16/02/2017 Question Time

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David Dimbleby chairs topical debate from Glasgow.

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And on our panel tonight we have the Conservative Party's


only MP north of the border, who has been Secretary


of State for Scotland since 2015, David Mundell.


We have the former director of the human rights organisation


Liberty, made a peer by Jeremy Corbyn and now his shadow


The Deputy First Minister of Scotland, who's been


in the Scottish parliament since it was created, John Swinney.


The crime writer who backed Scottish independence in 2014 and voted


for Remain in the EU referendum, Val McDermid.


And once head of media for the Liberal Democrats,


now leading the free market think tank the Institute


of Economic Affairs, and a Brexiteer, Mark Littlewood.


And as always, from home, or wherever you are watching


Text 83981, if you want to do it that way.


Push the red button to see what others are saying.


Keep the debate going as the programme progresses.


Let's have our first question from Lesley Turan, please.


Should Scots have the right to a second independence referendum?


Should the Scots have the right to a second independence referendum


Shami Chakrabarti, as a non-Scot, what do you think?


Well, obviously I'm a non-Scot, so I'm not going to determine


what people in Scotland want for their future.


But I personally think that referenda in general can be very,


very divisive moments in a society's life.


We saw that in Scotland, in my case from outside.


Goodness me, we saw that all over the United Kingdom.


You know, the toxicity of that campaigning, on both sides,


families split and not speaking over it, communities divided over it.


Are we really in the mood for yet another referendum?


For a start, I don't entirely recognise your portrayal


of what happened in Scotland during the last referendum.


I personally know of no families that have been divided


and don't speak to each other any more.


I have friends who were on the other side of the argument from me.


We've had many vigorous discussions, and we are still friends, we still


Both on the EU one and on independence?


Yes, but principally on independence, that is


What we had was a media storm of whipping up a frenzy of hatred


and anger that was not reflected on the ground.


Yes, there were extremists on both sides who were vile,


repulsively and insulting and demeaning, but they were a tiny


But the overwhelming majority of people in this country


were voting on something they were passionate about,


and not in a narrow, tartan, shortbread way,


but passionate about for the future of this country going forward.


And Shami, you saw, in England presumably you are talking about,


divisions on the EU referendum that separated and split


I've been told by friends they went through periods of not


We saw a spike in hate crime, certainly, south


We lost a bright young Labour MP in a hate killing.


I do believe that sometimes there's a constitutional moment and you have


to have a referendum, but I don't think this


should happen every year in a country or society's life.


I think there are lots of other issues that are very important now


to securing equality, justice, fairness, schools,


We will deal with the referendum and Brexit.


You, in the third row, sir, what do you think?


I think the question really points to a significant change in what is


The whole issue of whether we were better together in the UK, and then


a short while after we enter into a referendum to exit the EU.


And I think the question that we have to face


and address in Scotland now is whether we are better


in a Brexiting UK, or whether we should


have the opportunity to form our own destiny in the EU.


And that's the question we should be addressing.


In my view, the way that the Brexit


situation has been handled, it seems to me that it is a drifting


situation, where no one really knows where we should be.


Scotland has very decisively voted in favour of remaining in the EU,


and that's where our destiny should be, and that's what we should


Scotland has been let down by the situation and we need


to speak up and argue for another referendum.


Quite a lot of other people have been let down in that sense as well.


London voted to remain, like Scotland did.


With respect to London and other parts of England,


what we shouldn't forget here is that Scotland


Scotland is a country and London is a city, and there


I suppose the question is, should Scotland have the right


to a second referendum and if so, when would you have it?


For me, Scotland has a right to determine her own


And that's a very basic point of self-determination for me.


The question that Lesley has highlighted is, and the fact


that she mentions the 62% for Remain in Scotland,


reinforces the point the gentleman has just made,


that Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom very clearly


are going in different directions in our thinking.


And in that respect, I think people must be free


to decide what is to be the future of our country.


For our part, as a government, what we have tried to do


since the referendum last June is to chart a course where we can


respond to the decisions that people in Scotland have taken,


the fact that we have argued for a different course.


And to try to find a way forward with the UK


And so far, we've got absolutely nowhere on that particular question.


What concessions do you want made to Scotland that would fit


in with that decision that was made by the UK?


Or are you actually saying, we've got to get out of the UK?


Are you frightened of having a referendum at the moment?


The paper the Scottish Government published in December set out


an approach whereby Scotland could retain our participation


within the single market through membership of the European


economic area, and that would see us maintaining our membership


But Theresa May has slammed the door on that.


