Episode 9 Sunday Morning Live

Episode 9

John Bird, Andrew Stone, Jon Gaunt and Julie Bindel debate: Should we get rid of the human rights act? Should women stay at home and look after the kids?

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Criminals, terrorists, even rioters - they've all found a handy shield


from justice in the Human Rights Good morning, and welcome to Sunday


Morning Live. The Human Rights Act is meant to


protect the vulnerable from torture, oppression and injustice. But John


Bird from the Big Issue knows a thing or two about the vulnerable.


And he reckons we don't need it. For the 1998 European Human Rights


Act has greatly distorted justice in Britain and has got to go.


More women are unemployed today than at any time since Mrs Thatcher


was in charge. And it could well get worse. So, should women park


the struggle for equality, concentrate on being mums and let


men bring home the bacon? Jedward on Big Brother, seven


drunken dwarves in a house, the first wailing of the rounds of X


Factor. Yes, "reality" is back on the box again. National guilty


pleasure? Or national shame? We'll hear what Pineapple Dance Studios'


Andrew Stone has to say on that one. My guests this week have all had


brushes with the law. John Bird spent his early years in and out of


prison before founding the Big Issue. And he's fronted a reality


TV show. As a feminist writer, Julie


Bindel's battled for women's rights in the courts for decades and


reckons all women should try being Jon Gaunt's opinions may have


blistered your late night radio ears over the years. But he wasn't


slow to use the Human Rights Act when he lost his job. We'll hear if


he's still so keen on it. And we want to hear what you think.


Call in now to challenge our guests Call in now to challenge our guests


The Human Rights Act enshrines our right to education, free elections,


free speech, and a family life. Rights we'd all stand up for. But


John Bird says the act also protects criminals ahead of the


innocent, and should go. This is his Sunday stand. The 1998 European


in Human Rights Act has greatly distorted justice in Britain and


has got to go. Two weeks ago, the streets of Tottenham in north


London erupted when a peaceful demonstration turned into criminal


disorder. The police held back. Why? Largely because they were


frightened of being seen as heavy handed. Every kind of life


threatening that civil disorder cannot be placed with our


protectors tied down, worried about over exaggerated human rights


issues. Is it right to valued that human rights of a violent mugger


over a victim, or let a prisoner way of the human rights flag so


they don't have to go to court? No. The system is flawed. What person's


humans rides are maintained at the expense of another us? -- human-


rights. Justice is often their only for the rock under work, and not


for the wrong doing -- there or the victim, and not the wrongdoer. We


cannot allow this miscarriage of justice to continue for another day.


We need justice there, as much for the victims as the perpetrators.


Julie, is John right? Macro now. The reason we needed Human Rights


Act is that the individual is protected against the state when


the state misbehaves -- no. I can see why lots of people think this


is an act only used by criminals. It is not. David Cameron, his knee-


jerk reaction, that is because he is pandering to Daily Mail readers.


The reason that most of the general public think that the Human Rights


Act is a charter for rapists and murderers and all sorts of


criminals is because the Daily Mile and other tabloids -- Daily Mail


and other tabloids run stories that disproportionately reflect the way


it is used. Many people in prison need to use this Act. Whether or


not they have committed this crime, they have the right to do so.


see John wants to get back in the Ahmad and Jon Gaunt, but before


they do, that is the question for the text vote. Should we get rid of


We'll show how you voted at the end of the programme. Jon Gaunt, you


have used it. I am using it. Article 10 of the Human Rights Act.


The bottom line, that Human Rights Act does get bad press, as Julie


says, but it always gets mixed up with our involvement in the EU. We


need British courts and British justice. Most people in this


country want our sovereignty to come back to our country. If we


untangle it from the EU, because as you said, it seems to be linked in


some people's minds, but it is separate. Her it is Lydd, because


you can't be a member of the key year and not beside it to the


charter -- it is linked. What people want in this country is


British laws for British people. had the Act introduced by British


people. By Tony Blair, but we have not had a referendum. People do


feel remote, they fill our law is dictated from outside. Mr Cameron


is right, we do need a British Bill of Rights, alone Human Rights Act,


so we would have more control. We cannot do that while remaining in


the EU, so we should have a referendum on the EU and reframe


bid for this country. Our freedom of expression, I use Article 10


because I believe that my rights to free speech had been infringed and


I am still using get now. You have to use whatever law is available to


you. Do you not see the contradiction in opposing it and


using it? We live in a democracy and though she said, and an elected


government put us into this Human Rights Act to use this Human Rights


Act -- as you said. But look at it this way, I don't care what anybody


says, I was in the present system and over a period of time, they


lost the plot over the perpetrator -- the prison system. They have


lost the plot but the Rhondda up. So they tell everybody they are a


victim of psychological, sociological stuff, and they


absolutely turned a whole group of people into very astute people. My


nephew in law, he is a cop back out on the streets, when he stops kids


who have got drugs on them, money on them, they all know their human


rights. They all know that you can't do this and you can't do that.


