18/06/2013 Spotlight


Ahead of the G8 summit in Fermanagh, Noel Thompson chairs a debate covering global and local issues with a panel of public and political figures in front of a studio audience.

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of the world have been on Northern Ireland with eight leaders soaking


up the sun in Fermanagh and grappling with global oblongs. The


G8 summit will feature the ceiling as the audience puts questions to


the panel, among politicians who make more local decisions. Tonight -


David McWilliams, the economist and author. Eamon McCann, who was on the


protest line in Fermanagh. Colin Eastwood, the SDLP MLA. Arlene


Foster, the enterprise minister and DUP MLA. She greeted the Obamas when


know what you think about the big talking points of the day. Text us


twitter. The details are on the from Ryan, a management consultant


from Castlederg. Was the G8 beneficial or just a very expensive


private party? Oh, yes. The G8 Summit! The home county of Arlene


Foster. Was it a success? It was not a private party. The eyes of the


world were very much on a part of the world I am proud of and I think


we really have played our part and we are very serious about these


discussions and we played host to those leaders and we did very well.


We had an opportunity to show the world that Northern Ireland has a


completely different narrative than in the past, we are positive, open,


we want to do business with the world, we got that message across.


�50 million postcard? Not at all. We shall have a very nice announcement


tomorrow in relation to new jobs and the Japanese Prime Minister with the


source -- was with us. Having said that, this is a great advertising


and for Northern Ireland to do business in and for tourism, we


could not have paid for those shots. They almost looked


computer-generated, they looked so well! Eamon McCann, whatever the


reality and the hard talking, it has been good news for Fermanagh?


Fermanagh looked very well what it always does. Not when it is raining!


Sometimes even then. I came down yesterday to Enniskillen on a bus


from Derry and one thing that struck me was quite a lot of people said


they had never been in Fermanagh before and people from Dublin, he


said he had never been there before. Before we think about other things,


happy days if it does good for tourism. I don't think... Another


thing I noticed is that in Enniskillen, the pubs were empty and


the cafes and the local store had dropped because they said people


from across the border were nervous because of all of the hype. And the


possible video of violence. If some people did make a few extra bob,


terrific. But if you look at the Presidents, Toronto, Gleneagles in


Scotland, none of the G8 meetings in those places left behind any great


legacy in terms of inward investment. There is no evidential


basis for believing that. Basil McCrea? You can applaud him if you


like! I thought it was fantastic. It makes you pride to beat Northern


Irish. -- pride. Those pictures of Fermanagh and Belfast, but put us on


the map again and we had an unfortunate winter and this has


turned it all the way around and when you look at these benefits for


the future, people know who we are and Arlene Foster will be announcing


jobs and this is all to the good and you could not buy the type of


goodwill we have got. The G8 Summit was incidental? They do important


work and we shall talk about that but what is the benefit to us? I


entertained eight motorcyclists from Southampton and they had been on


their bikes to give some escort and they looked around and they said, it


is beautiful, here. And what we should be proud about is they said


they could not get over how friendly the people here are. We are worth


talking about and people are talking. Lots of you will have


something to say! Opera gives applause. -- applause. That is great


and Orrin Foster talked about jobs. But as you can see, eight men from


around the world, from great power. -- Arlene Foster. The thing is, all


you can see is beset stage for the medium and for the country it goes


on to. You don't see anybody in the economy or in society turning around


and being involved because they are away from society, they are put on a


pedestal and if leaders want to lead, and really show our country,


because it told us any to bring down walls, but they do. Instead of being


a here, they need to come down to this level. It was a great event for


Northern Ireland and shows just how far we have come in 15 years. Lots


of maturity on behalf of David Cameron and for the Executive. It


was just a great event. I agree. It has been fantastic that the Prime


Minister decided to host this in Fermanagh, fantastic, but it must be


disappointing for the politicians around the table that they will


never be able to take part in this because they belong to parochial


parties and it must be the only country that has hosted the G8


Summit, where nobody in that country can actually ever aspire to be a


part of that. Are you depressed about that? I have no ambitions to


be the British Prime Minister. None at all! Ask the Unionist members!


Go-ahead. There are two sides to this, it cannot be a bad thing to


have the world looking at us and these good pictures being beamed


around the world. We have had negative pictures around the world


and this is a good thing, and we can talk about whether this will be good


for the rest of the world in terms of the outcomes and they hope it


will be. David? As a slight outsider? It seems to be that it is


so obvious that this can only be good for Fermanagh and for Ireland.


