02/03/2013 Alliance Party Conference


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02/03/2013

Live coverage of Leader David Ford's speech from the Alliance Party Annual Conference.


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And hello and welcome to the programmes. Today we have

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highlights from a gathering of the Alliance Party including David

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Ford's Aquino is speech. He will be taking to the podium at very

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shortly. It has been a difficult few months for the party following

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the decision at Belfast to only fly the Union flag on certain days. We

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can see Naomi Long addressing the conference live. She has of course

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faced a death threat. With me in studio is the political expert,

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Professor Rick Wilford and at the La Mon Hotel for us, our political

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editor, Mark Devenport. Give us a flavour of what has been happening

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out there so far this morning will stop there was a dinner last night

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and they have had a couple of interesting speakers so far? The

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yes, they had a dinner last night and their guest was the Labour

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business spokesmen and they have already heard from the Liberal

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Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes who introduced Naomi Long who is

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speaking right now. Simon Hughes paid tribute to Naomi Long and how

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she has handled the last few months and I would say the whole business

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of the flag dispute and the intimidation of the attacks are has

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not been hidden away in any way. It has been very much to the fore. The

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party president paid tribute to those who had faced intimidation

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and attacked in particular the two Unionist parties saying that the

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pressure they had brought to bear had demonstrated unsuitability to

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office. We have seen a whole series of references to that during the

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course of the morning. At an emotional Maire Hendron who is one

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of the Belfast City Council's who was involved in that decision to

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fly the flag on designated days, she was one of the first because

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this morning and she made an emotional speech and got a standing

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ovation? Yes, both her and other Belfast city councillors were

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defending their position and the two nationalist parties have been

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looking for the removal of the slide and the Unionists have been

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looking for it to be maintained at 3 and 65 days a year. The Alliance

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Party have stuck to their decision despite pressure. They will be

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hoping they will be able to move on to the electoral high-ground having

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occupied the moral high ground in the last few months. That is a more

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open question because we have yet to see an electoral test of what it

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will do in some of those Unionist areas where they have previously

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relied on support. What you think we can expect from David for it in

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his keynote speech? I think we will be hearing more of the same, a

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tribute to those who have been intimidated and also start defence

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of the party's plan for a shared future. On that topic, let us turn

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to one of the party's MLAs, Chris Lyttle. In East Belfast. What has

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it been like for you in recent weeks? We have an exceptional team

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in East Belfast so my colleagues Naomi Long, Judith Cochrane and I

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have focused on getting on with our job and our staff has shown great

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courage to get on with a job. attributes to those who faced

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intimidation here but there is a hard edge question - will it pay

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you electoral dividends or when you suffer? We're hearing from Naomi

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Long, some would say she only one that's the because she was able to

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gather support in loyalist areas and that now also disappear? I have

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no doubt we take our support from across the community and we will

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continue to do that. I have been an Alliance Party member since 2002

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and this is the most encouraging conference. Given the electoral

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maps, it is a predominantly Unionist seat. It is a cross-

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community seat, to be honest. Naomi Long drew support from across the

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Community and research all of the community. We have published a

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shared future strategy and there is a huge amount of people who want to

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see a political party that parrot houses building a shared future.

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The last week has seen the formation of a new party, we have

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yet to know its name but a Basil McCrea and John McAllister say they

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will create this Unionist Party, are you concerned this might appear

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to your supporters? In my opinion, the name of the party to build a

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shared policies is the Alliance Party and I stick to that. We have

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published our strategy, we want to go out and engage with people from

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all backgrounds who we think one to see our ideas going forward. We

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have over 70% of people who want to see integrated education, 44%

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people supported our slide flying decision. We need to move on and

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focus on the economy. As you come under more pressure, he would

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consider going into opposition? two ministers in the Executive are

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delivering a real change. I think we are affecting real change at

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this moment in time. We have to leave it there for now. That is a

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sense of what is going on here. Let us hear the views of my studio

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guest, Professor Rick Wilford. We are waiting to hear what the party

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leader has to say and we may hear a little of Naomi Long's comments in

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a moment or two but first of all, it has been a difficult few months

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for the Alliance Party on the flags issue so will there be a sense of

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getting together to try to show a purposeful face to the public at

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this? Absolutely, it has been a testing period for them and it will

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continue to be a testing period because this issue is not flagging,

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it is continuing. They will probably demonstrate that they have

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been resolute and a united and they were defending their position on

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designated days so that will feature, too, in what David Ford

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has to say. There has been his attempt to put them in a Nutcracker

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between the DUP and the UUP, trying to squeeze them and the longer term

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strategy here is to try and iced Naomi Long from the seat so that

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will figure in her speech. He is also going to celebrate, no doubt,

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that is achievements both as hen as justice minister and that of his

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colleague, Stephen Farry at employment and learning. We will

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get some celebratory remarks. The centrepiece of his speech is likely

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to be an attempt to apply it this particular fro they have consisted

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with for so long and that is that it is time for Northern Ireland to

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move away from a discreet, closed politics of identity, towards

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recognition. It is a cross- community party and design to be

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inclusive. It respects differences but it does not celebrate them to

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the point where it simply becomes an either or politics in Northern

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Ireland and that is why for every one document, this will be a

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centrepiece on what he has to talk about today. Mark Devenport touched

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on this matter of the new Unionist Party, that is something we might

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explore because it is intriguing. Is it possible that that party

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established by Basil McCrea and John McAllister, might begin to eat

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into natural Alliance Party territory? David Ford was asked

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about this and he said it was not possible to be a Liberal Unionist.

