June 1, Aberdeen

May 25, Cardiff

May 18, 2000

May 11, London

April 27, Newcastle

April 13, Edinburgh

March 30, Belfast

March 23, Maidstone

March 16, Truro

March 9, Nottingham

March 2, London

February 24, Leeds

February 17, London

February 10, Birmingham

February 3, Brussels

January 27, Southampton

January 20, Liverpool

January 13, London


June 1, Aberdeen

You can join Question Time's internet debate by emailing your views on the topics discussed in last week's programme to: questiontime@bbc.co.uk

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


The topics discussed last week were:

Surveying the NHS?

Audience Question: Would 500,000 not have been better spent on cutting waiting lists rather than asking our opinions in a survey on them?

Alex Salmond: People know what they what done and what they don't like - obviously people don't like waiting. I don't really see what this consultative survey is trying to achieve.

Helen Liddell: It's important to get a proper picture of what people are concerned about. What we need to do is move from a national sickness service - to a national health service. We don't want to take one person's view - but the views of the people of the United Kingdom. I think this is the right way forward in the 21st century of engaging the public and finding out what they want.

Annabel Goldie: Three years into a government surely someone would have learnt by now how to run the health service.

Jim Wallace: The survey isn't coming to Scotland. We know what people want - they want shorter waiting times and better public health services.

Mark Pyper: Does the Government not really know what the top three things are?
I think the NHS is one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century and we should try celebrate it and not knock it.

You said:

Regarding the NHS survey the danger lies not in the survey itself but in how the result is used. Politicians will ask obvious questions like "do you want to be treated in a modern, well equipped hospital?" to which everyone answers "yes" but then use this response to justify contentious actions such as closing smaller, local hospitals. The survey process thereby acts as a means of foisting unpopular policies on the public.
Graham Lay, Datchworth

The NHS should encourage communication between themselves and the hundreds of charitable organisations and support networks that exist to support suffers and their families. I truly believe that this increased communication between the NHS and support organisations could make a big difference. I would encourage anybody with ideas to put them to the Health Secretary, think how you would feel if your suggestion was implemented, or are intrinsic rewards of no value in today's society?
Christopher Lee, Sale, Cheshire

In Scotland it gets very cold at times and TV adverts remind us to lag our pipes. Using the same analogy with the consensus on the NHS, the government has asked us what colour buckets we would like to catch the water in when the pipes have burst! Health education has to be the answer as prevention is the only way forward with Health. Trying to keep up with demand without education is a losing battle.
David Roberton, Aberdeen

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Legislating for Section 28

Audience Question: Is it right that the Scottish parliament are seemingly about to ignore the results of the Section 28 (2a) poll that many Scots voted to keep?

Jim Wallace: The poll which is referred to was a very flawed poll, I didn't get a ballot form, but we will listen to the people who did vote. But I do respect the people who have voted in that way. And we are bringing the debate forward. It was a piece of prejudicial legislation when it was bought it - and it has no place on the statute books.

Mark Pyper: I agree the legislation is bad and flawed. If you create legislation that says thou shall not promote homosexuality - it implies that you can promote a range of other things such as rape, incest and bestiality etc. Also this is an insult to teaching and teachers.

Annabel Goldie: No I'm not surprised by the outcome. When we gained our devolved parliament we didn't think it would equate to devaluing marriage. Section 2a is offering protection and guidance to children and their future and what it holds.

Alex Salmond: The legislation should be repelled. The basis of the legislation is an insult to our teachers. But we further reassurance on the subject with guidelines that are sensitive and sensible. But the debate needs to be moved forward onto other things.

Helen Liddell: One of the things that concerns me is the intemperate nature of this debate and the ignorant things that people have said.

