BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: Question Time: Your Comments  
News Front Page
N Ireland
UK Politics
Talking Point
Country Profiles
In Depth
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
Thursday, 1 February, 2001, 20:47 GMT
February 1, Carlisle
You can join Question Time's internet debate by emailing your views on the topics discussed in the latest programme to:

You can watch the latest programme online in Real Video by clicking on Latest edition.

The topics discussed this week were:

Sanctions lifted on Libya before compensation paid to victims?

Audience question: Should sanctions be lifted on Libya before compensation is paid to the victims of Pan Am 103? You said:

According to John McCririck if Pan Am flight 103 had crashed in the sea there would have been no evidence, so the people in Lockerbie who were killed did not die in vain. He should stick to giving racing tips.
Stewart Crehan, Alsager

Perhaps Edward Evershed has forgotten the Communist threat during the Cold War! South Vietnam was being invaded by its Northern Communist neighbour, of course America had to act! In any war there are numerous casualties and death, all those people who died at Lockerbie 11 years ago were NOT soldiers or victims of war, they were innocent men, women and children going home to spend Christmas with their families!
Adrian, London

Those of you who think that Libya should pay compensation, do you also think that the US should pay compensation in proportion for the 1-3m uncounted dead in Vietnam? If not why not? And for that matter why isn't their country/government/chiefs of staff/ military on trial for war crimes? It was dignified by the name of war but it was state-sponsored terrorism pure and simple.
Edward Evershed, Winchester

Colonel Gadaffi has claimed that he has evidence that will change the verdict (presuming this is legally possible). The judges themselves admit "this is not an unequivocal identification" and talk much of 'inferring' evidence. Is this just hot air from the Libyan leader, or is the politically expedient verdict untenable?
Matthew Martell, Derby

Would the panel support a full public inquiry into Pan Am 103, including requiring testimony from the UK prime minister and US president at the time of the bombing (as some relatives of the victims have called for)?
Paul Henry, Manchester

The Lockerbie verdict has only served to undermine society's faith in the judicial system. Would the panel consider a full public inquiry as vessel to find out the full facts of the bombing?
Mark Russell, Birmingham

What compensation, if any, was offered by the United States government to the next-of kin of those killed by the American missile attack on the Mecca bound airbus, which preceded the Lockerbie disaster?
Robert White, Dunstable, Bedfordshire

Return to the top of the page

Organ scandal destroyed faith in the medical profession?

Audience question: Will the scandal of stolen children's organs destroy our faith in the medical profession and result in essential organs being withheld for necessary medical research? You said:

I, as a mother of one of these babies am feeling completely 'let down' by all the regulatory bodies, which should have prevented this from happening. I am deeply offended by Mr McCririck's remarks, stating that I and other parents in the same position, are now seeing possible compension payments as a 'meal ticket' or 'pension'!
Hilary Evans

Having watched the panel answer the question about the effect of the organ retention scandal on the willingness of relatives to donate organs for medical research, I have never heard such ill informed clap trap in all my life. Shockingly this has come from people who are supposedly chosen (for Question Time) for their intellect and their broad understanding of issues affecting society.
Steve Parker

My father is waiting for a heart and lung transplant and my family are alarmed that families of people suitable to donate will be less likely to give their consent by association with the TOTALLY SEPARATE issue of consent for removal of organs at post mortems. This needs to be clearly stated by the media to avoid an irreversible decline in organ availability.
James Mair, Harrow

The organ scandal has shocked many people countrywide if not worldwide. We should have one of the best health services in the world sadly not the case at the present time. Of the organs taken from the children how many usable organs were used for transplant operations bearing in mind the huge number of patients on the transplant waiting list? Probably none!! Is this not a scandal in itself?
Alan Price, Peacehaven

I worked for an NHS hospital collecting tissue samples from bowel cancer patients for research purposes for four years. None of the 200 plus patients gave consent to the removal of tissue. The only people to benefit from this were the funding drug companies.
Justin Burton, Bristol

As a parent who lost a child in 1995 my wife and I gave consent for a post mortem to be carried out in the hope that our son's death may help other children. I am now concerned that our agreement to a post mortem on our son has been used as a green light for his body parts to be taken. I will probably never know as I did not see him before he was buried. I am relying on the people that dealt with our case to have been honest enough to use and not abuse our trust.
Graham Reilly, Blackpool

Is it any wonder we can never get donors when we encourage an archaic attitude as regards our bodies and what they become in death? The church is to blame for all this. When I depart this planet this 150 pounds of lard I live in will become WASTE MATERIAL and nothing more. The emotional stuff I see emanating from people is caused by this church-led garbage.
Ken Walker, Bebington, Wirral

