10/12/2015 Question Time


David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Bath. On the panel are Greg Clark, Caroline Flint, Vince Cable, Mary Beard and Quentin Letts.

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Welcome, whether you're watching or listening,


to our audience here, and to our panel.


Conservative Communities Secretary, promoted to the Cabinet


Labour's Caroline Flint, who chose to return to the backbenches


when Jeremy Corbyn won the leadership.


The Liberal Democrat former Business Secretary Vince Cable,


Parliamentary sketch writer and theatre critic


And Britain's best known classicist, Professor Mary Beard.


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


Text comments to 83981, and press the Red Button to see


Our first question from Polly Cassidy, please. Should Donald Trump


be banned from the UK? It is on everybody's lips, this question.


Quentin Letts. Certainly not. I want him here because I want to look at


that haircut. If I liked a flame near it, will it melts, or is it


alive underneath there? But there is as serious issue here, which is one


of inciting violence, perhaps. So you have to take this question


seriously. There has been a big petition that a lot of people have


signed saying we should never let him into this country on account of


what he said about not allowing Muslims into the United States. I


think we are overreacting, dignifying him too much. In some


ways what he said is not controversial because everybody in


Britain disagrees with it. But should one ban people on account of


not liking what they say? I have a suspicion that is not a particularly


British reaction. You say everybody but according to YouGov, a court of


the country agrees with him. Well, I don't know, but I am wary in this


country at least that there seems to be a competition... A quarter of


this country. I am not sure I believe that. It is not practical to


ban people on account of their religion. There is a competition


going on to say, I hate Donald Trump more than anybody else. There is a


strange competition going on to say, we are the most vehement about this.


Let's give it a break and not get so het up about what is plainly


unreasonable. Let's hear from the audience. I do find it quite strange


that we ban certain people from coming into the country. We banned


Mike Tyson at one point but then we let in the Chinese premier, the


premiere of a country with numerous human rights abuses, coming to the


country with no issues at all. What about Donald Trump? I think he is as


bad as anyone else, but he should be allowed in. On the gangway. I don't


think this should be taken lightly. This man could potentially become


the leader of one of the biggest countries in the world. So what he


says yields a lot of power. He said Muslims should have ID cards. What


is he going to say next? Should we wear armbands to be identified? This


is ridiculous. Mary Beard. I would quite like to get him here so we


could explain to him why he is wrong. Leaving him in America to say


all of this stuff is fine, but actually, he would be much better


off on a panel of Question Time actually being challenged about his


views. And in the end, rather than banning him, I was really more


worried by the idea that he was, until yesterday, still in his role


as business ambassador for Scotland. Happily, Nicola Sturgeon has got rid


of him. She said something like, he is no longer fit for the job. I


thought, when was he fit for the job? This isn't his first offence.


APPLAUSE Who was the person up there? I just


want to say that I agree with Quentin Letts. I think it is


contradictory, their reaction to the Donald Trump petition. During the


Charlie Hebdo attacks, we were all backing freedom of speech, and we


were supporting the magazine that was openly insulting Muslims. And


now we are having this big battle against the fact that he should not


have freedom of speech for insulting Muslims. It is quite a contrary


position. Social media always have battles of who looks best, but as


you can see, in these situations they have disagreed on freedom of


speech. Social media are not to be relied on for consistency? Yes,


consistency, they disagree. You can say that again! No one has an


automatic right to come to this country, it is for the Home


Secretary to decide. The question is, is he mostly an offensive idiot,


or is he an insight of hatred? Looking at some of the other things


he has had to say, about women, per example, he qualifies as the former.


But like Mary, I would like him to come here. If I had him with me, I


would take him around to meet some of my Muslim constituents and


friends, and introduce him to some of the pillars of our community. I


would like to introduce him to our police officers have them tell him


that they do not walk around with guns very often because they do not


need to. I would like to introduce him to some British people who could


perhaps teach him a bit of manners and politeness, and I think it would


do him a power of good to spend a bit of time in England. If we can do


that, we should let him in. And I would make him read a great deal of


Katie Hopkins, who he thinks is a respected British columnist. If he


wins the Republican nomination and the presidency, as a Cabinet


minister you will call him an offensive idiot? I think he is. If


you look at what he has said about Muslims and about women,


fortunately, I expect the good sense of the American electorate will give


him the result he deserves. You, in the front. I don't agree that he


should be banned. The petition was started before he made these recent


allegations, these recent comments, and I do feel that he has upset


everyone from Mexicans to women to disabled people. And it has only


gained momentum since he made the remarks about Muslims. I heard this


morning on Radio 5, the radio -- the lady from Aberdeen who initiated the


petition. It was going on before that. Obviously, the way things are


going within the world at the moment, it is a big talking point.


