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...
Basil McPhail and being found guilty of indiscipline. Three MEPs
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2465 seconds
on the latest Brussels budget. Join Welcome to Sunday politics in
Northern Ireland. As a McGhee was found guilty of two counts of and
disciplined. Is everything rosy indeed DUP garden?
After more than 24 hours of gruelling budget talks, EU leaders
have agreed a compromise deal. David Cameron might be happy that
spending might be reduced. It looks like the EU peace programme budget
for Northern Ireland will be cut by 75 million euros. I will be talking
to our three local MEPs. Joining me with insights into the state of
Europe by am joined by eight Nick Lagan Valley MLA Basil McCrae has
been found guilty of indiscipline by an Ulster Unionist Party
committee and given them a formal warning. He spoke out last week
against party policy. The two complaints against him were upheld,
so does the decision to give them a slap on the wrist rather than expel
him mean an end to the matter? He is with us now, thank you for
joining us. You must be disappointed he did not throw the
book at you? I am disappointed they did not find
in my favour. A spokes on party policy, I did not attack anybody
come at I acted in the best interests of the party and I
provided them with lots of detail on the record to see this was what
was said, so why am at a loss to how they have come to that
conclusion. They handed out the most lenient punishment available
to them. The fine you guilty but gave you a formal warning. Has that
row fitted you? A lot of people said that you wanted to be made a
martyr. If you'd -- they had thrown you out of the party you could have
moved on. I do not know what a formal warning
implies. Does that mean I am only slightly guilty or that I was not
guilty at all of there are other issues? The you are absolutely
guilty, they are clear about that. The I don't understand the
conclusions, you were guilty but we're not going to throw the book
at you. This seems strange. My ultimate responsibility is to the
electorate. The people that put me into power, the people that Ford
for me... What exposition of the party's
position do you have at this stage? Have they gone through it point by
point in great detail? One of the really disappointing
things about this process is that I have had no detail about the way
they are thinking. You would have thought a party that has been
around for 100 years with lots of experience in disciplinary
procedures would have a better procedure than this.
This is what I have. This is one page, handwritten. This is the
investigative report, all there is. There is nothing else. That is not
the finding, is it? No Mac, that is the investigative
reporter that decides whether I have a case to answer or not. It is
half a page of A4 paper, handwritten. It provides no detail,
and until they are able to explain to me and the public what is going
on, then I have to say I still think I have a good case. Do you
dispute the findings? You still maintain that the evidence you gave
points to one conclusion only, that they were not guilty of the two
charges you were facing? That is correct. It is not a matter of
opinion, this is fact. This is tram scripted. You can beat this. With
respect, you're the defendant, not the judge. You are standing in the
dock, the judges, your fellow party members, listens to the evidence
and looked at the facts, and they made a ruling that you may not like
but it disagrees with your point of view.
I do not understand how they have reached their conclusions. Also,
they seem to have something of a problem in this regard. There is a
pattern emerging about dealing with disciplinary procedures. The number
of people that have left the party in the last number of years, we do
not appear to have got this right. A am confused about how they are
thinking, I do not think I have done anything wrong and would stand
by my case. If you still maintain your
innocence and none of us are any the wiser because we have not seen
the details of what precisely you have been charged with and how you
answered those charges, while good do not call their bluff by
publishing the evidence that you say makes you innocent, put it in
the public domain and let voters decide for themselves who is right?
The first thing I am going to do is speak to my local association and
explain to them what is going on, and I will give them all of the
details, the document I have and the charges against me. I am also
of a mind because of the electorate being the ultimate arbiter of need,
that I will publish what I have and invite the party to publish what
they have. I am not an employee, I am an elected representative. The
public have a right to know, I will stand by my case and put it out
there, and I will -- ask them to do the same.
If you publish your side of the story, people will find in your
favour? Do I have been clear to the party,
they asked me to sign a confidentially -- confidentiality
agreement twice and I refused. I intend to tell the electorate and I
will publish it. Will you pull this decision?
I certainly want to address the issue.
-- will you appeal this decision? I reiterate that I have at all
times acted in the best interests of the party...
Are you going to sit down and appealed this or let it go? You
must have a view of the longer term, whether or not Basil McCrae will
remain in the party or not? I will take advice, but I am not
happy with the decision that has come out, and an appeal is
certainly open to me. It is most unfortunate party officers are
making public statements already that seemed to prejudice the case.
The entire process is compromised, and that is part of the problem.
The party has to find a better way of dealing with it and I hope I
will be able to help them deal with that.
We will leave it there for now, thank you for joining us.
We will hear the views of my guests on the state of the Ulster
Unionists shortly, but first, from horse making beefburgers to Adam
and Eve, it is all in the week in He meet and what we eat made
headlines again and it came with a warning.
Those people need to be brought to book by the law.
