Episode 14 The Big Questions


Episode 14

Nicky Campbell presents live moral, ethical and religious debates from Ashton Park School in Bristol. Topics include Britain's role in Afghanistan, parenting and faith in science?


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Transcript


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

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we're live from Ashton Park School in Bristol. Welcome, everyone, to

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The Big Questions. On Tuesday, British troops handed

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over control of Helmand province in Afghanistan to the US Marines. The

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Ministry of Defence estimates our military presence there has cost ?25

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billion. Others say it will turn out to be much more. What is undisputed

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is that 448 Britons lost their lives and 600 were seriously injured. Was

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it worth it? Eight YouGov poll published today found only 25%

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thought it wasn't only 13 for the Afghan government would be able to

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maintain peace. Yesterday, 7 million men and women casted their votes for

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eight presidential candidates, from tribal warlords to a chat show

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host. Can Britain be proud of its role in Afghanistan? Jonathan

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Foreman, so many lives lost. Linz lost. What a cost. -- limbers. Can

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you look at the families of those people squarely and say it was worth

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it? I think if those families and the general public were actually

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able to see some of the things I have been able to see in Afghanistan

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recently and see how that country has been transformed for the better,

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it would give them some conflict. -- comfort. This country really has

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been transformed with economic growth and 1 million children who

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have been educated who wouldn't have been. Formally and girls going to

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school who wouldn't have gone to school. And we fought off people who

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murdered women for teaching girls how to read. We've had many failures

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and many things have gone wrong. It's all very fragile. But is the

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balance sheet positive? Definitely. The country is vast to different.

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It's more prosperous, the people are better educated, there's more

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justice. It's been transformed for the better. We worked with a lot of

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other people to do it but it was something that was really worth

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doing. It's one of the great aid efforts of our time. But unfinished

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business? Very much so. Will it turn back to what we had previously? The

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thug regime from before? It could easily happen. It's very different

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now. The population is much younger and much better educated. Much

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better literacy. Half the population is under the age of 25. There were

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no elections before and they are about to go into their second. These

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people who grew up without radio. They have mobile phones when nobody

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had mobile phones before. Is that the crowning of a democracy? It's

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the education, that's the biggest one, I think. Many aspects but

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education is the biggest thing. And the fact that we have deliberate --

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liberated, to a degree, half a population that was oppressed, the

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women under the Taliban. Sophy, you served out there -- he served out

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there as Wing Commander. Is he right? I don't think we can say that

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yet. Every life lost is a big deal, clearly not just for the families.

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But in terms of the commitment politicians and senior ministry

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people make. So I don't think it's the right time to make that final

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assessment but it is encouraging what happened yesterday and nobody

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can deny that seeing over 50% of the population take part in the

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democratic process is very encouraging. I have to say that.

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What do you say to those men and women serving under you, what did

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you say, when they came to you and asked, why are we here?

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Interestingly, the men and women who served alongside me around my rank

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or below mine at the time did not generally question. We were in the

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start of a very difficult operation and actually the military way is to

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do what you are tasked to do, not question the motives. Probably where

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it was questions -- questioned was higher up. The senior people who

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were leading and had relatively poor levels of resource and commitments

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in the MoD that perhaps on the ground didn't feel like they were

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being met. I think the really difficult questions were being asked

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at that sort of Brigadier level, where they were drawn to wrestle

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with an almost impossible task. At the more junior level we just wanted

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to do what we code and make sure people didn't die in the process as

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much as possible. -- do what we could. How was the question

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answered? I don't know that it was because we all know that we deploy

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with not enough troops for the task in hand in 2006. 2001 is quite

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different but if we're talking about 2006, it's difficult. That's a very

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important point to make because the invasion in 2001 was to try to drive

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Al-Qaeda out of Afghanistan where it had been given a home by the

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Taliban, by the Taliban government. And I think the question that has to

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be asked is, did we stay too long? Now, everything Jonathan said was

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true. I saw wonderful things in Afghanistan, all over Afghanistan.

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Changes that had been made. Whether those changes will stick, of course,

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is another matter, because nobody has missed -- has mentioned

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corruption. It's probably one of the most corrupt countries in the

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world. It is a dreadfully corrupt country. And, as a consequence, the

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efforts that have been made, gigantic efforts by the Americans,

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British, Canadians, 36 countries from the UN were in Afghanistan and

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are there trying to work. That corruption was undermining

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everything that was going on at the same time, and my worry is that we

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stayed too long. The British Army, your great colleague, who does these

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wonderful reports from Afghanistan, he wrote a book called Butcher And

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Bolt, and that was the slogan of the British Army on the north-western

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frontier of Afghanistan. You get in there, kill as many of your enemy as

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you can and then get the hell out. And that is based on history. We

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lost a lot of people over 150 years. And I think we've got to ask that

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question. I think we went in there without enough good intelligence,

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certainly when we went to Helmand province we didn't have the

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intelligence we should have had, and as a consequence, a lot of people

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died and I don't think we gave the maximum value to the Afghan people

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we could have done. I would agree with all, too. I don't think in his

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book he is recommending we do that, David. He would probably argue,

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though he is not here to say, one thing that would make Afghanistan a

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disaster is leaving too soon. Bolting is the problem. It's leaving

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when things are half finished, it's running away that could threaten

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what has been achieved by a tremendous amount of sacrifice.

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That's what would be so awful, is if all these people who have given

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their lives, and also the incredibly brave Afghans, and people forget

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about that, too. Its 350,000 Afghans in their Armed Forces and those very

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brave... But we had the green on blue killings? Those getting into

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the papers because it sells newspapers. But no one talks about

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the achievement or the hundreds of thousands of Afghans who aren't

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killing troops and to fighting for them, defending them, fighting with

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them. It is interesting what Jonathan and Kim have said, because

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what they said about us leaving earlier, because nobody said when

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was the right time to leave Afghanistan. We didn't deceive --

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decide to leave until now and then it was 2014, what made, which

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doesn't seem to need to be a logical way to decide. So I don't think this

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year is about anything but that. The great problem, it seemed to be, all

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along, was that it was right next to Pakistan, and Pakistan was the

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barracks for the Taliban. 2 million Afghan refugees living on a dollar a

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day in terrible refugee camps in Pakistan. If somebody comes up to

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you from the Taliban and says, he is $50, you plant that landmine and

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blow up some infidels. -- here is $50. That's very difficult to turn

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down and that situation pertains still today and has done all along,

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and I think we've got to take that into account. There's only so much

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we can do. In the end it's got to be the Afghan people who determine the

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future of their own country and not the forces. Anna, I will be with you

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presently. I just saw the gentleman's can shoot up. We have to

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wait for the microphone to come to you. -- hand. I think we need to

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look at the question. You are saying we have handed over control to the

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US Army, so where is the success of what we have achieved? We haven't

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handed over the control to the Afghan people. The other point is,

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if we are so proud of what we have done there, will we do this again?

