Episode 3 The Big Questions


Episode 3

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Today on The Big Questions...

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President Trump's first year

in office - good or bad?

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And inequality - a scourge

or a useful incentive?

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Good morning, I'm Nicky Campbell.

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Welcome to the 11th series

of The Big Questions.

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Today we're live from

Netherhall School in Cambridge.

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Welcome, everyone,

to The Big Questions.

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APPLAUSE

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Yesterday marked the first

anniversary of Donald Trump's

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inauguration as the 45th President

of the United States of America.

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And it also saw a complete shutdown

of the American government

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after President Trump failed

to reach a deal with Democrats in

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the Senate over the spending bill.

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It is a presidency that has been

surrounded in controversy

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since his election.

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Critics have disparaged his

abilities and contested his stance

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on immigration, health care,

climate change, North Korea,

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Israel - the list goes on and on.

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Yet the American stock market

is booming, unemployment is falling,

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growth is on the up and business

confidence is buoyant -

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maybe because one of the few

policies he has got through Congress

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was to reduce corporate tax

rates from 35% to 21%.

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Yet the uneasiness remains,

stirred daily by the output

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from his Twitter finger.

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Has President Trump been

good for the world?

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Let's see what the achievements are.

Jan Halper Davies -- Jan

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Jan Halper Davies -- Jan Halper

Hayes, I said Davies because I'm

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speaking about Stormy Daniels, I had

the D where do my head. Never mind

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all the gossip, Fire Interviewee,

the book, what has he achieved?

We

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have over 2.1 million jobs he has

brought, we are at a seven-year high

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in economic confidence and a 17 year

low in unemployment. GDP was not

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supposed to hit 3% until 2019, that

is where we were in the last three

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quarters. The tax reform has done an

enormous amount for bringing

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businesses back and increasing

wages, as well as some of the

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savings being passed on to

customers. An energy company is

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lowering their electric bill by 5%.

But the great deal-maker could not

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make this deal on the budget, we

have a government shutdown. The

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statue of Liberty is shut. What a

piece of symbolism?

There is a

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misnomer that the great deal-maker

could not make a deal. The fact of

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the matter is that it takes when you

have a spending bill 60 senators to

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pass it. That means that even though

we have the majority of the House

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and the Senate and we have the White

House, you need to have a bipartisan

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reaction. There was nothing in the

bill that either side disagreed

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with, but the Democrats are

frightened of another positive thing

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happening. They thought the tax

reform was Armageddon, and they

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Trump fail. It is very strategic

what they are doing.

On his

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achievements, taking away from the

depressed Democrats and Stormy

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Daniels or Stormy Davies or

whatever, Alan Mendoza, what has

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Trump achieved?

You need to look at

where the world was at the time

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Trump came into office. We have just

had eight years of the Obama

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administration which run down

America plasma prestige and power in

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the world and through its actions

emboldened some of the worst regimes

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in the world to do activities we

would want as he stopped. Iran was

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rampant in the Middle East, it had

helped Assad fight his war in Syria,

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it had extended terrorism across the

area. Russia has marched into

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Ukraine, nothing happened as a

response. China flouted

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international law in the South China

Sea and East China Sea and very

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little response again.

Starting with that position and

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looking at where we are now in terms

of one year into Trump, it is very

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early but you had to look at the

successes. He called out the

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Iranians for their brutality, he has

had various relations with China,

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pushed one way and pull the other,

but it seems to be in a different

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place, that relationship, than under

Obama. He demanded European military

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spend more, which we knew was

necessary, and they have been

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responding. North Korea is sitting

at the table for the first time in

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two and a half years, speaking to

South Korea. There are achievements.

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It is unorthodox and he may be

aggressive and even unpleasant in

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how it works, but when you

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how it works, but when you look at

the world, and enforcement of red

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lines and international status, it

is any much better place than when

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he came into office.

Jan, you love that?

I did.

I feel

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Leslie might want to pick up on some

points? We have heard about the

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achievements, an unconventional

approach, but paying dividends?

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Very difficult for me to listen and

give it any credibility.

None at

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all?

Given how strong the economy

is, isn't it extraordinary that a

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president who controls both houses

of Congress has such extraordinarily

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low approval rating is not only at

home, for a president only one year

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in, but abroad. The Gallup

leadership polls put his global

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approval rating at only 30%, very

dramatic drop.

Are you embarrassed

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by him?

I find many of the policies

he has pursued, and especially the

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style with which he has engaged not

only with many of his own people,

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many of his Cabinet and the White

House and many foreign leaders, to

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be far below the bar of what we

should expect from the leader of the

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United States.

APPLAUSE

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The problem with this debate always

is...

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There is nothing wrong with this

debate! The blow people get sucked

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in straightaway to the character of

Donald Trump and his activities,

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that is what the media has focused

on people have focused on.

We need

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to strip away the server stuff,

which can be debated, by all means,

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and look at results. He has got

them. That is what we are

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forgetting.

He has made nuclear war thinkable

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again, that is the

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again, that is the substance of

relationship with North Korea and

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their willingness to do certain

things, but at the cost of making

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people think that a nuclear conflict

could happen.

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That is not fair. The reason there

is a conceivable nuclear

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conflagration is North Korea has

been unable to develop a nuclear

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programme under the preceding

president.

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His comments after nuclear war came

after a golfing event, Trump has no

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discipline.

Nuclear capabilities hands of North

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Korea, it is due to the policies

pursued by Obama and Bush before

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him, not the previous five months of

Trump. You don't just get a nuclear

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weapon because you have a vulgar

halfwits in the White House. You

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have to spend years doing that. But

chatter -- that should been

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suppressed under the previous

administration, you cannot lay that

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at Trump's door.

Trump is a gift to -- that should

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have been suppressed under the

previous administration, you cannot

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lay that at Trump's door. Trump is a

gifted keeps on giving, not only to

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journalists but to Kim Jong Un.

Anti-Americanism is so important for

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keeping the support of the North

Koreans and respecting and loving

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their leader.

But I have heard some people make

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the argument that this is an

extraordinary achievement by Donald

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Trump, he has made Kim Jong Un look

sane.

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Actually I think they are both not

as stupid as people like to say they

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are. I think you need to look at

their actions and see the way they

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are playing with one another, and I

would not call either one a fool.

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Daniel, a Labour MP, you do not want

him to come here?