You said:

I am surprised that people are raging against a rich man for using his wealth to give everyone a chance to say what the government has denied them. But I think the clause is good to guard against children being encouraged to try homosexuality as well as heterosexuality. If anything what we need is a clause barring teachers from promoting any sexuality and let nature take its own course!
Muthari, Leeds

The real prejudice being shown at the moment is that against marriage. Jim Wallace says that marriage should not be given status in the guidelines because it would stigmatise children from non-married relationships.
This whole issue is a superb example of how political correctness is preventing politicians from speaking the truth about Section 28.
Sean Preston, Accrington

I am sad that more than 1 million voted to retain Section 28 which is an anti-humanitarian act, based on the very mistaken notion that sexual orientation can be taught and that homosexuals are immoral people. If gay people could marry and were able to have children perhaps they would be seen in a much more respectable and morally good light.
Anne Wood, Belgium

In 20 years time, I suspect we will look back on Section 28 as laughable - I hope those who supported it remember that they did, and I hope they will be ashamed of themselves.
Philip Crowson, Chingford

It was refreshing to see a positive Section 28 debate away from the negative misinformation and bigotry preferred by the "Daily Record", the "Keep the Clause" campaign and Cardinal Winning. As a gay Christian, I have found the recent stirring up of homophobia extremely distressing. I hate to imagine the impact this has had on gay teenagers at school. It's time to repeal this prejudicial clause and move towards a better, more tolerant society. We did not choose our sexual orientation and are normal, caring people just like heterosexuals.
Derek, Cumbria

If marriage is such an important institution within society, gay people should be able to marry as well. It is the ultimate discrimination against homosexual people. In the rest of Europe - and it strikes me no-one ever mentions this (could it be due to ignorance?) The fact that Britain is still having this kind of absurd discussion is just proof of the country's isolation within Europe.
Griet Vos, Belguim

Teachers, in general, are not properly qualified to deal with personal matters like sex, politics and religion. They have more than enough on their plate dealing with the national curriculum and inspection issues.
Robert Nield, Northwich

I'm not gay and I'm stunned by the lack of straight talking regarding Section 28. Homosexuality cannot be 'promoted', and homophobia, not consideration for the maintenance of the family unit, is the reason for support of this repulsive and bigoted law.
Adam Locket, Brighton

A member of the audience asked why the Scottish Parliament didn't consult the electorate over Section 28/2a. Quite simply, issues of equality and fairness should not be left down to 'popular opinion'. It would be outrageous to suggest that 30 years ago a referendum should have be held on whether to give non-white people equal rights and likewise it is wrong to suggest that in the year 2000, people should elect whether or not to give gay members of our community equality.
Stephen Rose, Bournmouth

If the Scottish Parliament and the Government can dismiss the poll of the repeal of Section 2A by saying that 4 million people didn't vote to keep it, then surely the same can be said of Devolution vote in Scotland and Wales.
Stuart McPherson, Douglas

I think Section 28 should be repelled. You only have to look at the rise in racist and homophobic attacks in the last year. We should be educating people to stop this growing stem of racist and anti gay world that we live in. My sister is gay but that doesn't mean that she's any different, she is still a person and more importantly my sister.
Shaun Johns, Nottingham

It was said that rampant heterosexuality was a major problem. This was used to support the removal of the section. The logic is up side down. Surely we should ban the promotion of under age sex (we actually promote under age sex by providing contraception and advice to juveniles). Most of the fears facing parents today are as a result of the liberalisation of our society over the last 40 years. Those who are in a position to try to reverse this tide should do so and I applaud the business man who funded the poll and fulfilled what the politicians are paid, but failed, to do.
B Dexter, UK

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Oxbridge elitism?

Audience Question: Is the student who failed to get her first choice of university really a scandal for national debate?

Helen Liddell: The debate encapsulates a major issue of outdated attitudes. If we want to become a forward thinking country we need to exploit the talents of absolutely everyone. The point Gordon Brown was making was that we should be looking at is the potential and not the polish of the students.

Mark Pyper: I agree with the business of assessing potential.

