08/12/2013 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


08/12/2013

Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate.


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Transcript


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The morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. First, some Sunday

:00:40.:00:45.

morning cheer, if you are an MP, that is. You are set to get an 11%

:00:46.:00:50.

pay rise. The Chancellor has gone from zero to hero for some, who

:00:51.:00:56.

credit him for turning the economy around. We will be taking a fine

:00:57.:01:01.

tooth comb to his Autumn Statement. Should this man get a pay rise?

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Complete denial about the central facts... And 11% pay rise for Ed

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Balls? He was certainly working hard to be heard last Thursday. We will

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be reviewing his performance. What about this man? We will be joined by

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With me, three scruffy eternal students. They would celebrate if

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they achieved a C+. But they are all we could afford and there will be no

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pay rise for them. They will be glued to an electronic device

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throughout the programme and if we are lucky they might stop there

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internet shopping and tweet something intelligent. But don't

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hold your breath. Janan Ganesh, Helen Lewis and Nick Watt. Last

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week, storms were battering Britain, the East Coast was hit by the worst

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tidal surge in more than a century, thousands of people had to be

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evacuated and Nelson Mandela died. The downed the news agenda was the

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small matter of George Osborne's Autumn Statement. His giveaways, his

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takeaways and his first opportunity to announce some economic cheer.

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It might be winter outside, but in the studios it is awesome. Autumn

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Statement time. -- autumn. This is a moment of TV history. Normally when

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the Chancellor delivers these statements, he has to say the

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economy is actually a lot worse than everyone predicted. This time, he

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can stand up and say the economy is better than everybody predicted. A

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lot better. Britain is currently growing faster

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than any other major advanced economy. Faster than France, which

:03:11.:03:18.

is contracting, faster than Germany, faster even than America. At this

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Autumn Statement last year, there were repeated predictions that

:03:24.:03:28.

borrowing would go up. Instead, borrowing is down, and down

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significantly more than forecast. But George Osborne said the good

:03:33.:03:34.

numbers still mean more tough decisions. We will not give up in

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giving in our country's debts. We will not spend the money from lower

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borrowing. We will not squander the harder and games of the British

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people. -- hard earned gains. In other news, further cuts to

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government departments. The state pension age will increase in the

:03:57.:04:02.

2040s, affecting people in their 40s now. There were some goodies, like

:04:03.:04:07.

discounted business rates for small businesses, free school meals for

:04:08.:04:10.

infants, favoured by the Lib Dems, and those marriage tax breaks below

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that by the Tories. But, as with all big fiscal events, it takes a while

:04:17.:04:17.

for the details to sink in. The marriage tax allowance is a

:04:18.:04:26.

long-standing commitment that he could not abandon. It does help

:04:27.:04:29.

those families were only one goes out to work. It does not go to

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higher rate taxpayers, I don't think. Perhaps it does, I can't

:04:35.:04:39.

remember. It makes me feel guilty, I am taking them very seriously,

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but... Shall I give you them? There is the Autumn Statement. Have that,

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a free gift from the Sunday Politics. Is there no limit to the

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generosity of the BBC? In the meantime, Twitter was awash

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with unflattering pictures of a red-faced Ed Balls giving his

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response. Some pictures were more than flattering than others. Is Ed

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Balls OK? Should we be worrying about him? He looks very stressed.

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There is nothing to worry about in terms of Ed balls and his analysis.

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He and Ed Miliband have been setting the pace in terms of the focus on

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the living standards crisis. It was very telling that there was not a

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mention of living standards last time, we got 12 mentions this time.

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Never mind what he was saying, by now everybody has a copy of the

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all-important paperwork. Time to hand over to number cruncher

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extraordinaire Paul Johnson from the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Of

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course it means that things are significantly better this year and

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next than we thought they would be just nine months ago. That has got

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to be good news. But it is also worth looking at the growth figures

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a few years out. They have been revised down a little bit. The

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reason is, the view of the office of budget response ability is that the

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long run has not really changed very much. We are getting a bit more

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growth now, but their view is that it is at the cost of a little bit of

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the growth we will expect in the years after the next general

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election. As the day draws to a close, the one place there has

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definitely been no growth is the graphics budget of my colleague,

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Robert Preston. It's as good as it gets these days, I don't think the

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viewers will mind. It's very Sunday Politics, if I might say. That is

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very worrying. Was this a watershed for George

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Osborne? Was it a watershed for Ed Balls? We can all make the case that

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it is the wrong sort of recovery, a consumer led recovery. People are

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spending money they don't have. At the end of the day, it for George

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Osborne, it is growth, the first time he has been able to talk about

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growth. It allows him to control the baseline, the fiscal debate for the

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next generation. For Ed Balls, nearly not a good performance. But

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don't write this man off. Judging by Twitter, Iain Dale, no friend of it

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all is, said he did a good interview this morning on a rival TV channel.

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I feel the fact that the Tories hate Ed Balls so passionately is probably

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a good reason that they should hang onto him, in that Labour sends his

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effectiveness. May be the Tories hope that they hold on to him as

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well? A lot of people shouting at someone and mocking their speech

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impediment, that is politics that doesn't make me want to engage. The

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takeaway will be lots of people thinking that none of these people

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are people they like. Who is the main heckler on the Labour front

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bench West remarked I suppose he can't cast any stones. It would be

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easier to sympathise with him, if it were not that David Cameron went

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through a similar situation and John Bercow did not step in to stop the

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wall of noise. It was guaranteed a good happen to a Labour politician.

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It's painful to remove him because he had a Parliamentary following and

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he will kick up a fuss. I think he's much more pragmatic on issues like

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business than Ed Miliband. I'm told he wasn't keen on the energy price

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freeze. The problem with Ed Balls, to have the first words that you

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say, the Chancellor is in denial, after he is presiding over growth,

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it means nobody is listening to you. Who would replace him? Certainly not

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Alistair Darling, the side of the referendum and even afterwards. Ed

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Balls did get a roasting in the press and on Twitter. He seemed to

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disappear from public view following the Autumn Statement. But a little

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bird tells me he managed one interview this morning before he

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went off to an all-important piano recital this afternoon. Watch out,

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Jools Holland, he could be after your job. How bad was his

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performance on Thursday? Here is the Shadow Chancellor in action. The

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Chancellor is incomplete denial about the central facts that are

:09:24.:09:29.

defining this government in office. He used to say he would balance the

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books in 2015. Now he wants us to congratulate him for saying he will

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do it in 2019, Mr Speaker. With this government, it is clearly not just

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the badgers that move the goalposts. No mention of the universal credit

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in the statement. IDS, in deep shambles, Mr Speaker. Chris Leslie

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is the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. He is Ed Balls's deputy,

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in other words. Why do more and more of your Labour colleagues think that

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your boss is below the water line? I'm not sure I accept the premise of

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your suggestion. I don't think my colleagues believe that George

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Osborne has a superior argument. I think Ed Balls will certainly trying

:10:30.:10:33.

his best, loud and clear, to make the case there is a cost of living

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crisis in this country and the Chancellor doesn't understand this.

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That was essentially the heat of the debate on the Autumn Statement day.

:10:40.:10:45.

