08/05/2016 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


08/05/2016

In an election special, Mark Carruthers is joined by politicians and commentators to review the latest results and analyse the impact on the next assembly.


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Transcript


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Hello, and welcome to a specially extended Sunday Politics.

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Stormont's benches have now all been filled.

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The 100 MLAs have been returned.

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It's been a great result for the DUP

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and its leader Arlene Foster in particular.

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Sinn Fein dropped a seat, but remains the second biggest party.

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There are some new faces, some very familiar faces,

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and there have been a few shocks and surprises as well.

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Over the next hour and a quarter,

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I'll be asking the main parties where it went right,

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or in some cases wrong,

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and what it will mean for the next five years.

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What departments will they choose in this smaller Executive

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or will they prefer to peel away and form an opposition?

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I'll be talking to some of the surprises of this election -

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People Before Profit's veteran campaigner, Eamonn McCann,

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and the leader of the Greens, Steven Agnew,

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who has doubled his party's representation at Stormont.

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And with their thoughts on all of that and more,

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Fionnuala O Connor, Alex Kane,

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and our political editor, Mark Devenport.

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Well, going into the election, there were 276 candidates.

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Over the course of two days of counting,

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that was whittled down to the 100 successful MLAs.

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The last result came just after 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon,

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and in a three-way fight for the fifth and sixth seats,

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Sinn Fein's Catherine Seeley and John O'Dowd

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pipped the SDLP's Dolores Kelly at the post in Upper Bann.

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So how will the new Assembly look?

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Well, in many ways,

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it won't be very different from 2011.

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The DUP remains the biggest party

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on 38 seats,

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and Arlene Foster will remain

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as First Minister.

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Sinn Fein dropped one seat

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but remains the second largest party on 28,

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and will take

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the Deputy First Minister's role.

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The Ulster Unionists are on the 16

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they achieved in 2011,

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while the SDLP is down 2 seats at 12.

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Alliance held on

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to its eight from five years ago.

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The Greens saw their numbers double

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from one to two,

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while People Before Profit

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makes its debut at Stormont,

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also with two.

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Jim Allister is back,

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but remains a solo operator for the TUV.

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The independent Claire Sugden

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also makes a return.

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Let's hear from some of the parties who will be bringing new faces

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to the green benches at Stormont.

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Firstly, not exactly a new face, you might say,

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the veteran campaigner Eamonn McCann of People Before Profit

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is in our Foyle studio.

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The Green Party leader Steven Agnew,

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who now has the party's deputy leader Clare Bailey

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joining him on the hill.

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Welcome to both of you.

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Let me just talk to you, first of all, Steven Agnew.

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We'd hope we might get a chance to talk to Clare Bailey,

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but I think she's done so much talking

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over the last couple of days she's got a bit of a bad throat

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this morning, so I hope she makes a speedy recovery, because presumably

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she'll be wanting to make her voice heard in the Assembly Chamber.

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But two is good. Three, of course, would have been better.

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You did say to me on this programme a couple of weeks ago

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you would be disappointed if you didn't come back with three.

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So there's a bit of happiness and a bit of disappointment.

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Well, we're absolutely delighted for Clare Bailey.

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It's been a tremendous result for the Greens across the board

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with the largest increase in vote of any party in this election.

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So, overall, the Greens are celebrating.

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But, of course, I am disappointed for Ross Brown.

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He came seventh in a six-seat constituency. He came very close.

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We were right to say that we could get three seats,

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because we almost did,

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but that's something for us to build on in the future.

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But, overall, we've doubled our number of MLAs,

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we've increased our vote across Northern Ireland

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and, indeed, it was the highest vote we've ever had

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across Northern Ireland in terms of vote number.

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So, overall, a successful election.

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You, you, of course,

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came second in terms of first-preference

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votes in your constituency of North Down,

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which was a personal success from your point of view,

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-cos I think you came home with the sixth seat last time.

-That's right.

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Clare Bailey in South Belfast, why do you think in a constituency...?

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It was quite a diverse constituency, yes, but it is leafy South Belfast,

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it's very often how people describe it in shorthand.

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How do you think a Green candidate there,

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who is clearly left of centre, managed to secure a seat?

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Well, while others prevaricated on issues such as equal marriage

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and abortion, the Greens, and Clare Bailey in particular,

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articulated a very clear vision.

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We're pro equal marriage, we're pro abortion reform,

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ad that message went down well in South Belfast.

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Plus, Clare is a tremendous campaigner.

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She's been working in the constituency for many years.

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She's had two near-misses in previous elections,

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but she's been persistent and kept coming back to the electorate,

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kept working hard, and has got the result she deserved.

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She didn't have to fight for the final seat.

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She took the fourth seat, and I think that's worth noting,

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that she came home quite comfortably in the end.

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OK, Eamonn McCann, first of all, congratulations to you.

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We spoke a couple of days ago and you were confident,

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but you hadn't been confirmed.

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You've been at this game since 1969 -

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I think that was the first time you stood for election.

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So, at last, at the age of 73, you're inside the Stormont tent,

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which for so many years you've of course been an arch critic of.

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Well, I've been an arch critic of the policies

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coming out of Stormont and the policies coming out

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of an awful lot of other parliamentary institutions

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across the water and in an even more wide scale.

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I mean, I've argued for that attitude,

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and eventually we got a quota.

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To be honest, this is just a statement of the obvious, isn't it?

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What's going to be your motivation up at Stormont?

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What are you hoping you're going to be able to achieve?

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You're there and you've got Gerry Carroll for West Belfast,

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so there are two of you.

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You're not a lone voice, but do you think that you will be able

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to have an impact on policy issues?

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Do you hope that you'll seriously be able to hold

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the Executive to account?

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Well, we'll certainly be able to hold the Executive to account,

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to the extent that Stormont rules and procedures allow that to happen.

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We will bring into Stormont the ideas and the attitudes

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of the policies that we have been proclaiming,

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that I've been proclaiming for, certainly, a very long time.

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I think the most important thing that we bring

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and, in our estimation, the most important thing about the election -

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People Before Profit candidates -

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is that we stood on a clear basis of being neither orange nor green.

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We did something the people kept telling us

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it was not possible to do -

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that in Northern Ireland you either have to be deep green or deep orange

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or some muddy mulch in the middle.

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We offered a radical political alternative

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to the politics of orange versus green.

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I think there was, to use a crude term, a market for that attitude.

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I think many people were...

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And we pulled votes from a much wider range of people than

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we ever have before in Derry.

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Our vote was certainly the youngest vote that there was

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in this constituency, loads of first time voters.

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Our election team was the youngest, I would think,

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that certainly I've ever been associated with.

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So we will bring that sort of youthful energy and a, sort of,

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radical anti-Sectarian, "neither orange nor green" attitude

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to Stormont. I think that's very important.

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Very important to us, anyway.

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Eamonn, whenever you were deemed elected,

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you just couldn't help yourself.

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You revealed one of the talents that you've kept hidden for many years -

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your singing voice.

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Now, you took a bit of stick when you sang The Internationale

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from some of our commentators on our programme yesterday.

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Could you just not help yourself?

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I'm not aware that I took a bit of stick from anybody.

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I take your word for it.

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I don't think I watched any coverage of anything yesterday.

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It wasn't that I just couldn't help myself.

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Look, people singing songs on platforms in Northern Ireland,

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particularly after winning a seat of some sort in Parliament,

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it's not unusual.

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I've heard A Nation Once Again sung.

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Thinking our God in ages past, or whatever it is in song,

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so it's not unusual.

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It's probably unusual to hear a song which doesn't

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come from either the Nationalist or Unionist tradition

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sung on an election platform,

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or a results platform in Northern Ireland.

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Maybe it was just about time.

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Right. Well, I'm glad you didn't see some of the comments that there were

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yesterday afternoon, because they weren't all entirely complimentary,

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I have to be honest, but I think everybody took it in the spirit in which you obviously intended.

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Go back and watch it on iPlayer

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and you can decide who's not on your Christmas card list in future.

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-Eamonn...

-I don't send Christmas cards incidentally,

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-so I don't have a list. Go on.

-Right. OK. Tell me this,

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how do you think you're going to work with people like Steven Agnew

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in what's now being referred to not as the naughty corner,

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but as the noisy corner?

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Well, for a start, I don't deal in phrases like naughty corner

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and noisy corner. That is to infantilise politics

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in Northern Ireland and commentators who use that phrase simply have

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nothing better to say.

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Certainly I would envisage that we can work well

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with Steven and the Greens.

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Again, they approached the election saying -

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though they couldn't use our phrase, I suppose -

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"Neither Orange nor Green,"

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but on the same basis as far as that's concerned.

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We have also incorporated,

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contributing here in the Foyle area on environmental campaigns

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and are doing that at the moment in relation to a whole

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series of possible potential environmental catastrophes here,

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so we disagree on other things, of course,

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but I think that there could be a working relationship there.

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I hope there will be.

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I know Steven a little and I've never had any rows with him,

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so I think the people who are...

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The main reason why I think that the attitude of neither Orange

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nor Green can be brought into the Assembly

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and can have a real effect is that there's a hunger for it.

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I've knocked on doors and said my opening little mantra,

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"I'm from People Before Profit. We are neither Orange nor Green,

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"will you vote for us?" The reaction to that was absolutely striking.

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People in all areas... I sort of stood back a little bit.

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This is a typical reaction.

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I stood back a little bit and they said, "Tell me more,"

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or words to the effect of, "At last," or, "Are you serious?" Or, "Can you do it?"

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Or "Have you any hope of getting elected on this basis?"

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Very few people said to us, "Well, actually, we're Nationalists,

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"we're Unionists, we can't support you."

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I think that this is an idea whose time has come.

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The main reason why there are not bigger political formations

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based on the type of approach that I'm outlining here is simply

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that people have thought, until now, that it just won't work,

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that you can't get elected on that basis,

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that it's just futile rhetoric to talk like that.

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Well, it's not futile rhetoric and hope people in other

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constituencies learn the message. You're sitting there wondering

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and complaining, or phoning into Mr Nolan or somebody, and say,

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"Isn't it terrible that we only have these Nationalists

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"and Unionists fighting with one another

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"in permanent deadlock seemingly."

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OK, you don't have to accept that.

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I mean, go out and support candidates who are there

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and choose between which non-sectarian anti-Orange,

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Green candidates are available to you.

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OK, I want to bring Steven in a second,

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but very quickly, you just touched on a point about working

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relationships with the Greens and so forth. You may have to

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develop at short notice a working relationship with Jim Allister

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who's another oppositional voice from the TUV.

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Do you think you can build some kind of relationship with him, because

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there wouldn't be too many common areas on the policy front, I'd have

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thought, between People Before Profit

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and traditional Unionist voice?

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Well, you've just said it yourself.

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I mean, there are very few areas of an overlap of policy

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and that surely is the key thing.

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Certified numbers and procedures at Stormont or anywhere else

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don't affect political principles. I think there would be a wide range

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-of issues...

-But are you looking forward to working with

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Jim Allister? Are you looking forward to having a cup of tea with

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him, a conversation next week at Stormont?

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I'll be happy to have a cup of tea with almost anybody.

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I hope there'd be no personal animosities or anything like that.

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I would like to think that I have relatively genial

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relationships with people of very different political views.

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I've not had a conversation with Mr Allister in my life,

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-but I'd talk to anybody.

-OK.

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Steven, you have had to develop some kind of relationship

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with Jim Allister and again, there wouldn't be terribly many

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common areas in terms of policy.

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What kind of relationship are you hoping you're going to build with

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Eamonn McCann and Gerry Carroll?

