragic - and I have met both the families and I have been to

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the families with the local MP. OK. That is true in other parts of the

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country. The previous Government spent lots of money after the 2007

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floods. You cut the money? No. Let's not have a partisan discussion,

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Chris. There are people whose lives are under threat here. It is... If

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you don't spend enough money, you won't be able to maintain the

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resilience for the future. The shocking thing is, I was there and

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there was nothing we could do when that flood came over apart from run

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away, just like in Bangladesh. The advantage we had that the next day,

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and the following days, we had the infrastructure to go in there and

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help people and we had enough people in the area to also help people. We

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must move on to another question. I have six solutions to the problem.

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It will take 60 seconds? Very quickly. We need to do this. We are

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looking so short-term. In the longer term, I think we have to invest in

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nuclear power, we have to understand carbon capture, I think we need to

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look at renewable energy which will include wind farms, though you have

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a problem on this coast moving them in from the sea. We all need to save

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energy and save water from our taps. Simple things like that. I think it

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is not just housing - housing brings roads, schools, hospitals, concrete

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in gardens, so there is no run-off. Most importantly of all, we need to

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engage globally. Unless we do that, we are not going to solve the

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problem. OK. APPLAUSE

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So, do join in tonight's debate by text or Twitter. You can follow us

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at www.bbc.co.uk/questiontime. If you are texting, 83981. Stuart Maw,

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please? Are the British establishment trying to scare the

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Scots into voting to stay in the UK by refusing to let them keep the

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pound? What is your view? Well, I think Scotland are entitled to the

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pound as much as England are, as we are down here. We all share it. And

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I just think for once, you see it is very rare, all the parties seem to

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be coming together for once. It would be nice to see it more often.

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The Labour Party, the Conservative Party - or the Coalition - are all

:23:39.:23:45.

coming together to bully the Scots into voting to stay with the UK.

:23:46.:23:50.

Cristina Odone? Is it bullying? It did look like that when you had

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Danny Alexander, George Osborne and Ed Balls ganging up and, as you

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said, a political unity that the floods somehow didn't give rise to.

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But I also have to say - I think the Scots are not going to put up with

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it. The Scots are used to having a pound that most of my shopkeepers in

:24:15.:24:18.

London won't accept. They are not going to be scared of being bullied

:24:19.:24:24.

over the currency. Whether in the end it is a good thing for the more

:24:25.:24:31.

serious question of will Scotland break away, be independent, will

:24:32.:24:35.

Holyrood detach itself from Westminster? I'm not convinced. I

:24:36.:24:40.

think a United Kingdom is a better kingdom.

:24:41.:24:46.

APPLAUSE Robert Winston, you are a politician

:24:47.:24:49.

as well as a scientist. You watch these things. Do you think this is

:24:50.:24:55.

an attempt to scare the Scots? Or is it a serious - or do they mean it?

:24:56.:24:59.

David Cameron has been remarkably altruistic. It's in his interests

:25:00.:25:07.

that Scotland does succeed. It would - that would - don't you think so?

:25:08.:25:17.

Make it easier? I disagree. Sorry. Having said that, to be serious for

:25:18.:25:22.

a moment, I think one of the concerns that I have - I think we

:25:23.:25:26.

are right to stay together and say you can't have bits of the United

:25:27.:25:30.

Kingdom that you want to have and not other bits. If you have the

:25:31.:25:33.

pound, you have responsibility for interest rates, you have

:25:34.:25:39.

responsibility for currency control, and if the Scots want to go it

:25:40.:25:43.

alone, it is up to them to have their own border controls and their

:25:44.:25:48.

own currency. It won't be in their interests to join the euro. What

:25:49.:25:52.

currency will they have? Not the dollar. Maybe they should have the

:25:53.:26:00.

bit coin. You, Sir? Do you think the establishment in Westminster is

:26:01.:26:03.

trying to bully the Scots into voting no? I think they have played

:26:04.:26:10.

right into Alex Salmond's and the SNP's hands. They have stirred a

:26:11.:26:14.

hornet's nest up there north of the border. It's almost - it is going to

:26:15.:26:18.

backfire against them. The Scots will vote yes for independence now.

:26:19.:26:23.

It is that big. Simply because they feel bullied? Yes, absolutely. The

:26:24.:26:28.

Scots, we know what they are like. They are rebellious. They don't

:26:29.:26:32.

particularly like us. Especially not the Tories. I was up there a few

:26:33.:26:38.

days ago and they are really - a Tory Government - the next

:26:39.:26:40.

Government will be Labour. That will be too late. I think being in

:26:41.:26:45.

