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ANY QUESTIONS
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Journey of a Lifetime
Transcript: Any Questions? 15 June 2007
ANY QUESTIONS?

PANELLISTS: Roy Hattersley
David Trimble
Tom McNally
Catherine Pepinster

FROM: Willink School, Reading

DIMBLEBY
Welcome to Willink School, which is not far from Reading in the countryside on the Berkshire/Hampshire border. It's a comprehensive with some 900 pupils and new buildings that boast fantastic facilities for drama, art, music and science as well as ICT rooms for a wide range of other subjects.

On our panel: David Trimble was the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party for 10 years. With John Hulme he holds the Nobel Prize for its role in securing the Good Friday Agreement. His peacemaking success, such as it was, was followed by political failure - his party was virtually eclipsed by the DUP and he had to endure the loss of his seat in the 2005 election. He now has a perch in the House of Lords where he sits as a Conservative, enjoying what he describes as the delicious irony of his bitter enemies, among them - although they're unnamed of course - Ian Paisley's DUP are now operating the very system which he helped set up and in his view they tried to destroy.

Lord McNally was once a political advisor to the Prime Minister James Callaghan. Later he left the Labour Party to join Shirley Williams and the SDP. Still later he became her deputy in the House of Lords where he has now succeeded her as leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Our fourth - third - member of our panel is - third member of our panel is Roy Hattersley who is not only a member of the House of Lords, which he thinks ought to be destroyed but was the deputy leader of the Labour Party - a post which he doesn't think there ought to be. He, however, thinks he himself should survive.

The fourth member of our panel belongs to what used to be called the Fourth Estate and is now regarded by the Prime Minister as the feral media. Catherine Pepinster has worked for the Sheffield Morning Telegraph, The Observer and as executive editor for the Independent on Sunday. She's now editor of the leading Catholic magazine The Tablet. In this role she writes that the Tablet is a place where orthodoxy is at home but ideas are welcome. Adding significantly that the paper is not controlled by the church hierarchy which I imagine therefore sometimes regard you as somewhat feral?

PEPINSTER
They certainly get a bit twitchy if I show my fangs, they might need to purr a little bit I think.

DIMBLEBY
Thank you. And she's the fourth member of our panel. [CLAPPING]

Could we please have our first question?

VIRGO
Tony Virgo. Is the desperate situation in Gaza a result of America's lack of engagement in the peace process?

DIMBLEBY
Who would like to start on this difficult question? Roy Hattersley.

HATTERSLEY
Well I think America has got a good deal to answer for and I think Israel has perhaps even more to answer for, not least the failure to provide for the attempt at a government, a unity government, very large amount of funds which would have kept the business going and kept some of the services in operation. The truth of the matter is that Gaza is now a state which is breaking down, which is tearing apart. And if you have a situation in which the services are dismantled, in which none of the facilities which are proper to civilisation are available then you're going to have this sort of disruption and this sort of civil war. And the tragedy is that we haven't moved fast enough or far enough in getting a peace settlement - perhaps it's too late, perhaps we are going to have a division in Gaza - two nations - ungovernable each and unrulable each. But I think the Americans have a good deal to answer for and so in fact do all the West, we could have pressed much harder for a stable and permanent peace. And the deaths which we hear reported now, day by day, are on the conscious of the West in general and America in particular. [CLAPPING]

DIMBLEBY
David Trimble.

TRIMBLE
The roots of this lie last year when Olmert the US - sorry the Israeli prime minister met Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palest - the President of the Palestinian authority and they agreed to have a series of talks. Now I've no doubt that both persons at that time intended to enter into serious negotiations for a two state settlement between Palestinians and Israelis. At which point those elements opposed to a two state solution - namely Hezbollah and Hamas started a war and that is where this comes from. And it is through the belief that Hamas and Hezbollah have that they can defeat Israel and eliminate Israel that we now see this. It's rather curious what's going to happen, as Roy's hinted at it, we're going to see effectively two Palestinian states because Fatah looks as though it is going to try to do to Hamas on the West Bank what Hamas has done to Fatah. The question for Fatah - for Hamas is how does it proceed from here? Having gained control of Gaza what does it do? And it's got a huge challenge there and I don't see how it can actually surmount that challenge.

