Friday, February 12, 2016

Transcript of Interview with David Cameron: BBC Today Programme, 18/01/2016. Interviewer Sarah Montague.

This is a transcript I've done of the first part of the interview which relates to language testing of applicants for spousal visas. Please feel free to use this for research, but do tell me you find any proofing/transcription errors.

Whole interview is here: https://youtu.be/Ukz7s_eGQK8

MONTAGUE: Let’s stort [sic] start on this question of language. How are you proposing that this could work? How do you find out which Muslim women are not fluent and go about, what, forcing them to learn English?
CAMERON: What we’ve been doing is, er, getting-going round communities and trying to look at the level of segregation and the problems that there are, and the statistics are clear, that there are thirty eight thousand Muslim women who really don’t speak hardly any English at all, and perhaps as many as a hundred and ninety thousand who speak it very badly. And this is about building a more integrated, cohesive, one-nation country where there’s genuine opportunity for people because of course, if you don’t speak the language your opportunities are very much reduced. So, finding out, in the communities, where we need to help most, and then both providing the resources to help but also saying to people who come to our country, you know, learning English is essential. You need English in order to come, and you need to improve your English in order to stay.
MONTAGUE So you’re…
CAMERON: It’s about opportunity and I think it’s very, very important. And I..
MONTAGUE: And it’s about testing women? Are you going to test Muslim women, to see if they…?
CAMERON: Well it’s not just Muslim women, it is when people come, under a spousal visa because they’re marrying um someone who’s already here. Er, then after two and a half years they should be improving their English, and we’ll be testing that and I think that’s important.
MONTAGUE: You make the point, though, in this article, you talk about the hundred and ninety thousand British, Muslim women who speak little or no, and you go on to say, er that despite many having lived here for decades, in the next paragraph, you say we’ll now say if you don’t improve your fluency, that could affect your ability to stay in the UK. I mean, presumably that’s only applying to people who have only recently arrived?
CAMERON: Well we’ll bring this in in October of this year, it will apply to people who’ve come in on a spousal visa, er…
MONTAGUE: Recently?
CAMERON: …recently, and they will be tested. Look, I’m not blaming - I think it’s very important, this, - this is not trying, I’m not sort of blaming the people who can’t speak English. Some of these people er have come to our country, quite sort-of patriarchal societies where, er, perhaps the men-folk haven’t wanted them to learning English, haven’t wanted them to integrate. What we’ve found in some of the work we’ve done, looking around our country as I’ve put in the article today, school governors’ meeting where the men sit in the meeting and the women have to sit outside, er women who aren’t allowed to leave their home without a male relative, this is happening in our country and it’s not acceptable. You know we should be…
MONTAGUE: And if a wom…
CAMERON: …very proud of our values, our liberalism, our tolerance, our idea that we want to build a genuine opportunity democracy. And I think in many, ways, we are one of the most successful multi-ethnic, multi-faith democracies anywhere in the world.
MONTAGUE: Hm.
CAMERON: But where there is segregation it’s holding people back, it’s not in tune with British values, and it needs to go, and that’s why I say…
MONTAGUE: Okay, so are you…
CAMERON: I think in the past sometimes, people have thought that the progressive thing to do is to allow people that come to our country and leave them to develop separately…
MONTAGUE: Okay…
CAMERON: …in their own ways, I think that’s…
MONTAGUE So a British… So a…
CAMERON: …completely wrong and I think that’s why we’re having a big shift in the way that we [inaudible]…
MONTAGUE A Muslim woman who comes here, who has children who are born here, and then fails this test. What happens to them?
CAMERON: Well they can’t guarantee that they’ll be able to stay, because under our rules, we’re gonna change the rules, you have to be able to speak a basic level of English now to come into the country as a husband or a wife, we made that change already and we’re now going to toughen that up so half way through the five year spousal settlement programme, two and a half years, there’ll be another opportunity to make sure that your English is improving and…
MONTAGUE: [inaudible]
CAMERON: you can’t guarantee…
MONTAGUE: Okay
CAMERON: …you’ll be able to stay if you’re not improving your language.
MONTAGUE: The weird th…
CAMERON: Look, it is tough, but at the end of…
MONTAGUE: The weird thing… Okay. But the weird…
CAMERON: It’s not enough just to say that the government’s going to spend more money and it’s our responsibility. People coming to our country, they have responsibilities too.
MONTAGUE: But the strange thing about this, is that it’s only a few years ago, when you became Prime Minister that you cut the money for free language classes, er, for immigrants. Er… July 2011… I’m, I’m looking at a s-story from The Independent, end to free language classes for immigrants, vulnerable women will be particularly affected under the new rules. And it was in July last year that the skills funding agency completely withdrew the funding.
CAMERON: Well, this is more targeted. What we had, yes, budgets did come down in the past, [bec]ause all budgets are under pressure for the reasons we know, the enormous deficit and the need to pay that, er, down, but this is targeted money going after the particular area of problem because of course many people, er, coming to our country, want to learn English, know that they should help themselves to learn English, we’re dealing here with very isolated communities, women who sometimes, you know, as I say, in their own home, aren’t encouraged to learn English…
MONTAGUE: So was it a mistake…
CAMERON: …aren’t encouraged to go out.
MONTAGUE: Do you think it was a mistake to cut that funding?
CAMERON: No I think we had to make difficult decisions. Now what we’re doing is targeting, er, the language money much more accurately…
MONTAGUE: So the twenty million is just for women.
CAMERON: It is just for, er, women. Not necessarily just Muslim women but it is for those who are the great, the dange, the-e greatest danger of of isolation.
MONTAGUE: Alright. Now you talk about um, er changing the culture. Would you like to get rid of the full face veil as well? Which is an example of segregation.
CAMERON I-I think, in our country, people should be free to wear what they like and er, with limits, they can live how they like..