I am going to make this point. I will tell you, it doesn't matter


what the law you have got, it is the spirit of the law. And the


interpretation of the human rights, over the last 10 years... You have


spoken enough. Let it duly come back in. What we need to remember


is it is a criminal offence for a copper to clip some Ulick -- young


hooligan around the ear. It is an offence for a teacher to hit a


pupil. So we already have enshrined in our domestic law. If the pupils


are coming out with human rights language, it is because they have


heard it on the TV or read it in the paper. It is no difference to


the law we already have. What is different to the human rights


legislation is that any individual can use it, what you are the


perpetrator of a crime or a victim. Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta


Jones used it for those photographs taken against their will, the same


as you. But because it is in Europe, it seems to be too remote for us.


It did was alone Bill of Rights, we would be in control that. In this


country, too many people know their rights and not many people though


their responsibilities. We need to take control. I am walking along


the, I meet a guy who will never work again because he has been


marred by somebody. And when he goes to court, there is a guy that


will never and a crust, then in his early fifties, and when he goes to


court... And what really appals him is they cannot defend the human


rights are that the person who perpetrated this crime. Pilot light


to bring in a human rights lawyer, let's put that to somebody it deals


with this -- I would like to bring him. You have heard these stories,


prisoners who claim it is a breach of their rights to come to court, a


burglar let out early because it breached his right to family life


have not to spend time with his children. The argument being that


we prioritise the rights of the individuals, and it seems an


injustice to the rest of society. Well, let's not forget that these


are tabloid stories. A lot of these cases are not even brought to court.


I think it is a complete nonsense to suggest we should scrap the


Human Rights Act. It would be to this country's shame if we lost


this clear and basic statement of our citizens's humans right --


human-rights on the broad understanding of its relevance to


our society. And senior judges in this country and even the Director


of Public Prosecutions agreed that the Human Rights Act had been a


very good thing for this country and it seems to be that it is only


some Conservative politicians that one does rapid. In the real world,


the place where politicians often find hard to locate, it is not hard


to find the real code and responsibility. The other


responsibility is to obey the law. Every law in the statute is about


our responsibilities. We have so many laws... I don't think we


need... Adam [email protected] That Adam is from the human rights


block. Be blase it should be replaced by something more British.


-- people are saying it should be replaced. Saying it is not British


is ignoring the history of it. The history of the Human Rights Act, is


that the convention was drafted most are by British lawyers, mainly


by a British Conservative lawyer, and it was implemented by our


Parliament. It is also based fundamentally on rights that go


back to around Bill of Rights in 1689. So really, to say it is anti-


British is taking a "we don't like Europe" line. Absolute rubbish.


What I'm saying is that if you want to get it more acceptable to the


British public, if it was a British act and all of the judgments were


by British judges, it would be fine. What gets up people's noses that


when the Human Rights Act is being there is -- used so prisoners can


get boats. The overwhelming people of this country did not want that


to happen -- get the vote. rights of prisoners to have a vote


has been a voted on in the European Parliament. According to the Human


Rights Act -- Human Rights Act, it has to be allowed. Can you see the


tension? There is a tension, which is the point of the Human Rights


Act. The point is that everybody has rights and they are meant to be


enforced in a non-political, none emotional way. Prisoners are a good


example of people that, because politicians don't have to rely on


their boats, they don't have to enforce them. -- on their boating.