One leading Labour MPs said to me that Ed Balls is always looking

:10:46.:10:48.

back, fixated with the rear-view mirror, that was the exact quote. A

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Labour MP told Sky News, Labour has a strong argument to make,

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unfortunately it was not made well in the chamber today. Quoting the

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Daily Mail, this is two poor performances. A quote that I can't

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use because it uses too many four letter words. Baroness Armstrong,

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speaking at Progress, a former Labour Cabinet minister, we are not

:11:18.:11:21.

sufficiently concerned about public spending, how we would pay for what

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we are talking about. Quite a battering? There were two sets of

:11:25.:11:28.

quotes you were giving. The couple were about the strategy for tackling

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public expenditure. I think it's fair that we talk about that. The

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rest were pretty unattributed, nameless sources. You have never

:11:41.:11:51.

given and of the record briefing? We have conversations off camera, but I

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don't think you have a wealth of evidence to say that somehow Ed

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Balls's arguments were wrong. He was making the point that, ultimately,

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it is a government that does not have its finger on the pulse about

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what most of your viewers are concerned about, that wages are

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being squeezed and prices are getting higher and higher. You have

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had time to study the Autumn Statement. What part of it does

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Labour disagree with? It is a very big question. I think the overall

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strategy the Autumn Statement is setting out does not deal with the

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fundamental problems in the economy. What measures do you disagree with?

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A lot of it is the absence of measures we would have put in if we

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were doing the Autumn Statement. If you are going to deal with the cost

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of living crisis, you have got to get productivity levels up in our

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society. One of the best ways of doing that is on infrastructure. We

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believe in bringing forward 's investment and housing, getting some

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of the fundamentals right in our economy. By planting, the business

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lending we have to do. We have seen a lamentable failing. There are big

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structural reforms that we need. Ultimately, the public are concerned

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about the cost of living crisis. That has got to be childcare help, a

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10p starting rate of tax. Above all, and energy price freeze, which

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still this government are refusing to do. On Friday, you told me you

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supported the principle of a welfare cap. But you change bling claim the

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Chancellor's cap included pensions. You have now seen the figures, and

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it does not include pensions, correct? We do want a welfare cap.

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The government have said they are going to put more detail on this in

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the March budget. But it does not include pensions? We think they have

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a short term approach to the welfare cap. They put in some pension

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benefits. The state pension is not in the short-term plan because, as

:14:02.:14:05.

we believe, a triple lock is a good idea. In the longer term, if you are

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talking about structural welfare issues, you do have to think about

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pensions because they have to be sustainable if we are living

:14:14.:14:16.

longer. I think that is about the careful management. Let me show you

:14:17.:14:21.

what Ed Balls said on this programme at the start of the summer. As for

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pensioners, I think this is a real question. George Osborne is going to

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announce his cap in two weeks time. I don't know if he will exclude

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pension spending or including. Our plan is to include it. Pension

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spending would be included in the welfare cap? That is our plan,

:14:40.:14:44.

exactly what I just said. Over the long-term, if you have a serious

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welfare cap structural welfare issues, over 20, 30, 40 year

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period, you can't say that we will not work and pensions as part of

:14:54.:14:58.

that. Pensions would be part of the Labour cap? In the longer term. What

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is the longer term? If you win 2015? We want to stick with the triple

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lock on the pension, that is the Government approach to their

:15:13.:15:15.

short-term welfare cap. In the longer term, for example, on the

:15:16.:15:19.

winter fuel allowance, we should not necessarily be... There are lots of

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benefits... I understand that, I am talking about the basic state

:15:26.:15:28.

pension, is that part of your welfare cap or not? In a 20, 30, 40

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year frame... Even you will not be around in government, then. You are

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writing me off already. You have to focus on welfare changes, pensions

:15:46.:15:49.

have to be affordable as part of that. It's dangerous to say, well,

:15:50.:15:52.

if you are going to have a serious welfare cap, we should not look at

:15:53.:15:56.

pensions cost. It would be irresponsible. Will pensions be part

:15:57.:16:03.

of the cap from 2015 until 2020 if Labour is in power? In our long-term

:16:04.:16:08.

cap we have to make sure... I'm talking about 2015-16. We haven't

:16:09.:16:16.

seen the proposition the Government has put before us.

:16:17.:16:21.

You claim people of ?1600 worse off under the coalition. That is true

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when you compare to pay and prices. Can you confirm that calculation

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does not include the ?700 tax cut from raising the income tax

:16:38.:16:42.

threshold, huge savings on mortgages because of low interest or the

:16:43.:16:47.

freezing of council tax? It doesn't include the tax and benefit

:16:48.:16:50.

changes. If you do want to look at those, last year, the ISS said they

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could be making people worse off. It might not include those factors. The

:16:57.:17:04.

VAT increase, tax credit cuts, child benefit cuts, they all add up. My

:17:05.:17:10.

understanding is that the ISS figures have said people are ?891

:17:11.:17:16.

worse off if you look at the tax and benefit changes since 2010. You have

:17:17.:17:24.

to look at wages and prices. The ISS confirmed our approach was broadly

:17:25.:17:27.

the right way of assessing what is happening. The Chancellor was

:17:28.:17:33.

saying, real household disposable incomes are rising. He is completely

:17:34.:17:39.

out of touch. Can you sum up the macro economic policy for Labour?

:17:40.:17:44.

Invest in the future, make sure we have the right approach for the

:17:45.:17:48.

long-term politicking. Tackle the cost of living crisis people are

:17:49.:17:52.

facing. Now, let's talk to the Financial

:17:53.:17:55.

Secretary to the Treasury, Sajid Javid.

:17:56.:18:03.

Discovery, underpinned by rising house prices, increasing personal

:18:04.:18:09.

debt, do you accept that is unsustainable?

:18:10.:18:13.

I accept the OBE are also said the reason why this country is facing

:18:14.:18:20.

more these challenges -- OBR. That is because we went through a

:18:21.:18:26.

Labour recession, the worst we have seen in 100 years. But do you accept

:18:27.:18:34.

that a recovery underpinned by these things I have just read out isn't

:18:35.:18:40.

sustainable? We set out a long-term plan for recovery, and again this

:18:41.:18:45.

week. We have shown with the tough decisions we have made already, the

:18:46.:18:49.

country can enjoy a recovery. There are still a lot of difficult

:18:50.:18:55.

decisions. The biggest risk are Labour's plans. The March

:18:56.:19:06.

projections work at for those -- for both business investment and

:19:07.:19:10.

exports. Suddenly it is expected to rise 5% next year, a 10% turnaround

:19:11.:19:16.

in investment. How is it credible? I have been in business before

:19:17.:19:20.

politics. Any business person listening will know, when you have

:19:21.:19:25.

gone through a recession, the deepest in 100 years, it will hit

:19:26.:19:30.

investment, profits, you can't make plans again until you have

:19:31.:19:34.

confidence in the economy. That is what this country is seeing now

:19:35.:19:43.

under this government. This is an assumption made independently. The

:19:44.:19:49.

fall in business investment is because of the recession. The

:19:50.:19:56.

forecast increases, 5% next year, and so on, it is based on the

:19:57.:20:02.

independent forecast. Based on fact. If you look at the investment plans

:20:03.:20:08.

of companies, this week, the Chancellor went to JCB, Jaguar Land

:20:09.:20:15.

Rover has plans to create more jobs, these investment plans are

:20:16.:20:19.

coming through now because of the confidence generated by this

:20:20.:20:23.

government, such as the cut in corporation tax which Labour would

:20:24.:20:28.

increase. Are the export forecasts more credible? The 15 years, our

:20:29.:20:34.

share of world trade decline. Suddenly starting next year, it

:20:35.:20:42.

stops falling. That's not credible. I worked in finance the 20 years. I

:20:43.:20:46.

have yet to find any forecast which is fully right. Under Labour, we

:20:47.:20:55.

would have forecasts made by Gordon Brown who would announce he would

:20:56.:21:01.

hit all his targets. Now we have an independent system.

:21:02.:21:05.

