17/05/2017 Politics Scotland


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17/05/2017

Coverage of some of the day's debates in the Scottish Parliament.


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LineFromTo

Hello and welcome to Politics Scotland.

:00:17.:00:20.

On today's programme, we'll be bringing you the latest

:00:21.:00:24.

And the price of fish - after years of wrangling

:00:25.:00:29.

between fishermen and Brussels, stocks are finally

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But will the fishery be sustainable after Brexit?

:00:32.:00:40.

With me throughout the programme today is political

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And joining us both for the top of the programme, having

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deserted his usual weather-beaten spot on College Green for the warmth

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and dry of the studio, is our Westminster correspondent

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I think a lot of people are thinking, when is this campaign

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going to kick off? We are waiting for the manifesto, and then three or

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four start coming along all at once. We are getting them in quick

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succession. Labour yesterday, the Liberal Democrats today. The

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Conservatives tomorrow. And then we will get the Scottish ones as well

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and we will really find out what the parties are planning and what

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they're trying to sell to the electorate. Everyone says this

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election is about Brexit, but in what meaningful sense is it about

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Brexit? I think it is about Brexit if your south of the border. Up here

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it has obviously got a very different feel to it. It is a

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referendum on a second independence referendum. But even in England, do

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you think it really is about Brexit? I think it is, and about who the

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voters think is best going to be positioned to achieve that. I think,

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when you talk to the poor south of the border, they say, we may not

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have voted for Brexit but we now accept that it is going to happen,

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and they are then now looking for who they think is the best person to

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deliver that. Now, the Conservatives are very much trying to frame that

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as a Brexit election, whereby also they asked the question, who is

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going to be the best leader, potentially Theresa May or Jeremy

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Corbyn? Jimmy Corbyn and the Labour Party are trying to frame it on, it

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is more than that, it is about the type of United Kingdom that you want

:02:30.:02:32.

a mother rolled you want for the state... Well, it is a little bit

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about Brexit, but not very much, from Labour's point of view? From

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Labour's point of view, they want to keep it off Brexit as they do not

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see that as a strong point. Brexit is an issue which divides the Labour

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Party, certainly in England. You only have to look at the number of

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people who left Labour to go to Ukip, and if the local elections are

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to be believed, those Ukip voters are now not going back to Labour,

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they are going to the Conservatives. That is a problem for Labour, they

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like to keep away from Brexit. And what is going to give this a

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much-needed kick to get it going? We could do with a fantastic gaffe or

:03:16.:03:18.

something like that, where a politician goes off message will get

:03:19.:03:23.

into a row with a constituent. But what you are finding now is, the

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campaigns, as they go on, more and more they are trying to be

:03:30.:03:31.

controlled. Very rarely are the politicians getting out as they used

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to, on the stump, to speak to voters. That just doesn't happen, it

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is all far more controlled. Is that true with Jeremy Corbyn as well as

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Theresa May? Well, Corbyn is tending to go to areas where he is

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surrounded by core supporters. Very red Leeward usage Jeremy Corbyn on a

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street where you might find people who would not like him. So, in that

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respect, it is being controlled. -- very rarely would you find Jeremy

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Corbyn... His own supporters are very impressed with him, but his

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visits are not completely open, in the old-fashioned sense of the

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world. Gerry, in Scotland, Behrami have the SNP as well, which is

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different, but are they going to have anything interesting? To me,

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general elections there is like World Cups. If you take that

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analogy, it is a competition which has not yet begun. As David is

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saying, the politicians are in a bubble, we do not have that lady

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having that conversation with Gordon Brown, or in 2001, when John

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Prescott thumped voter. We need something, if not that kind of

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magnitude, something which cuts through. People watch elections,

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they see images passing them on the TV screen, they see the beginning of

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the news and the end of the news... I was going to say, is it about

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impressions, rather than...? David, for example, Diane Abbott's now

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famous interview, I'm not sure it's famous because people go and watch

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the interview, or is it just that it sticks, it gives the general

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impression that Labour don't know what they're talking about? Because

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it was out of the ordinary. Normally, when politicians go on the

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media, they know they will get questions about the policy, how much

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is it going to cost, is it going to be deliverable? They should be

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prepped on those questions and they should be able to answer them. When

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you get a politician who comes on the programme and says, actually,

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it's going to be ?30 a year, and then has a couple of goes, and keeps

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getting it wrong, it is the type of thing which people are going to

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remember. But I think you're right... In a broad brush? Yes, it

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feeds into the oppression that this politician may or may not know what

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they're talking about. It might reinforce people's impressions. Dr

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Gerry Hassan, we will be speaking to you more in a moment. But first...

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In recent years, the North Sea's fish bounty has been

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After the boom years of the '60s and early '70s,

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stocks declined to critical levels in many species.

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Not any more - cod catches are at levels many younger skippers

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have never seen before, and there has been a dramatic

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It's come after years of bitter wrangling between the EU

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and fishermen over quotas and fish discards.

