27/11/2011 The Politics Show Scotland


27/11/2011

Political magazine presented by Jon Sopel and Isabel Fraser.


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This week on the Politics Show. It promises to be one of the biggest

:00:03.:00:05.

strikes in British history but have both sides made avoidable

:00:05.:00:10.

disruption inevitable? We'll ask the TUC General Secretary why he's

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determined to press ahead with Wednesday's walkout over public

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sector pensions when talks seemed to be making progress. And Francis

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Maude, one of the ministers leading the negotiations, joins us to

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answer charges that his rhetoric has inflamed, rather than calmed,

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the dispute. And what about Labour? We'll ask Shadow Chief Secretary

:00:30.:00:35.

Rachel Reeves if her party will support the day of action. A yes or

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no answer will do. On the Politics Show Scotland, the impact of the

:00:44.:00:47.

public sector strikes here and what can realistically be achieved.

:00:47.:00:51.

Empty run down houses are in the government's sights.

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We are with the Hudson Bay boys who carved out new lives in the

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Canadian Arctic. And some Hollywood glamour as the

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superstar Alan Cumming talks about the relationship between Scottish

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1713 seconds

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Our bigger supporters are members who pay through subscriptions and

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donations to Labour Party. The trade unions give us that money.

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That is the lead a that the members of trade unions pay. It is not

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quite an answer to that question. That is the decision, at to pay it

:29:59.:30:03.

in the political levy from the trade unions. I am proud of that

:30:03.:30:06.

relationship and the Labour Party was formed by the trade unions

:30:06.:30:13.

movement. That is part of our tradition. On the economy, at the

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wider UK economy, yd think it is that if the Government is making

:30:18.:30:23.

such a mess of this, that the public do not trust Labour on a

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tiger. Under hour watch, there was a recession and we have already

:30:29.:30:34.

said we should have done more in terms of banking regulation. 18

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months into this government, we're seeing the effects of their

:30:38.:30:47.

policies. They have cut public spending at such a rate and it is

:30:47.:30:51.

risking a double-dip recession here in the UK. You talk about the

:30:51.:30:55.

failure of banking regulations. Do you not also need to say, we spent

:30:55.:31:02.

too much? Up until 2008, the Conservatives were backing us.

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not asking about them, I am asking if you thought Labour spent too

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much? We reduced debt enough time in office up from 42-36%. During

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the financial crisis, we made the decision to bring forward spending,

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to cut taxes, and to try to a void at a global recession becoming a

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global depression. It stop unemployment going up to 2.5 per

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cent. They were the right decisions. You alternative plan, the five-

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point plan for jobs, involves more borrowing. You have not said the

:31:40.:31:50.
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cost of it? Over all, my question is, what makes you think the

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markets will except more borrowing when they have not done so in Spain

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or Greece? That is a massive gamble. The reality is that the Government

:32:04.:32:08.

or borrowing at more than planned because of the cost of the failure

:32:08.:32:11.

of their economic policies. There are more people out of work so we

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are paying more on benefits and getting less in taxes. We are

:32:15.:32:19.

saying that with these targeted measures to get growth back on

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track, the economy will get moving and helpers reduce debt in a

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sustainable way. At the moment, we are borrowing more because the

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economic failures. Going back to the States, we were looking at the

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eccentricity of the straight vote which involves the strike having to

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take place within 20 days of the vote. Do you agree with that?

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Francis Maude said, the UN could do something definitely to keep that

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mandate available, but they have decided to take strike action on

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Wednesday because of the strength of feeling about this issue.

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think that the 15 minute idea with a constructive proposal? I don't,

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what I am saying it is that if he can keep the mandate by just taking

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small action, on this occasion, the unions feel so strongly that that

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is not on the table. Surely it may be a good idea because if the

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negotiations are close to agreement, they could do something like that?

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It does not sound like they are. The fact that they have not spoken

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since the beginning of the months suggests they are a long way off

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the deal. That is unfortunate because people who rely on public

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services will see huge disruptions that could be avoided if the

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Government was sitting down with people and the public sector. They

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could do that this week rather than going on the television and saying

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they might withdraw. You do seem to suggest in your answer, and I am

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interested in this, that some sort of minimum talking strike action,

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whether in the middle of the night with rail workers or whatever,

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would have been a way forward that would have allowed talks to

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continue? What Jacqui is saying it is is the 20 delimit appropriate?

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There are ways to keep that mandate going which fall short of post-

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fight actions but the unions have balloted on strike action and then

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going ahead because they feel they have not been listened to. Thank

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you very much. Good afternoon and welcome to the

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Politics Show Scotland. Coming up on today's programme. We'll have

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more on those strikes on Wednesday. We'll be asking the unions what

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they'll achieve, and asking businesses how damaging they'll be.