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The answer will be no. Yes, but that's... Once but not several

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times. That's a very important question. Because what sort of

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policy, foreign policy, does Great Britain want to follow in the

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future? It's condemned for intervening on behalf of people who

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have been murdered and suppressed by their own government and have no

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other way of fighting back. And if we don't do it, who does it? I

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really don't understand that. There's so much hypocrisy about this

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around. You mentioned Bosnia and Kosovo a little earlier. When people

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were murdered. That was before the programme, by the way! I'm sorry!

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But it took the RAF. And other people to sort out those murderous

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regimes killing their own people. It's the 20th anniversary of Rwanda.

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Who was supposed to go in and sort that out? Good Samaritan, you know,

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how can we cross the other side of the road when gay men are having

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rubble dropped on them? Women are having acid thrown in their faces

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and not being educated? It was a slave state for women who were

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there. They were third class citizens. How better is it getting?

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How much better is it getting? They passed the law in 2009, and this was

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under the Hamid Karzai government, that if your wife doesn't have sex

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with you once every four days, you have the right to starve her. Yeah.

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And that wasn't the Taliban. It certainly wasn't. And there's

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certainly a misconception that in the Hamid Karzai era things have

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completely changed for women across Afghanistan. They haven't. But they

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have been huge gains, huge gains in the city, particularly with women

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being educated and the amount of knowledge they have about the

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democratic system, participating. Yesterday, 30% of the voters were

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women. Does that make you feel incredibly... It was incredibly

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inspiring? Yes, but not only the women, but the defiance of

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everybody. Talking to voters, we're finding out people voting because

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they want to say no to the Taliban and they want to say, actually, we

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don't want your kind of government, we want an elected government that

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we participate in. And that in itself it worth it for me, anyway,

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in the last ten years. APPLAUSE

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Should we have stayed longer? Should British troops have stayed longer?

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Should Americans be there for the long road ahead? I think in a

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limited way, yes. We need to sustain our support. Talking about

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Afghanistan as the most corrupt country in the world but it's not by

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default and it wasn't always that corrupt. If you look at 2004, 2005,

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the ministries were doing quite well, some better than others. They

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were doing well with the NSP and Solidarity programme. And the

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corruption, incidentally, coincided with the increasing levels of aid

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coming in, so we have to be very careful, I think, in assigning

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labels of corrupt country to a place where we have actually contributed

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quite a lot to that escalation, I think. Have we? Does this go back to

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the Soviet invasion and the sponsoring and financial aid that

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was not pumped into the country but into the Mujahideen to fight the

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Soviets? Have we partially solved a problem that we partially created?

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We have not spent enough time looking at accountability

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mechanisms. We need to reduce the amount of aid we are giving to

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Afghanistan but do a lot more with a lot less for a longer period of

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time. I saw your hand up a few moments ago, I did not forget. Don't

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worry about democracy own, it is fine! At what cost? We have seen

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over $40 billion has been invested. We say Afghanistan is a corrupt

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country but there are many more countries which are more corrupt. I

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think China and India... Just one point, China is not a democratic

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country. Yes, there was an election yesterday but China has not seen an

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election for so many years and I don't Inc in future there will be an

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Afghanistan. Can you intervene in China? No way. -- I don't think in

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future. At what cost? You have got so much unemployment... Can I ask

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you a question? I am delighted you are here. In 2001, there were no

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girls being educated. In 2012, there were 2.9 million girls being

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educated. Do you celebrate that? Of course not but there are many more

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countries... You mean of course. In India, 700 million people live below

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$2 a day. In India, 70% of women in some provinces are illiterate. If

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you see by the number and not by the country, India has more problems

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than Afghanistan. Would you go and intervene over there? Who wants to

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respond? I think it is absolutely the case and it is inevitably true,

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there are examples all over the world of great injustices and

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inequalities. You take opportunities to do the right thing and when the

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opportunity presents itself, and it means as an international committee

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you can do the right thing, you don't say, we can't possibly help

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you because somebody over there is also suffering. You take that

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opportunity. Gilbert, you had your hand up. I think we are getting

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bogged down in a few details. Of course, I agree that the increase in

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education is phenomenal. All of these things which move towards

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democracy are great. However, we are going way away from the main

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question, which is Canberra to be proud of its role in Afghanistan? --

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can Britain be proud? I am not sure if we are in a position to say

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proud. It's as like we are about to wash our hands of it. Was it worth

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it is kind of the question? I think so. We have just had elections,

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there will probably be a second round in May, there have been some

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elections and it looks like a new and date will come in. We lost --

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new candidates will come in. The UK lost interest in Iraq quite soon

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after withdrawal. We mentioned Kosovo, we don't really hear about

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Kosovo, there is a Serb minority who are not really interested in being

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part of Kosovo. My point is we are getting very into detail and it

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feels like we are about to go, OK, there have been some achievements,

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now we are leaving. I feel like Afghanistan is going to leave the

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press and I think Britain's commitment has to be longer and more

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interested. OK, Oliver... We have an amazing amount being done for

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women. Some people think there is a bit of cultural imposition going on.

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As a way of spending $40 billion, is that the best way to spend it in

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terms of making the world a better place? That is the upper estimate.

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Something like that. Frankly I find it hilarious, we have four or five

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people from the military establishment all related to it,

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that is who you all are. Anybody talking off the record, I have

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spoken to security services and military, all of the speak up 's --

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these people speaking off the record would say something quite different.