Women didn't have the right to vote along time ago. Wouldn't you have


had -- like to have had the right to vote when you were in prison?


think that when you don't have a former prisoners, it is against


human rights. We have a responsibility to reform. I don't


care about judges, I don't care about these people, I don't care


about the middle classes are talking to the under class, where


most of the crime takes place this, and tell them what is good for them


or not. What we want to do is the reform of people who get involved


in crime and you can't do that when you are straddled by all of these


human rights. As I said in my film, if that human rights was as good


for the victim as it is for the perpetrator, and I don't read the


tabloids cut that I am not a right- wing conservative... Julie is


talking about the victims. What I would like to say no to any lawyers,


any human rights lawyers watching this programme, start being braver


and start using this act for the victims of crime. Particularly


women and children. They really can apply the law in an appropriate way,


and all we hear about, because actually the act has been used


disproportionately for those accused of crimes, but anyone can


be falsely accused and end up in prison, end up in a police cell,


end up dying in a police cell, which is what is so important about


this law. So a lawyer's, start using it bravely for the victims of


You said you don't care about the criminals and the lawyers.


saying I don't care about the judges. Let's talk to somebody who


might care, Debbie. She has multiple sclerosis. You wanted to


know if your husband would be prosecuted if you chose to commit


suicide at some stage and he helped you. How did you use the Human


Rights Act? We went to court... I have a right to understand the law


and my right to understand what would happen to the people I love


if I committed suicide. The thing is, the human rights law can be


misused, it can be abused, it can be very one-sided Lee used, but


without it we would be much -- a much poorer nation. I would not be


alive today, and I love my life, if the human rights legislation, which


our politicians are too scared of the electorate to deal with, if


they had not said that I had a right to know what would happen in


certain situations. We have to be very careful about not throwing the


baby up with the bathwater. Why do you say you would not be alive


today without it? I was in the middle... I did not believe we


would necessarily win at court and I was losing the ability to control


my hands myself. My MS was developing. That meant I would lose


the ability to commit suicide myself and therefore have to ask


somebody to help me. That meant they would face the possibility of


prosecution. I needed to know what the situation was. I was halfway


through arranging to go to Switzerland because I didn't know


whether or not my husband would be prosecuted. Thank you so much.


didn't get much of that argument. Can I return to what I think...


Under the Human Rights Act, she managed to achieve clarity because


of her right to a private and family life and it was agreed that


she needed to have that clarity about what would happen if


eventually her husband went with her to commit suicide. I would


never dispute this Human Rights Act has a good side and a bad side.


What I would dispute is the fact that if you talk to people in the


street, and not all of them a tabloid readers, and I never read


anything like that, there is a loss of a sense of justice because most


crime is poor on poor. You have got poor on-board... That is not true.


That is true. Sexual crime, domestic violence, child abuse,


corporate crime. Can I finished the point? It is poor on poor crime.


The perpetrator gets away with that and the victim gets left behind. I


can give you countless examples over the past 10 years. I have met


people who have suffered because of the way in which the courts have


emphasise the human rights of the perpetrator and not the victim.


Rebalancing. It is about getting justice. I have met countless


people who have been badly served by the courts, badly served by the


police, the CPS, the judiciary. That has nothing to do with the


Human Rights Act. It is to do with a legal system not been perfect and


that is why I am a feminist law campaigner. You have to reform the


law, you have to push its boundaries to make it better. I


agree that many victims of crime have been badly served, but many


victims have been well served. human rights lawyer wanted to


depict it as if it was tabloid newspapers and a few right wingers


who want this, but actually when it comes to prisoners votes, the


overwhelming majority in this country do not want prisoners to


have votes. But because we are part of the Human Rights Act and the EU,


they can impose VAT on us. That can't be right and that is widely


want a referendum on the UK and then Mr Cameron can have his own


Bill of Rights. We can have our own Human Rights Act and it can look at


our particular circumstances. we are never going to get a Bill of


Rights. As you pointed out earlier, we would have to withdraw from the


EU. Why can't we do that? Which of the rights in the Human Rights Act


would do not like? The right to liberty? The right to a fair trial?


You have missed my point. That is about how courts interpret it.


Isn't this just about interpreting it? Most people would agree with


most points. It goes back to the Magna Carter, the idea of the


judiciary and a jury and freedom of expression. Where people get angry


is the fact that when our Parliament decide on some things,


like prisoner votes, we can be overruled by the European Court.


That is what we need to redress. will put that to the text Pole.


am not against stopping torture! De deux it is a misinterpretation. A


Sue says when we did get a slap from a teacher at school, we did


not misbehave again. Absolutely. Don't we need that again? Somebody


who described themselves as a beaten wife has got in touch. The


police have failed to deliver me from intimidation, quoting my


husband's human rights. That is what I hear all the time.


criminal element know their human rights but forget... If you are a


good citizen, you don't require any assistance to escape prosecution or


deportation. A but many police officers don't actually understand


the law. They don't know whether it is domestic law or human rights law.


