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Your views on Question Time 24 June 2010

17:36 UK time, Thursday, 24 June 2010

Question Time, the BBC's premier political debate programme comes from London on Thursday 24 June.

David Dimbleby will be joined by a panel of, the Business Secretary and Liberal Democrat MP Vince Cable, the shadow education secretary Ed Balls, the leader of the Green Party Caroline Lucas MP, Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens, and the founder of and Brent Hoberman.

The following questions were asked:

Is it right to describe the Budget as "fair" when it leaves universal benefits in place for the rich, while increasing VAT and imposing unprecedented cuts in public services?

If the severe budget cuts announced by the Chancellor are ratified by the whole coalition government, is this the beginning of the end of the Lib Dem party?

Will I have to work to 70 to pay for gold plated public sector pensions?

Is President Obama's ego now dictating ISAF military policy in Afghanistan?

In a week when government spending has been cut across the board, is Michael Gove's 'Free Schools' initiative a necessary and efficient use of public funds?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


  • Comment number 1.

    Thank you Question time for balancing the panel of last week. I suggested then that it was a bit right wing, which confused some other posters who could not understand how a Labour politician could be right wing - the quality of posters leaves a lot to be desired.
    This week a left wing dominated panel, with a Journo and a representative of the made up economy for balance. I might even watch this week.

  • Comment number 2.

    Not all speech is free and an officer in the US military does not have the the same right to free speech as an ordinary citizen. Obama was required to take punitive action.

    Contempt towards officials is addressed in the Punitive articles, specifically Article 88 of the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice in the 2008 Manual for Courts-Martial of the United States as follows:

    “ Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct."

  • Comment number 3.

    I don't think it has started yet but I hope they have more manners than last weeks panel.

  • Comment number 4.

    I didn't watch it - QT is so boring!

  • Comment number 5.

    Shucks, I must have missed it again.

    Hold on though - what day is it ?

    Is it just me - or has it actually been on yet ?

  • Comment number 6.

    I am very concerned by George Osborne's characterisation of the cuts as 'unavoidable'. Ever since the days of Mrs Thatcher consideration of income tax increases have been a no-go area, but a progressive strategy which put 5 pence on all rates of taxes, increased the tax free allowance to £10,000, incresed the pensioner's allowance too £12,500 and decreased VAT to 12.5% would have tremendous benefits for growth, reduce inflation as well as reducing the severity of the cuts and subsequent unemployment very considerably.

    Why is nobody talking about alternative strategies like this?

  • Comment number 7.

    Vince Cable -Business Secretary and Coalition MP (Liberal Democrat from the economic liberal wing of the party)
    Ed Balls -Shadow Education Secretary (Brownist New Labour)
    Caroline Lucas - leader of the Green Party (Left Wing)
    Peter Hitchens - Mail on Sunday columnist (parted from Labour in '83, the Conservatives in 2003, now an "independent" who just happens to be Mail on Sunday columnist)
    Brent Hoberman - founder of and (seems to have dabbled as a political advisor to the Tories)

    Given this weeks budget, I somehow don't think Vince will be able to articulate for the left wing. I'm unsure if Mr Balls is all that left wing despite the party affiliation. Caroline Lucas, OK I'll admit she's left wing. And finally the 2 "non-politicals" seem far more linked to the right.

    So I'm not sure If I do agree that the panel this week is dominated by the left wing.

  • Comment number 8.

    what does the panel think of the obscene bonus awarded to network rail executives?

  • Comment number 9.

    Here we go again! Yet another collection of liars and zombies debating a series of well structured lies, carefully selected by the BBC. The only saving grace could be Peter Hitchens. Forget the crap you see and hear on this programme and other control media, research the European Future Group to find out where your destiny is heading.

  • Comment number 10.

    Yet again 2 right wing non politicians on the panel to go with 3 Mps.

    Why are left wing independent commentators so rare? This rogramme is biased

  • Comment number 11.

    Brent Hoberman, so he thinks that is ok to make poor poorer is ok as the business folk will be better off

  • Comment number 12.

    I am starting to feel sorry for the Labour Voters/Supporters, Ed Ball is total oblivious to any form of reality.

    1 - It was Brown who removed the Financial Services Monitoring departments.

    2 - It was they who reduced Interest Rates to such a ridiculously low levels which accelerated borrowing.

