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Journey of a Lifetime
Transcript: Any Questions?  28 March 2008


PRESENTER: Jonathan Dimbleby


PANELLISTS: KEITH VAZ MP: Chairman, Home Affairs Select Committee

DOMINIC GRIEVE MP: Shadow Attorney General

PROF KATHY SYKES: Professor of Science and Society at Bristol University and broadcaster

BRIAN PADDICK: Liberal Democrat candidate for London Mayoral elections.

From: Lambeth Academy, Clapham, London SW4 9ET


DIMBLEBY:

Welcome to London and the Lambeth Academy one of the founding 3 of the city academies which received its first pupils in 2004. The students come from a wide range of social and ethnic backgrounds and between them speak 24 first or to use the term which is now preferred home languages. The Academy is run by the education charity the United Learning Trust and describes itself as a high achieving school for the local community. It has certainly been purpose built for this task with state of the art facilities for sport, dance, drama, art, design, music, science and technology. On our panel Keith Vaz has been in the House of Commons for some 20 years. He has had an up and down political career, the first Asian Minister in the Commons and Europe Minister for two years he then stood down in 2001. Today he is once again very prominent in his influential role as Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee. Against the trend Dominic Grieve entered the Commons in 1997; he has also been to the fore but in his role as Shadow Attorney General, leading the Conservative opposition to the Government on such issues as detention without trial and ID cards. Brian Paddick came to prominence as the Metropolitan Police Commissioner in Lambeth. Last year he left the Met and he is now standing for the Liberal Democrats for the London Mayoral elections. Kathy Sykes is Professor of Sciences and Society at the University of Bristol She is not only a formidable scientist but as those who are watching her current series on BBC 2 Alternative Therapies will know she is very much at home in front of the camera as well. One red top paper described her as I quote “blonde bombshell putting the sexiness into science” Do you like that or is it thoroughly sexist or do you like it and it is thoroughly sexist?

KATHY SYKES
I don’t like it that much actually Jonathan

DIMBLEBY:
Right well I shan’t ever say it again

KATHY SYKES
Never say it again please

DIMBLEBY:
But I will say that you are the fourth member of our panel.

Our first question please?

(APPLAUSE)

JEREMY CLYNE
Given the debacle of the millennium dome, the wobbly bridge and now the fiasco at Terminal 5 should we fear for the staging of the 2012 Olympics?

DIMBLEBY:
Dominic Grieve

DOMINIC GRIEVE
Well I think we can be absolutely certain that there will be a very large number of cockups while the 2012 Olympics are put together but before we get too carried away, take the wobbly bridge, it was wobbly and then a lot of money had to be thrown at it and then it stopped being wobbly and actually it is rather a lovely bridge to walk over. I am not sure I get ecstatic about the millennium dome, it cost a great deal of money and I suspect that Heathrow Terminal 5 will turn out to be all right when the teething problems and everything have been sorted um I am pretty sure that we are going to have some difficulties I think the budgeting is vastly over optimistic but when all has been said and done we will probably succeed although we will be cursing about the cost in getting something that is worthy of the people who are going to come and compete and the numbers of people who will attend and at the end of the day we will look back on it and say it was worth doing.

DIMBLEBY:
Keith Vaz?

KEITH VAZ
The Olympics are going to be brilliant of course because they are happening in the most important city in the world and that is London, apart from Leicester of course which is my home constituency, (LAUGH) and I am sure that all the lessons that can be learnt from what has happened in other places will be learnt and I think we should be optimistic about the fact that we are going to have the Olympics in London

DIMBLEBY:
Do you share the view that Terminal 5 is a fiasco?

KEITH VAZ
Well I am very disappointed about Terminal 5 because I think they did have a lot of time clearly to prepare for this. I remember when I first stood for Parliament way back in 1985, yes I am that old, and I stood in a place called Richmond I was part of the campaign against Terminal 5 so there could be a bit of a curse on Terminal 5 upon what happened. Joined by the Liberal Democrats by the way Brian when I was there. But I think they should have prepared better for this. They should have provided the resources that are necessary. I think it’s dreadful to have a wonderful building opened by the Queen, a great symbol of what Great Britain is all about and a few days later there is such a disaster of this kind. All that I can hope for is that the people who run BAA and BA will stop the blame game and get on and try and do something to make sure that the passengers who will be suffering greatly at this particular time, a time for holidays for people, that they will be able to not have the kind of problems that we have had in the last few days and lets hope it gets back to what they originally intended which was a first class building. That means more resources. Better planning, it means making sure the problems that have occurred will not happen again.