I am outraged at Claire Rayner's medically paternalistic attitude. She may well have been an 'SRN' in her early 20's but nursing and the NHS have moved on. Doctors are fallible, they do not always act in the best interest of their patients, or for the right reasons.
Jackie Clark, Hastings

What needs to be addressed is the FACT that organ stealing IS stealing and cannot be accepted. It is against the parents' wishes and is immoral and against human rights. This is the issue, not whether it is beneficial to anyone else.
Daniel Bracken, Canterbury

It is a terrible thing that these children's organs have been taken and stored unused for years. The abuse of parents' rights is unacceptable. However, we need to encourage a culture wherein it is normal to donate organs for research, without fear of abuse.
Tish Casey, Belfast

Return to the top of the page

Government to blame for job losses at Corus?

Audience question: Is the government to blame for job losses at Corus? You said:

Just to correct James from Norwich, The European Union is not a "nation". It is a union of nations, and is not centrally controlled like the US (yet). I have been at Corus since August 1998 and this sort of closure has been on the cards since then. The merger was supposed to avert this action, but like so many things in life, noting is certain. Good luck to everyone that has been affected by this and I sincerly hope that you all find new jobs.
Martin Liddle, Redcar

Thank you Mr John McCririck. It was refreshing and inspiring to hear some one speak such SENSE. Everyone has one common belief, that is, that they want a better standard of living for all. To achieve this we must let capitalism run its course, even though it may be brutal in the short term. "One has to be cruel to be kind"!
Simon AA Smith, Solihull

I think David Heathcoat-Amory's point about the current government's attitude to the manufacturing sector is quite correct. Underhand devices such as the Climate Change Levy that are supposed to help the environment will do nothing of the sort and will in fact just aid in regulating and legislating the manufacturing sector out of business.
Matt Clements, London

A horse-racing pundit on Question Time? If he had had anything useful to say I wouldn't have minded, but please! A nation reliant on subsidies? Maybe we should abolish welfare and let those who are less fortunate scavenge in the streets. I haven't seen anyone on the programme for ages that I've disliked that much!
Chloe Barton, Ipswich

Having worked at Corus, I am not upset over this so-called crisis. The closure of the steel works in south Wales has been coming for some time. Times are changing and new generation jobs are widely increasing. The community can now look forward to an improved quality of life due to new age jobs. There was a definite presence of too many steel works, big supply and small demand.
Benjamin, Swansea

So John McCririck thinks it better that we live in a country where we don't have to get dirty by manufacturing products? Perhaps Mr McCririck, being the proud capitalist he is, prefers Third world workers, (earning a pittance) to produce the manufactured goods we have in our country.
Lee Knight, Chesterfield

Multi-nationals by their very nature will seek to maximise their profits - they can't help but do anything else. It is the responsibility of the great and the good to ensure that the quality of life of British citizens does not suffer due to this pursuit of unending growth.
Tom K, Stoke-on-Trent

The capitalist argument, used by the Tories, whenever industry closes down, that it is due to 'uncompetitiveness' due to 'over regulation' is flawed. On this basis any practice beneficial to profit could be employed by a UK company. We could introduce child labour for example. The real problem is that we accept imports from countries which allow immoral practices and don't campaign for greater global regulation to protect workers' rights and the environment.
Andy Suitsu, Hong Kong

Ask Corus and the politicians why we must import the rails that Railtrack need from Europe. Investment should be made to avoid this stupid situation which deprives people in this country of their jobs and adds to the balance of payments in the wrong way.
Barry Carter, Box, Wiltshire

Corus have acted disgracefully in the way that they have treated their work force with their arrogant disregard for the communities affected and their refusal to negotiate any sort of deal with the government. WHY is this Labour government not acting immediately to ease the stress on the affected communities by re-implementing an aid package which is already in place for the steel communities.
Richie Fox, Buckley, Nr Shotton

i agree with Tony Benn, the steel industry should come back into government control.
Chris Thompson, Birmingham

It seems that the only ideas those who want to keep industry in this country can offer, are tantamount to 'We are Britain - why should we rely on other countries for industry' - What if there was a war...
Philip Nixon, London

Yet another industry near the end. I think now the government should step in and do something to save British jobs. To the best of my knowledge this would not be allowed to happen in, for example, France.
Steve Fuller, Brighton and Hove

