Episode 6 The Big Questions

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Episode 6

Nicky Campbell presents topical debate from Leicester Grammar School. Should the UK trade with Israel now settlements are recognised? Should taxes be raised to cover social care?

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Today on The Big Questions: Dealing with Israel.


Today we're live from Leicester Grammar School.


Welcome, everybody, to The Big Questions.


On Tuesday, Mrs May held talks at Downing Street


with her opposite number in Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu.


Increasing trade and investment with Israel was high on the agenda.


The day before, the Knesset, Israel's parliament,


passed a bill legalising settlements on privately owned Palestinian


land on the West Bank, in direct contradiction of a UN


Mrs May was clear that Britain opposes settlement activity


and believes the two-state solution is the best way to bring


Should we trade with Israel now the settlements


I've been doing debates on this issue for 30 years now. And it's


never that quiet. It's very, very impassioned on both sides. We shall


attempt to proceed in a civilised direction. From war on want, many


say, are you serious? We had trade deals with Saudi Arabia, China,


Russia, the United Arab Emirates, some of the worst human rights


abusers on the planet. None of them are a democracy like Israel is, how


can you possibly justify this? I think there's a major issue the UK,


they should be putting UK rights and international law at the centre of


all of its trade negotiations with all countries. Should we stop


trading with all those countries? It is a question to be brought up. We


can't talk about trade without talking about human rights and


international law. It is important for the UK to take action right now,


move beyond words and suspend its trade relations with Israel because


of its systematic violations of international law. If we do that, at


a time when we need friends, stop trading with international human


rights abusers, we would go out of business. When you continue trading


with human rights abusing regimes like Israel, you're basically


incentivising human rights abuse. You are giving a green light to save


violations of international law, doing things like building


settlements, demolishing Palestinian homes is OK. We might say on the


side, we don't like it when you do that, as Theresa May did, but


incentivising them with trade and especially the arms trade, the UK


Government has approved over ?100 million worth of arms exports to


Israel in 2016 alone. That is used in violence against Palestinians. It


is a double standard to say settlements on one hand but -- no


settlements but giving alms to the country that is building them. You


referred to Israel. Paul, good morning, a former tank commander


with the IDF, a couple of things we need to ask it. And then we will


hear from the audience, hands, enough already. Ryvka Referred to


Israel as a human rights abuser, how would you respond? That needs to be


qualified. By Freedom, Israel is recognised as the only free country


in the Middle East. It has a very strong democracy, it has a Supreme


Court. It is not subservient to the executive. They will decide whether


it is legal or not. There is a huge social housing crisis amongst


Palestinians and Israelis. These towns are expanding, they need to


expand. It is a controversial issue. You can disagree. At the same time,


if the UK disagreed with every country, every political decision,


they would not be dealing with China, with India over Kashmir,


Turkey over Northern Cyprus, and the opposite


would be true. It's not like Spain would cease dealing with the UK over


Gibraltar, or Argentina would cease dealing with the UK over the


Falkland Islands. We need to put this into perspective, settlements


are one issue. Since 1967, that needs to be dealt with in a much


larger framework of a peace agreement with the Palestinians


requiring it. They want to build a home in a state for themselves. More


than they want to destroy and boycott Israel. When that priority


changes, peace can be achieved. APPLAUSE


Let's go to the audience. Right behind Paul. Good morning. Your


microphone is coming! This gentleman here. We are in an age where Trump


wants to build walls and impose travel bans and impose restrictions


based on their religion and identity. Surely what we want to be


doing is reaching out to countries. Reaching out to communities. Israel


for example? And to engage and challenge, constructively and to say


this is wrong but also, we recognise you are a democracy, we want to work


with you. We want to build those trade links, those partnerships,


improve relationships for the people in the world, rather than being


isolationist. You keep saying it's a democracy.


It's not a democracy, it's a democracy similar to South Africa in


apartheid times. There are so many people which are disenfranchised,


they don't have any say in the running of Israel and they keep


saying it is a democracy. It has women's rights, gay rights, union.


That is one angle. It is the biggest concentration camp in the world.


It's almost a prison. Paul? I need to be very careful bringing the


points back and forth so it is fair. Be careful with the terminology you


use, that is harmful. What is recognised internationally as a


democracy. As we said, we have all the minorities as heads of Supreme


Court, doctors, heads of hospitals, heads of universities. Minorities


from across the board, Arabs, Christians, etc. This is recognised


as a beacon as what could be seen as a free country that all the rest of


the countries can see that this is what we want to have, this is the


beacon, this is your ultimate. Gentlemen, there is a point you


made, the first speaker. Leon. I want to point to you, Professor good


morning. How are you? Very well thank you. I am shocked that you


have a juicy Palestinian question and the crisis in the middle East to


a housing problem. You said it's a housing problem that exists for


Israelis and Palestinians. You are expanding these towns because there


is a housing crisis that needs to be addressed. It's the continued


colonisation of Palestine. Nor demolishing houses. You are chasing


and removing, let's call it out for what it is -- you are demolishing


houses. It is ethnic cleansing going on in these areas that have gone on


for decades. I will put that point to Tom. Go on, come back on it. It's


really important to have a debate but we need to be so careful with


our language. We want to have a civilised debate here. Using words


like concentration camps and ethnic cleansing is really offensive.


