Episode 4 The Big Questions

Episode 4

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Triggering Brexit - who should get a say?


Money for nothing - on the state and slavery,


Today we're live from Hutchesons' Grammar School in Glasgow.


Welcome, everybody, to The Big Questions.


This week, the Supreme Court announced its long-awaited decision


over Brexit - the UK Parliament must be allowed a vote to trigger Article


50 before formal negotiations can begin with the European Union.


But while giving a voice to MPs in Westminster,


the court quashed legal hopes of a similar vote in


the Scottish Parliament or the Northern Irish


Now, cast your mind back to 2014 and you may recall that membership


of the European Union was an interesting factor


It emerged that should Scotland leave the UK,


it would have to reapply for membership of the EU


In the event, 55% voted to remain in the UK and 45%


And this year, 62% in Scotland voted to stay in the EU and 38% to leave.


Given this unexpected change of circumstances, morally,


is Scotland still owed a say over Brexit?


It's a very interesting part of this whole debate. These are interesting


times in which we live. Sam, is this about the UK now or is it about


Scotland? I think it's absolutely about the UK and this decision has


to be made plaintively as part of the United Kingdom. Scotland chose


to remain part of the United Kingdom and to have international affairs,


memberships of foreign organisations made collectively as the UK, so


Scotland should have a say. But it's 59 MPs in Westminster should be the


ones making that decision. The possibility of another referendum on


Europe, and put your hands up if you want to say anything, what sort of


assay should Scotland have? There will be debate on whether Article 50


should be triggered, great repeal Bill deciding whether to retain bits


of EU law into UK law and the final deal that Theresa May manages to


negotiate in Brussels. So there will be a say at all stages in the


parliamentary process. Scottish citizens have a right to elect those


MPs. The decision was made to stay in the United Kingdom and the


decision was made to leave the European Union and that's a double


bolt, and that means it's all about the UK? That's right. OK, people of


Scotland, good morning full stop put your hands up, what do you want to


say about this? Lady in the red. Unfortunately I was off work for


five months after an operation so I got to see all the news bits that


came across during the Brexit debate. The fact is a lot of


communities in England and some in Scotland have been left behind since


97, since Margaret Thatcher in the 80s, and people have watched


children remain unemployed for a long time, grandchildren starting to


remain unemployed and are frightened, and I think that gave


impetus to the Brexit Fred. You want change? I do. The political parties


have left these communities behind, they haven't helped them, and it's


the same in America. What's the answer? If I had that I'd be Prime


Minister. But it's the same in America, the bottom line, a lot of


the communities that voted for Donald Trump are still communities


where they have lost their main industry and that has never been


helped. These people have also been left behind and their reaction is to


vote for someone like Donald Trump. So taking it home, is the answer


another independence referendum? The lady, there. Not at all, because we


voted to stay part of the union and leave the EU and that's exactly what


the Democrats should be listening to, that's what we voted for. At


Hang on, you've got the Supreme Court which was under a lot of


pressure from parts of the popular press, they came to that considered


and meticulously judged opinion, they looked at everything stop blue


which the sill Convention, all which we


understood to be a pretty tungsten, muscular piece of machinery that


meant Westminster could not dabble in Scottish Parliament affairs


really, actually it means pretty well nothing. Like much of the


entrenchment of Scottish parliament it could be abolished overnight


right now if Westminster felt like it. So ultimately it is about the UK


Parliament? We've learned something from that knock-back, the weakness


of the mechanism we were told powerful. The next thing is, do the


people who work the Nissan, are they part of the UK? Because they've got


an opt out. What about the people of the City of London? We understand


they are getting a little opt out organised. If there is not a deal


done for Ireland the peace process will falter. Gibraltar probably


needs an opt out. There are deals being done all over the place but


the one place not being given a look in is the one place that voted


sizeable to stay in the EU, Scotland. Membership of the European


Union has always been that the UK is the member state, not Scotland. Why


can everybody else have an opt out? It's not an opt out. They are being


consulted and the government will take into account the interests. The


City of London will remain in Europe. Theresa May has promised to


make a deal that tries to deal with all the different interests as part


of the United Kingdom. Except ours. No single interest can get


everything they want. I think you are being quite unfair. One of


Theresa May's first actions when she became Prime Minister was to come to


Scotland to meet Nicola Sturgeon. They are meeting tomorrow as well.


