15/06/2014 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


The latest political news, interviews and debate in Northern Ireland. Shown earlier today on BBC One Northern Ireland.

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Well, this is the closest I'll get to Rio.


The advance of the Islamist army on Baghdad has been slowed.


The Iraqi army claims the fightback has begun.


But the country now faces a de facto partition.


What should Britain, Europe, or the US be doing - if anything?


It's been a big week in the Scottish referendum.


But has the tone of the debate become too downright nasty?


Both sides join us to go head to head.


I will swap Ed Miliband for Tim Farren. What is the significance of


that? And coming up here:


even Westminster, we'll be asking As police promise a crackdown


on loyalist flags I'll be hearing reaction from


Mike Nesbitt, Alasdair McDonnell Join me in half an hour.


support amongst people is bigger than assumed.


The Sunni Islamist army known as ISIS is now in control


of huge swathes of northern and western Iraq, including


Until the weekend they looked like advancing relentlessly


on Baghdad but that offensive has now been slowed or even halted


The Iraqi army and its Shia milita allies vow that


Baghdad will not be taken and that a counter-attack will soon begin.


Iraq's Shia Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has to do something to


reverse the humiliation of recent days, which saw


his US-trained and equipped Iraqi army, which outnumbered


the Islamists 15 to 1 melt away or surrender when confronted by ISIS.


The conflict has already created a humanitarian crisis, with hundreds


The Kurds have used the conflict to consolidate their hold on their


autonomous area in the north, parts of the west and the north are in the


grip of ISIS control and the Shias are hunkering down in the east.


All of which makes a three-way partition a real possibility with


The US is moving another of its massive aircraft carrier


battlefleets to the Gulf, though the White House shows no


While Iran says it's ready to help its Shia allies


and there are unconfoirmed reports that its revolutionary guard has


Well, I'm joined now by Newsnight's diplomatic editor Mark Urban.


Let's start with some basics. Who are ISIS and why are they


controlling big chunks of Iraq? ISIS is an extremist militant jihad


organisation and they have a pure Islamic concept based on 14th


century history and jurisprudence. What they want to do is correct --


create this caliphate that do not recognise colonial boundaries so it


involves Syria and Iraq, and they could go down to Lebanon and


Palestine, that is all fair game as far as they are concerned. And they


have this strict interpretation of Islam. The more interesting question


is why have semi-Sunni Muslims, along with them, these are precisely


the sort of people who in 2006, 2007, tribal leaders in the west of


the country rose up against. It was called the Awakening and the


Americans in power did and bankrolled it. These people turned


against them and admired them in large numbers, so why do they have


so many Sunni Muslims on their side? We hear about people going


back to Mosul. I think the answer is a perception


back to Mosul. I think the answer that the current government is


ruling in sectarian interests, Shia Muslim interest, and the Sunni


Muslims want self-determination and this is their best bet.


Muslims want self-determination and this is their Let me put up this map


to find out where we are going. We can see Mosul in the north, they


took that, and then they started, South, reports that the crit was


involved -- to grit -- to grit. What is the situation on the ground now?


We are in what you might call a consolidation or strategic pause as


American called it in 2003. ISIS are trying to consolidate their power in


Mosul, and now they have this major city and they are trying to show


they can run the city and get the power going, etc. Their southernmost


forces, that is a gorilla army, guys in pick-up trucks. They cannot deal


with serious opposition. They would like to get the tanks and other


things into action but that could take weeks for them to be able to do


it. The government side is that they have counter-attacked, but it will


take a little while before these newly raised militia and other task


forces, call them what you will, can effectively counter-attacked. But


that is what will happen in the next week or two. We will see


increasingly large and serious government counter-attacked trying


to retake those places, and I fear a really difficult, bloody Syrian


style street by street battle for some of these urban centres. I would


like to have a look at this map, because the Kurds, as I mentioned,


they are consolidating their position in the autonomous region in


the north. The Islamist are taking over huge chunks of the Sunni Muslim


West. And of course the Shia Muslim are still dominant in control of


Baghdad and in parts of the south and east. Back to me looks like the


beginnings of the partition of Iraq. -- back to me. Well, it is, but we


have to caveat it in a few ways. Firstly, there are millions of


people in Iraq, so-called sushi, combined families, who do not fit


easily into the pattern. Do we see millions of people becoming refugees


under this scheme? There would be a lot of human tragedies if people


really did try to enforce this type partition. Secondly, there are Sunni


Muslim communities in the south of Baghdad, those places, once again, a


lot of misery and fighting will occur if people try to enforce a de


facto partition. There are still an awakening of forces. They are on the


side of the government. We heard about one group in Samarra of Sunni


Muslims fighting on the same side. It's a complex picture. They factor,


it does look like a partition, and if it goes further in that direction


it will. And partition will always be messy because people end up on


the wrong side of the lies. Finally, the big thing on that map,


Iran, a huge place, a huge border with Shia Muslim Iraq. Iran now


becomes a key factor. It is becoming a proxy war for Iran. Yes, when I


was in Baghdad a few months ago, I did actually see Iranians


revolutionary guards in uniform. They were protecting a senior


Iranians official, so some numbers have been never some time and they


are also said to protect the political leaders and -- in his


compound. They are there. We think more of them are trying to organise


the defence of Baghdad to galvanise the Iraqi army, and they will not


allow the Iraqi government to fall. Mark, thank you for marking archive


this morning. -- marking our card. Tony Blair took Britain


into the Iraq conflict in 2003. He's now, among other things, envoy


to the Middle East representing That's the UN, the EU,


the US and Russia. This morning he entered


the debate about what should be My point is simple. If you left


Saddam in place in 2003, when 2011 happened and you have the Arab


revolutions going through Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Egypt and


