November 25, Birmingham

November 18, Durham

November 11, Maidstone

November 4, Glasgow

October 28, Southampton

October 21, London

October 14, Sydney

October 7, Manchester

Thursday 30 September, Bournemouth

Thursday 23 September, London

Thursday 15 July, Belfast

Thursday 8 July, London

Thursday 1 July, Birmingham

Thursday 24 June, Leeds

Thursday 17 June, Manchester

Thursday 10 June, Birmingham

Thursday 3 June, Norwich

Thursday 27 May, Bath

Thursday 20 May, Belfast

Thursday 13 May, Birmingham

Thursday 29 April, London

Thursday 22 April, Glasgow

Thursday 15 April, Cardiff

Thursday 25 March, Sheffield

Thursday 18 March, London

Thursday 11 March, Manchester

Thursday 4 March, Maidstone

Thursday 25 February, London


Thursday 18 March, London

On the panel:

  • Lord Tebbit, former Conservative Party chairman
  • Billy Bragg, singer-songwriter
  • Polly Toynbee, Guardian columnist
  • Oona King MP, Labour
  • Steven Norris, Director of the Road Haulage Association

    Resignation of the European Commission

    Audience question: Is it the personalities or the institutions of Brussels that are guilty of mismanagement and corruption?

  • Will the resignation of the commissioners, in the long run strengthen the European Union?

    Steven Norris said: "A eurosceptic, which I am, is somebody who's actually seen how the institutions of the European Union do not work. It's not only the people, but much more importantly the institutions of the European Union, that desperately need overhaul."

    Billy Bragg said: "We need to not just reform it, it needs a constitution that we all take part in constructing. We are trying to abolish the House of Lords and I think perhaps we should abolish the European Commission as well and put something democratic in there."

    Polly Toynbee said: "I think what we have seen this week is really rather exciting, because I think we've seen for the first time the very very beginning of the first green shoots of democracy actually breaking through in Europe."

    Lord Tebbit said: "The commission is about institutionalised corruption and it works on a corrupt basis."

    Oona King said: "This is perhaps the most important thing that will happen in the development of Europe's history when we look back on it, in terms of democracy. There is a gaping democrat deficit at the heart of Europe and we have to use this opportunity to reform it in our interests."

    You said:

    The Commission has to be democratically elected. Someone made the point that this will not stop corruption/nepotism. I agree. However, we will be able to boot them out of office after 4 or 5 years. We couldn't with the last lot.
    Shaun Tinsley

    I think the resignation of the commissioners is one step in the right direction. There are many people who will further lose confidence in Europe but I feel it highlights the fact that Europe is capable of taking action against the most corrupt. To let them work as caretakers would ruin the whole purpose and new commissionors should be found as soon as possible. Santer should be banned from politics of all sorts as there is no place for greedy politicians, apart from home.
    Miss Rhaynukaa Mehta

    I agree with Polly Toynbee; this could be the first steps towards a more democratic Europe with Commissioners accountable either directly to the public or through the Parliament. We in Britain should push for complete democratisation and openess in Europe. More people would then be happy to sign up to the Euro.
    Barry Tregear

    Are the general population really that naive to belive that if someone is elected there will be no nepotism or jobs for the friends? Get real - it would be even greater. Furthermore, to elect a body to replace the commission would make the EU an actual government body.
    Michael J Turberville

    Looking in from the outside (but with some knowledge of efficiency and the lack thereof) my first reaction is sheer amazement at the size of the euro-buerocracy - also by the apparent tolerance of reported nepotism. Even the thought of re-appointing tainted individuals is "foreign" to me. Surely there are 20 new indiviuals who are capable of being appointed who will, by that very act, send a strong message of moral correctness to this generaton and others to come?
    Eric Thomas

    It is time for Europe to emerge. Since the Treaty of Rome, Europe was in a larval stage, ever expanding but not transforming. The recent scandal has indicated that it is time to overhaul the European institutions. It is therefore time to enter the pupal stage. Of course, we will be vulnerable to predators (i.e. the Americans) while we metamorphose, but the end result is highly desirable: Europe will emerge from its cocoon and spread its wings on the global scene.
    Nicolas Jarraud