Do you accept, if exports or business investment do not pick up,

:21:06.:21:11.

then a purely consumer led recovery is not sustainable? We need more

:21:12.:21:16.

than a consumer led recovery. We need consumer investment to go up.

:21:17.:21:23.

On Xbox, it is noticeable that experts are primarily down because

:21:24.:21:27.

the markets we trade with, the eurozone markets, are depressed.

:21:28.:21:31.

Many have just come out of recession. Or they are still in

:21:32.:21:37.

recession. If you look at exports to non-EU countries, they are up 30%.

:21:38.:21:47.

120% to China. 100% to Russia. Will you keep the triple lock for

:21:48.:21:53.

the state pension beyond 2015? Yes, long term. That's why it is not part

:21:54.:21:59.

of our welfare cap. Chris Leslie cannot answer that question. It is

:22:00.:22:03.

straightforward. House prices are now rising ten

:22:04.:22:11.

times faster than average earnings. That's not good. House prices are

:22:12.:22:19.

rising, partly reflecting recovery. Ten times faster than average

:22:20.:22:23.

earnings, how can people afford to buy homes if it carries on? What you

:22:24.:22:29.

would hope, this is the evidence, if you look at the plans of the month

:22:30.:22:33.

companies, they are planning new homes which will mean that, as this

:22:34.:22:40.

demand spurs that investment, more homes will come about. We need to

:22:41.:22:44.

give people the means to buy those homes. We have introduced the help

:22:45.:23:33.

to buy scheme. I accept the OBR says it will start rising again but as

:23:34.:23:38.

household debt rises again Petr Cech reduces, -- as household debt

:23:39.:23:52.

reduces, we need to make sure there are checks in place. Wages have not

:23:53.:23:57.

been rising in real terms for quite some time. Over the next five years,

:23:58.:24:06.

even as the economy grows, by about 15% according the OBR to the OBR --

:24:07.:24:17.

but people will not benefit. These hard-working families will not share

:24:18.:24:23.

in the recovery. What is the best way to help those families? The

:24:24.:24:29.

government doesn't set wages. What we can do is influence the overall

:24:30.:24:34.

economy. We don't have a magic lever. Wages have been stagnating

:24:35.:24:44.

for five years. When will people get a proper salary? The best way for

:24:45.:24:49.

wage growth is a growing economy, more jobs. We have more people

:24:50.:24:53.

employed in Britain today than at any time in our history. The biggest

:24:54.:25:00.

risk to recovery is if we let Labour into the Treasury with more spending

:25:01.:25:05.

and more debt. Which got us into this trouble. By whatever measure

:25:06.:25:10.

you care to choose, would people be better off come the 20 15th election

:25:11.:25:16.

than they were in 2010? Yes, they will be. Look at jobs. Already more

:25:17.:25:23.

people employed than at any other time in history. Will they be better

:25:24.:25:28.

off? The best way for anyone to raise their living standards is

:25:29.:25:32.

access to a growing job market. But will they be better off? I believe

:25:33.:25:40.

people will be. Compared to 2010. Yes. In terms of take-home pay. This

:25:41.:25:45.

is a credible measure. Now, what do you think the Education

:25:46.:25:51.

Secretary, Michael Gove, was like at school? Hard-working? Hand always

:25:52.:25:55.

up? Top of the class? Well, if he wasn't passionate about education

:25:56.:25:58.

then, he is now. In fact, since he took office, it seems he hasn't

:25:59.:26:06.

stopped working very hard indeed. When the coalition came to power,

:26:07.:26:09.

Michael Gove evoked Mao, saying they were on a long march to reform

:26:10.:26:12.

education. Just like Mao, they faced a baby boom, so pledged ?5 billion

:26:13.:26:18.

for new school places. They extended Labour's academy programme. There's

:26:19.:26:23.

now about 3,000 in England. But then, they marched even further,

:26:24.:26:25.

creating free schools run by parents, funded by taxpayers. 174

:26:26.:26:33.

have opened so far. The schools admission code was changed, to give

:26:34.:26:35.

parents more choice. And a pupil premium was introduced,

:26:36.:26:38.

currently, an extra ?900 funding for each disadvantaged child.

:26:39.:26:42.

An overhaul of the national curriculum provoked criticism.

:26:43.:26:46.

Chairman Gove mocked detractors as "bad academia". But exam reforms

:26:47.:26:53.

didn't quite go to plan. Although GCSEs got harder, plans to replace

:26:54.:26:57.

A-levels had to be abandoned. Ultimately, the true test of these

:26:58.:27:00.

reforms will be what happens in the classroom. The person in charge of

:27:01.:27:06.

making sure those classrooms are up to scratch in England is the Chief

:27:07.:27:09.

Inspector Of Schools, head of Ofsted, Michael Wilshaw, who joins

:27:10.:27:14.

me now. Over the past 15 years, we have

:27:15.:27:19.

doubled spending on schools even allowing for inflation. By

:27:20.:27:23.

international standards, we are stagnating, why? I said last year

:27:24.:27:28.

that mediocrity had settled into the system. Too many children were

:27:29.:27:38.

coasting in schools, which is why we changed the grading structure, we

:27:39.:27:44.

removed that awful word, satisfactory. Saying that good is

:27:45.:27:49.

now the only acceptable standard and schools had a limited time in which

:27:50.:27:53.

to get to that. We are seeing gradually, it is difficult to say

:27:54.:27:58.

this in the week we have had the OECD report. Things have gradually

:27:59.:28:04.

improved. I will come onto that in a minute. Explain this. International

:28:05.:28:08.

comparisons show us flat-lining or even falling in some subjects,

:28:09.:28:14.

including science. For 20 years, our domestic exam results just got

:28:15.:28:18.

better and better. Was this a piece of fiction fed to us by the

:28:19.:28:23.

educational establishment, was there a cover-up? There is no question

:28:24.:28:29.

there has grade inflation. I speak as an ex-headteacher who saw that in

:28:30.:28:35.

examinations. Perceptual state is actually doing something about that.

:28:36.:28:39.

Most good heads will say that is about time. We have to be credible.

:28:40.:28:49.

Do politicians and educationalists conspire in this grade inflation? It

:28:50.:28:53.

might suit politicians to say things are going up every year. As a head,

:28:54.:28:58.

I knew a lot of the exams youngsters were sitting were not up to scratch.

:28:59.:29:06.

The latest OECD study places us 36th for maths, 23rd reading, slipping

:29:07.:29:12.

down to 21st in science. Yet, Ofsted, your organisation,

:29:13.:29:17.

designates 80% of schools as good or outstanding. That's another fiction.

:29:18.:29:23.

This year, we have. If we see this level of progress, it has been a

:29:24.:29:26.

remarkable progress over the last years since we changed our grading

:29:27.:29:32.

structure, then... In a year, absolutely. We have better teachers

:29:33.:29:37.

coming into our school system. Better leaders. Better schools. The

:29:38.:29:41.

big challenge for our country is making sure that progress is

:29:42.:29:44.

maintained which will eventually translate into better outcomes.

:29:45.:29:52.

These figures are pretty much up-to-date. Are you saying within a

:29:53.:29:57.

year 80% of the schools are good enough? All of the schools we

:29:58.:30:03.

upgraded have had better grades in GCSE and grade 2. We have to make

:30:04.:30:08.

sure that is maintained. The Government has based its reforms on

:30:09.:30:12.

similar reforms in Sweden. In opposition they were endlessly going

:30:13.:30:15.

to Stockholm to find out how it was done. Swedish schools are doing even

:30:16.:30:20.

worse than ours in the tables. Why are we copying failure? The

:30:21.:30:26.

secretary of state believes, and I actually believe, as somebody who

:30:27.:30:31.

has come from an academy model, that if you hand power and resources, you

:30:32.:30:35.

hand autonomy to the people on the ground, to the people in the

:30:36.:30:38.

classroom, in the corridors, in the playgrounds, things work. If you

:30:39.:30:46.

allow the great monoliths that used to have responsibility for education

:30:47.:30:50.

in the past to take control again, you will see a reverse in standards.