[5.01 6.05- full face veils and integration]

CAMERON: The reason for doing this is to build a more integrated country, to build a one nation Britain, to give people more opportunities. I think there is a connection, er, with combating extremism, and it’s this: that if you have people growing up in a house where no one speaks English then they’re less able to talk to the school, they’re less able to communicate with the local GP, they’re less able, er, perhaps to communicate with others [inaudible]…
MONTAGUE: But the people who’ve been going to Syria and Iraq have been entirely capable of speaking English and often come from very well educated homes, that doesn’t seem to be the problem…
CAMERON: That is absolutely right…
MONTAGUE: There are…
CAMERON: Hang on, just give me a second. I’m not saying there’s some sort of causal connection between not speaking English and becoming an extremist, of course not. That would be a ridiculous thing to say. But if you’re, if you’re not able to speak English, not able to integrate, you may find therefore that you have challenges understanding what your identity is therefore you could be more susceptible, er, to the extremist message…
MONTAGUE: Is there a causal…
CAMERON: …from…
MONTAGUE: …connection?
CAMERON: …from Daesh. So it’s not a causal connection, but if we’re going to try and…
MONTAGUE: Okay…
CAMERON: …help young people to be resilient against the appalling messages of Daesh, and can I say again I think Muslim families around the country would’ve held their heads in despair this morning when once again, you just called it “Islamic State”, you didn’t even say…
MONTAGUE: That’s…
CAMERON: …“so-called Islamic State”. It’s so important this…
MONTAGUE: Why don’t…
CAMERON: They they really do…
MONTAGUE: Take that up with upper echelons of the BBC. It’s not a [inaudible]…
CAMERON: Well I will but it really is one the things that the women mention…
MONTAGUE: Is there a caus…, you say this is not a causal connection, is there a causal connection between extremism here and money coming from Saudi Arabia?

[7.35 - 10.47: UK relationship with Saudi Arabia and war in Yemen; 10.48 - 15.10: junior doctors’ strikes; 15.11 - 17.36: European negotiations and referendum; 17.37 - 19.06 historical child sex abuse investigations]