29/10/2015 Question Time


David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Edinburgh. On the panel are Keith Brown MSP, Annabel Goldie MSP, Kezia Dugdale MSP, Billy Bragg and Merryn Somerset Webb.

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Welcome, whether you're watching or listening, to our audience here,


Former Leader of the Scottish Conservatives Annabel Goldie.


The Scottish Government's Cabinet Secretary for


Infrastructure, responsible among other things for the Forth Road


Labour's newly-elected Leader in Scotland, Kezia Dugdale.


The Editor of MoneyWeek magazine, Merryn Somerset Webb.


And the English musician who campaigned


for Scottish independence, one of many campaigns he has put


If you want to text or tweet, our hashtag is BBCQT.


Text comments to 83981, and press the red button to see what


Our first question, please. I would like to ask the panel, is the House


of Lords more in tune with the British public than our elected


representatives in Westminster? This is, of course, over the tax credit


issue, when the House of Lords voted down the House of Commons. Among


those voting was the newly ennobled Annabel Goldie. Is the House of


Lords more in June with public opinion? I think the important issue


to remember is that the House of Commons is the elected parliament,


the Parliament voters elect MPs to. The house of lords is unelected.


Some might want to get rid of it, but I think it does a good job of


reviewing legislation and is needed as a secondary chamber at


Westminster. But I voted with the government on Monday night because I


thought it was wrong that an unelected House of Lords should be


overflowing the duly processed decisions of an elected House of


Commons. So I think there is a point of principle in there, but that is


not to say that the House of Lords proved to be a very both useful and


a very well-informed forum for addressing an issue which clearly


has generated a great deal of interest, great deal of passion, and


a great deal of concern, which is the matter of reforming tax credits.


You are saying they should not have done this and now you are beginning


to say they are in tune with public opinion, as the question was asking.


I am saying there is a conflict between assuming that an unelected


body like the House of Lords should be in a position to overthrow the


decisions of the elected parliament, the House of Commons. I believe


strongly that is an issue of principle. I am saying I think the


House of Commons is the correct place for decisions to be made. That


does not mean the House of Lords does not have a role, and I was


explaining why I think it performed a useful role. But that the end of


the day, and I would not hide from this, I also voted with the


Government on Monday night because actually I do approve of what the


Chancellor is trying to achieve, in terms of turning our economy round


from a high welfare, high tax and low waged economy. I want to see us


give people decent wages without having to subsidise wages with tax


credits, which I don't think it's healthy. We are talking about who


has the ear of the British public, the House of Commons or the House of


Lords. Kezia Dugdale. They don't look like or sound like the rest of


the country but I am glad they were there this week. Annabel said this


was a point of principle. I'm a late -- afraid it wasn't. In the TV


debates during the election David Cameron told us he would not cut tax


credits. It was not in his manifesto and now he is trying to cut ?3000


from families across the country. I think the Lords voted this week to


try to hold David Cameron to what he told the British public and I'm glad


they did that. That is a really good thing that that legislation has now


been sent back to have another look at, because this will hurt working


people across the country. So you do believe they are more in tune than


the House of Commons? No, I don't. I want to scrap the House of Lords. It


is important to have a second chamber to go over the details when


the government gets it wrong but it does not have to be full of Lords in


ermine robes and cloth caps. We can do it differently and it is high


time that we should. APPLAUSE


For me, I don't think the House of Lords should be there, they should


be abolished and elected. But practically, my mother relied on tax


credits for both me and my brother. If I was brought up now, that would


mean she would lose that money. If there was an emergency in my


household, say a car breaks down, washing machine, where do you turn


when you have no safety net? George Osborne says he wants to get rid of


the debt, but what actually happens is payday loans. My mum would have


to get a payday loan, she is in debt, and it is fine for the


millionaires, isn't it? APPLAUSE


I approve of having a second house and every democracy should have won,


which is why I am concerned Scotland does not have one. In this case, the


Lords did exactly the right thing, thinking -- given what they think


about the tax credit debacle. But I am not convinced that means they are


in tune with the country on this issue or any others. If you look at


the polls on this matter, there was huge public support and remains


public support for change to the tax credit regime. So in this case you


could say the Lords were more in tune with media opinion than with


population opinion. The woman in the front, in the 2nd row. I have to


disagree. Scotland does have a second tier, called the public. If


the government does not do what we ask, we vote them out. The Lords is


completely unelected and needs to be scrapped straightaway. The money we


save, why don't we use that to go towards what will be missing from


tax credits? There is no need for people to go without tax credits


while waiting four years on their wages to hit a living wage. It is


disgusting. APPLAUSE


On the political point, the House of Commons, after all the Tories have a


majority there and they were elected by the UK, do you think it is right


that the House of Lords, you don't want a House of Lords? I don't


believe in the House of Lords. Because it is not proportional


representation, the House of Commons is unfair anyway. Let's change it,


get proportional representation, as in Scotland, and when we are not


happy, we change the government. Kezia would know about that. The


first thing is that the House of Lords is a democratic abomination


and we should not have it. It costs a lot of money. If it does something


we agree with, that does not justify it and we should get rid of it.