    3 - It was they who robbed millions of Private Pensions.

    4 - It was they who gave back our EU Rebate.

    5 - It was they who through their PFI deals created £256 billion of debt and still running.

    6 - It was they who created the ever growing National Debt which is now nudging £1 Trillion.

    7 - It's they who have saddle unborn kids with an ongoing debt.

    And their voters voted for all of it, so I change my mind they voted for it not once but 3 times and now the days (decades) of reckoning has arrived - they will like the rest of us have to bite the bullet and cough up!

    Yet they are totally oblivious to all of it!

  • Comment number 13.

    Vince Cable looks a worried man.

  • Comment number 14.

    Oh God - another nutter from the mail stable - more simplistic Palin "logic".
    I just cannot believe that anyone can be dumb enough to be taken in by this drivel but #9 is living proof that I'm wrong.

  • Comment number 15.

    Unfortunately, Ithink Balls is right in his assessment in the split that is developing in the Lib Dems - Cable had some good ideas before the election - I'm not convinced that he's comfortable working with clots like Osborne Gove and Fox.

  • Comment number 16.

    Vince Cable seems very uncomfortable in his partnership with the Torys

  • Comment number 17.

    Those who think we can let the deficit roll on are nuts. Where do these people think govt money comes from? Contary to left wing opinions there are just two sources, taxation and borrowing people's savings. Day to day spend has to come from taxation, borrowed money can be spent on capital and that works. Paying day to day spend from borrowed money is not sustainable and the sooner you stop (whether you are a government or a family) the better!

  • Comment number 18.

    Balls, as usual, unable to accept responsibility for his party getting us in this mess. Lucas has no idea.......lets just go on piling up debt and watch the country sink.

  • Comment number 19.

    I wish that the rest of the Green Party would model themselves on their leader. I would really like to see a major, credible Green party as part of our political system.

  • Comment number 20. are so wrong

  • Comment number 21.

    A Speaker from the Audience made reference to the cuts effecting the North and it could be like the 80's.

    It's not surprising that it should hit the North (I live in the north) and the part I live in has 53% in the Public Sector.

    The Public Sector that is so bloated with clip board carrying bean counting wastes of space.

    Hence the Deficit Labour seem so proud of.

    So it's obvious that it will be like the 80's, in 1979 the inheritance was dire:
    When Mrs Thatcher came to power in 1979, the economy was generally considered to be facing severe structural problems including:

    * Inflation of 27%
    * Powerful Trades unions causing wage inflation and time lost to strikes.
    * Unemployment increasing to a post war record of 700,000
    * High levels of government debt that required politically sensitive borrowing from the IMF.

    On coming to power in 1979, Mrs Thatcher lost no time in seeking to make a clean break with the past. Mrs Thatcher was heavily influenced by the idea of Monetarism and free market economics. In addition, she wished to “destroy” the power of the “Socialist / Communist” trades unions. On coming to power, the first policies of the Conservative administration were to tackle both inflation and the budget deficit.

    This time it is way beyond 1979 and the 80's were the effect not the cause, just as it will be this time!

    To cut waste:

    Get the real front line in an office of any Government run org. making sure they at least 50 years old and ask the question "where is the waste"?

    That applies to Police, Clinicians, Teachers you name it.

  • Comment number 22.

    I chose to work until I was 65 and would have gone on if not for the bar that existed. Health and fitness is much better than 20years ago and life expectancy much higher, many people enjoy being in employment.

  • Comment number 23.

    Why not save money with cutting mp's wages, etc which are far over paid.

  • Comment number 24.

    Left wing commentators rare?!!!!! There were plenty of them a few weeks ago!

  • Comment number 25.

    why doesn't Mr Balls just hang his head in shame, at having been a part of a government that allowed the financial state of this country to get into such a terrible, disgraceful mess???
    he sits there and jovially criticises Vince Cable, who quite clearly just wishes to resolve the problems.

    Apart from anything else, it is wonder that there aren't mass riots against the now out-of-government labour party. We are discussing paying off billions of pounds of debt occasioned by their negligent government.

    Why are we being asked to pay this debt?? Get the newly appointed lords (Blair, Prescot, Brown and others) to dip into their greasy pockets and refund us !!!!

  • Comment number 26.

    2016 is far too soon for those within five or six years of retirement who have no time to adjust their plans.