She said we're coming out of the single market,


we are all coming out of the single market, despite the fact that even


many of the Leave campaigners were saying during the referendum,


you don't have to leave the single market.


She has voluntarily taken us to hard Brexit.


So when are you going to have the referendum?


We will pursue the negotiations we are having with the United Kingdom.


But quite clearly, we've set out to the UK Government,


if that does not get us to a satisfactory conclusion then


the likelihood of a second independent referendum


Do you agree with your former leader that the autumn of next year


We will see what that produces but we have to look at the decisions


the UK Government take and if we believe that is not


producing an approach that will deliver for the people


of Scotland, we have a right to take that issue to


David Mundell, the Prime Minister said she wouldn't be triggering


Article 50 until there's a UK approach and objectives


It doesn't sound as if there is much of a UK approach here


I'm disappointed to hear what John Swinney has had to say


because he knows officials between the two governments


are working all the time to look at how we can come


I want us to have an agreed position, and if we take


the Scottish Government's document, which I regard as a serious


contribution to the debate, that document sets out a whole range


of areas where we are actually in agreement.


In agreement on areas like workers' rights,


the status of EU citizens, in relation to criminal


So there are a lot of areas in which we are in agreement.


We want to ensure the status of EU citizens in the UK,


and we want to ensure the status of British citizens in Europe.


And that is a position on which I would have thought


You have EU citizens who have absolutely no idea where they stand


and are desperate for clarity and your government


It's a very simple question to deliver.


I'm not going to be lectured by somebody who was found out


for delaying an announcement about the funding of European


students so that it could be made at your party conference,


rather than bringing certainty to those students.


So don't lecture me on playing politics.


I think the audience watching and this audience


here would probably prefer it if you didn't play politics,


I just ask you, where is the guarantee that the rights


of EU citizens in the UK will be maintained?


You've said it is up for negotiation and depends what happens in Europe.


The Prime Minister has set out that it's a priority


We want to be able to guarantee the rights of EU citizens,


just as we want to be able to guarantee the rights of UK


And on the issue of a referendum, if the SNP decide to go


for a referendum, are you in favour of them having a referendum?


My belief, as I have said many times, of course there could be


The question is, should there be another independence referendum?


And I am quite clear that the answer to that is decisively no.


We had an independence referendum in in 2014.


I don't quite share Val's perspective on it,


although I welcome the fact that we had such an overwhelming


There was a decisive result in that referendum.


And now it is absolutely clear that the people of Scotland do not


If John Swinney and Nicola Sturgeon are genuinely listening


to the people of Scotland on their opinions about


a referendum, they would take it off the table now.


I just want to check one thing with you.


The words of a senior figure in the cabinet, Michael Fallon,


the Defence Secretary, when asked about this,


whether there might be another, whether Westminster would allow


My view is that the SNP should forget about having


My question is if you agree with Michael Fallon.


If the SNP asked for one, the Scottish Parliament ask for one,


The position, and John Swinney knows this, is that the Westminster


parliament would have to agree, because that is where


the responsibility for the referendum lies.


We haven't received a request to have another referendum,


We must continue to argue that we should not have


Mark, I'm going to bring you in the but I'd like to hear


from other members of our audience since there are a lot of hands up.


Let's hear your views, the woman in the third row.


A lot of things have changed since the first referendum.


A lot of people voted No because we were told our EU


Also, I don't agree with the fact that you said it divided a country.


That referendum sparked an interest in politics with a lot of young


people and if you had ever been to a rally in George Square


you would have seen thousands of people there camping peacefully.


But if you watch the BBC News, you'd never have seen that


And what's your view about another referendum?


Shami hit the nail on the head when she said there's lots of other


issues that have to be addressed in this country.


However, that's exactly why there should be a second referendum.


There's lots of issues in Scotland that have to be addressed


and we are not being represented by the people in Westminster.


We may have some difficult times in a short space


of time with another referendum and there will be debate,


but as Val has said, we will all come back to be friends.


I have friends on the other side of the fence as well


There is a bigger picture to look at here.


We have things to address, problems to overcome and we can only


do that if we've got control of our own destiny.


Look, I think the lady nailed it in the third row over there.


Almost the 2014 decision is moot because the constitutional framework


that you undertoad prevailed then has changed enormously.


In just over two years' time the Westminster Government will take


us out of the European Union because, in aggregate,


English votes and Welsh votes out trumps Scottish votes.