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Can run-down, empty homes like this help solve Scotland's housing

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shortage? The Housing Minister is here. In the 1960s and '70s, with

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few job opportunities in Scotland, a generation of young men left home

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to find work abroad. We'll meet the Hudson's Bay Boys,

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who built new lives in the Canadian Arctic. I don't care how desperate

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the times are. If you really want to work hard at something and have

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something in your mind, you can achieve that goal.

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Also we'll get details of new proposals for a law to give

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terminally ill people the right to chose when to die.

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And the international mega-star, Alan Cumming, gives us his take on

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Scottish culture. In America, politics is almost a hobby. It is

:35:37.:35:43.

once a very four years, everyone goes nuts for it. Here, it is part

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of our parlance. Part of how it we engage with each other. But first

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here's the lunchtime news with Andrew Kerr.

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Good afternoon. New legislation, which will allow a person to be

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tried twice for the same crime, will come into force from tomorrow.

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For centuries, suspects have been protected by the ancient principle

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of double jeopardy, but the law has been modernised to permit

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exceptions. The Justice Secretary Kenny Macaskill says the reforms

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bring the system into the 21st century. We preserve double

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jeopardy. It for not be routine and it will very much be the exception,

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but if new evidence comes to light that could not have been discovered

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before, because of new technology, I think it is important that

:36:29.:36:39.
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justice is done. The company behind a fireworks

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display in Oban which lasted just 50 seconds is putting on another

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show tonight, free of charge. Edinburgh-based Pyro 1

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inadvertently created a spectacular internet sensation when its

:36:46.:36:49.

November display came to a swift end thanks to a technical glitch.

:36:49.:36:59.
:36:59.:37:00.

Called Obang, this evening's homage After a stormy conditions last

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night, the wind will ease down today. Some of the showers will be

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heavy with one of two getting into Dumfries and Galloway, but much of

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southern and eastern Scotland will be dry. A cold or fail to today -

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eight or nine Celsius at best. That's the forecast. That's all for

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now, I'm back with our next update at 6:20 here on BBC One Scotland.

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Now I'll hand you back to Isabel Now I'll hand you back to Isabel

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As we've been hearing, Wednesday looks set to be the biggest day of

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industrial action since the 1970s. 30 unions across the UK are taking

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part in the action and the likely extent of the disruption is

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starting to become clear. Our Local Government Correspondent Jamie

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McIvor has the latest on how it will affect Scotland. This

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situation is still developing a but listening this strike is not called

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off, we already know what most schools will be closed and a lot of

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local services like libraries and sports centres could be hit.

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Councils say they will try to make sure the most vulnerable will not

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suffer. Hospitals will be open the door some appointments have been

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postponed. There will be some impact on transport. Airports will

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be open but action by passport staff could lead to big delays and

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disruption. In Glasgow, local transport will be badly hit as the

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Underground is shut. Some claim mistake could cost the UK economy

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�500 million. Others are rubbish this, saying loss will be quickly

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made up. The equivalent of an extra Bank Holiday already of Severe

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weather. What is the day of action about? Specifically, pensions. It

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is not about the wider concern of is not about the wider concern of

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unions or some walkers over cutbacks, salary freezes and job

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losses. It is hard to divorce the issues completely however. The

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Government wants to make changes to public sector pension schemes which

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mean people pay more towards their pensions and in some cases work

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longer. It says anyone due to retire within the next 10 years

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will still receive the same pension they would have got before. Here,

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some part of the public sector under the control of Holyrood. The

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Scottish government say they do not agree with the idea of replacing --

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increasing employee contributions but they do not have any choice at

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the moment. Wednesday will see the sort of co-ordinated industrial

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action not witnessed for a long time. The UK Government is adamant

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pensions need to be reformed. People are living for a long after

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they retire and Westminster insists money is tight with the need to cut

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money is tight with the need to cut Joining me now in the studio is

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General Secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress, Grahame

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Smith, and from Dundee, David Watt, Chief Executive of the Institute of

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Directors. Thank you for coming in. Given that negotiations are ongoing

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and senior union officials have insisted the Government has moved

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do that, as this irresponsible? Negotiations are not ongoing. The

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last time the Government spoke was all in its 2nd November. They have

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been carrying out a propaganda programme since. No talks at all?

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No talks between the government and trades unions directly. Talks with

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each individual scheme have happened but that goes on all the

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time. These negotiations have been frustrating -- been frustrated by

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it the fact the Government have not been clear on what its proposals

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are. That makes it difficult to reach agreement. Talks are not

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ongoing. Given the confusion, have the unions taking on the enormity

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of what they're doing and the way the general public are reacting?