    Such an unfair move would be unprecedented and would lead to the quick death of this coalition.

    It’s possible to rush deficit reductions but misguided haste on pension changes would lead to widespread public dissent.

  • Comment number 27.

    Ed Balls seems to have conveniently forgotten that he was working in the Treasury for Gordon Brown, the man who got us into so much debt.
    I am a pensioner who grew up saving for anything I wanted, not living on credit. At the age of seventy I am still working as I couldn't afford not to under the previous Government, but I like to have a reason to get up in the morning.
    My saving have dwindled due to the low interest rates, and bankers large bonuses.
    All members of the Labour government seem to have a selective memory.

  • Comment number 28.

    Ref: Budget and fairness for all - seems that Self employed Contractors who work for themselves get off scott free again - does no one realise that they "pay themselves" a minimum wage; only to cream off monies as dividends for themselves and their spouses, who are also quoted as token Directors !!!! It is these sort of loopholes than need to be stopped !

  • Comment number 29.

    I have worked for the last 12 months in the public sector for the 1st time in my career - I am astonished at the lack of commercial logic applied to everyday conditions.
    I can provide genuine ideas that would save in excess of £3 billion - yes, 3 x billion pounds annually in my area of public sector employment - and I have many other suggestions that could save triple this amount and well within a 3 year timeframe.
    I am not convinced , as per Peter's comment earlier that there is a true desire to achieve this level of cuts within the public sector. I would welcome any contact from a govt. representative to challenge my savings claim.
    Steve in Yorkshire

  • Comment number 30.

    Hitchens yet again exposed as a hypocrit. Defends Mcchrystal on the grounds that previous Generals did not have to put up with Rolling Stone. Jumped on Gordon Brown when caught muttering under his breath by a radio mike!

  • Comment number 31.

    Why on earth do we have to listen to Ed Balls pull holes in the budget? The man is purely padding his campaign for labour leadership - as if anyone cares who leads labour after the disastrous mess they have made of this country. I can't beleive that the audience keep applauding his noxious drivel.

  • Comment number 32.

    Hello - Wake up - do you not think that the VAT increase on the 4th January 2011 is signalling the electorate to buy consumer goods/ Luxury items" before Christmas. You cant say that you were not warned !!!!

  • Comment number 33.

    Strange how Mr Dimbleby quickly moved topic when ths issue about the ability to work beyond 65 was raised.

    It's alright for those like him and Mp's like Mr Cable who sit in an office and push paper around ask Dustbinmen, Fire Fighters, Foundry workers, Soldiers and even Nurses if they think they would be able to do the job after 60......

  • Comment number 34.

    I have just been watching Question Time and I think it is wrong to raise the age at which you can draw a pension. People who are not in work will find it wery difficult to survive without their pensions in the forseable future. They will just end up on unemployment benefit which is just the same as drawing a pension!
    I have no problem witht the idea that you do not have to retire at the pension age but saying you cannot draw your pension until then is ridiculous. It leaves a lot of people in a very difficult, and ultimately avoidable, situation.

  • Comment number 35.

    As a Lib Dem voter, the more I see of this Government, the more disgusted with it I am. The scale of the lies during the General Election from the Lib Dems and the Tories is a disgrace. I hope the media will hold them to account.

  • Comment number 36.

    If the government are really looking to make savings then why don't they start at the top and stop the continued payment of salaries to previous prime ministers. In my view once you are out of a job you should not expect to continue to receive payment as though you were still in employment. The public employ politicians to run the country not the other way round.

  • Comment number 37.

    David Dimbleby seems to be losing his control over his panel or the panels are getting much ruder and ignoring repsect for the other panel members by talking over each other.

  • Comment number 38.

    How can we talk about raising the retirement age when there is no parity between industries / Sex ?

    Women traditionally retired at 60; men at 65. In the interests of equality; women then had teh right to chose to retire at 65; but men didnt get the right to retire at 60 !!

    Unless that is you work in the more privelidged parts of the public sector, of course !

    There should be 1 retirement age for all; you shoudl chose between you and your employer if you want to carry on longer.

    And it is about time that the public sector felt some of the pain that has been felt elsewhere.

  • Comment number 39.