The vote here was overwhelmingly to remain.


Things have changed, I think that is a sensible reason


The constitutional basis upon which you voted in 2014


If you now wish to be a member of the European Union,


you will have to leave the United Kingdom.


That is the exact opposite of what was prevailing in 2014.


Now, you've probably had, since the Act of Union of 1706,


far too many people like me telling you what you should do.


So I'm not going to tell you what you should do,


but I hope you'll take a little bit of friendly advice.


This is the country of Adam Smith, David Hume, David Livingstone,


JK Rowling, Sir Alex Ferguson - Val McDermid!


And, you have the national income of a country like Portugal.


You have the population of a country like like


I see no reason whatsoever why Scotland can't take its own case


Who shouted out, "no, you haven't" here?


The 62% voted who remain is yesterday's news.


It was yesterday's news on the 24th June last year.


All those Labour voters, Conservative voters,


Liberal Democrat voters all the people who were frightened


into voting remain, these are most of the people also who voted no


If they thought today that their votes were going to be


hijacked as an excuse as a fundamental change for another


Scottish referendum, they must rue the day


We'll stick with this, but Louise White, let's


just have your question, Louise because that rather


adds to the dimensions of what we're talking about.


Why do the SNP want to reclaim powers from Westminster only


to hand them over to Brussels?


I mean, I think if you do want to assert your independence it


would be a little odd to throw off the dominance of the Westminster


Parliament and then to immediately reshackle yourself


to the European Union, but there are some differences.


The Westminster Parliament controls a considerable degree more


of your tax and spending than the European Union does.


The European Union, were you to leave the UK and rejoin,


would control a large amount of your regulation, but not as much


A good number of countries, it wouldn't be my voice


to John Swinney or the SNP, but a good number of countries,


about the size of Scotland are, I think, broadly independent


countries and have decided to be members of the European Union it.


Well, I think while the decision to go into this rock hard Brexit


maybe the trigger for us to move towards another referendum,


it won't be what the referendum is actually about because,


at this point, we can't predict what the EU is going to be


The EU is clearly in a state of flux at the moment.


We don't know what's going to happen in the French elections.


We don't know if Mrs Merkel will continue to be German Chancellor.


We cannot know what it will be like at the point where,


if there is going to be another referendum, that happens.


So that's a moot point at the moment.


I don't know what we're going to be heading into in two years' time.


Ultimately, it is about the future of Scotland and the decisions


we make knowing what the options are instead of being told


what the options are going to be and then discovering that we've


If you think about it, a lot of Europeans don't


want to stay in the European Union, what on earth are we doing joining


There's two reasons that directly answer the lady's question.


There are a whole range of independent countries have


decided, voluntarily, to work together as part


Some of them are small countries like Scotland,


other of them are larger countries, but they all decide


in their common interests to work together for mutual benefit


The second reason is that, if we're part of the European Union,


we have access to a market of 500 million people,


which is ten times the market of the United Kingdom.


It is a significant opportunity which is now going to be more


difficult for us to access because of the decision


So it's about making sure that we protect and assert


the national interest of Scotland which can be best served


by working with other countries for mutual benefit.


David Mundell, do you see a conflict between seeking independence


and then remaining or going back into the EU, whatever it would be?


I'm almost staggered when the SNP make this point about the European


market and how important it is to Scotland.


The market in the rest of the UK is worth four


times as much as all 27 other countries.


It just seems to be capable of being disregarded


If barriers are to be created between Scotland and the rest


of the UK, that doesn't seem to matter.


I'm grateful for John Swinney tonight clarifying that the SNP


is in favour of EU membership because there's been some doubt


lately because of some suggestion that it wouldn't actually be full EU


membership because of course they have to take into account


the 500,000 of their supporters who voted to leave the EU,


and this idea that everyone in Scotland voted to remain,


..the problem with all of that, David,


is that the wishes of the people of Scotland were clearly expressed


in the point that was made by the first question,


where 62% voted in favour of remaining in the United Kingdom...


Of the United Kingdom remaining in the EU,


John, not of Scotland - and the key democratic point, David,


in resolving this you're the only one who's voted for Brexit


in the United Kingdom Parliament from Scotland, everyone else


from Scotland has voted not to exit the European Union and that's


a democratic absurdity for the people of Scotland.


That is your complete disrespect for the one million people


in Scotland who voted to leave the EU.


I didn't agree with them, but I respected them.


