Episode 12 The Big Questions

Episode 12

Live debates from King Edward VI School, Southampton. Nicky Campbell asks should wealth be taxed more, should we pay reparations for slavery, and can illness be cured by prayer?

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Good morning, I'm Nicky Campbell. Taxing wealth, making amends for


slavery and is praying to be jawed. Welcome to The Big Questions.


Today we're live from King Edward VI school in Southampton. Welcome,


everyone, to The Big Questions. This week the Chancellor delivered


his fifth budget speech with good news for soon-to-be pensioners.


Those retiring next year will be able to do what they want with their


pension pots, worth up to ?1.5 million for some, instead of having


to buy a low yielding annuity. Add to that the rapidly escalating value


of homes, especially here in the south, and suddenly more people are


quite a bit richer. But at the other end of the scale,


the poor have been getting poorer and for the first time there are


more working families living in poverty than non-working ones. So


Oxfam is campaigning to reduce the gap between rich and poor and one


way they're suggesting is to have greater taxation of wealth. Should


wealth be taxed more? We are not talking about income here


at 45%, 50% what it might be. It is about assets, houses about land.


James Sproule, good morning. This whole idea of this so-called mansion


tax, if somebody has a ?2.5 million house which is amazing for many


people outside London and people looking at these figures. RUC richly


saying they cannot afford to pay what would amount to ?5,000 a year


in tax? I think in London, very often that mansion will be a


worker's cottage from Victorian times. If we look at how much the


rich are already paying intact, and it is key here in the United


Kingdom, less than 1% of the people are counting the people accounting


for 25% of income tax. And if you had a business, you would make sure


you are nice to those people and make sure they stayed. The people at


the top, we don't care if you go somewhere else and for all of us


sitting in this audience, we do care. The last thing we want to do


is drive away these very high taxpayers. As an economy we have a


skewed system. We need to appreciate where we are right now. Also, a


couple of things that have come out on this proposal, there are a couple


of things but am to mind. One of course is it has been put on the


total value of your home. If you have a big mortgage, you don't own


it all yet the tax is applied to the whole house. But inflation on houses


has cautioned that hasn't it? It is like in 1997, I don't think Ed Balls


and Gordon Brown put a tax on pensions in order to ruin them, but


that is what happened. The UK pension system was well funded up


and other point and attacks ruined it. What we are saying is they are


happy to see the capital value of everybody's house across the country


crumble and that is a poor policy. Dr Faiza Shaheen, you heard what he


says. Is this an economic case or is it a moral case you making? We're


talking about assets. It is both. We talk about skewness taxes and wealth


inequality is very high so the top 10% have 500 times what the bottom


10% have. Often a third of the population have nothing and are in


negative equity. We need to be doing something about inequality and we


need to do something about the unfair burden in which public sector


and austerity is being paid. How much would this race, how much would


you tax of those oligarchs, tremendously wealthy people, what we


do take from them? I think the mansion tax is a good idea, the land


value tax. From an economist's point of view, these are valuable because


they don't skewed incentives to work harder. Economists would say land


and housing because... Not all economists would say that. But in


terms of wealth taxes. Those people who had these assets would not


choose this at all. Let her finish. There is plenty of time. People who


have those assets would not choose them, this is a small proportion of


the population who have gained the most from growth, have suffered the


least from austerity. This needs to be balanced. There are a number of


consequences for our society. It is undermining our ability. Health


problems, crime and all kinds of issues and our economic stability


relies on lower levels of inequality. How much, Daniel Hannan,


how much is that holding us back? Wealth taxes don't read this --


re-dispute wealth as much as they read dispute people. In France they


had a higher rate of tax, people left they went to Belgium, they came


to London and paid their taxes to the UK Exchequer instead of the


French Treasury. The rest of the French population has had to pick up


the tab. That was income tax, this is about wealth. As James said, you


have 1% of people paying, according to the Treasury figures 29.8%, you


want to make sure they are paying taxes in the UK so the rest of us


don't have to pay taxes instead of them. If you have lower, flatter,


simple tax rates, the proportion paid by the rich increases. The


point here on tax, tax is not the only thing we need to do. I don't


agree that actually by not having the tax would seem more tax being