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Let's be clear on that. You speak about the unions but it is a

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millions a public sector workers who have voted in ballots to take

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industrial action because they feel very strongly. They see a gross

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injustice in not only being asked to work longer and being told that

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the benefits when they retire or less, but having imposed on them

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attacks on the epee of 3.2 per cent which has been dressed up as a

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pensions contribution the but is not a pensions increase. It is a

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tax on their pay. What do you think will be the general reaction to

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this and the impact on business? They will not be a great deal of

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public support. Many are already in a situation that Graeme has

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outlined, we all understand the pension situation as it is

:42:13.:42:19.

understood -- happening to everybody. They forecast the laser

:42:19.:42:24.

12 hours for people coming into Heathrow, which is terrifying.

:42:24.:42:28.

Schools being closed causes all businesses significant problem so

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there is a real concern and a genuine cost to it. Whether this is

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�500 million I am not sure, but there will be disruption from

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travel, public holidays, and so obviously a significant cost to

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business. What do you think of the political tone and a lot this? Some

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commentators have said the unions have rushed into this too quickly.

:42:57.:43:02.

Others, Ed Miliband for example, says that Westminster seems to

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relish this confrontation. The Scottish government say they are

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not willing to implement the increasing contributions but were

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immediately told that money would come out of the block grant. What

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do you think of the tone of negotiations? Politicians all have

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to realise there is an inevitability about cutting public

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sector contributions -- pensions and increasing contributions. There

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are still none contributed fixed benefit pensions in existence. That

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is not sustainable and needs to be sorted out. The basic premise, of

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not enough money in the pension pot, is being increasingly challenged.

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You do not accept that? I know there are some pension pots in

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individual parts of the public sector which are self-funding, but

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that is not guaranteed. The bottom line is the tax payers take up that

:44:08.:44:18.
:44:18.:44:21.

shortfall. I think there should have been longer negotiation.

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he is saying is not the case. There are no reasons this has to take

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place. Local-government schemes in Scotland are very successful and

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takes in �300 million more a year than it pays out. The NHS has a

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surplus, the teachers' scheme has taken in more since it started and

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it has paid out. Negotiations took place under the last game for

:44:46.:44:54.

government to deal with contribution increases. -- Labour

:44:54.:45:03.

government. But there are ceilings placed on what the taxpayer will

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contribute to public sector pensions so these issues have been

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dealt with. The real issue here is that the UK Government is imposing

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a tax on the pay of public sector workers of 3.2 per cent, not

:45:16.:45:20.

imposed on anyone else but the rest up as a pension increase. That is

:45:20.:45:30.
:45:30.:45:34.

to tackle the deficit. Nothing There are 156,000 households on

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household waiting lists in Scotland. Meanwhile, 25,000 homes are lying

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empty. Could these properties be brought back into use to help solve

:45:43.:45:48.

the housing shortage? That is at the idea behind the Empty Homes

:45:48.:45:53.

Partnership led by Shelter Scotland, set up last year to help local

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authorities trace the owners of empty properties and turn them into

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affordable housing. In a few days' time, Scotland will hold its first

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Empty Homes Conference. But finding the owners of the homes is no easy

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task. 21-year-old Stacey is the only

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resident in this block of flats. She says it is dangerous and the

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conditions are making her ill. door and upstairs have all been

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broken into. It is a living nightmare. I have got asthma and

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hypertension. I'm constantly down at the hospital with it. It is

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causing my blood pressure to go higher. She rents privately and is

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desperate to move into better accommodation but is one of 500

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people on that the waiting list at her local housing association. Its

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director says that it is frustrating to have empty housing

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on the estate when people need homes. There are about 40

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properties lying empty, that is 40 families that could be rehomed. In

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terms of the wider picture, there is not a lot of house building

:47:11.:47:18.

going on because of the financial crisis. It makes more sense to find

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two properties lying vacant, renovate them and bring them back

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and give them to other people to give them houses. Kenny is working

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with Shelter Scotland's partnership. She is working with 22 of the 33

:47:37.:47:43.

local authorities in Scotland. work with local authorities and

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housing associations to give them good practice from elsewhere in the

:47:46.:47:50.

United Kingdom where they do good used bringing empty homes back into

:47:50.:47:55.

use. We have had less of this in Scotland in the past 10 years or so.

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It is about contacting the owners, and negotiating. It is estimated it

:48:03.:48:08.

costs between 6025 �1,000 to refurbish an empty home. The

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average cost of building is around �100,000. It is an attractive

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choice of four councils looking to provide affordable housing. But are

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they the homes people want? What it will do is provide a wider stock of

:48:29.:48:33.

housing available for letting and now that councils are obliged to

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sell off properties to occupiers, it will provide a more stable

:48:38.:48:45.

measure to the national housing stock, that houses are -- that

:48:45.:48:49.

housing associations and other landlords will have available.

