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Last Updated: Friday, 21 November, 2003, 00:34 GMT
20 November 2003
Find out what you had to say about the topics discussed on Question Time, broadcast on 20 November from Borehamwood.

The topics discussed this week were:

War protesters

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Audience question: In the aftermath of today's bombing, should today's protesters wake up and comprehend that al-Qaeda is waging war against western democracy?

You said:

All those people in London who are protesting have no concept of what terrorism is. Living in Northern Ireland and suffering for 30 years with terrorism, I will not tolerate terrorism of any kind and it must be destroyed at any cost.
Mark Wilson, Holywood

I think it is an absolute disgrace that people protested againgst the war in London when there are people dying as a result of terrorism. Would they still have protested if they had been directly affected by events in Istanbul? I think not....
Susie, Twickenham

I was on the march and was disgusted at the comments of Clive James and others in the panel. I was marching for peace - meaning that there are means other than war to defeat terrorism. The west should rise above violence and lead with its supposed civilised mind and defeat terrorism by politics and negotiation.
Susan, Brighton

Where were the protesters when the Iraqi people were diminished from their human rights, tortured for their thoughts and killed for their democratic actions?
Robert Dunning, Southampton

Tonight's Question Time is a sad indictment of the British home counties when those citizens brave enough to oppose an unelected president and his illegal war by marching on the streets of London are greeted with hostility. The women on the programme are the only ones speaking sense.
RJ Ghorbani, Glasgow

It is great that people can protest about what they feel is wrong, but in a democracy the views of the majority must count. War is evil, but the threat to lives within Iraq and without was greater. It is not easy to improve the world, but should we not try?
Colin, Bristol

I feel disgusted to be a British citizen after seeing on the news the burning of the American flag in London. I know there is hostility about the war in Iraq, but why on earth was this allowed to happen? America has been our closest ally for the last 50+ years and I need not remind everyone of two world wars they helped us with.
Andrew, Luton

If Jesus and Gandhi were alive today, would they be supporting Bush and Blair or would they have been marching with the protesters?
Amaryllis Gunn, Worthing

Text: Who paid for all the thousands of anti-Bush placards? Wouldn't it have been better used helping the children of Iraq?
Bill McKenzie, Aberdeen

Text: To call Bush a terrorist is like calling Saddam a humanitarian.
Bob, Brixham

The protest march in London was about Bush and his illegal war on Iraq. It was not about terrorism, which is what happened in Istanbul! Hence they were right to continue with the protest.
Jameson, London

Text: Those who would blame the UK and US for terrorism should remember that 9/11 predates Afghanistan and Iraq.
JH, Dorset

Text: How long before a bomb goes off in the UK?
Nick, Romsey

Text: Good thing we're in a country where you can voice your ingratitude to democracy.
JM, Gloucs

I think it is an absolute disgrace that people protested against the War on Terror in London while people were dying as a result of terrorism. Would they still have protested if they had been directly affected by the bombings in Istanbul? I think not....
Susie, Twickenham

Text: All this talk saying we shouldn't have gone to war is like dancing on the graves of our soldiers.
K, Bristol

Text: If we do fight back we get bombed, if we don't fight back we get bombed. We must stand up to terrorists.
JM, Sussex

Text: I prefer to allow President Bush and Prime Minister Blair to look after my safety rather than the minority of protesters.
HK, Middlesex

Tonight's programme did not do the first topic justice because it allowed Clive James and others to get away with simplistic, and ultimately untruthful, answers to questions while other panellists, in particular Vanessa Redgrave, attempted to put the same question under some analytical scrutiny. There will be terrorist attacks on "soft" western targets as long as Western governments drop bombs on underprivileged peoples.
Peter Walker, Southend-on-Sea

Text: Bush and Blair have a lot to answer for and I think they should both resign.
K Hitchcock, South Wales

Text: Where were the protesters when Mugabe and Putin were here? And where were they when Saddam was killing thousands and invading his neighbours?
DM, Mossley

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Friendship with America

Audience question: Should Britain continue to be "America's closest friend in the world"?

You said:

Vanessa Redgrave should remember that America made her as an actress and she should not shun the the country that helped her career.