There are a couple of petitions. One is to try and get a debate in the


House of Commons. This is the one I am talking about. Theresa May has


banned hundreds of people for concerns about how they might


inflame violence in our streets and under hate speech laws that we have


in this country. To be honest, I would not mind if she added another


one to her list, and that would be Donald Trump. I think he is an


odious man who cannot open his mouth without offending someone. You made


the point about women, disabled people, people from Mexico. I do


think this is more than him being unreasonable. He has condemned an


entire religion by saying nobody who is Muslim should be allowed into the


United States of America. I think that is racist, and I would like to


say we don't want him within 1000 miles of the UK, we don't support


him and we will not allow someone who has such power to voice those


views come here and spread that here, too.


APPLAUSE Polly Cassidy, who asked the


question, what is your view? I don't think he should be banned, but I


just wish he would go away as well. I just find it really depressing


that he is being treated as entertainment when it is actually


quite a serious matter, and the media seems to be feeding into that


by treating him as a laughing stock. George W Bush was a laughing stock


and he got in several times, so... APPLAUSE


Does anyone agree with Donald Trump in what he said about banning


Muslims? I think we should be more concerned about Muslim extremists


being allowed to preach their terrorist views on the streets of


London and whatnot, you know. But that's not what he was saying, he


was saying we should ban all Muslims from the United States. But we have


allowed clerics like Abu Hamza to preach on the streets of London. We


allowed it to carry on. So you think he is wrong in how he has put it but


what he is getting at is right? I would not agree with him but I do


not think we should be banning him from the UK. Vince Cable. I would


not ban him, but for different reasons. He is appalling, ignorant,


ugly prejudice and all those things. But you have to confront these


arguments. When this programme at its finest hour was when Nick


Griffin of the BNP was in his finery. He was rising up the public


opinion polls. Many people said keep him off Question Time, but he was


allowed on and shown to be shallow, ignorant and prejudiced, and it


helped turn the people against him. One has to deal with these people


head-on. In terms of the comment that the gentleman the back maid,


who was moderately sympathetic to Donald Trump, in a way, the


Government has created its own problem. Theresa May and the Prime


Minister have brought in this concept of the nonviolent extremist.


One of the battles I fought at the end of the government, and I think


Greg was on my side on this, was that they were trying to stop


universities and other institutions having these people speak. I took a


very strong view, which Quentin Letts echoed a few minutes ago, that


we may detest people in their views but in this country you give people


the right to say them and you answer them back. So the whole idea of


banning people who are not violent but are extreme in their views is a


very dangerous thing to do. Do you agree? Is he right when he thinks


you were with him? What you need to recognise is that there are people


who may not commit violence themselves, but they do in sight it,


and they lead people to, especially in positions of influence, and we


have brought in laws to address that. One of the things that you can


do with that is to insist that if you have, for example, a speaker


with extreme views, to make sure they are challenged, so that you can


have the other side of the argument put. But if people have a record of


inciting violence and encouraging people to commit violence, then I


think they should be excluded from our country. Steve Horler. My farm


in Bath floods every year and it is getting more extreme. What actions


should the Government be taking to protect ourselves and the


environment? Have you been flooded recently? Not like the north-west,


but we flood every year. Caroline Flint. I must make a note to ask


Donald Trump on the programme. Perhaps he will come, if you will


let him in! There is a lot of discussion at the moment about


whether or not the storms we have seen, again, in our country are


linked to climate change. It is hard to pinpoint one weather events to


climate change, but the fact that we are having more frequent storms and


extreme weather, I think we can very much say that that is part of what


is happening, in terms of climate change around the world. Part of


what we have in this country is a recognition, and I am proud of the


fact that when we passed the climate change in 2008, there was cause


party support for that, with only five MPs voting against it. That was


as recognising as a country that we need to try and reduce the emissions


that contribute to climate change, and also to be a leader, like we


hopefully are in the negotiations in Paris. But the truth is, the problem


with these weather conditions is here now. And for your farm, and


others around the country, who keep being told the risk is based on one


in 100 years, when people have experienced two flood situations in


six years, is not good enough. We did see in the last government, in


the early part of the last government, money on flood defences


being cut. Last year, ?115 million was cut from it. We need to better


recognise this as a national-security issue because it


puts businesses out of work, families out of their homes, and it


does cause, in some cases, not just destruction to property but the loss


of lives. APPLAUSE


The man at the back? Would you agree it is time to redirect the foreign


aid budget towards the flood victims? Away from flood victims in


other parts of the world, to this country? Away from foreign aid and


redirect it, Charity starts at home. I think you need to do both. You


can't do both, you redirect it or you don't. We should be consistent


with our commitments to help people who are victims of flooding in other


countries, and we certainly should do that here as well. I was in


Cumbria yesterday, and can I just take this opportunity, David, to


express my admiration for the work that is being done there. When you


go and see it for yourself and see people who have been working flat


out, emergency services, the councils, the volunteers, it is an


inspiring site to see. One of the things you do notice when you go


round there, I went to Appleby, one of the towns that has been


particularly badly affected. The vicar took me into her church. She


pointed at the level that the water had reached in the last weekend, and


the previous level, and there was a huge difference. It was a record


rainfall. Four or five feet? It was waist height in the church and


clearly completely ruined. Taking his point, the government spends


half in this country what it spends on the international climate fund.