Alex Salmond: Aberdeen had two universities when the whole of England only had two universities! I would have had more respect for Gordon Brown if he had come out and said that I am very concerned about working class access to university and the burden of debt rather than looking at this one issue.

Jim Wallace: What we have to got to do is extend those who aren't applying to go the Oxbridge - the other 50% who don't apply and why aren't potential students applying.

Annabel Goldie: A cheap political point which has blown up Brown's face.

You said:

The biggest scandal around this subject is the unsought publicity that the student in question has received. Opportunist politicians have abused her privacy and she should be compensated and a precedent set. BR> Tony Allen, London<

As a state school 'A' level student I want to know when the government are going to make any movement toward levelling the educational playing field. The grades offered by most universities are excessively high, considering we, as students, now have to pay more toward our education. Its one thing making comments about Oxbridge but it would be more useful if this Labour government lived up to its name and made access to higher education easier and more attractive for all.
Ally Robertson, London

I asked the question about 'Oxford Elitism' but unfortunately got no chance to respond. Why do politicians think that they have a right to interfere in the admission policy of Universities? All universities have differing standards and criteria - perhaps this girl didn't meet the mark. Turning down the educationally superior Edinburgh to go to Harvard would suggest that the driving force was the kudos of an 'elite' University name rather than the quality of the education. Perhaps not being able to get the 'brand name' was the reason for the great upset at being rejected.
Robin Hepburn, Aberdeen

Well done Jim Wallace for at long last hitting the nail on the head in the 'Oxbridge Elitism' debate. Numbers of state school students at Oxbridge reflects the number of applications showing that the accusations of elitism are nonsense. At Easter well over 1000 current Oxbridge undergraduates visited state schools to encourage students to apply. The universities are committed to encouraging access for all but the comments by Mr Brown, in dissuading state students from applying, have set that hard work back several years.
Alex Whittaker, Cambridge

Labour and educational progressives have wrecked state education by eliminating grammar schools - now they want to wreck university education because failing comprehensives can't get enough students up to the required standards. We need centres of excellence of all types to bring out the best in all children, not more mediocrity. We need grammar schools, arts academies, science academies, sports academies, music academies, engineering academies - schools of excellence for all the different abilities children have. Comprehensives merely pander to the average!
Richard Marriott, Redditch

There seems to be a lot of controversy over the admissions to Oxbridge, what I can see is that Laura Spence was rejected from studying medicine and was subsequently given a place at Harvard to study microbiology. Was she refused the right to study medicine there also and if she applied to study the same course at Oxbridge would she have been accepted for the microbiology course.
John Davis, Dundee

I don't understand how anybody can reasonably expect students from state schools to have as strong a presence at the better universities as those who are privately educated. One simply cannot compare 7 years education at a school with small class sizes, high-quality teaching and good discipline with an average state education.
Phil Adie, London

Peoples views about Oxford being an elitist University is what needs to be addressed. Oxford came 5th in last years league tables of results and Sheffield came 4th. Considering the fact that everybody who goes to Oxford has three A's I believe it shows that Oxford is not a superb University and people should regard all degrees as equal.
John R Clare, Sheffield

Gordon Brown's comments were factually wrong on almost every point. No one could agree more with the idea of open access to all than the college itself. It does a great deal of work to encourage students from state schools to apply - trying to dispel old (non-existent) stereotypes about the Old School tie being one of the most important. Gordon Brown has only confirmed these misconceptions, and it will take years more hard work to try and undo them.
Mark, Oxford

The British class/privilege educational system, places far too much strain upon the bright but socially and economically disadvantaged pupils. Simply qualifying and getting into elite educational establishments does in no way solve the problem of being psychologically comfortable with the situation and be made to feel so out of place that his or her mental health as well as academic progress may suffer. Perhaps Oxford's recent rejection of the bright girl who got into Harvard was for her a realistic blessing in disguise albeit a deplorable indictment of Britain's continuing hypocrisy and class prejudice.
Peter Tooth, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.

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Implementing immigration

Audience Question: Should Scottish people be allowed to decide who they should allow into the country?