What about your lack of respect for the 62%,


the overwhelming majority of our citizens and the 58 of the 59


Scottish MPs that voted not to trigger Article 50


as is the democratic right of those individuals.


And the 2 million people, John, who voted to remain


So, David Mundell, you're view is that despite the fact that


an overwhelming majority of Scotland wanted to stay in the EU,


given that the UK voted Brexit, they're


better to stick with the UK that's it in the summary as your view?


I believe that the arguments for Scotland remaining part


of the United Kingdom are as strong today as they were when we voted


You, sir, about the referendum and that and then we'll move


You, sir, with the spectacles on and then up to you in the pink shirt.


John, I was an SNP supporter, now we had a vote referendum


So we moved on to Brexit, which the country voted,


We're part of Britain, the country voted out, we're out.


I want to come out of the European Union,


And you, sir, in the pink shirt and then Shami, I'll come to you.


I just generally think wouldn't it be better


if we got our independence, we're not going to be able to stay


in the EU by the time a referendum came about.


Wouldn't it be a better position, from a Scotland centric point


of view to be able to make choices about an ever-changing Europe


at the time as opposed to deciding now we're in,


Oh, no, I'm totally for independence, I think that puts


us in a position to actually make decisions for ourself


So you would leave the UK now in effect, if you could.


The Brexit campaign never gave me any information


at all with which to make a valuable choice, an informed


I'm concerned about all sorts of things, but Brexit did


I respect these long-term debates about nationhood that


have happened in the UK, they happen in Scotland,


but I think the immediate question, the immediate question,


is what kind of Brexit there is going to be


for the United Kingdom as it is currently constituted.


We can be rowing with each other about in/out when that decision has


been made or we can be holding Mrs May and her Government


to account to make sure - It's going to be a hard Brexit.


Labour's done so well on that so far.


You've given the Conservative Government a blank cheque,


No, we have not given them a blank cheque.


They going to have to publish a white paper.


They are going to have to report back to Parliament.


You have colleagues in Parliament that no doubt have faith in.


In the Bill that went through the House of Commons,


not a single amendment from any party was accepted


And the Labour Party voted at the final stage which opened up


the floodgates for the Tories to do what they want.


All right, let's hear about next week in the House of Lords.


Next week, the Bill is coming to to the House of Lords


and the House of Lords is very differently composed


However, this debate was supposed to be


about parliamentary sovereignty and there is an opportunity


in the Lords to ensure that the Government is held


to account account during these negotiations.


OK, what are you going for in the Lords as a new Labour Baroness,


The rolling of the 'R' is delightful and not a tiny bit sarcastic.


How dare I, how dare I take my place at the table as well?


What we need are greater safeguards about reporting.


The Government has said that they will report back


to Parliament, so surely they will have no problem


with agreeing to amendments in the legislation itself


I think it's also crucial that we fight for an amendment


to the legislation to guarantee the rights of people who have lived


and worked and formed families in this country over many years


as a fundamental human rights issue they should be allowed to remain.


Shami, are you saying that you will be able in,


in the House of Lords, to get the process of negotiation


checked, as it goes along, that there will be a vote,


I believe that is the ambition of many peers of different


That is the opportunity, that is the ambition of many


I didn't mean to insult you by calling you "Baroness",


You have every right to be a Baroness.


But you don't need my permission, but I just wanted to make it clear


Right, come on, let's get back to the subject.


The woman there in the centre there, yes.


I've got a message for David Mundell.


I've just returned from Paris from the rugby and I was with people


from Scotland, people from your constituency,


farmers from Langham, farmers who voted to stay in the UK


You could have knocked me down with a feather when they all said


that they would vote this time for independence.


The woman here, and then I'll go to you there and then to you.


One thing that seems to be bandied around in the Brexit debate


all the time is this idea of respecting the democratic


will of the people, whether that be the remainers need to be quiet


and get on with it or the Labour MPs of having to vote


with Jeremy Corbyn in the Bill, but, and David Mundell, you yourself,


admitted that you voted remain, yet you voted in the House


of Commons to go through with the Brexit Bill,


so by not adhering to listen to the 60%, 60% odd of Scots who did


vote to remain in the UK, you're fundamentally


disrespecting their democratic voice?


I absolutely disagree with that perspective.


As a democrat, we had a referendum in Scotland,


the decision was to remain in the United Kingdom.