September, they will vote independence for sure. I will come

:26:46.:26:49.

back to you. Damian Green, do you think there is an animosity towards

:26:50.:26:53.

the Tory Party in particular, which makes this a counterproductive thing

:26:54.:26:59.

to have done? I disagree with all of that. Robert's right and I will make

:27:00.:27:05.

myself unpopular by speaking in praise of politicians and political

:27:06.:27:08.

parties. Everyone assumes political parties are only in it for their own

:27:09.:27:12.

narrow self-interest. It is clearly in the party's own interest, the

:27:13.:27:18.

Conservative Party, for Scotland and its dozens of Labour MPs and its one

:27:19.:27:21.

Conservative MP to break away. We are campaigning as hard as we can,

:27:22.:27:27.

absolutely united party to skeep Scotland in the United Kingdom -- to

:27:28.:27:30.

skeep Scotland in the United Kingdom. We think it is right for

:27:31.:27:33.

Scotland. Anyone who says politicians are only in it for

:27:34.:27:36.

themselves should consider that and Robert, as a member of the Labour

:27:37.:27:40.

Party, is very good. The Prime Minister is not going up to

:27:41.:27:43.

Scotland? He is. The Cabinet is going up to Scotland shortly. He is

:27:44.:27:47.

not going to debate with the Scottish Nationals? Nor should he.

:27:48.:27:52.

Why? Only the Scots have a vote. The debate needs to be between the two

:27:53.:27:56.

campaigns in Scotland, between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling. I

:27:57.:27:59.

don't think the Scots will feel bullied by this. I also think the

:28:00.:28:05.

Scots will be far too sensible to vote to separate from the rest of

:28:06.:28:09.

the United Kingdom. It's in Scotland's interest as well. This is

:28:10.:28:12.

a reality that if you are a different country, you can't say we

:28:13.:28:17.

are going to have a say in your currency. And you can have different

:28:18.:28:21.

sovereign countries that come together and share a currency - and

:28:22.:28:24.

we have seen it in the euro. That has caused a lot of strains,

:28:25.:28:30.

particularly for smaller countries and, in effect, the Alex Salmond

:28:31.:28:35.

plan would be to impose that kind of thing on everyone in the rest of

:28:36.:28:39.

Britain as well. We would have two different countries trying to run a

:28:40.:28:43.

currency. It's much more difficult to run that in the interests of both

:28:44.:28:47.

countries. I think it is fundamentally undemocratic. If you

:28:48.:28:48.

want to do that sort of thing, which fundamentally undemocratic. If you

:28:49.:28:52.

has a huge effect on everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland,

:28:53.:28:56.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland should have a vote on this as well.

:28:57.:29:03.

APPLAUSE What kind of vote would you give

:29:04.:29:07.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland, one that prevented Scotland becoming

:29:08.:29:10.

independent if it chose to? Scotland... It would go to war if

:29:11.:29:16.

you do that! If what Scotland is saying is that we want to run your

:29:17.:29:21.

currency as well, then, clearly, we should have a say as well. Only in

:29:22.:29:24.

those circumstances. Alright. I go back to you, Sir. I'm sitting on the

:29:25.:29:30.

fence, really. It was my question. As a half Scot, my mother is

:29:31.:29:34.

Scottish, my dad is English, I can understand where the Scots are

:29:35.:29:38.

coming from if they do vote to go independent because they don't vote

:29:39.:29:41.

for Conservatives in Scotland but yet are always run by Conservatives.

:29:42.:29:46.

That - if I was living in Scotland, that would be my reason to go

:29:47.:29:49.

independent. Irrespective of any other idea. Janice Atkinson, what do

:29:50.:29:59.

you think of today's action from all three main parties, and UKIP as

:30:00.:30:05.

well, or not? What has UKIP said? We can't keep the pound. He actually

:30:06.:30:09.

sees his future in Europe, so let him have the euro and we will see

:30:10.:30:13.

how far he gets. We believe we are stronger together, we are Better

:30:14.:30:18.

Together. When they have their referendum, and they are lucky,

:30:19.:30:21.

because we are being denied a referendum. David Cameron has agreed

:30:22.:30:26.

to give them a referendum but will not give us a referendum on Europe.

:30:27.:30:32.

We do not actually believe cast iron Dave on that one because he has

:30:33.:30:35.

promised it before. But at least they are having their referendum.

:30:36.:30:39.