David Mundell net with my grassland Derek McInnes, there is an ongoing


dialogue, Scotland is very much part of negotiations. But David Cameron


during the independence campaign, he said, look, if you vote for


independence, when it comes to joining the euro, you're going to


have to go to the back of the queue, so people voted under a false


pretence. No, I don't think so. And that remains the case today. We've


had two clear, fair, decisive and legal referendums. On the first one


the people of Scotland voted to remain in the union. As part of that


United Kingdom they decided to leave. Don't worry John, I've got my


eye on you and I know you are going to burst out of the traps any


second, I can hardly hold you back. Guy Standing, you wanted to come in?


The first thing is, as somebody who was profoundly against the folly of


the referendum, it is one of the worst mistakes are British


government has ever made. The EU referendum? The referendum on Brexit


was a folly. We have to remember that only 67% of the Scottish


electorate actually voted at all, lower than the rest of the United


Kingdom. And in a sense, logically, if you had a separate vote in


Scotland from the vote that should be taking place in the house of


parliament, in the Commons, you would be giving the Scots a double


vote. Because Scottish MPs, most of whom are SNP, will have a vote on


Article 50 and the rest of it in the House of Commons. And I profoundly


hope that they will all stand up and vote against going for Article 50.


We'll see what will happen. But I do think this double vote issue is


something that should be taken into account. I think the big problem is


that the UK constitution isn't fit for purpose for the political


reality that exists now. Even unionists in Scotland believe


Scotland should have a say in the Brexit vote. What does a say mean?


It's about power. You referred to both David Cameron and Theresa May.


First visit she made as Prime Minister was to come and tell Nicola


Sturgeon and Scotland that we were equal partners. The UK judges


unanimously batted the Scottish issue back to the politicians


because they know they can't deal with it. What should have happened


in Britain is that we should be like Australia where an Australian


referendum, each state, all states have to vote in a referendum, if one


state objects or votes no, for instance, it doesn't go through.


There is no English Parliament, that's the problem. I know, that's


why I'm saying the constitution is not fit for purpose. But there is a


political reality here, and the politicians know that, and we are


stuck in a real morass at the moment. And probably the solution is


Theresa May should possibly go to the country and say, let's have


indie rest 2, because Scotland is obviously not happy that


# IndyRef America to. David, I don't think you are up for IndyRef two,


but who is up for that, here? Do you think it would go through?


Potentially would on the basis that the first IndyRef, we started with


10% and got up to 45%. Said the wind is in your sales. Has Brexit helped,


and the Supreme Court judgment of Scotland being excluded?


Potentially. All the Unionist parties were sitting there saying,


you want to be part of the EU, vote to stay, and now we are not part of


the EU. We were given the vote on false pretences. Lets get a word


from you, and then John Curtice. I think the IndyRef idea is a good


one, there was so much misleading information leading up to the Brexit


campaign, Scottish people should have the right to make an informed


judgment. John Curtis, couple of things for you before we get the


current state of Play and opinion on independence as to whether this has


given further impetus to Indyref two and the march towards an independent


Scotland. It just struck me that Simon said the UK constitution is


not fit for purpose. European, the EU rules and regulations, do they


take account of a nation which is part of the member state having a


say in its own future after that nation secedes from the European


Union? The answer is that Article 50 says that a notification for Article


50 has to be in accordance with the country's constitutional procedures.


The European Union in effect will suspect the procedures of the member


state if it wishes to leave. The fact that the European Union is, on


occasion, willing to listen to some state governments, as illustrated in


the row about the trade agreement with Canada when the while in


Parliament was at least in theory in position to stop that deal.


Basically the European Union says it's up to the member states to


decide for itself. Not the substate? It is up to them to decide how it is


going to leave and what are the rules under which it decides. If it


is a powerful substate it can decide. The tiny Faroe Islands opted


out of the EU when Denmark joined in 1973 and that's because they had a


powerful enough government, it could sign international treaties. Spain


will have no truck with substate is for obvious reasons. But it has been


done, there are lots of exceptions. To come back to your big question


which is about the possibility of a second independence referendum. The


truth is that neither side in this debate is in a comfortable position.


The first thing one needs to understand, yet it is true that 55%


of people in Scotland voted in favour of staying inside the UK, but


you have to understand that only 55% voted to stay. In effect that


referendum failed to solve or to settle the issue of whether or not


Scotland should remain in the UK. The only consequence of that


referendum was to make Scotland a much more problematic member of the


UK than it previously had been, so that is the difficulty on the


Unionist side. And the fact we leaving the European Union is a bit


of an embarrassment given the arguments were used in the campaign.