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However, the recovery certainly suggests the EU fisheries

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policy has been a success, but there are now fears

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about the continued sustainability of the fishery after Brexit.

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Well, I'm joined now on the phone from Shetland by Simon Collins

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from the Scottish Fishermen's Association.

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Simon Collins, there are some fears that once the Common Fisheries

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Policy is taken away, there could be something of a free for all? That's

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right. What the fishing industry here wants is control over our

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waters, and to manage them. The reaction might be, it's going to be

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these guys grabbing all they can, free from EU. That however is

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completely wrong. From where I'm sitting in Shetland, for example, a

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fisheries dependent community, our future depends on healthy fisheries.

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Have no choice but to be responsible, and we intend to be

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that. And that is true for the whole of the Scottish industry. Just to be

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clear, it is quite complicated area, even after Brexit, there will have

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to be some agreement, treaty or something, between Britain and not

:08:03.:08:08.

just EU countries but all other countries, including countries like

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Norway, to regulate what happens in the North Sea? Absolutely. And it is

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critical that those decisions, how much can be taken out, are based on

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science. That will not change. There will not be one more fish taken out

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of the sea than there is at the moment. What we hope with Brexit is

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that we will be in a position to obtain a fairer share of that

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sustainable catch. That is the issue. So there will still be some

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kind of international treaty, it is just that you hope the share which

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goes to the UK stroke Scotland is bigger. Now, there's all of this

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talk about the powers over fisheries being devolved to Scotland or not.

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What is your perspective on that, do you want all the powers devolved to

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Scotland or are there matters which have to be in the hands of the

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British Government? Something is constitutionally have to be by the

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way things are negotiated internationally. One would hope

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however that the Scottish and UK governments would organise

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themselves before any such talks to make sure that the right negotiating

:09:18.:09:21.

points are understood by all different parts of the UK. When the

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guys are out at sea, looking at very productive fisheries, they want it

:09:28.:09:33.

to work. Constitutional arrangements at UK level and Scottish level are a

:09:34.:09:38.

long way away, they are looking at the result, and that result is their

:09:39.:09:43.

quotas and sustainable fishing. There are a lot of people who think

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the best way of running fisheries is when they're soft controlled and the

:09:48.:09:51.

fishermen themselves have a stake in fishing sustainably, even if it

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means they have to forego catches in the short to medium-term. Is it any

:09:58.:10:02.

more likely that you could get a locally managed system like that

:10:03.:10:06.

after Brexit than it was before? Yes, it is, absolutely. One of the

:10:07.:10:14.

big problems of the Common Fisheries Policy was the inability to direct

:10:15.:10:21.

things from a regional perspective, or a Scottish perspective, and it

:10:22.:10:27.

was very blunt, for that reason. We would absolutely look for management

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decisions to be closer to the fishing grounds, with input from

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those who are seeing what is happening on the ground every single

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day. Simon Collins, thank you very much for that. It is one of these

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hugely complicated areas, fisheries, Gerry, but if you seems to be, from

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the little I know, that the more local management you have, the

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better. So you can see why it is odd, it is perhaps one of the few

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communities in Scotland where there was big support for leaving the EU?

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Definitely, an Aberdeen university study found around 90% of fishermen

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is trusting the Common Fisheries Policy. But you can see, in some

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sense, it has delivered, because stocks are rising in the North Sea

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with all sorts of fish. There is this issue of sustainability, not

:11:25.:11:28.

just for the fish but for the communities. An awful lot of those

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jobs are very, very low-paid jobs, jobs which require all sorts of

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benefits and a high percentage of those jobs are also not British. 28%

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of all fishing jobs are not a British-born. It is the people who

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come to Scotland, on low wages. So there is lots of ways in which we

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need to think about fishing differently. The worry would be a

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free-for-all, as Simon acknowledged, that the point is that once the CFP

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goes, everyone's got an interesting grabbing as much as they can. And

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there are going to be disputes over whether Britain has a 200-mile

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limit, whether even if it is accepted that it has, that should

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stop other countries coming into fish within it, and what Britain is

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going to do about it if they do. All of this will have to be resolved. .

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That's right. As you were saying in the package, the Scottish input,

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which has been very small until now. Nearly all the fish that we fish by

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our seas and our coastlines, 80% of it we export elsewhere. The fish we

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eat has got very little relationship with that, we import 70% of that. So

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we need to think of ways not only do we fish more locally, but the way we

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consume as well. Well, it's time now

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to cross live to Holyrood for the Scottish Conservative-led

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debate on the fisheries. Backed by the United Nations

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Convention. This does mean that foreign boats will never fish our

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waters against, but it does mean that they will fish under our rules

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and regulation is and that we will be in control, and that is a huge

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prize. That is a sea of opportunity our fishermen welcome. At the

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moment, 62% of the fish caught in UK waters are caught by foreign

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vessels. In comparison are boats only catch