APPLAUSE To all people who have actually


suffered. That extreme genocide and persecution. Please don't use


language like concentration camps because it is not concentration


camp. It is a fact, these people have been disenfranchised. With the


building settlements, the Palestinian houses are being


demolished. Let me put a point to you that Leon made. Trade means


links, diplomacy, influence, it means you can make progress.


Zimbabwe, we have sanctions on Zimbabwe. We have absolutely zero


influence. We cannot help the people who are suffering egregious league


at the hands of Robert Mugabe and his thugs. The only way we get to


Zimbabwe is through the back channels of South Africa and that is


difficult enough. Would you want to create a situation where you have no


influence, no trading links with Israel? You said you have been


covering this topic for 30 years and the number of settlers in the West


Bank has increased by 100,000, now 700,000 people. It will reach 1


million unless we do something to stop it. If people really are


interested in peace, you need to look at the situation of the


Palestinians, who didn't choose to be occupied. To have their land


taken. To have another state created in our homeland. I speak as a


Palestinian. We didn't choose that. This is about the rights of the


Palestinian people. Paul talked about housing, building houses. It


ludicrous. These houses are built for only one type of person. A


Jewish Israeli. Not for Palestinians. If Israel were serious


about solving the housing crisis, why doesn't it open up the


settlements out to Palestinians? Even better, not build on someone


else's land. APPLAUSE All?


You've never had a state. We want to help you create a safe propriety of


67 it was owned by the Jordanians. They did not allow you to own your


own land. Prior to that the British and the Ottomans. This land is


called disputed for that fact. Do Palestinians exist as a people, do


you think? Do you recognise us as a people? Absolutely. You should have


a stake in live alongside us. You should put down your arms. Why don't


you put trash on the Israeli government to leave our land? Let me


intervene right there. -- put pressure on. Tom, is this not the


situation now with the settlements having been legitimised in the


Knesset, does that not put a massive wall up to the possibility of a two


state solution? Massively counter-productive. This is a


proposed law and we will see if it gets to the Supreme Court because


Israel has strong checks and balances on its democracy. It is


concerning that we think the presence of Jewish people in the


West Bank in some way negates their being able to have a Palestinian


state. Why is it assumed this Palestinian state has to be free of


Jewish people? Why can't they have a Jewish minority? Just like Israel


has an Arab and Muslim minority? We can't criminalise an entire


community because they ended up on the wrong side of the Armistice


line. There are about half a million people there, they are not going


anywhere. It's better that we learn for the two sites to be able to


accept a minority within one another's countries. Ryvka? It is


important for us to recognise that the settlements, like people have


referred to, it's been a policy of the state of Israel for decades,


now. The reason why settlements exist in the West Bank is not


because they ended up on the wrong side of the Armistice line. It's a


policy of expansion and colonisation as somebody has mentioned. It is


against international law. That is undisputed. It is against UK policy.


As a consumer, would you boycott products from Israel? Absolutely.