If Scotland had voted to leave the United Kingdom,


I would have respected that result and I would have done everything


The United Kingdom, as a whole, voted to leave the EU,


I respect that result and I'm doing everything that I can to make it


a success for Scotland and the rest of the UK.


It's always been my understanding that we live in a representative


democracy, is it not therefore your obligation


to represent the views of your constituents rather


We're not going to get into a constitutional debate.


A representative democracy means your representative decides


and then in five years' time you decide whether you want


that person to be your representative or not.


Let's not get into Berkin territory here, let's


have a comment from you, sir, and a comment from you.


Then one or two other comments and then we'll move on.


Well, David, what about respecting the 45% of people in Scotland that


We see English votes for English laws brought in Westminster so how


can the rest of the UK determine Scotland's future?


Also on our Labour Lords' point, about the violence


and the segregation in the first independence referendum that we had.


As an English person, born there, unfortunately,


Scotland's home to me, it always will be, I didn't


I've got English family down south and they were pleased


OK, the woman in the second row there, thank you for that.


Just some comments please and then we must move on to other questions.


We voted to stay in the United Kingdom, then


we voted as a national, not as a Scottish region


or country, we voted nationally in the EU referendum and the vote


was to leave it and we just have to accept that,


Don't ask the question, just say your view.


Other people were extremely concerned about the amount


the NHS relies on in terms of skilled EU workers.


I know everybody wants to speak on this and I wish


It is important to note that in terms of gross numbers


significantly more people voted to stay in the United Kingdom


than voted to remain in the European Union.


And we've seen since the Brexit vote that the polls haven't shifted


significantly to suggest there is a significant groundswell.


The overall numbers seem to have stayed relatively still in Scotland


in terms of who supports leaving the United Kingdom and remaining.


There was an interesting point directed to John Swinney


One of the key rules about joining is that your deficit cannot exceed


3% of GDP and Scotland's is currently at 9.5%.


People who voted Remain should just grit their teeth


That is one of the problems with referendums, simplistic choices


no, remain or leave, and have a more intelligent


discussion because the country deserves a more intelligent


Let's go on to some other questions because we are halfway


through the programme and have quite a lot of questions.


Just to say we are going to be in Stoke-on-Trent next week


and that, of course, is the night the by-election


at Stoke-on-Trent, and the week after we will be in Bedford.


If you can come to Stoke-on-Trent or to Bedford, on screen


is the e-mail address and our telephone number.


You can call and apply to come and I will give


Should the Scottish Government adopt the education reforms seen


in England, in order to improve falling attainment levels?


The question is about a report that Scottish pupils are trailing behind


the performance of able pupils in England in most subject areas,


So should you adopt reforms seen in England?


Well, Scotland used to have an education system


It was an education system that allowed someone like me,


from a working-class background, to go at Oxford University.


I think that in many respects the Scottish Government has let down


We do have a serious problem with reaching


educational attainment that we would all like to see.


Steps are being taken to improve that, but I'm not necessarily


convinced that going the way of the English curriculum


I would like to see a curriculum that encourages children


to be curious to learn, because they want to learn.


That is not just about forcing down a narrow curriculum path,


I would like to see us explore, perhaps in some respects a more


traditional approach to learning, but that allows us to reassert


ourselves as leaders in education in the world.


Which you have a reputation for being.


So this line about trailing behind the performance


of able pupils in England, you don't agree that's the right way


of measuring education success or ability?


I don't know, because I am not an educationalist,


But I do think we need to improve our attainment


and I think the way to do it is not necessarily the way they have


I have a son who is at school in England, and I think their focus


is very narrowly curriculum based and it does not encourage people


to think outside those narrow tramlines of,


you have to follow the curriculum and do exactly what you have to do


I would like to see a system that encourages people to be curious,


encourages children to want to find out more.


That certainly was what I experienced as a child


John Swinney, you are Education Secretary in Scotland


and you will have read this stuff from the Sutton Trust,


that bright Scottish pupils are falling behind,


and the OECD report that Scottish performance in maths,


Is it to follow the reforms that have happened in England,


The first thing to do is to acknowledge that we have


to improve performance in Scottish education.


I am not going to sit here and say there is not an issue that


I think openly and honestly confronting that issue


The First Minister has appointed me to lead that process


in the Scottish Government and I have been doing that


for the last nine months, and I am determined to make sure


Val McDermid is correct that we need, for the modern world,


to have a curriculum that enables young people to be curious


and investigative, because they are going to have


And if we look at the pace of change in the last


10 years in our society, it's been a much more dramatic


and aggressive pace of change than in the first ten years


Do you accept there has been a slippage


The statistics that came out before the turn of the year,


the OECD statistics, they indicate that


But that information was gathered in 2015.