We should keep our close friendship with America because we cannot rely on our European partners for support.
Trevor Knowler, Maidstone

I would be so grateful if someone could correct the next person who claims that America came to our aid in WWII. The Americans gave us a huge level of debt for the post war years, and only entered the war after being attacked by Japan. In real terms supporting the allies was self-preservation rather than any real commitment to the British people.
Paul, Belgium

America did not help us in WW2. They did not enter until they were bombed by Japan. Before that they stood back and watched us die.
Mark Johnston, Scotland

I'm for the friendship among the people of GB, USA, Russia, France, etc. But it is disgraceful that we talk of a British government being America's best friend while Mr Blair does not even try (or dare) to oppose or change the opinion of Mr Bush's administration on any vital matters.
Irene, Kent, UK

Where were the Americans when we had terrorists called the IRA? The Americans were one of the biggest supporters with funding for the IRA.
Gary Newsome, Sevenoaks

Text: Better to ally ourselves to the US than to Europe.
Dave, Bolton

When did the USA support us over the Falklands? What about their invasion of a British colony, Grenada, behind Mrs Thatcher's back by her "close friend" Ronald Reagan?
Bob Baker, Clacton On Sea

Text: What other country in the world has done more for our country than America?
David, Surbiton

Text: America is only concerned about America.
Mark, Hull

If Mr Bush wants us to be America's friend why doesn't America open up immigration for us so that we can live in the States without a Green Card?
Alan, Islington

Text: With friends like the US who needs enemies?
Steve, Bude

Text: The USA are the only nation we can rely on to help us if we are in need.
Pam, Somerset

Text: George Bush's life is not worth more than anyone else's. He should be made to take decisions and live the consequences of his actions, as we all do, rather than being cocooned in CIA bodyguards, with little recourse to reality.
Debbie Sutherland, Kirkwall, Orkney

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Bush's state visit

Audience question: Should President Bush have been given the honour of a state visit?

You said:

President Bush certainly deserves a state visit. Their opponents would be criticising the relationship between the two friends if he was given otherwise. We certainly need to be friends with America now more than ever if we intend to alleviate the problem of Terrorism.
Darnell, Highgate, London

Shouldn't the honour of this state visit have gone to the real President of the United States, Al Gore?
Chris, Cardiff

England is a free country and President Bush should be free to visit whenever he feels like it.
Brian Kemp, Basildon, Essex

President Bush, welcome. Misguided and unrealistic protests and media coverage too often contribute to minority views and are in danger of being unrepresentative of majority opinion.
Bob Watson, Hartlepool

I believe we shouldn't be paying for Bush's visit. In fact he shouldn't be visiting at all.
Alvin, Bradford

President Bush should certainly not have been privileged to a state visit with our Queen. It was improper and, worse than that, used our hard-working Queen for a man that should never have come into place in such a superpower.
A Evans, Torquay

I think President Bush should be given a full state visit because he is a free man and should have freedom of movement just like the Iraqi people deserve their freedom.
Kingsley Wayne, Bromley

Text: I think Bush had to have a state visit because he is not welcome outside of the palace.
Helen, Leeds

I think it is a travesty that more than 5m has been spent on providing security for President Bush. The money could have been spent on the NHS.
Wendy Willcocks, Salisbury

Text: Why should the people of Sedgefield have to put their lives on hold for the day for Bush?
JC, Newcastle

Yes, Bush is worthy of a state visit. The Queen invited him 17 months ago, why pull the plug now? He represents our greatest ally, America, and we should honour the country and the president.
Pat Knight, Poole

Text: A 41 gun salute - and they all missed him!
Ian, Darwen

Bush should not have been allowed a state visit to the UK. The attacks in Istanbul would not have happened if he had not gone to war in Iraq.
Mohammed Hussain, Plymouth

Text: Bush should have been allowed a state visit representing Americans but not as a platform for his re-election.

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Journalist's breach of confidentiality

Audience question: Should the Daily Mirror journalist employed by the royal household be prosecuted for breach of confidentiality?