How do you feel when you use Google, they have a major research and


development centre in Israel? How do you feel? It's less about an


individual consumer. You said you definitely would do that. If you had


a list of choices would you radically transform your habits? The


important thing is for the UK Government to take action in line


with its own policy. The UK foreign policy recognise the settlements as


illegal under international law. It's important for the UK to act on


that policy. We talked a bit about engagement and you raise the


question of whether the UK would have more influence through


engagement. Viewers remember Margaret Thatcher's days in relation


to South Africa. The policy was constructive engagement. In


retrospect it is recognise that actually prolonged apartheid and it


allowed apartheid to deepen. Constructive engagement as a policy


was rubbished after apartheid fell. Finally, because of economic


pressure like sanctions. It's important for us to recognise that


as an important tool that the UK Government has. It is time to move


beyond words and condemnation into action. APPLAUSE


Paul? I like to bring something constructive


into it. The blame game is not going to get us to be still. I want to see


the Palestinian authority take more control over its own people and over


the peace process. We are wanting the Palestinian state more than it


wants to destroy and denigrate the Israeli state. There is goodwill


around the world and in Israel to help you do that. But you must


remember that with all the wars that came in that Israel has to defend


itself. It has given back Gaza. Israeli has conceded. What about the


gentleman's point that a proportion of our audience, I will put that to


him, a proportion of our audience will be wondering, the point


represented by that gentleman. Taking land from people, land that


is not yours. How do you respond to that? Firstly, this is disputed


territory with Palestinians and Jewish people living on it. Please


allow me to speak. It isn't disputed territory. When the Israelis left


Gaza, every inch of Gaza, the Palestinian land, gave it back and


said create a state. We are legally greenhouses, businesses. What was


created was a mini terrorist state would only the development of bombs


and warfare. The problem is that if Israel does the same thing


immediately and retracts from the West Bank, we will have the same


extremist ideology coming out of there. We cannot trust and rely


without a strong security presence. We cannot trust and rely on these


states like Hamas to automatically become democratic and allow gays and


Christians to flourish. It will not happen. Kamel, I will be with you,


you will have the next voice on the front row and so will Ibrahim. Tom


will be back. More audience comments. Leon Camier had a good


save. The gentleman at the back? It is important to realise, I


believe, after the United Kingdom has voted to leave the European


Union, and other factors coming into the 21st-century, that Britain is no


longer the global player in the world that it was in post-colonial


period after 1945 at the end of the Second World War. What should we do?


The diminishing power, we haven't got over responsibility to police


the world in the same way and we haven't got the capability. What do


we do about Israel? We shouldn't boycott them in any sense at all.


In respect of trading with places like Dubai, Saudi Arabia, United


Arab Emirates, even trading with Pakistan. Israel is democratic and


free as the gentleman said. I take your point. Expressed well by


yourself. Good morning. This is about trade. My concern is that the


Brexit boat will lead to our leaders, Prime Minister Theresa May


and others, only doing deals with countries that are abusing human


rights behind their hands, whispering it instead of saying it


forcefully, because we need friends. The foreign policy that Robin Cook


wished for is not going to happen because we are in no position to


criticise others. Is there such a thing as an ethical foreign policy?


I think there should be. Professor, you wanted to come back? In the age


of Trump, it seems that trade trumps human rights and that is something


we should all oppose and oppose strongly. Paul talked about the


Palestinians taking more control of their people and so on. Let me give


you an example. Under the Oslo accord, an area called area C, the


most fertile part of Palestine, apparently under Israeli security


and administrative control, it was to be passed over. It isn't being


passed over. A number of Israeli ministers say it should be annexed.


They actually have no interest in a Palestinian state emerging. The


Prime Minister was only advice yesterday, going to Washington next


week, two words you should not use, you should not utter two Woods,


Palestinian and state. So if there is no Palestinian state, I would


very much like to hear what the solution is? There are almost an


equal number of Palestinians and Jewish people in that area. What is


the solution and has strategically important is a Israel to this


country? It is very strategically important in terms of counterterror


but that is by the bye and I think the issue here is the moral issue


and the issue of human rights. We are being very selective in how we


are talking about human rights. Israel are targeted for boycotts and


they say they respect international law, but they are not calling for


boycotts on other countries with similar issues. Many people in this


audience are more angry about the building of Jewish houses in the


West Bank than they are about the abuse of Palestinian rights by


Palestinians. If your starting point is constantly on human rights,


wouldn't you call out the Palestinian authorities for torture


and harassment of Palestinians and journalists and detention without


trial? If we have silence on all of this, the focus is exclusively on


finding reasons to boycott and demonise the world's only Jewish


state. We are talking about Palestinian rights and freedom. What


the other side is talking about is simply sustaining the status quo.