Since then, the Scottish Government has taken a number of steps


to improve the performance of Scottish education.


Just a couple of weeks ago, I put over ?120 million directly


into schools to give headteachers much more control over


the allocation of resources, to strengthen, to make choices


about what will strengthen education and performance


Jason, you suggested they should adopt the English system.


Do you think that is the right answer?


From what I gather, the free schools in England seem to have


had some good results, especially in terms


of improving attainment in economically deprived areas.


John Swinney said, after the most recent figures came out,


that we need radical change in Scottish education.


I think the radical reform you need is for politicians to get out


The curriculum needs to be set by teachers.


If you are going to have a curriculum, make


it one sentence long, "schools will teach maths, English,


The problem we have got into both in Scotland and in England


is being too prescriptive and making education a political football.


John has got one hell of a task on his hands to improve


I am glad he has admitted the numbers are disappointing even


But I would say, don't necessarily adopt the English system.


The Swedes have been considerably more radical in allowing freedom


They have allowed some schools to be running on a for-profit basis.


That has brought in schools, particularly


You will find in England the free schools, typically,


a broadbrush analysis, are in leafy suburbs with a rich


You will not find so many popping up in deprived inner-city areas.


If you embrace that in Scotland I think you would find


the statistics actually improving over the next five years.


Go for freedom for the teachers, allow teachers to teach, allow


Whilst John Swinney may be well-intentioned,


frankly we need politicians out of the way as the best way


The current Scottish Government has recently reformed


the curriculum for excellence, but it has resulted


in no substantial change to the education system.


We are still fully based on assessment driven criteria,


No, but I am from a family of teachers.


David Mundell, what do you make of the argument?


I find the most shocking statistic not the comparison between Scotland


and England but the comparison that if you are a bright child living


in a poorer area in Scotland, you are two years behind the same


child living in a more affluent area.


I think that is a shocking indictment of the SNP's ten years


The SNP have been responsible for education in Scotland for ten years.


No interference from Westminster, fully devolved.


And I say that the fundamental problem is, despite John's very


plausible commitments, despite the fact that


Nicola Sturgeon said last week that education was her absolute focus,


it is quite clear, even from the discussion


I think it's actually quite incredible that you can come on this


programme as the only elected Conservative politician and talk


about economically driven education, given the wasteland that has been


created by the Conservatives and neoliberalism for


I agree with everything that has been said about how troubling


it is if Scottish children and the poorest in particular


are falling behind, but I am not going to say it is all milk


and honey south of the border either.


I agree with lots of what Mark said about political footballs


and how that has been going on in the education


I agree with what was said about over testing,


overprescription, where is the joy of learning and curiosity.


But most of all, I am worried about the relationship between inequality


If a child has not had breakfast, if a child has no books at home,


how do you expect to have the most amazing educational opportunity?


These things go hand-in-hand, and austerity is a massive problem,


and inequality is a massive problem all over the United Kingdom.


The idea that saying there has been no interference from Westminster is


a farce because our budget has been cut and it is continually cut by


Westminster. Lets get the facts on the table,


that is completely incorrect. But the budget has been cut. The budget


has... The Scottish Government has received more than they anticipated


in the current financial year. Has it dropped or has it risen? It has


risen, the amount of money the Scottish Government has received.


The Scottish Government recently found hundreds of millions to do a


deal with the Greens to get their budget through, so there is money if


the Scottish Government wants to allocate it. A brief point, if you


would. I was a maths teacher for 37 years and in that time I saw


children dying from the stage where they came up from primary school,


they were very numerous, two in recent years, I retired in October,


and I was shocked at how children coming up from primary school had no


number bonds, did not know their tables, knew nothing, because of


curriculum for excellence. That has been the biggest negative we have


had so far in Scotland. In a nutshell, what has happened in your


20-year 's teaching? We moved away from basic numerous Ian Park skills,


which if you do not have you cannot build on anything to teach maths.