DIMBLEBY
Do you believe that one of the issues that has been raised is the fact of desperation in Gaza because of the lack of resources? Do you believe that Hamas should, as it were, continue to be punished...?

TRIMBLE
If the balance of power in the West Bank had favoured Hamas, the way the balance of power in Gaza favoured them, they would have tried to do this in the West Bank. I don't think the factors that are mentioned - the factors that Roy mentioned are very real for the people who are living in Gaza but I don't think they have the slightest impact on Hamas.

DIMBLEBY
Tom McNally.

MCNALLY
On the way here I listened to the 5 o'clock news and listened to the BBC correspondent from Jerusalem and he pointed out that if you arrest the 40 or so Hamas moderates that might have an influence on their policy, which is what Israel has done, if you cut off funding to the civil service and the social services, which is what both America and Israel have done, and if you build a wall that cuts people off from jobs y you're going to get a very, very, very desperate situation. And I really do think that whoever has influence on Israeli policy - and I know their difficulty in dealing with an organisation committed to their destruction - but the idea - and it isn't just a year ago David, you know - this idea that somehow Israel can get security by hard force. And surely by now - now that they've got a fundamentalist Islamist regime on their doorstep they must realise they've got to find another way forward. But it's a very, very bleak situation and I think that the European Union and the West in general have got to get themselves into the process that will try and extricate it. Because also, if I may say so, some of the other countries in the region have got to realise now that the way this is slipping, it isn't just the so-called moderate regimes - Syria have got a desperate interest in getting stability and so have the other Arab countries in the region. It may be that you have to touch bottom before you can get a solution but my god we're close to touching bottom in Gaza at the moment.

TRIMBLE
No, no Syria's trying to destabilise Lebanon again.

DIMBLEBY
Catherine Pepinster.

PEPINSTER
Well like the others on the panel have suggested the situation in Gaza has been terrible, the people there have been living in what appears to be a virtual prison with lack of supplies going in, their communications cut off. And one can see how resentments build in those circumstances. However, the people who are involved in what is happening, who are part of Hamas, have an agenda for which I don't think many people in this room would have sympathy. We might have sympathy with the ordinary people of Gaza but I think it would take very strong stomachs from all of us to accept that Hamas is a political force. And I think although Israel has a part to play in this, a responsibility, nevertheless I think we all know that they feel that they're facing a threat from people wishing to annihilate them. And the gentleman who asked the question asked about whether this is America's fault. What concerns me is the extent to which other people behind the scenes are getting involved in the extent to which countries like Iran are making use of people in Gaza to up the ante in the Middle East. [CLAPPING]

DIMBLEBY
Tony Virgo, you raised the question, do you have a thought?

VIRGO
My only thought is that I think the good work that President Clinton put in seems to have been lost in the Bush years and seems to be fading away.

DIMBLEBY
Thank you. If you've got thoughts about that Any Answers may be for you, the number to ring is 08700 100 444 and the e-mail address any.answers@bbc.co.uk, that's after the Saturday edition of the programme. Our next question please.

COLSON
Bill Colson. What advice would you give to our Scottish Prime Minister as to where he should encourage his children to go to university?

DIMBLEBY
Student fees are to be abolished in Scotland, top up fees in England are at £3,000. David Trimble.

TRIMBLE
Well my first advice to Alex would be to go and do your arithmetic very carefully because you're going ...

DIMBLEBY
Can I just - I don't want to - I have a - I may be wrong but I think our questioner has in mind the next Prime Minister?

COLSON
Indeed yes, yes.

DIMBLEBY
Gordon Brown.

TRIMBLE
Sorry I was thinking of the First Minister of Scotland. No I think Gordon will do what he wants to do and he'll be looking carefully at the figures to make sure that Alex Salmond - that Alex Salmond finds the money for this out of his own budget because while it looks - I know people here feel sometimes a bit aggrieved at the way in which the Scottish administration does things which aren't done here or indeed Northern Ireland or Wales. They have to do it within their own budget and if they spend more on one thing they're going to have to claw it back from somewhere else. And so it'll be interesting to see. And I very much hope that Gordon Brown does keep a very close eye on the finances and doesn't give way to the habits that Labour administrations had in the past of slipping more money down the side to Scotland, it's not the so-called Barnet formula that makes Scotland better off, the Barnet formula's actually deflationary, it's the little extra money that the Treasury slips them every now and again unnoticed and I hope Mr Brown will put an end to that. [CLAPPING]

DIMBLEBY
Roy Hattersley.

