tv Asian Network Big Election Debate BBC News June 3, 2017 1:30pm-2:01pm BST
ahead of her benefit concert tomorrow evening — ariana grande makes a surprise visit to the manchester royal children's hospital, visiting fans injured in the terror attack. now on bbc news... the asian network's big election debate. welcome to the asian network's big election debate. we are on the asian network, and the bbc news channel. i'm nomia iqbal, here in the splendid elgar concert hall at the university of birmingham, and on stage here in the concert hall. with me is our audience, people from all different backgrounds, different political allegiances, and with just one week to go before the big vote, they have a lot of questions about a wide range of issues. they will be putting those questions to our panel of guests from different political parties. with us today is shailesh vara
from the conservatives, khalid mahmood from labour, baroness sheehan from the liberal democrats, bob dhillon from ukip, and leanne wood from plaid cymru. following the horrific terror attack in manchester last week, campaigning for the election had been suspended. of course it has now resumed. but the events of manchester are still very much on people's minds. i was in the city reporting and i am from manchester. there were a lot of questions being asked in the aftermath. let's begin the debate today with talking about what happened in manchester, looking at some of the issues that came from it. let's go to our first question. in light of the recent atrocities committed in manchester, should muslims do more to condemn terrorism within their communities? shailesh vara from
the conservatives? let me express my deepest sympathies and condolences for the family and friends of those who tragically lost their lives in what was basically a very wicked and evil act. it has been condemned by the whole world. as far as community engagement has been concerned, of course. there ought to be engagement by every citizen in the uk. but given that many of the people who are engaging in this activity come from the a political community, it is right everyone is vigilant. it may mean if you are suspicious of an individual, reporting them to the police. of course there will be some reluctance on the part of people to report individuals that they know, love and care about to police, but what i would say to those individuals is to just look at the pain and anguish that has been caused to all of the families
and friends of... because of those innocent lives that were taken away. it mightjust be the case that if someone is reported, we mightjust be stopping future tragedies such as that. so, you think the responsibility is for everybody, but specifically the muslim community? i think that given the background of many of the people who engage in terrorist activities is from the muslim community and certainly i would ask that the muslim community is vigilant. that is not to say that it is the exclusive responsibility of the muslim community, because many individuals go to colleges and work, and mixing everyday society. they are mixing with mainstream society. all of us have a responsibility. i will come back to the rest of the panel but i want to ask you, do you think that it is muslim's responsibility to condemn terrorism? do you think that it is muslims' responsibility to condemn terrorism? i think it is everyone‘s
responsibility to condemn terrorism but there is clearly a problem within some aspects, a very small minority, of the muslim community that i do not think the solution is to ignore it and say that itjust is not there, because a significant portion, if not a majority of terror attacks we see, are committed by those supporting these ideologies, essentially. bob dhillon, ukip? my sympathies again go to the people of manchester. we have to go back to the 1970s, when we look at british policy which has gone wrong. basically, what we have done is funded these terrorist groups in the 1970s and 1980s to overthrow russian regimes in afghanistan and various other middle east countries. that is where the policy started. then, what we did secondly, was the secret services were qualified people who were replaced by cronies, by tony blair, who put cronies in to get the result that he wanted
for the iraq war, with no plan b. when you destroy a country, which iraq was quite a nice country from when i visited it to what it is now, and have no plan b, and when people see that, they have this hate in them. you are linking terrorism to past behaviours? yes. whatever the issues are, we cannot blame any single policy young people's lives, people who have wanted to go out to enjoy their evening and barbarically killed those very young people in the way that they have done. back to the original question, the issue is that a vast majority of the muslim community condemns it out right, and i did an article
at the weekend in a newspaper saying what the question said, that is small minority of people need to come forward and be part of the whole solution, and not continue to be the problem. the muslim community has a responsibility because that is what the perception is. these people are from the muslim community, so we have to deal with that. of course it is a responsibility for all of us to deal with that. it affects all of us in our daily lives but it is important that we cooperate with authorities and explain that when we hear something, as trivial as you may think it is, it is best to pass it to authorities. your party leader, jeremy corbyn, linked foreign policy with what happens? he hasn't. he has. he has not linked it, people keep getting this wrong. he said if we are called upon on the international arena in such a way, we should think about it,