An Ulster said no group open the police and fire jeans.
Ireland's multi-billion debt deal was hailed by some as a success...
Are Government is on doing the disastrous banking policies that
brought this state to the brink of national bankruptcy.
The road to a united Ireland seemed longer than ever.
It looks like one that will lift the spirits of almost everyone in
this House, because we believed in a United Kingdom and we believe in
Northern Ireland been part of that United Kingdom.
Gay weddings got Westminster's blessing but some could not admit.
A In the Garden of Eden, it was adamant and Steve, it was not Adam
and Eve... It was not Adam and Eve. Stephen Walker reporting. Let's
hear for the former director of communications for the Ulster
Unionist Party, Alex Kane and PR consultant and commentator Nick
Garbutt. Welcome. The long-running sketch -- Sagar of bars, Gray's
this entanglement from the Ulster Unionist Party continues. What did
we learn this morning? At do not think we learned anything new.
It was a classic fudge. They found him guilty. The actually passed the
whole thing over to Nisbet. This will now become a clash of two
miniature titans. The whip is the only one who can give this whip
back. He will have conditions, he will DEC, basil, I will give the
whip back but I want a public admission that you will tour the
line. Battle will not give that. The other thing is they said it was
the most lenient punishment they could give him. It was informed by
the fact that Mike has the whip, but also that Basil intends to
leave the Unionist Party no matter what happens in all of this.
Nick Garbutt did you think Basil McCrae is preparing the way to
depart? I think it is inevitable. I do not think this is doing the
party any good at all. Alex Kane is talking about a fudge, they do not
need fat at the moment. If you look at a good successful party, it has
three key element - great organisation, strong leadership and
discipline and compelling messages people can buy into and support.
Sadly, at the moment, the party does not have any of those.
It is difficult to recover from a situation like this, isn't it?
trouble with the Ulster Unionist Party, they need a number of things,
but they also need a clear sense of direction. The problem is, it is a
party of two haves, three thirds, there is no unity and direction. It
does not matter how good the message or organisation is, if you
cannot knock adored and asked people what he Ulster Unionist
Party believes income unless you can get a clear answer it goes to
the party that has the clearest message.
Hope might make -- Mike Nesbitt react to Basil McCrae saying this
morning that he will put in the public domain information that a
punter will now the public has not seen that he says will underscore
his case and undermine the party? The trouble is, it was interesting
for the first few weeks when you had someone saying he was standing
up for party policy. The general public, the media, they have no
good interest in the mind you shy. Most people have accepted, but will
want to leave the Ulster Unionist Party. -- have no interest in the
minute detail. They may as well just cut it and go.
Nick, you are involved in the motion of crisis management, and we
will come onto that as far as Europe and horsemeat is concerned,
but in terms of the party, what advice would you give? It is hard,
because the smaller our party and weaker our party becomes the less
power and influence you can trade with senior members, and the more
difficult it is to control people. If you were talking about Labour in
opposition, you have all the shadow Cabinet posts, a look for people to
lose if they step out of line. But the Ulster Unionists, there are not
be too many cards for Mike Nesbitt to play. It will be interesting to
see what happens when they go back to Stormont tomorrow. We will be
back with you later in the programme.
Europe has agreed to more funding supporting scores of community
groups here, as well as high- profile projects like the Peace
Bridge across the River Foyle and the planned Conflict Resolution
Centre at the form at Maze Prison. But the Peace IV package has been
reduced to 150 million euros, on the back of the first ever real-
terms cut on the eve -- overall EU budget. I am joined by a All-Star
Unionist Jim Nicholson and the DUP's Diane Dodds, and we're joined
from our Foyle's studio by Sinn Fein's Martina Anderson. Diane
Dodds, first of all, let me ask you about the Budget. It is the first
real terms budget cut as far as the he is concerned in these days of
austerity. Is that the right thing for Europe to be doing? First of
all, I welcome the budget negotiation de Prime Minister came
back with. It is an important message we have to send to the
European Commission that they cannot continue to spend while at
home national budgets and family budgets are under severe
restriction. That is an important message. We also have to recognise,
under the very complex funding formula for the European Union,
between what we pay in and get out, the United Kingdom will continue to
contribute more to the EU with a large structural funds going to
eastern Europe. For as at home, we have to continue to fight for an
adequate share of the Common Agricultural Policy budget, support
our farmers and food industry, which has continued to rise in
times of recession. It is very, very important.
What about the fact that Peace IV has been secured, money for
community groups and some of the project I mentioned. That is
secured, and there was a lot of talk that was not going to be the
case. Yes, it has been reduced by 75
million euros. We are 150 million euros better off than we thought we
would have been three years ago when it looked as if they would
have been no Peace Fund. My friends in Europe ask, how long does it
take to make peace in Northern Ireland? This has been going on
since 1994. It is a good question. The UK, I have to say, in the
events of recent weeks, has brought it back to people saying to us,
what is happening? We thought you were moving on. Why have these
things happening on the streets? Bid you think people resent the
fact they are still paying for something they thought had been
resolved and frankly should have been resolved?