    I am proud to be living in the country of the person who 'blew-the-whistle' on the on the corrupt comissioners. He was ultimately sacked for this but his actions brought the whole lot down. I am of the view that they had all been sitting around the table wheeling and dealing in a dishonest way, and were not ignorant of what was going on.Therefore they should all go. And their severance pay should not be honoured because they were all party to the collective dishonesty which unnacountable absolute power produces corruption. The 'gravy' train and jobs for the 'has-beens' stops here.
    Chris Leather

    Those people who can hardly conceal their glee at the European 'crisis', seeing in it as a vindication of an outdated island mentality should consider the real debate. Do we want to be playing a central role in the development of a new phase of history with our fellow Europeans with whom we share our real culture and heritage spanning two thousand years? Or do we want to submit ourselves to a future as the 51st state of America? The real battleground is between europhiles and yankophiles. We are, and have always been Europeans, we cannot cling to a pretence of being anything else.
    Ben Jones

    Why should the British public have faith in Europe when it is evidently corrupt and highly ineffective?
    Jane Briggs

    The EU is corrupt and the sooner we get out the better.
    Andrew Dollman

    Maybe Britain could send Martin Bell to sort out the corruption in Europe and stand against Santer for president of the European Commission!
    Tony Gay

    The democratic deficit in Europe is widely accepted, so why don't you run a European Question Time with panellists and an audience from across the EU? Let's find out what the rest of the EU thinks not just what we think.
    Donovan Clancy

    I think its disgusting that the EU commissioners should get any money whatsoever. They have tried to rip the very people they should be supporting for over 5 years to the tune of 5.5b.
    Steve Hanwell

    Too much has been made of the recent crisis in Europe. Politicians always have and always will be dishonest. However, does Britain want to be controlled by a corrupt former French women PM and and Santer the Belgian who is no better? It's about time the British people voted in a referendum about our future in the European Union.
    Mr D. Craik

    I agree with the gentleman who just said that 40-50% of the polls shows that the British people wish to withdraw from the EU. I would also agree with his point that Question Time does not represent that view on the panel
    Nicole Sinclaire

    It is quite apparent that the European Commission and almost certainly the European Parliament are completely out of touch with the people they are there to represent. There is an inevitability to greater European integration - there is an even greater need for the whole system of European government to be overhauled and streamlined. We are increasingly suffering from over-government here in the UK. European government currently adds an intolerable burden for little or no tangible benefit.
    David Woodhead

    Is there any of these people we can trust? These people are put in this position to do a job and not to look after themselves.
    Mr T Fowler

    The EU Commissioners should be elected by the voting population of the member countries. This should be done by voting for people who are politicians/candidates from another country. Unless this is the electing criteria then we, that is the United Kingdom, will always have those people who are clapped-out politicians or cronies of the sitting government in this country.
    W A Barbour

    It is disingenuous of Polly Toynbee to claim that the Socialist Group acted together to root out fraud. They were trying hard to have it covered up, sacked the person who released the news in the first place, and were not the only group to speak out against the corruption.
    John Haithwaite

    The Queen Mother's alleged 4m overdraft

    Audience question: Is the Queen Mother now one of the deserving poor or still one of the feckless risk?

    Billy Bragg said: "I really think we should have rounded that lot up a long time ago and sold them to the National Trust."

    Oona King said: "I'm a republican, I don't agree with the hereditary principle. We have a problem in Britain though because we certainly need a head of state. And at the moment we certainly feel that this Royal Family provides that function."

    Lord Tebbit said: "It cannot be many years before the whole of that part of the of the monarchy changes. When the Queen Mum goes then all that style of living will go with it."

    Steven Norris said: "That's what I'm going to do personally. I'm going to die with a very big overdraft. And it's the only sensible way to go. Enjoy it while you're there."

    Polly Toynbee said: "This story has actually been knocking about Fleet Street for quite a while and she was the last untouchable of the Royal Family. Nobody dared say it. ... Now even the Queen Mother is not sacrosanct I really think they're on the way out."