When we have our referendum, and I hope we do in 2017, and we will have

:30:40.:30:44.

a Parliamentary referendum next year, and it will come down to the

:30:45.:30:47.

economy and it will come down to jobs. Those are the two main thing

:30:48.:30:51.

is people worry about, so they will have their say. I think the Scots

:30:52.:30:56.

are a canny lot and they will vote to stay in, because together we are

:30:57.:31:03.

stronger. When they are on about what currency Scotland can use,

:31:04.:31:08.

would they meet the criteria for entering the euro? Has anyone looked

:31:09.:31:14.

at that? I don't know the specific answer to that question but it

:31:15.:31:17.

almost certainly wouldn't be immediately. There is no guarantee

:31:18.:31:20.

they would be allowed to join the European Union. I note that your

:31:21.:31:25.

name is Stewart. There is quite a lot of Scott in you, and also in me

:31:26.:31:30.

as well. My brother always used to say he was half Welsh, half English,

:31:31.:31:34.

half Scottish, because he wasn't very good at maths! I just feel we

:31:35.:31:39.

are all part of the same thing, aren't we? Emotionally, I disagree.

:31:40.:31:46.

I don't think it will boil down to economics and things like that. I

:31:47.:31:49.

think it will boil down to the emotion of it all. What about the

:31:50.:31:52.

tactic of George Osborne going to Edinburgh and his views being

:31:53.:31:57.

endorsed by Ed Walls, for instance? I think you have to lay out the

:31:58.:32:01.

facts. You cannot have an independent country where you are

:32:02.:32:07.

expecting England to prop up the Scottish banks if the banks go

:32:08.:32:11.

under, which is what the Bank of England, presumably, would have to

:32:12.:32:18.

do. We have ?1.2 trillion of debt. Exactly. So I think it is perfectly

:32:19.:32:22.

legitimate to simply lay out the facts, and that is what has happened

:32:23.:32:27.

today. I hope you are wrong, sir. The Scots I know are taking this

:32:28.:32:34.

whole issue very seriously. It would be an enormous step into the dark, I

:32:35.:32:38.

think. This is one of many, many issues they are going to vote on.

:32:39.:32:48.

Didn't the Bank of England prop up the Irish banks when they went

:32:49.:32:52.

under? They did, didn't they? ?7 billion. Is that right, when the

:32:53.:32:58.

Irish banks went under, we said it was in our interest to keep Ireland

:32:59.:33:04.

afloat. Which it was. Ireland is a significant trading partner.

:33:05.:33:08.

Wouldn't Scotland be in the same position? There is a difference

:33:09.:33:12.

between propping up someone's banks and allowing them to run your

:33:13.:33:19.

currency. If Scotland wants to retain the English pound, as it

:33:20.:33:23.

were, and still have a say on interest rates, I think that would

:33:24.:33:28.

be inappropriate. The point about devaluation as well. It is just bad

:33:29.:33:33.

economics to say, we want to be independent but keep the old

:33:34.:33:39.

currency. The SNP still seem to be in denial about today's decision.

:33:40.:33:43.

When are they going to shut up whingeing and start deciding what

:33:44.:33:45.

they are going to do about it because the policy isn't going to

:33:46.:33:51.

change? You think it is up to the SNP. They still believe we will

:33:52.:33:54.

allow them to keep the pound. They have been told we will not. They

:33:55.:34:01.

don't believe it. It is a stand-off. They need to come up with plan B

:34:02.:34:06.

quickly. They just say they don't believe them. The Scottish people

:34:07.:34:13.

will decide, as they will in a referendum. Linda Lewis, please. Can

:34:14.:34:20.

a smoking ban in cars with children realistically be enforced? Agreed in

:34:21.:34:26.

the House of Commons, legislation to come, detailed legislation banning

:34:27.:34:30.

smoking in cars. Can it realistically be enforced? Janice,

:34:31.:34:36.

what do you think? Of course it can't. Is it wrong to smoke in a car

:34:37.:34:41.

with children? Absolutely. I am a libertarian. The only

:34:42.:34:47.

anti-libertarian streak I have in me, I am so anti-smoking. I hate

:34:48.:34:52.

smoking. I grew up in a house with two smokers and it made me ill. Both

:34:53.:34:57.

my parents smoked in the car. How do you get on with Nigel Farage? He

:34:58.:35:02.

never stops smoking. He is outside, I am inside. We don't have smoking

:35:03.:35:11.

in our cars. I hope you don't have children either! There is a serious

:35:12.:35:15.

point, how far do you go? We all know that if you are smoking or

:35:16.:35:18.

drinking in pregnancy it is a harmful to the baby. So is the next

:35:19.:35:23.

step down the line that actually we make that a criminal offence? Or

:35:24.:35:28.

when mums go to Iceland and start loading their cars with full fat,

:35:29.:35:31.

ready-made meals, do we make that illegal? If you think about policing

:35:32.:35:38.

and the strains on our policing at the moment, in this area you have

:35:39.:35:45.

