13/03/2014 Question Time


13/03/2014

David Dimbleby presents the topical debate from Nottingham. On the panel are Douglas Alexander, Baroness Kramer, Nadhim Zahawi, Isabel Oakeshott and Nick Hewer.


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Transcript


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welcome to Question Time. Good evening to you at home. Good

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evening to our audience, ready to ask questions of the panel. Lord

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Sugar's right hand man and star of The Apprentice, Nick Hewer. Liberal

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Democrat Minister, Susan Kramer. Labour's shadow front secretary,

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Douglas Alexander. Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi. And journalist and

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commentator Isabel Oakeshott, who broke the story of Chris Huhne and

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Vicky Pryce's speeding points, that led to their downfall.

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Just before the first question, I should say that there is a page on

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loose in the room somewhere and we have not been able to track it down.

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If you see members of the panel docking, it is not because of verbal

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assault but because a pitch and keeps swooping around. -- a bird

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keeps swooping around. A question from Sam Smith, please. Should

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nurses be getting the 1% public sector pay rise? 600,000 nurses are

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not getting it. Should they be getting it? Douglas Alexander.

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Nurses across the country will feel let down by Jeremy Hunt breaking the

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word that was given to NHS staff by George Osborne when he announced his

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budget macro. NHS staff have seen pay cut after a pay cut four-year

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is. Of course there needs to be restrained in pay across public

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services in tough economic times. But I think it is simply wrong to be

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in a position where there was an unwanted, unannounced top-down

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reorganisation of the national health service that ended up costing

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?3 billion, which has put the NHS in a weakened financial position, which

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meant that ?1.4 billion alone was spent on redundancy payments within

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the NHS, which has now led to nurses being singled out in this way. I

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don't think it's fair or right. You would find the money, if you were in

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government? We would have met the commitment, but we would have done

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so without this top-down reorganisation which has led to

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six-figure checks being led to people who walk away. You can't

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understand the finances of the NHS today without realising that ?3

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billion was taken out for a reorganisation that benefited nobody

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but the 2400 managers in the NHS who are now earning more than the Prime

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Minister. APPLAUSE

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Nurses and doctors do an incredible job.

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If you just think that they now treat 1.2 million more people

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through Accident Emergency. They worked incredibly hard. The

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difficulty is that the wage bill for the NHS is ?50 billion. If you

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deliver a 1% across-the-board increase, that is ?500 million,

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approximately. What Jeremy Hunt is saying is that half of the staff in

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the NHS are going to get an automatic pay increase. It is called

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the incremental increase. Those people should not get the additional

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1%. Those who do not get the automatic increase should get the

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1%, and the managers on top page should not get any increase

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whatsoever. Under Douglas Alexander's watch, managers got a 7%

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pay increase while nurses got 3%. So a double increase under labour for

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them. One last point to make. We have ring-fenced B NHS in England.

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?12.7 billion more going into the NHS. You only have to look at

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Labour's management or mismanagement of the NHS. Look at Wales and what

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is happening there. Waiting lists are longer, they refuse

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investigations into hospitals with high death rates, because they just

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do not want to face up to the fact that they cannot manage the NHS.

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Douglas can do something about it. He can ask his Labour colleagues in

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Wales to come out and have an investigation, and to safeguard the

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NHS and spend more on it. Sam Smith, you asked the question. What

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do you think of those answers? I am currently under the hospital, and

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the nurses, the care that they provide, the attention to every

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patient, getting to know you whether you are in there for two days, a

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week, a month, the care is incredible. The 1%, they extremely

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deserve it. The blunt truth is that the NHS is broke and no politician

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wants to admit it because it is political suicide to say so. At the

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NHS is not sustainable in its current form. We have to get real

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here. Nobody is denying that doctors and nurses do an amazing job, but we

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cannot afford to keep on raising salaries. If we do, then we are

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going to have to cut jobs. It is as simple as that. If we cut jobs,

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patients are not owing to end up getting the level of care they

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deserve and expect. -- patients are going to end up not getting the

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level of care they deserve and expect. The buzz phrase from Tories

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has been that there are tough decisions to be made. What

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decisions? MPs are getting a higher pay rise next month. 1%. Apparently

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it would cost ?200 million. Compare that to the ?141 billion given to

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support the banks. But let's set that aside. Do you know what has

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happened? The nurses not getting 1%. The number of working households now

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below the poverty line has overtaken, at 6.7 million, the

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number of workless families. What worries me is that we are now

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creating a new official poor. And it may well be that nurses will fall

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into that group. And the new official Paul was illustrated

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yesterday. Pound land floated at ?3 a share, shares went up. Morrison's

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crashed today. Why? Because they are taking on the discounters because

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people are flooding the cheap supermarkets. There is a new poor on

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the march. I think we are back in Victorian times. Susan Kramer, is

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the correlation # the coalition creating a official poor? We are in

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times of austerity. We are finally seeing a recovery after we were

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handed a broken economy at the beginning of the coalition. It is

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finally recovering. I hope it will start feeding through to wages. Not

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for millions of families across the country who are struggling to pay

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the bills, seeing their wages fall, as Nick has suggested. It is an

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insult to them to suggest you deserve a lap of honour and

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congratulations when there is a cost of living crisis affecting nurses,

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affecting a range of public sector workers and private sector workers,

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too. You are creating circumstances where there are millions of in work

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poor. Rebuilding the economy is absolutely vital. It means we have

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to continue to be tough on the deficit and that is an ugly reality

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but it is the only way out of this. Why are you borrowing ?198 billion

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more than your government predicted three years ago? That is not

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success, it is failure. We can go on arguing about the economy, but is

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what clear is that it was broken when we came there. There was a

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financial crisis. But the point was that your government so overspent

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that there was no contingency, no caution, no way to cope with the

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crisis. And we cannot go back to that situation. The second row from

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the back. It is disingenuous for the coalition to claim this is about

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saving 200 million from the NHS budget when they wasted 3 billion

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needless NHS reform. The truth is they are trying to set up the NHS

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for privatisation by demoralising staff and trying to encourage people

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out of the NHS. What do you say to the point that the NHS is bust? It

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is not. It will be in existence as long as there are folk with the

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faith to fight for it. That is the truth. I talk to politicians all

