11/03/2012 Sunday Politics West


11/03/2012

Andrew Neil and David Garmston with political news and interviews, including work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith and chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.


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In the West: The local Bishops who say they're under attack from

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people who want the Church and State to be separated. So should

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1826 seconds

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those troublesome priests be forced He his religion under attack? Today

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we have key MacCarthy, an atheist is not afraid to take on the charge

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and Amanda Rigby who is the first ever woman to be chairman of Bath

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Football Club. Politics and sport, do the next? You need blind belief

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and to just keep going when the going gets tough. Both are to a

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certain extent by men's worlds? yes, but Lucas 2 -- looked at two

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is with us today. Who are is more likely to stay up? Nick Clegg or a

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Bath City football club? I think it is neither one nor the other!

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of the saddest and most poignant images of the week were the

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pictures of those six soldiers killed in Afghanistan, when you saw

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those, were you thinking Britain has to come out of their now?

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a very tough call to make. But at the moment I still believe it would

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be wrong to pull out before our mission there is accomplished. I

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think we can make more progress. I think to pull out now it would

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almost be seeing that the lives that have been spent so far were in

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vain. OK, thank you. On to our main talking point of the week, the role

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of religion in the State. Some say that Christian voices are being

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silenced in this country but others say even Christians should not have

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a role in deciding public policy. Gloucester Cathedral, an ancient

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building that inspires both believers and non-believers alike.

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For 500 years, the Church of England has been at the heart of

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the Establishment. It has also been the cause of many arguments. Now it

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is at the centre of a fresh debate. All remain standing for prayers.

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Prayers have always been in council meetings but is it the right place

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for a faith? Some say no. The Government is thinking of cutting

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the number of bishops in the House of Lords, is the Church's role been

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reduced? I think clearly the place of the charges under attack. I

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would doubt whether that is a general attack by a lot of people,

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I think it is a focused attack by a few people. Most people are

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resistant to seeing the Church this appealing from what nowadays is

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called the public square. You would expect a bishop to say that but he

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insists that the Church does have her role to play at be seat of

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power. It is important that they, spirituality should be represented

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in the second chamber. It is quite appropriate that it should be

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undertaken by the bishops of what is still be established Church.

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in an increasingly secular society, his face seen as an important part

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of our democracy? We have to have a moral basis, whether Christian or

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Muslim, we have to have a baseline to work from. I think it is very

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important that as an nominal Christian society we need to stand

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up for what Christians believe. whole basis of our democracy is the

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church, secular things such as Parliament and business remain

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separate. The Government says we are a Christian nation and is

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worried about religion being marginalised. He then Bristol there

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is a group that believes people of all religions and those who have no

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faith should be treated equally. I went to meet them in their place of

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worship, the pub. Our agenda is for everybody to be treated equally.

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For people with or without beliefs to have no exceptions on the

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Regards of your face. Religious people have a strong view, they

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tend to be divisive and exclusive and they tend to be very much

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setting their own agenda. But they say you should not talk religion or

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politics at the dinner table but it is Sunday lunchtime after all. We

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are joined by the Right Reverend Peter Christ, the Bishop of Bath

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and Wells. The bishops seem pretty united in saying that they are

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under attack but have they brought it on themselves by taking very

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strong stance on social issues like day marriage? I do not think we

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actually are under attack. -- gay marriage. I think sometimes we

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present ourselves as a little more conservative than we need to be.

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the Church trying to influence public policy? If we talk about

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Parliament and the way in which we are governed, the important thing

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is that we are still governed by the Queen in her role as monarch.

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When she becomes queen she is appointed. The sense is that she

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has given her permission to be Queen from God and therefore in a

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sense hour parliament has stemmed from that theological outlook.

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we are in 2012 now. Indeed we are and if we wanted to change that we

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would have to ask ourselves what are we going to do, but what are we

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going to do about the monarchy? us bring in hour other guests. Do

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you think bishops have a role in public life essentially on issues

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like the marriage? I do not think they should have a formal role in

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the House of Lords. They should just be treated like any other

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interest group. -- gay marriage. Should people take notice of their

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views? I would not want the Government to take account of the

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views of Cardle Brian but I think they have got a right to express

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their views. -- Cardinal O'Brian. agree be quite a lot with what has

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been said, I agree that absolutely the church and every other

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religious group has got a role to play in terms of giving the opinion

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and representing people but in terms of having a formal role in

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the House of Lords I think that should no longer continue. I think

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if we go we go quietly but we have to ask ourselves, we still have not

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resolved whether this is going to be a fully elected house and if it

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is people who are members of parliament need to watch out

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because they will put into that elected house all the political

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heavyweights they possibly can and I fear that the House of Lords will

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then lose something of its capacity to be a revising chamber. You could

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stand for election, I guess. The EC prayers every day, does that bother

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you? You have a choice of going in, I think it would be better if there

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was a chapel in Westminster Hall in Parliament and people who wanted to

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say prayers could go to a service there. The Priya is pretty bland,

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it just says, please give us help to make good decisions and not be

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driven by greed. Even if you do not believe, they are rather nice words.

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I think it goes to the heart of whether we have a secular society

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now or whether the Church of England has a particular role. I

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noticed in the film clip when the women said there must be a moral

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voice in politics I think that is actually quite offensive to those

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of us who are not religious but would like to feel we are quite

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moral people. Can you be a good person and not religious? Of course

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you can, I take that point. I come back to the issue of how we are

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established as an Asian and until we make up our minds about whether

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we want a monarch... -- as a nation. Thank you very much indeed. The

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number of people sleeping rough is rising sharply, not surprising

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perhaps in this economic crisis but things are getting worse as funding

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is being reduced. Free food is being served to some of society's

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most trouble. Nearly all have a drink or drug problems, some have

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ended up on the streets. I was sleeping rough. I ended up a couple

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of nights sleeping tucked up behind some bins behind and McDonald's.