No, I think he is

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lewd, crude, a disgusting man, the

antithesis of everything that this

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great city here...

His attitude to

women? Not like Bill Clinton?

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Politics is a complicated business

of trying to manage conflicting

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demands, and you do that through

diplomacy and the grace and the

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skill that Obama showed was an

inspiration to many people across

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the world, and I think it is one of

the tragedies that we have had Obama

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replaced by the most pantomime

villain. I suspect he does not know

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what he's doing in many ways, his

example to young people and his

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example to the is appalling.

Just on the point about his morals,

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if morals are important, what did

you think of Bill Clinton? What you

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think, retrospectively, of JFK?

Those are perfectly reasonable

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points to make, but they did not

engage in this foul-mouthed

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insulting of people all the time.

Behind-the-scenes, maybe?

We try to

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teach our children...

Is there not

an honesty, what you see is what you

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get, it is unvarnished?

Dustup about

his economic achievements, what he

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is about is trying to line his

pockets and the pockets of his

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cronies, the American economy will

not survive through this. Anyone can

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splurge a load of money, let's see

where we are in a few years. It will

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not work. We have seen it before.

We were told that the American

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economy would be in ruins by the end

of his first year, it has never been

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in better health.

Wait-and-see.

We

are waiting and seeing. You are

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delineating a disaster before it

happens.

He made all these promises,

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where are his steel factories? He

has not built an inch of the wall.

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So just because he say something it

should exist the next day?! What is

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happening is Apple is bringing back

$350 billion, they will employ

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20,000 people. They will be spending

over $20 billion in building a

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factory and taking it away from

China. There is your first step of

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example of it working.

By building

protectionism you might get some

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short-term gains, but it will make

us all poorer in the long term, that

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is the issue. You can all be

protectionist up your own areas, but

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it leads to less wealth in the

future.

He is not a protectionist,

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he is not an isolationist. It is

America first, with the goal of

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bilateral agreements. He does not

believe in multilateral agreements.

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It is having your cake and eating

it, it does not work.

You might

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think that, but just because people

develop these deals, these

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agreements for simplification, some

of these deals are wrong.

Business

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loves the deregulation and the tax

cuts. Is he a racist?

I think he is,

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essentially, with what he is saying.

He is not a racist, he has said

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offensive things, no doubt, he is

not a racist. Let's just look for

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one second at what Daniel is trying

to say...

Do you agree with him not

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being welcomed here?

He should be

welcome here.

He is not welcome

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here.

It is embarrassing for a

country that the President of our

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close to -- our closest ally does

not feel welcome. President Macron

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has rolled out the red carpet, other

European leaders have. It is

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shameful that this country cannot

welcome him. He is a close ally of

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ours, we should be working more

closely with him, particularly in

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the context of Brexit.

We have let

in some rum people in the past.

What

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about President Xi of China, we even

suppress dissent in the streets of

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London to let him come.

But

President Trump is re-tweeting

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Nazis.

I was a disgraceful episode.

He claims he did not know what was

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happening. He probably did not, to

be honest. But he should still come

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to Britain to meet us in that way.

I think it is disgusting that you

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can say somebody who is re-tweeting

Nazi tweets might not know what he

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was doing

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was doing when he is meant to be the

leader of the United States. How

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much longer do we had to excuse

these men, they do not know they are

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sexist or racist?! I think it is

disgraceful.

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APPLAUSE

Audience? Hang fire. Hold fire.

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Hello, audience. Donald Trump. OK,

madam?

One of the panellists was

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saying that the media are always

focusing on his character. The

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things he is tweeting about, it is

absolutely absurd. He is a racist,

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he is a misogynist. He is targeting

communities, splitting families by

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signing orders from the White House.

If he did not mean what he said, why

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did he tweets these kind of things?

It is unacceptable, he is

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normalising hate and bigotry and it

is totally unacceptable.

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APPLAUSE

You are not in?

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When he came into office, quite a

few people thought it would be OK,

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the hyper polarisation will reduce,

everyone will be united in their

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hatred towards him almost, but that

has not happened, with the

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Government shut down. They only

needed ten Democrats to votes in

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favour, that did not happen. I think

that overrides some of his

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characteristics, the fact that there

can't be that push forward for the

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betterment of the nation when there

is the claim it is America first.

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It is interesting, is anybody in the

audience who would describe

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themselves as somebody sympathetic

in any way to what he has achieved?

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Put your hand up. If you are in any

way on Trump's side. Oh, dear. No

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one? This is interesting. Did I see

one over year?

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Both sides of the argument are

actually correct, I think. He is

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appalling in what he says, but the

other side of the argument is

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correct as well. I think he's

achieved quite a lot. He's shaken

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things up. I doubt North and South

Korea would have got together

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without him shaking stuff up.

Interesting point. This is an

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audience who applied to come to The

Big Questions. We do not skew it in

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anyway. But I have done phone-ins

where there are quite a lot of

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people in this country who are fed

up of being lectured to about what

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they should think about Donald

Trump. They see it as a liberal,

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intelligentsia media bubble, and

they come on the phone and say, shut

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up and don't tell me what to think.

You have to go back to the reasons

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why Trump won the election. He

appealed to people who were going to

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work every day, working hard and not

seeing their efforts rewarded. He

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was very clever. He looked to people

who voted for the Republican party.

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He is a democratically elected

leader of the most powerful nation

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in the world, and a key trading

partner of the UK. I don't agree

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with Daniel that we shouldn't invite

him to the UK. We should respect the

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views of the American people and we

should talk to Mr Trump. Clearly

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there is no one in this room who

would back what he says on Twitter

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or agree with his points, but

ultimately, he is a businessman who

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has increased business opportunities

for the US, and we should be taking

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advantage of that.

I want to pick up

on what you said, about people being

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told what to think about Donald

Trump. Simon, you were on the News

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quiz on Radio 4, and you said at one

point a couple of things that

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perhaps Donald Trump had achieved

and positive about him, and there

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was a bit of stunned silence.

People

not used a hearing that on a Radio 4

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comedy programme! I find it hard to

defend him in conventional terms.

Is

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very snobbery about this?

Absolutely, but it wouldn't matter

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if there was a snobbery if these

people hadn't been let down by

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generations of politicians, and the

Republican party taking a huge

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amount of Republican voters for

granted, in the same way that a huge

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number of Brexit voters were taken

for granted. You could make a nod in

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the direction of abortion law and

gun control and people would vote

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for them whatever. There was no

future for their young people. They

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were promised again and again by

mealy-mouthed politicians who

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delivered nothing for them.

