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Your views on Question Time Wednesday 7 April 2010

16:32 UK time, Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Question Time, the BBC's premier political debate programme comes from Woking on Thursday 7 April. The panel are Foreign Secretary David Miliband, shadow work and pensions secretary Theresa May, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Menzies Campbell, the historian Simon Schama and Daily Telegraph columnist Janet Daley.

What are your thoughts about the programme and the panel? Let us know here on the Question Time debate page.

The way we run the Have Your Say debate for Question Time has changed. To give us your views you will need to sign in using your BBC iD. If you do not have a BBC iD you can create one by clicking on 'Create' at the top right of this page.

Read more about changes to Have Your Say

This week's questions.

Is the Prime Minister better qualified to decide whether the National Insurance increases will be harmful to economic recovery than the 60 business leaders backing the Tories?

Does Chris Grayling's stance on homosexual couples and B&B's show that the Conservatives' progressive and tolerant message is just an elaborate facade?

What's the point for voting for Labour when it has been suggested they will change their leader in the next year or two?

In the event of a hung parliament does the panel think the Lib Dems will support a party that does not support Proportional representation?

Gordon Brown launched his campaign yesterday by saying he comes from an ordinary middle class family. Is that essential in order to empathise with ordinary voters?


  • Comment number 1.

    Time to watch so more paint dry.

  • Comment number 2.

    Question for David Milliband - When Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt attempted their Coup on Gordon Brown in January of this year were you the new labour leader in waiting?

  • Comment number 3.

    Natural juicestice rules. The Cider tax is revoked !!!

    I hope somoeone asks a question about it. It is certainly more important than anything else the grey suits can come up with.

    I will certainly NOT be voting for the cider-phobic Labour Misery Party.

    God bless the West Country. God bless apples !

  • Comment number 4.

    Why is it that Gordon Brown comes out with all these marvellous things Labour is going to do if re-elected, but he made no effort to do them in the last 13 years.

  • Comment number 5.

    We currently have a deficit and it originates from the banking crisis. The banking crisis is over as evidenced by the profits and bonuses reported/paid during the psat financial year. The banks continues as gowing concerns on the back of taxpayer bailouts; now that the ebanks are back in profit and able to pay large bonuses to remunerate and entice 'talent' can we taxpayers have our investment returned, with interest, if so no need to increase taxation or reduce public expenditure.

  • Comment number 6.

    Before any Party can stand by their manifesto I'd like to know for the past 5 governemnts how manu delivered all of their manifesto pledges or promises. So the Labour promise of reforming the electoral process has as much credibility as the promise of a referundum on Europe.

  • Comment number 7.

    Yet another panel loaded with Tories!

  • Comment number 8.

    I don't know how Im going to last until the 6th of may with constant contradiction. How do you tell who knows what? you might as well vote like sticking a pin on the donkeys tail with a blindfold on.....would you get a better choice? However Im sure that a new broom sweeps clean and who ever gets in it will not affected them as much as it will affected us and our finances, social care, health, jobs, family and basically our whole not much resting on it for us then!

  • Comment number 9.

    Why was it ok for Labour to take £5 billion out of the economy during the height of recession by reducing, they never filled the gap they created by introducing efficiencies and waste reduction, they just added it to our debt. Now we hear the government saying it is wrong for the Tories to take £6 billion out in order to cut NI and make any deficit by way of efficiences and waste reduction.
    Remeber these 70 business leaders employ over 1 million people if they have to balance the 1% extra cost, then they will just pay 1% of employees off which will add 10,000 more to the dole queue.

  • Comment number 10.

    With the election on the horizon, I would assume restoring the public's faith in politicians would be a high priority. As a current non-voter I find it hard to put my trust in politicians that put more time into attacking other parties than answering the public's questions.
    In simpler terms, I am fed up of living in a country that is run by arguing school children!

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    The Conservatives are providing more election bribes (Large Inheritance tax cuts for the richest, National Insurance & Married couples cuts) and yet also claim they will cut more of the deficit. Either George Osborne cannot add up (quite possible) or there will be far more savage cuts under the Tories (much more than just efficiency savings).

  • Comment number 13.

    David Miliband = Tony Blair Lite.

    What a dreary bunch on tonight's panel. I do dispare as a young voter at the future of politics!

    One reason why I'm thinking of switching over to Lib Dem is Nick Clegg's proposals at Parlimenary reform to drag our political system out of the dark ages!

  • Comment number 14.

    I'm sure that Question Time venues are quite closely considered but, it seems a little curious, given the BBC's apparent obsession with 'impartiality', that 'Question Time' in the first week of an election campaign, should take place in a seat which has voted Conservative, handsomely, at every single election since it was created...

  • Comment number 15.

    why can't people just realise that it costs a lot of money to live in a civilised society and that actually we as people in the society need to pay for it, other than taxes how else can we pay for it? and to these so called business leaders be trusted, they have awarded themselves pay rises of up to 400% when the lower workers pay rise has been less than 15%. can we actually trust these selfish people.

    I actually think that we should spend the money to create a stable economy and society first before we cut otherwise we could fall further back. Its a shame the tories seem to focus on their own people more as through their candidates seem to be trying to refresh politics a little.

  • Comment number 16.

    7. At 11:09pm on 07 Apr 2010, John Holmes wrote:
    Yet another panel loaded with Tories!

    I agree. Having intelligent normal people on a TV panel.

    Totally disgusting. BBC bias at it's best.

  • Comment number 17.

    Can we please stop calling the Tories proposed non full implementation of the new NI increase is NOT a TAX cut it is not imposing a new tax.

  • Comment number 18.

    When did the country revert to following blindly the ideas of 'business leaders'? Has everyone forgotten that the private sector got us into this mess?

  • Comment number 19.

    The audience member who attempted to heckle david Miliband over National Insurance is deluded if he thinks that "private business knows how to invest". One of the historic problems with businesses in this country is that they have never been enthusiastic enough about investing the sums that are required to safeguard long-term future prosperity - but they always manage to safeguard such things as over-inflated salaries and share options for senior managers and directors.