DIMBLEBY:
Kathy Sykes?

KATHY SYKES
I don’t think we should be afraid but I think we have to learn some lessons very well and one of those lessons is I think not to be too cocky about the start of something um I think it is to trial something in stages and do it very gently but I think perhaps the most important lesson to learn is to value the staff, the people who are working on building it more profoundly. Tonight we have heard from some of the staff of British Airways saying that there had been staff misery, they have been warning the management, they haven’t been listened to, they haven’t been valued and I think it kind of reflects some of our lack of ability for businesses generally to be appreciating their staff. There has been too much emphasis on short term gains for the shareholders and not valuing the real people who do the work (APPLAUSE)

DIMBLEBY:
Brian Paddick

BRIAN PADDICK
I don’t quite understand what has gone wrong because you remember the shots the publicity shots before with all this baggage piled up behind on each of the desks where they were going to trial the systems and my understanding is that there are two parallel baggage systems, if one breaks down the other one works. I think what has happened is that there is only one computer and that is what the cause of the problems has been. As far as the 2012 Olympics are concerned there are some good news stories the Emirates Stadium for e.g. where Gordon Brown and President Sarkozy met – a bit of an unusual place for a presidential summit but the Emirates Stadium the Arsenal stadium was built on time and to budget and it is a magnificent example of what we can do when we get our act together. Let’s hope the Olympics are more like the Emirates and less like Terminal 5.

DIMBLEBY:
You want to come back in again Dominic Grieve?

DOMINIC GRIEVE
Well I was going to say this I think part of the problem with Terminal 5 has been the acute pressure in bringing it on stream because in fact of course the whole of Heathrow was grinding to a halt under the sheer pressure of the number of passengers using it. 98% capacity, that is why the baggage handling at the other terminals had completely collapsed and so I sort of have a funny feeling that when they look into this the main problems that they are going to have is that they brought it in very quickly

DIMBLEBY:
A lot of commentators say that this has been very bad for Britain’s reputation because this is all flown around if that is the right word, not the wrong word flown around the world and it confirms people’s impression that Britain is good at getting things wrong and not very good at getting things right.

DOMINIC GRIEVE
Well, we do seem to have a country that has acute teething problems but at the end of the day I find myself sometimes using Charles de Gaulle, it is a very big airport, it’s actually compared to Heathrow I think rather soulless and very difficult to get around so when people complain about Heathrow which I have to use quite a lot as well; at the end of the day for all its shortcomings it is a very British sort of airport, a bit ramshackle. But when the staff morale is all right and when the systems are going it actually delivers I think by international standards a fairly good service and It think sometimes we run it down quite wrongly.

DIMBLEBY:
Brian Paddick

BRIAN PADDICK
I hope I won’t get the chap the sack who showed me round Terminal 5 before it opened. His advice to me was whatever you do don’t use Terminal 5 for a month until the teething problems are sorted out.

DIMBLEBY:
Jeremy Clyne you put the question?

JEREMY CLYNE
Well I just wondered with all the difficulties there have been in moving some bags out to a few waiting aircraft how its going to be transporting vast numbers of people around this city and whether the capital’s creaking public transport system is going to be up to it.

DIMBLEBY:
I think we will leave that hanging there thank you. The very British airport as Dominic Grieve described it and also the Olympics with a reminder of the Any Answers number after the Saturday broadcast of this programme. Its 08700 100 444 and the email address any.answers@bbc.co.uk Our next question please……


JACQUES GOUTHER
Does the panel believe that the official visit of Mrs Carla Sarkozy and her husband turned the entente cordial into a full blown love affair?

DIMBLEBY:
I hesitate to make the presumption that you may be French and I will come back to you for your own view if I may after we have heard from the panel. Keith Vaz?

KEITH VAZ
I think it has been a great success and I think it is very important that we have these visits especially with the French because of the long history of apparent competition and antagonism between the English and the French, the British and the French. I have just finished reading a book called 50 Days that Changed the World and a number of them refer to the rivalry between the French and the British in particular the English over a number of years. I think it is good that the Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Nicholas Sarkozy were able to talk about substantial issues, that is has not just been about Mrs Sarkozy’s costumes or dresses and whether or not they clash with Gordon Brown’s ties which sometimes unfortunately is the way in which some sections of our media view events of this kind. But what is vital the real political issue behind all this is that I think Europe has been drifting over the last few years and it has been extremely important that we re establish our credentials as a European nation that is prepared to provide leadership and part of that means having a very good relationship with the French politically and also the Germans while that doesn’t exclude the rest of the EU countries because there are 27 countries of the EU it is important that the major countries in Europe are able to get together and that personal chemistry that is so vital to the success of summits, I attended a few of these summits as Minister of Europe but I think that chemistry is extremely important.

