Episode 11 The Big Questions

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Episode 11

Nicky Campbell presents live debate from Cardiff. He asks: Are Europe's powerless taking control?; Does a nation's happiness matter?; Does forgiving set you free?

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The route to happiness, and forgiving the people who hurt us.


Good morning, I'm Niki Campbell, welcome to The Big Questions.


Today we're live from the Michaelston Community


Welcome, everybody, to The Big Questions.


This week the Dutch held a general election.


Geert Wilder's far-right Party of Freedom won 20 seats and was only


beaten by the centre-right People's Party, led by


Prime Minister Mark Rutte, which gained 33 seats.


But Mr Rutte had to emulate some of the populist sentiments espoused


Next month the Front National's leader, Marie le Pen's


anti-immigration and anti-Muslim ideas will be put to the test in


Polls predict she will go through to the second round in May.


And in September Alternatif fur Deutschland, the German far right,


will challenge Mrs Merkel's reign as Chancellor.


Populist parties and policies have been gaining ground here too,


with the Brexit vote and, in Wales, Ukip's seven seats


The idea that ordinary people have been exploited by a privileged


liberal elite seems to have taken hold across the continent.


Are Europe's powerless taking control?


David Goodhart, you have written an interesting book about this. You can


expand some of the ideas. It is the dispossessed, be ignored, the


neglected, the marginalised, the powerless kicking back. What are


they kicking back against? It is true, but not a single Populist


party is in government across Europe, unless you include Poland


and Hungary, as some people do. Populism does represent a partly


legitimate reaction to the over domination of our politics by quite


a large group of people, most of them perfectly decent people, in my


book I call them The Anywheres. They tend to be well educated. They have


been to a good university and so on. They have dominated the political


agenda to a certain extent. The expansion of higher education and


the less good options people who don't take the higher education


path. And the Middle status jobs that people used to enjoyed that are


not there so much. Large-scale immigration, have freedom of


movement, people can take advantage of it if they are highly educated.


You are a lawyer and you can go and work in Berlin for a couple of


years. One third of all people working in food manufacturing come


from Eastern Europe and that has happened in the last ten years. You


see it as a threat and competition. What about the social agenda, social


progress that has happened? Most people in some ways, go along with


that. Some people might call it a contradiction in terms, but


something I call decent populism. If you look at the rise of


liberalisation on race, gender and sexuality, the vast majority of


people in this country, including the more subtle communitarian, go


along with those changes. There is some pretty hard-core authoritarian


populism represented by Geert Wilders, extreme anti-Islamic agenda


and then you have more mainstream and decent populace, I will include


Ukip in that. But the argument now is how we give the somewhere is a


legitimate voice. They feel and have been to some extent, excluded from


the political agenda. But the big thing among society, the The


Anywheres, and you can see an argument going on between those who


say, we have screwed up and got this wrong. We have not been representing


the views and interests of the large part of our population. And those


who say no, these are the Barbarians. The outcome of the


debate and the future of politics depends on it. You mention Ukip,


John Rees-Evans, who are the people left behind, why are they


antipathetic to the liberal consensus? Frankly because the elite


liberal, highly educated people who think they represent the ordinary


people and who often campaign this fiercely to help ordinary people,


frankly don't understand ordinary people. You do? I think Ukip is most


in touch with the ordinary people and that was proved on the 23rd of


June last year. On the 22nd of June, three quarters of our allegedly


representative elected people in parliament came out in favour of


remaining in the European Union. The next day, we proved quite clearly,


the majority of people in this country want people out. You've got


kicked in the backside in Stoke? That is obvious. How would you


characterise the beliefs of the ordinary people who are at odds with


the liberal elite, what do they believe, what do they think? They


want to be left alone to work hard, to support their family, run their


own country and not be interfered with by, you know, foreign agendas.


