16/02/2014 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


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Good morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. It would be


extremely difficult, if not impossible, for an independent


Scotland to join the European Union, so says the President of the


European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, in a significant


development in the independence debate. It's our top story. He has


the power to bring travel chaos to the nation's capital. Bob Crow


joined us for the Sunday interview. Another by-election


Here, the education minister says no Another by-election and


Here, the education minister says no school will lose money under his


funding plans based on free school meals.


With me, the best and brightest political panel in the business. The


twits will be as incessant and probably as welcome as the recent


rain. A significant new development in the debate over Scottish


independence this morning, the President of the European


Commission, President Jose Manuel Barroso, has confirmed what the


Nationalists have long denied, that an independent Scotland would have


to reply to join the European Union as a new member, that it would


require the agreement of all 28 member states and that would be, in


his words, extremely difficult, if not impossible. In case there is a


new country, a new state coming out of a current member state, it will


have to apply and, this is very important, the application to the


union would have to be approved by all of the other member states.


Countries like Spain, with the secessionist issues they have? I


don't want to interfere in your democratic discussion here, but of


course, it will be extremely difficult to get the approval of all


of the other member states, to have a new member coming in from one


member state. We have seen that that Spain has been opposing even the


recognition, for instance, so it is a similar state. It is a new


country. I believe it is great to be externally difficult, if not


impossible. Well, he says he doesn't want to interfere, but he has just


dropped a medium-sized explosive into the debate on Scottish


independence? A huge story. Alex Salmond must be wondering what is


going to go wrong next. His pitch to the Scottish people is based on two


things, the currency union with England and the rest of the United


Kingdom, which was blown apart last week, and this morning, his claims


that Scotland would automatically get into the European Union has been


dynamited. He's not only saying that they would have to apply, it is also


saying it might be impossible to get the agreement of all 28 members to


allow Scotland in. That's even more significant than the application?


The reference to Spain is interesting, we talk about Catalan


independence, an economic and active area that Spain does not want to be


independent. About five other countries are blocking Kosovo's


accession to the EU. There is no reason they would want to encourage


the secessionist in their country by letting Scotland do the same. If


Scotland does have to apply, and it does get in, it solves the currency


problem because all new members have to accept the Euro? At the moment,


the SNP are rejecting that quite strongly. What an interesting


intervention today. However, I know that those arguing that Scotland


should stay in the union are worried that the polls are tightening. A lot


of these interventions, parents care arguments, they don't look like they


are convincing the Scottish people. We haven't had any polls yet? We


haven't, but we have since the currency debate was reignited in the


last few weeks and it shows the polls tightening slightly. I think


Alistair Darling's campaign would prefer to be much further ahead at


the stage. They are worried that these technical commandments are not


having much sway. Are the polls tightening slightly? They could be


within the statistical margin for error. They are, but not much. Alex


Salmond's main page is one of reassurance. He wants to say you can


vote for independence, a pound in the pocket will be the same as


before and you will still be a member of the European Union. In the


last three or four matter days, both of those claims have been blown


apart. Angus MacNeil has already told BBC Radio 5 Live that the


remarks are nonsense and he is playing more politics. We hope to


speak to the SNP's finance minister, John Swinney, a little bit later in


the programme. It is not just the constant rain that London commuters


have had to deal with. There was also a strike on the tube that


disrupted the travel of millions. A second stoppage was on the cards,


but it was called off at the last minute.


The leader of the biggest underground workers union, the RMT,


is Bob Crow, who has led his members into 24 strikes on the tube since


2005, as well as disputes on the national rail network. Under his


leadership, the union's membership has grown from 57,000 in 2002 to


more than 80,000, at a time when union membership overall has been


shrinking. The current dispute has seen Bob Crow squaring up to Boris


Johnson over the mayor's plans to close tube station ticket offices.


The 48-hour stoppage at the beginning of this month is estimated


to have cost the London economy ?100 million. The two sides have agreed a


truce, for now, but Mr Crow has threatened further action if the


mayor imposes his changes. Bob Crow joins me now for the Sunday


interview. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. You


have suspended the strike for the moment. What will it take to call it


off entirely? Want to know first of all wider booking office has to


close. The Mayor of London made it quite clear in his election


programme that the booking offices would remain open. It was strange,


really, because Ken Livingstone wanted to close them down and the


mayor thought it was popular to keep them open and put in his campaign to


keep them open. However, we have not the news figures. We are being told


only 3% of people use the booking offices. That's not true. In


research done, if somebody does to a booking office with somebody sitting


there and asks for a ticket of less than ?5, they are not allowed to


sell them a ticket, it is madness. Do you use the ticket office? When


it is open, yes. You said to ITV that he didn't. I don't know what I


said to ITV, I don't know what time people use them, sometimes they are


open and sometimes they are closed. People make out that these ticket


office staff are people that sit behind barriers like a newsagent.