DIMBLEBY:
Professor Sykes did it turn into a full blown love affair, the emphasis has been on Mrs Carla Sarkozy’s presence

KATHY SYKES
It certainly has. I think it is worth looking back through history to have a look at some of the ways that British and French leaders have bonded. Richard the Lion heart felt it necessary to, in order to show his diplomatic allegiance with the French King, actually went as far as sharing his bed, King Henry VIII…

DIMBLEBY:
What with the ….

KATHY SYKES
The king, the French king indeed a different kind of love affair. King Henry VIII in a sort of boisterous rufty, tufty way challenged the French king then to a one on one wrestling match in public which of course he promptly lost so I think what we have been having in the last few days has been a rather more interesting kind of love affair

DIMBLEBY:
Not quite so dramatic…


KATHY SYKES
Not quite so dramatic although there has been the rampant flattery while still sticking to their principals which actually I rather alike. And Sarkozy was urging Gordon Brown to take a more active role in the EU and I know that at least in science, the rest of the EU, I think, sees Britain as being a real leader and we really could be showing better leadership for the rest of Europe and we kind of don’t do it because we think that we have better things to do and I think we could be playing a better leadership role

DIMBLEBY:
Brian Paddick?

BRIAN PADDICK
I am not sure Keith whether the discussion was more about Madam Sarkozy and what she was wearing as opposed to what she wasn’t wearing a few years ago in some of the photographs that have been published in the tabloids but certainly it is very encouraging I think to see such a positive relationship developing between the British and the French. For example the French President’s commitment to support our forces in Afghanistan. We know now how stretched British Forces are and to see another major NATO country committing more troops, more support for our soldiers in that particular arena is to be welcomed. I hope this is going to develop in to something much more positive, much more constructive but the initial indications are encouraging.

DIMBLEBY:
Dominic Grieve

DOMINIC GRIEVE
Well I have to make a confession statement first I am half French. I am not sure my constituents knew that when they first elected me but that’s the truth. I found this state visit fascinating, the problem with British French relation is they tend to be highly ritualized. In many ways there is a lot of to and fro at individual level and the states relate well in the ritual but actually it is astonishing how little contact in many ways we have with each other, in learning from each other because we have the same problems, we approach them very differently and yet not necessarily get better results the one than the other. I went once over to France to see how they did children’s justice there. Totally different system, fascinating but I think I may have been the first person who had gone to do such a visit and what fascinated me about Sarkozy’s visit was that yes there was the ritual, we had the dinners, we had the speeches we had the references to the second world war but if you listened to what he had to say there was a completely new agenda here, a willingness to actually tackle the subject, not really about the love ins they are actually the difficult subjects to talk about. We discussed Africa, about the poverty, the education, the environmental degradation, there were suggestions about setting up links to multiplicity of official levels, there was the acknowledgement that British French relations didn’t have to be at the expense of Trans Atlantic relations. All those things seem to me to be an absolute first and seeing that French presidents are on the whole stuck in the ritual I thought it was one of the most refreshing things I had seen for a very long time. (APPLAUSE)

DIMBLEBY:
Jacques Gouther did it turn into a full blown love affair how did you see it?


JACQUES GOUTHER
I don’t see that it does at this stage but hopefully it will in the future yes but to come back to Mr. Vaz and Miss Sykes points about Britain being a greater influence in Europe I think Sarkozy’s message is very clear and I think it is very necessary that England has got more influence across Europe and in the European Union definitely.

DIMBLEBY:
Thank you very much we will go to our next……

DANIEL BOLTON
As a student of this school I am concerned about the level of violence between young people. How are you going to tackle this problem as just yesterday two teenagers were stabbed in London?

DIMBLEBY:
In fact one of those teenagers was stabbed outside a school which in fact is a sister school of this in the sense that it was run by the United Learning, is run by the United Learning Trust. Brian Paddick?