    You said:

    It is high time that we abolished the Royal Family. We are about to enter the 21st century and we still have people living our money simply because of an accident of birth.
    Ben Lloyd, Swansea

    I think the Queen Mum should be left alone. Would you want your personal banking splashed all over rhe papers?
    Vanessa Henley

    After the hereditary Peers go the Royal Family should go too. On the verge of a new century we still have institutions that belong in the last one. We should pension them off (on a normal state pension) and the rest should get proper jobs. They have held back this country in the modern world.
    Barry Tregear

    The Queen Mother's overdraft is a matter between her and her bank manager. If HM The Queen underwrites her mother and her mother's outgoings on her personal life then what has that got to do with anyone but themselves. Leave her alone!
    John Haithwaite

    Kosovo peace talks

    Audience question: The people of the Balkans seem not to want to live in peace. Is it in our national interest to continue sending in British troops?

    Polly Toynbee said: "If there's a chance of us securing lasting peace in Kosovo then I think it's worth the risk ... but I just very much doubt whether bombing on its owe ever does much use."

    Lord Tebbit said: "If we could be sure that they were going to bring about peace in the area, then yes ... the question is will it?"

    Oona King said: "We have to decide if we want to uphold international law, and we might decide that we don't and that we will stand by and let crimes against humanity be perpetrated, genocide, ethnic cleansing. It's a choice."

    Billy Bragg said: "If we're not going to do those kind of things, what have we got a standing army for?"

    Steven Norris said: "We're past the point where we have an option. Because if you actually threaten and then fail to deliver, your status thereafter in any other theatre where you attempt to bring peace and harmony, is utterly diminished."

    You said:

    Many questioners referred to the analogy with Northern Ireland. As I understand it there remains a very important difference to the Irish question for the following reason: In 1968 when serious rioting erupted in Belfast and the current period of the Troubles took root initially, it was considered wise to send in Police Support Units from the Met to assist the RUC and keep the problem a CIVIL or Civilian problem. Tragically the government thought it CHEAPER to send in the ARMY to restore peace which as history shows was to pour petrol onto the simmering fire. However in Kosova , we did initially try to keep a CIVIL solution by sending in unarmed monitors and UN Police Officers. Once these Officers had been ignored and insulted then I feel the UN is fully justified and has the Moral Authority to use full military force. But oh what a tragedy that in 1968 we did not have the foresight to call inner city rioting strictly a police problem alone.
    H.A.L Beresford

    If we are going to commit troops to what will inevitably become peace MAKING missions overseas, I'd sooner see our men dealing with the situation in Sierra Leone. There the civilian population seem to be at the mercy of a vicious bunch of thugs; whereas in the Balkans there seems to be a high degree of moral equivalence - the 'victims' are just the guys with fewer guns. I do not see why the European status of the Balkan population should entitle them to the protection of our troops, whilst what is a former British colony is just left as a 'basket case'.
    Chris Smith

    The point about Kosovo is that, as no one can disagree with, it is part of Serbia. What NATO is proposing is nothing less than the invasion of a sovereign state. When a similar type of conflict took place between Chechnya and Russia the West wrung its hands but didn't intervene militarily - but then one of the belligerents was a nuclear power.
    John Bates

    Screams of "Help, Help Murder" in your street. Call the police, and expect them to break in to sort it out. But if it's over a line on a map, throw up your hands. It's in a sovereign country, it's none of our affair. It's only some foreigner called Stephan Lorenz, our lot needn't bother getting involved. Well, that seems to be John Bates's opinion. In the 21st century, perhaps19th century ideas about sovereignty will be less prevalent.
    John Smith, Lincoln

    The job of a soldier involves carrying out their work in dangerous situations. You can't lock them all up at home and hope they don't get hurt. If they have to go somewhere and try to protect people or keep the peace then they should do so.
    Neil Nisbet

    European ruling on James Bulger's child killers

    Audience question: Should children accused of serious crimes be committed in an adult court?