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day, every day, and almost every Tory MP privately admits that they

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believe the NHS is unsustainable. That is not to say that it is not

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going to be surviving, but it will have to be reformed. Can I come in

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on that? Saving it requires reforming it, and that is what the

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money has been spent on. If you want it in the future, you have to go

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through some of the difficult steps for reform because that is how we

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save it. Do you mind not shouting out? Wait until you have a

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microphone. We have to make sure the NHS is sustainable. Nurses are

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brilliant but that is point out that the people who are not getting the

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1% are getting a 3%. And in this time, when it is really tough for

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absolutely everybody, and most people are seeing only the most

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minimal increase in their wages, it is not unexpected that within the

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public sector people have to face some of the same constraints that

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everybody in the private sector is facing. That is the reality. I just

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worry. I made my point about the official poor. When I first came to

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London in the 1960s, to the borough of Westminster, there were key body

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trust buildings. -- Peabody trust buildings. On the lintel it had, for

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the poor and criminal classes. I just worry that there is a

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combination of poverty and criminality that is creeping into

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the public psyche, into some of the more right wing press newspaper

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groups. I don't understand what you're saying. Are you for against

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the 1% pay increase? Is it too low? I think it should be more. Inflation

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is 2%. Let's try and at least keep pace with that. What do you say to

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that? What I say is that if you are going to increase pay, it is the

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equivalent, the 450 million it will cost across-the-board, of 14,000

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nurses. You have to decide whether you let go of nurses. The gentleman

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at the back talked about the NHS. I am ploughed -- proud of the NHS

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being free at the point of delivery. It is the best health service in the

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world and I shout about it all the time. We have made sure there are

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more clinicians making decisions, not managers. Under Douglas, he

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talks about the shameful way we have treated it, but they gave managers

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double the pay rise of nurses and clinicians. That is shameful. That

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was 2008, at the height of the crisis. A company you are a

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nonexecutive director is profiting from the health service while you

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are serving as a member of Parliament. That is a good point and

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I'm glad you asked, because the company was delivering the same

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service under your administration. In fact, the founders are donors to

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the Labour Party. I have been a nonexecutive director since before I

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became a member of Parliament. Do not try and play dirty tricks with

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this. Take out the politics and talk about the facts. This is very open

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politics. What are you accusing him of? I am asking him to be clear as

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to his motivation because every time we have a Conservative government

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the argument bubbles up that we cannot afford a National Health

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Service. I don't believe we can afford not to have a National Health

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Service. We saved it in the past and we will have to save it again. The

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NHS is not safe in your hands. I have to go to the audience. My

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question is, why bother going through the show rather than

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independent Pay Review Body when the government won't take their advice?

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We have the office of financial reforms ability which the government

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insist they need for clarity and openness, yet they won't take the

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advice of the independent Pay Review Body. When independent pay review is

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recommend large pay rises for MPs I think they are wrong and I am

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willing to counter it. I think you have to take responsibility. A

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couple of days ago the national office of statistics released a

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report looking at the bottom 5% of the private and public sector. The

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private sector was 13% lower wages than the private sector. You talk

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about a new poor being developed. Look at the private sector! They are

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in a worse state. Surely we should be doing more about that. Douglas

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Alexander, do you want to answer that specific point?

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We should be levelling up, not levelling down. That is why we

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introduced the national minimum wage. Why I welcome the fact that

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the minimum wage is rising. And it is why we need to see a living wage

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introduced by companies in the private sector as well. Does that

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answer your question? Not really. We are talking about pay rises at the

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moment. No-one in the private sector has been for some time... . The

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bankers are. You cost every family ?3,000. You cannot sit here and not

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apologise in the first place. APPLAUSE

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Let's stick with this gentleman's point. How many bankers are there as

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a po portion of the wofrk -- proportion of the workers of

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Britain. He says most people in the private sector aren't. Of course

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they are not bankers but... . Aren't getting pay rises. I am much against

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bankers getting high wages and bonuses as anyone else. I am talking

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about the low wages in the private sector, which you keep going on

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about the bankers. Yes, we want to do everything we can for the

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bankers. What about the low wages in the private sector? They need more

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help than... We can pontive kat all we like. The country is bust. It is

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not rubbish. We are bust. If we talk about the NHS, why are we talking

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about people who failed trusts in the national health and allowing to

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spend ?11 million to get rid of whistle-blowers? There's nothing

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that happens to these people. He's still got his ?1.5 million pension

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pot and salary. Who said rubbish when he said the country was bust?

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It is rubbish. The reason we are in difficulty in this country, the NHS,

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the country as a whole, we're having to have austerity shoved down our

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throat all the time and be told the NHS is bust, is because we are owed

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billions in unpaid taxes, as the gentleman at the back was trying to

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make that point earlier. If the Government were to recoup the money

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that is not paid in this country, in unpaid taxes, the NHS doesn't need

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to be bust. Education could improve. Everything in this country could

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improve, not alone be sustained if those taxes were paid. Nadhim Zahawi

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Duke of Yorks you want to answer that -- Nadhim Zahawi Duke of Yorks

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you want to answer that point? -- do you want to answer that point?

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I said what I mean is that she is right we have to bear down on tax

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avoidance schemes. That's not what she said. You bear down on tax

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avoidance. That is what you do. In every year of this Parliament, the

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rich will pay more taxes than every Year of the 13 years of Labour and,

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we have got deals in place with Switzerland and with other

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countries, where people cannot hide their money. That is how you get tax

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into the coffers. You also have to make sure that what you do with that

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money is responsible. That's the difference here. We have Dougy

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talking about a money tree. Their track record says they pay managers

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more than they pay nurses. That's the difference.