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I recall an interview with Eamonn on Heart and Minds

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when he was asked why, in a European election,

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the Greens and, as they were then, the Socialist Environmental Alliance

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why we weren't standing together

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and he said traditionally the Greens and Reds have marched together,

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and we have been in trade union rallies with Eamonn

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and I've fought many causes along with Eamonn. As he's pointed out

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we've worked closely on some of the environmental issues

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in the north west, not least the largest illegal waste dump at Mobuoy,

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but the reality are we are separate parties.

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We will work together where we share policy and when we disagree,

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I will argue with Eamonn as much as anyone else,

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because I believe in the policies of the Green Party.

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Do you think that that corner, that oppositional corner now in Stormont -

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and I don't know if the seating arrangements are going to stay

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the same or not, but whatever about it, there are going to be six people

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somewhere who are not in the five main parties -

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do you think that the make up as it will be from tomorrow has

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a serious opportunity, a serious possibility to make a difference

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and to actually hold the Executive, whatever it looks like, to account?

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I was one Green MLA in the last Assembly and I feel I did make an effective difference.

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I called Sinn Fein out

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when they said no-one would be worse off on their welfare reform.

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I proposed the first-ever motion on marriage equality

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and led the way in that issue

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when other parties didn't want to talk about it

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and, of course, I brought forward my own children's bill

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and I've changed the law around children's services,

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something that the children's sector campaigned for since 2007.

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So that's what we were able to do with one Green MLA.

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We've now got two green MLAs and I'm confident that

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we can be even more effective in the Assembly and show a distinctive

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-voice, an alternative voice to the five traditional parties.

-OK.

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Well, we look forward to hearing what you have to say over

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the next five years. Eamonn McCann in Derry, thanks very much indeed.

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Steven Agnew, thank you very much as well.

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Let's hear then from my commentators Fionnuala, Alex and Mark.

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Welcome to all of you.

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Fionnuala, first of all, looking at the wider picture, do you think that

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Sinn Fein in particular has been spooked by the threat from the left?

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I feel I should say first in the spirit that Eamonn just

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introduced that here I am answering the Green question and

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Alex, in a moment, will be answering the Orange question,

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but we mustn't upset the running order.

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They were, of course, spooked and they've been spooked in advance.

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They were managing expectations downward from quite some time ago

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and as someone else on air, it was heard on the doorsteps,

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"Will you give us your number two preference in West Belfast?"

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Because they knew Gerry Carroll was going to get the first one.

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The first top in the poll, as other people have pointed out, is

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a bit of an illusory victory in one sense.

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Sinn Fein, of course, were going to manage their vote

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and weren't going to throw it all against keeping him

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off the top of the poll, but that was a psychological blow

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and really it does voice the dissatisfaction

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there has been for considerable time in West Belfast.

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Where I differ with Eamonn and wonder what will become of them,

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I wonder first of all how he will stick it in Stormont and how

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boredom will not crush him.

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But as Steven pointed out, he was able to achieve a considerable amount.

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What I think People Before Profit will do in both West Belfast

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and to a lesser extent in Foyle, where Eamonn's voice is more

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familiar, is they will do what Bernie Sanders, to an extent,

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has done to Hillary Clinton during this campaign.

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They will try to keep them honest,

1:17:141:17:16

so what Sinn Fein will do now in the negotiations

1:17:161:17:19

before, in the next couple of weeks,

1:17:191:17:21

is I suspect they will re-write their already written plan for government.

1:17:211:17:24

OK. Don't fret there will be plenty of opportunities for you to answer

1:17:241:17:28

lots of different questions later in the programme,

1:17:281:17:31

so don't worry about that now. No, no, have no fear.

1:17:311:17:34

Alex, the Greens had hoped, and Steven's already talked about this point, that they had

1:17:341:17:38

hoped to get three home in this election and Ross Brown wasn't successful in East Belfast,

1:17:381:17:43

but do you think there is an opportunity for the Green Party to grow in future elections...

1:17:431:17:48

-from this base?

-I think there is, partly because they surprised us.

1:17:481:17:52

Steven was telling me that, no, they'd be

1:17:521:17:54

lucky to get the one, they've proved

1:17:541:17:56

and if you look at what happened to South Belfast and also East Belfast,

1:17:561:18:00

they're picking up votes from soft unionism as well.

1:18:001:18:03

People who you would've thought would have gone to the

1:18:031:18:05

Ulster Unionists party, maybe an uncomfortable alliance,

1:18:051:18:09

significant numbers of them, in the sense that they made

1:18:091:18:11

a difference in pushing candidates over the line, went to the Greens.

1:18:111:18:15

That again tells you something. It's part of this ongoing process

1:18:151:18:17

of how long it's going to take Northern Ireland to ever get to what we could call normal politics,

1:18:171:18:22

but as I've said for some time, there's something happening in the undergrowth. People

1:18:221:18:26

are looking and they're thinking, "That's not quite the option for me. I'll give this a go,"

1:18:261:18:29

and I think the very fact that you've got two seats, you put your

1:18:291:18:32

vote up, next time round people go, "Actually, they did OK last time."

1:18:321:18:36

What about relationships?

1:18:361:18:37

You heard a little bit there from Eamonn and from Steven about how

1:18:371:18:41

different parties, some of the smaller parties might relate to each other.

1:18:411:18:45

How do you think Eamonn McCann will get on with Jim Allister, realistically?

1:18:451:18:49

You know both of them pretty well?

1:18:491:18:51

Eamonn McCann gets on, as he was saying there in the interview,

1:18:511:18:54

very well with people across a broad range.

1:18:541:18:57

He's a great talker and raconteur and I think that Jim Allister will

1:18:571:19:01

at least share with Eamonn McCann a love of plain speaking and rhetoric.

1:19:011:19:07

They might have a shared interest in terms of the Stormont

1:19:071:19:11

tradecraft, how you work the machine in terms of which

1:19:111:19:14

committees you get on in order to have your voice heard, so at

1:19:141:19:17

that level... That said,

1:19:171:19:19

at the level of principle they couldn't be further apart.

1:19:191:19:23

Jim Allister's first act has been to point out that with

1:19:231:19:26

the loss of John McCallister

1:19:261:19:28

and Basil McCrea that the balance of power has shifted at Stormont

1:19:281:19:31

and in relation to the flag over the building, he's saying

1:19:311:19:35

Unionists now have the votes to push this through,

1:19:351:19:38

so that's a very different kind of first act from anything which

1:19:381:19:41

either Steven Agnew or Eamonn McCann or Gerry Carroll would go for.

1:19:411:19:47

So there will be a divergence,

1:19:471:19:49

but I wouldn't have thought that they'd have

1:19:491:19:51

a particularly difficult relationship because, as I say,

1:19:511:19:54

Eamonn has the ability to get on with a lot of people

1:19:541:19:58

and I think Jim Allister will at least appreciate the fact

1:19:581:20:02

that Eamonn can stand up without a note

1:20:021:20:04

and I hope that this will be true of many more MLAs in this chamber

1:20:041:20:09

and just speak their mind and keep it on point and on message.

1:20:091:20:11

Alex, do you want a quick word just before we move on?

1:20:111:20:14

The interesting thing, Jim has added... For the past

1:20:141:20:16

four, five years, Jim has had it all to himself

1:20:161:20:18

in terms in oratorical skill. The man that everyone listens to

1:20:181:20:22

because he always says something interesting.

1:20:221:20:24

Being challenged now by Eamonn McCann,

1:20:241:20:26

having someone there who is as good on his feet, I think

1:20:261:20:29

the dynamics between those two in terms of who the media will

1:20:291:20:31

hone in on, who they will get the most coverage from...

1:20:311:20:34

And it might make Jim up his game,

1:20:341:20:36

stop constantly complaining about the DUP

1:20:361:20:38

and actually begin to think, "OK, Eamonn's offering something

1:20:381:20:41

"slightly different here. I'm back by myself.

1:20:411:20:43

"I can't do the same thing for another five years, just whinge.

1:20:431:20:46

"I need to do something different."

1:20:461:20:48

Just on the dynamic, Steven mentioned it, what

1:20:481:20:51

he thought had benefited Clare Bailey and was part of her appeal in

1:20:511:20:54

South Belfast and part of the Greens' appeal

1:20:541:20:56

and will be part of People Before Profit's contribution, there is

1:20:561:21:00

the question of abortion rights, there is

1:21:001:21:02

the continuing agony of many women and girls taking pills off the net.

1:21:021:21:08

That is not going to go away.

1:21:081:21:10

Clare Bailey partly, I think, her vote, nobody would doubt was

1:21:101:21:13

due to her honesty and decency on that subject and People

1:21:131:21:17

For Profit will be sticking to that, will be pushing that line to

1:21:171:21:22

a degree as well, so there will be support for Steven who has

1:21:221:21:25

fought the lone fight and that will continue to develop a new

1:21:251:21:29

social dynamic inside the Assembly as well.

1:21:291:21:31

And that's something we may develop a little later bit later

1:21:311:21:35

and obviously other people take a very different perspective on things.

1:21:351:21:38

The other issue on which these four will be interesting to watch

1:21:381:21:40

will be corporation tax, because all the big parties are signed up

1:21:401:21:43

to that, but we're now getting to implementation, which means

1:21:431:21:46

cutting a budget in order to allow it to happen and I suspect

1:21:461:21:50

that the Greens and People Before Profit will be honing in on that.

1:21:501:21:53

We'll develop all of those issues a little bit later in the programme.

1:21:531:21:57

For now, thanks very much indeed.

1:21:571:21:58

In a moment I'll be talking to representatives from the main

1:21:581:22:01

parties, but first our political correspondent Stephen Walker

1:22:011:22:05

examines what key questions the election results present

1:22:051:22:08

and be warned there is some flash photography in his report.

1:22:081:22:11

So the election is over and the counting centres

1:22:281:22:31

and the television sets are being dismantled.

1:22:311:22:33

We now have the results but we also have a series of questions.

1:22:331:22:37

Why is it that the DUP and Sinn Fein are the two largest parties?

1:22:371:22:42

Why is it that the SDLP

1:22:421:22:43

and the Ulster Unionists failed to make an impact?

1:22:431:22:46

And now we know the Stormont arithmetic,

1:22:461:22:49

is it time for an official opposition?

1:22:491:22:52

The DUP are delighted with their results

1:22:561:22:59

and their strategy of effectively making this

1:22:591:23:02

a referendum on who should be First Minister clearly paid off.

1:23:021:23:07

The DUP is now perhaps being seen as the party of government at Stormont.

1:23:071:23:12

Perhaps that's what the average rank and file Unionist is beginning to think.

1:23:121:23:16

In other words, the Ulster Unionist Party might continue to do well,

1:23:161:23:18

might even become... The protest votes might become Westminster,

1:23:181:23:22

which used to be the big election. It might become council elections,

1:23:221:23:25

it might become Euro elections.

1:23:251:23:26

But the DUP seems perhaps to be

1:23:261:23:29

being seen as the party of government in Northern Ireland.

1:23:291:23:32

Sinn Fein are the second-largest party but their vote fell and

1:23:321:23:35

they lost key figures like Rosie Mccauley in West Belfast,

1:23:351:23:39

Maeve McLaughlin in Foyle and Phil Flanagan in Fermanagh South Tyrone.

1:23:391:23:43

Questions are now being raised about their tactics.

1:23:431:23:47

Rosie Mccauley I know had been tipped, you know,

1:23:471:23:49

as a rising star within the party. Maeve McLaughlin, Health Committee,

1:23:491:23:52

quite a high profile politician, so that won't play out

1:23:521:23:55

well and I think that's quite a disappointment for them,

1:23:551:23:57

and what we have seen for a party that is

1:23:571:23:59

known for its discipline, known for its strict photo management

1:23:591:24:03

is that in a few constituencies, there have been a few upsets,

1:24:031:24:06

so Fermanagh South Tyrone's mess of a selection process has come

1:24:061:24:10

back to bite them.