With all due respect to the police, if you send out a junior copper to


of domestic violence incident and some don't take it seriously, they


might use that human rights language. They mean it is the


domestic law of this country which means there are certain


circumstances where they can't arrest and prosecute. Lawyers tend


to go for these cases like that idiot trying to get prisoners votes.


That man who went down for manslaughter, that is the chap who


now wants votes for prisoners. the lawyer trying to get Peter


Sutcliffe out of prison, I absolutely agree, but that is not a


fault of the human rights law, it is a fault in the application of it.


How the spirit of the law. We could clearly devote a whole programme to


discuss in this, but we have other things to discuss. The rights of


our Parliament must, but Europe each and every time. Do you agree


that we should get rid of the Human You have around 20 minutes before


And something tells me this will be a lively programme!


The ultimate, have-it-all female dream - a high-powered job in the


boardroom and a nanny at home looking after the kids. But few


women make it to the top and childcare costs are going through


the roof. Should women re-think competing with men for scarce jobs


and go back to being housewives? In a moment, Andrew Stone is joining


us from Pineapple Dance Studios, who thinks this is a ridiculous


Unemployment rates are increasing and the number of unemployed women


is now at its highest since the Thatcher years. In tight financial


times it appears employers prefer to employ men. Is this just another


battle on the road to equality or time to reassess what is most


important? Work or parenting? Some studies show that children do


better emotionally and educationally if one parent stays


at home. Childcare costs are rising rapidly and in an average family,


one partner's wage goes on nursery costs. Would it make more sense for


women to stay at home instead and look after the children? Polls have


shown that more than 50% of people would prefer not to work if they


have kids. And if women were to leave the workplace, there would be


more place -- jobs for men who could support their families. But


why should it be women who give up their careers? In this week's A-


level results, girls again outperformed boys. Shouldn't


society want the best and brightest to be in work? And women have been


fighting for equal treatment at work for decades, why should they


give up now just because of the recession? So should women take a


back seat in difficult economic times or is this just a bad excuse


for good old-fashioned sexism? You can make your point on the


webcam or join the conversation on Twitter. It might be tempting for


me to be at home with the Georgian this morning, but do you think that


is where I should be? Yes, he is cooking the Sunday roast. Their


father! A I'm pulling your leg. I believe we had a better society


when women stayed at home and looked after the children. It could


be a man. But one parent should be at home and I say it should be the


woman because the woman is the nurturer. Julie? When you told me


about this topic, I thought you were having a laugh. I thought I


had woken up in a TARDIS and found myself back in the 1950s. Would we


sit here and have a conversation about apartheid in South Africa and


say, well, all these black people who we are used to looking after


our children and cleaning our houses, driving buses, cleaning


latrines, really they should not be given proper jobs because they are


there to serve us and we had a better service -- society under


apartheid? We would not be having this discussion. It might have been


better for men... Families. Better for families. A what about all of


those women who have no children, who have -- who don't live with a


man. We should make sure those women are encouraged to go out to


work. You have Cameron saying lazy, single, scrounging mothers who get


blamed for everything because they stay at home. What is different


from some Doris Day figure baking cookies? I can't invite Andrew


Stone into the studio but not ask him to contribute. What is your


upbringing? My mum was a foster parent. She worked very hard to


take me to dance classes. Spain did she stay at home with you? She did.


I'm a great believer in equilibrium. If you play the numbers games, if


you took all the men up the weight place, it would be just women. They


add a great emotional environment into the workplace. I think women


can do a job just as strong as men. Of course they can. I won't


subscribe to this Doris Day thing. The tax breaks in this country, and


the whole tax system, has been steered up to getting women back


into the workplace. I think that is bad for society. Then I should be


tax breaks so she can stay at home. I do not believe women should be


treated as second-class citizens when they do the most important job,


which his mother had. Her that this old chestnut! It is a fair point.


Parenting is parenting. Exactly. you are breast-feeding or bottle-


feeding, it is an issue about your physical presence. You talked about


apartheid and having black people looking after children, all that


happens now is that in professional middle-class women's case,


Europeans look after their children. People like us Susannah perhaps


should be at home. Single mothers get blamed for everything, a lot of


women choose not to live in the regular family unit who don't have


children. What are you going to say? Should you say there are not


enough jobs to go around? There is no way this will ever go backwards.


