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 25 March, Sheffield

On the panel:

  • David Blunkett MP, Education and Employment Secretary
  • Lord Steel, former Liberal leader
  • Anne-Marie Huby, UK executive director, Médecins Sans Frontières
  • Tim Yeo MP, shadow agriculture minister
  • Dorothy-Grace Jones, SNP candidate

    Nato air strikes on Yugoslavia

    Audience question: Is it right that Nato can take military action without the approval of the UN security council?

  • The government has ruled out using ground troops. What will happen when the initial air strikes fail?
  • Boris Yeltsin has condemned the strikes. Does this actually pose a threat to world peace?
  • Should it be a political or a military decision to stop the strikes?

    Dorothy-Grace Elder said: "We must remember the weight of history upon us in this. That it only took two bullets in Sarajevo in 1914, killing the Grand Duke to start the whole of the First World War."

    David Blunkett said: "Again and again the Serbs took us to the wire, they called our bluff and if we don't act then no-one in this country should ever ever watch their screens or read their newspapers and plead with the government to do something and then criticise us for doing it."

    Anne-Marie Huby said: "We have to ask ourselves what the bombing campaign is trying to achieve ... There is no Plan B. What if Milosevic continues his offensive?"

    Lord Steel said: "There comes a point where you can go on talking and if they refuse to do anything and you have the kind of scenes that we've all witnessed on television, then you really can't stand by and say we do nothing."

    Tim Yeo said: "I believe it is justified. I think it would have been preferable if we could have gone to the United Nations."

    You said:

    While being generally in favour of using force to halt the aggression in Kosovo, I am a lot less happy to see targets so far from Kosovo being hit. Bombing Belgrade is only going to make the people rally round a government that previously was not especially popular. I understand the military reasons (kill off their air defences) but I think in trying to play safe militarily we are in danger of losing the political war. It would cost more Nato lives but attacking the ground forces actually IN Kosovo would be easier to defend both politically and morally.
    Mark Cole

    One understands the need to contain Milosevic and his army, along with the need to prevent his aggression reaching neighboring countires/provinces, but by going in there and wasting the place without a clear plan, we're just going to leave the same nasty people in place - they'll just be more impoverished, bitter and twisted, and just awaiting the next opportunity to be able to strike out again. The only viable long term solution is to eventually go in there, on the ground, take the whole government out, and replace it with an EU administration whose mission would be to teach/enact good governance until the day when the people's representatives demonstrate their ability to do so themselves.
    Mark M. Newdick, Brit living in USA

    I have two sons, one is 11 and the other is three years old. We are sitting in the cellar every night. The younger one has a 'flu, and the cellar is cold and dirty. Mr Clinton didn't do anything for last few years because he secretly supported Mr Milosevic, as a guarantee of peace in Bosnia. Now Nato bombers are not fighting against Mr Milosevic, but against the people who didn't vote for him. But in crises about Kosovo, Mr Milosevic is right. I would like to see Mr Clinton giving independence in three years, to Texas, if not, Russia will bomb New York. He is asking us to do the same thing about Kosovo. For the last 50 years Albanians from Kosovo are raping and killing Serbs in Kosovo, and this is the problem nobody ever spoke about. Thousands of Serbs left their homes and left Kosovo under the terror of Albanians. Did somebody ever ask about our human rights?
    Maja, Belgrade

    Why all of us have to pay taxes for bombs, while USA and Britain do NOT have a clear picture why they are killing Serbian civilians?
    Branko Markovic

    However unpleasant the regime and whatever horrors they are visiting upon their population, we simply do not have the right to intervene other than through the United Nations. This action is a disgrace. I voted for a new view of the political landscape - not to have Tony Blair playing Rambo.
    Bob Thompson

    What we did to Iraq, and what we now do to Serbia is an insult to all those who died in the two world wars, fighting aggression and defending freedom. I am sickened.
    Richard Senior, West Yorkshire

    If we are not prepared to uphold international law (i.e. attack without UN backing), what sort of message does that send to the rest of the world? We must be insane. We are sending precisely the wrong message to Milosevic and his generals.
    Michael Carmichael

    The real reasons for waging war usually have to do with power. I believe that this is the case in this Yugoslav-Nato conflict as well. It is my opinion that this war has everything to do with the power of the USA in the post-cold war world. In this respect I condemn the attacks on the Yugoslavs. If the same 'sensitivity' towards the plight of the Kosovan peoples were to be applied to all peoples in the globe, I would welcome the attempt to apply a moral imperative in this Yugoslavian internal conflict. However, this is blatantly not the case, so there is some other hidden agenda, which maybe the enlightened and morally perfect leaders of the West can tell us all about.
    Pafsanias Ftakas, a Greek working in the UK