I'm not knocking a newsagent, however, these people were the same


people treated like Lions when they were helping people named in the


terrorist incidents, taking them out of the panels. Suddenly they are


lazy people that sit in ticket offices. My understanding is that


the people would come from behind and be out and about now. It is the


management wants to run the underground without ticket offices,


isn't that their prerogative? They are paid to manage, not you, not


your members, they are the managers? Managers are there to manage, and we


want good managers. But we've got some really bad managers that are


not looking at the railway as a whole. This is a successful


industry, not an industry in decline, one of the most successful


in Britain. It is moving 3.4 million people a day. All of the forecast is


or it will move to 3.6 million per day. The mayor wants to run services


on a Friday and Saturday night. We are not opposed to that. However, it


does not make sense that if more people are going to be using the


tube on Friday and Saturday, coming home at two o'clock three o'clock in


the morning, a lot of people drinking, a lot of people not


dragging, why take 1000 people of the network that come to the aid of


people that are looking to people? I want to show you this picture. This


is you. Taking a break in Brazil, I think it is. I was trying to copy


you. You deserve this break because you have done a fantastic job for


your members. Yes, I don't see what that has got to do with it. Let's


get every editor of the daily newspapers and see where they go on


their holidays, I would like to know. What I choose to do... I'm not


attacking you for doing that... You've got a picture up there, I've


got to say, why don't they go and follow Boris Johnson when he was


away on holiday, when the riots were taking place in London, and he


refused to come back? Why don't they go and view the editors of


newspapers, where they go on holiday? Why do they look at you


when you go on holiday? They sometimes do, actually. The basic


pay of a tube driver will soon be ?52,000. Ticket office workers are


already earning over ?35,000. Never mind a holiday on Copacabana beach,


or membership by your house for what you have done for them? When you


look at the papers this morning, I see that Wayne Rooney is going to


get a ?70 million deal over the next four deals. I see NHS doctors are


getting ?3000 a shift. I see a lot of people that do a lot of people


that, in my opinion, don't do anything for society. The top paid


people in this country should be doctors and nurses. Unfortunately,


we live in a jungle. If you are not strong, the bosses will walk all


over you. The reason why we got good terms and conditions is because we


fought for them. The reality is, all of these three political parties,


liberals, Tories and Labour, they have all put no programme that to


defend working people. So we have to do it on our own. And that is why


you have done such a great job for your members and why union


membership has been rising, people want to be part of a successful


operation. But it has come at a cost for less well-paid workers, who


travel on the cheap? If everyone believes if London Underground tube


workers take a pay freeze they are going to redistribute the money to


the rest of the workers that work on the cheap... But the people that


travel on the tube, let's look at some of them, they are the ones that


suffer from your strike action. The starting salary of a cheap driver


now, ?48,000. The starting salary for a nurses only ?26,000, ?22,000


for a young policeman, ?27,000 for a teacher starting out. As your


members have spread, they have had to live through 24 strikes in 13


years to push up your members wages. It's I'm all right Jack? The


have put a pay freeze on by conservatives and liberals. The


police constables, so have the teachers. We have had the ability to


go and fight. The reality is, at the end of the day, as I have said


before, no one is going to put up the cause for workers. Not one


single party in parliament are fighting the cause for workers. They


all support privatisation, they all support keeping the anti-trade union


laws, they all support illegal wars around the world. Unless they have a


fighting trade union, our members pay would be as low as some others.


You said we could not care less if we have 1 million strikes. But these


people, the lower paid people who travel on the tube, who need it as


an essential service, they care. Of course they care, I've said before


that I apologise to the troubling public for the dispute that took


place. 24 strikes in 13 years? It two to tango. If the boy never


imposed terms and conditions on us against our will... But you've got


great terms and conditions! But it's a constant battle, they are trying


to change them. Drivers are having their pay going up to ?50,000. You


said they are making it worse, it is going up. They are trying to make


things worse for workers. You said at the start of the interview that


the tube strike cost ?100 million in two days. It means that when members


go to work for two days it is worth ?100 million. That demonstrates what


they are worth. Only a fighting trade union can defend workers out


there. Your members should enjoy what you have got for them, because


it's not going to last, is it? Technology will change the whole way


your business operates. As Karl Marx says, you said I was a mixture of


Karl Marx, Only Fools And Horses and the Sopranos. I thought that was


quite funny... The Karl Marx part of it, the only thing that is constant


is change. We have been crying out for new technology. But for who? To


put people on the dole, so they can't do anything and do anything


for society, or technology so everybody benefits, lower fares,


better service and better terms and conditions for the workers. But you


have made Labour so expensive on the underground that management now has


a huge incentive to substitute technology for Labour. And that's


what it's going to do, it is closing the ticket offices and very soon,


starting in 2016, the driverless trains coming. What I am saying is


that your members should enjoy this because it's not going to last.


Driverless trains are not coming in, it is not safe. We have them in


Nuremberg, Shanghai, Sao Paulo, it is not safe? These are new lines


that have been built so that when it breaks down, people can get out of


the tunnel. Would you want to be stuck on a summers day on the


Northern line? A pregnant woman who cannot get off the train? Absolute


panic that takes place, the reality is simple, it is a nonsense. It's


not going to happen because it is a Victorian network. On Docklands


railway for example it is driverless but when the train breaks down, it


is above ground on a very small section. All of these other cities


managed to have it. You remind me about Henry Ford in the 1930s when


he said, you see that robot over their, he cannot buy a car. All


sorts of new jobs are being created all the time in other areas. Come


back to the ticket offices, not many people use the ticket offices any


more, what is wrong with getting the stuff out of the ticket office on to


the concourses, meeting and greeting, helping disabled people


and tourists and making it a better service? They can do more on the


concourse than they can in the ticket office. Andrew, he took the


decision to close down every single ticket office. You cannot compare


for example Chesham with the likes of Heathrow. Are you telling me


people are going to be on a long transatlantic flight, arrived at


Heathrow and cannot get a ticket. The stuff will be redeployed on the


concourse. The simple problem is that it is not just about the


booking office, it is about people having a visual. If you are


partially sighted, you cannot use the machines. If British is not your


first language, you cannot use the offices. How many languages do your


members speak? I don't know, I struggle with English. The machines


can speak many different languages. They are dehumanising things. You


phone the bank, all you hear is, press one for this, two for that.


People want to hear it human being and what makes the London


Underground so precious is that people want to see people. Having


well-dressed, motivated people out on the concourse, what part of that


don't you like? They will be on the concourse and they will have


machines. The fact is that London Underground did a risk assessment of


closing down their booking offices and it is clear that if you are


disabled, if you are partially sighted, London Underground becomes


more dangerous. You are posing the closing of ticket offices, opposing


driverless trains, when you opposed to the Oyster card when it came in?