    I have read in recent papers about the privelages that mps get, I would like to know why they receive these, as the average person/people have to pay their own fares for transport, decorating, furniture etc. Would we not save lots of the taxpayers money by making them pay for these things themselves, out of their own wages like the average household has to?

  • Comment number 40.

    No-one likes the loss of life in Afghanistan, and there is a strong arguement for greater clarity of mission, but it is quite clear that without our action, things would only be worse. For Afghanis now, and for us later. We must do this, but lets do it with proper, meaningful political leadership! At least then, teh loss of life would be for a good reason. I am not convinced the panelists understand this simple fact.

  • Comment number 41.

    Instead of adopting predictable and to some extent oportunistic positions (ie this will get us some applause), why doesn't someone suggest the real solution to the pensions question. Anything is possible if individuals, employers and Government combine to make proper provision for retirement (which depending on the contribution that the individual is prepared to make could be from any age from, say, 55 onwards). The law should insist on this happening from the start of a working career which in the current circumstances is likely to be 40 years plus.
    PS I suppose the BBC has no option but to invite representatives of single issue parties on to the programme but it really is iritating to hear Caroline Lucas wishing a "plague on both your houses" on matters which her own party will have no understanding whatsoever.

  • Comment number 42.

    Brent Hoberman loves Gove because he is getting private enterprise interested in Academies. Where has this ignorant prat been for the past ten years. And btw, they may get all the benefits for being seperate but the still go crawling back to LAs whenever it suits them and at very low cost.

  • Comment number 43.

    with all this talk of increasing the state pension age to 66 and beyond. The Police, Fire Service etc can still retire and draw their pensions in their 40's. When are they going to catch up with the rest of us?

  • Comment number 44.

    I feel that Ed Balls has been extremely rude and arrogant with his attack on Vince Cable. How dare he say that the cuts this coalition government have said need to be put in place is too severe. It was Mr. Balls Labout party that put this country where it is now in debt so much so that our children and grandchildren will be paying for it for years and years to come.

  • Comment number 45.

    we should buy the poppy crop from the poor AFGHAN farmers and make them our friends. The poppies can be used in our health services.

  • Comment number 46.

    Vince Cable is making some rational comment rather than the scare stories and deliberately distorted views from Ed Balls and Caroline Lucas.

    It's also getting tiresome listening to people trying to find splits in the coalition when it's obvious that they must have differences and not everyone will agree with every policy.

  • Comment number 47.

    It's all very well increasing the age of retirement but by so doing there will be even less jobs available to the young, hence more receiving unemployment benefit thereby cancelling any savings made in pension payment - This seems to have been overlooked or given the blind eye.

  • Comment number 48.

    Peter Hitchens is utterly spot on over Gove's ill thought out school programme he hit the nail right on the head Cable looks uncomfortable on most matters.

    Better show this week,i still think it needs a massive revamp though including a new presenter

  • Comment number 49.

    What I can't understand is how no-one has suggested that the disgusting profits made from many companies take some responsibilty in all this. Why can't they be forced to re-invest some of these moneys instead of giving it all to investors.

  • Comment number 50.

    For once Peter Hitchins has talked sense - "Free Schools" clearly are a stunt and a waste of money. We have spent hundreds of millions on refurbishing the awful state of our current school buildings. Now those schools will lose a large amount of their budget so that pushy parents can fund new school buildings for the pet project for their families. At a time when there are 25% cuts to the budget of Government Departments where is the money coming from?

  • Comment number 51.

    Interesting to see that the tories are now trying to attract business back to the country whilst Messrs Thatcher, Major and Blair did all within their power to drive manufacturing abroad whilst not raising import taxes for goods where manufacture was moved aroad to take advantage of cheap labour leaving our workforce on the dole adding to the national debt.

  • Comment number 52.

    Retirement age: Nobody has pointed out the sexist nature of this policy. Retirement age due to increase for men (whose life expectancy is lower) but not yet for women. Is the Minister for Equality aware of this?

  • Comment number 53.

    Can someone at the bbc cut Ed Ball's mike - or arrange for a large lead ball to swing for his head

  • Comment number 54.

    I was pleased when the Green Party got their first MP but sadly tonight she has demonstrated how very naive she is in thinking she knows better than the majority of the population and most other MPs of the main three parties; she could at least consider the best interests of the country rather than her own way out views.

  • Comment number 55.