Why is that? That is what he was saying. We need to put the flood


defences that are needed. I will come to that. The defences that were


put in place had been put in place over recent years. They were what


was calculated would defend these towns and villages across the


country but the water flooded and beyond it, so Steve's question is


whether we should review the modelling and to see whether that is


adequate, and I think that we should do that. The Environment Secretary


as the Prime Minister has said we need to look at why these more


frequent occurrences of these catastrophic floods should be


happening. What about diverging money from the international climate


fund? To the UK? I think we need to do both. In the past I visited


angler desk, and -- Bangladesh, and if you look at the vulnerability of


a place like Bangladesh, the same kind of climatic events that affect


the rest of the world, in terms of saving people from destitution, that


is an appropriate use of our foreign aid, not least because, and we see


what happens when you have turbulence in places such as Syria,


you have populations displaced, and this affects the whole of the world,


so I think that for our own stability and security you need to


protect people from these catastrophic keep events. It's what


we should do to our fellow human beings anyway, but actually there is


a case for our own stability. Quentin Letts? The question from


Steve is what can be done to protect the population, I think, and there


are various things. We can stop building new houses on flood plains,


that would be a good thing. And sometimes these flood defences,


although they sound like great ideas, sometimes they can have the


effect of forcing the water down the other areas which in the past would


not have been flooded. So well-meaning schemes can sometimes


cause problems further downstream. But as far as protecting, we can


make sure that our emergency services have everything they need,


but you can't expect politicians to solve everything, or to stop the


flood waters. I am wary on the BBC of talking about climate change,


because I get into trouble about this recently and people seem to


think... Because you gave one side of the argument. I am regarded as


some sort of denial. I'm not, I don't quite believe everything I am


told by Kaymer change, I believe boffins, I don't believe lobbyists


I'm wary of blaming one particular flood on climate change. I don't


know the answer on that. But I would be wary of expecting the politicians


in Paris to be able to solve these problems. Sometimes these are


natural events, acts of God, if you like. But the enormous universe may


not be affected necessarily by man-made emissions, I don't know.


You, sir? Extreme flooding with climate change increase of about one


Celsius, predictions of two three Celsius, why is the government


cutting the support for renewables and the likelihood...


APPLAUSE In the likelihood that these extreme


weather events won't be every four or five years, they will be every


year? Why is it cutting the means to prevent it getting worse in the


future? Is that a strong argument for you, Vince Cable? Non-others are


climate change scientists. We can't attribute particular events to


climate change. Nonetheless the chief scientist of the Met Office


established a very clear link between what is happening on a


global level, you know, we have the 15 hottest years we've ever recorded


out of the last 16, the link between the warming of the world increasing


turbulence and extreme events. I think that is now reasonably well


established scientifically. I think your follow-up comments, why aren't


we moving more towards renewables, there has been over the last few


years a move in that direction, but the government over the last few


months has done some very retrograde things. It is unjust is cutting the


subsidies to solar power, for example, they now charged


value-added tax. It's actually penalising one of the emerging new


technologies. Why do you think they are doing that? I think the


Chancellor of the Exchequer is not terribly committed to this agenda.


To take another example, I helped set up the green investment bank,


which has now mobilised about ?10 billion of investment in new


renewable technologies, invoice disposable energy efficiency and


it's being shoved wholly into the private sector so it can no longer


perform a proper environmental function. This government is backing


away from an environmental agenda and all commitments to global


warming at a time we need it more than ever before. Vince, that is not


the case. APPLAUSE


If you look at the climate conference that is taking place in


Paris as we speak, there was a report to the conference that rated


and ranked all of the countries and their contribution. The UK was


second only to Denmark in the progress that we are making. We are


on track to meet our emissions reductions targets. Most of the


people aren't. We are on track to have 30% of our electricity coming


from renewables when I looked this morning it was 21% already, we will


get to 30% by 2020. We have got the green investment bank. Its very


successful. It's something we introduced and we will continue. I'm


proud we are going into the talks in Paris as leaders, not as followers.


Last time at Copenhagen, and I was at Copenhagen as the opposition


spokesman, in 2009, we were on the back foot because we didn't have,


and Vince will know this, an energy policy that could stand up to


scrutiny. We have turned that around in the last five years and we are


being recognised for that internationally. Briefly. The 2008


climate change act set out our targets for emissions and that was


the Labour government. A huge amount of the renewable energy that has


been developed, the business plans and investment came in at the tail


end of the Labour government and they have been built and yours. We


are going backwards, not forwards. Businesses on solar and wind are


going out of business because you are moving the goalposts. You were


always good at targets, but the last Labour government while passing a


law to set the targets tried to get through... I want to hear from...