raised at the top. What we need to do, a lot of people on low pay, they


get tax credits instead of paying tax back. We have to do something


within the pay structure to make sure this wealth cannot be


accumulated at the top in the wake it is. That is another income, but


we're talking about what people have. What about land tax? Land tax


is helpful because you cannot avoid it. How would it work? People will


avoid paying tax, we don't celebrate people avoiding tax or say, because


you avoid payments, we're not going to charge you for that any more. I


am persuaded by taxes on property rather than income. We should have


lower taxes that everybody. What about public services? The great


thing is to lower the rate to the extent you start generating more


revenue, which happened here in the 1980s and it happened in the US. I


know it is a counterintuitive idea, but you get to the level where taxes


are lower so people are working longer and they stay here. The most


common forms of tax avoidance or early retirement, working shorter


hours or emigration. And that is in nobody's in trust. A lot of women


out there who are mothers will not say working fewer hours is to do


with tax avoidance. This is not about income it is about liberating


money into the economy. In Germany, a lot of this money goes into


industry. It is about Ferraris, Ming vases and land. It is a fair thing


to say, if we have to raise some money, where do you get it from? We


know tobacco tax disincentive rises smoking, if you're for an


alternative, taxes on consumption, I am up for that but Dr Faiza Shaheen


wants more taxes in general on the rich. The danger of that is the rest


of us end up paying more because the rich find clever accountants or


move. We used to do that with rates, and we have not revalued since the


early 90s. I am sure the man from Oxfam, you are dying to come in


here, what is your response? Oxfam figures showed five families own


more wealth than 13 million people. Five families own more wealth than


13 million people. At the top is the Duke of Westminster whose wealth is


rooted in owning Mayfair. We are not too worried about Mayfair being


flown to Switzerland, we think it will stay here. Those at the top


already get treated very nicely, thank you. We are concerned about


half a million people using food banks. We say, in these tough times,


it is those with the broadest shoulders who should make the


greatest contribution. I have heard this phrase a lot of times, the


broadest shoulders. Right now I see nothing stopping moving back towards


some sort of tax until the pips squeak type motion. We tried that in


the 70s and did not work very well. You disagree with Christine Lingard


from the IMF who says will come and -- wealth and income has got out of


control. You are disagreeing with mainstream economists who point out


that inequality has got out of control. Is there any limit to what


you would place on levels of inequality? 50% tax is the maximum


amount it should be. Nobody should be working more for the state and


for themselves. What about the Duke of Westminster, could he contribute


a bit more, he probably could without queueing in a foodbank? Does


he contribute a lot, the answer is yes. We have a situation in this


country where we have a high deficit and debt. The way to get out of it


is to build and invest. If we take money out of the economy in the form


of taxation and spending now, is short-term spending. Move money out


of property, this is the argument? I don't know where it all come from.


People will sell their house, they cannot sell a room. We will see an


economy that cannot invest for the long-term and get of deficit problem


it will not be an economy or society. Some of the people in that


top five are self-made, they have worked really hard. There are


brothers who started in their factory in Mumbai. Does this kill


aspiration or ambition, you don't buy that? No, and neither does


Warren Buffett. It is wonderful to make wealth, but it is wonderful to


give a little back. And in a decent society, we don't allow people to


fall into desperation. It is not the politics of envy, it is the call for


a better world. The Pope was right when he said it is time to tackle


the inequality crisis. Kevin Byrne, self-made man, agreeing with that? I


am agreeing with some aspects of it. When we talk about incentive, it is


a big thing to me. Most self-made people, entrepreneurs, they are


doing it for money, but most people are doing it for recognition or


something else. What the government is doing is, it is understanding


most people are not doing this for money and they are abusing people.


Why should I and someone who has worked incredibly hard... You don't


become an Olympian by getting up at 9am every morning, you don't become


a successful businessmen by putting yourself under huge burdens to


become successful. Why should I or my children have to put it on the


table, disproportionately so for people who haven't worked as hard as


I have? I don't understand that. Kevin? To some extent I sympathise,


but my father held three jobs down. He had a day job as a salesman, he


worked in a bar and a third job. We lived close to the edge of poverty.


