01/12/2013 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper and Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron.

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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. George Osborne


announces a ?50 cut to annual household energy bills. We'll talk


to Lib Dem president Tim Farron ahead of the Chancellor's mini


budget this week. Net immigration is up for the first


time in two years. Labour and the Tories say they want to bring it


down, but how? Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper joins us for the


Sunday Interview. The harder you shake the pack, the easier it will


be for some cornflakes to get to the top. The Mayor of London says


inequality and greed are essential to spur economic activity. The


And coming up here: We reflect on a speech won


And coming up here: We reflect on a year of loyalist protests, we've a


report from the TUV's annual conference and we look at Alex


Salmond's "blueprint for Scottish independence".


week, another strategy? Can this one deliver?


And with me throughout today's programme, well, we've shaken the


packet and look who's risen to the top. Or did we open it at the


bottom? Helen Lewis, Janan Ganesh and Sam Coates. All three will be


tweeting throughout the programme using the hashtag #bbcsp. So, after


weeks in which Ed Miliband's promise to freeze energy prices has set the


Westminster agenda, the Coalition Government is finally coming up with


its answer. This Government is finally coming up with


Chancellor George Osborne explained how he plans to cut household energy


bills by an average of fifty quid. What we're going to do is roll back


the levees that are placed by government on people's electricity


bills. This will mean that for the average bill payer, they will have


?50 of those electricity and gas bills. That will help families. We


are doing it in the way that government can do it. We are


controlling the cost that families incurred because of government


policies. We are doing it in a way that will not damage the environment


or reduce our commitment to dealing with climate change. We will not


produce commit men to helping low-income families with the cost of


living. Janan, we are finally seeing the coalition begin to play its hand


in response to the Ed Miliband freeze? They have been trying to


in response to the Ed Miliband respond for almost ten weeks and


older responses have been quite fiddly. We are going to take a bit


of tax year, put it onto general taxation, have a conversation with


the energy companies, engineered a rebate of some kind, this is not


very vivid. The advantage of the idea that they have announced


overnight is that it is clear and it has a nice round figure attached to


it, ?50. The chief of staff of President Obama, he said, if you are


explaining, you're losing. The genius of this idea is that it does


not require explanation. He would not drawn this morning on what


agreement he had with the energy companies, and whether this would


fall through to the bottom of the bill, but the way he spoke, saying,


I am not going to pre-empt what the energy companies say, that suggests


he has something up his sleeve. Yes, I thought so. The energy companies


have made this so badly for so long. It would be awful if he announced


this and the energy companies said, we are going to keep this money for


ourselves. I do not think he is that stupid. The energy companies have an


incentive to go along with this, don't they? My worry is that I am


not sure how much it will be within the opinion polls. I think people


might expect this now, it is not a new thing, it is not an exciting


thing. Say in the markets, they may have priced the ten already. If by


Thursday of this week, he is able to say, I have a ?50 cut coming to your


bill. The energy companies have guaranteed that this will fall


through onto your energy bill, and they have indicated to me that they


themselves will not put up energy prices through 2014, has he shot the


Ed Miliband Fox? I think he has a couple of challenges. It is still


very hard. This is an answer for the next 12 months but did is no chance


announced that Labour will stop saying they are going to freeze


prices in the next Parliament. He will say, I have not just frozen


them, I have done that as well and I have cut them. When people look at


their energy bills, they are going up by more than ?50. This is a


reduction in the amount that they are going up overall. Year on 08


will be for George Osborne. He will have to come up with something this


time next year. The detail in the Sunday papers reveals that George


Osborne is trying to get the energy companies to put on bills that ?50


has been knocked off your bill because of a reduction by the


government. He is trying to get the energy companies to do his political


bidding for him. It will be interesting to see if they go along


with that, because then we will know how cross the arm with Ed Miliband.


Let's get another perspective. Joining me now from Kendal in the


Lake District is the president of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron.


Welcome to the Sunday Politics. Good morning. Let me ask you this, the


coalition is rowing back on green taxes, I do comfortable with that or


is it taxes, I do comfortable with that or


against? I am very comfortable with the fact we are protecting for the


money is going. I am open to where the money comes from. The notion


that we should stop insulating the homes of elderly people or stop


investing in British manufacturing in terms of green industry, that is


something that I resolutely oppose, but I am pleased that the funding


will be made available for all that. You cannot ignore the fact that for


a whole range of reasons, mostly down to the actions of the energy


companies, you have prices that are shooting up and affecting lots of


people, making life hard. You cannot ignore that. If we fund the


installation of homes for older people and others, if we protect


British manufacturing jobs, and raise the money through general


taxation, I am comfortable with that. It is not clear that is going


to happen. It looks like the eco-scheme, whereby the energy


companies pay for the installation of those on below-average incomes,


they will spin that out over four years, not two years, and one


estimate is that that will cost 10,000 jobs. You're always boasting


about your commitment to green jobs, how do square that? I do not believe


that. The roll-out will be longer. The number of houses reached will be


greater and that is a good thing. My take is that it will not affect the


number of jobs. People talk about green levies. There has been


disparaging language about that sort of thing. There are 2 million people


in this country in the lowest income families and they get ?230 off their


energy bills because of what isn't -- because of what is disparaging


the refer to as green stuff, shall we call it. There will be more


properties covered. We both know that your party is being pushed into


this by the Tories. You would not be doing this off your own bad. You are


in coalition with people who have jettisoned their green Prudential


is? -- credentials. You have made my point quite well. David Cameron's


panicked response to this over the last few months was to ditch all


panicked response to this over the green stuff. It has been a job to


make sure that we hold him to his pledges and the green cord of this


government. That is why we are not scrapping the investment, we are


making sure it is funded from general taxation. I am talking to


you from Kendal. Lots of people struggle to pay their energy bills.