The ordinary British person respects other nations, is friendly to


foreigners coming here, wants to treat people decently, but believes


our elected representatives whose salaries they pay and who they


elect, have a primary responsibility, and moral


responsibility to look after the interests primarily of the people of


this country and not the people of other countries. Do you want to come


in here? I agree there is a disconnect between political elite


and everyone else, and I think that has happened over the years, but the


answer isn't to say, they are wrong, they are right and this division


between the elite and everyone else is to say, what is underlying that


isn't an understanding of immigration and what is happening,


but economic anxiety, what has happened is you call them a liberal


elite and they focus on a progressive agenda in terms of gay


marriage and equality, which is a good thing, but they have ignored


issues of economic equality. They have ignored that they have


continuously cut taxes for corporations, they are hitting the


poorest the most. Why are some people who are uncomfortable with


changes in our society, why are they uncomfortable, why haven't they


adapted and gone on with the general flow? Faiza Shaheen, do you want to


answer that? Some people are not comfortable, we need the


conversation. What is the conversation? People say this to me,


I am worried about immigration and I think it is taking jobs. It is


understanding why it is. My answer is, tell me about your workplace,


what has happened? Tell me about your neighbourhood, what has


happened? Sometimes the isn't a story about immigration, sometimes


there is. A very often, these people are coming in and undercutting


wages. But when you look at who is allowing that to happen, it is the


bosses. It is a misplaced anger. Are they misinformed? It was the bankers


that crashed the economy, we have to remember why this stuff has


happened. It is because of an economic liberal elite, not just


progressive. John, come back in. Say you have a company and you are


competing in your industry against your competitors and you have this


situation where the government has allowed our labour market to be


massively oversaturated, driven down wages. You have got to compete, you


want to drop your operating costs. You may be the most patriotically is


on in the country, but it is deliberately possible to pay more to


a local person than it is to be someone from abroad. The government


has said we will control immigration, not oversaturated the


job's market. I didn't get a chance to make my point. Patriotically


employers... Patriotically employers? Patriotically employers,


the type that Faiza Shaheen is saying the cause of the employment


of foreigners rather than locals, if the government controlled


immigration we would be on a more even playing field. You cannot blame


the bosses, they don't control immigration. We are setting the


debate up in an narrow way, but there is only one answer, the


dispossessed taking control? No, they are giving more control over to


those who have fundamentally exploited them. The election of


Donald Trump in the United States of America is about many things. Is he


going to drain the swamp, make circumstances better for the


American worker or is he going to self and rich? Is the exploitative?


Creme De La Creme he is exploitative. When we remove


political economy from the arguments, we make it about


constraining the circumstances of the debate. Are people being conned?


People are frustrated they exist in a precarious existence. There are


much greater problems they face and they look to the wrong arguments.


They look to the wrong causes and they look to symptoms of their


exploitation, they don't look to the global financial crisis. People are


being fooled, people are being conned and people are being


exploited? People like this gentleman here. You can put your


hand down now. A couple of years ago a Tory MP was sacked more or less


for calling somebody a pleb. Why don't people talking like this just


call us plebs, because I am a populist. The way people are talking


like this, that I have lived through some halcyon world for the last 50


years of my life since I started voting. It hasn't been like that.


These politicians, they have led us down roads from the very beginning.


It started in 64 when I voted to join the Common market and I was


told a pack of lies then. It carried on with Harold Poulsen further on,


the pound in your pocket when the pound was being devalued. Do you


think they are lying to you? Of course they are, the way they talk


down to, it is unbelievable. David Goodhart, that has distilled how


people feel? A lot of people that run the political parties, the


openness of the kind that has evolved over the last 20, 25 years,


much more globalisation, European Union, freedom of movement, all of


these things work for some people and don't work so well for other


people. What Faiza Shaheen saying about employers, perfectly


illustrates the rise of populism because people on the left say to


people know, you don't feel that, look at this. They keep wanting to


change the subject, which is why people think the centre-left parties


don't represent them. You are right about employers. The national social


contracts in employment have become disregarded. The amount of money


employers spend on training in the last 20 years has fallen by one


third. There is a reserve army of labour they can just take from


continental Europe. Do you realise how many construction


apprenticeships began last year? Just 8000. We are meant to be


building millions of houses and we are not educating and training


people to do it. We have moved from the situation in the 1970s where we


had a trade surplus of 20 million and now we have a trade deficit of 5


billion. To tell people we are not seeing decline, people are seeing


it. But are they blaming that decline on the international


financial markets? Are they blaming it on the super-rich who are


exploiting them? Or, are they blaming the people close by? We all


want to buy cheap goods that are made elsewhere? Of course we should


be doing something about globalisation, but the story that


has emerged is about those people that have lost, turning against each


other. When we talk about the pilots, it is not just the white


working class, the white working class is multiracial. Cleaning,


caring and those are low paid jobs. Instead of this group coming


together and saying, we want more representation, we want to make sure


policies of their two protectors and we don't have zero hours


contracts... We have taken so much out of politics.