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After 911 we had to get in and sort out Al-Qaeda, we did not have to

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invade Afghanistan, it could have been done on the quiet. Of course we

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did not have to invade it. If Soviet Russia could not subdue it, what on

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earth made anybody think we could do it? The reality is of the record,

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everybody agrees it is completely insane to try to invade... What

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about the transformation of society? For that money, you could spend it

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in Africa, you couldn't spend it in China because we would get nuked by

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them, but you could probably spend it in India and if you look at what

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you have bought for your money, it is ridiculous. The last word, Kim

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Howells. What do you think Afghanistan will be like in 20

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years? I hope it will be better. To return to this point, what we think

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of the record, I am speaking perfectly honestly and I am sure

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Jonathan is as well. This is just a slur, of course. That people don't

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actually believe these things. The men and women who went into

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Afghanistan went there to try to make a difference. I am talking

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about the senior people. I was a government minister. I am talking

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about MI5 and MI6. I chaired the intelligence and Security committee

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that overlooks MI5 and MI6. We all know about chairs of these

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intelligence committees like John Scarlett, who is then made head of

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MI6. There were great failures of intelligence gathering and I said

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that in my contribution. We could have done much better on that front.

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The notion that on the quiet you can sort out Al-Qaeda, in 2001, it is

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just fantasy. It is a nonsense, a conspiracy theory that is out there

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on the internet. It is rubbish. Are people who went in there did drive

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Al-Qaeda out of that country and they did us all a service, they kept

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those bombers off our streets for a very long time, people tend to

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forget that. We must leave it there, thank you so much. If you have

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something to say about that debate, log on to bbc.co.uk/thebigquestions

:21:27.:21:29.

and follow the link to where you can join in the discussion online. Or

:21:30.:21:32.

contribute on Twitter. We're also debating live this morning from

:21:33.:21:36.

Bristol: Should the state stop interfering in parenting? And should

:21:37.:21:41.

we have more faith in science? So get tweeting or e-mailing on those

:21:42.:21:44.

topics now or send us any other ideas or thoughts you may have about

:21:45.:21:46.

the show. On Monday the charity Action for

:21:47.:21:54.

Children, backed by six cross-party MPs and peers, launched a campaign

:21:55.:21:58.

to make the emotional abuse of a child a crime, just as physical or

:21:59.:22:04.

sexual abuse is. Dubbed the Cinderella Law, it could result in

:22:05.:22:07.

prison sentences up to ten years for anyone over 16 who harms a child's

:22:08.:22:10.

mental health or intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural

:22:11.:22:18.

development. One Tory backbencher called it "a charter for whiny

:22:19.:22:25.

kids". Should the state stop interfering in parenting? Max

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Wind-Cowie, do you not think this is real progress in our society, to put

:22:36.:22:39.

emotional abuse alongside physical abuse and sexual abuse as a criminal

:22:40.:22:43.

offence? I think it is a mark that as a society, we have lost track of

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what it means to abuse to some -- abuse do as opposed to accidentally

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cause harm. We are all extremely concerned about the welfare of

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children, how they develop and grow up, making sure they are as happy as

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possible. This marks a kind of extraordinary overreach on the part

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of the state, saying not only are we going to judge or actions as a

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parent but we are going to judge your feelings, look into your soul

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and say that you either do or do not love your child sufficiently, and

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the way in which you deal with or engage with your child, for most

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parents that will change over time. I remember being a teenager, I am

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sure there were times when my parents did not like me very much

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and I would not want to judge them for that retrospectively and I

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certainly would not want to send them to prison. It is about saying

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to parents, if you are not able to feel what we think you ought to

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feel, and if we can't see that you feel that, we are going to come

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after you and I think that is profoundly dangerous. Matthew, you

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are champing at the bit here. Oliver wrote a book based on the line in

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that Philip Larkin poem which I can't quote but I can arrive phrase,

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they mess you up, your mum and dad. What are we talking about here? We

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have confusion over the proposed bill. Neglect is the single biggest

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form of child abuse in the UK. Social workers will say the most

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common form of neglect they have to deal with is emotional neglect. The

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Children's Society, we see this neglect. Neglect is a persistent and

:24:17.:24:22.

consistent way, sometimes deliberate, of neglecting or abusing

:24:23.:24:28.

a child. It is sometimes in terms of humiliating a child I make

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persistent level, persistently excluding a child, persistently

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exposing a child to degrading behaviour. The impact of that are

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substantial. At the Children's Society we see everyday, children

:24:42.:24:45.

who have either low well-being, expressing mental health problems,

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or behaviours as a result of being emotionally neglected. Not

:24:52.:24:55.

cuddling, not talking, not encouraging? Children are protected

:24:56.:25:01.

by physical neglect by the law they are protected by sexual abuse by the

:25:02.:25:06.

law, this is to bring in protection against emotional abuse. We would be

:25:07.:25:10.

the last country in Europe to have a law which protected children

:25:11.:25:13.

properly and that is a good thing to be doing for our society.

:25:14.:25:14.

APPLAUSE No one is arguing that some children

:25:15.:25:23.

don't have the fickle relationships with their parents and sometimes we

:25:24.:25:28.

might look at parents and say, you are failing to show the right amount

:25:29.:25:32.

of support and affection. Do you not think and shredding that in law has

:25:33.:25:36.

a number of difficulties? First of all the practicalities of how you

:25:37.:25:39.

are going to assess whether or not what a parent is doing is justified

:25:40.:25:43.

or not, and whether they are doing so with good intentions. Secondly,

:25:44.:25:48.

for a variety of reasons, lots of parents at various points will have

:25:49.:25:54.

emotional difficulties of their own. If you think about postnatal

:25:55.:25:57.

depression for example, something which is commonly experienced by

:25:58.:26:01.

lots of women and which can affect their relationship with their

:26:02.:26:05.

bonding, with their child. You not think it might make it substantive

:26:06.:26:08.

li harder and more difficult for parents who are struggling and in

:26:09.:26:14.

difficulty, to speak to their doctor, therapist, and say, I am

:26:15.:26:19.

having a real difficulty engaging with my child. If you are going to

:26:20.:26:23.

come after them and say, not only does this mean that social services

:26:24.:26:26.

might be involved at they might go to prison for ten years... I

:26:27.:26:31.

actually don't think that full so I am a parent, we all know that

:26:32.:26:34.

parenting is a challenging part of life.