Syria, you would still have had a major problem in Iraq. You can see


what happens when you leave the dictator in place, as has happened


with Bashar al-Assad. The problem doesn't go away. What I'm trying to


say is, we can rerun the debates about 2003, and there are perfectly


legitimate points on either side, but where we are in 2014, we have do


understand that this is a regional problem, but a problem that will


affect us. And I'm joined by the former Foreign


Office minister Mark Malloch-Brown, Here in London are James Rubin,


he was chief spokesman for the State Department under


Bill Clinton, and Bayan Rahman, she represents the Kurdistan


Regional government in the UK. Intervened in Iraq, it's a shambles,


we don't intervene in Syria, it's a shambles. What lessons should we


draw? That is a well framed question, because that is the


problem. Tony Blair is half right. Iraq, like Syria, would probably


have been a problem even without an intervention. But one wishes someone


would tell him to stay quiet during moments like this, because it does


drive a great surge of people in the other direction. The fact is, what


has been missing in western politics towards the Middle East throughout


both episodes, Syria and Iraq, is a drive to build an inclusive,


democratic centre which is secular and nonsectarian. That has been


missing amongst the threats of invasion Manon invasion, we have


just constantly neglected the diplomatic nation-building


dimensional this. I want to come onto what is happening on the


ground. I want to begin with what the Western response by me, and by


that we mean the United States, because of it doesn't do anything,


nobody will do anything. All of the signals I see coming out of the


White is that Barack Obama has no appetite for intervention -- out of


the White House. I don't think he does have an appetite. He would be


very unlikely to do anything very large. He might feel pressured to


act because of the fact that this particular group, this Al-Qaeda


inspired group, fits into the strategy he has pursued in Yemen and


Afghanistan and Pakistan, to use drone strikes against individual


terrorists. So it is possible that the threat of ISIS in the region and


the West in general might inspire him to act, but the idea he will do


enough, militarily, to transform Iraq from its current state of civil


War into something along the lines that Mark was talking about,


nation-building diplomacy, a big operation, I don't see President


Obama sees his historic mission as having got the United States as out


of it. Leave it to the Pacific, perhaps. What would the Kurds like


the West to do? First of all, in Kurdistan we face a huge


humanitarian crisis. We already have had bought a quarter of a million


Syrian refugees and we were struggling to cope with that. And


now we have at least double that number of refugees coming from


Mosul. First and foremost, we are calling on the international


community to help us with that. So we need humanitarian aid? Let's


assume we do that in some way, maybe not enough, but what else if


anything? I think it is an incumbent on the west and other powers to


assist Iraq to get rid of ISIS. I think the Sunni Arab community, some


of whom have joined ISIS and may be supported the uprising, have


justified complaints against the federal government. But we need the


terrorists out of Iraq. That is first and foremost. And what the


West can do is not necessarily intervene with boots on the ground,


but provide technical assistance, provide intelligence and help the


Iraqi army and air force to be more targeted. Can you defend yourselves?


In Kurdistan, we can in terms of the disciplined troops. In this


situation, I hope they won't be abandoning their post, that is for


sure. It is a national cause fires. But we are not armed in the way that


the Iraqi army is -- cause for us. We are not armed in the way that


ISIS seems to be now they have seized some of the American kit. We


are not asking for weapons, but we ask for assistance for all of Iraq


to deal with the situation. Mark, this is not just an Iraqi problem.


This is a regional conflict, and from the Levant on the shores of the


Mediterranean, all the way through to the Gulf, the region is gripped


with what is essentially a Sunni and Shia Muslim sectarian war. Yes, with


the caveats that Mark bourbon made earlier, it's not quite that


straightforward, but the basic divide is exactly that -- Mark


Urban. People have been looking for this to begin in Lebanon or Jordan


and have been taken by surprise although with hindsight I'm not sure


why, that it has begun in Iraq instead. At its most extreme, it


risks redrawing the 20th century boundaries of the region in a way


which would be highly unstable because it would pit a Shia Muslim


bloc against the Sunni Muslim bloc and would undo all of the sort of


social and economic advance of the last century, so the stakes are


suddenly very, very high indeed. Are we seeing the redrawing? The lines


were drawn secretly, not far from here, about a mile away, and may


have survived through thick and thin. They now look pretty fragile.


The map is being redrawn. I think it is true that there is a key factor


partition going on -- des facto. Woodrow Wilson probably gave a bit


of a hand to the promotion of the idea of self-determination, and in a


way, there is a self determination going on, particularly in the


Kurdish region, and perhaps they may end up the big winners in all of


this, because they have proceeded with a relatively moderate,


reconcilable government. The key thing that the Kurdish region has


done. They used to fight the two groups, and now they fight together.


What the Sunni Muslims have not done is figure out how to let politics


let the side things instead of guns. We need to look clearly and in Syria


and Iraq, if there is a Sunni extremist with ISIS that carves out


a place for itself, it will be the great irony of the modern era.


President Bush said he wanted to go into Iraq to fight terrorism. There


was no terrorist. There are now. If in Iraq and Syria together thereat a


thousand strong Al-Qaeda capability that threatens the region, the


West, the world, we are all going to have to do something about it.


The danger is that power will spread. This could grow in power.