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In his world, you're not a liberal. I don't buy that distinction, you

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can be a liberal unionist. Liberalism means openness and

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respect for difference. That is not a contradiction in terms. But

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whether it will constitute a challenge is another matter. It is

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small, the other party that has no name, it is imperfectly formed both

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stop there was a document produced by Basil McCrea and John McAllister

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earlier in the week but there was no detailed and I think they

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probably have jumped too soon in the sense that they have not got a

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considers platform or even a label under which to canvas and Campion.

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It is very difficult to see that if Alliance has captured not so much

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the centre ground in Northern Ireland politics but maybe for what

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liberal-minded people is common ground, it will be difficult for

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Basil McCrae and John McAllister to nudge into that territory. What I

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thought was fascinating was that David Ford seemed to be suggesting

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that people who are members of the Alliance Party and people who vote

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for the Alliance Party are neither Unionist nor a nationalist, they

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would suggest that they are neither but is it THAT there must be people

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in that party who are comfortable to be Unionists and comfortable to

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be nationalists? Absolutely, it has always prided itself on its ability

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to transcend differences so there are bound to be people who are

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nationalists and Unionists and also from the senses we know there is a

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significant proportion of people in Northern Ireland who define

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themselves as Northern Irish, they do not define themselves as either

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unionist or nationalist and that growing number of people is clearly

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an national target for the Alliance Party. It will be something of a

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target for Basil McCrea and John McAllister also but when push comes

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to shove, there are going to beat people in the Alliance Party who

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will vote one way or the other four a border poll. Some people were

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saying it is the weakness of the Alliance Party, it is neither fish

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nor fowl but in fact on that issue, people in the Alliance Party will

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bought one way or the other but it seems to be able to contain both.

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We will hear more from you throughout the rest of the

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programmes. Let's cross now to the conference hall where Naomi Long is

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just finishing her address to the conference. The leader of the

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Alliance Party, David Ford, should be about to make his keynote

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address. He has been introduced by his deputy. He is asking for people

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to take their seats and as soon as he steps up, we will hear what he

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says. Thank you for your introduction and

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for what you do representing as in Westminster. You could have had no

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finer tribute than from Simon Hughes as someone who was in

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Westminster for 27 years. Can I welcome you all to the

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conference this morning. Welcome to those of you who suffered the

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intimidation, the threats and the attacks of recent weeks, because

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you have done what is right. Welcome and thank you to Naomi,

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Michael, Judith and the East Belfast team. Welcome to the

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Carrickfergus team who have also suffered significantly. And to the

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 51 seconds

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Welcome to all of you who have been Reception area. These last three

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months have certainly been a tough time for the alliance but I'm

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absolutely sure that will be the stronger for it. Literally, we have

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come through fire and not been found wanting. That strength is

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recognised by the media and the number of commentators who are not

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generally sympathetic. Are growing strength has been recognised by the

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other parties. On I first became party leader what they used to call

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the four main parties largely ignored us. Conference, they don't

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ignore us now. So why did the DUP and the UUP deliver all those late

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at an East Belfast targeting Naomi Long over the flag issue. She isn't

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a councillor any longer. She isn't a councillor any longer because she

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took East Belfast in the Westminster election, with the

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largest swing in any constituency in the United Kingdom. That is why

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Why did the DUP denied that there were responsible? When we put out

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leaflets we always put the imprint published by Alliance because we're

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not ashamed. Clearly the DUP was utterly ashamed of its actions. So

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we shame that an elected DUP councillor claimed he worked for a

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delivery company when he was caught on. So when Unionist politicians

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say that those who raised the flags issued me to accept the

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responsibility for what followed, they are right. They need to accept

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their responsibility for what they did. They need to recognise what

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happens when you stir up tension in a divided society and would you

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cannot even bring herself to call for an end to end legal actions

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without ambiguity. I believe that the past few months have taught us

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a lot but those of us who are capable of learning will be able to

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learn from them. We have learnt about this party, its strength and

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resilience, its unity of purpose and that support for those of us

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under attack. We have learnt about Northern Ireland, where we are as a

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community and where we need to be. How fragile the rule of law can be.

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We have seen the differences this - - between how our political parties

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look at the future, and particularly a shared future. In

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many respects, Northern Ireland is at an impasse with the DUP and Sinn

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Fein avoiding the difficult issues, avoiding the difficult issue that

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was the single quality build, slow progress on the RPA and ESA, no

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sign of progress on parades or a language is built. India simply

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failing to follow through and deliver. Worst of all, they had

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made no progress from reaching agreement about a shared future.

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And this must be the most pressing issue for Northern Ireland at this

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time. Contrast the feeling nature of the executive, and look at what

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:17:58.:17:58.

can be achieved. And it was a real pleasure when Stephen Farry joined

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me to sit beside me at the executive table. If nothing else

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immense I could at least turn one way or pleasant conversation during

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the meeting. Would any other minister of employment and learning

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other than Stephen by a terse reducing barriers to labour

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mobility as assured future issue? Would anybody else begin Treacher

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training and toppled all the other work he has to do, on

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apprenticeships come on skills for those with less qualifications?

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Those are real issues that need to be addressed. It is the same and

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the Department of Justice will be a reforming prisons, improving access

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to justice, tackling legal aid and delivering the resources to police

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service needs. Our committee safety strategy is distinctively Alliance,

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about building safer shared confident communities. We have a

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realistic targets to remove interface structures and we're

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working on it, engaging with local people and we have seen real

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progress in a number of areas, especially in North Belfast. We are

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being held back socially, being denied the share future the people

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deserve due to deadlock between Unionists and nationalists. The

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five party working group on a shared future seemed destined to

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produce a report that was merely and the lowest common denominator

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between Unionism and nationalism. In the end, it didn't even achieve

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that. After Chris Whittle withdrew, it merely register deadlock, leaked

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paper showed that the group that failed to make any progress on key

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issues such as flags and parades and dealing with the past. Let's

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look at the flags issue as an example of how alliance than

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Stephanie. Here was the perfect opportunity to deliver change. To

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characterise and develop Belfast as a city of diversity were different

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identities are respected and cherished. On opportunity that has

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existed for years. We first proposed designated days a decade

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ago. Sinn Fein and the SDLP approach the issue without any

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regard for those who cherish the Unionist identity. The timing and a

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Freeman of the debates was a we win, you use argument was that their

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choosing. What of the Unionist parties? What was their motivation?