    Teresa May has no credibility when she talks about cutting waste. The last Tory government (of which she was part) was hopeless at cutting waste but highly adept when it came to underfunding the NHS, our schools, police and wider infrastructure.

  • Comment number 20.

    I worked in the Public Sector for nearly 20 years. Those who do not believe that billions of pounds can be saved by eliminating waste, inefficiency and sheer stupidity in the Public Sector are either senior managers currently working in the Public Sector or Labour politicians. Put me in charge of the task instead of "one of the chaps" or a "Sir Humphrey" and I'll show you what efficiency means. And I don't need a huge salary to do it.

  • Comment number 21.

    I have yet to hear any party properly explain why cuts are necessary. The deficit could be addressed by (1) taking ALL profits made by banks who were loaned money by the taxpayers - until their debt is repaid with interest; (2)suing the accountancy firms who took millions of pounds in fees from the banks and signed off their accounts stating that they were going concerns; (3) investing in additional HMRC staff to aggressively pursue the tax currently being avoided by non-doms who do not satisfy the non dom criteria and companies who channel their profits through tax havens (which, incidently, includes the BANKS who we lent money to!) If the taxpayer gave you money, the very least we should expect is that you will pay ALL of your tax in this country - or else pay back the money now.
    Why should ordinary taxpayers be required to meet the deficit - it's like paying twice for the bankers' errors - while they continue to pay out massive bonuses.

  • Comment number 22.

    How about having a question time where the panelists who represent the political parties are only allowed to explain how their proposal will benefit the country/economy/population without any reference to how "the other parties" will harm the country in comparison. If the statement by any political panelist is to be questioned by an opposing politician it can only be questioned on it's veracity without reference to their own parties "better policy" I work in sales and know the primary rule, which is you do not sell your own product by bad mouthing the opposition - an example for the politicians who may struggle to grasp this concept - if you were selling apples you would explain how great your apples taste instead of saying buy my apples because pears taste odd. Perhaps then we will get some honesty and have the opportunity to make an informed opinion.

  • Comment number 23.

    Question for the whole panel?

    Is there any 1 of the Political Parties & Leadership with the concern for UK Citizens at heart and political nouse to offer and GUARANTEE a Referendum on UK Membership of the EUropean Union in the next 5 years?

    If there is then that Party & Leader will get my vote, the vote of many millions & walk into Westminster/No.10 with the biggest MAJORITY since WW2!

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    David Milliband - shame on you comparing Chris Grayling's comments with racism - he specifically said that it was his own personal view. It is a FACT that EU law would prevent him from implementing such a change - and he was perfectly aware of that when he made the comment.

  • Comment number 26.

    One member of the audience claimed that the best place to put the tax payer’s money would be to invest it in businesses within the private sector - as they are the ones who "produce the jobs and allow the economy to flourish" – are these not the same business who give their workers minimum wage whilst pocketing huge pay checks?
    Furthermore, how can it be argued that private business are the best place to put public money - they are based on stocks and shares and excuse me if I'm wrong but can't they go down as well as up?

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    Increase in National Insurance
    Turkeys are unlikely to vote in favour of Christmas, but that doesn't mean we should cancel Christmas.

  • Comment number 29.

    The BBC is totally biased in favour of the labour party, what is the point of questiontime when the audience and questions are designed to make the Tories look mad and bad and BBC Labour channel look wonderful.

  • Comment number 30.

    Would just like to point out that some of the list of 'business leaders' signed up to repeal the future rise in NI, outsourced their call-centres to other countries. So much for really caring about jobs in the UK !!

  • Comment number 31.

    Re: Chris Grayling, politicians constantly say that they or one of their colleagues 'made it absolutely clear' yet they make different statements when they did not think the comments were in the public eye.

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    To whom it may concern,

    What I am confused about is that; the Tories are wanting to keep NI constant rather than to raise NI and the Labour Party are looking to raise NI to spend on public services.
    How do these to Fiscal Policy measures effect Economic Growth. Sure if the labour party are investing in public services jobs are being created. If the Tories keep Ni the same, public expenditure would supposedly increase, this would also increase economic growth.
    I’m unsure what the argument is? Sure both policies increase economic growth and GDP as well as creating jobs.


  • Comment number 34.

    Can you tell me why Gay only B&Bs caan adverise on Google without fear of prosecution yet a christian couple who do the same are pilloried and why wasn't that discussed on questiontime

  • Comment number 35.

    OK that's Grayling and Osbourne consigned to 'not fit for purpose bin' who's next?

    May's answer to Ming's question regarding where the £6 billion in savings was coming from errrrr.............Good job he didn't ask about the Osbourne proposal to increase foreign aid to £13 billion or about the increased support for the armed services eh?

    Two's company - perhaps three isn't a crowd?

  • Comment number 36.

    Regarding the question about equality laws and christian beliefs...

    Let's start working with 21st century laws rather than Biblical laws written 2000+ years ago.... the future is out there!

  • Comment number 37.

    Save 6 Billion - how much are the labour party wasting on other projects? Lets look at the spending overall - 6 Billion is what Brown wastes on mistakes and is probably 30 seconds interest on the Gold he sold cheap! The Labour parties aim from day one has been to cripple England - so thay have succeeded at something.

  • Comment number 38.

    Are halal meat shops discriminating against normal meat munchers?

  • Comment number 39.

    If the current Government has just managed to identify £6BN of efficiency saving after 13 years in power, where was prudence for the 1st 12 years?

  • Comment number 40.

    well from what i could understand from all the election campaign is that tories are in desperation to rule,labour trying to cling on to power and lib dems trying to represents their party to the voters.

  • Comment number 41.

    In November last year Newsnet Scotland published a story in our then monthly newsletter in which we revealed that a private apology that had been issued to SNP Minister Alex Neil.

    The apology had come from BBC Scotland and resulted from a broadcast transmitted during the campaign for the Glasgow North East by-election in which views had been attributed to Mr Neil that he had not expressed.

    The apology was completely ignored by every Scottish main stream news outlet. Indeed it wasn’t even publicly acknowledged by the BBC and no correction to the original broadcast was ever transmitted.

    What made this particular episode all the more remarkable was that the BBC presenter responsible for the erroneous broadcast was a former Glasgow Labour councillor who had been a Labour candidate in both the 2003 Holyrood elections and the 2004 European elections.