:26:35.:26:40.

What about sending your child to boarding school at the age of seven

:26:41.:26:45.

or something like that? Is that not emotional abuse? At the moment

:26:46.:26:52.

social workers work within a framework where there is a clear

:26:53.:26:59.

civil law definition, the proposal is to also make it a criminal

:27:00.:27:03.

offence. We don't see sending HL to boarding school as being a civil

:27:04.:27:06.

offence and it would become a criminal offence # red sending a

:27:07.:27:08.

child to boarding school. The point is the consistent and

:27:09.:27:21.

deliberate, sometimes, treatment of parents which can stunt a child's

:27:22.:27:28.

ability to thrive in life and cause high risk behaviours. There is a

:27:29.:27:32.

high threshold but the right to protect a child from being abused

:27:33.:27:35.

and elected must be a primary concern as a society. Lauren

:27:36.:27:42.

Devine, is this straightforward legally? I don't think it is. The

:27:43.:27:49.

first thing to mention is that we already have section 47 of the

:27:50.:27:54.

children act 1989, the underlying framework for the civil law that

:27:55.:27:58.

social workers will implement when they conduct an investigation on the

:27:59.:28:02.

grounds of suspected abuse. I think there is a difficulty in trying to

:28:03.:28:08.

extend that in a supportive fashion into the criminal law. Immediately

:28:09.:28:11.

you have operational problems. How would you adequately define and

:28:12.:28:16.

worse than that, prove emotional abuse of a child? The problem is the

:28:17.:28:22.

definition. The world health organisation, for example, publishes

:28:23.:28:26.

a very long and comp rancid definition of child abuse including

:28:27.:28:35.

-- comp rancid definition of child abuse including emotional abuse --

:28:36.:28:36.

comprehensive definition. They are putting the number that

:28:37.:28:47.

they believe to be abused at around 10%. If you take that any other form

:28:48.:28:53.

of abuse, may also by definition include an element of emotional

:28:54.:28:56.

abuse, you are talking about potentially temper sent families in

:28:57.:28:59.

the UK affected by this law. I also think it would be profoundly

:29:00.:29:03.

dichotomous to bring onto the criminal statute books a law which,

:29:04.:29:09.

as has already been pointed out, a parent who may be struggling and is

:29:10.:29:12.

wanting support services, which is how section 47 is built, they are

:29:13.:29:17.

support services, they are supposed to be supportive, the intention is

:29:18.:29:21.

children are taken away from parents as a last resort, not as a first

:29:22.:29:26.

port of call. Bringing in the police, it may well send a message

:29:27.:29:30.

to society that we will not tolerate emotional abuse of children, but we

:29:31.:29:34.

all agree as a moral axiom it is not desirable to abuse children in any

:29:35.:29:39.

shape or form so I'm not sure what it would achieve in a real sense.

:29:40.:29:41.

Robert Matic Lee, how would we prove what is opinion and fact --

:29:42.:29:49.

problematically. The Law commission has published its report which the

:29:50.:29:51.

government has decided not to act on, talking about the scandalous

:29:52.:29:55.

cases that happened ten or 12 years ago involving Sally Clark, in

:29:56.:30:00.

relation to women who were accused of killing their babies, released on

:30:01.:30:05.

appeal and it was the expert evidence that was called into

:30:06.:30:09.

question. If we can be that uncertain about using expert

:30:10.:30:11.

evidence in the case of physical abuse, where would we sit with

:30:12.:30:18.

emotional abuse? A fascinating point. I had just went up. A quick

:30:19.:30:24.

point. I think it should be clear to everyone that emotional abuse is

:30:25.:30:31.

every bit as harmful as sexual abuse or physical abuse but in a similar

:30:32.:30:36.

way to what she said, and I'm sorry, I can't remember your first name, I

:30:37.:30:41.

think it would be very difficult to enforce because while there are some

:30:42.:30:44.

things that are obviously emotional abuse, there are other things that

:30:45.:30:49.

are entirely subjective. You made the point about boarding school.

:30:50.:30:52.

What one person's emotional abuse could be, that could be completely

:30:53.:30:57.

okayed to another child. And on that point, was in the 60s you were at

:30:58.:31:06.

Eton, at boarding school? The 70s, 80s? You are a -- you are ageless!

:31:07.:31:14.

But you must have seen boys who were breast. -- who were their -- who

:31:15.:31:28.

were distraught. The key thing here is that the scientific evidence was

:31:29.:31:34.

overwhelming. That emotional abuse, which is hostility, lack of love, is

:31:35.:31:41.

incredibly harmful. If you take, even in extreme mental illnesses

:31:42.:31:46.

like schizophrenia, emotional abuse is a bigger cause of schizophrenia

:31:47.:31:52.

than sexual or physical abuse in a survey of 41 studies. And overall,

:31:53.:31:57.

the evidence is absolutely clear that genes play a very small part in

:31:58.:32:01.

explaining why one sibling is mentally ill and not another, why

:32:02.:32:04.

one of your offspring is mentally ill and not the other. It really is

:32:05.:32:09.

about the kind of care you receive, and particularly, you need love,

:32:10.:32:13.

particularly in the first three years, and they knew not to be --

:32:14.:32:19.

you need not to be the object of hostility, favouritism and bad

:32:20.:32:22.

behaviour. It's not easy. I take your point that we are getting into

:32:23.:32:27.

a very grey area of definition. But what is important is that we

:32:28.:32:31.

signalled these kinds of laws are more than anything else signals, in

:32:32.:32:34.

the same way that they should be laws against parents hitting their

:32:35.:32:39.

children, and it's ridiculous we don't have that law. It would hardly

:32:40.:32:43.

ever be forced, in the same way when it comes to emotional abuse. Very,

:32:44.:32:48.

very few prosecutions would be brought specifically for emotional

:32:49.:32:53.

abuse or being consistently hostile. The concept would be hard to prove

:32:54.:32:56.

but we need to send out a signal saying, it is how you care for your

:32:57.:33:00.

children that is critically important for their mental health,

:33:01.:33:03.

and the solution to this is to reduce the number of low income

:33:04.:33:07.

people because we have a very unequal society and that is a major

:33:08.:33:10.

cause of mental illness. And secondly, we need to support

:33:11.:33:18.

parents. Sure Start Centres were turned into a crash facility. If

:33:19.:33:23.

they had been a way to help parents interact with their children and

:33:24.:33:28.

help them because they had been messed up in their terms and it

:33:29.:33:31.

passes down the generations, but what we are in the business of is

:33:32.:33:37.

trying to break the cycle of abuse and damage to children. So a more

:33:38.:33:44.

child-centred society and then more parent centres? Yes, let's put the

:33:45.:33:48.

meeting of the needs of children ahead of the profits of a tiny few.