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Compare Belfast with Lisburn, with Craigavon, Ballymoney were Unionist

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dominated councils fly the Union flag on designated days. In Belfast,

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there was a deliberate premeditated campaign to with attentions, to

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generate fears of a loss of identity among those who perceive

:20:46.:20:50.

themselves as having little left to give and to go after the Alliance

:20:50.:20:55.

party and its elected representatives, especially to go

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after Naomi Long he wasn't even involved and the debate just to win

:20:59.:21:04.

votes. That is the long and short of that. All this has been about

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winning votes in East Belfast. I don't agree with the decision by

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Billy Hutchinson took the post designated days. But I do agree

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with this description of the Unionist Party's handling of the

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issue as a project, because it was a project to damage the alliance.

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Is it any wonder that the parties of Unionism and nationalism have

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reached stalemate in the working group? Two weeks ago I wrote to the

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First Minister proposing a new approach that I believed could see

:21:37.:21:40.

an effective shared future strategy. It is clear that the current

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process involving parties only has stalled. Of the First Minister and

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Deputy First Minister have managed to restart it, our fear is that it

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would either end in deadlock or in an agreed strategy that avoids the

:21:52.:21:57.

most difficult issues. That is why we have proposed a different

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approach, one that is more open and inclusive but we believe will make

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sure that the big issues are no longer docked. We have birds that

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First Minister and Deputy First Minister to open up a share future

:22:10.:22:16.

reference group with the political parties been joined by a

:22:16.:22:26.
:22:26.:22:27.

representatives of civic society. The responses at the first

:22:27.:22:30.

ministers' attempts at this shared future strategy shows the level of

:22:30.:22:33.

expertise that exist in our community. We need to use their

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expertise to get it right. We cannot afford not to get it right.

:22:37.:22:42.

I asked the First and Deputy First Minister has to publish the draft

:22:42.:22:46.

strategy for a new shirt future reference group, to take evidence

:22:46.:22:52.

from the public. It would make recommendations by June of this

:22:52.:22:55.

year and the First Minister and Deputy First Minister would bring a

:22:55.:23:00.

final strategy to do it executive after the summer. After 18 months

:23:00.:23:05.

of private discussions the party's only approach had simply failed.

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Given the importance of this issue, we believe the public has a right

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to voice their opinion on the record in an open forum and the

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response to my suggestion? And an accurate representation of this is

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abdicating the responsibility of elected politicians and handed over

:23:22.:23:27.

the process to outsiders. They couldn't see that a partnership

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approach could actually help make progress, or maybe they could and

:23:31.:23:37.

feared it. 19 years since the ceasefires, 15 years since the Good

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Friday Agreement and after 10 years of devolved government no effective

:23:41.:23:44.

strategy to move or community be on the ending of violence has been

:23:44.:23:50.

produced. We simply have to get on with it. Let's remember, as if we

:23:50.:23:54.

could ever forget, what has been happening on the streets recently.

:23:54.:23:59.

Is there any clear demonstration of the need to build a shared future

:23:59.:24:03.

for all citizens? The lives and livelihoods of so many are being

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disrupted by minority. A minority hell bent on causing destruction

:24:09.:24:18.
:24:19.:24:21.

without any thought to the effects of their actions. Yet again, the

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problems of the society are being played it on the streets and

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putting enormous pressure on the police service. In my position I am

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not going to second guess the difficult decisions that

:24:32.:24:38.

operational commanders have to take in response to street disorder. I

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know that there will be support in this hall and across the Community

:24:43.:24:46.

for resolute action against those who continue to disrupt society,

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including the resolute action being taken against those who have been

:24:50.:25:00.
:25:00.:25:10.

organising illegal street protests. I sincerely hope that those who

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have taken part in a legal protest will recognise the damage they're

:25:14.:25:19.

doing and call of those protests. If they don't, I hope there will be

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united political boys supporting the PSNI as the deal those protests.

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A united voice supporting the rule of lot, not the weasel words we

:25:29.:25:34.

heard from Unionists. A united voice, not the complaints we hear

:25:34.:25:39.

from nationalist try to put pressure on the police, including

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talk yesterday political policing. There ought to be a united voice

:25:43.:25:47.

supporting the rule of law from every party, but somehow I doubt it

:25:47.:25:51.

because too many politicians and the society are unprepared to

:25:51.:25:54.

support the pleas of it means confronting their own supporters.

:25:54.:25:59.

Alliance politicians don't they can choose. We don't decide which was

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toppled, which police action to support depending on whether they

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are perceived to be for our side with the other side. Alliance has

:26:06.:26:16.
:26:16.:26:23.

always stood for the rule of law Of course, differences between

:26:23.:26:26.

Unionists and nationalists on policing are mirrored by their

:26:26.:26:31.

views and a shared future. The union this to mean some kind of

:26:31.:26:36.

society where everyone is supposed to field Unionist, to accept what

:26:37.:26:40.

Peter Robinson called the settle status quo with the Union flag

:26:40.:26:45.

flies ever were 265 busy year with the Irish language received no

:26:45.:26:52.

official recognition, with the terms the Queen's highway is

:26:52.:26:59.

allowed to excludes a whole section of society. Or the Parades

:26:59.:27:03.