But all these things pale into insignificance compared to the


threat of climate change and we must hold the Prime Minister to account


on this issue. Argue reconciled to the idea that as long as you're in


coalition with the Tories you will never get a mansion tax? I am not


reconciled to it. We are trying to give off other tax cut to the lowest


income people. What about the mansion tax? That would


income people. What about the potentially paid for by another view


source of finance. That would be that the wealthy... We know that is


what you want, but you're not going to get that? We will keep fighting


for it. It is extremely important. We can show where we will get the


money from. I know that is the adamant. That is not what I asked


you. Ed Balls and Labour run in favour of a mansion tax, have you


talked to them about it? The honest answer is I have not. It is


interesting that they have come round to supporting our policy


having rejected it in power. So if Labour was the largest party in


parliament but not in power, you would have no problem agreeing with


parliament but not in power, you a mansion tax as part of the deal?


If the arithmetic falls in that way and that is the will of the British


people, fear taxes on those who are wealthiest, stuff that is fear,


which includes wealth taxes, in order to fund more reductions for


those people on lowest incomes, that is the sort of thing that we might


reach agreement on. You voted with Labour on the spare room subsidy.


Again, that would be job done in any future coalition talks with Labour,


correct? I take the view that the spare room subsidy, whilst entirely


fail in principle, in practice it has caused immense hardship. I want


to see that changed. There are many people in government to share my


view on that. So does Labour. The problem was largely caused Labour


because they oversaw an increase in housing costs both 3.5 times while


they were in power. The government was forced into a position to tidy


up an appalling mess that Labour left. You voted with Labour against


it, and also, you want... No, I voted with the party conference.


Let's not dance on the head of the ten. Maybe they voted with me. -- on


the head of a pin. You are also in favour of a 50% top rate of income


tax, so you and Labour are that one there as well? No, I take the view


tax, so you and Labour are that one that the top rate of income tax is a


fluid thing. All taxation levels are temporary. Nick Clegg said that when


the 50p rate came down to 45, that was a rather foolish price tag


George Osborne asked for in return for as increasing the threshold and


letting several million people out of paying income tax at the bottom.


So you agree with Labour? In favour of rising the tax to 50p. I take the


view that we should keep our minds open on that. It is not the income


tax level that bothers me, it is whether the wealthy pay their fresh


air. If that can be done through other taxes, then that is something


that I am happy with. -- their fair other taxes, then that is something


share. Given your position on the top rate of tax, on the spare room


subsidy, how does the prospect of another five years of coalition with


the Tories strike you? The answer is, you react with whatever you have


about you to what the electorate hand you. Whatever happens after the


next election, you have got to respect the will of the people. Yes,


but how do you feel about it? We know about this, I am asking for


your feeling. Does your heart left or does your heart fall at the


prospect of another five years with the Tories? My heart would always


follow the prospect of anything other than a majority of Liberal


Democrat government. Your heart must be permanently in your shoes then.


Something like that, but when all is said and done, we accept the will of


the electorate. When you stand for election, you have got to put up


with what the electorate say. I have not found coalition as difficult as


you might suggest. It is about people who have to disagree and


agree to differ. You work with people in your daily life that you


disagree with. It is what grown-ups do. A lot of people in your party


think that your positioning yourself to be the left-wing candidate in a


post-Nick Clegg leadership contest. They think it is blatant


manoeuvring. One senior figure says, this is about you. Which bit of the


sanctimonious, treacherous little man is there not to like? What can I


see in response to that. My job is to promote the Liberal Democrats. I


have to do my best to consider what I'd defend to be right. By and


large, my position as an MP in the Lake District, but also as the


president of the party, is to reflect the will of people outside


the Westminster village. That is the important thing to do. Thank you for


joining us. David Cameron has said he wants to get it down to the tens


of thousands, Ed Miliband has admitted New Labour "got it wrong",


and Nick Clegg wants to be "zero-tolerant towards abuse". Yes,


immigration is back on the political "zero-tolerant towards abuse". Yes,


earlier this week showing that net migration is on the rise for the


first time in two years. And that's not the only reason politicians are


talking about it again. The issue of immigration has come


into sharp focus because of concerns about the number of remaining ins


and Bulgarians that can come to the UK next year. EU citizenship grants


the right to free movement within the EU. But when Bulgaria and


Romania joined in 2007, the government took up its right to


apply temporary restrictions on movement. They must be lifted


apply temporary restrictions on end of this year. According to the


2011 census, about one eyed 1 million of the population in England


and Wales is made up of people from countries who joined the EU in 2004.


The government has played down expectations that the skill of


migration could be repeated. This week David Cameron announced new


restrictions on the ability of EU migrants to claim benefits. That was


two, send a message. That prompted criticism is that the UK risks being


seen as a nasty country. Yvette Cooper joins me now for the Sunday


interview. Welcome to the Sunday Politics, Yvette Cooper. You


criticised the coalition for not acting sooner on immigration from


Romania and Bulgaria but the timetable for the unrestricted


arrival in January was agreed under Labour many years ago, and given the


battle that you had with the Polish and the Hungarians, what


preparations did you make in power? We think that we should learn from


some of the We think that we should learn from


with migration. It would have been better to have transitional controls


in place and look at the impact of what happened. But what preparations


did you make in power? We set out a series of measures that the


Government still had time to bring in. It is important that this should


be a calm and measured debate. There was time to bring in measures around


benefit restrictions, for example, and looking at the impact on the


labour market, to make sure you do not have exploitation of cheap


migrant Labour which is bad for everyone. I know that but I have


asked you before and I am asking again, what did you do? We got


things wrong in Government. I understand that I am not arguing.