1:24:101:24:11

They've lost a seat there to the SDLP, that won't play out well.

1:24:111:24:14

For the SDLP it's been a painful few days. Dolores Kelly lost

1:24:141:24:19

her seat, as did deputy leader Ferghal McKinney.

1:24:191:24:23

I think it has been a very poor election result.

1:24:231:24:25

They're losing parts of their heartlands,

1:24:251:24:28

so, for example, South Belfast, which was always strong for them,

1:24:281:24:31

losing their deputy leader there, also Foyle, again which was

1:24:311:24:34

the city of the SDLP, it was the John Hume territory.

1:24:341:24:38

To lose their third seat there is incredibly difficult

1:24:381:24:42

and also the problem for many SDLP candidates is

1:24:421:24:45

they're coming in on those final seats,

1:24:451:24:46

but of course at the next Assembly election,

1:24:461:24:48

there will be less seats to go around, so that does cause

1:24:481:24:51

some problems and does put the future of the party into question.

1:24:511:24:57

Going down to roughly 11 seats is pretty much alliance of the SDLP.

1:24:571:25:02

For the UUP it's been a difficult time.

1:25:021:25:05

Their candidate Jenny Palmer took a seat from the DUP in Lagan Valley,

1:25:051:25:08

but that was a rare victory.

1:25:081:25:10

Mike Nesbitt wrote himself a letter before the election

1:25:131:25:16

predicting the outcome and its contents were revealed on the BBC.

1:25:161:25:21

I'm going to formally open this now, OK?

1:25:211:25:24

And you posted this and then

1:25:241:25:26

you put this in your desk, did you? Right.

1:25:261:25:29

The Ulster Unionists must now examine why

1:25:301:25:33

they failed to win more seats?

1:25:331:25:36

I think that we all had wrongly predicted that there would be

1:25:361:25:39

a resurgence of votes for the Ulster Unionists and there isn't

1:25:391:25:42

and I think there's a very simple reason for that.

1:25:421:25:45

Mike Nesbitt's message was quite mixed, it was quite muddled.

1:25:451:25:48

In some ways he tried to appeal to the middle ground, in some ways

1:25:481:25:51

he tried to play to the hard line. I don't think that quite worked,

1:25:511:25:53

whereas the DUP had a very direct message.

1:25:531:25:56

It was keep Arlene as First Minister,

1:25:561:25:58

it was vote for the union.

1:25:581:26:00

The Alliance Party

1:26:001:26:01

retained their number of Stormont seats, but their vote fell.

1:26:011:26:05

I think they'll be very disappointed,

1:26:051:26:07

although they'll be delighted to hold on to those eight seats,

1:26:071:26:10

but to a certain extent, it was more by luck than anything else.

1:26:101:26:14

They're not as healthy as they were in 2011.

1:26:141:26:17

It was a good election for some of the smaller parties with

1:26:171:26:20

the Greens and People Before Profit making gains.

1:26:201:26:23

New faces like Eamonn McCann, Gerry Carroll and Clare Bailey will add

1:26:231:26:28

a new dimension to the Assembly's much-publicised naughty corner.

1:26:281:26:33

There's a lot of talk about how Eamonn McCann will slot in.

1:26:331:26:35

He's not an establishment figure, let's face it.

1:26:351:26:37

He's not one for rules and regulations,

1:26:371:26:39

so I think that will make for interesting viewing.

1:26:391:26:42

We already had Jim Allister as a one-man opposition.

1:26:421:26:45

Now we have his political polar opposite in Eamonn McCann,

1:26:451:26:48

but also someone who's likely to make a few waves.

1:26:481:26:50

So now that all the results are in, what happens next?

1:26:501:26:54

Some observers say the Ulster Unionists

1:26:541:26:57

and the SDLP must consider opposition.

1:26:571:27:01

There's very little to be gained in a smaller executive for the UUP

1:27:011:27:05

and the SDLP to go into it, because at the same time, you're going

1:27:051:27:09

to have a bolstered DUP and you're going to have a Sinn Fein that's going to be hunkering down,

1:27:091:27:14

so there's going to be very little in it for the DUP and Sinn Fein to

1:27:141:27:17

really kick any decent breadcrumbs towards the SDLP or the UUP.

1:27:171:27:21

When the official function is there now for opposition, it would

1:27:211:27:24

be madness if they didn't take it up.

1:27:241:27:26

In the days ahead, talks about a programme for government will

1:27:261:27:29

dominate the political agenda. The electorate have made their decision.

1:27:291:27:33

Now the class of 2016 have some key decisions of their own to make.

1:27:331:27:39

Stephen Walker rounding up the weekend's events for us there.

1:27:401:27:44

All of the five main parties saw their share of the vote drop.

1:27:441:27:47

We'll hear from them in just a moment.

1:27:471:27:49

Let's take a look at that share though.

1:27:491:27:51

The DUP is out in front with just over 29%.

1:27:511:27:54

Sinn Fein is on 24%. The Ulster Unionists on 12.6.

1:27:541:27:58

The SDLP just behind on 12 and Alliance on 7%.

1:27:581:28:03

Let's compare that to 2011.

1:28:031:28:05

We can see they've all dropped, in fact, some more than others.

1:28:051:28:10

With me now to discuss that and other issues

1:28:101:28:13

are the Ulster Unionist Party's Christopher Stalford,

1:28:131:28:16

Sinn Fein's John O'Dowd,

1:28:161:28:18

Naomi Long from the Alliance Party,

1:28:181:28:20

the Ulster Unionist Robin Swann

1:28:201:28:22

and Nichola Mallon from the SDLP.

1:28:221:28:24

So, welcome to all of you,

1:28:241:28:26

we've got plenty of time to talk about what happened

1:28:261:28:28

over the campaign -

1:28:281:28:29

what went right, what went wrong and to look to the future

1:28:291:28:32

and how that might shape up.

1:28:321:28:35

Christopher Stalford first of all.

1:28:351:28:36

The DUP campaign seems to have chimed with a lot of voters,

1:28:361:28:40

does that mean, from where you're sitting,

1:28:401:28:42

the DUP now speaks for Unionism?

1:28:421:28:45

Yes, we do.

1:28:451:28:47

I'm delighted with the result party has had.

1:28:471:28:49

To have polled over 200,000 votes

1:28:491:28:51

is the first time we've been over 200,000 votes

1:28:511:28:55

across Northern Ireland since 2007.

1:28:551:28:58

I think there are a couple of people who must be thanked for the result,

1:28:581:29:01

particularly our director of elections, Nigel Dodds.

1:29:011:29:03

He ran an absolutely tight ship,

1:29:031:29:05

and I'm delighted with the result the party has achieved

1:29:051:29:08

in this election, it's a mandate to endorse the vision

1:29:081:29:10

that was outlined by our leader, Arlene Foster...

1:29:101:29:12

-It was all about Arlene.

-Well, Arlene was the leader of our party

1:29:121:29:16

and was very much front and centre of our campaign,

1:29:161:29:19

and I think the result we have got

1:29:191:29:20

reflects the huge support there is in the country

1:29:201:29:23

for her continuing to be the First Minister of Northern Ireland.

1:29:231:29:26

So that's the positive side. But as we said in the introduction,

1:29:261:29:29

it is worth noting that all the main parties' votes are down.

1:29:291:29:32

The DUP by almost 1%. Second Assembly drop in a row for the DUP.

1:29:321:29:36

What does that say about voter disengagement?

1:29:361:29:40

We went into this election with 38 seats.

1:29:401:29:43

All of the commentators - all - said we would drop seats.

1:29:431:29:47

-They said you might.

-Well, we came back with 38 seats.

1:29:471:29:51

After ten years in government as the lead party in government,

1:29:511:29:54

to come back with the same number of seats that we got five years ago

1:29:541:29:58

is a tremendous achievement.

1:29:581:30:00

To be over 200,000 votes for the first time since 2007

1:30:001:30:03

is also a great achievement.

1:30:031:30:06

Let's not be begrudging. We had a good election.

1:30:061:30:09

It was a good result and it is a mandate

1:30:091:30:11

for Arlene to take forward the vision that she outlined

1:30:111:30:15

for the next five years.

1:30:151:30:16

OK. John O'Dowd, Would you say it was a good seat for Sinn Fein?

1:30:161:30:20

You're down a seat, you're down 2.9%.

1:30:201:30:23

Well, we are a party in government, as Christopher said,

1:30:231:30:26

most of the parties round the table have been active in government

1:30:261:30:29

for ten years and in leadership positions for ten years.

1:30:291:30:31

I suspect, if you look across Western Europe,

1:30:311:30:34

many parties in government for that length of time

1:30:341:30:37

during one of the worst recessions to hit the global economy,

1:30:371:30:40

would be delighted to be able to return the vast majority

1:30:401:30:42

of their MLAs and hold on, largely, to the percentage of their vote.

1:30:421:30:46

Quite frankly, I'm more interested in what happens next.

1:30:461:30:49

The election is over.

1:30:491:30:50

It's a very important event in any democratic society,

1:30:501:30:53

but what we now need to do is knuckle down and get the programme

1:30:531:30:57

for government sorted out and start delivering services for society.

1:30:571:31:00

Start making the positive changes that are required in our society

1:31:001:31:04

and tackle the huge challenges

1:31:041:31:06

that are in front of us in the months and years ahead.

1:31:061:31:09

But there are lessons that you have to learn.

1:31:091:31:13

Gerry Kelly was sitting where you are sitting now, yesterday,

1:31:131:31:17

and he said we will have an inquiry

1:31:171:31:19

into what went wrong in our campaign,

1:31:191:31:21

and ask some serious questions.

1:31:211:31:22

Because it didn't all go according to plan - in Foyle, Fermanagh

1:31:221:31:26

and South Tyrone, West Belfast,

1:31:261:31:27

Upper Bann, you know, you and Cat Seeley squeezed home

1:31:271:31:30

and squeezed Dolores Kelly out at the end,

1:31:301:31:32

but it looked at one stage like you could not deliver what you hoped.

1:31:321:31:37

-Well...

-You could have lost out.

1:31:371:31:39

Well, let's start in reverse order.

1:31:391:31:40

PR elections are not about topping the poll.

1:31:401:31:43

PR elections are about winning seats,

1:31:431:31:45

that's what we achieved in Upper Bann.

1:31:451:31:47

You use the term, inquiry, review, whatever you wish to use.

1:31:471:31:50

Every political party around this table

1:31:501:31:52

will review their results and how they fought this election.

1:31:521:31:55

I do believe we have to look at what we achieved in Upper Bann

1:31:551:31:58

and how we can replicate that in other areas.

1:31:581:32:00

It's not about romping home in the first count,

1:32:001:32:04

it's not about topping the poll, it's about winning seats.

1:32:041:32:07

Yeah. But you didn't win a third seat in Foyle

1:32:071:32:09

and you brought your party leader home from Mid Ulster

1:32:091:32:11

to take a third seat.

1:32:111:32:13

He took a seat. Maeve McLaughlin doesn't have a job tomorrow.

1:32:131:32:16

Well...it is a huge loss for the party losing Maeve McLaughlin.

1:32:161:32:20

-Phil Flanagan doesn't have a job.

-As an MLA...

1:32:201:32:23

Maeve McLaughlin will continue to be a Sinn Fein activist,

1:32:231:32:26

campaigner and worker.

1:32:261:32:28

-And the same for other candidates who lost out?

-Yes.

1:32:281:32:32

-Rosie McCorley... Yes.

-All...

1:32:321:32:34

-All...

-I'm sure they'd rather be an MLA?

-Of course they would.

1:32:341:32:38

The same as if John O'Dowd had lost his seat yesterday,

1:32:381:32:42

we as Sinn Fein activists put ourselves forward

1:32:421:32:45

to represent the party

1:32:451:32:46

and we take the chances and risks of electoral politics.