:33:49.:33:57.

But they might be parents watching now, thinking, my goodness me, and

:33:58.:34:01.

my filling all the emotional needs of my child. -- there might be.

:34:02.:34:09.

Absolutely. There are lots of ways which parents can influence to a

:34:10.:34:13.

detrimental way their children. We know that parents are divorced and

:34:14.:34:18.

families that experience family breakdowns have a profoundly

:34:19.:34:21.

negative impact on that are relevant of children and we, quite rightly as

:34:22.:34:26.

a society, are not going to go around looking parents who are

:34:27.:34:29.

unable to sustain their marriages because we recognise there are other

:34:30.:34:32.

factors we have to take into account, too. The problem I have

:34:33.:34:36.

with the framing of this debate and the idea we're going to legislate

:34:37.:34:41.

this is that it is making love bureaucratic. Of course children

:34:42.:34:50.

need love, of course they do. But there is a situation where we are

:34:51.:34:54.

saying that the state can be punitive about that. In a society

:34:55.:34:58.

like that where we have a slightly less brittle approach to our

:34:59.:35:01.

children, which is entirely about what your parents do, and it is a

:35:02.:35:05.

very small, isolated unit, which is the nuclear family, and we say if

:35:06.:35:14.

they mess that up in that tight unit, then it is going to go wrong.

:35:15.:35:21.

If we can find ways of binding children into more meaningful

:35:22.:35:25.

relationships with their extended community, teachers, preachers, we

:35:26.:35:32.

might have something better. Strong language. I feel quite faint! It's

:35:33.:35:42.

only right that children need protecting from any form of abuse,

:35:43.:35:45.

but how are we going to fund this and where will the resources come

:35:46.:35:54.

from? So that's a point about the economics and politics of it. One of

:35:55.:35:58.

the things I'm looking at with my own research is the amount of annual

:35:59.:36:02.

spend on our current child protection system and whether or not

:36:03.:36:05.

it's possible to quantify in any meaningful way the extent to which

:36:06.:36:10.

children can be seen to be positively benefited by the current

:36:11.:36:15.

system. If we go back to this point about things being child-centred, I

:36:16.:36:19.

would like to ask the question, if we do criminalise emotional abuse,

:36:20.:36:23.

given all the problems we have just identified, how would we be able to

:36:24.:36:28.

measure in an identifiable way how many children it could positively

:36:29.:36:31.

benefit, or would we be able to make that assessment? Or would we simple

:36:32.:36:37.

beep -- simply be putting an unworkable law onto the statute

:36:38.:36:41.

books? It's simply about sending out a, that is all. But I learned it is

:36:42.:36:49.

very bad to make criminal laws on the basis of, something must be

:36:50.:36:54.

done, firstly, and sending a signal, especially when there are the risks

:36:55.:36:59.

we have heard. And I want to say, I don't recognise the cause of data

:37:00.:37:03.

with schizophrenia. I question whether you are right that emotional

:37:04.:37:08.

abuse is the cause. Can I just replied to that very quickly? A

:37:09.:37:14.

child who has had no adversity is... Sorry, somebody who's to --

:37:15.:37:21.

has had five or more adversities is 193 times more likely to have a

:37:22.:37:24.

mental illness than somebody who has had no adversity. And secondly, the

:37:25.:37:31.

main genetic psychologist in this country was quoted in The Guardian

:37:32.:37:34.

saying very recently, I have been looking for the genes for 15 years

:37:35.:37:43.

and I cannot find them. That's not particularly scientific. I just

:37:44.:37:46.

think we should be careful about quoting individuals. My main point

:37:47.:37:52.

is that there are risks. What you need incremental law is certainty.

:37:53.:37:56.

If it's going to be hard to define, even if the intentions are right, as

:37:57.:38:01.

I'm sure they are, you might not get a far, but there are huge risks and

:38:02.:38:04.

people might not come forward for help. And the police, bless them,

:38:05.:38:11.

are not very good social workers. We have professional social workers in

:38:12.:38:13.

this country who would do a much better job at family dynamics. The

:38:14.:38:18.

police tend to over police laws, especially with new laws. We've seen

:38:19.:38:24.

that. That is a risk with a law like this. Do you think there's a danger

:38:25.:38:30.

down the road of the challenges like historic emotional abuse cases, and

:38:31.:38:33.

we know without going to individual cases at the moment, that there's a

:38:34.:38:37.

lot of historical cases of sexual abuse, and they are evidently very

:38:38.:38:42.

difficult? Yes, and justice must be done whenever it is. Despite working

:38:43.:38:50.

for the Catholic Herald, he speaks very loudly, because that faces a

:38:51.:38:55.

big litigation risk, so it's hard to hear lectures from that side. But

:38:56.:39:00.

you can identify physical and mental harm without Trent to define what is

:39:01.:39:04.

emotional abuse in a one-year-old to a three-year-old. It's hard enough

:39:05.:39:09.

to get the definitions right. Someone's right to liberty, that's

:39:10.:39:14.

what we are talking about with a criminal offence. So I'll be very

:39:15.:39:18.

cautious about moving it away from well-trained professionals and away

:39:19.:39:22.

from a civil law. -- I would be very cautious. The point about having a

:39:23.:39:32.

child centric policy and the economics of it is very important.

:39:33.:39:35.