Obviously, sooner or later, they

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would turn to this old-fashioned...

He is like a Burt Lancaster

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character in a 1950s movie. He a two

fisted American Bulgaria, but there

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is part of that in the American

psyche, and so far he is delivering.

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Yes, the Democrats in the US need to

take responsibility for allowing the

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situation to get so bad for

working-class people, but he has

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filled up jobs in the White House

with cronies from big business, and

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he likes to point the finger at

migrants and other people to blame

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for American problems, but wages are

not increasing significantly for

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American people. His policies are

not going to deliver for American

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working people.

Is there, on the

subject of what people think what

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they think people should think, is

there an Brexit aspect for that? Is

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it the same with Trump? Can you

understand the historical forces

0:19:180:19:26

that have led him to be there?

Did

to our similar phenomena. Brexit and

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Trump both gave voices to the

people. I am anti-trump-macro, but I

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am going to say something positive

for him. He has been a brilliant

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politician. One of the politicians

who can keep his face in the news on

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the front page for two and a half

years, as he has, and there is many

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respect in many quarters for his

ability to drain a swamp that seems

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undrivable. But my question is, is

he a man who can be trusted to

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rebuild? Here is where nuclear

weapons become crucial. I understand

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his force as a disruption. He has

opened up possibilities for

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discussing certain things that have

not been on the table before, but I

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don't have confidence that he can

leave us to a better place. His

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inauguration speech, American

carnage, is probably the first

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inauguration speech in American

history not to refer once to the

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declaration of Independence, not to

refer once to the Constitution, not

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to refer wants to the ideals of

liberty and the better angels of

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America. It is like Lindsay Graham

saying, after a meeting with Trump

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about immigration, he said, Mr

Trump, America is about ideals. He's

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interested in power, advancement and

disruption, but can he fulfil

0:21:020:21:08

American ideals? My answer to that

is no.

And there we have it.

I'm not

0:21:080:21:17

sure the world wants American ideals

from the US president. I think the

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world has always wanted somebody who

is going to come in and stop the bad

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guys from taking over. That has

essentially been America's role for

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the last 70 years. Obama effectively

abdicated that role from his

0:21:310:21:39

weakness internationally. Serie A, I

direct comparison between Obama and

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Trump. Assad uses chemical weapons.

Obama runs away from it and Assad

0:21:430:21:51

continues murdering and killing.

Trump sees when Assad uses chemical

0:21:510:21:58

weapons and strikes immediately. No

more chemical weapons used since

0:21:580:22:02

then. There is a red line. You cross

it, we will hit you. That wasn't

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done under Obama. Trump has restored

that.

That is such a

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mischaracterisation. America was in

a terrible position with its

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reputation until Obama restored it,

as a civilised leader of the world.

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Trump is leading America back down

into the gutter. We need that

0:22:260:22:32

leadership, those ideals and values

that matter across the world. I feel

0:22:320:22:36

so sorry for the Americans. You are

an embarrassment again. I'm sorry,

0:22:360:22:43

but objectively, you look at the

power of authoritarian states at the

0:22:430:22:47

end of the Obama regime against the

start of it, but they have

0:22:470:22:51

increased. The leadership did not

deliver results.

Jan Halper-Hayes,

0:22:510:22:58

let's talk about the wider world.

We've mentioned North Korea,

0:22:580:23:04

Jerusalem, the North American Free

Trade Agreement. Let's talk about

0:23:040:23:08

the wider word and the implications.

Pulling out of the Paris climate

0:23:080:23:12

change accord. He doesn't know the

difference between weather and

0:23:120:23:17

climate. I'm going with scientific

consensus here. This is an act of

0:23:170:23:27

environmental, planet tree

vandalism, and our grandchildren

0:23:270:23:31

will look back and they will say,

shame on us and shame on him.

They

0:23:310:23:40

very well might, but he decided to

pull out of it because the

0:23:400:23:45

requirements that were on America's

shoulders were far greater than that

0:23:450:23:50

of China and other nations, and we

were supposed to act...

What about

0:23:500:23:55

taking the lead of the free world?

Donald Trump is not interested in

0:23:550:24:00

taking believed. It is America

first. People have a hard time with

0:24:000:24:06

that. It means that other countries

that have counted on America for so

0:24:060:24:11

long...

This is going to mean,

ultimately, the deaths of millions

0:24:110:24:16

of people, and it's going to mean

the extinction of species...

0:24:160:24:24

Margaret Thatcher spoke against

global warming. You are eliminating

0:24:240:24:31

the responsibility of other

politicians, George Bush, Barack

0:24:310:24:35

Obama...

Don't take it out on me! I

am just asking the questions!

It's

0:24:350:24:43

been going on for 40 years!

It is

undoubtedly the case that President

0:24:430:24:51

Trump has taken America out of many

things that are absolutely vital for

0:24:510:24:56

the stability, prosperity of the

world. The Irani deal was very

0:24:560:25:05

important to stability, and the

Paris accords. But we have to look

0:25:050:25:10

at one thing. The United States is

not Donald Trump. Donald Trump

0:25:100:25:14

happens to be the leader for this

time, but there are a lot of things

0:25:140:25:18

going on in the US right now that

are tremendously productive. They

0:25:180:25:23

were there before and are taking

momentum on right now. To push back

0:25:230:25:27

what is seen as a president taking

negative steps on an environmental

0:25:270:25:34

front...

But he is withdrawing

funding for environmental agencies.

0:25:340:25:39

But many people are on board with

Paris, trying to keep as close as

0:25:390:25:44

they can in the context of a

difficult set of politics to hit

0:25:440:25:48

those targets that were negotiated.

If you look at the courts, civil

0:25:480:25:56

society, they have been pushing back

very, very hard. That is not over

0:25:560:26:00

yet, so there is a tremendous amount

of positive engagement in the US to

0:26:000:26:04

try and keep America engage with the

world. When we come back to the

0:26:040:26:09

question of whether Donald Trump

should come to the UK for a visit,

0:26:090:26:13

it's very important not to collapse

this relationship into one that is

0:26:130:26:18

simply about Theresa May and Donald

Trump.

One fifth of our trade is

0:26:180:26:24

with the US.