as we did in syria. there was a vote, the labour party stood against and did not vote for it. it is a key step change in relation to how we move it forward. we need to look at those issues, and there can be no correlation with people acting deliberately, barbarically, to take people's lives in this country. it cannot be linked in that way. leanne? i am interested in understanding what it is that motivates people to carry out such barbaric and callous acts, especially against young children. i think the target audience here was particularly... it makes it a particularly barbaric act. i used to work as a probation officer, and what they do is try and understand the root causes of people's behaviour. i think while it is the responsibility of every single citizen to be vigilant and to take action, there are things that the muslim community can help with here. you mentioned ideology, and i think that there is a real issue about challenging ideology and really understanding the ideology driving this, and being able to argue and counter it. i am interested to know
if some of you think, actually, muslims should not bear the responsibility. they are always being asked to condemn these attacks and it isn't fair. can we bring the microphone to this gentleman? the idea that nobody is saying that these attacks are ok, no such attacks are ok but the idea of the muslim community should be guilty by association is fundamentally problematic. ideologies are dangerous. nobody is saying that but it is how people feel, right? ideologies are dangerous across—the—board and they need to be challenged across the board. the community is challenging, we need serious questions about cuts when the muslim community was the one reporting salman abedi a multiple number of times. we need a real discussion about what is happening here and what is happening with intelligence, and the idea that went something like this is perpetuated by someone specifically in a community that the entire community is to blame but when jo cox was murdered, there was no blame on the community, it was "just some guy". but we know that there are dangers and to what happened in preston the other day,
with white supremacist ideology. it is murderous. we need to talk about what we all do rather than saying some of us are guilty by association, which we are not. baroness sheehan? let me express my deepest sympathy for the families and loved ones of the 22 people who were brutally murdered. can i pay tribute to the emergency services who came forward so fantastically for us, and the nhs which was exemplary and illustrates, if it needed illustrating, how important that is to us. mancunians themselves stood shoulder to shoulder and refused to be divided by this act of atrocity. that is really to be welcomed. as a muslim, i do not identify with that version of islam,
which is perverted. for a long time, muslims like myself had been saying to the government, please do something to tackle the infiltration of this pernicious brand of islam that is coming to us in our country, and other countries around the world, which is being exported by saudi arabia. the wahhabism strain, which is allowed to preach in our mosques here, it needs to be tackled and i am ashamed we still called the saudi regime friends and sell arms to them. those arms are used by the saudis to kill civilians in yemen, and we allow that to happen. i think this is part and parcel of the same issue
and the same problem. it must be tackled at the roots. let me pick up on that point, i heard a lot in manchester about the double standard of the government when it came to saudi arabia. clearly there are conversations that go on between governments... but it is about stopping the sale of arms... can i just say... it isn't as simple as that. there is a huge amount of engagement with countries, and a huge amount of trade, a huge amount of dialogue. a huge amount of travel between people, back and forth. in a civilised world, we often try to talk to people, rather than take brutal action. on the whole, that civilised action of dialogue does... we see the world very differently. i have a couple of people with questions... can i go to the lady at the back first?
what we are saying is trade is more important to us than our morals? let me finish, i need to say this. saudi arabia are committing human rights atrocities, it is agreed by the un, some of the things that they are guilty of, it is awful, some of the things that they do but we trade with these people and have a compex people and have a complex relationship with them. why can we not bring that into the conversation? seeing as they are an enormous trade partner? the baroness mentioned it is mainly based on arms, is that our business? what our country wants to be known as? the arms country? let me come back to that. i am not saying that trade trumps human rights, whatever. if you look at international figures
of the number of countries where they have questionable human rights, you would be surprised at the number of countries. it is notjust saudi arabia that may be on any list, there are a lot of countries where ordinarily people go there and go on holidays too. we need to take uniform action and be consistent in the action we take, rather than picking on one country which, for various reasons, may be higher in the media profile than others. before we go further, we were due to have the snp here but they released a statement. due to circumstances beyond his control, their representative was unable to attend despite looking forward to taking part in the debate. just that statement, to let you know, if you are wondering why the snp are not here. let's pick up on that. khalid mahmood, keep it brief? the first question about the far right and islamic terrorists.
that does not blame any community, there are individuals that we need to resolve, it does not blame the whole of the muslim community or indigenous community in terms of supremacists. it is not tit—for—tat, and when we get away from that kind of thing, the supremacists are doing this, it is ok to do that... none of it is ok, that needs to be clear. in terms of arms and human rights, and what we do, we need to seriously look at this. we will look at whether we want to continue with the industry we have. america signed a $135 billion deal with saudi arabia. that is exactly what i am saying. there are a number of countries that in terms of what they are doing has a worse record. look at china. let's just...