We're doing an enquiry into the growth of technocracy. So many


things have been taken out of the... Technocrats are inevitably anywhere


people. People with the instincts of the highly educated, the preferences


of the highly educated. This has not a democracy. People are saying, we


want some of it back. We mention Trump. What is it you like about


Donald Trump? The fact is, what you said... I would like to ask about


Donald Trump? What she said is correct, what Faiza said is correct.


We are not looking at the real enemy and we are arguing amongst herself.


Organisations like Gideon's educates people about this. I have read a


couple of his white papers. What they teach is that one of the causes


in the reduction in employment is the automated tendency, this is


about Trump. OK. He has an automated tendency. What is it you like about


him? We have not got a lot of time. Because he wants to reduce


regulation. If you take away regulations, you're harming the


people, that is what people think. That is nonsense. You take away


regulations and you give small businesses the opportunity is to


compete. Does he represent the ordinary man and woman? He is


fighting for them. He knows how to create jobs and make money. You do


not have to like the man. But you have to acknowledge she knows how to


create jobs. He knows how to make money critically affect -- pretty


effectively as well. Michael is over here. I do not think Trump's


admissions are promising. We have international economies and national


politics. One camp is to make things at the level of the nation state, to


return power to politics. This is the Trumps, the Ukips of the world.


The power is no longer there. Trump's solution, opening coalmines


again, that is the past, not the future. We need to be more


imaginative if we want a better tomorrow. This gentleman, hello.


People like Trump and Theresa May to an extent in this country, Theresa


May has seen an opportunity with a very weak opposition in the Labour


Party, the votes have been haemorrhaging to Ukip. She is trying


to take over the reins from Ukip. Her rhetoric is about trying to


increase the Tory vote might rather than what is good for the


dispossessed. She talks about the just about managing. The black


T-shirt. Good morning. We have heard a lot about misplaced anger. I agree


with those sort of sentiment but how do we deal with this? We have heard


about all these facts and figures, alternative facts, fake news as it


is called, bandied around. I am a teacher. I think the key to this is


to get young people to think critically about what they're


hearing and seeing. I have brought some of my students here today. That


is what we do, we think critically, so they are resilient to some of the


so-called facts and figures. It a vital lesson. Absolutely.


APPLAUSE Have people been lied to? I think


that we should trust people to be able to think critically about what


they are being told. But the idea that the solution is education, that


somehow if we just educate children to be able to see through the other


side, which is all lies, and Arisaig, which is the truth, that we


will solve the problems. Your point is important. We have depoliticise


the massive range of what used to be the bread-and-butter of politics.


And older left-wing idea was that any cook can govern, there is this


idea that politics and economic sets something that every day people


should be able to understand. Now we have outsourced those questions to


technocrats. That is not enough people any more. Instead of


understanding that, the left has dumbed down. The conversation is


about symbolic things, about language. It is not speaking to


everyday people. I completely agree. Lots of these questions, any


economics and politics, it has been siphoned away from people. We're not


having that conversation in. I would agree about the lack of


representation among MPs from people from working-class backgrounds.


Black communities are heavily underrepresented in government. I


think we agree on that point. My point is that this narrative of


divide and rule, blaming the immigrants, is not helping. We need


to think about how we come together. The left would say, Syriza are good,


Kadima are bad. It is the wrong sort of populism. I do not speak for the


left. The left is lots of different people, as is the right. My point is


we do not have the political leaders that will come forward and really


tell us the story of how we can work. And we do work. This is the


world you do not see. Working-class people are growing up together,


going to school together, people are marrying each other. That is not the


Liberal elite. We see that in working-class communities as well.


It is about the pace of change. Those people who feel comfortable


with change, because they have achieved identities, done well at


school, they have successful careers. They can deal with it. Lots


of people see rapid change as a kind of loss. What kind of change the


scene, not just economically, social change? This is not so much about


material things. This is about no longer feeling your valued by


society. All the value has gone on the cognitive elite, people who well


in exams. It is also about group attachments. People do not feel


gripped attachments. They do not play such a high value a national


citizenship because they do not need it so much. For a lot of people, it


is part of the security and familiarity that people want. Is


this generational, because disproportionately older people


voted for Brexit? I do not think so. James Tredwell. Surely it is about


both. We are having these old comparisons of left and right. One


of the themes about the left, the political left and right, is how


close together they have become. Where is the political


representation for what would have been the old side of the left to


say, what we need is national investment, we do not need


austerity, we need a different set? Even now, to represent old-style


social democracy, the welfare state, it is made out as if it is from


North Korea. There has been an absolute conversion that makes


neoliberalism and neoliberal capitalism the only economic system.