:48:49.:48:57.

Developers cannot sell them and cannot get rid of them for a number

:48:57.:49:03.

of years, these houses tend not to be suited to bigger households, and

:49:03.:49:08.

they do not work well with a family of seven children. The progress is

:49:09.:49:18.

not always straightforward. years we have been trying on and

:49:18.:49:23.

off to find out who the owners are and to do something about this

:49:23.:49:29.

situation. The garden is open to the environment, it can be used for

:49:29.:49:35.

fly-tipping. I believe it has been set fire to at least once. Clearly,

:49:35.:49:42.

would you like to live next door to that? I do not blame anyone that is

:49:42.:49:52.
:49:52.:49:53.

not happy with this situation. As I say, the time to get half it is now.

:49:53.:49:59.

But just how tough can councils in Scotland be? They do not have the

:49:59.:50:05.

same power as councils in England which can seize empty properties

:50:05.:50:08.

after six months. The Scottish government is consulting on whether

:50:08.:50:14.

to give new powers to raise council tax on empty properties. But will

:50:14.:50:17.

this be enough to persuade landlords to turn derelict

:50:17.:50:21.

properties into homes people want to live in?

:50:21.:50:26.

We have the housing minister Keith Brown. Good afternoon. You have

:50:26.:50:32.

looked at a number of ways of tackling this. The first one is to

:50:32.:50:36.

allow councils to charge an additional levy and reduce

:50:36.:50:39.

discounts on empty properties, that provides a real incentive to bring

:50:39.:50:45.

them back into in -- productive use. They can be unsightly and are not

:50:45.:50:51.

being used by families who could use them. So there is a 90%

:50:51.:50:56.

discount at the moment is there? could be 50%. There would be a levy

:50:56.:51:00.

which would double the council tax rate on those properties. It would

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not be in any body's interest to leave houses lying empty for a long

:51:07.:51:13.

period of time. We have an initiative in South Esher, trailing

:51:13.:51:18.

this out to see whether allowing people to take on the interest free

:51:18.:51:23.

loans to improve properties that require that, we would like to see

:51:23.:51:28.

that rolled out. That is almost like rewarding negligent property

:51:28.:51:34.

developers and property owners because they get money to do up

:51:34.:51:38.

their property and then there is no guarantee that they will sustain

:51:38.:51:42.

the quality of that building. idea is not to play to the self-

:51:42.:51:47.

interest of particular landlords but to say that some properties are

:51:47.:51:53.

in a very poor condition and that they are really struggling to get

:51:53.:51:57.

grants to upgrade the property. We want to help in that situation. The

:51:57.:52:00.

benefits of that other two were starting to get council tax back,

:52:00.:52:05.

you may get a sale on that, that could be used on the improvements

:52:05.:52:08.

for other properties. The end result will be instead of having

:52:09.:52:15.

empty properties you will have those available to rent or buy.

:52:15.:52:18.

Councils do have the ability and have a greater ability to borrow

:52:18.:52:23.

than the Scottish government does. Borrowing to produce economic

:52:23.:52:28.

assets, we think is right and proper. Borrowing to produce more

:52:28.:52:33.

jobs because you can get more repair and maintenance work through

:52:33.:52:38.

this, is again a proper to do in terms of economic uncertainty. If

:52:38.:52:44.

you create an economic asset, that is one legitimate use of borrowing.

:52:44.:52:49.

One way we can start to turn this around and improve growth is if for

:52:49.:52:53.

example the UK Government were to announce on Tuesday that they would

:52:53.:53:00.

reduce VAT on home improvement to 5%, as we have been calling on them

:53:00.:53:07.

to do. Empty housing has been targeted for about a year, nobody

:53:07.:53:11.

is clear on how many have been brought back into use. Would it not

:53:11.:53:16.

be a good idea to have a legal compulsion on this? We are

:53:16.:53:20.

consulting on some of these issues and getting an update by the

:53:20.:53:24.

conference you mentioned on Tuesday, we will get feedback from the

:53:24.:53:29.

different partners. Our feeling is that that would not work. We want

:53:29.:53:34.

to work with house-owners and local authorities. But you will consider

:53:34.:53:41.

the compulsory element? The UK Government very often copy what we

:53:41.:53:45.

have done in terms of housing, we keep an open mind but currently the

:53:45.:53:48.

one to work towards more collaboration.

:53:48.:53:53.