In general, the whole country. These events, if you look at the history


of these events, they don't lead to much actual change in economic


policy. Lots of talking and lots of full to opportunities and it is not


really a case that we shall see some huge change in the way the world is


governed by these seven men and one woman. That said, it has to be good


for Northern Ireland to have Fermanagh looking beautiful, the


whole event executed professionally and also, a very benign coverage in


the papers and the media that really matters in terms of influencing


public opinion. Financial, if you look at the financial Times,


Northern Ireland today. That rarely happens. And that helps. I am not


saying this will change the world, but I think that all of these


statements, they tend to change the brand of Northern Ireland and the


brand is what it will tend to remember from the outside.


Internally, it must have done a power of good for people to see


these men coming here. And I am sure that we shall discuss the


nitty-gritty as we go along but as a get-together, I cannot see anything


but advantages. The gentleman over their... People are supposed to be


represented as of the most important economies and it is out of date, we


should have had representatives from China and India and Brazil. We have


G20 later in the year. That is a slightly different thing. The young


man. It is great to look at the impact this will have for Northern


Ireland but we cannot escape the impact it will have globally, which


I think will be very little. It is great to look at these people coming


together, very little has happened in the last G8 Summit and this will


be no different. Very sceptical but this is the truth. The front row...


The G8 has done one purpose, apart from economics, that is possibly


persuading government put in to stop arming Syria. -- President Putin.


I. You. They have not bleed on anything to change what the men and


women in Northern Ireland will have. We have serious issues in terms of


unemployment and poverty and global issues. Global issues around


trafficking and issues around people not having enough to eat. They had a


real opportunity to make some impact on that but instead, they rushed out


the same old around tax, transparency, around trade.


Everything that means a lot to the rich and the powerful and nothing


whatsoever for those people living line, even though there weren't very


many there, protest is an important part of democratic society? It is. I


don't think - I have heard lots of people saying today - there were few


people there, it must have been disappointing. Very few people what


the PSNI were saying. We involved in recognising it reckoned there would


be 1,000 to 2,000. Most of the estimates were 1500. We knew nobody


would come from Belfast because it was decided we would have the march


on Saturday and the musical event. There was no mobilisation across the


water. Matt Baggott talked about 5,000 people coming from over the


water. There were spaces on the Ferris and planes. It wasn't


intelligence led, it was stupidity. I am glad we were there. What we


were trying to do was to be positive. To say there are


alternatives to austerity. There are alternatives to importing arms into


Syria and the rest of the Middle East. Not just Putin to Assad, we


see western powers lining up talking about which factions and opposition


they will arm. We are going to talk specifically, we are specifically


going to talk about Syria. I will stop you there. The gentleman in the


checked shirt? We have to look at the significance of the G8 coming to


Northern Ireland as a vote of confidence in the British government


who in previous years the only thing they would have sent here were extra


troops due to the violence. That is an important point. We shouldn't


forget the significance of this event. To David's point about it


doing nothing only good. There is an element of civic proud to try to get


people of Northern Ireland proud of this place and where they lived and


all of that. I really do think - can I say this to Eamonn ace his


colleague I protect the right of Eamonn to protest at an event like


that. We live in a democratic society. That is the right thing to


be able to do. I'm so delighted that it was peaceful. I do also say,


Eamonn, I don't think it was stupid to be prepared. You do need to


prepare in these instances. A lot of the police officers who came over in


mutual aid will have been saying to us, they have found Northern Ireland


to be a beautiful place they will come back as tourists. It is a


benefit. I'm not stretching it now. Quickly. Were you sitting there the


whole two-days thinking, "I wish I was Angela Merkel?" ? No I'm glad to


be Arlene Foster and represent such a beautiful part of this united


kingdom. I'm very proud of the fact we have a devolved administration in


Northern Ireland that I'm a minister of. You may make faces of me, the


devolved administration in Stormont is making a difference we are proud


to be part of the United Kingdom and proud to bring the G8 toNorthern


Northern Ireland. You get an answer? I think it was beneficial and it


showed Northern Ireland in an excellent right, only all but good


can come from it. Question two, this comes there from Colin Harvey an


academic from Belfast. Still many more miles to go. Was President


Obama right yesterday about our process and what are the next steps


here? Peace comes dropping slow, said the President, as he addressed


the audience, mostly of young people at the Waterfront Hall yesterday.