let'sjust wind up here. i'm also pointing out india... we have a lot of people to get through. in punjab... i want to get back... come on... i want to bring up police cuts. many have mentioned this. this was something that the conservative government were accused of, following the aftermath of the manchester bombings. your party cut the number of police, 20,000 in england and wales. if there were more police on the streets, this wouldn't have happened ? first of all, let me say there are two issues. as far as general policing is concerned, crime is down by one third. crime is down by one third, notwithstanding... but violent crime... notwithstanding that we
have had police cuts. this tells you that it is more than just numbers and bodies on the streets. for example... you can have a situation, i have been to these centres, where you have a couple of police officers sat in a room, watching 20 or 30 video screens because they had cctv cameras. they can look to see where there are difficulties and direct police cars to those areas of difficulty, rather than having 30 times two police officers sat there when there isn't much activity. we need to look at how policing is done. i don't know where you have been living or sleeping with crime being cut and going down, i can show you and you can talk to me after, it hasn't. that is in la la land. independent analysis on these figures... carjackings and everything... it is all thrown in, madam. you are sleeping somewhat. this is real, street talk. i have one of the largest
electorates in the country. people i have represented in the last 12 years, it is one of the largest electorates in mainland britain, i have my ear to the ground and i can tell you, i speak to police on a regular basis... it is not where i am living. we will have to agree to disagree. the invitation is there whenever you want to come around. and to you too. back to your question? with hate crime on the list, what are they doing to tackle the issue? bob dhillon, what will you do? what would ukip do? with hate crime on the rise. we have seen some instances following what happened in manchester. mosques being bombed. ukip are fuelling it. they are fuelling it. applause i don't believe so...
paul nuttall came out the next day saying that he was right about that? his manifesto says that he wants to ban the burqa. to stop radicalisation, they need to overcome hate crime. i want to make sure that police crackdown on any hate in any community. did you agree with your party's policy of banning the burqa? in today's modern society, covering the face is not required. i disagree. do you really have the right to tell people what to wear? what to tell women to wear?
i know there is a security issue but we live in a democracy, or we try to. i feel that politicians are constantly coming to young people and the generation at election time. where the hell are you for the rest of the year? you come to us at election time when you want our votes. people like us, the undecided voters, you say... this is what we will do for young people... we throw millions of pounds into mental health services, we throw billions of pounds into the nhs. why do we not see that money in practice, where is it on the ground? on that point you make about the burqa. leanne wood's point about it fuelling hate. do you agree? completely. i have known young women to be walking down the road with headscarves, and they've had their headscarves ripped off them. 16—year—olds. that is assault. yes, and a lot of the time people get away with it.
these young women are scared to leave their houses and do everyday normal things, and it is unacceptable how people get away with this. i am from kent. i've been walking down the road and people have accused me... have you got a bomb in your bag? no. i am having to justify myself to you, as a young muslim. i had to show my bag and say actually, i have curry in my bag. do i need to show you that i have food in my bag? what kind of world do we live in? the stories are not rare, whose fault is it? i think some of the language that we have been hearing that the referendum campaign is really fuelling this. some of the images that the campaign, i know there are different versions of the league campaign, but the one led by my ukip person here on the left, i'm not quite able to call him a colleague, but the one led by his leader, nigel farage, when he stood in front
of that revolting poster of desperate syrian refugees saying, what was it? "breaking point". those images leave a lasting impact and they fuel some of the hate crime that we see. one week after the referendum... those posters were used in germany in the 1930s. if you look at the two posters side—by—side they are carbon copies. the evidence, the week after the campaign, recorded hate crime went up 43%. it says it all. can i bring in shailesh vara? when we talk about these issues, it needs to be done so sensibly. what we say has consequences. i voted to remain in the referendum campaign that some of the language used could have been worded differently. and spoken in a more sensitive matter. there was a rise in hate crime and as a society, we need to deal with it. the police forces dealt with them the best they could
and it was wonderful to see the british community rally round as well. i also remember at the time that while there was an increase in hate crime, there were millions of people throughout the country who took the view and said actually, i do not like this. in small communities all over the place they were giving comfort to those receiving hate mail through their letterboxes and so on. it was a very sad and regrettable incident in terms of hate crime and it continues, but i am pleased to say the strength of this country is that the majority of people are fair—minded and decent. but that does not help if you are a muslim attacked in the street? i'm not saying that hate crime does not exist, it does. it is growing. i think, khalid mahmood, ifjeremy corbyn becomes prime minister, what is he planning to do to tackle this kind of hate crime? he is planning to introduce 10,000 more police onto the streets
of our communities. in terms of having police officers... as an example, i would prefer pcsos on the ground. i have a fantastic pcso in my community, rob, he is fantastic. he goes to people's houses and sees what is going on. let's not be reacting but be proactive in relation to police. those cuts have been made, jeremy corbyn is going to increase the police forces to do that. other comments on crime, it is going up. if you look at proper crime figures, in terms of burglary, personal safety, knife crime... it has gone up tremendously because we do not have those people. i live in my constituency, in my street. we see what is going on. i have people from my constituency with issues in relation to this and i speak to the local people every day.