In the 1960s and 70s with fewer job opportunities in Scotland, a

:53:53.:53:58.

generation of young men left turn to find work abroad. Many of these

:53:58.:54:04.

men joined the Hudson's Bay Company. The stories of a group of Scotsmen

:54:04.:54:11.

who formed a new life in the Arctic is the subject of a new documentary,

:54:11.:54:18.

the Hudson's Bay Boys boys. They have been talking to Gilly

:54:18.:54:24.

Mathieson. These men are Hudson's Bay Boys,

:54:24.:54:29.

who as teenagers had few opportunities and gave up

:54:29.:54:32.

everything to make a new life in the Canadian Arctic. They were

:54:32.:54:36.

among thousands of Scots who for 300 years went to work for the

:54:37.:54:43.

Hudson space company. In 1976 there was no job for John Graham on the

:54:43.:54:50.

family farm and so he answered the call of the wild. I responded to an

:54:50.:55:00.

advertisement in the newspaper. It was 11am on September 17th and the

:55:00.:55:06.

temperature was minus two Celsius. The weather was a lot nicer than

:55:06.:55:10.

the win that I had left in Scotland a couple of days beforehand. There

:55:10.:55:15.

really was, at the age of 19, nothing really was a shock, you

:55:15.:55:21.

went there with eyes wide open. Really prepared for anything.

:55:21.:55:26.

Todd did not see a future for himself in Scotland, at the age of

:55:26.:55:33.

17, he also joined the Hudson's Bay Company, are waving in the western

:55:33.:55:38.

Arctic in the middle of winter. arrive here and it was very

:55:38.:55:47.

desolate. So it was a real shock, it takes your breath away. It's the

:55:47.:55:52.

Hudson's Bay Company was started in 1670 and began trading with the

:55:52.:55:59.

native people of the Canadian Arctic. They exchanged supplies for

:55:59.:56:08.

furs. But to the Inuit communities, as they were often much more. Jim

:56:08.:56:17.

Dayell became a Bay Boy, but was also part doctor, dentist and fed.

:56:17.:56:24.

We found clothing, food, or the needs of the community for a year.

:56:24.:56:32.

The medical work, the dental work, the midwifery, looking after dogs,

:56:32.:56:38.

giving them rabies shots, all the extra curricula. There was a vast

:56:38.:56:45.

amount really. By the end of the 20th century, Scots made up half of

:56:45.:56:52.

their workforce. But the seal trade crashed and the impact was

:56:52.:56:55.

catastrophic. Suicide rates have rocketed. It was the beginning of

:56:55.:57:01.

the end for the Bay Boy way of life. The hunters did not know what was

:57:01.:57:05.

going on with the anti-fur market here in Europe. The bottom line is

:57:05.:57:10.

that from being a thriving industry, it put those same folks on welfare

:57:10.:57:15.

overnight. It was so dramatic, it went from people living are

:57:15.:57:20.

reasonably well, it was a tough life, going trapping, that is a

:57:20.:57:25.

tough life, but it was a life they had lived all their lives, all of a

:57:25.:57:30.

sudden it collapsed. Separated by thousands of miles, many of the

:57:30.:57:35.

Scots has left the company but stayed in the Arctic to forge new

:57:35.:57:41.

careers, working alongside a the in the Ritz, it to build new

:57:41.:57:51.
:57:51.:57:51.

communities. This morning has been really exciting. It feels good.

:57:51.:57:55.

back in Scotland ahead of the screening of a new documentary,

:57:55.:58:00.

what can the new generation of school leavers learn from the Bay

:58:00.:58:04.

Boys' experience? There was an inherent understanding that she

:58:04.:58:09.

cannot live off mum and dad. But if you smoke cigarettes, pay for them

:58:09.:58:16.

yourself. Get up and do it. I just thought it was part of life, then.

:58:16.:58:22.

You did not hang on, you step out. I do not care how desperate the

:58:22.:58:25.

Times are, if you want to work hard at something, you have got

:58:25.:58:32.

something in your mind, you are going to achieve that goal. I was

:58:32.:58:39.

estimated to work in aviation but I paid my dues, I paid my five years

:58:39.:58:44.

service to the Hudson's Bay Company, learnt good work habits, getting up

:58:44.:58:50.

early in the morning, being at work on time, putting in an honest day's

:58:50.:58:55.

work. If you work hard, opportunity will present itself to you as it

:58:55.:59:01.

did with me. The Scots have now stopped coming to the Arctic to

:59:01.:59:05.

work with the Hudson's Bay Company, but this generation show that with

:59:05.:59:11.

positive attitude and determination to succeed in tough economic times,

:59:11.:59:17.

opportunity can be created even in the most harsh conditions.

:59:17.:59:22.