Even at university level, if you not understand fractions, you cannot do


anything. The fundamentals are not being taught. Because children are


being allowed to explore. Boxes are ticked, but nothing is reinforced


and learned to the same extent. That is not all schools, but quite a lot


of them. APPLAUSE


It is not fair to ask you to be too brief, but if you could just


summarise. We have heard a lot of complaints


and points, particularly about the money spent. On the question of


numerous E, David Mundell has let himself down because the Scottish


Government budget has been cut dramatically since the Conservatives


came to power. Has he forgotten about posterity? The second point is


Shami's point about inequality. At the heart of the agenda we are


taking forward is the need to close that attainment gap which has


persisted in Scottish education for all of my adult life. It was there


when I was a school pupil and it remains. We have set an ambitious


target that in the course of this parliamentary term we will make


significant progress towards closing that gap over the course of the next


ten years. The final point is that the curriculum in Scotland was


changed, yes, in the early part of this century, after a big national


debate involving many educationalists. But at the heart of


the curriculum, to reassure the lady is good and wrote, is literacy and


numerous E and the health and well-being of our young people, and


we must make sure they are equipped with those foundations to make sure


they can take their life forward. We have to focus on that. We must go


onto another question. I would like to get a couple more questions in.


Barbara Pauly. Should the UK follow Trump's lead and treat Russia as a


potential ally instead of an enemy? It's hard to work out what Donald


Trump is doing. It's in chaos. My biggest fear about him is that he's


a sexist, racist, fashionist or something else that would offend me


it's chaos at the moment. We should engage with Russia. Back in the day


we dealt with We certainly dealt with the mass


mvurdering Leonid Brezhnev when he was running the Soviet


union, we have to deal with the world as it is,


not with the world as we would That means lines of communication


to Putin, even for those of who you can't bear the new leader


of the free world, lines of communication


from the United Kingdom to Trump Don't embrace Vladimir Putin,


but recognise that in the dangerous world in which we live,


we have to do business with him. I don't think we need


to embrace Donald Trump. I don't think we need to embrace


Donald Trump either, but if this country,


or even if the United Kingdom splits into two, believes that we can go


round not recognising that Vladimir Putin is an important part


on the stage and not recognising that Donald Trump is,


then I'm afraid, our influence, be it English, Scottish or British,


is going to wither. We have to keep lines


of communication and decent relationships with these people


however unpleasant you find them. If indeed Trump is treating


Russia as a potential ally instead of an enemy,


whatever that may mean. I do agree with Mark that I don't


think any of us has a faintest idea of what Donald Trump is doing


from one day to the next, I'm not sure how much sense he has


of what he's going to do. He said, "I've nothing to do


with Russia, I've no deals there. But his people certainly had


dealings with Russia before he was elected and the promise


to remove sanctions from Russia is not something that you would do


without there being some kind of quid pro quo, I feel,


in the world of real politics. To answer the question,


I think Mark is right that we need to acknowledge that these


people are there. But we do not embrace them


as friends and allies when they completely eviscerate Any


pretence of human rights When they treat their own people


in ways we would not allow to happen within our borders,


so I think we need to keep those lines of communication open,


but we must always make it clear what our position is,


particularly in relation to human rights and the way


you treat your own population. I find any suggestion


that we embrace Trump in anyway abhorrent due to this ban


that he has had. We have Muslim citizens


of our own and I imagine that they must feel insulted


and offended that Theresa May went over there and played happy families


with Trump when he's, quite clearly, been anti-Muslim in a way


that is reminiscent Hitler, but just Well, a question that begins -


should we follow President Trump's lead, is not a question I'm


going to answer with a yes. However, I think both


Val and Mark had a point about negotiating with people,


but I think sometimes one needs to negotiate not from


a position of having your hand-held or patted


in the Oval Office, but from a position


of dignity and strength and that would have to be the case with both


of these men, to some extent. You said, Mark, that


Trump being a racist or a fascist or a misogynist


might offend your liberal It's not my liberal sensitivities


that it offends, it's my human sensitivities and I think


we should all share those. And those sensitivities are


similarly offended by Mr Putin with his attitude to women


and gay people and so... You don't consider either of them


as bad as Hitler, do you? I mean, there is a lot of human


rights abuse in the world, but we've got to put it


in some kind of order. My recent experience is that it's


not a great idea to be comparing people to Hitler,


it's rarely helpful in conversation. Just compare him to


the other 250 leaders I don't need to do -


There's a lot of bad guys out there. I don't need to do that,


I think the point is well made that it's a crazy world at the moment,


but we do have to engage with Mr


Trump and Mr Putin. But you were critical,


