15/05/2014 Question Time


15/05/2014

David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Coventry. On the panel are Esther McVey MP, Lord Ashdown, Caroline Flint MP, Humza Yousaf MSP and Tim Stanley.


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Transcript


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Tonight, we are in Coventry, and welcome to Question Time.

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Good evening to you at home, welcome to our audience, who will be putting

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questions to the panel who do not know the questions until they hear

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them from the audience. The panel, Conservative employment Minister

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Esther McVey, Labour's shadow energy Secretary, Caroline Flint, the man

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who is spearheading next year's Liberal Democrat general election

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campaign, Paddy Ashdown, the SNP was Mike Humza Yousaf, the Scottish

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Government's external affairs minister, and the Daily Telegraph

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blogger, Tim Stanley. Thank you very much, and the first

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question from RM has shimmy, please. Should Gary Barlow hand back his

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OBE? Should Gary Barlow hand back his OBE, the Take That singer with a

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huge amount of tax avoidance which apparently has to be paid back.

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Should he also hand back his OBE? Humza Yousaf. It is a good question.

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I have to say that Gary Barlow's OBE, frankly I do not care about it.

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He should return the ?20 million that he has avoided paying. I am

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going to get a ribbing for this back home, but I have to confess my

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guilty pleasure. I am quite a Take That farm and I have the albums at

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home. Let me tell you why this is significant. Firstly, we have a UK

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Government that tells us the reason for their austerity cuts, the cuts

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that are hitting the disabled and the poorest in society, they are

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because they don't have a penny in the budget. And they say that while

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there is ?35 billion of tax that has not been collected. How can you have

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no money and yet have ?35 billion of tax not collected by the government

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because HMRC and the government cannot get their act together? The

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second point to make on this issue is what has characterised the UK

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Government over the last four years is how it treats the wealthiest in

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society versus the poorest in society. If you had a dispute with

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HMRC, you would have them sending letters, the government sending

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notices, you would probably have them knocking on your very door. The

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disabled and the poorest are relentlessly pursued to get them

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back into work. In Scotland we had a blind diabetic, Henry Sherlock, who

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was bullied and harassed to get into work. You are moving rather far away

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from tax avoidance. If you are a millionaire and avoiding tax, you

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don't get a slap on the wrist, not even a tickle. That is the hypocrisy

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of it. Esther McVey. Well, the flaw in that logic is the fact that we

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are going after millionaires to get the money to make sure they pay the

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tax, and celebrities, to make sure they pay their tax. More than ever

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before, this government is making sure that people are paying their

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tax and not avoiding tax. And it is only fair and right that each and

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every one of us here pays our tax bill, because that tax bill enables

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us to have the NHS we want, the schools that we want, the transport

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that we want, everything that is right in a good, solid community and

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country. So it is right we go after that. It is important that we go

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after that money. But, the question as to whether he should hand back

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his OBE, no, I don't think he should. That was for so much charity

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work he has done, so much that he has done for the music industry.

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That was separate. If I had the offer of an OBE or ?63 million and I

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was the government, I would be taking back the ?63 million. The

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woman in the striped shirt. Esther McVey says they are going after

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millionaires and celebrities, but are they also going after

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corporations that avoid massive tax bills? Let's stick with Gary Barlow

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for the moment. It is a bit rich for the Conservatives to say they are

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going after tax money. George Osborne did not come into politics

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to take money off rich people. He is doing it because we are telling him

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to. Jimmy Carter got abuse for his tax affairs, and yet yesterday in

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Parliament David Cameron made a joke about Gary Barlow. He should not

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give back his OBE, we should take it back from him. The gentleman is

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quite right, because when it was a comedian in the spotlight, David

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Cameron said it was morally wrong what happened there. But when it has

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come to Gary Barlow, he has taken a different tack. It seems to me that

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probably everyone here and people watching, most of us pay as we earn.

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We pay our tax, and what we have not got its access to accountants and

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others who can find a way for us to hide our money. I am not that

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interested about the OBE, although it might be worth checking out

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people's tax situation before we award one. But what I do think is

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that Gary Barlow and the many others like him should not only pay that

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tax back, but where it is proven they should pay penalties as well.

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Hang on a second. You said something quite serious. They should pay

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penalties? Let's be absolutely clear. As I understand it, tax

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avoidance schemes have two be registered with the HMRC, and then

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they decide whether to accept a scheme. So there is not a criminal

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offence. Why should you pay a penalty? If these things are found

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to be wrong and beyond what HMRC are saying, they should pay penalties as

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well. People are fed up of seeing wealthy people and corporations

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getting out of their tax obligations. The fact is your

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government, David Cameron decided to give a tax cut to people earning

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over ?150,000 a year, even though you wanted to harm people through

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the bedroom tax. A brief answer to that. To point out the factual

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inaccuracies, we have tightened the rules, we are getting more in than

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ever before and we have increased the penalties. Because we all know

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that money should come back to the British public. So factually

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inaccurate, Caroline. I agree with the point you are making about the

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top rate of tax. I think it comes down to the question of an optimal

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rate. If it is set to hide, it does deter rich people away. -- if it is

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set to high. There has to be a decision where the top level is set,

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otherwise rich people move abroad. What do you think about Gary Barlow?

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He should handle all the money back, but he should keep his OBE, on the

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grounds of how much he has done for the UK, in terms of charity work and

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obviously services to the music industry. He has done nothing

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illegal. If I had ?63 million and I could afford to pay accountants to

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help me not pay as much tax as I possibly could, even earning ?40,000

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a year. If I could get someone to do that and save me money in my pocket,

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I would do it, and I am sure 90% of this audience would do it. Paddy

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Ashdown, do you want to pick up on that? I want to pick up on the point

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which Esther McVey made. He received the OBE for other things and I think

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the case for that stands. Should it be removed? No. Should he pay the

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penalty for the steps he has taken to avoid taxation, yes. That is

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where we should concentrate. That is my view. Humza's point, as usual,

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parts company with fact and reality. The government has disastrous cut

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the deficit, it is the poor that have paid the price. No, it is not.

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As a result of the work done by the Liberal Democrats, 25 million people

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have had ?800 less in taxation every year. 2.7 million of the lowest paid

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have been taken out of tax altogether. There is now 2.5 million

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being paid to the families of the poorest pupils in pupil premium to

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help them with education. Pensioners in this country are now getting ?600

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more in their pension annually than they ever got under Labour. Quite

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the contrary. What we have seen is the deficit cut by one third already

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and by half by next year, while the economy is now growing faster than

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ever before, and there is 1.3 million new jobs being created and

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1.5 million apprentices. And tax avoidance as an issue? Tax avoidance

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is a very big issue but it is true to say this government is pursuing

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that with more resources than any previous government has done. Every

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government wants to tackle tax avoidance. Of course it is a big

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issue and anybody who avoids taxes should be pursued. It is not easy

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but the government is devoting resources to that on a larger scale

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than we have seen before. But the central point is that the tough

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action the government has taken has cut the deficit, has begun to repair

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the economy that was trashed by Labour, while at the same time

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getting the economy to grow by 1.7% and probably more than that by the

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time the election comes, and 1.3 million new jobs. That is not a bad

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record, and it is not on the backs of the poor. Someone said to me a

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couple of days ago, should Gary Barlow give back his OBE? And I

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replied, Gary Barlow has an OBE! It is not just for services to the

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music industry, because that would be an irony too far. It is also for

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charity work. He is not a bad man and has done it and is not a bad man

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and has done a comment as amount for this country for which he and was

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rightly rewarded. If the allegations are true, he took advantage of

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something which is perfectly legal. We might not become the ball with it

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and that is understandable, and some people may even be quite angry with

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it, given how much he makes. Some people are applauding. But he has

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done something that is perfectly legal. When a tax system that is

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incredibly compact or avaricious, it encourages people to take advantage

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of such loopholes and to move their money overseas. Loopholes which

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previous governments have encouraged in order to get rich people to stay.

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If the tax system were simpler and taxes were lower, those people would

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be more in plot -- inclined to obey the rules totally, not move anything

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overseas and do the right thing. If we bring taxes down, as this

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government has done for some, you actually find that income goes up.

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So let's lower it, simplify it, and this sort of thing won't happen.

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You can join in the debate on text or Twitter. The red button is the

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one to push if you want to see what people are saying. Elizabeth

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Kimberley, please. Is Michael Gove and ideological obsessed zealot, and

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should he be reined in over his free schools policy?

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These were quotes attributed to Liberal Democrat sources over a row

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over funding free schools at the expense of other school 's,

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extensive quotes about him acting in a way that was nothing short of

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lunacy. Caroline Flint, do you agree with ideological obsessed zealot who

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should be reined in? There are 22,000 state schools of which free

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schools represent less than 1%. I wish there was more discussion about

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the 22,000. But what we have seen in the last week is a situation where

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we have had Michael Gove and Nick Clegg at each other's throats over

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education policy. Nick Clegg has his free school meals policy, and

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apparently funding for that was not worked out and was being trashed by

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the Tories. On the free schools, we now find there is an 800 million

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black hole in which they have had to raid money from primary schools to

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fill the gap. RU in favour of schools? I am in favour of

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academies, and what we have said is that if we win the next general

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election we will have three tests in place. One is that schools should be

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in areas of need. One of the problems with free schools is that

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two thirds of them are secondary schools, which does not help primary

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schools, and they are not in the right places to help the need for

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primary school places. Secondly, we need oversight to deal with some of

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the problems that have emerged. Thirdly, we believe you should have

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qualified teachers in all schools, or people working towards

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qualifications. The problem is that in the last week what we have seen,

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and I can't quite work out whether it is just Liberal Democrats and

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Tories trying to differentiate themselves because there is an

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election next week, or whether it is incompetence. I feel it is a bit of

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both. Paddy Ashdown what do you make of the Liberal Democrats accusing

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Michael Gove? There has been hot-headed language on both sides.

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It's not my style of politics. I don't agree with some of the more

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colourful adjective used by either sides. Not the politicians

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concerned, their supporting staff, they are the ones who can let loose

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a bit and the press will pick it up. I don't think that is the issue,

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frankly. If some officials want to use overheated language, fine, let

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them do so. There is a rift? Certainly not over school meals and

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the principle of free school meals from September you will get that.

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It's a very significant advance. I don't say every school will be in a

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position to deliver from September. 90-95% will. That is a significant

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move. I'm proud it's the Liberal Democrats who led it, with the

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support of the Conservatives, very clearly expressed. On the issue of

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free schools. I'm glad Caroline Flint told us the Labour Party is in

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favour of free schools. There has been doubt about this as they went

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backwards and forwards in the last year. They have come clean. I'm

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delighted about that. I am too. It offers choice. Who delivers is not

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as important as what is the standard of the education that is delivered.

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Provided it's universal access, free-for-all to go to, paid for from

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taxation and subject to proper inspection and quality control.

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Those are the three concerns I have. Now, what worries me about the free

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schools is not the principle, I'm in favour of that. In the way it has

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been enacted. We are now facing a very serious pressure on school

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places. There are some local authorities who will not this year

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be able to provide their statutory duties to parents to provide places

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for their children. At that time, to take ?400 million out of the funds

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for basic needs, and put it into try and fill ?800 million black hole in

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the free school budget, seems to me to be wrong. We have said so. I

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think it's right that we should. The job of the Liberal Democrats in this

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Government is to hold people to account when they move in directions

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that we think are not fair. Now, I agree with free schools, but the way

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that this has been enacted so far, the shift of that money from where

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it is desperately needed to face a crisis, to fill a black hole in an

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area which is not, I think are gives it a bad reputation. It's very well

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you saying that. We are in agreement on that. The truth is, the Liberal

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Democrats signed up to this policy. No. They signed up to the budgets

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being set. Clearly, the budgets weren't thought threw. That is why

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primary school money in the state sector is being raided right now.

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There is not a single thing that Liberal Democrat MP or a member of

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the Government sitting on the benches with the Conservative

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ministers can do about it. That is wrong. What will you do about it?

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You would have signed up to the policy too. It's not the principle

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of the policy? No. You said you were in favour of free schools, are you

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not? Is This is about the budget. No the principle of free schools, are

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you in favour of them or not? When the policy was set up, it was not

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about endangering other funding for primary schools that weren't free

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schools. What has happened, as you quite rightly said, there is an ?800

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million black hole, 50% of under spend has gone to pay for it. 50%

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coming from the basic needs budget from primary schools. The Liberal

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Democrat ministers haven't been doing the job they should be doing.

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Auto who identified this but Liberal Democrat ministers. Tories are

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accused of having taken this money out and left a black hole behind.