It's a partisan squabble. Its party politics, ludicrous. You have heard


what has been said. We need to stop building on the flood plain. My


local MP wants to build a car park on my land under to increase the


amount of cards on the roads, CO2 emissions. They will float away.


There will be nowhere for the water to go. How can Greg Clark as


planning Minister give planning permission to something like that?


We can't go into planning. Mary Beard. You have been a fantastic


example of how the political debate always goes into these really big


edgy things about climate change and renewables and emissions, and


clearly that's important. But what tends to get overlooked is some


other things you have just mentioned, that Quentin mentioned,


it's about basic issues about building on flood plains, but also


about how you manage watercourses, how you planned, how you see how the


water comes off the high ground into the low ground, and that is joined


up practical local thinking, and it's not very sexy but it is


actually one of the best first-line defences against what we are seeing


happening and what happened here. OK.


APPLAUSE We will move on, because I want to


get through a number of questions. I will take the woman at the top


right-hand side, and then the next question. Quickly, if you would. Mr


Clark, you said we are on target, we will meet our targets, but


regardless of whether we are or not, surely we should be pushing further.


You said Denmark are ahead of us, we should be trying to beat them, we


should always be pushing forward. APPLAUSE


Thank you for that. Next week we're in Slough,


then we're off over Christmas, Details on the screen


now for how to apply. A question from Justin Roberts. Is


David Cameron's negotiation with the European Council for real, or will


the British public ultimately be sold a pup? Is it for real, the


negotiation, or will we be sold a pup? The Prime Minister was quoted


as saying voters will think push Europe away, it's bringing me


problems and all the rest of it. It seems to come to not to a halt, but


the slowdown. Vince Cable, what's your view of what is going on at the


moment and how successful is David Cameron being with his


renegotiation? We don't know whether he is successful with the


renegotiation until they have happened. This is a problem of his


own creation. He didn't need to have the referendum, but wanted to have


it because of internal Conservative Party tensions. He dreamt of these


four conditions, three of which are very difficult to evaluate whether


you have succeeded or not, motherhood and apple pie, we are all


in favour of it. The one that the public are concerned about has to be


dealt with, is our public fears about immigration, and the test he


set, which is the limit migrants' access from Europe to in work


benefits, that is the bit that is now running into trouble, because in


order to operate it you need to discriminate between different


people within Europe. That goes totally contrary to the basic


principles of the single market, and remember, that was Mrs Thatcher who


negotiated that for us. He is now falling back on another mechanism,


that if we had serious problems with migration the government could


introduce an emergency stop, but that would have to happen with the


permission of the European Commission, which means that we


wouldn't have it under control. So he's created a problem which he


cannot now solve, and I suspect what will happen is the people in the


Conservative Party, who have set in these hurdles to jump, will say


sorry, Guy, you have disappointed us, and they will not have achieved


the objective. What he should be doing is what I think he believes


deep down and certainly George Osborne as well and making the case


for as being in the European Union. It's a difficult case to make at the


moment because of the problems the Union are having but the livelihood


of millions of people is now tied up with our trade and connections with


Europe. We have to fight the nationalism which is becoming


increasingly common and which the European Union has protected us


from. There is very basic arguments which he should now be making, not


engaging in this rather futile and I think ultimately pointless


diversionary exercise. Justin Roberts, who asked the question, do


you agree with what Vince Cable has said? Do you think there should be


or would be... We will trade with Europe even if we are not part of


Europe. We trade with the United States and we're not a state of the


union. All those millions of people employed in trade with Europe will


still probably employed. What's your view? I think we should pull the


ejector seat lever and get out as soon as possible. OK.


APPLAUSE The woman there. I want to say on


the subject of what Vince said about leaving the European Union, I think


the government needs to do something quickly about the monopoly of


Euroscepticism in the tabloid press, because it's completely ridiculous.


The entire tabloid press is against Europe. The UK is the most


uneducated country about the EU and its incredibly dangerous, the only


information we get about the EU with false and from newspapers that have


an agenda to make sales and not keep us in the best position in this


country. APPLAUSE


OK, who was shouting out and complaining here? Who said no,


rubbish? None of you will confess to it now! You weren't? Not me. What's


your view? I would like to know if David Cameron fails with these


negotiations, which is looking quite possible in terms of getting the


migrant benefits. Macro the four-year thing, yes. Whether he


will campaign to leave the EU? I want to know if that's possible.


Quentin Letts, what is the Daily Mail's view? It's


uncharacteristically inaccurate comment because I think the Daily


Mail is quite pro-Europe. You links EU to migration. Will you stop that


arsed tabloid newspapers running what they want to run. Six of the


main newspapers in this country were owned by News of the World guy, I


can't remember his name, it's undemocratic. The BBC is quite...