No, Oyster cards, it is how you deal with it. It is not the only way.


They should supplement the staff and the job. If more people used the


London Underground system, you want more staff to deal with them. Let's


look at your mandate to strike. Of your members who work on the Tube,


only 40% bothered to vote. Only 30% voted for the strike, so 70%


actually didn't vote to strike of your members, but the strike went


ahead. Isn't it right to have a higher threshold before you can


cause this disruption? It would be lovely if everyone voted but the


Tories took that away. We used to have ballots at the workplace. What


I'm trying to say to you is that we used to have a ballot box at the


workplace and the turnouts were higher. The Tories believe that if


they can have a secret ballot where ballot papers went to people's home


addresses, where they could be persuaded by the bosses, votes would


be different. Let's go back to the workplace ballot because you get a


bigger turnout. Will the RMT re-affiliate to the Labour Party? I


have no intention to. We got expelled from the Labour Party. But


you will give some money to the Labour councils? Those that support


our basic policies get money, we don't give money directly to MPs, we


give it to constituencies. Are you going to stand for re-election in


2016? I might do, I might not. You haven't decided yet? No, but more


than likely I will do. And will you stand again as an anti-EU candidate?


Yes, I am standing in London, and right across, completely different


to UKIP's policies. They are anti-European, they believe all of


the faults of Europe are down to the immigrants. We are anti-European


Union. If London Underground is as badly run as you think, why don't


you run for mayor? That is down the road, it has not come up yet. I'm


not ruling anything out. I'm not ruling out getting your job on the


Sunday Politics. You have got to retire as well, you have got to put


your feet up. I will get you to renegotiate my package. Shall we go


on strike first? If I could have your wages, I would have two trips


to Rio every year. Good luck. And if you're in the London region they'll


have more on the Tube strike later in the programme. Let's get back to


those comments from Jose Manuel Barroso, and reaction to these


comments from John Swinney. Scottish Nationalists denied all along you


would have to reapply, we have now heard it without any caveats, you


will and you might not get in. I think Jose Manuel Barroso's comments


were preposterous this morning. He compared the situation to the one in


Kosovo. Britain is the member, Scotland is not the member. If you


go independent, you will have to reapply, he says. All of the


arrangements we have in place are compatible with the workings of the


European Union because we have been part of it for 40 years. The


propositions we put forward work about essentially negotiating the


continuity of Scotland's membership of the European Union and that


position has now been explained and debated and discussed and reinforced


by comments made by experts. We are talking about the president of the


European commission and we have spoken to him since he gave that


interview on the BBC this morning, it was an intervention that he made


that he wanted to lay out that Scotland should be in no doubt that


if they vote for independence they will have to apply for European


membership and they may not get it if it is vetoed by other members.


What he didn't say is that no state of the European Union have indicated


they would veto Scottish membership. The Spanish foreign


minister has. They have said that if there is an agreed process within


the UK that Scotland becomes an independent country, then Spain has


got nothing to say about the issue. That indicates to me clearly that


the Spanish government will have no stance to take on the Scottish


membership of the European Union because it is important that


Scotland is already part of the European Union, our laws are


compatible with the European Union and we play our part. The only


threat to Scotland's participation in the European Union is the


potential in/out referendum that David Cameron wants to have in 2017.


It has not been a great week for you, has it? Everything you seem to


want, the monetary union, that has been blown out of the water by the


Westminster parties, now Jose Manuel Barroso has said you will have to


reapply to the European Union, it has not been a good week. You will


follow the debate closely, and the Sunday newspapers are full about the


backlash taking place within Scotland at the bullying remarks of


the Chancellor and his cohorts. Is Jose Manuel Barroso a bully is well


now? He is making an indirect comparison between Scotland and


Kosovo. If you vote for independence and you do have two apply again to


join, if you do get in it solves your currency problem because you


will have to accept the euro. We have set out an option on the


currency arrangements which would be to establish the currency union. You


would have to adopt the euro. That's not rate because you have to be part


of the exchange-rate mechanism for two years before you can apply for


membership and an independent Scotland has no intention of signing


up to the exchange rate mechanism or the single currency. We are


concentrating on setting out our arguments for maintaining the pound


sterling, which is in the interests of Scotland and the UK. Thank you


for joining us this morning. This week's least surprising news


was that Labour won the safe seat of Wythenshawe and Sale East in a


by-election, following the death of the MP Paul Goggins. With the result


so predictable, all eyes were on whether this would be the sixth time


this parliament that UKIP would come second. And whether they'd chip away


at Labour's vote, not just the Tories and the Lib Dems. Adam stayed


up all night to find out what it all meant. Forget the hype. Forget the


theorising. And yes - everyone has a theory. UKIP are learning from us.


