10/02/2013 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


10/02/2013

Mark Carruthers looks at the political developments of the week and questions policy makers on the key issues.


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And coming up on Sunday politics in that Northern Ireland...

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Basil McPhail and being found guilty of indiscipline. Three MEPs

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2465 seconds

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on the latest Brussels budget. Join Welcome to Sunday politics in

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Northern Ireland. As a McGhee was found guilty of two counts of and

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disciplined. Is everything rosy indeed DUP garden?

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After more than 24 hours of gruelling budget talks, EU leaders

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have agreed a compromise deal. David Cameron might be happy that

:43:04.:43:08.

spending might be reduced. It looks like the EU peace programme budget

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for Northern Ireland will be cut by 75 million euros. I will be talking

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to our three local MEPs. Joining me with insights into the state of

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Europe by am joined by eight Nick Lagan Valley MLA Basil McCrae has

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been found guilty of indiscipline by an Ulster Unionist Party

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committee and given them a formal warning. He spoke out last week

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against party policy. The two complaints against him were upheld,

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so does the decision to give them a slap on the wrist rather than expel

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him mean an end to the matter? He is with us now, thank you for

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joining us. You must be disappointed he did not throw the

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book at you? I am disappointed they did not find

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in my favour. A spokes on party policy, I did not attack anybody

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come at I acted in the best interests of the party and I

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provided them with lots of detail on the record to see this was what

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was said, so why am at a loss to how they have come to that

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conclusion. They handed out the most lenient punishment available

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to them. The fine you guilty but gave you a formal warning. Has that

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row fitted you? A lot of people said that you wanted to be made a

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martyr. If you'd -- they had thrown you out of the party you could have

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moved on. I do not know what a formal warning

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implies. Does that mean I am only slightly guilty or that I was not

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guilty at all of there are other issues? The you are absolutely

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guilty, they are clear about that. The I don't understand the

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conclusions, you were guilty but we're not going to throw the book

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at you. This seems strange. My ultimate responsibility is to the

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electorate. The people that put me into power, the people that Ford

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for me... What exposition of the party's

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position do you have at this stage? Have they gone through it point by

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point in great detail? One of the really disappointing

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things about this process is that I have had no detail about the way

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they are thinking. You would have thought a party that has been

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around for 100 years with lots of experience in disciplinary

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procedures would have a better procedure than this.

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This is what I have. This is one page, handwritten. This is the

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investigative report, all there is. There is nothing else. That is not

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the finding, is it? No Mac, that is the investigative

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reporter that decides whether I have a case to answer or not. It is

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half a page of A4 paper, handwritten. It provides no detail,

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and until they are able to explain to me and the public what is going

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on, then I have to say I still think I have a good case. Do you

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dispute the findings? You still maintain that the evidence you gave

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points to one conclusion only, that they were not guilty of the two

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charges you were facing? That is correct. It is not a matter of

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opinion, this is fact. This is tram scripted. You can beat this. With

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respect, you're the defendant, not the judge. You are standing in the

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dock, the judges, your fellow party members, listens to the evidence

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and looked at the facts, and they made a ruling that you may not like

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but it disagrees with your point of view.

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I do not understand how they have reached their conclusions. Also,

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they seem to have something of a problem in this regard. There is a

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pattern emerging about dealing with disciplinary procedures. The number

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of people that have left the party in the last number of years, we do

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not appear to have got this right. A am confused about how they are

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thinking, I do not think I have done anything wrong and would stand

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by my case. If you still maintain your

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innocence and none of us are any the wiser because we have not seen

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the details of what precisely you have been charged with and how you

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answered those charges, while good do not call their bluff by

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publishing the evidence that you say makes you innocent, put it in

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the public domain and let voters decide for themselves who is right?

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The first thing I am going to do is speak to my local association and

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explain to them what is going on, and I will give them all of the

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details, the document I have and the charges against me. I am also

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of a mind because of the electorate being the ultimate arbiter of need,

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that I will publish what I have and invite the party to publish what

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they have. I am not an employee, I am an elected representative. The

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public have a right to know, I will stand by my case and put it out

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there, and I will -- ask them to do the same.

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If you publish your side of the story, people will find in your

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favour? Do I have been clear to the party,

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they asked me to sign a confidentially -- confidentiality

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agreement twice and I refused. I intend to tell the electorate and I

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will publish it. Will you pull this decision?

