David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Manchester. With Lord Lawson, Lisa Nandy, Michael O'Leary, Benjamin Zephaniah and Isabel Oakeshott.
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Tonight we're in Manchester, and this is Question Time.
And a big welcome, whether you're watching on television,
listening on the radio,
to our audience here, of course, and to our panel.
Tonight, the Conservative former
Chancellor Of The Exchequer, Nigel Lawson,
Labour's Shadow Energy Secretary, Lisa Nandy,
the chief executive of Ryanair, Michael O'Leary,
the Daily Mail's political editor at large, Isabel Oakeshott,
and the poet and writer, Benjamin Zephaniah.
And... Thank you very much. And remember,
Facebook, Twitter, and text, the text number is 83981,
are all at your disposal if you want to
rubbish what everybody here is saying.
And they can't get back at you, so it's a good chance.
OK, let's have our first question.
It's from Sarah Reynolds, please, Sarah Reynolds.
Few thought Leicester would win the Premier League
or that Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee.
What odds would the panel give
on him becoming President of America.
Well, Michael O'Leary, you're a horse racing man,
what odds would you give on Donald Trump becoming President?
Well, firstly, as a lifelong Man City fan,
I should say I am one of the few who
isn't particularly happy that Leicester won the Premiership.
I would give Trump much better odds
than most of the media presently give him.
He was a huge outsider
in the Republican primaries,
he's won by quite some distance.
And I think what will play to his strength is the fact that
I think Hillary Clinton is an appalling, poor...
is a poor candidate on the Democrats' side.
You have an unusual election in that you have one of
the most unpopular Democrat nominees taking on
one of the most unpopular Republican nominees.
But Trump reminds me in some ways like Reagan,
hugely underestimated and yet electorally successful.
The polls tell us he won't win in November, but
I have a sneaking suspicion it's going to be much closer
than people and the polls currently predict.
And all these insults that he's been dishing out over the campaign,
which Reagan never did,
is that not going to make people turn away from him?
I think that's the nature of the primaries, and, frankly,
dishing out insults has served me very well as a career...
-You just insult your passengers, that's it.
Oh, no, no, just the competition.
We've been insulting the competition for many years,
it's never held back Ryanair's progress.
OK. Enough of the advertisement.
I think Leicester have done amazingly well, for a start.
Um, I think this season, when it comes to football,
has been a brilliant season of football.
Apart from my team, Aston Villa.
-Um, they've played really badly,
but they've done it by hard work and passion and belief.
I'm not sure if Donald Trump believes
most of the things he says he's going to do.
And if he does, I think he'll have a similar problem to the one that,
um, Barack Obama had, in a very...
in a different way, but a similar problem, in that,
you promise all these things,
you're going to do all these things when you get in power,
but when you get in, the realpolitik
of being able to do them is something else.
So if Donald Trump got in power and he said he's going to build a wall
to keep the Mexicans out, or he's going to invade China
or whatever it is he's going to do,
some people are going to come into his office and say, "Mr President,
"this is the reality." And he's going to have to learn
some really hard lessons about what politics is really about.
It's really easy when you're kind of in opposition,
or you are, kind of, you know,
campaigning, to make lots of promises.
But once you get in power, it's a different deal.
And if he really did win power and he got anywhere near
doing half of the things that he says he's going to do,
my friends, it would be the end of the world as we know it.
Are you for Trump, the woman at the back there?
No, I definitely am not for Trump.
Um, I just wanted to say I really, um,
I really think that's a valid point by Benjamin,
because that's exactly what David Cameron
has done in his premiership, isn't it?
He said he would not cut front-line services,
that's exactly what he's done.
All those election promises,
they're all not worth the paper they're written on. Not just Trump.
Do you think any election promises
are worth the paper they're written on? Any party, ever?
Yeah, Jeremy Corbyn's.
Oh, right, OK. APPLAUSE
I think we have yet to see that. Nigel Lawson.
Yeah, first of all, Leicester,
which is the most important thing.
-I don't think it's very relevant...
I am very happy indeed tonight,
because you forgot to read out my full title.
Which is Lord Lawson of Blaby,
and Blaby is just next door
to Leicester City in heart of Leicestershire.
I was a Leicestershire member, and it is absolutely great.
It's a wonderful David and Goliath story
and I am absolutely delighted.
I knew I could rely on you to read out your full title if I failed.
I wouldn't have done it if Leicester City hadn't won the Premiership.
The... On, uh, uh, Trump.
I agree with, uh, Michael,
that although he is unlikely to win,
it's not impossible.
Nobody ever expected that he would be the Republican candidate.
Also, it is not the case that he would have the slightest difficulty
in doing, if he were President,
which I don't wish to see, but if he were,
doing things completely differently from what he said in getting the,
uh, nomination for the candidacy.
He is quite capable of changing his mind
without the slightest hesitation,
-but he is...
-Are you saying that about any politician
or about him particularly?
No, he is exceptionally that way.
But he is not a...
To compare him with Ronald Regan is completely wrong.
I knew Ronald Regan quite well,
and Ronald Regan was a great man and a great politician.
And before he went into...became President,
he had been a hugely successful governor of California.
California is bigger than most countries in Europe.
I mean, it is a substantial job, and he did it very well.
He had plenty of experience, he knew what he was doing,
and he did it very well.
Trump has never done anything except made money,
he's lost it and made it again.
But... I don't think they're remotely like each other,
but you never know.
We're living in a curious age in the West,
where there is a huge hostility to
what might be called the political establishment
and conventional politicians.
So you simply don't know what might happen.
I agree with the panel so far. I think it's terrible that
in a country the size of 250 million plus,
that we have the choice of either Donald Trump,
or another dynasty, where we had the Kennedys, we had the Bushes,
and now we've got the Clintons.
If they don't do it this time, let's have a better, uh,
process for getting a governor, uh,
a President for the next United States.
And on the topic of Leicester, congratulations.