What have they picked up from you? To be silly. Thanks to this week's


by-election we've got some hard evidence in paper form that helps


answer the question: How are UKIP doing? Turns out the answer is well,


but not well enough to beat Labour. I'm therefore claim -- declare that


Mike Cane is elected. So UKIP have come second and increased their


share of the vote quite significantly. But their performance


isn't as good as their performances in some of the other by-elections


this parliament. Just don't suggest to them that their bandwagon has


ground to a halt. A week ago you'd told me you were going to win, what


happened? No, I didn't, I said I wanted to win. My mistake. How are


you feeling? It is a Labour stronghold, we always knew it was


going to be a fight. Labour were running scared of letting us present


our arguments. UKIP's campaign in Wythenshawe didn't point to the


right but to the left, with leaflets that branded Labour as a party of


millionaires who didn't care about the working class. It wasn't a


winning strategy but it did help them beat the Tories who focused on


dog mess and potholes instead. Professional UKIP-watcher Rob Ford


from Manchester Uni thinks they could be on the right track. He's


analysed the views of 5,000 UKIP voters for a new book, which could


confound the received wisdom about the party. The common media image of


the typical UKIP voter is a ruddy faced golf club and -- member from


the south-east of the UK and many UKIP activists do resemble that


stereotype to some extent, they do pick up a lot of activists from the


Conservative party, but UKIP voters are older, more working class, more


likely to live in Northern, urban areas, and they are much more


anti-system than anti-EU. And they're precisely the voters that


the Tory MP David Mowat needs if he's to hold on to his narrow


majority in the constituency just down the road. Do you have a UKIP


strategy in your seat? Our UKIP strategy is to point out that if


they want a referendum on if they want to be in the EU or not, there


is one way to get it, for the Conservatives to form their next


government and for me to be their MP. UKIP could accidentally destroy


what they want? I'm not sure it will be accidental. People need to


realise that if Ed Miliband is the Prime Minister, there will be no


referendum on the EU and UKIP may have made their point but they would


not have got their referendum. Over at UKIP local HQ, it is tidying up


time. Not helping, Nigel? I had major surgery on the 19th of


November and I am still weak as a kitten. I can barely lift a pint


with my right hand, it is as serious as that. The answer is, Carreon,


chaps, you're all doing a very good job. There will be carrying on to


the European elections in May, which will provide more evidence of if the


UKIP and wagon is powering on or if it is just parked. -- bandwagon.


With me now is the Conservative MEP Vicky fraud and UKIP director of


medication is Patrick O'Flynn. He will also be a candidate in the


upcoming European elections. You came second in Manchester, but it


was not a close second. -- Vicky Ford. There is nothing that is a


game changer? I think it is very unusual for any insurgent party,


like the liberals used to be, to actually win a safe seat of the


opposition. Those shocks, going back to Walkington etc, it tended to be


winning seats against an unpopular government. We did extraordinarily


well in Wythenshawe. Labour compressed the campaign down to the


shortest possible time and maxed out the postal vote. Whatever we think


about Labour, they do have an efficient machine, lots of union


activists signed a lot of people with a lot of know-how. It pushed


you into third place and showed the increasing irrelevance of the Tories


in the North? Tory minded voters in the North Sea more inclined to vote


for UKIP than you? I think by-elections are by-elections. The


same day, we took a seat from Labour in Birmingham. Well, that was a


by-election as well, so we should discount that as well. You should


learn from them, and we need to look forward to the elections in 2014.


That is in May this year, when we have a chance to really grab this


change in Europe, grab this change that we were talking about just now.


You don't worry, particularly in the north, if people want to vote


against Labour your supporters are drifting to UKIP? I think people


vote UKIP in a European election and they have done that for many years.


They vote that because they want change. The problem is, Patrick's


party have had MEPs since 1999 and they cannot deliver that change.


They can't because they don't have seats in Westminster. It was on that


video, the only way we are going to get the change we want in Europe is


to have that referendum and have the renegotiation, and that means vote


Tory. What do you say to that? Let's get real, the Conservative Party has


not won a Parliamentary majority in 22 years. But the only way you will


get a referendum, if that is what motivates you, and with UKIP it is,


the only way it will be a referendum on Europe in this country as if


there is a majority Conservative government at the next election. And


you could well stop that from happening? I don't accept that. I


believe, just as we forced David Cameron and into a referendum pledge


he explicitly ruled out making before through our success, and I


was there in PMQs, when his MPs asked him and he said it would not


be in the national interest because he didn't want to leave, our


electoral success forced that pledge. I believe by winning the


European action this May we can force Ed Miliband, again, against


his will, to match that pledge. Then, whatever formulation varies in


the next Parliament, we will get a referendum. Labour MPs have just had


the chance to say we want a referendum. They refused to do it.


The only way you are going to get a renegotiation, a change in our


relationship with Europe and an in or out referendum is to have a


Conservative Government. Please, UKIP, stop pretending that you can


deliver, because you don't deliver and you don't... We have delivered,


we forced David Cameron to give a pledge for a referendum he didn't


want to make. We will know if you are right about Ed Miliband or not,


you will have to tell us going into the campaign. If you are wrong, what


do you do then? There are still loads of reasons for people to vote


UKIP. A referendum is one thing. David Cameron, and I asked him


directly, thermally wants to stay in. He wants to be the Edward Heath


of the 21st century. The Tories are going to say, vote UKIP, get Ed


Miliband. What would you say to that? I would say we have probably


maxed out the Tory vote we are going to get because David Cameron has


been incredibly helpful in sending them in our direction. Our potential


for growth now, would we are concentrating on, his those


disenchanted former Labour voters and more and more of them are coming


towards us on things like immigration and law and order. We


want to renegotiate our relationship with Europe. We need to have people


who are going to turn up to negotiate with people like Barroso.


That meant a Prime Minister that is not Ed Miliband but David Cameron.


UKIP MEPs do not turn up to defenders. If President Hollande is


as good as his word and says there will be no substantial


renegotiation, certainly no treaty change this side of 2017 when he is


up for the election, what do you do then? He is a French Socialist Prime


Minister, I don't expect him to agree. But you can't bring anything


of substance back with these negotiations. Then people will vote


to leave. The Prime Minister has been very clear that British public


opinion is on a knife edge and unless we get what we want from a


renegotiation, we will leave. You would vote to leave? Let's see what


we get with the deal on the table in 2017. If the status quo was what we


have today, I would vote to leave. But I want to renegotiate. We will


have to move on. For those viewers lucky enough to live in the East of


England, they will be seeing more of Patrick in a moment. You are


watching Sunday Politics. Coming up in just over 20 minutes, I will be


talking about, what else, the weather,


Hello and welcome to Sunday Politics. The Education Minister has


moved to calm nerves over the Common Funding Formula - no school will


lose money says John O'Dowd. So what exactly are his plans? Plus, a war


of words over a proposed re-organisation to the Irish


language sector here. This is about demoting the language and providing


better services in a more efficient way to the Irish language community.