:30:51.:30:53.

You have got to actually empower those people that make the

:30:54.:30:56.

difference. That is why autonomy and freedom is important. We spent a lot

:30:57.:31:02.

of money moving what were local authority schools to become

:31:03.:31:05.

academies and new free school czar being set up as well. When the

:31:06.:31:09.

academies are pretty much the same level of autonomy, the free school

:31:10.:31:13.

is maybe a little bit more, the evidence we have had so far is that

:31:14.:31:18.

they don't really perform any better than local authority schools?

:31:19.:31:21.

Indeed, Encore GCSE subjects, they might even be doing worse? These are

:31:22.:31:26.

early days. We will say more about this on weapons they when we produce

:31:27.:31:31.

the annual report. The sponsored academies that took over the worst

:31:32.:31:35.

schools in the country, in the most difficult circumstances, in the most

:31:36.:31:37.

disadvantaged communities, are doing much better now. What about GCSE?

:31:38.:31:45.

They are doing GCSE equivalents, the lass academic subjects question my

:31:46.:31:51.

cull OK, but they are doing better than previous schools. If you look

:31:52.:31:55.

at the top performing nations in the world, they focus on the quality of

:31:56.:32:08.

teaching. The best graduates coming to education. They professionally

:32:09.:32:11.

develop them. They make sure they spot the brightest talents and get

:32:12.:32:15.

them into positions as soon as possible. We have got to do the same

:32:16.:32:18.

if we are going to catch up with those jurisdictions. This isn't just

:32:19.:32:25.

a British problem. It seems to be a European problem. The East Asian

:32:26.:32:29.

countries now dominate the top of the tables. What's the most

:32:30.:32:31.

important lesson we should learn from East Asia? Attitudes to work.

:32:32.:32:37.

We need to make sure that we invest in good teachers, good leaders. We

:32:38.:32:43.

have to make sure that students have the right attitudes to work. It's no

:32:44.:32:47.

good getting good people into the classroom and then seeing them part

:32:48.:32:52.

of teaching by bad behaviour, disaffected youngsters and poor

:32:53.:32:58.

leadership. We see young teachers doing well for a time and then being

:32:59.:33:02.

put off teaching and leaving from that sort of culture in our schools.

:33:03.:33:08.

Are you a cheerleader for government education policy rather than

:33:09.:33:12.

independent inspectors? I am independent, Ofsted is independent.

:33:13.:33:16.

I believe we are saying the right things on standards. The Association

:33:17.:33:21.

of teachers and lecturers say you are an arm of government. The NUT

:33:22.:33:24.

has called for your resignation. Another wants to abolish or

:33:25.:33:29.

Inspectorate. Have you become a pariah amongst teaching unions? If

:33:30.:33:35.

we are challenging schools to become better, that is our job, we will

:33:36.:33:41.

carry on doing that. I am not going to preside over the status quo. We

:33:42.:33:44.

will challenge the system to do better, we will challenge schools

:33:45.:33:48.

and colleges to do better. We will also challenge government when we

:33:49.:33:52.

think they are going wrong. Many people in the education

:33:53.:33:54.

establishment think your primary purpose is to do the Government's

:33:55.:33:58.

bidding by shepherding schools into becoming academies. Not true at all.

:33:59.:34:05.

You are a big supporter of academies? Yes, I believe the people

:34:06.:34:10.

that do the business in schools are the people that are free to do what

:34:11.:34:13.

is necessary to raise standards. I am a big supporter of autonomy in

:34:14.:34:17.

the school system. But where we see academies Vale, where we see free

:34:18.:34:27.

schools fail, we will say so. The study does not find much evidence

:34:28.:34:31.

that competition and choice raise standards, but it does go with you

:34:32.:34:37.

and say that strong school leadership, coupled with autonomy,

:34:38.:34:41.

can make a difference. Can somebody with no experience in education be

:34:42.:34:45.

in charge of a school? A lot of hot air has been expounded on the issue

:34:46.:34:49.

of whether teachers should be qualified or not. If qualified

:34:50.:34:52.

teacher status was the gold standard, why is it that one in

:34:53.:35:01.

three teachers, one in three lessons that will observe are not good

:35:02.:35:04.

enough. Taught by qualified teachers. I've not yet met a

:35:05.:35:08.

headteacher that has not appointed by qualified staff when they cannot

:35:09.:35:12.

get qualified teachers. Their job is to make sure they get accredited as

:35:13.:35:16.

soon as possible and come up to scratch in the classroom. Do you

:35:17.:35:19.

support the use of unqualified teachers? I do. I have done it. If I

:35:20.:35:26.

could not get a maths, physics or modern languages teacher and I

:35:27.:35:28.

thought somebody straight from university, without qualified

:35:29.:35:31.

teachers start this, that they could communicate well with youngsters, I

:35:32.:35:35.

would get that person into the classroom and get them accredited if

:35:36.:35:40.

they delivered the goods. If we are going to allow schools to have more

:35:41.:35:43.

autonomy and not be accountable to local authorities, free schools

:35:44.:35:49.

academies, don't you have to do... New entrants will be coming into the

:35:50.:35:53.

market, the educational marketplace. Do you not have to act more quickly

:35:54.:36:01.

when it is clear, and there has been examined recently, where it is

:36:02.:36:04.

clearly going badly wrong and children's education at risk?

:36:05.:36:09.

Absolutely. I made a point to the secretary of state and it is

:36:10.:36:11.

something I will talk more about over the coming year. We need to be

:36:12.:36:15.

in school is much more often. If a school fails at the moment, or

:36:16.:36:19.

underperforms, goes into this new category, Her Majesty 's inspectors

:36:20.:36:25.

stay with that institution until it improves. Sometimes we don't see a

:36:26.:36:29.

school for five or seven years. That is wrong. My argument is that Ofsted

:36:30.:36:33.

should pay a much greater part in monitoring the performance of

:36:34.:36:36.

schools between those inspections. Are you enjoying it? It is a tough

:36:37.:36:44.

job. Are you enjoying it? This is a tough job, but I enjoy it.

:36:45.:36:50.

Sometimes. You are watching Sunday Politics.

:36:51.:36:53.

Coming up in just over 20 minutes, Diane Abbott will be joining us. And

:36:54.:36:55.

we will Hello and welcome to Sunday

:36:56.:37:07.

Politics. As the Haass talks enter what's

:37:08.:37:11.

expected to be their final phase, we focus on one of the big three issues

:37:12.:37:14.

- parading. Is a solution surrounding contentious parades a

:37:15.:37:16.

realistic possibility or a pipe-dream? Richard Haass has

:37:17.:37:26.

written the beginning of this report. He has probably written the

:37:27.:37:32.

end of it. What he is doing now is filling in the bits in the middle.

:37:33.:37:38.

Also on the programme - children's heart surgery in Belfast. We hear

:37:39.:37:41.

from one MLA who's been at the forefront of the campaign to retain

:37:42.:37:49.

the service. To discuss that and more my guests are the commentator

:37:50.:37:53.

Alex Kane and the former Victims' Commissioner Patricia McBride.

:37:54.:37:56.