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fish worth a mere ?100 million. Between 2012 and 2014 EU boats

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caught half the commercial fish, two thirds of the pelagic fish and

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almost all of the industrial fish in our exclusive zone. Nobody can argue

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this is fair. The other strand of the disaster story that the SNP try

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to spin is that we will lose the EU market for fish. Yes the EU market

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is important and we want to keep it, but I have spoken with numerous fish

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processors who are very relaxed about keeping their markets. They

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argue quite rightly that are fish are in great demand in Europe,

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buyers are queueing up to get the top fish we supply and is often

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unavailable elsewhere. It's also a fact that our stands in the Brexit

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negotiations is to get a comprehensive free trade deal so why

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should we get such a deal given a free trade deal is as much to the

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European benefit as ours? I will finish with a quote from Iceland's

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Minister for fisheries, Iceland applied to join the EU in 2009 but

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withdrew their application in 2015 mainly because they would have to

:15:12.:15:14.

join the CFB and did not like what they saw. In June 2016, there are

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fisheries minister said, "I would never join the EU, there is a life

:15:25.:15:28.

outside it as we have proven. We have one of the biggest and

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strongest fisheries in the world that is sustainable without any

:15:33.:15:35.

subsidies from the state. We don't have two share this decision-making

:15:36.:15:39.

with anyone else. It would be difficult for Icelanders to control

:15:40.:15:43.

the economic and fisheries sector is having to discuss it with 27 or 28

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other countries". Residing officer, that is the kind of future which

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awaits our fishing industry once we leave the outdated, bureaucratic and

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unreformable European Common fisheries policy and I for one

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welcome that future and move this motion in my name. Thank you. I

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don't like banging on desks. So we can just stop doing that.

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When we joined the EU Scottish office paper was written, this

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Scottish office paper remained hidden, it remained hidden for 30

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years. Under the UK official secrets act. What that paper said was, and I

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quote" in the wider UK context they, the fishermen, must be regarded as

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expendable". This was first quoted in Parliament in Westminster by Alex

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Salmond in 2001. And I am quoting from hand Sade. I will give way in a

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moment once I make my point. That was the true view of the UK

:17:20.:17:24.

Government at that time. That the interests of Scotland's fishermen

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wear expendable and indeed it was never intended that that real view

:17:30.:17:35.

would be made public because it was an official secret document and it

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only became public 30 years... I will give way to Mr Chapman but will

:17:44.:17:48.

he apologise now under half of the Scottish Tories for that betrayal

:17:49.:17:57.

when we were taken into the EU? Peter Chapman? We hear about

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something that happened 47 years ago and it wasn't even a government

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minister that said that. It was far more effective to look at what is

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going on just now, the letter from Andrea Leadsom right now says we

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will take back control of our waters to 200 miles, that is much more

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significant than quoting something from 47 years ago said by a junior

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official. Cabinet secretary? Presiding officer I will move on to

:18:28.:18:32.

what happened after that, let's move forward shall we? And let's move

:18:33.:18:38.

into the 80s when under Margaret Thatcher... Excuse me, set down a

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minute secretary, I have people be quiet for Mr Chapman and people will

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be quiet for the Cabinet Secretary and they do not want to hear banging

:18:47.:18:51.

on desks, you can applaud if you wish, that is much more reasonable.

:18:52.:18:59.

They can bang on the desk but they cannot undo history and do not have

:19:00.:19:02.

the guts to apologise for something they must know that was wrong,

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that's the interesting thing. But let's move forward and write a bit

:19:08.:19:12.

of rudimentary education. Under Margaret Thatcher in the 80s the UK

:19:13.:19:18.

Government signed us up, signed us up to the original doomed Common

:19:19.:19:24.

fisheries policy. It use your heroine that took us into the Common

:19:25.:19:30.

fisheries policy. If she is not your heroine let me know... She is? OK,

:19:31.:19:38.

we have got that clear. That was the first thing. Then in the history

:19:39.:19:43.

lesson, John Major's Tories signed us up to a revised CFB in the 1990s.

:19:44.:19:50.

What was at the heart of that? Scrapping vessels and the decimation

:19:51.:19:58.

of livelihoods. Destroying the economy and well-being in many of

:19:59.:20:02.

our coastal communities. This is fact and this is why feeling is so

:20:03.:20:12.

strong about the CFP, it is what has been happening for decades. Was Mrs

:20:13.:20:17.

Thatcher wrong when she took us in and was John Major wrong when he

:20:18.:20:22.

took us into a revised policy? It another chance to apologise, a

:20:23.:20:27.

second opportunity. You are making the point very well that we want to

:20:28.:20:32.

be out of the CFP, it is the SNP that want to keep us in there.

:20:33.:20:37.

APPLAUSE Cabinet secretary?

:20:38.:20:41.

Well, I'm afraid time waits for no man -

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or fish, for that matter, and we have to leave

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Now, amid all the general election hoo-haa, you'd be forgiven

:20:46.:20:49.