-- promoting the language. And with their thoughts, PR consultant Sheila


Davidson and commentator Orna Young. But first, the health of our


emergency departments has dominated the news all week - much of the


focus on Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital. A BBC Spotlight programme


revealed a number of deaths had been partly due to delays there. Here's


what a former doctor at the Royal's emergency department told me on


Thursday night's The View. Did you feel that the concerns that you and


others raised were taken as seriously as they should have? No,


and I think that is evidenced by the fact that those concerns had to be


used on repeated occasions. I don't think they ever were adequately


addressed. What the public see in all of this are dramatic headlines,


and they hear from and see overworked medical staff working for


well-paid managers who look as if they are asleep at the wheel. I


understand that and understand how that conclusion can be drawn, but I


would say to you that everybody who works in health and social care


gives of their best to deliver the best health and social care. Let's


hear from my guests Sheila Davidson and Orna Young. Sheila, I assume


that you followed the story closely last week. What did you make of the


revelations and the way in which the Minister has tried to deal with this


situation? I think we all understand that the NHS is a monolith that is


very difficult to manage and fund and to get the best out of. That


said, what is happening in A seems to be the thin end of the wedge. We


have been biggest drug sector and event of the NHS and GPs, they have


varying degrees of remiss is that they work at, and there is an asset


of the NHS sitting out there, that people cannot access. Where are the


evening surgeries, the night time GPs that are dealing with people


when you are getting locums coming out? All of us have stories, and I


do, of people who are experiencing an NHS that is less than we would


expect. So GB contracts need to be looked at again? -- GP contract is?


Absolutely. I think what we are looking at with the A problem is


the thin end of the wedge, where the anything and everything approach,


send everybody into the hospitals, is creating an overload that gets us


to question things like the management. There were lots of


issues revealed in that programme and subsequent programmes during the


week. Jonathan Miller says the difficulties at the the Royal were


the tip of the ice -- iceberg. If we think about it as issues of GPs,


wide access to waiting lists, things like that, it has become very


alarming in oration to the system as a whole. There needs to be a step


taken back by all involved, particularly in oration to those who


have been involved -- in relation. The health portfolio remained a bit


of a poisoned chalice. It is, but we shouldn't look at it that way,


because no matter what politician takes it up, they have a challenge.


And we as a public need to understand that is not an easy thing


to do. I think it is easy to blame the Minister for something that is


really quite extensive. We are paying people in the health service


management more than even ministers. So the responsibility needs to be


further down the line. The other issue is that people 's expectations


need to be more realistic as well as to what they can expect from the


health service. Absolutely. If we look at this period of austerities,


it's problematic in terms of where the money is going, the challenges


are channelling that in a more effective way. We will hear from you


both throughout the programme. Well, money's too tight to mention in most


government departments - but maybe not in the Department for Education?


The Minister told MLAs that schools will not now face cuts in their


budgets next year and some schools will still get an increase. Last


year principals hit out at the proposed changes to the Common


Funding Formula, saying some could see their budgets cut by up to


?40,000 next year. So how has the Minister managed to come up with a


solution that pleases everone? John O'Dowd is with me. A bit of a magic


trick, some people would say. First of all you've had to concede that


your original plans for the Common Funding Formula were unworkable. I


haven't conceded that. I still believe the principle of tax doing


educational underachievement through social deprivation remains. I was


clear that the figures given to schools were indicative and include


the ?15.8 million that is to be added to school budgets. There are


several ways you can add that. This year we had 3000 more children in


primary schools on the previous year, 1700 less in other schools,


I'm proposing we have a split pot, one for primary and nursery


schools. How we divide at ?15.8 million is key as to how we move


forward. The target of tackling it remains. But that is not the


contingency fund you are using for this. That is a separate amount of


money. No, we shouldn't confuse the two. Where did the money from the


contingency come from? I heard it was to bail you out in the mail you


got into over the Common Funding Formula. I knew all along I had the


?15.8 million, that would be added to the pot. When we do that, I have


yet to make my mind which final formula we will end up with, we have


a minus around ?300,000. The universal budget I have of 2


million, if I can't find that, shouldn't be in the post. But it is


a temporary stay of execution for these schools. What happens next


year? We're into a new budget year next year, I will be going and


negotiating with my executive colleagues strongly for an enhanced


education budget, and during this budgetary period we did secure ?130


extra from the executive. But the Department of extra still has


millions from where we were three or four years ago. Education is


important, when it comes to negotiations around the budget...


You asked for feedback from the proposals. 77% of respondents


opposed the use of free school meals to determine which schools get more


money. 600 schools believed they would face budget cuts of up to


?33,000! People told you it was a problem and you have had to change


tack. That is what consultations are about. So you have taken it on


board. You also have to accept, you didn't get it right first time


round. I welcome the fact that 15,000 people responded to this


consultation. This has been an open, democratic base we have been


involved in. But in terms of the consultation response, one school


issued 2000 responses, entitled to do so but it has to be put in that


context. Around 4000 of them are lobby letters, you have to put them


in that context. I can go through the competition responses on the


basis, is there an alternative proposed? Man has been proposed. The


Public Accounts Committee of the SMB tells me free school meals is a


robust measure. And the OECD tells me it is a robust measure of social


deprivation. Is this a stay of execution for these schools for a 12


month period, and can they expect cuts to their budget the following


year, or are you saying you will also be able to find the excess


money necessary to make sure schools don't face real cuts? Schools


budgets depend on a number of factors, the number of pupils they


take in, if a school loses pupils, there is nothing I can do about


that. But I'm committed this financial year to support schools


who may be losing money as a result of the changes I am making. I'm


committed to those schools that I will go into negotiations with my


colleagues and fight very hard to improve and increase the education


budget, I want to see all schools budgets increased in the future. Of


course you would, a lot of people will say it is laudable that the


minister wants to target schools with deprivation issues and social


need issues. You were prepared to sacrifice calls that you saw as well


off, more socially advantaged. -- schools. So that you can transfer


the money to schools with a particular need. And you now are not


going down that road? I haven't said that. Those schools with high free


school milk intakes will see a significant rise in their budgets.