HATTERSLEY
Well as a canny and prudent Scot I would expect him, were his children old enough now, to send them to one of the three ancient Scottish universities where they'll have to pay substantially less in tuition fees [indistinct words] than were they in an English university. But my hope is that before his premiership is over there'll be a regularisation of the system and for heaven's sake instead of having student loans and tuition fees we have a graduate tax in this country which puts university financing on a proper basis and doesn't result in a disincentive for working men and working women to send their children to university because they're worried about borrowing the money. But more importantly [CLAPPING] - there's a more important immediate issue because the children are small. It's absolutely essential that he sends his children, first of all, to the nearest local primary school and then on from there to the nearest genuine comprehensive school. [CLAPPING] I don't just say this because I'm in this hall, I've been arguing the case for genuine comprehensive education nearly all my life and it needs rehabilitating in the minds of some politicians and the Prime Minister can do it by giving a lead.

DIMBLEBY
Do you - briefly - do you believe that the comprehensive system is not genuine after 10 years of Labour government?

HATTERSLEY
Well it's genuine here, my first question when I arrived was is this a genuine comprehensive school with an all ability intake and I was delighted to discover that it is. But in some parts of London and the entire education system in this country is prejudiced by people who only know about London and worry about London, in London there are a lot of secondary modern schools which are called comprehensives by just having their name changed on the notice board, well they work as secondary modern schools. If you have an all ability intake comprehensive education is the future of this country, if you have something which isn't genuinely comprehensive it doesn't work as well, it's as simple as that. And we need the Prime Minister, the new Prime Minister, to give a lead in saying this is what's right for the country, it's now what we know from the polls most people want and schools like this have a part to play in demonstrating how well it can work. I don't say that [indistinct words], I say it because I believe it as strongly, more strongly, than I believe almost anything else. [CLAPPING]

DIMBLEBY
Catherine Pepinster.

PEPINSTER
Well I think if I was Gordon Brown I would not hesitate and I would send my children to university in Scotland and it's undoubtedly - the questioner's thinking about the terrible debt that young people get into nowadays when they go to university. Supporters of the system always say that the poorest people don't have to end up with these difficult funds, that they have to pay. But it's the people who are just over that basic - that have problems. I have friends whose youngsters choices have been limited as to where they go to college because their parents cannot afford to fund them to go to the college they want to, they've had to find somewhere close to home which means that they haven't gone to the place that suits them best, which I think is a really dreadful state of affairs. I have an aunt who's a university lecturer in America and our system I think is getting increasingly like America. Where she was telling me recently that her students just do not have the time that they need to study properly because they're all trying to make their way through college by working as well and they come into their lectures and their seminars worn out after an evening working late at MacDonalds etc., and that is not a good way for our children in this country to have to study either. [CLAPPING]

DIMBLEBY
Tom McNally.

MCNALLY
I'm one of those sad people that watches the Parliamentary channel and I was watching Alex Salmond and George Falks jousting in the Scottish parliament about spending on universities. One of the factors is that Scottish universities spend about 6,000 a head on students, British universities - English universities about 8,000 and the gap is likely to grow wider. So the problem may be a short one. One of the difficulties about being on the platform with Roy Hattersley - particularly when we're talking about education - is that he espouses and extols Liberal Democrat policy rather than Labour Party policy because he's absolutely quite right. I mean I belong to a generation that came from working class family and was aided through university by grant and payment of tuition fees. And given all the statistics that if you get a degree you earn more throughout your working life I cannot for the life of me see why we go into these complicated systems that leave young people with massive debt when there is a perfectly good tax system which, as Roy said, through a graduate tax could fund university education for all on a proper and equitable basis.

DIMBLEBY
But the fact that the universities say that they are going to be increasingly short of money and unable to compete with other universities in the world, let alone deliver a good service for the growing number of students from the UK would be solved how?

MCNALLY
Well partly by them being able to charge through the tax system proper fees from central government. But you're quite right and I don't think it's any way to discuss - to duck this. If we want, particularly our top universities - the Oxfords, the Cambridges, the UCLs, the Imperial Colleges - to be world standard universities they're going to have to have the resources to keep up those standards and that issue can't be ducked.