The BBC has broadcasting laws and manages to be a democratic entity


and its incredibly ridiculous the printing press in this country has


the ability to manipulate a country. I think the Son has predicted the


election victory of the last six governments, that's coincidence, we


need to do something about this. I'd like to pick up that point. I


don't know about Cameron, when he says anything I don't know who he's


talking to. Is he trying to satisfy his backbenchers, or is he trying to


worry me, I don't know. But what I do know, and we have seen it already


tonight, is that the pro-Europe lobby tends, sadly, I think, always


to say, just how damn awful it is going to be if we come out of Europe


because we will lose all these jobs, etc. What I want to be hearing is


somebody speaking a positive message about how damn good it is going to


be in Europe. We have things to change but there is a pan-European


project out there that we can actually be part of. And we can make


a difference in the world that we can't on our own. I want to hear it


for that. Not just a gloomy, terribly sad state of affairs that


will happen if we leave. Turn to the Cabinet minister on your right. Can


you satisfy Mary Beard? The key thing is that David Cameron is not


appealing to me or anyone else on this panel. He is not appealing to


you! The choice in the referendum will be for the British people to


decide. That will be the choice the British people have. Occasionally,


when I have been to Europe and have been talking to... You are in


Europe, I have to tell you. You are in Europe.


APPLAUSE Talking to ministers from other


countries, they have sometimes expressed concerns as to should we


be having this to go Sheshan. What I have said is this. In all of our


democracies across Europe, every four or five years you ask the


question, could things be better than they are now? That seems a


reasonable question. If it is a reasonable question for every


democracy, why not ask that of the European Union? That is what David


Cameron is doing with his the go Sheshan and that is a reasonable


approach to take. That is dreadfully naive. The whole question has huge


indications for the UK. There are in mind we have seen the SNP in


Scotland threatening a second referendum. I am not against


reforming the European Union. Most institutions are worth looking at to


be reformed from time to time. Like the Labour Party? I have been part


of many reforms in the Labour Party and I'm glad we did reform. On the


European Union, I am not against reform but this whole thing with


David Cameron is about trying to find a way to come up with something


so he can go to the Tory Eurosceptics and say, we have got


this, let's back being in the European Union. Let me finish. I


agree with Mary. Whatever the outcome of what David Cameron


achieves or does not achieve, I will be voting to stay in the European


Union because I think it is good for our country, good for jobs and


investment, good for our security, the fact that we can work with


police forces across the European Union to secure getting criminals


back here to face charges and send criminals to their countries as


well, it is good for the environment, because the European


Union, at the talks in Paris, as a bloc, can demonstrate what they can


achieve as the European Union but also influencing the rest of the


world. I think that is good. To say to Justin, about coming out, there


are consequences. Norway is not a member of the European Union but it


wants to trade, but it has to pay in order to do that, and it has to


abide by every single rule and regulation, but it doesn't have a


say. That would be the issue that would face asked if we weren't in


the European Union. APPLAUSE


As a politician, are you sympathetic, you just said David


Cameron was doing it to satisfy the sceptical backbenchers. Are you


sympathetic to him having to do that to keep his party together, or do


you think he should ignore them? I don't know how the Labour Party goes


about it. Isn't it reasonable? Ever since he has been leading the


Conservative Party he had a problem with Eurosceptics. He can't kick


them out. He has set up a false premise that somehow he can go


around and have all these meetings and sit with other EU Heads of State


meeting come up with something. It has taken five years at least for


him to come up with a list of demands. My view is that it is a


false premise, and we should celebrate what an advantage we have


being part of the European Union. David Cameron has this knee jerk


optimism, bouncing off to Europe like Tigger. And then he bounces


into some peevish Polish person or a ruminating Romanian, and they seek


-- say the opposite of what he once and then there is a schizophrenic


press conference where they will say, we will not give you anything


you want and David Cameron says, that is marvellous and he will give


me everything I want. There is a strange disconnect there. My feeling


about this, and I have not always been a steaming euro-sceptic, but I


think I am starting to simmer. I get the impression that the British


people are, as David Cameron said today, they are slightly getting fed


up with Europe. That is because the optimism, as Mary was saying, has


gone out of the European Union and people are now thinking, and I think


they may be right, that the sunny uplands may be on the leaves side.


My feeling is, let's cut the Gordian knot and get out. Up at the back.


Perhaps the woman in White. I am not a woman. Don't worry, I am not


offended. I can see you in close-up now. Given the crisis that has


broken out in Europe, why is David Cameron is so keen to try to shove


these negotiations through? Surely, given what is happening in France...