It's not because it is laudable. If we go back to be health debate, the


Royal Victoria was still faces significant pressures so I was


suggesting we shouldn't target... We have schools who are facing


significant pressures because of the social economic intake. That is


where we need to target resources if we are going to give those young


people a chance in life and make sure they contribute to our society.


But the charge was you were robbing Peter to Papal. You have got the


money from somewhere else. You say you were able to find the money


without any difficulty, why did you not think of that before you put the


schools who thought they were going to lose out through the trauma they


have been through? I have debated this issue with used several times.


You have changed your position. You sat in that seat and said, tough,


this is what's happening and I can't do anything about it. You are now


saying, I was always able to do something about it. Perhaps you


weren't listening! The fact of the matter is, I have always sat here


and said to you, there is ?15.8 million included in the part, it is


how I make that up that is the important thing. Schools with high


free school meal intakes will receive additional funding, that is


where resources are needed. I believe it is the right thing to do,


because all the evidence tells me it's the right thing to do. Was this


all a great fuss about nothing? This has been a very good debate. But the


teachers, parents who thought they were going to lose out... If we are


going to move forward as a society, these are the bread-and-butter


debates we need to be having. Politicians are often criticised for


not dealing with those issues, this is literally a bread-and-butter


issue. Thank you for coming in and joining us. Plans to cut funding


from four Belfast-based Irish language groups have put the


organisations on a potential collision course with Sinn Fein. The


Culture Minister, Caral ni Chuilin, has backed a new funding model for


Irish groups across Ireland - but none will be based here. Groups


which gave evidence at Stormont say local Irish language provision will


suffer. Our Political Reporter, Stephen Walker, has been


investigating. This war of words is very different.


Sinn Fein are used to doing political battle with Unionists over


the use and promotion of the Irish language, but this row has brought


the party into conflict with the very people who have spent decades


promoting Irish in Northern Ireland. Last year, the culture minister,


Caral ni Chuilin, endorsed the new funding model for Irish groups


across the island. Under the cross party group, six new groups will


take up work previously done by 19. It means Belfast waste groups will


disappear. -- Belfast -based groups. It will have a detrimental effect on


services for the Irish language community. We are talking about


dismantling the whole of the infrastructure for the Irish


language community. You think Sinn Fein have misjudged this? It seems


to me that yes, they have. Whether they set out to do that or not, I am


not sure, but these are the consequences of the decisions made


at the ministerial Council. As an all Ireland party, Sinn Fein


actually like the idea of Irish language provision on a 32 county,


all Ireland basis. Money and particular the amount spent on


salaries, is part of their argument for change. It's more important to


focus on spending the money wisely in future. A slimmer organisation


which delivers more efficiently and effectively, that is what Sinn Fein


wants to see, we want to see that delivered in Belfast, in the north


and throughout the whole island. Another group could vanish. The West


Belfast body works in the Irish free school sector. Since 2008, they have


had nearly ?1 million. The group has secured half a million from other


sources. Staff here reject suggestions that too much money is


spent on salaries. We have actually been paid pro rata a lot less than


people would be in the South. The same kind of work as we are doing.


We don't think we are overstaffed and we certainly don't think we are


overpaid! The change will mean all six of the newly groups are in the


Republic. None of them are in Northern Ireland. This was not about


North versus South, East versus West. This is about promoting the


language and providing better services in a more efficient way to


the Irish language communities. It's about getting people out into the


community, providing services. If electronics rather than politics is


driving this debate, have Sinn Fein got this one right? It could be


linked to the austerity agenda in the South, it is curious to see Sinn


Fein, who are so anti-austerity in the south supporting this, claiming


it is part of an all Ireland agenda that they have. It is curious they


would pick on the northern groups, who were receiving only a fraction


of the funding in the first place. Pebble, the umbrella organisation,


and a development agency, will also face budget cuts. Across all the


northern -based groups, it is feared around fifth in jobs could be lost.


The funding for those is going to disappear after 31st of June. We are


in the middle of February, so you can imagine, it is a grey cloud over


everybody. On the 30th of June, when core funding is removed, these


offices will close and the staff will be made redundant. Sinn Fein


say talk of redundancies is premature. The people who have


worked in those groups, I feel, need to be part of the new arrangement so


they need to be engaging with the lead group which deals with their


range of work. Some of them will be made redundant. Nobody knows that


for sure because the process is still ongoing, and we don't know who


is going to be redundant stop Sinn Fein insist they have done much to


promote the Irish language. So does their stance on this issue caused


political difficulties? It is oddly partition list, from a nationalist


or republican perspective. Politically, it makes sense for Sinn


Fein, they will create this all Ireland structure, they have this


minister, Caral ni Chuilin, who has an important role in driving that,


but it does look very odd when Sinn Fein would never normally refuse to


call for more money or special treatment or local favouritism, for


any issue. The Irish language sector is facing its biggest ever change.