Richard Haass arrives back in Belfast tomorrow for the final round

:37:57.:37:59.

of talks aimed at resolving the difficulties surrounding flags, the

:38:00.:38:03.

past and parading - and it is the last of those issues we turn to this

:38:04.:38:07.

morning. In a moment, the thoughts of the Parades' Commission chairman,

:38:08.:38:09.

Peter Osborne, but first, our Political Reporter, Stephen Walker,

:38:10.:38:12.

has been looking at the homework Dr Haass has handed out to the

:38:13.:38:14.

political parties. Richard Haass has made it clear that

:38:15.:38:35.

the next two weeks of the talks process will be crucial. Discussions

:38:36.:38:39.

will move from information gathering to negotiation. To that end he has

:38:40.:38:45.

set the political parties set of questions about flags, parades in

:38:46.:38:51.

the past. Richard Haass hopes the answers to these questions will form

:38:52.:38:54.

the basis of an agreement that all parties in the Executive can sign up

:38:55.:38:59.

to by the end of the year. Richard Haass and Meghan O'Sullivan have

:39:00.:39:05.

posed for questions on the issue of parades and protests. They want to

:39:06.:39:10.

know what criteria should be used by a parading body in making

:39:11.:39:13.

adjudications. Some insist the current system works. My view on the

:39:14.:39:19.

Parades Commission is it gets it right more often than wrong. When

:39:20.:39:23.

you step back and look at things in the context that the breeds

:39:24.:39:27.

commissioners working, in the past 30 years we have had a 35% increase

:39:28.:39:32.

in the number of loyal order parades. The number of contentious

:39:33.:39:37.

parades has only been 175 are something like that. Of those 175,

:39:38.:39:44.

only about 40% even get recommended route change. I do not think the

:39:45.:39:49.

commission has been particularly draconian in its judgements. Richard

:39:50.:39:56.

has also wants to examine how protesters, bands and an orange

:39:57.:40:03.

order members behave. He has proposed water new cloud of conduct

:40:04.:40:14.

might look like. -- cold of conduct. Code of conduct. The Parades

:40:15.:40:23.

Commission position with dealing with contentious issues. Do you

:40:24.:40:26.

think the code of conduct is strong enough? I think there are aspects of

:40:27.:40:31.

it that can be improved, strengthened. But it needs to be

:40:32.:40:37.

enacted. Doctor Haass also wants to know how the political independence

:40:38.:40:41.

of a reformed commission or new body would be established and maintained.

:40:42.:40:48.

Back in 19 into six, Doctor John Dunlop sat on a government committee

:40:49.:40:53.

that examined parading. Out of that work the Parades Commission was

:40:54.:40:57.

established. Doctor Dunlop insists any new body must have backing from

:40:58.:41:03.

all quarters. I would hope that this body would have the support of the

:41:04.:41:08.

local political leaders so that the local political leadership would be

:41:09.:41:15.

supportive of the decisions that are taken. The decisions are going to

:41:16.:41:23.

have to be made every have political accommodation. This is where the

:41:24.:41:32.

accommodation has helped. The country together to discuss parades.

:41:33.:41:39.

Businessmen have been involved in local discussions. That model cannot

:41:40.:41:46.

be transplanted into other areas, but the ethos behind it can. The

:41:47.:41:56.

ethos is less look at how we can make it work for all sides. Richard

:41:57.:42:00.

Haass also wants to know how members of a parading body may be that.

:42:01.:42:09.

Unionist politician and Orangemen want it to be looked at. He also

:42:10.:42:19.

thinks that process is also predetermined. I worry he is dealing

:42:20.:42:24.

with stupid people who cannot see the traps and tricks that are in his

:42:25.:42:30.

questions. These last four questions in the 14 he put earlier on. They

:42:31.:42:37.

are heading into a trap which tells me I think we are right. That tells

:42:38.:42:44.

me Richard Haass has written the beginning hovers report, crucially,

:42:45.:42:47.

he has probably written the end of it. What he is doing now is filling

:42:48.:42:53.

in the bits in the middle. His agenda has been completed. Richard

:42:54.:42:58.

Haass has spent much of the past few months asking tough and difficult

:42:59.:43:02.

questions. By the end of the year, we will discover that those who

:43:03.:43:14.

govern us can agree on the answers. Stephen Walker reporting. We did ask

:43:15.:43:17.

the Orange Order to take part in that report but it declined to make

:43:18.:43:21.

anyone available. What, then, is the view of the man in charge of

:43:22.:43:24.

parading at the moment? The Parades' Commission chairman, Peter Osborne,

:43:25.:43:27.

is nearing the end of his tenure. When I spoke to him, I began by

:43:28.:43:32.

asking him if Dr Haass is asking the right questions.

:43:33.:43:34.

I think they are among the questions that are right. The context of those

:43:35.:43:36.

questions are increasingly people are acknowledging there is going to

:43:37.:43:41.

be a need for an arbitration body, similar to the Parades Commission.

:43:42.:43:48.

The criteria around which and accord around which that that body works

:43:49.:43:52.

needs to be explored and needs to be strengthened because presumably the

:43:53.:43:58.

Parades Commission is not perfect at the moment and improvements are

:43:59.:44:02.

needed? I do not think anybody is perfect.

:44:03.:44:07.

There are issues around how the commission works at that can be

:44:08.:44:11.

improved as well. There needs to be a much greater clarity around their

:44:12.:44:21.

parade organiser and that needs to look -- to be looked at in context.

:44:22.:44:28.

It is pretty ridiculous that the arbitration body does not get

:44:29.:44:33.

information around toileting arrangements or alcohol management.

:44:34.:44:41.

In this Julie Stritch and unlike other two restrictions, there are no

:44:42.:44:45.

set times for parades. The commission has the ability to look

:44:46.:44:49.

at that but in other places around America, parades do not take place

:44:50.:44:58.

after dark. Do you take the comment that the Parades Commission as it

:44:59.:45:01.

stands has failed? I do not accept that. It has played a significant

:45:02.:45:08.

role in improving the parading environment, it has done a huge

:45:09.:45:13.

amount of work around working with people and bringing fair and

:45:14.:45:17.

balanced decisions to areas where there was significant in contentious

:45:18.:45:28.

parades. One bands in whom reached -- who breached headers --... There

:45:29.:45:41.

are a number of sensitive interfaces. These have seen recent

:45:42.:45:45.

violence and largely that violence has been visible to the police. I

:45:46.:45:52.

have been hugely impressed by the bravery, the resilience and the

:45:53.:45:55.

restraint shown by the police service to handle the kind of

:45:56.:46:00.

violence that has visited over them. The question here is about behaviour

:46:01.:46:05.

and interfaces. When that behaviour is not appropriate, it is imperative

:46:06.:46:16.

that everyone shows the same courage to condemn the inappropriate

:46:17.:46:18.

behaviour. That is what increases tension and brings people on the

:46:19.:46:24.

streets to visit violence on our police. People need to stand up and

:46:25.:46:30.

condemn and not seeing things that will be seen as encouraging it. Is

:46:31.:46:37.

that what you are seeing Nelson was doing? He can answer for himself.

:46:38.:46:46.

Politicians, especially from that community, need to stand back and be

:46:47.:46:50.

genuine civic leaders and condemn that sort of behaviour when it

:46:51.:46:56.

happens. The PSNI shall bravery that is for everybody in the community.

:46:57.:47:01.