He worked from morning till night to try to keep food on our table. It is


not about working hard. It is social inequality is what we have to


address. You are a Christian, what about the Bible, Jesus giving wealth


away and the eye of a needle and all that? You must have looked at that


and thought about them? It is very challenging, I am not an incredibly


wealthy person, I have aspirations to get to that and I work hard and


people who work hard should deserve the reward. But it is a delicate


situation because as a Christian you look at people in poverty and am I


saying shouldn't everyone contribute towards the well-being of other


people? Course we should. If you take away from people like me who


want to work hard and have great ideas and ambitions, if you start


saying, we will not reward you, we will Pina lies you, Pina lies you


and Pina lies you and then take it away from your children, where is


the incentive for me to go and generate wealth? Where is the


incentive to go and generate jobs? They are saying it is a big mess


about that end, but I think it is a mess at the bottom end as well, the


benefit system. I don't earn anything like a benefit amount of


salary, but I feel strongly that they should not have 50%, not


knowing what it's being spent on. Often it's not being spent on


anything useful. Some people that are on benefits, they just don't


want to work and can't be bothered. Why should those people, who really


can, be taxed so highly? I think it's really wrong. Is that


significant, the percentage? I don't know. Some ladies agreeing with you.


Any more hands up? There is a very simple stick solution. That is if


the G8, the G7, that they agree to lower taxes globally, that would


empower the individual, the wealthy and those that are not so wealthy


and cause the economy to grow. That is what we really want in recession.


The G8 agreeing on something? There is a point alluded to by the lady up


there, all of this tax is paid, it is not what they would call ring


fenced into people that need it, it is put into more government IT


schemes, it is put into bonds, it is put into HS2, they feel it just


disappears into a big Larkhall. -- black hole. That's the problem,


isn't it? Except up the road you have a fantastic kids psychiatric


unit. It costs ?750 a night. If you have a kid with schizophrenia, it


will keep your child alive and keep your family together. This is what


we are paying for with our taxes. The Duke of Westminster is a very


good example, what we have lost is the habits and the culture of


philanthropy that were there in the 19th century. If 0.5% of the people


of the South watched four hours less television a week and gave that in


volunteering, that would be 25,000 new full-time volunteering jobs. If


we all gave 1% more, that would unlock ?4 billion worth. If we can't


but that standard, Christian or not, taxes, taxes, and taxes again. It is


much better morally to make a decision yourself to dispose of your


assets, there is no morality and having it confiscated from you.


Oxfam, if you took away the wealthy people, you would have a more equal


society, but it would not be more equal because anyone was better


off, it would be because the wealthy have gone somewhere else. Surely


what we should be doing is raising the standard of the majority of


people, not worrying about the very rich. If we all believe that wealth


taxes would make the worst of better off, that would be the case.


Everywhere it has been tried in the world, you look at these third World


countries that have very high tax rates, you find that the poor are


much worse off than in countries where they don't. I think a lot of


myths are perpetuated on this subject. Of course, it depends what


level you place taxes, the idea is not to simply take all your wealth


suddenly, it is to have a progressive wealth tax system. In


terms of incentives, we can talk about incentives, there is a low


incentive problem with wealth taxes. We are also thinking about the


aspirations of young people growing up that don't live in a great


neighbourhood, that don't have a parent that happened to have a good


idea and make a lot of money. We do have to think about the trade-offs.


You have to think about the kind of society that we want to live in.


Last word? Most of the poor people in Britain work. Most people


claiming benefits work. So we are talking about the dinner ladies, we


are talking about cleaners that wake-up earlier than the


stockbrokers to clean the offices before the stockbrokers arrived. We


want to give them a fair shout. If you have something to say about


that debate, please do so. Log onto bbc.co.uk/thebigquestions and follow


the link to where you can join the discussion online. You can also


contribute on Twitter. We are also debating if we should pay


reparations for slavery and if illness can be cured by praying.