that is what is going on. they cannot put up with it. you have an incident and you waited a few hours before police turn up as they don't have resources. we need police back on the streets, not looking at some monitors, or doing an it job. that is someone else'sjob. the police need to gain intelligence on the ground to be proactive. one more question, i believe? when will the british electorate be ready to vote for an asian prime minister? we thought we would end with a light question! i think the question is simple here. when will the political parties be in a position to elect a leader who can then be prime minister? we don't operate an american system. until we get the political parties to elect someone as a leader, then they become prime minister
which is the way forward. the liberal democrats, as you know, have nine mps. sadly, we lost quite a lot in the previous parliament. or black. no, we do not have seats like labour and the conservatives where you can parachute in asian candidates, i'm afraid. if we did have an asian mp, and who is of the right calibre, it is not about tokenism. if they were of the right calibre, then they would surely become prime minister. but it would need you to elect liberal democrat mps. did you comment? the conservatives had the first jewish prime minister with benjamin disraeli, and two women prime ministers. i am confident the first asian prime minister
would be the conservatives because of our track record. i would like to say as soon as possible. that is all from us here in birmingham from the elgar concert hall with the asian network big election debate. one week today the polls open. you are voting for the mps who represent us in parliament and the prime minister. apologies to our audience, we could not cover all of your questions. but our politicians will be around a short while so you can ask any questions you did not get the chance to. from me, the audience, and our guests, goodbye. good afternoon. it's a day for the
cloud lovers today. not a huge amount of variety in the sky. clouds are building across many parts of the uk, showers are breaking up. most of the showers, scotland and northern ireland, a few into wales in south—west england. these will continue to drift further east as we go through the day. not particularly heavy away from south—west england. the heavier ones are in scotland and northern ireland. he rumble of thunder is possible, you may get some hail mixed in. not everybody is getting the sunshine. across northern england, there may be showers developing in north—west england from the time. wales, into south—west, bidding down on the midlands. that means a large part of eastern england, colour and fresher compared to yesterday, but maybe
dry. the roof is on for the champions league final at cardiff. there will be a few showers around this evening, if you are going out, but by the time you're going home, it should be tried. turning dry, clear and quite chilly. away from town centres, temperatures might end up. freezing. blue skies tomorrow to start. many places will stay dry with sunshine. showers breaking out again readily in the morning in wales and south—west england and scotla nd wales and south—west england and scotland and northern ireland. some places will avoid the showers and c dry. the highest temperature will be 20 degrees, most of us will fall short of that. on monday, two areas of low pressure coming into the uk. the first ball push rain eastwards
across the uk and the second will bring more rain and strengthen the wind on monday night into tuesday. mandy into tuesday is looking very wet were some of us mandy into tuesday is looking very wet were some of us and potentially very windy. possibly disruptive with that combination of wind and rain. we will keep you updated with what will happen on monday and tuesday. there is a forecast for ways you are available online at any time. i'll be back later. this is bbc news. the headlines at 2pm: the prime minister has insisted that the conservative position on tax hasn't changed. that's after a senior cabinet minister appeared to go further than commitments outlined in the conservative manifesto. well, our position on tax hasn't changed. we've set that out in the manifesto. what people will know when they go to vote on thursday is that it is the conservative party that always has been, is and always will be, a low tax party. meanwhile, the labour leader
jeremy corbyn has been campaigning in lincoln, highlighting his plans for social care. —— for public services and a fairer society ‘s. —— for public services and a fairer society 's. we cannot go on underfunding public services and allowing inequality to grow with young people unable to achieve the best they can.