-I don't think we need to go too much on about Leicester.
No, no, no, this is important!
-She started it!
-I know she did!
The third one in this, sorry,
is that the UK wins the Eurovision Song Contest.
LAUGHTER And you, sir, on the left there.
Uh, well, might we actually be grateful
that it's Trump and not Ted Cruz?
At least you can make the argument
that Trump doesn't believe half the things he says,
whereas Ted Cruz actually believed everything he said.
Isabel. Isabel Oakeshott.
Well, I don't know, really, anything about football.
All I would say on Leicester is...
Forget the football! You've come for the...
I'm really looking forward to seeing
Gary Lineker presenting Match Of The Day in his underpants.
On the question of Trump, there is a sort of
analogy with David Cameron here.
When David Cameron was a young MP,
he wanted to get lots of airtime. And when TV researchers
used to ring him up, asking for his views on things,
he would give incredibly strong views,
practically frothing at the mouth,
so that they invited him on to programmes.
And then once he'd secured his slot on the panel,
he would completely calm his view down,
much to the dismay of the producers.
So I think it is entirely possible that
Donald Trump has played a very calculated game
and has exaggerated many of his positions on things.
In terms of how likely it is that he is going to win, well,
it is certainly something that is now being taken a lot more seriously
in the corridors of power here,
and it's interesting to see
people like the Prime Minister squirming slightly
having called him stupid and being very dismissive all along.
He may have to retreat on that.
He's now said he deserves our respect.
Well, it's a hasty U-turn.
But, look at the way Trump has fought this campaign,
you're a political observer, do you think it's been calculated?
Do you think everything he says is calculated,
or is some of it just shooting from the hip?
I think it's probably a bit of both.
I mean, make no mistake, Donald Trump has the resources
to employ the best possible advisors,
and he has come from absolutely nowhere to the position he is today.
But at the end of the day,
he is an extremely strong and charismatic personality
probably not particularly good at editing himself all the time.
So this is a man who will shoot from the hip.
OK. You, sir, up there at the back.
I agree with Lord Lawson about...
Oh, you? Oh, all right, I'll come to you afterwards.
People are sort of, like, sick of the establishment where...
And that's why they've turned to Donald Trump.
Even the Republicans didn't want him as their candidate.
But then he's still got... It's almost like people
don't really care about his policies but they're tired of
the political correctness and the lies of the elite
that they've had for generations, really.
What do you think the odds of him winning are?
I think they're quite good, I would agree that Hillary Clinton's
not a very good candidate, either.
If you place a bet, it's 2/1, now, apparently.
I would probably bet on Trump being President.
And you, sir, you had your hand up.
I was just going to say what the lady said.
If, hypothetically, Trump does win and become President,
does this mean David Cameron will
have to climb down off his high horse
-and actually have to deal with him?
But they're politicians, they won't have any difficulty
dealing with each other once they get elected.
Yeah, but if a man of David Cameron's supposedly stature
and all this high education is going to have to deal with a man who
says he's from the people and the working class and
brought himself up, he's going to
have to deal with that type of person.
And if Donald Trump actually says something and does something that
David Cameron doesn't actually like,
what does he do about it then?
-No different to the relationship with Obama.
Lisa Nandy, supposing, let's just take the example of Jeremy Corbyn,
if Jeremy Corbyn was Prime Minister,
were to be,
uh, and had had to deal with Trump.
That's an interesting relationship. How would that go?
Well, I think we've always had a duty to be honest to
our friends and allies as much as we're honest to
people that we fundamentally disagree with,
and I think Jeremy has proven over the last few months
that he is prepared to tell the truth
and be honest about what he really thinks,
even when it gets him into a great row.
So I don't think you would have any worries on that point.
I think there is a serious point here, which is that we,
in Britain we love an underdog, don't we, and everybody,
I think, was rooting for Leicester
and has been really pleased about what happened this week.
It looks like Donald Trump has come in as a kind out outsider,
and he's going to pull off this great political upset.
But if you look behind the drama
and the kind of absurdity of some of the things that he's saying,
he is a deeply offensive, divisive candidate,
and if he is doing something...
If he's, if he's doing something that, as Isabel suggests,
might be much more calculated, which I think she's right to, to say,
then that is actually even worse,
because the comments that he's made,
particularly about Muslims, but also about women
and other people in America and across the world
have a real life impact on people right now,
and the level of hostility and prejudice
and discrimination that they face.
It's the sort of nasty, divisive politics
that we're now seeing start to seep into British politics
with the disgraceful campaign that Zac Goldsmith and David Cameron
have run against Sadiq Khan.
That is why, that is why, although he has a chance,
he is most unlikely to become President,
just as Jeremy Corbyn is most unlikely
ever to become Prime Minister.
It's not Jeremy Corbyn who's been running
a disgraceful campaign in London.
All right, this, we'll have the result of all that, actually,
the mayoralty, not till Friday
-or late Friday or Saturday or something.
Anyway, let's go on. We've got lots of questions
to get through tonight.
Sorry, we'll come to you on another point. Aberdeen we're in next week,
and Walsall in the West Midlands the week after.
Just a reminder, and there are the details on the screen.
If you'd like to come, you'd be extremely welcome.
Findlay Malcolm, please, Findlay Malcolm.
If the economic impact of Brexit is so difficult to predict,
should we base our referendum vote on moral principles?
And moral principles,
you mean anything but economics, really?
Yeah, so, something like, say, solidarity amongst
the other nations that are in the EU that depend on us
and for our involvement in the EU.
OK, so, Nigel Lawson, I don't know if you agree with the first part.
The economic impact is so difficult to predict,
so other ideas are going to decide how people vote. Or should.
I think the economic impact of Brexit would be positive,
but I agree that it is difficult to predict how positive it would be.
And I agree with you that it is fundamentally a political issue
because the European Union is a political venture.
The whole purpose the European Union
is to create a United States Of Europe.
I am not at all hostile to Europe as such.