This week some of those facing budget cuts went to Stormont to


argue their case. They hope their words were listened to and those


planning this move will have a last-minute change of heart.


Sheila Davidson and Orna Young are with them. Let's talk about


education. Has the Minister had to think again about his policy as far


as the common -- as far as the Common Funding Formula is concerned?


Clearly there has been, it smacks to me of a postponement, of the


inevitable, it effectively. But it is interesting that he made the


point, there is plenty of money there, I am able to reorganise my


budget to deal with this issue. My question was, why not do that before


you put the principals, teachers and parents through the discomfort they


have been through? For me, it is political playacting. You pull the


rabbit out of the hat, 15 million out of the hat, I have solved the


problem that I established in the first instance. The fact remains


that an awful lot of school resources went into responding, and


it seems to me that the one thing he says that is the best thing out of


all of this, was the engagement. Why have such a negative engagement? Why


put that 50 million into the schools if that metric is the best one,


which I think is questionable. At the end of the day, why not just


give it out and not have the resource of all the schools you had


to submit plans and have the worry of contingencies, which they have


had to start taking about, taken out of the way? I will come back to you


both in a moment. Now, let's take a look back at this week's political


news in 60 seconds - with Stephen Walker.


Health dominated politics as the Royal's department came under


scrutiny. Allegations of bullying, staff under intolerable pressure...


I'm flabbergasted with what I've heard tonight. I have heard talk


about the Royal as if this is only emerged over the last few days.


Another MLA also had health concerns. Another survey, 12 months


down the line, in those 12 months millions will have died waiting on


transplants. Gregory Campbell told Martin McGuinness how to make


friends and influence people. Counting the number of people who do


speak to you and don't speak to you at Stormont, making you look and


sound like a real loser. There was a call to ban election posters.


Election posters, are they ever going to be banned? I would like to


fix. I think they are unsightly. Strangely old-fashioned, aren't


they? I couldn't agree more. I think those who are on the ball have


already engaged with social media. Sheila, you are a PR expert, how big


an own goal be to have the eyes of hundreds of millions of people on


Northern Ireland, looking at election posters? I don't know if it


would be so terrible, I think we could do without them... They are


not the most attractive... But we're not going to know any of these


people standing for election! This might be the only way. Even you


couldn't have them all on. This is going to be a massive change in


terms of the faces coming forward. I am looking forward to seeing and


hearing some new voices and faces. You think it might influence you,


the posters? Not a bit of it. Thank you both.


direction? No, in real terms now the rent is falling in London. Andrew,


back to you. Welcome back. Let's start by talking


about the weather. What could be more British? It has been


practically the only topic of conversation for the past few


weeks. This morning, Ed Miliband has made the direct link, declaims,


between this exceptionally wet and windy weather and climate change.


That's an interesting development, taking place. Ed Miliband is the


author of the 2008 Climate Change Act, so he has to stick to that line


or his life 's work goes up in smoke. When he passed it, there was


Westminster consensus. Now the Tories are beginning to appeal off.


UKIP has definitely peeled off. Labour and Lib Dems are sticking to


their guns, there is now a debate? It has moved from consensus to very


fragile consensus. It's an interesting tactic for Ed Miliband


to take. He could either approach the floods talking about government


failures and handling, instead he has gone for the intellectual


argument, try and turn this into a debate about ideology and climate


change. I think he will find that quite difficult. Partly, I don't


think the public I get listening to an argument like that. Partly


because only one in three of the public totally agree with him. The


polls for The Times think that about one in three think that man-made I'm


a change is responsible for these floods, the rest do not. I'm not


sure that the interventions will be particularly well picked up. It puts


David Cameron in a difficult position. He was hugging those


huskies, it was going to be the greenest Government ever, and now he


has an Environment secretary that doesn't really believe in climate


change. Well, we don't know where he stands. That is not where he was in


2010. It has always been sold to us that he is statesman-like and


pragmatic, but that drifts into he doesn't really believe anything.


This is a worldwide phenomenon now. You've got the Canadian government,


they are pretty sceptical these days. The new Australian government


is pretty sceptical. The Obama administration has been attacked by


the green movement across the United States, he is probably about to


approve the keystone pipeline that will take over the Texas refineries.


What was a huge consensus across the globe is a guinea to break down?


Probably started to break down about the time of the financial crisis,


the age of austerity, when suddenly people had more to worry about than


green issues. Even at home it is a slightly risky tactic for Ed


Miliband. The idea there is a scientific consensus on this, there


isn't. You look at Professor Collins this morning, climate systems


expert, saying, actually, the jet stream is not operating further


south because of climate change. Or if it is, it is beyond our


knowledge. He flies in the face of what Ed Miliband as saying. He's


saying the wet weather is caused by global warming, the head of science


at Exeter University says the IPCC originally looked at whether climate


change could affect what happens to the jet stream and, because it had


no evidence it had any effect, it decided not to include it at all in


the IPCC report. The problem we have got is that any individual


phenomenon is difficult to attribute to climate change. But the Labour


Leader just have? And The Met Office have done the same thing. It's a


fragile in, but overall we can say we are getting more extreme weather


than ever. The most extreme weather, hurricanes and tropical storm is,


they have been in decline. Equally, we have had ten of the hottest


summers in the last ten years since 1998. Overall, there is a case that


can be made that we are getting more. Each individual thing is


difficult to say. Until recently, almost everyone agreed with that


case. Now the parties are reflecting differences. I wanted to move on,


what did you make of two interesting things that happened with the


interview with UKIP and the Tories, one Cory saying I am voting to come


out, and the UKIP chap saying we are maxed out on Tory defectors, we


can't get any more? I think that was a dangerous admission from Patrick


O'Flynn from UKIP, essentially saying that their vote has peaked.