You are criticising them not preparing, a legitimate criticism,


but what did you do in power? Well, I did think we did enough. Did you


do anything? We signed the agency workers directive but too slowly. We


needed measures like that. We did support things like the social


chapter and the minimum wage, but I have said before that we did not do


enough and that is why we recommended the measures in March. I


understand that is what you did in opposition and I take that. I put


the general point to you that given your failure to introduce controls


on the countries that joined in 2004, alone among the major EU


economies we did that, should we not keep an embarrassed silence on these


matters? You have no credibility. I think you have got to talk about


immigration. One of the things we did not do in Government


discussed immigration and the concerns people have and the


long-term benefits that we know have come from people who have come to


Britain over many generations contributing to Britain and having a


big impact. I think we recognise that there are things that we did


wrong, but it would be irresponsible for us not to join the debate and


suggest sensible, practical measures that you can introduce now to


address the concerns that people have, but also make sure that the


system is fair and managed. Immigration is important to Britain


but it does have to be controlled and managed in the right way. Let's


remind ourselves of your record on immigration. The chart you did not


consult when in power. This is total net migration per year under Labour.


2.2 million of net rise in migration, more than the population


of Birmingham, you proud of that? -- twice the population. Are you proud


of that or apologising for it? We set the pace of immigration was too


fat and the level was too high and it is right to bring migration down.


So you think that was wrong? Overruled have been huge benefits


from people that have come to Britain and built our biggest


businesses. -- overall. They have become Olympic medal winners. But


because the pace was too fast, that has had an impact. That was because


of the lack of transitional controls from Eastern Europe and it is why we


should learn from that and have sensible measures in place now, as


part of what has got to be a calm debate. These are net migration


figures. They don't often show the full figure. These are the


immigration figures coming in. What that chart shows is that in terms of


the gross number coming into this country, from the year 2000, it was


half a million a year under Labour. Rising to 600,000 by the time you


were out of power. A lot of people coming into these crowded islands,


particularly since most of them come to London and the South East. Was


that intentional? Was that out of control? Is that what you are now


apologising for? What we said was that the Government got the figures


wrong on the migration from Eastern Europe. If you remember particularly


there was the issue of what happened with not having transitional


controls in place. The Government didn't expect the number of people


coming to the country to be the way it was. And so obviously mistakes


were made. We have recognised that. We have also got to recognise that


this is something that has happened in countries all over the world. We


travel and trade far more than ever. We have an increasingly globalised


economy. Other European countries have been affected in the same way,


and America, and other developing countries affected in the same way


by the scale of migration. I am trying to work out whether the


numbers were intentional or if you lost control. The key thing that we


have said many times and I have already said it to you many times,


Andrew, that we should have a transitional controls in place on


Eastern Europe. I think that would have had an impact on them level of


migration. We also should have brought in the points -based system


earlier. We did bring that in towards the end and it did


earlier. We did bring that in the level of low skilled migration


because there are different kinds of migration. University students


coming to Britain brings in billions of pounds of investment. On the


other hand, low skilled migration can have a serious impact on the


jobs market, pay levels and so on at the low skilled end of the labour


market. We have to distinguish between different kinds of


migration. You keep trying to excuse the figures by talking about the


lack of transitional controls. Can we skip the chart I was going to go


to? The next one. Under Labour, this is the source of where migrants came


from. The main source was not the accession countries or the remainder


of Europe. Overwhelmingly they were from the African Commonwealth, and


the Indian subcontinent. Overwhelmingly, these numbers are


the Indian subcontinent. nothing to do with transitional


controls. You can control that immigration entirely because they


are not part of the EU. Was that a mistake? First of all, the big


increase was in the accession groups. Not according to the chart.


In terms of the increase, the changes that happened. Secondly, in


answer to the question that you just asked me, we should also have


introduced the points -based system at an earlier stage. Thirdly there


has been a big increase in the number of university students coming


to Britain and they have brought billions of pounds of investment. At


the moment the Government is not distinguishing, it is just using the


figure of net migration. And that is starting to go up again, as you said


in the introduction, but the problem is that it treats all kinds of


migration is aimed. It does not address illegal immigration, which


is a problem, but it treats university graduates coming to


Britain in the same way as low skilled workers. If Labour get back


into power, is it your ambition to bring down immigration? We have


already said it is too high and we would support measures to bring it


down. You would bring it down? There is something called student visas,


which is not included in the figures, and it does not include


university graduates, and it is a figure that has increased


substantially in recent years. They come for short-term study but they


do not even have to prove that they come for a college course. They do


not even have to have a place to come. Those visas should be


restricted to prevent abuse of the system and that is in line with a


recommendation from the Inspectorate and that is the kind of practical


thing that we could do. Can and that is the kind of practical


us a ballpark figure of how much immigration would fall? You have


seen the mess that Theresa May has got into with her figures. She made


a target that it is clear to me that she will not meet. I think that is


right. She will not meet it. Can you give as a ballpark figure by which


we can judge you? If she had been more sensible and taken more time to


listen to experts and decide what measures should be targeted, then


she would not be in this mess. You cannot give me a figure? She has


chosen net migration. She has set a target, without ifs and buts. I


think it is important not to have a massive gap between the rhetoric and


reality. Not to make promises on numbers which are not responsible.


OK, you won't give me a figure. Fine. Moving on to crime. 10,000


front line police jobs have gone since 2010 but crime continues to


fall. 7% down last year alone. When you told the Labour conference that


you do not cut crime by cutting the police, you were wrong. I think the


Government is being very complacent about what is happening to crime.