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The woman up there in the back row. Not the second back row. Yes? Is the

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NHS unsustainable or simply under-funded? That is what I want to

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know. They are not given enough money and that is why they are

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broke. It is not just because it has magically spent all its money it is

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not getting the funding. One point is, the NHS is absolutely

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institutionally inefficient. As a patient - I have three children. I

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am in and out a lot. I constantly see examples of unbelievable

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inefficiency. You only have to look at the fact there are basically no

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electronic patient records, which means half the time you have to get

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tests repeated. Once at the GPs, once at the hospitals and then again

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because they have lost the results. If they could tighten up on the

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inefficiency, I am sure that would free up a lot of money - enough to

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give our nurses a decent pay rise. There are huge changes in the NHS

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that make it more efficient. Instead of older people being sent home

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where there is nobody to look after them, because there's been no work

:19:23.:19:25.

with the local authority for their care, getting ill again and coming

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back into hospital, that is changing and changing dramatically because of

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the change in working. We are starting to bear down on those

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people who do not show for their appointment. I mean, the millions

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that costs over a few years is phenomenal. Now you have got a text

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messaging system. You have got doctors identifying what are the

:19:47.:19:50.

services they most need in their community and who should provide it,

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because they are doing the commissioning. You go through these

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changes and you start to get a service that can work, because I

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think the NHS is worth keeping, worth protecting. It remains as a

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public service. It is free at the point of use, but we have to

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recognise, at a time of austerity, we keep putting more money in it,

:20:13.:20:16.

but we have to spend it efficiency. It is jobs and this time around...

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We are talking about a battle over money, wages n the NHS. Before we

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leave this topic, I want to take a question from Kira Dhaliwal.

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Do we need more union leaders like Bob Crow?

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Who died on... APPLAUSE

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Who died on Tuesday and was of course a defender of his section of

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the economy. Nick Hewer?

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My word. What actually upset me was the lorry loads of sant moanous

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tribute tributes pouring in for Bob Crow and thinking actually down in

:21:04.:21:07.

the village of Westminster and over at City Hall there were people

:21:08.:21:12.

downing pints, thinking, thank goodness we won't have to deal with

:21:13.:21:16.

Bob Crow again. Those who know Bob Crow say he was the great greatest

:21:17.:21:20.

guy on earth. His members must have adored him because he did a

:21:21.:21:25.

fantastic job for them. He did such a good job, the Tube drivers were

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almost of pricing themselves out of a job, because apparently there was

:21:32.:21:36.

a move to get driverless trains. They loved him for all the right

:21:37.:21:42.

reasons. I would ask, is it the exclusive duty of a union leader to

:21:43.:21:46.

look after his members only? Is there a greater responsibility for

:21:47.:21:50.

the public good, over and above the interests of their members? And, I

:21:51.:21:54.

don't know how many booking-class staff were at the heart of that

:21:55.:22:00.

strike, but he brought London to a grinding halt day after day. I would

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argue there was a better way to deal with it. I think it is wrong to

:22:05.:22:09.

bring a capital city to its knees. Would workers in the NHS benefit

:22:10.:22:15.

from having somebody like Bob Crow negotiating on their behalf? I am

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shurp now he's gone the -- I am sure now he's gone, there are a number

:22:22.:22:26.

springing up, saying right, we'll have a crack at. This look how he

:22:27.:22:29.

was Lorded for looking after his members. If a new Bob Crow came out

:22:30.:22:35.

for the NHS, he could do a good good for his members, but what would he

:22:36.:22:41.

do for the nation? I don't think strike is the way forward with the

:22:42.:22:46.

National Health Service. I didn't know Bob Crow. He was not a member

:22:47.:22:56.

of the afrilliate afrilliated -- affiliated. He didn't use his

:22:57.:23:00.

members for a battering run for his politics. He was an effective trade

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unionists, sometimes using serious threats. Ultimately he was a

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deal-maker. That is what you see with organisations he dealt with. We

:23:14.:23:17.

need effective deal-makers, representing people in the kind of

:23:18.:23:20.

economy we have been talking about. To have somebody in the business

:23:21.:23:25.

environment, on your side, talking about pay, conditions, hours. All of

:23:26.:23:29.

the things so many people feel exploited about in today's economy.

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It is important. The important work that trade unions often do away from

:23:34.:23:36.

the headlines and away from the cameras is often one of the best

:23:37.:23:40.

kept secrets in Britain. Do you think the nurses are badly led to

:23:41.:23:45.

get this deal which the Government? I think the circumstances in the NHS

:23:46.:23:50.

are different. Public service workers, least of all, want to be

:23:51.:23:57.

striking. I think Bob Crow if his ilk were engaged in NHS

:23:58.:24:00.

negotiations, I think it would be the patients who would suffer,

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because evidently he was a self-promotionalist who took,

:24:07.:24:10.

particularly London, to a very difficult place. There was a lot of

:24:11.:24:15.

people whose businesses suffered significantly. Who had nothing to do

:24:16.:24:18.

with the infrastructure arguments taking place. The manner in which he

:24:19.:24:24.

engaged on that was frankly destructive. What do you think? I

:24:25.:24:28.

work in London. When the strikes were happening, I was there. Yes, it

:24:29.:24:33.

was very hard. You have to kind of pull together, get to work, or work

:24:34.:24:36.

from home. Do whatever you need to do. The reason for the strike was

:24:37.:24:43.

needed. At the end of the day, the Mayor of London was, is still going

:24:44.:24:47.

to close down ticket offices, going to lose jobs so, a strike is

:24:48.:24:52.

sometimes necessary to draw attention to the public and it did

:24:53.:24:59.

across the UK. I was on the board of Transport for London with Bob. I

:25:00.:25:01.

worked with him for a period of time. There is an area in which

:25:02.:25:06.

Douglas is right. He is someone you could do a deal with. Many of the

:25:07.:25:10.

strikes that Bob led were unnecessary. I reckon when where you

:25:11.:25:15.

called a strike it meant you were near an agreement. He had the last

:25:16.:25:19.

throw with the strike to get a bit more out. I can understand that is

:25:20.:25:22.

good for his members. In the end, you look at the kind of changes at

:25:23.:25:27.

Transport for London, there virtually is not a job that looked

:25:28.:25:31.

like the job it was ten years ago. He was somebody who, in a sense,

:25:32.:25:36.

took his members along with that. But I wish he had been rather less

:25:37.:25:40.

eager to publish the British public with these strikes. I think we could

:25:41.:25:44.

have come to the same agreement without it, frankly.

:25:45.:25:49.

I would only just add that there were actually no plans for any

:25:50.:25:55.

compulsory redundancies. Like you, I travel in London. When the strikes

:25:56.:25:59.

happen, they are hell for anybody who tries and moves around London.

:26:00.:26:05.