When you think about people who maybe have several children and use

:39:36.:39:39.

the welfare system and vilified in the press and tabloids, it's always

:39:40.:39:43.

about how awful the parents are and what they are doing and there's very

:39:44.:39:46.

little focus on what is actually right for those children regardless

:39:47.:39:52.

of their parental circumstances. And we'll have a role to play in

:39:53.:39:55.

thinking about the needs of children before we go on blaming and

:39:56.:40:02.

criticising the parents. Self-righteousness? Yes. We are

:40:03.:40:07.

going to have to leave it there. Thank you very much for your

:40:08.:40:11.

participation in that debate. You can join in all this morning's

:40:12.:40:14.

debates by logging on to bbc.co.uk/the big questions and

:40:15.:40:16.

following the link to the online discussion. Or you can tweet using

:40:17.:40:22.

#bbctbq. Tell us what you think about our last big question, too,

:40:23.:40:25.

"should we have more faith in science?"

:40:26.:40:28.

If you would like to be in the audience at a future show, you can

:40:29.:40:33.

email us. We're not on for the next two weeks because of the London

:40:34.:40:36.

Marathon and Easter, but we'll be back from York on 27th April, where,

:40:37.:40:40.

as well as the live morning show, we'll be recording a special on

:40:41.:40:44.

atheism in the afternoon. We're also recruiting audiences in London for

:40:45.:40:46.

11th May and Walsall for 25th May. This week a report from the

:40:47.:40:58.

Independent Panel on Climate Change, a group of leading scientists from

:40:59.:41:01.

across the world, warned our world is facing serious risks. Death,

:41:02.:41:05.

injury and illness from storms, flooding and rising sea levels,

:41:06.:41:08.

mortality and morbidity from extreme heat, malnutrition and death from

:41:09.:41:10.

food shortages, disruption and loss of livelihoods, breakdowns of

:41:11.:41:12.

infrastructure networks and key services, and mass migrations,

:41:13.:41:15.

leading to global instability and conflicts. Yet despite the evidence

:41:16.:41:27.

amassed by scientists around the globe, around six out of ten Britons

:41:28.:41:30.

are not convinced that man-made climate change is happening at all.

:41:31.:41:36.

Should we have more faith in science?

:41:37.:41:48.

Professor Tim Palmer, will society, professor of climate physics at

:41:49.:41:52.

Oxford University. -- Royal Society. Do you despair that people

:41:53.:41:57.

don't buy this mandate? I don't spare. The problem with climate

:41:58.:42:02.

change, it's a scientific problem but it has great implications for

:42:03.:42:05.

society. People are concerned about things like, maybe, wind turbines,

:42:06.:42:14.

or green taxes or perceived infringements on their freedoms to

:42:15.:42:18.

drive gas-guzzling cars and things like this. I think the important

:42:19.:42:23.

point, however, is to try to disentangle these issues from the

:42:24.:42:26.

basic science. And the basic science, which I and my colleagues

:42:27.:42:30.

on the intergovernmental panel you mentioned, are just trying to

:42:31.:42:33.

approach the problem from these totally policy neutral objectives. I

:42:34.:42:41.

have no political agenda. I trained as a physicist and I believe my

:42:42.:42:45.

expertise is relevant to this problem, which is to say, as we emit

:42:46.:42:51.

ten gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere every year, we are

:42:52.:42:55.

looking to double carbon dioxide to its preindustrial values later this

:42:56.:42:59.

century, what is this going to do to climate? What is it going to do to

:43:00.:43:04.

sea levels, drought, flooding around the world? Incidentally, not just

:43:05.:43:08.

for the next two years but the coming centuries and potentially

:43:09.:43:11.

thousands of years. And the question I think people have to try to get to

:43:12.:43:15.

grips with, and I realise it's a difficult one, is to try to leave

:43:16.:43:19.

aside the policy issue and say, do I think these are genuine risks that

:43:20.:43:24.

we are putting on our climate system that are going to be very

:43:25.:43:30.

detrimental to society? Are these serious risks we need to consider

:43:31.:43:35.

and take seriously? Now, the question then of what we should do

:43:36.:43:42.

about it is for politicians and policymakers. In this debate it

:43:43.:43:47.

relieves important to separate out these two issues, the science and

:43:48.:43:54.

the policy. We have a general discussion in the next 15 minutes

:43:55.:43:57.

about science and faith in science and scientists tell us the

:43:58.:44:04.

scientific method with hypothesis what is happening and why it is

:44:05.:44:07.

happening. They do not have an agenda. Science covers a huge range

:44:08.:44:15.

of different topics and disciplines. I used to be a particle visitors,

:44:16.:44:19.

the goals and methods are very difficult to zoology which in turn

:44:20.:44:24.

of a different to the social sciences. I think we have to

:44:25.:44:29.

distinguish what kind of science and how good is that particular kind of

:44:30.:44:33.

science. Lets leave out the social sciences for this debate. I was

:44:34.:44:41.

making a value judgement. The other thing is that a particular science

:44:42.:44:46.

is very good at doing what it does well. Physics is Bjerregaard

:44:47.:44:50.

measurement was a bit is no good at setting ethics or political policy,

:44:51.:44:54.

or teaching the appreciation of music. The problem is with the

:44:55.:45:01.

climate science, as Professor Palmer pointed out, politics has got

:45:02.:45:08.

interwoven with the scientific assessment. That is not his fault. I

:45:09.:45:13.

would be interested to question him on this because the introduction to

:45:14.:45:16.

the report is not just written by scientists, all additions do get

:45:17.:45:19.

involved, it would be interesting to hear some perspective. It is

:45:20.:45:24.

important for people to read the reports, read the IPCC, or a report

:45:25.:45:31.

which came out recently by the Royal Society which tried to set out the

:45:32.:45:37.

science. I don't think people should have blind faith in science but what

:45:38.:45:40.

they should do is look at the evidence that is put out by IPCC,

:45:41.:45:45.

the Royal Society and make up their own minds. Do you despair... Lots of

:45:46.:45:55.

despair this morning... Are you angered when you see debates on

:45:56.:46:02.

settled science like evolution or climate change or atomic theory or

:46:03.:46:06.

whatever... Or that homoeopathy is fake. And juicy equivalents on the

:46:07.:46:13.

broadcast channels, the BBC has been criticised # red and use see full so

:46:14.:46:17.

you might see Nigel Lawson against Professor Walker.