unless I misheard you, of the Prime You said it ought to be conducted


with dignity, are you suggesting I think it was really


important that she went, but I think that the iconography


of her having her having her I wouldn't like to see


it with Putin, either! I'm absolutely clear


that we can't have a business as usual relationship with Russia


certainly as it currently conducts itself and we have to be very,


very clear about that. Russia's behaviour in the Ukraine,


Russia's behaviour even currently in Syria is totally


unacceptable and we have to make But we do have to


engage with Russia. Some of the most dangerous times


in our world have been when there Likewise, with President


Trump, he is the democratically-elected President


of the United States and we have to We live in a country where,


thankfully, we have a thriving democracy where people


are able to express their views and opinions in relation


to his policies and approach, and I encourage people


to continue to do that. But the idea that we can't


engage with him is I think the biggest


problem that I think is emerging for people


in a lot of the stuff that


Donald Trump is talking about and expressing


is that it's just far from clear


what on earth he's doing or saying. a little bit of the press conference


before I came to this discussion tonight, and I just


couldn't fathom half of what President Trump


was on about. Now, I think, in amongst all that,


I worry that there might be a terrible naivete about dealing


with very significant and sensitive and difficult issues on the


international stage where wise, thoughtful caution is required to


decide what's the right thing to do. I don't think wise, thoughtful


caution are words that you would normally associate


with Donald Trump. We want wise, thoughtful reaction


to a completely different story. I find British foreign policy very


intriguing because we don't like Russia because of their persecution


of gay people, but we love Saudi Elizabeth Roddick, we just


have time to fit this in, please. This is the report that came out


this very week saying that vitamin D could spare people from


getting colds and flu. particularly in places in Glasgow


where you have shorter days and not much sunshine, vitamin D


according to the professor fluoride was added to the water,


as it is in the United States. I think it probably


should in Glasgow where there is the well-known


Glasgow effect because you have so You see, I live in the east


of Scotland where we get much But in general, I think it


wouldn't be harmful to Mark Littlewood are


you in favour of that It may or may not be a good idea


to include it, but I don't want politicians


deciding that we will. You don't want politicians


doing anything? You pretty much nailed


it right there. I don't want politicians


doing very much at all. You've pretty much


nailed it right there. If you want to buy


vitamin D supplements and Whether you live on the east


side or in Glasgow, We have more options in our diet


today than we have ever had There's a lot for people to get


their heads around if they want to be healthy, but please to God


don't leave this to some panel of John Swinney, would the Scottish


Government like to see it put into supplements actually got vitamin D?


people having to go out and buy I think the issue of


adding it to foods or to much more complex


question, but what... It's not a moral


issue, but I think it does affect people's


rights and their choices. That's why we have


to be careful here. Let me just share a personal


observation with you. My wife, as many people


in Scotland know, has instance of MS in Scotland is


particularly intense and one of the reasons is viewed to be


a vitamin D deficiency. I am a a big advocate. I take


vitamin D every day. My son takes them every day. My wife takes them.


There is a big issue about recognising our circumstances here


and the need, perhaps, to take that supplement and enhance that


capability because of our circumstances. But there is a


different issue about whether that should then be made compulsory. All


right. It's a very significant point. It's not making it


compulsory... It would be in the milk. You don't have to drink the


milk! People who can't afford - APPLAUSE. Briefly, if you would. Not


everybody actually drinks milk. Vegans don't. They do drink other


types of milk and many people would be very angry at supplements being


added to their food that may not come from an ethical source or a


source that they felt they could eat or drink. Shami, be quick on this.


We are coming to the end. It's well saying leaving the politics out.


It's well saying we will spend the money on supplements what if you


can't afford your food, let alone your supplements. That is the


biggest problem here. David Mundell? I'm in agreement with John Swinney.


John highlights the really important issues in relation to any it edition


to food. There are people who would benefit from that, but there are


other people who need and should be given the choice. It's getting the


balance right. OK. Our time is up. Sorry. I know, it's always like


that. Particularly in Glasgow, I have to say.


We're in Stoke-on-Trent next week with the Education Secretary,


Justine Greening, and the Chairman of Stoke City Football


To come and take part in our audience in Stoke or Bedford,


go to our website or call 0330 123 99 88.


If you are listening tonight on Radio 5 Live, the debate goes


They will be discussing this until 1.00am. Our panel is exhausted. They


have to go home. I thank them and all of you who came to take part.


From Glasgow and until Question Time next Thursday, good night.


APPLAUSE Donald Trump's first 100 days


in the White House are defining how he'll deal


with the rest of the world. the UK is stepping up


the formal business of Brexit.