The results left many Scottish councils without any party winning

:20:50.:20:52.

enough seats for a majority, so almost immediately,

:20:53.:20:55.

the wheeler-dealing to form coalitions got underway.

:20:56.:20:57.

Joining us now is our local government

:20:58.:20:59.

We might not have any exciting general election news but you have

:21:00.:21:15.

exciting local authority news? Quite a saga unfolding in Aberdeen,

:21:16.:21:20.

basically a deal between Labour and the Conservatives was announced but

:21:21.:21:25.

there was a problem with it to put it mildly, basically the Labour

:21:26.:21:29.

National Executive Committee said no deal and essentially, if the Labour

:21:30.:21:33.

councillors involved... The Scottish executive of the Labour Party has

:21:34.:21:38.

basically said no deal. The Labour councillors in Aberdeen have gone

:21:39.:21:42.

ahead anyway and if they do not pull out by 5pm this afternoon they could

:21:43.:21:47.

face suspension from the party. A fascinating scenario there with the

:21:48.:21:51.

Labour Party, one that if the deal in Aberdeen goes ahead it could beg

:21:52.:21:56.

questions of the authority of the party leader Kezia Dugdale. This is

:21:57.:22:00.

one of these that you could not make up so let's go through it slowly.

:22:01.:22:06.

Are you saying that when Labour agreed to do the deal with the

:22:07.:22:10.

Tories in Aberdeen they knew the Scottish executive were saying we

:22:11.:22:15.

should not do it? Certainly it would have been a surprise if they didn't

:22:16.:22:20.

factor that into the equation. Before the council elections Labour

:22:21.:22:24.

did not give a 100% no deals with the Tories line in the way the SNP

:22:25.:22:29.

did but they did talk down the possibility of deals with the

:22:30.:22:34.

Tories. Kezia Dugdale would talk about how their councillors would

:22:35.:22:37.

fight austerity and find it difficult in a practical sense to do

:22:38.:22:40.

deals with the Conservatives and made that point about how the

:22:41.:22:44.

National Executive Committee would not agree to any deals... They are

:22:45.:22:50.

told in no uncertain terms no deal and they have to pull out of it by

:22:51.:22:55.

5pm this evening? Yes. And what happens if they don't? Two possible

:22:56.:23:03.

scenarios, they don't pull out, the councillors might be suspended by

:23:04.:23:07.

the party but could continue as independents. The interment of is

:23:08.:23:10.

that hours after the deal was formed it falls apart -- the alternative is

:23:11.:23:15.

that hours after the deal was formed it falls apart and it is the SNP for

:23:16.:23:20.

the single largest party on the council and they would be put into

:23:21.:23:24.

opposition. I would repeat that you cannot make this up. I think there

:23:25.:23:33.

was a TV series based on this, deal or no deal? You have this issue

:23:34.:23:40.

about how do you do deals when parties have said such profound

:23:41.:23:47.

things about each other. You have the local factors and the wider

:23:48.:23:52.

political traction of how it plays in the country. Do you think

:23:53.:23:56.

Labour's newly discovered ban on coalitions with the Conservatives

:23:57.:24:02.

might soft and somewhat after the general election or am I being

:24:03.:24:09.

cynical? I think you are facing a wider political picture where you

:24:10.:24:14.

think how anti-Tory Scotland is is slowly weakening related to the

:24:15.:24:18.

rising number of Scots that vote Tory. If the Tories do well in the

:24:19.:24:23.

popular vote may be the SNP narrative will continue ad nauseam

:24:24.:24:26.

but it delivers less political traction and there is a way in which

:24:27.:24:32.

Labour and the Lib Dems, some element of soft coalescing at least

:24:33.:24:37.

in terms of votes with the Tories. Great drama in Aberdeen, elsewhere,

:24:38.:24:41.

Angus has seen a deal which keeps the SNP out? Indeed, an SNP majority

:24:42.:24:48.

counsel not so long ago but this deal keeps the SNP out, independents

:24:49.:24:54.

and Conservatives leading the administration there. It's all a bit

:24:55.:24:59.

swings and roundabouts, in south Ayrshire of the Conservatives are

:25:00.:25:01.

the largest party but the local deal keeps them out of power. We are

:25:02.:25:07.

expecting to hear words from a couple more powers... So who is in

:25:08.:25:13.

power in South Ayrshire? The SNP of the top of my head leading the

:25:14.:25:20.

administration. With Labour? Off the top of my head I think it's SNP and

:25:21.:25:24.

Labour that are forming the new administration in South Ayrshire but

:25:25.:25:29.

that's still to be absolutely confirmed but it was a possible deal

:25:30.:25:34.

announced last week. Later this afternoon we should get news from

:25:35.:25:38.