Shall we talk about the good society by going back 50 years? Can


you imagine how it looks to children to have Daddy coming in


with his briefcase, providing the money, and money mopping up the


sickle des? For such a we asked Michel? So it wasn't better when we


Do Michelle Dixon is a stay at home mum. Are you a throwback to the


1950s. Not at all! I am empowered because I have a choice in what I


do. Both I chose to stay at home when we decided to have a family.


We decided to have a mortgage we could afford on one wage so it gave


Her is there that pressure on women to go back to work? There is


pressure, but some women want to go back to work, and that is the


important thing, that we all have a choice where possible to lie that


be at home or to go at work if that is what you prefer to do. Stephen


is off of the Women Racket, should women have the choice -- author.


course. Within less -- tend to be less attached to the labour market,


so they lose their jobs in a recession. There are two


fundamental reasons for that, Women's preferences, our overall,


about 10-15% of women prefer to work full-time and continuously


like men. Over a quarter of them are a careerist -- only. By step


them what to worker job, but only part time -- most of them. And


there are fundamental differences between the sexes in motivation. A


man without a job basically has no life, effectively. Women choose men


with status. Been aware well, obviously that means a job and


money. -- been aware world. There is some shaking off their head in


the studio. -- shaking up the head. Men should be more encouraged to


show their emotions and be part of the family. It should be a


compromise between basically what you want individually and not being


one way all the way. I think one of the reasons that so few women go


back to work... It is utter nonsense to suggest that women


would suggest to be at home if they can't afford it, for one thing.


Everything is made difficult in terms of returning to the workplace


for women. We have no state childcare to talk of. That is why


we are talking about for middle- class women, nannies from Eastern


Europe. No working-class women I know can afford it. All of the


working class women I know cannot afford not to go back to work. It


is a ridiculous idea that we are even asking the question, should


women have the right to choose? We are not infants, we are not living


under apartheid, this is an equal and open society. I asked you not


to cast aspersions over their a professional life of people not


here to defend themselves, but isn't there a valid life --. Making


-- isn't there valid point that a lot of women would simply choose to


be at home but feel they have the work, either under societal


pressure or economic pressure? is ridiculous to suggest that one


person can present the group of statistics that speaks for all


women in the entire labour market. That is what... We have actually


moved on about talking about whether women should. We have made


it almost impossible for the majority of women, but they sure


are talking about very privileged women, to go back to work and rely


on their partner to do their heart of the childcare. The problem here


as well is that we have also devalued motherhood, and we have


got a situation... My wife is a very clever woman, she has got a


first, she has an AMA, she is going back to teaching it, we were lucky


that with the economic wherewithal, we made a decision and it wasn't


the chaining her to a kitchen sink. -- wasn't me. The bottom line is


that we have devalued motherhood in our society. We should create tax


breaks to hand back the idea of a proper family, which I am afraid,


is a man and a woman married, bringing up their children. In your


world, but not for many people. was a better world when people


thought like that and did the old fashioned thing there, got married


before they had children. Remember that old-fashioned thing? The idea


of bringing up your family and giving them as security. But speak


to Judith... You don't want to have children. Let's get some more


expert testimony. Judith, you have been employed full-time and raised


your children at the same time. Do the kids lose out? Not at all. And


in my children, I really feel they have benefited from the fact that I


have always been a working mother. It is true that I was lucky to be


able to combine motherhood with a full-time career, at that had left


the Army. -- After. I became a head mistress. My children and I have


fantastic discussions, debates, and arguments. I am not to stay at home


mum, they have often had to do their own washing and they don't


have people rushing around after them. It encourages independence


from the children... A what does? Judit, when she went out to work. -


- Judit. Were they at boarding school or were they in a day


school? It was a boarding school. End of argument. That is how you


get the balance, you send them to boarding school. Let her finish


have point. This is somebody who put her children in boarding school


and she is trying to tell me she was their mother at home with them.


Let me speak, they didn't go to boarding school until they were 13,


and that was bought their benefit. I thought they would get... At --


that was four. When they were very small, I was there and I was never


not in full-time employment. I have to interrupt, not because of want


to stop you making a point, but it is a shame that the sound quality


is so poor. They didn't go to boarding school until they were 13.


Nobody is suggesting these children were at home on their own. What I'm


trying to say that if we valued motherhood and got back to a


situation where there were tax breaks, and they father could go


out and work or whether they are stay at home that, at what I'm


saying is, as a society, it was better when we had back. I don't


recall that riots happening... want to watch at -- ask Andrew. You


work with a lot of women. By have been around women all my life -- I


have. It all of those working mothers were taken out of the work


force, what kind of place would it be like -- if? Boring. Nobody is


saying that. Like his couple when you have different things going on.