Was he right? I think he was right. It was a well crafted speech. It was


aimed at young people. I think young people need inspiration, need to


realise that they need to play their part as much as we do. The important


thing is, this Assembly is in government now. We need to get on


with the job of finishing the peace process. There is a body being set


up, I think it's starting to meet next week, to address all the issues


of the past, the thorny issues. We will play our full part in that. We


don't believe you can move forward unless you deal with the difficult


issues of the past. We failed to do that to date. We need to put our


shoulders to the wheel. Obama was right in that terms. I think it's


good that young people get inspiration from him. There is


another side to this, it's sometimes difficult to listen to people


preaching peace when some of their own actions, in terms of the Middle


East and drones and other things, leave a lot to be desired. In terms


of the spirit in which it was meant, we will take that and I think it was


positive. Did he tell us anything we didn't already know He had a serious


speech, I thought, which was to remind us that we had lost momentum


from where we were perhaps 15 years ago. I think what the whole event


has shown is, do you know what, we are better than this. We can move


forward. What did I take out of it? I was taken with his discussion


about individuals. The fact we don't have to ask permission to do


anything. We can reach out and do it yourselves. We don't have to wait


for anybody else to do it -- ourselves. Our future is in your


hands. And, he made a couple of other really telling points, I


thought, which was about young people saying that the change of


attitudes that come in society, it may not happen in more mature


generations because they fixed their ideas, quite rightly, but the young


people are what moves us forward. The inspiration -- inspirational


talk from Hannah and Michelle Obama, we have to say we can't change and


start demanding that we do. The future is in our hands, we should


take it. OK, you are a young person. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE


What did you think? As a young person I take no inspiration from


Barack Obama. He knows nothing about living at an interface area. My


inspiration comes from community workers who work on the interface


not those who know nothing about conflict - He said his parents


marriage would have been illegal in some states. He has come through a


lot... He hasn't come through a 40 year conflict which was sectarian


conflict. The tensions at the interface was the high highest we


seen them. This country is never going to move on unless it comes


from the grassroots up. People are being left outside. Fair point.The


Obama made a point yesterday that, in terms of the peace process, can


we export inspirational Northern Ireland format to the world?


Northern Ireland to commercialise the experience they make here in


Northern Ireland. Would you be willing to make peace world an then


to forget your conflict? We will address that. Jat here. We had


President Obama endorse integrated education. Surely it's time our


politicians focussed on prioritising this. Those may come up. Arlene, was


President Obama stating the obvious yesterday? I think sometimes it's


good that other people come and look at what is going on in Northern


Ireland. We are living through everything here in Northern Ireland.


It is good people come in and look and see from their perspective what


is going on. It did strike me that Hannah that spoke, Hannah Nelson was


only 16, was born long after the ceasefires and hadn't lived probably


through some of the difficulties we have just heard from this young man.


It is important to remember that there are still young people living


in circumstances where it is very difficult to live. They have a


challenge in front of them. Whilst, for other young people, most young


people, I do have to say nowaday, live in circumstances where they do


know the other, where they can engage with the other. There has


been tremendous progress in Northern Ireland. He is right, there is still


much to do. I think you are right in saying that it must come from the


community grassroots upwards. Obviously, what he was saying as


well was that politicians negotiate and make decisions, but it's


important that individually everybody plays their part as well.


That is important that when we do anything in Northern Ireland we take


everybody with us as we move forward. Eamonn, when they are


building towards a united community, we have a 15-year target for taking


down peace walls, that is coming from the top, not from the bottom.


Is it wishful thinking? It is. There are a large element of wishingful --


wishful thinking. Barack Obama said bring down the walls that are


dividing it. If he said, we should bring down the wall that the


Israelis have built, an Israeli state armed to the teeth by the


United States, if he had said that I would take him seriously when he


talks about walls here. The speech with Hannah yesterday, I stood on a


platform yesterday and heard a young woman of 16 or 17 speak without


notes for 15 minutes she made a point which Obama wouldn't make -


what is going to dictate the future life is the question of youth


unemployment, the services that will be available. There is the question


of the quality of education. Youth unemployment across Europe is at a


horrendous rate a direct result of austerity programmes imposed by Mrs


Merkel and the rest there behind the wonderful scenery at Fermanagh. The


G8 will not tackle that. That point would not have been made in County


Fermanagh yesterday had it not been for the people outside marching


against austerity, against the arms trade, against fuelling conflict -


Against that, when the united community talks about 10,000


placements for young people that is moving in the right direction?


will wait to see them. I still say this, the structural unemployment,


particularly among young people, not just in Northern Ireland, but in


Spain and Italy and Greece and in Germany indeed, that is the problem.