Bob Crow brought London to its knees. He put a gun to our heads

:26:06.:26:09.

over a plan that was not going to force anybody out of work in the

:26:10.:26:12.

first place. I did not agree with those

:26:13.:26:17.

practises. I have to say that Bob was passionate about his members. I

:26:18.:26:26.

suspect that the heavenly choir will be on double time at weekends. We

:26:27.:26:30.

have to keep on moving. Joining the debate, as you know From home by

:26:31.:26:34.

text or Twitter. Keep at the Tweeting.

:26:35.:26:53.

Simon Vintner, please? Has Ed Miliband made an electoral mistake

:26:54.:27:03.

by not promising to match David Cameron's offer of an in/out

:27:04.:27:07.

referendum? Well, I think this is a cold, hard

:27:08.:27:12.

political calculation by Ed Miliband. I think it is an absolute

:27:13.:27:19.

insult to voters. I think that Ed Miliband's calculation is that he's

:27:20.:27:24.

not going to actually win over any, or substantially extra votes, by

:27:25.:27:27.

offering a referendum, because when you look at the polls, they show

:27:28.:27:31.

that the EU is not anywhere near the top of people's concerns.

:27:32.:27:37.

However, I think that most people in this country would like a say on

:27:38.:27:41.

whether we're in or out of Europe. It is decades since we have been

:27:42.:27:45.

asked the question. What is it that politicians are afraid of? Why can't

:27:46.:27:51.

they trust us to have a say? I think that Ed Miliband should just be bold

:27:52.:27:54.

enough to let people have their say on that issue.

:27:55.:27:57.

APPLAUSE Do you want to come in - the man in

:27:58.:28:12.

the yellow tie? What worries me is that the next incoming Government

:28:13.:28:18.

will negotiate with the European Union. It will come back and say, we

:28:19.:28:23.

have a fantastic deal, we don't need to have a referendum. The other

:28:24.:28:28.

worry is that if they are forced to have a referendum, Brussels will

:28:29.:28:32.

then come in and say, we didn't like the answer to that question, you'll

:28:33.:28:37.

have to ask it again. Like they did in Southern Ireland and around.

:28:38.:28:42.

I don't think any of our politicians, political parties, have

:28:43.:28:48.

got the nerve to say no to Brussels. You don't trust David Cameron

:28:49.:28:55.

either? No. The last two promised a referendum and have reneged on those

:28:56.:29:00.

promises. There's no way he'll get a fantastic deal. He knows that. We

:29:01.:29:04.

all know that. Europe is not interested in really giving us many

:29:05.:29:08.

concessions. David Cameron cannot get out of that pledge. If he is

:29:09.:29:13.

Prime Minister after 2015, he'll have to honour that pledge, without

:29:14.:29:14.

a doubt. Douglas Alexander, the question

:29:15.:29:26.

was, as Ed Miliband made an electoral mistake not matching David

:29:27.:29:33.

Cameron's offer? Unsurprisingly, I don't think so. I think the defining

:29:34.:29:38.

issue of the next general election is not going to be Europe. The

:29:39.:29:42.

defining issue is going to be the economy. In terms of what Ed

:29:43.:29:46.

Miliband said this week, he said, what are going to be our priorities

:29:47.:29:52.

if we are elected in 2015. It is about tackling the cost of living

:29:53.:29:55.

crisis, protecting and rebuilding the NHS, making sure there are jobs

:29:56.:30:00.

for young people. Some people would have different priorities but we

:30:01.:30:04.

were being open and candid in saying those would be the defining

:30:05.:30:08.

priorities. I do recognise, as the gentleman said, that to a certain

:30:09.:30:12.

extent people have reached the limit of their tolerance in thinking more

:30:13.:30:15.

powers are going to be handed to Brussels without people having their

:30:16.:30:19.

say. That is why, as well as setting up an agenda for change in Europe,

:30:20.:30:23.

to make it work better for the UK, Ed Miliband said they will be a

:30:24.:30:27.

legal lock written into the laws of the UK that if there is a transfer

:30:28.:30:31.

of sovereignty from the UK to the European Union in future, there will

:30:32.:30:36.

be an in-out referendum. But we will also open in saying we are not

:30:37.:30:40.

planning to transfer powers in the course of the next parliament. But

:30:41.:30:44.

given the uncertainties about how the eurozone will develop, the past

:30:45.:30:47.

experience of powers passing to Brussels, we want people to have the

:30:48.:30:54.

assurance that it is written in. So you believe the majority of the

:30:55.:30:57.

country wants to stay in the EU as it is, so you will not bend to the

:30:58.:31:03.

demand for a referendum? These polls come and go. There was one at the

:31:04.:31:07.

beginning of the week suggesting the majority of people want to stay in

:31:08.:31:16.

the EU. Why not just ask them? I think the gentleman at the back is

:31:17.:31:21.

right to be cynical. When you work Europe minister, they gave up a ?7

:31:22.:31:27.

million -- ?7 billion rebate. He is cynical about Cameron as well. I

:31:28.:31:36.

know. Allow me to get there, David. Keep moving. Vapours I did over a

:31:37.:31:41.

50% increase in the budget of Europe. And most importantly, the

:31:42.:31:47.

Lisbon Treaty was signed without a referendum. Therein lies the

:31:48.:31:51.

problem. The only party that can deliver a referendum is the

:31:52.:31:54.

Conservative Party. The Labour Party does not want one, the Lib Dems

:31:55.:31:58.

don't want to have one, although it was in their manifesto, clear-cut,

:31:59.:32:04.

and UKIP cannot deliver referendum. So the only party that can deliver

:32:05.:32:08.

it is the Conservative Party. We have promised it. I disagree with

:32:09.:32:13.

Isabel when she says that Europe is not serious. Germany is serious

:32:14.:32:17.

about wanting us in Europe and serious about talking about the sort

:32:18.:32:20.

of settlement that we want out of Europe. The stability that you

:32:21.:32:27.

provide for the British people is by laying this to rest in a referendum,

:32:28.:32:30.

because we trust the British people, which is why I am so proud

:32:31.:32:42.

to be British. It amuses me, really, that we are so besotted with

:32:43.:32:45.

Europe. I stick with Douglas on the fact that when the time comes at the

:32:46.:32:51.

next election, the British public, generally speaking, will be more

:32:52.:32:54.

concerned about the economy and everything else. I am lucky enough

:32:55.:33:01.

to own a shared in France. Do you think the French were worrying about

:33:02.:33:06.