-- life is colourful. How many children have you got, Andrew?


There by choice. I am just asking the question. You haven't got a


family. These are very small group of extremely privileged women who


can afford to be at home. And in fact, often, I would rather not go


up to work and take my dog out for a walk. Play with the cats. Is that


all women do when they are at home, that is the meaning of! Because


motherhood is so difficult if they do not have as much support from at


the far that or they partner, they obviously want to stay at home


because they are exhausted -- from the father. And it is difficult for


them to get back into the workplace. Many women don't get so fissured


maternity leave, and I am sorry that you don't have a working class


woman on who tells her story about why she cannot go back to work.


Coming up on Sunday morning Live, the riots are making us take a long


hard look at our children, our parenting and our police. Should


they also make us look at hour watching habits? Has reality TV


damaged our morals? You can make your views known by phone, by e-


your views known by phone, by e- mail or online. And keep the voting


in the text poll. Should we get rid in the text poll. Should we get rid


There is around five minutes before the poll closes.


It is time to chew over some of the key moral moments of the week. It


is the second anniversary of the freeing up the Lockerley it --


Lockerbie bombing Abdelbaset al Megrahi, and apparently he is still


alive because of the British drug that is not available to patients


in the UK. To some people, it is irony upon irony in this case.


issue for me, and the only issue, is that this illustrates how a rich


people can get their hands on medicine at often poorer people


cannot command that is something we really need to look at -- that. If


there are medicines that can keep people alive, relieve pain and


reduce discomfort, we should all have access to it. That worries me


about the failing NHS system. That to me is the only issue. Everybody


has a right to medical treatment. He should never have been released,


this man murdered those people, let's make no mistake about that.


He was affected be released by Gordon Brown and sent back to Libya,


where I understand he wants political asylum in Scotland


because he thinks he will be safer. I agree but it is that the issue.


The bottom line is that the man should not have been released and


it is an insult he is getting this treatment. Not that I want him to


die in abject pain, but the simple bottom line is that Gordon Brown,


it was a filthy, squalid deal put together by the Scottish Parliament


and Gordon Brown with Gaddafi. The whole thing is sick beyond belief.


Jon, you were talking earlier about going back to the good old days.


Here is a couple who have renewed their wedding vows and it warned


your heart. 60 years on, and they had a photograph where they had all


of their original bridesmaids with them. It was a lovely story, it was


a couple who got married 60 years ago and they got together with the


bridesmaid and did their copycat photograph. It was in one of the


newspapers in the week and they put them all in the same position. It


was nice, in our fragmented society and we have been talking about the


break-up of families, to see a relationship that has stood the


test of time. 60 years there seems like such a challenge. Especially


these days, when everybody seems to be splitting up. It is so nice to


have a news story that is so positive and I wish there were few


more of those. There is so much good out there and we love to see a


bit of drama in the papers, we are a nation who loves gossip, but it


is nice to see a bit of a lot going on. Good news doesn't sell, though.


You would know! I did say it was a nice story but I don't want the


papers for lathered. We have paid as full of criticisms of they


politicians -- papers. Anna Hazare acid been on hunger strike in the


protest at the corruption of the Indian government -- has been on


hunger strike. He has been compared to Gandhi in some ways, become a


bit of a national symbol. He is standing up for something he


believes in, would you like it or not, the human essence of that is


amazing. A conviction campaigner. We need heroes. We need to be


inspired by those who are tenacious. I don't go big on martyrdom,


although people have died for very noble cause this, and I hope he


stays safe -- causes. He is a conviction politician whereas we


have politicians fall of convictions after the expenses


scandal! Bashful of. I would like to go back to having people like


this on the left and the right in this country who actually believe


in what they are doing, whereas I believe we have the kind of


politics there which is not a bad believe, it is about power.


what the newspaper editors say. Indian newspapers are not so


optimistic. One of them says that business as usual is right around


the corner. You have been voting in the text poll this morning. We have


been asking if we should get rid of the Human Rights Act. Do not text


again because the poll is now closing, we will bring you the


result at the end of the programme. Some people have blamed the


troubles of the past few weeks on our obsession with a vacuous


celebrity culture, and there are plenty of reality shows feeding


back fix, from The Only Way Is Essex to Celebrity Big Brother and


the X-factor -- X Factor. Light entertainment or heavy damage to


the moral health of the country? John Bird, who has fronted a


reality TV show himself, will be back to debate that in a moment.