What would you have him do? He has to have the referendum. But we don't


even know when yet, do we? Why does it need to happen now? What would


you like him to do? Not have a referendum? He can have a


referendum, but if he wants to have this renegotiation, it does not seem


genuine at this point. And the woman there, if you are a woman. I am a


woman. One of the main reasons for creating the European Union in the


first place was to prevent a world war happening again. We have got


horrendous atrocities from Isil, the potential of nuclear warfare on the


horizon. Surely it is better to renegotiate as part of a bigger


body, to renegotiate these things and use the technology to pass


between the countries to solve potential problems for our futures.


APPLAUSE Let's move on to a question from


Phillip Cameron, please. Do the panel think Jeremy Corbyn has been


fairly treated by the media? We were talking about the media over the


European issue a moment ago. Do you think Corbyn gets fair treatment in


the press? I think the media have shown him in action. I was in the


House of Commons for the vote on Syria. And he made a speech at the


beginning of it, which was quoted extensively on the news. And it was,


I thought, a poor argument for the case. I think when people have


looked at the policy positions that he has taken, very extreme, a real


danger, it seems to me, to the country, that has been reported on.


When he has said, for example, when asked after the Paris attacks, he


was asked whether it would be appropriate for an officer to shoot


to kill a terrorist in those circumstances, he had to hesitate


before being able to answer in the affirmative. These things have come


across, and they need to come across because this man is the leader of


Her Majesty 's opposition, who wants to be our Prime Minister. I think


this is being communicated to people.


APPLAUSE What is your view? The fact that he


hesitates before he answers shows he is considering all options first.


APPLAUSE Mary Beard. I think he is having a


pretty rough time and I think he is behaving with a considerable degree


of dignity, given that. You look through the papers and you think,


just for example on the problem about whether he will go to the stop


the War Coalition party, the poor man is going to be hung if he does


and hung if he doesn't. Who is going to hang him if he doesn't? Is he


going to sing national anthem? If the poor guy sings it, he gets, look


at this, he's a Republican, what a hypocrite. If he doesn't sing it


they say, look, and he hasn't even got the decency to respect our boys


and sing the national anthem like he should. I think that quite a lot,


not everything, quite a lot of what Corbyn says I find I more or less


agree with, and I rather like his different style of leadership. I


like hearing arguments, not sound bites. And if the Labour Party is


going through at the moment a rough time, and I'm sure it is rough to be


in their, I think it might actually all be to the good. And he might be


changing the party in a way that would make it easier for people like


me to vote for them. APPLAUSE


I said at the beginning, Caroline, that you left the front bench for


the backbenchers when he was elected. What is your view about the


way he is defected, and your view about the stop the war dinner


tomorrow? Let me start with the question about the media first. I


think some of the stuff has been pretty trivialised. Some of the


early stuff about watching him at the commemorative service and the


national anthem and what have you, even at the Cenotaph, comments made


as well which I think were pretty unfair. That sort of coverage is not


exclusive to Jeremy. Lots of politicians and Labour leaders have


had to deal with that. I have been in the party 36 years so I have seen


a lot of that over the years. I do think it is a big step up of a job


from being a backbencher, where you can do your own thing, to being the


leader of the Labour Party. One of the things that Jeremy has,


undoubtedly, he won an election with a huge mandate. But also part of the


reason why he won that election was that he had a certain authenticity


that came across during the process, that people liked over and above the


other leadership candidates. I don't think he should be packaged or


modelled to get rid of that, but what he does need is to make sure


the team around him recognise that he needs support to be able to do


his job. In some cases when it has come to the media, they haven't


helped him. But it is a big job and he has four years to grow into that


job, just like when David Cameron started as leader of the Tories. Why


did you leave the front bench then and make clear you did not approve


or agree with him? I left the front bench because I spent five years in


the Shadow Cabinet, before that I was a minister and I have the right


to say I want to take some time out. It was not they comment on his


policies? It is about me having some freedom to... So you support


everything he goes for? No, I don't. But as an MP of 18 years I wanted


time to talk about some of the issues, unfettered by being in the


Shadow Cabinet, and I have the right to choose to do that.


APPLAUSE I would like to come back to what


Greg Clarke said about the vote for bombing Syria. The Labour Party had


a free vote. It was in the press for days, will he or will he not allow


them to vote with their hearts on such an important issue. Did your


leader of that? No. Listen, I think there is, on matters of war and


peace like that, I think you should look to a party to have a view.


Hilary Benn gave a brilliant speech, but to have the leader of the party


saying one thing, the Shadow Foreign Secretary saying something else,


that may be consistent with having a free vote, but this is the


alternative government. What would they do if they were in government?


We need to know that. What you are supposed to represent the people.