It's not just trade. It

is a relationship grounded in

0:26:240:26:31

intelligence sharing, values and

many things. The key for the leader

0:26:310:26:35

of the UK is to frame it in a way

that says that we do not agree with

0:26:350:26:41

racist language, but we do need to

hold onto what is valuable and

0:26:410:26:45

productive in that way.

He has put a

spring in the step of many a climate

0:26:450:26:52

change denier. Do you think that if

a nuclear conflagration were to

0:26:520:27:00

happen, and a million people were to

die on the Korean peninsular...

At

0:27:000:27:05

least a million.

Would that play on

his conscience?

I don't think that's

0:27:050:27:12

the most important question.

It is a

question I'm asking. It's a question

0:27:120:27:20

about responsibility

internationally.

There is a very

0:27:200:27:25

serious concern by many of us who

are watching that Donald Trump

0:27:250:27:28

doesn't feel the consequences of his

actions. That he acts without taking

0:27:280:27:33

that into account.

That's quite a

thing to say.

But he has to stand up

0:27:330:27:40

to the threat from Korea. He can't

just let North Korea actors they

0:27:400:27:45

are, putting missiles across Japan.

That has to be the job of the United

0:27:450:27:51

States to stand up to Kim Jong-un

and say, we cannot take any more

0:27:510:27:55

this. Ultimately, the North Koreans

are sitting at the table with South

0:27:550:28:01

Koreans. Will it result in peace? We

know that when President Kennedy

0:28:010:28:06

stood up to the Russians, it created

the Cold War, guess, but eventually

0:28:060:28:12

we got to the situation where

America and Russia got rid of

0:28:120:28:16

nuclear weapons.

There was an

element of logic on both sides in

0:28:160:28:21

the Cold War. Do we have that

balance to logic on both sides now?

0:28:210:28:27

There is a feeling in the Republican

party that this man can serve

0:28:270:28:32

purposes, including your purpose of

standing up to North Korea, and the

0:28:320:28:37

wager is that they can control this

unpredictable, unreliable man. The

0:28:370:28:43

conceit in Washington is that the

three generals around him each day

0:28:430:28:48

will be in charge and will feel the

consequences of going to nuclear

0:28:480:28:51

war. The wager is that these men can

control it. The bottom belongs to

0:28:510:28:58

him. He is not the first president

to try the madman theory, to make

0:28:580:29:08

someone think he is crazy to submit.

It was done in Vietnam's with the

0:29:080:29:11

North Vietnamese, but it didn't

work. In the Cuban missile crisis,

0:29:110:29:15

if the military people had been in

charge at that point, we probably

0:29:150:29:20

would have had a nuclear

conflagration with Cuba. I don't

0:29:200:29:23

feel comfortable with this decision

being in the hands of the generals.

0:29:230:29:27

I don't have confidence in this man

to make the right decision for them

0:29:270:29:31

is under that analysis, you would be

happy for Kim Jong-un when to walk

0:29:310:29:38

over South Korea or invade Japan.

You are saying there is no

0:29:380:29:43

possibility that America could

withstand and assault in that way.

0:29:430:29:46

You have to have some credibility

internationally, so that the other

0:29:460:29:51

guy thinks carefully about his

actions. Under President Obama, we

0:29:510:29:56

had no credibility. Everybody knew

he would not resist the use of

0:29:560:30:00

force, or even the threat of force.

We have dealt with that, if I may.

0:30:000:30:08

The credibility is that he might do

it, and that goes down to

0:30:080:30:13

rationality on both sides. The

reason we didn't have a nuclear

0:30:130:30:16

conflagration in the Cold War was

because both sides were rational

0:30:160:30:20

actors. I believe Donald club is a

rational actor, despite an

0:30:200:30:25

unorthodox approach. If Kim Jong-un

is not, we are going to have a Cold

0:30:250:30:30

War anyway.

Do you feel he is a

rational actor? Put your hand up. We

0:30:300:30:37

have talked about nuclear

conflagration and climate change.

0:30:370:30:41

What about population growth? He's

changed his mind. He used to be

0:30:410:30:48

pro-choice, but he's changed his

mind on abortion, which could be

0:30:480:30:52

playing to his base support. He's

also withdrawn government funding

0:30:520:30:59

for groups working around the world

with women on contraception, which

0:30:590:31:03

is often a driver of fighting

poverty and inequality, so that our

0:31:030:31:09

potential impacts on inequality

across the globe.

0:31:090:31:15

One of the things missing from this

debate, you have said America has

0:31:150:31:20

higher GDP, higher growth, creating

more jobs, but we need to look at

0:31:200:31:23

the quality of the jobs. Poverty has

increased in America, the median

0:31:230:31:27

wage has gone down. We need to look

at the different factors there, and

0:31:270:31:31

the reality. When you say America

first, who in America? Not the 9

0:31:310:31:37

million children who will

potentially be denied health care,

0:31:370:31:39

it is not the poorest who will have

no

0:31:390:31:48

no health care, he is putting first,

his corporate buddies. He will be at

0:31:480:31:53

Davos next week, mixing with the

billionaires who he said he

0:31:530:31:56

despised, draining the swamp. The

first thing he has done is introduce

0:31:560:31:59

a huge corporate tax rate. When you

cut corporate tax, you cut the

0:31:590:32:04

resources the state has to support

the most vulnerable people in its

0:32:040:32:08

country.

Gentleman from the audience is

0:32:080:32:10

shaking his head?

I will really put

that to bed.

I will be the judge

0:32:100:32:17

about!

I will try. When you cut

corporate tax you create enterprise,

0:32:170:32:22

you create wealth.

Not true.

That a

good thing.

0:32:220:32:30

good thing.

Pack of lies.

That is

where you fund the National Health

0:32:300:32:34

Service and get a better, strong...

He has reduced tax rates.

If you

0:32:340:32:40

look at the 1980s, there was a

reduction in taxes and the actual

0:32:400:32:45

tax take went up. In a strong

economy with a big incentive for

0:32:450:32:50

people to go out and work and earn

and create wealth, there is more

0:32:500:32:56

wealth to spend on things like the

National Health Service.

35%, down

0:32:560:33:01

to 21%, it is a pretty vertiginous

drop.

Yes, but it has an effect.

0:33:010:33:08

Welcome back, Jan. I will consume,

Joseph, don't worry. I said I would

0:33:080:33:15

come to you earlier, I am a man of

my word. -- I will come to you,

0:33:150:33:19

Joseph.