:46:18.:46:22.

It is frustrating but I like to get even. I think faith is the wrong

:46:23.:46:27.

word. We should have more confidence in science. When we get on a plane,

:46:28.:46:33.

we want to know it has been checked by the engineers, not that someone

:46:34.:46:38.

has rested, prayed over it or a politician has asserted that this is

:46:39.:46:42.

the best plane ever. It is confidence in the scientific method.

:46:43.:46:47.

The method is more than just hypothesis, experiment and

:46:48.:46:51.

conclusions. It is continuing scepticism, it is declaration of all

:46:52.:46:55.

your interests, it is having it criticised before you get your

:46:56.:46:58.

funding and before you can publish it, and it is continual building on

:46:59.:47:03.

the work of others. It is completely different from the way politics and

:47:04.:47:08.

religion works and it is why we must rely on it when we are asking

:47:09.:47:12.

important questions like vaccine safety, whether certain treatments

:47:13.:47:15.

work, whether we should have confidence in what the doctor is

:47:16.:47:18.

offering, what the crack is offering. There is a difference

:47:19.:47:22.

between evidenced -based treatment and others. And whether we are

:47:23.:47:25.

listening to whether there is a business interest on climate

:47:26.:47:28.

change, a politician like Nigel Lawson, and the overwhelming

:47:29.:47:32.

Georgie, the overwhelming consensus of scientific opinion. Of course

:47:33.:47:37.

there are mavericks in science, but is important. I think we should be

:47:38.:47:45.

voting for politicians to say, I am going to make, on these issues, the

:47:46.:47:49.

policies based on what the evidence is. Drug laws are interesting. A

:47:50.:47:58.

very good example. Professor Nutt says one thing and he is

:47:59.:48:04.

marginalised. The Labour government did some good things for science but

:48:05.:48:08.

this was very bad, they prevented independent scientific advice from

:48:09.:48:11.

being independent by saying that if you argue with what we say the

:48:12.:48:15.

sciences, we will sack you. That is what happened to him and it was very

:48:16.:48:18.

wrong. APPLAUSE

:48:19.:48:22.

I want to move on to homoeopathy shortly. I would be interested to

:48:23.:48:31.

see if Professor Palmer thinks this is a peculiar problem in science.

:48:32.:48:35.

The earth is not a system we can experiment with repeatedly, as we do

:48:36.:48:40.

with other physical systems. We rely a lot on modelling, there are

:48:41.:48:44.

massive feedback problems. It would be interesting to hear, do you think

:48:45.:48:47.

there are challenges that we don't face in other kinds of sciences? You

:48:48.:48:52.

are right to say we can't do an experiment in the laboratory to see

:48:53.:48:56.

what climate change will do but we can get evidence from past climates

:48:57.:49:00.

and we have to use the laws of physics to tried understand what is

:49:01.:49:07.

going on. A key point for me which distinguishes good science from bad

:49:08.:49:11.

science or even non-science, is an ability to estimate and quantify

:49:12.:49:16.

uncertainties. You mentioned the word risk, this is an excellent

:49:17.:49:21.

word, it describes precisely how climate science tries to deal with

:49:22.:49:25.

the challenges that were mentioned. We tried to frame the problem in

:49:26.:49:29.

terms of the risk, what is the risk of exceeding two degrees, up to five

:49:30.:49:34.

degrees in the coming century. Five degrees being the difference between

:49:35.:49:38.

the last ice age and the present day, it is calamitous. Other types

:49:39.:49:43.

of astrology, for example, you don't get any indication... You will meet

:49:44.:49:48.

a tall dark stranger, but with what Rob ability? -- what probability.

:49:49.:49:55.

The Nigel Lawsons of the world are adamant that there is no danger

:49:56.:49:59.

whatsoever, but we will have dangerous climate change. -- there

:50:00.:50:05.

is no danger that we will have. There is no indication there is any

:50:06.:50:09.

uncertainty in that view and it should be a hallmark for people

:50:10.:50:12.

listening to potential science. Are they giving credible estimates of

:50:13.:50:16.

the uncertainties that undoubtedly there are? Homoeopathy, you

:50:17.:50:23.

mentioned it earlier. Where is Ian? Hello. Homoeopathic practitioner.

:50:24.:50:35.

How does it work? What is the science of it? Can I move it on

:50:36.:50:40.

because we haven't got a lot of time? There are many forms of

:50:41.:50:46.

science and different points of looking at it. Long period of time

:50:47.:50:50.

we have gathered a huge amount of evidence on the medicines we use

:50:51.:50:54.

from all sorts of sources, including our patients, who get better. We

:50:55.:50:59.

record that evidence and we match it against the individualised cases

:51:00.:51:04.

that we take of the people who come to us was that everybody is an

:51:05.:51:07.

individual foot of It is not placebo?

:51:08.:51:15.

What is happening in the body? If a person is unwell and not functioning

:51:16.:51:26.

properly and explains what the circumstances are, and we find the

:51:27.:51:29.

right remedy for that person by matching those two things I have

:51:30.:51:35.

talked about, if the remedy is the right one, the person will begin to

:51:36.:51:38.

get better from their own healing process. The body can heal itself.

:51:39.:51:44.

They get better on their own, don't they? People do use homoeopathic,

:51:45.:51:48.

people make money out of selling it, but it is usually used, and I

:51:49.:51:53.

hope it is only used for conditions that are self limiting. So people

:51:54.:51:57.

not feeling great, a touch of the nerves, and people get better. If I

:51:58.:52:02.

jump up and down and cost three times and I have a cold, a week

:52:03.:52:07.

later I will not have a cold. It won't be because of what I did, it

:52:08.:52:11.

is because of our immune systems. You cannot say scientifically that

:52:12.:52:15.

because someone gets better after they have paid you money for a sugar

:52:16.:52:18.

pill, that the sugar pill has cured them. There was a 2010 report which

:52:19.:52:26.

said it is just a placebo. I don't think all of the evidence was

:52:27.:52:28.

gathered in that parliamentary report. What is going on in the

:52:29.:52:35.

body? The body is a whole mechanism. It is holistic? We can't say it is

:52:36.:52:41.

neurological. It is part of a whole process that takes place. The

:52:42.:52:46.

healing is from within. This is the sort of...