After this, which contains flash photography.


Millions of us watch reality TV and share the joy as people's hopes and


dreams come true. But we also watched with morbid fascination as


people are humiliated. Or you go on about his you, you, you. -- all.


Those reality TV damaged our moral compass and help us revel in other


people's stupidity and misery? won't talk about the morality, but


I find it compulsive. We are now used to people becoming famous


simply because they are run reality TV. Does this warp our notions of


success, deterring young people from chasing proper careers? Or can


light entertainment also bring Reality stars like Jade Goody can


win our sympathy and highlight important causes. After her death,


many more women remember to go for their smear tests. And the conflict


Jade and shopper shirty had on big brother raised important questions


about racism. When TV first became part of our lives, families


gathered round it to hear news of war or the moon landings. Today


reality TV also draws families and the nation together around the TV


set. Invaluable common ground when our communities and families are so


fragmented. Does reality TV make us last after fame and money that we


can never possess or does it just provide a little bit of


entertainment and light amidst the current gloom?


John Bird is back. You can join in by webcam or by phone, e-mail or


online. His reality TV a good thing? You fronted a reality TV


show. I watched one version of by the celebrity get me out of here. I


became absolutely obsessed with it. I made sure I was at home and that


sort of thing. At the end of it, I felt quite soiled because I thought,


God, if this can con me and can take over my life, what will it do


for other people who may not have the full life I lead, rushing here


and there? It seemed to me as though at the end of it, it was a


bit like a terrible form of drugs supplied by the TV companies.


do you think that about a reality TV show? People planned their lives


around Downton Abbey. That is true. They can't have much of a life! For


not speaking personally. People like looking through other people's


windows, people like to know. We are incredibly nosy as a species.


The very idea that we can see these people with their knickers down,


metaphorically speaking, Carol Thatcher having a pony or whatever


she was doing, we love it. I think it becomes obsessive. What I hate


is that I want those people to get off their backsides and go out and


change society. In a sense, it takes energy from people, it takes


skills and abilities that could be used in society. That is a


particular issue from reality TV and not just people sitting and


watching hours of TV? I am only talking about really take --


reality TV because I became an addict to a series. Your programmes


are like drugs? If you are weak to that kind of thing, you can get


sucked in. A That's me! Sorry! Pineapple Dance Studios, people


can't stop watching because they can't wait to see the next thing


that will happen. Technically, that wasn't a reality show, but there


was a slight reality to it. wasn't my reality. Perhaps that is


part of the fascination, it is an insight into a reality none of us


could otherwise experience. It is full of surprises, you don't know


what will happen next. It is not scripted. All of those things make


it very, very addictive. But it is not hurting anyone, it is


entertainment. Pump -- some people come out as stars and some don't.


It is not hurting anyone? The only worry is that it means that kids


up... I was talking Andrew and he was telling me he worked with Tina


Turner. People in -- people like Tina Turner had to work in the


club's four years and years to get where they have got to. A lot of


kids think they can go on the X Factor and suddenly become a star.


I do worry that it makes younger people think everything can be


there without working hard. Shall we ask somebody who has been on X


Factor? And the Abraham, former X- Factor contestant. -- Andy Abraham.


You worked hard for a long time before you appeared on X Factor,


but does it give the impression there is instant gratification to


be had? Yes, there isn't an instant fame element to it. Especially when


you win the show and you sell a million singles, it is impossible


to keep that success going, do you Know What I Mean? The reality is


after the show has finished, you have to keep that momentum going


somehow. Do you think it can have an effect on those people who get


promoted by the reality TV shows, it can have a negative effect on


them? Of course it can. Thi I know of some contestants that have been


traumatised by the whole episode. As much as I believe X-Factor is a


good thing, especially for mature singers like myself, because the


industry, the music industry is very ageist. Someone like myself,


who was 40, it did me the world of good. People got to see my family


and how I grew up and my story. That is interesting. People were


fascinated by Andy's story. He would not have got that sort of


promotion anywhere else. People learned a lot. This is one of the


most annoying things about everything. Everything has a good


side, but it also has a bad side. We have to work Celt, is there more


of a bad side than a good side? -- work out. If you compare a lot of


reality shows to things like Strictly Come Dancing, Strictly


Come Dancing has led to, according to a mate of mine running a dance


studio, a lot of people getting out and dancing. If this leads to


people training their voices or learning other things, without


getting delusional... Can I say something? I used to think things


like X-Factor did not do that. My mate runs a free and easy on a


Monday night and there is a whole crop of new kids coming up who are


playing guitars and singing, solar acts, a lot of women as well. --


solo acts. You have used this as an opportunity to promote a bar!


kids are incredibly talented. Where have they come from? Maybe it is


doing something. I'm sure that is mirrored all over the country.