Commission he supported only when it takes the right decisions for

:27:03.:27:08.

Unionists. For nationalist a shared future seems to be at version of

:27:08.:27:13.

Sheard parity of esteem. Were the public demand for integrated

:27:13.:27:19.

education goes unheeded. Where are elected representatives will

:27:19.:27:24.

forever have to be designated to turn out whether there us with them.

:27:24.:27:28.

Or playgrounds convenient that to terrorists because it is only

:27:28.:27:32.

national as children who play and then. For both sides it means deals

:27:32.:27:36.

such as those Rusol over the barracks site, supported by both

:27:36.:27:40.

the Unionist parties and the nationalist parties or

:27:40.:27:46.

opportunities to radically develop integration was sacrificed on the

:27:46.:27:51.

culture of one for my side, one for you aside politics. The very nature

:27:51.:27:56.

of the politics that those parties espouse depends upon the

:27:56.:28:00.

continuation of this kind of politics. They rely on the oldest -

:28:00.:28:10.
:28:10.:28:17.

- bit old -- the old traditions. They focus on proceeds threats to

:28:17.:28:23.

their identity and culture. After 10 years of devolution we have to

:28:23.:28:26.

accept that many communities haven't seen the progress that they

:28:26.:28:30.

deserve. Too many kids are not doing well enough at school, too

:28:30.:28:36.

few job opportunities. Is it any wonder the DUP and Sinn Fein rely

:28:36.:28:40.

on sham fights to draw attention away from their failure to deliver

:28:41.:28:45.

a effectively on the big issues that would really make addition --

:28:45.:28:50.

make a difference to people's everyday lives? It seems to make --

:28:50.:28:55.

it seems to sit unionism better to focus on flags rather than focus on

:28:55.:28:59.

the fact that their children are leaving school without the

:28:59.:29:04.

qualifications they need? For nationalists, maybe it is better to

:29:04.:29:08.

think about a boarder Paul but will not realistically happen with the

:29:08.:29:12.

foreseeable future rather than focusing on the fact that 43 % of

:29:12.:29:16.

children going up and West Belfast are in poverty. Mike Nesbitt will

:29:16.:29:19.

probably insist that by misrepresenting his party and

:29:19.:29:24.

politics. He likes to portray himself as a moderate, yet he leads

:29:24.:29:34.
:29:34.:29:48.

He insisted that people always have and class and that people always

:29:48.:29:51.

will be ancient green. This was a man who was elected leader because

:29:51.:29:57.

of his ability to communicate a purpose for the UUP. From what I

:29:57.:30:02.

have seen over the years, Mike Nesbitt has much experience from an

:30:02.:30:12.
:30:12.:30:21.

autocue but it is Peter Robinson he is writing his script! No doubt

:30:21.:30:25.

there are those on board sides they will reject this description of

:30:25.:30:30.

them, they see themselves as moderate Unionists or moderate

:30:30.:30:33.

nationalists or even liberal versions. But I say to them, as

:30:33.:30:43.

long as you are part of the problem, the problem will continue. To MLAs

:30:43.:30:46.

are in the process of setting up another Unionist Party. I

:30:46.:30:50.

acknowledge it is an attempt to move Unionism for it but it will

:30:50.:30:56.

achieve nothing. Change will only happen when we build a strong

:30:56.:30:58.

radical centre-ground in total contrast to both Unionism and

:30:58.:31:03.

nationalism. Otherwise it seems this society goes on locked in this

:31:03.:31:06.

old politics were either nothing happens for fear that one side will

:31:06.:31:11.

get more than the other or a little it happens but only on the basis of

:31:11.:31:16.

one for you, one for me. The old politics, the politics of the past

:31:16.:31:18.

is like a millstone around the neck of the political system, holding us

:31:18.:31:23.

back, preventing us from developing a politics are today and holding us

:31:23.:31:28.

back from the future we want to create. To many of our politicians

:31:28.:31:31.

allow the shadow of that past to present themselves from moving

:31:31.:31:35.

forward, always holding on to the perceived security that comes from

:31:35.:31:39.

the old labels. Only this party has been brave enough and bold enough

:31:39.:31:47.

to make the leap, to free itself of that old politics to focus purely

:31:47.:31:53.

on how to unite our committee through different politics. For

:31:53.:31:57.

years, our politics was frozen as attempt after attempt to break the

:31:57.:32:02.

deadlock over institutions that would bring an end to violence. 15

:32:02.:32:05.

years after that deadlock was broken on Good Friday, we find

:32:05.:32:10.

ourselves in a different deadlock, a political stalemate within the

:32:10.:32:13.

institutions holding us back from the future that a committee

:32:13.:32:17.

deserves. With the constitutional question effectively settled for

:32:17.:32:20.

now by the agreement, this should have been a moment for maximum

:32:20.:32:24.

transformation, an opportunity to take dramatic steps forward towards

:32:24.:32:31.

a future that is very different from the past. To use the end of

:32:31.:32:41.
:32:41.:32:43.

violence to allow committees to be integrated. As recently written on

:32:43.:32:49.

an Ulster Unionist blog, promises of new beginnings and dedicated to

:32:49.:32:53.

the achievement of Torrance and Jenny Dawe Trust, all signed in a

:32:53.:32:58.

spurt of Concorde, binding commitments were given, not only to

:32:58.:33:01.

purely democratic and peaceful means but to oppose any use or

:33:01.:33:07.

threat of force by others for any political purpose. Every signatory

:33:07.:33:10.

pledged to work to ensure the success of each and every one of

:33:10.:33:14.

the arrangements and signed up to complex but clear constitutional

:33:14.:33:20.

arrangements. Yet despite this, the Executive so far has utterly failed

:33:20.:33:24.

to face the need to make real progress towards a shared society

:33:25.:33:30.

in which sectarianism, fear and threat along only in the past.