DIMBLEBY
These top up fees of course came under the Chancellorship of Gordon Brown, you're a political realist, you don't really expect him - Roy Hattersley - to do what you want and exchange it for a graduate tax do you?

HATTERSLEY
There were rumours - I put it no higher than that - that Gordon Brown wanted a graduate tax, we'll see whether those rumours prove correct during his years - what the next 8, 10, 12 years that he's Prime Minister of the country. [CLAPPING] But I just want to emphasise what Tom says, without making trivial points about which party supports what. The truth of the matter is that I would not have gone to university had this present system operated. I guess I could have managed after I'd graduated and went into a decent job to pay it off. But what the people who organised the thing don't understand is the mentality of working boys - 18 is still a boy - and there a lot of working boys still about who would be horrified by, intimidated by the idea of running up debts, I would have thought it were beyond me, I wouldn't want to take the risk. Now I agree that we've got to have a new system. When I went to university I think 1 person in 200 went, now it's something like 70 in 200. There has to be a new system. But the great virtue of a graduate tax is that people like me, who benefited from the old system - a grant which paid all our costs - would also be contributing. And I'm happy to contribute to the cost of universities from which I've benefited, not just the people who are there today.

DIMBLEBY
Okay we'll - Catherine, did you want a word?

PEPINSTER
No I just - I guess I just want to agree with what Roy is saying. It seems very unfortunate that the people who've benefited from a university education are now concocting a system which seems to limit people in going there. And I think one of the things that's very worrying is when you look at figures of course a lot of people go to university but quite a lot of them do drop out and don't complete the course and it's often financial reasons that cause them to do that.

DIMBLEBY
The average debts we're told from the audit are £30,000. Just on that, David Trimble, with that amount of debt is that something that is to be endured because of the value at the end of it for most people as a result of getting a degree?

TRIMBLE
I think there is some evidence that some people are thinking twice about going to university because of the cost and certainly I think there's also some evidence that people are looking carefully as to which course to take in terms of this. But the problem - the problem is that the present arrangement - even the present top up fees - are wholly inadequate for the needs of the universities and there's going to have to be radical change in the near future in terms of this because it's absolutely critical to the economic future of this country that we still have world class universities and if we start to slip on that front we'll find that we're paying a huge cost from the point of view of our economic position as a whole. [CLAPPING]

DIMBLEBY
We'll go to our next question please.

HANNOWIN
John Hannowin. Since Mr Blair has clearly implied that the Deputy Prime Minister's job is of little importance shouldn't the Labour Party boost its popularity by using a selection technique used by Sir Alan Sugar?

DIMBLEBY
Who if I'm right didn't go to university. Tom McNally what do you make of this contest, this beauty contest, for Deputy Leadership?

MCNALLY
It's very exciting isn't it. [LAUGHTER] Roy's the expert having actually had the job. I'm not sure whether it's quite - Harry Truman called the American vice-presidency not worth a bucket of warm ...[TALKING OVER] Roy's much better at it. Was he. But anyway we're getting close. I don't know, if the next Deputy Leader of the Labour Party provides as much innocent fun to the country as the retiring one I think we'll have got a bargain. [LAUGHTER AND CLAPPING]

DIMBLEBY
Roy Hattersley.

HATTERSLEY
Well I think the job of Deputy Prime Minister's nonsense. When I was deputy to the party we thought we might win in '92, it never struck me for a moment I'd become Deputy Prime Minister, nor would I have wanted to. I wanted to run a big department, I wanted to run the Home Office and to be called Deputy Prime Minister without a real job wouldn't have appealed to me in the slightest degree because in politics it's Dennis Healey aphorism, you have to decide whether you want to be somebody or do something and I think doing something is a great deal more important. If Gordon Brown took my advice, and he won't, he would announce now that he is not going to appoint a Deputy Prime Minister because there's just a chance that one of the candidates who might not altogether be suitable to be Deputy Prime Minister might win this election, leaving him looking rather silly if he had - I'm not going to even describe the gender of the person I have in mind - became the Deputy Prime Minister by default. I think there's a case for somebody being elected to do a Labour Party job and it's necessarily important in opposition but I'm not even sure the Labour Party needs a Deputy Leader while we're in government. However, I say one thing in its favour Reading today about what was said on the hustings that was on Question Time last night I discovered that every one of the candidates announced the necessity for producing some more low cost affordable housing in this country. If this results in a campaign that produces the low cost affordable housing that we scandalously failed to build over the last 20 years then the election will have been worth it but it still means that the Deputy Prime Ministership is a nonsense and Gordon Brown ought to announce he's not going to appoint one. [CLAPPING]

DIMBLEBY
Catherine Pepinster.