The trouble on the nationalist side, trying to link a second independence


referendum and a yes vote to Brexit is that what we now know is that one


in three of those people who voted to leave the United Kingdom, yes to


independence, actually voted to leave the European Union. And the


nationalist movement in Scotland is not united on the issue of Brexit.


What we have discovered is that there are some people who are


sufficiently upset about the UK leaving the European Union that they


would now back in independent Scotland, but they have been matched


by an equal number of people who are now sufficiently happy about the


prospect of the UK leaving the EU that they would now stick with the


UK rather than a Scotland which would wish to remain in the EU. The


net effect is that we are still at a 55-45 vote. Some have changed their


views, but both sides, the unionist and nationalist communities, are


divided as a result of Brexit. Interesting. What a brain!


APPLAUSE A lot of people watching, everyone


in the UK, they would not have appreciated that particular... Not a


fact you have a brain! That particular statistic, really


interesting. David, leader of Ukip in Scotland, this is... This


programme is not about so much the political and legal, this is about


the moral, the rights and wrongs. Scotland is a nation, Scotland has


been cast adrift by English nationalism and they are no longer


going to be part of the EU. Scotland has to have a concrete palpable say


in its own future. I agree with a lot of what Professor John Curtice


said. You will not win a referendum on it. More importantly, the EU,


when Nicola Sturgeon had her summit, we are quite good chums, I had a


chat with him, he said, we cannot remain in the EU, Scotland entered


the EU as part of the UK, it must leave as part of the UK and then


reapply. It will have to reapply after Turkey and goodness knows who.


We have a 7 billion deficit thanks to the SNP. Wait, what do you mean?


Listen, what do you mean by reapply after Turkey? There are certain


human rights standards Turkey will not qualify for four decades. If at


all. Scotland will. We will have to reapply. We do not have...


APPLAUSE There is no central bank. We will


have to accept the euro which is a catastrophe. Some countries will


crash out in the next year or so. The euro is very unstable. We would


have to accept the euro. We would have to have an international border


50 miles from Edinburgh. Not a good idea. We do four times as much


business with the rest of the UK than we do with the EU. Presidential


is said we have no chance, we have to leave, we decided in the


referendum on Scottish independence to remain British. We subsequently


decided to, in a different way, with the EU, but it was 60-40. That is a


good proportion of the Scottish population who do not want to be in


the EU. It is not a big victory, as Professor John Curtice said. This


notion of Scotland being a part of the single market and the rest of


the UK not being, that is just fanciful. That is unworkable. It is


not. It works in lots of different countries to have different levels


of integration with Europe. All of the Nordic countries have everything


from Finland in the Euro and in Europe to Iceland out of both of


them and they have had one travel area for 40 years before Schengen


was devised. If you have a will politically, you can find it. It is


not present in the UK. The thing to say about what has been analysed by


John and what David picked up on, it is probably right Europe is not the


burning issue that will bring them to want another independence


referendum, but what is possibly is that if we are ignored on as big an


issue about trade and relations with Europe and everything that comes


with that, completely ignored to date in the negotiations, what hope


have we to be heard on anything else? Professor? The moral issues, I


appreciate the politics is compelling. It is a moral issue, are


we being heard? When we talk about democracy, little scientists used


the term deliberative democracy, democracy is the way in which we


settle things by discussion. That is fundamental to what a democracy is


about. The second thing, Liberal Democrat C, we respect the rights of


minorities -- liberal democracy. Both of those have been absent in


most of the Brexit debate. People treat it as a settled issue. I am


horrified by the Bill currently in Parliament which does not say it


will be subject to discussion, it does not say Parliament will discuss


the issues, it says all power will be invested in the Prime Minister.


That is all it says. I think we have to worry here that not just that


Scotland is not being consulted, the population is not being engaged in


the process. What a feather John Curtis was describing is a nation


divided -- Professor John Curtice. We can probably agree. Let us have a


process of discussion and resolution that protects the minorities. You


are right that we need discussion and consultation. The issue is about


whether there is a veto. On specifically Article 50, there will


be days of debate in Parliament, MPs will have their chance to have a


say. The bill specifically is about simply giving ministers the power to


trigger Article 50, not about the future relation with the EU, it is a


very specific thing. It is important not to exaggerate. Do you think


anyone will be consulted on any other aspect on this? Why don't you


accept the democratic will of the majority? We voted as Great Britain.


Did the referendum say, we want to be in or out of the single market?