:33:30.:33:34.

Politicians have worked to find a political settlement that allows

:33:34.:33:38.

Northern Ireland to be governed but they feel to use it to prioritise

:33:38.:33:42.

the building of a genuinely shared society. The longer we fail to do

:33:42.:33:46.

so, the more our talk of building an economy becomes unrealistic and

:33:46.:33:50.

delusional. The last few weeks events had shown that it can be put

:33:50.:33:56.

off no longer. This is the challenge for us in the Alliance

:33:56.:34:00.

Party this year he. To work to break this new form of deadlock,

:34:00.:34:03.

the deadlock in which we will be stuck as long as the old politics

:34:03.:34:07.

dominates, for all of us in public life who want a better, different

:34:07.:34:12.

shared future for our community, the challenge is to break the

:34:12.:34:16.

dominance of that and move to a new politics. We will not waste the

:34:16.:34:20.

opportunities that have been given to us so we have to put ideas

:34:20.:34:25.

forward the the people to see clearly and unambiguously. That is

:34:25.:34:31.

why two years ago for the Assembly election, we published a manifesto,

:34:31.:34:35.

probably the most comprehensive for a Northern Ireland election. A few

:34:35.:34:43.

weeks ago, we published for everyone, we have set out policies

:34:43.:34:47.

for every department that will help us build a shared future for all

:34:47.:34:52.

our people. We went to see a shares and into go society, free from

:34:52.:34:57.

intimidation and discrimination and fear, or every member is safe, has

:34:57.:35:00.

Upper sureties to contribute and to participate, is treated fairly and

:35:00.:35:06.

with respect, a civic society underpinned by the shared values of

:35:06.:35:10.

equality, respect for diversity and a celebration of our

:35:10.:35:14.

interdependence. For everyone sets out practical policies to deliver

:35:14.:35:21.

that. I am a firm supporter of integrated education. We're not

:35:21.:35:25.

suggesting it is the solution to all our problems but it is part of

:35:25.:35:29.

the solution. Critics accuse of us of social engineering, pushing

:35:30.:35:32.

children together against their parents will and the truth,

:35:32.:35:38.

revealed this week in a poll in the Belfast Telegraph, a 79% of the

:35:38.:35:42.

population would like to see their children at's school becoming

:35:42.:35:46.

integrated. At school for everyone in the local community. The target

:35:46.:35:52.

we have set of 20% of children in integrated schools by 2020 is

:35:52.:35:55.

reasonable, practical and in line with the wishes of the large

:35:55.:35:59.

majority. The problem of flags and parades are being played out on the

:35:59.:36:04.

streets with serious effects on all of us yet they are just sentence of

:36:04.:36:08.

what goes deeper so we have set out how we can make sure that all

:36:08.:36:16.

public space is for all. Let us nail the lie before unionists

:36:16.:36:23.

repeated any more, the Alliance Party respects everybody's right to

:36:23.:36:31.

fly flags but nobody has the right to use flagpoles -- lamp-posts like

:36:31.:36:41.
:36:41.:36:50.

a dog barking out territory. Up -- at dog marking out his territory.

:36:50.:36:58.

So we will work only make sure that planning policies take account of

:36:58.:37:03.

shared future considerations and we set realistic targets and engage

:37:03.:37:07.

with local communities to build the confidence that will see barriers

:37:07.:37:11.

come down. The Executive has to recognise that the shared housing

:37:11.:37:14.

strategy is now essential so we can meet real housing needs without

:37:14.:37:19.

continuing segregation of. When his party was founded, the challenge

:37:19.:37:23.

was their employment. The challenge for this generation is to build on

:37:23.:37:27.

that achievement and build a shared future in every respect. We will

:37:27.:37:31.

also press both governments to accept their role alongside other

:37:31.:37:34.

parties in finding an inclusive way of dealing with the issues of the

:37:34.:37:38.

past, not one that is with a few people but a comprehensive system

:37:38.:37:43.

for everyone. Too often we have seen short-term decisions

:37:43.:37:46.

satisfying one need at a time rather than dealing with problems

:37:46.:37:50.

at a way that bills are long-term shared future. Make no mistake,

:37:50.:37:56.

this is not Alliance wish-list as some people have claimed, this is

:37:56.:37:59.

vitally important in our society is to prosper economically and

:37:59.:38:03.

maximise our chances of investment as the UK emerges from the

:38:03.:38:09.

recession. We will not attract the investment we need with local or

:38:09.:38:12.

external unless we are seen to be creating conditions have shared

:38:12.:38:15.

future that will allow us to maximise our economic opportunities.

:38:15.:38:20.

The challenge for this generation, for the lifetime of the youngest

:38:20.:38:24.

person in this room, is to break out of that cycle of short-term

:38:24.:38:29.

actions, to find a way to break the stranglehold that the old politics

:38:29.:38:33.

still has over this community's future, to fight a new political

:38:33.:38:38.

battle, not the ancient and outdated Battle of Unionists purses

:38:38.:38:48.
:38:48.:38:50.

nationalists, between old politics and a new politics. Between a zero

:38:50.:38:55.

sum politics and when when the politics. Between politics for our

:38:55.:38:59.

side and politics for everyone. Let us be clear, Alliance is the force

:38:59.:39:03.

by which we will do so, only a Mayans occupies the Shared Ground

:39:03.:39:13.
:39:13.:39:18.

where we will have to build a shared future. -- alliance.

:39:18.:39:22.

Remember what President Kennedy said in the early 1960s about the

:39:22.:39:26.

Apollo space programme, which used to do these things in this decade

:39:26.:39:30.

not because they are easy but because they are hard. That goal

:39:30.:39:35.

will serve to organise and measured the best of our energies and skills.