You would not want it on your southern border. Absolutely, we


would not. The point we are all making indirectly is that things


have changed in Iraq and will never be the same again. Whether Iraq


completely disintegrates into three countries, or whether it stays


together as one country, but a countries, or whether it stays


together as one country, but loose federation, either way, Iraq has


changed. It will not go back to what it was. I hope it will change for


the better. I think we're at the make or break point for Iraq. Either


the political readers -- the political leaders of a right wake up


and smell the coffee and put aside their differences or there will be


problems. This provides that opportunity, in a very nasty way. If


we take it? Yes, and if not, I think this is the end of a rack as we know


it. If anything resembling a caliphate emerges, that is very


destabilising for the region itself. More so I would suggest than even


the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. At some stage, you have


to assume that they will be coming for us. That is correct. This is


extremely dangerous. The only way forward is for these political


groups to talk to each other and find a compromise that allows the


rates of cinemas and minorities in Iraq to be protected within or the


rates of cinemas and minorities in Iraq to be protected with an


autonomous federal-state. Any support for the government must be


premised on that. There is no military solution for this which is


in during -- there is no military solution for this. There must be


serious political negotiation, not with ISIS, but with Sunni Muslim


moderates, to form a more representative government. This is


the last chance for Iraq. I think we are all saying that that is going to


need to be some major western leadership to make some big


decisions here for the future of the region. I am concerned that after


Afghanistan and Iraq, my country is quite world-weary, quite


world-weary. It does not seem to be giving leadership. Certainly we are


not seeing that in Europe. I am deeply concerned that we are not


going to take the leadership role that needs to be taken. These are


big issues. When Britain and France carved up the Middle East, they were


world powers, operating as global powers, and without that global


leadership by somebody, this is just going to get worse and worse. I


think we will leave it there, thank you very much.


The danger is that power will spread. This could grow in power.


It is just under 100 days until the referendum on Scottish independence.


So, for once, it'll be a long hot-summer


But the campaign isn't just getting heated.


In places it's also down-right nasty. When


Scotland's best-selling author announced she was giving


the unionist cause a million pounds this week, she received


Independence supporters online, so-called cybernats,


called JK Rowling a traitor and much worse, using a variety of


For its part, the Better Together campaign has been accused


Even Gordon Brown seems to think so, and this week he criticised


Conservative ministers for relying on "threats


With the Edinburgh Festival approaching, reports suggest even


comedians are now reluctant to engage in the subject because


I'm joined by Blair Jenkins from Yes Scotland and Jackie Baillie


They're both in our Glasgow studio, and they're going head to head.


Blair Jenkins, let me come to you first. Why have you and the Better


Together campaign and Alex Salmond not done more to slap down the cyber


nationalists who are poisoning the debate? Good morning. I think both


sides tried to stop the tiny number of people on both sides who are


incapable of controlling themselves. We should not get this


out of proportion. We are having a fantastic, decent and democratic


debate. The people who probably total no more than 100 on both sides


who post offensive material or not to be allowed to deflect from that


fact. Of course there are nasty people on the Better Together side


as well, but are you saying there are as many of those as the cyber


nationalists? I have not done the Kent. Lots of people are certainly


posting nasty in defensive things to people in the yes campaigners well.


I imagine that people do what I do, and block them. You stop them from


sending anything further. There is a democratic and in gauging progress


going on throughout Scotland. It is characterised by good humour and


good debate. We should not get out of proportion and the activities of


the number of people. I want to get to Jackie Baillie. The debate is


actually pretty good-humoured and you should be doing more about the


nasties on your side as well? I think we have reached a new low this


week. Despite many people engaging in the politics of the decision and


the debate about that, whether we want to retain the best of both


worlds are separate from the United Kingdom, what we have seen is the


most abusive and vitriolic attack, particularly on women, JK Rowling


and a Labour supporter who dared to support the no campaign. When you


look at the number of people on social media, there are more from


the yes campaign than the no site. We should all be condemning attacks,


from whatever quarter they come. This seemed to be connected to the


office of the First Minister. What is the evidence for that? There was


an e-mail from one of the... I understand about that, but it did


not use vile words. It did not, but it repeated the same mistake as on


the website. We should be clear that we need to condemn these attacks,


but it is not just the water works, it is taking action. There was an


IpsosMORI poll this week which was varying testing. It showed the


population as a whole, farmer people think that Yes Scotland is running


an effective campaign as against Better Together. It is a undecided


voters think this by a majority of four 21. Some people are worried


about of the campaign. JK Rowling, Scotland's most successful author of


all time. She gives ?1 million to the Better Together campaign. She


then faces some of the most incredible abuse. I know what it is


like because I have had some myself. Traitor, Quisling. I cannot use some


of the words, it is Sunday morning. Why does Scottish Nationalists


culture have such a revolting fringe? JK Rowling is entitled to


our views and it is unacceptable if people say offensive things about


her or anyone else who voices and opinion in this debate. Who are


obese people? When you look at the accounts of some of the people who


were posting these things about JK Rowling, they were using the same


sort of language about film stars and football stars. This was just


part of their language on Twitter. How often has Alex Salmond condemned


the cyber nationalists? Very often. Everyone in the campaign hands. By


common consent, Yes Scotland is running a thoroughly positive


campaign, much more positive than Better Together. Jackie Baillie, it


hardly helps matters when Alistair Darling, who runs your campaign,


compares Alex Salmond to Kim Jong Il and North Korea. That hardly


elevates the debate? I think we need to elevate the debate. There are


less than a hundred days to go. It is a massive decision. We need to


elevate the debate beyond attacks. I think there is much more that Yes


Scotland and the SNP can do. You have made that point. Why are you


running a campaign based on fear? The codename of your campaign is


even project fear. It is threats. You cannot have the pound, there


will be no shipbuilding. You will be flooded by immigrants. Why are you


so negative? I am not negative at all and neither is the campaign. The


campaign has asked questions and I think it is legitimate to ask


questions of the people proposing such a fundamental change. People


care about the economy, their jobs, their families. What would happen to


them if they leave the rest of the United Kingdom. I think it is


legitimate to ask questions. I refuse to be asked of


scaremongering. People deserve answers. The yes campaign is equally


guilty of some of the most outrageous scaremongering. Maybe you


are both scaremongering. Blair Jenkins, the First Minister said of


the cyber nationalists, that they are just Daft folk, as if they were


mischievous little children. It is worse than that. When you look at


what they say, they are twisted, perhaps even evil minds. I would not


disagree with his comments, but they are directed at just a small number


of people. The story of this campaign is not the story of what


people are saying on Twitter. Around Scotland, lots of people are getting


engaged in debate to have been tuned out of the political process. Today,


we have 47% support for the yes campaign. The movement in the


campaign is towards yes. People know we have a better campaign, a vision


for Scotland. The latest poll of polls does not show that. Both


sides, you always take the opinion polls that show you in the best


light. All politicians do that. Jackie Baillie, your campaign is not


just negative, it is patronising. You make dubious claims that Scots


would be ?1400 better off by staying in the union, and then you say that


the kids use the money to scoff 280 hotdogs at the Edinburgh Festival.