    Is Lord Steel prepared to support in the same way the Kurd people and the PKK with the action of diminishing, deteriorating and ultimately destroying the oppressive regime in Turkey? Certainly there is a humanitarian disaster there and if Lord Steel feels that Nato should NOT intervene in Turkey can he explain why? He is also aware that in1996 the Croat Army ethnically cleansed Krajna with a scorched earth policy displacing 500,000 Serbs with the support and blessing of Nato countries?
    Andrea Barbieri

    Countries such as America and Britain must be prepared to back up air strikes with ground troops. It is only through having a notable presence in the area that the Serbs can be prevented from escalating their violence towards the Kosovan Albanians.
    James Richards

    It is clear from our past history that appeasement doesn't work. We don't want to make the same mistakes that Chamberlain made before the start of the Second World War. He should have stood up to Hitler and took action to avert war and preserve peace. This is exactly what Nato is doing now. If we tried to appease the Serb leader any more, it would simply give him more time to decide how to evade Nato and carry on murdering innocent civilians in Kosovo.
    James Jack, Edinburgh

    Nato does not bomb a country for humanitarian reasons - acts of aggression by the great powers are motivated as always by self interest. The question then is what is the interest of this region for the US? Nobody seems to have made the link to potential pipelines to the Caspian sea oil reserves. The interests of the USA are the same as ever: protection of capital and investment, cheap labour, usurping of Western environmental and social controls on multinationals etc.
    Dan Sayer

    What one of the panellists said about the assassination of Franz Ferdinand is very true. The air strikes could lead to further war which would be a tragedy for this country. Mr Blair should consider his next move very carefully. With the threat of nuclear/chemical/biological warfare, I feel war would be the worst possible eventuality.
    Rachel Whitehouse, aged 15

    American leaders should read more of Balkan history and realise that because of numerous minorities it is a potential powder keg.
    Nikos Kalfoglou

    I have always respected what the USA, Britain and their allies did before, but bombing Serbia in the name of making peace will not achieve anything. It will go down in history as one of the costliest mistakes made by the West. Do not start what you cannot finish.
    Gaaniru. A, Netherlands

    Do you realise that you can support Albanians from Kosovo and help them to live in their own country with no extra costs? Simply and easily: If you are already drug addict and you usually take heavy drugs, just visit nearest Albanian drug dealer, and buy from him NOW and forever finest heroin, cocaine, hashish or whatever you prefer. By buying drugs from Albanians from Kosovo you greatly finance Independence of Kosovo. Cheers.
    Dragomir Nikolic, Belgrade, Serbia under bombs

    We should have paid more attention to ensuring Russia was involved. Instead they are now supporting Serbs. I don't believe Milosevic will back down, and we are now involved in a conflict which could end in terrible consequences.
    Tony Greco

    This is an entirely needless conflict and our diplomats should be ashamed of themselves. Their confrontational approach utterly failed to produce any real initiatives to resolve the Kosovo problem, merely mindless sabre rattling.The British government lacks judgement and should get out of office. For a fraction of the huge cost of this stupid operation a real investment in the Albania / Kosovo / Serbia infrastructure could have been undertaken that would have provided developmental focus and averted all this useless slaughter and destruction.
    Roger Bates

    Slobodan Milosevic is to the Muslims of the Balkans, what Hitler was to the European Jews. If the lessons of World War II are to be learned, he must be stopped.
    Samer Abdin

    I think these topics are highly useful in educating those who watch this programme. The Balkans are located in an area where there has always been a considerable amount of ethnic tension. Ethnic cleansing is a great evil that should be dealt with strongly. Negotiations should always be used as a first option. But how long can a person sit and watch vicious atrocities occur? Sometimes force is the only remedy.
    Mario Gutierrez

    Adolf Clinton, a disgraced man who lost self-respect, tries to be rehabilitated by killing innocent people.