Is there a way back? It is not neoliberalism. When investment has


happened, it has not necessarily connected to the people who should


have benefited. That is where Faiza is right, it is the level of


understanding that our politicians have of meeting the needs of the


people they are serving. The last word. There are real issues for us


to be grappling with. People do not like the changes that are coming in


the future. Tony Blair was on the Andrew Marr programme this morning.


Is there a way back for the Blairite Centre? I hope not.


If you have something to say about that debate,


log on to bbc.co.uk/thebigquestions, and follow the link to where you can


We're also debating live this morning in Cardiff: Does


Get tweeting or emailing on those topics now or send us any other


ideas or thoughts you may have about the programme.


Tomorrow, it's International Happiness Day.


Don't worry, being happy is not being made compulsory...yet.


But governments are increasingly interested in measuring


their nation's happiness levels and probing why some countries


Denmark tops the league table of happiest countries.


The UK is 23rd out of 157 nations, beaten by the Scandinavians,


the Dutch, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Ireland, the North


Americans and even some South American countries.


And the UK itself has happiness high and low spots,


with the Welsh borough of Blaenau Gwent, here


in South Wales, having one of the biggest gaps between people


Liverpool, Sunderland and Rotherham are similarly miserable.


Well, researchers have found that the regions in Britain


with the highest "wellbeing inequality" were more likely


This will link to first debate. Michael, when you're talking about


happiness, you said earlier run, it is a positive conscious state. The


easiest way to understand happiness is anything which feels good to you.


Unhappiness is anything which feels bad. Elation and contentment are


different types of positive states, anger and fear are different kinds


of unhappy states. We all have those at different times of the day. I


like being with my family, walking the dog, playing my guitar. It makes


me happy. When I am playing my guitar, the rest of the family are


not happy. Yes, we should be looking at how to maximise happiness


overall. How do you do that? Where we can really start is by trying to


understand what happiness is, and how it works. The standout fight


from the happiness literature, we have been collecting data on this


for the last 60 years. The most surprising thing is that happiness


has not increased. Self-reports of how satisfied people are with their


lives, it has not increased. It has not the crease? It has not


increased. It has stayed flat. Despite the fact we are much richer,


much healthier, we live longer, despite what you might read in the


daily Mail, we are safer than ever before,


we have better technology. We have everything which we think should


make life better, apart from happiness. That should prompt us to


as questions about what is going on. What do we do about this? The


government are taking this seriously. They are setting out


think-tanks, they are going into schools, they are talking about


mindfulness in schools? Allgood? It sounds really good, and that is part


of the reason we are talking about it now. Who's going to say, we


should make everybody miserable. No one say that. I find it interesting.


You would almost take the boxes of the claims that people make. I have


wrote a book about it. Why have they become so powerful and why are they


made in the same over over? One of those is the so-called paradox of


prosperity. Happiness levels has stayed the same in spite of


increased technology, all these things that should make us happy,


increased wealth. But they never say, in spite of the fact that in


the United States blacks can drink out of the same water fountain,


still no happier, women have more freedom, still no happier. They do


not make that argument. Why do we always choose those particular


things? It reflects the fact we do not have a positive vision for


society any more. We are disoriented from those things that used to be,


wealth, well for the population, it will set people free, generalising.


That is something that the left and right used to agree on. Could


capitalism deliver the goods, that was the disagreement. Now it is


difficult to think of a left-wing position that sees wealth in a


positive way. The debate about prosperity becomes a bipartisan


thing. Most people can agree on it. It depends on this view of


happiness. Acquired characteristics? My parents got an eight on the


happiness scale. I was born in the 1980s, so I should be and nine.


Absolutely not. Everyone is born into a world that is new to them.


You do not build on the happiness level. Does GDP have something to do


with it, the wealth of the nation? People get over obsessed with GDP.


In the 1960s, Robert Kennedy said, GDP measures everything except the


things that make our existence worthwhile. It is not a big-screen


television, it is a work in the forest? It as a whole range of


things. When we are constructing policy, we try to compartmentalise.


People do not existing categories. People'slives are diverse. A whole


range of things make you happy, the impact on the quality of your life.


Are obsessive focus on GDP, the figures we need to increase, the


numbers go up and everyone will be happy, of course, it is about the


economy, but not just about the economy. There is this


disorientation towards what that actually means. It reflects the


depoliticisation of the economic ground. Leave that up to the


technocrats. You worry about your family and your little microcosm.