The status quo has led us to a situation where there is a lot of


unhappiness and anger and abuse of the Palestinians by the Israeli


state. We need to be free for there to be peace in Palestine. Ibrahim


Mogra, from the Muslim Council of Britain, do you recognise Israel's


right to exist? Within internationally recognised borders,


yes. I think we have brought Israel into our embrace far more than I


would have liked to see. They are participants in the European


football competitions and the Eurovision Song Contest and we don't


even share a border with them. In response to your point about


isolating Israel, we have actually remained in at least cultural and


political contact with them. The important thing here is that


international law has got to be applied equally across the board. It


is not about Israel, whether it is Saudi Arabia, Pakistan was


mentioned, the Gulf states were mentioned, China, which ever state


it is. As human beings, if we subscribe to international law, if


we fail to apply the UN resolutions equally across the board, what are


we showing to the world? That democracy is selective. That


powerful nations will pick on the weaker nations. That self-interest


and national interest will Trump all the other global interests. So the


question is are we applying the same yardstick as a measure to different


behaviours of government? We have gone into Iraq and Libya because


their leaders were corrupt and dictatorial, as they were, but they


flaunted UN security resolutions. How many resolutions has Israel


overlooked over time? We have got to leave it there because we have other


things to debate but your point came across loud and clear. Not that


everybody watching will agree with it. It is a perilous line, this


debate, always, but I think that was pretty calm. Everyone? Yes? OK,


let's do the next one! If you have something to say about that debate,


please go online and follow the link. We are live from Leicester


Grammar School. Has the time come to raise taxes to cover social care and


is monogamy bad for marriage? Get tweeting and emailing on those


topics and sent as any other thoughts you have about the


programme. This week, the National


Health Service has been Hospitals have been


failing to meet patient targets for waiting in A,


waiting for cancer treatments, waiting on trolleys, and waiting


for ambulances to arrive. A key factor has been the inability


to discharge patients no longer in need of medical treatment,


that awful phrase bed blockers, because of the lack of social


care in the community. And while the number of people over


65 has risen by more than 15%, budgets for adult social care


run by local councils Now local councils, who need to win


a local referendum to raise council taxes by more than 5%,


are raising or introducing charges for burials, parking,


planning applications, And the councils with the biggest


social care problems tend to be Has the time come to raise taxes


to cover social care? Dawn, social affairs journalist,


this has been coming down the track for years. We knew it was coming


down the track. It has been coming for ages. Because it doesn't suit


the electoral cycle and it will cost boats, nobody has really done


anything to counteract it and deal with it. What do we need to do? We


need to invest very heavily. We also need to look at social care in the


same way that we look at the NHS. Instead of everybody having a very


localised and different response to social care, I think we should bring


in a social care standards and say that everybody deserves the same


social care, like we do with the NHS. If I go into an NHS hospital in


London, I should get the same care as somebody in Liverpool, and


everybody should get the same social care regardless of what they earn.


How do we pay for it? I think we have got to raise taxes. By raising


the tax free allowance, people who were relatively well off were given


a little more money. But what we have seen is the poorest in society


being massively hit by cuts at one of those cuts is the end of the


council tax benefit. The very poorest in society now have got to


pay council tax. Which taxes should we be putting up? I think we should


put up the tax-free alliance. -- allowance. Council tax is


regressive. People struggle to pay it. Councils bring in burial charges


so people cannot afford to bury their children often. Councils spent


days on end every week in court trying to get poor people into court


with a summons for a ?60 council tax charge. I think council tax is the


wrong way to do it. We need to look at national Insurance being raised


or raising the tax-free allowance. We need to fund social care like we


fund the NHS and we need to find the NHS more. We need an awful lot of


money here, don't we? We do need a lot of money for social care but we


do not need to raise taxes. If there is one way of making sure people


will oppose a policy it is to do something that means raising taxes.


The big question in our society today is how do we look after each


other? And this is the question that social care is meant to answer and


yet it is the most do value and, most do prioritised, underfunded of


any of our domestic policies. Why is that? Why do we need to raise


taxation? More taxes paid now than for the last 30 years. The point is


that we need a different funding structure for social care if it is


either going to be the preventative service that stops wasting money and


damaging lives that it can be. We need to do that and we need to do it


by looking to the NHS. We need to have a social care system that can


be connected with the NHS because it is no longer needs and means tested.


Instead it is funded out of general taxation. It is free at the point of


delivery and it is available to everybody, as most ordinary people


think until they try and get social care. Hello. Good morning, everyone.


We have already paid for this structure called the National Health


Service, whether you call it social care. We have paid for it once, from


when we have worked all our lives. We have then paid for it again when


we bailed out the bankers. But we haven't paid enough. I accept that.


However we still need to do a little bit more but why is it always we?


Why is it always the people who are the most vulnerable who have got to


bail out the ones who don't need that money? We should have more


money in the pot but where will it come from? So I agree with the


gentleman here. We do need to look after each other a little bit better


than we have in the past, however I am sick and tired, literally, of us,


the vulnerable people, the sick, the elderly, the disabled, the children,


always having to provide the solution and always having to


provide the money every time to bail out social care because it is a


social care system that is falling apart. We can't do it any more. We


have had enough. No more. No more what? No more bailing out anybody


else any more. There has got to be another way? Why do we think having


decent social care will cost more? Why would it cost more to prevent


elderly people needing more intervention? It is denied because


the budget have dropped drastically. I was at Manchester council the


other day and the budget has been cut by 40% which has a knock-on


effect on the social care budget. Councils have been tasked with this


and they are trying their best to provide social care to everybody who


needs it, but actually in my borough, Lambert, 70% of people


requesting social care are denied it. Social carers deserve to be well


paid. It is shocking the amount that they get given what they do and the


commitment with which they do it. But economists will tell you that


raising the minimum wage made social care far more expensive. But did it


really? Why don't we think of this as we should? People say that social


care is not like rocket science and I say it is much more complicated!


