27/02/2014 Question Time


David Dimbleby chairs a discussion from Newport in Wales. On the panel are Anna Soubry, Rushanara Ali, Elfyn Llwyd, Jay Rayner and Melanie Phillips.

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And a big welcome to you as always at home, and welcome to the audience


who will question the panel, who do not know what those questions are.


Our panel tonight, Conservative defence Minister, Anna Soubry,


Labour Minister, Rushanara Ali, Plaid Cymru's leader in Westminster,


Elfyn Llwyd. Freelance columnist Melanie Phillips and novelist and


food critic Jay Rayner. I would like to start with a


question from Cynthia Jennings. Why is RBS paying bonuses when they have


lost money? The Royal Bank of Scotland, owned by


us, 83%, lost billions this year, paying over half ?1 billion in


bonuses. Why? Jay Rayner. Because they are bankers, and they behave


like bankers. We need banks. We have always needed them, just not the


kind we have got. The surprise that greets the bonus season when it


comes round mystifies me, because it is what they have always done, even


when losing large amounts of money. They will say, if we don't pay


bonuses we don't get the right people and if we don't get the right


people we want make any money. They do not make any money anyway, but it


is the way the banking system works. We have to decide what kind of


banking system want. We heard the RBS boss justifying the bonuses on


those grounds, where are people going to go? Is there a huge demand


for bankers? I suspect there is a huge demand. So it is justified?


There is an argument but they are floating between each other. The


main issue for RBS is that they have continued trying to have an


investment banking arm at the same time as a retail banking arm.


Investment banking is a nice phrase for playing bingo, which they have


been doing with taxpayers money for a long time, but they are not very


good at it. Are you shocked? The bonus culture is lost on me, if I am


honest. I have never been paid a bonus in my life. Some might say I


have never deserved one, but I never worked in a business where they paid


bonuses, so it is lost on me. I am pleased we put a cap on the RBS


bonuses. A cap of ?2000. So how is it spending ?500 million on bonuses?


You can buy shares and cash them in. The cap is 200% of income. I am not


going to sit here and defend the banks when they do these things


which seem incomprehensible, but I will say that I have no doubt that


the reputation of our banks is such, possibly with great merit, that they


do have problems actually recruiting and often retaining people. So I can


understand why they will pay out these bonuses. You, over there, sir.


If you look at the banking industry in context, they have been bailed


out to the point of 1.2 trillion. We are having austerity forced on us


across Europe as a result of that. And the industry still hasn't been


reformed. There is still no ring-fenced between investment banks


and retail banks, and they are still able to engage in casino practices


with our money. Bankers have also been responsible for fixing the


LIBOR rate, mis-selling PPI, bringing small businesses to their


knees through dubious selling practices on interest rate swaps. It


is time we had some proper legislation in this country and


across Europe to regulate the banking industry.


APPLAUSE Cynthia Jennings, what do you think?


I think, across-the-board, if nobody got paid bonuses and got paid a


reasonable salary, then the bankers would not be able to jump up to


wherever they want to go. I think for a government owned bank that was


partially owned, bailed out by the taxpayer, it is completely


irresponsible to give those sorts of bonuses. And at a time when you have


people queueing in food banks, high levels of poverty, I think the


government needs to step up and take action against this kind of reward,


which is completely unjustified when everyone else is suffering in this


country. How would you do it? Your party is in power. You had 13 years


to regulate and sort out the banks. You should take some responsibility.


We have done. We introduced a tax. We have taken the LIBOR funding and


we have given it to charities connected with the wounded, injured


Armed Forces personnel. We have taken tough action. Is that why,


today, people are getting bonuses, a partially owned government bank,


people are getting bonuses? What would your policy be? We have made


it absolutely clear that there should be a tax on bankers bonuses.


That money should be used to get young people back to work. Nearly 1


million young people out of work, that is unacceptable. Your


government should act to stop this irresponsible behaviour. You made 11


sets of promises. I hate to come between these warring parties, but


if I can be evenhanded about this, I think both the Labour Party and the


Tory party are just very frightened, once in government, of driving money


away, particularly from London. It is a source of great regret to many


of us that much of the economic activity, we measure progress of


this country by the wealth of the City of London. It has become a kind


of fetish, that this is where we are strongest, in making money out of


money. Isn't that true? What do you do about it if it is true and it is


where our money comes from? It would be very nice if this country was


making things again. APPLAUSE


And not making money out of money. How do you achieve that? Hang on.