Nothing that was done in Fermanagh yesterday by the G8 addresses that


problem at all. Much less sort it. Much as I take your o point about


the Middle East and Obama seriously, does that not suggest to our young


people we shouldn't do anything, what is the point, because there are


bigger fish to fry? Of course not. Does it not create apathy in our


young people? I hope I can come back to that. It's interesting we talk


about youth unemployment in the context of Germany. I agree with


what of Eamonn says. Germany is the country where youth unemployment is


far and by the way the lowest in the world. Why is this? The Germans have


a 6% youth unemployment rate, Greece over 50, Spain moving towards 40%,


Italy has a huge unemployment problem. What the Germans do is they


have a very old system of apprenticeships. So if you leave


school, you go into an apprenticeship. It means young


people are trained to do something. They can actually do something at


the age of 20, number one. Number two, it means that where there is a


demand for the jobs... What happens in a lot of our countries, we


educate people for nothing actually. They can't do anything. When they


come out of university or what have you, even if they don't go to


university, there is no-one that takes a kid by the hand at the ages


of 17, 18, the Germans figured it out. I want to bring the discussion


back to the question about the next steps forward here? I'm interested


that most of the question and discussion are about the economic


side of it rather than the sectarian side. Let me bring a couple of


people in. Yes, sir, just to your left hand side there. There is a lot


of talk about taking down peace walls, but are we going to be


confident we will address the wider issues in those poor neighbourhoods?


And their connection to the jobs and educational opportunities in the


centre of the city. We have different barriers in this country


which we don't recognise, such as roads? The gentleman in the back


row. It's great the usual rhetoric from Barack Obama it sounds great.


Let us make something clear, he could do with building peace in his


own country. I was talking to an American yesterday who said America


is almost at civil war because of Barack Obama, he needs to build


bridges in his own country, but also the Middle East as well. A lot of


young people see through it. Young people need inspired I don't think


Barack Obama is the person. Talking about take taking down peace walls,


how would the people attacked seven nights in a row with petrol bombs


would feel if that wall was to come down or neem Tiger Bay who are


attacked as well? How would they feel? Everyone needs to feel safe


before they are brought down. You wanted to address integrated


education aspect? I did want to. That is the point I was trying to


make in relation to the communities must be comfortable with those walls


coming down before they do come down. It's right we have an


aspiration the walls should come down we will be more peace in those


interface communities. We can't just go in and take the walls away that


would be, as far as I'm concerned, the wrong thing to do having lived


in a border area all my life. I want to address the integrated education


piece. One of the disappointing things for me yesterday was the fact


that they didn't have the opportunity, Barack Obama and the


Prime Minister, to go along and see Fermanagh Community Learning Project


that takes place across all of the schools in Fermanagh. All of the


schools in Fermanagh come together in a shared education environment.


They work very well together. Instead they took the easy option of


going to an integrated school whereas they could have even real


sharing, if they had of choosen to go to that sort of context. I was a


little disappointed with that Noel, I have to say.


CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Let us move on. Question number


three. Should we arm the Assyrian rebels, knowing what armed groups


can do. We know that G8 has said they will exercise maximum


diplomatic basher to get all of the parties to the table in Geneva with


no timetable or definition of what everyone 's role should be. That is


what they have come up with today. Eamon McCann? Should we arm them?


No, we should not be putting arms into Syria at all. There are enough


people being killed and Vladimir Putin, representative of gangster


capitalism. Arming the regime, largely because of trade relations


but mostly because they haven't big naval base, they are. -- they have a


vague naval base there. France are champing at the bit to get arms into


the hands of the rebels, some pretty unsavoury people. They talk about


peace. Arming Saudi Arabia, that feudal dictatorship, armed to the


teeth by the West and meanwhile, the Israelis are being armed, all being


armed. It is a big Bazaar in the Middle East. What the protesters


said yesterday, unlike G8, they said stop pouring petrol on the fire that


is consuming the people of the Middle East. 93,000 people estimated


killed in Syria. Should people draw back and let them kill each other?