North Ayrshire which is interesting, the SNP and Labour with an identical

:25:39.:25:42.

number of councillors and it would be hard to form an administration

:25:43.:25:48.

without at the very least tacit support from the Conservatives,

:25:49.:25:52.

maybe not ideal but at least that tacit support where they would be

:25:53.:25:57.

happy to see one of those parties in a minority administration. Thank you

:25:58.:26:01.

so much for all of that, very exciting and interesting.

:26:02.:26:04.

It's time to cross over to Holyrood now for our live line-up of lovelies

:26:05.:26:07.

They are SNP's Richard Lochhead, Liam Kerr from the Conservatives,

:26:08.:26:11.

James Kelly from Labour, Mark Ruskell from the Greens

:26:12.:26:13.

and Tavish Scott from the Liberal Democrats.

:26:14.:26:17.

James Kelly, Labour seem to be producing the new story this

:26:18.:26:25.

afternoon, what happens to your councillors in Aberdeen if they do

:26:26.:26:34.

not obey you by 5pm? Going back to the local elections, Labour

:26:35.:26:38.

candidates stood on a programme of opposing cuts and making sure the

:26:39.:26:43.

local communities were not adversely affected by council budgets. So that

:26:44.:26:48.

underpins any discussions that Labour groups are involved in

:26:49.:26:53.

throughout the country and we have made it absolutely clear that the

:26:54.:26:59.

deal proposed involving Conservatives in Aberdeen was not

:27:00.:27:02.

acceptable because it was going to introduce more austerity and

:27:03.:27:06.

therefore if that deal goes ahead we will take disciplinary action

:27:07.:27:11.

against those councillors. Which means what? It means they will be

:27:12.:27:16.

suspended from the Labour Party so their membership will be suspended

:27:17.:27:21.

and therefore the need to take serious consideration of the

:27:22.:27:24.

decisions they are about to take and also the programmes they stood on

:27:25.:27:28.

and were elected on. We want councillors elected to stand up for

:27:29.:27:35.

communities and oppose Tory and SNP cuts. Are you saying there is no

:27:36.:27:40.

blanket ban on Labour doing deals with the Tories in particular

:27:41.:27:45.

councils it's just that this individual deal you thought was

:27:46.:27:50.

objectionable? We are saying we set out a process two days after the

:27:51.:27:56.

local elections that any discussions the Labour groups took part in, if

:27:57.:28:01.

they come up with a proposal it had to be examined by the executive

:28:02.:28:07.

committee and the key criteria was did it stop austerity? Did it

:28:08.:28:14.

benefit working families? I just want to get this clear, your policy

:28:15.:28:20.

is no cuts, not now Tories? It is down to how it will affect working

:28:21.:28:24.

families in their communities, not the political parties, people.

:28:25.:28:31.

That's been made clear. Richard Lochhead what do you make of this,

:28:32.:28:34.

the largest party in Aberdeen haven't you?

:28:35.:28:42.

Listening to that, it sounds like a sketch. Firstly, I find it

:28:43.:28:49.

absolutely astonishing that the Labour Party would be prepared to go

:28:50.:28:51.

into coalition with the Conservatives in any part of

:28:52.:28:54.

Scotland. I think that would go down like a lead balloon with the people

:28:55.:28:58.

of Aberdeen. And what will also go down badly will the people would be

:28:59.:29:02.

the biggest party, the SNP, getting frozen out of these negotiations by

:29:03.:29:08.

the Labour Party. What is so good about on cello that you would

:29:09.:29:11.

happily go into a coalition with him in a local authority but you would

:29:12.:29:14.

not with the chap standing next to you? Well, no offence to Liam Kerr,

:29:15.:29:22.

but the Tories are toxic in Scotland, they support austerity,

:29:23.:29:24.

they have some really obnoxious social policies... They are

:29:25.:29:31.

pro-austerity, we have had policies like the rape clause... Excuse me,

:29:32.:29:37.

you spent years saying Labour were pro-posterity, so what is so bad

:29:38.:29:42.

about the Tories? The Tory party is like a reinvented Ukip at the

:29:43.:29:45.

moment, lurching to the right, and we don't want heading to do with

:29:46.:29:49.

helping them get their hands on budgets and councils across

:29:50.:29:52.

Scotland. I don't understand what any of that means. Explain in one

:29:53.:29:57.

sentence why it is all right for the SNP to go into coalition with

:29:58.:30:02.

Labour, but somehow it is toxic, to use your word, to do it with the

:30:03.:30:06.

Conservatives? You are supposed to be opposed to both of them, what is

:30:07.:30:11.

the difference? Councils do need administrations, that's why there

:30:12.:30:14.

are negotiations going on across Scotland. But you have just said you

:30:15.:30:18.

would not go into coalition with the fellow next to you, but you would

:30:19.:30:25.

with James Kelly - why? Our position is that going in with the

:30:26.:30:28.