    God bless the Nato pilots and their families. After ten years we have now hope to live free. God bless all of you who have help to STOP the crimes, massacres and the humanitarian catastrophe. The Kosovars are blessing all of you.
    Premtim Sermaxhaj, Switzerland

    If you were faced with an armed terrorist revolt within your own country, what would your Government do? The Serbs are upholding their constitution and the rule of law. Did the West ever really attempt to talk with the Serbian leadership? No. Instead, they produced ultimatums at GUNPOINT, expecting a proud people to capitulate. My hope is that the people will eventually rise-up and force certain Governments to withdraw their support for this evil action, and that the Russians will decide to use force against Nato to stop this criminal assault.
    Richard Rodrigues

    Clinton and Blair have clearly lost the plot and have let power go to their heads. They are jeopardising our relationship with Russia which is so vital to future peace.
    Mark Reay

    The Americans should bomb England instead, for her continued occupation of a foreign land - Northern Ireland.
    Yanis Magalios

    I'm a Canadian and I can't help but feel sympathy for the Albanian victims. But I stand by Nato's decision, and only wish Canada had more Jets to place more bombs on those people who bring suffering upon the innocent people of Albania.
    Greg Lightfoot

    The west has been debating and ignoring this problem in the Balkans for years. Now is the time to shut up and actually do something! Believe me there's a time for talk and then there's a time for action, and at some point when you've repeatedly talked yourself blue in the face over and over again there is no other course to take. I do find it fascinating though, that the place where World War I began, at the turn of the century, is still the same huge problem at century's end. Doesn't that say something about our whole civilization? Welcome to the year 2000.
    Charles Lachman

    I believe this is one of the worst mistakes of modern history. It is foolish to believe that the USA, who is almost entirely responsible, is doing this for humanitarian action. There is PROOF that the US didn't help the massacre victims of many countries, including Mexico, and actually helped in some, as long as the US interests were being served. Let's see just how mad we can make Russia/China/India/North Korea/Iraq before someone takes action against Nato countries. The USA in several press conferences has hinted that Russia and China need the US money to get them by, somehow thinking that they are immune as long as they are giving money to someone, which as we all know is a foolish stance. Is the USA so confident that no-one anywhere will ever retaliate for all these acts?
    John Coccaro

    The bombing of Serbia is, yet again, a nauseating example of Western selective "morality". Where was Nato when a small country like Cyprus was forcibly dismembered by a criminal bully like Turkey?
    Andy Hadzoglou

    The aggression being perpetrated against Serbia is patently illegal. We, the citizens of Europe, the working class and all progressive forces, must send a clear message of solidarity to the people of Yugoslavia and stand up against this irresponsible act.
    Thomas Mellen

    Does this thing in Kosovo not remind anyone of Germany in 1941, about Hitler and the Jews?
    Robert Dakers

    I think this situation explains the need of balance of power. After the collapse of the USSR there is no balance in the world. This lets US and its allies do whatever they want to do. Russia, China and India together should become a union to fight the USA's dominance.
    Madan Sharma

    A question to everyone who opposes the Nato bombing of Serbia. When your country is under attack, your whole area, friends, neighbours and family are being systematically slaughtered, and your ruling body is unable to cope, or help you to overcome the enemy, will you be content with other countries saying that it is not their concern as it is not their war?
    Bridget Kenton

    The US and its allies have finally gotten things in control over the Serb butcher of Europe. The Serbs finally get a taste of what it feels like to be bullied by someone who is stronger. Many people look up to the United States for leadership and this time they have shown to be right in that direction.
    Besim Kukaj

    When will the terrorists of the KLA be tried for their countless war crimes? Also, we're a bad as anyone. We think it's our job to police our "inferiors". By the way, thousands of Serbs have been cleansed from Kosovo by the KLA. I have no faith in my country. The government are murderers.
    Iain Bahlaj

    Ethnic cleansing in Europe in the 1930s led to World War II. Perhaps if the world had acted earlier, as President Clinton mentioned, the genocide of the Nazis would be fiction. Serbia and Milosevic, claim the KLA are terrorists. If we were to accept that indiscriminate shelling of villages and ethnic cleansing is an acceptable way of dealing with terrorists, why does the British Government persist with the Good Friday agreement?
    Mark Carter

    Maybe some people should try reading Nostradamus. Watching the current news only confirms his predictions, on a daily basis.