There is another democratic element. The point that was made before is


that David Cameron was asked by you on a programme before the election


if he would lower tax credits and he said he would not. Lo and behold,


?4.5 billion of cuts comes forwards. These cuts to family tax credits


will help to pay for the tax reduction for those who pay


inheritance tax. The poorest will be subsidising some of the most well


off. That is not democratic either. There is a good Scots word, and when


George Osborne put it in a statutory instrument hoping to squeeze it


passed, he was rumbled. None of this justifies the House of Lords, but


there is no way for justifying the cut to tax credits. We talk about a


ladder of opportunity and the Tories are about taking away the bottom


three rungs for ordinary people. APPLAUSE


I should say, your leader in Scotland, Ruth Davidson, said the


tax credit cuts were not acceptable. We can't have people


suffering in this way. So you were voting against the wishes of the


Tory leader in Scotland on this occasion. What Ruth made clear was


that she supports the aim of the changes, but she felt there was a


need to look at those who might be most disproportionately affected.


Did you feel that? A view which I share. So why did you vote in


favour? Because I supported the principle of what we are trying to


achieve, but I have a concern about the impact for certain groups of


people on the lower end of the earnings scale, and I have written


to the Chancellor about that. Nevertheless, because you thought it


was wrong for the House of Lords to overrule George Osborne and the


Government, you voted in favour of no change. Had you won the day,


there would have been no change. I disagree. The Chancellor had made


clear he was in listening mode, and I think that was absolutely right.


He did not say that until afterwards. He said before that he


was in listening mode, and I think what has happened is a sensible


response to this. The Chancellor will look at this and I think that


is right. And he will try to ensure the transition is eased so that the


people the gentleman was referring to, that and I is kept on that and


appropriate steps are taken. Do you agree with what Keith Brown said


that Cameron did say that he was not going to do this and then changed


his mind? What the Conservatives said in the manifesto was, they laid


out how they wanted to continue with the economic recovery. That is why I


want to come back to Keith, who is indicating we are living in some


sort of economic nightmare. We are not, we are transformed from five


years ago. We are transformed in terms of the many more thousands of


people, millions of people who have jobs. The question was about the way


in which you bring down the deficit and whether Cameron had given the


promise. In the manifesto the Conservatives put to the electorate


in May, they said we have to keep going with the economic recovery. It


is still fragile, we can't walk away from it. That means saving money in


a variety of areas. So what you say on Question Time in the run-up to an


election does not matter. What you say to David Dimbleby does not


matter. That never matters! Everything matters on your


programme, David. Billy Bragg. I think that what has happened really


is a slight of hand by George Osborne on a number of levels.


Firstly, by seeking to appropriate Labour's clothes by announcing a


living wage, and then finding out that he has announced a living wage


does not really cover in any way the amount that has been taken from


people by cuts in tax credits. That has left him rather embarrassingly


exposed. The 2nd sleight of hand was to use a statutory instrument to


deprive the Labour Party and the SNP and other parties opposed to these


tax cuts any time to hold the Government to account over this,


wing it into the House of Lords and get it sorted out. This is part of


the reason why we need to make the 2nd chamber elected. It is not only


because it is the biggest assembly in any democracy in the world, it


has 816 members. David Cameron has been the worst for this. He has put


more new members in there than any Prime Minister since life peerages


were implemented in 1958. He has put 236 peers in there. Still outvoted


by the other parties. Now he is turning round and saying what a bad


idea it is. The point of the House of Lords is not to represent the


people, it does not represent us in any way. But what was proven the


other night is the necessity of a revising chamber. We need someone to


stand as a backstop in our democracy, but they must be elected.


They must be elected. APPLAUSE


The reason they need to be elected, and I believe they should be


indirectly elected, but the reason they need to be elected is because


they need to stop governments, and Blair did this as well, using things


like statutory instruments to deprive our elected representatives


of the right to hold the Government of the day to account. If the 2nd


chamber had teeth, there is no way the Government could whiz stuff


through the House of Commons. Reforming the House of Lords helps


the House of Commons. The woman at the back. If David Cameron did not


lie to everybody, this would not be an issue, would it? If I go for a


job and I lie and get found out I would expect to be sacked. Why is he


not getting sacked, quite frankly? On the gangway, for throw up. I do


agree with the principle that the government should not be topping up


low wages but I am confused as to why the cuts in tax credits are


coming now and are not coming with the increase in wages. Merryn, what


is your view of that? Do you think the timing is wrong? It should have


been done at roughly the same time. There is an important point that has


not been discussed in the conversation about tax credits,


which plays to your point about your mother, which is that we are not


just paying tax credits to people in the lower percentage of income, but


right up the way, to people in the 2nd and third quintile. It is


possible on tax credits, working child credits and others to have a


high income. We are paying vast amounts of welfare to what we would


consider the middle classes, not just to the lower parts of society.