Just to correct a member of the audience. The United States is NOT the most economically vibrant nation in the world, the European Union is. Europe's economy is one and a half times larger than the United States. Britain's economy is the fourth largest economy in the world and per head, our manufacturing output is the largest in the world making us the world's most efficient manufacturing nation. More than that the British economy IS the most advanced in the world.
James, Norwich

John McCririck for prime minister! At last someone who talks sense! (unlike the politicians.) You can't sign up for a job aged 16 then expect the government to "fix" the economy so that you still do the same job at 65. Job loss is a fact of life. When you lose your job you should go get the skills for a new one and get another job. It's pathetic to blame everyone else and hold out your hand for a sub.
Mick Eeveyatch, Uxbridge

Watching your debate, I am under the impression that the issue of the euro and British competitiveness is somewhat neglected. Despite the fact that Britain would probably join on a lower exchange rate than the current one it is a stable exchange rate which is always demanded by industry. At the moment I think the debate seems to suggest that you seem to see British industry as somewhat detached from the EU, which it is clearly not.
Marc Schelhase, Coventry

The government are fully to blame, their attitude to manufacturing is totally useless. I am connected with the farming community and the job losses in the last 12 months due to the strong pound have been greater than if all the work force at British Steel had been made redundant over night - we have lost over 40,000 jobs.
Stephen Thompson, Sheffield

Return to the top of the page

Are pensioners in Scotland better off?

Audience question: As I am now nearer 80 years of age than 70, should I be thinking of emigrating to Scotland and if the Scottish nationalists come to power will I need a passport? You said:

I thoroughly agree with Claire Rayner when she states people with alzheimers should be treated the same as people with tumours. But I would like to highlight the difficulties of people with physical disabilities between the ages of 16 and 65 trying to access services for personal care or residential care if they require it, you have to be old to need personal care.
Robert Haigh-Neal, Gloucester

How disappointing to hear David Heathcoat-Amory talking on last week's programme about the Scottish parliament spending 'our' (ie English) money. The point he was making was rather offensive, on the grounds that whilst Scotland may appear to be subsidised by Westminster this is only because the North Sea oil revenue is channeled to the Treasury.
Robert McKay, Glasgow

I agreed with every word that Clare Rayner said for the case for free personal care for the elderly. Especially when she said it can be afforded - it is a matter of choice. What kind of a society do we wish to live in? We can do without other things to fund this for the elderly. I am sure most people would be prepared to pay more taxes to make this possible - I think selfish people are in the minority.
Ellen Hutt, Warwick

Scotland receives a block grant from the English tax payers of about 20bn annually and the Welsh also get a similar subsidy. No wonder Scotland can afford to assist their students financially and look after their elderly people as well as pay their school teachers 20% more than England can afford. Neither the audience nor, except for two exceptions, did the panel seem to know this.
H Norcross, Farnham Royal

As an ardent Scottish nationalist I am proud to live in a country which is committed to enhanced treatment and care for the elderly. As suggested by David, I would also welcome a cut in Westminster subsidy to fund this on the premise that the Scottish economy would retain the entire profits generated from its oil, gas, coal, and nuclear energy industries, its electronics industries, its farming and dairy industry, its academic innovation, and last but not least its whisky industry.
Steve, Glasgow

Thank goodness Scotland is setting a quality standard for elderly people. It is also showing it values its teachers. England, Wales and Northern Ireland may benefit by this example. It is interesting to note that the Conservative party is not well represented in Scotland.
Pauline Burney, Ardtun

The decision in Scotland for pensioners should be an example for the government to follow. If devolution can put the pressure on our national government to do the right thing then it has my full support.
Gregory Lupton, Cambridge

I was dumbfounded by the replies made by certain panellists, with typical rhetoric of England taxation paying for Scottish benefits. Absolute tosh. Scotland in recent decades has more than paid not only its way, but the way for the rest of the United Kingdom. As approximately one fifth population of the Union, the Scottish contribution to the wealth of the country far exceeds that of the English per capita.
Scott Laughlan, Irvine

I have been listening to English MPs spouting on about the fact that the Scottish parliament is going to give the elderly in Scotland free health care. My comment on this is they should "keep their noses out" as stated by an English MP when the Scottish MPs voted on fox hunting earlier this month. Also one of your panel said tonight that the Scottish public does not want total devolution for Scotland. I for one would welcome this as Scotland has been held down and ripped off by the English for centuries.
David Grant, Kilmarnock

Return to the top of the page

Realistic for the Tories to target pebbledash people?

Audience question: Given that the Tories did not win a single seat at the last general election in Scotland, where pebbledashing is much favoured, how realistic is their new policy to target pebbledash people? You said:

Your Tory panel member is the best argument I have heard for Scotland separating from England, I am no lover of the SNP...but after hearing his arguments I think we need to dump the likes of him!

