18/03/2012 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


Andrew Neil and Tara Mills with the latest political news, interviews and debate.

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Two weeks and counting, the candidates to be the next Ulster


Unionists leader have started their campaign. We ask how they plan to


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1700 seconds


deny it -- United the be divided Welcome to Sunday Politics in


Northern Ireland. The battle for the Ulster Unionist leadership


became a two-horse race when the favourite, Danny Kennedy, decided


not to enter the running. Now it is a contest between John McCallister


and Mike Nesbitt. Who can restore the fortunes of a party in decline?


Also, as the excitement builds to London 2012, are there lessons to


be learned from our failure to gain from games? Those companies will


have that experience and I have no doubt they will get feedback. If


they don't, they should and learn lessons from where they are going


next and what to do next. With an 11% pay rise for a MLAs on the way?


Which one got a respectable result in their school report? Find out in


60 seconds. With me for the next 30 minutes is


Professor Pete Shirlow from Queen's University and the News Letter's


Sam McBride. Let's talk about the contest. What do you think the


Ulster Unionists can do to halt the decline in the party's fortunes?


is a significant decline, they have lost around 90,000 votes in 1990 --


since 1998. They have to do a massive thing to claim back those


boats. They need to start with where the votes go. About half of


them probably went to the DUP. They realise that there is a significant


Unionist electorate which has become this interested at is not


articulating any desire to engage with politics. -- has become this


interested at is not. They have to build a base but they also have to


discuss our opinions. They need to find out where these voters went


away. There is an opportunity, it is about bringing people to the


electorate. A surprise that Danny Kennedy pulled out. The rumours


were going round all week. Was it too much of a poisoned chalice for


him? I think he just did not want to run. If he had decided to go for


it, he would have got a vote. He probably felt that Mike Nesbitt had


support swinging behind him and that he expected to come behind.


People might Mike Nesbitt decided to speak to the impartial reporter.


He's courted voters have been Fermanagh. If he had decided to run


he would have got a significant challenge is and decided he did not


want it, for whatever reason. It will be the fastest of


leadership races. In two weeks' time we will know who is in charge.


We would have liked to debate the issues head to head but the leaders


of the Ulster Unionist Party are insisting on separate interviews.


First stop, Mike Nesbitt and could he be the next party leader? Before


head -- that, let's to get his journey from broadcasters and


politicians. -- let's look at. It was as a sports reporter that


Mike Nesbitt made his name. He began his career at the BBC, maybe


two UTV in 1992, where he remained for 14 years. He announced he was


not renewing his contract and after a break, he re-emerged as a


Victims' Commission a, a post he resigned from in 2010. -- Victims'


Commission Now. He was a party for the ill-fated Conservative and


Ulster Unionist alliance. He lost out to Jim Shannon but was elected


as the representative for Strangford in 2011. The nine months


later he is in the running to become leader of the party. Back


his campaign launch in Stormont, he was black by supporters, including


his wife and former TV presenter, Lynda Bryans. Last time, the party


mood was for continuity. It appears the party mood today is for change.


That is why I am standing, to offer a change to revive and revitalise


this party. Mike Nesbitt joins us now. You are just in the door of


the Ulster Unionist Party and Stormont. What makes you want to be


leader? I am sensing in the last week, when Tom shock does with his


announcement that he was going to leave, I was in listening mode and


I travel as much as I could around the country. It took a lot of calls


and messages. It is surprising, to the point of shocking for some


people in the Ulster Unionist, and inspiring, but there is a mood


Albarn -- among the membership for change. It is not passive, it is a


very positive, we won't change. -- we won't change. After 14 years of


taking a bashing because of 1998, our membership is saying, it is


over, we want to be positive, we want to hold our heads up, we want


to say I am proud to be an Ulster Unionists because I believe in


values which are for the benefit of all the people of Northern Ireland.


This party is back. It could be let that in a different way and seen as


a sad reflection on a party that has been no one in its -- has no


one in its ranks it believes can take the party forward and someone


from the outside? I am not from the outside. You have had a career as a


broadcaster. Is that a bad thing? Is it a bad thing not to have your


fingerprints over the last 14 years? We used to have 10 MPs and


now we have none. Many people are looking and saying, here is a guy


who has got different ideas and it is the mood. It is not about the


person. They should not be about their leader. It is about capturing


the mood of the party and it wants to change positively. What you have


set answer for does not sound like change. You do not want to go into


opposition, or of tea Unionist Unity, it sounds similar to what we


have had? -- of Ulster Unionist unity. I want to bring in an


opposition. 14 years ago we could not have possibly survive with a


government in opposition. Is that not unlikely because the DUP and


Sinn Fein will foot against it? 1998, everybody had a chance to


vote in a referendum. There has been significant change, with the


St Andrews Agreement. There is small change, in. -- there is more


change coming. I would like a referendum on the major


constitutional changes that have occurred since 1998 in the Belfast


Agreement. Put it to be people, other parties. If they vote along


the lines that they voted on to a man, they will say no to opposition


and to keep what they have at the moment. They are the party getting


support. I was elected by just under 50% of the electorate. I have


to reach out of them. In the last two years, when I have fought


elections, people come up and say good luck. They have coming up and


they have not been thing good luck, they have said good luck and you


have to do this, we are be hind the -- behind you. In yesterday's News


Letter you mention two policies, getting rid of commissions and


quangos and getting were fixed rates for young people. Is that it?