:39:35.:39:39.

The challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are

:39:39.:39:44.

unwilling to postpone and one which we intend to win. With an alliance,

:39:44.:39:47.

we're the party that is clear about our committee's future and what it

:39:47.:39:51.

could and should look like and how that could be achieved. We are the

:39:51.:39:55.

party that is very clear about where our priority lies, but the

:39:55.:40:00.

biggest single challenge facing our committee and its Executive is the

:40:00.:40:04.

challenge of creating a genuinely shared future. We are the party

:40:04.:40:06.

that is utterly committed to overcoming that challenge and

:40:06.:40:10.

bridging the deadlock of the old politics. While other parties

:40:10.:40:15.

continue to pursue old political agendas, generating and sustaining

:40:15.:40:18.

stagnation and deadlock when in the face of that deadlock they retreat

:40:18.:40:22.

back to their familiar obsession with identity and the constitution,

:40:22.:40:27.

there will be no retreat by alliance. Let me remind you of

:40:27.:40:32.

another statement of Hope by President Kennedy's Robert.

:40:32.:40:36.

Speaking in set Africa, he said this - each time a man stands up

:40:36.:40:41.

for an ideal or axe to improve a lot of others or strikes Out

:40:41.:40:45.

Against injustice, he sense for a tiny ripple of hope and crossing

:40:45.:40:51.

each other from a million different centres of energy and daring, those

:40:51.:40:55.

reports build at current that could sweep down the mightiest walls of

:40:55.:40:58.

oppression and resistance. Alliance has come through the fire of recent

:40:58.:41:02.

years, we have come through a particular fire in recent weeks, we

:41:02.:41:07.

have been tested and we have not failed. In Northern Ireland, we are

:41:07.:41:11.

at the change, that change that Robert Kennedy spoke of. We can

:41:11.:41:15.

break down those walls, everyone of us is one of those ripples of which

:41:15.:41:20.

he spoke. Youth and old members together, all our actions combine

:41:20.:41:24.

to make waves that will sweep away those walls of prejudice and

:41:24.:41:29.

intolerance. The momentum or continue to build, our movement for

:41:29.:41:33.

change will grow at whatever is thrown at us, metaphorically and

:41:33.:41:37.

literally, we will work relentlessly, we will strive for

:41:37.:41:42.

change, we will lead changed and we will deliver change for the society.

:41:42.:41:46.

We will create a new and better Northern Ireland based on a new and

:41:46.:41:56.
:41:56.:42:09.

better kind of politics. Our politics for everyone.

:42:09.:42:14.

David Ford getting a standing ovation for his speech. I make it

:42:14.:42:24.

about 31 minutes that he spoke for. That is his wife giving him a hug.

:42:24.:42:34.
:42:34.:42:36.

Stuart Dickson, Judith Cochrane from East Belfast. He makes his way

:42:36.:42:41.

through the hall and I suppose it is no great surprise that he should

:42:41.:42:44.

get enthusiastic response like this. He did not really pull any punches,

:42:44.:42:54.
:42:54.:42:55.

he was determined he was going to make that point that the Austrians

:42:55.:43:01.

and Sinn Fein represent the past. He had a significant pop at Mike

:43:01.:43:06.

Nesbitt. I don't know if you recall his speech, he was very backward

:43:06.:43:10.

looking, very little that was progressive. David is basically

:43:10.:43:14.

saying, the party has weathered the storm, we have been buffeted by

:43:14.:43:19.

waves from within the Unionist parties so I suppose is no surprise

:43:20.:43:23.

that he paid particular attention but in that respect there was

:43:23.:43:27.

something of an unbalanced there because he named Peter Robinson and

:43:27.:43:33.

Mike Nesbitt and even Billy Hutchison. There was no naming a

:43:33.:43:37.

any nationalist politicians. don't think he mentioned the SDLP

:43:37.:43:42.

at all. Only in passing. One probably needs to read into that

:43:42.:43:48.

that this was an assault on the other major parties because they

:43:48.:43:52.

are entrenched in either or policies and that really he was

:43:52.:44:00.

saying, this is the party that will bridge the divisions so it can be

:44:00.:44:03.

no surprise per instance that he picked out the Belfast Telegraph

:44:03.:44:07.

poll this week that showed that four out of five adults are in

:44:07.:44:12.

favour of integrated education. In that respect, the party is running

:44:13.:44:22.
:44:23.:44:28.

We will talk about shirt future again in a moment. He took a tough

:44:28.:44:36.

line on the flags issue. He was crystal-clear. He reiterated today

:44:36.:44:42.

that everything that happens as far as the Alliance party was treated

:44:42.:44:47.

by other parties, particularly the DUP, was about targeting Naomi Long

:44:47.:44:55.

to get that seed back for the DUP. That is the key motive, to unsteady

:44:55.:45:05.

her, to unsettle the electorate. I am surprised that he didn't refer

:45:05.:45:10.

to the Lib Dems holding their seed any sleep. They had a party that

:45:10.:45:14.

was being assaulted from the left than the right, yet with good

:45:14.:45:19.

organisation they held the seat. It may well be that if they have got

:45:19.:45:23.

good organisation underground and East Belfast she can hold onto the

:45:23.:45:33.

seat. Bets go back to the conference hall and hear from Mark

:45:33.:45:39.

Devenport. You have a couple of guests. What did you make up what

:45:39.:45:44.