The president made it very clear. That is one Guy. One more president


reference and you are out. He is the most influential figure in the


European Union. How long is his post? He is gone now! Simon, there


will be a white paper, what is the problem with that? How many days


will they spend discussing it? Three to five days. The maestro treaty was


discussed for 42 days in the House of Commons. The Government is trying


to ram this through, a battle has been won here by the forces of the


right who have always hated Europe. They are backed up by the rabidly


right wing anti EU predominantly UK press and 37% of our restricted


franchise voted for an advisory referendum in a parliamentary


democracy and all of these facets do not fix together to provide a


solution people will accept and be happy... I am a supporter of Labour


and a member and Jeremy Corbyn is wrong about this, there should be a


free vote and I would urge all Labour MPs to vote with their


conscience. Thank you. Let us not confuse the Bill and the white


paper. I wonder what Mr Schulz thinks about this next debate? I


know he watches every week! 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 from Hutchesons' Should the state give


everyone a basic income? And should today's generation


make amends for slavery? So, get tweeting or emailing


on those topics now, or send us any other ideas


or thoughts you may 87 years ago, the great economist,


John Maynard Keynes, wrote a book called The Economic Possibilities


for our Grandchildren. One of his startling predictions


was that in the future - that's now - rising living standards


would mean we could all choose to be working much less,


perhaps just 15 hours a week, We all know what happened instead -


some people are working much longer hours, others have no work at all,


and globalisation is taking advantage of the cheapest places


in the world to produce everything. Now other economists are suggesting


that if everyone was given a basic income by the state,


the workload and the profits from capitalism could be


shared out more evenly. Well, Finland is trying this out,


and here in Glasgow, a local councillor wants this city


to give it a whirl too. Should the state give


everyone a basic income? Basic income, how would this work?


Everybody would get this, right? The idea is every individual, man, woman


and child, a lesser amount, should receive each month a basic amount


and that is to be decided by Parliament, as a right.


Unconditional in behavioural terms. The reasons for supporting a basic


income are threefold, fundamentally. Can I just stop you? Why should


everyone get it question what footballers, barristers... Let me


explain in a second when I have said the philosophical and moral


justification. The first is, the wealth and income of all of us in


society is far more to do with the contributions of previous


generations. We have a collective wealth much more than anything we do


ourselves. If you allow private inheritance, we should have a


return, a social dividend, to the collective wealth of society. It is


a right. That is an idea associated with Thomas Paine, socialists and so


on, going back a long way. There is a strong philosophical tradition.


The second reason, the moral reason, is that if people had a basic


income, they would have a greater sense of freedom, what we call


Republican freedom, in the sense that it would mean they have a


greater ability to say no to arbitrate domination by figures,


bureaucrats, fathers, husbands and others. And a greater ability to say


yes if they wanted to do something paying a low-wage but they would


like to do it but they cannot afford it. That sense of freedom is


something that has been lost in the developments you have briefly


described. Alec income in equalities and securities have multiplied --


our income. A healthier society? We are not in a healthy society if a


large majority of feeling quality insecure and it leads to the third


justification. We need a good society in which everybody has basic


security. The psychologists, the economists, they have shown that if


people have basic security in a mental sense, psychological sense,


they have better mental health, better mental bandwidth in other


words, higher short-term IQ, they are able to make decisions more


rationally and they are able to feel less stressed. That is a real need


in a modern open society. The fourth thing which is not so moral but it


is indicative of the crisis is that the income distribution system of


the 20th century has broken down irretrievably. Our wages, our real


wages, in Europe, in the US, Germany, France, the UK, they have


been stagnant for 30 years. They have become more volatile. People


are facing more insecurity. If we continue, we will see populists of


the far right in particular playing on the fears and insecurities of a


growing number of people and that means that because basic income has


become more popular, it is not only robots, but the fear of far right...


Automation, I want to come to that in a second. If you are driving a


big company, by taxing them more, there might be more in automation so


it might be counter-productive. Who likes this? I meant, I don't like


it. OK, let me rephrase that? Who doesn't like it?


LAUGHTER Why not? I think it is very much a


socialist idea and with a lot of socialist ideas, they are not


practical. If socialists understood economics, they would not be


socialists. It is pretty much that simple. It is not a practical thing


to do. Yeah? Mass inequality we have in society, that is the situation we


have got, we have got individuals with money, it is not being


distributed. Stress, as one of our guests alluded to, it is one of the


biggest things. That stress people are in, it is crippling our society.


Unhappy stressful society. Taking it back to the guy in the grey T-shirt.