violent crime rising. Your car crime is flat-lining. I would actually

:35:46.:35:48.

prefer the police appear to be getting on with solving serious

:35:49.:35:55.

crime and stopping violent crime. You are in favour of a legal ban on

:35:56.:35:59.

smoking in cars with children, or not? I would prefer not to be

:36:00.:36:04.

criminalised. We should be educating people. And tell me, how are we

:36:05.:36:09.

going to police this? Robert Winston, is it proven that smoking

:36:10.:36:13.

near children gives children all of these diseases? I am rather proud of

:36:14.:36:18.

the fact that this amendment started in the House of Lords and I, among

:36:19.:36:22.

others, voted in favour of this plan. We recognise that it is

:36:23.:36:26.

difficult to enforce and might be impossible. But, to be honest, the

:36:27.:36:32.

evidence that it really damages children in general, passive

:36:33.:36:35.

smoking, is not quite as good as is made out. It probably does, but

:36:36.:36:39.

there is not long-term evidence to clearly demonstrate that. But I

:36:40.:36:43.

would say that smoking in a vehicle when you are driving it under any

:36:44.:36:47.

circumstances, with or without a child, is dangerous. You were just

:36:48.:36:57.

ban smoking in cars, period. The moment you are distracted, you drop

:36:58.:36:59.

the cigarette on your trousers or skirt and there is a smell of

:37:00.:37:03.

burning. You are distracted and a danger to other road users. If the

:37:04.:37:07.

child in the back is fractious as well, you are doubly dangerous to

:37:08.:37:12.

other road users. I think that is a real problem. You are not saying it

:37:13.:37:16.

is a danger to children's lungs. You are saying it is bad practice when

:37:17.:37:22.

you are driving. I am saying it probably is bad for children's

:37:23.:37:27.

lungs. Most doctors are certain it is bad for children's lungs but the

:37:28.:37:32.

clear evidence is not quite as clear as was stated in Parliament. It is

:37:33.:37:35.

certainly not good to smoke around children, for lots of reasons, not

:37:36.:37:39.

just the damage to their lungs but the habit and the copying, because

:37:40.:37:44.

children mimic their elders. I think whether it is restrictive or not and

:37:45.:37:48.

a law that is difficult to enforce, nowadays, with photography on

:37:49.:37:52.

motorways and roads generally, it is very easy to actually pick up people

:37:53.:37:57.

who are smoking in cars. You could actually see that. I think if you

:37:58.:38:01.

are at risk of prosecution, it may not be such a massive amount of

:38:02.:38:06.

police time after all. It is more surveillance, Big Brother watching

:38:07.:38:14.

us. We are watched in our cars. Damian Green, what was your view? I

:38:15.:38:20.

think smoking in cars in front of your children is disgusting and

:38:21.:38:25.

stupid and you shouldn't do it, mostly for the reason of setting an

:38:26.:38:31.

example. I take Robert's view on medical evidence. I was interested

:38:32.:38:35.

in that. But you shouldn't do it. It's a bad thing to do. But I voted

:38:36.:38:40.

against the ban, one, because I'm the police minister and therefore

:38:41.:38:43.

spend a lot of my time worrying that the police are doing what most

:38:44.:38:46.

people want them to be doing most of the time, and so just piling new

:38:47.:38:51.

criminal offences onto the statute book, meaning the police have two

:38:52.:38:54.

enforce them means, whether it is a huge amount of time or a small

:38:55.:38:58.

amount of time, that means less police time available. In violent

:38:59.:39:01.

crime and that kind of thing. And also because I think there are a

:39:02.:39:05.

large range of activities that I personally disapprove of and wish

:39:06.:39:08.

people didn't do and certainly don't want them to do anywhere near me, or

:39:09.:39:12.

that society as a whole doesn't like people to do, but which we still

:39:13.:39:17.

shouldn't make criminal offences. Because I think the state interferes

:39:18.:39:26.

too much in our lives. The lady in the second row, who asked the

:39:27.:39:31.

question. I am wholeheartedly in favour of the ban and even if it

:39:32.:39:35.

can't be enforced, any small steps that make people think about their

:39:36.:39:39.

actions have to be really good. I am slightly cynical about the fact that

:39:40.:39:42.

the government is trying to bring it in. We are aware that it is down to

:39:43.:39:47.

education. This is the government trying to close down sure start

:39:48.:39:52.

centres, where the root of education for families is.

:39:53.:39:57.