    We are scraping the barrel to save money yet Council Tax remains capped at 3 times Band A, for multimillion pound properties.
    This is not an equitable tax system.

    Is this a missed uncollected tax ?
    Why has there been no mention of Council Tax reform ?

    Roy Daniel

    Southport Lacashire

  • Comment number 56.

    How can Ed Balls sit there and argue against measures taken by the conservative and lib-dem union to stem the flow of money out of our economy, when it was the complete failure of the party he represents and hopes to lead, that has left this once great nation in financial ruin. If Labour had regained power, would they now be spending money we haven't got and can't afford for the next 5 years?
    I find it completely stomach churning when a Labour MP criticises the coalition for trying to put right the utter mess and massive debt this country has been lumbered with.

    Perhaps a certain Mr A Blair could be brought to task to repay the huge profits made on property mortgaged with the taxpayers money, which the media now simply refer to as "his portfolio".

    Who's portfolio, his or ours??!!!

  • Comment number 57.

    None of the panel have suggested that children and pupils should be given an education and not just taught how to pass exams. That is what has happened for the several years.
    We have an Academy, set up under the Labour Government, it is not as good as a Grammar School or a technical college, but if businesses can have an input into schools more pupils may leave equipped for employment.
    If parents want to set up new schools good luck to them as long as the pupils have a thorough education.

  • Comment number 58.

    All the negative responses to the budget comes from people thinking solely about themselves and not about the wider economy. They need to stop thinking about "me me me". It is about what is best for the country as a whole. The reality is that we have a horrendous budget deficit and everyone has to pay, everyone has to contribute to get us out.

    None of the comments against the budget come from people who have an understanding about economics and experience in financial markets. The very severe reality that these people are missing is that if we did not show a serious, strong commitment to tackling our unsustainable structural deficit, then we would be punished in capital markets: the market would lose confidence in the U.K., gilts would collapse, our AAA rating would be slashed and the government would not be able to raise funds. Consequently we would be forced to go cap in hand to the IMF, who would no doubt impose austerity measures 100 times worse than what we have just seen on Tuesday and furthermore we would also be handing over policy-making control of our own economy. Look no further than Greece and the dominos tumbling in the Mediterranean for countries who have reacted far too slowly and conservatively to their deficits.

    Ultimately, the result of a sovereign rating downgrade would have far more severe, longer-lasting negative repurcussions than a double-dip recession.

  • Comment number 59.

    Our country is in a very serious financial mess. Its frightening how irresponsible and totally unpatriotic Balls and the very rude Green woman can be in order to try to protect their positions and totally misguided views. Balls's party have landed us in the mess we are in and the Green woman has her head completely in the clouds. God help us if either of them ever take control of our country - the pair of them are dangerous.

  • Comment number 60.

    Just watched the Thursday night programme - so glad we have a new coalition that has promised to rise above the political infighting - unfortunately Vince Cable, whilst trying his best, didn't really get listened to. I hope David Cameron and Nick Clegg can hold their nerve and rise above the rubbish thrown at them by Ed Balls and the Green Party who are living in cuckoo land still.

  • Comment number 61.

    What a sad state of affairs this country is in, after listening to this lot you realise Britain will be a laughing stock,We are now governed by the local faction of cloud cuckoo land and tonight's panel should have honorary membership. Vince cable will be as much use to the Government's economic policy as Mo Molem was to hang gliding.

  • Comment number 62.


    Bring back the Grammar Schools or continue down the road of mediocrity.

    As for Vince Cables remarks 'fail 11 plus and your on the scrap heap"

    Absolute rubbish, I failed it, left at 15 got a job and went on to Night School/College and got a ONC. I know many more who during that time did exactly the same, some went onto University.

    So for Gods sake start streaming and monitoring at an early age, let's give the brightest the chance to shine!

  • Comment number 63.

    for nossa - can somebody arrange for a massive electrical charge to pass through your laptop?

  • Comment number 64.