I do not think anyone has exactly what the issue was, it is not the


sort of universal basic income, as I said, I think it is a nice idea and


it would be great if everyone could do that, everyone would love it if


it was feasible for everyone to have a set amount of income where they do


not have to worry about rent, food bills, but I do not think it is


something that is necessarily feasible and we have to look


somewhere else for another idea. Do you like this idea?


I do. I think most of us will accept the current welfare system is a


bureaucratic nightmare. But when we're talking about relieving stress


and anxiety, I have experienced some of that in Glasgow. I'm part of an


organisation which does a tea run every Thursday night in Glasgow.


Speaking to the folk who come along, I hear the stories of some of the


sanctions that they have had. There are no stories that I have heard


that did not appear in I, Daniel Blake. If I can take the point about


sanctions, you want to try this in Glasgow. Let's follow the point so


articulately expressed by that lady, there. You have to also think about


individuals basic needs. If you are thinking about the extra needs that


might pertain in a certain household you will still have to have an


assessment, won't you? There has to be in and -- there must be an


acknowledgement that some people live more expensive lives. If there


was a disability you would have to make an assessment. You back into


the bureaucratic morass. Nothing approaching what we


. Nothing approaching what we have now. I am a socialist. One of the


books I cherish is a book signed by Nye Bevan, it sits in my office. And


he oversaw rapid expansion of the welfare system, the birth of the


NHS, the start of a mass house-building programme. And he did


it motivated by that thought that this, the fear people particularly


experienced during the great depression, what coloured the


thinking of many of the people of his generation. I think it is one of


the great tragedies of our time, the welfare system, rather than removing


fear has become the cause of it. Let me ask you... It is pernicious but


it is more than that, it is about rights, it is about Masters and


servants. Too often when people approach the welfare system for


support they feel like they are approaching a master. Let me ask you


this, the current benefits bill is about 217 billions pound. The


estimated cost of this would be ?304 billion. That's a lot of difference,


isn't it? ?90 billion difference. Who calculated that? Those are


estimated costs I was looking at earlier. How would you pay for that?


You save money on the prison system and you look at the tax system. What


would you do about the tax system? If you want to tackle inequality you


have to do something about assets tax being distributed. Big


companies? One of the discussions in Scotland is around land taxes and I


think that is a key part of this. One of the key drivers of inequality


in my lifetime has been the concentration of asset wealth in


fewer and fewer hands and that needs to be tackled as well. Does this


work? The question of how you pay for it is quite critical for basic


income. The moral judgments are extremely strong, the practical


arguments are strong, we have seen it work with Child benefit. Paying


for it is the issue. We cannot take this to a good and ?17 billion or


however we calculated move that into basic income, because that covers


older people and and sickness and a large number of other things. All


the schemes that I've seen make assumptions about taking money away


from people who got benefits. Nearly all of those schemes leave poor


people know better off, some of them, including the citizen incomes


trust scheme, actually make poorer people worse off. The second problem


related to this is the sheer size of what's needed. If you've got, let's


save the Scottish Greens proposal suggests we'll need ?140 billion in


tax. If you've got ?140 billion to spend on a fairer tax system which I


wouldn't necessarily be averse to, how do you spend it? Would you want


to spend it on this when we're not poor people better off, and not


rather put it into health or education or public sector? What


about investment... In a second. What about higher tax for the big


companies and the dangers some would argue of leading it abroad and jobs


in this country dwindling? I'm not sure that that's a moral argument,


that's about the practicalities of how much money raised by tax. Let's


be clear, the way in which basic income works, what makes it fair is


that everybody is paying tax as well. The difficulty you've got, I'm


afraid, is that in some cases the poorest people and people on the


lowest incomes to pay tax in a way that would not be sustainable. If


those problems could be resolved, I would be much more supportive. I


think it's important to realise that this is a nonsense. What, this


programme? What are you saying? It is a nonsense saying you have two


lower benefits for other groups. Why? This can be conceived as a


scheme that you build up by building a capital fund and realising that at


the current state, not only is our welfare system a total mess that


acts as a disincentive for people to take low-wage jobs, but, for


example, suddenly we are able to afford to pay out ?375 billion in


quantitative easing to give to the banks. How can you say we can't


afford it when we are doing that sort of thing? In this country we


have cut corporation tax. It used to be 52%, then it was cut to 28%. In


other words they only pay 28%. Now it has been lowered to 20%. The


government says it is lowering it to 17%. We may become a tax haven.