1:32:461:32:49

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

1:32:491:32:52

But what we will still continue to do

1:32:521:32:54

is put forward a radical alternative

1:32:541:32:56

in terms of our policies and politics.

1:32:561:32:58

We will stand by our manifesto commitments.

1:32:581:33:01

We fought on the basis that we were going into government.

1:33:011:33:04

Others fought on the basis that we might be opposition,

1:33:041:33:06

we might go into government, we're not sure what we're going to go.

1:33:061:33:09

We are going into government.

1:33:091:33:11

Right. Robin Swann, Mike Nesbitt sat here yesterday

1:33:111:33:14

and put his hands up and said that this election campaign

1:33:141:33:18

from an Ulster Unionist perspective was not a success.

1:33:181:33:21

Your share is down -

1:33:211:33:22

but critically you did not grow the number of seats.

1:33:221:33:25

You had 16 in 2011, you have 16 in 2016.

1:33:251:33:29

Well, we had 13 in the last Assembly, we've now 16.

1:33:291:33:32

We took back the seats that we lost through defections.

1:33:321:33:34

And we had a couple of close misses.

1:33:341:33:37

Even he did not try to make that point yesterday,

1:33:371:33:40

he conceded the fact that you got 16 in 2011, you got 16 in 2016.

1:33:401:33:45

I'm not going to argue, but we had a couple of close misses.

1:33:451:33:47

We made mistakes. We will learn from them.

1:33:471:33:50

-What were those mistakes?

-There was a number of vote management issues

1:33:501:33:53

we'll look at seriously.

1:33:531:33:55

You think it's vote management rather than...

1:33:551:33:58

explaining to the electorate

1:33:581:33:59

precisely what the Ulster Unionist Party stands for?

1:33:591:34:01

We heard from a lot of people yesterday

1:34:011:34:04

that it was a lack of a simple, straightforward,

1:34:041:34:06

clear message that cost the Ulster Unionist Party that growth

1:34:061:34:11

and was the reason for the success of the DUP.

1:34:111:34:14

We were fighting Project Fear, Arlene or Martin.

1:34:141:34:16

That's the message we were continually fighting on the doors.

1:34:161:34:20

It was a hard message to fight against.

1:34:201:34:23

No matter what detail in policy we put forward,

1:34:231:34:25

-it was all about Arlene.

-It was very successful.

-Can I respond?

1:34:251:34:29

Listen, we'll come back to you about it in a moment or two.

1:34:291:34:32

I know you'll not accept it but it is a bit of a lame excuse.

1:34:321:34:35

The others were better than us and they confused people?

1:34:351:34:38

It's your job as a politician to get a clear, simple message

1:34:381:34:42

out there to inspire the electorate, and you failed to do that.

1:34:421:34:45

They don't know what you represent, are you progressive or hardline?

1:34:451:34:49

Hard to tell.

1:34:491:34:50

We are a progressive party and we put forward progressive policies.

1:34:501:34:54

Not progressive when you pulled out of the Executive on

1:34:541:34:56

the issue of trusting Sinn Fein and the DUP stayed there.

1:34:561:34:59

That was the risk we took

1:34:591:35:00

and what we thought was right to do at that stage.

1:35:001:35:03

-And on reflection, was it wrong?

-No.

1:35:031:35:06

It was the right thing to do at that stage.

1:35:061:35:08

We'll enter the discussions for a programme for government

1:35:081:35:10

and we'll see if those round the table

1:35:101:35:12

are putting forward a progressive programme...

1:35:121:35:14

So you are not clear at this moment

1:35:141:35:16

whether you will be inside or outside the tent?

1:35:161:35:20

We're going into negotiations, Mark. It's made clear by any

1:35:201:35:23

opposition person you have questioned including Mike Nesbitt.

1:35:231:35:25

We're not going to walk away from the programme

1:35:251:35:27

for government discussions.

1:35:271:35:29

We'll go in and see if we trust the people around the table

1:35:291:35:31

and see if it is a progressive forward-thinking programme

1:35:311:35:34

for government for Northern Ireland.

1:35:341:35:36

-And we'll make a judgment if we can trust the others.

-OK.

1:35:361:35:39

Nichola Mallon, where is the SDLP in all of this?

1:35:391:35:42

You can't argue that it was anything other than a disappointing election.

1:35:421:35:46

You had a new leader, you promised a great deal

1:35:461:35:48

and you go back two seats down on 2011.

1:35:481:35:52

It is always painful to lose MLAs.

1:35:521:35:55

I personally know Dolores and Gerard and Fearghal.

1:35:551:35:59

I'm not going to spin things,

1:35:591:36:00

we're very disappointed at losing those seats.

1:36:001:36:02

But in saying that, we have increased our vote

1:36:021:36:05

in a number of places.

1:36:051:36:07

18 of our 24 candidates were brand-new.

1:36:071:36:10

We have a new leader in post a couple of months

1:36:101:36:12

and we are undergoing significant renewal and change.

1:36:121:36:15

Rome wasn't built in a day.

1:36:151:36:16

We'll take a hard look at our election results -

1:36:161:36:18

but we have a new team and we are energised

1:36:181:36:21

and looking forward to being up in the Assembly.

1:36:211:36:23

Yeah. It's the worst SDLP result in terms of vote share ever

1:36:231:36:28

and in terms of Assembly representation.

1:36:281:36:30

As you said, all the main parties

1:36:301:36:32

have experienced a decline in their vote.

1:36:321:36:34

In North Belfast, in a lower turnout,

1:36:341:36:37

I increased the percentage on the actual vote.

1:36:371:36:40

We worked hard and we had losses in other areas

1:36:401:36:43

but in South Antrim, Roisin Lynch put in a very good fight.

1:36:431:36:47

She put the leader of the Alliance Party under pressure.

1:36:471:36:50

Connor Duncan in North Antrim put in a good fight too.

1:36:501:36:53

We need to build on that.

1:36:531:36:55

Where was the Colum Eastwood bounce? You should've done better

1:36:551:36:57

and had the wind in your backs with a new leader, should you not?

1:36:571:37:00

Certainly in the doors of North Belfast,

1:37:001:37:03

people were commenting on Colum Eastwood and recognising

1:37:031:37:07

that we are undergoing change,

1:37:071:37:09

that we see a significant change in the age of the people

1:37:091:37:12

coming into leadership positions in the SDLP.

1:37:121:37:15

So I know from speaking to people in North Belfast

1:37:151:37:18

that Colum was a factor, and for me it was a positive factor.

1:37:181:37:21

Yeah. Just look at where the SDLP has gone since 1998.

1:37:211:37:25

Back then, the year of the Good Friday Agreement,

1:37:251:37:29

178,000 votes. You topped the league table of all parties

1:37:291:37:32

in terms of the popular vote, 178,000 votes in 1998.

1:37:321:37:36

2016, 83,000. You have lost nearly 100,000 votes in 18 years.

1:37:361:37:42

Yes, and we have to change it, and we are determined to...

1:37:421:37:46

You didn't start to change it in this election.

1:37:461:37:48

In North Belfast,

1:37:481:37:50

we started to change it and in other constituencies.

1:37:501:37:52

But as I said, Rome wasn't built in a day,

1:37:521:37:55

and as a party undergoing significant change,

1:37:551:37:57

we'll need time to do that.

1:37:571:37:59

We said that to the voters,

1:37:591:38:00

and had honest conversations with voters on the doorstep.

1:38:001:38:03

OK. Naomi Long, not a great election

1:38:031:38:05

from the Alliance Party's perspective.

1:38:051:38:08

You had 8 and you have 8.

1:38:081:38:10

Yes, a different eight, which is important,

1:38:101:38:13

because we've new people in and we have refreshed the team.

1:38:131:38:16

It's always difficult,

1:38:161:38:19

when you look at people like Kieran McCarthy, Anna Lo,

1:38:191:38:21

who are real characters and big figures in their constituencies

1:38:211:38:24

and they are hard to replace.

1:38:241:38:26

So we've managed to do that and held our ground.

1:38:261:38:30

We did not make some of the gains we would've liked,

1:38:301:38:32

but we were runner-up in two constituencies

1:38:321:38:35

and within a couple of hundred votes

1:38:351:38:36

of gaining seats in others. So in many ways,

1:38:361:38:39

the strategy worked, in that we put the effort into those constituencies

1:38:391:38:42

where we thought gains were possible.

1:38:421:38:44

But we didn't have the luck on those last seats.

1:38:441:38:46

That happens. Some elections are lucky.

1:38:461:38:49

We squeezed 6 seats out of 3.7% of the vote in 2003.

1:38:491:38:55

I think we got all our luck we were ever going to get in that election.

1:38:551:38:58

We didn't have any this time around.

1:38:581:39:00

That's the way politics is.

1:39:001:39:02

But we have got our 8, we have a strengthened team

1:39:021:39:05

and I'm looking forward being there on Monday doing the job.

1:39:051:39:09

You got 8 this time round, it was a squeeze,

1:39:091:39:12

you got 8 more easily five years ago and there has been no growth.

1:39:121:39:15

Back in 1998, you had six MLAs.

1:39:151:39:19

In 2016, you have gone up two seats.

1:39:191:39:23

-Yeah.

-There is no big breakthrough, no groundswell of opinion.

1:39:231:39:28

As Northern Ireland has moved on and politics has moved on,

1:39:281:39:31

the Alliance Party has been stuck.

1:39:311:39:33

No, I don't think you can say we've been stuck,

1:39:331:39:35

we've improved in every election.

1:39:351:39:37

I agree that this election has not been good in terms of vote share.

1:39:371:39:40

You have to look at the micro stuff.

1:39:401:39:43

John was talking about PR elections, we weren't out to get easy seats,

1:39:431:39:46

we were out to put resources into those seats

1:39:461:39:49

where we thought we could make gains.

1:39:491:39:51

Those seats did not come through on this occasion,

1:39:511:39:54

but the cost of investing that resource in those seats

1:39:541:39:58

was, for example, a drop in our vote in Lagan Valley

1:39:581:40:01

and a drop in our vote in David Ford's own constituency.

1:40:011:40:04

Because David was a leader and led from the front.

1:40:041:40:07

Instead of knocking doors

1:40:071:40:09

in South Antrim where we knew we would hold our seat,

1:40:091:40:13

he knocked on doors in North Belfast where we were runners-up.

1:40:131:40:16

I think that is how you run an election campaign.

1:40:161:40:21

Well, on the issue of leadership which you have raised,

1:40:211:40:24

I will take the invitation to discuss it,

1:40:241:40:27

when you look at the success of the DUP's campaign,

1:40:271:40:31

putting a new leader, Arlene Foster, to the fore

1:40:311:40:33

and look at the lack of success

1:40:331:40:35

in your campaign, with you sitting in the wings,

1:40:351:40:38

maybe - maybe, making it all about Naomi,

1:40:381:40:40

we'd be having a very different conversation.

1:40:401:40:43

Well, the Alliance Party is not a personality cult,

1:40:431:40:46

so let's kill that dead.

1:40:461:40:47

-That's not what it's about.

-Maybe it should be?

-No -

1:40:471:40:49

it should be about progressive politics, policy.

1:40:491:40:52

It's not about one individual. It's about the team that we put forward.

1:40:521:40:57

David has done an amazing job as leader. There's no question.

1:40:571:41:02

He is one of the most generous people

1:41:021:41:06

I know in terms of the time he gives in other constituencies...

1:41:061:41:09

Sure, you can say that as deputy leader, but it is what voters think.

1:41:091:41:14

Voters maybe don't share that view?

1:41:141:41:16

That may or may not be the case,

1:41:161:41:17

but I don't this was a referendum on David Ford's leadership.