Crime patterns are changing. There has been an exponential increase,


and that is in the words of the police, in online crime. We have


also seen, for example, domestic violence going up, but prosecutions


dropping dramatically. There is a serious impact as a result of not


having 10,000 police in place. You have talked about the exponential


increase in online and economic crime. If those are the big growth


areas, why have bobbies on the beat? That would make no difference. It is


about an approach to policing that has been incredibly successful over


many years, which Labour introduced, which is neighbourhood policing in


the community is working hard with communities to prevent crime. People


like to see bobbies on the beat but have you got any evidence that it


leads to a reduction in crime? Interestingly, the Lords Stevens


commission that we set up, they have reported this week and it has been


the equivalent of a Royal commission, looking at the number of


people involved in it. Their strong recommendation was that this is


about preventing crime but also respectful law and order, working


with communities, and so they strongly took the view with all of


their expertise and the 30 different universities that they have involved


that analysis, the right thing was that analysis, the right thing was


to keep bobbies on the beat and not push them cars. Instinctively you


would think it was true. More visible policing, less crime. But in


all the criminology work, I cannot find the evidence. There is


competing work about why there has been a 20 year drop in overall crime


and everybody has different opinions on why that has happened. The point


about neighbourhood policing is that it is broader than crime-fighting.


It is about prevention and community safety. Improving the well-being of


communities as well. Will you keep the elected Police Commissioners?


Big sigh! What the report said was that the system is flawed. We raised


concern about this at the beginning. You will remember at the elections,


Theresa May's flagship policy, at the elections they cost ?100 million


and there was 15% turnout. You have to have a system of accountability


at the police. Three options were presented, all of which are forms.


So you have to have reform. It is not whether to have reformed, it is


which of those options is the best way to do it. The commission set out


a series of options, and I thought that the preferable approach would


be collaboration and voluntary mergers. We know they won't


volunteer. There have been some collaboration is taking place. I


think the issues with police and crime commissioners have fragmented


things and made it harder to get collaboration between police


forces. Everybody is asking this collaboration between police


question, just before you go. What is it like living with a nightmare?


Who does all the cooking, so I can't complain! Says Miliband people are


wrong, he is a dream cook? He is! In a speech this week, Boris Johnson


praised greed and envy as essential for economic progress, and that has


got tongues wagging. What is the Mayor of London up to? What is his


game plan? Does he even have a game plan and does he know if he has one?


Flash photography coming up. Boris. In many ways I can leave it there.


You'd know who I meant. And if you didn't, the unruly mop of blonde


hair would tell you, the language. Ping-pong was invented on the dining


tables of England. Somehow pulling off the ridiculous to the sublime.


It is going to go zoink off the scale! But often having to speed


away from the whiff-whaff of scandal. Boris, are you going to


save your manage? There's always been a question about


him and his as role as mayor and another prized position, as hinted


to the Tory faithful this year at conference, discussing former French


Prime Minister Alan Juppe. -- Alain Juppe. He told me he was going to be


the mayor of Bordeaux. I think he may have been mayor well he was


Prime Minister, it is the kind of thing they do in funds -- AvD in


France. It is a good idea, if you ask me. But is it a joke? He is much


more ambitious. Boris wants to be Prime Minister more than anything


else. Perhaps more than he wants to be made of London. The ball came


loose from the back of the scrum. Of course it would give great thing to


have a crack at, but it is not going to happen. He might be right. First,


the Conservatives have a leader, another Old Etonian, Oxford,


Bullingdon chap and he has the job Boris might like a crack at. What do


you do with a problem like Boris? It is one of the great


you do with a problem like Boris? It Tory politics that for Boris Johnson


to succeed, David Cameron must feel. Boris needs David Cameron to lose so


that he can stand a chance of becoming loser. -- becoming leader.


And disloyalty is punished by Conservatives. Boris knows the man


who brought down Margaret Thatcher. Michael Heseltine, who Boris


replaced as MP for Henley, never got her job. In 1986, she took on the


member for Henley, always a risky venture. And why might he make such


a jibe, because he's won two more elections than the PM. Conservatives


like a winner. Boris, against Robert expectations, has won the Mayor of


London job twice. -- public. He might've built a following with the


grassroots but he's on shakier ground with many Tory MPs, who see


him as a selfish clown, unfit for high office. And besides, he's not


the only one with king-sized ambition, and Boris and George are


not close, however much they may profess unity. There is probably


some Chinese expression for a complete and perfect harmony. Ying


and yang. But in plain black and white, if Boris has a plan, it's one


he can't instigate, and if David Cameron is PM in 2016, it may not be


implementable. He'd need a seat and it wouldn't be plain sailing if he


did make a leadership bid. My leadership chances, I think I may


have told you before, or about as good as my chances of ying


reincarnated as a baked bean. Which is probably quite high. So if the


job you want with Brown-esque desire is potentially never to be yours


what do you do? He is, of course, an American citizen by birth. He was


born in New York public hospital, and so he is qualified to be


President and so he is qualified to be


President of the United States. And you don't need an IQ over 16 to find


that the tiniest bit scary. Giles Dilnot reporting. Helen Lewis,


Janan Ganesh and Sam Coates are here. Is there a plan for Boris, and


if so, what is it? I think the plan is for him to say what he thinks the


Tory activist base wants to hear just now. He knows that in 18 months


time they can disown it. I think he is wrong, the way the speech has


played has a limited number of people. He has cross-party appeal.


He has now reconfirmed to people that the Tories are the nasty party


and they have been pretending to be modernised. Is it not the truth that


he needs David Cameron to lose the 2015 election to become leader in


this decade? It is very interesting watching his fortunes wax and wane.


It always seems to happen in inverse proportion to how well David Cameron


is doing in front of his own party. There is no small element of


strategy about what we are doing here. The problem with Boris is that


he's popular with the country, but not with the party's MPs and its


hard-core supporters. This was an appeal to the grassroots this week.