Conservatives is a step too far, the idea of allowing you increasingly

:30:29.:30:34.

right-wing Conservative Party get their hands on power is a step too

:30:35.:30:38.

far. Are you happy to with anybody, James Kelly? First of all colour

:30:39.:30:44.

this idea that in some way the Conservative Party are toxic, given

:30:45.:30:48.

that we have just come off the back of council elections in which a

:30:49.:30:50.

significant number of the Scottish population have said, as do we

:30:51.:30:54.

rather like what the Conservatives are doing. How much disrespect can

:30:55.:30:59.

Richard Lochhead, with respect, show to the Scottish electorate? Sorry to

:31:00.:31:05.

interrupt you, he can show exactly the same amount of this respect as

:31:06.:31:09.

he points out you are showing his councillors in Aberdeen by freezing

:31:10.:31:12.

them out of power, despite the fact is more of them than either you or

:31:13.:31:17.

Labour? No, I think what is most important when we are looking at

:31:18.:31:21.

Aberdeen is to look at the chaos that Labour are visiting upon

:31:22.:31:24.

themselves, with on the one hand their Scottish National Party, the

:31:25.:31:30.

national party of Scotland, Labour saying, you can't do this, we're

:31:31.:31:33.

going to suspend our entire counsellor base. The councillors in

:31:34.:31:38.

Aberdeen, looking at the calibre of the Scottish Conservatives who have

:31:39.:31:42.

been elected to the council, saying, yes, that is a good deal, we want to

:31:43.:31:46.

be part of that. And frankly, on what is happening at a national

:31:47.:31:49.

level, the voters are going to the polls in a few weeks to talk about

:31:50.:31:52.

whether Jeremy Corbyn should be leading this country. Frankly, on

:31:53.:31:56.

the evidence which Labour put forward now, that has to be no. I

:31:57.:32:02.

want to speak to the other two, but first, a quick answer from you -

:32:03.:32:09.

why'd you you more than the Tories? Because you would be quite happy to

:32:10.:32:13.

do deals with the SNP, what is so great about Richard Lochhead? I made

:32:14.:32:16.

it absolutely clear in my earlier answer, Gordon, it is to do with the

:32:17.:32:25.

programmes that are proposed. South Ayrshire, the SNP have got a

:32:26.:32:28.

brilliant programme, so are you prepared to go in? We are opposed to

:32:29.:32:33.

any programmes that have cuts at the centre of it or are going to have an

:32:34.:32:39.

adverse effect on families, and our executive committee will examine the

:32:40.:32:41.

detail of any programme before approving any deals. So, it sounds

:32:42.:32:46.

like Ayrshire, you're happy to go into coalition with a party which

:32:47.:32:50.

you say acts as, what is the phrase, and yet escalator for Tory cuts, is

:32:51.:32:56.

that your phrase you have used for the SNP? I reiterate, Gordon, any

:32:57.:33:04.

programme, a programme of proposing cuts... Any programme... Tavish

:33:05.:33:13.

Scott, where are the Liberal Democrats in all of this, are there

:33:14.:33:16.

any places where you think you can actually have a hand in this?

:33:17.:33:23.

Firstly, can I apologise for introducing the single transferable

:33:24.:33:27.

vote all those years ago, and ending the thing which you must want more,

:33:28.:33:31.

Gordon, then anything else, first-past-the-post, so that we can

:33:32.:33:34.

have clarity in these local elections! It is a good thing that

:33:35.:33:37.

these political parties have to confront the verdict of the

:33:38.:33:40.

electorate and work out what the electorate said, and then they have

:33:41.:33:45.

to come to an agreement, or as we have just seen, not, about... The

:33:46.:33:48.

problem was they didn't like your party very much, so are you in a

:33:49.:33:53.

position to negotiate any of these deals? You're right, I am not

:33:54.:34:01.

because I am an NSP. I think it a really important principle. My

:34:02.:34:04.

national executive would not get involved in it taking to my local

:34:05.:34:08.

councillors what they should do at local level. 1.I agree with James on

:34:09.:34:14.

is, in all of your analysis, there was nothing about policy, it was all

:34:15.:34:17.

about deals between parties. James is right, this should be about

:34:18.:34:20.

policies at the local level. That is what the Liberal Democrats will be

:34:21.:34:31.

talking about. If you were in a position to do deals with other

:34:32.:34:34.

parties, you wouldn't rule out doing a deal with anyone, Tories, SNP,

:34:35.:34:40.

anyone, it would be, as James Kelly says, about the contents of the

:34:41.:34:44.

deal? Just as we discussed properly with the SNP government here in

:34:45.:34:48.