PEPINSTER
Well I've seen the Alan Sugar programme once or twice and one of the key things is where they get given these tasks to do and maybe some of these candidates should be given some tasks which show that they'd be suitable to follow Mr Prescott. One could be furnish an Admiralty Arch flat or have you played croquet on the lawn or even how good are you at socking someone on the jaw. But thinking more seriously about it I can't say I'm struck by this with great excitement. I settled down last night to watch a programme somewhat similar to this on BBC1 and I'm afraid I probably dosed off halfway through ...

MCNALLY
Very good chairman on that programme.

PEPINSTER
I think I agree with Roy it's really a role that should be Deputy Leader rather than Deputy Prime Minister and good luck to them if it means that they argue between themselves about what that role should really be. But one thing that I'm afraid I'm not very sympathetic to is the idea of one of the candidates that she should be the Deputy Leader because she's a woman, I think we've moved beyond those days of tokenism and I think that women should really stand alongside men and be - and be the person chosen if they're the right one for the job not just because of their gender. [CLAPPING]

DIMBLEBY
David Trimble.

TRIMBLE
Roy's right in saying that there's no necessary reason for the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party to be Deputy Prime Minister. And this is only going to happen because Gordon Brown has said it's going to happen and it strikes me that it's just a gesture by Brown to try and curry favour with the Labour Party both in parliament and in the country at the moment and I think it's a revealing gesture and it's not one to his credit. As to the candidates - I think the two candidates that strike me as having a degree of integrity are Hazel Blears and John Cruddas who've stood clearly for what they think at opposite ends of the pole. But I think the others in between have not done themselves any favours and the fact that they've all, although been in government and having supported New Labour for the last 10 years, they're all busy trying to scrabble back to curry favour as if they were old Labourites and I think is not to their credit and tells you something about the Labour Party at the moment.

HATTERSLEY
I just want to take up David's point about Gordon Brown trying to curry favour with the Labour Party. I'm not in favour of the Leader of the Labour Party trying to curry favour, I mean damn it we've had 10 years when the Leader of the Labour Party tried to offend the Labour Party. But the other point I wanted to make. I'm sorry that somehow Alan Sugar's got in here. I've actually now seen the Alan Sugar programme and he has a view of industrial relations which is only replicated in the underwear factory in Coronation Street, who make people worker by shouting at them. That doesn't seem to me to be the right way to elect anybody to anything.

DIMBLEBY
Two very brief questions to you Roy. One, a political question, if the Deputy Leader is elected by the party and the Prime Minister has been shoing by the shoo-in by the parliamentary party, doesn't that create a dangerous potential power base that no prime minister will want to have unless you've got them carefully tucked up inside as Deputy Prime Minister?

HATTERSLEY
I don't think it does because Gordon Brown's failure to be elected - if I can put it that way - John Major - I make a joke, that's unique in itself - about him being the unelected - unelected - whatever the joke was, Gordon has not had a contest because he's the overwhelming choice of the party. I mean if there had been a contest it would have been like voting Albania in 1975 when Gordon Brown got 97.5% [TALKING OVER] he has the overwhelming support of the party. So there's no challenge to Gordon, Gordon is stronger than any party leader I've ever known. I don't think that's a problem at all.

DIMBLEBY
Second question, very briefly. Who given that there is going to be one of these characters, do you have a favourite and if so who is it?