I live in France and I love it there.
But this is not about whether you like Europe or not
or whether you like travelling in Europe.
It's whether you want to be part of a United States of Europe
and I think most of the people of Europe don't,
and certainly people in France I know well,
they don't and they're extremely disaffected with
the European Union at the present time, but their elites want it.
Jacques Delors, I knew very well, that was his whole purpose,
and the British certainly don't want it,
not even the British elite want it, so therefore there is no point
in being a member of an undemocratic outfit, which has an objective
which you don't share, so we should love them and leave them.
APPLAUSE Even though you can...
I couldn't agree more... disagree more profoundly with Nigel.
He's just fundamentally wrong.
Leaving the European Union will be damaging to the UK economy.
I say that as one of the bigger, foreign inward investors in the UK.
Ryanair employs over 3,000 people here in the UK.
We will invest less in the UK if the UK leaves the European Union.
It will undoubtedly damage sterling.
It will undoubtedly damage your economic growth,
certainly for the next three to five years, and yet leaving,
the Leave campaign's only argument
is that if you leave, it will all stay the same.
Well, it won't.
It'll only stay the same if you can go, then, and renegotiate
entry into a single market, which is basically Norway. Welcome to Norway.
What Norway does is, it's not in the European Union,
but it has negotiated membership of the single market, which,
to be fair, the vast majority of the UK people wish to remain in.
Norway pays something like the same or slightly more per head
of population to the European Union,
despite not being a member,
and it has to obey about 95% of the regulations coming
out of Brussels, so you're being sold a lie by people who
tell you if you leave, it will all stay the same. It won't.
You should stay and,
like Nigel's previous government under Mrs Thatcher,
you should help to reform the European Union from within,
and to be fair to David Cameron, I think he's done a good job.
What do you say to the point Nigel Lawson made about everybody
else wants something different from what Britain wants, a United States
-I don't think they do.
As somebody who's Irish, what I want
is pretty much what most people in the UK want - I want
a single market, a single market where you're free to move around,
where there's less regulation, where there's less bureaucracy.
David Cameron has negotiated reforms
which protects sterling from the European Union,
protects the UK taxpayer from funding out any other Euro bailouts,
and protects the UK from closer European integration.
Nigel is simply wrong in his analysis.
-That's not true.
-It is true.
We'll come back to that point.
The woman there in the second row from the back.
I'd also disagree with Nigel because, personally,
I DO need to stay part of the EU to get a free education.
My country has failed me
and I'm having to move to Sweden to get a free education at university
so it will affect people and people do not want it to happen.
APPLAUSE OK, and you, sir, in yellow. Yes?
Some people would regard democracy as more important than
an extra few quid by doing the trade deals that we supposedly won't get.
OK. And you down there.
Mr O'Leary, I think you skipped the point.
The problem that we have with the Remain campaign,
you're not running a positive campaign.
All we hear every other day is scare stories or,
"There's going to be an apocalypse if we leave,"
and we'll lose 6% of GDP by 2030.
Why is it there's no positive campaign?
Fair enough, granted, Brexit is running a scare campaign as well,
but if you want people to buy into the EU,
to be part of it, to reform it, then you need to run a positive campaign,
-not try to scare the living hell out of us.
-I'll come back to you.
Let's go round the panel. Isabel Oakeshott.
Well, Michael, I can well understand why you want to stay in the EU
because the EU works very well for enormous companies like yours.
It's very different if you run a small business where you find
that the EU, you have to comply
with the same set of regulations as a huge company like yours
and you are effectively strangulated by the regulation
and all the red tape, so I think the small businesses,
they are the backbone of our economy and I think that the economic debate
around Brexit has been characterised by
the most deplorable scaremongering on the part of both the Government
and the Remain campaigners.
We don't know what the economic impact is going to be,
but it's not going to be an apocalypse.
And for many people,
as the gentleman up there said, this isn't about
a few quid here or there, it is about our sovereignty
and our ability to control our borders
and how many people we have coming here.
Well, I don't think it's scaremongering to point out
that Europe is by far our biggest export market,
that if you look at a whole host of voices from our Government,
to financial experts, to the President of the United States,
they've all pointed out that there would be serious problems
for Britain if we came out and I don't think that is
scaremongering, but I do take the point that this gentleman made
about the positive case for Europe,
and I think there is a positive, a moral case for Europe,
a case that says there is another Europe, a Europe that has been
a forum for solidarity of working people in countries
across Europe that has won and protected us rights at work
like paternity leave and maternity leave,
and the right to challenge employers,
and health and safety laws that have
actually kept some of my constituents in Wigan alive
as a result, and I think there's another Europe as well,
the sort of Europe that helps us to deal with the major challenges
that we in Britain face,
whether it's the mass movement of people,
whether it's global terrorism or whether it's climate change.
Just a few months ago, the fact that we were able to work with
the rest of the European Union to tackle climate change
didn't just help to raise our ambition in Britain,
it helped to raise Europe's ambition and it helped to raise
the world's ambition, and that's why I think we're better off in Europe.
What do you say to the point Nigel Lawson made, that these
other states want a United States of Europe and we don't,
and therefore should get out?
I just think that we've heard a lot from the other side about how
everything will be fine when we leave the European Union,
we'll be able to trade with other nations,
negotiate our own deals, but then you have the President of the
United States, who comes over and says, actually, no, that's not true.
That wasn't the point he was making.
He was making the point that this was going to become
a United States of Europe, which we didn't want.
Well, I think what we've seen over the last few years, actually,
is that we get to make decisions
about some of those really important issues.
So, for example, Isabel talked about unrestricted immigration.
We are currently having a row in the UK
about whether we can stand up and take just 3,000 of the 90,000
displaced children fleeing war in Syria that are currently in Europe.
If that tells you anything,
it tells you that we have the power to control our own borders
if we can't even be bothered to take such a small number of children...
What I'd like to do... Hang on. What I'd like to do is hear from
one or two more members of the audience.