Looking at the by-elections, I'm not sure that was a particularly wise


reflection on that. They got 18%, 23% last year. The case he is making


is that there are more votes to be gained by attracting former Labour


voters than former Tories. I'm not sure that red UKIP, the bit of UKIP


that tries to make benefit protection and some other kind of


social issues at the heart really sits comfortably with their


insurgent, anti-state message. I don't think it will do particularly


well. This is why they are pushing the message, it is their response to


the idea and suggestion of a Tory rallying cry that they vote for


Nigel Farage, and it is really a vote for Ed Miliband. Patrick is a


very good journalist, a very good commentator. He answered almost as a


commentator rather than head of communications for a political


party. The Government are still trying to rid itself of troublesome


priests, an attack on welfare reforms from the Catholic Archbishop


of Westminster. Let's have a look and see what he said. The basic


safety net that was there to guarantee that people would not be


left in hunger or in destitution has actually been torn apart. It no


longer exists. And it is a real, real, dramatic crisis. The second is


that, in this context, the administration of social assistance,


I am told, has become more and more punitive. If applicants do not get


it right, they have to wait and they have to wait for ten days, two


weeks, with nothing. Has the basic safety net disappeared? I don't see


how it is possible to argue that. It is certainly the case that there


have been reductions in various benefits, some benefits have been


scrapped and there is a welfare reform programme. But this country


is still spending ?94 billion a year on working age benefits. Excluding


pensions? The idea that this equates to some sort of wiping out of the


safety net is... He has gone on a full frontal assault on the Tory


reforms, not the kind of attack that Labour would be prepared to make?


No, they know that it doesn't play very well in the country. He's not


up for election. Whether or not you agree about the safety net, I think


the welfare reforms have been poorly managed and I don't think that is a


full dispute. Universal credit, it is in some very long grass. It had


some stupid ideas, like the idea that it would be paid monthly,


instead of weekly, meaning that people are more likely to run out of


money by the end of the month. It's interesting, in the past, when


members of the cloth have attacked the government for welfare reforms,


the Government have responded by trying to paint them as lefties,


ideological driven. I think that is hard in this case, an assault made


deliberately in the Telegraph from somebody who feels they come from a


centre-right position. I think there will be a bit of awkwardness about


this intervention. It is not the kind of thing they wanted to see. Is


it politically damaging for the Government? It is if it makes them


look mean-spirited. But that is the problem with welfare reforms. You


can say all sorts of things about Iain Duncan Smith's competence. But


the whole thing springs from a moral mission, as he sees it, to liberate


the poor and extend opportunity. One of the worst moments for the Tories


was blaming the low level of voting in Wythenshawe and sale in the fact


that the constituency had, in the words of one senior Tory, the


largest council estate in Europe inside its constituency boundary.


The point being what? Because you live in a council estate you don't


vote? That they don't see people living in council estate as one of


them, not an impulse that Margaret Thatcher would have had. I think


it's dangerous if they are painting is people as opponents rather than


trying to win them over. When they do vote, they determine elections!


The idea that there is no such thing as a working-class Tory is toxic. I


want to show you a picture. There we go. It is behind me, on the 5th of


February, it is all men. And then, on the next, look at that, the 12th,


there are a few women. Not exactly many, but some. It is an


improvement. But it is so transparent, isn't it? We phoned up


one of the women that sat behind David Cameron to ask, why the sudden


change? They said, I don't know why you are bothering to ask, it is


completely natural, we didn't do anything to stage manage it. Did his


nose gets longer? It is something that is very transparent and


depressing about the way politicians choose to react to these moments.


Every week they put two women behind David Cameron, so that a tight shot


shows them. It is called the doughnut. They don't have many women


to shuffle around, there are only four among 14 in the Shadow Cabinet.


Also, the fact that women, younger women in particular, are much less


likely to vote Tory than five or ten years ago. David Cameron, it drives


and furious, he is obviously aware this is one of the biggest potential


demographic problem is that they have. It also reminds us of how the


public can actually see the wiring behind a lot of the stuff. Do they


really think your blog so stupid that they will not notice that the


following week the front bench is packed with women? I think it just


increases contempt for the entire rocket. It is an issue where Labour


seem to have pulled ahead of the other parties. We are being told


that 50% of candidates in their 100 target seats will be female. It


looks like the composition of Labour continues to go towards a kind of


rough 50-50 split, eventually. Although that is true, I think the


faces we see on the telly, Ed Miliband, Ed Balls, Chris Leslie,


they are almost always men. There is a Rachel Reeves, a prominent female


face that goes up a lot. But really, the number of e-mails they put up is


proportionally a lot smaller. Is the Miliband team still a men's club?


Behind the scenes, it is very blokey. It's been described as a


kind of seminar room at a university. I think that is true.


The Observer did the cutout and keep of the people behind Mr Miliband. As


opposed to the Shadow Cabinet, with lots of women in it, it was very


male. The one reason Labour have all of these women to put up in


constituencies is all women short lists is. If Tories want to change


things, I know they can be prone to minute -- and in relation, but they


work. In ten years time, I think it will give Labour an immense


advantage. By then, I think they will have a woman leader. Who will


that be? Potentially somebody not even yet in the Commons. You can see


how quickly people can rise to the top, but the Labour Party is going


to be increasingly donated by women. Do you think there will be a Labour


Leader before Theresa May becomes leader of the Conservatives? I think


it is ultimately about Osborne trying to stop Boris. I think I


would be astonished if she managed it. The first female Labour Leader?


I would pick Rachel Reeves the way it is currently going, she knows her


stuff and does well on TV. That is all for this week. We have a week


off now. I'll be back in the week after next. Remember, if it is


Sunday, it's the Sunday Politics, unless it's a Parliamentary recess.


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