Europe. You own a shared in France? What kind of shared? The point is

:33:07.:33:17.

that the Europeans are not fretting about this. All that we seem to do

:33:18.:33:23.

is worry about Europe. I am absolutely a European and I pray we

:33:24.:33:27.

stay in Europe. The only concern, I think, that you are going to face

:33:28.:33:31.

when it comes up, is that the greatest fear for the voters in

:33:32.:33:37.

Europe will be the fact that this country is getting terribly crowded.

:33:38.:33:40.

But I think it's getting terribly crowded with the right people. EU

:33:41.:33:52.

immigrants are great. As opposed to what? What are the wrong people?

:33:53.:33:57.

Those that are coming not to work. Let me put it this way, anybody who

:33:58.:34:01.

is prepared to get off their backside in Latvia or anywhere else,

:34:02.:34:06.

learn a language, come here and work and make a success and make a

:34:07.:34:09.

contribution and pay taxes, that is OK with me. I think the way that the

:34:10.:34:24.

Conservatives have said an opt in, opt out referendum has simplified

:34:25.:34:28.

the issue. And the fact that there is not enough transparency between

:34:29.:34:31.

the relationship of the EU and Britain, and the British public

:34:32.:34:35.

don't know it. It is just a political tool of the Conservative

:34:36.:34:39.

Party to say this, to gain euro-sceptic voters, when it should

:34:40.:34:42.

be showing the public what the relationship is, how integrated we

:34:43.:34:45.

are and what particular areas it is in. Do you want to see a

:34:46.:34:52.

referendum? Would you like to have a vote? You were not born when the

:34:53.:34:57.

last one happened. I would particularly want to see a

:34:58.:35:00.

referendum with more specifics, rather than a basic question. What

:35:01.:35:06.

about the? Gesture Mark I agree with what Isabel said. I think there is a

:35:07.:35:13.

whole generation of voters who would welcome a proper debate on the issue

:35:14.:35:19.

and a vote at the end of it. Susan Kramer, it is your partners who are

:35:20.:35:23.

promising a referendum, but you obviously side with the Labour Party

:35:24.:35:28.

on this one. We welcome Labour joining us on this one. I want

:35:29.:35:34.

reform in the European Union but you can't negotiate it if you have one

:35:35.:35:38.

foot out the door. The only effective place to negotiate changes

:35:39.:35:42.

when you are committed and in, and we think that is crucial. I also

:35:43.:35:44.

agree that the first thing we have to do, the economy needs focus, not

:35:45.:35:50.

two or three-year is of nonstop Europe discussion. But, and I think

:35:51.:35:54.

this matters a great deal, I think we have to go out there campaigning

:35:55.:35:59.

and doing what this lady says, talking about the positives of

:36:00.:36:03.

Europe, the fact that 3.5 million jobs in this country, when we need

:36:04.:36:08.

every job, are dependent on our relationship with Europe. Half of

:36:09.:36:11.

our trade goes to Europe. People say we could sell to China, but that is

:36:12.:36:17.

a bloody tough thing to do. Europe is the place where we can most

:36:18.:36:22.

easily sell and grow. You look at the various companies and their

:36:23.:36:29.

leaders. Everyone of says, I come to Britain because it is the base from

:36:30.:36:35.

which I consult the whole single market. That is the argument we have

:36:36.:36:41.

to make. So are the Tories making a mistake? Do you think the electorate

:36:42.:36:45.

will turn their backs on UKIP and the Tories in favour of the

:36:46.:36:50.

Liberals? I am more concerned that companies will turn their backs on

:36:51.:36:54.

Britain. You are not worried about the electorate, because you are in

:36:55.:37:00.

the House of Lords? I think it is absolutely key that companies are

:37:01.:37:03.

looking at Britain, becoming uncertain about whether they should

:37:04.:37:07.

invest here in future. We need those jobs. But what about Cameron and

:37:08.:37:13.

UKIP? Are they on to a hiding to nothing by offering a referendum?

:37:14.:37:20.

You can do a lot of things. Just answer the question. It may well be

:37:21.:37:25.

extremely popular. So they might get back in on that basis. There are

:37:26.:37:31.

European elections coming up. We are fighting for in in that campaign.

:37:32.:37:35.

UKIP are fighting for out. It gives people a real choice. But it might

:37:36.:37:42.

well be popular. When we say we are fighting for in, we know it is not

:37:43.:37:45.

something, if you go out and do polling, that is likely to bring a

:37:46.:37:49.

load of new votes, but it is something you have to do if you

:37:50.:37:51.

believe in the future of this country. I am actually pro-Europe,

:37:52.:37:57.

but it is exactly this kind of debate that the mainstream parties

:37:58.:38:02.

seem afraid to have with the electorate, putting it to a vote. If

:38:03.:38:05.

there are so many good reasons for being part of the EU, as I believe,

:38:06.:38:10.

why is everyone running scared of putting the issue to bed once and

:38:11.:38:15.

for all? If there were a referendum, you think people would vote yes. I

:38:16.:38:20.

don't know, but I would personally vote yes. The man below. We used to

:38:21.:38:28.

build boats, until, a little while ago, when I received a call, trading

:38:29.:38:35.

standards officer. I don't want to interrupt, but where is this getting

:38:36.:38:41.

us? The trading standards officer had new regulations from Europe. RU

:38:42.:38:46.

yes or no to Europe as a result of this? He was going to say no because

:38:47.:38:50.

he didn't know the first bloody thing about it, and it killed our

:38:51.:38:55.

business. And if you go to Europe, the attitude from European people is

:38:56.:39:01.

regulations for Europe... They don't bathe them. -- they don't obey them.

:39:02.:39:13.

I am pro-European but I get tired of the debate which says people will

:39:14.:39:17.

not buy our goods because we are not in Europe. Rolls-Royce engines sell

:39:18.:39:21.

around Europe because they are the best engines in the world. The

:39:22.:39:32.

gentleman makes an excellent point. Look at the automotive sector. In my

:39:33.:39:36.

area, the West Midlands, we have Jaguar Land Rover. We now

:39:37.:39:39.

manufacture more cars than ever before in this country. One car

:39:40.:39:44.

rolls off the manufacturing lines every 20 seconds, and it sells

:39:45.:39:49.

around the world, and of course into Europe. Before I became a politician

:39:50.:39:53.