GDP really does matter. People trying to deflect attention from


that, when the economy does not grow, who pays? It is not the only


thing that matters. How can we construct public policy


that recognises that nuances? It is an impossible dream, something that


makes one group content will make another pretty miserable? If you


limit the use of motor cars, a lot of environmentalists would say, yes,


get in there. People trying to get to work, people on the school run,


petrol heads would be very arrestable. Indeed. I was hoping we


would stick to your guitar playing. Relating to what was going on, we


can think about GDP, a big picture measure of how society is doing.


When we can think about the distribution of happiness in it. You


began by talking about Denmark, routinely top of the world happiness


index. What is it about Denmark we don't have. Denmark is one of the


most equal countries in the world. So you are talking about something


which you can reliably say people have a stake in. And traditionally


thinking about public goods and the kind of society they are, which is


more collectivist than ours has now become. Denmark has a way of


thinking about a shared project, it is not trouble-free, it doesn't iron


out your difficulties, but it is more meaningful to talk about


happiness in Denmark because it's not so unequally distribution


culling distributed in society. In Wales, why do people feel like they


have been left behind or get a raw deal? Because they live in a


society, firstly where there are huge disparities in wealth between


them and others at the other end of the scale. There is a very poor


public conversation. Is it pretty much coveting what other people


have? It will feel relative, you will be happier in a society where


you are in the same game as everybody else. But somebody who is


not in the same game, but happiness has gone? It is about a society that


places a huge amount of emphasis on your individual success being tied


to your place in the consumer marketplace. If you fail to have the


latest items, you don't have a value. That creates a continuing,


nagging dissatisfaction for people, they continually feel that... I


don't think that is a problem. We Prodl attire is the dissatisfaction


and the feelings. Happy people quote Karl Marx, house might be great or


small, as long as other houses are equally small. Then people were in a


castle and then it is reduced to a halt and we say, Karl Marx says


don't covet other people, but what Karl Marx is saying is that cattle


could be yours, go out and take it. The happiness people, I love that.


Where would we be without sadness as well? We would have no arts, where


would Marcy B. Liz, I know you want to talk, you work in companies to


try to get people to focus on well-being, content must


unhappiness? I will be accused of being part of this happiness people


think. I agree with the fact that GDP will focus on economic growth


per se, we need economic growth when growth is needed, there is a


brilliant economist who say, we have an economy grows whether or not we


thrive. We an economy where we thrive, whether or not it grows. It


feels like a small shift, but it is huge. At the moment, everything we


do, health, economy, the private sector and the public sector is


judged on whether or not it contributes to economic growth. In


some spaces we need economic growth, in Blaenau Gwent, people desperately


need growth in economy that benefits them. But we should all be judging


ourselves, each other, our businesses and politicians by


whether or not they are doing the sorts of things that help us to


thrive as individuals or communities. It is an everybody


thing. We need to make that shift. Gideon, there are people who think


this is a load of... Careful what word I use here, baloney, they think


it is a bit mind-numbing. If this can raise our content levels to


Denmark, that is a good thing? Broadly, I would agree. We have to


be careful on how simple we think that is. What we did to promote one


group's happiness will be at the expense of another. It is not a


fluffy thing. What it recognises is that actually we have a piece of


legislation in Wales which recognises well-being. Don't talk


about happiness per say, but happiness and well-being is


intrinsically linked. We have the well-being of future generations


act. We have to think about the social, economic and environment and


cultural situations. So you can put that in public policy-making terms.


You cannot legislate to make your inner being happy, but you can take


decisions in a way... What do you want to do that he cannot do now to


make is happier? If you think about the way we construct towns and


villages. Will we do it in a way that will build a whole load of


concrete monstrosities that don't have access to public space


facilitate community interaction or engagement. Which don't have


environmentally friendly public transport links. Or, will we


construct them in a way that thinks about those different facets and


relate back to well-being and happiness. That is what they were


doing when they built Milton Keynes. The lady on the back row, it is


great to be in Wales, a lot others Celtic people are not happy unless


we are sad. Good morning. Are you one of the happiness people? I think


I am a pragmatist, a realist. Whilst people don't have employment, food


on the table and people don't feel safe and they don't have any meaning


in their life, when communities are destroyed and weak into fourth


generations... People are starving in East Africa? Blaenau Gwent, there


are the food banks, Cardiff, all over South Wales, austerity is


biting really hard. You cannot have happiness, you cannot have happiness


if your fundamental basic human needs are not being met and that is


a political issue. John Rees-Evans, what about this idea of people


feeling they stifled. I know you say political has gone mad. What


concerns me about this conversation, that is we are looking at


circumstances as the cause of whether or not people are happy.