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I certainly want to address the issue.

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-- will you appeal this decision? I reiterate that I have at all

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times acted in the best interests of the party...

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Are you going to sit down and appealed this or let it go? You

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must have a view of the longer term, whether or not Basil McCrae will

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remain in the party or not? I will take advice, but I am not

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happy with the decision that has come out, and an appeal is

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certainly open to me. It is most unfortunate party officers are

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making public statements already that seemed to prejudice the case.

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The entire process is compromised, and that is part of the problem.

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The party has to find a better way of dealing with it and I hope I

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will be able to help them deal with that.

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We will leave it there for now, thank you for joining us.

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We will hear the views of my guests on the state of the Ulster

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Unionists shortly, but first, from horse making beefburgers to Adam

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:49:53.:49:58.

and Eve, it is all in the week in He meet and what we eat made

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headlines again and it came with a warning.

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Those people need to be brought to book by the law.

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An Ulster said no group open the police and fire jeans.

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Ireland's multi-billion debt deal was hailed by some as a success...

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Are Government is on doing the disastrous banking policies that

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brought this state to the brink of national bankruptcy.

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The road to a united Ireland seemed longer than ever.

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It looks like one that will lift the spirits of almost everyone in

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this House, because we believed in a United Kingdom and we believe in

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Northern Ireland been part of that United Kingdom.

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Gay weddings got Westminster's blessing but some could not admit.

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A In the Garden of Eden, it was adamant and Steve, it was not Adam

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and Eve... It was not Adam and Eve. Stephen Walker reporting. Let's

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hear for the former director of communications for the Ulster

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Unionist Party, Alex Kane and PR consultant and commentator Nick

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Garbutt. Welcome. The long-running sketch -- Sagar of bars, Gray's

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this entanglement from the Ulster Unionist Party continues. What did

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we learn this morning? At do not think we learned anything new.

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It was a classic fudge. They found him guilty. The actually passed the

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whole thing over to Nisbet. This will now become a clash of two

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miniature titans. The whip is the only one who can give this whip

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back. He will have conditions, he will DEC, basil, I will give the

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whip back but I want a public admission that you will tour the

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line. Battle will not give that. The other thing is they said it was

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the most lenient punishment they could give him. It was informed by

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the fact that Mike has the whip, but also that Basil intends to

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leave the Unionist Party no matter what happens in all of this.

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Nick Garbutt did you think Basil McCrae is preparing the way to

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depart? I think it is inevitable. I do not think this is doing the

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party any good at all. Alex Kane is talking about a fudge, they do not

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need fat at the moment. If you look at a good successful party, it has

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three key element - great organisation, strong leadership and

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discipline and compelling messages people can buy into and support.

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Sadly, at the moment, the party does not have any of those.

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It is difficult to recover from a situation like this, isn't it?

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trouble with the Ulster Unionist Party, they need a number of things,

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but they also need a clear sense of direction. The problem is, it is a

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party of two haves, three thirds, there is no unity and direction. It

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does not matter how good the message or organisation is, if you

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cannot knock adored and asked people what he Ulster Unionist

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Party believes income unless you can get a clear answer it goes to

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the party that has the clearest message.

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Hope might make -- Mike Nesbitt react to Basil McCrae saying this

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morning that he will put in the public domain information that a

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punter will now the public has not seen that he says will underscore

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his case and undermine the party? The trouble is, it was interesting

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for the first few weeks when you had someone saying he was standing

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up for party policy. The general public, the media, they have no

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good interest in the mind you shy. Most people have accepted, but will

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want to leave the Ulster Unionist Party. -- have no interest in the

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minute detail. They may as well just cut it and go.

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Nick, you are involved in the motion of crisis management, and we

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will come onto that as far as Europe and horsemeat is concerned,

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but in terms of the party, what advice would you give? It is hard,

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because the smaller our party and weaker our party becomes the less

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power and influence you can trade with senior members, and the more

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difficult it is to control people. If you were talking about Labour in

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opposition, you have all the shadow Cabinet posts, a look for people to

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lose if they step out of line. But the Ulster Unionists, there are not

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be too many cards for Mike Nesbitt to play. It will be interesting to

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see what happens when they go back to Stormont tomorrow. We will be

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back with you later in the programme.