That has not been recognised in the media debate and was not recognised


in the Lords either. So this reform is absolutely vital. There has to be


considerable reform to welfare. The money we are paying to what most of


us consider the middle classes is money that is not being spent on the


NHS, pension disasters, education. We have to make choices and right


now we are making the wrong ones. APPLAUSE


Why isn't the free market paying a proper wage? There is a fundamental


failure in the free market paper per wages, because over the years the


rights of people to organise in the workplace have been taken away from


them. People need more cooperation in the workplace. What is the


problem, what is wrong with capitalism? There are lots of


problems and one of them is welfare. If a company knows wages will be


topped up by the state and taxpayers they have licensed to pay less. You


would not shop in Tesco if the people behind the tills were


starving to death, of course not. So they would have to pay higher wages.


They do not have too because we are topping it up. This is a fundamental


problem. There has been a big shift from Labour towards capital but it


is shifting back. Capitalism moves in big cycles and we are seeing a


proper shift back towards Labour and away from capital. In the 2nd row


from the back. I think this situation is ironic.


The House of Lords has the chief executive of next saying a person


can live in a certain amount of money if you are told your policies


are too harsh, how out of touch is the elected government and not how


out of touch the is House of Lords? We must go on. Before I take another


question, we are going to be in Tottenham next Thursday and Stoke on


Trent the Thursday after that. On the screen is the way to apply. I


will give the details at the end of the programme. With Jeremy Corbyn as


leader, will the Labour Party be saved in Scotland? This is being


watched with great interest south of the border. Keith Brown... All the


evidence suggests not. Since Jeremy Corbyn was elected, there are a


number of reasons for that. We expected to see something different


and that has not transpired. One of the big promises was on Trident. We


were going to see a real debate in the Labour Party which did not


happen at the conference in England. It might happen this weekend in


Scotland. Jeremy Corbyn will not be there to see that. We end up with a


difficult situation for the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn, whether it


is of his making or his party's. He said, I would never press the button


for nuclear weapons. It is immoral. You cannot perceive the situation


way should be pressing a button. For a party that wants to spend ?160


billion on nuclear weapons the leader says he would never use is


utterly immoral. Some of the promise which was there and many people


brought into that, some literally for ?3 in order to cast a vote.


Either he is a prisoner of a party that does not want to change, you do


not see much evidence of the kinder, nicer politics from others. I do not


think the changes which people expected are being followed through.


Who knows over time? There is no evidence as yet. A poll came out


which said, since being elected, he has gone down in the polls. If that


continues and there is no sign of a Labour revival across the UK, what


we are facing in Scotland is virtually perpetual Tory government.


There is only one way we can avoid that happening in the future. I do


not think that Jeremy Corbyn will oversee an increase in terms of the


Labour Party in Scotland. We're not seeing that so far. At every


opportunity, the Labour Party says the SNP is bad for everything it has


done. I cannot see anything positive. I do not see a bounce.


APPLAUSE Kezia Dugdale before the election,


it you said about Jeremy Corbyn, you have to convince me he can be Prime


Minister. You had rather a low view of him. Now he is leading the Labour


Party, what is your view of him? Lots of people have said it was a


disparaging remark. I desperately want there to be a Labour government


in this country. I want the Tories out. I see Labour as the only party


across the whole of the United Kingdom that can stand up for


working people. When I cast my vote for who should be Labour leader, I


had to focus on the idle could be Prime Minister, uniting this country


and making it fairer for everyone. I voted for Yvette Cooper. What I


would say to you, I have never said that publicly before but ask a


straight question and you get a straight answer. Straight talking,


honest politics, as Jeremy would have it. I have spent a lot of time


with Jeremy over the past you weeks. He is a man of tremendous


principle. He feels the pain of working families across this country


in his bones and he will transform this country with a message about


why it does not have to be this way. Tomorrow can be better than today.


He has the vision we need. I am excited about what he might set out


in the months ahead. If I can express your questions specifically,


you asked whether the Scottish Labour Party has the future. We are


in terrible trouble. It is why I went for the job. The values of the


Labour Party are as relevant as they ever have been. Believing in the


potential of people and using the power of government to realise that


potential, that is the Labour way. I want to build a fairer and more


equal country. In the next few months we were see Labour policy


platform coming forward to inspire you once again. That was met with


silence. Annabel Golding. I think the problem for Labour in the United


Kingdom, and in Scotland, people do not know what they stand for. As far


as I can understand, on the 1 hand, Jeremy Corbyn wants to espouse a


type of socialism which, in terms of his right to do that guy is totally


legitimate. It is a form of socialism going back 40 years to the


days of Harold Wilson which proved to be completely unelectable. If you


look at what Jeremy Corbyn has been talking about, he believes in...