He is not the only potential candidate. If we were in some kind


of circumstance where Boris was a runner to replace Mr Cameron, who


with the other front the? I think it will skip a generation. The recent


intake was ideological assertive. I do not buy the idea that it will be


Jeremy Hunt against Michael Gove. I then, that generation will be


tainted by being in government. It is interesting, what is he trying to


pull? He is ideological. He does not believe in many things, but he


believes in a few things quite deeply, and one is the idea of


competition, both in business deeply, and one is the idea of


academic selection. He has never been squeamish about expressing


that. We do make mistakes sometimes, assuming he is entirely political.


Look at all the Northern voters who will not vote for the Tories even


though they are socially or economic the Conservatives. I do not think he


helps. Who in the Tories would help? That is a tough question. To


reason me has also been speaking to the hard right. -- Theresa May. I


have been out with him at night. It is like dining with a film star.


People are queueing up to speak to him. Educational selection is one of


the few areas that he can offer. He has gone liberal on immigration, as


are made of London would have to. Hello and welcome to Sunday Politics


in Northern Ireland. Loyalist protestors still on the streets of


Belfast. 12 months on from the start of the flag protests, we'll be


looking back at a year of protest and disruption. Joining me with


their views, the Alliance MP for East Belfast, Naomi Long, and from


our Foyle studio, the DUP MP Gregory Campbell. We'll also hear from


yesterday's TUV conference in Cookstown where the party leader,


Jim Allister, made a prediction for the 2014 European election contest.


I see that the DUP has been suggesting they might even run two


candidates. They won't. And with me in studio to discuss that and more


are business consultant Joanne Stuart and commentator Seamus Close.


Almost exactly a year on from the decision to fly the union flag at


Belfast City Hall on designated days, around 2,000 loyalist


protestors gathered in the city centre. They breached a Parades'


Commission determination which said they had to be clear of the area by


half past 12. While there was no trouble in the city centre, a police


officer was knocked unconscious during clashes in North Belfast


involving protestors. Joining me now is the Alliance Party's Naomi Long


and Gregory Campbell of the DUP. Thank you both for joining us. Naomi


Long - one year on from the union Thank you both for joining us. Naomi


flag being restricted in its flying from the City Hall and still large


number of protestors are on the streets of the city centre. What's


your reaction to that? I think it's very disappointing that people,


after a year, are still convinced that these protests are going to


change anything. The decision taken by City Hall was taken for the right


reasons. It is a good decision and a democratic decision. No amount of


protest on the street will change that. So we need to be honest with


people engaged in those protests, but it's also unclear what they were


protesting about. Partly they were saying smashed the Alliance party,


partly they were protesting about political policing. So it's not


clear where their anger is directed. From my perspective, I


don't think it's political policing. directed. From my perspective, I


If you choose to express your politics through violence breaking


the law and are rested, that is not vertical policing. We need people to


restore order to the situation and to find ways of expressing concerns


that they have in a democratic and peaceful and lawful manner. Many of


them are constituents of yours in East Belfast and for whatever


reason, maybe a collection of reasons, they feel marginalised and


disenfranchised. That's a problem that isn't going to go away. But


everyone has the right of abode, whether they choose to exercise it


or not is a matter of choice for them. -- the right to vote. I would


put the blame on the door of Unionist politicians who have


continually fed unionists and loyalists a diet of negativity, of


loss. They have made the narrative of the agreement wonder they are


constantly losing, it's not the truth, but it's a diet they are fed


and they believe it's an argument that will get them more votes. They


want people to motivated by fear, and that is why we have a believe


good community who feel they haven't gained by the agreement because no


one gives them the objective argument. What you think the protest


achieved, if anything? Where we were last week, people were predicting


all sorts of violence and mayhem, quite rightly saying this is one of


the rest shopping days before Christmas, we should try and do our


best to minimise prospects of trouble and maximise the return to


the economy. Of the more dire predictions materialise. Apart from


a few minor incidents, which are regrettable, for the most part it


appears to have passed off very peacefully. Hopefully, we can build


on that. I am just a bit concerned that if lessons can be learned


throughout the political process over the course of the last year, it


would appear that the Alliance party aren't learning very many. There was


a serious mistake, a democratic one, but a serious one made 12 months


ago. Let's not repeat the mistakes of trying to say to a community, we


don't care what you think or what you feel, or how strongly you


express your views, we're not going to change our mind. What progress


are you referring to when you say the progress of the last 12 months?