Jim Wallace: This is a matter for the federal government in the UK. But if the Nationalists had their way would we have a checkpoint as borders control

Alex Salmond: A fatuous point. But Jim is scare mongering on the matter of checkpoints. Scotland should be allowed to decide who we allow in this country.

Helen Liddell: I believe in the United Kingdom and not divorcing Scotland from England. I also believe that the electorate do not want checkpoints and that is the point of the nationalists.

Mark Pyper: Isn't boxing a rather uncivilised sport anyway and shouldn't we ban it in Scotland and Mike Tyson wouldn't want to come to Scotland at all!

Annabel: Goldie I believe too in the United Kingdom - but we do have a devolved Parliament in scotland and relationship has therefore changed. I feel Labour are finding it difficult to implement devolution in practice.

You said:

Are economic scare tactics by unionists the only barrier preventing the majority of Scots from favouring independence?
Jeff Gentry, Weatherford, Oklahoma-USA

Why does the SNP want more bureaucrats making decisions such as immigration policy (for example Mike Tyson)? Why should a small nation like Scotland have to pay for extra bureaucrats when London can make these decisions?
Duncan Morrison, Perth

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"Utter failure" of Scottish Parliament?

Audience Question: Does the panel agree with Cardinal Winning that Scottish Parliament is an utter failure and follows a liberal agenda?

Alex Salmond: No I don't agree with the Cardinal on this matter. But what we do need is separate the government (the Executive - day to day running of the country) from the parliament (the body which holds the government to account).

Jim Wallace: I'm not going to object to a liberal agenda! No I don't agree with the cardinal on this point. I think parliament has achieved a great deal in its first year in operation.

Mark Pyper: I never thought that devolution was going to be a good idea and I have even less confidence in independence.

Annabel Goldie: The Parliament has a lot of potential and we can achieve an awful lot for the people of Scotland.

Helen Liddel: I disagree with the Cardinal - the Scottish Parliament is one of the best things the Labour Government has done.

You said:

The Scottish Parliament has been ignored by the Home Office over Mike Tyson. The Scottish Parliament has ignored in turn women's groups calls for official action over Mike Tyson., the Labour party's old boy system north of the border on appointments to QUANGOS and the huge increases in water charges that have hit pensioners the hardest. After watching Scottish politicians' behaviour last night it is hard not to disagree with them.
Malcolm McCandless, Dundee

How in the eyes of the Scottish people can the Parliament be a failure? They have the best of both worlds. They have the power to make their own decisions over such issues as student fees and then be subsidised by the rest of the United Kingdom, by which I mean England. It is about time that the English had a referendum to decide whether we want independence from the rest of the United Kingdom.
Edward Barham, London

I'm sure the Scottish Parliament would work better if you got rid of the squabbling children who run it and replaced them with normal people. Unfortunately Scotland seem to have fallen in to the same "we said, you said" style of politics Westminster adopt. Surely the Scottish parliament should work for Scotland not join in with its big brothers arguments.
DN, UK

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General comments on the programme:

One knows exactly what the politicians will say. They are so predictable. For goodness sake liven it up with more celebrities and audiences who are not told what to ask. They have also become as boring as the panel.
Veronica Wallace, Truro

I enjoy the programme and I am regular viewer. However, I get so frustrated when repeated interruptions to replies to questions from David Dimbleby and the lack of courtesy from panel members seeking to score political points. Come on Mr Chairman better control please.
H.G.Gleave, Warrington

The Question Time 'panel' should have a member of the public on it. This would help detract from the silly notion (implicit in the programmes selection of panel members) that only politicians or celebrities have anything worthwhile to say. Politicians are usually restricted by partisan considerations and it is a matter of chance as to whether a celebrity makes an interesting remark. If a member of the public were on the panel it might serve to remind the audience that you don't need to be rich or famous to have an intelligent point of view.
Gordon Craig, Newark-on-Trent

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