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Europe has agreed to more funding supporting scores of community

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groups here, as well as high- profile projects like the Peace

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Bridge across the River Foyle and the planned Conflict Resolution

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Centre at the form at Maze Prison. But the Peace IV package has been

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reduced to 150 million euros, on the back of the first ever real-

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terms cut on the eve -- overall EU budget. I am joined by a All-Star

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Unionist Jim Nicholson and the DUP's Diane Dodds, and we're joined

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from our Foyle's studio by Sinn Fein's Martina Anderson. Diane

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Dodds, first of all, let me ask you about the Budget. It is the first

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real terms budget cut as far as the he is concerned in these days of

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austerity. Is that the right thing for Europe to be doing? First of

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all, I welcome the budget negotiation de Prime Minister came

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back with. It is an important message we have to send to the

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European Commission that they cannot continue to spend while at

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home national budgets and family budgets are under severe

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restriction. That is an important message. We also have to recognise,

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under the very complex funding formula for the European Union,

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between what we pay in and get out, the United Kingdom will continue to

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contribute more to the EU with a large structural funds going to

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eastern Europe. For as at home, we have to continue to fight for an

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adequate share of the Common Agricultural Policy budget, support

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our farmers and food industry, which has continued to rise in

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times of recession. It is very, very important.

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What about the fact that Peace IV has been secured, money for

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community groups and some of the project I mentioned. That is

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secured, and there was a lot of talk that was not going to be the

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case. Yes, it has been reduced by 75

:57:07.:57:12.

million euros. We are 150 million euros better off than we thought we

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would have been three years ago when it looked as if they would

:57:15.:57:23.

have been no Peace Fund. My friends in Europe ask, how long does it

:57:23.:57:27.

take to make peace in Northern Ireland? This has been going on

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since 1994. It is a good question. The UK, I have to say, in the

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events of recent weeks, has brought it back to people saying to us,

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what is happening? We thought you were moving on. Why have these

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things happening on the streets? Bid you think people resent the

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fact they are still paying for something they thought had been

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resolved and frankly should have been resolved?

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No, I think Europe has been very generous towards Northern Ireland

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and understanding, and that is why the fund was brought about all of

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those years ago. It has contributed to bringing us to where we are. We

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now have to look at the challenge as to where we're going in the

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future, and there are still problems, we know that. Because

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Europe's Gies has moved towards the east -- Europe's agrees have moved

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towards the east, we're not on the screens across BBC World or Sky

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News, there are these atrocities happening everywhere no beamed

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across the world. Do you take the view that the glass

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is half full in that the money is secured, or have empty in that it

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is not as great as it has been in the past?

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First of all, I fundamentally disagreed with Diane Dodds's

:58:55.:58:59.

analysis of David Cameron's actions. If it had been up to David Cameron

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we would not have had a peace forum. The ministers in the south of

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Ireland where the people who picked Peace IV on the table. We also need

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to take into account that what happened last week is a bad deal

:59:11.:59:18.

for Ireland. Agriculture, growth and fisheries is down 47.7 billion

:59:18.:59:23.

euros. That is going to have a knock-on effect on all of those

:59:24.:59:28.

parties in Westminster who voted for a cut in the EU budget. They're

:59:28.:59:34.

going to have to address that between those people here, needing

:59:34.:59:39.

a single farm paid in -- payments, those people needing the Rural

:59:39.:59:47.

Development Fund. We do not know the impact of this �47.7 billion --

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47.7 billion euros cut. But a we have to live within our budget, in

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Ireland, in the UK and in the European Union, as well.

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Austerity has kicked in and we cannot keep spending money that we

:59:58.:00:05.

have -- that we do not have. The contribution from the member-

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states amount to 67p per person per day. You pay more for a cup of tea.

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The total contribution spread out over a seven-year period, when you

:00:15.:00:20.

look at the deficit in the USA, it is more for one here and the seven-

:00:20.:00:27.

year budget for the EU. I think there has been a lot of

:00:27.:00:31.

scaremongering and unfortunately we are going to see agriculture,

:00:31.:00:36.

development, fisheries, peace and the cohesion and social funds, the

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structural funds, that have also been cut. Regarding peace, we need

:00:42.:00:45.

to look at what the first and Deputy First Minister would bring

:00:45.:00:52.

in Brussels last week, showcasing the project that benefit from peace.