are you referring to when you say We are exactly where we were, with


another protest bringing the centre of Belfast to a standstill on the


busiest shopping day before Christmas. George January and


February last year, there were weekly and in some cases nightly


protests. In some instances they were violent and in other instances


they were peaceful. All of those days are hopefully behind us now but


people I think saw the benefit of getting registered to ensure that


their political voice was heard at the ballot ox, they need to keep on


doing that because elections are coming up and they need to express


their views peacefully and democratic way. If they do that,


hopefully all the political parties will learn lessons are not repeat


the mistakes of 12 months ago when there was a decision by a small


number of parties who didn't realise the implications of what they were


doing. They do now. So you need to learn a lesson? I think it's a


bizarre situation when you have a democratic Unionist saying we have


to learn lessons from having been intimidated and threatened for a


year. I have never said I don't care about depression people have for the


flag, or sensitive to their concerns, I engage with people on a


daily basis about that. But I will not be bullied or intimidated by


anyone into changing what is a good decision because we're not just


dealing with Unionists who feel disenfranchised, we are trying to


balance the needs of the whole community. I also think it shows how


accustomed and can dish and we are that when you have a police officer


knocked unconscious and another injured, will talk about that as a


good day for Belfast. injured, will talk about that as a


it is, I agree it was better than it might have been. You have welcomed


the fact that it was peaceful, broadly, and you made the point,


with the exception that two officers were injured, nonetheless it was not


unlawful parade. It was not because people who were taking part were not


clear of city centre by half past 12 and that was in the determination,


so they defied your party leader who said peaceful and lawful? It would


have been preferable had the parade not taken place on the Saturday, we


made that clear, but given the fact it was going to go ahead, we had to


work with what we have. There is no point in trying to say that we wish


it wasn't going to happen, bury our heads in the sand and hope


everything will turn out right. A heads in the sand and hope


lot of work was put in behind the scenes to try and ensure a peaceful,


lawful outcome. It was a lot better than it could have been. But is that


good enough? I wish we did live in a perfect world, but we don't. Let's


work with what we have, let's build. We talked about a year ago. A year


ago and implement were significant. It's on the decline now. Hopefully


we are starting to create a better economic future. We have to build on


that and hopefully progress the sense of alienation that is in there


in the working class Unionist community. Our final brief


sentence? I think it's important in a society when we have lost her grip


on the rule of law a society when we have lost her grip


Democrats, uphold the rule of law. Peaceful and lawful are not the same


thing. We need to have clear statement around that from political


representatives who are there to uphold the rule of law. Joining me


now to reflect on that are the commentator Seamus Close and the


business consultant Joanne Stuart. Not as bad as it could have been.


Once again, the shopkeepers, the traders, the people of Belfast,


people further afield, have been held hostage. Let's be blunt, held


hostage by a couple of thousand people who were breaking the law in


an illegal protest, organised and led by a faceless individual whose


an illegal protest, organised and name we don't know until lives


outside Belfast. What sort of a society... I listen to both the


politicians saying they are opposed and would have preferred it not to


happen. I think that would be the judgement of the vast majority, if


not all of the politicians in Northern Ireland, would have


preferred that the parade didn't take place. Yet in spite of that, it


took place. So democracy is set aside by a crowd... Why are we


cuddling up to them? Why did they get permission in the first place?


Why did the traders have to lose business yet again, and Belfast


dragged through the gutter by people who obviously don't care about


Belfast? They obviously have their selfish and confused motives.


Because the flag will not be because 2000 people gather in front


of City Hall. You are close to the business community. You have had a


senior position presenting that. How serious is the issue for business


confidence in. Fast? It is very serious. Nobody in business wanted


to see that parade on Saturday. It is the busiest trading day. What


seems to not be considered are the rights of business owners to trade


uninterrupted, and threatened and unharmed. Grigori mentioned focusing


on the economy, and it's the economy that will create jobs, create a more


positive economic future. It's important that there is a concerted


focus and effort on economic issues because they are the keys to


tackling and addressing our social issues. Do


tackling and addressing our social could have been worse? It obviously


could have, there is relief there was no violence within the city


centre, I appreciate there was some violence you wouldn't want to see


but it shouldn't have taken place. Thanks very much now. The TUV


leader, Jim Allister, has been talking elections. He told his


annual conference in Cookstown that the DUP is bluffing about the


possibility of running two candidates in next year's European


poll. But he was more coy about what his own party will do. Here's our


Political Correspondent, Gareth Gordon. There is more than one view


of Jim Allister. According to his party chairman, some people in


dormant think he is a pain in the neck. Then there is the view of his


followers. Jim Allister I believe is the man for Ulster. Great leader, a


truthful man. He is doing a fantastic job. His only main rival


is and Travers, who inspired him to introduce the bill. Also there was a


soldier injured in the bombing carried out by the special adviser


in question, Paul Kavanagh. It's not right somebody should shoot, kill


and murder a police officer and get two years in prison, that's not


right. He was referring to the case of the husband of this woman. She


declined to be interviewed. In his conference speech, Jim Allister's


favourite target was his former party. The DUP conference on the


Friday night, at their dinner, they had an illusionist, long. -- come


along. The first thing that surprised me was they had to bring


someone in to perform. Then he looked ahead to future elections. I


see that the DUP has been suggesting they might even run two candidates.


They won't, ladies and gentlemen. Last time they fought the European


elections, their candidate held on by her fingernails to creep in for


the third seat, there is no way they will be fighting with two


candidates. There was however one omission from the speech, what the


TUV was going to do in that election. Jim Allister has been


quick to tell us what the DUP election. Jim Allister has been


not do. Not so quick to tell us what his own party will. You can tempt me


as much as you like but I will not be telling you today what the TUV


will be doing. He may concentrate on the council elections instead. We


are not going to know until next year. Obviously, Jim Allister


getting the party faithful to lap it up. Can they expand beyond their


core race? I think their core base is narrow and will remain so. He is


very productive in the Assembly, he is the epitome of what opposition


should be. Look at the number of questions, he has dozens down at any


point in time. And they are about questions, he has dozens down at any


salient issues that affect every man, woman and child in Northern


Ireland. He is doing a wonderful job as an MLA, but the negativity of his


party comes across through him, that is his big problem. Will he run a


candidate for Europe? Politics is about running candidates, if he


doesn't, he will demonstrate more negativity. Will he polled better


than the 66,000 last time? Good question. Let's pause, then, and


have a look at the week gone past in 60 seconds - with Stephen Walker.


After a car bomb partially exploded in Belfast city centre, Americans


were warned to take care, but some thought that advice was overplayed.


It has been blown out of all proportion in Northern Ireland.


It has been blown out of all Claims about Gerry Adams and the IRA


continued. MLAs were told past should not dictate future. I think


the people who make the argument that you can't further contribute to


society because you were a member of the IRA in the past are making a


huge mistake. Health minister ordered a review into the treatment


of patients at a County Antrim nursing home. An independent report


said the SDLP were complacent and stuck in the past. But the party


said they had much to offer. If there are perceptions out there that


I think are wrong, we have to challenge them.