1:41:171:41:20

It was about individual constituencies...

1:41:201:41:22

But when you sit down, Naomi, as all the parties will do,

1:41:221:41:25

John O'Dowd has already conceded Sinn Fein will do it,

1:41:251:41:28

when you sit down as a party,

1:41:281:41:30

quietly in a room without any fanfare,

1:41:301:41:32

to look at the numbers and look at where the successes were

1:41:321:41:35

and where the failures were -

1:41:351:41:36

and there were more failures than successes -

1:41:361:41:39

are the men in suits going to tap him on the shoulder

1:41:391:41:42

and say maybe now the time has come, David?

1:41:421:41:44

Nobody is tapping David Ford on the shoulder to ask him to go.

1:41:441:41:48

I am sorry this has become such an obsession.

1:41:481:41:50

There is a huge amount of admiration

1:41:501:41:54

and respect for what David has achieved over his leadership.

1:41:541:41:57

He has taken Alliance to places we never thought we would be.

1:41:571:42:01

Let's be honest, we used to not be at the table in these debates,

1:42:011:42:05

because we were ignored.

1:42:051:42:07

We were relegated into the second division.

1:42:071:42:09

David has brought us to the table and given us a voice.

1:42:091:42:12

Anyone who has not seen what David has achieved

1:42:121:42:14

is not looking at the whole picture.

1:42:141:42:16

Do you think it is the cult of Arlene, celebrity politics?

1:42:161:42:19

Naomi Long says we shouldn't get into that.

1:42:191:42:22

-I think that was a sideswipe in your direction.

-No, it wasn't.

1:42:221:42:25

I'm just saying that's not what politics is about,

1:42:251:42:28

it's about policy.

1:42:281:42:30

It is not a popularity contest, and it shouldn't be.

1:42:301:42:32

Do you think the DUP turned it into a popularity contest?

1:42:321:42:34

I think the DUP had a successful election,

1:42:341:42:36

so whether they did or didn't, it worked.

1:42:361:42:38

I think that is insulting to the 202,000 people

1:42:381:42:42

who voted for our party in this election

1:42:421:42:45

and who endorsed the vision outlined by our leader -

1:42:451:42:48

to suggest that those people are in some way foolish or sheep,

1:42:481:42:52

who were herded into the voting booth is an insult to people.

1:42:521:42:55

What do you think they voted for?

1:42:551:42:58

-Did they vote for DUP policy?

-You didn't...

-I didn't.

1:42:581:43:00

Robin Swann implied it.

1:43:001:43:02

So what were people voting for?

1:43:021:43:04

-For DUP policy or...

-Yes.

1:43:041:43:07

..the DUP's record or Arlene and Arlene's vision,

1:43:071:43:12

or were they voting for the candidates

1:43:121:43:14

like Christopher Stalford?

1:43:141:43:15

What do you think motivated them?

1:43:151:43:18

A combination of all of those things

1:43:181:43:20

motivated people to vote for our party.

1:43:201:43:22

Or the fear factor, as Robin Swann says?

1:43:221:43:24

No, the fact of the matter is that in Scotland,

1:43:241:43:29

the election campaign there,

1:43:291:43:32

Labour wanted Kezia Dugdale to be the FM,

1:43:321:43:34

and the SNP said they wanted Nicola Sturgeon.

1:43:341:43:39

What sort of party would it be...

1:43:391:43:40

I can understand why some parties would want to hide their leader,

1:43:401:43:43

but what sort of party wants to hide their leader

1:43:431:43:45

from being in the front line of an election campaign?

1:43:451:43:48

Well, who hid their leader?

1:43:481:43:51

Well, I think some leaders were more prominent than others.

1:43:511:43:54

Who are you thinking of?

1:43:541:43:57

I didn't see an awful lot of Mike or Colum Eastwood during the election.

1:43:571:44:02

-Did you not?

-Not really.

-Where was Mike?

-Mike was visible.

1:44:021:44:06

He was around the constituencies.

1:44:061:44:08

Coming back to the letter Arlene sent my wife,

1:44:081:44:11

"a vote for anyone other than the DUP candidate

1:44:111:44:14

"would divide and weaken the pro-Union vote

1:44:141:44:16

"and allow Martin McGuinness to become First Minister."

1:44:161:44:20

In North Antrim...

1:44:201:44:22

The other election broadcast was sent through North Antrim.

1:44:221:44:26

Showed the percentage votes of the different parties,

1:44:261:44:28

-30% DUP and 26.9% Sinn Fein.

-Is that accurate?

1:44:281:44:33

-In North Antrim...

-What's your point?

1:44:331:44:36

That was the communication sent to North Antrim.

1:44:361:44:39

If the DUP were being open and honest about what they were doing,

1:44:391:44:43

that was the Project Fear factor out there...

1:44:431:44:45

-The subliminal message...

-The percentages shown on that paper...

1:44:451:44:49

-So that's the dog whistling?

-Yes, it is.

1:44:491:44:51

You are insulting not only your own constituents...

1:44:511:44:54

who voted for the DUP in greater numbers

1:44:541:44:57

than they voted for the Ulster Unionists in North Antrim

1:44:571:45:00

but you are insulting the 200,000 people

1:45:001:45:02

-who elected to support our party in this election...

-Right.

1:45:021:45:05

..because they believed in the vision of our party.

1:45:051:45:08

So, John O'Dowd, was the reference to Project Fear

1:45:081:45:11

an insult to Sinn Fein?

1:45:111:45:12

No - well, I didn't take it as an insult.

1:45:121:45:15

I don't like the style of politics.

1:45:151:45:17

I don't think it's going to work for the DUP in the years ahead.

1:45:171:45:21

Because there has been a shift and change in attitudes

1:45:211:45:24

across the electorate, I think, and I am thankful that across Upper Bann

1:45:241:45:28

I canvassed many areas,

1:45:281:45:30

and there was a Unionist voice and a Unionist vote in those areas.

1:45:301:45:34

I was pleasantly surprised by the reception I received on the doors.

1:45:341:45:38

Often in the past, you would've been chased

1:45:381:45:41

or people will have taken great exception

1:45:411:45:43

to you going to their door in the past.

1:45:431:45:45

Unionist electorate were willing to engage with me on the doorstep.

1:45:451:45:50

They put their point of view across as Unionists, but it was being done

1:45:501:45:54

in a way which was both amicable that we were able to share ideas

1:45:541:45:59

with each other and we could challenge each other,

1:45:591:46:01

and I don't think this fear of Sinn Fein

1:46:011:46:04

the DUP are promoting will work for them in the future.

1:46:041:46:07

People want to see the political parties working together.

1:46:071:46:11

Nichola, you within the SDLP

1:46:111:46:12

did endeavour to put your new leader forward, front and centre,

1:46:121:46:15

but it didn't make any difference.

1:46:151:46:17

As I said, round North Belfast, it made a difference.

1:46:171:46:20

Colum came to doors with me

1:46:201:46:21

and the doors I was at, people were passing comment

1:46:211:46:24

on the fact he was a new leader and they were liking what he was saying.

1:46:241:46:28

But across all 18 constituencies it didn't make the kind of difference

1:46:281:46:31

that you hoped it would make as you were down 2.2%,

1:46:311:46:33

you lost two seats in the Assembly.

1:46:331:46:35

He's been in post five months or so.

1:46:351:46:38

I believe we're starting to get a bounce,

1:46:381:46:40

people will see in this next Assembly

1:46:401:46:42

the calibre of Colum Eastwood as a leader.

1:46:421:46:44

But, Mark, If I could just say,

1:46:441:46:45

in relation to the discussion we've just had...

1:46:451:46:48

for me it's very simple.

1:46:481:46:49

The DUP tried to portray this phoney fight about who'd be top dog

1:46:491:46:52

and the truth is that Arlene and Martin

1:46:521:46:55

have to sign off on everything together.

1:46:551:46:57

So that was a thing I personally found insulting.

1:46:571:47:00

I don't know the people I spoke to personally found it insulting,

1:47:001:47:03

because it was a phoney fight.

1:47:031:47:04

Now, let me bring you in at this point.

1:47:041:47:07

Let's plant the past behind us, let's plant the election

1:47:071:47:10

and look to the future now because, I think to be fair to our viewers,

1:47:101:47:13

they want to hear what happens next. And the results are pretty clear

1:47:131:47:17

and we know who's going back to Stormont tomorrow.

1:47:171:47:19

The question I have, first of all for Naomi,

1:47:191:47:21

are you going to be part of the conversations

1:47:211:47:23

on the programme for government?

1:47:231:47:25

Because under the new executive, the bar you've got a clear,

1:47:251:47:29

as I understand it, to have a position in the executive

1:47:291:47:32

as of right, is 11. The Alliance party has eight.

1:47:321:47:34

If you've got eight, it may well be that the other four parties

1:47:341:47:38

get together in a room tomorrow to start the discussions

1:47:381:47:40

about the programme for government and you're outside the room.

1:47:401:47:43

It's the first opportunity we've had to seriously discuss this.

1:47:431:47:46

-That is a possibility.

-What is the state of play?

1:47:461:47:48

That is a possibility.

1:47:481:47:50

It depends whether other parties then decide that they want us

1:47:501:47:53

to be engaged in this discussion.

1:47:531:47:55

If some parties don't take their seats,

1:47:551:47:57

it might well fall to Alliance at some point

1:47:571:48:00

that we would have an entitlement.

1:48:001:48:02

So if other parties don't want us to be part of those negotiations,

1:48:021:48:05

that will be a decision they have to make.

1:48:051:48:08

We'll find out whether people want us

1:48:081:48:10

to be part of those negotiations, but no, we won't be there of right.

1:48:101:48:13

Which is a disappointment because we'd want to be there,

1:48:131:48:16

being able to influence what happens in the room.

1:48:161:48:19

But it depends, as I say, whether other parties will want us

1:48:191:48:21

to be there and be involved.

1:48:211:48:24

Christopher, do you have any knowledge?

1:48:241:48:26

Will the Alliance party be invited to those conversations or not?

1:48:261:48:28

With all due respect, Mark,

1:48:281:48:30

48 hours ago I was a councillor in Belfast City Council.

1:48:301:48:33

I'm now one of the most junior backbench assembly members.

1:48:331:48:37

-Your party has asked you to come on.

-Of course.

1:48:371:48:41

So I imagine you've had a conversation with the powers that be

1:48:411:48:44

and you know what the line is.

1:48:441:48:45

I'm sure that the view will be that as many parties as possible

1:48:451:48:48

should be involved in the discussions

1:48:481:48:50

around the programme of government,

1:48:501:48:52

and I'm sure that'll be the case.

1:48:521:48:54

So, you think that even though the Alliance party

1:48:541:48:56

is not entitled to be there,

1:48:561:48:57

the DUP would be magnanimous in the Alliance party's "defeat",

1:48:571:49:01

and invite it along to the table?

1:49:011:49:03

Let's not overstate it. It wasn't a defeat.

1:49:031:49:05

You're getting carried away with yourself, Mark, if I may say so.

1:49:051:49:09

Defeat to get 11 seats, Naomi, you know what I mean.

1:49:091:49:12

-Hang on, you know what I mean.

-We didn't cross the bar.

-Exactly.

1:49:121:49:15

It was not a defeat.

1:49:151:49:16

You didn't clear the bar, so you're not there as right.

1:49:161:49:18

You said that yourself. But you're going to be magnanimous.

1:49:181:49:21

It's not for me to dole out munificence to Naomi Long

1:49:211:49:24

or anyone else, but I do think...

1:49:241:49:25

I'm clarifying what you said

1:49:251:49:27

a minute ago, which seemed to suggest...

1:49:271:49:29

They are presently an executive party, so I would imagine

1:49:291:49:31

they'd be part of any discussions around the programme for government.