    This ex Labour politician had been recruited by BBC Scotland's parliamentary unit in 2006, where John Boothman, husband of Labour MSP and ex-Health Minister Susan Deacon, was a senior producer. The identity of the journalist in question isn’t the point of this piece – indeed many people with a basic knowledge of Scottish politics will know who it is – the point is what many believe to be the steady disintegration of the journalistic integrity of the BBC in Scotland.

    Cast your mind back to 2007 – the SNP had just pulled off one of the biggest shocks in UK election history when they ended over 50 years of Labour dominance in Scotland.

    The win caught everyone by surprise; the public, the opposition and more importantly the media. The margin, one seat, left the SNP looking vulnerable – indeed one of the first challenges they faced was the vote for the Edinburgh trams, which they had always been against. The unionists joined together and outvoted the fledgling government; the smart money was on the new government falling sooner rather than later.

    Well, almost 3 years have elapsed and this fledgling administration has grown into a robust and formidable government. In Alex Salmond they have one of the most gifted politicians the UK has ever seen, he heads a team of dedicated conviction politicians with only one goal – to see Scotland flourish as an independent nation.

    The Holyrood opposition are weak, Labour are on their third leader since the 2007 election defeat and are now reduced to routinely demanding resignations and inquiries, the Lib Dems jettisoned one inept leader for another one and only Annabelle Goldie seems capable of bringing anything to the chamber. The Tories however are unlikely to mount a serious electoral challenge in Scotland – the Cameron ‘bounce’ never materialised North of the border.

    Faced with this confident and capable nationalist government, who provides the real opposition?

    Soon after the SNP won the election, BBC Scotland’s political correspondent Glenn Campbell appeared in a TV broadcast on the steps of Holyrood. Campbell held up a copy of the SNP’s manifesto to camera and proceeded to tear it up in quite flamboyant and melodramatic fashion.

    Campbell’s brazenly partisan act was meant to represent the SNP’s broken promises, however for many it symbolised the tearing up of the BBC’s own charter; and things were going to get worse.

    The BBC had already begun displaying ‘behavioural problems’ prior to the aforementioned Holyrood election. An infamous live debate hosted by Jeremy Paxman in January 2007 just months before the election saw Paxman confront Alex Salmond with results from a poll of 50 Scottish businesses that the BBC presenter had claimed demonstrated a lack of support for independence amongst the business fraternity.

    It turned out that that only seven of the 50 firms approached for their views on independence had bothered to reply, contrary to Paxman's claims a majority had declined to express a view 'one way or the other, two had declared 'neutrality' and one leading business said 'it didn't care’.

    The BBC issued an apology some six months later, this followed a similar move from Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark who had apologised to the now new First Minister for the 'abrupt' way she had ended an interview about Tony Blair's signing of a 'memorandum of understanding' with Libya that had included Al Megrahi.

    The list of questionable broadcasts and objectionable behaviour has continued unabated with former Labour party activists being allowed to appear on TV moments before a live by-election debate in order to make accusations against the SNP. SNP politicians routinely hectored and interrupted during interviews thus rendering their points almost impossible to comprehend and of course there is always the subtle nuances and suggestion that can often go un-noticed.

    The corporation is also ‘guilty’ of wheeling out the same collection of mostly Unionist pundits time after time in order to give their ‘balanced and objective’ views on the Scottish body politic. Lorraine Davidson, Professor John Curtice, Alan Cochrane, Angus Macleod and Alf Young are regularly provided with a platform by the BBC, look out also for CBI Scotland representatives.

    From Trump to Megrahi [surely the low point] we have observed as the BBC’s ‘journalistic defecations’ have soiled the pages of its own charter. Any complaints, if acknowledged at all, are met with a defiant arrogance that reeks of self importance and disdain.

    Its decision to exclude the SNP from any leaders debate is merely a continuation of what appears an institutionalised Caledonian malaise.

    But throughout all of this there has been one area reserved for us, the licence-payer, in which we were allowed to express our own views on matters political. A small online oasis where casual browsers and more vociferous commentators merge, offering insights into subjects that might otherwise remain shrouded in mystery; debating, arguing and educating.

    The BBC Scotland ‘Blether with Brian’ blog is probably one of Scotland’s richest sources of information, current affairs and political insight in Scotland. Comments are passionate and lively, they are also thought provoking and informative – at times revealing and entertaining.

    The blog stands in stark contrast to the mind numbingly awful ‘gruel’ that is routinely served up by BBC Scotland – it is the perfect antidote to Shereen, Call Kaye and ‘Brian’s Big Debate’.

    The blog is or rather was ‘active’ 24/7 with contributors logging in from around the world. Scottish current affairs and politics was attracting literally thousands of comments, opinions and views; and what’s more it was almost entirely abuse free.

    Then just under a month ago something happened, comments began to be censored – not one or two, but a whole string of comments. This unannounced and apparent change to moderation policy coincided with the resignation of Steven Purcell.

    BBC Scotland, like every other news outlet in Scotland, had shown a marked reluctance to give prominence to this story in its early days. Indeed the BBC have continued to treat the story as though it were a small insignificant ‘local issue’ and not the very serious political scandal it clearly is.

    The ‘Blether with Brian’ blog was swamped with comments and messages when the Purcell story first broke, many ridiculing the state broadcaster and the rest of the Scottish Main Stream Media who were shying away from covering it. Sadly it also saw message after message disappear as those controlling the blog became ever more censorial and resistant to free speech.

    Reasons given for removing messages included being ‘off topic’, that they contained links to ‘unacceptable sites’ and that the messages were ‘spam’. One such comment that was considered spam contained a link to the very site you are reading now.

    Other ‘unacceptable’ links included links to well respected newspapers – there was even claims that one comment was removed that contained a link to a site run by the BBC itself!!

    The comment below is an example of one that was considered unacceptable by the blog controllers:
    “Remember when the BBC close this blog to comments that Newsnet Scotland is always open.”

    The reason given was that it was 'off topic' – however a quick glance at the blog and we can see that a majority of comments are routinely ‘off topic’.

    In a standard reply to another complainant who was concerned about changes to moderation policy, the BBC stated:
    "Because Brian blogs on a range of issues, this approach intends to provide more of a focus for comments in relation to the specific subject or subjects covered in each individual blog."

    In other words, the blog team no longer wished to allow free discussion of Scottish politics, but rather wished to confine discussions strictly to the topic introduced by Brian Taylor - to that topic and only that topic. There is a word for that sort of behaviour, the word is censorship.

    In fact the only way that some important issues can be discussed at all is by going off topic.

    A case in point is the Purcell story that was briefly mentioned by the blog host Brian Taylor on the day the story broke and then completely ignored for fully two weeks. This was in contrast to Mr Taylor’s enthusiasm for the lunchgate/lettergate stories that preceded this very real scandal.

    On 4th February Mr Taylor felt that the proposed lunch in the Holyrood restaurant was sufficiently serious to merit a rather lengthy blog on the subject. On 8th February Mr Taylor again produced a lengthy blog on the same lunch story. On 11th February Taylor blogged again on yet another relatively benign story, that of a letter written by Nicola Sturgeon on behalf of a constituent about to be sentenced.

    Three blogs in one week focussing on two stories of debatable seriousness.

    A brief perusal of the comments since the introduction of this new and more "focussed" policy shows that certain ‘off-topic’ issues are still permitted, but comments addressing other ‘off-topic’ issues are not. It thus appears that not only are BBC Scotland practising a form of censorship, but are doing so in a remarkably capricious and ad hoc manner.

    As if that wasn’t bad enough the BBC then decided on an even more sinister course of action when they quite unexpectedly and without warning closed down the blogs completely. The ‘Blether with Brian’ blog was locked down from last Friday afternoon throughout the weekend and all of Monday, commenting was not possible – the blog re-opened on Tuesday for a few hours but was soon closed down again.

    A general election has been called and the situation now is that the most popular publicly funded mainstream media forum in Scotland is now opening and closing intermittently and routinely censoring comments.

    By closing down the commenting facility within a few hours BBC Scotland prevent both reaction to, and comment on, a changing news story. By the time one has drafted a considered response, and taken into account newly breaking news regarding the topic, the commenting facility has been closed down. It is difficult to see how this improves the quality of comments. Rather it could lead to a situation where only the most facile and superficial responses have the best chance of appearing on the blog.

    A quick glance at the BBC’s UK blogs and we see only one other blog was closed to comments. So why close Scotland’s most important blog, the one frequented by most Scots both at home and abroad?

    It should be remembered that the BBC is a public service, funded by public money. The very best that can be said for this action is that it is high-handed and arrogant. It displays a disregard for the needs and expectations of service users which borders on contempt. It is utterly unthinkable that any other public sector organisation would introduce a change to a long standing policy with a direct impact upon service users without announcing the change beforehand.

    The introduction of this new moderation policy precisely at a time when the exact nature of the relationships between certain Scottish media figures and certain Scottish politicians has come into question might be a coincidence, in the same way that the recent resignations of a long list of political figures on the grounds of ill-health have merely coincided with concerns about abuse of expenses.

    Far from promoting focus and clarity, the recent change to moderation policy has created uncertainty, confusion and obfuscation. There are those who would suggest that this was the BBC’s intention all along.

    The timing, so close to an election campaign will simply serve to reinforce suspicions that the BBC cannot cope with the dramatic changes that are happening within Scotland’s political landscape and that it is still working to an old out of date set of ‘rules’.

  • Comment number 42.

    i would like to know, why should the british public vote for any of the current parties having been ripped off by both over mp expences. how gullible do they think we are

  • Comment number 43.

    Ref 32 what rule was broken - please explain - I have not had any email?

  • Comment number 44.

    On the issue of the discrimination of homosexuals in the B&B case, I would like to point out that ethics and law often do not coincide, so that what is ethical not always is legal and vice-versa and it is difficult to say which aspect should take priority. While nowadays we tend to accept that the law offers more protection for individual choices as we privilege a liberal state as opposed to an "ethical" state such as a theocracy, there have been cases in which the law was instead discriminatory, like in Nazi Germany, where is was indeed legal to discriminate (and worse), but we can not accept that that was right. The issue, from my point of view, is that discrimination is wrong, regardless of where it comes from adn whatever form it takes.

  • Comment number 45.

    I'm a permanent resident in the UK
    This election is nothing more than a political version of EastEnders
    I've heard nothing tonight that would swing my vote either way
    Just more rhetoric from politicians, which accomplishes nothing more than to insult my intelligence.
    All used car salesman

  • Comment number 46.

    If the polls stay they way they are today and incidently if you average them out for the past 3 months it shows Tories 7% lead over labour, this will create a hung parliament, however that hung parliament will leave Lib Dems no choice on who they wish to support as the combined total of Labour and Lib Dems seats will not give them >50% of the seats to control parliament, therefore the only choice for Lib Dems will be to cozy up to the Tories, however the Tories have the choice of Lib Dems or a combination of the smaller parties. Maybe this would be best as between the Scots and Welsh Nationalists and the Ulster parties there would be more than enough to meet the >50% required and then all 4 countries would have a say in the UK government.

  • Comment number 47.

    Didn't the employers all complain that the minimum wage would lead to massive job losses too?

    Why should we listen to them now?
    -They only care about their own interest and profits.
    How many of them have moved their manufacturing overseas, to take advantage of low labour costs?

  • Comment number 48.

    Ming says no backroom deals with Labour come off it Ming you tried to do a deal with Brown to keep the SNP out of Government at the last Scottish election to hear you tonight you will conveniently forget this.

  • Comment number 49.

    i hope all these politicians are genuine with their promises.they should stop attacking themselves but rather let us know their stuffs

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    I can't believe David Miliband and his response to constitutional reform. The Labour party commissioned a report into the electoral system which came up with the AV+ system and Labour did not act on it, even though they had a comfortable majority in parliament in the late 90's. Labour had their chance for electoral reform and decided not to act as they had more power under the current pluarlity system.

    These politicians fustrate me soooo much!
    They treat us like idiots!

  • Comment number 52.