    Oona King said: "Most of us agree that those two children had to be brought to justice and were brought to justice, but we have to distinguish that from the right to a fair trial."

    Billy Bragg said: "If anybody's sent to prison they should be given a date for how long that sentence is to be."

    Lord Tebbit said: "It does appear, from all accounts, that these two children were treated as well and as fairly as it could conceivably be although it was in an adult court, and they might have been treated less fairly and less well in a special juvenile court. They are not just left there without any prospect of release, but I think it was right that the sentence should be, to some extent, indeterminate."

    Polly Toynbee said: "... there is a great sort of lynch mob mentality, of what people want done. That is the time when we have to be most sure that the justice system is insulated from that feeling. That means it has to be out of the hands of politicians."

    You said:

    All children under 14 should be doli incapax (not capable of forming a criminal mind). I remember when I was 12 and I wasn't fully aware of what was right or wrong with regards to the law, not that I'm saying they shouldn't be punished for what they did. Surely a child of that age should not remain in custody for the rest of his life. He should be given another chance of proving that he is a law abiding citizen.
    Christopher Aucott

    The two boys who murdered James Bulger were found guilty. They should not be able to overturn the verdict through a technicality in the European courts.
    John Haithwaite

    As a psychiatric nurse, I can only echo Norman Tebbit. Once again people who may well be mentally ill are tried in court, in order to pacify the masses, with little regard given to the future that these two people must face. I in no way detract from the horror of the death of James Bulger, and am sympathetic to the feelings of the relatives, but these boys deserved treatment and not punishment.
    Bill Barbour

    Millennium Dome entrance fee

    Audience question: Have we already paid enough for the Millennium Dome?

    Lord Tebbit said: "I think the whole concept of the Millennium Dome is absurd. To build a building without any idea of what you're going to put in it and think of that afterwards is pretty daft."

    Steven Norris said: "In the longer term when you see that whole part of London come to life, you'll find that the investment, because most of it isn't in the little tent it's in all the great property outside, it's a hell of a good deal."

    You said:

    I have to agreee with the questioner and say the dome is a total waste of money which could have been put to far greater use such as education and health care. And as for the argument for the dome saying that people said the same about the Tour d'Eiffel I hardly think you can compare the two. I would not say the Millennium Dome is a piece of architectural wonder. Plus it will only last a few years as no one will want anything to do with the highly priced fad in a few years time. 20 pounds for a ticket is absolutely ludicrous!
    Vanessa Henley

    I don't think I will ever be able to visit the Millennium Dome because, as I am only 15, I don't think I will be able to pay the daylight robbery charges.
    Daniel

    General comments

    The media has a responsibility in the national debate over the position of black people in our society in the light of recent events such as the Lawrence inquiry. Yet again Question Time can pride itself in leading from the front by constantly putting forward excellent black role models into the public eye. Oona King came across as outstandingly attractive, intelligent articulate and a totally competent politician that more than matched the rest of the panel . Question Time continues to be at the very best of current media debates. Congratulations.
    H.A.L Beresford

    Anything Norman Tebbit has to say about any subject is negative. The truth is at the opposite end of his comment. He should now take his retirement and go off into the sunset. How could one call themselves a democrat and be part of the legislature that is unelected, unaccountable, and unrepresentative?
    M Darcy

    Is Billy Bragg going to run for mayor of London? I think he should.
    Joe Hodge

    As an ardent Europhobe and defender of the pound, I would be very interested to learn where Lord Tebbit obtained his lapel badge. It's about time the British people started to counter the government's propaganda machine by wearing such items and displaying banners etc in our cars and our windows.
    R.A.Young

    Yes as someone else has put where do you get the lapel badges from? I have seen quite a few Conservative MPs wear them around Westminster and have almost been tempted to ask them. Please could anyone help?
    Vanessa Henley, Kent

    For those of you wanting more info on the lapel badges, write to John Bercow, Conservative MP for Buckingham at the House of Commons, or go to the Conservatives Against a Federal Europe web site (CAFE).
    John Jenkins





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