I'm leaving Benjamin Zephaniah on the side for the moment
because I know he says he has no idea how he's going to vote,
so I thought he could listen to all the arguments and then we can hear
whether you've decided.
But hold on just a second. The man there in the blue shirt.
If we were to leave the EU,
would it be the end of cheap flights from Europe destinations...
..and would we impose a levy on British flights to Europe?
We'll hold on to that one, I'll make a note of that. You, sir, here.
The second, yes.
Erm, I think the point that Brexit's saying
everything will be fine, no change, is not right.
I think a lot of people are recognising that there will be
possibly a dip in various economic things, but it'll come back later,
and I don't think Obama actually said anything terrible.
If you listen to what he said,
he was talking in terms of a US deal being negotiated at the moment
and they'll do that first and we'll be after that. That's no biggie.
OK, and you there, the woman there, yes.
I think if we're going to talk about the morality
and democracy within the EU,
I think we have to look at the way that they've
treated Greece and the way they've held them hostage with the bailouts.
-Well, I'm still undecided!
-You haven't got THAT long, you know!
-49 days, or 48.
I can't remember where we are now. How many days is it?
It's interesting. I was going to say, until Lisa spoke,
that nobody actually really addressed the question.
It was about ethics and morals.
Everybody talked about economics apart from Lisa.
-We talked about politics to some extent.
Well, the question was about morals and ethics, as far as I remember.
The question... Well, Findlay can say what the question was again,
but it was saying the economics are difficult to predict, one way
or the other, and therefore it's about other issues.
That's right, Findlay, isn't it, roughly?
And I think mass disagreement on the panel just demonstrates
how difficult it is to predict,
amongst people who are qualified and able to predict it!
Yes, and I'm completely unqualified, but I'm passionate about it.
Now, this may sound like a strange thing to say in this arena,
and I can understand a lot of people not understanding this,
but I believe in a USA.
I believe in a United States of Africa.
I believe in a United States of Asia.
I believe in a United Arab States.
States getting together and working for the betterment of their people,
not becoming a kind of European superstate
as some people are not keen on, but just...
I've been in Africa and wanted to get from one country to another
and I had to fly to another European country before I could do it because
these countries are not talking to each other, so at the heart of it,
I like the idea of countries coming together and working together.
I remember when I was a kid and it was the Common Market,
that's what it seemed to be about,
and I also am very keen on having the politicians
that I elect very close to me, so you see my confusion.
You are, you've got a problem anyway, with that!
But, but, I've looked at all the, kind of, as much as I can,
the economic arguments and all that,
and what it boils down to for me is how it affects people on the street,
and, from what I understand...
..if it wasn't for the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU
and lots of other European courts,
a lot of black people wouldn't have got their rights in this country,
a lot of women, a lot of working people wouldn't have their rights.
We couldn't rely on the Tories or Tony Blair to give it to us.
I don't think Benjamin is right.
We have had a legal system, which has protected rights,
human rights, for years and generations.
It's got nothing whatever to do with the European Union.
-Aren't we trying to drop out of human rights charter?
It has nothing to do with the European Union.
On the economics, Isabel is absolutely right that
the regulation, there is the excessive regulation,
excessive red tape, is strangling small and medium-sized enterprises.
-And yet they still support being part of Europe.
No, they don't.
-No, they don't, that's just inaccurate.
It's the big boys, it's the CBI and the banks
and all these big boys who do, it is not the small companies.
They are opposed to it,
but it is not, at heart, an economic issue,
it is whether you believe in democracy,
whether you believe in self-government
and as for cooperation, as for cooperation,
cooperation in the modern world needs to be global.
The idea that cooperation should just be within Europe is crazy,
and we do have wonderful cooperation through the Commonwealth,
through the membership
of the Security Council of the United Nations,
through the so-called Five Eyes security system,
which we have with the United States, Canada, New Zealand
and Australia, through Nato, which is very important around defence.
It is that which is important, but our own borders are important,
too, and we do not have control, despite what Lisa said.
We simply do not have control over our borders.
-Anybody... Let me finish the sentence.
Anybody who has a European Union passport has the right to come here,
live here and work here, and there's nothing we can do about it,
and thinking, and this is going to be extended to 75 million Turks.
Er, that's on...
-Oh, no. No, it's not.
-But Nigel, you don't mind going to France.
-This is completely...
-But you don't mind going to France!
-No, of course not.
-This is the sort of misinformation that is really
-putting people off this campaign.
Back to Findlay's question, it helps to go back
to one of Bill Clinton's great maxims - people go to vote,
generally "It's on the economy, stupid."
We're all in favour of very moral arguments,
but most people at general elections
and at big elections will vote on how they think it's going to
affect the economy, their family and their children's future.
I was entertained with Isabel's shot at someone working for
the Daily Mail slagging off Ryanair for being a big company,
but can I address, we got to be a big company by actually offering
low fares all over Europe.
We were only able to do that because the airlines were deregulated
under a single market in Europe. The regulation was taken away.
Other than that, we were only free to fly somewhere from Ireland.
That has transformed the lives of millions of UK citizens.
We carry about 35 million passengers a year to and between the UK
and Europe. It has transformed.
Everybody under the age of 40 doesn't remember
when BA used to charge you 500 quid to get to Paris
and you had to stay a Saturday night if you wanted a cheaper fare.
The single market has delivered low-fare travel.
It has delivered holidays and actually, the UK Government...
-Money, money, money again!
-No, no, the UK Government has been
regressive in that because it was a Labour Government under Gordon Brown
that introduced APD that reversed low-fare air travel
by taxing low-fare air travel.
Listen, the way democracy's going in this country at the moment,
if you had a general election today,
the people would probably vote for Votey McVoteface.
The problem is, you don't have
-a general election today.
You're going to have a referendum on Europe.
OK, you, sir, in the front, here.
-The question originally was about moral principles.
"Should we decide on moral principles?"