Send us any thoughts you might have about programmer Crow. -- The Big


Questions. Earlier this month, the Caribbean


nations approved a plan to seek reparations from former slaving


nations, including Britain, for the victims of slavery, slave trading,


genocide and racial apartheid. As a first step, they have engaged a


British firm of solicitors who won ?20 million compensation for the


Kenyan victims of torture during the rebellion in the 1950s. Should we


pay reparations for slavery, for the evil of slavery? Let me ask you,


first, what is really fascinating about this, what a lot of people


have not really focused on, the ongoing effects. There is something


you have spoken about before, intergenerational transmission of


trauma, tell me about that. Yes, basically, slavery and genocide has


impacted not only the historical populations that were kidnapped from


Africa, but also those of us who are the descendants of the enslaved


today. It's not only about trauma and multi-generational oppression,


the whole discussion around wealth, there has been unjust enrichment to


Britain and there has also been unjust impoverishment that has been


passed throughout generations. Part of the legacy is this huge


inequality that we see today between the descendants of the enslaved us


and the descendants of the enslaved. And psychological scars that have


had societal effects, ongoing economic affects. What are the


psychological scars? It is not knowing who we are. It is a lack of


connection. It is a lack of identity, a lack of nationhood which


makes us human beings, essentially. It is not being rooted. It is being


considered minority populations when we come from global majorities. It's


about having a second-class status and citizenship wherever we have


been located as a result of this dispersal and the population that


happened, originally in Africa. There is a phenomenon as well that


you believe really does exist, post-traumatic slave syndrome? To


something I have not coined, but many of our social theorist 's,


psychologist some psychiatrists have been looking at some of the negative


legacies that we have internalised. The internalisation of racism, self


hater, anti-African sentiment, prejudice and discrimination, a


loathing of ourselves. Self-loathing? A lack of esteem,


self-loathing, not being proud of who we are and our heritage, not


being proud of our African ancestry, changing our looks to emulate


Caucasian beauty ideals. These are some of the real legacies today in


terms of the psychology. We also have to look at the rates of mental


health illness. Is all routes back to slavery? Can I ask you, as well,


you don't know each other, but it is wonderful you are both on the


programme, how is it affecting you, Fernne, slavery? A woman in 2014? It


is very important, what Esther has been saying about post-traumatic


slave syndrome and the trauma it has caused through the ages. It has


affected me. I have needed people to help me to get to where I am today.


I think if they hadn't done that, I would not be talking to you today.


You have been lucky? I've been very lucky in love I have been helped to


be where I am today by people -- I have been very lucky in that I have


been helped to where I am today by the people that are aware of the


problems that Esther has raised. You have had to battle against that?


Against racism in particular. As a result of slavery? Absolutely.


Daniel Hannan, one of the things which is most egregious about this


is the fact that the slave is at the time of abolition were paid enormous


amounts of money, huge amounts paid to slave owners, the equivalent of


at least ?15.5 billion today. So, why shouldn't the people that are


still suffering have reparations? Because I am descended from slaves,


you are descended from slaves, everybody here is and everybody


watching at home is. Slavery was universal. We are also all descended


from slave owners. Slavery was practised in China, India, Arabia,


Africa, by the Aztecs, by the Pacific Islanders, Muslims enslaved


Christians, Christians enslaved Muslims. Therefore, if you are


looking at paying reparations, anyone whom you choose to pay is


statistically certain to be descended both from the owners and


the slaves. There were 3000 black slave owners in the US on the eve of


the Civil War. We are, if you like, all in this together. Therefore it


is very difficult now to look at a population, I am not talking about


continuing slavery, which is a huge issue and where we could be doing a


great deal, but if you are looking at past slavery, it is a question of


how far back you want to go. We are all slavers. Yellow rattle we are


not all descendants of enslaved peoples and enslavers. I think that


is falsifying history and minimising the seriousness of what we're


talking about. Enslaved and has happened to African peoples and


people of African descent, that is something that is different and


unparalleled in human history. That is the starting point for this


conversation. It's very cheap to say, well, we have all been


enslaved. Right now, I don't have the same life chances and life


experiences of many people who might even be sitting in this audience. I


feel we need to understand this history. I am not saying we haven't


all been impacted, but just to say we have all been impacted the same


is really not the starting point. Bernadette? I am going to play


devils advocate. I think we really need to be careful here. Has all


that got to do with slavery? Being in a mental institution? I a


champion of volunteers, I am a motivational speaker that visits


prisons twice a week. Some of the lads in there, their crimes are not


because I was a slave 150 years ago. At some point, yes, of course we all


know about slavery, bad things happen, bad things happened to me,


but you don't walk around with it. You have to move on. We have to rise


above it now and start moving on and thinking, OK, what are we going to


do in the next 150 years so that our children can say, this happened to


my great, great grandfather but wow, look what they have done now.