They need support from you, me and any other civic leader who has a

:47:02.:47:07.

role to play. Today the police announced that the organiser of last

:47:08.:47:12.

week's parade is to be prosecuted. RU happy about that? I am not happy

:47:13.:47:19.

about any body being prosecuted. It will have a detrimental impact on

:47:20.:47:24.

their lives. There is some bad leadership in Northern Ireland at

:47:25.:47:27.

the moment, as a result of which some young people are being arrested

:47:28.:47:32.

and prosecuted and ending up with criminal records that they shouldn't

:47:33.:47:36.

have. I think there will be a few consequences to that, not related to

:47:37.:47:40.

the civic changes in the mind, they have been told there has been a 30%

:47:41.:47:48.

decrease in football in the city centre. It will lead to people

:47:49.:47:55.

having to talk about strengthening the legislation, there are issues

:47:56.:47:57.

that need to be addressed. People will see that when traditional

:47:58.:48:02.

parades start next year which go through the city centre net -- in an

:48:03.:48:10.

afternoon, they will ask about the cumulative effects. I think they are

:48:11.:48:13.

counter-productive to what people want to achieve, I feel to see the

:48:14.:48:17.

logic of those people organising these parades. Music there will be

:48:18.:48:24.

another Saturday parade like we saw last weekend between now and

:48:25.:48:27.

Christmas? People have latched onto this as a tactic. We will continue

:48:28.:48:33.

to do our job and so will the police, with bravery, resilience and

:48:34.:48:37.

restraint, if that means people break the law, people will have to

:48:38.:48:47.

face the consequences of that. Peter Osborne speaking to me on

:48:48.:48:50.

Thursday night. Let's hear the thoughts of my guests Alex Kane and

:48:51.:48:55.

Patricia McBride. Alex - seen anything during the Haass process

:48:56.:48:58.

that'd change your view in the summer that there'll be no agreement

:48:59.:49:01.

on parades? I do not think there will be an agreement on slides or

:49:02.:49:08.

anything. We saw an interview a few weeks ago with a series of

:49:09.:49:12.

politicians, were the continued to argue over the same things. There is

:49:13.:49:17.

no sense that any small things are agreed. It would take a Christmas

:49:18.:49:21.

miracle and I am not expecting that to happen. Alex also wrote in that

:49:22.:49:31.

article "Mr Haass is coming here in his role as conjuror. He has been

:49:32.:49:35.

brought over because the politicians have failed to resolve this issue.

:49:36.:49:58.

Are you any more optimistic? It was an initial warm welcome. As things

:49:59.:50:04.

move on, I become more concerned. One of my key issues about concern

:50:05.:50:08.

is the lack of engagement of the British and Irish governments. Both

:50:09.:50:12.

were involved in the conflict so they have to be involved in this

:50:13.:50:16.

process. That will damage the output of any recommendations that will

:50:17.:50:21.

come out of this process. Richard Haass has made it clear that this is

:50:22.:50:26.

something that needs to be solved by local politicians locally. What did

:50:27.:50:31.

you make of Peter Osborne's comments? I think he is spot on when

:50:32.:50:39.

he says that. We are in a society that is transitioning out of

:50:40.:50:42.

conflict where we have to pay respect to the rule of law. If all

:50:43.:50:48.

law is broken, there has to be a sanction for that. It is interesting

:50:49.:50:54.

looking back at the report where we saw how the ethos of the model that

:50:55.:50:58.

has been brought into place in Derry could be transferred to other

:50:59.:51:02.

communities. That is a positive but alongside that there has to be a

:51:03.:51:08.

strong sanction for when a condo -- code of conduct is breached that

:51:09.:51:11.

there is a strong sanction for that. A robust interview from Peter

:51:12.:51:17.

Osborne there. It could be one of his last. I need for a civic

:51:18.:51:22.

leadership and stronger legislation around parading. Do you agree? You

:51:23.:51:30.

hear the frustration he has about that. It does not matter what

:51:31.:51:36.

legislation you have, parading is about identity, they won't agree on

:51:37.:51:41.

that. Thank you both very much for now. We will hear more from you wait

:51:42.:51:50.

in the programme. A decision to retain a cardiac service at the

:51:51.:51:53.

Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children is expected this week.

:51:54.:51:56.

Last week the Health Minister, Edwin Poots, said he hoped to announce a

:51:57.:51:59.

decision within days, but so far that hasn't happened. I'm joined now

:52:00.:52:03.

by the Ulster Unionist MLA, Robin Swann, whose own ten-month-old son

:52:04.:52:06.

Evan has undergone heart surgery in Birmingham.

:52:07.:52:08.

Good news and that is that Evan is much better now. He had fantastic

:52:09.:52:20.

here in Belfast. Unfortunately we were one of those families that had

:52:21.:52:23.

to go to Birmingham for the heart operation. There are other families

:52:24.:52:32.

who are maybe sitting in limbo. It is difficult for you and your family

:52:33.:52:36.

because you are wearing the hat of a concerned parent, but you are also

:52:37.:52:40.

leading for your party on this issue and campaigning for services to

:52:41.:52:46.

remain. Is that difficult for you to do both things at the same time? It

:52:47.:52:50.

was a difficult decision for us personally to come into this as it

:52:51.:52:54.

politician or a father. When I got involved with the other parents and

:52:55.:53:00.

charities in Belfast, it was obvious to me that the position I hold is

:53:01.:53:05.

one should be holding -- using to make a difference. We have more than

:53:06.:53:25.

one party signed up to it. He has a big issue to wrestle with here, he

:53:26.:53:29.

hoped to have a decision on the public domain. That hasn't happened

:53:30.:53:34.

yet. He is giving an update tomorrow in the assembly. One of the things

:53:35.:53:40.

we have campaigned for is to side approach from Belfast or Dublin with

:53:41.:53:48.

a can have surgery in both centres. The option of putting children

:53:49.:53:51.

across the water for a routine surgery puts a big strain on

:53:52.:53:59.

families will top --. Do you think that is what the Minister would like

:54:00.:54:07.

to be announcing? Medical practitioners in Dublin would have

:54:08.:54:10.

to agree to that, wouldn't they? That will be the biggest challenge.

:54:11.:54:15.

That is where the challengers. I think it is something that can be

:54:16.:54:19.

resolved. From what I have been told, there is talk of bringing an

:54:20.:54:29.

American surgeon over. To let them say how Diehl said systems can

:54:30.:54:39.

work. -- dual side. How frustrating is it for you as a parent and to

:54:40.:54:45.

take a political lead on this, to keep waiting to find out when these

:54:46.:54:51.

discussions will take place? It is frustrating as a parent and as a

:54:52.:54:55.

politician. We were resigned that we were going to Birmingham. The

:54:56.:55:01.

transfer team worked at the end of the court ready to put into an air

:55:02.:55:06.

ambulance. That frustration is there, there are families out there

:55:07.:55:19.

in the same position. The lead cardiac surgeon retires tomorrow. It

:55:20.:55:24.

is important that a decision is taken. There is a lot of people

:55:25.:55:28.

dependent on the outcome. Again, this decision has been to use in the

:55:29.:55:33.

making and we have always said all along we want the right decision

:55:34.:55:37.

which is Belfast and Dublin. We are getting to the stage now where it is

:55:38.:55:41.

dragging on and dragging on and needed decisions. How sure are you

:55:42.:55:47.

that there will be clarity brought to the situation? Tomorrow's

:55:48.:55:53.

statement will not give us the answer. I hope there is enough

:55:54.:56:00.

concrete evidence that we will be looking to a solution in the early

:56:01.:56:04.

part of the New Year. Their parents here today who do not know where

:56:05.:56:08.

their son or daughter will be operated on. We hope that Evan

:56:09.:56:14.

enjoys his first Christmas at home. Thank you very much indeed. A quick

:56:15.:56:19.

word from my guests about that. Patricia, a lot of people waiting to

:56:20.:56:23.

hear what the Minister will say. I have great sympathy with that. I too

:56:24.:56:29.

had a critically ill child. The issue here is about the resilience

:56:30.:56:35.

of parents and children. When you have a critically ill child you need

:56:36.:56:38.

the support structure of your friends and family to help you to

:56:39.:56:43.

deal with that illness, to help you so you compare your child. The

:56:44.:56:47.

correct solution here isn't all Ireland solution where we have a

:56:48.:56:51.

joint service arrangements between Belfast and Dublin so the children

:56:52.:56:55.

are staying in Ireland and we are not part of a brain drain where

:56:56.:57:08.

people go elsewhere. Let's press the pause button for a moment. Thank you

:57:09.:57:12.

very much for now and we will take a look at the week gone past in 60

:57:13.:57:19.