I would like to combine the

point about the media telling people

0:33:190:33:24

how to think, when I listen to the

liberal comments and how superficial

0:33:240:33:30

they are, and they do not show an

understanding of what it's really

0:33:300:33:33

going on. Let's take draining the

swamp, he puts his corporate cronies

0:33:330:33:38

in. He has eliminated over 1500

regulations, which has spurred on

0:33:380:33:42

business.

Environmental regulations.

Let me finish my point. The fact is

0:33:420:33:54

that people go, oh, he has only done

things for his corporate buddies

0:33:540:33:58

with the tax reform. What people do

not realise is that 95% of the

0:33:580:34:03

private workforce is employed by

small and medium-sized companies.

0:34:030:34:09

They have been responsible for over

half of the jobs created in the past

0:34:090:34:17

15 years. It is not corporate

America that everyone works for. It

0:34:170:34:24

is a lot of the small and

medium-size businesses. And as a

0:34:240:34:29

result of an rating 1500

regulations, and he said for

0:34:290:34:33

everyone he introduced he would

eliminate two, it is actually 22-1.

0:34:330:34:39

Those are the kind of things about

draining the swamp that go much

0:34:390:34:45

broader than just making a

superficial comment, his cronies are

0:34:450:34:50

corporate America.

Many of the

successes that Donald Trump claims

0:34:500:34:54

on deregulation were begun under

Obama, I think there is an contest

0:34:540:34:58

over the numbers. He is pushing hard

on environmental deregulation and on

0:34:580:35:04

the regulation put in place after

the financial crisis to protect from

0:35:040:35:09

happening again.

He has increased regulation and

0:35:090:35:11

trade. I think it is a much more

complicated picture than you

0:35:110:35:15

suggest. He would certainly like to

be seen as deregulating and away

0:35:150:35:20

that is looking out for all people.

It is early days.

0:35:200:35:25

Joe Sugg, early days?

It is always

difficult to say whether the effects

0:35:250:35:29

are coming through from something

Obama did previously or it is

0:35:290:35:32

happening now. I think there is a

sense of the direction he is

0:35:320:35:36

travelling in. It is interesting

this job saying he will put ideas to

0:35:360:35:41

bed and the people saying you

believe in triple down, but this

0:35:410:35:45

argument has been going on since

Marx, nobody knows. But there is a

0:35:450:35:49

rate of corporate tax which raises

the level of total receipts and

0:35:490:35:54

anything above that is basically

being done on ideological grounds,

0:35:540:35:58

in order to punish people.

Regulation quite often creates jobs.

0:35:580:36:09

The most successful part of the UK

economy.

But nobody wants those

0:36:090:36:17

jobs, bureaucrats!

Tackling climate

change, the green economy in this

0:36:170:36:20

country, it has been the part that

has done best. This deregulation

0:36:200:36:24

myth that has taken hold has caused

a lot of problems to the UK economy.

0:36:240:36:29

We have a very successful

businessman who will have the last

0:36:290:36:32

word. I promised you a word earlier,

you will beautifully tied this all

0:36:320:36:36

up.

I will put a different spin on

the Micro saga. I am hearing a lot

0:36:360:36:42

of noise from everybody and a lot of

0:36:420:36:54

disagreement, but I want to look at

a guy who said he would become

0:36:590:37:02

president, and a specific part of

that journey, and a message to the

0:37:020:37:04

people. The guy said I will become

president, he started his

0:37:040:37:06

presidential campaign and through

that whole thing he fought against

0:37:060:37:08

all odds, OK, and overcame

everything to become president. For

0:37:080:37:10

me as an entrepreneur, I don't care

about detail policy right now, I see

0:37:100:37:13

that is quite an inspirational

journey and I think people should

0:37:130:37:15

take the message, OK, from a

specific section that if you set

0:37:150:37:18

your mind to something, you say you

are going to do it against all odds,

0:37:180:37:22

actually, anything can be achieved.

Out of the whole thing and

0:37:220:37:25

everything we have spoken about,

that is one positive message for me

0:37:250:37:28

to take as an entrepreneur,

regardless of whether I agree or

0:37:280:37:33

disagree. I think that is where a

lot of people should put their focus

0:37:330:37:37

on, especially when they are trying

to create something and they are up

0:37:370:37:41

against it. I quite like that.

That is what I will finish on.

0:37:410:37:46

You're hired! Would you work for

him?

I won't work there anybody but

0:37:460:37:51

myself.

Thank you all very much

indeed.

-- I won't work for anybody

0:37:510:37:57

but myself.

0:37:570:37:58

If you have something to say

about that debate, log on

0:37:580:38:01

to bbc.co.uk/thebigquestions,

and follow the link to where you can

0:38:010:38:03

join in the discussion online.

0:38:030:38:04

Or contribute on Twitter.

0:38:040:38:05

Next at Netherhall School

here in Cambridge, we'll be debating

0:38:050:38:08

if inequality is a vital incentive.

0:38:080:38:09

But before that, take a note

of this email address -

0:38:090:38:12

[email protected] -

if you'd like to apply

0:38:120:38:14

to be in the audience

at a future programme.

0:38:140:38:16

We're in Newcastle upon Tyne next

Sunday, Southampton on February 4th,

0:38:160:38:18

and Oxford the week after that.

0:38:180:38:25

Cambridge, where we are today,

has been dubbed the most unequal

0:38:250:38:27

city in the whole of the UK

by the Centre for Cities.

0:38:270:38:30

It is also a very successful city,

topping the league tables on growth,

0:38:300:38:33

with its booming high tech sector.

0:38:330:38:37

More patents are published in

Cambridge than in any other UK city.

0:38:370:38:40

But while unemployment

is very low here, it's not

0:38:400:38:43

a boom town for everyone.

0:38:430:38:46

40% work in the public sector,

so have seen their real

0:38:460:38:48

incomes steadily fall.

0:38:480:38:50

And the average price of a house,

at £475,000, is 15 times the level

0:38:500:38:54

of average annual earnings here.

0:38:540:38:57

So the success has come at a price

for many Cambridge residents.

0:38:570:39:02

Is inequality a vital incentive?

0:39:020:39:08

It would be good to start with you

on this, Joseph.