Harold Wilson won election after election. No, he did not. He


eventually lost. He retired. APPLAUSE


What Harold Wilson did was to lead an economic legacy, which was the


product of Labour's economic policies, which were a complete


failure. It was all about how not to run an economy, how not to generate


wealth, create jobs and give people opportunities. That is why we are


headed -- we headed into the disaster of the 70s. The


International Monetary Fund ran the country. The thing about Jeremy


Corbyn, he is, I think, completely incredible on the issue of defence.


For me, economy and events are two of the most important obligations


for government. I respect that Keith has a view about Trident. I respect


his view and there is a clarity about the SNP position, it does not


want Trident. Jeremy Corbyn does not believe in Trident, he does not


believe in the nuclear deterrent. He is not keen on military forces. He


has Shadow Cabinet colleagues who do believe in Trident. In Scotland no 1


knows what Labour believes. Kezia Dugdale Trident. Is that true? You


cannot run a party like that. Do you believe in Trident? I am a


multilateralist. I stood on a platform to lead by party, to lead a


more democratic party. I am given the power to decide our party


position to our membership this weekend. I think there are mixed


views on this position regardless of party politics. The good thing to do


is to be honest and frank about it. My party is not in trouble because


people do not know where we stood on the issue of Trident, my party is in


trouble... I got this message loud and clear from the general election


result, people thought we were run from Westminster and the Scottish


Labour Party did not put Scotland first. I am going to turn that


around. That is why have been talking about a more autonomous


Scottish Labour Party determining our future in Scotland. You will


have two parties? It is not an independent party, it is an


autonomous party. There are lots of examples of this across Europe. If


this does not work at the elections in May and the Tories get more votes


than you... In Scotland? I think you will find that is very unlikely.


Would your position as leader be on the line? That is not really for me.


It would be great you could say, I am resigning. I do not expect the


fortunes of the Labour Party in Scotland can be turned around


overnight. Let's just hear from some members of the audience. Let's go to


you over here, in the spectacles. When considering the question, we


should consider it on two grounds, the crucial need for a voice in


Scotland in the Westminster Parliament and a need for a party to


take into consideration Scottish issues and needs. And reiterating


them in the Westminster Parliament. When considering Corbyn as Leader of


the Labour Party, the problem, and I think it has been clearly shown in


the media of the incompetency he has of running the Labour Party. As the


panel has most kindly said, the problem he has with the Shadow


Cabinet, the problem he has with members of his party standing


against him and public are giving statements against things that he is


saying that the party should be focusing on. In effect you are


saying he cannot restore Labour in Scotland. I am saying there is a


competency in his leadership. You, sir. One of the biggest problems


with this entire thing is the fact that 60% of members in Labour voted


for Corbyn yet there are so many MPs within Labour who are not publicly


yet, but voting against him. It shows how divided Labour is. They


need to show more togetherness rather than having a broken apart


party. Togetherness means, who wins? I think they should back the leader


and have a debate that, at the same time, I think there should be more


togetherness. Labour is a party that is very much supposed to be about


togetherness and I feel it has gone against that. Both those comments


have touched on Kezia Dugdale is a real problem. The silence you heard


after your first comment is the sound of scepticism. The people of


Scotland are not stupid. They recognise that where Teva Corbyn


says and stands for, it does not have the support of the


Parliamentary Labour Party. He can come up with some great ideas but


they cannot be carried through. He has the support of the leadership


but he does not have the support of the Parliamentary Labour Party.


Until that is resolved, that will not happen. You cannot expect the


leader of a British mainstream political party to talk about


independence. That is not possible. Corbyn must have something to say


about self-determination to the people of Scotland. I do not


understand why he is not talking about federalism. The answer to the


West Lothian question is not English votes for English laws, the answer


is, if you have a Scottish parliament, you have to have an


English Parliament. I really think if the Labour Party could come out


in favour of federalism, not only would they have something to talk to


people in Scotland about, they would also be able to speak to a lot of


people who feel disenfranchised in England. A new Assembly would surely


be elected under proportional representation, to give


representation to the people who are disenfranchised and voting Ukip at


the last election. I do not know why they are not talking about it.


APPLAUSE The man with the spectacles on.