BRIAN PADDICK
It is interesting. A lot of blame has been put on drugs and gangs for this knife and gun crime but that incident at the sister school yesterday my understanding from the head teacher at that school was that this was actually just two pupils involved in a fight and I think what we have to realize is that we all did stupid things when we were younger but when young people are doing stupid things with guns and knives in their hands then people die. The most important thing before we go on about blaming the parents or the culture of violence and all the rest of it we need to get the guns and knives off the streets. At the present time in London only 14 in every 100 searches by the Police are for guns and knives.. We need the police to concentrate on those issues that are most important to local people and getting guns and knives off the streets of London is the most pressing issue I think in the capital at the moment and that is therefore what the police should be doing. (APPLAUSE)

DIMBLEBY:
I should just say for the benefit of the other panelists you probably didn’t know that in the case of these two arrests have been made…. Dominic Grieve?

DOMINIC GRIEVE
Well I agree with Brian Paddick we need to get the guns and knives off the streets but the question is how do we go about that? You see one of the problems I think we have in modern society is that we live in a disempowered society, adults no longer interfere when they see misbehavior taking place of a kind which 30 or 40 years ago they would have felt quite naturally capable and confident enough to intervene in order to say stop and that would apply particularly to the behaviour of younger children and one of the things I have learned in my job doing Home Affairs is that unless you start dealing with these problems when you are dealing with 6, 7 and 8 year olds the idea that you are going to deal with 14, 15 and 16 year olds is I am afraid cloud cuckoo. It’s a national scandal that we are tolerating levels of misbehavior through quite young children and never addressing it in schools and I think that’s where some of the fundamental problems come. We need two things; we need to re empower people to have the feeling that they have the confidence and support of the police and the state if they intervene in the common sense way, not in vigilantism but the common sense way to persuade, to tell people to behave themselves. Generally speaking in my experience if you do that 99% of the time people, young people do. Secondly we need proper neighborhood policing and we will never get proper neighborhood policing unless we have the proper police numbers to deliver it and that has to work with local communities. Finally I could go on much longer but I say finally within our school settings unless we start inculcating values we will not succeed in making an impact. It seems to me that those three things are much more important actually than longer sentences or taking lots of peoples DNA and putting it on databases, or all the bureaucratic systems that we tend to bring in because that is ultimately how traditionally order was maintained in societies and we need to look and see where it has gone wrong to understand why we are facing current difficulties.

DIMBLEBY:
Briefly the inference of what you are saying is that of the 11 murders, 11 deaths of this kind there have been since the beginning of this year that is not a blip, this is going to continue and get worse until you take the long term action that you have been describing.

DOMINIC GRIEVE
Well I am afraid that I think it is and the point I swell made that what previously might have ended up with a punch up somebody might have had a black eye is ending up with people on a life support system in hospital and this is a disaster. Now this should come about it’s because of a tolerance of a level of violence in culture which the police in all fairness to them are not best placed to eradicate. It is a question for us to deal with and what has happened in our society, people go around moderating each others behaviour by exchanging views all the time, expressing themselves. We actually live in a society nowadays where I conclude that moderate people can no longer dare go around moderating each others behaviour or other peoples and they put all of it back on the state and actually we can’t have a policemen behind every lamp post it is impossible, it is for us to take hold of this problem and for the state to support the individuals in doing it but we have a system that at the moment seems to me to be heavily skewed against such activity and I think the solution, I came to this conclusion a long time ago, the solutions lie there rather than I have to say the grand eloquence of politicians saying don’t worry we will pass more of this, more of that and it will all go away. It won’t.
(APPLAUSE)

DIMBLEBY:
Thank you. Kathy Sykes?

KATHY SYKES
I think there were about 27 teenage deaths last year in London. As well as getting guns and knives off the street I think we have to ask ourselves really seriously why this is happening and you know Daniel I would like to ask you why do you think it happens and what we might do. I will ask you at the end. I think we need to be speaking with young people and really trying to understand those who are involved in violent crimes, why they are doing it as well as those who aren’t and asking them how they think we could police them better and asking them how they think we could school them better and indeed parent them better. There was a scheme where kids who were expelled and some of them were violent were brought all together in a new learning centre in West Hampstead and those kids were dealt with so that they constructed together the rules that they would apply. They helped to decide on the governance structures with the teachers and they all reflected on the way that they behaved so that some of the guys who had been quite violent in the past and disruptive had already gone through some of the process, guys and girls, had already gone through some of the process of working out how they could behave better and it was a really constructive atmosphere and instead of those expelled kids being thrown out of the system they did really well. They also helped to train parents into how to be more constructive when dealing with their kids.