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Michael Gove is accused of being ideologically obsessed what do you

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say about the argument from Paddy Ashdown and Caroline Flint? Driven

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and determined to make sure we have excellent education, I would say,

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yes. Caroline, when you know Labour's record is that one in three

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kids left primary school unable to read, write and do maths. What was

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it like in 97? We fell down the tables in maths, English and

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science, it's not accept. What we want to do is make sure all children

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from all backgrounds get the best possible education that we can have.

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That is why he is driven. That is why he is focussed. This is a lad

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who was adopted. Went to a comprehensive school. Worked up to

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Oxford. Of course he is driven and focussed. He wants to make sure that

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everybody has that opportunity to succeed where they can. Free

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schools, well, 80% of them are built now and made in areas of economic

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deprivation. 0% are in areas of absolute need, where parents, staff,

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teachers have come forward and said - we want to build these schools for

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our kids. -- 70%. That is the reality. The money for new places at

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schools have doubled. ?5 billion. Wrong there. We would all agree we

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want to make sure our kids get the best education something they

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weren't getting under Labour. What about the ?400 million that Paddy

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Ashdown referred to, wrongly taken out of one budget - Wasn't wrongly

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taken out of a budget. If people need the schools and people want to

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support those schools, a and parents and teachers are saying this is what

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we need in our area, they are the people who should have the say. We

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need to do that. This is a protected budget. It has doubled for new

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school places by ?5 billion. The main parties aren't actually

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listening to parents. 207,000 people put in a protest to the Government

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to change a policy that was introduced in September last year.

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The main parties aren't listening to adults make -- sorry, decision

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abouts things and not talking to us. Was the policy? School attendance

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policy was completely ignored by the department - the petition for the

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school attendance reversal. You, sir, at the back. I think it's not

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so much the opportunity for parents to choose the school, it's the

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consequences of those schools choosing against the other schools.

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The 2,000 are getting more than the 22,000. 200. The 200, even worse!

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OK. Over here. You, sir. Yes. When you look at this, there is a

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fundamental contradiction. Local authorities are legally bound to

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provide school places and, at the same time, they are banned from

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opening schools of their own. You end up with schools with Portakabins

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on the car park or office blocks being converted. That will not give

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us good universal education. You, sir, second row from the back.

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Esther said about different numeracy problems, dropping down in the

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tables, that is with Government intervention. Surely the Government

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should butt out and let the teachers teach.

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APPLAUSE The sliding down of the league

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tables took place in the latter years of the Labour Government.

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There has been a mild improve am since Gove took over. If Michael

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Gove is an Ied log, I will be honest, I'm fanatical member of his

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barmy army, I think he's marvellous. If you take the case of free

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schools. If you take the case of free schools. The reason why so much

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money has to be diverted towards them is because they are popular.

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Since the policy started 300 have been set up. Three people are trying

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to get one place. If you get into a free school, that school is twice as

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likely to end up being regarded as outstanding as a normal school is.

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They are incredibly successful. You in Coventry will get two new free

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schools, I believe, faith schools, one Muslim and one seek, they will

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take -- Sikh, they will take 50% of people not from those faiths. You

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are fortunate. The statistics show those schools outperform the

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so-called normal schools. The whole principle of Michael Gove's approach

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is to hand power back to teachers and parents, it's not about taking

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it away from them, it's about empowering. The parents set it up.

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You will have to persuade the woman here in the front who has been...

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Happily. Have worked in it for four years. I'm leaving after four years.

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The man in control does not what he is doing at all.

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APPLAUSE He is not interested in the

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profession. Why are so many parents setting them up? Why do you say

:23:37.:23:43.

that? I feel like he - he's making decisions and he doesn't know the

:23:44.:23:46.

profession, he doesn't understand the stresses and the pressures we

:23:47.:23:50.

are under at all. He hasn't worked in it. I don't understand how he is

:23:51.:23:54.

making decisions based on no experience whatsoever. No wonder

:23:55.:23:59.

they are going wrong? Jeremy Hunt is minister for health, he is not a

:24:00.:24:02.

drchlt you run a ministry, you come into it with ideas and general

:24:03.:24:05.

experience when it comes to administration. Have you seen what

:24:06.:24:10.

he is doing to the health service of England? That's where we are going

:24:11.:24:17.

wrong! Is Scotland is in a different position on this. We will hear from

:24:18.:24:21.

you. The woman in the third row, yes, from the back. Oh, hello! Yes,

:24:22.:24:27.

I mean, I just like to pick up on that point. I think absolutely the

:24:28.:24:31.

problem is that Gove does not listen at all. He doesn't listen to

:24:32.:24:37.

teachers. He's constantly rubbishing teachers and student students'

:24:38.:24:41.

achievements, he doesn't listen to educational experts. He dismiss what

:24:42.:24:46.

educational experts say if they disagree with them, he regards them

:24:47.:24:51.

as raving marxists. I want to pick up on testing. And Pisa testing.

:24:52.:24:58.

Recently in the Guardian there was a letter from a large group of

:24:59.:25:02.

academics, international academics, who were question - it was a letter

:25:03.:25:08.

to the Director of Education for the OECD, saying, what is going on here?

:25:09.:25:18.

Why are these tests dominating education worldwide. Do you want to

:25:19.:25:23.

answer the point she made about - you have said quite a lot. About the

:25:24.:25:27.

Goef point, he doesn't listen. That was your point, wasn't it? I know, I

:25:28.:25:31.

have been out with him on tours that he gets around the country, he meets

:25:32.:25:35.

with people. He meets with kids. He meets with parents. He meets with

:25:36.:25:40.

teachers. Does he act on it All of that is part of a listening examiner

:25:41.:25:47.

countries. You have the best schools and have kids getting the best

:25:48.:25:51.

education it's vital you listen to everybody. I'm sure, you know, he

:25:52.:25:56.

would be disappointed if for you to think that way. I do know that this

:25:57.:26:00.

is something that he is most passionate about and what he came

:26:01.:26:05.

into politics to do. He loves the subject and wants to help people. If

:26:06.:26:10.

he thought you felt that way, maybe he has to do something about maybe

:26:11.:26:16.

how he has come across to you. That isn't the case. The guy really

:26:17.:26:20.

cares. If he wants to talk to me, I would be very pleased to talk to

:26:21.:26:24.

him. APPLAUSE

:26:25.:26:29.

It's PR. I can set up a date between the two of you then! A PR matter for

:26:30.:26:36.

Goef really? Presental improvement. We have stopped the tumbling down

:26:37.:26:43.

the academic tables. We are starting to go up. He has got that right. He

:26:44.:26:48.

is there to change things. People have put them there. Teachers are a

:26:49.:26:54.

unionised special interest. They are resistant to change. That is

:26:55.:27:00.

entirely understandable - How rude! It's changing every four years! When

:27:01.:27:06.