No, I think Europe has been very generous towards Northern Ireland
and understanding, and that is why the fund was brought about all of
those years ago. It has contributed to bringing us to where we are. We
now have to look at the challenge as to where we're going in the
future, and there are still problems, we know that. Because
Europe's Gies has moved towards the east -- Europe's agrees have moved
towards the east, we're not on the screens across BBC World or Sky
News, there are these atrocities happening everywhere no beamed
across the world. Do you take the view that the glass
is half full in that the money is secured, or have empty in that it
is not as great as it has been in the past?
First of all, I fundamentally disagreed with Diane Dodds's
analysis of David Cameron's actions. If it had been up to David Cameron
we would not have had a peace forum. The ministers in the south of
Ireland where the people who picked Peace IV on the table. We also need
to take into account that what happened last week is a bad deal
for Ireland. Agriculture, growth and fisheries is down 47.7 billion
euros. That is going to have a knock-on effect on all of those
parties in Westminster who voted for a cut in the EU budget. They're
going to have to address that between those people here, needing
a single farm paid in -- payments, those people needing the Rural
Development Fund. We do not know the impact of this �47.7 billion --
47.7 billion euros cut. But a we have to live within our budget, in
Ireland, in the UK and in the European Union, as well.
Austerity has kicked in and we cannot keep spending money that we
have -- that we do not have. The contribution from the member-
states amount to 67p per person per day. You pay more for a cup of tea.
The total contribution spread out over a seven-year period, when you
look at the deficit in the USA, it is more for one here and the seven-
year budget for the EU. I think there has been a lot of
scaremongering and unfortunately we are going to see agriculture,
development, fisheries, peace and the cohesion and social funds, the
structural funds, that have also been cut. Regarding peace, we need
to look at what the first and Deputy First Minister would bring
in Brussels last week, showcasing the project that benefit from peace.
22,000 project from 1995 until the present day. At the last round,
900,000 participants. Her baby you respond to that? That
is a very different view from yours. There are others, clearly, within
the European Union, who would share Martina Anderson's analysis?
European Parliament, for example, will continuously vote for budget
rises. It seems to think it lives in a
parallel universe, that what is happening in member states, what is
happening with families is not what happens to them. It will be a
disgrace next session if the European Parliament vote to have a
private vote on whether to support the budget or not. In terms of
peace, it is hugely important that we have got this piece money. This
was by no means certain. This is a result of a huge amount of work at
that has been done since 2009 with the commission, with the committee
in order to secure that. We need to set -- it goes to the real victims
of terrorism and support our young people.
The Quick Word on the horsemeat. I do not know if it is a scandal
order controversy at this stage. We were told it was not a food scare,
but if the day that passes it looked more and more like a food
scare. I think this is becoming a tragedy for the whole food industry.
And there is a big European dimension. Yes, and Europe will
have good deal with this. We have always said you have controlled the
standards of the food we eat and water we drink. Now we do not know
what is going into it. I have set for a long time, there is no such
thing as cheap food. Food costs a lot to produce and people are
cutting corners. If this is criminals, if it is being driven
down by the retailers trying to sell four burgers for a pound, I am
sorry, you cannot get meat as cheap as that.
At how good we sort this problem and it?
When we are told -- we are told that there is a breach in the EU
food labelling laws and that needs sorted. We're also told of the food
is safe to consume, but that is only if the horses themselves have
not had better remain medicine administered. -- veteran any
medicine. -- veterinarian medicine. Our I fear that we're going to get
further news, if we listen to the Secretary of State. We will get
further news on this this week. It is a scandal of mammoth proportions,
but we should differentiate between the traceability systems our
farmers use and quality produced they have in Northern Ireland.
Jim Nicholson, Diane Dodds, Martina Anderson, thank you for joining us.
Let's hear a final thought from Alex Kane and Nick Garbutt.
Can we deal with this food scare? Day by day, this is getting more
worrying for consumers. Yes, and I think they are right, this is a
serious problem. Trust and confidence is what we were trying
to defend. How can you possibly have trust now in what is in that
burka and confidence about how safe it is? We have been told it is a
labelling issue and not a food safety issue, but how do we know
that? Would be these horses come from? We do not know. There has
been evidence of identity theft going on recently. It is also a
problem for Northern Ireland. It is a Europe-wide problem, but it is a
problem for our producers here at. Yes, but what concerns me about
this, all the big suppliers like Tesco, I assumed because they are
the primary be to work they will have checked.
From the main supplier but also from the seven or eight sub-
contractors. That does not seem to have been done. When you are