It is a vital

0:39:080:39:14

incentive. I came from a

working-class background, we

0:39:140:39:18

struggled growing up, my mum worked

three jobs, my father didn't work. I

0:39:180:39:22

made a decision at a very early age

that I was not going to let my

0:39:220:39:28

circumstances permit, I was going to

work hard and I was going to get

0:39:280:39:32

better and I was going to become

more successful. But I was very,

0:39:320:39:36

very lucky at an early age

0:39:360:39:43

very lucky at an early age because I

saw both scales, I saw the working

0:39:430:39:45

class and I also had an uncle that

was very close to me that was very

0:39:450:39:48

wealthy. So I was able to see that

there was another life that you

0:39:480:39:51

could live. And I used to compare my

father and my uncle.

Do you think

0:39:510:39:55

young people see that, they see the

flashy and unrealistic lifestyles on

0:39:550:39:59

social media, are those kind of

images, that kind of example, a good

0:39:590:40:04

thing?

I think you are on the money.

You are on the money, mate!

Because

0:40:040:40:10

it was my uncle, I saw it as

realistic. But if you come from a

0:40:100:40:14

council estate and your

0:40:140:40:22

council estate and your family are

not working, people around you are

0:40:220:40:24

not successful and your neighbours

are not, you find it quite hard to

0:40:240:40:27

have a realistic vision that it is

achievable. But because he was part

0:40:270:40:29

of my family I could see that it was

there, I saw his journey and how

0:40:290:40:32

hard he worked. It made it realistic

for me, it may did achievable and

0:40:320:40:35

made me see I could work towards

that if I truly wish to.

0:40:350:40:38

Can young people see this? I know

Stewart wants to come in, but in

0:40:380:40:44

what way is a lack of good

circumstances when someone is

0:40:440:40:47

growing up and the difficulties and

even poverty, in what way is it an

0:40:470:40:51

incentive?

Because why would you

want to live like that? Why would

0:40:510:40:56

you want to live poor? That is the

incentive in itself, right? If you

0:40:560:41:01

are struggling for food, you have

second-hand clothes, you have an old

0:41:010:41:05

banger car, you can't go on holiday,

you are saying that is not incentive

0:41:050:41:09

enough to want the good things in

life? About one of the issues with

0:41:090:41:13

that is that not every young people

can start a business and employ a

0:41:130:41:16

lot of other people. Why?

Not

0:41:160:41:24

everybody can own a business, we

need some people to work for them.

0:41:340:41:37

Unfortunately the fastest-growing

demographic of poverty in this

0:41:370:41:38

country is people in work. People

working hard, who cannot lift

0:41:380:41:40

themselves out of poverty.

Are they

working hard at the wrong thing?

Can

0:41:400:41:43

you let me finish? When you have

gross inequality, like we have at

0:41:430:41:46

the moment, it damages the equality

of opportunity, because less people

0:41:460:41:48

are able to grasp those

opportunities. You need families to

0:41:480:41:50

have a minimum basic income to feed

their children, you need good health

0:41:500:41:54

and good schooling for us all, that

relies on having some level of

0:41:540:41:57

equality to begin with.

It means the level playing field.

0:41:570:42:01

APPLAUSE

There are the same disparities in

0:42:010:42:07

wealth, education and circumstances?

I am not saying that there would

0:42:070:42:12

ever be complete equality, but we

have a gross level of inequality in

0:42:120:42:15

our country at the moment, and in

the most unequal country in the

0:42:150:42:20

developed world, the US, you are far

less likely to be able to achieve

0:42:200:42:24

those dreams than in more equal

countries like the Scandinavian

0:42:240:42:26

countries. It is much easier to

predict your income based on the

0:42:260:42:30

income of your parents, than in more

equal countries.

0:42:300:42:33

We do not have equal chances to

begin with?

There are equal chances,

0:42:330:42:41

but it is obvious we need to do more

to create opportunities for those

0:42:410:42:43

feeling left out of society. The

current education system in the UK

0:42:430:42:46

as part of the problem. It is far

too academically -based, we are

0:42:460:42:50

missing masses of people who could

be taking huge advantage of what is

0:42:500:42:55

happening here in Cambridge, for

example.

Untapped potential.

0:42:550:42:59

Absolutely. There have been

improvements in apprenticeships etc,

0:42:590:43:04

but schools are not genuinely

engaged in how we can improve the

0:43:040:43:07

lives of those people who do not

meet the five A-C grade. We do not

0:43:070:43:15

need to send 50% of the population

to university, it is ridiculous.

Is

0:43:150:43:21

inequality and incentive?

Inequality

happens because of the lack of

0:43:210:43:25

opportunities. If we increase the

opportunities to those people who

0:43:250:43:28

are not getting them now, we will

decrease inequality. Quite frankly,

0:43:280:43:33

I disagree slightly with the fact

that you had to be earning lots of

0:43:330:43:37

money to be happy. I have not always

been a politician, I used to be a

0:43:370:43:41

milkman, I was perfectly

0:43:410:43:51

milkman, I was perfectly happy as a

milkman, I was earning a low-wage

0:43:510:43:53

but it did not make me unhappy. I

knew that I had to work hard, and I

0:43:530:43:56

did. You do not have to be wealthy

to be happy, that is completely

0:43:560:43:58

wrong. Not everybody wants to run

their own business or be a

0:43:580:44:01

politician or take on the pressure

of the senior role, some people do

0:44:010:44:04

not want to do that. But you need to

give them the opportunity at a young

0:44:040:44:07

age to make a choice, I do not

believe we are doing.

Should the

0:44:070:44:10

Government be doing more?

I don't

think so. Looking at the economic

0:44:100:44:15

evidence, financial inequality,

there are lots of other

0:44:150:44:18

inequalities, but financial

inequality, which

0:44:180:44:29

we are talking about, in fact...

And

inequality of ambition.

Apart from a

0:44:330:44:36

few strange places like Saudi

Arabia, people want to make

0:44:360:44:38

themselves better off. They do not

care about other people. I do not

0:44:380:44:41

know who the richest person in

Cambridge is, and I do not care. Nor

0:44:410:44:43

do other people. They want to make

themselves better off. The best way

0:44:430:44:46

to do that is the Government getting

out of their hair and allowing them

0:44:460:44:49

to do that. And in particular

safeguarding the quality of civil

0:44:490:44:51

and political rights but

safeguarding property, so

0:44:510:44:53

governments and others cannot

just...

If you are in a public

0:44:530:44:56

sector job and a wage restraint, it

is not easy?