You can see more on that story, the Hudson's Bay Boys in a documentary

:59:22.:59:32.
:59:32.:59:33.

on Wednesday night at 9:00pm on BBC The independent MSP Margo MacDonald

:59:33.:59:36.

was re-elected to parliament on a commitment to have the right to

:59:36.:59:39.

choose when to die set up in law. Her End of Life Assistance bill was

:59:39.:59:43.

heavily defeated on a free vote. Ms Macdonald is now in a new

:59:43.:59:45.

consultation process arguing the key element, of giving legal

:59:45.:59:47.

protection to people who assist in suicides, has widespread public

:59:47.:59:50.

support. She joins us from Edinburgh and here with me in

:59:50.:59:57.

Glasgow is the medical ethics professor Sheila Maclean. Thank you

:59:57.:00:02.

both for coming in. Margo MacDonald, how will what you're bringing

:00:02.:00:10.

forward now differ from what was defeated before? I think we learned

:00:10.:00:15.

a great deal from the first time round the course. One of the things

:00:15.:00:24.

I am absolutely adamant about is that this is a rights issue. It is

:00:24.:00:29.

the writer of the individual to have determination over the last

:00:29.:00:33.

act of that person's life. They are as responsible for it as for all

:00:33.:00:39.

the other actions of their life. How would it work in practice?

:00:39.:00:44.

difference this time is that last time we thought it was best, for

:00:44.:00:48.

reasons I will explain if you wish, for it to be medical professionals

:00:48.:00:53.

who were asked for assistance by the small group of people who may

:00:53.:00:59.

well choose to end their life before nature does. This time, we

:00:59.:01:03.

have gone out to consultation and we have asked, should it not simply

:01:03.:01:08.

be medical professionals? Is it possible you could have a friend at

:01:08.:01:12.

the end of somebody who is trained or registered or licensed to help

:01:12.:01:20.

you. There would be no dubiety about it. It would be illegal for

:01:20.:01:26.

anyone to ask for help. Those are the big differences from last time.

:01:26.:01:33.

We are also playing with the idea - considering Seriously - of going to

:01:33.:01:39.

your doctor and thinking ahead. Thinking that I may reach the stage

:01:39.:01:43.

where life becomes intolerable, because I know I have a

:01:43.:01:52.

degenerative process of conditions. -- progressive. I may think I am

:01:52.:01:57.

lucky and see this out without dignity, and that is what people

:01:57.:02:02.

feel more than pain. The reason I thought about this and is because

:02:02.:02:05.

they will be a small number of people who wish to take advantage

:02:05.:02:13.

of this law. There will be perhaps a this sort of percentage of people

:02:13.:02:19.

willing to help them as we find another communities. Because we are

:02:19.:02:25.

a country with an uneven spread of population, it may be a better

:02:25.:02:28.

management tool if you had the same idea ahead of time so that if

:02:28.:02:37.

somebody does go to the doctor and say it is now intolerable. They

:02:37.:02:42.

have advanced directives and living wills. How far do the goal and

:02:42.:02:47.

could use structure safeguards along those lines? The interesting

:02:47.:02:50.

thing about advanced directives in Scotland is there not legislated

:02:50.:02:55.

for. Although the presumption is the ban statement would be followed

:02:55.:03:00.

that is not necessarily true. Encapsulating something similar in

:03:00.:03:03.

Scotland seems to be a step forward and has already been done in

:03:03.:03:08.

England and Wales. The difference with the advanced directive is that

:03:08.:03:12.

what you're suggesting is that once you become ill and are no longer

:03:12.:03:17.

competent to make that decision, they do not then it's not teach you

:03:17.:03:22.

for pneumonia or something. What Margo MacDonald is looking for is

:03:22.:03:26.

something more proactive, which would allow a positive decision in

:03:26.:03:32.

advance that you would at a certain point want to die. That would take

:03:32.:03:37.

the current notion of advanced directives a further set for words.

:03:37.:03:41.

Is that you impression that there is greater support from the public

:03:41.:03:46.

and we see in the political process? That evidence is probably

:03:46.:03:55.

anecdotal full stop of 1000 people that were interviewed in Scotland

:03:55.:04:02.

by a surveyor I carried out, they carried -- supported it two to one.

:04:02.:04:10.

This is not hard evidence but is as hard as you're likely to get. It is

:04:10.:04:12.

health professionals and politicians who appear to be

:04:12.:04:16.

reluctant along with they based organisations. We are running out

:04:16.:04:20.

of time but would you write in to any proposal the right for people

:04:20.:04:26.

to change their minds? Of course. It is the person who decides and

:04:26.:04:29.

only the person and we can all change our minds as often as we

:04:29.:04:35.

like. If that is respected it shows the law was walking. Up thank-you

:04:35.:04:41.

indeed. -- is working. The multi-award-winning

:04:42.:04:44.

international star of movies and theatre, Alan Cumming, has been in

:04:44.:04:46.