We've got to start rising above this and get away from you only this, you


owe me that, going back. Of course, every black person knows that it is


really difficult in certain areas. What about the families that have


profited from it, the families that are still enriched, the tobacco and


sugar millionaires? And I going to knock on all of the manor houses in


Dorset? Hello, give me this. Where does it end? Yes, some of them are


named and shamed, they are all in Google, they have been named and


shamed, almost an apology by Tony Blair. But no British Government is


going to apologise because it would open the floodgates. Almost an


apology, it was not made by Tony Blair. He expressed regret. There is


a reason why, I'm a realistic person, let's be honest, it will be


another 150 years before they apologise and hand out checks. How


are they going to do it? We are not asking for checks to be handed out,


it's not about money, that cheapens the debate. You do realise the


applications of if they apologise. The legal indications? Yes, the


compensation, my great, great-grandfather, how are going to


do it? That is not we are asking for. They asking for the first time


ever that the Western nations involved, the UK, France, Portugal


and so on, they sit around a table with 15 heads of government and talk


about the issues that plague us now. Then what? The issues that plague us


now, what has that got to do with slavery? My dad died last year, he


was a millionaire, that never stopped him, he worked hard. This is


why we need education. It's very important. One of the things they


talk about is education. But what has that got to do with education


150 years ago? My dad educated me, five girls, not one of those has


gone wrong. All five of us have done well. I don't understand. We are not


talking about something that happened 150 years ago, we are


talking about the current impact of slavery, colonialism which rings as


here into the here and now. That is what we are talking about. Hands up


in the audience please. In times of discussing whether African Caribbean


countries should get reparation, saying we have all been enslaved,


why can't you correct it and show it is not right by doing that and also


the money can go into development schemes. It is insane to assume


slavery has not got an impact. It is like saying, I made it and say, why


didn't you. You could lock up people in domestic bile and is in say, I


have made it out, why can't you. So what happened to your forefathers?


100%. If you are in an environment where there is self-hate, you


brainwashed Caribbean 's and told them they were slaves, then you did


not take it out of them. It is as rebuilding ourselves to remove that


mindset. You need schemes, things and economic power. Anyone else who


wants to make a quick point? Gentlemen at the back. The economic


legacy, talking about Jamaica spending more money repaying debt


repayments than education and health. How will the Caribbean


countries expect to move out from that when they are expecting to do


that. The cancellation of debts is one of the demands? It is one of the


things we are asking for. It goes beyond that, because the debt is


illegitimate. The people of the Caribbean did not owe anything and


the reason these debts where imposed on them is a legacy of colonialism


that must be collected. But Britain was distant -- difference, we are


all descended from slaves, the Greeks did it and between 11 and 17


million Africans enslaved. What makes Britain different is we


excavated this disgusting business. We were pouring energy, not just


into the abolition of our own territory but wiping out the slave


trade. Even in a life and death struggle against Napoleon we were


trying to stamp out the transatlantic trade from which we


derived no gain. Written is different in a very good way. It is


not. We talk about abolition but not Britain's commencement into this


whole process. We did not commence it. All the wealth generated that


help to make Britain great, the British Empire, all of this came


from enslavement and colonialism and ill gotten gains. It links to this


modern discussion about inequality and the huge gap between nations,


not only in terms and Europe but the rest of the world. In particular,


Africa and the Caribbean. There was a exist in slavery going on in


Africa which had been going on for ever. No, it was not the same. It is


a falsification of history. What we had in Africa was systems of Abbas


Khan it was very different? This is such a fascinating debate when


people have it, but one of the things always brought up, those of


Irish extraction for example, 1000 years of British history. Do they


have an inter-generation and transmission of trauma? And the


British working classes, the Highland clearances, the Mills, the


dark Satanic mills and the working-class struggle in the mines.


Do those have intergenerational scars? Yes, there are people in


those communities who argue that. Do you think they are right? It means


we have to understand our distinct history and what has happened to


specific groups. It is not about putting it all into the pot and


saying we are all oppressed, we are all oppressed differently. It is not


about victimhood it is about recognising what happened and how do


we repair the damage, which is what the term, reparation means. It is


not about compensation, it is how to repair the damage. Francis Davis. I


was thinking about the Irish situation and the difference between


America well claiming in Irish people, we need to be careful


because Britain's track record in some areas is good. 100,000 Croats


and Bosnians are left to rot as they came out of Vienna. And people 's


bodies on balance sheets in diamond mines in South Africa. We don't have


a good record. Who has a perfect record? Nobody, but compared with


other countries, and you can think -- include Africa in that. Then you


have Pol Pot, which we forget about here. We need to step back and say,


this is over now, yes we are sorry and we regret it. We cannot sort it


out financially except by overseas relief, debt remission and other


ways of looking forward and rebuilding the global economy. But


keep looking back and saying this passes down 15 generations does not


do anybody any favours. The worst possible reason to embark on


overseas aid is to make yourself feel better, the reason to do it is


to make things better on the ground. If you do it to assuage your gills,


it will make things worse. That is why we should be in Europe backing


the Ukrainians and pushing back against your argument! James, I can


see from your facial expressions you have been engaged in this debate. It


is extremely interesting, we started this off in the car coming here.