And that is the case in

0:44:560:45:02

Cambridge, we have a silly

centralised system instead of local

0:45:020:45:04

government.

0:45:040:45:10

To say the evidence points to people

wanting to better themselves is

0:45:100:45:15

ludicrous. The evidence is

overwhelming and has been for some

0:45:150:45:18

time. In countries with a high level

of inequality, we also see higher

0:45:180:45:24

rates of mental and physical

ill-health, higher rates of obesity

0:45:240:45:29

and infant mortality. You are far

more likely to lose your child if

0:45:290:45:35

you come from a disadvantaged

background. We see higher rates of

0:45:350:45:40

incarceration, lower levels of

trust, and status anxiety. We feel

0:45:400:45:46

we must have what the person know

that there has, and that causes

0:45:460:45:50

stress.

Can it be an incentive?

If

inequality were an incentive, you

0:45:500:45:56

would see black people, women, LGBT

plus people, women and even,

0:45:560:46:06

storming the bastions of our private

schools, elite institutions, the

0:46:060:46:13

media and Parliament, because the

entrenched inequalities that many

0:46:130:46:16

people live with would have given

them that incentive if this were

0:46:160:46:20

true to go and do that, and that's

just not the case. We don't have

0:46:200:46:26

equality of opportunity.

We don't

have equality of opportunity, but as

0:46:260:46:31

a feudal list, I'm not dismayed by

that. I think there is a natural

0:46:310:46:36

hierarchy. I think there is

inequality because people are not

0:46:360:46:41

equal, and I think delusions of

social mobility are ludicrous, which

0:46:410:46:46

is why we have upstarts like Thomas

Cromwell. The thing that no one

0:46:460:46:50

wants to admit in these discussions

is that people are unequal. Not

0:46:500:46:56

everyone can start a business. Why?

Because we need people to work for

0:46:560:47:01

businesses. Lots of people are just

not up to it. There are loads of

0:47:010:47:08

people who just don't have that

capacity. Being anxious about social

0:47:080:47:12

mobility is often a greater sign of

some kind of mental disquiet than

0:47:120:47:17

simply accept in yet.

The point

made, if you had entire equality of

0:47:170:47:30

opportunity, and absolutely level

playing field, there would still be

0:47:300:47:34

inequality, wouldn't there?

Yes

there would. We are saying we need

0:47:340:47:38

to reduce inequality to levels of

countries such as the Scandinavian

0:47:380:47:43

countries.

Give everyone the same

chance as somewhere like that.

We

0:47:430:47:48

have to make sure there is as level

a playing field as possible.

In the

0:47:480:47:54

audience, good morning.

A lot of the

discussion is based around the

0:47:540:48:00

question of inequality being a vital

incentive. Let's say it is. The next

0:48:000:48:05

question to me is, is the level of

inequality we are seeing in this

0:48:050:48:09

country and the US the level that we

want? In Scandinavian countries,

0:48:090:48:17

there is inequality, and that's good

for their society at the moment,

0:48:170:48:21

because they do have entrepreneurs,

businessmen like you, they get on

0:48:210:48:25

fine. There are problems, but not as

many problems as we do, so

0:48:250:48:30

inequality is good, but reduce it.

Inequality by definition is that

0:48:300:48:35

there are people at the top and

people at the bottom. The extent of

0:48:350:48:40

the inequality we have in Cambridge

at the moment, one of the richest

0:48:400:48:44

cities in the UK and therefore one

of the richest cities in the world,

0:48:440:48:48

is that Cambridge food bank said 25%

more last year than before. There is

0:48:480:48:56

extreme poverty in Cambridge, and

that's simply not acceptable. We are

0:48:560:49:02

trying to claim we are still a

civilised society. And it's getting

0:49:020:49:06

worse because of failures in the

benefits system, because of the an

0:49:060:49:11

affordability in housing, where

housing in Cambridge is particularly

0:49:110:49:16

challenging for people on low

incomes.

I see it very directly why

0:49:160:49:24

it's getting worse, and it's a

consequence of political decisions

0:49:240:49:28

that this government has chosen to

make. If you cut the welfare system,

0:49:280:49:33

it's not just dreadful for the

people at the receiving end, but it

0:49:330:49:37

destroys the quality of life for

everybody in Cambridge. We don't

0:49:370:49:40

want rising numbers of people

sleeping on the streets in a city

0:49:400:49:45

like Cambridge. People are rightly

furious about it.

The situation of

0:49:450:49:51

people sleeping on the streets in

Cambridge is not central

0:49:510:49:55

government's fault.

It is!

The

responsibility for homelessness on

0:49:550:50:01

the streets of any town or city in

the UK is the local council. When I

0:50:010:50:10

was on the council in East Cambs,

there was no homelessness and people

0:50:100:50:15

on the street, because of the

policies I put forward. I have

0:50:150:50:17

offered those policies to Cambridge

City Council, and they have not

0:50:170:50:24

taken them up, and I believe it's

because they want to blame the

0:50:240:50:28

government for something they can

solve. £17 million for housing in

0:50:280:50:32

the city, yet people are still on

the streets and houses have not been

0:50:320:50:37

built. This problem could be sold.

Cambridge City Council gets £9.5

0:50:370:50:44

million a year simply from car

parking in the city. It is the

0:50:440:50:49

mistake of the City Council change

the word inequality to reward.

Its

0:50:490:50:56

reward a vital incentive? Everyone

here would probably say yes in that

0:50:560:51:00

context. The idea that if you work

hard and have the right

0:51:000:51:04

opportunities, you will make

progress. People want to be

0:51:040:51:08

rewarded. The issue comes with the

balance of quality and inequality,

0:51:080:51:12

where people think others are being

rewarded for not working hard or

0:51:120:51:17

doing those things. How do we run

the system so that we reward and

0:51:170:51:23

incentivise hard work? That is a

real question we are asking.

People

0:51:230:51:28

in the public sector are awarded a

lot less, and they are working as

0:51:280:51:33

hard as anyone. A nurse on the wards

is working just as hard as you,

0:51:330:51:39

Joseph. You are exemplary in your

work efforts, but a nurse on the

0:51:390:51:44

ward and she or he could not work

harder but just not getting the

0:51:440:51:52

reward.