No, not willy-nilly. After all, the intervention of outside forces,


lacking the regime, and the brutality of the Assad dictatorship,


and his father, who murdered on an even bigger scale, at one point


murdering 20,000 people in a single time. The powers outside, not just


the arms, they are manipulating and playing one country off another and


it is a great game for Middle Eastern oil and that has been going


on for a long time and that is the basic problem. And in the Middle


East. And the first thing that ought to be done is a should not be more


arms coming in but Alan Babu of all sides. For the Americans to stop


arming Israel and Saudi Arabia and all the rest of them. -- and arms


embargo. I am no expert but we talk about this great game and it strikes


me like the Balkans in 1914 at every power as a vested interest in some


side and everybody is fighting this proxy war, we all want peace but the


reality is, if you look at people 's actions, you have an enormous


financial incentive coming in from Qatar in the Gulf of Mexico, arming


the rebels. They have been doing that for a very long time, Russia on


the side of resident aside, the Israelis saying they are doing


nothing and say they will keep out of this but ultimately, Leben on


will be dragged into this. As Europeans, what is interesting is


this represents a watershed because what strikes me is this reinforces


the extent to which look cannot project its will any more in the


Middle East and this is a first time in my lifetime when I have seen the


Europeans second but third fiddle and this is the is the way the world


has changed. You have the Middle East, which has oil, and everybody


wants to secure that Boyle. And ultimately, Europe does not have the


muscle any more to be a big player. Questions? In the West were very


quick to put down Vladimir Putin 's understanding and appreciation of


the situation in Serbia and Russia 's form policy has been invariably


far more effective than that of the West since the fall of communism and


four Vladimir Putin, the issues are very much domestic. They share a


land border. As tragic as it may be, I can understand his motivation for


trying to put down the rebel insurgency. Should we encounter


that? -- counter that? I believe that Russia will prevail and they


will sustain President Assad, it is the lesser of evils, we are creating


a power vacuum. When we arm rebels, it is a race to destruction. Russian


foreign policy, in the Middle East, and we, the Middle East but in


Moscow, they call it the site. They see Chechnya and beyond and they


have had a much more consistent approach. The young lady? This is


addressed to Eamon McCann. What is your alternative to negotiating with


governments and corruption is the only thing they have ever known?


gentleman in the second row? real tragedy in Syria is that almost


100,000 people have been killed and there are an estimated 4.5 million


people have fled their homes. The equivalent of the population of


Northern Ireland leaving the country. What is needed is a


political settlement and not more arms. And an agreement that aid can


be delivered to some of the people whose lives have been destroyed.


the lady? If any country arms Syria, what we have is like in Iraq, the


Sunni Moslems, fighting with each other. We have religious disillusion


and political division and the oil wells are pumping. The oil wells


pumping. And into Syria, pro-and anti-President Assad fighting with


each other. Fighting for how many years and the oil wells keep on


pumping. And women, children and men will be dying and starving. This was


not dominating politics and Iraq prior to the invasion. Some


observations. 93,000 people have been killed and I do not know if


anybody saw the footage about the families massacred in their homes,


mothers cradling children and babies and the humanitarian response is


these people are undefended, they are being slaughtered and it is very


well for us to sit here and talk about G8 or President Assad or these


people, the humanity involved in this comes out, we want to try to do


something. And I look here and the challenge that I have put back is I


do here in the McCann, angry at everything, negative at everything,


everything is wrong, the question for all of us is, what are you going


to do about it? How would you fix it? No point in just venting your


spleen. I do support some sort of diplomatic solution, I do think G8


were right in saying we want the Geneva conference together and is an


issue around here about saying, if we arm people, we will end up with


some escalation, like in Iraq. But anybody who has been around and


looked at Kosovo or other places, we all said, somebody please do


something. And I come back to this point and I put this challenge to


you, all of those people who talk about oil and gas and how bad it is.


Remember, it is the oil and gas that keeps your lights on, it actually


drives your car. And we have is a Sidey but is dependent upon it and


how can people respond to these issues? -- we have a society. It is


not that we can impose our solution on anybody else but we can show


people that success is possible. And success comes through dialogue with


people willing to put things together. That is what I is a port.


Diplomatic manoeuvres and something has to happen at Geneva. -- what I


support. This is a humanitarian catastrophe and the figures are


different from different places but they are huge in terms of the people


killed and I have never known it catastrophe that could do with more


goals. Within hours, those guns will be in the hands of people who are


very closely and public are lined with Al-Qaeda. -- publicly aligned.


I ran say they will have 4000 Republican guards coming in as the


first force. Hezbollah are already involved. This is a major issue. The


last thing we need is more weapons being pumped into this. We do need a


political solution and we also need to be consistent and the West picks


good and bad guys and they change every six years. That is no way to


do foreign policy. The West should be more honest about who they deal


with. And one of the risks is that we might be arming extremists but we


should also consider that we need to consider intervention, perhaps not


with arms, to support moderate voices so they do not get sidelined


in any civil war. That is right and when you look at what is happening


in Syria, it would be easy to think that we need to send arms in to


support the rebels. They are having such a horrendous time. But I


fundamentally agree with all of the panel members that sending more arms


into that tinderbox would be fundamentally the wrong thing to do.