The fate of the nation is in your hands and that is the best you can


do? I think you will find that the campaign is something that we are


taking the message to people. Then why are you talking about hotdogs? I


do not. The campaign did. We are taking a positive message to people


across Scotland about the benefits of the United Kingdom. We believe we


are stronger and more secure and more stable, being part of that


family of nations that is the United Kingdom. At the same time, we have


the strange and power over things like education and transport. I


understand that. I am not doing the issues today, I am talking about the


tone of the campaign. I have one very important question. Who would


you supporting last night in the England-Italy match? I was not


watching the game. I would be delighted to see England do well in


this tournament. I have Argentina in the office sweepstake. I have to


keep some attention on them, but I would be delighted to seeing Clint


do well. That is because you think it will help your campaign. It will


annoy the Scots. Jackie Baillie? I was supporting England. I was also


supporting Portugal. Now most of you probably missed last


night's football match between England and Italy because


you wanted to get an early night and England lost


despite a plucky effort, I'm told. But even Westminster is


in the grip of World Cup fever and with speculation


about the fitness of each political party's team we sent Adam out to


tackle some of the big players. Well, this is


the closest I'll get to Rio. This year everybody seems to have


gone a bit mad Belize, football stickers. Let's see who I will get.


Oh, the suspense -- a bit mad for these. George Osborne? That is


because we leapt on the bandwagon and made Alan political stickers.


They're hotter than a Brazilian barbecue.


And at Westminster they're turning into collector?s items.


Sunday politics political stickers. We have one of you, Norman. Would


you like it? Do you want to start collecting, Bob? Would you like a


packet? collecting, Bob? Would you like a


Thank you. No album, I'm afraid. collecting, Bob? Would you like a


Thank you. No album, I've got Michael Gove, next to to Reza, and


two of the Prime Minister. -- next to Theresa. I am sure Michael has


Theresa in her stick around, and vice versa.


These Tory ones are proving very popular


since she fell out with him out how to handle extremism in schools.


And there's been open speculation about him taking on him in


Then there are rumours of a reshuffle of the whole Tory album.


Do you think there will be any swapping in the Tory leadership


soon? Who knows? David Cameron has also got to replace the EU


commissioner, Cathy Ashton, who is standing down.


Does he go with the favourite the former health secretary


Or the grassroots choice, Martin Callanan, the Tories old


Or does he rehabilitate Andrew Mitchell after Plebgate?


Do you fancy being European Commissioner? I would rather be


spending the money on the world's poor and spending it well. Glad to


hear it. Happy collecting. Right, there must be some Labour


stickers out there. You don't want to swap Ed Balls any


of the others? Can't I keep them all? This is almost the perfect


team. There have been grumblings


about the fitness of the Shadow And Ed Miliband's got a kicking


in Liverpool after posing I'm told grown men are meeting up


in pubs for sticker swaps - With Danny Finkelstein -


Tory peer and Times columnist, He would be the card I would not


want to trade. Do people want to trade him in? I don't think anybody


wants to trade him in at the moment. He is the best person to lead the


Labour party and will lead us into the next election. There's been a


lot about Michael Gove, and he's very combative. That's been a huge


strength as an education Secretary, despite the fact it's brought in


trouble. I would think the prime minister would tell him not to get


himself into peripheral battles at the moment but stick to what has


been successful. I haven't got Nick Clegg, but I got me. Controversy


amongst collectors of Lib Dems. I need to give away me in return for


Nick Clegg. That would be far better. There you are.


Some local parties are holding meetings about his leadership,


but at one in Cambridge this week they voted to stick with him.


You have got a Euro Commissioner. Why don't I swap, I will swap Ed


Miliband for Tim Farren. Can I do that? What is the significance of


that? Very significant. Happy collecting.


These beauties are popping up everywhere, but sadly they won't


Adam is still doing the samba around Westminster as I speak.


I'm joined by three journalists who've been


furiously swapping stickers throughout the show, they certainly


weren't allowed to stay up to watch the football, it's Nick Watt,


We will talk about Labour after the break, and I want to concentrate on


the Tories, but the moment, Nick, senior Tories are saying privately


that they might win next May. They are beginning to dream the dream. So


why are they doing all this jockeying? I think the jockeying for


the leadership is about a year old. What stoped it up was when Theresa


gave a speech to the conference, and people said she was doing it just in


case, when things were not looking too good. She is not on manoeuvres.