Not for long. Why should it be not for long. This is a counsel of


despair. I don't believe Britain can never make things again. I think


there is unpleasant about the whole fat cat obsession. If someone has a


lot of money, then he should not have it almost by definition. I am


concerned about that but I also think that the RBS, as people have


said, it is taxpayer money. The taxpayer has bailed out this bank.


This bank and others have done a great deal of harm to the economy.


Ordinary people have suffered. They seem to show no sense of not


responsibility, but even a sense of acknowledgement of the enormity of


what they have done. You, in the pink shirt. It is not just


unacceptable that these people are doing this. It is unbelievable that


they can display such immense greed. I would like to see the two


governments, the former government and the current government, who


failed to curb these people. They are a powerful group of people and


they need both parties to work together to curb the greed of what


is an extremely avaricious group of people who are the true villains of


our depression. APPLAUSE


It is one thing to say that the Labour government did not regulate


against the banks for 11 years, but you still have not.


You are in government now and you still haven't. I will pick up on


Melanie's point as well. It is not that they have got a lot of money,


it is that they do not deserve it. I would agree with you when it comes


to RBS, but there is a mood in the country that no one who has a lot of


money deserves it. And this is very subjective. At what point do we say


a person does not deserve it? This is a dangerous road to go down. At


the point at which a banker is earning 100 times the wage of a


cleaner, that is when -- that is when we say it is enough. Who says?


You? Who draws the line, and on what basis? We have vast inequality in


this country. I can't believe you are backing bankers on this. There


is huge inequality in this country. I am not backing bankers in these


bonuses. Not the bonuses, but the huge pay that they get. It is


indefensible. APPLAUSE


Some people blame the banks for everything, but hearing news as we


did today, I am not surprised. Because they are actually taking us


for a ride. Part of my function is to try to negotiate with banks for


small loans for small businesses in my patch. They are closing down


viable businesses at the same time as they are pushing money into their


bankers' pockets. If it is the argument that if you do not overpay


them disgustingly they will work elsewhere, OK. The way to deal with


that, in my view, is to have a pan-European ruling. All European


countries come together and say, we are not having it. They want to make


an X it for the Far East, good luck to them. Can I just say this. There


has been an attempt to deal with them but it is not working. For


example, HSBC have announced this week that they will be to bring


similar bonuses to their top people, but calling it an extra salary. It


will not be a bonus but an increase in salary. But if you do not do it


on a pan-European basis, it simply will not work, in my view. I am not


an advocate for bankers. None of my best friends are bankers. But I


think we need to inject some realism. The whole of the global


free market system is invested in banking. All your pensions and


mortgages are invested in banking. We have built a system on banking.


The idea that we would have it on a pan-European scale would not change


anything. They will move to the States, to Switzerland. It might


take an age to get an agreement but it is worthwhile otherwise they will


continue to take us for a ride. If the European come together and


discuss - I was in a conference in Athens fortnight ago discussing


various things. Why don't we prioritise this issue and deal with


it on a pan-European basis? We will move on because we have a lot of


questions. You can join the debate. A question from Jonathan Sherwood.