There is some good in it. If you're a sportsman, I used to box, and if


you are in the gym all the time, boxing and boxing and boxing, you


would not be causing grief on the streets, you would not be rubbing


JD Sports. There is always an element to it. But the obsessional


way people go one about the X Factor or the jungle. Ice a, get a


life. -- I say, get a life. Anna is editor of Star magazine. Isn't


abuse entertainment, humiliation, degradation as entertainment, the


magazines and media are profiting from that. Hello? I disagree with


that entirely. It is purely entertainment, people don't have to


buy these magazines, they don't have to watch these shows. There is


a choice. People should have a right to that choice. John said


sometimes there is something addictive about these shows. The


media rely on that because they want them to keep watching so they


continually put things into the story lines which keep people


hooked. Exactly. I accept these shows can be quite addictive. But


it is purely entertainment and who are we to say what people should


and should not watch? The danger is the editing. Especially with X


Factor. They cast people and then there is a sob story and then Simon


Cowell will beat them up. We see that a lot in other stars were you


might go into the jungle thinking you are one thing, and the way they


portray you, and Big Brother, that can be dangerous. Magazines fuel


VAT. There is a danger. If it is a celebrity, who cares? You have to


know what you're going into. If anybody does audition for those


programmes, understand what you're going into. They can find a way of


editing you because they want to put bums on seats. They did that to


meet in my programme. We put some people on the streets. At the end


of it I looked like an outraged, aggressive rather than a sweet,


kind, nice person. It was so strange that they did take the


grief parts and did not put the conciliatory part. Her Marjory is


chief executive of the mental health charity. You have compared


these programmes to Victorian freak shows, of a damaging? Yes, I do


think they are damaging. Not only for the people who take part, but


to the crowd who go a long, as they did in Victorian times, to laugh at


the freaks. It Blunts and corrupt things and it also reminds me of


those experiments we used to do as psychology students in the 60s and


70s were you deprived people of sleep and sensory stimulation, you


put them into a cage rather than a house, and see how much stress they


can endure. At least in those experiments, although they are not


forgivable, you tried to get information. Here, your soul end


his financial greed and ratings. I got lost half way through that.


It is like putting people in cages and see how they react. That is


basically saying they are not intelligent enough to know what


they're getting involved in. You have to know what you're getting


involved in. We are not Rats, we are humans. Lisa is a former Big


Brother contestant, did you know what you were getting involved in?


I don't think I did. Maybe I was a bit vulnerable. However, it was


supposed to be a row yet -- reality TV programme. I was told not to


have an agent, and why we don't need an agent, because I thought it


was about having fun and a psychological experience. What was


the effect on you afterwards? was brutal. I got told I was


Britain's most hated women, I had every part of my body torn apart.


It litany having plastic surgery. I got the gender question from a


silly throwaway comment. We have a couple of e-mails on this. Reality


TV is escapism in a world of woe, nothing more, nothing less. Alex


says, there is nothing real about reality TV, most are scripted and


shows like the X Factor manipulate viewers into voting a certain way.


Soaps are violent with characters that shout and hit an scheme


against each other. We have a reality to get to


ourselves, the result of the text poll. Should we get rid of the


Human Rights Act? This is what you 89% said no. We should keep it.


Well... That is up to them. As I said, I don't come from this from


right wing angle. I'd just come at it as a person who was commissioned


to work with the poor. I worked with the pork and I see the poor


suffering because they don't get justice. -- a poor. I don't care


about judges, I don't think judges know a lot about justice. It is


about the spirit of the law. I do apologise. This is an embarrassment.


Unfortunately because of a technical hitch, it will undermine


what you just said, the poll result was the wrong way round. 89% of


those who voted said yes, we should get rid of the Human Rights Act.


John Bird, Andrew Stone from Pineapple Dance Studios, Jon Gaunt and Julie Bindel debate: Should we get rid of the human rights act? Should women stay at home and look after the kids? Is reality TV damaging Britain?

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