Looking after people properly with complex needs, looking after all the


groups mentioned behind me, and if we do it properly, not only is it


symbolic of a decent and respectable society, but why should it cost


more? Nobody had even try to find out if it costs more. I am on your


team, here to argue that we should not be raising taxes, but one area


of agreement we can find is that local councils have an unfair amount


of pressure put on them to cut from social care. When we see things like


the triple-lock being protected for electoral reasons, it is very hard


to see how that 6 million per year is going towards protecting the


triple-lock when social care is attacked. Pensioners vote


disproportionately, of course. Certainly. But as you pointed out,


the UK is facing its heaviest tax burden of 30 years and the state is


taking 30% of British national income every year, and it is


spending roughly 45% because of the deficit. Sorry to be tedious, I


should make that apology more often! How do we pay for it? There are some


practical things we can do. We need to stop protecting the vote blogs


and put the billions towards things like the triple-lock into more


impressive areas like social care. We need to do is roll more power to


local councils. -- we need to devolve more power to local


councils. The triple-lock is on pensions, by the way. And business


rates. But we can do more. Or sales tax for local councils and I would


devolve corporation tax to local councils. Get the money into the


local councils so that we can care for our neighbours, the people next


to us, and do it properly, but raising taxes right now is not an


option. But a regressive tax hits the poor hardest. I would stay away


from VAT personally and I would look more at business rates. Thank you. I


know you want to come in, but I just want to hear from the audience first


of all. You have had your hand up for some time.


I disagree we should evolve more power to local councils, that is why


we have patchy provision all over the UK right now. Currently, if you


have over ?23,000 worth of assets, you are funding all your social care


yourself. Because you have to. That's 40% of people. 30% of people


are not getting any care whatsoever. What's happening to them? People are


saying they don't want taxes raised but I don't see what other option we


have. Surrey has a far higher proportion of self funders. They are


very affluent. Right behind you. Me? Your time has come. How do we pay


for this? I think somebody already said we


already paid for it. Do you know, I'm sick and tired of hearing every


day in the newspapers, TV about people getting old. LAUGHTER


Tell me about it! It's either you die Young or you get old. We are


getting older, more of us. Knocking on these elderly people. Ageing


community, ageing this. Yeah. Their relatives fought in two world wars


to build this country. Now that they need help from this country, they


are being put on the back burner. They are being put in cold


corridors, four hours and hours. Heartbreaking, isn't it? They are in


pain, waiting to be seen. What's going on? What about the people of


this country? I'm going to put that to Cristina. This is their country,


they helped to build it, they should get number one care. APPLAUSE


Let me put this to Cristina. People in this country never -- people who


came into this country never put a penny into this country. Their


relatives fought hard, husbands, sons, uncles, fought in the war,


some never came back. People just come in through the gate getting


everything and they are being penalised for being old? This is a


disgrace on Britain. Put the Great back into Great Britain and Purdue


are people first. Well done to Trump. Well done to Trump America


and its people first. This contribution has taken an


interesting turn! Can I... Can I please... It's a disgrace! It's a


disgrace! That was impassioned. I'm ashamed of everybody. Give her a


round of applause. Lots of points. I want to pick you up on one if I may.


We need to look at ourselves, Cristina? Absolutely. It's what our


cultural values. Those "Bed blockers" are people whom the NHS


cannot bring back home because there is no one home, there is no one


there for them. There's no child who they've raised and loved. There's no


sibling. There's no neighbour. That's the problem. What we are


looking at here is social care. We shouldn't think about it just in


terms of is its local taxes, is it the central government that should


help us? It's us. We owe our older generation the same that we owe our


younger generation. Which is care. Absolute devotion dedication and


that old-fashioned world, self-sacrifice. You realise what


you're saying? People in their 70s, as the minister fails to appreciate


recently, people in the late 60s and 70s looking after people in their


late and 90s. Known. We are, actually. We're talking as if we


don't live in a world where the work - life balance isn't bananas and


women are no longer sitting at home working, sometimes working two jobs


families. Like mine are spread all over the UK because they can't live


in the South -- families like mine. One last thing, the real wonder of


the original NHS was that it was part a new welfare state. It was


built on changing the distribution of taxation. We've gone back in


exactly the opposite direction. If you pay PAYE you pay a large amount


of tax, large corporation, offshore person, someone who knows lots of


fiddles and the means to avoidance and evasion are legion. And having


introduced by government of the government. We are wasting, it's


estimated, 200- ?300 billion on private finance initiatives. This is


destroying us as communities. Playing on the never-never.


Cristina, you didn't finish your point. Can I speak? Please finish


your point. I don't think it's about money. Money needs someone to make


priorities. It's not just about money. It's about what you value. I


fear what we are saying to one another is that we only value what


we make out of society, rather than what we can bring to society. Our


government might feel like that, I certainly don't and I bet nobody in


this room feels like that. When you go to a hospital ward and you see


rows and rows of elderly people all by themselves and then you ask, do


you have any children? They say, yes, but they haven't come to visit.