I bought businesses in Germany and across Europe. There is not a single

:39:54.:39:58.

market in Europe. The only real single market is benighted States of

:39:59.:40:01.

America, where you manufacture a single product and sell it across

:40:02.:40:06.

the whole of America. -- the United States of America. If the referendum

:40:07.:40:14.

comes along, would you vote yes or no? I would want to see what we

:40:15.:40:18.

negotiate. The priority is to negotiate first, like any good

:40:19.:40:22.

business. Secondly, let's have the debate, let's go out and talk about

:40:23.:40:26.

this and weigh up the advantages of being in the under a new settlement,

:40:27.:40:30.

versus pulling out. The British people deserve that. If you want to

:40:31.:40:46.

sell around the world, is it better to be trying to negotiate free-trade

:40:47.:40:48.

agreements with a country like China, 1.4 billion people, when you

:40:49.:40:53.

are part of a single market of 500 million, or a single market of 60

:40:54.:40:59.

million. Let me finish, please. The relative negotiating strength of the

:41:00.:41:03.

United Kingdom, relative to being part of the European Union, in

:41:04.:41:06.

opening new markets for British exports would be much less if we

:41:07.:41:11.

were outside Europe. But what is the error that David Cameron has made?

:41:12.:41:15.

13 months ago he made a commitment that there would be an in-out

:41:16.:41:20.

referendum in the UK by 2017. He did so when he believed there would be

:41:21.:41:24.

big constitutional treaty changes in Europe at that time. He said, at

:41:25.:41:28.

that point I will try and get a bet Asch macro a better deal for the UK.

:41:29.:41:33.

That might have worked. But when they now look at the evidence, no

:41:34.:41:40.

other European country is saying, on that timetable of 24 months from the

:41:41.:41:46.

general election in 2015, will there be the redesign of the European

:41:47.:41:48.

Union that David Cameron has promised his backbenchers to

:41:49.:41:52.

deliver. The reason he made that speech is not because he suddenly

:41:53.:41:56.

has a democratic impulse. It is because he is terrified of his

:41:57.:41:59.

backbenchers and of Europe. -- of UKIP. That is bad for Britain. We

:42:00.:42:06.

need changes, but not a John Major style government with the Tory party

:42:07.:42:10.

obsessed about Europe to the extent of the exclusion of the economy the

:42:11.:42:22.

health service and other priorities. As an ex-constituency chairmen, I

:42:23.:42:25.

left the Conservative Party because of exactly this. Negotiate this

:42:26.:42:31.

brand-new deal that will be marvellous. It will all be all

:42:32.:42:35.

right. That is what I am worried about, that you will try to convince

:42:36.:42:40.

the British public that we have this fantastic new Deal and everything

:42:41.:42:44.

will be marvellous. Did you leave the Conservative Party for another

:42:45.:42:50.

party? I just became totally disillusioned. I have voted

:42:51.:42:53.

Conservative all through my Army career and the rest of my life.

:42:54.:42:59.

Until this thing over Europe. Don't forget, when you talk about outside

:43:00.:43:04.

parties, Britain, England turned its back on the Commonwealth at that

:43:05.:43:08.

time. Australia, New Zealand, Canada, all of these countries. Not

:43:09.:43:14.

only did they buy from us, they also fought with us in two world wars. We

:43:15.:43:19.

are now in bed with Germany and France, two of the countries that,

:43:20.:43:25.

we have been at war with Germany twice in one century. Now we are

:43:26.:43:32.

depending on them for a living. We can't go further down that road,

:43:33.:43:39.

because those two questions were the most popular. This next is the third

:43:40.:43:46.

most popular. It is being asked by Lucy Monkhouse. Cambuslang shims

:43:47.:43:50.

proposed by the EU on Russia be realistically applied, and what

:43:51.:43:54.

would be the consequences for the UK. -- can the sanctions being

:43:55.:44:01.

proposed. Can they be realistically applied? Whenever they are, I think

:44:02.:44:14.

our friend Vladimir is having a chuckle. I don't think he cares.

:44:15.:44:22.

Let me tell you, I had the pleasure of driving along the Ukraine, along

:44:23.:44:29.

the shore of the Black Sea, through those millions of acres of

:44:30.:44:33.

cornfield, which no doubt he's also looking at. I drove straight up to

:44:34.:44:43.

the Siberia. The one thing that hit me time and again was the patriotism

:44:44.:44:49.

of the Russian. I found myself in an old collective farm n the middle of

:44:50.:44:53.

nowhere. It was the end of summer and the old boys were stripped to

:44:54.:44:58.

the waist and looking at their tomatoes and they asked me, I think

:44:59.:45:02.

they asked me where I was from. I told them and they beat their chest

:45:03.:45:09.

and they said "Russia." The power, the patriotism and they are Putin's

:45:10.:45:14.

boys. They want their Russia back. They are getting it back and there's

:45:15.:45:18.

nothing we can do about it. The Russians will take as much pain as

:45:19.:45:22.

you can throw at them. You think it is fun living through a Russian

:45:23.:45:27.

winter or in Leningrad during the two-year siege. They are used to

:45:28.:45:30.

hardship. They have long memories and they will endure it. A couple of

:45:31.:45:35.

year, three years - they will wait it out. You don't think the West,

:45:36.:45:39.

the EU and the United States should do anything at all? They can do what

:45:40.:45:43.

they want. Do you think they should do anything at all? Yes, they

:45:44.:45:48.

should. All I am saying is, it will not work. There's no shooting going

:45:49.:45:56.

on. They are talking about having a word with the rich oligarchs and

:45:57.:46:01.

taking their visas away. They may well say to Mr Putin, be reasonable,

:46:02.:46:08.

they are putting us under pressure. He'll say, "Tough luck." I think he

:46:09.:46:13.

has set his course and will not back down. Labour supports the coalition

:46:14.:46:16.

on this. What do you say to what Nick says? I don't think it is clear

:46:17.:46:22.

what course he has yet set. We don't know whether his ambitions extend to

:46:23.:46:27.

the eastern Ukraine. That is critical because if he were to take

:46:28.:46:31.

similar military action in the eastern Ukraine, then we have a

:46:32.:46:34.

shooting war on the European continent in a way that I think

:46:35.:46:41.

would be devastating and far more costly than any economic costs that

:46:42.:46:44.

would be considered in terms of action by the European Union or the

:46:45.:46:47.