    Its interesting that religious belief is not considered to be a human right. However as a Christian I do agree that the couple should not have refused the gay couple. The fact that the couple wish to share a bed should not have affected their decision to allow them to stay or not. They were judging them which they have not right to do , only God can judge. Also even if they were to sleep together that is not more wrong that a straight unmarried couple staying and sleeping together, but I bet they didn't have a problem with unmarried couples staying. This is discrimination and they need to take a look at themselves and their beliefs.

  • Comment number 53.

    Hear Hear Simon - best comments of the night re: our revulsion of current politics and Labours New conversion to constitutional change

  • Comment number 54.

    I've just heard the Question Time panel ignore the obvious! If Lord Mandelson has said that Gordon Brown may not be leader after 2,3 or 4 years then it seems to me fairly reasonable to assume - given Lord Mandelson's track record of taking unelected power - that there has already been a 'deal' done and we may well end up with yet another unelected 'coup' by this man!!!

  • Comment number 55.

    Who invited Janey Daley to this panel? the only thing she does is show the Daily Telegraph is just another news outlet for the conservative party to spout its views. Is she just there to fill the seat? i see no other reason.

  • Comment number 56.

    Do we want ordinary leaders or do we want extraordinary people leading this country. For me I thing we need exception people working out the solutions to the problems of modern life. The circumstance of your upbringing should have nothing to do it.

  • Comment number 57.

    I thought we lived in a democratic country, so how did we end up with a Prime Minister who was not voted for by the people of this country, we should have had a general election when Tony Blair was forced out by members of the Labour Party, instead we end up with a Prime Minister who came in the back door.

  • Comment number 58.

    Question for Theresa May... What particular IT projects are the conservatives going to cut?
    The problem all parties have is the risk of losing a raft of votes of any sector identified for cuts.
    So you up with stuff like. " The problem is the (insert party of choice her) has not ruled out cuts to (insert public sector function of choice here)."
    What is the point of saying this?
    By the way, the reason for my question is I am an IT consultant looking for a new contract.

  • Comment number 59.

    Why is so much emphasis placed on the background of MP's and potential MP's? It's their job to represent their whole constituency, not just people they can directly relate to as a result of their background.

    Policies matter! Not personality, not background!

  • Comment number 60.

    Theresa May seems to have been ordered to say "Job Tax" as often as possible... whats your point Theresa?

  • Comment number 61.

    In what way is not increasing a tax 'taking money out of the economy'? Surely, leaving money in people's own pockets is keeping it in the economy! They will spend it more efficiently than any government apparatchik.

  • Comment number 62.

    There is a good mix of backgrounds within parliament however I commend people who are comfortably off like Cameron and want to give something to society when they are not obliged to, surely this is much better than saying you came in to change things and end up with earning over £20 million on the back of who you were, or be filmed as an ex minister seeking to make a buck claiming or could be bought to influence government policy.

  • Comment number 63.

    oncerning the comments by the panel on the gay couple, the christian run B&B and gay discrimination. I would love to know their views on the gay hotel in blackpool whose website states:

    "Guyz is a GENUINE Gay Hotel.
    That means it is a hotel owned and run BY gay people FOR gay people"

    It is one rule for one and one for another in this country now a days

  • Comment number 64.

    "congratulations for finding us on the wrong day and late" said the presenter. The thing is I had organised the whole evening setting aside chores to settle down to watch my only regular TV thrill, "Damages", to find myself having to go through endless National Lottery announcements and then this! Why is the BBC shambling listings, just because an election is looming? Then we get a Labour guy telling us all about what the Conservatives are saying and will be doing and a Conservative woman telling us what Labour is saying or going to do. Why can't the reps of each party tell us themselves what their own party are saying or going to do instead of distortingly speak about the other party? That would 'make it clear' to use their catch phrase. Everybody in the panel and in the audience seems as two faced and ambiguous as the protagonists of "Damages' without the good suspense. The only one who makes a lot of sense and displays real human and modern thoughts is the oldest looking one.
    By the way, when is the next episode of "Damages" due if not tonight?

  • Comment number 65.

    Comments in the show demonstrated that the British public are far more interested in honest dialogue about the policies and visions of each political party rather than the personalities of the leaders. Yet why did the show end asking viewers about their thoughts on Gordon Brown, Nick Clegg or David Cameron? Is the media trying to divert attention away from the detail?

  • Comment number 66.

    "Ordinary Middle Class". This has no basis in my, or, the Prime Minister's background, or actual experience. I say this as a child born in the same Kingdom of Fife in Scotland, who's father was a Miner, before studying and becoming one of the first Engineers on an oil platform in the North Sea. He, unfortunately died with others in a tragic accident in the 1970's in the oil industry. I was therefore, Scottish, Working class and raised through circumstance by a single parent. In reality, I have been a senior employee of an investment bank, have run my own business for the last 5 years, employing 5 people, and did not go to univeristy. To define my experience, or anyone else in terms of class or parents, is judgemental, demonstrates a distinct lack of understanding of what you claim to be a core value of your and your party's stated values, goals and aspirations.

  • Comment number 67.

    I find it hypocritical that liberals in support of unfettered access to double rooms in BnB's quote that, 'it's the law'.. since when has that been a problem to them when they've wanted to change the law? This is a question about what people's rights should be, and how the law should reflect that. I think there is a genuine debate amongst Christians as to what is the right Christian reponse to the situation faced by the BnB owners, but they should have the right to choose, it is their house after all. . and what's more, if a new Labour govt repeals the Waddington Amendment it may mean that a preacher couldn't say heterosexual marriage was the only Godly place for sex in his/her own church without fear of litigation/prosecution. There is a trend against Christians (Muslims too?? i dont know) esp in the Labour movement, and as a Labour voter and member I am really upset.

  • Comment number 68.

    It all comes down to tax and spend policies. Net economic contributors (who pay more in tax than they receive in public services) will tend to vote Tory as the Tory track record is to reduce public spending. The risk for this country is that the public debt is so enormous that the net economic contributors cannot see an end to the tax whipping they are going to get. If Labour get in there is no hope for them and they will be disenfranchised. At a certain point taxation becomes immoral and counter-productive. We should reconsider the mantra that tax rates increase in proportion to income - what is fundamentally unfair about a flat tax system? What is wrong with inheritance tax? Why do we tax employment income more severely than savings income? Vote for the party that will cut taxes on business/jobs and cut public spending. Which party is that?