Do you have any siblings? Yes, but they don't visit. I could give you


the exact opposite picture. I would base my picture on research, not


going round one place. Which taxes would you raise? First of all, an


important point which hasn't been made yet is that society really


needs to come to terms with the changing demography. The number of


older people in society is growing fast. To put some figures on it,


since 1980, the number of people above the age of 90 has tripled. In


the next 20 years, the number of -- number of people over 80 will more


than double. This will cause a major impact to both the health services


and social services. With increasing in age, we will get more frail


people. What's the solution? The solution is that there has been


identified a care gap in terms of funding.


Either the funding has to be diverted from other areas. Other


areas of spending are equally important. Education, defence,


policing. Where do we get it from? Which areas do we take from? If the


politicians decide and then informed public needs to decide as well. If


that gap cannot be closed by diverting other funds, then the only


way is to raise some taxes. Which other funds can use it, as a man who


knows this area and this stuff and understand the economy? Where would


you identify the best place to actually take some money from?


That's... Up for debate for politicians. At health care


professionals, I'm not a health economist but what we can do is


point out the deficiencies and what happened at the ground level. When


the social care budget is reduced. I've been working in the NHS now for


over 31 years. I've never seen it so bad. The amount of pressure on staff


at the front door is enormous. People are under enormous pressure.


And things can only get worse. Ibrahim, are you seeing... We know


the traditional prevalent attitude in cultures... Generation upon


generation living together, looking after each other, enjoying the


wisdom of the elder generation. It's the wonderful quid pro quo of love,


isn't it? Yes. Are you seeing something happening in Muslim


communities where people are being put in homes? Are you seeing that


happening? It's beginning to happen. It's a very sad development. As a


segment of British society, nevertheless, we are still...


Impacted upon, like everybody else. Despite our religious teachings.


It just worries me if the establishing of Muslim care homes


becomes... The norm. And we see more and more of that.


Muhammad, peace be on him, said he who does not show kindness to young


one that does not recognise the dignity and honour of elders is not


one of us. We are not part of the human communities. We have two


revisit how we set up our homes and families. Within my own extended


family, there was a time when we had four generations living in one home.


Younger couples are now husband and wife, both working, having grandma


and grandad at home to look after the little ones to raise them.


Incredibly enriching. To pass on the culture. It's not possible for


everyone in a world which, Cristina, that's an excellent point and we've


heard it before and we hear that again and again. That's not the real


world for 70 people, is it? We have been talking about houses where you


have one person living in a huge house all by herself or all by


himself. And what better way of trying to, you know, re-stoke a


social capital than to open the house and have a young family come


in, to live in? Possibly a refugee to come and live in? Have you done


that? No. It's very funny. A friend of mine has just done this. Come on!


The real world! Hold on, the real world! We are talking about a


housing crisis. Why? Why is a housing crisis? Because all we care


about with housing is that it costs a lot! Housing crisis is another


debate. All of these crises are coming at us because we were


admitted to the elephant in the room. Last word. That the NHS is


fundamentally in crisis because no one will consider reform. We haven't


built enough homes. That is the option of health care all houses for


the British people. That is the elephant in the the room that we


need to talk about. Thank you for your contributions.


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


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


And 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 Edinburgh next week, Birmingham on February 26th,


and Newcastle-upon-Tyne the week after that.


It's World Marriage Day today, honouring the partnership of husband


and wife and their faithfulness to each other as the


But across the globe, monogamy is not the most popular option.


Six times as many societies, over 1,000, allow men


Although only four allow women to have more than one husband.


You run Polygam.com and second wife .com. He would like another wife?


Yeah, why not? Thank you for joining us this week! LAUGHTER


We have a bit more time than that. Why do you want another wife? It's


my nature, the honourable guest over there said he is gay and he fought


for his rights. In the similar manner, I believe I was born


polygamists. It's my nature that I would like to have a larger family,


more children, more wives. What does your current number one why think


about this? She's a bit hesitant in all honesty. LAUGHTER


Is she? Is she? That's a lot to do with the perception of everybody


else, what they would think about her. When I sat down to get married


and we discussed this and I put forward my thoughts. From a


religious point of view it's absolutely acceptable. That's how we


regulate our relationship. What about the inevitable jealousy? It


does exist, it absolutely exists. How do I put this? LAUGHTER


It's my turn? I don't mean like it's my turn to ask a question...


LAUGHTER I mean, "It's my turn to night".