Neil Kinnock was rejected by this electorate,
by the British electorate, on two separate occasions.
He then resigned, went off to the European Commission
and took upon himself greater powers than our Prime Minister.
Is it morally right that a man who is unelected and rejected
by the British population then takes upon himself more power?
Is it morally right that the European Commission have
spent the last three years negotiating, in secret, the TTIP,
with the Bilderberg Group at their backing?
Is it morally right that these people have power over us
and we don't have the democratic right to get rid of these people
that we don't want?
-Can you directly answer his question?
-Yeah, no, of course I can.
I mean, I... So, I think you're right that Europe needs reform,
and I don't think that you will find many people in the Labour Party
who are arguing that we should remain,
that don't believe that Europe needs fundamental reform -
much more transparency, much more democracy,
and decisions made closer to the people that they actually effect.
-But we've just tried to reform it.
-We've just tried and it didn't work.
-Just a moment, Isabel.
I agree with you about that,
but the idea that we would be able to take back more control
over the things that affect our lives -
whether it's climate change or jobs,
or terrorism or drugs or immigration -
by cooperating less rather than more, is just fantasy.
-All right, Isabel...
-You've got a group of people over here
who are arguing about sovereignty, and they are giving away our power.
-We're not going to within the EU.
-Don't let them do it.
It's going to be diluted, the more countries that come in,
our influence is going to be diluted.
How can you possibly think that we are going to have
a greater influence when there's five more countries being
touted to come into the European Union?
APPLAUSE All right, Isabel...
Isabel Oakeshott, and then I'll come to you.
Let me just come in on the very interesting points that Benjamin
made about some of the moral questions and the rights for people.
I think that your question was kind of based on a false presumption
that we somehow lag behind other countries,
when it comes to moral decency and common decency,
and actually we lead the way in many of those things.
We've just seen that David Cameron has agreed to
take in child refugees.
-Let me give another example...
-It took him a long time.
Let me give you another...
-It took him a long time.
-Let me give you another example.
Let's look at, for example, animal welfare -
it's an issue I really care about.
We would like, in Britain,
-to be able to stop live exports of farm animals.
-So do I.
We can't, because of the EU,
so there are certain areas - many areas -
where, actually, if we had control,
we would exceed some of the moral values of other member states.
I'm not... I'm sitting on the fence still,
but what about, not so long ago, one of our Government wanted to
lock people up for 90 days or something without charging them?
-What's that got to do with the EU?
I'm just answering the question about... We're not moral leaders.
Well, we can't be moral leaders in everything.
-We can try.
-OK, let's go on. You, sir, here. You, sir, here.
-The problem I've got with this referendum...
-Say it again.
The problem I've got with this referendum,
if you listen to the Brexit camp and you listen to the Remain camp,
like the question says, it'll about economics.
No matter what they do, they always throw money at you.
It's money this, money that, money this, money that.
Lisa pointed out all these financial bigwigs that have
pointed out that we have to stay in, cos this is going to happen,
They weren't... They didn't want to listen to them
when the Government...
when everybody wanted to go into the euro, which...
For them, going into the euro was the best decision that we could do,
so they ignored them, and it turned out that they was wrong.
-With what they said, they was wrong.
But, actually, when we went...
When we had the debate about whether we were going into the euro
and we decided not to do it, there were voices, credible voices,
on both sides of the argument, making different cases.
And now what you see, when you look across the economic world,
is you only really find people making the case to remain,
and I'm not asking you to vote for Europe on that basis.
-I'm just saying, think about it, really...
..that we're part of this enormous trading bloc,
so we can negotiate better deals with other countries.
If we come out, why would it be the same?
All right, hang on a second.
When you were Chancellor of the Exchequer,
and you were following the Deutschmark,
and there was the thought of us going with, maybe,
the euro and all that, when did you start to think
that perhaps it wasn't such a good idea to be in the EU?
I was the first minister to come out strongly against
the single European currency.
I did it when I was Chancellor in 1989, before it had come into being,
because I'd hoped it would be stopped,
because it was clear that that was their intention.
I knew Jacques Delors very well -
before he was President of the Commission,
he was my opposite number as French finance minister.
I knew exactly what he was up to, and I made a definitive speech,
the first one that was made, against joining the euro,
but, really, against the single currency at all.
But let me come back to the economics.
I agree that the economics is not the most important thing.
It is democracy and self-government that are far more important
-than the economics.
But there's a lot of nonsense being spoken, I won't mention names,
-but around this table. The...
-I don't see why...
-It's badge of honour, Nigel.
-First of all...
First of all, we do far more trade with
the rest of the world than we do with the European Union,
and the gap is growing.
The excess that we do with the rest of the world is greater.
There is no need for any trade agreements in order to do trade.
The fact of the matter is that the...
Obama spoke as he did because he thought it was in the interests
of the United States that we should remain in the European Union -
not necessarily the interests of Britain.
He may or may not be right that it is in
the interests of the United States, but that is not the issue.
It is what is right for this country, as much as, erm,
a wonderful country that the United States is...
And we had some talk about their presidential candidates earlier,
which may take some of the gloss off,
but, certainly, what is right for the United States
is not necessarily what is right for Britain.
-And... And the other thing is...
-All right, quickly.
-The other thing...
The other thing is that trade agreements are...
are of no significance to speak of.
Norway, for example, which Michael mentioned -
this ridiculous, tiny little country, but the tariff is...
The common external tariff...
Norway is a ridiculous, tiny little country?
-No, no, it is a lovely country,
-but it is, the comparison that's...
-Ridiculous, all right.
-I just wanted to clarify the point.
-No, I'm glad you did.
Norway's a great country, but to compare...
To compare it with...
-To compare it with the United Kingdom is ridiculous.
Now, I want to do one thing because I want to move on.
We've got a lot of other questions. We talk about Europe every week.