I would like to reiterate that point. Just because it is hard to

:39:58.:40:02.

implement, surely that does not mean you should not implement it. It

:40:03.:40:05.

would just make people think twice before they smoke, if a policeman is

:40:06.:40:10.

to see them and maybe they might get caught. The problem is not to,

:40:11.:40:17.

obviously, implement it. You need to make people think twice before they

:40:18.:40:23.

start smoking. The problem is, and I am a parliamentarian, so I respect

:40:24.:40:30.

the will of Parliament. I was on the losing side of this vote, so we will

:40:31.:40:36.

go ahead with it. But the idea that you pass something into law and then

:40:37.:40:39.

it does not matter if it is enforced or not is not true. Because if in

:40:40.:40:44.

three years time nobody has been prosecuted for smoking in their car,

:40:45.:40:47.

two things will happen. One, people will start doing it again. Secondly,

:40:48.:40:52.

people would think, they are passing laws that they do not enforce, which

:40:53.:40:56.

brings the rule of law into disrepute, and that is a bad thing

:40:57.:41:01.

as well. But the law presently requires people seated in the

:41:02.:41:04.

back-seat of a car to wear a seat belt. I've never seen anybody be

:41:05.:41:09.

prosecuted for not doing that, but I think now many more people wear a

:41:10.:41:12.

seat belt in the back of their car than used to before we changed the

:41:13.:41:16.

law, so it must be a good change in the law. Secondly, I think probably

:41:17.:41:22.

in my constituency, a former mining constituency, lots of people had bad

:41:23.:41:26.

chest complaints from working in the minds, but the single most important

:41:27.:41:30.

thing I did as an MP for the health of people in my constituency was

:41:31.:41:33.

voting to ban smoking in public places, because it means fewer

:41:34.:41:38.

people smoke, fewer people will die of smoking-related illnesses. The

:41:39.:41:43.

third thing I would say is that I remember my mum. She smoked like a

:41:44.:41:47.

chimney. She never stopped, all day, every day. The worst place for me

:41:48.:41:52.

was in the car, because it was a really small place. She would

:41:53.:41:56.

pretend the cigarette was outside the window but it always managed to

:41:57.:41:59.

blow straight back into the car, and I hated it. It is a sort of set the

:42:00.:42:08.

children free moment, I think. I fully agree with Lord Winston about

:42:09.:42:13.

smoking in cars. People have been fined for eating apples, chocolate

:42:14.:42:16.

bars and things like that. If you drop an apple, it is not a problem.

:42:17.:42:21.

I used to smoke when I was younger and I have dropped cigarettes in

:42:22.:42:25.

cars, and blind panic sets in. It is not a bad idea at all. You know

:42:26.:42:32.

what, I don't have a car. I used to smoke. I no longer smoke, but I

:42:33.:42:39.

still didn't like this. I just don't want laws telling me what I can do

:42:40.:42:43.

or not do with my children in the car that we don't have. I feel

:42:44.:42:53.

really uncomfortable with it. I think parents, yes, of course we

:42:54.:42:59.

must promote anti-smoking education. Not legislation but

:43:00.:43:02.

education. Tell parents again and again, don't smoke when you're

:43:03.:43:06.

pregnant, don't smoke anywhere near your child, passive smoking is bad.

:43:07.:43:12.

But a law to do this! It is as if the government were telling us that

:43:13.:43:15.

the government is a better parent than we are. And do you know what,

:43:16.:43:21.

do you know what, I don't think it is. When we have children in care of

:43:22.:43:27.

the government, those children are not doing well. Care homes are

:43:28.:43:33.

terrible places. Those reform institutions, where young offenders

:43:34.:43:39.

go, they are terrible, abysmal. At is where self-harming youths and

:43:40.:43:45.

suicides are skyrocketing. I don't think government is always best when

:43:46.:43:48.

it comes to our children. I think we are. Now, what do you want? Thank

:43:49.:43:55.

you. The law also presently says that if children are seated under a

:43:56.:43:58.

certain age in the back of a car, they have to be in a children's

:43:59.:44:02.

seat. Would you remove that legal requirement, because that is the

:44:03.:44:07.

logic of your position? It is not the logic of my position. I think

:44:08.:44:13.

there is a certain room for legal interference, but let's not

:44:14.:44:17.

interfere at every step in every second of our lives. What about a

:44:18.:44:21.

ban on children smoking in front of their parents in the car? I wish we

:44:22.:44:28.

could do that. The gentleman in the tie? Is the slight loss of liberty

:44:29.:44:32.

imposed by the Government not justified in the safety which is

:44:33.:44:38.

ensured of the children in the car? Absolutely. I don't buy it. You look

:44:39.:44:44.

like my stepson when you said that! Last point from you, up there? I

:44:45.:44:49.

don't understand why anyone would defend the right to be able to smoke

:44:50.:44:56.

in front of a child in the car. We have ten minutes left. I take a

:44:57.:45:00.

question from Paul Foster. Should the UK take its lead from the Swiss

:45:01.:45:05.

when renegotiating its relationship with Europe? Switzerland is not part

:45:06.:45:10.

of th EU. But it has close relationships with the EU, which

:45:11.:45:21.

involves accepting a lot of EU practices and they decided they

:45:22.:45:24.

weren't going to do this any longer and they are going to have to

:45:25.:45:31.

renegotiate it with the EU. Should t UK take a lead? What do you think?