1:49:311:49:35

At very least, I'd imagine the party would want people like Steven

1:49:351:49:38

and David in the room to discuss the work programme that is left

1:49:381:49:43

from the departments which they exited at the election.

1:49:431:49:46

So I would imagine, at the very least,

1:49:461:49:48

they would want them engaged at that level.

1:49:481:49:51

OK, John O'Dowd, can you shed any light on this

1:49:511:49:53

from Sinn Fein's perspective?

1:49:531:49:54

Do you imagine that Alliance will be in those

1:49:541:49:56

programme for government discussions?

1:49:561:49:58

I think Naomi has summed it up there.

1:49:581:50:00

There's experience for both David and Steven

1:50:001:50:03

in relation to those departments they've left.

1:50:031:50:06

And they do have experience which is useful

1:50:061:50:08

for the rest of the political parties to be involved

1:50:081:50:11

in elements of the programme for government.

1:50:111:50:13

Perhaps the entirely around the programme for government.

1:50:131:50:16

But we want to see moving forward an assembly which is fully functional

1:50:161:50:20

and working and people are buying into a programme

1:50:201:50:23

of delivery and change for this session.

1:50:231:50:27

Right, Robin Swann, you said you want to be part of those

1:50:271:50:29

conversations and you're entitled to be part of those conversations.

1:50:291:50:33

But still you seriously want to be

1:50:331:50:35

part of a propping-up Project Fear in the executive?

1:50:351:50:39

We don't want to be part of what the last executive delivered.

1:50:391:50:43

We don't want to be part of more of the same,

1:50:431:50:45

we don't want to be part of 400,000 people on the waiting list.

1:50:451:50:48

So, what you what need to hear to persuade you that you want

1:50:481:50:51

Mike Nesbitt to be Minister for Education?

1:50:511:50:53

We want to hear what's in the discussions.

1:50:531:50:55

We want to hear what the other parties are putting on the table

1:50:551:50:57

for the programme for government.

1:50:571:50:59

Each party's set out a manifesto of different commitments and pledges.

1:50:591:51:02

We want to see what makes up the final programme for government.

1:51:021:51:05

And the see of the other parties are genuinely committed.

1:51:051:51:08

But your hunch is that you'd want to be in the executive

1:51:081:51:10

rather than in opposition?

1:51:101:51:12

We want to be part of the talks around programme for government.

1:51:121:51:15

That doesn't answer my question.

1:51:151:51:16

Is your hunch that you want to be in the executive or the opposition?

1:51:161:51:19

We want to be part of the talks around the programme for government.

1:51:191:51:22

You've asked every Ulster Unionist politician that has come on

1:51:221:51:26

and they've given you the same questions.

1:51:261:51:28

You're consistent on that, if nothing else. Right, Nichola.

1:51:281:51:32

What's your hunch about whether the SDLP should be in or out,

1:51:321:51:36

as far as the executive is concerned?

1:51:361:51:39

My hunch is the SDLP's position has been made very clear

1:51:391:51:42

and we have been consistently making clear.

1:51:421:51:44

We fought this election, we had a manifesto,

1:51:441:51:46

we have key policy pledges, we'll be going in tomorrow morning

1:51:461:51:50

to the Assembly, we'll be talking to the other parties.

1:51:501:51:52

But we want to see what the content of the programme for government is.

1:51:521:51:56

And if the content is strong, if it delivers on some of our key

1:51:561:51:59

policy pledges, then yes, we will be government.

1:51:591:52:02

If it doesn't, then we'll need to reflect upon that

1:52:021:52:04

and consider our position.

1:52:041:52:06

Or, of course, you could try to change it.

1:52:061:52:08

It's interesting that both yourself and Robin Swann talked about

1:52:081:52:11

what the other parties have in their draft programme for government.

1:52:111:52:15

Forgive me for saying, but it's almost as if the DUP and Sinn Fein

1:52:151:52:18

will hand or circulate some sort of document

1:52:181:52:20

-that you either agree with or disagree with.

-No, no.

1:52:201:52:23

Should you not be part of influencing

1:52:231:52:25

-the creation of that document?

-Absolutely.

1:52:251:52:27

Neither of you articulated it in quite that way though.

1:52:271:52:31

Perhaps if I say it like this.

1:52:311:52:33

We had a manifesto.

1:52:331:52:35

Clearly the policy pledges were costed.

1:52:351:52:38

Very clearly that was what we were standing in this election for.

1:52:381:52:41

And that will form the basis of our negotiation on the content

1:52:411:52:44

of the programme for government.

1:52:441:52:46

And as part of that negotiation, we will be listening and inputting.

1:52:461:52:49

And the truth is, we've already seen the bare bones

1:52:491:52:55

of a draft programme for government

1:52:551:52:57

in your two manifestos, Christopher.

1:52:571:52:59

-Yes, but...

-Yes.

-But it's not a two-party government.

1:52:591:53:04

But you're conceding we have seen the bare bones

1:53:041:53:06

of a draft programme for government?

1:53:061:53:08

No, you've seen us outlining our policies

1:53:081:53:10

and the positions we will take in terms of any negotiations

1:53:101:53:14

regarding a programme for government.

1:53:141:53:16

And they're remarkably similar to Sinn Fein's.

1:53:161:53:18

Well, what I would say is, if other parties have other ideas,

1:53:181:53:22

they should bring those forward, we'll have the discussions.

1:53:221:53:25

We should try and put together a programme for government

1:53:251:53:29

that can command the support of as many in the house as possible.

1:53:291:53:33

But you don't need their support.

1:53:331:53:35

-Well...

-What's the motivation for the DUP and Sinn Fein

1:53:351:53:38

to have the other parties involved?

1:53:381:53:39

The two of you can carve it up between you, and if they like it,

1:53:391:53:42

they can support you and join the executive.

1:53:421:53:44

If they don't like, they can lump it and go into opposition.

1:53:441:53:47

So why would you be generous to them? I don't understand.

1:53:471:53:49

Well, I don't think, to be fair, the SDLP in particular

1:53:491:53:52

ran on a platform saying vote for us to be the opposition.

1:53:521:53:56

I think they ran on a position of wanting to be

1:53:561:53:58

in the government of Northern Ireland.

1:53:581:54:01

The only way you can influence events in Northern Ireland

1:54:011:54:03

in terms of delivering for your constituency is to be at the table.

1:54:031:54:07

I understand that. I'm asking you why you would be

1:54:071:54:09

so generous all of a sudden to your political opponents?

1:54:091:54:12

It's not a case of me being generous, they've been mandated

1:54:121:54:15

by the people who voted for them to be there in government.

1:54:151:54:19

And if the people who voted for them mandated them

1:54:191:54:22

to be there in government, then I think

1:54:221:54:24

they should serve people who voted for them by being present.

1:54:241:54:27

So you make it clear

1:54:271:54:28

you'd rather they were in government than in opposition.

1:54:281:54:30

It's entirely a matter for the Ulster Unionist Party and the SDLP.

1:54:301:54:33

But from my perspective, I don't think the electorate

1:54:331:54:35

voted for either of those parties to not fulfil their obligations.

1:54:351:54:39

The people voted for them to be in the Assembly,

1:54:391:54:42

not necessarily to be in the executive.

1:54:421:54:44

I don't think people voted for an opposition,

1:54:441:54:47

they voted for those parties to be present in government.

1:54:471:54:50

John O'Dowd, would you like to have a two-party executive,

1:54:501:54:53

just yourselves and the DUP?

1:54:531:54:55

Would that be handier, cosier, easier?

1:54:551:54:57

I believe in the principles of the Good Friday Agreement.

1:54:571:54:59

And the Good Friday Agreement says

1:54:591:55:01

we shall have a power sharing executive,

1:55:011:55:02

and that's a power sharing executive including

1:55:021:55:05

all those parties you have a mandate to be in government.

1:55:051:55:07

But if you're in government, you're in government.

1:55:071:55:09

And what we witnessed from the Ulster Unionist Party and the SDLP

1:55:091:55:12

over this last five years was an opposition platform in government

1:55:121:55:16

which destabilised the executive,

1:55:161:55:18

which I think caused greater negativity in society

1:55:181:55:21

and caused suspicion of politics. So I hope the SDLP

1:55:211:55:25

and the Ulster Unionist Party go into government,

1:55:251:55:27

but I hope they go into government to govern, not to be an opposition

1:55:271:55:31

because if they're going to be an opposition,

1:55:311:55:34

go outside the executive

1:55:341:55:35

be an opposition cos there's nothing either of the two parties...

1:55:351:55:39

I don't fear them being an opposition,

1:55:391:55:42

I don't fear them being in government,

1:55:421:55:44

but I do have serious concerns that the agenda of "in, out,

1:55:441:55:48

"we're not sure if we're in government,

1:55:481:55:50

"we're not sure if we're an opposition,"

1:55:501:55:52

it's damaging the political institution.

1:55:521:55:53

But I think, and they can speak for themselves,

1:55:531:55:56

the criticism of the three smaller parties in the executive last time

1:55:561:55:59

around was the fact that their voice wasn't sufficiently

1:55:591:56:01

well heard by the two main parties, and that's why they were annoyed.

1:56:011:56:04

Hang on. The electorate have just spoken.

1:56:041:56:07

The only reason why Christopher and I represent the two largest parties

1:56:071:56:11

is because the electorate went out on Thursday

1:56:111:56:14

and made us the two largest parties.

1:56:141:56:16

As you refer to the smaller parties,

1:56:161:56:18

the electorate decided in numbers to vote

1:56:181:56:20

and put them into positions they're in. That's democracy.

1:56:201:56:23

-Naomi.

-I think that that overstates how it was in the executive.

1:56:231:56:27

I have to say, our minister has achieved a lot despite being there.

1:56:271:56:30

Yeah, but they're frustrated as well.

1:56:301:56:32

We've heard from David Ford and Stephen Farry

1:56:321:56:34

-about how frustrating it was.

-Of course,

1:56:341:56:36

and we were clear about that.

1:56:361:56:38

But to be fair, I think if you ask any minister in the last executive

1:56:381:56:41

they'll point to issues where they were frustrated,

1:56:411:56:43

where they couldn't deliver.

1:56:431:56:45

The issue is whether or not you work constructively

1:56:451:56:47

with the other people around the table.

1:56:471:56:49

And we endeavoured to do that - but what I want to say is this.

1:56:491:56:51

There was a difference

1:56:511:56:53

in terms of how we dealt with the justice ministry

1:56:531:56:55

and that we got that after negotiations on the programme

1:56:551:56:59

for government, and David Ford has been very clear in paying tribute.

1:56:591:57:02

And to both the DUP and Sinn Fein

1:57:021:57:04

that when they got the deal for justice

1:57:041:57:06

around what the programme would be

1:57:061:57:08

they stuck to their word and allowed him to deliver within that remit.

1:57:081:57:12

Now if that happens,

1:57:121:57:14

that didn't happen around the wider executive last time.

1:57:141:57:17

If that happens around the executive this time

1:57:171:57:20

and people continue to stick to their word on those issues,

1:57:201:57:23

I don't think that any party that has something to offer

1:57:231:57:25

has anything to fear from being part of it.

1:57:251:57:28

I don't think I overstated it as far as the Ulster Unionist's

1:57:281:57:31

position is concerned.

1:57:311:57:32

Danny Kennedy at DRD was absolutely raging at the way

1:57:321:57:35

he was treated by the two bigger parties.

1:57:351:57:37

He was, and he was continually financially hamstrung by DUP

1:57:371:57:40

through monitoring rounds and through a decrease in budget.

1:57:401:57:42

As was Michael McGimpsey before him as health minister.

1:57:421:57:45

But all the ministers were.

1:57:451:57:46

You'd be willing to guarantee this round,

1:57:461:57:48

you'd want to guarantee this time...