Tim said he was part of the barmy army, I think the barmy party

:27:07.:27:13.

(inaudible) I'm an outside observe server coming from Scotland. In

:27:14.:27:17.

Scotland we don't have free schools we have education controlled by the

:27:18.:27:23.

Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government. Caroline Flint got it

:27:24.:27:26.

correct. These manufactured fights and arguments that they are having

:27:27.:27:29.

between the coalition are because there is a European election of

:27:30.:27:33.

course and a general election in one year's time. Let me give you a

:27:34.:27:37.

Scottish perspective on that. The Scottish perspective is, since the

:27:38.:27:40.

Liberal Democrats leapt into bed with the Conservatives, they lost

:27:41.:27:43.

two-thirds of their seats in the Scottish Parliament. They lost over

:27:44.:27:47.

half their local council election seats, by all projectionses they

:27:48.:27:51.

will lose their single member of the European parliament. My only plea to

:27:52.:27:55.

the audience here, this is an issue issue. My only plea to you, that I

:27:56.:27:58.

have seen from the outside, what they have done with university

:27:59.:28:03.

education, charging students up to ?9,000, in Scotland we decided not

:28:04.:28:07.

to do. That my plea to you is - do not allow them to create a two-tier

:28:08.:28:12.

system of education. Make sure you protect your children's education.

:28:13.:28:15.

It's a right and not a privilege. E.. It

:28:16.:28:26.

APPLAUSE -- It's good to say about funding

:28:27.:28:30.

for schools. Catholic schools have to fund 10% themselves. They are

:28:31.:28:34.

struggling to do it. It's affecting the education of children. What will

:28:35.:28:38.

be done about this? All right. I will take a point from you. Will

:28:39.:28:45.

Goef listen to parents? He hasn't listened to us. He had people in the

:28:46.:28:50.

country screaming at him to change a policy. You saying the free school

:28:51.:28:55.

policy is not approved of by parents. Why do so many parents

:28:56.:28:59.

apparently queue up to go to free schools. He listened to one group of

:29:00.:29:04.

people and listened to you and agreed with the other group of

:29:05.:29:08.

people. That is how decision works. What parents are concerned about,

:29:09.:29:11.

I'm agreed with Esther on this, it is right that everyone has an access

:29:12.:29:15.

to a decent state school education. That is what parents want. Let us

:29:16.:29:21.

have some of the discussion about the 22,000 schools rather than the

:29:22.:29:25.

obsession around 200 schools that are called "free."

:29:26.:29:32.

I just want to correct Humza again. If the university student loans

:29:33.:29:44.

system is so bad, how can it be, and by the way the student fees system

:29:45.:29:48.

introduced was more generous than that under Labour, but how can it be

:29:49.:29:52.

that the number of students going to university has not come down as

:29:53.:29:55.

everybody predicted, but it has gone up? And how can it be that the

:29:56.:30:02.

number of students from the poorest families are much higher as a

:30:03.:30:05.

proportion in England than in Scotland? The system you are

:30:06.:30:11.

claiming does not help the poor is actually ensuring that a higher

:30:12.:30:15.

proportion of poor students are going to English universities than

:30:16.:30:20.

hard today going to Scottish ones. Why did Nick Clegg apologise?

:30:21.:30:24.

Because he was right? That would be a first. Because the promise made

:30:25.:30:29.

before the election was a promise we should not have made. It is not an

:30:30.:30:33.

apology for the policy but for making a promise that was

:30:34.:30:36.

inappropriate in the economic circumstances at the time. That

:30:37.:30:44.

apology is not accepted. Let's go on. Can any possible good arise from

:30:45.:30:50.

the Prime Minister's visit to Scotland today? In the light of the

:30:51.:30:53.

referendum that is coming in the Scotland, can it possibly do any

:30:54.:31:00.

good? Humza, perhaps you should start. He has obviously come to

:31:01.:31:04.

Scotland because of the referendum. My only regret is that he is only up

:31:05.:31:09.

for two days. I wish it was five. I would have paid for his

:31:10.:31:14.

accommodation, because every time David Cameron or a Tory grandee

:31:15.:31:17.

comes to Scotland to say, the earth is going to swallow you up if you

:31:18.:31:21.

become independent and thunderbolts will come from the sky, and you will

:31:22.:31:24.

not get Doctor Who on the television, all of these scare

:31:25.:31:27.

stories that they have come out with, we have seen time and time

:31:28.:31:31.

again over the last six months especially that the campaign to

:31:32.:31:34.

support independence, the yes campaign has increased, and support

:31:35.:31:38.

for the no campaign has begun to diminish. It worries me greatly when

:31:39.:31:43.

I see the polls of the UK general election, because I do not want

:31:44.:31:48.

another Tory government. That is why I support independence, because I

:31:49.:31:53.

want to see in Scotland people get the government that they elect. How

:31:54.:31:57.

absurd is it that David Cameron has come to Scotland? He has one MP in

:31:58.:32:03.

his party, one MP in the entire country. As the old joke goes, if it

:32:04.:32:08.

wasn't so tragic it would be funny that there are more giant pandas in

:32:09.:32:12.

Edinburgh zoo than there are Tory MPs in the entire country. Let me

:32:13.:32:21.

just finished this point... What was the percentage of Scots who voted

:32:22.:32:25.

Conservative at the last general election? I don't know the exact

:32:26.:32:30.

number. You are saying the Prime Minister has no right to go to

:32:31.:32:34.

Scotland. I didn't say that. I actually said I would liken to come

:32:35.:32:40.

to Scotland for even longer. I am quite aware that I am speaking to

:32:41.:32:44.

running dish audience about Scottish independence. Let me put it like

:32:45.:32:49.

this to you. -- to an English audience. Whether you are here, or

:32:50.:32:54.

in Bradford or Newcastle, let's face it, like Vince Cable said, London is

:32:55.:32:59.

a giant sucking machine draining the rest of the UK. The politics of the

:33:00.:33:05.