With every relationship, relates the relationship is regulated with


Scripture. -- this relationship is regulated. You must abide it


unequally with all of your spouses. Timetable, fridge magnet? -- you


must divide all of your time equally. In the US I see a lot of


these relationships within the Christian sects, they are adopting


that role, that model. All in the same house? No, not necessarily. But


possibly? Possibly if everybody can sense. The house has to be quite big


to accommodate them. It's difficult. What it comes down to... If someone


were to be excluded, would it be, apologies for this, would it be


acceptable for everybody to... Sleep in the same... No. Moral standards.


Moral standards? You're talking about moral standards? LAUGHTER


Yes, Cristina talked about raising taxes in the last debate, we raise


our moral standards. It would never even come across for me to throw my


parents into a home. I would chuck my parents out before that. Coming


back to here, what polygyny and I stand for is bigger, stronger


families. So we don't come to a situation where people don't have a


support structure. We don't segregate ourselves into


individuals. We stay as communities. I will be back with you. Harry


Benson, research director at the marriage foundation. Whatever works


for you? There are comedic possibilities there. I had a laugh.


The oldest jokes known to humanity there in. But if it works to fore U


and around the world, what's the problem? What people choose to do in


private is their own business but don't bring other people into it and


certainly don't bring children into it. APPLAUSE


It's blindingly obvious, really. Monogamy is marriage. . One


relationship, monogamy. Marriage is terrific for monogamy because it


reconciles our two competing demands of human nature where we have the


need for reliable love on the one hand. But we also have our


fundamentally selfish nature on the other hand.


When we commit to a marriage, we are offering reliable love to someone


else and they offer it to us, and we get our needs are met and


relationships basically work. They do because we have set out a clear


plan for our future together. That is the whole deal of marriage. When


you set out a plan for your future together, you get all the good


things that make the relationship work coming into play. We care for


one another. This might cut divorce rates. Divorce


rates have falling for 25 years. Marriage is working very well. That


is because people are not getting married. That is nonsense. The


divorce rate is the proportion of people who get married. Look at how


marriage actually works. If you are married before you have your baby,


eight out of ten parents will still be together by the time their


children are sitting the GCSEs. Only three out of ten will still be


together if they are not married before they have a baby. That is the


difference between the two and it is true across the social spectrum and


across the developed world. This is a universal human issue. Committed


people get married. It is very difficult to extricate the truth


from statistics like that. You know that. You want to come back on that?


You mentioned that monogamy is basically two people but a few years


ago we didn't even recognise that gentleman's union. Society will


catch up with this and I am here to voice that there are groups of


people who want to live this way and as liberal people we have no right


to impose our thought onto them. Would it be a problem for you if you


had your four wives and some of them had a same-sex relationship with


each other. Would that improve cohesion within the household? That


wouldn't happen within my household. No, it wouldn't. I've got you. Carry


on. I am a professional researcher. I maybe wrong about this. I have yet


to see a piece of research that looks at the triangular relationship


between three adults that gives the same kind of reliability of love


that you get between two. Doesn't. You don't get the stability for


children. Do what you like but don't bring children into it. Children are


the biggest benefactors of such a relationship. Recent research


conducted by the Canadian government where everybody was voicing that


such relationships are harmful found the contrary. It benefits children


more. The Canadian government, not me. Right, OK. Go on. I am 18, so I


don't have enough experience to comment on marriage but you have got


to start from somewhere! Thank you! I would like to ask the gentleman


over there. You want a second wife. Are you willing to accept it if your


wife has a second husband? Let's be honest, no. Are you aware of the


phrase what is good for the goose is good for the gander? Is that truly


polygamy or you just satisfying your own needs? Let's not forget this is


an open discussion, that Britain is a very democratic country. If we


allow polygamy in this country, what impact would that have on countries


who have worse human records? Would women get more abused in these


countries because they can point at Britain and say, look, the model of


democracy, they allow a man to have two wives but they don't allow women


to have two husbands? What a great audience we have got to date! Wait a


minute, everyone. Calm down. It is getting a little bit too shouted.