And I have to say that Vladimir Putin, on the other side, needs to


pull back as well in relation to his comments on foreign policy. I do


think that despite everything that has been said about the G8 Summit


achieving absolutely nothing, we have seen the Lough Erne


declaration, enquired and I am very proud that that name is attached to


it. --, enquired. And we hope and pray for sense to prevail. And we


need to not just look at the simple solutions, we need to look at the


longer term, if these things were to take place. I welcome Geneva and the


fact that an aid package has been set aside for Syria as well and it


is in port and that gets to the right people. And it is exercised in


a proper way. The lady talked about tax and transparency. -- it is


important. These issues have a real impact on whether countries are able


to feed their population and I was at a service with John Sentamu on


Sunday and he was very strong on this issue of having the proper tax


regimes in place and I welcome all of those things. But Syria is


important, too. They are interlinked. Should be armed rebels


or not? I don't think we should, when you look at Obama coming over


here and he has talked about our past, and we know what happens in


every guns fall into the wrong hands. This is turning into a


sectarian war. And I think it is daft. Not that long ago rogue --


long ago, if we had more goals, what would have happened here?


Christopher? With your claim that you are a move away from sectarian


politics, was a decision to designate yourselves as Unionist and


a steak? The brand-new party, a party for Mr and Mrs. And Basil


McCrea is a leader. A brand-new world of politics? By the way, we


are Unionist as Mac -- we are unionists! The first thing is we do


not like labels. What is nationalist or Unionist? We don't like labels


but what is Unionist or nationalist? UR interrupted! Let us do with this.


We don't like labels. It is so last century. It is the thinking of the


past. Here is the thought process. How did we come up with this name?


We started looking at names like proceed and that was stolen by


somebody and progressive was used, I am much if they were progressive.


Different things. We came up with a name that said, we want to be for


Northern Ireland. And you want to be 21st century. That is the name. We


were determined, we said at the start, we would not have Unionist in


the name and it would not have flags in the literature, that is what we


believe. You get to the stage where we have to designate. It is part of


legislation. We wondered about that. You could be other? If you asked me


the question... This is the issue, we could make the decision and we


believe that Northern Ireland is best served by being part of the UK.


But not everybody believes that. Here is what we will do. We will


introduce legislation, John McAllister and do this very soon,


saying we do not want such a renewables of the past applied to


the system, we don't want people forced to be Unionist or nationalist


or anything else. But we are going to do that anyway? This is really


important. Couple of words.We will do what it takes to move Northern


Ireland forward, away from the sectarian labels of the past and


build a brave new world for our young people and in the meantime, we


will have to put up with what is not a good system but we will change


married a girl from Dundonald, that was confusing enough. I remain


confused. I do sometimes feel... I have been coming to the North for a


long time. Both my kids were born in Dundonald Hospital. We come up,


unusually for a southerner, we are up here all the time. And, we... I


have seen this country change over the last 16 odd years. And, I just


welcome, again, I welcome the idea that somebody says - we will have a


political party. We are hoping it will not be sectarian. What we will


not do is not hang our coat on the sectarian... But he has. That is


where the confusion - No, he has not. You will have a chance to come


back. Don't know, I was listening to him there. I can see somebody


beginning to deal in his head with how does this country move in this


direction? OK. That, it's interesting listening here, that


will take all sorts of compromises. You are going to make mistakes and


do stupid things. It has to be, again, I come back to it, it has to


be a good idea you are moving in that direction. You are so last


century! I'm a unionist and I'm proud of. It I don't take that away.


I'm confused about Basil. He says he believes in the UK. Then he says he


doesn't want to be tagged as a unionist. You either believe in the


UK or you don't believe in the UK. I believe fundamentally in the United


Kingdom. What about the people who believe you are Northern Irish and


be a nationalist or unionist? That is fine for them. I believe in all


the benefits that come with being with the United Kingdom. I get


confused with Bass sill if he wants to say... You should join me.


should join you if I'm confused, that's right!


CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Thankfully, I'm not confused.


you sure you you are not confused? couldn't be clearer about being a


unionist. I'm the only person on the panel who is, apparently, quite


comfortable with it. A gentleman in the back row, please. I have to say


I quite like the idea of Basil's new party, I like the name. I like the


logo. I have been on the website. It looks good. I have struggled to see


the detail of the policy behind the razzle dazzle, Basil. We don't have


time to get into NI21's policies tonight. It is the name. Lady in the


third row? Attitudes like like Arlenes that will keep us stuck in


the pass and stop us progress progressing onto the future? Being a


unionist? No.Are you denying my right to be a unionist. Party


believe, we believe... "We believe." I like it! Gentleman here. I feel


there should be one unionist party. This is what our unionist party is.


There are too many unionists parties. Because they couldn't


become kingpins they decided to go their own way. I said play-the-ball,


not the man. Third in there please. Is there anything new you can bring


to the communities that have a disconnection to the two main


unionist parties? I will give him a chance to do that. Another hand that


I hadn't seen before, I have now lost. That chance has gone. Eamonn,


what do you think the problem, too many unionist parties, is that the


problem with Northern Ireland? don't care how many unionist or


nationalist party there are. I'm not a unionist or a nationalist. One of


the interesting things said with about our sectarian decision was


said by Jim Wells he said to Mrs Lowe - it doesn't matter what you


say. When we take a vote on this you won't matter. Only because there is


a Petition of Concern. Only nationalist and unionist votes will


matter. The sectarian identification, even in Stormont, is


privileged over people who want to call themselves "others" if we were


serious in breaking down sectarian barriers we would look at those


occasions in our history, including our recent history, when sizeable


numbers of people detached themselves from the community to


which they so to speak belong and join hands to do something else.


Going back 100 years or three years are owe kiegss when people joined


together to fight for the economic rights for the people at the bottom


of the society. There are no other examples. People never do it when


they are preached at. They do it when they come together on a basis


which has nothing to do with the community you come from. That is the


way forward. In Fermanagh yesterday and elsewhere down through the years


that is what people like me are fighting for. The I don't think will


is anything wrong with being a unionist, or equally I don't think


there is anything wrong being a nationalist. I don't think I'm


(inaudible) to strive for a united Ireland or strive to keep the union.


I don't know what Basil is afraid of. He is clearly a unionist heaven


should not be afraid to say. It I have no problem in supporting the


right to be there. It's not the same thing to say people, if you are a


unionist you are sectarian or nationalist you are sectarian. We


have built a society where we can hopefully work together for the


betterment of all our people. I will never cease to be an Irish


Nationalist. I can work with anybody from the unionist parties. You are


not going to back down. I will challenge a couple of points. Colin


says he is clearly a unionist. Who gives you the right - You did. You


just designated yourself as a unionist. You designated yourself a


unionist. Eamonn pointed out there are stuckure problems you have to


deal with. There are structural problems which we will change, they


are not working right. The second thing, people asked me about the PUL


community what we will do is different. Something different has


to happen. You are not in a good place at the moment. Whatever advice


you have been getting, where ever you have gone you need to do


something different. We need to tell people this is the way forward. When


it comes to where is Northern Ireland going to go forward, we are


not interested in the old labels of the past. We are going to move


forward. I'm stuck with a system I don't like. NI21 will do something


different for Northern Ireland. Christopher, what do you think, were


they right or wrong? Arlene's point that if there is nothing wrong with


being a unionist. When you attach that label to yourself and base your


politician on that idea that is sectarian you are dividing your


self- - No. Sorry. The fundamental concept of unionism is that we have


civil and religious liberties for all, how can it be sectarian. It's a


nonsense. New hands. A lot of people seem to be afraid to express their


cultural identity. I'm a unionist. I work with nationalists every day. I


know they are nationalists. We can work together. You don't have to


hide your identity like Basil says. You don't have to hide it. So much


to discuss so little time. Now, question five from Nadine Campbell a


fundraising manager from en skillen. -- Enniskillen. The G8 focussed on


tax and transparency. If Northern Ireland adopts a lower rate of


corporation tax are we in danger of becoming a tax haven island albeit


without the good weather? Indeed. Your Finance Minister accused the


Republic of stealing UK taxes. Because they have a low-tax rate,


corporation tax rate, if we had one, would we be stealing UK money as


well? I think you misunderstood was Sammy was saying. He was refrjing


the fact that the exchequer had put a considerable amount of money into


the Irish banks at the time of the whole break down. What he was saying


is that they needed to get a clear vision of what was happening in


relation to the taxes that were being paid in the Republic of


Ireland. That is not what he said. He said they were stealing it?