Glasgow this weekend discussing his distinctively Scottish performance

:04:46.:04:49.

style and theatre's particular role here. He's not used to bad reviews

:04:49.:04:53.

but he took a bit of a pasting from opposition parties for an election

:04:53.:04:55.

video supporting the SNP, although he isn't resident here and can't

:04:56.:04:59.

vote. The actor's response is that he is entitled to his opinion. He's

:04:59.:05:01.

a big supporter of the National Theatre of Scotland, and in

:05:02.:05:04.

yesterday's event he was examining the impact of our culture being

:05:04.:05:10.

seeped in variety, music hall and panto. In the Kings, with National

:05:10.:05:12.

Theatre director Vicky Featherstone, he said he was delighted to be

:05:12.:05:21.

involved. I want to be here. Nobody forced me

:05:21.:05:27.

and they have come because I feel that as an actor and a person I am

:05:27.:05:33.

very informed by my Scottishness and the tradition of performance in

:05:33.:05:39.

Scotland, which is very much open and connecting to the audience and

:05:39.:05:43.

has its roots in variety and pantomime. What is the difference?

:05:43.:05:52.

What are the elements of this its particular Scottish? A few things.

:05:52.:05:55.

There is an openness and an engagement with the audience, a

:05:55.:06:02.

lack of a fourth wall. You are letting the audience understand

:06:02.:06:09.

that you know they can see you and there is an archness to that

:06:09.:06:12.

because you're looking at performance and a different way.

:06:12.:06:17.

There is a thing about spectacle. We used songs and jokes are as a

:06:17.:06:24.

way of telling the story. The other thing that really fascinates me is

:06:24.:06:30.

that politics is not removed. It is all part of the same pot. We can

:06:30.:06:33.

engage in a political way through humour and songs and through a

:06:33.:06:38.

variety of means like that. Political theatre has grown out of

:06:38.:06:44.

that. Do you think there is something specific about the

:06:44.:06:48.

dynamic between politics and public life and theatre in Scotland that

:06:48.:06:55.

is specific to Scotland? I do. We talk about politics much more than

:06:55.:07:01.

the people in other countries do. In America, politics is almost a

:07:01.:07:06.

hobby. It is something that once every four villas and everybody

:07:06.:07:16.
:07:16.:07:19.

goes nuts for it. Here, it is part of our parlance. -- four ears.

:07:19.:07:25.

is the role of the theatre in that engagement? What is interesting

:07:25.:07:31.

about that is that I feel that Scotland is a demotic country.

:07:31.:07:35.

There is no real sense of elitism here, so the theatre has to be

:07:35.:07:40.

relevant to the people of Scotland. Theatre here is not putting posh

:07:40.:07:45.

plays on posh stages that make people feel stupid. It is about

:07:45.:07:50.

ownership of the work. The theatre tradition in Scotland is a

:07:50.:07:53.

relatively young compared to other countries. What is exciting about

:07:53.:07:58.

that is that has come from a variety and stories that need to be

:07:58.:08:07.

told and communicated. Leading on from that, you don't Black Watch

:08:07.:08:12.

recently and did some work with veterans. You think theatre could

:08:12.:08:18.

have a practical role? We are a publicly-funded organisations and

:08:18.:08:23.

even if we wear it, people we work with believe Scott -- theatre

:08:23.:08:28.

should be relevant in contemporary life. If we're putting on classics,

:08:28.:08:34.

we still feel it is important to be told now, not as a museum piece.

:08:34.:08:39.

The only theatre in our lives and terms of understanding stories and

:08:39.:08:42.

oppositions in the world and asking big questions is a relevant, but it

:08:42.:08:49.

has to be entertaining. Political theatre can become a problem...

:08:49.:08:54.

a are you looking at me when you say problems? When I said

:08:54.:08:59.

entertaining! Banned political theatre became agitation for its

:08:59.:09:08.

own sake and it went into a slight slump because of that. With we're

:09:08.:09:14.

getting to now it is a really good new place. Do you think the

:09:14.:09:19.

cultural scene in Scotland is more vibrant than it has been?

:09:19.:09:26.

Absolutely. When I came back to do a play in 2007, I had not worked in

:09:26.:09:31.

Scotland for a long time. Since devolution, there has been a huge

:09:31.:09:37.

change in the way that not only Scotland is perceived, but how it

:09:37.:09:42.

project itself onto the world stage. There is a confidence and almost a

:09:42.:09:48.

thing that we cannot only blame everything on England any more.

:09:48.:09:56.

Coming back to work that time, it was palpable. It was very exciting.

:09:56.:10:03.