:45:32.:45:37.

Should we have a referendum on that? Well, UKIP believes we should have a

:45:38.:45:42.

referendum on a lot of things. What do you think of the Swiss example?

:45:43.:45:48.

Brilliant. They have control over their borders and financial services

:45:49.:45:51.

industry. They have control over their tax. They are rich. Oh, to be

:45:52.:45:56.

like the Swiss! There is a serious point here. Is that not a serious

:45:57.:46:01.

point? Brussels won't allow them to keep that vote. Brussels will

:46:02.:46:06.

overturn it because actually it's against the single market and part

:46:07.:46:10.

of being part of the single market is open borders, completely open

:46:11.:46:15.

borders uncontrolled immigration. So they voted against it. Like the

:46:16.:46:19.

French were told, and the Irish, when they voted no, they didn't want

:46:20.:46:24.

certain things. They were told to go back and get the right vote. Vivian

:46:25.:46:29.

Reading was over in the week, she thinks that we are a bit thick to

:46:30.:46:37.

have our own referendum because YOU don't understand the real issues

:46:38.:46:40.

facing us at the moment. She said 710% of our -- 70% of our laws come

:46:41.:46:49.

from Brussels. Basically, it's made them redundant, or maybe that is a

:46:50.:46:53.

good thing. You can have a referendum on the things that you

:46:54.:46:56.

want. To be like the Swiss? Absolutely. But the Swiss have

:46:57.:47:03.

accepted a lot of the EU legislation, haven't they? They have

:47:04.:47:11.

to. And you think that they won't be allowed to opt out of this? It is

:47:12.:47:15.

fundamental. The EU will say if you do that, you are out of the deal, we

:47:16.:47:18.

close the deal? Absolutely. You would like to see Switzerland close

:47:19.:47:23.

the deal? You know what, Norway are contesting it now. I think you will

:47:24.:47:28.

see a sort of complete waterfall effect here and I hope they do. The

:47:29.:47:32.

people need to take power and sovereign Parliaments need to take

:47:33.:47:39.

back power. Chris Bryant? I don't want to be like the Swiss. They have

:47:40.:47:42.

to implement everything that the EU comes up with and they don't get to

:47:43.:47:46.

sit at the table to decide on what the rules are. So, it is a nonsense

:47:47.:47:51.

to say we should be like the Swiss. No, I don't want to say that

:47:52.:47:56.

Europeans shouldn't be allowed to come into this country and that

:47:57.:47:59.

there should be some kind of cap on the number of Europeans that come

:48:00.:48:02.

into this country from other members of the EU. Guess which is the

:48:03.:48:07.

country that has most nationals living elsewhere in Europe? The

:48:08.:48:13.

United Kingdom. 2.6 million Brits living elsewhere. Now, yes, some of

:48:14.:48:16.

those are retired people who are wealthy and own their own homes in

:48:17.:48:21.

Spain. Some of them are over 65 and using the NHS for free, something

:48:22.:48:25.

that they never contributed to. So, I want, I believe passionately in

:48:26.:48:30.

Europe. I think in the end, I know some people dismiss and they say

:48:31.:48:34.

that the only reason we have had peace in a continent that has been

:48:35.:48:37.

at war for centuries and centuries is because of NATO. I don't believe

:48:38.:48:42.

that. It is. It is because people sit round a table and negotiate

:48:43.:48:46.

their way to peace these days and that's partly because of the

:48:47.:48:49.

