11/03/2012 Sunday Politics West


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


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


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1826 seconds


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


building that inspires both believers and non-believers alike.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


resistant to seeing the Church this appealing from what nowadays is


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


important that as an nominal Christian society we need to stand


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


church, secular things such as Parliament and business remain


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


worried about religion being marginalised. He then Bristol there


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


sense hour parliament has stemmed from that theological outlook.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


is people who are members of parliament need to watch out


because they will put into that elected house all the political


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


number of people sleeping rough is rising sharply, not surprising


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


and idealise it is my responsibility but we have very


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


become homeless. We are investing in facilities but also increasingly


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


in partnership with people to actually deliver some of these


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


ladder. Bristol celebrity Tony Robinson was among those who


lobbied Parliament to have at improved care system for the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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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