Should the deals made with the IRA still provide immunity from


prosecution for alleged terrorists? This, in the light of the Downey


case that came before the courts this week. Should the deals made


with the IRA still provide immunity from prosecution? You will forgive


me if I sound like the lawyer I used to be before I got elected, but it


depends on the nature of the promise made. Downey should never, in any


event, have been made anything like the promise he was made. Why? First,


because there was clear involvement by him in an excerpt -- in an


explosion that cause people to be murdered. In any event, there was


also a warrant for his arrest because of the evidence against him


for this attack and this awful crime. And there was a warrant out,


and all they had to do, which I am assuming they did not do, and this


is what this judge leading choir in will discover, they only had to find


out from The Met whether or not there was a warrant outstanding


against any of them. They should have made those checks. I am


assuming they did and something happened, but if they had done and


had got the proper information, then they would never have given him this


letter that enabled him, therefore, to come to this country on the basis


that there will was no warrant for his arrest. The Northern Ireland


Secretary says these letters do not amount to immunity, exemption or


amnesty from arrest. So what are they about? Your government has been


issuing them as well as the previous one. There were two sets. The first


set were issued in 2007-2008. Downey is one of those 183. These letters


say to people that there is no reason to believe that there are any


warrants out against you. Downey's position seems to have been in


relation to the fact that, having come into this country, he is then


arrested, and effectively, from what I can gather, the reason why the


judge stayed the indictment, stopped the proceedings was because


effectively the state had said to him, we will not arrest you if you


come to the country. That is what you are doing with these other


letters. The second set, I have not seen the content. That is what


Theresa Villiers is referring to and we have to accept that she has seen


the content and she says they do not amount to a promise not to


prosecute. So what is the point of them? I do not know. It may be that


these letters are different. Elfyn and I are both lawyers, so we have


an understanding of the peculiarities and I accept it is


often very difficult to explain and for people to understand how a


promise by the state to a man like Downey, who was charged with very


serious offences, evidence against him, we end up having to stay the


indictment. The question was whether the deals made with the IRA should


provide immunity from prosecution? As I understand it, and I was


listening very careful to Dominic Grieve in the house the other day


when he went through it very carefully, what he was saying was


that these letters said that we are not currently interested in any


misdoings that you might have done and that is about all. They were a


snapshot in time. I agree with Anna. What we need to do, I do not think


you can withdraw them, it is not relevant any more, but whether there


is a case to investigate each and every one of these people again, I


do not know. I want to say this. All the parties in Northern Ireland were


furious about this and I can understand that because of the


nature of the awful crime that this man is alleged to have perpetrated.


Having said that, evidence is now coming out that the policing board


in Northern Ireland, which is comprised of every party in the


Northern Ireland political system, were aware of these letters some


time ago. In fact, back in 2010, if not before. So, it is not something


which has suddenly been sprung on them. The question is, should they


provide immunity? The point of the letter at the time was an


interpretation of the peace agreement, where they said, at this


moment in time, we are not interested in you as being a


potential... Why would you write that to someone? It was in order to


carry three parts of the Belfast agreement. Nothing anybody in this


room says tonight will make the pain of people who have lost someone in


the trouble is any better, nor will it make it any worse. -- the


Troubles. It is a deep and dark wound. But war is hard, peace is


even harder. At a time when the negotiations were going on, those


who issued these letters thought they had a chance. The thing that is


slightly distressing, if this had never come to light, if there had


not been the warrant held by Scotland Yard, if this turned up 20


years down the line, it would end up as a footnote to the history of


peace in Northern Ireland. Justice is an important thing but so is


peace. You in the spectacles. Perhaps it is not Peter Robinson who


should be resigning but the people who drafted the letters in the first


place. I'm just wondering, if you are creating a peace process, you


have to be able to trust the other side's word. The second that we


start going back against promises that are made, how will we ever


create peace in the future if no one is going to trust our government?


Despite what Theresa Villiers said, you think these letters are promised


not to prosecute. I cannot say what the letters say, we have not seen


them. Downie said what they said. If the letters themselves state that


there is a promise against prosecution and I am not saying that


they do, obviously, the situation is a disgusting situation in the first


place, if that is what the letter says, if we as a country are ever


going to negotiate peace, people have to be able to believe in the


promises we make. The second we start going against those promises,


our credibility as a peacemaking country is destroyed. Do you agree


with him, Melanie? I do not agree with this gentleman because the


arguments here are making -- he is making, is that the end justifies


the means. You do bad things in the case for the greater good. The


greater good was peace in Northern Ireland. But you can see from


today's amazing jitteriness from the government, and the threat of the


dissolution of the power-sharing executive, that the piece is very


fragile, it is conditional. The fear is that if this power-sharing


executive collapses, we will go back to violence. It is like a sort of


protection racket. The point about these letters as I understand it is


this, it is not a promise, it is not immunity... I want to pick up one


thing because I think you are missing the point. It is not just


about the peace in Northern Ireland, it is a large issue. We deal with


international incidents, terrorist organisations all round the world.