European Union. I tell you one other thing. When was it that Britain

:48:50.:48:54.

became so pathetic that we said oh, we are worried about other people

:48:55.:48:58.

coming here, we are not worried about what opportunities there might

:48:59.:49:02.

be for us to make our way in France and Germany and Spain and Italy, to

:49:03.:49:05.

make big businesses in other countries? What is the country that

:49:06.:49:12.

invests most here? France. We should be - we should seize hold of our

:49:13.:49:15.

membership of the EU and say yes, we believe in it, we are committed to

:49:16.:49:19.

it. We are not going to renege on it because it's been good for this

:49:20.:49:27.

country. You, Sir? Isn't this just a matter that the Swiss have showed us

:49:28.:49:35.

what true democracy is? It's the will of the people. Hold on. What do

:49:36.:49:42.

you make of the UKIP position? Are you a supporter of UKIP? I'm not. I

:49:43.:49:47.

also think that there is something else that is much more sinister that

:49:48.:49:53.

has motivated the Swiss. It's this fear, this alarm about the other and

:49:54.:50:00.

it's the person who comes in into your country and is taking your job,

:50:01.:50:05.

is taking your benefits, is taking your services and this is what

:50:06.:50:10.

appeals to UKIP. They have the same narrative. I think you can protect

:50:11.:50:16.

your identity, you can protect your legacy, your heritage without making

:50:17.:50:23.

other cultures into a threat to your happiness. I think we are sitting

:50:24.:50:28.

here in Scunthorpe and we are thinking about the biggest employer

:50:29.:50:34.

around here, Tata Steel. It's Indian. Let's not forget. Immigrants

:50:35.:50:42.

of all kinds are either giving us incredible opportunities like Tata

:50:43.:50:48.

Steel, or working their somethings off and guess what? Claiming less

:50:49.:50:57.

than 45% of the benefits and tax credits that the average domestic

:50:58.:51:02.

worker does. So, I think there's something really sinister and it's

:51:03.:51:08.

not the cuckoo clock, it's a kind of inherent xenophobia. This is what

:51:09.:51:12.

appeals to UKIP and it is what appeals... OK. You were shaking your

:51:13.:51:19.

head when Cristina Odone was talking. You don't agree with her?

:51:20.:51:25.

If you are referring to Vivian Reading's figures, she is using the

:51:26.:51:29.

figures about the amount of benefit being claimed by immigrants, not the

:51:30.:51:33.

percentage of immigrants claiming benefit. What do you think of - hold

:51:34.:51:38.

on a second. What do you think of the main issue? The point isn't just

:51:39.:51:43.

about immigrants and migrants, it is about us being able to make our own

:51:44.:51:47.

rules. It is about us not being dictated to by Brussels on all sorts

:51:48.:51:53.

of policies. Such as human rights, we are not allowed to get rid of

:51:54.:51:59.

terrorists. Which human right do you want to get rid of? We want to be

:52:00.:52:03.

able to get rid of a terrorist that is a risk to our country. It is not

:52:04.:52:07.

whether we can or can't, we should be able to make that decision

:52:08.:52:11.

ourselves. Wes are being dictated to by Brussels. -- we are being

:52:12.:52:16.

dictated to by Brussels. That is the human rights court. There are so

:52:17.:52:20.

many parts to this other than just the people coming to the country. We

:52:21.:52:24.

are talking about that. There are so many other things that are involved

:52:25.:52:29.

with being in the EU. The Swiss set a good example in your view?

:52:30.:52:34.

Absolutely. Do you agree with that? The woman there? My problem is that,

:52:35.:52:40.

of course, I'm not English, but I'm British. The problem is that over

:52:41.:52:45.

here, with negative propaganda by politicians, people are too scared

:52:46.:52:50.

about any other nation but this island. Whoever comes in is an

:52:51.:52:53.

intruder and that is not the fact. People come here to work and earn a

:52:54.:52:59.

good living. Absolutely. And pay taxes. We want the brightest and

:53:00.:53:08.

best from around the world. I'm quoted in the Times to say I want

:53:09.:53:14.

the best from India and China. It's sheer numbers. Propaganda... We

:53:15.:53:21.

need... I have to finish this. The negative propaganda, what it does

:53:22.:53:26.

is, even though I'm working as a doctor, in the street I will be

:53:27.:53:30.

called a lackey. That is wrong. You are very welcome to work here as a

:53:31.:53:36.

doctor. No matter what I'm doing for society, the society is doing for

:53:37.:53:40.

me, the baseline is we are scared of each other. Damian Green, you want

:53:41.:53:49.

to take issue with UKIP on this? I do. Your policy at the last election

:53:50.:53:53.

was for a five-year freeze for no immigration at all. Have you dropped

:53:54.:54:01.

that policy? Yes - well... I'm on the policy review committee. I no e

:54:02.:54:05.

what is happening. When we have got our policies, we will tell you.

:54:06.:54:11.

Good. Excellent. No, they don't have a policy on this. Yes, we do. You

:54:12.:54:15.

don't. I was the Immigration Minister for two-and-a-half years.

:54:16.:54:22.