Seconds. Tributes were paid to Nelson

:57:20.:57:30.

Mandela. Whenever South Africa this -- resolve the issue of our party

:57:31.:57:37.

and, that made people think of what was happening here. -- apartheid.

:57:38.:57:48.

For any failings identified in the report on the part of the state, I

:57:49.:57:54.

am truly sorry. David Ford says he will consult on changing the

:57:55.:57:58.

abortion laws full top I suspect some people respond by saying they

:57:59.:58:03.

should be no change. Others will say they see a significant widening of

:58:04.:58:09.

it. There is a public case for a narrow change. The Chancellor said

:58:10.:58:12.

we are all going to have to work longer in the trade Stormont -- tree

:58:13.:58:22.

instrument was the first casualty. -- tree in Stormont.

:58:23.:58:26.

Stephen Walker reporting. A few final thoughts. We cannot go without

:58:27.:58:36.

reflecting on the passing of Nelson Mandela. It has dominated the news

:58:37.:58:41.

since Thursday when it was announced. Martin McGuinness hopes

:58:42.:58:47.

to attend the funeral. He was the one person that made the whole world

:58:48.:58:51.

think about terrorism in a slightly different way. The important thing

:58:52.:58:56.

about Mandela was he did come across as a change maker. He decided he

:58:57.:59:01.

wanted to make a difference and make sure people did not go down the same

:59:02.:59:08.

path. It is fine that Martin McGuinness should go, it disturbs me

:59:09.:59:13.

that Sinn Fein are going out of their way to draw a parallel between

:59:14.:59:20.

Adams and Mandela. They are to completely different people with two

:59:21.:59:23.

completely different backgrounds. Fergal Keane's comment struck a

:59:24.:59:43.

chord. We should learn lessons from that. In terms of the personal

:59:44.:59:47.

memory, the one and only time when I was close to Nelson Mandela was it a

:59:48.:59:53.

ticker tape parade in New York City after his release. We will leave it

:59:54.:59:56.

there. Tomorrow, the House of Commons will

:59:57.:59:58.

pay its tributes to Nelson Mandela. Our nation has lost its greatest

:59:59.:00:22.

son. Our people have lost a father. The first thing I ever did that

:00:23.:00:48.

involved an issue or policy, or politics, was protest against

:00:49.:00:49.

apartheid. I think his greatest legacy, to

:00:50.:01:02.

South Africa and to the world, is the emphasis which he has always put

:01:03.:01:11.

on the need for a conciliation, on the importance of human rights. He

:01:12.:01:19.

also made us understand that we can change the world. We can change the

:01:20.:01:24.

world by changing attitudes, by changing perceptions. For this

:01:25.:01:29.

reason, I would like to pay him tribute as a great human being, who

:01:30.:01:39.

raised the standard of humanity. Thank you for the gift of Madiba.

:01:40.:01:48.

Thank you for what he has enabled us to know we can become.

:01:49.:01:58.

We are joined now by the Labour MP Diane Abbott. You met Mr Mandela not

:01:59.:02:07.

one after he was released from prison in 1990. He went as an

:02:08.:02:13.

election observer for the first one person, one-vote in South Africa. I

:02:14.:02:17.

would guess, of all the people you met in your life, you must have been

:02:18.:02:20.

the most impressive and biggest influence? He was extraordinary. He

:02:21.:02:26.

had just come out of prison, 28 years in reason. He had seen a lot

:02:27.:02:30.

of his colleagues tortured, blown up and killed. He was entirely without

:02:31.:02:36.

bitterness. That is what came across. That was key to his

:02:37.:02:41.

achievement, to achieve a peaceful transition. Everybody thought that

:02:42.:02:46.

if you have black majority rule, you might have a bloodbath. It's down to

:02:47.:02:49.

Nelson Mandela but didn't happen. I remember FW de Klerk saying that

:02:50.:02:54.

Mandela was the key to getting a peaceful transition. Absolutely the

:02:55.:03:03.

key, an amazing man. London was one of the centres, people talked about

:03:04.:03:09.

it as being the other centre of the anti-apartheid struggle. That

:03:10.:03:12.

anti-apartheid struggle in London, it had an effect on black politics

:03:13.:03:17.

in Britain? Oh, yes. If you were black and politically active at the

:03:18.:03:22.

time, the apartheid struggle, the struggle against white supremacy in

:03:23.:03:26.

South Africa, was very important. Whatever your colour, the

:03:27.:03:30.

anti-apartheid struggle, for our generation, was the political

:03:31.:03:36.

campaign. We have the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's

:03:37.:03:39.

assassination. Mr Mandela's death. We are kind of running out of people

:03:40.:03:43.

that inspired us? I will never forget where I was when I saw him

:03:44.:03:47.

come out of prison, hand-in-hand with the women, I might add. If you

:03:48.:03:53.

have spent your whole teenage years and 20 is boycotting, marching,

:03:54.:03:57.

picketing, to see him actually come out was amazing. Do you think it was

:03:58.:04:05.

more exciting to meet you or the Spice Girls? I think the Spice

:04:06.:04:12.

Girls. What did the Labour backbenchers think about Ed Balls's

:04:13.:04:15.

performance after the Autumn Statement? Luck, Ed Balls is a

:04:16.:04:20.

brilliant man, but I think even he would say that it was not his best

:04:21.:04:24.

performance. But if you look at the polls, the public liked the points

:04:25.:04:28.

he made. The backbenchers were quiet, there was something wrong? I

:04:29.:04:33.

noticed that. It was like a wall of sound, deliberately. They know that

:04:34.:04:38.

under pressure his stamina might come back and it is difficult for

:04:39.:04:41.

him. That is what they were trying to incite. I have had experience

:04:42.:04:48.

first hand, a look at all of these anonymous and sometimes not

:04:49.:04:51.

anonymous quotes in the media. The spinning has begun against him? This

:04:52.:05:03.

is the party of brotherly love, no matter what the Tories say, we can

:05:04.:05:07.

say worse about each other. How could it be that two former aides to

:05:08.:05:13.

Gordon Brown do not like each other? Far be it from me to say. If he

:05:14.:05:18.

wanted to do it, and I'm not saying he does, is Mr Miliband ruthless

:05:19.:05:23.

enough to get rid of Ed Balls? I mean, he got rid of you, he got rid

:05:24.:05:27.

of his brother? One thing you should not do is under estimate Ed

:05:28.:05:32.

Miliband's capacity for ruthlessness. If he feels it is the

:05:33.:05:37.

right thing to do, he will do it. It's not just a matter of... Ed

:05:38.:05:40.

