David Dimbleby chairs topical debate from Glasgow.
Browse content similar to 16/02/2017. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
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.