Edinburgh about the budget, we will do that at a local level, where

:34:49.:34:52.

people have said, do that. I think that is the responsible way we

:34:53.:34:55.

should proceed in politics and I think it is what other parties

:34:56.:34:58.

should be doing fuzzy Mark Ruskell, you are not in a position, either,

:34:59.:35:05.

to be influential in these discussions, are you? Well, we are

:35:06.:35:09.

in some. We have big council groups in Edinburgh and Glasgow. I think

:35:10.:35:15.

there are still discussions which are under way. But I think the

:35:16.:35:21.

really sad thing... Still discussions taking place, a lot of

:35:22.:35:24.

councils are having their first inaugural meetings this week and we

:35:25.:35:30.

will see what emerges from that. But the real tragedy of Scottish

:35:31.:35:33.

politics, you have the SNP and Labour fighting each other in

:35:34.:35:36.

council chambers across the country, where if they actually looked at the

:35:37.:35:40.

policies and manifestos, they would realise there is a lot to bind them

:35:41.:35:43.

together. I think progressive coalitions could start to emerge in

:35:44.:35:47.

a lot of Scottish local authorities between SNP, Labour, possibly

:35:48.:35:51.

Liberal Democrats, possibly Greens as well. Let's see what emerges in

:35:52.:35:56.

the next week. Is there any prospect belay between vanishingly small and

:35:57.:36:00.

small, of the Greens not doing a deal to be part of the Glasgow

:36:01.:36:04.

administration? Well, I can't comment on that, that is down to our

:36:05.:36:08.

counsellor group in Glasgow. That's where the decision-making has to

:36:09.:36:12.

like fish but certainly, we don't need to look at formal coalitions to

:36:13.:36:18.

get the job done. Greens have been in constructive negotiations with

:36:19.:36:23.

the SNP at Holyrood to deliver 160 million for the local authorities,

:36:24.:36:26.

that is with a group of six MSPs. We can do the same with the local

:36:27.:36:30.

councils, being constructive in fighting for education and local

:36:31.:36:34.

services through our influence. Let's change the subject, the

:36:35.:36:39.

Liberal Democrats, to the great joy of the nation, have produced a

:36:40.:36:45.

manifesto today. You are so cynical, Gordon, you really are, what is

:36:46.:36:49.

wrong, be positive! I meant it literally! Your flagship see as

:36:50.:36:54.

announced today is another referendum on the final terms of

:36:55.:36:58.

Brexit, so we'll give you a chance to answer the question - why is it

:36:59.:37:03.

vital to have another referendum on Brexit but absolutely forbidden to

:37:04.:37:05.

have another referendum on independence? Because as you and

:37:06.:37:11.

other broadcasters know, you interviewed Boris Johnson and many

:37:12.:37:14.

other leading lights on the get out campaign, and they all said, we will

:37:15.:37:20.

stay in the single market, we will stay in the Commons for economic

:37:21.:37:23.

matters, we will stay very much part of everything which is important in

:37:24.:37:26.

Europe, and the minute the thing was passed, it has all gone. Were told

:37:27.:37:31.

we were going to see ?350 million a week ago where does that go now? I

:37:32.:37:37.

get the argument. The argument actually matters here, Gordon. The

:37:38.:37:40.

point is, the people did not know what they were voting for, and now

:37:41.:37:44.

the Tories are saying something completely different. It is right

:37:45.:37:47.

that the people of our country get the chance to vote on whatever comes

:37:48.:37:50.

out of those negotiations in two or three years' time, because they

:37:51.:37:54.

certainly did not know what they were voting for last year. The

:37:55.:37:57.

argument would be slightly more impressive if it was not the case

:37:58.:38:01.

that during the referendum campaign on independence, you and others

:38:02.:38:05.

spent your entire time saying, Alex Salmond is profiting that we'll keep

:38:06.:38:09.

the pound, he can't promise that, everyone in the UK Government is

:38:10.:38:13.

saying, that's not possible, he can't be trusted, there's no clarity

:38:14.:38:17.

in what the SNP are proposing, he says he can join the European Union,

:38:18.:38:21.

look what Barroso is saying, there is no certainty... I don't really

:38:22.:38:27.

see what the difference is? I think you do, don't Gordon, I think that

:38:28.:38:32.

is a dancing on the head of the Pinotti mint. The point was, the

:38:33.:38:36.

argument was that, we will be independent. You cannot compare that

:38:37.:38:40.

in that bold sense with what we now have on Brexit. It is changing every

:38:41.:38:47.

day, we have and yet active negotiation with 27 member states.

:38:48.:38:50.

You cannot possibly compare the two. I am going to ask our cameraman or

:38:51.:38:55.

woman to dance on the head of a pin and get right over to Richard

:38:56.:38:59.

Lochhead so he can say why he agrees with you... Why do you agree with

:39:00.:39:06.

him, Tavish Scott, is he right? I agree on some of the issues, in

:39:07.:39:10.

terms of the false premise on which voted to leave Europe. But of course

:39:11.:39:17.

in Scotland, 62% of Scots... But what about another referendum on

:39:18.:39:22.