Circumstances are important, but what is much more important is


relationships. I know of somebody who has said that if he divorced his


wife, he would be ?3500 better off each year. I think it is incredibly


upsetting to me. This is because of government benefits and whatever.


Legislation doesn't do anything to encourage people to stay married.


The traditional values of this country what I believe have been


responsible for our success, our prosperity. Family break-up... Is it


same-sex relationships, relationships in communities. What


is the type of relationship most people can identify with? Most


people like marriage. Having positive relationships, healthy


relationships is what makes us happy I merrily. Circumstances become a


distant second. My have difficulty with the definition of happiness. An


averaged out positive feeling, over a long period of time, I could


understand. But maintaining relationships requires us to do


things we don't feel good about. Doing our duty, working late at


night to make sure we finish a project... Is a traditional marriage


the bedrock of society... I thought you might respond like that.


Relationships are important and do affect our happiness at an


individual level. Well-being, taking it alongside measures of economic


growth, it reminds us what it is for. Policymakers forget what it is


for. It is not just about growing and it's not just about a segment of


the population getting more money, it is about thinking overall what is


happening. Are we creating the right environment for all people to


flourish and have the chance of happiness? Last word, Michael. Are


you happy with that debate? It has shown some of the things which are


significant. There is this thought that if you focus on happiness, in


means you are not caring about misery and people'slives. Stepford


wives? What the literature is meant to shine a light on, you get a story


of how inter-personal relationships are important, employment and


unemployment is a driver of unhappiness. Open spaces? Yes, what


comes out significantly is not the material things of the interpersonal


relationships, it is mental health, so our relationships with ourselves.


Not sidestepping anything of what she is talking about. That is the


danger, it redefines inequality as a subjective things. And that is the


debate over. Thank you very much indeed.


You can join in all this morning's debates by logging


on to bbc.co.uk/the big questions and following the link


Or you can tweet using the hashtag bbctbq


Tell us what you think about our last Big Question too ?


And if you'd like to apply to be in the audience at a future show you


We're in Oxford next week, Brighton on April 2nd,


Some of you may have heard or seen Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger


discussing their book 'South of Forgiveness' on radio


During a teenage romance in 1996, Tom, then 18,


Now they both want people to understand the shame, blame,


silence, and suffering they each went through and the difference


forgiveness, decades later, has brought to each of them.


Natalie, could you forgive, in that sense, in that way, somebody who has


raped you? I think, the first thing is, in your introduction you said


about the shame and the pain they both went through, which immediately


says the pain of the rapist on the pain of the person who was raped are


equal and something we should be caring about equally, when one has


inflicted that on another. We have to be aware of that. Incredible


thing about their story, the reason it has airtime, is not sadly about


Thordis and her choices, for once a man has said I raped somebody and


saying up -- standing up and saying that. We shouldn't be applauding


that, it is horrific. Do you respect him for that? No, he is a rapist.


One of the big issues, women are socialised to be forgiving, be kind


and caring and not have anger. One of the things that is liberating for


women is anger, rage and fearlessness. What I would say, my


personal experience is, I did forgive. You were in an abusive


relationship? Yes. Why and how did you forgive? When I talk about rage


and anger, women are not given access or permission to rage and


anger. We are socialised into having to forgive and socialised into


saying, that is what you should do. We see women who forgive and kind


loving and a better class of women and that is how this story has


panned out between Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger. That is not a model I


want to put out. Forgiveness can be liberating, but actually forgiveness


can be a tool or weapon. For the majority of women it becomes a


weapon to further perpetuate the suffering they have been subjected


to. But it can be liberating. In my experience, it has been liberating


but I wouldn't want to make it a model for how I live my life. What


does it mean in your experience to forgive? Do you communicate that


forgiveness to the other person, or are you internalising something, now


I will move on and deal with it in a certain way? When I was with my


ex-husband I thought forgiveness was accepting what ever he did to me,


accepting his behaviour and then it will change if I love him enough.


For a lot of women, that is the journey they have been none.


Forgiveness for me, understanding forgiveness started by owning how


terrible what he did to me was over a period of four years. Saying it is


horrendous and it will affect me for the rest of my life and making it


visible, the pain of that. Forgiveness is a form of denial.


