Find out what you had to say about Question Time on Thursday, 19 January, 2006, from Skegness.
The topics discussed were:
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received:
Ruth Kelly and sex offenders
Audience question: Has Ruth Kelly put enough measures in place to reassure parents that schools are safe for their children?
People who have sexually abused children should never work with them in any capacity. However Ruth kelly can't say that children are safe because about 90% of crimes against children have nothing to do with sex. Why aren't the violent abusers, the bullies, the torturers, the emotional and psychological abusers, and the neglecters of children also barred from working with children?
David Williams, Durham
Text: Ruth Kelly's verbal gymnastics echo to the sound of spin.
This is not going deep enough. What about cubs, Brownies, leisure centres, swimming pools, playgroups and the many other venues young children frequent? It is not enough to limit this ruling and scrutiny to schools alone!
Donna Potts, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex
Text: Why hasn't Ruth Kelly been sacked?
There will always be loop holes.
Richard Hanwell, Barnsley
Text: Parents have been betrayed. Kelly must resign!
The present system of CRB checks could not catch Huntley - he did not have a criminal record!
Stephen Knight, Hereford
Text: Same old story, too little too late.
We need to be careful - the theoretical incident of a 16 year old boy being put on a register after a relationship with a 15 year 11 month girlfreind should NOT be treated the same as someone who has served prison time for sexual assaults on children. I do not condone in any way any of the acts, or defend any form of paedophilia - we just have to be VERY careful - protect children at all costs, but be careful.
My son is a primary school teacher here in Switzerland. Before he could take up his post he had to produce three things: a swimming certificate, a first aid certificate, and a clean bill of health from the police attesting that he had no criminal record, charges or cautions against him whatsoever - for any offence, not just sexual. Children are so important it's reasonable to expect those looking after them to be above all reproach. And it is up to the individual looking for a post to obtain these, not for the school to do checks. This seems to work very well and I wonder why they cannot do the same in the UK.
Rita Kitto, Geneva, Switzerland
I'd question the motivation of anyone with a conviction for child sex offences who still wants to work with children. It doesn't take much to work it out.
Text: The government goes from one crisis to another. And no-one gets the blame.
Teacher employment agencies are interested in income not criminal records.
Bill Giles, Old Bolingbroke, Lincolnshire
Text: I'm a parent and I'm not reassured. Ministers who made such poor decisions are still in their jobs.
I don't think Ruth Kelly should go, or not go. She's done her best under enormous pressure. Her departure will not effect an instant cure of a wound which, by all accounts, has been festering for years. The buck stops at the top and the "top" placed her in the position she's now in. Perhaps the "top" should go.
Diana O'Donnell, Hythe, Kent
Text: What about overseas and private tutors - who will check them?
Why does it take weeks or even months to check list 99 when I have just done a search for the word "Carer" and have a result of 385,984 in 0.08 seconds?
Tony Chapman, Bolton
Is this the most devious government and prime minister this country has ever seen? The Iraq war, Mandelson, Blunkett and now the protection of Ruth Kelly after clearing sex offenders to work in our schools.
Michael Clark, Mayor 1997, Skegness
Should we also be vetting school governors and PTA members to see if they are also on the sex offenders' register? Should all school governors be CRB checked?
Richard Gillett, Sheffield
Age of Liberal Democrat leader
Audience question: As the Lib Dems seek a new leader does the panel consider that younger candidates are preferable, as with the Conservatives?
It was good to see Menzies Campbell being honest and answering questions last night. The other two MPs kept changing the subject. Honesty is essential to political success.
Phil (A Level politics student), Kettering
Text: All the best tunes are played on old violins.
Text: Lib Dems are a shambles, they make Labour look competent.
All these people going on about how age is not an issue only apply this to older people. If the person was younger then it would be a question that they don't have the experience!
R J Irvin
How about a woman for the Lib Dems candidate? We need someone to balance the clever boys, aka the Blair-Camereron duet. Give us a liberal woman to counteract the centrist boys!
Text: Menzies will bring back the voters.
The duties of Lib Dem leader mainly consist of appearing on TV to criticise actions taken by people with real power and responsibility. It's an ideal sinecure for an elderly person.
Text: Since when was 65 old?
Text: Ming the Merciless doesn't look a day over 21.
Text: Young, old - who cares! A sober one would be nice!
Text: Look what happened last time we got a young leader, we got Blair!
Audience question: How would the panel feel if two "working girls" moved in next door to them?
Regarding prostitution, it is a national disgrace even thinking about effectively legalising prostitution by setting up brothels. It will not solve the issues - it will only hide them. Just think what kind of message we are giving to future generations. What we need is more officers on the beat and more support for the victims concerned.
Huw Jones, Sevenoaks
Text: I wouldn't want prostitutes living next to me, too many politicians would be hanging about.
Dan, Herne Hill
Text: Anything that keeps the girls off the streets is positive.
I have a "two-girl brothel" operating in the next flat to me, and it's presents no problem whatsoever. Previously the flat was occupied by a young couple that would shout and swear at each other at the tops of their voices, so the occasional customer (who likes to keep a low profile) is a breath of fresh air. I have no problems with the girls, they are as decent as any others.
Dave Stringer, Ilford
Text: Why are the British so terrified of sex? Grow up.
Text: If controlled brothels help drive the sex traffickers away, it has to be worth it.
How long before two young females sharing a flat are targeted or accused of prostitution?
Anne Campbell, Aberdeen
Text: Everyone is tolerant about prostitutes - until they move into your area.
Text: I lived in Germany and we had a brothel in our street. We never had a problem.
Text: Why are these women selling sex treated so sympathetically? It should stay illegal full stop.