If we are saying in this one case it is acceptable to say promises we


made to create peace can be broken just before they have come to light


in a certain way, all of a sudden, any promise we make in the future


becomes incredible so you can therefore not create peace. The


point I was going to make is it is not a promise. As I understand it,


it was a nod and a wink to keep the peace process on track, nod and a


wink to a set of individuals who were on the run. They are called on


the runs. Why were they on the run? Because they were suspected of


terrorist activity. This letter said it explicitly, at this moment in


time, there is no evidence against you and we are not seeking any


evidence against you. In the case of John Downey, this was incorrect. The


Metropolitan police were seeking him. But that to one side. They are


saying, a nod and a wink, chaps, you can basically live your lives, we


are not coming after you. The question is is that acceptable? I


would say it is not acceptable. Justice denied can never produce a


just society. The piece is conditional. There is still a threat


of violence. You say promises must be kept and I agree with you and


that is why this case was thrown out. The promise was made to this


man John Downey. He thought he would come to England without a problem


and that is why the judge said, you cannot carry on with the trial. But


the promise was made behind the backs, as far as one can see, behind


the backs of parties to the peace process. They would never have


accepted it. In April 2010, there was a meeting of the Northern


Ireland policing board were these were, this matter was raised and at


that meeting there were three members of the DUP. They did not


discuss it with others. Hang on a second, I want to hear from


Rushanara. Clearly, a mistake was made in this case. With the review


that has been announced today, it has got to look into this issue. I


would know that if I was a family member of the victims I would want


justice. But at the same time, we have to recognise that the Northern


Ireland peace process has secured freedom from terrorism, freedom from


conflict and we have got to keep our eye on that issue, because as a


country, as a nation, we are better protected because of it. The


injustice that these families have faced needs to be addressed and that


is what the enquiry will need to look at. You, sir. Just one question


here, can we afford to put our troops in danger, by making promises


not to prosecute? Because our troops who are out there today, their


families who are out there today, are we going to make similar


promises with the government in power today or governments in the


future? Are you against the promises being made, no amnesty of any kind?


Is it peace at any cost? I think everyone has had to say so I am


going to move on. We have many questions. Jean Holloway, please. Is


it not time that Harriet Harman came out and apologised for her links


with the Paedophile Information Exchange? Melanie Phillips. I think


it is a good development what happened today, that Patricia Hewitt


who was running the National Council for Civil Liberties, during this


period when the Paedophile Information Exchange was associated


with them, has said very clearly that it was wrong, we were naive, we


should not have had them as part of the National Council for Civil


Liberties and I apologise. If Harriet Harman had said that at the


beginning, there would be no story. This whole furore ER I'm afraid has


been fuelled by Harriet Harman going of the deep end, being the raises,


accusing the newspapers of accusing her of stuff they had not accused


her of and above all, do denying that there was a problem with the


National Council for Civil Liberties having the Paedophile Information


Exchange is one of its members. I am at bit baffled about why she did not


to say what Patricia Hewitt has said today. It is an interesting


historical issue and I think it has some relevance to today, that


progressive opinion in those days, and I remember, I remember when they


were associated and I remember the unease around that whole issue at


the time. But there was then a climate, on the progressive side of


politics, on the left, which was assessed with rights. And it did not


draw a distinction between the rights of adults and the rights of


children and the whole issue of sex was mixed up with rights and


everyone had a right to everything, and children had rights. The whole


thing was framed in terms of rights. We find it hard to


understand this. I am old enough to have lived through it. It was a kind


of madness. I thought it was mad at the time. Children, in my view, do


not have rights to sexual activity. We as adults, have a duty to


children to protect them while they were children. This was the terrible


confusion of the time. I think that confusion has bled into all kinds of


attitudes which persist today. We today have this great anxiety, now


about paedophilia. Then it was not called paedophilia. Then it was


called... Love among children. It was presented in the most disgusting


way. But the point was, progressive circles accept it, because it was


all bound up, and the Paedophile Information Exchange gentleman, Mr


O'Carroll, said perfectly correctly, and I remember this at the time, he


said the problem was not that Harriet Harman supported


paedophilia, not that she supported the PIE. In fact, she came onto the


scene in the NCCL quite late on in this saga. The problem was it was


mixed up with the whole gay rights agenda and people could not talk


about paedophilia without talking about gay rights. Jay Rayner. If you


think Harriet Harman, Patricia Hewitt and Jack Dromey back in the


70s thought paedophilia was a really good thing, then hold them in utter


contempt, never vote for the Labour Party again, throw them out.


Personally, I can't help but see this as just the Daily Mail taking


its revenge on a bunch of people they do not like. The 1970s was a


strange time. You were on the left back in the 1970s as we all


remember. My memory goes back that far. This is not about the rights


and wrongs of paedophilia which we know is an obscenity and the way


things were done in the 70s is bizarre. It is about the Daily Mail


paper. The nearest we have to aid Paedophile Information Exchange is


the Daily Mail website and its pictures of kids. It is true. I just


think we need to understand this as another bit of anti-left, and to


Labour propaganda by the Daily Mail. -- antilabour propaganda. You have


not said whether she should apologise and is her reluctance to


apologise because they see the Daily Mail as an antilabour organ. The


story was in Private Eye many years ago, it is not new. The editor of


the Daily Mail sees it as a great way to have a go at people in the


Labour Party. You go back to the 70s, there are lots of things we


could apologise for. The Daily Mail could apologise for supporting the


black shirts back in the 30s if they like. It would be childish to ask


them to do so. This story has only come out because of the Jimmy Savile


affair. This is why it has been brought to our attention. It is


nothing to do with the Daily Mail. They may have made an issue of it.