I agree with that. That goes

back to providing opportunity. If

0:51:520:51:57

somebody is working hard at the same

job every day, there is a cap on

0:51:570:52:03

what they can and. So it's providing

the opportunity for them to go into

0:52:030:52:07

a different career or train or what

ever that is, and that's very, very

0:52:070:52:12

important. We are launching a Joseph

Valente Academy at the moment, which

0:52:120:52:18

is about giving back opportunity to

young people. For me, it's about

0:52:180:52:24

providing them with opportunity. If

you provide them with an opportunity

0:52:240:52:28

and that person still doesn't want

to take that a level up, or change

0:52:280:52:35

their lifestyle that they are

potentially not happy about, what

0:52:350:52:37

more can we possibly do?

There is a

guy behind you who's had his hand up

0:52:370:52:43

for ages.

I think it's something

that Joseph said, creating these

0:52:430:52:49

opportunities to create

entrepreneurs in society, but is it

0:52:490:52:51

not then the goal of these people to

create a more equal society? Where

0:52:510:52:56

does that cycle and?

The trouble

with this debate, and here is an

0:52:560:53:04

example, is that we take a snapshot

and we say, at a snapshot in time,

0:53:040:53:09

there are some people who are very

rich and some are very poor. It's

0:53:090:53:14

like taking a snapshot of a drop of

water in midair. When I was a

0:53:140:53:20

student, I was poor. After 40 years

of working and honing my skills, and

0:53:200:53:25

saving and so on, I'm now well off.

But I'm the same person. What we

0:53:250:53:31

actually want is a system where the

poorest people can actually make

0:53:310:53:36

themselves better off, and that's

why I say that government needs to

0:53:360:53:39

get out of the way here, and for

example take people on the minimum

0:53:390:53:46

wage out of national insurance.

Let's have some building on the

0:53:460:53:49

green belt that's strangling

Cambridge so that house prices come

0:53:490:53:52

down.

I make my decisions based on

evidence, so looking at evidence,

0:53:520:54:00

since we have allowed gross levels

of inequality, it has not been good

0:54:000:54:04

for the economy. The economy has

grown at a lesser rate. Since the

0:54:040:54:10

crash, Britain's millionaires have

doubled their wealth, but wages for

0:54:100:54:15

working people have stagnated. It's

the same in the UK and the US. The

0:54:150:54:20

10% who are poorest in the UK, pay a

bigger percentage of tax of their

0:54:200:54:26

incomes than the rich do. Wealth

does not trickle down. The rich hide

0:54:260:54:32

their money by making donations to

political parties, who tell the rest

0:54:320:54:36

of us...

I'm getting the impression

that Cambridge is being singled out

0:54:360:54:43

from having the huge levels of

inequality, but they come from the

0:54:430:54:46

fact there is a lot of highly

earning individuals rather than a

0:54:460:54:52

high proportion of lower earning

people. The higher earning

0:54:520:54:57

individuals appear to be working in

very wordy fields. I agree with you

0:54:570:55:03

that it is preposterous that 0.1%

who are absolutely flying away with

0:55:030:55:10

trillions of dollars, it's an absurd

situation, and if anyone can solve

0:55:100:55:16

that without plunging us into

socialism, I will sign up to it. But

0:55:160:55:21

it's not fair to look at Cambridge

and say, it's disgraceful, your

0:55:210:55:26

house prices are many times the

natural... National average, because

0:55:260:55:30

you are a world centre of

excellence.

People with decent jobs

0:55:300:55:35

cannot get a mortgage.

It depends if

you want to centralise it or not. If

0:55:350:55:40

you have a centralised public sector

with centralised salaries, a

0:55:400:55:44

centralised welfare state and

centralised notion of national

0:55:440:55:48

Insurance, places like Cambridge

will have inequality because the

0:55:480:55:54

process of creating wealth is not

centralised, but distributing it is.

0:55:540:56:00

I would love to see Cambridge return

to a Machiavellian, walled citadel.

0:56:000:56:07

Builds that wall!

There is more to

life than finance. A lot of dons in

0:56:070:56:14

Cambridge are not paid very well,

but they lived like princes. There

0:56:140:56:18

is more to life than money.

I always

find it interesting that people

0:56:180:56:23

who... You have said you are

comfortable now, the people who say

0:56:230:56:29

there is more to life than money are

generally the people who have enough

0:56:290:56:33

money to put food on the table,

close their kids and are not worried

0:56:330:56:38

about that. Cambridge has topped the

league. That's what's happened. It

0:56:380:56:43

is a snapshot...

The poorest people

in Cambridge are the students, who

0:56:430:56:51

have loans so have negative wealth.

But they are going to earn far more

0:56:510:56:56

than other people.

On this central

question we have here. You work in

0:56:560:57:02

the world of comedy. If there is a

comedian playing in a pub every

0:57:020:57:07

night, is he or she going to be

spurred on by seeing a comedian who

0:57:070:57:14

sells out at the Apollo?

It is like

acting. Around 1% of actors have a

0:57:140:57:20

lifestyle who is inspirational, and

only about 10% have a job at any one

0:57:200:57:26

time. We all accept that. The world

of comedy is overwhelmingly

0:57:260:57:33

left-wing, and they preach a lot of

socialism, but it's incredibly petty

0:57:330:57:39

bourgeois.

Do they live like

socialists?

In the sense that they

0:57:390:57:46

are poor, they do. But in your first

15 years of comedy... It is driven

0:57:460:57:52

by the idea that your name could be

up in lights one day. And it's fun

0:57:520:57:58

on the way as well, of course.

You

have to have something to strive

0:57:580:58:04

for, but you also have to have some

reasonable chance of realising that

0:58:040:58:09

aspiration. Of course, that means

having structures in place that

0:58:090:58:13

protect you. The welfare state,

health, unemployment benefits. But

0:58:130:58:19

you also need incentives, but that's

not to say that you need a society

0:58:190:58:24

that's deeply unequal and in which

the structural constraints make it

0:58:240:58:28

impossible to achieve.

When your

grandparents have come from Bulgaria

0:58:280:58:35

and the Isle of Lewis, but you made

it to the White House. That's the

0:58:350:58:40

previous debate!

0:58:400:58:41

As always, the debates will continue

online and on Twitter.

0:58:410:58:44

Next week, we're in Newcastle

upon Tyne, so do join us then.

0:58:440:58:46

But for now, it's goodbye

and have a great Sunday.

0:58:460:58:52

Nicky Campbell presents topical debate from Netherhall School, Cambridge, with discussion on whether President Trump has been good for the world. Plus, is inequality a vital incentive?


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