Jeremy Corbyn will go down as the man who consolidated the two parties


in Scotland and England into two-party state. He is that


unpopular. The SNP and the Conservatives in England. You think


that will happen? It has already happened. I would not write him off


yet. Hang on. Look at what he has faced, the media onslaught, people


raking through his bins, cameras in his face when he goes out to collect


the papers. Empty of people do not want him to do well. I look beyond


the Parliamentary Labour Party and I see a growing political movement,


660,000 people signed up to be a member of the party, to support the


Labour Party. That is a tremendous step forward. I have said tonight I


did not vote for him but I am 100% loyal to him because I believe in


the Labour Party and I believe in what it can do to transform the


fortunes of this country. I wouldn't write off Jeremy Corbyn.


It doesn't take much for a crisis to change people's mines, and there are


many potential crises out there. Going back to Scotland, the


interesting point is that Scotland is not as left wing as it thinks it


is. The social attitude surveys which are done in Scotland and


Britain, if you flick through those, they are statistically


significant, and you can see that on almost every issue the Scottish, as


a whole, tend to think about things in the same way as the English.


Scotland is not, by its nature, as left wing as it likes to think it


is. What do you mean as it likes to think it is? When you read Scottish


newspapers, talk to the Scots, or if you ask them if they are more


left-wing than the English, they say yes. But the social attitude surveys


do not tell you that, they tell you that generally the Scottish and


English think about things in a remarkably significant way. The only


significant difference is the EU. My point being that it is very hard for


there to be two parties in Scotland that are perceived as left wing, the


SNP and Labour. They cannot really coexist. If you are going to have


separate parties, there has to be a third party. Is the SNP perceived as


left wing? You have certainly taken the left very firmly from Labour, no


doubt about that. They certainly present as. We have this quite a


lot, and we often get it from the Labour Party that you are not


redistributive, not anti-austerities. To give concrete


examples, but we have put to the parliament is free school meals,


which was opposed by the Labour Party in the parliament. We have


also led in terms of the council tax benefit, made sure the bedroom tax


did not hurt people in Scotland, unlike Wales where Labour are in


control. So there is a lot we do that is redistributive. We are also


pro-business, especially small business. The crucial point is the


point that Kezia made, if the Labour Party this weekend discusses trident


and comes out against spending ?167 billion of your money on Trident,


will Kezia then say to Ian Murray, the sole remaining Labour MP in


Scotland, when you go to London you must vote against Trident? That will


be the test of whether we have an autonomous Labour Party. Generally


speaking, most left wing Scott 's identifiers nationalists and


therefore vote SNP, regardless of whether or not they are as left wing


as they say they are. I don't understand how Scottish Labour can


move to the left and expect to pick up these nationalists who vote for


the SNP because they are nationalists. Therefore, the only


place you can pick up voters from the centre and the right, and Jeremy


Corbyn is not going to win them. All that Jeremy Corbyn is doing is


failing to win voters that have gone to the SNP and driving others to the


Tories, who by the way were one percentage point behind Labour last


time I checked in the polls. Nobody thought that sending a parliament to


Scotland would lead towards a more independent Scotland. Everybody


thought that it would kill the issue of independence. It didn't. Nobody


thought that 45% of the Scottish people would vote in favour of


independence but they didn't. So to sit there and tell me what is going


to happen to Jeremy Corbyn, mate, I think you have another thing coming.


I look forward to the landslide, Billy. What people want from


politics is changing. It is easily visible in Scotland, not yet in


England, but Jeremy Corbyn is a representative of that urge for


change. This is grassroots Labour. The reason Ed Miliband did not win


last time was because that was the old way of doing things, a hollowed


out party, top-down orders and the membership disregarded. All of this


is changing and the sort of excitement I saw in Scotland during


the independence campaign, and I was fortunate to be in Scotland on the


day the yes campaign were first put forward to win, we are starting to


feel that excitement in England because Jeremy is the leader. We


just have to convince first the parliamentary Labour Party and then


everybody else that he really does represent genuine positive change.


You can't convince your own party, you can't convince the electorate.


As I said, we first have two convince the party and I hope they


are all watching this and thinking about this. A few more points and


then another question. At the end of May when I was looking at the four


Labour leadership candidates, I looked at them all, Burnham, Cooper,


Kendall, and I joined the Scottish Green Party. I can't bear to vote


for any of these people. This is not the Labour Party I want to be even


affiliated with. And then Corbyn got nominated and, well... But I don't


know if Jeremy Corbyn can save the Scottish Labour Party because I


don't know if his MPs will let him, but I do know that none of the


leadership candidates had a chance, and I like Jeremy Corbyn, he has


popular, middle-of-the-road left-wing opinions. Polling says


what Jeremy Corbyn once domestically, rayon mashed


novelisation, save the NHS, is what people want. -- rail


nationalisation. Firstly, when they had a huge


majority in Westminster, Labour ignored Scotland and took Scottish


MPs for granted and thought they would always get 50 MPs up here.