Americans. So, what actually does the international community need to

:46:48.:46:51.

do? You are right, this is a difficult issue. You are right,

:46:52.:46:56.

David, this is an issue beyond Party Politics. William Hague and the

:46:57.:46:59.

Prime Minister are struggling along with other western leaders to come

:47:00.:47:04.

up with an appropriate response. First of all, you are trying to

:47:05.:47:09.

change theal lus of risk in Putin's mind, so he says if I pursue my

:47:10.:47:14.

ambitions, actually the costs and consequences will be serious. That

:47:15.:47:17.

doesn't involve Western Forces fighting in Ukraine. I think he

:47:18.:47:21.

needs to realise there would be costs and consequences. What would

:47:22.:47:25.

they be? There was a meeting today, I understand between John Kerry and

:47:26.:47:30.

the Russian Foreign Minister, is if this referendum, this illegal

:47:31.:47:34.

referendum takes place in the Crimea on Saturday, European foreign meet

:47:35.:47:46.

-- ministers will meet. Travel bans inwith anyone to invade the Crimea

:47:47.:47:50.

and asset freezers. That is important. One of the

:47:51.:47:52.

characteristics of the Russian economy is a huge element of capital

:47:53.:47:57.

flight. People have moved money out of Russia into Western Europe. In

:47:58.:48:02.

that sense, those 2,000 or so oligarchs and senior elites are

:48:03.:48:08.

fatherful. They have put -- are fearful. They have put their money

:48:09.:48:14.

into Western Europe. Do you they think would take the risk of not

:48:15.:48:19.

being the place where they put their money, which keeps the City going

:48:20.:48:24.

and would risk this by having sanctions? Unless we have bans, what

:48:25.:48:31.

we need is a graduated hierarchy of steps to try and make sure that a

:48:32.:48:34.

difficult situation doesn't get worse and we don't end up in

:48:35.:48:37.

shooting. The final point I would make would be he does actually care

:48:38.:48:42.

about what is called soft power, about Russia's reputation in the

:48:43.:48:46.

world. He has just spent on the Russian Olympics. He does have an

:48:47.:48:50.

interest in being respected. I think to economically and diplomatically

:48:51.:48:55.

isolate Russia is necessary because the alternative is worse. A Russian

:48:56.:49:01.

emboldened with further ambitions. What would be the level of fear

:49:02.:49:06.

among central European countries that Putin would do this again? What

:49:07.:49:11.

would be the judgment of our allies about the willingness of Europe to

:49:12.:49:15.

take action when it takes place on its doorstep, if we cannot

:49:16.:49:21.

contemplate economic or diplomatic measures?

:49:22.:49:24.

You made the point this is all useless. What do you say to what

:49:25.:49:30.

Douglas Alexander said? He said check the 200 oligarchs into a room

:49:31.:49:36.

and say, you have been very naughty and we'll have to freeze everything.

:49:37.:49:40.

What will they do? Go back and have a little coup or what? What can they

:49:41.:49:47.

effectively do? I agree with everything Douglas has said on this.

:49:48.:49:51.

I think there are two very clear messages that need to be sent to

:49:52.:49:56.

Putin. The first is, this is not a tug-of-war between us and you over

:49:57.:50:02.

the Ukraine. This mustn't be a serve row sum game. One must recognise

:50:03.:50:08.

that Russia has deep interests - a gas pipeline, a 15 billion bailout

:50:09.:50:13.

promised to the Ukraine. At the same time, you cannot allow Russia to

:50:14.:50:19.

effectively annex part of the Ukraine. We promised the Ukraine

:50:20.:50:25.

when the Soviet Union fell abart and Belarus and Ukraine gave up its

:50:26.:50:31.

massive nuclear arsenal, that their integrity would be maintained.

:50:32.:50:34.

Everyone signed up, including Russia. The point that Nick makes is

:50:35.:50:40.

a good one. I would say this on his point - the world has changed. When

:50:41.:50:45.

Russia invaded Hungary, how much do you think their Stock Market fell

:50:46.:50:49.

by? Zero - because they did haven't a Stock Market. When they invaded

:50:50.:50:55.

the Crimea, the Stock Markets fell by 10%. That will begin to hurt

:50:56.:51:01.

Putin at home. Are you saying it would prevent him taking over the

:51:02.:51:07.

Crimea? Get him out of Crimea? You hurt him by having diplomatic and

:51:08.:51:11.

economic sanctions and you escalate those, by the way, of course it will

:51:12.:51:15.

hurt us in the UK. That was the question, what effect it would have

:51:16.:51:19.

on us here. But I think that cost will be much greater if we do

:51:20.:51:24.

nothing and allow him to get away with annexation of the Crimea.

:51:25.:51:32.

I am with Nick 100% about how Putin may think about the world and he has

:51:33.:51:36.

got to rise back to of global fame. It is a cycle of history. We need to

:51:37.:51:41.

be careful about sanctions and the comment was made about the Russians

:51:42.:51:44.

being the most strategic chess players in the world. They make no

:51:45.:51:48.

move without the other four being in place. You mention about the energy,

:51:49.:51:52.

you know the gas pipelines into the UK and Europe would be enough to

:51:53.:51:57.

stop any sanctions having an effect. You, Sir? The chairman, or chief

:51:58.:52:02.

executive of Black Rock mentioned the power of the capital markets in

:52:03.:52:07.

removing 10% of the Stock Market value. You also mention the Ukraine

:52:08.:52:14.

removed the nuclear arsenal to get protection from NATO. Do you think

:52:15.:52:19.

they made the wrong call? They should not have trusted NATO and the

:52:20.:52:24.

West? Do you reckon they would have still been in the same situation? I

:52:25.:52:29.

tell you what worries me is it seems both sides are getting locked into a

:52:30.:52:37.

stalemate. When you look at - Putin has moved Russian soldiers into the

:52:38.:52:41.