  • Comment number 69.

    Is the Readers' wives interest symptomatic of the main parties being aware that female votes are likely to sway this election, and that none of them are able to field any high-ranking, inspirational party members to appeal to this demographic? So does this show us how slow progress has been within those parties to make parliament accessible to female candidates (despite dabbling in promoting female-only prospective candidate lists etc...) or a reticence of the political parties to take women politicians seriously?
    The continued prominent use of the leaders' wives is quite American I think, and seems to be further evidence of the Presidential style being used by the main parties in the run-up to this election. I find it rather sad that the 3 parties are having to rely on the sometimes gushing recommendations of leaders' spouses to communicate with the female voters, rather than showing policies and strong female role-models in parliament.
    Of course I suppose the media is also culpable in having a focussing on the "first ladies" however it does seem somewhat like a hole in politics has been papered over with the covers of Heat and Hello.

  • Comment number 70.

    how can the leader of the librals be a leader of a party when I understand he has only been a MP for five years. the other oppostion leader could not look after his own bike so how can he look after a country. think before you vote far better the devil u ken than the devil you dont, and remmber Gorden was thrown in the deep end when he took the job as PM. so give him a chance.

  • Comment number 71.

    Why was it ok for Labour to take £5 billion out of the economy during the height of recession by reducing VAT to 15%, they never filled the gap they created by introducing efficiencies and waste reduction, they just added it to our debt. Now we hear the government saying it is wrong for the Tories to take £6 billion out in order to cut NI and make any deficit by way of efficiences and waste reduction.
    Remeber these 70 business leaders employ over 1 million people if they have to balance the 1% extra cost, then they will just pay 1% of employees off which will add 10,000 more to the dole queue.

  • Comment number 72.

    Simon Schama ,what means do you employ to evaluate the pressure on the private sector, or the ability to pay increased taxes .?

    what is your view of pressure , risk, reward & the security balance which must exist between private (tax generating)& Public (tax depleting)jobs.?

    At what point is it conceivible that the pensions for public (tax depleting)jobs would become an un acceptable burden to the Private (tax generating) companies & people ?

  • Comment number 73.

    Gay B&B: Anyone who runs a business should have the right to refuse admission. This should especially apply to any hospitality related business. However, with rights, come responsibilities. I think it is abhorrent that any business owner or manager would make a decision based on opinion, or belief, which is ultimately the same thing. By all means exercise your right to refuse based on behaviour, safety of others or any other reasonable and demonstrable event, or, sell your business, refuse to participate in an progressive and hopefully accepting society and take comfort in your believed righteousness - that way, no one else will care.

  • Comment number 74.

    re question time on 7 April I was saddened to see that in the question about the bed and breakfast case when Janet Daley clearly stated that this was about a clash of human rights, in my view the rest of the panel and many in the audience chose to completely ignore the rights of the faith communities. I am also saddened to see the country that I love and have faithfully supported over the years and whose laws and values had in my view been formed and based on Christian values are now gradually being eroded and the faith communities are being moved to the position where their rights are ignored to the detriment in my view of the whole of our society.

  • Comment number 75.

    Menzies Campbell's comment on tonight's show, that by going into a Bed and Breakfast business people gave up their right to exercise their religious beliefs in their home where they operate the business, was a disgrace and offensive to millions of right thinking Englishmen. The Church of England is still the native church of this Country, and we believe God is the ALMIGHTY. Accordingly it is outrageous to suggest as he does that we give up the right to exercise our religious beliefs if we go into the Bed and Breakfast business. Tell that to those of other faiths and see what they say!

    Comments such as that of Mr Campbell further indicate the over inflated view of their own importance that our current politicians have that has led to so many of them failing in their duties and obligations and allowed the Country to sink to its currect low. This, and the erosion of the Church of England is responsible for many of the things that are wrong with the Country today.

    The Archbishop of Canterbury should now step in to the debate and assert the Church of England's role on a matter of great importance to his flock. No doubt, as has been so often the case, he will do nothing and allow the church to be further damaged.

  • Comment number 76.

    To Steve who asked

    "What I am confused about is that; the Tories are wanting to keep NI constant rather than to raise NI and the Labour Party are looking to raise NI to spend on public services.
    How do these to Fiscal Policy measures effect Economic Growth. Sure if the labour party are investing in public services jobs are being created. If the Tories keep Ni the same, public expenditure would supposedly increase, this would also increase economic growth.
    I’m unsure what the argument is? Sure both policies increase economic growth and GDP as well as creating jobs."

    If Labour add 1% to the N.I. Rate, not only will every working taxpayer have to pay this additional 'TAX' so will each employer on each GROSS Salary for each employee taking it from the current 12.8% to 13.8%.

    Now as an employer, at this time I cannot AFFORD this additional tax on top of the range of hi taxation this Government has imposed on us, therefore in order to pay it, I would have to make redundant some of my staff.... this would cost the Tax Payer more in Benefits than the Goverment would collect making it a TAX on employment... By NOT imposing the new tax if elected, the Conservative Policy means that I and 1,000's of other business's creating employment and tax revenue need not lay off staff.

    In relation to Labour creating jobs, it cannot be done with their policy as they KNOW the real figures when it comes down to it means that the PUBLIC SECTOR JOBS & PENSIONS are crippling the country, most Councils, Government Depts & Quango's are TOP heavy with Managers etc on stupidly high salaries and pensions that need to be capped to sensible levels and yes, jobs in these areas should go to reduce the burden on the Tax Payer - Labour would INCREASE these jobs, same as they have in the NHS since 1997 - despite the NHS Budget doubling under Labour, the is LESS being spent on the patients and that CANNOT continue.

    We have to live within our means as a Country and STOP WASTING IT!

  • Comment number 77.

    1) David Miliband referred to the many times taxed estates of the dead as 'public money'. If that isn't 'property is theft' Marxism, I don't know what is.