Secondly, they did the dirty work for the Tories during the referendum


campaign. As simple as that. APPLAUSE


I think we should go to another question.


Was it right to bail out the banks but not the steel industry? There


are various measures being proposed to help the steel industry but no


bailout. Merryn. And unpopular answer but yes, we absolutely were.


I think it is generally good to try and avoid bailing out industries,


but there is a good case for bailing out industries that are in


short-term trouble and systemically important to an economy and will


definitely return to profit. That has been the case with the banks,


approve or not of the way the financial industry works. It has


returned to profit. It is a long-term, sustainable business.


Other businesses are not necessarily long-term sustainable and the truth


is that the steel industry falls into that group. It has been in


trouble for a long time and is in trouble now, and I can't see it


being the case in five years, seven years, ten years that we suddenly


have a profitable steel industry that can last for the long-term. So


we should not, I don't think, be looking to bail out that kind of


industry. What we should be doing is looking to help the people that are


suffering as a result of that industry. So we can't help the steel


industry but we can help the steelworkers afterwards. Kezia


Dugdale, do you agree? No. I really don't. If you look at the two plants


in Scotland, they do road steel plate. As I understand it those


plants are profitable. The reason they are closing down is that Tata


want to make savings across the whole of their bases. I think the


plants in Scotland have a viable future, there is a positive future


for steel production in this country but we have to take steps to realise


that. We need some new assets in those plants so they can make more


than one thing. We have to protect the highly skilled engineers that


work in the plants. Short time working would do that, letting these


jobs stay for a few days per week until we can get a new company into


the plant to operate it. And we should use Scottish steel in


Scottish products, put it in the heart of our infrastructure and


everything we are the building. I think there is a viable future for


this industry that we have to believe it, not just manage the


decline. That is not acceptable. APPLAUSE


What is the Scottish Government's review? It is difficult but not


impossible. A few months ago, the last shipbuilding concern on the


Clyde was about to go to the wall. Through a lot of effort that has now


been saved and it is now prospering in terms of orders for new ferries.


You also had Prestwick airport which was going to the wall with the loss


of thousands of jobs in the West of Scotland and we did essentially


nationalise that. Coming back to the point about the banks, why did we


bail out the banks? We were told they were a cornerstone of the


system and you need the banking system. But the perception for most


people was that you were keeping the banks so that they could continue to


lend to people and businesses. But they used the money they got from us


to build up their capital sheets. Even now they are not lending to


small businesses. There is a contrast today with David Cameron in


Iceland. Ice and jailed the bankers. -- Icelander. Corrupting the LIBOR


mechanism, the cornerstone of the capitalist system, corrupting that,


and they are now looking to ease back on the regulations. These were


huge crimes, nobody has gone to jail for that. There is a court case


ongoing but nobody has gone to jail. In Iceland, they jailed the bankers


when they were found to be corrupt and we should have done the same




Are you going to bail out the steel plants? As I said, the Scottish


Government has started working, there was a meeting today for the


first time with the concerns. We want to keep it viable. One last


word on the banks. You have said a lot on the Goldie. I think it is


important that politicians are realistic about what we can do in a


difficult situation like this and equally realistic about what we


cannot do. I am struck by what Keith Brown is saying because it is a


departure from the line of the Scottish Government, which has said


that if the two steel plants in Scotland can find a commercial buyer


it will do everything to assist that. I think that is sensible and a


realistic way to go forward. I think what government can also do, as is


happening with the UK Government, they are attempting to ensure that


projects within this country will procure British steel. I think that


is a very good way to go forward. They are providing help to people


affected at the moment. But I think we have to be very clear about how I


think not viable it is for a government to buy a failing


industry. If it is failing because there is not a demand for product


out there at a price that will keep the industry going. That is the


difficulty. Steele has global oversupply and the price has


plummeted. That is bitter, harsh and difficult for the workers in the


plants affected, but it does mean that when you talk, as Kezia did,


about trying to take it over because it is basically profitable, well, it


is not profitable if actually market prices will not give the company the


return it needs to keep the thing going. And that is the dilemma and I


think politicians have to be utterly realistic about where they can help.


They can help in many ways but they have two be realistic about what is


not viable. You cannot take over an industry that has not apparently got


a viable commercial future. It is not fair to taxpayers, not fair to


public services, because you create a drain on the public purse by using


money, sadly, for something that cannot give a return. You have made


the point. You, on the right. Is it possible for British industry, such


as the steel industry, to compete with China, India, those economies?