Do you think it is legitimate to raise it? Because of that case there


is no investigating back to that time which is why the story is out


now. I did the Daily Mail have done a good job bringing it out. Anna


Soubry. I do think Harriet Harman has handled badly. If she had come


out and done all that the story would have gone away. It says a lot


more about our attitudes. I am really not interested, if I may say


in the fight between the Daily Mail and Harriet Harman, they can sort it


out themselves, but I do not think she and Jack Dromey have done


themselves any favours. I think it says more about the enormous change


during my lifetime and the time at the bar towards child abuse and


paedophilia. There is a much greater understanding, not only what an


awful wicked thing it is, but the appalling damage it does to


children. I have read some of those documents and Melanie is right. You


have to read some of those documents that say there is not much harm if


it is done to a child. It is the stuff of madness. The other thing we


now know about paedophiles is Howard could be coming they are. I suspect


Elfyn like I, have had the misfortune of representing


paedophiles. I can assure you, I do not like to stereotype but I think


we can with paedophiles, the things they do are bad and evil enough in


themselves, but their wickedness and cunning, the way that they will in


the their way into the affections of a child or a mother, that they will


then commit this horrible abuse, and it is sickening, but it is a


terrible perversion of that child as well. What do you make of the


documents submitted in 1976 to Parliament which said activities


willingly engaged in with an adult do not do any identifiable damage?


Appalling. Absolutely disgusting. There is no point saying it was


different in the 1970s. It was disgusting them, and it is


disgusting now. Rushanara Ali, come to the defence of Harriet Harman. I


have listened very closely to what everyone is saying here and it is


clear that PIE was a vile organisation that tried to


infiltrate and successfully infiltrated NCCL at that time. All


of the things that people have said highlight the manipulative nature of


paedophile organisations and paedophiles. But let's be clear,


Harriet Harman has spent a lifetime campaigning for women and children


and their rights. And the idea that she would condone and paedophiles is


completely wrong and baseless. And there is not a shred of evidence to


suggest otherwise. That is why I agree with Jay, that there is a


political angle to this, there is a dimensional which is that the Daily


Mail has a campaign against certain senior figures in the Labour Party.


First it was Ed Miliband, an attack on his father, and now Harriet


Harman. These allegations are baseless. Harriet has set out her


role in NCCL. We have to remember that when a paper goes this far in


attacking someone, despite her record, despite the work she has


done championing children's rights, that worries me deeply. She could


have said these things. I paid tribute to a lot of the work she has


done and I pay tribute to your last government for its work on rape and


enabling children to give evidence. That is why I think she has handled


it badly. Tricia Hewitt apologised. Shami Chakrabarti apologised. Why


didn't she apologise? Harriet has expressed regret. With respect,


there is a difference between Shami Chakrabarti, who has an officer of


Liberty, who has probably justifiably apologised. You are


dealing with Harriet Harman who, at the time, was a fairly junior lawyer


acting for the NCCL. She did not actually say we will affiliate to


the PIE, or whatever. But she was there as a lawyer. It would have


been better if she had said, I was a junior lawyer and I had nothing to


do with affiliating them but it was a big mistake and I regret that


mistake. But asking her to apologise is like asking me to apologise for


the First World War. I will take one more point from the man at the back.


Isn't there two points here? One, you put yourself in public office,


you have to accept whatever is written about you. Secondly, you


tell me any politician that will stand up and apologise when they are


wrong. They don't. Yes, they do. If they don't, they should. They will


find an excuse, always, never apologise to the public. Anna


Soubry, have you ever apologised? Yes. For what? I am sure I have


because I make so many mistakes. What you said about Nigel Farage,


did you apologise for that? I did. We won't repeat it. Repeat it,


please. We will not. Politicians do apologise. Trust me, the Daily Mail


also is horrible things about Tories. Melanie has often said


horrible things about me. They have not attacked the dead father of a


Conservative leader. Let's move on. Has Britain lost control of its


borders? Presumably in light of today's news that net immigration is


up 200,000. Would that be right? Yes. Well, I don't think it has lost


control, but everybody thought there would be an influx from within the


European Union. There is free movement, after all. We must also


remember that there are hundreds of thousands of British people in other


countries within the European Union as well, so it works both ways.