With this last election, I felt it was about re-engaging that kind of

:10:03.:10:11.

confidence and spirit. Can I add to that, but if you look at this

:10:11.:10:15.

situation in Scotland over the last year compared to the situation in

:10:15.:10:20.

England, there is no question that in Scotland the importance of

:10:20.:10:22.

culture and the confidence of culture is absolutely part of this

:10:22.:10:32.

nation being forward thinking. In England, the support for the arts

:10:32.:10:35.

and philosophically at financially has been decimated by the Tory

:10:36.:10:42.

government. Our colleagues in England look jealously at us now.

:10:42.:10:48.

Not only in England but other countries. Scotland has the grim

:10:48.:10:55.

reality of the financial situation but the support is extraordinary.

:10:55.:11:03.

The arts is prioritised in a really good way. Being here, it is

:11:03.:11:07.

sometimes hard to stand outside of it and see what the great thing is

:11:07.:11:11.

happening because it is happening and is normal. With the benefit of

:11:11.:11:14.

not living here, I have been able to do that and that is truly

:11:14.:11:19.

amazing. And so for some analysis on this week's stories and a look

:11:19.:11:22.

ahead to next, we have the Columnist and Theatre Critic, Joyce

:11:22.:11:27.

McMillan and from the Times, the journalist Lorraine Davidson. In

:11:27.:11:32.

terms of what is happening with the stakes, even if you support the

:11:32.:11:39.

objectives, is the strategy right? I do not think so but I am 100% in

:11:39.:11:43.

support. I despise the argument that because people on the private

:11:43.:11:46.

sector do not have good pensions, the public sector should be just as

:11:46.:11:52.

bad. In that sense, there are striking for all of us. They do not

:11:52.:11:58.

want to live up in the sort of place where sex are banned. --

:11:58.:12:06.

Stakes. Having said that, I would rather that instead of Stakes on

:12:07.:12:10.

Wednesday we were looking at a festival of public service where

:12:10.:12:20.
:12:20.:12:22.

more imaginative things were been done. -- strikes. If the public is

:12:22.:12:30.

not 100% behind this, does it not been much traction? Are not of the

:12:30.:12:34.

public understand that there was a banking crisis caused by excess and

:12:34.:12:43.

the banking industry. People being made to pay the price are the

:12:43.:12:46.

people at the bottom end of the scale often with modest public

:12:46.:12:52.

sector pensions. The coalition government has been tried to speak

:12:52.:12:58.

in a very 1970s way about unions and the rights they have and gold-

:12:58.:13:06.

plated public sector pensions. Most in Scotland and we have more -- a

:13:06.:13:08.

much higher lead on a public sector work in Scotland, do not recognise

:13:08.:13:18.
:13:18.:13:22.

this. Most do not recognise that kind of debate that is taking place.

:13:22.:13:27.

I think it is very foolish to use the word is responsible at all in

:13:27.:13:34.

relation to this. -- are responsible. We have seen more

:13:34.:13:40.

egregious examples of this. Most public sector workers are showing a

:13:40.:13:44.

high level of responsibility of the day in their life and a one-day

:13:44.:13:53.

strike! In using the word are responsible, Ed Miliband is playing

:13:53.:13:58.

the Tory tune and it is very foolish. He has not worked out what

:13:58.:14:05.

side he is on in this and his putting. The unions are trying to

:14:05.:14:11.

betray him as at the Winter of discontent and so Ed Miliband has

:14:11.:14:16.

stuck. Labour in Scotland have been more sensible and had decided what

:14:16.:14:22.

say they are on and are sticking with it. Ed Miliband is not going

:14:22.:14:27.

to take the credit for being tough. David Cameron is going to do that.

:14:27.:14:36.

Ed Miliband is left in the middle floundering about. Looking at the

:14:36.:14:42.

assisted suicide pill, would you have reservations? I do. I have

:14:42.:14:48.

immense sympathy and respect for Margo MacDonald. Everyone can

:14:48.:14:52.

understand her position. She has got a good political battle on Miss,

:14:52.:14:58.

but I do not think we live in a society which has the kind of

:14:58.:15:02.

respect for elderly people that you could be confident you were making

:15:02.:15:07.

those decisions to end their lives on a good basis. So many have made

:15:07.:15:14.

to feel a burden and badly cared for at home. We have seen horrific

:15:14.:15:17.

reports in England but also in Scotland about the way people are

:15:17.:15:23.

cared for. There are made to feel a burden and if you introduced a

:15:23.:15:29.

legal option, people would be volunteering in very large numbers.

:15:29.:15:37.

I do not think we should be going down that route. We should not give

:15:37.:15:44.

Political magazine presented by Jon Sopel and Isabel Fraser.


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