1:57:481:57:51

He left a £20 million shortfall in his own budget.

1:57:511:57:56

It was the £20 million that was meant to come out...

1:57:561:57:59

They expected the executive to take the money out of health

1:57:591:58:02

and education and other places to fill the £20 million hole

1:58:021:58:05

he deliberately left in DRD.

1:58:051:58:07

That's £20 million that should have been in his budget.

1:58:071:58:10

OK, let's not fight that old battle again.

1:58:101:58:13

But the point is you would want to be sure that that scenario

1:58:131:58:16

wasn't going to replay in the next mandate

1:58:161:58:20

if you're going to go into the executive.

1:58:201:58:22

Is that the point?

1:58:221:58:23

And that's why we put that forward before 2011.

1:58:231:58:26

And that's why it's taking part now,

1:58:261:58:28

that we do the programme for government before we run the hunt.

1:58:281:58:33

In fairness, that has been our position since 1998.

1:58:331:58:37

And we actually made it work around justice

1:58:371:58:39

by engaging with people. And to be fair,

1:58:391:58:41

to hide behind things like cuts in your budget to say that was

1:58:411:58:44

the only reason you didn't deliver,

1:58:441:58:46

it's also by the calibre of your minister

1:58:461:58:48

and how they manage the budget.

1:58:481:58:49

Quick final thought, Nichola, on this, before I take one final issue.

1:58:491:58:52

Just to say the SDLP was very frustrated

1:58:521:58:55

by the culture within the executive.

1:58:551:58:56

But under the ministers that we had,

1:58:561:58:59

we think we can stand on a strong track record.

1:58:591:59:01

When the SDLP hold ministries they get things done.

1:59:011:59:03

I want to ask you about one issue

1:59:031:59:05

which has blown up on social media today,

1:59:051:59:08

and I am going put it first to Christopher.

1:59:081:59:11

I want to get a reaction from John.

1:59:111:59:13

There's a lot of Twitter reaction to a post that Gregory Campbell

1:59:131:59:16

put on Facebook. I don't know if you've seen it,

1:59:161:59:18

Christopher Stalford. He says, "Excellent election results.

1:59:181:59:21

"Sinn Fein long term plan just got an awful lot longer

1:59:211:59:23

"and breaking the habit of a lifetime to send best wishes

1:59:231:59:26

"to Raymond McCartney, Shinner MLA in Foyle - why, you may ask?

1:59:261:59:29

"Because he's a bit more successful at electioneering

1:59:291:59:31

"than he was at hunger striking."

1:59:311:59:33

How's that appropriate?

1:59:331:59:35

Well, I think those that are reacting to comments

1:59:351:59:38

that were made on social media, a lot of contrived anger around this.

1:59:381:59:44

I think it was a throwaway joke remark...

1:59:441:59:47

-Was it?

-..by Gregory.

1:59:471:59:49

And I think a lot of those who are expressing fury and outrage

1:59:491:59:52

were a lot less slow in expressing their fury and outrage

1:59:521:59:55

at some of the Twitter comments that have been made recently

1:59:551:59:58

by the eccentric president of Sinn Fein.

1:59:582:00:00

So you think it was perfectly reasonable for him to put that up?

2:00:002:00:03

Well, look, I think if the worst that Gregory Campbell does

2:00:032:00:07

to a Sinn Fein representative is insult him,

2:00:072:00:09

there are people who have from a republican background

2:00:092:00:13

who have done a lot worse to Gregory Campbell down through the years,

2:00:132:00:16

and that includes attmepts to murder him and his family.

2:00:162:00:19

John, other Sinn Fein representatives

2:00:192:00:21

have been pretty unhappy

2:00:212:00:22

and have demanded that those remarks be withdrawn.

2:00:222:00:25

What's your view?

2:00:252:00:26

I think in this era they should be withdrawn.

2:00:262:00:28

And we're talking about going in to discuss a programme

2:00:282:00:31

for government, and have mutual respect,

2:00:312:00:34

mutual trust, mutual understanding within that.

2:00:342:00:36

But Gregory Campbell's a fool,

2:00:362:00:38

and he's away now to Westminster to retire.

2:00:382:00:41

I wish him well, staying over there.

2:00:412:00:44

And does that kind of spat, as we bring this conversation to an end,

2:00:442:00:47

really augur well for the future?

2:00:472:00:49

No, cos I don't think Gregory Campbell

2:00:492:00:51

represents the vast majority within the DUP.

2:00:512:00:54

I think the man is a loose cannon with the DUP.

2:00:542:00:56

I believe, and it's my experience over this last five years,

2:00:562:01:00

and last number of weeks,

2:01:002:01:03

-the unionist community want to work with republican...

-OK.

2:01:032:01:07

-And the republican community wants to work with unionist.

-Christopher.

2:01:072:01:10

I think Gregory Campbell's a valued member of our party,

2:01:102:01:14

a very strong constituency Member of Parliament in East Londonderry.

2:01:142:01:17

Not a fool? He's gone to Westminster to retire.

2:01:172:01:20

No, he's not. And were he, he would not have been elected so many times

2:01:202:01:23

by the people of the East Londonderry constituency.

2:01:232:01:27

And I know the circumstances around Gregory's family

2:01:272:01:32

and himself have been targeted many times by republicans for murder.

2:01:322:01:37

-Yeah, you said that.

-But let's keep these things in perspective.

2:01:372:01:40

You said it, we haven't got time to say it again.

2:01:402:01:43

And the president of Sinn Fein...

2:01:432:01:45

You've said that as well. Naomi, you're shaking your head.

2:01:452:01:49

I genuinely think that it is time

2:01:492:01:50

that Gregory stops trying to be funny,

2:01:502:01:52

because it falls flat on every occasion.

2:01:522:01:55

It's insulting to the electorate,

2:01:552:01:57

it's insulting to the people that he attacks.

2:01:572:01:59

It isn't amusing, it's childish and pathetic,

2:01:592:02:01

and frankly somebody should take over his social media account.

2:02:012:02:04

And I would give the same advice to a lot of other politicians,

2:02:042:02:07

including Gerry Adams over the last while.

2:02:072:02:09

Somebody needs to manage their accounts,

2:02:092:02:11

because when they go on these outbursts

2:02:112:02:12

they do politics no service.

2:02:122:02:14

We need to leave it there, folks. Thank you all very much.

2:02:142:02:16

No doubt we will hear a lot more from you weeks and months ahead.

2:02:162:02:19

Now, while Arlene Foster may be basking

2:02:192:02:21

in a job well done this weekend,

2:02:212:02:22

some party leaders might have other thoughts.

2:02:222:02:25

We'll hear more on that in a moment,

2:02:252:02:26

but first here's the Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams

2:02:262:02:29

who was at the Belfast count.

2:02:292:02:30

Tara Mills asked him if there was any disappointment on his part

2:02:302:02:33

that People Before Profit had topped the poll in his old constituency.

2:02:332:02:36

Ranting at something or shouting at something about something

2:02:362:02:40

or protesting about something is all very well. It isn't a policy.

2:02:402:02:44

What we're actively doing, and it's there, the proof is there,

2:02:442:02:47

is tackling the issue of poverty,

2:02:472:02:49

tackling the issue of disadvantage, deprivation, housing, homelessness

2:02:492:02:53

all of those issues, bringing jobs in,

2:02:532:02:55

pressing ahead with equality, working towards Irish unity,

2:02:552:02:59

reaching out to our unionist neighbours.

2:02:592:03:01

We're doing all of those things, and we will continue to do that.

2:03:012:03:04

What about some of the things during the campaign,

2:03:042:03:06

what was your personal view on the Catholic Church handed out leaflets

2:03:062:03:09

at Mass and really going the extra mile to say,

2:03:092:03:13

"Catholics should think about the moral questions,

2:03:132:03:17

"particularly over abortion and same-sex marriage"?

2:03:172:03:21

Well, I'm a Catholic. Nobody consulted me on that.

2:03:212:03:25

So it wasn't the Catholic Church, it was the Catholic hierarchy.

2:03:252:03:28

And they have the same rights as everybody else

2:03:282:03:32

to put their opinions on any issue

2:03:322:03:34

and those who believe in what they said will vote accordingly

2:03:342:03:38

and the rest make of us who make up our own minds.

2:03:382:03:40

will also vote accordingly.

2:03:402:03:42

When it comes to the campaign as well,

2:03:422:03:44

obviously you apologised for the tweet earlier in the week,

2:03:442:03:47

do you think it had any impact

2:03:472:03:48

and do you think it calls into question your leadership

2:03:482:03:51

of Sinn Fein as other party leaders are now looking at their leadership?

2:03:512:03:56

Well, I've exhausted that issue.

2:03:562:03:59

I didn't think it had any effect whatsoever

2:03:592:04:03

in terms of the election campaign.

2:04:032:04:05

But people have said it was an aberration, people find it difficult

2:04:072:04:11

to understand how anyone could use that particular word in...

2:04:112:04:14

Well, as I've said, I've dealt with the issue exhaustively.

2:04:142:04:19

My main point I stand over.

2:04:192:04:23

The parallels between the Irish and the African American

2:04:232:04:26

and the parallels between the American Civil Rights movement

2:04:262:04:29

and the civil rights movement here...

2:04:292:04:31

And you don't think you're any hindrance

2:04:312:04:33

to the all-Ireland ambition of Sinn Fein?

2:04:332:04:36

You don't think Sinn Fein needs a new leader?

2:04:362:04:38

Sinn Fein will have the leader that it has until it gets another leader.

2:04:382:04:41

At the moment I'm that leader and I do my best,

2:04:412:04:43

and, of course, if I thought I was a hindrance,

2:04:432:04:45

I would go and do something else.

2:04:452:04:47

Gerry Adams talking there at the Belfast count.

2:04:472:04:50

Let's hear the reflections of my guests of the day.

2:04:502:04:52

Fionnuala O Connor, Alex Kane and Mark Devenport.

2:04:522:04:55

Welcome to you all.

2:04:552:04:56

Mark, I just want to pick up with you first on that Facebook spat

2:04:562:04:59

with Gregory Campbell and Sinn Fein.

2:04:592:05:02

He was critical of Raymond McCartney, trying to hear a joke.

2:05:022:05:06

We hear from Christopher Stalford.

2:05:062:05:08

And there has been quite a bit of reaction.

2:05:082:05:10

You heard there John O'Dowd did not miss and hit the wall, as they say,

2:05:102:05:14

calling Gregory Campbell a fool and claiming Westminster

2:05:142:05:17

is now effectively a retirement home for him.

2:05:172:05:20

I'm sure Gregory Campbell won't see it that way.

2:05:202:05:24

You do get a sense, though,

2:05:242:05:26

that the same kind of focus that there is on Stormont

2:05:262:05:29

is not directed as Westminster so much these days

2:05:292:05:32

and maybe there's that whole business, now,

2:05:322:05:34

the MPs needing to make themselves relevant,

2:05:342:05:36

and Gregory Campbell's got a bit of a track record there.

2:05:362:05:39

The other thing I would say about it is that we will probably

2:05:392:05:42

continue to have the situation where, on the one hand,

2:05:422:05:45

you'll have Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness

2:05:452:05:48

turning up at events and working together

2:05:482:05:50

and supposedly having this new spirit of partnership

2:05:502:05:52

and the Fresh Start Agreement, and so on.

2:05:522:05:55

And it will continue to coexist with rows about flags,

2:05:552:05:58

rows about legacy issues and so on.

2:05:582:06:01

That's one of the reasons, I suppose,

2:06:012:06:02

why dealing with the past has proved so difficult for them

2:06:022:06:05

to come up with a common approach to it.

2:06:052:06:07

Fionnuala, I just want to talk about the issue of leadership.