Your house will be like that in a few years! I know what you are going


to state, Cristina. Is this a good thing? I don't think it is a good


thing for women to think it takes four women to satisfy one man and a


family to be built around one man saying his needs need to be


satisfied. That is not what families are about and it is not what


marriage is about and it is not the kind of role modelling I would like


children to see. I think the role modelling that we want is to have a


joint partnership, where there is a tremendous amount of self-sacrifice


on both sides. A tremendous amount of duty and response ability on both


sides. And none of this self gratification, lording it over four


women. I mean, come on! At no point have I said that this is for


everybody. It is for certain individuals who are capable of doing


this. What makes you capable of doing this? It is my nature. What


does that mean? I can't explain it to you. That is how I was born. What


do you mean? Are you insatiable? I am just going to go back to my


websites. We have websites, like polygamy .com, open to everybody,


and we have 50% women signing up and not a single one was forced into


signing up. On second wife .com, we launched it for just Muslims, and it


is 25% women signing on. These women are often of the highest calibre,


well educated, in very high positions. And for whatever reason,


they signed up themselves. I like women of the highest calibre! No, we


judge. I will be honest, we do. These are not battered women. This


is the logically justified. -- do you think this is theologically


justified? In what sense? From God? For me, the Koran and the Bible. Of


the 24 mentioned profits, 33% of them had multiple wives. If it was


acceptable in the eyes of God for his profits, the best of his


creation, the best of the husbands, the best of everything, to have


it... Wait a minute! You would accept somebody having an affair and


if you don't bat an eyelid? Who here thinks it is theologically


justifiable in the audience? Ibrahim , do you know people in this


situation? Yes, I know a handful of people. Only one of them is still


happily married to his two wives. The rest have all had a really hard


time. What kind of hard time? There are not so many that I know, but in


the cases that I know, the first wife has left the husband. The


husband has been pressurised into leaving his second wife. We need to


explore the allowances within Sharia that chapter four verse three


mentions. With regard to the care of orphans, if you are fearful about


the welfare and the well-being of them, when inheritance could be


usurped by others, you marry their mother so that those orphans now


have a father figure who can safeguard their interests. If you


take a second, third and a fourth, be very mindful that you must treat


them fairly. That is open to interpretation. Some Muslim men


conveniently leave it there, but the verse carries on, it says if you


cannot treat them fairly and equally then marry only one. If you look at


Muhammad, peace be on him, he had many wives, but he remained married


to just one woman up until the age of 50. After that, when he became in


a position to be a prophet, statesman, and a political leader,


and at the same time a widower, he set an example and chose to marry


divorcees because they were not worthy of marriage in that culture.


He married widows because they were not regarded as worthy of marrying.


We have got to take this into context and interpreted properly. I


hear what you are saying. Some thoughts from the audience and I


have one about fairness. And the possibility of being fair. At the


back? I think the gentleman over there is selfish by nature. Which


one? He just wants to satisfy his own needs and he hasn't thought


whether his wife wants to have another wife, whether his kids want


another dad, because that is what it sounds like it is leading to. If it


is in your nature to have more than one thing, just have it. That is


complete rubbish. Me personally, the polygamy thing is not for me, but


what I find in society is that people are more fond of deception


than polygamy. There are lots of women out there who know their man


has got another wife, maybe another woman, not married, but honesty. At


the end of the day I might not agree with what you are saying but I


respect you because you are at least putting it out there and you can say


what you want. Transparency. How would you be sure that it is


absolutely fair? A man can try his absolute best but he will never be


at the pinnacle of fairness that he must still try. Would you prefer one


of your wives to the others? Even if there is a preference, you keep that


within yourself. You don't make it come out. You don't favour one over


the other. If you buy one house, you buy the other house of equal


stature. If you buy one a car, it doesn't have to be the exact same,


but you buy something to her liking. He has got it worked out! What is


the other option? You are in the first debate but we will let you


back. He says it is his nature, I could come across somebody who is a


paedophile by nature. Somebody else, it might be in their nature to sleep


with somebody every day. Just because it is in your nature, in


civilised society we have got to control that. Quick point? I made


some promises to my wife when I first got married and she made them


to me. It is about commitment and self-control. The idea of somebody


else entering our marriage, it would be a disaster. It is terrible, this


whole idea of having somebody else in a marriage. It is about love,


expression for each other, compromise, being together. But what


if your wife is OK with it? I know that mine would not be! Then it


doesn't apply to you. I hope my wife is watching this! If she is not


watching it now, you will make her watch it later! Probably. But I


trust. I know it will only be as the marriage and that is so important to


me and to so many people's marriages. The idea that you want


somebody else in your marriage, I'm sorry, but no. That is OK if it is


what works for you. But it is naive to think that people don't have


extra marital affairs. This is honourable and upfront. How many


wives? I am contemplating two and if it worked out really well, maybe a


third. When the reasons why this was set up, is because it was not easy


for me to do so because our society, they are laughing. 30 years ago they


laughed at that gentleman there and I am happy to take the brunt of it.


I have been mentioned a number of times. I don't think it is the same


as the gay marriage issue because that was about the union of two


people. In effect it is the same as opposite sex marriage but two


individuals. I would say it is about genuine consent. If there is genuine


consent amongst both parties, then I think it should be considered. What


is that Abba song? I do, I do, I do, I do! Thank you for your honesty


this morning. There we go. As always, the debates will continue


online and on Twitter. Next week we're in my home town,


Edinburgh, so do join us then. But for now, it's goodbye from


Leicester and have a great Sunday.


Nicky Campbell presents topical debate live from Leicester Grammar School.

Should the UK trade with Israel now settlements are recognised?

Has the time come to raise taxes to cover social care?

Is monogamy bad for marriage?