The solution lies in helping and empowering the women concerned to turn their lives around; and hounding and shaming the men whether they be pimps or punters.
Patti Pembs, Haverfordwest
Text: This government can't even get brothels right.
Text: You go all over Europe and prostitution is dealt with in an adult way - unlike here.
Audience question: What is the view of the panel on Gordon Brown's suggestion for a special day to celebrate "Britishness"?
How can we possibly have a British Day without celebrating the monarchy? Arguing for Republicanism is the antithesis of being British. The fact is, the monarchy is a central part of what makes our country unique from others. I am proud of them and what they have done for our country.
Jonathan Recaldin, Sevenoaks
Although I would disagree with a celebration of Britishness as such, there does need to be some word on our idea of identity as a nation, to prevent various groups using it as a tool for prejudice and discrimination.
Being British is about driving in a German car to an Irish pub for a Belgian beer, and then travelling home, grabbing an Indian curry or a Turkish kebab on the way, to sit on Swedish furniture and watch American shows on a Japanese TV. And the most British thing of all? Suspicion of anything foreign.
Ali Zartash-Lloyd, Bedford
Surely it's an un-British thing to celebrate our Britishness!
James Collister, Wirral
Text: We should celebrate British Day the moment we leave the EU.
Comparisons with France and USA are ridiculous. Their days celebrate freedom from the oppression of tyrannical countries, so using their model won't work.
Zoe Millman, Birmingham
Perhaps we should celebrate our Britishness on July 4th, and use it as a way to become independent from the USA one more time.
Andrew Gill, London
Multi-culturalism hinders Britishness; an extra bank holiday will do no good.
Paul Bell, Warwick
Is David Dimbleby Welsh or was it a joke?
Ed Welsh, Milton Keynes
Text: We can't celebrate being British in case of being racist.
We should be proud of our country and what has been achieved over the years and what we have become as a nation, noted for our great tolerance and humanity towards people. I think Gordon Brown should be praised for speaking out about this matter in public.
Steve Fuller, Hove, East Sussex
As a Welshman how can I celebrate Britishness when Wales is not represented on the Union Jack? More realistically why not make St David's Day, St Andrew's Day and St George's Day public holidays in Wales, Scotland & England!
Text: It's almost a crime to be British now and be proud of it.
Well wouldn't that be wonderful, that is until there is an outcry that it prejudices those who aren't British. I believe we have now lost our British heritage because of all the fear of "Political Correctness" that surrounds this government.
Dawn Darbyshire, Dorset
Text: I am against anything Brown is for - on principle.
We have Mother's day, Father's Day. Forget British Day - we should have Children's Day.
Simon Jones, London
Text: How about 5 November for the British Day?
Salma Yaqoob was brilliant making important political points with humour and humanity. I particularly loved the suggestion that a British day should celebrate Magna Carta and the need to defend our civil liberties - and rather than chauvinistic flag poles in every garden we should celebrate our garden gnomes!
Good on you Salma - you are Respect's secret weapon!
Mark Ladbrooke, Oxford
Text: If it gives us another bank holiday, let's go for it!
Respect and George Galloway
Audience question: Does George Galloway's entry into the Big Brother house gain respect for the Respect Party?
So it¿s OK for New Labour MPs to vote, support and bank roll an illegal and immoral war in Iraq that has seen the deaths of innocent Iraqi men, women and children (not to forget British servicemen) but it¿s not OK for George Galloway to be on Big Brother? Talk about hypocrisy in New Labour.
Imran Zaman, London
Text: Galloway is a disgrace.
Text: It's a sad state of affairs when an MP thinks the best way to serve his constituents is to go on crass TV.
There is a difference between public meetings and photo opportunities. I am a Bethnal Green and Bow constituent, and have never been invited to a photo opportunity by any politician. This includes either of my so-called representatives, Oona or George.
Jim Delaney, London
Text: Galloway is the perfect housemate. Big Respect.
I think that Salma Yaqoub was the best member of the panel tonight. She was aware of the issues being debated and as a female Muslim she was a perfect ambassador, not just for her religion but for multiculturalism in the UK too.
Paul Stratton, Basingstoke
I think all the men are very smartly dressed tonight!
Rula Hardy, Glasgow
I really enjoyed watching Salma Yaqoob's contribution. She is impressively well informed across a very wide spectrum of subjects and brings an intelligent perspective. She adds a very fresh contribution without the predictable spin of more traditional politicians. It is fantastic to turn on a flagship BBC current affairs show and see a woman, and a practising Muslim, who so spectacularly defies the stereotypes so often associated with these groups. Thank you! And I look forward to seeing more of Ms Yaqoob and other articulate young British Muslims like her on BBC current affairs programmes.
Catherine Hossain, UK
I think Salma Yaqoob clearly outshone the entire panel tonight and more people like her should be involved in politics. Forget the quarrels over the place of young male politicians... where are the young women?
Giles Lewington, Winchester
Is Chris Bryant related to Tony Blair because he looks just like him...?
I was really impressed by Menzies Campbell tonight. His clear, well thought through answers marked him out from the other panellists.
Chris Bryant looked pretty relieved not to have to answer Alan Duncan's question, and I can't say I blame him for that, but what on earth was David Dimbleby doing covering for him by going to the audience the moment he heard Duncan's question?
Richard Barker, London
Rather a lacklustre panel tonight. Although not in continuous agreement with Salma Yaqoob, I think she spoke a lot of common sense - but spouted a load of rubbish as far as Galloway is concerned. Chris Bryant was quite lively in brief spurts, and Mr Green contributed nothing worthwhile. Rather boring tonight.
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