:52:47.:52:50.

It is not science, it is nonsense or it is anti-science and it can be

:52:51.:52:57.

dangerous. It is not just harmless. People who have serious conditions

:52:58.:53:00.

that need evidence -based treatments to reverse the disease process rely

:53:01.:53:06.

on homoeopathy or snake oil or faith healing, then the risk is that they

:53:07.:53:12.

don't get the treatment they know. The placebo effect is powerful, I

:53:13.:53:15.

understand people benefit from it, but it relies on deception. It is

:53:16.:53:20.

most strong when people are deceived into thinking they are getting

:53:21.:53:23.

something when in fact with homoeopathy, they are getting

:53:24.:53:27.

something that has been practically infinitely dilutive so there is no

:53:28.:53:34.

molecule level. Many of your colleagues in Bristol who work in

:53:35.:53:38.

the Bristol homoeopathic Hospital, they have trained medically, they

:53:39.:53:40.

have moved to homoeopathy because they have seen the powers. There are

:53:41.:53:45.

always a few mavericks. Many more than a few mavericks. Without

:53:46.:53:49.

mavericks who wouldn't have a programme. Quickly if you could... I

:53:50.:53:55.

agree with this guy that healing comes from within, and I would love

:53:56.:53:59.

to see scientists work closely with people that meditate on a regular

:54:00.:54:04.

basis, in connection with changes in spiritual consciousness. Right at

:54:05.:54:09.

the end there, the gentleman with the tide. -- tie. I would say I have

:54:10.:54:19.

faith in science of the 19th century, when they body said they

:54:20.:54:23.

would pay for it. Who pays for science now? Quite often with

:54:24.:54:25.

pharmaceutical companies, somebody who pays money...

:54:26.:54:32.

APPLAUSE The companies which pay for the

:54:33.:54:36.

science, they say this is a science we could pay you for. Oliver first.

:54:37.:54:46.

Very gentlemanly of you. To go back to something, arguing about what is

:54:47.:54:49.

and isn't a science is not the most productive way forward. Six out of

:54:50.:54:53.

ten figure at the start of the segment, a lot of the people who

:54:54.:54:57.

doubt that we are making man-made climate change, they don't think

:54:58.:55:02.

they are doubting science, they have faith in what they see as an

:55:03.:55:05.

alternative science, which says climate change is not man-made. It

:55:06.:55:10.

is not a case of is this science... It is a Menorah TV but they will say

:55:11.:55:15.

it is still science, Einstein was a minority view -- it is a minority

:55:16.:55:21.

view but they will still say. The way to tackle the debate is not to

:55:22.:55:24.

say, let's have more faith in the scientific consensus but less faith

:55:25.:55:28.

in everything, let's put everything on the table. The IPCC does

:55:29.:55:32.

fantastic work with scientists and policymakers. Should we have Tim up

:55:33.:55:38.

against Nigel Lawson? Not this sequel views in the media thing,

:55:39.:55:42.

large collections of media talking... That is what happens,

:55:43.:55:49.

consensus statements in science. Otherwise you're just saying

:55:50.:55:53.

anything goes. The basis of science on contentious public policy issues

:55:54.:55:57.

is you create a consensus statement. We had it over MMR, a

:55:58.:56:02.

fraudster alleged that MMR caused autism and bowel disease. Andrew

:56:03.:56:07.

Wakefield. It caused a lot of work to be done and consensus statements

:56:08.:56:11.

came out from people who wanted to agree, because there are prizes to

:56:12.:56:15.

be got for breaking an initial consensus. I am not saying these

:56:16.:56:19.

consensus discussions don't happen. Particularly with the IPCC, the

:56:20.:56:29.

science is compensated and the policy is so compensated. I am sorry

:56:30.:56:35.

to point at you, isn't the problem that so many policymakers and

:56:36.:56:40.

politicians, your good self accepted perhaps, cannot look beyond the

:56:41.:56:44.

electoral cycle? I don't think that is the problem. I'm sure a lot of

:56:45.:56:49.

politicians would like to make decisions aced on proper science,

:56:50.:56:55.

good sciences -- based on. The problem, it seems to me, is we get

:56:56.:56:59.

confused about this. I hate wind generators. The dam things are

:57:00.:57:04.

across our landscapes, polluting our heels and lovely areas. But I

:57:05.:57:09.

believe in what the professor is saying about climate change --

:57:10.:57:13.

polluting our hills. I think we are coming up with bad solutions. I am

:57:14.:57:19.

conflicted, of course. I don't want to see my landscape destroyed in

:57:20.:57:26.

south Wales. Now we have these terribly inefficient subsidised

:57:27.:57:29.

white windmills everywhere. It doesn't make me a reactionary. It is

:57:30.:57:35.

important to remember that scientists are human, they have self

:57:36.:57:39.

interest, they have politics, the leaves, prejudices, that is why over

:57:40.:57:46.

history, circumstances change -- they have politics, beliefs. They

:57:47.:57:54.

all believed in eugenics. The IPCC, they don't come into trying to prove

:57:55.:57:58.

climate change. It is a review of the scientific literature on

:57:59.:58:02.

climate. Scientific literature means it has been through a peer review

:58:03.:58:06.

process. It has been scrutinised by other scientists. All IPC is saying,

:58:07.:58:11.

what is out there in the scientific literature about climate and over

:58:12.:58:16.

woman A, the view is that it is a serious problem -- overwhelmingly.

:58:17.:58:22.

Thank you very much. As always, the debates will continue online and on

:58:23.:58:25.

Twitter. We'll be back on April 27th from York. But for now it's goodbye

:58:26.:58:32.

from Bristol and have a great Easter break. Thank you for watching.

:58:33.:58:37.

Nicky Campbell presents moral, ethical and religious debates from Ashton Park School in Bristol. Questions include can Britain be proud of its role in Afghanistan, should the state stop interfering in parenting, and should we have more faith in science?


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