16.02.17 BBC Question Time Mark Littlewood cover photo

Mark Littlewood appears on BBC Question Time

Mark Littlewood, Director General at the Institute of Economic Affairs appeared on BBC Question Time last night alongside David Mundell MP, John Swinney MSP, Shadow Attorney General Shami Chakrabarti and author Val McDermid.

You can watch the full programme here.

On whether Scotland should hold a second independence referendum following the Brexit vote: 

“The 2014 decision on Scottish independence is almost a moot point. The constitutional framework that the Scots understood prevailed then has changed enormously. In just over two years time the Westminster Government will take us out of the European Union despite the overwhelming majority of Scots voting to remain. Things have changed and that is a sensible reason to revisit the independence question. There is no reason why Scotland can’t take its place as a proud independent nation.”

On an independent Scotland handing power back to Brussels:

“If you want to assert your independence it would be odd to throw off the dominance of the Westminster parliament to then immediately shackle yourself to Brussels. 

“But there are some differences. The Westminster Parliament controls far more of Scotland’s tax and spending than the EU does. The EU, were Scotland to leave the UK and rejoin the EU, would control a considerable amount of Scotland’s regulation but not tax and spending. A good number of countries about the same size as Scotland are broadly independent and decided to be members of the EU. This is a decision for Scotland.”

On the need for education reform: 

“The radical reform you need is for politicians to get out of the curriculum altogether. The curriculum needs to be set by teachers. The problem that we’ve got in both Scotland and England is politicians being too prescriptive and using education as a political football. 

“Scotland’s education system does need reform, but they shouldn’t adopt the English system. They should adopt the Swedish system as they have been considerably more radical in allowing freedom in schools. Some have even run on a for-profit basis which has brought good schools to more under-privileged areas – something that the English free schools system has failed to do.”

On whether the UK should follow Trump’s lead and treat Russia as an ally: 

“I’m not sure that Trump is treating Russia as an ally – although it is difficult to work out what he is doing given the chaos in the White House at the moment.

“We shouldn’t treat Putin as an ally. But we should engage with Russia. We have to deal with the world as it is, not as we would like it to be. That means lines of communication with Putin and with Trump are vital. Don’t embrace Putin but recognise that in the dangerous world in which we live, we have to do business with them.”

On whether we should add Vitamin D to food:

“It may or may not be a good idea to include it but I don’t want politicians deciding that we will. I don’t want politicians doing very much at all. This is a decision for the individual not for a health select committee panel.”