Exactly. Don't tell me we can't afford a basic income when we giving


this a way in subsidies. David? So long as we are in the European Union


the idea of it is completely ridiculous because you'd have


everybody turning up on our door stop, you know that and I know that.


No, no, no. We coming out of the European Union anyway. You can't do


this, where do you get the money from? It's just simply not


practical, it is airy fairy nonsense. I have shown in my book


that you can afford it. For example we have a care crisis, right? I'm


all for reform. Wait a minute everyone! Everyone is talking across


each other and people at home can't hear what is going on, you can't


hear each other and I can't hear myself think and if it carries on


I'm leaving. Leslie. The caring thing, at the moment there are lots


of people that would like to do caring jobs but they can't afford to


do that because it's such low wages, they then get into the benefits


trap. There are all sorts of reasons. Now the way we have got


care friend at the moment, we can't afford to be putting out the full


paid nurses, doctors and so on that could deal with people. Can I ask


you something? This is a pump primer for people to have the freedom to do


caring things and that's what we need. Can I ask you something? In an


independent Scotland, presumably you would like to have a system like


this, universal basic income, in an independent Scotland within the


European Union you would also buy into freedom of movement, so would


everybody who came to this country from Bulgaria, Estonia, wherever,


come to Scotland, would they be entitled to this basic income, yes


or no? Here's the strange thing, if Glasgow gets the go-ahead it's going


to have a pilot. Fife is having a pilot. Who else question mark


Barcelona, Amsterdam, Finland. All those countries are in the EU. So


freedom of movement would be entitled to the universal basic


income? At the moment that is the case because you have a means tested


system. If you had a basic income system, whatever rules you or we


might like to apply, you could apply a simple rule by saying only when


people have been in the country for several years with they qualify for


the basic income, and treat the needs of migrants separately. Is


that a good system? Only when they have been in the country in for a


few years. I'm rather liberal when it comes to matters of immigration.


So I think that is something, I don't deny that is a difficult


thing, but why I support a pilot in Glasgow is because we need to figure


out how to work out the practicalities. You have heard from


some people speaking against it that this is not practical, it's pie in


the sky, people were saying that about the NHS and it has worked out


rather well, I think, for all its flaws. What this is about, a


comprehensive system, for me it's not about the rise of the robots,


it's about the relationship between the individual and the state. And


changing that relationship from the state being the master to setting


people free. I'm fed up with the political right owning the word


freedom, I want the political left and socialism to be about freedom


and I think this can deliver freedom. If I can make one more


point. We've only got 30 seconds left. The care system is in crisis


and I'm glad this has come up, 60,000 carers in this city and they


are expected to volunteer, they are forced into it effectively because


they love people. And they are told that if they manage to care for 35


hours a week they would be lucky enough to get 60 odd quid. That's


not taxable, morally, -- that's not acceptable morally in any shape or


form. I know you are something of a fan of Donald Trump, would you like


to see us take a leaf out of his book and turn our backs on


globalisation, Scotland first? I think Donald Trump is irrelevant to


this. Globalisation, Donald Trump, isolation. The social system needs


to reform, it's got to be sorted out, it's a mess, especially in


Scotland, the SNP government made a dog 's dinner of it. We need to sort


it out, nobody disagrees. What we want to see is people at the bottom


end of the taxation system taken out, that's what we've been


campaigning for. People on low incomes should be taken out of the


taxation system altogether, that makes sense, that's logical. You


still have a poverty trap problem. You don't deny that the unlimited


number of people coming to the UK, you'd have queues at the border of


people trying to get in. We are going to have to leave it there but


we have a very interesting debate forthcoming. For now thank you very


much indeed. Thank you for coming in and expressing so clearly what that


was all about, very intriguing. Strong arguments on both sides.


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


on to bbc.co.uk/thebigquestions and following the link


Or you can tweet using the hashtag #bbctbq.


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


Should today's generation make amends for slavery?


And if you'd like to apply to be in the audience


at a future show, you can email [email protected].


We're in Southampton next week, Leicester on February 12th


235 years ago, 133 African slaves bound for Jamaica were deliberately


drowned in the Caribbean by British sailors aboard the slave ship, Zong.


They were chained together at the ankles, weighed down


with metal balls and cast into the deep.


The ship's owners could then claim compensation


A few weeks ago, the Jamaican government chose the Zong massacre


to represent the high human cost of slavery and to reassert its claim


that the UK should formally apologise and make financial


reparations for running a slave colony on the island for 200 years.


Glasgow, where we are today, was just one of the ports to profit


London, Bristol and Liverpool did too.