    2) to claim that the Tories will take £6 billion pounds out of the economy, when the NI hike has not yet been introduced (or only recently has) is Voodoo/astrological economics. You can't take £6 billion out of the economy if the hike has not happened yet. Nor can you call NOT raising tax/Ni in future a tax cut. It is ridiculous.

    3) #19 - Robert Crosby - Theresa May worked for the Bank of England and was elected to the house of parliament in 1997. Your statement about her being part of the last Tory government is wrong.

    4) As usual, fools on here have claimed the panel is loaded with Tories. It isn't.

    5) Those who believe that one Tory's personal opinion differing from another's opinion is a 'sign of division' are ridiculous. Shall we elect 650 identically programmed robots to victory on May 6th?

    6) Miliband stated that a person sympathising with someone who has moral objections to homosexuals entering their house due to their own convictions is the thin end of the wedge to (implying) genocidal programmes of dictators of the 20th Century is ludicrous. How is this man running a government department, let alone a whelk stall?

    7) There are many deals being conducted behind the scenes involving the Liberal Democrats and a hung parliament - its the Civil Services job to anticipate such an outcome - the country HAS to run. To deny it is ridiculous, Ming!

    8) Anyone who believes that Gordon Brown is not a despot and is not a danger to this nation if he even has a sniff of power after May the 6th is not fit to vote.

  • Comment number 78.

    7. At 11:09pm on 07 Apr 2010, John Holmes wrote:

    Yet another panel loaded with Tories!
    Ermmm, 2 Tories, Janet & Theresa and 3 Labour/Libs, Ming, Simon and Milleband. Some loading!

    As for Proportional Representation, If the Lib/Dems had the guts to concentrate on just the Labour seats and ignored the Tories, then the Lib/Dems might just pull off the most amazing result. They could actually put themselves into 2nd place in front of Labour! It would serve Labour right to be exiled to the 3rd party of also-rans for the next generation. It is all they deserve after all. The Liberals need to go for the Labour throat and rip it out. There will always be a Tory Party, there does not always have to be a Labour party..!!

  • Comment number 79.

    Oh, I forgot to ask. What happened last week to this web page and why was it closed after only 18 comments were posted?
    If there was a technical glitch why couldn't the web page have been kept open a few more hours?

  • Comment number 80.

    The United Kingdom is massively in debt due to GOVERNMENT borrowing - not due to the poor/reckless practices of investment bankers. Yes, they are to blame, but Brown is the man who has mortgaged Britain's future.

    Anyone who believes that we can 'carry on' without the bailiffs coming around is sorely mistaken. We need fiscal discipline. At the last election Michael Howard pointed out the debt problem of Labour and Labour claimed that 'Labour plans were carefully costed'. What is carefully costed about record government debt? Labour have put us ALL into penury. Labour aren't going to pay our debts. WE ARE.

    Labour sold our gold during an extended bear market for gold - class A incompetence. They borrowed recklessly whilst raising taxes (inhibiting growth). They took house price inflation out of the inflation metrics - leading to incorrect measures of inflation (political purposes) and consequentially incorrect interest rates. They have led us down a merry path to stagflation and tipped it into recession. o think, Brown only got rid of Tory spending plans in 2001 and we had major problems by 2007. All Labour governments screw up the economy in 6 years or less.

    He destroyed our manufacturing base and replaced these productive workers with shelf stackers, benefit dependents and 'diversity awareness promoters' (i.e. ridiculous non productive, political jobs)

    But don't let that stop the anti-capitalists blaming the bankers for Brown's idiocy.

  • Comment number 81.

    Menzies Campbell and David Miliband seem to be of the school of thought that you can legislate tolerance - and what is tolerance?

    Ultimately, people's opinions.

    What makes it worse is that we have a state driven direction of what tolerance is.

    You can not legislate people's opinions or thoughts. This is the complete antithesis of freedom. (Not that the benign authoritarians of the left would know about 'freedom').

    The other point to note is the criticism of Grayling for supposedly having an opinion contrary to the law. If this is the case, let all men and women of Great Britain turn themselves in for examination of their opinions on each and every law in the land (and Labour have created thousands of new ways to be gaoled since 1997).

  • Comment number 82.

    With Menzies Cambell's claim that by running a Bed and Breakfast business one gives up the right to enforce one's religious beliefs in one's own home, surely the Archbishop of Canterbury should now step into the row and assert the Church of England's authority?

  • Comment number 83.

    Having just watched Question Time again I realized once more how out-of- step I am with many of the views expressed. Why does nobody ever seem to be really angry at the lies being told?
    This may come as a shock to some of you, but we in the UK are closer to disaster than we have been for many years. If Brown is "re"-elected I can guarantee that he will finish the job that Blair started and he has continued to carry out since he took over - the wholesale destruction of every worthwhile aspect of this country. Even now I would struggle to name one part of society or the economy that functions even half-way properly. The schools, universities, hospitals, police, prisons, councils, government departments, Europe, religion, the "Human Rights" Act, trains, roads, gas, electricity, water, telephones, alcohol, drugs, anti-social behaviour, care for the elderly, the internet, terrorism, the two current wars, lobbyists, expenses, quangos, pensions, petrol, bankers, immigration, manufacturing, construction, unemployment - and so on and so on ad infinitum and ad nauseam. These is no aspect of life which has not been tainted by this self-satisfied, greed-driven, thoughtless, selfish, self-serving, unethical, politically-correct, uncaring, unknowing, inefficient, mind-numbingly stupid yet mind-blowingly arrogant government.
    If Cameron is elected, and there is no hung parliament, we will last for a few more years, though still in terminal decline.
    No, what is needed is more radical - much more radical.
    The cancer that started in the Thatcher years has now spread so far that only radical solutions will enable us to survive. Amputation of the worst-affected areas followed by transplants and then chemotherapy.
    Here are just a few suggestions for treatment:-