Exactly! Can I explain? Britain benefits from immigration, it

:54:23.:54:29.

benefits from people coming in. I agree vment What gives rise to the

:54:30.:54:33.

fear, which gives rise to UKIP and other parties is when immigration is

:54:34.:54:36.

out of control. Yes. Ten years ago in this country, immigration was out

:54:37.:54:40.

of control. If you try and change a society too fast, then people get

:54:41.:54:46.

worried and that gives rise to unpleasant consequences. That is why

:54:47.:54:49.

we have instituted systems of controls, that is why we have had a

:54:50.:54:54.

cap on the number of work visas, that is why we have closed 700 bogus

:54:55.:54:59.

colleges so people can't come here pretending to be students when they

:55:00.:55:02.

are coming here to work. And it's a long-haul but the system is getting

:55:03.:55:07.

better. Controlled immigration is beneficial to this country. What do

:55:08.:55:11.

you say to the man in the centre, who said that the Swiss at least

:55:12.:55:14.

showed they are in control of their own policies and they have a vote on

:55:15.:55:17.

it and they decide and that is democratic? So do we. All those

:55:18.:55:21.

things I have just explained were passed through the British

:55:22.:55:24.

Parliament. They were put into power because we won a general election.

:55:25.:55:29.

You, there? I want to know how you define who the brightest and the

:55:30.:55:33.

best are. Surely that is opinion? You can't just say we are going to

:55:34.:55:37.

have the brightest and the best people here because you cannot judge

:55:38.:55:42.

that. Robert Winston? Whether someone has a job as a doctor

:55:43.:55:45.

doesn't mean they are a wonderful person. I'm not saying doctors

:55:46.:55:52.

aren't wonderful people. She maybe! -- may be! We have hugely benefitted

:55:53.:56:00.

from people like yourselves. I'm a bit concerned Damian about what you

:56:01.:56:08.

say. You have introduced the most restrictive Immigration Bill. There

:56:09.:56:12.

is one area that is of concern - the restriction of students coming into

:56:13.:56:23.

this country, which is an ?11 billion bill. The number of students

:56:24.:56:28.

has reduced because of all these bogus students. The number of

:56:29.:56:31.

university students coming into this country, which we want to see, has

:56:32.:56:38.

increased, so look beneath the aggregate figures. Robert, you have

:56:39.:56:47.

- we have 50 seconds left. Students are being put off to apply for

:56:48.:56:50.

university in our main universities. There is no doubt, we have the

:56:51.:56:55.

figures. It is massive. I come back to Switzerland. What Janice - she is

:56:56.:57:00.

out of touch. You would not want to be like the Swiss. They have a

:57:01.:57:03.

totally different system of government. First of all, there's

:57:04.:57:07.

part of Switzerland that would like to be in the EU, around Geneva,

:57:08.:57:11.

there is another part around Zurich that is opposed to Europe. That is

:57:12.:57:17.

the division. Secondly, of course, they have a multiplicity of little

:57:18.:57:21.

Parliaments that all sorts of referenda which we would never have

:57:22.:57:24.

on insignificant subjects. Most of the time, they don't really do much

:57:25.:57:31.

for really changing the Swiss mentality or the Swiss attitude. One

:57:32.:57:35.

of their problems is they haven't benefitted from immigration in the

:57:36.:57:38.

way that we have. It's been quite clear that they haven't. That's a

:57:39.:57:42.

major reason why I don't think we would want to be like the Swiss. 25%

:57:43.:57:45.

or more of Switzerland is immigrants? Yes, but you try and buy

:57:46.:57:50.

property in Switzerland, you try and deal with the - they have a huge

:57:51.:57:57.

problem with their currency. It's massively valued. I think they have

:57:58.:58:02.

very big problems. Alright. Let's leave it there. We have to stop,

:58:03.:58:07.

Chris. Our hour is up. Thank you all very much. Next week, we will be in

:58:08.:58:12.

Swindon with Question Time and we will have the novelist Janette

:58:13.:58:21.

Winterton. If you would like to come to either programme, Swindon or

:58:22.:58:26.

Newport, you can apply on our website, or you can ring. If you are

:58:27.:58:34.

listening to this on Radio Five Live, the debate goes on Question

:58:35.:58:37.

Time Extra Time. I would like to thank our panel very much. And all

:58:38.:58:41.

of you who came here to take part in this edition. Really great to see

:58:42.:58:45.

you. Thank you very much, indeed. From Scunthorpe, until next Thursday

:58:46.:58:48.

night, good night.

:58:49.:58:51.

David Dimbleby presents the topical debate from Scunthorpe, with a panel including Home Office minister Damian Green MP, shadow employment minister Chris Bryant MP, UKIP's Janice Atkinson, scientist and broadcaster Lord Winston and Daily Telegraph blogger Cristina Odone.


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