I cannot understand why people such as Mr McCririck are on the show, all he is known for is waving his hands about. I am a nationalist and I won't hide that but he does not have a clue what he is talking about. People like him and the majority of Tories will just drum up Scotland V England feeling, with their constant nagging at devolution.
David Millar, Glasgow

I find it ironic that we suffered English MPs making decisions on Scottish matters for 300 years, and three months had not elapsed after the establishment of the Scottish Executive, before English MPs were bleating about the unfairness of this situation. Gosh I feel much better now! I have waited for some time to have this say and am indeed grateful for David Heathcoat-Amory for giving me the opportunity.
Marion Morris, Carradale

Return to the top of the page

As a danger to wildlife should cats be regulated or banned?

Audience question: If cats pose a serious problem for wildlife surely they should be regulated or if not banned? You said:

Like your question putter, I too am appalled at the destruction of wildlife caused by domestic cats thoughout the British Isles and clearly some remedial action is requisite. I duly remonstrated with my pussycat tonight when I was putting his dish of gourmet salmon alongside his saucer of cream. Characteristically, he clearly didn't give a damn! What can one do?
Noel F Jones, Deal, Kent

Cats kill animals because it is their instinct to do so. It is silly to legislate against animal instinct. It is necessary, however to legislate against man following his more base instincts if we are to live in a civilised society.
Chris, Wantage

The idea of a person having the freedom to own a cat pre-supposes that he/she will look after the animal and not let it foul the gardens and properties of others, thus curtailing their freedom to enjoy their gardens, and creating a clean-up job that cat owners seem strangely reluctant to accept. Mr Heathcoat-Amory would learn the lesson well if he lived close to those who own cats, put them out at night and only allow them in for short periods to feed and water them. Owners of cats should have to licence them, and accept responsibility.
Alan Smart, Glossop

Cats may kill 275m animals a year - should they be banned? Mankind kills many more - should we be banned?
Peter Charlisj, Sheffield

How did regulation of cats destroying wild animals turn in to a discussion about fox hunting. The reality is this, yes cats do kill things, it's what they do, magpies also kill song birds, as do cats, but without a doubt the biggest killer is man via farming techniques utilised today. Most song birds live in the countryside, most cats live in towns...also, house sparrows are declining because of the way houses are now being built with few, if any, places for them to build nests.
Graham Barker, Bexhill-on-Sea

If it's ok for cats to kill for pleasure, why is it not ok for man (just a bigger and more social animal) to do likewise?
Bill Beaumont, Wareham

Return to the top of the page

General comments on the programme:

Brilliant, at last some civilisation in America. Thanks.
Jonathan Moore, Detroit, MI, USA

Last night's programme is probably the worst I have seen. The chairman failed to control John McCririck, whose performance induced a "sense of humour failure" on my part. Clare Rayner and David Heathcoat-Amory were pedestrian but Tony Benn was interesting until he rose to McCririck's provocation. What a shambles.
Douglas Flemington, Northampton

Just a note to say how excellent the latest programme was (which I watched online when I should have been working), and to comment on how magnificent Tony Benn still is. You surely do not have to agree with his politics to appreciate what a fine mind, great speaker, and simply decent man he is. He will be a great loss to parliamentary democracy when he retires later this year.
Tim Gilkison, Hong Kong

I agree with the view that there was a huge improvement by having four panellists this week - it was accidental, but gave greater focus and bite. Many will disagree with McCririck, but he made for great entertainment and the edge between him and Tony Benn was delightful. Ms Rayner, though, lived up to her 'nannying' reputation. She is so self-important.
Mary Coyne, London

I am increasingly disappointed with the quality of panellists appearing. John McCririck was the final straw, I expect to see and hear people whose views and opinions are of relevance to the debate, not just a soapbox for inconsistent and ill- informed rantings of self-important people.
Keith Hughes, Stockport

Question Time was far better this week, not only because you had a good panel, particularly Tony Benn and John McCririck, but also because you had only four panellists. Having five is too many and takes too long doing a question. Go back to four, I'm sure this will improve the programme, and at the same time your ratings.
PT Hughes, Lt Sampford

I was in the audience for this Question Time. Benn and McCririck were the best of gents. I even got a chance to speak, on Corus... (and referred to here up the list). It seems some people here take offence to McCririck's conservatism. The man is proud to be British, believes that the government takes to much of our money and spends it badly. Does he really 'not represent the common people'?
Gareth Ellis, Carlisle