    There are alot of comments waiting moderation but I'm not shocked Steve that you could save that amount. In the private sector everyone in the company has to have commercial logic, be cost effective else they won't have a company to work for and striking isn't an aption when your job is at risk! I'm not doubting for one second that there are very hard workers in the public sector but it won't hurt to have some of the mentally that has been thrust amongst the private sector in these very hard times.
    Retirement age .. now physical workers are moaning that they are done for at 50!! Its being raised for by a year from 65 to 66, so don't understand that arguement?
    Stop taxing smoking and drinking and advertising for us to do so and we all may die a little younger! (oh but they can't really afford to .. so the tax isn't a punishment really)
    We are up a creek without a paddle ... and someone needs to to start rowing and fast ..
    Everyone seems to want things can get better but without making changes.. You can't make and omlette without breaking eggs (old one I know) If you read this thanks ..

  • Comment number 65.

    I am as ever absolutely tired of uninformed people speaking about public sector pensions as if they actually pay for them themselves. Most public sector workers pay maybe 5 or 6% towards their final salary pensions. Well I am a Police Officer and I pay 11% of my salary towards my pension - THATS over 300 pounds a month I pay for my future!!! My employer is obliged to match my contributions under pension rules. Therefore after 30 years of contributing I think I deserve my pension, AS I PAID FOR IT!!!! Can you say the same?

  • Comment number 66.

    When did Ed Balls take over as Chairman of QT? He dominated the stage and Dimbelby sat back and watched in awe! Between Balls and the Rotweiler from the Green Party (who would argue with herself if no one else was there)the other panellists struggled to get a word in. Probably won't watch it again until Ed takes over officially.

  • Comment number 67.

    Yet again a badly moderated session.
    Dimbleby allows too much hectoring between panel members..
    I'm rapidly becoming bored by this programme and it lacks the intellectual rigour of its former years.

  • Comment number 68.

    We have just seen the "Less for More" Budget.

    The Con-Dem Government claim to be Progressive, but the poor are the ones who will suffer the most. No wonder that Millionaire businessmen like Brent Hoberman are so pleased with it.

    However when the Double Dip recession begins, the smiles on the faces of the businessmen and the Tory politicians will soon go.

    Hundreds of thousands of people will lose their jobs in the next few months and the safety net of the welfare state is also being shredded. The levels of homelessness and poverty in this country will soar as a result. I hope the Tories and Lib Dems face the full wrath of the public when this happens.

  • Comment number 69.

    I ran 3 small businesses (just over 1£M turnover) until Ed balls and his greedy,inept cronies put the final nail in the coffin of Britains' finances.During that time I lived a life poorer than many of my employees on minimum wage, paying taxes and govt.fixed overheads that would make most people cringe.
    I had many clients that were public sector,peddling away at non-jobs costing me thousands/yr.Complete disregard for waste and efficiency and no consideration to whom their employer was.
    I truly hope that some of these people who creamed this country for all its worth finally feel the pain of small business owners, who create REAL jobs and work dam hard every day to the benefit of the community and the state.

  • Comment number 70.

    I can not understand why the poor always end up footing the bill for political mistakes!Northern Rock Ect have all been bailed out by the general public at large!When did politicians become above the law and the law of the land,David Cameron,Gordon Brown are both guilty of fraud and have never been held accountable! doe's this also mean that the legal system has become corrupt!These people take the position that they do through public trust,which has been betrayed!is this not treason!

  • Comment number 71.

    Increase restrictions and taxes on cigarettes and save the NHS some money they spend on helping people who won't help themselves!!

  • Comment number 72.

    This is not the first time that David Dimbleby - who I generally admire - has allowed Ed Balls to bully others, to go on with his cheap leadership politicking point scoring and who is a person lacking in manners, constantly talking over others. Much the same as with Peter Hain. Is it a prerequisite of New Labour to be bullies and without manners? Strange coming from a party with a (supposedly) strong social conscience...

  • Comment number 73.


    we know that it is the needs of the economy that have to be met. we know that the country needs some of the measures to be achieved by the budget,

    The questtion is - why is it always the taxpayer who has to repay debts occasioned by politicians and bankers etc???
    Have we not done enough re-financing the Banks who even now are still doing as they wish - not as they should do by helping out businesses??

    All we can do is VOTE and hope. All the politicians do, is argue amongst themselves, keep on earning good money for it, and try to feather their own nests...

    If I sometimes think of ME.... who on earth do you think the politicians are thinking of?? Themselves, of course!!

  • Comment number 74.

    Mac_avali - Council tax has been capped until they can prove they can be efficient rather than just passing on additional costs in council tax increases.....
    We are after all customers and customers given the choice would walk if costs go up because of inefficiency ....

  • Comment number 75.

    I obviously missed the announcement that Ed Balls was taking over the chair of Question Time.I have been a long time critic of David Dimbleby and tonight's show reinforced my poor opinion of him.The BBC are still true to form and support the Labour party to the end.I still support the ending of the licence tax and the Biased Broadcasting Corporation can seek its funding elsewhere.I suggest the Labour party and the Trade Unions should fund there voice piece and then at least the integrity of the die hard support for the BBC's beloved left wing politics will not be funded by me as I despise their politics.

  • Comment number 76.

    I don't agree with any of the comments about the labour party getting the country into the mess its in. I blame the greedy global banking system and the bankers (did i say bankers- I meant something else) that were immersed in that greed. Sure enough, we should expect a government to put systems in place to stop it, or limit its recklessness. However, I thank god that this happened at a time when labour was in power. Because with Tories being funded and bought by rich bankers, the position as far as country's deficit and the impact on the life of family's trying to eek a living on a day to day basis, would have been much, much worse(if that is possible). However, to come to the main point. How Ed Balls could have the arrogance to criticise Obama or Cameron for interfering in the job/s of a senior official (and we are talking about a general answerable to the President in McChrystal's case), strikes me as bizarre. This is from a guy who singe-handedly arranged the sacking of Sharon Shoesmith, even though it is clear that 2 doctors and an inept police force allowed Baby P's injuries to go unnoticed and unchallenged. Absolute I'm amazed that no member of the panel had the cabability to take him apart for such arrogance.

  • Comment number 77.

    GOLD PLATED PENSIONS !!!!!!! I have worked for 27 years paying 11 percent of my salary into my pension. When I started my job it was a condition of my employment that I joined the firefighters pension scheme. Can I tell my mortgage company that I think I am paying too much and that I will in future only pay x amount and still end the mortgage on the set date ?? No, so why should I be penalised because the banks and the gov have messed up. If the powers that be had used my pension money sensibly there would be money there now to pay my pension. ITS NOT GOLD PLATED and your audience member does not pay my pension, fellow firefighters do !!!!!! The same goes for lots of Nurses teachers etc !!!!

  • Comment number 78.

    Having heard Vince Cable expounding on the budget I am now convinced that we have three conservative parties in the UK, namely NuLabour, the coalesced Lib Dems and of course the openly declared Tories. The business man was definitely not of the left, and Peter Hitchens despite his innocent sounding tones and gentle looks comes flying in mounted somewhere close to Attila the Hun. This leaves Caroline Lucas as the sole person carrying the flag for anything that slightly resembles radical views. It all goes to make the chairman, who strives desperately to be neutral I am sure, appear something well to the left of centre.

    The poor old British electorate, what have they landed themselves with in the last 30 years or so, we are now in a situation where the BBC can't even gather together a fairly balanced panel.

  • Comment number 79.

    I watch QT every week and always wonder why not one single panellist has ever given a really accurate assesment of the fundamental reasons why our, and other Western economies are in such a mess.
    The fact is this: The Labour government were inept and the Banks behaved irresponsibly, but the real cause is a base shift in wealth from the high-tax economies of the West to the low-tax economies of Asia.
    The trillions of dollars of foreign currency that China and India hold between them represent where all the money has really gone, not to the banks.
    I would have thought that people like Vince Cable would understand and be able to explain this basic point. This alone indicates that our only course of action is to change our economy to a lower taxation model which means spending cuts, otherwise we will never regain wealth-creating industry back from the low-tax Asian countries.

    Allied to this point I was very disappointed to find no question on why we are still giving protected foreign aid to India and China

  • Comment number 80.

    Adrian Clark - you are so out of the loop you might as well stand for the labour leadership yourself!

  • Comment number 81.

    The way in which the British education system has been turned into a political football over the last thirty years is appalling. Teachers have been robbed of their one-time high social standing in a manner which no other profession would tolerate. Comprehensive schools have been vilified for no reason other than class warfare. More recently,we have seen increasing encouragement for faith schools. And now we are told anyone can set up a school in any old factory or church hall - to my mind just one more disingenuous stunt designed to gain some political advantage. What would Hitchens have us return to exactly? The old 11+ system where children were tested on English and arithmetic alone and the ones who passed went to grammar schools while the others were consigned to the dustbin of secondary moderns? Just how how far do we have to go on this divisive road before the decision-makers realise that they are destroying the fabric of society?