The Scottish Government has published its blueprint for


independence. The 670-page document promises a 'revolution' in social


policy, with childcare at its heart. Politicians at Stormont have been


watching events in Edinburgh carefully. The Deputy First


Minister, Martin McGuinness, has said local parties should stay out


of the debate. The First Minister, Peter Robinson, took a different


approach. He's talked in the past about the emotional bonds that link


Scotland and Northern Ireland and is firmly opposed to the proposal.


Joining me is Professor Graham Walker from Queen's University.


Graham, what did you make of this White Paper? I think the Scottish


Government set out the case for independence quite soberly. I think


Alex Salmond has been trying to reassure people for some time that


the transition to independence can be a smooth one. However he's not in


a position to reassure yet about key issues such as the European Union


membership, the currency, and so on. This is where the no camp are. They


are trying to put forward the argument that this is a leap into


the unknown that carries too many risks. Alex Salmond's line is it as


an exciting opportunity. Is it affordable? If you put better social


policy at the heart of an independent Scotland, that's fine,


but can it pay for it? A lot might come down to the oil revenues, and a


great deal of negotiation is going to have to come into that. I think


it's a fair point about whether it's affordable or not but what is


significant is that he should put that at the centre of things. Was


the message he is trying to put over is that the welfare, a compelling


reason to continue to support the union, he would say that is


weakening and he can actually union, he would say that is


better social welfare provision in an independent Scotland. The first


minister has been very clear that this is up to the people of


Scotland, not for us to interfere, but he also feels passionately that


an independent Scotland would not be good for the UK. So what kind of


impact do you think the debate is likely to have on this side of the


Irish Sea? A profound impact, particularly as we get close to the


date of the referendum. It does suggest that if there is a yes vote,


then of course the Russian ship of these islands is going to change


profoundly -- the relationship. If they are saying that the union is


saved, it cuts the ground from that if a major partner is going to


depart. So there are all sorts of anxieties and risks. I think


Unionists tend to read across rather simplistically of the situation from


here and Scotland. The two situations are very different.


Divisions in Scotland will not map onto religious divisions. And also,


Scottish Unionism has a nationalist element, nationalism is an important


part of Scottish Unionism and Scottish nationalism has never been


about grievances and troubled history, certainly not nearly as


much. This seems to be a sense that it is unlikely they would be a yes


vote, but still Alex Salmond appears to be building a momentum. A year is


a long time in politics, is it possible that events could move it


in the direction of Alex Salmond and ultimately, there could be a yes


vote? Is that realistic? I think it is. I would say that at the moment.


I think the yes campaign have a new momentum, and things like the


bedroom tax have undoubtedly affected the game recently. He has


been able to put that into his White paper, saying he's going to abolish


that, that phase will rule out Scotland. Do you think there will be


an interest in Northern Ireland about that? I think some people will


want to get directly involved. I think those in the prounion camp


have an incentive to try and cooperate with others in that camp


to come up with a constructive vision of the union, as they are


going to have to do that soon, they can't just rely on saying it is all


too risky. Thanks very much. Just time for a final word from our


guests of the day. What do you make of that debate? Are you interested?


Absolutely, a lot of trade goes on with Scotland, from the perspective


of the decision to change corporation tax, work is continuing


on that, if there is a no vote, how we take that forward and if there is


a yes vote, there is an implication for the rest of the UK. I haven't


got through all the pages yet but at least we have something that sets


out what an independent Scotland could look like and the


implications. What do you make of the debate? Very interesting. I


figured should be a spectator sport. It is interesting for Scotland, but


I think it is ironic that the Unionists are the ones who want to


get involved but they are the most this difference whenever another


country tries all attempts to speak about what happens in Northern


Ireland. So I think they should take a leaf out of their own book and


keep quiet and spectate. The Haass talks move into the final


negotiation stage this month. December is make or break time. We


need to get a consistent message from our population -- politicians,


we need to get the confidence and stability, we are waiting eagerly to


see what comes out. I get optimistic that Haass will leave him with a


deal done? I don't think so, I think one of the key issues will be in the


long-term future. The politicians have an awful lot of work to do,


there is a lot riding on this. Futures are riding on this. We have


to sort out the mess and get on with it. Thank you both very much.


touching on eugenics and things like that. That is all we have time for.


Thank you. What rabbit has George Osborne got up his sleeve? And


what's David Cameron up to in China? All questions for The Week Ahead. To


help the panel led, we are joined by Kwasi Kwarteng, Tory MP. Welcome to


the Sunday Politics. Why has the government been unable to move the


agenda and to the broad economic recovery, and allowed the agenda to


stay on Labour's ground of energy prices and living standards? Energy


has been a big issue over the last few months but the autumn state and


will be a wonderful opportunity to readdress where we are fighting the


ground, the good economic news that we delivered. If you look at where


Labour were earlier this year, people were saying they would they 5


million people unemployed. They were saying that there should be a plan


B. He is not in the Labour Party? Elements of the left were suggesting


it. Peter Hain told me it would be up to 3 million people.


it. Peter Hain told me it would be Blanchflower said it would be 5


million people. So we have got to get the economy back to the centre


of the debate? Yes, the game we were playing was about the economy. That


was the central fighting ground of the political debate. We were


winning that battle. Labour have cleverly shifted it onto the cost of


living. It is essential that the government, that George, talks about


the economy. That has been its great success. I do not think this has


been a week of admitting that Labour was right, plain cigarettes


packaging, other issues. If you look at the big picture, where we are


with the economy, we have the fastest growing economy in the G-7.