Westminster establishment is entirely prioritised by the needs of

:33:06.:33:08.

zone one and zone two in London and the south-east of England. If you

:33:09.:33:13.

have the chance to get rid of a Westminster elite that is scandal

:33:14.:33:18.

ridden, that is London obsessed and London centric, I bet you would take

:33:19.:33:28.

it in a heartbeat, too. I think it is too long that the English have

:33:29.:33:31.

been locked out of the debate about the union and I am pleased we are

:33:32.:33:36.

going to finally be a part of it. I think the Better Together campaign

:33:37.:33:39.

made a huge mistake, the people saying let's stay together. They

:33:40.:33:44.

decided to focus on economics, and that turned into essentially

:33:45.:33:47.

economic blackmail. They said, if you become independent, you will

:33:48.:33:53.

starve. That, rightly, offended the Scots and I think it is behind the

:33:54.:33:55.

increase in support for independence. We now have to return

:33:56.:34:00.

to what the debate should be about, which is about the emotional,

:34:01.:34:03.

cultural, political reasons for the union. As an English person who is

:34:04.:34:09.

proudly pro-union, I would like to take this opportunity to say what

:34:10.:34:14.

they are. This is the most successful experiment in

:34:15.:34:18.

multiculturalism in history. For 300 years it has made us wealthier,

:34:19.:34:21.

improved our culture, made us better, more tolerant people. There

:34:22.:34:26.

are people across the globe who look at us and marvel at the wonders and

:34:27.:34:31.

riches that we have. And it is so amazing to think of ourselves as a

:34:32.:34:36.

family, Northern Irishman Welsh, English, Scottish. Very different,

:34:37.:34:41.

bickering, as families always do, but United through walls,

:34:42.:34:45.

depressions, recessions, and coming out of its strong because we are

:34:46.:34:49.

brothers and sisters. Please, Scotland, I say this as an English

:34:50.:34:53.

man so passionately, please, don't leave us, we need you. Well said. So

:34:54.:35:05.

it was a good idea for the Prime Minister to go to Scotland? I think

:35:06.:35:10.

so because he is Prime Minister of the whole United Kingdom. As a

:35:11.:35:16.

Scotsman living in England I see it from both sides of the fence. But

:35:17.:35:22.

recently, I think yesterday, George Osborne was quoted as saying that

:35:23.:35:25.

Alex Salmond was a bully, bullying people into a yes vote. Is George

:35:26.:35:30.

Osborne not as much of a bully, bullying the Scots by saying they

:35:31.:35:35.

won't have a currency union if Scotland vote yes to independence?

:35:36.:35:43.

300 years together, it is like a long relationship, and sometimes

:35:44.:35:46.

when you have been in a relationship with somebody you think, how are we

:35:47.:35:51.

going to stay together? Sometimes you've -- you give warnings,

:35:52.:35:54.

cautious words, whisper sweet nothings to make sure you stay

:35:55.:35:59.

together. So you will be saying things like, can you afford this,

:36:00.:36:03.

will you be able to do this? This is the downside should you leave us. I

:36:04.:36:08.

don't think that is bullying. I think it is somebody who cares about

:36:09.:36:11.

you saying, there are all these things to think about. Because it

:36:12.:36:21.

might be... Hang on a second. You might be making your name on the

:36:22.:36:25.

back of this, and the SNP might be making their name on the back of

:36:26.:36:30.

this, but actually this is a huge history of people who have been

:36:31.:36:33.

together for a long time, and I do believe we are Better Together.

:36:34.:36:38.

Yes, our cultures are different and we have differences between us, but

:36:39.:36:41.

that is what makes us great together. So I would stay together,

:36:42.:36:48.

but I would also heed the warnings. With a name like Esther McVey, I

:36:49.:36:52.

have relatives up there, and I would heed the warnings and listen to how

:36:53.:36:56.

it could work together. But we should listen, too, in England. We

:36:57.:37:00.

need to know why we are rubbing up against each other, why it is not

:37:01.:37:04.

working so well at the moment. There is time for us to listen and get it

:37:05.:37:08.

right as well. But let's get it sorted. Sometimes it is just better

:37:09.:37:17.

to divorce. There is no point continuing in a relationship that's

:37:18.:37:21.

not working. That's get divorced and move on.

:37:22.:37:25.

I would like to know why people in England and Wales are not getting a

:37:26.:37:30.

say on this. It is just for Scotland to vote, but the whole of the UK

:37:31.:37:34.

will be completely changed. So why doesn't everyone else get a say?

:37:35.:37:39.

Because that is the way these things are done, I'm afraid. Tim, it pains

:37:40.:37:47.

me greatly to have two agree with a columnist of the Daily Telegraph.

:37:48.:37:55.

Imagine how I feel right now. You said all the things I would wish to

:37:56.:38:00.

have said. If part of the nation wishes to separate, that part takes

:38:01.:38:04.

the decision, not the nation as a whole. That is the historical

:38:05.:38:07.

principle. You may regret that we don't have a voice in this. Does

:38:08.:38:13.

that apply to the Ukraine as well? It would if there had been a proper

:38:14.:38:17.

referendum but there never has been. But we will get on to that later.

:38:18.:38:22.

The gentleman at the back, you said if it isn't working we should get a

:38:23.:38:26.

divorce. There is no union I camping cover in history that has worked

:38:27.:38:30.

better than this, for 200, 300, 400 years. Let's start off properly. The

:38:31.:38:38.

Scots are a great nation in their own right. They have a fantastic

:38:39.:38:43.

great, individual national history. They have a national education

:38:44.:38:47.

system, a national system of law, different and in some ways better

:38:48.:38:51.

than ours, so they are entitled to have this debate. A should be

:38:52.:38:54.

treated with respect in having this debate and they are entitled to make

:38:55.:38:59.

this choice. Those who argue that Scotland could not survive by itself

:39:00.:39:04.

are talking nonsense, in my view. The argument is not that Scotland

:39:05.:39:07.

can't do this but that we are Better Together. And what worries me most,

:39:08.:39:13.

Humza, listening to you, this is a rhetoric that might suit Scotland if

:39:14.:39:17.

you are debating there, but I cannot listen to your language without

:39:18.:39:21.

being worried about the infusion of hate that is in there, hate of

:39:22.:39:25.

London, hate of this filthy elite, hate of the South, it is the

:39:26.:39:29.

language of division. And the reality of it is that we have made a

:39:30.:39:35.

fantastic success, in 400 years, of Great Britain, because we have put

:39:36.:39:38.

aside our divisions and worked together. I am desperate for

:39:39.:39:43.

Scotland to say no to independence because we will be stronger as a

:39:44.:39:46.

country, but I passionately believe that they will be too. All of those

:39:47.:39:51.

great things that are Scottish and make such a contribution to us, they

:39:52.:39:56.

would be lost to us. This would be a disaster. But whatever happens,

:39:57.:40:00.