Brexit but not on independence? I do not agree with him on that point. If

:39:23.:39:26.

you are a Democrat and a member of the Scottish Parliament, we believe

:39:27.:39:33.

the people of Scotland should have the right to choose a different

:39:34.:39:38.

future. Quick word on that, Liam Kerr? I find it rather patronising

:39:39.:39:42.

to say that the British people didn't know what they were voting

:39:43.:39:45.

for, when the British people voted to leave the EU. What we have to

:39:46.:39:48.

focus on is getting the best deal for the UK and for the British

:39:49.:39:56.

people. Those NHS posters? James Kelly, you agree with Liam Kerr on

:39:57.:40:01.

that, don't you? I hope the... I hope you are not agreeing on that in

:40:02.:40:08.

Aberdeenshire I hope that Richard Lochhead is saying that you can't

:40:09.:40:13.

rerun the EU referendum, you know, and we would then accept the result

:40:14.:40:17.

of the independence referendum from 2014 should be accepted, and we

:40:18.:40:20.

don't need another one for a generation. Mark Ruskell, do you

:40:21.:40:27.

want another European referendum? Well, I want a referendum which can

:40:28.:40:31.

finally reconcile the 2014 and the 2016 votes. We are in a very

:40:32.:40:36.

different place to last year. We have to bring these two questions

:40:37.:40:39.

together, when we have understood the nature of the hard Brexit which

:40:40.:40:43.

Theresa May is going to negotiate, and then we can finally put that

:40:44.:40:47.

question to the people. Let's pull back on the shot. This is what the

:40:48.:40:50.

viewers have been waiting for. Fantastic! Thank you all very much

:40:51.:40:57.

indigenous we can get some final thoughts from Dr Gerry Hassan now.

:40:58.:41:00.

This Aberdeen business is a bit strange? I think what he was saying

:41:01.:41:05.

was that basically, the local Labour groups do not have discretion to

:41:06.:41:08.

make deals, they have to be approved by the central organs of Labour,

:41:09.:41:13.

which is quite a bit of micromanagement. It is also a bit

:41:14.:41:16.

ambiguous, isn't it? If the argument is that the problem is not the

:41:17.:41:21.

Tories, tell me if I am getting it wrong, he seemed to be saying that

:41:22.:41:25.

it is not a blanket ban on Tories, it is that this particular deal

:41:26.:41:29.

would mean more cuts in Aberdeen. Yes. So, does that mean in South

:41:30.:41:35.

Ayrshire, where they have done the deal with the SNP, there would be no

:41:36.:41:39.

cuts in South Ayrshire? That was the logic of what he was saying. When

:41:40.:41:44.

you take the bigger picture, in terms of local government

:41:45.:41:46.

contraction and contraction in public spending, how you manage to

:41:47.:41:53.

make less cuts or in a wider environment is difficult to see. It

:41:54.:42:00.

is impossible. You've got a little bit of flexibility with the council

:42:01.:42:04.

charge... That's right. But the local authorities cannot themselves

:42:05.:42:11.

stop the cuts, can they? And so you get the mantra of austerity. But

:42:12.:42:15.

voters do not really understand what it means. Toxic Tories, when 25% of

:42:16.:42:24.

Scots voted two weeks ago Tory, about 7% less than the SNP. That

:42:25.:42:27.

kind of rhetoric is not really cut through. I think it is what Tavish

:42:28.:42:35.

Scott was suggesting, when you have the electoral system which gives you

:42:36.:42:38.

the result of all these parties being political minorities, they

:42:39.:42:43.

then have to active in a bit more of a grown-up way than they sometimes

:42:44.:42:48.

otherwise would. When there is a general election? You have got

:42:49.:42:50.

campaigning on top of that, which means... Do you not think it might

:42:51.:42:55.

be a good idea to have a new rule, just for now, let's just forget

:42:56.:42:58.

about coalitions and local authorities until after the general

:42:59.:43:01.

election, and then maybe everyone can sit down and talk sensibly? Yes,

:43:02.:43:06.

because they are in campaigning mode. That Aberdeen issue will be

:43:07.:43:13.

used for national political capital, that's just the nature of politics.

:43:14.:43:17.

After the 8th of June, there might be a bit more realism coming into

:43:18.:43:20.

town halls. Do you think the general election campaign is going to get as

:43:21.:43:25.

exciting as Aberdeen council or is that too high a standard? I think we

:43:26.:43:30.

can hope for that hydrogen we have a problem in the general election

:43:31.:43:32.

campaign, everyone has basically already assumed the result, which is

:43:33.:43:40.

whether Theresa May's landslide is large or even larger. That takes

:43:41.:43:42.

away some of the excitement. My colleague Brian Taylor

:43:43.:43:45.

is on BBC Two tomorrow at midday with First Minister's Questions

:43:46.:43:49.

and I'll be back this weekend with Sunday Politics Scotland

:43:50.:43:52.

on BBC One from 11:35am. With the general election

:43:53.:43:54.

approaching, with the leaders from six

:43:55.:44:02.

Scottish political parties going head-to-head before you, the voters,

:44:03.:44:06.

in the Scottish Leaders' Debate.

:44:07.:44:11.