You said:

He must have lied to obtain his post. How many people have filled in a job application form? Does it not ask on any application form: Previous employment? Position Held? Should he not have answered: The Daily Mirror/Journalist. If he did not then he has lied, simply to meet his own ends and that of the Mirror. He should be sent to the Tower or a glass box over the Thames!
Derrick Hoper, Folkestone

Text: The reporter did the royals a great service and they should be grateful!
Kevin, London

If the reporter in the palace was a responsible person and not just a news sniffer, he would have reported the problems one month ago, giving the palace time to react before the visit.
Juliet Hoskins, Staines

Text: Is Piers Morgan obsessed with royal bedrooms? Yes, expose security flaws but no to just snooping.
Phil, York

Text: The Mirror reporter should be had for treason.
Andy, Liverpool

Text: If the Mirror were really concerned they would've alerted the Palace. Instead they want to sell papers.
Paul, Southampton

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Margaret Hodge

Audience question: Is Margaret Hodge sincere in her apology or is she trying to save her political career?

You said:

In castigating Margaret Hodge, nobody has thought about the true feelings of child abuse victims. As someone who has spoken to many people who were abused as children, I can say with all honesty that they all are disturbed by their experiences. Margaret Hodge was unwise to make her comments in relation to one individual, and I really feel for him. However her remarks when applied to child abuse generally are not far short of the mark.
Ken Herman, Somerset

Text: Surely calling for her to resign is counter-productive. Nobody is perfect!
Sarah, London

Text: Margaret Hodge should do one thing and that is resign.
Jason Powell

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Foundation hospitals vote

Audience question: How can the government justify using Scottish and Welsh MPs to vote on foundation hospitals, which will only affect England?

You said:

The foundation hospital vote shows up the inequity of democracy that Blair has created under his devolution plans.
Malcolm Hill, Welwyn Garden City

There is always lots of talk about reform of the House of Lords but this week's vote on foundation hospitals would suggest more is needed. With the onset of a new Scottish Parliament and a Welsh Assembly, is it not time for full parliamentary reform? Why should Scottish MPs vote on an issue that will have literally no effect on them?
Nigel Hooley, Manchester

The vote on foundation hospitals throws into sharp relief the complete botch up of our historic constitution by Blair and co.
Richard Marriott, Kidderminster

With regard to the issue of foundation hospitals and the right of Scottish MP's to vote on an issue that does not involve them. I find it almost remarkable to hear a Conservative deride Labour in their tactics when it was the majority of English MPs under the Thatcher Government that forced through the Poll-Tax which just happened to be imposed on the poor Scots minority. I don't remember hearing too much of a fuss from the Conservatives at that time, so I believe there is truth in the statement that "revenge is sweet".
Mike Bird, Glasgow

I am against the imposition of foundation hospitals in England by the votes of Scottish MPs when an elected Scottish Assembly has decided against them in Scotland. The "Poll Tax" argument does not ring true. When the Community Charge was introduced there was one sovereign UK parliament with the power to determine policy throughout the UK. It is Blair (not the Tories) who has altered this situation by bringing in devolution to Scotland. If there is devolution to Scotland then there have to be English votes only on England-only issues.
Gregory White, Rotherham

Text: The English vote introduced the Poll Tax to Scotland first - not nice is it!
Lesley, Edinburgh

We should absolutely have an English parliament. These regions are pretty much fake constructs - there is no "South West Region" where I am - we're Bristolians and that's it. But we are English. We've got a football team, why not a parliament!
Tom, England

Text: Foundation hospitals have no support in England.
Adam, Margate

When will Westminster realise that the natural end for the row over Scots MPs voting on this issue is to remove all of them from the Commons and return the remaining reserved powers from Westminster to Holyrood. That is, independence for Scots! Seems the logical conclusion...
Jonathan Urquhart, Ullapool

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Flying a minister back to vote

Audience question: Is it value for money to fly the sports minister back for a vote only to be replaced later in the week by his boss?