I happen to know, because we asked you all before you came,
that you're pretty well divided 50-50 when you made up your minds
-on Brexit or Remain... BENJAMIN:
-Oh, they're like me.
I want to hear from Remain people
because we have had a lot of Brexiters talking.
Yes, you, sir, there. And then I'll come to the lady there.
Then we'll go to another question. Yes?
You've heard all this, what do you make of it?
I want to take issue with a couple of points that have been raised.
Firstly, Isabel is saying that somehow
if we were in control of certain things, we'd make better choices.
So, we have seen the Government here in the UK
fighting against regulation to protect bees from pesticides,
fighting against regulation on climate change,
fighting against things like cleaning up our air -
they've failed dismally to meet EU targets.
So thinking that we'd be better outside Europe is one thing.
But the other thing about democracy,
I'm hearing Lord Lawson saying that it's all about democracy -
we have a Government here which is overriding local democracy.
They decided in Lancashire to oppose fracking.
Lancashire County Council opposed fracking,
the Government is going to overrule that.
So for him to talk about democracy is completely two-faced,
when the Government here is overriding local people.
And the woman there in the white dress? Yes?
I think that...
Well, I was watching either the Sunday Politics Show
or Andrew Marr show a few weeks ago,
Mr Lawson said we wouldn't have a trade agreement
in a similar way to Norway.
Then we have members of Parliament saying, "Of course we will."
And I think you're right with that question because we just don't know.
There's a lot of uncertainty.
I think that the Leave campaign has a lot of,
"Oh, when we leave, there'll be candyfloss from trees
"and unicorns on the ground, the world will be perfect."
And we need to make sure our Remain campaign
is equally as passionate because we are not getting that at the moment.
Do you ever go shopping? I'm sure you do.
Do you only ever see goods from the European Union in the shops?
Of course not, you see goods from all over the world.
You don't need to be in the European Union to trade with Europe.
I'll take one more Remain point.
Yes, the woman in blue there.
And then we must go on to another question.
Just to feed back to the original question,
what is wonderful is, we're part of something,
we're part of something that we can build together to make Europe
a better place to live for everybody in Europe.
And sometimes I think we get a bit hooked up on our lovely lives here.
But if we think across Europe, everybody's in different positions.
I personally love the fact that we've got people from all
different parts of Europe coming to live here, coming to work
and coming to contribute to the brilliant society we've got.
OK. Thank you. APPLAUSE
We'll go on.
Paul Burgess, you have a question for us, please?
Is it right that six and seven-year-olds should have to go
on strike to express their and their parents' feelings regarding SATs?
Children who were kept away from...
..kept away from school so they didn't sit their SATs.
Lisa Nandy, what do you think?
Well, I definitely agree with the way you phrased the question
because I went into a primary school in my constituency
this afternoon and I talked to some
11-year-olds who're going through the SATs process and their teacher.
What they told me was that testing in itself is not the problem,
actually assessment, proper assessment is a really
important part of the education system.
And it wasn't just the teachers who welcomed that,
it was the children as well.
But they were finding it incredibly stressful.
One of the reason the teachers were finding it incredibly stressful is
because they said to me, "The goalposts keep changing."
The Government has changed these tests over 80 times since September.
And so teachers were saying, "Look,
"we've just lost confidence with the system."
And there's a real problem here because
if you chop and change so often that
people don't really see the value in the assessment, it's very difficult,
then, for teachers and parents to give confidence to children that
those assessments are right as well,
-and that's where you get the stress.
-Wasn't the point though that
children were not meant to know they were sitting an exam?
Isn't that the point of SATs -
they were just meant to do them without realising it was an exam?
Part of the problem with the way the Government has handled this is
they've talked up the need to be tough
and have better standards in schools.
They've brought back the six and seven-year-old tests
without any clear evidence it does raise standards in school.
They actually published some of these tests online by accident
and then had to retract them.
I think the view coming out of schools now,
and with parents, is that the Government is completely
out of ideas about how you better support children
and raise standards, so instead they've come out with this
string of policies, including these tests,
including unqualified teachers in our schools,
including forcing all schools to become academies.
It's a box-ticking exercise,
but at the end our children are paying the price for it.
And were the parents right
to take their children away from school for the day,
take them, in effect, on strike?
I think this is difficult, really. I was reflecting on it earlier.
Just give your brief answer of your reflections.
My answer is that if it was me, I wouldn't have done it.
I think children are better off in school. But the blame, for me,
lies with a Government that's putting box-ticking above children.
I found it incredibly distasteful to see seven-year-olds
being marched on strikes with their parents bearing placards.
I thought that was really exploitive.
You know, there's a really sorry thing,
and that is that we are currently languishing below Vietnam
and Poland in the international educational league tables.
I think we should be throwing everything that we've got
at raising our game.
And at the end of the day, yes, it's not nice to sit tests,
but it's not so very traumatic.
And part of the rationale for these tests
is not to identify children who aren't doing well
to give them a hard time about that,
it's so that we can see which children need extra support,
and also so we can identify where teachers are failing.
And that has got to be a very, very decent objective.
-But the problem is, Isabel,
is that there is no clear evidence
that these six and seven-year-olds tests actually achieve that.
And in fact what some of those children were saying
to me today is that these tests are actually so difficult that they
are under enormous pressure and they're losing confidence.
If the Schools Minister can't even answer one of those questions on the
Today programme, then I do think he needs to listen to these concerns.
-Do you know what a subordinating conjunction is?
-No. I'm not...
-Do you know what a subordinating conjunction is?
-I do, actually.
I've never heard the expression until Nick Gibb.
I'm lucky enough to have had a great education!
All right. I'm going to the woman there. Yes?
I agree with points from both Isabel and Lisa, actually.
Because I do agree that testing is important
in some ways because I know that
often testing is crucial in order to find out who exactly is struggling
and it's important to establish from an early age who needs extra help.
So why the problem?
Because I also understand, like Lisa was saying,
about how we are constantly changing.