Should today's generation make amends for slavery?


And if so, how? Sandra, when we walk through the streets of Glasgow and


many of the other great maritime cities of the United Kingdom, what


kind of misery is etched in the Stones?


If you look in the centre of Glasgow, you can see the proceeds of


transatlantic slavery and how that benefited the economic growth of


this city. It is interestingly mentioned London, Liverpool and


Bristol. Both London and Liverpool have formally apologised for their


contributions to the transatlantic slavery and placement of Africans.


Can you make judgments on the past? Slavery is endorsed in the holy


books, in the Bible, the Koran. Can we cast judgments on the past


estimate absolutely. Even the debates we have had already today.


-- the past? We learn from the past and it is what helps us change the


future. Have we got anything to apologise for? Absolutely. It is not


about as an individual having a link to slavery but we have reaped the


rewards of slavery and colonialism in this country. The UN, the


committee for the elimination of racial discrimination, they have


said that the Scottish Government that those historical moments in our


history should be compulsory within the education system and currently


they are not. The slave trade, conservative estimates say 12


billion people were taken from Africa, some of the more Afrocentric


historians say it was a lot more, it could well be a lot more, what about


the people driven off the land in Scotland, the Irish potato famine,


the massive Arab slave trade and Africans trading Africans? It is a


very complicated situation. What is not complicated is that slavery was


about property and ownership. If you were an enslaved African, you had


absolutely no rights, you were treated... Is completely different


to any other kind of servitude happening at the same time. It is


arguable. Michael Fry. Slavery was a terrible and horrible thing but the


fact is that in the past, it was not against the law. There is nothing in


the Bible, for example, that condemns slavery. The dues were


slaves in Egypt and God sent the plate but it was because they were


Egyptians. St Paul says that in Jesus Christ is neither slave nor


free. It did not matter what your social status was. But it is not a


condemnation of slavery. It accepts that slavery is a fact of life, as


slavery was a fact of life until the 18th century. You are talking about,


you jumped from the law and straight from legal situations to using a


faith group, the Bible. When you think about slavery, you are correct


when you say it was enshrined in law and that is the key thing, it was a


loud, like it was OK to treat people inhumanely. I personally feel we


have to understand that as a country we allowed that to happen and I


think there is still a lot of... Michael. It was a global thing.


Should the whole 21st-century, everyone living in the 21st century,


apologised to everyone living in the 18th century? This is ridiculous.


And what difference would it make? I think it would make a big


difference, particularly looking at the city of Glasgow and the amount


of people who are black minority ethnic who live in this city, just


over 12% and it is growing, I think if we invested in the fact these


people contributed and their ancestors, including my own,


contributed to the history of Scotland, contributed to the


Enlightenment, I think that is an important... What about other


countries? Because of British pressure, partly, they made it


illegal to have slavery in Saudi Arabia, in the Yemen, in the early


60s. The Arab slave trade, there are many countries that should


apologise, many countries who profited. We are in a very difficult


situation. One of the issues of Scotland is, we talk about the


Enlightenment, Scotland and the abolition movement, yes, the


abolition movement helped to stop slavery, but it did not look for


equality, it did not want the enslaved African people to be equal


in human terms. That is something this generation has the opportunity


to address. Human rights was in nascent form, the concept was barely


recognised. Nice to have you back on the programme. I try my best to be


fair and I accept everything, this is about Jamaica, the Caribbean, I


would turn it around and say ?10 million Jamaica received from


building prisons, perhaps that should be put into hospitals? When


we spoke to a lot of Caribbean people, we did a survey and over


2000 people said they would rather money, if there is money left in the


pot, by the time it came to me, I would get 50p, that we would


transfer that to hospitals, infrastructure in the Caribbean. We


are talking about Jamaica specifically or the Caribbean, an


apology was sort of received from Tony Blair but it was not quite, I


am sorry. We all know legally, once you say sorry, the lawyers will come


out. It cannot be done. I regret it happened. What about the... The


massive scar on our society of what happened in the past, it casts a


long shadow in the wake we perceive ourselves and in the way we regard


the other. That is in the past. Why should the 20th-century young people


have to apologise? What I would suggest people do when people ask


people like me who work in the Caribbean community, this is what


most of us would like, yes, an apology, and this is what we would


do, build schools, infrastructure in the Caribbean, something like that,


and you talk about history, the BBC had a brilliant programme last year


about black history, that was fantastic. Things like that, we need


to see them in schools. Education. We have museums in certain countries


already, in areas, Liverpool, Bristol, that is the kind of


thing... We are in complete agreement about that. If you go into


the George Square, there are 12 statues there, all of the statues


had a direct link or in direct link to slavery. Those people and even


the streets in Glasgow, the plantation owners, the business


owners, they are the people who are celebrated. It is about looking at


it differently. It is not about saying not having that street names


but giving the real history of who those people are. It is about


acknowledgement and awareness. I find the moral stance quite


appalling. I do not believe in this transfer of moral sponsor political.