Is it your view that it is possible? I don't really think it is. I just


wonder if there is a way that we can produce higher quality goods and


encourage our industry to do that, rather than just shelving the


plants. Well, Adams and, going for some local colour, said there was an


invisible hand, capitalism worked with an invisible hand that would


deal with, like the laws of the jungle, would deal with businesses


that are not viable. This is what is being given to the steelworkers. The


invisible hand of capitalism is strangling their hopes for the


future. Whereas the bankers at RBS, the invisible hand just tickled


them. By the rules set down by Adam Smith, those banks should have


failed. We could not let them fail because of how important they are to


our economy. But having rescued the banks, we are letting them get up


and do exactly the same thing as before. We need to be making sure


that the banks we have nationalised, particularly the biggest, RBS, we


should have made it into a national bank and said, it is not going to


speculate on the stock market, it is going to help small to medium


businesses, help the community. But the Tories have a total rejection of


any kind of nationalisation. They see that the free market should go


into places like Redcar, Motherwell... You would nationalise


the steel industry? It should not be socialism for the bankers and


capitalism for the steelworkers. APPLAUSE


Does he convince you? Working in the financial services industry myself,


recently for RBS, I think it is not quite as clear-cut as that. It never


is for bankers! I am not a banker, I work for bank. I am just saying, for


bankers it is or was blurred, they never quite did it themselves. There


is the casino banking side of things, then there is the retail


side. There has been legislation trying to separate those two. Would


that be viable? I think it is. What about his answer on the steel


industry, because you made the point that it could not sell because of


Chinese and Indian steel? It is difficult to compete on a global


market. How can we expect workers in this country, with the


quality-of-life and lifestyles that we have, how can we expect them to


work for as little as people are prepared to in developing countries?


That is not to say it is acceptable for people in developing countries,


but their cost of his much lower. The man in the pink.


I think it is appalling the bankers were bailed out. Those at the bottom


of the heap are struggling. Why don't they refinanced and restart


the major British industries and give people a meaningful employment


like they have before. The Germans still have a perfectly good steel


industry and so do other European countries. Why can we not do that?


The cost of power in this country is massive.


APPLAUSE That is a very important point. You


are quite correct. Industries like steel have been suffering hugely


with energy charges. The bottom line remains. If global prices and


pressures mean you do not have a market for what you're doing at a


price you can sustain it, you have a problem. I was wanting to pick up


particularly on what you said about banking being a sustainable


business. I do not want to direct this question just a Cuba industries


in the UK seem to be disappearing more and more. One of the


extraordinary things about this discussion is there is a lot of


grandstanding. Steel is something special. Why aren't accountants


special? Why aren't journalists special? In my industry, jealous are


losing jobs every day. Two local newspapers shut down in Scotland


every week. I do not see anyone stepping in to save us,


nationalising the newspaper business. That is not happening.


Manufacturing is considering to be something everyone can grandstand


about. A still working job is not superior to an accountancy job, a


financial services job, a journalist job, working for a printing


company, it just is not and we should not behave as though it is.


Kezia Dugdale this is more than a job, it is an iconic Scottish


industry. That is grandstanding. You cannot protect the past at the


expense of the future. Every time you say and industry is iconic... I


listened to your point of view, let me say mindful that the reason the


cost is so low is because the Chinese are dumping steel onto our


markets. We can build a viable future for this industry for years


government money to help diversify the kind of products they make. What


do you mean by iconic? It is the skyline of central Scotland, to see


the steelworks, the pride people have in the jobs. When the steel


industry goes, a whole generation of Scottish history goes with it. I am


not prepared to see the light go out without a fight. I believe there is


a viable future for the industry. I applaud your passion. Nobody doubts


for one moment your sincerity about the issue. Under Labour 16,000 steel


jobs were lost under the last government. Why was this policy and


support not adopted then? APPLAUSE


The original question was about fairness and justice and how we have


treated bags and how we are currently treating the steel


industry. Until we deal with the legacy of the banking crisis and


hold those to account properly, and it includes possibly sequestering


the assets that are owned by key individuals who are responsible for


that, we could be using that money to finance a whole number of


different things. Somebody in the fourth row has had her hand up for a


long time. If we let the steel industry fall by the wayside, what


are we going to do to plug the gap? It sounds a lot like the


conversation we had in the 1980s under Thatcher when the coal


industry declined and thousands and thousands of jobs were lost yet,


still today, there are whole communities across the whole of


Scotland, the north-east of England and Wales, who are still depressed,


without jobs, nothing. If you are going to let the steel industry


fail, you need to replace it with something.


APPLAUSE Can a country like Britain afford to


lose its manufacturing base? That is what you are talking about. Can we,


as a modern economy, afford to have no manufacturing base? Aye first I


would say, a job is a job is a job. It does not matter if it is


manufacturing or not. We still have a manufacturing base. We have a high


quality manufacturing base. If you look at the North of England, there


is solid manufacturing and it is growing. The man in the blue shirt.


Why is the Forth crossing not being made with British Steel?


APPLAUSE Just briefly, we have a number of


questions. It is Scottish steel being used in the bridge. The main


part of the steel contract, there was no bid from anywhere in Scotland


was not made in Scotland. That steel is not made in Scotland any more.