I think it was a policy row that drove the differences with Michael


Gove. But Michael Gove is on manoeuvres, and he is trying to


protect George Osborne from, he believes, a serious threat from


Boris Johnson and possibly Theresa. It is quite self-indulgent when you


are a couple of points behind, the economy is going your way, to be


involved in this sort of stuff. Extraordinary. It shows the toxic


disease that gnaws at the entrails of the Tory party, and Cameron is


their great asset. He is more popular than the party, he bridges


the gap is, and he has an extraordinary dissemble and some


pretending to be this moderate while never the lens -- nevertheless


leading the most far right wing government we have had since the


war, and that has been a brilliant piece of political Charente and they


would be crazy to get rid of it -- political Charente.


piece of political Charente and they would be crazy to get rid of it --


charades. Does this rumble on? I have an unfashionable view as there


aren't half as many leadership plots taking place in Westminster as we


assume, and the willingness to read strategic calculation into anything


that takes place comes from people watching I Claudius or house of


cards. That hasn't been off -- on for years. I needed a reference from


your time. I needed something. Maybe brief encounter? It's a stylised


view of how politics works, and so much more in life is about


randomness and mistakes. Boris Johnson, Theresa May, Michael Gove


as George Osborne's man on earth, they are positioning themselves. --


Janan wrote an eloquent comment this week about this, but there are


certain realities that. Michael Gove had that famous dinner with Rupert


Murdoch a few weeks ago in which he said that you must not make Boris


Johnson leader of the Conservative party, George Osborne is my man.


Theresa May set out her credo two years ago and people on her team


were saying that she was doing it just in case. People are out there


and are thinking of the future, but I do think Janan is right. In the


village, in the thick of it mindset, you can get a bit carried away and


you can be a bit in the famous. That is before your era. He died. What


did he mean by it. You can get a bit carried away by it. I will have


words with you during the break. It's just gone 11.35, you're


watching the Sunday Politics. We say goodbye to viewers


in Scotland who leave us now Coming up here in 20 minutes, we'll


be talking about Ed Miliband's Hello and welcome to Sunday Politics


in Northern Ireland. The police say they'll take a harder


line on loyalist flags in one mixed area of Belfast but what are


the chances of brokering a lasting We're joined by three party leaders


to discuss this perennial problem. And with a draft document on racial


equality here raising possible We ask the former Home Secretary,


Alan Johnson, about how Westminster And here with their thoughts on that


and more are commentators Cathy It's been dubbed the most


significant development in years The police


in south Belfast have said they'll be treating the erection of any more


loyalist flags in one mixed area The SDLP has demanded


the policy be extended across Northern Ireland, while


loyalists call it an unworkable decision, and say action must now be


taken against Irish tricolours. Joining me now to discuss


the development are the Ulster Unionist leader, Mike Nesbitt, the


SDLP leader, Alasdair McDonnell, and Do you accept that it's unreasonable


for the Ormeau Road, which is 57% Catholic, to have 3 or 3 flags


on virtually every lamp post? What is unreasonable is that Sinn


Fein continues the decision. I think they need to describe what they mean


by Loyalist flacks. The coverage I've seen on BBC was. Flags and the


flag of the nation. I think we need to be careful about the tone. From


my point of view, until questions are answered, we have a lot of


questions to ask. What is unreasonable about the police


thinking very carefully about the flying of Loyalist flags, Ulster


flags, union flags in an area where people may be uncomfortable about


that? What is unreasonable is that Sinn Fein had a meeting on their


own, no other elected representatives is to any political


party is entitled to do that. They should have consulted people.


Considering people are going to get involved about discussions with


flags and everything else, we have one party running off now. My


problem with this is, date tricolour removed from his


office. The IRA put up thousands of flights. Let's not get into this


debate about how many flags there are. It doesn't matter if there is


one or 100. There are flags flying fair. Republicans will put flags up


in the next few months. What is your advice to loyalists watching this?


Is it put up more flags or think seriously about taking them down? My


advice to the police... What is your advice to the loyalists? Is this


part of the rule of law? You have made that point. I'm asking you a


question. I am responding to your question. What I'm saying to you is


that we already, in this society, live in a two tiered justice system


and I want to make sure that doesn't happen. That we ask you again. What


is your advice to loyalists about flags? But more up or taken down?


You can't answer that question. I will answer the question once get


answers from the PS of I. I am relieved and pleased that the police


have taken this small step because flags have been contentious and


annoying and irritating to ordinary people for a long time. People are


threatened and intimidated, and bullied in their own homes by folks


going around putting up flags. The flags issue needs to be dealt with.


As far as I'm concerned, the less flags the better. Sinn Fein did


everybody a by lobbying to get the statement on Thursday night. I think


it was the right thing to do and I think that quite simply, we have


been pressing the police for the last 15 years to take some action


around the illegal and inappropriate flying flags. This is no respect to


the union flag, or, the Irish tricolour where it has been flown in


reciprocal circumstances. Do you also have reservations? Sovereign


flags should be flown with respect at appropriate places. They should


not be used to poke people in the eye. They should not be used as an


instrument of sectarian division. I cringed and some of the


circumstances. My loyalties to the Irish tricolour. In some places, it


is used and abused. Flags should not be used to disturb people living in


their homes. Every year at this time, for the last 15 years, I have


had since agitation from people, many of them from a unionist


background, who just don't want flags flown in their face stop do


you have reservations about the flying of these many flags in this


area of south Belfast? The first thing is, I am clear that where we


are is a long way from where we need to be. I think I know the steps we


should take and the sequence they go in. We don't all agree on that. You


can look around and see if there is a law you can use to try and


restrict the flying flags in contested areas. That may change


behaviour. It will not address the mindset. It's a bit like saying we


empower the headmaster to issue six of the best. It might change a


child's behaviour but it will not change mindsets. It is mindset is we


need to get to. If loyalists are using the union flag as a


provocation, they are making a fundamental mistake, confusing


sovereignty with identity. I would say the flag is not about being


provocative. It is about offering a symbol of protection, about being


British, tolerance, of a pluralist, progressive society. Is that what


the display suggests to you? Is that about pluralism and tolerance, or


something else? Some people on the ground seemed to be considered. It


is pulling the union flag down into a debate about identity. The union


flag should fly well above that debate. Would you rather see these


flags removed? If there is a lesson of the last 18 months, if you bring


one union flag down, thousands more will go up. That sounds of the


justification. What I want to do is take a practical approach to this.


If you want to change behaviours, addressed the mindsets that inform


those behaviours. In the meantime, what do you do about it? What do you


say to loyalists? Should they put more flags up or should they bring


these flags down? Enough is enough. We need to have a debate on the


political leadership. That is why I have asked the party leaders to


decouple the issues and taken in a sequence, so we have some degree of


hope of success, in terms of parades, flags of the past. Billy


Hutchinson, Mike Nesbitt is clear. He answered the question which is


dead but more flags. US students the opportunity to do that and that is


your right. How do you take this debate forward from here? It is


clear listening to this debate that I'm not even clear who we are


talking about. The word loyalist have been used. It seems to be that


the loyalist Tim is used in a derogatory sense. I don't know what


your description is. I heard you on the radio on Friday saying you were


not a loyalist leader which is news to me. I am not a loyalist leader.


What the problem is, there are more loyalist leaders than there are


leaders of the Communist Party. What does it say in the title of the


Progressive Unionist party? Are you disassociating yourself? What I am


not to allow you to do is to say I am a loyalist and use it as a double


treat him. It is when it comes to be media. If I use it, is to rob a true


but if you use it it's not? What you have just done is you have said


loyalists have put these flags up. How sure are you that they were not


Unionists that personal? - that put them up. Stop trying to be clever. I


am not trying to be clever. It is a fair assumption that loyalists put


the flags up. Let's get the argument right. You saying it that it was


protestants? I do. Is this what we want to get into, a game? I have


said to you that I won't PSNI go to Republicans to tell them not to put


the tricolour is up. You have said that loyalists have been warned. I


would like to know who these loyalists are who have been warned.


I don't know who they are. You will have two ask the peace. - police.


The police said they spoke to individuals and they made it clear


that if there was a repeat performance, they would regard that


as a breach of the police. There is no mystery. The police monitor flags


going up and they have accompanied... Again, we go back to


the point. They have been present as the flags have been put up. They


have been there to ensure that there was no social unrest, let's say.


They were there. This has been a subject of contention with local


people. A final thought from you, Mike Nesbitt. It's dancing on the


head of a pin about who it was. Let me say, I need a political party,


not a religious organisation. I get what Billy is saying. Sometimes,


people who are from working-class areas think that people in


middle-class areas look at them as loyalists. I don't like that. Beyond


that, we are in a situation here which is potentially pretty


volatile. The police are in an extremely difficult position, where,


as always, they are going to have to make a decision between upholding


the letter of the law and maintaining the peace. It is


incumbent upon all political leaders to do their best to support the


police and we need to have conversations with the people


putting those flags up because I don't know whether they are using


them to say this is the sovereign State of Northern Ireland or whether


they are using them as a weapon. The latter is a mistake. We will leave


it there for now. It's here from our guest commentators.


Joining me is the University of Ulster academic,


Dr Cathy Gormley-Heenan, and the former Victims'


Where are we? We are getting somewhere in terms of establishing


the difference between principles and practice. I was heartened to


hear some of the language of those principles used by party leaders


today. There was discussion of consultation, tolerance and respect


and they are very important principles. What we are witnessing


is an undermining of those principles in practice. I go back to


the point about consultation. The question is this: Was the local


community consulted about whether they wanted to have flags in their


area corrected or not? As taxpayers in Belfast, is that something they


are entitled to, to have a say in how their community is represented?


The council will put up hanging baskets to make the area look nice


and so on. Why is the community not have a say in how their area is


represented? Patricia, do you think it matters? Maybe it is important


whether these flags were put up by loyalists, Unionists or


Protestants. It doesn't matter. What matters is what it was designed to


do is mark out territory which can intimidate people. What I am more


concerned about is the way the decision was made by the PSNI two


treaties future putting up - to treat these putting up flags as a...


Not without political leadership, without any sort of legislative


framework to work against, what is going to happen is they will be left


open to accusations of political policing. We are going to move back


in the political process if that happens. What we need from the


political parties and from the leadership is to move these


discussions on around flags, parades and dealing with the past. We


mustn't have that political vacuum, so that the PSNI is operating on a


legislative framework as they should do. Thanks to our pit leaders for


joining us this morning. Could the proposals be revived? I


have been saying for some time that I believe there is a window of


opportunity between the local and European elections and the start of


the summer. Flags still appeared to be a major hurdle. People have been


saying we don't want these flags up. Let this not turn into, they are


away every flag in the law. They are not neighbourly. Details of the


long-awaited policy... The first and deputy first ministers are invited


to the World Cup. Martin McGuinness finds out just how cut-throat show


business can be. The Guardian describes him as a rare


human among the aliens on planet Westminster.


Alan Johnson, the former Labour Home Secretary,


trade union leader, postman and now award-winning author,


is taking part in the Belfast Book Festival this weekend but first,


You continue as an active politician. But I suppose it is a


different kind of involvement to the involvement you had over a long


period of time. Your first ministerial post was


in 1999 at the DTI, just a year How much were you aware


of events here impacting Watching with appreciation for the


time being spent on it. John Major started the process. I was a union


leader over here. I was coming up here when postal workers were being


used for proxy bombings. 21 of our members were killed in the course of


action. I knew from our members over here just what a difficult situation


they were in and the real groundswell for peace and


politicians to dedicate more time to actual achieving that piece. The


Good Friday agreement and all the stuff that arises from it, and all


the problems that were there for the very brave people over here who were


trying to show that you can achieve things through politics, which is a


very important lesson I think for younger people in particular. We've


just witnessed another studio discussion in which political


leaders didn't agree. Does it surprise you? Is it disappoints you


that they are still talking about key outstanding issues which they


cannot get around? It doesn't surprise me it doesn't disappoint me


in the sense that you are having a discussion. I was walking around


Belfast just a day. I came over here throughout the late 70s and 80s.