That is the background to what was happening in relation to Sammy. Can


I say, there does need to be more transparency in relation to what


happens in the Republic of Ireland because, as you know, we go out, we


look for jobs, we look for investment in Northern Ireland. We


play by the rules that have been set for us by the European Union


sometimes frustrating rules they are too, I have to say, Noel. It does -


it is interesting to see the way in which the Republic of Ireland seems


to be able to bring in these companies in a way which we are not


clear as to how they are doing all of that. If it naes relation to


corporation tax, that is fine. It's one of the reasons we want to a


devolution of corporation tax for Northern Ireland so we can match or


indeed go lower - Compete with the Republic in being equally tax


havenish? It's about everything else connected to it. That is why we need


to have transparency in relation to the whole issue so we can all play


in a level playing field am we are all members of the European Union.


We are all supposed to be playing by the same rules. David?


Republic's policy of low-tax on capital came from the fact that we


didn't have any capital. We had to make it attractive to come into the


Republic. You make it cheap you don't tax it as much as your


neighbours. That was the first idea. And, I think now we are in danger...


There is a big difference between a country regarded as a country with


low capital gains tax... Low corporation. There is a huge leap to


a tax haven. With that all sorts of other issues because there is good


money and bad money in the world. OK. By that I mean, if you attract


in - if the Republic does, companies whose only explicit reason is to not


pay their fair share of tax in the countries where they generate their


revenue, then I believe we would, in the long run, not benefit from this


because I was very instreegd. Remember recently in Cyprus where


the Cypriot depositors were told they would have to pay for their


banks. One of the spins against the Cypriots was that, Cyprus is really


just a money laundering place for Russia. OK. When they went looking


for friends the sip Premier League yots they didn't have any. Why?


People felt they were harbouring Russian money. Now, I think that is


a very interesting lesson for the likes of the Republic because if you


go down the road of beggar my neighbour, your neighbour will get


feddup. I agree. The future is not about taxation, the future is about


skills. If I had �300 million to spend from the corporation tax I


would be trying to restrain all of our people for the future. I do not


want to be chasing low paid, low skilled jobs. It's about giving


people the opportunity to compete in the world. So, when you talk about,


it I will not say much about it, the issue that the G8 brought out about


the tax avoidance or the aggressive tax manipulation I agree with. You


have to find some way where you get a level playing field for people to


compete. It is OK, I think, for countries that are on the periphery


of certain blocks like Europe to have a tax rate to encourage


investment. What is not appropriate is for large multinational


corporations to exsplot those tax loopholes to the detriment of all of


us. Colin I don't think the comments were helpful to start with when we


are going to the British treasury asking them to lower our corporation


tax or to allow us to do that. I don't think that the Republic is a


tax haven. They are entitled to have the tax regime that they wish. I


think it's more than about the tax issue. Corporation tax is important


- The questions about the tax issue? It is. We need to ensure that while


we wait on this corporation tax bill coming down-the-line we do all the


other things that an economy needs to do. We invest in the road and


rail network. That we invest in the skills of our young people. I come


from a city that has too too high an unemployment rate. We need to tackle


that. We can tackle it without corporation tax being devolved.


Gentleman here. Is the last Soviet left in the western world. Until we


get 72% of the population not rely - our GDP not public funded we will go


nowhere. We will also go nowhere with 30% of the population education


Ali inefficient. What are your thoughts? If we collected all the


taxes we should do it would equate to three times the worth of aid and


the money we are giving. It's part of a bigger issue. It is. That is


absolutely right. What is happening is that we are being ripped off by


the rich. We are being ripped off for billions of pounds. With no say


of anything being done about it. We talk about regulation and cracking


down on this. We remember the phrase - light touch regulation. We don't


actually interfere. We heard it over and over again from British


politicians not only Conservative politicians, Labour politicians as


well. If you try to interfere with or impose some sort of order, impose


rules on the big financial companies they will go to Frankfurt. They will


flee, therefore you have to let them do. That is the key to the


development where by they pay as much tax as they like. They have


meetings with the Head of the Revenue and Tax - I want to bring


you back to the question. Do you think Northern Ireland should go for


12. 5 corporate tax rate would that make us as bad or good as the


Republic? I don't think it will make a difference. A company in the south


paying 12. 5%, is either very foolish or more likely they have bad


accountants. I hate to give you the last word, I have to. I was dieing


to ask you which of the G8 ministers would make the next best Doctor Who.


We don't have time for it. Thank you to all my guests and to a vigorous


As the leaders of some of world's richest nations meet in Fermanagh for the G8 summit, join Noel Thompson to debate the biggest issues of the day - from global issues to local politics - with a studio audience and panel of public and political figures.

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