HATTERSLEY
Yes I'm going to vote for John Cruddas, indeed I have already voted for John Cruddas because he says it's a party job and I want to reunite the party and the leadership. But he says I don't want to do what the present Labour Party chairman has done - Hazel Blear - which is justify the leadership to the party, I want to carry the message of the party to the leadership and I think that's very necessary and John Cruddas is the man to do it and my vote is already in the post on his behalf. [CLAPPING]

DIMBLEBY
If any of the other candidates want right of reply you can try getting into Any Answers and also Sir Alan Sugar if you want to describe you industrial relations principles you can come to Any Answers as well. The number is 08700 100 444, the e-mail address next, last time, I'll give it to you, some people get so irritated by my giving it but others really want it, any.answers@bbc.co.uk. Could we go to our next please?

FISHER
Reverend Valerie Fisher. In the light of today's report about teenagers what part can the church and Christianity play in helping young people to refocus their lives?

DIMBLEBY
This is the Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV which says that amongst other things celebrity culture, alcohol, drugs is promoting sexual activity in the early teens and early teens have the highest rate of teenage pregnancies and sexual infection in Europe. Catherine Pepinster.

PEPINSTER
I was very interested in this report and one of the things that struck me about the report was that like many of the kind of conclusions that such organisations come to they always talk about things like this in the language of health and I'm not sure that it is about health, I think it's about behaviour and it's about values. And I worry the extent to which young people today have a lack of what you might call a moral compass. It's quite difficult to understand what's going on because in many ways many young people are incredibly idealistic and have very strong values but on the other hand reports like this suggest that they are very seduced by celebrity culture, drink, drugs etc. are terribly important to them. I mean young people have always experimented of course but you do get a sense nowadays that being a young person is in many ways incredibly difficult ...

DIMBLEBY
Do you think that there is a moral compass that they lack which adults, their parents, generation have?

PEPINSTER
I was just going to come on to that Jonathan. I think that many of the difficulties is that what are their parents offering them and I think in many ways when you get a report like this rather than focus on the young people I think we have to question what society in terms of adults is offering them by way of values. I noticed that the other day that - I think it's the Church Times is putting out a new magazine for teenage girls and the trouble when the church tries - or church organisations or church affiliated organisations try to do that is that it looks terribly tame compared to what else there is available. But I do get terribly worried by how sexualised young people are, I mean things like clothes - I mean there are stores that offer sort of bras to little girls and I get very disturbed by the extent to which clothes sexualise people with sort of T-shirts with slogans that say things like Top Tart and this kind of thing, I just think the whole society ...

DIMBLEBY
Given that you had that market economy of that kind and you think that the church and Christianity, if I understand you correctly, take a limited part because it seems by comparison bland, what do you - is there any way out of this?

PEPINSTER
I don't think that what the church can offer is bland by way of the gospel, I think people would find the gospel very [indistinct word] culture nowadays but I'm saying that some of the presentation of it can be very bland. But I do think that this is - this is not an issue about yet more [indistinct word], about the mechanics, I think it's about views.

DIMBLEBY
Thank you. [CLAPPING] Tom McNally.

MCNALLY
I don't think the churches need or should be bland, they are now a minority voice within our society but that shouldn't mean that they shouldn't put forward their views with great strength and great certainty. And I think many young people do find within church groups the kind of guide and steer that is of help. But anybody, including parents, are facing the problem that are media and consumer society does promote some of the problems that are reflected in this report. It is also quite strange that we have one of the best formed age group of young people with access to all kinds of information and yet they do not seem aware of some of the basic facts of life that sexual intercourse produces babies and also can produce transmitted diseases. The ...

DIMBLEBY
The report - the report suggests that one of the reasons why there is an increase in young teenage pregnancies is because once they've consumed alcohol and/or drugs inhibitions are removed and therefore there's more unprotected sex and therefore more sexual - how do you call that, given that there's been in the last 10 years, if not much longer, campaigns of all kinds, how does a politician come up with a solution to that if there is such?

MCNALLY
I don't think there is a solution, I think you've got to [indistinct words] and I'm not so sure that schools are still a little bit too inhibited about telling the facts as they are. I'm quite sure as well that there is a parental responsibility but that's an age old concern. And our old friend the media in its broadest sense and the messages that they give. But there is no snap solution to this.

DIMBLEBY
Roy Hattersley.