Congratulations on your inclusion of John McCririck as a panellist last week. It is refreshing to hear strong views expressed by someone who is not constrained by the party line. More independent figures would be appreciated in future.
Margaret Woodruff

I find it quite interesting that Brenda and another person complained about John McC with his 'nationalistic' views. So then today in GB it's OK to be a Scottish nationalist or Irish or Welsh - get the point! British nationalist not OK?
Steve James, London

I just love that Claire Rayner, I always agree with every word she says!
J Kyle, Christchurch, Dorset

Tonight's programme was greatly improved by having only four panellists rather than the five as of late. Serious consideration should be given to reverting to the panel of four for all future programmes.
The Rev Max Ramsay

I note that Mr McCririck calls himself an egomaniac and a loudmouth - after watching him tonight I wholeheartedly agree with him.
Bill Robertson, Kilmarnock

If you must insist on having too many politicians on the panel, can you at least give us people with a mind of their own rather than peddling the boring old party line. Tonight Tony Benn was entertaining and seemed sincere whereas Mr Heathcoat-Amory seemed not to have an original idea of his own and could only spout the official line.
Chris Whiting, Reading

Hats off to John McCririck!! It was nice to see a lively panellist not afraid to put over his strongly held views. I totally agree with him that we are over governed. Why is it that government thinks itself indispensable? People should be free to make their own choices and spend their own money.
Alec Graham, Keswick, Cumbria

For me, the greatest edition of Question Time that I've ever seen. I have to send my thanks to Mssrs McCririck and Benn for one of the most entertaining shows EVER... please Auntie - get these two on together again!
Paul Sladen, Nottingham

I think Tony Benn should be our prime minister.
Alison Collingham, Glasgow

Frankly, that's the best TV programme I've ever seen. You may speak about the dumbing down of BBC current affairs programmes, but I can't express how much I enjoyed such an intelligent series of debates between three people all of whose opinions I respect.
Mattie, London

Best Question Time this year. John McCririck was brilliant. Tony Benn, as usual, played to the gallery.
Thomas O'Neil, Airdrie

How refreshing to have a panel with diverse views who say what they believe.
James Bason, London

I'm actually shocked into silence at John McCririck's ugly and ignorant nationalist tirade a few minutes ago. I was surprised to see that a presenter of horse-racing television programmes had been invited onto Question Time, which has long maintained a reputation for relevant and informed debate.
Brenda Nelson, London

I can't believe what I'm watching and am glad I decided not to join the audience for tonight's programme. An agony aunt, a horse-racing pundit and a now insignificant Labour MP...does anyone really care about their opinion on anything?
Peter Rowing, Carlisle

Do not give out the invitation to the next programme during the broadcast. It is out of context, irritating and breaks the flow of the programme. Do an advert of clips of interesting and exciting discussion and encourage people to join you!!!

Tony Benn was thought provoking. He displayed integrity and empathy. I was very impressed.
L Odd, Dingwall

What on earth made the BBC think that John McCririck's opinion would be appreciated on Question Time? His right wing and nationalistic arguments demonstrate everything everyday people are against!
Gareth Bashir, London

Tony Benn, I'd just like to say that I've been a life long supporter of yours and I am very saddened at the news that you are leaving parliament at the end of this session. I am only 27 but throughout my life you have been the only politician that has kept my faith in the democratic process.
Warren Cuff

Please bring John McCririck on to the programme on a more regular basis in future...he brings light-heartedness and political incorrectness to occasionally over-emotional issues. I praise the panel selectors wholeheartedly for airing John McC....whilst you have him in the studio could you ask him who will win the Gold Cup at Cheltenham this year please?!
Antony Ross, London

Thank you, thank you, thank you for inviting John McCririck onto the show. I haven't laughed so much in ages! And he calls himself a "compassionate conservative"? God help me if I run across a hostile one!
Matthew, Oxford

I shall not watch your programme for some time, in case you plan to include more panellists chosen for their aggression, misplaced self-confidence and volume rather than for their intellect.
Ewan McVicar, Linlithgow

Benn for PM I am a Tory born and bred, but it is so refreshing to here a politician talk about common sense matters and not spin. SO HE HAS MY VOTE.
Terry Stears, Northwich, Cheshire

Thanks to Tony Benn for some enlightening comments tonight, particularly concerning the nationalisation of Britain's manufacturing industries.
Doug Jenner, Kimpton

What an entertaining programme - the best in long time. None of the usual going round in circles and pointless party lines. Good hearty debate. Let's have more of it.
Joe Kelly, Belfast

Return to the top of the page

Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.

E-mail this story to a friend

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
UK Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |