15/04/2012 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


Tara Mills looks at the political developments of the week and questions policy makers on the key issues.

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In half an hour's time, the first of many centenaries as the Titanic


is remembered. Will it set the tone for the flurry of political


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1734 seconds


Welcome to Sunday Politics in Northern Ireland. It has been a


week marked by an influx of visitors. Most of them are here for


the Titanic centenary. But a trade visit from one of China's most


senior politicians attracted almost as much media attention.


The red carpet was rolled out for Madame Liu Yandong in a bid to


boost trade links. But at what cost?


Today, a big commemorations. Lot of anniversary is still to come. Join


me here later at Titanic Belfast. End are their Second World War


secrets in -- and are there Second World War secrets in the Foyle?


In order for Northern Ireland to reach out what the rest of the


world, we have to reach out to one of the biggest economic powerhouses.


But does it come at a price, pockets before principles? In a


moment I will be put in that question to the East Belfast MP


Naomi long. But first I am joined by writer Martina Devlin and PR


consultant Nick Garbutt. What did you make of it is it? You have to


ask yourself, is money the only rationale? China is not a democracy.


There is not freedom of worship for freedom of protest. There is no


freedom to elect a government. Let us not forget the great fire Wall


of China concerning the internet. People do not know what is going on


in their own country. This is what we are dealing with. Politicians


have to ask themselves the question, do I put my can such wind's welfare


-- do I put my constituents welfare below that of economic profit?


is a matter for the Foreign Office and for David Cameron to be dealing


with rather than Peter Robinson. That part of government has not


been devolved. There are issues but just look at our economy. 70 %


dependent on the public sector. China is a communist country. It is


only 40 % dependent on its public sector. It shows how far we have to


go. I noticed that the local media were kept behind the ropes and the


Chinese media were left to wonder fray. We are not able to lecture on


issues like nepotism when it comes to China. Nevertheless I think


money cannot be the bottom line when it comes to dealing with


people. It is putting a gloss on it to say that perhaps some persuasion


can be brought upon China. I do not see them listening to this little


corner of the world. A new signature project concerning the


Titanic drew in one of China's most influential politicians. Our


correspondent joins me now. What did she make of the visit? Is it is


important from an economic perspective. I think it is about


getting the balance right. It is difficult to tell if we are doing


that. There has been a statement coming through from the ministers


as to whether or not issues were raised about ethics in China.


think the issues of human rights were raised. The are ways to do


that very gently. I have met with the -- there are ways to do that


very gently. You have to build a relationship before you can broach


these issues. As China becomes more and were facing, you have to use


opportunities to raise these issues with them. I do not think Northern


Ireland will be a turning point. We have to be realistic about what we


will be likely to achieve. I think some of the work has to be done


through the universities. There needs to be an exchange of students.


There is an opportunity there to open up a country that is otherwise


a very closed and we should take those opportunities seriously.


you think Helmand is the place to raise these issues? The foreign com


-- do you think Parliament is the place to raise these issues? I


personally believe that every opportunity you have you should


raise these issues. It has always been the case that international


policy has been debated at Westminster. But way back when we


were in our heyday we were not turning away slave labour -- we


were not turning away ships because we bought slave labour was wrong.


This is about finding the right balance. -- thought slave labour


was wrong. Do you think our politicians could have gone away


with lecturing China? Be it is never about lecturing people. -- it


is never about lecturing people. I do not think we should be lecturing


people. If you can have a delicate discussion you can raise the issue


and make people aware that even in Northern Ireland, a relatively


small part of the world, people are conscious of what is happening in


China and are interested about what is happening there. Making the


government beware of that is a useful thing to do. A relationship


has to be built, that is the way to change how China operates in a


global environment. We have the Confucius Institute and various


other strong links to China. What can China offer us? From an


educational background, at the opportunity for people to


experience another culture is hugely important as we try to


develop. We are looking at new technologies and so on and we need


the expertise. They have to learn from us as well. There are things


we have been seeing in Northern Ireland's that can be exported. The


cultural exchange is very important. I think it is an important part of


opening up China to the outside world and also open up people from


that country to see what it is like to live in some of the Western


democracies. I think a change in China will happen as a result of


that moment rather than people lecturing each other across a table.


This comes after elements of the University and higher learning will


be scrapped. I have not been party to any of the remote -- Burham Hill


about this. -- rumour mill about this. I would you that there has to


be some form of public consultation about the dissolution of certain


departments. I am not aware that these consultations have started. I


believe it would have to happen and there would have to be due process


around it. There would have to be a proper legislative process put in


place. By think they intend to do that -- but I think they intend to


do that. I think there is a much broader view about which


departments could be dissolved and perhaps the work in the assembly


into something more effective. That is not the process that has been


engaged on by the executive as it stands. In terms of Westminster,


there is this pressure. Where does it stems from? A thing it is an


issue in Northern Ireland that we do not have to -- across I think it


is an issue in Northern Ireland but we do not have to declare our party


donations. That is for security issues, that was the argument that


was made. We made an argument as a party that this year's financial


returns would be make -- made public. I think it is important


that people know who pay the politicians and he pays the party.


-- and who pays the parties. We need money to do our business but


it is important for people to see who does that. A lot of the


discussion we have had in Westminster has proven that some


people are uncertain about this. This weekend there has been a


series of events to mark the One hundred anniversary of the sinking


of the Titanic and the loss of more than 1,000 lives. -- one hundredth.


Our correspondent joins us from Titanic Belfast.


By the end of today, more than 50,000 people will have passed


through the doors of this new building here, Titanic Belfast. Two


of those are visiting us here. We have seen a lot of celebration.


There was a rock concert just outside Aunt Friday night. Today


there is a solemn commemoration. -- on Friday night. Should the


commemoration have come before the celebration? We have heard this


argument recently. It is actually absolutely packed here today. There


is a large part of this that is about remembering those people that


died. I have been here twice and I must say that I have been very


moved both times. The assembly here has ordered the people who died.


The centre is all about history but there are some and the national


community that feels that part of the history has been perhaps a


little airbrush, particularly around the treatment of Catholics


and the shipyard in those days. in the shipyard. If you look at


1912, at the end of July 1912, there was a public statement made


by a bishop that estimated that 3,000 Catholics had been put out in


the shipyards and other industrial sites in Belfast. That is part of


Titanic history. Do you think that is lost in the telling of the story


now? Palace and Labour men were also put out. -- Protestant labour


men were also put out. There were terrible conditions. I hope that


this year when we look at the totality of the story we have a


deeper understanding of the conditions of our city. We have


seen the First Minister and Deputy First Minister embracing this as a


shared space. Are we creating a template for some of the other


territories that are coming up? -- anniversaries that are coming up?


It is about celebrating and remembrance, these anniversaries. I


heard a lecture and a was well received. I think that can be


replicated for the next couple of years. -- and it was well received.


Some of these are politically divisive and controversial. Yes,


there can be a combustible dynamic. I think that really enhances our


sense of us. I think we have a much more layered and complex view of


ourselves. We are not a one- dimensional people. There are many


dimensions to our story. I think there's dimensions give us a sense


-- I think those dimensions give us a sense of ourselves. What is your


hope of the economic benefit of this centre washing over into your


constituency in East Belfast? Certainly we have seen thousands of


tourists coming here in the past few weeks. We want to ensure that


local people will advance themselves to a training and jobs


around here. I have seen a number of young people who were unemployed


working in here and that made me happy. Thank you for joining us


That is it from Titanic Belfast. Back to you in the studio.


Back to our studio guests on the issue of the Titanic. Nick, are we


striking the right balance between respect and remembrance for a week


crudely cashing in on an opportunity? I would have preferred


if they could have launched the building last year so that we could


actually be solemnly commemorating what was a devastatingly terrible


tragedy. Having said that, I think that everything that I have seen


and read has been dignified and has been appropriate and I think that


we are striking the right balance. I do not think there is any damage


or bad thing about Belfast becoming a great centre for four people


coming to learn about the Titanic and for the -- for many people to


come and learn about the Titanic. Do you think this is a new


opportunity for a new narrative? There was some resentment that --


there was some resentment by nationalists. If all the elements


are remembered and lessons are learned and that is a way to move


forward. There was sectarianism surrounding it. That is a reminder


to us never to have this sort of policies again, just as the Titanic


is a reminder not to send ships to say if they do not have enough


lifeboats. Better abroad ships to see if they do not have enough left


but -- to send ships to see if they do not have enough white boats. I


would like to see Belfast get its moment in the sun. Won, it is


amazing -- and Saif Al-Islam, it is amazing, the cachet that the


Titanic -- Nick, it is amazing, the cachet that the Titanic has across


It is amazing. I have been trying to work it out myself. I am


fascinated by the Titanic, but possibly because I am fascinated by


drowning. It is my biggest fear. think we could save you! It is an


appalling tragedy, isn't it? It is almost mythic in its circumstances.


Those people would have been filled with hope and excitement. It is


also great fodder for writers. did write a book about the Titanic.


I suppose I had a personal reason because my friend Terence eloped on


the Titanic. James Cameron still Arab family story, really. -- our


grandparents eloped on the Titanic. James Cameron stole our family


story, really. Here is hour look at Republicans marked Easter and said


that the IRA was not a business. There is no other IRA in Belfast or


anywhere else. And there is no arms struggle to be finished. 100 years


on, we mark the Titanic's final stop in Ireland. Flag flying caused


a storm on the hill. They knew this not going to get through. I do not


know if this is a gesture towards people in their own party that they


are fighting what, but it is certainly not going to happen.


Four-inch men got permission to watch on Stormont's grounds. --


orange men. We said hello to China's most


powerful woman. And the environment minister was to solve the mystery


The flags issue is like the poor, it is always with us. Can you see a


Irish Tricolour flying over Stormont any time soon? We were


listening to the segment before where they were talking about


anniversaries coming up and how we are going to deal with those. We


have got some difficult coming -- difficult ones coming. We have the


anniversary of the foundation of the UVF. There is the foundation of


the Irish citizens' army. How will we have a collective view of those


events if we get in a row about flags? Martina, do you think there


will be any change? I think we should do away with flags entirely.


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