Humza, let's have a more civilised debate than the kind of argument you

:40:01.:40:04.

are using, rather than this argument of hate and division.

:40:05.:40:04.

APPLAUSE I have the greatest respect for Lord

:40:05.:40:21.

Ashdown and what he says. But it is not hatred and division.

:40:22.:40:27.

When you talked about the greatest economic union, I am just telling

:40:28.:40:30.

you the stark reality on the ground. We have 85,000 people, the

:40:31.:40:35.

majority of them in a disabled household, who have been hit by the

:40:36.:40:40.

bedroom tax. It is not Better Together for them. Immigrants who

:40:41.:40:44.

have been told to go home by government-sponsored posters, it is

:40:45.:40:48.

not Better Together for them, Lord Ashdown. Pensioners who have been

:40:49.:40:51.

saving for 50 years seeing their pensions decimated, it is not Better

:40:52.:40:56.

Together for them. My point is that all of those decisions are made by a

:40:57.:41:00.

coalition government that we did not elect. The problem with David

:41:01.:41:03.

Cameron coming to Scotland is that he has the audacity to say he is

:41:04.:41:08.

going to debate Nigel Farage, someone who does not have a single

:41:09.:41:14.

MP in Scotland. UKIP have never even saved the deposit. But he won't

:41:15.:41:17.

debate with Alex Salmond, the democratically elected head of the

:41:18.:41:21.

Scottish Government. That is audacious and absolutely

:41:22.:41:30.

unacceptable. I think the Prime minister is entitled to visit

:41:31.:41:33.

Scotland, because he is the Prime Minister. And I have to say, what

:41:34.:41:38.

Humza and Alex Salmond would love is to make this debate all about Alex

:41:39.:41:43.

Salmond versus David Cameron, because that is what they want to

:41:44.:41:48.

do. They want to have it as a debate about Scotland versus Westminster.

:41:49.:41:54.

But that isn't the issue here. The vote in September is for Scots to

:41:55.:41:59.

decide if they want to separate and leave the United Kingdom. That is

:42:00.:42:05.

the question on the table. As Paddy and Tim have said, I think we have,

:42:06.:42:12.

as a union, been very successful. And I am very proud that it was a

:42:13.:42:16.

Labour government that sort through the devolution for Scotland and

:42:17.:42:22.

Wales. I think we can be relaxed and confident about the choices that

:42:23.:42:25.

Scotland might make that might be different to here in England, or

:42:26.:42:29.

different to Wales or Northern Ireland for that matter. But at the

:42:30.:42:37.

same time not lose sight of the cultural and emotional links, but

:42:38.:42:40.

also the economic links that make us Better Together. And I don't think

:42:41.:42:47.

we should allow the SNP to let this debate be one about Alex Salmond

:42:48.:42:51.

versus David Cameron. That is not the issue. What they cannot have is

:42:52.:42:55.

a situation where they want to promote Scotland leaving the UK and

:42:56.:43:00.

think they will not have any consequences, because it will be

:43:01.:43:03.

very different. I hope that when Scots come to think about this and

:43:04.:43:06.

all the issues, I really hope that they stay with us. There are a

:43:07.:43:15.

number of people with hands up. I just want to say that I am pro

:43:16.:43:20.

union, but I agree with Humza that this issue is so important that the

:43:21.:43:25.

leaders should debate with Alex Salmond, all of the party leaders

:43:26.:43:29.

should get together and debate. It is crucial for the future of my

:43:30.:43:34.

daughter and the UK that she is going to grow up in.

:43:35.:43:44.

I agree with Paddy and Tim. The trouble is, the Better Together

:43:45.:43:48.

campaign is symptomatic of what is wrong with British politics, a

:43:49.:43:51.

constant focus on negative campaigning. Labour's election

:43:52.:43:57.

broadcast recently was a good example of that. There is a constant

:43:58.:44:01.

moaning and groaning about what other people are doing, instead of

:44:02.:44:06.

promoting the positive, which is what the Better Together campaign

:44:07.:44:13.

should do. A question for Humza. If you believe

:44:14.:44:17.

so passionately that Scotland should be independent white, if you get

:44:18.:44:21.

independence, do you want to join the European Union? -- why? Sure.

:44:22.:44:32.

Then the 28 countries of the European union wouldn't be

:44:33.:44:34.

independence. They are. The difference is, they had the choice.

:44:35.:44:38.

With the European Union that is a fantastic point we don't get our

:44:39.:44:42.

choice. Our voice heard at the top table in the European Union. I agree

:44:43.:44:47.

entirely with this lady. This is a debate between negative and

:44:48.:44:52.

positive. Look, Scotland is a wealthy country. We could be the

:44:53.:44:55.

14th wealthiest country in the world. Create a fairer and more

:44:56.:45:00.

social just welfare system. We Coe get rid of nuclear Trident missiles

:45:01.:45:06.

on our soil and invest that money in public services. It's a debate about

:45:07.:45:11.

unlocking Scotland's future. We will not separate and dwoors, take a

:45:12.:45:18.

chainsaw down to Carlisle and drift off into the North Sea. It's not

:45:19.:45:24.

about Celts and anthems. It's about creating the system to help the

:45:25.:45:27.

poorest, not at the expense of the poorest. I believe the Better

:45:28.:45:31.

Together campaign have been too negative. That is why they are

:45:32.:45:35.

haemorrhaging support. Not true. It's not Better Together for us who

:45:36.:45:39.

have to pay for prescriptions and have university fees that Scotland

:45:40.:45:45.

don't? You don't pay. You think Scotland should go its own way? If

:45:46.:45:50.

they do. Hopefully, it will be for the better for the rest of us. For

:45:51.:45:56.

England. The man there. I find it ironic that Tim and Paddy were

:45:57.:46:01.

talking about the greaty multi Kewellure experience. Tim talked

:46:02.:46:05.

about the need for greater immigration controls in his column.

:46:06.:46:10.

He is talking about the multi-cultural experience with

:46:11.:46:13.

Scottish people. Are we only to let people in if they come from the

:46:14.:46:17.

right country? APPLAUSE

:46:18.:46:20.

First of all, thank you for reading. I really do appreciate that!

:46:21.:46:25.

Although, obviously, I wish you hadn't now! No, what I'm talking

:46:26.:46:30.

about is the need for control when it comes from immigration from the

:46:31.:46:35.