:00:52.:01:00.

22,000 project from 1995 until the present day. At the last round,

:01:00.:01:04.

900,000 participants. Her baby you respond to that? That

:01:04.:01:08.

is a very different view from yours. There are others, clearly, within

:01:08.:01:14.

the European Union, who would share Martina Anderson's analysis?

:01:14.:01:19.

European Parliament, for example, will continuously vote for budget

:01:19.:01:22.

rises. It seems to think it lives in a

:01:22.:01:26.

parallel universe, that what is happening in member states, what is

:01:26.:01:33.

happening with families is not what happens to them. It will be a

:01:33.:01:36.

disgrace next session if the European Parliament vote to have a

:01:36.:01:41.

private vote on whether to support the budget or not. In terms of

:01:41.:01:46.

peace, it is hugely important that we have got this piece money. This

:01:46.:01:51.

was by no means certain. This is a result of a huge amount of work at

:01:51.:01:56.

that has been done since 2009 with the commission, with the committee

:01:56.:02:05.

in order to secure that. We need to set -- it goes to the real victims

:02:05.:02:08.

of terrorism and support our young people.

:02:08.:02:11.

The Quick Word on the horsemeat. I do not know if it is a scandal

:02:11.:02:17.

order controversy at this stage. We were told it was not a food scare,

:02:17.:02:20.

but if the day that passes it looked more and more like a food

:02:20.:02:25.

scare. I think this is becoming a tragedy for the whole food industry.

:02:25.:02:29.

And there is a big European dimension. Yes, and Europe will

:02:29.:02:33.

have good deal with this. We have always said you have controlled the

:02:33.:02:38.

standards of the food we eat and water we drink. Now we do not know

:02:38.:02:43.

what is going into it. I have set for a long time, there is no such

:02:43.:02:48.

thing as cheap food. Food costs a lot to produce and people are

:02:48.:02:52.

cutting corners. If this is criminals, if it is being driven

:02:52.:03:00.

down by the retailers trying to sell four burgers for a pound, I am

:03:00.:03:04.

sorry, you cannot get meat as cheap as that.

:03:04.:03:14.
:03:14.:03:14.

At how good we sort this problem and it?

:03:14.:03:18.

When we are told -- we are told that there is a breach in the EU

:03:18.:03:23.

food labelling laws and that needs sorted. We're also told of the food

:03:23.:03:27.

is safe to consume, but that is only if the horses themselves have

:03:27.:03:35.

not had better remain medicine administered. -- veteran any

:03:35.:03:45.
:03:45.:03:47.

medicine. -- veterinarian medicine. Our I fear that we're going to get

:03:47.:03:50.

further news, if we listen to the Secretary of State. We will get

:03:50.:03:55.

further news on this this week. It is a scandal of mammoth proportions,

:03:55.:04:00.

but we should differentiate between the traceability systems our

:04:00.:04:04.

farmers use and quality produced they have in Northern Ireland.

:04:04.:04:08.

Jim Nicholson, Diane Dodds, Martina Anderson, thank you for joining us.

:04:08.:04:13.

Let's hear a final thought from Alex Kane and Nick Garbutt.

:04:13.:04:17.

Can we deal with this food scare? Day by day, this is getting more

:04:17.:04:22.

worrying for consumers. Yes, and I think they are right, this is a

:04:22.:04:25.

serious problem. Trust and confidence is what we were trying

:04:25.:04:31.

to defend. How can you possibly have trust now in what is in that

:04:31.:04:36.

burka and confidence about how safe it is? We have been told it is a

:04:36.:04:39.

labelling issue and not a food safety issue, but how do we know

:04:39.:04:44.

that? Would be these horses come from? We do not know. There has

:04:44.:04:49.

been evidence of identity theft going on recently. It is also a

:04:49.:04:52.

problem for Northern Ireland. It is a Europe-wide problem, but it is a

:04:52.:04:58.

problem for our producers here at. Yes, but what concerns me about

:04:58.:05:04.

this, all the big suppliers like Tesco, I assumed because they are

:05:04.:05:09.

the primary be to work they will have checked.

:05:09.:05:13.

From the main supplier but also from the seven or eight sub-

:05:13.:05:20.

contractors. That does not seem to have been done. When you are

:05:20.:05:24.

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