2:06:072:06:10

Some have referred to the cult of the leadership,

2:06:102:06:12

as that's something new in this election. Arlene Foster,

2:06:122:06:15

the whole campaign from the DUP's point of view being about Arlene.

2:06:152:06:18

And then we've had Gerry Adams' involvement in that tweet

2:06:182:06:20

and the controversy surrounding that.

2:06:202:06:22

A new leader in Colum Eastwood, he didn't really deliver for the SDLP.

2:06:222:06:25

Do you think it's a phenomenon that is worthy of attention,

2:06:252:06:28

or has anything really changed?

2:06:282:06:32

No, it's not worthy of attention,

2:06:322:06:34

because it's true all over the world.

2:06:342:06:37

And nothing has really changed.

2:06:372:06:39

Arlene is trying to do two things at the same time -

2:06:392:06:43

as other people have said.

2:06:432:06:46

Mark has just said it in a different way.

2:06:462:06:50

She's trying simultaneously to say, "I will not allow Sinn Fein to

2:06:502:06:54

"rewrite the past, I will not allow anybody to rewrite the past",

2:06:542:06:57

hammering away at this "innocent victims" thing, whilst saying,

2:06:572:07:01

"I'm off again with Martin McGuinness

2:07:012:07:04

"to sell Northern Ireland abroad."

2:07:042:07:06

So she should be able to relax a bit now,

2:07:062:07:09

and not flog that first bit so hard,

2:07:092:07:13

having done a very successful tour during the election.

2:07:132:07:18

She probably won't, because it probably is what she really thinks.

2:07:182:07:21

She cannot let go of the...

2:07:212:07:24

Won't allow Sinn Fein to rewrite themselves.

2:07:242:07:27

They've long ago rewritten themselves.

2:07:272:07:30

Alex, you look at the conversation we've just had

2:07:302:07:32

with representatives of the five main parties,

2:07:322:07:34

I wonder what you made of it?

2:07:342:07:35

Struck me there was an effort at magnanimity at one stage

2:07:352:07:38

on the part of the two bigger parties,

2:07:382:07:40

but then, on another occasions, we had the same old, same old,

2:07:402:07:42

and we had the snipping across the table about Project Fear?

2:07:422:07:45

And I think that's inevitable.

2:07:452:07:47

What we know from this outcome, DUP and Sinn Fein have got

2:07:472:07:51

a very clear, unambiguous mandate to work together.

2:07:512:07:55

That's what they now need to do.

2:07:552:07:56

And sometimes you think it looks good,

2:07:562:07:58

the body language is good.

2:07:582:08:00

I've talked to people on Friday night and on Saturday,

2:08:002:08:02

yes, we need to do this.

2:08:022:08:03

But then get them round the table, get them into a room

2:08:032:08:06

and the old snippy, snappy, snarly,

2:08:062:08:08

it's almost like, go back to the past.

2:08:082:08:10

It's almost like a default position for some of them.

2:08:102:08:13

It's easier to have that rather than a proper debate

2:08:132:08:15

about what they're going to do.

2:08:152:08:16

Do you think the Programme for Government

2:08:162:08:18

-is effectively already written?

-Of course it is.

2:08:182:08:20

I mean, Danny Kennedy himself said it,

2:08:202:08:22

I think the SDLP referred to it as well.

2:08:222:08:23

Three quarters of the Programme for Government is the Fresh Start,

2:08:232:08:26

which the other three parties rejected.

2:08:262:08:28

That's why I think I would just leave it.

2:08:282:08:30

DUP, Sinn Fein got their mandate,

2:08:302:08:32

I think they should say, "OK, guys, get on with it.

2:08:322:08:34

"We didn't get a mandate, we did not get a mandate to eclipse you.

2:08:342:08:37

"We didn't get a mandate to make it work.

2:08:372:08:39

"We didn't get a mandate to do something different.

2:08:392:08:41

-"Go and be the opposition."

-Fionnuala?

2:08:412:08:43

I don't think they're going to be the opposition.

2:08:432:08:45

I don't think they're going to be.

2:08:452:08:47

Because they can't resist the lure of ministerial office?

2:08:472:08:50

No, there's a harsh reality.

2:08:502:08:52

If they don't go in, there are four DUP ministers

2:08:522:08:55

and three Sinn Fein ministers, and nobody else.

2:08:552:08:57

I think any politician worth their weight in gold -

2:08:572:09:02

and there's quite a lot of gold there - could not resist that.

2:09:022:09:06

Even though, in office, they felt neglected, they felt overruled.

2:09:062:09:10

They still had a department each.

2:09:102:09:12

And that's a big thing for parties to give up.

2:09:122:09:15

For something unknown, something unfocused.

2:09:152:09:18

In a tiny, make-believe assembly.

2:09:182:09:21

Tiny, make-believe legislature.

2:09:212:09:23

They've got have something to show their people.

2:09:232:09:25

And they've got to have something

2:09:252:09:27

for themselves to get their teeth into.

2:09:272:09:29

And there is now this far more vocal group of opposition speakers.

2:09:292:09:34

The real opposition will be

2:09:342:09:35

Jim Allister, Eamonn McCann, Gerry Carroll, Claire Sugden.

2:09:352:09:40

And the Greens,

2:09:402:09:41

who already have some experience in this kind of thing.

2:09:412:09:44

And, Mark, it's interesting when you look at it.

2:09:442:09:47

Should we be talking about two parties - the main two parties -

2:09:472:09:50

or four parties, including Sinn Fein and the SDLP.

2:09:502:09:52

Or five parties, because as we said in that, and as Naomi Long conceded,

2:09:522:09:57

as of right, the Alliance Party may not be at those

2:09:572:09:59

discussions about the Programme for Government?

2:09:592:10:01

This is the fortnight of discussions on the Programme for Government.

2:10:012:10:04

First, we're not quite sure whether they'll last for a fortnight.

2:10:042:10:07

They could be much quicker than that.

2:10:072:10:09

If there is a draft Programme for Government, as Alex said,

2:10:092:10:12

some of it is already in the Fresh Start Agreement,

2:10:122:10:14

quite a lot of it appears to be in the very similar looking

2:10:142:10:17

DUP and Sinn Fein manifestoes.

2:10:172:10:19

So if they've got that, they could push this on.

2:10:192:10:21

The Fresh Start Agreement talks about involving those parties

2:10:212:10:24

who qualify for government. That's the four.

2:10:242:10:26

But it also says - and I have to pay debt to Alex on this,

2:10:262:10:29

because he pointed at the small print to me - it also says,

2:10:292:10:32

"Who have indicated their intention is to take a place in government."

2:10:322:10:36

So if the DUP and Sinn Fein were wanting to be really hardline

2:10:362:10:39

about this, they could say, well, if you want to come into these

2:10:392:10:43

negotiations, can you first indicate your intention to take a place?

2:10:432:10:45

Which, so far, the SDLP and the Ulster Unionists

2:10:452:10:49

haven't firmly done so.

2:10:492:10:51

I suspect they won't be quite so hardline,

2:10:512:10:54

certainly at the start of the negotiations.

2:10:542:10:57

But they might curtail negotiations at an earlier stage

2:10:572:11:00

than the others would like and put it up to them.

2:11:002:11:03

I also suspect that even though Alliance might not,

2:11:032:11:06

as of right, be in the negotiations - because the DUP

2:11:062:11:10

and Sinn Fein at the moment don't have a plan B

2:11:102:11:12

in relation to the Justice Department -

2:11:122:11:14

I suspect that they'll be wanting to involve Alliance in that.

2:11:142:11:17

We basically heard much the same, I think, from John O'Dowd

2:11:172:11:20

and others who you were speaking to there in the discussion

2:11:202:11:23

that they will be bringing the Alliance in.

2:11:232:11:25

And Fionnuala made the point there, Alex,

2:11:252:11:27

that there is that oppositional corner already, and it could be

2:11:272:11:29

very effective with the additions that we have seen to it.

2:11:292:11:32

But you think that if there is bravery

2:11:322:11:35

demonstrated by the SDLP - and "bravery" in inverted commas -

2:11:352:11:38

by the SDLP and the Ulster Unionists,

2:11:382:11:40

it should be to move into opposition.

2:11:402:11:41

Because there now is the possibility of formal opposition,

2:11:412:11:44

-which there wasn't previously?

-That's the key point.

2:11:442:11:46

What we have, the so-called naughty corner.

2:11:462:11:49

It wasn't an opposition, it didn't get speakers' rights.

2:11:492:11:52

Jim Allister had to wait hours and hours

2:11:522:11:54

to get maybe three minutes, so did the others.

2:11:542:11:56

So that's not opposition.

2:11:562:11:58

The other thing I think where Fionnuala's wrong on this one,

2:11:582:12:00

for all the fact that the SDLP and Ulster Unionists said

2:12:002:12:03

it was really important to be in the executive from 2007-2016,

2:12:032:12:06

they lost votes - they all lost - not one of them gained a seat,

2:12:062:12:09

not one of them actually put on a vote.

2:12:092:12:11

There is nothing to be gained by stuck in that executive.

2:12:112:12:13

-There's nothing...

-Last sentence, Fionnuala.

2:12:132:12:15

..to be gained by being out of it,

2:12:152:12:17

and they are not natural coalition partners,

2:12:172:12:19

the SDLP and the Ulster Unionists.

2:12:192:12:20

-Except in losing votes.

-Nor the DUP or Sinn Fein.

2:12:202:12:23

-That doesn't work either!

-We need to leave it there, folks.

2:12:232:12:25

Thank you all very much indeed.

2:12:252:12:26

That is it for the special election edition of Sunday Politics.

2:12:262:12:29

I'll be back with The View on Thursday night

2:12:292:12:31

here on BBC One at 10:45.

2:12:312:12:32

But I'll leave you with a reminder of some of the highlights

2:12:322:12:35

of the 2016 Assembly election.

2:12:352:12:37

And as before, there is some flash photography.

2:12:372:12:39

From all of us, bye-bye.

2:12:392:12:40

# I remember us alone

2:12:492:12:51

# Waiting for the light to go

2:12:512:12:53

# Don't you feel that hunger?

2:12:532:12:55

# I've got so many secrets to show

2:12:552:12:57

# When I saw you on that stage

2:12:572:13:00

# I shiver with the look you gave

2:13:002:13:02

# Don't you hear that rhythm?

2:13:022:13:04

# Can you show me how we can escape?

2:13:042:13:07

# Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh

2:13:072:13:12

# I was biting my tongue

2:13:122:13:13

# I was trying to hide

2:13:132:13:16

# Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh

2:13:162:13:20

# I'll forget what I've done

2:13:202:13:23

# I'll be redefined... #

2:13:232:13:25

Eamonn McCann, People Before Profit Alliance.

2:13:252:13:27

CHEERING

2:13:272:13:29

Infamously, Alex Kane said that he would sing on the steps

2:13:322:13:35

of Stormont if Clare Bailey got elected in South Belfast.

2:13:352:13:39

Well, I believe he is going to honour that promise.

2:13:392:13:43

# I'm holding it all tonight

2:13:432:13:45

# I'm folding it all tonight

2:13:452:13:47

# You know that you make it shine

2:13:472:13:48

# It's you that I've been waiting to find... #

2:13:482:13:51

I may have been...

2:13:512:13:53

I was ambitious.

2:13:532:13:55

..what you've put it in with?

2:13:552:13:56

Well, I can't bring you any scandal,

2:13:582:14:00

either generated by myself or generated by others.

2:14:002:14:03

# It's you that I've been waiting to find

2:14:062:14:09

# Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh

2:14:092:14:15

# It's you that I've been waiting to find. #

2:14:152:14:19

Well, I'm unemployed. I need to go and look for a job.

2:14:192:14:21

# Internationally unite... #

2:14:212:14:27

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