European union. That is a specific debate. What we are discussing here

:46:36.:46:43.

is policy. The there is is a criticism of Tory party policy to

:46:44.:46:49.

vote for Labour not leaving the union. There are plenty of people

:46:50.:46:53.

who don't like the bedroom tax, they don't seek independence, they are

:46:54.:46:57.

seeking to change the policy. If you don't like the policy change it is a

:46:58.:47:01.

a country, let's not split off because we disagree with something

:47:02.:47:06.

London - The man there. I'm not one of David Cameron's favourites, or he

:47:07.:47:10.

is not one of my favourites! He is the UK Prime Minister, he can go

:47:11.:47:14.

where he likes. What I'm pretty sure, if Aberdeen and its oil

:47:15.:47:19.

industry was south of the border we wouldn't be having this discussion

:47:20.:47:23.

now. Tim, whenever you are on, can we all have some? O OK. Another

:47:24.:47:34.

question. Emily McFadden. The International Criminal Court has

:47:35.:47:37.

announced preliminary investigations into allegations of the UK's

:47:38.:47:42.

systematic abuse of Iraqis. To what extent should politicians be held

:47:43.:47:45.

accountable for the actions of our soldiers? The first part of this,

:47:46.:47:52.

the ICC announcing preliminary investigations is well-known. The

:47:53.:47:55.

question is, to what extent should politicians be held accountable for

:47:56.:48:00.

the actions of our soldiers. Paddy Ashdown? They should be. If

:48:01.:48:04.

politicians give the orders which soldiers then carry out, then they

:48:05.:48:08.

absolutely should be. The let me take the case of the ICC, if I can,

:48:09.:48:13.

then see if I can illustrate it with a small story. The I krvp, it's a

:48:14.:48:18.

prim examination, not an investigation. Secondly, there are

:48:19.:48:28.

robust systems in Britain for investigating it. It is

:48:29.:48:32.

investigating 43 cases of individual soldiers who acted beyond the law.

:48:33.:48:35.

The law set by politicians, of course. That is out of about

:48:36.:48:41.

140,000. The ICC is claiming to seek to investigate something which I

:48:42.:48:45.

think, first of all, the British Government rejects happened.

:48:46.:48:49.

Secondly, it ma it the case it is already investigating these. We are

:48:50.:48:53.

signatories to the ICC. We should observe and respect the ICC in its

:48:54.:48:58.

decisions. It's in our interests to do so. Not only legally, but also in

:48:59.:49:02.

terms of the interest of our country. Let me give you a story, if

:49:03.:49:08.

I can, briefly. In 1996 I was in the village in Kosovo when we were

:49:09.:49:14.

bombarded by the main battle units of the Serb army, tanks and heavy

:49:15.:49:18.

artillery. I was with Kosovo Albanians in the villages there, it

:49:19.:49:23.

was extremely unpleasant. On the following day I went to see

:49:24.:49:30.

Milosevic. I took the Geneva Convention. I said, what I witnessed

:49:31.:49:35.

yesterday was a clear breach where it touches on the rights of

:49:36.:49:39.

treatment of innocent civilians by an order force you could be brought

:49:40.:49:42.

to the Hague. The next time I saw him was when I gave evidence in the

:49:43.:49:46.

Hague for the Milosevic's trial for that day's work I witnessed. The

:49:47.:49:51.

fact that you have a Lou law that can bring a politician to justice

:49:52.:49:55.

for a breach of international law and it's oldest version, the gee

:49:56.:50:03.

Nina convention make it is a safer world -- Geneva. That same day

:50:04.:50:09.

before I saw Milosevic I spoke to the Serb artillery commanders who

:50:10.:50:13.

bombarded us in those villages the day before. What I discovered was

:50:14.:50:18.

that those artillery commanders were more frightened of being indicted by

:50:19.:50:24.

The Hague tribunal than they were of being bombed by NATO. I said to Tony

:50:25.:50:28.

Blair, have them indicted now. If you have a court like this. If you

:50:29.:50:33.

have a system of international law like this. It delivers justice to

:50:34.:50:37.

those who breached after the event. It controls the actions of tyrants

:50:38.:50:43.

and torturers and murders during the course of the war. That is why it it

:50:44.:50:48.

so important. Whatever our position in Britain we should adhere to the

:50:49.:50:55.

prescriptions of our court. It's in our legal duty to do so and in our

:50:56.:50:57.

interests to do so well. You, sir. I'd like to say I think it

:50:58.:51:10.

is rich and very sick that politicians continually avoid these

:51:11.:51:14.

sort of trials and blames when, you know, we have Tony Blair that

:51:15.:51:18.

started sending our young men to war. Young men that, by the way, are

:51:19.:51:23.

trained to be aggressive. Are trained to view the enemy in a

:51:24.:51:28.

certain way. Young men who volunteer their own lives for the good of our

:51:29.:51:33.

country. When these people make mistakes, as everyone does in all

:51:34.:51:39.

walks of life, these men are singled out and ridiculed in the media and

:51:40.:51:44.

quite often sent to military prison. They lose their pension, benefits

:51:45.:51:50.

and everything else. Meanwhile, the politicians just get away scot free.

:51:51.:51:55.

We seem to be chasing wars in countries and this debate hasn't

:51:56.:51:59.

been had before. There are is all sorts of oil and everything else.

:52:00.:52:03.

When hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria get kidnapped, where are our

:52:04.:52:07.

forces there? Surely we can go in and get them back. You mentioned

:52:08.:52:11.

Tony Blair. Caroline Flint you are a great supporter of Tony Blair's.

:52:12.:52:14.

What is your view of what he has just said? My view on the

:52:15.:52:19.

International Criminal Court is that we absolutely are right to be

:52:20.:52:25.

signatories to it. And, part of the task of the International Criminal

:52:26.:52:28.

Court is where there is evidence of systematic abuse, and where

:52:29.:52:32.

countries that are run by dictatorships do not have a legal

:52:33.:52:35.

system to bring individuals, whether they are politicians, army

:52:36.:52:39.

commanders, or whoever, to account, that is where the international

:52:40.:52:44.

court can step in. I think that is absolutely right. Clearly, if we had

:52:45.:52:50.

a situation in this country where we weren't following up on allegations

:52:51.:52:58.

of misuse, torture, rape, or whatever, then, quite rightly, the

:52:59.:53:04.

ICC would step in and take action. As Paddy said, we do have a system

:53:05.:53:09.

of legal proceedings in this country, thank goodness, that will

:53:10.:53:12.

follow these issues up and follow them through. That is absolutely

:53:13.:53:16.

right. Is it necessary for the I krvp C to carry out any kind of

:53:17.:53:21.

investigation? Is it because some people say rather shaming to find

:53:22.:53:28.