    As my sister is a resident of Greece and I have both a Greek niece and nephew, the expansionist attitudes of Mr Milosevic are extremely worrying. The last person in Europe who had expansionist attitudes caused a World War (the Balkan crisis, I believe, started the previous one). As an ex-member of the armed forces I can vouch for the commitment of all members to support this country in the endeavour to subvert any future world conflict.
    John Pollard

    We bombed Iraq, intending to bring "peace and stability to a troubled region". Since then we have heard nothing with regard to what effect this action has had there. This silence is becoming deafening, especially now, as we launch into another hair-brained scheme.
    Edward Clayton

    How can Nato justify a policy of not sending troops directly into Kosovo, having stirred up the hornets' nest? Having started, they now have to deliver the coup de grace quickly, before more and more Kosovars suffer due to Serb recriminatory attacks following Nato bombings.
    Matthew Martell

    Milosevic should be the one targetted instead of Serbian civilians who largely do not support him anyway. As far as humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo is concerned, what happened to 200,000 Serbs from Krajina who were ethnically cleansed by Croatian forces? At the time the American government were saying that it was not ethnic cleansing since the people had the choice to stay there. Now the War Tribunal in The Hague is accusing three Croatian generals for war crimes, but of course that does not get on the TV news. And when American and German sources are financing what they call KLA, which is made of 30,000 terrorists, they say it's humanitarian catastrophe.
    Serb refugee, from Croatia

    If people are being treated with what we regard as unacceptable in today's civilised world then all measures must be taken to stop this behaviour. We must trust our government to do this in the appropriate manner on our behalf.
    John Gorman

    All this recent muscle flexing by Nato is endangering world peace. Russia or China could react.
    Allen King

    Tony Benn has made disgraceful comments. In suggesting on Newsnight that he doubted the pictures of fleeing refugees he has stripped himself of all credibility.
    Merc Bernstein

    Why are we acting as the air-force for the KLA terrorists who are also well known for their drug-trafficking and other illegal activities? Why have we been conned by the KLA into risking British lives and taxpayers money for a fight that they started? Why should Yugoslavia have a take it or leave it Rambouillet "solution" thrust upon them?

    Sometimes we have no choice but to do what is right. If we have the strength to prevent murder, we step in - in the street outside our home, or on the world stage with our military power. Otherwise evil wins. Nato is right - and ground troops should follow.
    Belinda Shaw

    It is very easy for everyone in the audience to complain about Nato action against the Serbs, but they haven't had their villages burned, their children murdered or their loved ones tortured. We have no choice but to take decisive action to deter these atrocities.
    Paul Courtnage

    I think that it is absolute madness for people to condemn the action that Nato has taken. If we stand by and do nothing but talk, people will still die by the thousands.
    Nigel Goult

    My question is why Nato decided to resolve the Kosovo problem and does not do anything for other very similar cases.
    Andreas Agius, Surrey

    This is a civil war involving one country. Yes, it's horrible, all wars are, but what right do we have to intervene? What is the difference between this and Northern Ireland?
    Roy Fox

    My mother is from Greece and my father from Montenegro, Yugoslavia. I am a first generation Canadian. This bombing is a disgrace to humanity. For Nato to unleash such power and fury to a small struggling nation trying to reintegrate into the European community is mind boggling. My father and mother lived through World War II and supported and fought alongside the allies against the forces of Nazism. My Great Grandfather was a diplomat for the Yugoslav Royal Government when they were stationed in the allied front in Salonika, Greece. To see countries such as France, UK, and the US bomb the freedom loving Serbs who fought side by side the allies is tragic.
    Konstantin Gregovic

    Serbia has every right to protect its independence. Imagine one day Scotland decided to break away from UK, what would be the reaction of Tony Blair?

    I can understand the reasons for the attacks, but my thoughts are for the innocent people who are in their homes terrified that they might have lost a family member.
    Heather, Derbyshire

    This bombing is a grave crime against humanity. All participants should be tried.

    I find it impossible to understand how the west can justify the bombing of Serbia. Clinton, Blair et al should read a few history books before throwing other peoples sons, husbands and fathers to die for a fashionable cause. If enough "ethnic minorities" move to Windsor will Britain give it independence?
    Paul Allery, Brit in Cyprus

    I come from the sensitive region of the Balkans. Yes Milosevic is a dictator that has strangled Serbian opposition and freedom of speech. Yes he has ordered massacres in Bosnia and Kosovo. But how many countries have got away with such actions? The effect of bombing will be the opposite from expected. Serbian people will reluctantly have to support Milosevic. Their ability to fight KLA will not be diminished unless ground troops are sent and that could be catastrophic and should be avoided at all costs.
    Yiannis Stassinopoulos

    Nato is doing the right thing. Europe does not need another Hitler.