Didn't the Prime Minister say he would get it down to tens of


thousands. Yes. What has gone wrong? I don't know. I don't sign up to his


agenda and don't have any truck with the Conservative Party on this


issue. I think there is room for inward migration and if we are to


allow free movement within Europe, it works both ways and we need


people to come in and work in various jobs that, actually, local


people don't want to take up. APPLAUSE


Of course, we benefit from it. But to answer your question, it seems to


me that there is something radically wrong in the thinking of the Prime


Minister and the border agency, if he was thinking that it's going to


come down to tens of thousands in the next couple of years, when it's


actually gone up to 200,000, just as bad as it was under the Labour


government. You said just as bad. In his terms. Are you in favour or


against it? I am not against it. You did use the word bad. You are quick


today, David! If we are going to have free movement, it works both


ways, that is the point. What do you think? If you look at the figures


superficially, it is frightening but if you do the maths in terms of


extrapolation it is not as bad as you think. The main concern is that


the Southeast will get clogged up and infrastructure and transport


will get stasis. David Cameron's whole policy on migration, trying to


stop it, was dog whistle politics for the rump of his party and its


xenophobic fears. I live in Brixton, south London, which has one


of the highest proportions of visible ethnic minorities in Western


Europe. I am used to a city which has many nationalities. The great


thing about people who migrate is that they usually do it for good


economic reasons. They want to work. To come up with a facile


version of that, I am delighted with the arrival of Polish painters and


decorators because they turn up on time, do a good job and then they


leave. Unlike the British ones. These are people who are energetic,


want to be here and want to work. They get paid and they pay into the


tax kitty and we benefit from it. As the daughter of someone who came


here in the 1960s labour shortage, I recognise the positive contribution


people make to our country. And the strength in our diversity. And we


saw that in the 2020 Olympics, the best show on earth. We thrived in


our diversity. But there are major concerns about jobs, about youth


unemployment. I see that in London and around the country. What's


important is that we need confidence that the immigration system is going


to work for both our economy, but also making sure people feel secure,


people don't feel that change is happening too fast. That's a big


challenge. That means we have to focus on making sure people who are


able to work in our own country get the jobs they need, but at the same


time it's a give-and-take, as Elfyn has said already. If we want a free


and open Europe, where we benefit, 50% of our trade is with Europe,


that means we will need to accept a level of freedom of movement between


our countries, both people coming in and out. But that has to happen in a


sensible way. We have to have a sensible approach to immigration.


What brought your family from Bangladesh? My father came here in


the 60s during a labour shortage, his skills shortage. He worked in


manufacturing. He worked in the catering industry and later he


worked, in fact, for a company in the east End of London that made


hosepipes, garden hose pipes, which went bust, sadly after the ban on


hosepipes. You talk about having to be careful about immigration. Did he


find problems when he came in the 60s? Yes, he experienced huge


amounts of racism and discrimination. I am proud to live


in a country where that is ancient history now and written is a much


more open and inclusive society. -- Britain. Melanie and I would not be


here if it was not for economic migration because we are descendants


of migrants into Britain. And me. Jay is entirely correct, but I think


describing people who have concerns about the level of immigration,


speaking as the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of immigrants,


describing people with concerns about immigration in terms of dog


whistle and xenophobic is a great insult to the millions of people who


have genuine and decent concerns about this.


