13/03/2014 Question Time


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


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


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


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


Douglas Alexander. Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi. And journalist and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


reorganisation of the national health service that ended up costing


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


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


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


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


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


so without this top-down reorganisation which has led to


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


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


billion was taken out for a reorganisation that benefited nobody


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


Minister. APPLAUSE


Nurses and doctors do an incredible job.


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


through Accident Emergency. They worked incredibly hard. The


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


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


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


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


the incremental increase. Those people should not get the additional


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


is happening there. Waiting lists are longer, they refuse


investigations into hospitals with high death rates, because they just


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


into that group. And the new official Paul was illustrated


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


for privatisation by demoralising staff and trying to encourage people


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


absolutely everybody, and most people are seeing only the most


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


combination of poverty and criminality that is creeping into


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


nonexecutive director is profiting from the health service while you


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


to his motivation because every time we have a Conservative government


the argument bubbles up that we cannot afford a National Health


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


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


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


question is, why bother going through the show rather than


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


We have the office of financial reforms ability which the government


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


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


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


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


couple of days ago the national office of statistics released a


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


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


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


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


Alexander, do you want to answer that specific point?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


apologise in the first place. APPLAUSE


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


we have got deals in place with Switzerland and with other


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


messaging system. You have got doctors identifying what are the


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


because they are doing the commissioning. You go through these


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Do we need more union leaders like Bob Crow?


Who died on... APPLAUSE


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


the economy. Nick Hewer?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


unionists, sometimes using serious threats. Ultimately he was a


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


because evidently he was a self-promotionalist who took,


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


people whose businesses suffered significantly. Who had nothing to do


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


sometimes necessary to draw attention to the public and it did


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


have come to the same agreement without it, frankly.


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


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


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


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


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


first place. I did not agree with those


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


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


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


text or Twitter. Keep at the Tweeting.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


enough to let people have their say on that issue.


APPLAUSE Do you want to come in - the man in


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


a doubt. Douglas Alexander, the question


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Lisbon Treaty was signed without a referendum. Therein lies the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


last one happened. I would particularly want to see a


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


looking at Britain, becoming uncertain about whether they should


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Union that David Cameron has promised his backbenchers to


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


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


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


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


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


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


left the Conservative Party because of exactly this. Negotiate this


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


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


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


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


party? I just became totally disillusioned. I have voted


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Prime Minister are struggling along with other western leaders to come


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


and asset freezers. That is important. One of the


characteristics of the Russian economy is a huge element of capital


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


interest in being respected. I think to economically and diplomatically


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


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


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


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


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


contemplate economic or diplomatic measures?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


effectively annex part of the Ukraine. We promised the Ukraine


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


massive nuclear arsenal, that their integrity would be maintained.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


something that he dares about enormously, remove his troops


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


America themselves! APPLAUSE


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


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


our inability to intervene effectively in Syria. Putin has seen


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


intervention in a case where thousands, tens of thousands,


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


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


clear atrocities taking place against civilians, what can we


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the screen, as ever. And the telephone number.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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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