Daniel, these are terrible evils and Britain was the country that stood


by, the Royal Navy which was instrumental in stopping the trade.


It is important and should be celebrated. No country was perfect,


but Britain was probably better than a lot of other countries. So for us


to be the first port of call in demanding reparation is strange. It


is not. Slave trade is not a term that comes from us, in the same way


Jewish people talk about the Holocaust. It is not a victimhood


thing. There are two dimensional as to reparation, internal and


external. Internal is what we owe ourselves how we reclaim our agency


and self-determination. Then do what the Jewish people do, light candles.


There are billions of dollars in maintaining it in compensation, it


wasn't just about lighting candles. Should we feel guilty? No, it is not


about white guilt. If you have intergenerational transmission of


trauma, the was a story about Dominic Cumberbatch, his great,


great who was a slave owner. Is there a translation of guilt? I


think so and that is why this debate gets closed and minimised. What we


want is a conversation so there can be greater understanding in British


society as to how we have come to be where we are. What we need to tidy


up history is put things that were deleted back in. It is about our


community helping one another and passing the world on rather than


keep going back, you owe me this, you owe me that. We need to sort


ourselves out first. It is both, not one or the other. It is the fact


there are people and families today, institutions in Britain today that


are basically surviving on ill gotten gains, capital, wealth,


assets. Can you see a moment when it is over? Only when there is justice


and there hasn't been justice. What does that look like? Why is it hard


to recognise the justice cause of African descent? Are we less buying


human beings? You are confusing this. Does everybody have a right of


recognition of their experience but we just had to forget it and move


on? For a long time and people from minority communities fought


heroically for everybody to be treated the same. Equality under the


law is what defines this country. That is why I find it very sad that


you are arguing to be treated differently. That is on paper,


statute. Why do we still have inequality, wealth inequality.


Should this be, given the horror of it, I don't know that much about it,


I have read a couple of books on it, and they are evil and horrific.


People being thrown off votes because of insuring 's purposes. --


boats. It is wicked in the extreme, should this be a priority? It was an


evil part of history. The reason the boats had to keep going is because


the women could no longer give birth because they had been so ill


treated, they were no longer fertile. And even today, the poorest


parts of Africa are those parts from which the slaves were taken. The


West African coast, remain the poorest parts. The consequence of


this horrible history is still felt today. So anything that people can


do, both to acknowledge that injustice, but also to make the


world a better place, a fairer place is a good thing to do. Aid is


right, in part because we are atoning for our history. And also


because it means kids in school and who are alive would otherwise be


dead. So the work towards a just world and history, is important.


Esther has set it out very well today. Thank you all very much


indeed. You can join in all of these debates


by logging in: Tell us what you think about this


last question, can illness be too awed by praying? We will be in


Glasgow next week, Bristol on April six and then after a two-week


break, we are down Singh back from York on April 27.


On Tuesday it will be the Feast of the Annunciation which celebrates


perhaps the greatest miracle of all time, the impregnation of the Virgin


Mary by God, resulting in the birth of Jesus nine months later. On a


more humble level, some Christians have claimed to witness miraculous


-- miraculous events believing people to have been short of


physical or mental owner -- illness through the laying on of hands and


the simple power of prayer. And we have people here with us in


Southampton who said they have witnessed events like this. You have


seen this? Yes I have. We believe in spiritualism that healing is brought


through the forces and the energies from the spirit world. What have you


seemed? A young gentleman who came from Australia, was originally born


in Bournemouth, moved to Australia and came back a few years later. He


was about 23, came into our church for healing. He looked horrendous.


When you look at somebody and there is no colour in their face and they


look like they are coming to the end of their lives. What was the


diagnosis? He had cancer and he had been sent from the hospital by one


of the surgeons. They said there was little if anything they could do. So


you prayed? Yes, he came to one of our healers once a week and reported


back to the church on a monthly basis. As he reported back to his


doctor in Bournemouth hospital, each time he went back, they said to him,


the cancer was receding. Now, we truly believe we can work hand in


hand with the medical provision. Only spiritual healing healed him.