We need to be looking at them or longer term thing. Forgiveness is


not nullifying quantities -- the consequences of someone's behaviour


towards me. There are consequences. It is not about me communicating


that he is forgiven, it is about me not wishing him harm, but putting


safeguards in place to prevent him from hurting me. Finn, you are


nodding. Do you agree? Could you forgive someone in the same way that


Thordis has? The story of Thordis Elva is her own personal, individual


journey. She states that in some ways that has helped her to feel


more free. I suppose I am also interested in how we can free the


whole of society from epidemic levels of male violence against


women and children, because an estimated 80,000 rapes every year


take place, over 400,000 sexual assaults, two women every week in


this country murdered by a violent male partner. Forgiving is about


self-help. It is a journey of self help. We should support women to do


that and feel in control of themselves and their lives. I do not


agree with scrutinising women even more than they are already


scrutinised. As well as self-help, we need help from society, we need


to heal the problems and fractures in society that cause these


horrendous crimes in the first place. Why is there this epidemic as


you put it? Because women are unequal. And men are socialised to


have entitlement or women's bodies, to be allowed to do that, and that


is perpetuated by a wider societal structure, which undermines women's


sense of agency. That is what Tom Stranger said. He felt that as a


man, it was a victory for him, he had a right over his girlfriend's


body because he was dating her. They had been out on a night out, they


had been drinking alcohol, and he would not be a proper young man if


he did not have sex with her at the end of the night. He said himself he


felt pressured, that he did not enjoy it greatly, but he felt that


is what he was supposed to do, and it was what he deserved, as if the


body of that woman was his birthright. That was his own words.


Society allows that to happen. If you look at the other things that


are defined as hate crimes, disability, race, misogyny is not a


hate crime. On a daily basis, all of the women in this audience will have


encountered some form of sexism, whether that is catcalling,


something going on in work, a whole range of things. Is that not quite a


leap from what we are talking about? THEY ALL SPEAK AT ONCE


It is not. Could you forgive a terrorist? I also believe in


rehabilitation, giving people chances. I agree with Tom Stranger


speaking about what he has done. Can I picked up on that point. Peter,


you were chief executive of the prison Fellowship. You visit people


in prisons. Could you forgive someone who killed your child? It is


a question I have asked myself a lot. I work with people who go into


prison who have forgiven people who have killed their children. I think


of a couple. They have been on this programme. They are amazing people.


We kept a week, they have managed to go on that journey of forgiveness. I


think they do it, because when we forgive, we look at the future, and


we say, the past is the past, it needs punishing and dealing with, we


do not see it did not happen, but we look to the future and say, I do not


want to hold the sense of revenge in my heart. Does it not


leave the person that you forgive, let them off the hook? It does the


opposite. You cannot forgive unless you first admit that something that


needs forgiving has happened. You must never minimise or try and take


it away, say it did not matter in any way whatsoever. You say, this is


horrible, but I will still choose to forgive. It requires a degree of


remorse from the individual, as well. Not necessarily. We will come


back to you in a minute, Peter. It requires a degree of remorse? In


order to make that step towards forgiveness, someone needs to say, I


have also done something pretty spectacularly wrong. I will hold my


hands up to that. As a criminologist, I come across a lot


of offenders and not all of them are willing to do that. I have concerns


when you have government saying, we will force offenders to say sorry.


That takes away the self recognition. Do you get fake


remorse? I think you do. Some people are incredibly good at playing the


system. A famous example, an Austrian serial killer who had been


convicted of murder and came out. Who was it? He was an Austrian


serial killer. He expressed Morrison became a famed penal reform


correspondent. When he was doing that and talking about the level of


the Morsi showed, he went on to kill more women before taking his own


life. He built his reputation in part, at least, by expressing fake


remorse. That is one of the problems. It is very difficult to


subjectively get the extent with remorse, whether someone believes


what they are saying. You have to define terms. Forgiveness can come


in different ways. In the Christian faith, you talk about divine


forgiveness, someone asking forgiveness from God, and that is


freely given in terms of love. What you're talking about is a two-way


restorative relationship. That is good. It affects the other person


and gives them a chance to move on in their life. You can also forgive


without ever talking to somebody. It is not a transaction? No. With a


violent relationship, someone who has been hurt badly, that maybe the


best thing. Is forgiveness the right for that?