The SS guards in the concentration camps could have said to the Jewish


children they were shovelling into the gas chambers if the children


said, what have we done? They would say, you have done nothing, but you


are morally responsible. That was the necessary argument. Do you


believe in amoral transference of guilt to contemporary Germany? --


amoral transference. It is not my subject area. I am here to talk


about... It is a moral issue and part of it. David Coburn, the shame?


Not my subject, I cannot understand that. I am not going to make


comparisons with the Holocaust. I felt that is what the question was


asking me to do and I am not in a position to do that. The


transference of moral guilt. Slavery is an appalling thing and it still


is and it is still happening and I think instead of worrying about what


happened in the past, although you should never forget what happened in


World War II, we should be worrying about modern-day slavery and we


should look at the Taliban, for example, who want to win slave


women. I am a feminist and I believe in ladies' writes. Leslie taught me


about that at school. You were at school together? Yes. I want young


girls to get the same opportunities to go to school and not be paid


servants in the household. We worry about that. Until 1923 in North


Africa, there was still slavery. It was the Royal Navy... The Atlantic


slave trade was incomparably evil. The Royal Navy suppressed the slave


trade. William Wilberforce in Parliament got rid of the slave


trade. One of the first countries in the world. That should never be


forgotten. Let me get people who have come here to specifically talk


about this. What about the role of religion? Can you condemn people in


the 18th century for believing the Bible? No, we cannot condemn them


for believing the Bible. Slavery endorsed in the Bible. I would like


to point out, using the fact that the slave trade happened in the


Bible to justify it happening is out of place because the Bible as a holy


book has to report it as it is. The fact some people... It does not


justify it. Abraham and others... Hang on, New Testament as well? The


fact all of these things happened in the Bible does not mean the Bible


condones it. We can understand people for inferring it does.


Slaves, about your earthly masters, in singleness of heart, as you obey


Christ, in order to please them... This is disgusting. It is not


condoning the slave trade. There are things we are doing today, today we


do not see anything wrong with it, what was going on in their mind?


That is what happened. In the Bible, the fact the Bible reported it, the


downside of the people we refer to as the Saints, they had their dark


side. Looking back, the slave trade was wrong then and it is still wrong


today and it will be Brom tomorrow -- be wrong tomorrow. Hands up in


the audience, gentlemen there in the black. Quick points. The thin end of


a very big wedge. This happened eight generations ago. Nobody here


is responsible for that. Around the same time of the Highland


clearances, human being is were replaced by sheep. Not as brutal in


anyway, but it was in its own way brutal. People were evicted and they


would have died in the process. They came to the lowlands. Should


Scotland be suing England for that? We have done terrible things, human


beings. What would you like to say? I think we are quite wealthy a


country and we got there based on a lot of the slave trade. I think we


do owe a lot of what we have now to these nations that we have abused


and I think that we do owe them something. The trend is wealth of


this nation, much of it was built on the slave trade to this day. It was


built on hard work and usually by people underpaid and sometimes in


this country and in others. Tobacco, cotton. Thanks to Wilberforce and


Parliament, the Royal Navy suppressed the slave trade. The US


still had massive slavery. We were suppressing it. Britain can take a


very high... Guy Standing. We must make an apology because the slave


trade enriched our country, much of the wealth we have today is because


of slavery. I also think we ought to be paying more attention to current


day slavery and devoting more resources as a reflection of the


moral commitment to fighting existing slavery. It is not


appreciated how many contracts the British Government makes with


countries that openly sanction having slavery.


APPLAUSE One of the most beautiful findings


we have had with our basic income pilots in developing countries is


that it has enabled a number of people who have been slaves in debt


bondage for generations to be able to fund the purchase of freedom and


that is one of the most wonderful results we have seen in Africa and


India. Michael Fry, ten seconds, how careful do we have to be about the


definition of a slave? We have to be very careful indeed. For example,


Glasgow was not built on the slave trade, it was built on trade with


colonies which had slaves on their plantations. Thank you very much for


that clarification. We have to leave it there.


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


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


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


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