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Official figures for England show rough sleeping up 1 1/4 in the past

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year. The South West has the highest rate. The majority of

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people who come in are asking for accommodation on an hourly basis.

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Two people now hasting for housing advice. It is getting really really

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bad. -- asking for housing advice. Yet help is diminishing. Brittle

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city council is under pressure, it wants to cut �1 million from the

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money it spends on the homeless. By some places like this could cause

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the. This is the or only place in Bristol that is perfect for me and

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a lot of girls in my situation. This woman came here to escape from

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prostitution and drug addiction. It has room for five women. It gives

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me the opportunity to feel safe and secure. When staff heard that the

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council may cut their funding it was huge this belief. I know it is

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a difficult economic time and cut have to be made but for a cut to be

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made for the most marginalised women in society it is a lot to get

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your head around. This call has been targeted because it is more

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expensive than most and not as well used as others. I am not wielding

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an axe, I am having to make the system far more effective. What we

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are trying in all of this is to keep the same provision but by

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using less taxpayers' money. I cannot guarantee that is going to

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work. He is adamant Bristol bucks the national trend and that rough

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sleeping is not increasing. I do worry about some of these things

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and idealise it is my responsibility but we have very

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noble ambitions and we will get a result. Everywhere council budgets

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are going backwards but no one wants to go back to the scourge of

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rough sleeping seen in the past. How many people have you got

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sleeping rough in Bath? We do count once per week, it they describe the

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year, in the centre of Bath it is anything from 14 to 30 people.

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Isn't that a disgrace? It is not something anyone sleeps easily

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thinking about. There are a lot of situations which lead people to

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become homeless. We are investing in facilities but also increasingly

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looking at bringing back some of the empty houses, more social

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housing, so that people do not get to the stage where homelessness is

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their only option. It is something no one wants to see. Something that

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we saw so much of in the 80s is creeping back, what can we do?

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think that the first point to be made is that rough sleeping is only

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the tip of the iceberg. There are other people who are homeless,

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sleeping on people's couches or in temporary accommodation. The

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figures from 2003 were coming down and we were making inroads. I think

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it does come down to a question of priorities. We accept that cuts

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have to be made but be supported people grant is being cut, in some

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cases up to 20%, that money supports people who are very

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vulnerable in their housing. People with addiction problems, may be

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mental health problems, as well as just needing a roof over their

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heads. It is a false economy not to look after people like that because

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in the end they will need public services or we'll end up in prison

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and it will cost more money. What is the moral case for seeing nobody

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should be homeless? The moral case is that every one of us is a

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valuable human being. -- saying. Every individual is as valuable as

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each other. The fact that our society so often discriminates in

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that sense is scandalous but it is part of the human condition that we

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continually wrestle with. It comes down to funding. Everyone accepts

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that the budgets are tight but it has not got to be a priority. Why

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isn't the coalition spending more? What we are trying to do his work

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in partnership with people to actually deliver some of these

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services in a different way. What we are trying to do is not just

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have central services within a Bath but also go out to more of the area

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and be able to do it in a way that delivers a service more efficiently.

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Labour spent vast sums trying to do with the homelessness problem but

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it never really cured it. In some cases when it comes to people who

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have got all sorts of other problems going on in their lives

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that can be very difficult. If people have addictions it is

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difficult to keep them within the system. You must see people coming

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up who cannot be helped and do not actually want to be helped. There

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are some people who do not want to be helped and in some cases that

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has to be respected. The point you were making in the earlier part of

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a were show today indicates the fact that our society is a very

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dead society. We do need each other, whether people of faith or not, we

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need to work in partnership in all sorts of different ways. That is

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the way we have got to look at it. It is a problem of humanity. We

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have to address it from our different points of view. Thank you.

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We have to say goodbye to you, bishop. I have been taking a look

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back through the political week. Here is my a round-up. Hours after

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appearing on this programme last week this Lib Dem was promoted to

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work with the Business Secretary, Vince Cable. She is to become his

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private secretary which is seen as the first step on the ministerial

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ladder. Bristol celebrity Tony Robinson was among those who

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lobbied Parliament to have at improved care system for the

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elderly. Michael Gove became the butt of the joke for or changing

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the rights of the children's toilets. They want 20 children per

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toilet. There was a debate over CCTV cameras in Bristol this week

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as an national conference came to town. The Week in just 60 seconds.

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A Lib Dem spring conference going on and NHS reform was very much on

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the agenda. What do you think Liberal Democrats should be doing?

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I think there will be two motions which will be debated, whether the

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Bill should be thrown out completely. I am in favour of the

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motion that we have done quite a lot of amendments. We need to press

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on absolutely. What we need to do is make sure that we keep on seeing

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that we do not have unintended consequences at the end. Are you or

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not? I am for the bill with the amendments. All of them? All of the

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amendments. What happens? Well, personally my view is that the Bill

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should never be brought in at its current form. It is an ongoing

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thing but when David Cameron stood at the General Election he said

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there would be no top-down reform of the NHS, there was not time for

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it and it was not in the Lib Dem manifesto was either. What is

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important at the moment is that on Friday we had the decision that the

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Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate, including work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith and chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.


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