This is a transformed society. But you're not going to get rid of all


those strong feelings about symbols like flags for instance very


quickly. There are lots of debates which go on elsewhere. They are


similar. Your former leader, Tony Blair, has been doing the rounds of


the television and radio studios today talking about to go to war


with Iraq, in the context of what has been happening with ISIS. He


says it was still the right decision. Do you still think it was


the right decision? Yes. It was the first time we had never been to war


with the decision of Parliament. There was a debate in Parliament in


2003. I voted in favour. I think the problem with looking with things


with hindsight and saying this wouldn't have happened if we hadn't


got into Iraq in 2003, is that you forget to things. Number one, you


had Saddam Hussein, who was the subject of eight Article seven


resolutions from United Nations. He committed genocide, not once but


twice, against his own people. He had invaded invading countries. The


two biggest crimes and international law. He had invaded invading


countries. The two biggest crimes and international law. We have been


the subject of years of UN resolutions that he ignored. We


cannot ignore the fact somewhat if we had let him get away after the


resolution? What would that have done to Saddam? He was a despot. The


beheaded trade unionist. There were no weapons of mass destruction.


Everyone thought there were mass dash there were weapons. It wasn't


the main reason. We went to war because he had ignored the UN


resolutions. It was a major part of the justification. We know he had


weapons of mass destruction. He had used them previously, twice. It


wasn't just as, France and Germany, who decided not to be part of the


invasion, thought he had weapons of mass destruction. You are here to


take part in the book Festival. Did you regret the fact you are now


writing your memoirs instead of being the leader of the party? No, I


don't regret. I don't regret anything whatsoever. I'm glad I


stood for deputy leader. Harriet Harman won it. I said at the time, I


was the best man in the race but there was a better woman, as is


often the case. I have loved the process of writing about my


childhood and trying to recreate my mother who died when I was very


young, and telling a story of two incredible women, my sister and


mother. That has been great. I might have been able to do that if I was


debited leader, who knows, but it's still to be involved in politics as


a backbencher and to be able to write and attend festivals exist. If


anyone thinks the political meeting is dead and finish, come to a book


Festival. They are alive and well. You are in for a roasting this


afternoon. Thanks for joining us. If you final thoughts. - a feud final


thoughts. A quick word on Iraq. Does it concern you, what is happening at


the moment? It is usually concerning and it is a legacy of imperial


interference. It's about going into Iraq, based on an erroneous decision


about weapons of mass destruction. The legacy of that has been to


galvanise and politicise the population of that country. I think


that is why we are seeing the grossing - growth in ISIS. To me


Blair is putting forward the line of denial is not just a river in Egypt.


It needs to be taken responsibility for, how the British and American


intervention has an influence. We had a leaked draft racial... A


regional immigration policy. Is that workable? Immigration policy is


reserved matter. It's not the responsibility of the devolved


administration. Scotland has talked that recently. There are examples in


Canada for example. The work ability of a differentiated immigration


policy I don't think that is at the top of the political agenda.


Interesting to hear your thoughts. Another busy programme. Goodbye.


There are big changes afoot in the EU following last month's


European elections, not least who'll get the top job


But behind the scenes the parties have


also been jockeying for position as they try to form the big groups that


And UKIP seems to have been struggling to keep its influence


Here's Adam to explain how it all works.


If you want your party to be a big cheese in the European Parliament,


you need to form a political group. By doing this, the party gets more


money, more positions on committees and even more speaking rights in the


chamber. But the parliament's rules are strict. And to form a group you


need a group of 25 MPs from at least seven different countries. For UKIP,


the number of MEPs will not be a problem because they already have 24


of their own, but the different nationalities are more of a


challenge. Nigel Farage was not helped by the Tories stealing --


stealing his former Danish and Finnish allies, and the pen pinching


his Italian charms. Nigel needs a new charm and fast. He has already


signed up Lithuania's order and justice, a free citizen from Prague,


and the Dutchman from the reformed political party. The big signing was


the 17 members of the Italian Beppe Griego's 5-star movement, but it


leaves UKIP short of two more international powers, and with the


clock ticking, it looks like his hopes resting on the Swedish


Democrats and the Polish new right Congress. They both make their


decisions next week. What is the latest? UKIP have enough


MEPs with their pals, but they need seven countries, as I understand it.


They are not there yet. They are wrapped five countries and need


another two. UKIP are being quite buoyant and say they will be meeting


MEPs from five countries next week and are pretty confident they will


get those countries, but as Adam was saying, the problem UKIP have had is


that the Conservatives have nicked two of the parties. That is why they


have been struggling, but they say they are confident they will do it.


Meanwhile, the Tories new best friends are the German Eurosceptic


party, which has put Mrs Merkel's nose out of joint, but we don't


quite know whether she really cares or not. I think Cameron has played


his hand badly since he committed to pulling out of the EBP. And he


should be in there with Angela Merkel and if he needs to make a


major renegotiation, he needs to have the Germans onside. Instead


there is a breakaway party and its like supporting UKIP. His party are


supporting her worst enemy. It certainly causing him a lot of


problems, and undermines his negotiating position, but isn't


there an honesty that the centre-right group is explicitly


Federalist, and the Tories are anything but, so they came out, and


Labour are in the Socialist group, which is explicitly Federalist, and


they are not Federalist either. If you want support and influence in


Europe, you have to trade, and he hasn't done this well. The whole


business with who will be the next president, he needs Angela Merkel's


support. Without that, it won't happen. He should have been trading


behind-the-scenes, but he has exposed himself in public, and if he


doesn't win it looks uncertain, and he will be in a position where he


has to go back to his own party and say they are not getting anywhere.