Despite Labour's predictions, none of this has happened, none of the


triple dip has happened. The British economy is on a good fitting. That


is a good story for the government to bat on. You say that people have


stopped talking about the economic recovery, but it is worse than that,


people have stopped talking about the deficit? As long as people were


talking about the deficit, the Tories were trusted. But people have


forgotten about it. This country still spends ?100 billion more than


it raises. Yes, I am of the view that the deficit, the national


debt, is the biggest question facing this generation of politicians. You


are right to suggest that the Conservative Party was strong on


this. That head, not deficit, is not going to come down in the


foreseeable future? It is rising. This is a test that George Osborne


is not going to pass. We know what is coming in the Autumn Statement,


it is lots of giveaways, paying for free school meals, paying for fuel


duty subsidies. We are still talking about the cost of living, not


changing it actively wider economy. There might be extra money for


growth but it is not clear what will happen to that. If it is time for


giveaways, let's speak about Labour. I have never been a fan of


giveaways. Fiscal prudence is what our watchword should be. Look at the


headlines. Each time, the our watchword should be. Look at the


figures, the debt figures, were always worse than predicted. This


year it will be significantly better. I think that is significant.


Any kind of recovery is probably better than no recovery at all. When


you look at this recovery, it is basically a consumer spending boom.


Consumer spending is up, business investment is way down compared with


2008, and exports, despite a 20% devaluation, our flat. Let's get one


thing straight, it is a recovery. Any recovery is better than no


recovery. Now we can have a debate about, technical debate about the


elements of the recovery. It is not technical, it is a fact. There is


evidence that there is optimism in terms of what are thinking...


Optimism? If I am optimistic about the economy, I am more likely to


spend money and invest in business. So far you have not managed that?


Exports have not done well either? Exports are not a big section of the


British economy. But of course, they are important. But given where we


were at the end of last year, no economist was saying that we would


be in this robust position today. That is true, in terms of the


overall recovery. Now the PM loves to "bang the drum abroad for British


business" and he's off to China this evening with a plane-load of British


business leaders. And it's not the first time. Take a look at this.


Well, you might not think exports unimportant, but clearly the Prime


Minister and the Chancellor do. They unimportant, but clearly the Prime


are important, but they are not what is driving the growth at the moment.


We used to talk about the need for export led recovery is, that is why


the Prime Minister is going to China. Absolutely, and he's doing


the right thing. Do we have any evidence that these tend of trips


produce business? The main example so far is the right to trade the


Chinese currency offshore. London has a kind of global primacy. London


will be the offshore centre. Is that a good thing? I have no problem at


all with this sort of policy. I do not think that Britain has been


doing this enough compared with France and Germany in recent years.


I am optimistic in the long term about this dish -- about British


exports to China. China need machine tools and manufacturing products. In


20 years time, China will be buying professional groups, educational


services, the things we excel at. All we need to do is consolidate our


strengths, stand still and we will move forward. The worst thing we can


do is reengineer the economy towards those services and away from


something else. We have a lot of ground to make up, Helen? At one


stage, it is no longer true, but at one stage you could say that we


exported more to Ireland, a country of 4 million people, than we did to


Russia, China, India, Brazil, all combined. I believe we form 1% of


Chinese imports now. The problem is what you have to give up in exchange


for that. It is a big problem for David Cameron's credibility that he


has had to row back on his meeting with the Dalai llama. This trip, we


have been in the deep freeze with China for a couple of years. This


trip has come at a high cost. We have had to open up the City of


London to Chinese banks without much scrutiny, we have had to move the


date of the Autumn Statement, and there is no mention of human rights.


It is awkward to deal with that, all in the name of getting up to where


we were a few years ago. A month after strong anchor -- one month


after Sri Lanka, where he apologised three human rights abuses, this is


difficult to take. Do we have any idea what the Prime Minister hopes


to do in China this time? I am not sure there is anything specific, but


when you go to these countries, certainly in the Middle East China,


they complain, why has the Prime Minister not come to see us? That is


very important. High-level delegations from other countries go


to these places because the addict -- because they are important export


markets. You might look at the Prime Minister playing cricket over there,


and wonder, what is that for? I do not mind the Prime Minister Rajoy


cricket. This is a high visibility mission, chose that politicians in


Britain care. You are part of the free enterprise group. It had all


sorts of things on it like tax cuts for those on middle incomes or above


the 40% bracket, tax cuts worth 16 billion. You will get none of that


on Thursday, we are agreed? No. But he does have two budgets between now


and the election and if the fiscal position is using a little bit, he


may have more leeway than it looked like a couple of months ago. Yes,


from a free enter prise point of view, we have looked at the tax cuts


that should be looked at. The 40p rate comes in at quite a low level


for people who, in the south-east, do not feel particularly wealthy.


They are spending a lot of money on commuting, energy bills. The


Chancellor has been very open about championing this. He says


Chancellor has been very open about 40p rate will kick in at a slightly


higher rate. Labour had a bad summer and the opinion polls seem to be


narrowing. Then they had a good hearty conference season. The best.


Has the Labour lead solidified or increased the little, maybe up to


eight points? If it is a good Autumn Statement, or the Tories start to


narrow that lead by the end of the year? If they go into 2014 trailing


by single digits, they cannot complain too much. That gives them


18 months to chip away at Labour's lead. But do they do that chipping


away by eight bidding Labour or do they let time take its course and


let the economic recovery continue, maybe business investment joins


consumer spending as a source of that recovery, and a year from now,


consumer spending as a source of to rise? That is a better hope than


engaging in a bidding war. Be assured, they will be highly


political budgets. That's all for today. The Daily Politics is on BBC


Two at midday all this today. The Daily Politics is on BBC


Two at midday all this week, except on Thursday when we'll start at


10:45 to bring you live coverage and analysis of the Chancellor's Autumn


Statement in a Daily Politics special for BBC Two and the BBC News


Channel. Remember if it's Sunday, it's the Sunday Politics.


Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper and Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron.

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