As a student myself, I understand how much of a stress it has been
on students and teachers because the Government
is constantly changing the way we do things,
and that is putting unnecessary pressure on students and teachers.
OK, Benjamin Zephaniah?
I agree with a lot of what Lisa said.
I spend a lot of time in schools, in this country and all over the world.
In this country, every time I seem to go in a school, teachers are
changing from one system to another,
constantly trying to get in with one system.
As soon as they get in that system,
there's another system comes along, some changes come along.
I think, at that early age, children should be enjoying school.
Tutors can assess them from afar and assess them
in much more interesting ways.
But one of the things I'd like to warn our Education Ministers about
is that they seem to look to places
like Japan and Singapore, and now China...
-North Korea, maybe?
-Well, not North Korea. I've been there...
Oh, you heard about North Korea,
where they identify geniuses at five and then bring them...?
-Oh, no, no.
-Not for you?
Quite seriously, those places have a high level of suicide.
They have a high level of...
They have a disease in Japan called hikikomori. It's unique to Japan.
It's where a kid just locks himself away because
he cannot take the world and the educational pressures
and everything else. It's because of this pressure to pass exams
from a young age and to do well, especially when you have
a small family, if you've got one child or two,
and they are not, you know, keeping up with everybody else.
The kids just can't take the pressure.
So, I think education is OK for making money, here we go again,
making money, but you've got to have good, rounded adults.
Nigel Lawson? APPLAUSE
We did have a problem in this country that our standard
of education was not good enough and it had to be raised.
Michael Gove, I think, did a very good job, when he was
-Secretary of State for Education...
..in improving standards in education.
And part of that... It's not the whole story.
Part of that is a necessity to test children.
I was very encouraged by this recent demo or strike
to see how few parents were stupid enough to bring
their children out on strike. The great majority recognised
the testing is necessary, and they were perfectly content
to go along with it. That is an important part of raising
educational standards, and if we want this country
to be even better than it is today,
that is a very important part of it.
OK. The woman there, in white?
Our children are the most precious commodity that we actually have,
and until education stops being a political football,
they are never going to stand a chance.
-And the reason why...
And the reason why, Mr Lawson, that there wasn't
such a greater parental support, is because, at the moment,
the majority of parents don't actually seriously understand
the mess the current D of E has made of assessment,
and, actually, what forced academisation is doing...
Where are the British values on forced academisation?
If you're forced to do something, what price?
-Freedom, liberty, rule of law.
-All right. The woman at the back there?
-In the very back row, yes.
-I think there's a couple of issues.
Firstly, it seems like a lot of our Education Ministers
think they know more about teaching than teachers do,
which is why they're changing things.
Secondly, just to come back to what Isabel was saying,
I think, partly, perhaps other countries are doing better
than Britain are in education systems because our good teachers
are leaving to go elsewhere to get a better standard of living.
-I'm slightly nervous at getting involved
in this part of the debate. But, look, as somebody Irish,
I'm a father of four children under the age of ten.
Like most parents, I care that my children are tested,
not tested, are challenged in school. I want them to do well.
I also want them to be pushed. I think we run a grave danger,
certainly in our generation, of being a little bit too soft
on our children. We've taken away competitive sports,
we don't want to test them, we love continuous assessment.
In life, in work, in career, everybody faces those challenges.
I don't... I think the parents were wrong to take children
of the age of six and seven out of school for a day of protest,
or whatever else it was. That wasn't the way to resolve their issues.
If they have an issue with the syllabus or they have an issue
with the testing regime, taking young children out of school
and having them marching up and down with placards was the wrong way
-to advance their case.
Can I... I'd like to go back to Paul Burgess,
who asked the question. What do you think of what you've heard?
I disagree in a lot of the things because there is no extra support
for the schools, they are just virtually to the bone,
the way the schools are run. My own granddaughter,
it was her third place that she managed to get in,
starting school at four. The other two places were full.
There's not enough schools, not enough teachers.
But the issue about SATs, which was the question you asked,
and going on strike about it, are you in favour of what was done?
In some ways. It was the only way of trying to get the message across,
-expressing their feelings.
-We're at a point of desperation.
-The man next to you,
you had your hand up. Do you want a quick point?
I think the fact that parents withheld their children from school
represents the degree of frustration that they feel about it.
I think the fact that the doctors have to go on strike
to be heard, to be listened to, again reflects that.
I think the fact that their discontent, in terms of academies
for high schools, that represents that. I think that is true.
Democracy is not really what the ex-Chancellor's referring to.
-I think we need to listen to the people.
It's a quick observation. I said earlier that I spend a lot of time
going around the world to schools and I'm fascinated by the amount
of British teachers I meet in foreign schools,
who sometimes they're getting less pay than they get here,
but they get better respect.
The government, the ministers of education, are not at war with them.
-And they'll accept less salary!
All right. We've got five minutes or so left.
Tom Markham, let's have your question, please.
If Labour perform badly at today's local elections,
should Jeremy Corbyn's position as leader come under threat?
If Labour perform badly at local elections,
which we get the results of early tomorrow morning,
should Jeremy Corbyn's position as leader come under threat?
Isabel Oakeshott is a commentator on these things. What do you think?
Well, I certainly would like to see it come under threat,
and so would a very great number of Labour MPs.
The problem that they've got is that Jeremy Corbyn
remains immensely popular with the wider Labour membership.
So you've got this bizarre situation where Labour MPs
are kind of held prisoner by the wider party.
I think that if it's a poor result tonight,
Jeremy Corbyn will carry on being leader for quite a while.
Because all the evidence is that if MPs who don't favour his leadership
tried to launch some kind of coup, it would be unsuccessful.
Tom Markham, your point is that he should or he shouldn't
come under threat if things go badly?
I think he should. It's the first test for him as leader.
The difficulty is, obviously, he's got huge support
in the membership, unfortunately. I think members have been incredibly
-Are you a Labour supporter?
-I'm a Labour member,
but I don't support Jeremy Corbyn.