  • Comment number 82.

    20. At 11:04pm on 24 Jun 2010, Alba wrote: are so wrong

    Oh no I am so right, unless you want to rewrite the last 13 years of course. Which Ed Balls spent his evening trying to do as will the rest of the Labour party do forever more!

    It won't wash - things are as they are due to precisly as I listed and I'm sure others could add to the list!

  • Comment number 83.

    It's a bit rich of Ed Balls to be saying it's unfair to make public sector employees pay for the deficit when his own government illegally changed terms and conditions of public servants just a couple of weeks prior to being ousted. Those changes were reversed last week by the high court. They're all the same - say one thing in power and another in opposition. It is wrong for the coalition to make the public sector pay but it's two faced, disingenuous and typical of all politicians in all parties to behave that way.

  • Comment number 84.

    is it just me or has everyone forgot about mps can Danny Alexander still be in government? why is he not being asked to explain why his wife got her travel expenses paid by the tax payer to come to london when she works as an editor in london? if a mp is meant to be honourable surely they should be...or at least not trying to fiddle us all? why is he still employed?. why is he not being investigated? it seems they are still in it for what they can get and the saturation of this scandal has turned us all off....but Im for honest people in parliament not money grabbing ------ out for all they can get at our expense. and guess what my suggestion is they stop mps from claiming everything they can and I bet this would save the country billions....but I didnt hear that from the budget!

  • Comment number 85.

    The discussion re Education this evening was a lesson in politcal cant,no more. There are parents that will not get out of bed to feed, dress and take their children to school. Let the State deal with them. The 'working classes',as they were termed in the programme, that do, are aspiring to the middle classes, if not for them then their kids. How dare these politicians preclude them from their aspirations by demonising 'middle class' attitudes to the value of education.

  • Comment number 86.

    Kris Parsons - I've already given more in taxes on cigerretes alone than the government will spend on helping me from cancer .. the government do their sums and know its better for me to smoke .. oh and i also have insurance cos I have never taken and never expect to recieve anything from them!
    Also could someone please define poor because hearing today that someone would lose their £1K a year tax credits on their £40K a year salary does not constitute for me as poor.

  • Comment number 87.

    Do our leaders seriously think one of the answers to our economic problems is to raise the retirement age? Does this mean we will have a dual standard workforce? i.e its obvious certain jobs are going to be pretty difficult for the older people of the workforce to carry on doing, or are we going to see 70 year old firemen, policemen, soldiers, plasterers, etc etc I don't think so!
    Why can't we have an across the board agreement for men and women to retire at 65 if they so wish or carry on working if they so wish with an increased pension if they don't draw it until later and let the people who don't want to carry on because they hate what they are doing (of which I think there are millions) or can't carry on because of the frailities of age retire gracefully and let the lucky minority who are in jobs they so enjoy carry on, not to mention the many young people who will find it much more difficult to find employment because of an ageing workforce staying in employment. I don't think the answer is to swap retirement for unemployment which is what will happen, we already have many in their fifties and sixties who can't find employment as they come up to retirement age.

  • Comment number 88.

    well said scott

  • Comment number 89.

    " At 00:01am on 25 Jun 2010, steve kendrick wrote:

    The questtion is - why is it always the taxpayer who has to repay debts occasioned by politicians and bankers etc???"

    The answer is this: the only way public spending is financed (as opposed to borrowed) is by taxation.
    The debts have been caused by public spending exceeding taxation. Hence need for correcting this.
    The banks did not cause the debt, what they did was delay the bursting of the bubble until it had become bigger, by irresponsibly lending us money which the country didnt have. The debt was already there despite the banks.

  • Comment number 90.

    1rik1 get your facts right, police and fire can only retire after age 50 AND complete at least 25yrs service - on a reduced pension at that. Are you jelous ?? we pay 11 percent into it, what do you pay ? ? ?

  • Comment number 91.

    Yes I watched.

    Vince Cable must have something seriously wrong with his short term memory when it comes to the economy. Either that or the electorate must have been on a six wee sabatical during the election campaign.

    On education he must have been towing a very painful Tory line.

    A for the rest of it - just the usual clap trap. Not even a good argument!!


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