APPLAUSE Because, you and I both know, and


probably everyone around this table knows that immigrants bring a great


deal to the party, to the National party. They have contributed


enormously in all kinds of ways to our society, for the better. But we


are not talking about immigration in the abstract. We are talking about a


situation where if you have such large numbers coming in that public


services are simply overwhelmed, and, as somebody has said, it is


bottom heavy, so much concentrated in the south that it creates an


economic imbalance, using the cards do it. How many towns the size of


Peter Brewer or whatever have we got to construct in the next few years


to accommodate the numbers coming in? The real problem is not a


question of ethnic minorities. It is not a question of wonderful Polish


builders. We can all swap these stories. The issue is this, to do


with the European Union. The European Union's founding principle


is the free movement of labour. The European Union is founded on the


principle that basically national boundaries have to give way for the


greater good. We can all have a discussion about that founding


principle, but the fact is that the countries of the European Union are


variously in difficulties over this principle. Chancellor Angela Merkel


said today, freedom of movement remains one of the greatest


achievements of the EU and should be preserved. So it's not going to


change. This is the problem with being a member of the European


Union. Mr Cameron pretends that he is going to solve this while


remaining a member of the European Union. If he calls it a dog whistle,


you are whistling in the dark! I am not sure of the analogy, but I think


politicians should be honest with us. If you sign up to a club whose


founding principle is the free movement of peoples, that is the


rule you accept. If you don't want it, you have to get out. There isn't


an alternative. I think Elfyn made a very good point, that he said that


people don't want to do the job that immigrants are coming in to do. If


they don't want the job, they lose their benefits. It's as simple as


that. There was a person arguing with you. We are sending the wrong


messages with these jobs. We are educating our children that if you


start at what we class as a lower job it is not the right thing for


you. We should be saying to our children, they are jobs that you can


strive to better yourself, can learn and move on, but we are dismissing


them as jobs that are not worthwhile taking. Jobs for the Polish, in


other words. Any jobs. It is a job to move on from. In the checked


shirt at the back. It is not a matter of people not wanting to do


the jobs but the fact that they are advertised abroad and not in the UK.


Really? There has been a lot of truth in that. Under the last


government we had completely unfettered migrants coming in from


the European Union. There were agencies advertising in Poland and


other countries. We have sought to make sure we don't do that and it is


not allowed. I saw adverts today for theme park ride operators in the


mania. How did you see an advert in the mania today? I went on a


Romanian job site. On the internet. Some of you will have remembered the


scare stories put out by other political parties and you will know


it has not been the case. The reality of it is that the majority


of people, overwhelmingly, the majority of people who come to our


country come here to work and contribute. You are happy with


200,000, not worried. Let me finish. Get to the point. You want me to get


to the point you want me to make. Get to the point of the question. We


have regained control of our borders when it comes to non-EU. We have had


a significant drop in the number of people coming from non-EU countries.


We have done a good job there, particular in getting rid of the


phoney colleges, which were supposedly having people who were


students. We have done that well. We have also made sure that we have not


have the supposed flood of immigrants coming in from Romania


and Bulgaria. Those have proven to be scare stories. Just two points.


Maybe one. People are trying to make out that the British youngsters do


not want the jobs. I have got a youngster who does want a job. He


has got the same problem that this man said, the British youngsters do


want to work. The agencies are bringing in loads and loads of


people from these different countries and they are working on


contract to these companies and they do not employ them full-time.


Part-time workers are cheaper. One area that I am familiar with is


agricultural work and seasonal work like fruit picking. They said they


gave up five years ago and they could not get a workforce here which


is why the advertised abroad because people did not want the work here.


My son has a applied for three or four jobs, he is on skilled but he


cannot get a job because the agencies of filling the jobs with


remaining and Polish and various other immigrants that are coming in.


Agencies bring them over. What kind of jobs are you thinking of? I am


thinking of unskilled Labour. That is partly true. There is some truth


in what you say, sir, definitely. But there is the other side of the


coin as well. I know of many catering establishments in mid and


North Wales who cannot fall of Norma NATO get local people involved in


catering. -- love or money get local people involved. They do not want


the hour for the pay. I am not making it up. The young people from


that or Poland take the jobs. Accept that but you realise these agencies


are buying the jobs up in bulk. You made the point and the man there? I


do not think immigration is a problem. I think integration is the


problem. In this capitalist society there is competition for jobs. If


immigrants want to come over and compete for the jobs, fair game, I


do not think there is a problem with it. No problem? I wanted to return


to the comments the gentleman made earlier about his son. I see, every


day I meet young people, nearly 1 million young people are unemployed,


and we need to make sure that we do not lose another generation because


they are not getting the help they need. We have youth unemployment


falling now. The gentleman said his son needs help. What is important is


the government steps up and addresses this issue. Let me finish.


Because otherwise you end up with this false if you like, conflict.


Sometimes there is a genuine issue. I saw it during the Olympics when my


constituents, young constituents were struggling to get jobs and the


companies that were contracted did not reach out enough to local


people. We have a government that needs to take responsibility and


encourage companies to recruit locally first. So you want to stem


the flow of immigration is what you are saying? You want to stem the


flow of immigration by encouraging people to employ local Labour first


so they would be no demand for people from Bulgaria or remaining? I


am saying we need to do more to help our young people get back to work


and at the same time we have to make sure that as part of the European


Union, we have a responsibility for free movement of Labour, just as our


people can move between countries. We have a responsibility to young


people. My biggest concern is every aspect of education and health is


overcrowded. We cannot afford to have all these people coming in


here. And use there with the moustache and the beard. You can


talk all day about these different stories about immigration. The


bottom line is immigration benefits this country. It is evident that


immigration is a benefit to this country. You can scaremonger as many


people as you like, it will not work. The real reason this country


is going down is because of the bankers who take the massive bonuses


and people who do not pay tax. And the woman there. Why with an


increase in our population are we having a deep crease in our health


services? In Wales you have a problem with your health service.