I think people need to remember how good New Labour were.
-Minimum wage, equal rights for gay people.
Well, I certainly agree with the...
Are you a staunch supporter or a moderate supporter?
I'm not quite sure where you stand on the issue.
I'm a supporter of Labour and I'm a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn,
who was elected with a resounding mandate from our members.
Let me say this, as well, that the negativity about Jeremy
completely ignores the fact that in the last six months, we've won
really important victories over the Tories, forcing them to back down
on things like cutting tax credits for working people,
forcing the Business Secretary to come back from Australia
and intervene in the steel crisis,
and brokering a cross-party deal with support of Conservative MPs,
as well, to try and avert the junior doctors' strikes.
So it's just not true to say that Labour or Jeremy
aren't doing anything that's worth doing.
In fact, in many ways, we're acting as a line of defence
against some of the worst things that this Government is doing.
So if things go badly, the question was,
should his position come under threat?
That's a loyal Labour member, who thinks it should.
Well, I'm a loyal Labour member, as well, and what I would say is this.
Firstly, I don't accept the sort of doom, gloom and despair narrative.
We're fighting for every single vote in this election.
We know it's a tough call, but people said that the Oldham
by-election was a test of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.
They said if he did badly, he had to go.
They said that we would probably lose.
In fact, we did incredibly well and we increased our result
share there. So I think we need to go out,
we need to fight for every vote, we need to be humble about the fact
that, at the last general election, people felt they couldn't support us
and we had a really disappointing result.
We know it will be a tough road back, and this is the start of it.
-We've got to convince people.
I cannot believe that you are defending the Tony Blair Government
that took us to war in Iraq.
-How can you ignore that?
-APPLAUSE DROWNS OUT SPEECH
..Jeremy Corbyn has the biggest mandate of any leader
to ever have been elected. This is a democratic process.
It's not up to Labour MPs to decide who is Leader of the Labour Party.
It's up to members of the Labour Party.
In answer to the question, it's quite obvious,
I don't think his leadership will come under threat
if he does badly at the local elections, because it looks like
he'll win the London mayoralty, and that'll be the vindication.
But, to answer your point, you've elected Labour,
but democratically, Jeremy Corbyn, he's unelectable
to most of the British electorate.
You've gone back to the days of Michael Foot.
Labour will not win an election with Jeremy Corbyn as leader,
but he will probably usher in somebody electable after him,
as they did with Tony Blair.
And whatever your views of Tony Blair in Iraq,
he won Labour three elections in a row.
No other leader has.
You let Lisa off the hook, in terms of the question.
Why doesn't the Daily Mail put me back on it?
Well, the question was, whether you think he should face a challenge
-if he doesn't do well.
-She said no.
I just want to ask, are you happy with a Labour Leader
who calls Hamas and Hezbollah his friends?
-MIXED APPLAUSE AND BOOING
-Isabel, please. Please!
That is such a disgraceful thing to say.
That's what he called them.
As a political commentator, you would have been watching
Prime Minister's Questions when said very clearly that,
"Anybody who expresses anti-Semitism is no friend of mine."
-Please, these are important issues.
-Those were his exact words.
These are people's lives.
Stop playing politics with people's lives.
I can't remember what the question is.
I know we're talking about Jeremy Corbyn.
It's not just anything about Jeremy Corbyn.
It's should his leadership come under threat if they do badly
-in the elections?
-I think we're in a hostile climate for somebody
like Jeremy right now. The pressures against him,
you've got people in the party plotting against him.
I have known him for years, and I know that he was
a brilliant campaigner, that he cares about things passionately.
He's the kind of person that actually shouldn't be in politics
cos politics is so dirty, you know? He really cares!
Last week, apparently, he was supposed to be an anti-Semite.
He's the only mainstream politician that I know
that has been arrested for anti-racism.
Yeah. But he shouldn't be in politics?
-But what I mean is...
-I know what you mean.
-..he doesn't crave power.
He's not in it just for himself.
It's not just his own ego that he's trying to fulfil.
He really does care. Whatever you say about him, he really does care.
I have no wish to intrude in private grief.
You've got enough of your own in the Conservative Party.
The Labour Party is in a terrible mess, which Lisa knows,
although she won't admit it in public.
The Labour Members of Parliament are in despair,
the great majority, and I hope they will sort it out
because we do need, for a functioning democracy,
we need a strong opposition as well as a strong government.
But, at the moment, it is a mess. It is for them to sort it out.
OK, I'll take one more point before we stop.
You in the white shirt there, yes?
Yeah, I would agree with what Ben says.
I think that Jeremy Corbyn is a principled man.
I think he is in it for himself.
What I am concerned about is the fact that under his leadership,
there has been all this vicious anti-Semitic invective
that has popped out of the woodwork.
We've had Naz Shah, we've had Ken Livingstone, most recently.
This wasn't happening under Tony Blair,
-so I have to question why is this the case.
Just one week before that, there was a lot of Islamophobia at...
I can't remember his name, the London candidate.
-The media didn't go for that.
-The media didn't go for that.
Well, we have to stop waiting
for that result, and the result of the result, because our time's up.
We're going to be in Aberdeen next week.
We're in Walsall the week after that,
so if you'd like to come to Question Time,
apply to the website, the address on the screen there,
As ever, if you're listening on Radio 5 live, in the bath,
the debate continues, as you know, on Question Time...
That's what people say they do, watch the first half on television,
watch the second half in the bath. Well, listen to it.
Anyway, that's by the way.
You can continue the debate on Question Time Extra Time.
My thanks to this panel and to our audience here.
From Manchester, until next Thursday, good night.
David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Manchester. On the panel: Conservative former chancellor of the exchequer Lord Lawson, Labour's shadow energy secretary Lisa Nandy MP, chief executive of Ryanair Michael O'Leary, poet and writer Benjamin Zephaniah and Daily Mail political editor-at-large Isabel Oakeshott.