You said:

It is clearly not value for money.
Elizabeth, North London

It is an MP's job and duty to vote.
John, Devon

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General comments on the programme:

You said:

Having previously enjoyed Clive James sometimes on his own programmes, his display last night was like having a drunken uncle embarrassing you at your dinner party.
Leslie, London

If there was an Oscar for angst then surely Ms Redgrave would have won - what a performance!
Tim B, Glasgow

As a Welshman and rugby player, I have never felt able to support England - until this evening! I have just watched Clive James's performance on QT - "Swing low, sweet chariot..."
Mark Thomas, Northwich

I rushed home from the protest in London, turned on Question Time and heard Clive James informing me that not many people had been attending the protest. As it took me five hours to walk from Mallet St to Trafalgar Square due to the sheer number of people, I wonder how he can be allowed to talk such nonsense unchallenged?
H Elson, Oundle

Can the panel please speak up? I live near the US Ambassador's residence and the roar of circling security helicopters is deafening.
G C Hansford, London

David Dimbleby needs to get to grips with all the testosterone on display from the male panellists. It is really distasteful watching the men belittling the opinions of the female panellists. No wonder we appear to revel in the war.
David Leslie, Cambridge

Members of the audience who just try and shout out above the panel/chairman should be simply ejected.
Christopher Windle, Rotherham

Please will the men on the panel stop interrupting the women. And will Mr Dimbleby try to behave like a chairperson and not a member of the panel?
Bill Baker, London

Why was Clive James allowed to interupt the other panellists, especially Vanessa? I think his behaviour is unacceptable, and he needs to learn more about democracy (especially freedom of speech - others, not his own!). He is pompous and his comments most of the time are cynical and irrelevant to the discussion. In future, please could you find people with intellect and wisdom to take part in this programme.
Aymero, london

Vanessa Redgrave - spokewoman for the people? My word, will somebody shut her up. She's embarrassing herself. The last time I cringed like this was after watching David Brent give one of his team-leading speeches on The Office.
Arron Joseph, Brussels

Thank goodness for the sound common sense of a Liberal Democrat! The cogent arguments put forward by Jenny Tonge were more than a match for the rantings of some other panel members. I for one have now lost all respect for Clive James, both as a journalist and a human being. His aggression and rudeness towards Vanessa Regrave was distasteful.
Anne Fraser, Hertfordshire

Why have Jenny Tonge on the show when she had nothing but cheap populism to add? When you have guests of such stature as Bercow, Benn, Clive James and Vanessa Redgrave, why bother with a muddled Jenny Tonge? No wonder the Lib Dems support is plummeting fast!
Antony, Norwich, UK

I was appalled at the way many on tonight's panel treated Vanessa Redgrave, regardless of her views. It rather gave credence to some of what she was saying.
Ann Smith, Cornwall

David Dimbleby fell sadly from his usual high standards of fairness in that he allowed Clive James to shout down Vanessa Redgrave three or four times without remonstrating while he did in fact stop her interrupting him on at least one occasion; and this while it was obvious that she was the one talking sense.
WP Keppler, Wembley

Best Question Time I've ever seen!! Well done almost everyone, especially Clive James!
Lorna Pashley, Wansford

Text: Will Mr Bush be invited to take part on Question Time? That would be interesting!
John Kroke, Somerset

I used to have a basic respect for Clive James as a professional journalist. I also appreciate his form of humour. However, the distasteful way in which he conducted himself towards Vanessa Redgrave on tonight's show has altered my opinion of him. I really could not understand his attitude or indeed how he was so downright rude, arrogant, and disrespectful to her. She is obviously passionate about her feelings. Why would he not let her express them without throwing in sarcastic remarks and practically chewing her head off? I really could not see why he basically chose to bully her - live on air. Kind of leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Andrew Hunter, Airdrie

Text: This week's show is much more lively than last week!

Text: Lay off Vanessa, she clearly cares!
Jerry, Poole

I switched on hoping for intelligent debate and what I saw was a comedy act with Vanessa Redgrave as the chief clown. Does Ms Redgrave realise how ridiculous she sounds? Not one word of common sense has come from her mouth.

Text: Clive James is a breath of fresh air.
Kevin Connor

I have always been a great admirer of Clive James but tonight he appeared to be nothing but a grinning buffoon with a smirk on his face. The only excuse we could find to offer for his pathetic performance was that he must have been too well entertained in the green room!
Rita Thompson, Bradford

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