DIMBLEBY:
Thank you Keith Vaz

KEITH VAZ
We have got on the platform a former Commander and Professor of Sciences and Society so Dominic and I are mere politicians. We are the people who say things should be done but in the end it is for others to make sure that they are done. I think what we need to have is three things. First of all more visibility by the police. I agree with Dominic you can’t have a policeman behind every lamp post and I would be very stunned if they were behind every lamp post. I think what people want is visibility and whether it is through the police force or through PCSO’s, an agreement has to be reached on a local level that there are policemen out there. Secondly I think we need action by the police. Brian is absolutely right how do we rid this city and other cities of the United Kingdom of the menace of guns and knives because that is where real violent crime has seemed to come to peoples attention and whether it is by allowing teachers the possibility of searching their pupils when they come into school I don’t know whether this happens at the Lambeth Academy I know it happens at some schools. What other steps do you take to make sure that young people don’t interact in this way? I think finally you need firm action by the courts which means you put the victim at the heart of the criminal justice system not the perpetrator and that means keeping the victim informed and ensuring that those who do commit crimes are given the sentences that they deserve.

DIMBLEBY:
Brian Paddick you focused on guns and knives. There have been a considerable number of attempts to deal with that problem. There have been amnesties and so on but it has still got worse so how do you achieve the objective of getting rid of the guns and knives to the point where you diminish these atrocities?

BRIAN PADDICK
I have been on to difficult inner city estates and I have spoken to young people some of them permanently excluded from school and they told me that they wanted the police to do more stop and search, not on them because of the way that they look but targeted on the criminals well how do we go about that? People don’t carry guns and knives just to keep it to themselves. They show the guns and knives to other people either to so called gain respect or to threaten other people. There are hundreds of law abiding people who know who the gun and knife carriers are but trust and confidence in the police I am afraid to say across the country but particularly in inner city areas is ebbing away and people even though they know who the people are, they are not brave enough or are do not have enough trust and confidence in the police even anonymously to say, it’s Fred Smith, it’s George Brown who has the knife or the gun they are the people you should be stopping and searching.

DIMBLEBY:
Are you saying that for what 10 years now the Met has we are told been going out of its way to try and secure better relations with the various communities and you are saying that actually that trust is not improving it is ebbing away that’s a very strong and depressing statement.


BRIAN PADDICK
Well that’s what I believe, also if you look at the Metropolitan Police’s own opinion surveys, public opinion surveys in the last year for example despite the introduction of neighborhood policing, fewer, a smaller percentage of local people believe the police understand what the local policing issues are than they did two years ago.

DIMBLEBY:
Briefly Keith Vaz

KEITH VAZ
Well I obviously defer to Brian’s experience of these matters but I don’t think the way forward is to have more stop and search of individuals because there is ethnic profiling and it means young black men will be stopped and searched by the metropolitan police.

BRIAN PADDICK
It has got to be targeted

KEITH VAZ
I think we have to be very very careful in moving in that direction but I think what we also need to do is to make sure that people respect each other much more and Daniel maybe has the answer to these problems because it is an issue about young people talking to young people and greater respect needs to be shown not just between young people but between citizens and I think that is the way in which we produce a philosophy that is going to be acceptable to everybody and therefore will result in a reduction in crime

DIMBLEBY:
Is it your view in your role as Chair of Home Affairs Select Committee that Brian Paddick is right when he says that trust between police and people in the community in London at least is ebbing?

KEITH VAZ
No I don’t. We have received lots of evidence. Obviously Brian is very experienced on these matters but on the evidence that we have received I think the Metropolitan Police have gone out in the last ten years to engage with communities. People like Brian have gone out, when he was a Commander of the local area, he went out and engaged with communities and I think that is absolutely vital.

DIMBLEBY:
Why do you think it is ebbing away as opposed to that it is ebbing away.

BRIAN PADDICK
I think there are examples of where the police have done that and they have been able to do that successfully but I don’t think that is universally the case and when I talk to Londoners far more Londoners say to me we don’t even bother reporting crime to the police now either because the police don’t do anything or you can’t get an answer on the telephone or the queue is too long at the front counter. The reduction in crime, in reported crime in London is more to do with the fact that fewer people are reporting crime to the police rather than an actual reduction in crime.

DIMBLEBY:Thank you. APPLAUSE Any Answers the number again is 08700 100 44 after the Saturday broadcast of the programme. Our next please……

MARK McCLAREN
Does the panel agree that teaching unions should campaign against academy schools?

DIMBLEBY:
Kathy Sykes?