HATTERSLEY
Well I'm actually going to begin by repeating the worlds of Sir Harold MacMillan during the Profumo crisis: "I'm not these days very much in the company of young people." But then I decided that there was something terribly unattractive about a pen of the elderly middle aged saying how awful young people are today and I just don't believe it's true. I mean there are problems but they remain a problem for the minority and I don't think the problem's going to be solved by us wagging fingers at them and saying they're behaving in a way that we didn't behave when we were young and they'd better move fast towards a moral position and change their ways quickly. I don't believe it's going to do very much, first of all because as Tom McNally rightly says whether we like it or not the churches now represent only a minority and a dwindling minority of the population and I think it's very difficult for churches to have a view on this which doesn't seem to be finger wagging, which is the worst possible thing to do. I don't know the answer but I think I do know the cause - all the problems that were raised a moment ago about the sort of clothes young girls wear and the sort of magazines they read and the sort of habits they acquire are a result of this awful consumer orientated meritorious society which our sort of society has produced. And if we go on supporting the idea of free enterprise at all costs, advertise whatever you like, if you make money you've done very well, if as one of the candidates for the Deputy Leadership of the Labour Party says let's give a knighthood to Sir David Beckham, he's a good role model for young people, then there are going to be problems. But I want a different sort of society and I don't think any of the problems are solved until we have a society which is more equal than it is today, deals with poverty and understands something better in life than making a lot of money and having lots of consumer durables. [CLAPPING]

DIMBLEBY
David Trimble and then I'll come back to you.

TRIMBLE
Well reports of this nature come along every few years, you know, bemoaning the character of modern youth but I'm with Roy on this point in that I think most modern youth are actually very sensible and what we're dealing with is a minority and I think actually young people today are quite serious in their approach to life and to the world and to the future, much more serious than my generation was, I'm quite sure of that. With regard to churches, there's always been a significant role for churches in youth work. Now obviously there are problems in terms of the way the church has declined here but nonetheless I think there's a significant role there. And of course you will know in dealing with youth work, as indeed with anything else, there's no point preaching at people, five minutes of a good example is worth five hours of lessons to people. So youth work and good youth leadership gives the opportunity to provide that. But I don't think you're going to solve this by reducing affluence or reducing standards of living, people want to have a good standard of living, want to have a rising standard of living and that means affluence for their children as well. And people will, as they always will, when they have money they'll spend it on what appeals to them, it won't be appealed to ourselves in our age, or even at our present age or when we were young and of course they're making the choices they wish and there's no point telling them that they're making wrong choices.

MCNALLY
I did want to just come back to the suggestion that we were - kind of version of the grumpy old men. I mean I do talk - well I've got teenage children and I go to a lot - to schools like this talking and I never cease to be impressed by the seriousness and the commitment of young people. But one of the things - it's their future, they've also got to play a part in looking at these problems and solving these problems.

DIMBLEBY
Thank you. On that I'll give that phone number once more - 08700 100 444 - if you can illuminate from whatever perspective that issue. Our next please.

MOSS
Jenny Moss. What can the public do to ensure the referendum is held before any further commitment is made to the European constitution?

DIMBLEBY
And members of the panel please with some despatch if you would. Roy Hattersley.

HATTERSLEY
Well first of all the public can be rationale about the new European constitution and stop arguing about the idea of a constitution being wrong in itself but looking at what the constitution includes. And if the constitution includes things we support then we should support the constitution. It's one of the issues about which people are constantly irrational in that they say we do not want a constitution even if we believe what it says. Now I think that most of what's in the constitution, particularly the human rights, the civil rights implications, are very much to be desired. It won't happen in this country because all the political parties are worried about the chauvinistic majority amongst the electors. If I had my way ...

DIMBLEBY
A referendum?

HATTERSLEY
... I'd have a European constitution, I'd vote for it tomorrow.

DIMBLEBY
A referendum you're being asked specifically, would - what can be done to ensure the referendum is held. You're against the referendum?

HATTERSLEY
The referenda is - the referendum is alien to our system of government, politicians must take decisions and must be kicked out if the people don't like the decisions they take, referendums are a mistake in my view.

DIMBLEBY
David Trimble.