It was a great asset and help to him. People always ask this, why is


it never amputees? Can you cure amputees as well? No, we can't.


Cancer is pretty impressive. You make an incredible claim. But only


so far? This young gentleman was healthy and the cancer had left his


body and he was killed. -- cured. Your church group is working with a


leading NHS Trust, together, to use the power of prayer and give people


a feeling of well-being and peace, that may help their convalescence?


Yes, Leeds University we have a joint research project with them and


it is in relation to one aspect of healing that is about listening to


people. It is about hearing their story, and allowing them to both


understand that and authentically live it. Asking the question, can


prayer cure illnesses? The answer is yes, but not always. I think the


truth is, and I have prayed for people personally... And it has


worked? Yes, people have been healed. I have also buried two of my


friends, who were dead, but I have buried two of my own friends...


That's a relief! I would pray for them. Listen, when it doesn't work,


why doesn't it work? If I could ask that question, I could write a book


and be quite wealthy and then be taxed. It isn't a magic bullet. It's


not a magic thing that you can say, if you do this, this and this, you


will end up with this. The way human people work, body, mind and spirit,


it is an integrated thing. They have to believe? No, no. Jesus healed


people that were not engaged in... We said in the Bible, he made the


blind see, he made the deaf here, is that possible? He had a slight


advantage as the son of God, that was a help, but one of the key


issues for us is that if we never... Say for instance I pray for


ten people, two of them are healed, eight of them are left with a sense


of wholeness and well-being, is that not a good start? Kevin, is it? It's


a great starting point. I pray quite often, I pray for traffic lights to


stay green when I drive down the road, for BMW drivers to behave


themselves for a few minutes. Sometimes it happens and sometimes


it doesn't. In this question, there are two elements of this question


and we need to split them out. There is the question, can prayer cure


illness? Inherent in that, can prayer cause God to cure illness?


Let's take those two things separately. God does not exist,


there is no God, there is no fairy being in the sky. The prayer exists.


People over there were hissing Prayer as a placebo can work very


well. I'm a psychotherapist, and in my psychotherapy work, what I am


doing some of the time is placebo and it works very well, persuading


people they feel better. At the end of this, I feel better. Elaine,


Spiritualist National Union, Ukraine healers? It's quite rigorous? Very


rigorous training, Jeff is an approved healer that has gone


through training. What are you training, to be a transmitter? To be


a transmitter, the energy that comes from infinite intelligence, that we


call old. Healing and prayer may not always heal, but they may heal the


person that is transcending from one dimensional existence to another, in


that they ease their pain, distress and anxiety. You can call that a


placebo. I am also a registered nurse and I pray for my patients


every day. NHS? No, within industry, but I pray for my patients every


day. Some people might say that is like going to the dentist and he has


a voodoo dolls. If we believe there is a force in the universe, and


energy, we can transmit that energy through thought, prayer or physical


actions. There is an excellent book written in the late 1960s called


persuasion and healing by an American psychotherapist, Jerome


Frank. He voices that view that persuasion is the key bit in healing


and persuasion to heal. He's not talking about God or religion, he's


not talking about prayer, he saying that people have the ability, if


they believe they can heal themselves or be healed, it can


help. It's a useful addition? It's interesting, when religious people


get on side with this, it tends to be that self limiting illnesses they


seem to be able to cure, rather than other things. People do


spontaneously recover from cancer. You can't call cancer self-limiting.


What was it you have? EU chronic sarcoidosis. It was a prolonged


disease, not psychosomatic. I am not really meant to be here now.