KATHY SYKES
No I don’t agree. I think Academy Schools are a really interesting experiment and there are some real successes as I think some of the people in the audience here all knowledge and know and I think (go ahead clap) and I think we need to look at all of them and learn from the ones that are doing really well and look at their successes. And these private public partnerships are really empowering, I think, for communities and for students but I think that focusing on the schools is missing the real issue. It’s a distraction. About 3 or 4 times more impact than the school that a kid goes to is made by the teachers and we ought to be focusing on training our teachers better and supporting them in being really really good teachers and I think we have got too much emphasis in the system on getting people through exams rather than really seeing our education system as being something that teaches us how to learn. We should be having people emerging from schools ready to learn throughout their lives any kind of skill, and you know there is some really good research that shows that if you help kids with understanding what they are struggling with and get them to reflect on what they are like as a learner, you know make them responsible for the things they are struggling with but in an environment where you expect them to succeed and they know they will be supported it can make a massive difference not only to their grades but their ability to learn. The other point I would make no I will stop there….

(APPLAUSE)

DIMBLEBY:
Now everyone’s on tenterhooks. What were you going to say?

KATHY SYKES
Well the other issue is that I think, especially in British schools, it is not very cool to be clever and if we got better at valuing other skills, celebrating practical skills, musical skills, sporting skills and made those things really successful too we would make it cool to be clever. (APPLAUSE)

DIMBLEBY:
Keith Vaz the government is extending this programme and hopes before too very long to have 400 or so of them.

KEITH VAZ
Absolutely and I think this is a fabulous school and I wish that I had come here when I went to school. Actually my parents chose to come to the United Kingdom when I was 9 years of age because Britain had the best education in the world and I was very lucky to have gone to a direct grant school and that is why I had the education I had but I think what the academies have done is something new. I don’t know much about this academy but I talked to your head of sixth form, I understand that prior to this academy being built there was just a piece of waste land because the previous school Henry Thornton had closed several years before and that the results you have had so far have been pretty impressive although of course it is a new school and you will have to wait for the full results. But I do agree with what Kathy has said. Exams are of course very important because you can’t apply to go to Bristol University and be taught by someone as eminent as Kathy Sykes unless you have those results but also schools should be about making good citizens and that means a partnership between the teachers, the pupils and the parents.

DIMBLEBY:
Sorry do you have a sense of why the teaching unions apparently feel so strongly about this?

KEITH VAZ
Well I think because it challenges the traditional methods of education in this country which is private or comprehensive and there is no middle way. I think it is important that we have sponsors such as the Trust that sponsors this particular school and that we look at new approaches. And can I just say if that is coming from a teacher I don’t know whether it is that I hope very much the teachers won’t go on strike. I hope they will get a proper settlement because one of the things we don’t do is value our teachers enough and pay them the salaries they deserve. (APPLAUSE)

DIMBLEBY:
Brian Paddick?

BRIAN PADDICK
I think one of the objections from the Teachers unions which may or may not be unfair is that a lot of money is being channeled into the new academies rather than being shared out amongst the traditional schools (APPLAUSE) and I think the absolute priority should be to have excellent schools in every community whether they are new academies, or whether they are traditional schools but there is an important point about the difference between education for the sake of education. If I think about the sort of subjects I studied at school and how useful they have been to me in adult life compared with skills for jobs and I think there should be an equal balance between the two and academies give that opportunity for people to gain skills for jobs as well as purely academic qualifications. I have to say by the time I had finished my A levels I had had enough of academic work which is why I went into the police because I wanted to do something practical rather than academic.

DIMBLEBY:
OK Dominic Grieve

DOMINIC GRIEVE
Well I despair at the teaching unions sort of Neanderthal approach (shout from audience) just a minute…

DIMBLEBY:
Dominic just because some people would have heard that….


DOMINIC GRIEVE
I was very fortunate and I went to a school a stone’s throw from the Houses of Parliament, Westminster School which delivered to me a wonderful quality of education for which I am very grateful but I despair of anybody who takes a narrow view of how education should be delivered. The answer must be what works and I am a complete pragmatist about what works. I have seen comprehensive schools that work, I have seen private schools that work, I have seen grammar schools that work and I have certainly seen academy schools that work and what really makes me despair is anybody who goes on a platform from a teachers union or anywhere else and starts saying oh well this doesn’t correspond to the model which I think ought to be inflicted on everybody else. We won’t support it, we won’t co operate with it. I think it’s a negative attitude and it’s a useless attitude and quite frankly if something works it should be supported. So when I hear teachers coming out with academic justifications against certain sorts of schooling I regret it.