That is dangerous and takes us closer to the Exeter, which I don't


think would want. The danger for Mr Cameron is if it is the president of


the commission, he will save you cannot stop a federalist becoming


head of the European commission, what chance do you have of


repatriating lots of powers back to London. There are lots of Tory MPs


dying to make the argument. My hunch is that he won't make it. There are


too many countries opposed to his presidency and even the country


notionally in favour of it, Germany, is failing in youth -- enthusiasm.


Angela Merkel cannot be seen to give in to the Brits this. Her own side


once it as well, though some reason the German media says it. When she


tried to reach out and said to look at the other candidates, she got


such abuse on the right wing press from her own country and party she


had to retreat. Janan is right that there is opposition to Juncker, but


as long as Cameron turns it into an argument about Britain and Europe,


he will strengthen the hand of Juncker. Angela Merkel thinks


Juncker is inappropriate. She did not like the process, which was a


power grab by the European Parliament, but when David Cameron


went to the council and said that if I don't get my way, we could leave


the EU, that led to the backlash, most significantly from the SPD in


Germany. As Tony Blair says, if only David Cameron had made the argument


that Juncker is bad for Europe, then he would have found his natural


allies would have felt more comfortable following behind. Enough


Europe. I want to show you a picture. See what you think of this.


When I saw that picture, I thought it was so ludicrous that it had to


have been photo shop. Discuss. He is holding it with a certain disdain,


looking a bit hangdog. A disastrous picture for Ed Miliband. His


strength is authenticity, sincerity and cleverness. And he blows all of


that. He was the one who took on Murdoch, very bravely and


dangerously, and one, really. Now there he is supporting Murdoch's


son. It's a big mistake, not just in Liverpool, where obviously they are


particularly incensed. And then he apologises. Sort of apologises and


understands why Liverpool feels upset. But it is a fundamental error


and I hope he learns from this, that he must absolutely stay true to


himself. That's all he's got going for him. Who do we blame? His


advisers or himself? In the end, himself. Nobody forced him to do it.


On this one, he called it wrong. It's a sign of the rather the bridal


state of the Labour Party is that his candidates were vocal in


attacking him doing this. It's a sign of how readable Ed Miliband is


at Parliamentary level. I don't think you should have apologised.


The mistake he made was associating himself with that newspaper. The


mistake was the prior three years when he went too far as portraying


the Murdoch empire beyond the pale. He made a case against phone hacking


and offences in that regard without going as far as he did with the


rhetoric. To do that, and then pose with the Sun newspaper, the


juxtaposition is what did for him, not the mere fact of posing with it.


Maybe he did not know what he was doing because we were told he


doesn't read the British newspapers. It was football, and he


has posed with the Sun newspaper before. Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg


posed as well. But with the Sun newspaper and football, you tread


carefully. That was the mistake. You get the impression from the picture


that he looks so uncomfortable that you wonder whether there was a full


process of consultation that went on within his media operation, within


his political operation. Was he fully aware of what would happen


question what he looks so incredibly uncomfortable. But at the end of the


day, leaders have to take responsibility. It is cultural as


well. That picture says, I am down there with the football blokes and


you think, you are not. That is not what people will vote for. Be


yourself and don't pretend to be something else because it never


works. But the polls suggest that the British voters don't yet see Ed


Miliband as prime ministerial. The worst thing you can then do is get


involved in stunts that are more likely to reinforce that idea than


counter it. There was a precedent for it in the last parliament which


was Gordon Brown's attempts to feign a populist touch. He did it by


telling the contents of his iPod. The Arctic monkeys. It always jarred


because he was trying too hard. Not uniquely guilty of, Ed Miliband, all


the other leaders have done it. At the moment he more vulnerable. Yes,


and he is less popular than his party. Labour has quite a popular


brand, in a resilient way, in a way they don't with the Tories, yet


their leader is a personal problem. The pressure is on him to do stunts


like this. Will there be a shadow cabinet reshuffle? Yes, we have to


get the cabinet reshuffle out of the way first, and that might come next


week, maybe by the time of the summer recess, but the first thing


that the prime Minister do is work out who is the UK candidate for the


European Commissioner. Is it not the case probably that Ed Balls is


becoming semi-detached from the Ed Miliband project? I don't think


entirely. Nothing gets agreed without both of the end are green.


Ed Balls is controversial. He has great pluses and minuses and is a


big figure. Labour doesn't have that many big figures. It's quite hard to


think who would be a heavy hitter as a possible Chancellor. He is a


convincing chancellor to the future, Love him. He has the heft -- love


him or hate him. Any possibility Ed Balls could be moved as shadow


chancellor? The timing is convenient because the Scottish referendum ends


in the autumn and Alistair Darling becomes a free man, win or lose. I


don't think Ed Balls will be removed because moving him would be an


admission that everything the Labour Party said about the economy to the


preceding four years has been a mistake. And you can't do that nine


months before a general election. You invite ridicule. But relations


between Ed Miliband and Ed Balls are not great at the moment. The Ed


Miliband team are very, very suspicious of this new love in


between Ed Balls and Peter Mandelson. Mandelson likes to say


that he spotted the Ed Balls talents in the original place and appointed


him to the Gordon Brown team after the disaster of 1992. But things


obviously went awry, and now Ed Balls and Peter Mandelson Avenue


Rappaport, and that is with enormous suspicion -- they have a new


Rappaport. With good reason because it's about policy. It's about the


attitude towards business. Should they be out there saying they will


get the tax dodgers, Starbucks, Vodafone, are we going to take on


business in a big way? In a way that Ed Miliband has quite bravely said.


On the other hand, Ed Balls and Peter Mandelson are saying, hang on,


we only won in 1997 by being business friendly. Sorry to rush


you. We are running out of time. The Daily Politics will be back


every day this week at midday, and I'll be back here next Sunday


when I'll be joined by the shadow work and pensions


secretary Rachel Reeves.Remember if it's Sunday,


it's the Sunday Politics. Magnificent. The power base


of medieval England.


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