The last point I want to make is about the banks. When they sold off


the shares of Lloyds, they took -- we took a ?1 billion hit. We sold


them off for less than they were worth all to imagine what we could


have done for the steel industry if we got the right rate. That shows


the way we treat manufacturing differently. It is not because it is


iconic, it is about a 50-year-old male, for example, a steel worker.


He knows if the steel industry goes he will not get a chance to get


another job. It is nothing to do the iconic nature of the industry, it is


an iconic industry and it is about safeguarding people stop. It is very


difficult in those communities to get another job. That is why we have


to save them. APPLAUSE


Time for a question from you, Jackie. Should there be any enquiry


into that the delay of the Chilcott enquiry and, if so, how long with


this take? APPLAUSE


We are going to get it by June or July. Billy Bragg... I really think


there should be. I think the process of asking people to respond to what


is there, I do not see why it has taken such a long time. It is


relatively straightforward. Consideration should have been given


to the sensibilities of families of service men and women who have


served there, some of whom never came back. The fact it has taken so


long as less so much speculation. It has only been bad for the idea that


ultimately if we do find out what Chilcott thing for those who made


mistakes, those who are responsible, will be held to account. We have


already seen Tony Blair tried to get his to Penrith in before it all


comes back. I am sure the Americans do have a big part to play as they


supplied the original intelligence which led to the dodgy dossier.


Whether they are trying to hold it back, I do not know. The British


public really does deserve to know the truth about what happened, why


we were involved in Iraq. The issue still divides people very heavily.


The sooner it comes out and the sooner we can talk about it, the


better it will be, not just as, but more importantly for the families


who lost loved ones. Kezia Dugdale has it been and Julie delayed?


People have said that Tony Blair might have tried to hold it up? It


certainly feels that way for the it should be published at the earliest


possible opportunity, and that should be yesterday. It does account


to 2 million words. It will be huge and will take people a long time to


get their heads around it. People need to know what has happened. Our


experience of Iraq has clouded our approach and attitudes towards UK


foreign affairs for a decade. As a country, I do not think we can ever


move on until we have this report. It needs to be published now. The


British public needs to know. Can you imagine, if you are a soldier


going to Iraq, you are told you are going there because of weapons of


mass destruction, can imagine seeing your mates being killed and then


finding there were no weapons of mass destruction? That would have


been horrific. In personnel. These families are trying to find out


answers. The second point... Ayew critical of the delay? I think the


delay is appalling. -- Ayew critical? For years later, a half


promise which may come out next year. We are told it will be vetted


for national-security reasons. What was said? Is the stuff going to be


lifted out of the process? APPLAUSE


At the very least, there has to be a democratic oversight of anything


that is taken out. Summary needs to look and needs to make sure they're


not just covering someone's embarrassment. Are you worried about


the announcement they will have a security check about what has been


said by Chilcott? I totally and stand the best racing and anger


about the delay. I know it has been complex and a huge form of enquiry.


The Prime Minister vented that frustration. He said to Sir John


Chilcott, we need to get this done and dusted. There are interests of


families, of service men and women who are over there, interests of the


public to know what happened and why decisions were made. As to the


security issues, we have still to bear in mind we have service men and


women engaged in conflicts elsewhere. We have a difficult


situation at the moment in relation to Syria. Yes, I think there may be


intelligent security issues. What the public is wanting and making a


demand for, we need this enquiry produced now, please get in public


as quickly as possible. We will not work -- know what is taken out for


security reasons, are you concerned about that? I am concerned about the


whole thing. I am amazed it was not time-limited in the first place. The


main thing that I think politicians should be considering here, trust


has gone from politics in the UK. It has gone across the board, not just


in the UK but across much of the world. This is exactly the kind of


reason why. You asked a simple question, you think you can get an


answer in less than 2 million words and you cannot and you do not.


We're in North London next week with writer and broadcaster Victoria


Coren, Chuka Umunna for Labour, and Justine Greening for the Tories.


The following week we'll be in Stoke-on-Trent.


To be in the audience for either programme - London or


Stoke - apply by going to our website, or call 0330 123 99 88.


If you are listening on Radio 5Live, you can continue the debate


We will debate in our own way what we have been hearing but the


programme has to come to an end. My thanks to the panel and all of you


and everyone he has come here to take part. Thank you very much


indeed. Until next Thursday, from Question Time, good night.


David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Edinburgh. On the panel are cabinet secretary for infrastructure in the Scottish government Keith Brown MSP, former leader of the Scottish Conservatives Annabel Goldie MSP, leader of Scottish Labour Kezia Dugdale MSP, singer and campaigner Billy Bragg and editor of MoneyWeek Merryn Somerset Webb.

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