08/12/2013 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


internet shopping and tweet something intelligent. But don't


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


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


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


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


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


takeaways and his first opportunity to announce some economic cheer.


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


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


the Chancellor delivers these statements, he has to say the


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


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


lot better. Britain is currently growing faster


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


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


Autumn Statement last year, there were repeated predictions that


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


significantly more than forecast. But George Osborne said the good


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


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


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


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


government departments. The state pension age will increase in the


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


discounted business rates for small businesses, free school meals for


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


extraordinaire Paul Johnson from the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Of


course it means that things are significantly better this year and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


very worrying. Was this a watershed for George


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


bird tells me he managed one interview this morning before he


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


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


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


Chancellor is incomplete denial about the central facts that are


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


rest were pretty unattributed, nameless sources. You have never


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


pensions because they have to be sustainable if we are living


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


seen the proposition the Government has put before us.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


facing. Now, let's talk to the Financial


Secretary to the Treasury, Sajid Javid.


Discovery, underpinned by rising house prices, increasing personal


debt, do you accept that is unsustainable?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


fall in business investment is because of the recession. The


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


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


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


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


coming through now because of the confidence generated by this


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


straightforward. House prices are now rising ten


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


rising, partly reflecting recovery. Ten times faster than average


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


parents more choice. And a pupil premium was introduced,


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


An overhaul of the national curriculum provoked criticism.


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


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


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


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


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


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


me now. Over the past 15 years, we have


doubled spending on schools even allowing for inflation. By


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


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


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


removed that awful word, satisfactory. Saying that good is


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


examinations. Perceptual state is actually doing something about that.


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


Do politicians and educationalists conspire in this grade inflation? It


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


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


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


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


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


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


remarkable progress over the last years since we changed our grading


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


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


big challenge for our country is making sure that progress is


maintained which will eventually translate into better outcomes.


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


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


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


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


similar reforms in Sweden. In opposition they were endlessly going


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


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


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


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


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


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


allow the great monoliths that used to have responsibility for education


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


You have got to actually empower those people that make the


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


of money moving what were local authority schools to become


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


teaching. The best graduates coming to education. They professionally


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


of teaching by bad behaviour, disaffected youngsters and poor


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


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


Are you a cheerleader for government education policy rather than


independent inspectors? I am independent, Ofsted is independent.


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


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


has called for your resignation. Another wants to abolish or


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


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


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


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


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


think they are going wrong. Many people in the education


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


and say that strong school leadership, coupled with autonomy,


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


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


of whether teachers should be qualified or not. If qualified


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


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


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


headteacher that has not appointed by qualified staff when they cannot


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


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


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


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


thought somebody straight from university, without qualified


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


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


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


autonomy and not be accountable to local authorities, free schools


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


should pay a much greater part in monitoring the performance of


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


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


Sometimes. You are watching Sunday Politics.


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


we will Hello and welcome to Sunday


Politics. As the Haass talks enter what's


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


- parading. Is a solution surrounding contentious parades a


realistic possibility or a pipe-dream? Richard Haass has


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


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


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


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


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


Alex Kane and the former Victims' Commissioner Patricia McBride.


Richard Haass arrives back in Belfast tomorrow for the final round


of talks aimed at resolving the difficulties surrounding flags, the


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


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


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


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


political parties. Richard Haass has made it clear that


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


commission has been particularly draconian in its judgements. Richard


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


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


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


Commission position with dealing with contentious issues. Do you


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


local political leaders so that the local political leadership would be


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


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


accommodation has helped. The country together to discuss parades.


Businessmen have been involved in local discussions. That model cannot


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


asking him if Dr Haass is asking the right questions.


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


questions are increasingly people are acknowledging there is going to


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


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


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


Parades Commission is not perfect at the moment and improvements are


needed? I do not think anybody is perfect.


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


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


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


It is pretty ridiculous that the arbitration body does not get


information around toileting arrangements or alcohol management.


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


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


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


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


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


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


amount of work around working with people and bringing fair and


balanced decisions to areas where there was significant in contentious


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


are a number of sensitive interfaces. These have seen recent


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


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


restraint shown by the police service to handle the kind of


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


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


that everyone shows the same courage to condemn the inappropriate


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


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


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


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


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


genuine civic leaders and condemn that sort of behaviour when it


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


having to talk about strengthening the legislation, there are issues


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


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


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


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


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


another Saturday parade like we saw last weekend between now and


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


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


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


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


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


Patricia McBride. Alex - seen anything during the Haass process


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children is expected this week.


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


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


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


Evan has undergone heart surgery in Birmingham.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


to be announcing? Medical practitioners in Dublin would have


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


joint service arrangements between Belfast and Dublin so the children


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


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


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


Seconds. Tributes were paid to Nelson


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


since Thursday when it was announced. Martin McGuinness hopes


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


completely different backgrounds. Fergal Keane's comment struck a


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


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


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


there. Tomorrow, the House of Commons will


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


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


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


apartheid. I think his greatest legacy, to


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


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


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


world by changing attitudes, by changing perceptions. For this


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


achievement, to achieve a peaceful transition. Everybody thought that


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Possibly. We know that the macroeconomics are looking better.


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


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


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


lives. Living standards is particularly powerful because of the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Second behind Labour. Will Alex Salmond win the independence


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


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


call. Controversial. How many Romanians and Bulgarians will come


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


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


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


but a lot here already will normalise and be counted into


figures. Too many for most normalise and be counted into


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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