Crimea. I cannot see any way that he can, without losing face, which is

:52:42.:52:47.

something that he dares about enormously, remove his troops

:52:48.:52:52.

without having taken control of the Crimea. So, I think if this is a

:52:53.:52:57.

chess game, he's got himself into a situation where his capacity to be

:52:58.:53:02.

able to move is incredibly limited. That's on the side of the West and

:53:03.:53:11.

the interim Ukrainian Government - sanction sanctions, it is hard to

:53:12.:53:14.

see how they can be effective enough, even if we try and escalate

:53:15.:53:19.

them to try and change this picture. At any moment, that is a sum event

:53:20.:53:25.

could trigger a behaviour in the Ukraine, where people who have been

:53:26.:53:29.

incredibly self-controlled and who have resisted turning to the gun

:53:30.:53:33.

might suddenly spark an event. You know, you just think of the echoes

:53:34.:53:37.

of the First World War, where people, with the best will in the

:53:38.:53:41.

world, tried to manoeuvre around a situation and ended up in the most

:53:42.:53:45.

horrific kind of conflict. I am behind every move that we can try

:53:46.:53:50.

and manage. I thought John Kerry hit it spot-on, by trying to constantly

:53:51.:53:54.

recognise Russia's genuine interests, by not trying to demean

:53:55.:54:00.

Putin in any way, but to try and make it clear that we have to see

:54:01.:54:06.

deescalation. I am really worried by this situation. I have to say, I

:54:07.:54:10.

agree with Nick. Basically, I hardly feel that we have the moral ground

:54:11.:54:15.

on telling Russia who to invade, et cetera, considering we went into

:54:16.:54:19.

Afghanistan, Iraq. How dare we start to say, you cannot go into that

:54:20.:54:23.

country! You cannot interfere with them, when we are doing it and

:54:24.:54:28.

America themselves! APPLAUSE

:54:29.:54:35.

I think the other problem we have is that the way the world sees us and

:54:36.:54:41.

any bad guy in the world sees us, has been massively compromised by

:54:42.:54:46.

our inability to intervene effectively in Syria. Putin has seen

:54:47.:54:50.

that Cameron couldn't even get a vote through the Commons for

:54:51.:54:56.

intervention in a case where thousands, tens of thousands,

:54:57.:54:59.

hundreds of thousands, possibly, of civilians are being starved, shot

:55:00.:55:09.

So, to let me finish, if we cannot even intervene, where there are

:55:10.:55:14.

clear atrocities taking place against civilians, what can we

:55:15.:55:19.

possibly do here? What do you say to his point? The gentleman there? I

:55:20.:55:25.

feel we don't have the moral ground. Basically, as you said, we have

:55:26.:55:31.

mucked it up, so many times sticking our noses in. I think Russia is

:55:32.:55:35.

wrong. I feel for the Ukrainian people. To go around and think we

:55:36.:55:38.

can tell other countries what to do when we have done the same thing

:55:39.:55:42.

over the years! This man here in the blue and then

:55:43.:55:46.

we have to stop. Does it show it was prudent of the Government to reduce

:55:47.:55:51.

our afternooned forces in the light of an uncertain world? We had a ?38

:55:52.:55:57.

billion black hole in the Ministry of Defence that we inherited. We had

:55:58.:56:01.

to make tough decisions. I think the decisions were the right ones to

:56:02.:56:06.

make sure that we can deliver a force that can react to situations

:56:07.:56:09.

around the world. I think this situation is very different, by the

:56:10.:56:15.

way. I think, in terms of both procurement, hardware, we are in a

:56:16.:56:18.

better place today than we have ever been. The head of the Army is

:56:19.:56:23.

warning about moral disengagement and the reduction of disarmament...

:56:24.:56:30.

I am an ex-soldier. My friends are leaving. They want to go. They are

:56:31.:56:33.

fed up. So, is it true - you got the Army

:56:34.:56:38.

now saying look at what is happening in the Ukraine, you should not have

:56:39.:56:44.

cut the Armed Forces this much? I don't think you could argue that

:56:45.:56:48.

even if we had double or triple the armed forces that we have, that that

:56:49.:56:52.

would be the key difference to the Ukraine. The United States has

:56:53.:56:56.

enormous military resources. That is not what is at play in this

:56:57.:57:00.

situation. It is trying to find a way out of a circumstance in which a

:57:01.:57:04.

Russian leader has backed himself into a corner and it is hard to see

:57:05.:57:09.

a way out that doesn't totally violate... You think he has backed

:57:10.:57:13.

into a corner? I do. I understand what we are talking about the double

:57:14.:57:16.

standards with Iraq. We need to understand who we are dealing in

:57:17.:57:20.

Vladimir Putin. I don't think he cares what we have done. He'll do

:57:21.:57:23.

what he wants and no-one will stop him. You don't think he is backed

:57:24.:57:28.

into a corner, in other word? I don't think he is scared of being

:57:29.:57:32.

backed into a corner. Thank you. Our time is up. Next we'll be in

:57:33.:57:38.

Warrington next Thursday. It is the day after the budget, so we'll have

:57:39.:57:41.

the Chief Secretary of the Treasury here to explain what is going on and

:57:42.:57:48.

Andy Burnham for Labour and the crime writer Val McDermott too. The

:57:49.:57:57.

week after we'll be in Brighton. You either live near one of them or you

:57:58.:58:02.

can commute back and forward. Apply via our website. The address is on

:58:03.:58:06.

the screen, as ever. And the telephone number.

:58:07.:58:11.

And, as ever, if you are watching on BBC Radio 5 Live, you can continue

:58:12.:58:16.

the debate with Question Time, extra time. Thank you to all of you on the

:58:17.:58:20.

panel who came here and thank you who came to take part in this

:58:21.:58:23.

programme here in Nottingham. It is very good to have had you here. I

:58:24.:58:26.

hope you'll watch the programme next week. From all of us on Question

:58:27.:58:34.

Time, until next thurks good night. -- Thursday, good night.

:58:35.:58:41.

David Dimbleby presents the topical debate from Nottingham. On the panel are shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander MP, Liberal Democrat transport minister Baroness Kramer, Conservative MP and member of the Number 10 Policy Unit Nadhim Zahawi, journalist Isabel Oakeshott and star of The Apprentice, Nick Hewer.


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