David Ford had to say? The I thought it was a confident and

:45:44.:45:50.

fairly logical speech in terms of his line of argument. He was going

:45:50.:45:58.

to take That's Union flag dispute and they were built on that. In

:45:58.:46:02.

terms of actual name checks, it was clear that most of his criticism

:46:02.:46:08.

was directed at the Unionists. He did direct some you -- he did

:46:08.:46:13.

direct some criticism at nationalists, Senedd Sidhu halt

:46:13.:46:18.

they had no regard for the Ulster Unionists cherishing their own

:46:18.:46:24.

identity. There was no name to assaults. The rhetoric was all

:46:24.:46:30.

about Peter Robinson, Mike Nesbitt and so on. That probably has been

:46:30.:46:33.

because whilst alliance would see themselves as being different from

:46:33.:46:42.

both sides, the battlegrounds has been in areas like East Belfast,

:46:42.:46:46.

Carrickfergus, in the Unionist areas or alliance was making such

:46:46.:46:54.

large advances. Still, he you going to sample

:46:54.:47:04.
:47:04.:47:06.

opinion from? We have got one guest for you, but we are promised

:47:06.:47:12.

another. This might be one of these bits of life TV or you see people

:47:12.:47:19.

charging on on air. We will have Naomi Long in a minute, but here is

:47:19.:47:27.

Stephen Farry. What did you think of what's was being said, whilst

:47:27.:47:31.

there was criticism of other parties and how they went about it,

:47:31.:47:38.

your main argument seems to be with the Unionists? Our main argument is

:47:38.:47:43.

about building a shared future for everyone. There has been an attack

:47:43.:47:48.

upon the party, a very personalised attack on Naomi Long. What we were

:47:48.:47:52.

doing today and what David was setting out was a vision for the

:47:52.:47:59.

future of Northern Ireland's. Talking about hope, aspiration,

:47:59.:48:05.

giving young people a stake in the society. Integrated education,

:48:05.:48:09.

shared space are the keys to delivering that. No doubt the

:48:09.:48:13.

Unionists would say, they were various parts to this dispute in

:48:13.:48:17.

Belfast and Sinn Fein had been pushed under what they had done the

:48:17.:48:21.

Unionists would not have responded. The alliance seems to be pitched

:48:21.:48:27.

all the criticism on the Unionists. What happened at Belfast City Hall

:48:27.:48:33.

was a compromise from the alliance. We took what was a very balanced

:48:33.:48:37.

measured approach in the interests of the entire community. The two

:48:37.:48:47.
:48:47.:48:48.

nationalist parties have the chance to buy into that kind of approach.

:48:48.:48:52.

Unionist did not have that vision. They were shooting from the

:48:52.:48:57.

trenches and got into a very destructive cycle. We are still

:48:57.:49:02.

dealing with the consequences of that. Will come back to how you're

:49:02.:49:06.

trying to the press with their shared future. Naomi Long has just

:49:06.:49:11.

joined us. What did you make of your leader's speech? He had to

:49:11.:49:16.

tackle the flags dispute, didn't he? We had no alternative to day

:49:16.:49:20.

but to do that. I don't think his speech was even predominantly about

:49:20.:49:25.

the flights dispute. A figure was about the exposure of that dispute

:49:25.:49:28.

at the deep sectarian divisions that exist in our society and about

:49:28.:49:33.

our response so bad in terms of wanting to build a more stable

:49:33.:49:41.

society going forward. Unless we build that shared future we will

:49:41.:49:44.

continue to go along this road with huge risk attached everything that

:49:44.:49:48.

we do. We need to start getting the groundwork done out in order that

:49:48.:49:52.

we don't hit another bomb than the road in six months' time. I don't

:49:52.:49:56.

think that is fair on the family's thumb on the businesses and that is

:49:56.:50:03.

not fair on the people who have fought for the future. Opposite

:50:03.:50:07.

there have been developments. We do want to get into the business of

:50:07.:50:10.

charges in the courts and so one cannot but it seems that there has

:50:10.:50:14.

been more of a police crackdown. How is life for yourself, have been

:50:14.:50:19.

settled down or is it still a constant threats? The threat hasn't

:50:19.:50:23.

been removed so why have to live my life as if that threat is a live

:50:23.:50:28.

issue. I have to be careful with my personal security. But is not what

:50:28.:50:34.

drives me to get out of bed and the morning. That is building the

:50:34.:50:40.

shared future. I am there to represent everyone in our community.

:50:40.:50:43.

I was elected to do that in the full knowledge that Northern

:50:43.:50:47.

Ireland politics can be very bruising. It doesn't make it

:50:47.:50:52.

acceptable, but I understand that the Saudis. Things are not

:50:52.:50:56.

completely died down, but at the same time we're try to find ways of

:50:56.:51:01.

being resilient in terms of our practices so we continue to deliver

:51:01.:51:08.

the service that my constituents deserve. The question that is still

:51:08.:51:12.

out there is whether alliance can retain the East Belfast seed in the

:51:12.:51:17.

future. You did enjoy a series of events, you got support within

:51:17.:51:24.

loyalist areas, there was a backlash against Peter Robinson. Do

:51:24.:51:29.

you think when you take out all the business of the morality of this,

:51:29.:51:33.

is the electoral fact that there will be hard to retain its come the

:51:33.:51:40.

next election? I was asked difficult questions in the run-up

:51:40.:51:48.

to the last election about how alliance could win that seat. The

:51:48.:51:51.

night duty is to represent my constituents in the capacity that I

:51:51.:51:56.

have. It is to do that to the best of my ability. My election or not

:51:56.:52:01.

that the next elections is a matter for my constituents. That is not

:52:01.:52:05.

something that I can influence other than by my own hard work

:52:05.:52:11.

about the work that the party does and by continuing to show integrity.

:52:11.:52:18.

I will not get into the analysis of If decision in the City Hall good

:52:18.:52:22.

effect things. The same people you're crying that the Alliance

:52:22.:52:25.

party was going to be wiped out nowt said you're going to be wiped

:52:25.:52:32.

out then. I ignore or those people and get on with doing my job.