    The UN and Nato should take all reasonable steps not only to remove the Serbian military presence from Kosovo, but also to bring the heads of the Serbian Government to trial in The Hague for war crimes.
    Robert Powell

    The UN and Nato organisations are taking on the role of 'Planetary Police' and I don't believe it is a sustainable position. The US would be outraged and justly so, if another country interfered with our autonomy.
    Pat, USA

    All those who are against this campaign, I suggest you spend a few nights in the forest without food and shelter and with the possibility of being found and shot to death. Then you will change your outlook. I know - I was there as a refugee in 1956 and also was running from the Soviets in 1944 from Transylvania.
    Gene E Sotory

    Have any of the leaders or military chiefs involved in these air strikes considered the real possibility of Russia becoming involved in this sorry conflict?
    David V Thorpe

    It is right to stop a dictator, but when I saw women and children in hospital, I had my doubts about the attack.
    Jeanneke Janssen

    Shouldn't we, the countries of the West, be trying harder to understand the Serbian point of view? They have proven to be good allies in the past.
    David Cole

    Everyone asked after World War II why we stood by and watched; why we tried to appease Hitler and how could we let so many Jews be killed? Why should we have to ask those questions again at the end of the twentieth century when it is clear what Milosevic wants to do? Milosevic is a barbaric madman who does not understand anything but war. Please do not give up on the people of Kosovo.
    Claudia Royston, USA

    I think Slobodan Milosevic should back down as this war is stupid. Innocent people are going to die!
    Toni Elsworth, aged 13

    The government's £350m education proposals

    Audience question: Will inner city master classes re-create the divisions of the 11-plus?

    Tim Yeo said: "It may, because clearly there will be two different types of treatment for children ... But I don't think that is the main problem with this. It's only common sense to think we're going to give different types of education to children with different skills."

    Dorothy-Grace Elder said: "I really wish that all governments, and it's not just this one, would give up messing about, frittering about with the schools, and just let the teachers and the pupils get on with it."

    David Blunkett said: "Where there have been experiments and pilots they have not ... It's a promise of something better, not something worse."

    You said:

    It seems unfair in this day and age that British teachers, although being some of the best trained the world over, should find themselves in a position of constant vilification by the education secretary who has never given teachers a fair pay increase in line with the private sector. This despite the constant stress he is putting the profession under by wanting more paperwork for one project or another without ever realising that is is damaging morale.
    Paul Walmsley

    Regarding the comment made by Ms Elder about the state of our education and teachers not being left alone to get on with it, surely it is because we did precisely that throughout the 196's,70s and 80s that our schools are in the state they are today?
    Bridget Kenton

    Why does the Government always concentrate on the issues that do not affect everyone? Here they are worrying about a selection system when most children are not meeting the basic standards of education; the so called 3Rs.
    Mike Canon

    Yet again! A policy which is directed at the Inner Cities. There are many children outside the inner cities who do not have the opportunities for enlightenment (museums, art galleries, theatre) that those who live in London have the opportunity to visit on a regular basis. I was brought up during the Grammar School era and do fully appreciate that all children should have the opportunity to progress according to their ability, however, those children who are academically superior should be advanced.
    John Pollard

    I think David Blunkett has the right idea. You have to have creative plans to convince people to put more money into things and this is a creative idea. Don't knock, it the old way hasn't worked in today's climate.
    John Richardson

    The exams are getting easy, you can find O Level questions on A Level papers now, and most is based on course work and not a final exam. The new exams are just laughed at in job interviews and don't carry as much weight as the old ones do.
    Colin Smith

    Law Lords ruling that Pinochet can face extradition

    Audience question: Should the Home Secretary negotiate with extradition proceedings?

    Anne-Marie Huby said: "I was personally saddened to see that the Law Lords took a very narrow, a very technical decision ... I think the extradition should go ahead."

    Tim Yeo said: "In Chile they're saying that that is a decision for the Chilean government and the Chilean people. And I don't believe it's our business then to interfere."

    Lord Steel said: "I think he should go and face the court in Spain and if he didn't want to do that he should have stayed in Chile."

    David Blunkett said: "I agree with every word that's been said from those who abhor Pinochet and everything he stands for, and I'm sure Jack Straw will make the right decision."

    Labour MP Fiona Jones suspended over election fraud

    Audience question: Is this further evidence of a continued decline in public standards?

    David Blunkett said: "It was a complete mess up, I think she's paid an enormous price for it ... We need to get on and fight the by-election."

    Lord Steel "This was clearly a total breach of the election law."

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