APPLAUSE By having a free vote, you could


speak with your heart, speak for the poor souls who are going to die as a


result of it. Your party did not offer a free vote and that is so, so


wrong. Vincent cable, do you think a free vote was the right way to go? I


am sure it was. You don't think an opposition should have a consistent


view bastion Mark there are issues of constancy. Ireland when my party


came out against the Iraq war we discussed it at great length. -- I


remember. There is no obvious party ideology behind a choice of that


kind. If I had still been there, I would have voted for air strikes,


but to have had an open debate is commendable. If I could just go to


the issue of Jeremy Corbyn, the brutal politics is that he is rather


disastrous for the Labour Party's prospects. The fact that we don't


now have an effective opposition. My parties in the wilderness and the


Labour Party is talking to itself, and that is bad. The one good thing


about Jeremy Corbyn, and I think it is a positive thing that he or


someone else has to build, he is making an effort to engage with


millions of young people who have poor job prospects. We are producing


a generation of people who are highly educated but with little


prospect of good employment and secure employment, and who cannot


get into the housing market. The chances of buying a house until your


late 30s are very remote, or having rented accommodation that is the


affordable. We are producing, potentially, a highly alienated


younger generation. And he is making an attempt to engage them in


Democratic politics. That is commendable, and I think whoever


else is leading the opposition, from whatever party or combination of


parties, as to tap into that agenda. Who hasn't spoken yet? You there.


Caroline, you and the Labour Party need to get behind Jeremy Corbyn. He


is a genuine human being. You said that it was terrible that he


thought, he paused for a moment before thinking about killing


someone, that is a genuine human being. He cares about people, he


represents the people and has always works for us. We need to get behind


him and Caroline, you do too. You, in the road below. I think that he


is wonderful insomuch as he's generating so much political


discussion that wasn't happening before amongst so many people.


Quentin Letts? It's all very well saying Jeremy Corbyn is a genuine


human being, of course he is, but he's also a genuine human being who


during the 1980s was pretty probe the IRA, and I think that's a


problem. That's unfair. I don't think that is wrong, with respect.


APPLAUSE I personally am worried that he is


not more critical of people who seem to be our enemies, and I think


that's a problem for the Labour Party in a general election. It is


Bill Artur Pikk -- it is bizarre to be a journalist at Westminster at


the moment and Labour MPs almost run up to you to off Jeremy Corbyn. For


once, we are not making things up when we report that is division in


the Labour Parliamentary party and when Hilary Benn gave that striking


speech in the House of Commons, he turned to his own party, he was


addressing it to his own party and at the end of it there was


tremendous applause, I may have seen you clapping him vehemently, and


that applause, I think I'm right in interpreting, was anti-Corbyn. This


is a Parliamentary party at least, I think very much it was, actually, it


was pro-Hilary 's speech, which was anti-corporate. There seems to be a


lot of. Macro is this audience entirely supporting Jeremy Corbyn as


leader of the Labour Party? APPLAUSE


The Conservatives up my new may be as applauding just as loudly as


Labour members. You hear? The server you heard from the young lady at the


back needs to be taken notice of, -- the enthusiasm. What Labour


Parliamentary party seems to have forgotten is they have lost the last


election and if we are ever going to win another one we need a lot of


younger people voting Labour and that's what Jeremy Corbyn is


bringing to the table. Very briefly, Caroline. I'm all in favour of


having more young people joined the Labour Party, I joined at 17, but I


have to say to you as well in the last election we lost massively


amongst older voters and that the next election majority of voters are


going to be over the age of 55. So we do need young people, but we have


to recognise that in in 2020 we have to stop just talking to ourselves


which is what we have been doing for the last six months, and start


talking to the public about why they didn't support us and how we can


bring their support back. Jeremy has a responsibility to make sure as our


leader he reaches out beyond the Labour Party members to that group


of people as well. Before we close, can I hear from any Conservative


supporters in the audience who have a view? The question was if the


media had treated Jeremy Corbyn unfairly, or fairly. I think the


media has. I think when Jeremy Corbyn has done foolish things, the


press has reported his foolish things. And really, the only people


who think that Jeremy Corbyn has been treated unfairly, in an unfair


way by the media, are what I call the closet communists. SCATTERED


APPLAUSE . I want to take another question.