Britains name among a list of nation - Because - because Let Caroline

:53:29.:53:35.

answer the point. Because, it's perfectly right that if individuals,

:53:36.:53:39.

a group of lawyers, or whoever, decide that they want to approach

:53:40.:53:44.

the ICC, and ask them to look at a case, then that is quite right that

:53:45.:53:48.

should be done. As Paddy said, that is exactly what is happening. An

:53:49.:53:52.

investigation hasn't started. They are looking into the complaint that

:53:53.:53:56.

has been made. It may be that actually it won't get any further

:53:57.:54:00.

than this. Because we do have proceedings in this country that can

:54:01.:54:04.

hold politicians and others to accounts. There are cases under way

:54:05.:54:08.

at the moment. We need to be clear about this. I respect and will stand

:54:09.:54:12.

up for the right for people to approach this court, just in the

:54:13.:54:17.

same way as I would stand up for the right of people to approach the

:54:18.:54:21.

European Court on human rights. That does not mean we should feel ashamed

:54:22.:54:25.

at this stage. We should be proud of the fact that we have a legal system

:54:26.:54:28.

that can bring people to task in this country. , sir, second row from

:54:29.:54:32.

the back. We are quick enough to put our soldiers in the courts, not

:54:33.:54:36.

quick enough to put our politicians in the courts in the same way.

:54:37.:54:49.

APPLAUSE We are still waiting for the

:54:50.:54:52.

Chilcott report some many, many years after Afghanistan and Iraq.

:54:53.:54:56.

The one on the Falklands was completed in six months. Most of the

:54:57.:55:00.

information that we believe is still being held back by Tony Blair and

:55:01.:55:04.

Bush. It has been suggested that certain politicians, who shall not

:55:05.:55:08.

be named, have not helped with that inquiry and have indeed helped to

:55:09.:55:12.

delay it. Why can't they be named? I don't want to get in trouble! On the

:55:13.:55:19.

philosophical point about who takes the most blame, soldiers or

:55:20.:55:24.

politicians. I was disgusted by those pictures. Those soldiers

:55:25.:55:29.

should face disciplinary action for what happened. Those two men were

:55:30.:55:33.

under-fire. They had faced a terrible attack which is the

:55:34.:55:36.

explanation that has been given for why they did what they did. It is no

:55:37.:55:41.

excuse. They should still face discipline. Politicians created the

:55:42.:55:45.

context. The context is the Iraq war. Since that war began 435

:55:46.:55:50.

British service personnel have given their life. For what? For the

:55:51.:55:54.

creation of a constitution that cannot guarantee the security of

:55:55.:55:57.

women and their rights. For ople yum production which has reached the

:55:58.:56:01.

highest it has ever been. And now increasingly for negotiations with

:56:02.:56:04.

the Taliban, the very people we started the war in order to fight. I

:56:05.:56:07.

think it's sad that politicians can make such terrible decisions, which

:56:08.:56:12.

cost lives, and never ultimately face responsibility for it in the

:56:13.:56:16.

court of public opinion. OK. Thank you.

:56:17.:56:22.

APPLAUSE We have a a minute left of this

:56:23.:56:28.

programme. I won't take long. I agree with what the gentleman at the

:56:29.:56:32.

front has been saying, that Tony Blair in particular, the legal war

:56:33.:56:38.

in Iraq has managed to get away with it scot free. The problem in this

:56:39.:56:42.

country now, what we have done, a lot of good work very done

:56:43.:56:45.

internationally, has been undermined by the fact that war has become the

:56:46.:56:49.

first resort as opposed to the last resort. That is just completely the

:56:50.:56:54.

wrong way round. In recent years, you know, we have been in conflicts

:56:55.:56:58.

we shouldn't have been in. You can only take half the time. If you want

:56:59.:57:03.

the ICC not to indict you, don't go into conflicts we don't have to be

:57:04.:57:11.

in. Esther Mcvey. I think it was admiral Lord West who said this, I

:57:12.:57:16.

agree. If anybody was can captured around the world the soldiers you

:57:17.:57:19.

hoped would have captured would be the British soldiers, they are

:57:20.:57:23.

fairer than anybody else. Better than anybody else. I say they go to

:57:24.:57:28.

the highest standards in the world. So...

:57:29.:57:30.

APPLAUSE If anybody has done anything wrong,

:57:31.:57:34.

it is right for all of us to find that out and get it sorted out. It

:57:35.:57:38.

is not systematic. It does not happen all the time. It will be a

:57:39.:57:42.

rare exception because we do have the best people in our army. Here,

:57:43.:57:47.

here. APPLAUSE

:57:48.:57:50.

Thank you very much. The time is up for this edition of Question Time.

:57:51.:57:53.

Next Thursday is election night. We have the local and the European

:57:54.:57:57.

elections. Therefore, Question Time will come from the village of

:57:58.:58:08.

Radlett near the BBC's Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire. To that

:58:09.:58:15.

programme, Chris Grayling comes, Jeremy Brown and the television

:58:16.:58:20.

presenter Kirstie Allsopp. The week after that we will be in a

:58:21.:58:25.

spectacular place the newly restored Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport. You

:58:26.:58:33.

don't have to take a flight as well. Nobody - there won't be people

:58:34.:58:37.

queueing in the background. We are at Terminal 2, a fabulous site. If

:58:38.:58:43.

you like to come to Elstree or Heathrow you can apply on our

:58:44.:58:47.

website. Address is on the screen: You can call us:

:58:48.:58:54.

if you are listening on Five Live the debate goes on on Question Time

:58:55.:59:02.

Extratime, not here, however. My thanks to my panel and all of you

:59:03.:59:06.

who came here to Coventry to take part. Until next Thursday, from

:59:07.:59:10.

Question Time, good night. Ladies and gentlemen...

:59:11.:59:35.

It's an honour to be here. Let's take a look...

:59:36.:59:37.

..at the nominations. We're here to celebrate

:59:38.:59:39.

a great 12 months for television. The BAFTA...

:59:40.:59:42.

..is awarded to...

:59:43.:59:45.

David Dimbleby presents Question Time from Coventry. On the panel are Conservative MP Esther McVey, Labour's Caroline Flint MP, former Liberal Democrats leader Lord Ashdown, the SNP's Humza Yousaf MSP and Daily Telegraph blogger Tim Stanley.


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