:52:32.:52:42.
:52:42.:52:46.

Little Democrats introduced Naomi Long around employment tax. There

:52:46.:52:50.

are a wide range of thing so we can do for our economy. But we don't

:52:50.:52:59.

get Corporation Tax there are a lot of things that we can do. Building

:52:59.:53:05.

a shared future is itself important to the economy. A law level of

:53:05.:53:09.

corporation tax could make a big difference. That bike goes on. The

:53:09.:53:13.

executive was not given up on not that gelled -- the executive has

:53:13.:53:18.

not given up on that challenge and we will continue to lobby. We will

:53:18.:53:26.

keep pushing. Stephen Farry, Naomi Long, banks are much for joining us.

:53:26.:53:36.
:53:36.:53:37.

There we must leave it. Thank you. The deputy leader of the

:53:37.:53:39.

Liberal-Democrats, Simon Hughes, addressed a conference earlier

:53:39.:53:45.

today. He praised Naomi Long for holding the line during a very

:53:45.:53:49.

difficult time. Mark Devenport got up with them earlier this morning.

:53:49.:53:55.

It has been very fraught for the Alliance party and we have felt for

:53:55.:53:59.

Naomi Long. She has kept us fully informed. She has gone to a

:53:59.:54:07.

terrible time, not just her better offers staff and colleagues. We are

:54:07.:54:12.

grateful that her colleagues have been brave enough to hold the line.

:54:12.:54:17.

And during the Ian Bell will be vindicated. My Member -- my message

:54:17.:54:22.

to the wider audience in Northern Ireland if you don't win the

:54:22.:54:29.

arguments by throwing stones. You win arguments by discussion. Of the

:54:30.:54:35.

war audience probably wouldn't be aware of it, you have a personal

:54:35.:54:38.

sense of what she has gone through because some years ago you got

:54:38.:54:41.

involved in a gangland murder case and you were under death threats.

:54:41.:54:48.

It is a hard road to travel, isn't it? You're right. I give evidence

:54:48.:54:51.

in and encouraged other people to give evidence in a murder trial. I

:54:51.:54:56.

knew it was the right thing to do. You have to make this political

:54:56.:54:58.

judgments and they know how difficult the politics of Northern

:54:58.:55:01.

Ireland has been. The rest of Britain are willing Northern

:55:01.:55:04.

Ireland to come to the set of future that everybody would give

:55:05.:55:10.

the potential to this country. Everybody understands that we have

:55:10.:55:14.

the GAA it coming so it is a great shop window. We had the UK City of

:55:14.:55:19.

Culture in Northern Ireland's here for the first time. The future is

:55:19.:55:24.

really dudes, but it's requires double to show the best face of

:55:24.:55:27.

Northern Ireland. Isn't that the case that the Liberal-Democrat have

:55:27.:55:32.

been very hands-off when it comes to Northern Ireland. I don't think

:55:32.:55:37.

that's the case. We have kept very strong links. We are in regular

:55:37.:55:43.

discussion with John Aldred eyes, Naomi Long. She didn't sit in your

:55:43.:55:52.

garden Westminster. She chose understandably that she retained

:55:52.:55:57.

her independence as an opposition MP. The coalition deal was between

:55:57.:56:00.

the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats. There was no

:56:00.:56:05.

necessity for her to join us. We do take their regular interest.

:56:05.:56:09.

Stephen Lloyd ISTAR spokesperson on Northern Ireland. The one to make

:56:09.:56:13.

sure that the Government is seen to be on the side of Northern

:56:13.:56:17.

Ireland's every day. Be the interests of open as I should

:56:17.:56:23.

disclose that you used to be my landlord, so you can confirm that I

:56:23.:56:29.

am a good tenants. I will write you a reference if you need it! Thank

:56:29.:56:39.
:56:39.:56:40.

you very much. Mark Devenport introducing his

:56:40.:56:47.

former landlord, there! Rick, it is amazing what these programmes can

:56:48.:56:53.

throw up. Let's go back to David Ford's speech. Again, and attack

:56:53.:56:58.

and the other parties, particularly Sinn Fein about the

:56:58.:57:01.

misrepresentation office plans for civic involvement in trying to move

:57:01.:57:05.

the process forward daughter shared future. Again, a very clear message

:57:05.:57:09.

that he was sending out about the way in which he things other

:57:09.:57:16.

politicians are having a go at the alliance. Indeed. He was castigated

:57:16.:57:20.

for trying to delegate responsibility. We know that both

:57:20.:57:28.

Sinn Fein and the DUP have done nothing to try... What the Alliance

:57:28.:57:32.

party has been suggesting is that they need to re-engage,

:57:32.:57:37.

particularly at the time when a lot of the electorate is not bothering

:57:37.:57:42.

to turn out and vote. There is a real need to engage with civic

:57:42.:57:48.

society. One way to do would be to try and embrace a shared future

:57:48.:57:53.

strategy. Partnership is the big word for David Ford, isn't it?

:57:53.:58:00.

Kiddies. Not just a set of partnerships within the executive,

:58:00.:58:10.

will have -- but between the executive and the assembly. I think

:58:10.:58:16.

he has at principal point about engaging in society. There is this

:58:16.:58:20.

abortion amendment which will be a big issue for David Ford as the

:58:20.:58:24.

Justice Minister. This is the attempt to add and a member to the

:58:24.:58:27.

Criminal Justice Bill which is a very complicated piece of

:58:27.:58:34.

legislation. There is this very late attempt to graft this on to

:58:34.:58:38.

the bill. He is opposed to it because it is such an important

:58:38.:58:46.

bill. Will be interesting to see if Sinn Fein supporter petition of

:58:46.:58:51.