This is something we have had, a question that has underlain a lot of


our discussions over the last few months about the national Health


Service, from Leigh-Ann Clarke blaze, Leigh-Ann Clarke. Wires and


more being done by the government to support people suffering with mental


health conditions in the UK -- why isn't more being done. Everyone


knows the NHS is stretched financially, so the question is


whether they should take money from other parts of the NHS to spend on


mental health issues. Caroline Flint. We had a debate on mental


health issues this week, it's a massively important area for us to


understand, that if we don't spend more in this area then there will be


other costs that we will have to face as well, and for too long, I


was a public health minister in the last Labour government, and for a


long time we have had a treatment service in hospitals, but we haven't


had the sort of services in the community to prevent people becoming


ill and that includes resources for mental health as well. I have three


prisons in my constituency and I know that for a lot of offenders


they are suffering from mental health problems, addiction problems,


and problems in terms of literacy. So we really have to look, if we are


going to say there needs to be parity between mental health and


physical health, we have to find a way to make sure that is a reality


because at the moment services are being cut back, people who need


hands-on support are isolated on their own, and they cannot only be a


danger to themselves but such a good -- sadly, tragically, they can be a


danger to other people as well and that's not acceptable. The budget


put back money that had been taken out in real terms, Vince Cable, the


last budget? The problem is the lack of joined up government. We take one


example, the ASA, the modern word for the dole, a very high percentage


of people on the FA have mental health conditions. -- ESA. Although


their conditions are treatable, particularly with talking therapies,


they are not being directed into any treatment so they are out of work


and their mental health conditions are getting worse. Towards the end


of the Coalition Government, my boss was a kid -- key influence on this,


mental health was being elevated from its traditional status as the


Cinderella of the health service, and I was given a small pot of money


to bring adult education for helping people with mental health, this is


not just an NHS issue, it is as Caroline says about prisons, it's


about unemployment benefit, it's about schools, and thinking about


this problem in a joined up way, which is completely absent now. Mary


Beard. The simple answer about why it's neglected is that it's much


less visible to most people most of the time. There's no blood, or there


is not often blood involved. I think that makes it easy to shut your eyes


too. I think it is changing. I think it's changing in a way that I hope


will actually require a need and demand extra investment, because as


Caroline says, that investment will be repaid over and over again


economic Lee, even if you just do a brutal economic calculation, never


mind the cruelty and the unfairness to the individuals concerned, you


come out ahead if you look after mental health. Quentin Letts.


Regarding mental health, it is difficult not to feel humbled and


inadequate talking about it, especially if mercifully I have no


personal family experience of that. I do, however, have recent family


experience of the NHS on cancer care and that has been magnificent, and


the NHS, which is getting good amounts of money, long way that


last, is one of the things that gives is tremendous, as the country,


tremendous social peace and all I can say is I'm proud that is the


case. Greg Clark. Some of the most heart-rending constituency cases


that I have been working for have been when parents, often of young


people, have come to my surgery at their wits' end because they can't


get an appointment to have an assessment for a child or an


adolescent that has got mental health difficulties, and this goes


back all the time that I have been an MP. If they have broken a leg on


the rugby field or something, then they would go to a Andy and they


would be treated instantly, but I had cases of people where young


people were being kept waiting for six months for assessment, and


that's an eternity in the life of a young person. I think that is now


changing. There is a much greater recognition that we must be


absolutely as committed to help people promptly and effectively, if


they have a mental health condition, as they've gotten physical health


condition, but we still got further to go. It's a direction we must


continue to go down and to have this complete parity, so there isn't the


best digital stigma -- there is the stigma that has stopped people


talking about it and that is changing and I'm glad it is. To talk


about young people, whilst we need more money for mental health


services in general, we desperately need more money for young people


with mental health problems, because the damage it can cause is life


changing and some people, when they don't receive the care they need, it


will never be the same. Thank you very much.


APPLAUSE We are going to have a guess and no


on this one, the last question from Elaine Pippard, please. Should Tyson


Fury competing Sports Personality of the Year? Should Tyson Fury, the


boxer, be allowed to be one of the nominees for Sports Personality of


the Year, or should the BBC kick him off the list? I will go round the


table, you know what he said, a woman's best places in the kitchen


and on her back, and talking about, sexuality and paedophilia and


abortion being the work of the devil. Mary Beard, should he be


there or kicked off? He's not in my dream team for a dinner party but


yes, have him there vote for somebody else.


APPLAUSE Greg Clark. Yes or no? You can vote


for Andy Murray in what he did in winning the Davis Cup for us. Byrom


Caroline Flint? Kick him off, it's about his personality and we need


better ambassadors in British sport. Quentin Letts, sportsmen


ambassadors? I'd definitely have him in because I want to see the


punch-up between him and Clare Balding at the end. My money is on


Claire, I think she would take him, in a sense. Vince Cable? I wouldn't


have him on, it's called Sports Personality of the Year, not


sportsperson of the year, it's about personality as well as sport and he


has failed that test. OK. APPLAUSE


Thank you all very much and thank you for your swift answers on that


issue, but our hour is up now. We're in Slough next


week with Piers Morgan With four other people, alongside


politicians. Then after Christmas we're


back on 14th January To join the audience


for either programme - Slough or Limehouse -


go to our website, or call: If you are listening on Radio 5Live,


you can continue the debate I hope that's a lively programme, it


usually is. My thanks to this panel and this audience, who can't take


part in that discussion. From all of us here in Bath, until next


Thursday, good night. What do we do with


something like this? that you might have heard


about me that could be true. We've got a nutjob


running around London.


David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Bath. On the panel are Conservative communities secretary Greg Clark MP, Labour's Caroline Flint MP, Liberal Democrat Vince Cable, classicist and broadcaster Mary Beard and the Daily Mail's parliamentary sketch writer Quentin Letts.

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