Basically, someone prayed for me... It went away? They can't even find a


trace of it in my blood system. We spoke to a doctor who said it can


just go away. But yours went away because of something else? OK, if


you Google it, there is a 10% where does not go, it is basically


incurable and irreversible. The scarring on the lungs cannot just


disappear in that sense. Just to add one little thing, I believe that it


is proof that Jesus is real and Jesus is alive. Right. Francis? Is


the Jesus you pray to an interventionist? Does he intervene


in peoples lives? I think he does it in that so things are so


coincidental that they could not possibly be coincidental, rather


than sending laser beam kind of things. What do you mean by


coincidental? If there were no coincidences, that would be the most


monumental coincidence. I was once on top of a hill above the CC, an


overwhelming need to pray for a friend of mine that lives in


Liverpool that I had not thought about for five years. I came down


the hill and sent him a card because I was so that about him and out his


boss had come to save the I'm going to suck you in the middle of a wood,


I was in the middle of the word, and that cannot be coincidental. But


there is something much more significant, no matter how much


training you have got, if you are not a qualified psychiatrist you do


not want to be playing with religious symbols and language with


somebody with a severe mental health challenge because you have no idea


what you might be getting into. That is true in every area of life,


whether you are a Christian or not about mental illness. When we are


talking about if it is possible for the ministry of Jesus to continue,


through an ordinary Christian, who has integrity and has compassion, I


think... You have been healed as well? I had a really bad back pain


for quite a few months. Roll to roll -- Voltorol. I took ID -- are two


stops summary prayed for me, I felt a heat in the base of my spine, and


I haven't had it since. If you want to say it is a coincidence, let me


have another one. I think it's not unreasonable to believe that if


there is a God, and some of us will believe there is, he is an


interventionist. At the heart of the miracle John -- genre is compassion.


Hayley, tell us your story. I have also been cured myself, by evidence


-based medicine. A while ago I was walking through the city of Bath and


I came upon some faith healers who were handing out literature that


said they could cure everything from cancer, AIDS, asthma, MS. I sent


that to the advertising standards authority because I felt it was


misleading and potentially dangerous. This group of people did


not know who they would come into contact with. A lot of people have a


mistrust of their doctors. I was worried that it could turn people


away from conventional treatment. They agreed and said they could no


longer make the claims they were making on their leaflet. I am glad


they agreed, because I think it is potentially dangerous. To be fair,


you are not suggesting that people do not use conventional methods? You


are the icing on the cake? The lady of idiot? I kind of believe that a


lot of what you are talking about is actually positivity. Both me and


Sarah have a debilitating illness. I have MS, and arthritis. Being


positive? Just being positive in my mindset. Yes, sir? This gentleman


said he believed in something like the BMWs in the traffic lights, you


have to believe in something. But personally, a friend of mine, his


mother-in-law was ill, and he asked me, because I am the secretary of


the biggest mosque there, she is a practising Christian herself, to


pray for me. We prayed, Christian prayers, and believe me she is much


better now. The interesting thing is that she believes it was the


prayers. That's great, Mohammed and Jesus working together! I just want


to say that healing and miracles mainly depend on faith. I am a


Christian, in the Bible there were times when the apostles and even


Jesus himself were surprised at the lack of faith, and no miracles


happen. I believe that, Jesus heals. More than intervening, he is


the one that performs miracles. So I think that faith plays a key role in


the healing. It's not required, you do not have to believe in God to be


healed. It is lovely if you do, it adds another dimension to the


energy. Another...? Another dimension to the healing if you have


faith. But it is provided by the God force to be used for the betterment


of mankind, whether they are Christian, whether they are not,


whether they are spiritualist or not, it does not matter. There is a


beneficial energy in the universe for us to use for the good of all.


Do you want to come in? You know, if we had total answers, there would be


no faith. Do you have faith in the European Union? It is evidence


-based about the European Union, it is making us poorer. Kevin? One of


the sad things about this is, given the state of the NHS at the moment,


even the way the government has demolished it, it is no wonder that


some people are sadly turning to prayer. The inequity of this. What


happens with some of these issues around can prayer cure illness,


people turn away, they devalue it. Can prayer cure illness? I


absolutely believe it can. I think the sad element of this is that our


hearts have grown callous towards God. In this country, in the modern


developed countries of the world, if you have a headache you turn to a


pill. I've been to third World countries where I have laid my hands


on cataracts and they have cleared in front of me. You are a healer?


I'm not a kilo! -- healer! I declare they are healed in Jesus's name. And


I have seen miracle after miracle. Miracle? What miracle have you seen?


Once we went down, in India, me and a guy called Mark, we went into a


High Street and there was a guy bandaged from here to hear, or a


rickshaw, designed for his hands. I said, let's pray for this guy.


Everybody was saying, no, all gods are the same. He said, you call upon


your God to heal this man and they didn't. We prayed for this guy and


he was jumping up and down. More than that, three days later, he came


and sought this out to show he was still healed. Give yourselves a


round of applause. The debate will continue online and on Twitter.


Extra week we are in Glasgow. Join us then. Goodbye, thanks for


watching. Enjoy your Sunday.


Nicky Campbell presents moral, ethical and religious debates from King Edward VI School in Southampton, asking should wealth be taxed more, should we pay reparations for slavery, and can illness be cured by prayer?

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