THEY ALL SPEAK AT ONCE Yes. That is the thing, a


recognition that is for the individual. Forgiveness is to give


and receive. I would say reconciliation is what you're


talking about, when both parties come together. Forgiveness is about


an attitude to that person. Go on. I am a counsellor. I have a


wide-ranging age group of clients but I mainly work with children who


have been victimised in some way. The key for them to start moving


forward is to recognise that the event that happened, and no longer


see themselves as a victim. Once they have given up that role, the


person who carried out the act is no longer the perpetrator of their


status. Maybe after that we can start looking at forgiveness if it


is going to help them to move on. APPLAUSE


Self-definition. Anyone else? The removal of shame is important. If a


victim feels shame or responsibility themselves, that is bad for them. I


totally take on board that. There is a process that you have to


necessarily go through that recognises that you're not


responsible. Whether that requires you to forgive the individual that


has perpetrated a crime? What is wrong with saying that


someone has been victimised. We need to take the stigma away from lots of


crimes and especially sexual violence. If someone can go into


work in the morning and say, I was mugged the other week, I had this


amount stolen, that is terrible, I hope it goes all right. We would not


say, I am not a victim. Friends of mine, they have been debating this,


who have been sexually abuse, they do not want to be called victims.


They are survivors. Yes, they live to see another day, they are


survivors. We also need to acknowledge that they are victims of


crime. We need to remove the stigma that surrounds that. The shame that


women are meant to feel is part of the burden that they alone have to


carry. It takes away from their happiness. What about children of


whatever gender who are abuse? I agree. Anthony, we heard from Peter,


a man who is inspired by his faith. He was talking about the forgiveness


of Jesus. Jesus forgive. Yes, but it is far more complex than we have


been saying. The issue is not just about gender. It seems to me that


forgiveness is overrated. Most people would quote the words of


Jesus on the cross, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they


do. That is a great example of unilateral forgiveness, they would


argue. It is not an example of forgiveness, it is an example of


Jesus claims -- Jesus praying for the good of those who were telling


him. He did not pray for anyone. He prayed that in the course of time


God would forgive. It is a prayer that lays aside Justice in terms of


what God is doing. But divine forgiveness, as with human


forgiveness, is always proceeded with repentance, genuine sorrow that


is lived out. As has been rightly said, how do we know what genuine


repentance is? There is a fantastic book by an American, it is called


Faking It, in which the author describes how clever people are in


faking repentance. Repentance has to be demonstrated, it has to be


appropriate, it has to be modelled over a long period of time. Within


that context, there can be a movement towards forgiveness. You


mention justice. Too often people do not see justice. If we are talking


about women and children and the difficulties they face in taking


cases forward, the low numbers we have for rape convictions in this


country, Justice holds people back, not just as individuals, but the


whole of society is held back by not giving justice to who have been


victimised. How would you increase the number of rate convictions in


this country? I would improve the police. -- rape convictions. There


are problems around the number of people who report rape. There has


been problems with the police designating rapes as no crime. The


CPS does not take cases forward based on stereotypical assumptions


about women's sexuality. What was she wearing, had she been drinking?


We are still dealing with these stereotypes. You have been listening


with great interest. What do you think? I think there is an issue


right now around moral panic, all around rape. Do you understand the


definition of that? Yes, and I am really sorry. How do you come up


against that? What do you mean by moral panic? I think there is a


tendency now to suddenly, I do not disagree that rape is a horrible


thing, but there is a tendency to make the barriers around what


constitutes harassment fuzzy. We build up this idea that there is a


massive epidemic of male violence, but what has been defined as male


violence is a little funny. That is because there is an epidemic of male




Excuse me, everybody. Ashley. That is why I was afraid to


say anything. When I was a teenager, walking down the street in the days


of Britney Spears, with the tummy tuck, ID cards would go by and


whistle. One of my friends turned around and said, thank you. I said,


you're not supposed to like that. There is a little bit of bad faith


around these things. We are supposed to be really offended by male


attention, but actually, some women in male attention. You have changed


what you're talking about. Ladies and gentlemen, what I need to do, I


need to try and get in touch with the BBC and get an extension on this


debate. We have just entered some fascinating territory but we are out


of time. Thank you very much indeed for your contributions this morning.


As always, the debates will continue online and on Twitter.


Next week we're in Oxford, so do join us then.


But for now, it's goodbye from Cardiff and have a great Sunday.


Nicky Campbell presents live debate from Michaelston Activity Centre in Cardiff. He asks: Are Europe's powerless taking control?; Does a nation's happiness matter?; Does forgiving set you free?