And the problem you have is you have a Welsh Assembly that is not doing


the job it should be doing with your health services. They haven't met an


A targets since 2009. It is a Labour-controlled Welsh Assembly, it


is failing you, it is not spending the money, you have people on


waiting lists and I hope the people in the rest of the country look at


what Labour does with the NHS, compared with what we do in England,


you can trust the NHS in our hands, we have increased the amount of


money, the budget has gone up, I promise you that. Ever heard of mid


Staffordshire? That was not on our watch. Weight, everyone. That was


not the question but since the lady there raised it, just briefly, from


Labour's point of view, you are under constant attack in the House


of Commons for what has happened here in Wales and the way the Welsh


Assembly has cut back on the NHS. What you say? First of all, let's


look at the situation in Wales. There are 3 million people and the


Conservative Party keeps comparing the rest of the country with Wales.


There are clearly issues and the Welsh Government is dealing with


that. Let's focus on, let's look at the context. I am not going to say


that there is an improvement to make. You almost better than


anybody. -- there is not an improvement to make. Under this


government's watch, a back door privatisation effort and they do not


like to talk about what they are doing in the rest of the country but


the NHS is being decimated. Anna's parties responsible for that and she


and her party... I do not want to be unkind but obviously, I know the


more about the Welsh health service than you do. But I say that with


respect. Point number one, our colleague in Westminster has said


that at least six hospitals in Wales have disturbingly high mortality


rates and should be investigated. So far, nothing is happening. In the


First Minister's own constituency, a lady was dealt with terribly in a


hospital. Her medicine was poured away and she subsequently died. He


had known about that since 2010, 2012 are not done very much about


it. The short fact is, you may save there is only 3 million people but


the 3 million Wales deserve as good a service as anybody else.


The point is, I will give you one statistic, a snapshot, for people


waiting for surgery heart in England, there are 60 people. In


Wales, it is 185 and rising. That is not good enough. Do you agree with


all this? You feel Wales is hard done by? I think the health service


Wales is appalling. I know about it because I have worked on it and I am


a victim of it. It is absolutely outrageous. The length of the


waiting lists, the standard of care when you actually get in bed


clutches, my biggest fear is actually becoming ill and growing


old because it is appalling. Who do you blame for this? I am not a great


fan of the Welsh Assembly, I did vote against it. I think the money


that was spent to build the Senate in the beginning and the money it


takes to maintain this structure with the Assembly Members, all that


money could be going into health and education. Could I direct this


question to Rushanara? You say it is being sorted out why are people


you'll being sent to England to get treatment? It is important that the


Welsh Government text responsibility and this issue is addressed. What is


important is we recognise, the national government keeps using


Wales to divert attention from the wider problem and crisis facing the


NHS. That includes an A crisis up and down the country, in


constituencies across London, where I am based and there are big issues


for the NHS. Has the money being cut in England on the same scale as it


has in Wales? The figures suggest a 10% cut in Wales and a slight


increase in England. Though Welsh amount has declined. What is


important is we focus on recognising that our NHS and the staff in the


NHS overall should not be attacked. In Wales, A have not hit their


targets since 2009. The Welsh Assembly have the power to make a


big difference to the NHS Wales and are not using it. We have to come to


a close. A point from you, sir. Makes me laugh that you try and


blame the current government for the problems. In Wales we have a


stranglehold by the Labour Party. It is about time that Wales woke up and


stopped voting the Labour Party in. And very briefly, I will take a


point from you but it has to be quick, please. I think we have a


lackadaisical Labour government happy to blame the Tories in


Westminster and the Tories who do not give a dam about Wales because


they will not get any milage here. We need an alternative. On which


note we come to the end of our hour. Next week we will be in


Barking in East London. We will have Michael Heseltine on the panel,


Rachel Rees, Simon Hughes and Amanda Patel. A week after that we will be


in Nottingham. If you would like to come to barking or Nottingham, then


come to our website. If you are listening on radio five the debate


goes on. Here in Newport, thanks to our panel. Until next Thursday, from


all of us here, good night.


David Dimbleby presents Question Time from Newport in Wales. On the panel are Conservative defence minister Anna Soubry MP, Labour's shadow education minister Rushanara Ali MP, Plaid Cymru's Westminster leader Elfyn Llwyd MP, restaurant critic and novelist Jay Rayner and columnist Melanie Phillips.

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