Balls is a big, powerful personality. He's great to interview

:05:41.:05:44.

because he is across his subject, you can have a really good argument

:05:45.:05:49.

with him, a man that knows his brief, his facts. But it's not just

:05:50.:05:54.

about the personality. There is a kind of sense that Labour needs to

:05:55.:06:00.

look forwards more on economic policy. Of course, the standard of

:06:01.:06:03.

living has been hugely successful for Labour. But it needs more than

:06:04.:06:09.

that on economic policy? I think he has been one of the most effective

:06:10.:06:12.

member 's Shadow Cabinet, and he's always associated with the Brown

:06:13.:06:18.

years, where there is always an element about, you were the guys

:06:19.:06:21.

that got it wrong. I think Ed Miliband will be very tempted to

:06:22.:06:25.

replace him with Alistair Darling. The scenario goes like this,

:06:26.:06:29.

Alistair Darling saves the union and then in September he saves the

:06:30.:06:32.

Labour Party. Ultimately, I don't think he would do it. Talk about

:06:33.:06:37.

shifting tectonic plates, it would, wouldn't it? But it is a step too

:06:38.:06:42.

far. Ed Balls would not be too happy. It is not something you would

:06:43.:06:50.

want to do lightly. That sounds a bit of a threat. Not from you. I

:06:51.:06:57.

can't see Ed Balls magnanimously retreating and say, go on, Alistair

:06:58.:07:03.

Darling, take the job I have been after all career. Where do you put

:07:04.:07:07.

him? Do you make him a middle ranking business or welfare

:07:08.:07:11.

secretary? He wouldn't do that. If you sack him, he would retreat to

:07:12.:07:15.

the backbenchers. He might take up knitting and practices piano scales,

:07:16.:07:21.

or he might have a blood feud with Ed Miliband. I don't know which

:07:22.:07:26.

could be. You look back to when he was schools Secretary, you could

:07:27.:07:30.

feel he was constantly fuming. I think he is better inside the tent,

:07:31.:07:33.

looking out, than the other way around. The thing one Labour

:07:34.:07:38.

strategist said to me was that he is too much looking into the rear-view

:07:39.:07:41.

mirror, when it comes to economic policy. He needs to look ahead

:07:42.:07:45.

through the windscreen. That had some resonance? He was at the centre

:07:46.:07:51.

of Labour's economic policy-making from the mid-90s. So it's hard for

:07:52.:07:56.

him but he has to look forward. There is an interesting comparison

:07:57.:08:00.

with 2009. Gordon Brown got in trouble when he said the choice is

:08:01.:08:04.

between Labour investment and Tory cuts. Everybody knew it was between

:08:05.:08:08.

Labour cuts and Tory cuts. In other words, he was not acknowledging

:08:09.:08:12.

reality. With Ed Balls, OK, we can say it is the wrong sort of

:08:13.:08:16.

recovery, but there is a recovery. Does he not need to absorb that

:08:17.:08:19.

punch and say there is a recovery, then people will listen to him?

:08:20.:08:27.

Possibly. We know that the macroeconomics are looking better.

:08:28.:08:29.

We also know people are not experiencing it as a recovery in

:08:30.:08:33.

living standards. No one, not even Tories, really believe that David

:08:34.:08:39.

Cameron knows what it is like for middle-income people to live normal

:08:40.:08:43.

lives. Living standards is particularly powerful because of the

:08:44.:08:46.

composition of the government? Don't go away. This time last year we

:08:47.:08:51.

ambushed our political panel with a quiz. They didn't come out of it

:08:52.:08:54.

smelling of roses, but they did come out rather smelly.

:08:55.:08:58.

Will the coalition still be in place a year from now? Yes. Definitely. I

:08:59.:09:08.

say definitely as well. From now, one year, will we know the date of

:09:09.:09:15.

the European referendum? Yes. No. I say no as well. How much growth will

:09:16.:09:21.

there be? Less than 1%. Father Christmas is less qualified than me,

:09:22.:09:27.

but I will go for one. I will go for a quarter of that. 0.4%. Sorry, a

:09:28.:09:35.

third of that. I am with you, and 1%. We didn't do too badly. What

:09:36.:09:41.

will growth be next year? I will remind you, the OBR has upgraded to

:09:42.:09:47.

2.4%. Better stick with the OBR, got it wrong last year. Well, they went

:09:48.:09:52.

down in March and then went back in December. I'm going to go under and

:09:53.:09:57.

claim credit where it's higher. I'm going to say 1%. Deliberately get it

:09:58.:10:04.

wrong. Given our record, if we say there is going to be spectacular

:10:05.:10:07.

growth, does it mean we're going to go into recession? There is

:10:08.:10:14.

incentive to be cautious. 2%. 2.4%, because the housing market in London

:10:15.:10:19.

is rocketing. It would be closer to 3% and 2.4, mark my words. We'll Ed

:10:20.:10:24.

Balls be Shadow Chancellor by this time next year? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes,

:10:25.:10:36.

I value my life. Will UKIP mean the European elections, by which I mean

:10:37.:10:39.

have the highest percentage of the vote? Yes. Second behind Labour.

:10:40.:10:50.

Second behind Labour. Will Alex Salmond win the independence

:10:51.:10:53.

referendum? No, but it will be closer than we think. No, unless

:10:54.:10:59.

they do something catastrophic like let Cameron debate him. Too close to

:11:00.:11:08.

call. Controversial. How many Romanians and Bulgarians will come

:11:09.:11:13.

to Britain in 2014? Far fewer than anyone thinks. The entire population

:11:14.:11:20.

of Romania and Bulgaria, like Nigel Farage thanks. I'll go with that,

:11:21.:11:25.

I'm confident. A change of tone for your magazine. Not many will come,

:11:26.:11:31.

but a lot here already will normalise and be counted into

:11:32.:11:32.

figures. Too many for most normalise and be counted into

:11:33.:11:35.

figures. Too many for most right-wing commentators. I think

:11:36.:11:40.

quite a few will come, but not the kind of numbers that made such a

:11:41.:11:47.

huge difference. This time, everybody is open. They do like to

:11:48.:11:54.

speak English, that is the reason they want to come. We'll all three

:11:55.:11:58.

of you still be here by this time next year? Yes. Would you recommend

:11:59.:12:05.

that? Yes, keep them. And he has lovely boots. Shiny red boots. If

:12:06.:12:11.

you can keep affording me, I will be here. I hope so, it sounds like you

:12:12.:12:20.

have a firing squad outside. I hope so, maybe you will find some true

:12:21.:12:28.

talent. Very pragmatic, aren't they? Let me put this to you, I think you

:12:29.:12:32.

will agree. The coalition will not break now, this side of the election

:12:33.:12:38.

next year? There will not be... They will not go their own ways by this

:12:39.:12:44.

time next year? Of next year, maybe just after. Early 2015. This side of

:12:45.:12:52.

the election? What is the UKIP view? I don't think there is an advantage

:12:53.:12:57.

to either of them. If the Lib Dems pulled out, they would look like

:12:58.:13:01.

there were a lodger in the Tory house of government. I think it

:13:02.:13:05.

would suit the Lib Dems to break just before the election. I think

:13:06.:13:08.

that is what Vince Cable wants to do. I don't think it is what Nick

:13:09.:13:12.

Clegg would like to do. The Tories would love it. They would have all

:13:13.:13:19.

of the toys to themselves. Yellow marker they would look like the

:13:20.:13:21.

grown-ups. The problem for Vince Cable is that he's not the force

:13:22.:13:26.

that used to be after his temper tantrum at the Conference.

:13:27.:13:30.

I will be back with the Daily Politics next week. If Santer gives

:13:31.:13:37.

you a diary in your stocking, pencil in Sunday the 20th of January, the

:13:38.:13:43.

first Sunday Politics of 2014. Remember, if it is Sunday, it is the

:13:44.:13:49.

Sunday Politics. Unless it is Christmas. And New Year.

:13:50.:13:52.

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