TRIMBLE
Well I think the announcement that's come from Downing Street today is quite disgraceful in which they're saying that there won't be a referendum and that is what is agreed. And what is agreed - what is there to be agreed is basically the constitutional treaty that was rejected in France and the Netherlands. And I think it is disgraceful of the government not to have a referendum. We've had referenda on oodles of matters, we're having referenda on whether there be regional assemblies in England and then to think that there's going to be a significant change, and this will be a significant change in the governance of this country without a referendum, after having promised one earlier, is quite disgraceful. But you know the whole issue is wrong. Instead of constantly gazing at its navel and changing the details of its structures Europe should be tackling its fundamental economic problems and it should be addressing that and we are - the Euro zone particularly - is falling behind other parts of the world and if they keep on just examining matters of structure, making themselves more and more difficult to govern while the rest of the world is growing it's going to be a poor look out.

DIMBLEBY
No structural problems to be resolved with the huge increase in the membership?

TRIMBLE
Well have there been any in the last year? No there have not.

DIMBLEBY
Tom McNally.

MCNALLY
An organisation that's expanded from 6 to 27, and that says something about how successful it has been, is bound to have to change its rules from time to time. But I don't think we should be bounced by the Murdoch press into a referendum which would not be about the details of how the constitution is changed, it would be an in and out referendum and if we said out we would ...

DIMBLEBY
Is that because the public can't be trusted to think intelligently about the issue?

MCNALLY
I think that we would be - read today's Sun and you'll find out that, where it suggested that it's a referendum about keeping the pint, chips, the Queen and various other icons of Britishness....

DIMBLEBY
But not so long ago you were in favour of referendums on Europe.

MCNALLY
No I wasn't ...

DIMBLEBY
The Liberal Democrats - the Liberal Demorats.

MCNALLY
On a fundamental shift of power, if they was an absolute new constitution, as was proposed by President Giscard, if this is just a simple prudent adjustment of the rules we should treat it as we treated every other changing of the constitution over the last 30 years by a vote in Parliament. And Roy's quite right: Parliament on the one hand is saying it wants rights of peace and war and yet when it's asked about a matter like this it wants to run off and hide behind a referendum.

DIMBLEBY
Catherine Pepinster.

PEPINSTER
Well I guess I agree with the others. I see this as ...

DIMBLEBY
They all disagree.

PEPINSTER
Well Tom and Roy really. I see the referendum as a matter really for Parliament. But I do think the trouble with these referendums and these issues about Europe is that they do become used as a means of attacking the whole idea of Europe which is unfortunate because I think it's important that we are part of the union. What I think is interesting and that we perhaps all aren't really yet coming to terms with is the extent to which the union has changed because of the enlarged membership and certainly countries like Germany don't like it when countries like Poland try and flex their muscles but we're going to have to get used to that.

DIMBLEBY
Quick word Roy Hattersley.

HATTERSLEY
And referenda are a farce. Tom McNally and I were up to our necks in the last referendum and I doubt if 1% of the population voted because they approved of the terms that he and I had helped to renegotiate in Brussels. They voted to stay in the European Union because Jim Callaghan, Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher on one side and Tony Benn and Enoch Powell were on the other. The issues of referenda are never the issues which are on the ballot paper. And the idea that you can really judge a nation's opinion on such a complicated matter is a farce about which, as Tom McNally [TALKING OVER] people hide behind - hide behind.

DIMBLEBY
Let me ask our [CLAPPING], you've heard yes or no on the panel about referendum, yes or no from our audience, who's in favour on this issue, as described by the panel, of having a referendum if it reaches the point of having to make a parliamentary government's decision. Who's against a referendum? Well there's a majority here, but not a huge majority, a majority in favour of a referendum [PANEL NOISE] No? I'm sorry - I'm sorry - you are - there is a majority here - I will correct my false interpretation and say there is a majority here, not a large majority, in favour of a referendum. Okay once again, we will for Tom McNally's sake because he wants to win this argument. We've just got time to do it. Who's in favour of a referendum, would you show your hands please? Right. Who's against a referendum? I say that it's very close indeed but there is a small majority in favour of a referendum and there we will leave it. [CLAPPING] And hope that you will have your say in Any Answers.

Next week we're going to be in Plymouth with the environment minister Ben Bradshaw; Tim Yeo for the Conservatives; the columnist David Aronovitch and chair of the School Food Trust Pru Leith. Join us there. Thank you very much for having us here. Don't forget Any Answers but from the Willinks Schools near Reading, goodbye. [CLAPPING]

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