DIMBLEBY:
Some of the teachers say they don’t like the structure which gives a great deal of power to the board of governors, that removes power from parents and the elected representatives and they also go on to suggest that it is quite easy to squeeze people into the school who are going to take the results up and it is therefore in a sense reproducing an unfair system. That’s what they have been saying (APPLAUSE)

DOMINIC GRIEVE
I don’t know if there is a thing as a perfect school but I do see schools that work and if a school works support it and if a school isn’t working try and put it right. It seems to me that that should be the approach within teaching unions and the celebration of a bit of diversity within the system strikes me as being very valuable and that is what I believe in it is what I have always believed in and I think that is what delivers results otherwise we spend our time pontificating about how we are going to have another upheaval and in fact it doesn’t produce anything better so as far as this school is concerned, it is perfectly obvious just looking round that it is an outstanding place so if there are people who are really criticizing places that work frankly I don’t think they are worth listening to.

DIMBLEBY:
Mark McClaren you put the question you are nodding.

MARK MCCLAREN
Well my son is at the school and I am a parent and I agree to a certain extent with one or two people on the panel that this political posturing from the unions to seek to in effect campaign against many of their own members because presumably there are a lot of NUT or other teaching union members in academy schools. We just want the school to succeed.

DIMBLEBY:
This is the NASWUT who specifically are leading this particular campaign. Let me… Brian Paddick quickly and then we will move on


BRIAN PADDICK
I think that the overriding thing that we need to ensure is that every child no matter what background, no matter where they come from has an equal change to a good education and we have got to do whatever we can to make sure that happens (AUDIENCE)

DIMBLEBY
In our audience here there were some dissenting voices from the views expressed by Dominic Grieve by way of example. Who thinks the unions are right to campaign against academy schools? Put your hands up. Those who don’t think the unions are right to campaign. That’s interesting. There is a significant minority at least who believe the unions are right. Right we will go to our next question….


DAVID HART
As the mayoral election is proportional who would you vote for as second choice?

DIMBLEBY:
As the mayoral election is proportional who would you vote for as your second choice?
Keith Vaz

KEITH VAZ
Well very fortunately I am registered to vote in Leicester.

DIMBLEBY:
You can’t get out of it like that.

KEITH VAZ
I know who I shall be voting for at the next election. I don’t have a vote in the London election.

DIMBLEBY:
For purposes of argument you are invited to take a view

KEITH VAZ
I think for the purposes of argument and not wishing to offend Brian at all because he is sitting on my right hand side and he is a candidate and he is bigger than me and his glass of water is half full I would vote Green if the Labour candidate did not get elected.
I would be very happy to vote if I had a vote, my wife has a vote in London and I am sure she will vote, obviously it is up to my wife but when I last spoke to her Maria did tell me she would be voting for Ken Livingstone and I think the green candidate is closest to the labour candidate in terms of its manifesto and what it is prepared to do so I would vote green if I had a vote after voting for Ken as first choice sorry Brian. (APPLAUSE)

DIMBLEBY:
You have set a very helpful precedent. This is a hypothetical question and you therefore have to answer it, you can’t get out of it Dominic Grieve

DOMINIC GRIEVE
Well not Ken and I think that for me is the absolute determining factor and I will just explain why it is not so much a question of policy it is a question of attitudes and outlook. I have watched it seems to me over the last few years what happens when you deliver patronage politics and patronage politics is a uniquely corrupting process, it identifies different groups, selects them, tries to give them favours and it is how in fact Ken has brought London to a very sorry pass in terms of his administration and it is something that all political parties (JEERS) all political parties ought to get out of, we are all capable of being susceptible to it and if the result of this election is that we end up without him we will be hugely enhanced in terms of our politics in this country, he is one of the big disgraces of the last few years. (JEERS AND APPLAUSE)

DIMBLEBY:
So with the same forthrightness answering the question that was specifically put who would be your second choice?


DOMINIC GRIEVE
I think almost certainly Brian.

DIMBLEBY:
Thank you.

KEITH VAZ
Brian is passing he doesn’t want Dominic’s vote?

DIMBLEBY:
Brian Paddick thus encouraged who would you vote for as your second choice?

BRIAN PADDICK
I will try and be a politician and not answer the question. No I mean the fact is that the people in London have two votes for Mayor they can vote for their first choice and their second choice and this is quite unique it means that when you vote for your first preference you can actually vote with your conscience, you can look at the people who are putting themselves up as candidates and you can choose the person no matter what party they are from who you think is the best candidate because if that person doesn’t come in the top two your second preference vote where people can vote in accordance with their party loyalty, that second preference vote will count just as strongly as their first preference so it is a unique opportunity. A lot of people say there is no point in voting liberal democrat because it is a wasted vote.; In this election you can vote with your conscience first preference and for your party loyalty second preference and you will end up keeping whoever it is you want to keep out of power, out of power by doing it that way so that is what I would recommend people to do.