    Out of Europe - no referendum - this is a sine qua non
    Repeal of the Human Rights Act - another sine qua non
    Drastic reduction in immigration - maximum of 50,000 annually until the country starts to recover
    Freeze of ALL public sector salaries for 1 year, including all councils, NHS, police, school - the following 4 years limited to 50% of inflation - then a review
    Scrapping of bonuses for all public sector workers earning £50,000+
    MPs no longer allowed to have ANY outside employment
    MPs with capital exceeding £5 million to be unpaid
    Councillors to be unpaid
    Public sector salaries capped at the level of a government mimister
    All benefits means-tested, including pensions and child benefit
    Tax rates increased to 90% for those earning £1 million or over with a sliding scale to 40% for those earning 50,000+ - this aims to reduce the value of stupid pay rises and bonuses in the private sector
    All doctors and dentists trained in the UK to be tied to working for the NHS full-time for at least 8 years - nurses for 5 years
    All 16-year olds not in full-time education whose parents have never worked to be trained in special apprenticeship centres away from home and guaranteed a 1-year trial
    Introduction of conscription at age 18 for those not in work or full-time education
    Re-introduction of 11-plus and grammar schools nationwide
    Scrapping of stupid university courses to reduce student numbers
    Introduction of a Five Year Plan setting out the aims of the country at local and national level
    Production of an Infrastructure Plan for every town and city in England showing capacities for healthcare, policing, education, housing, traffic etc. to feed into National Infrastructure Plan - triggers produced
    Canal infrastructure plan extends canal network nationwide and alongside new reservoirs and rerouted rivers will reduce regular flooding problems, facilitate water redistribution and offer the cheapest, most eco-friendly public transport and freight transportation
    Introduction of major incentives for employers who allow home working
    Major reconstruction projects to insulate homes and to revamp offices no longer needed due to greatly increased home working
    Increased home working leads to reduced reliance on cars so road-building projects reduced
    Re-nationalisation of all utilities and transport systems
    Major expansion of re-nationalised railway network
    Internet use restricted - social networking sites banned and certain websites blocked by all ISPs
    "Life means Life" for certain offences
    Prison population and unemployed used as labour for local and national infrastructure projects - canals, reservoirs, prisons, railways - in return for their keep (prisoners) or benefits (unemployed)

    Many people may not like these ideas - but the placebo we're being offered is of no use and medicine that works rarely tastes good.

    And I'm voting for nobody until they adopt some of the above, starting with Europe.

  • Comment number 84.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 85.


  • Comment number 86.

    "Why does nobody ever seem to be really angry at the lies being told?"

    Many people are very angry, but it's very difficult to find a viable alternative to the established parties. I suspect many feel as I do, that we need a comprehensive clean-out and some very significant shocks at this election to ram home the message to these politicians, it is our interests they serve, not their own. Complacency and self-indulgence reflects voter apathy, so it's up to us to deliver that shock. Voting is a right but it is also a privilege and we cannot complain about our politicians if we do not play our part in their election.

    Many is the time I've heard a subject being discussed on Question Time and none of the politicians show any interest in offering an alternative perspective to that of those shouting the loudest. This was the case last night, when Chris Grayling's remarks were raised. I can just imagine the screeches of "Homophobe!" that greeted his view regarding the bed and breakfast story and to suggest this reflected David Cameron's or the party view reflects the low standard of debate we have been forced to become accustomed to. It was a poor choice of question, it had nothing to do with the election and should not be a significant factor in who forms the next government.

    I hope the standard of debate will be raised in future Question Time, reversing the long-term trend.

  • Comment number 87.

    Last night the Panel spent about 25 mins talking about gay men/B/B accommodation/ and a Tory MP's off camera comment.(incidently, why does one person's human rights, cancel another's)
    This country is Trillions in Debt, the biggest cause of worry on our streets, is immigration (which seems to be politicians and Media blind spots)
    The words "Nero, Fiddled and Rome burned" come to mind.
    What a waste of time, I was hoping the audience would have booed them off...

  • Comment number 88.

    Judging by the comments on here, particularly "Gareth", Janet Daley is wasted on QT. She has the most insightful and intelligent commentary that gets to the heart of the issue. Calling Brown "economically illiterate" was priceles. How is not taking £6bn from the private sector to give it to the public sector "taking money out of the economy"??!!

  • Comment number 89.

    I've been a fan of Question Time for years and its now bcoming increasingly obviuos that neither the audience nor the questions are being selected "objectively".

    Come on BBC the range of questions must have been more "interesting" than the ones that were picked.

    NB: You may think I am being "biased" but when I was in the audience a couple of years ago I saw specific people in the audience being "polaced" for best TV coverage so its not all as you seem!

    Also, in the "telephone" interview the "questions" I'd like to raise were suggested to me!

  • Comment number 90.

    The 60 business leaders "would say that wouldn't they". Since the NI increases would cost them and their shareholders billions.

    On the BBC news this morning it was said that M & S's sales were higher than expected. This fact will effect M & S's recruitment policy much more than the prospect of NI increases in a year's time.

    Many of M & S's customers would loose jobs, wages and pensions as a result of the "savings" proposed by the two main parties. The difference between the parties seems to be merely a matter of timing.

    It is not true that everyone accepts the need to reduce the deficit in the near future. What is true is that the contrary view that the deficit should only be reduced if and when net bank lending returns to its former level hardly ever gets mentioned.

  • Comment number 91.

    I listened to the "Money Box" podcast last night which was broadcast last Saturday and it was entitled "National Debt".

    What as thoroughly enlightening programme it was (clear FACTS diwclosed in seemingly an unbiased way) and it confirmed that the UK was running a national debt of £70 billion before the down turn.

    It would sem that New Labour had no regard for the national debt before the downturn.

    Question Time needs to learn from Money Box

  • Comment number 92.

    In response to a comment by Simon Schama about countries which do not offer their citizens a real democratic choice, the Venezuelan Ambassador in London, Mr. Samuel Moncada points out:

    "Allow me to explain that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been democratically elected three times in the past 11 years (1998, 2000 and 2006). A total of 14 elections have taken place in Venezuela in the past 11 years, ranging from presidential elections to local and parliamentary, as well as a series of referenda. In fact, the first ever recall referendum in Latin America was conducted in Venezuela in 2004, which President Chavez won by a margin of 60% of the popular vote. And all these elections have been certified as free and fair by international and impartial observers such as: The European Union, the Organization of American States and the Carter Centre."


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