DIMBLEBY:
Will you be exercising your own right to have a second choice?

BRIAN PADDICK
No I won’t (LAUGH)

DIMBLEBY:
Isn’t that a little contradictory given what you have just said? You vote for yourself on grounds of high principal and as an option you have someone….

BRIAN PADDICK
No because I am in a dilemma you see because I would vote for myself on a matter of principal as the best candidate and then my party well it is the same party so I can’t vote for myself twice can I. (AP-LAUSE)

DIMBLEBY:
We know you come from Bristol Kathy Sykes but let us say for the purposes of argument you are in London

KATHY SYKES
Well

DIMBLEBY
Which Party would it be?

KATHY SYKES
Well some of the things I like about each of the candidates. Boris is very likeable isn’t he? Yes I mean he is I think he is remarkable in being prepared to fail and still stay there in public life and he is terribly encouraging of kids to be more risk taking. Ken I think has been enormously brave in some respects so the introduction of the congestion charge and now talking about charging people with more expensive, more fuel guzzling cars even more so I think he is (APPLAUSE) I think he has been brave and shown some real leadership on environmental issues when many many of our leaders haven’s shown enough leadership. I am not wild about some of his attitudes on foreign policies. Brian I have to say would be my first vote. I am

KEITH VAZ
They were very close over dinner..

DIMBLEBY
No need to become disreputable Keith Vaz…

KATY SYKES
The way that he worked with communities and listened to kids who were involved with crime |I think just deserves enormous respect, he has shown enormous courage I think in talking about his own values, his own conscience and he has talked about cannabis when it wasn’t popular, he has talked about his sexuality. I think real respect he is my number one so that would make Ken my number two. (APPLAUSE)

DIMBLEBY:
Thank you. Regular listeners to the programme may remember that Ken Livingstone was on the programme on March 7th and of course Brian Paddick is on, on this occasion and inevitably we asked the other leading candidate Boris Johnson if he would like to join the programme and he declined saying that he didn’t wish to discuss national issues while he was concentrating on the London Mayoral Election. We will go to our next please. Oh I should say one more thing you can find a full list of candidates for the London Mayoral Elections through a link on the Any Questions web page. Get your pens out quick www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/news/anyquestions. It is easy enough isn’t it. Our next please…..

RUTH EASTMAN
If the Panelists were among those yesterday unable to get off the ground at Terminal 5 how would they spend the evening drowning their sorrows assuming British Airways was footing the bill

DIMBLEBY:
British Airways footing the bill how would you like to drown your sorrows?
You can choose any way you like? Brian Paddick?

BRIAN PADDICK
Well as well as running for Mayor I am also running the London Marathon on 13th April for 3 of my favorite charities, Downs Syndrome, my nephew has Downs Syndrome, the Stroke Association because my father sadly died of a stroke and for Elton John AIDS Foundation so alcohol now is out of the question in terms of drowning sorrows so it would have to be something very healthy and I would probably spend the time running round the Terminal because it is such a big space now you could probably get quite a bit of speed up.

(APPLAUSE)

DIMBLEBY:
Very briefly I am afraid

KEITH VAZ
I was in snowbound Warsaw when this was all happening and therefore I couldn’t get off the ground because of the snow so I spent my time reading a Polish newspaper even though I don’t speak or read Polish.

DIMBLEBY:
Kathy Sykes

KATHY SYKES
Well given that passengers many of them were only given £100 and hotels were £200 there wouldn’t be an awful lot of money. I would spend my time, I spend too much of my time working too hard so I would spend my time meditating.

DIMBLEBY:
And Dominic Grieve

DOMINIC GRIEVE
Well I would immediately order from British Airways or BAA a set of walking boots and the proper outdoor gear, I would slip out of the back of Terminal 5, I would slip down on to the valley of the River Colne on the border of my constituency, I would wander up it for about 3 miles trying to identify the trout in the river and there are some, enjoy the beautiful semi rural paradise that goes along this lovely stretch of the river and I would then turn round and come back in time for my flight and everybody else would be jaded and unhappy and I would be happy and fresh.

DIMBLEBY: On which thought we come to the end of this week’s programme I am afraid. Next week we are going to be at the Cardiff Business School in Wales. Join us there from the Lambeth Academy in London Goodbye.
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