No, that is not it. Economy is it, absolutely. I think we could do a


lot better. What I would like to have seen coming out of the


economic strategy is a message to be unemployed that we will try and


get 60,000 new jobs. That sends a message to be 60,000 unemployed,


you have less than a one in two chance of your government securing


you a job. People might argue 25,000 is more realistic. For some


observers, it is not likely? not be aspirational? Let's build a


private sector are so poor fund -- so powerful and profitable that we


depend less on the block grant, because we have built our own


economy that is so robust that we are doing fine. Do you think you


will win? That is up to the 2000 members of the Ulster Unionist


Party. If they want me. I was at church last Sunday and the sermon


was based on the idea that if it is supposed to be, it will happen.


you expecting a dirty fight? I do not think there is any evidence it


will be a dirty fight. No one in politics set out on a leadership


campaign for it to be a dirty fight. This time, the two candidates are


much more similar to each other than the last time. Basil McCrea


and Tom Elliot were very clearly different people with different


agendas. Both Mike Nesbitt and John McCallister are from broadly the


Liberal and moderate wing of the Ulster Unionist Party and there is


not really a representative of the traditional and classical Ulster


Unionist position. In some ways, there is not going to be that much


than -- other than the issue of opposition, be big issue between


them. What about the idea of a referendum? The Secretary of State


will not move on opposition unless the two bigger parties wanted.


Could we have a referendum on opposition? Both candidates have a


notion that there should be some sort of oppositional politics,


which would be good and would be more policy based as opposed to


poll based. That is a pork -- important, even when they may


achieve it in different ways. Whether there is a referendum is


remaining to be seen. They can be very focused in terms of opinion. I


think that is a breath of fresher. Both of them realise this will not


be quick and it will take time to turn the party around. If you try


and do it quickly it will not happen. Both are strong leaders and


the thing that is very clear is that they are going to be


unambiguous about what they want to do. What is the Ulster Unionist


Party? How is it different from the Alliance Party are the DUP? They


will set out what the party is and what the party aims to achieve.


do not want this to be about a referendum on being in or out of


government. The next leader needs to do a good shift. They need to do


at least two cycles of Assembly elections. We need to look at where


we are going to be not on the 2nd April but on 2nd April 1920 15 and


2020. -- 2015. We want to put the people first and build on the


economy. We want people have jobs that they actually enjoy. We want


people with homes rather than houses. If you have very little


influence in the Executive, how can you do that? You cannot make


changes to corporation tax Auret difference to the skill set of the


workforce? We were the ones proposing corporation tax. I know


John says he wants to bring the minister out of the Executive but


is he giving up our chairmanships and vice chairmanships, where we


will sit in the chamber? Will we have to elbow in between Jim


Allister and so -- David McNarry? When the opposition back in? They


are'making body. -- they are the policy-making body.


John McCallister was the first to declare as a candidate. In a moment


we will hear from him, but first, a snapshot of his career so far.


A former president of the Young Farmers' Club, John McCallister has


enjoyed a speedy rise through the ranks of the Ulster Unionists. He


joined just seven years ago and was elected to Stormont in 2007 as


member for South Down, winning re- election for years letter. His


distinctive delivery and relative youth marked him out among his


colleagues. The with the Minister agree that this has an adverse


affect on businesses, tourism, commuters right across the Southern


Area? Although he back Basil McCrea's unsuccessful bid for the


leadership 18 months ago against Tom Elliot, he served as deputy


leader and a Tom Elliot as well as chief whip. He is the first -- he


was the first candidate to declare when a vacancy came up and set out


his stall clearly. This is the important debate to have, whether


we were towards closer Unionist co- operation or go into opposition and


oppose the government and support them if they are right? We need to


set out a clear agenda of what is good for Northern Ireland. That is


what I think Ulster Unionism at its best is and should be about. John


McCallister joins us now. Good afternoon. Is it a brave or foolish


move to declare your hand on opposition so early in the race and


set it out as a competition between opposition and what every his Mike


Nesbitt is standing for? There is no point in going into a race and


heading -- hedging your bets. Tell people about the change you will


bring. People are probably refreshed to hear people say what


they are going to do. That is where I would lead the party. How will


the work? It is an informal opposition you are talking about,


not one that is legislated for, is that right? That is right. There is


no structure at the moment. Are you seriously going to tell me that we


should not do this because Peter and Martin say we can't? This is


about saying, do you agree with the principles of opposition? We are


going to take a first step and co- owner and be in opposition, formal


or informal, we will be in opposition and hold this


administration to a card and provide people with an alternative


Howwood that work? -- how would that work. The only position you


would lose was the one ministerial. I think it improves the Government.


Where we were in 1998, it was sensible to have an inclusive form


of government to get us from where we were, coming out of conflict. It


is a healthy thing to have an opposition. Every democratic system


in the world has an opposition or checks and balances on power. That


is what we need. This is what most people in politics think has to


happen. The it has been reported you do not have a lot of support in


the Assembly group, who seemed to be going for Mike Nesbitt. If you


were as successful, how would you convince them it would be a good


idea to give up the one piece of power you have around the Executive


table? The one piece of power sums it up. Why hang about for a few


crumbs from the table and let the Deputy First Minister decide when


we can speak and what we can do and what policies we adopt? That is not


what we want. We need to break out and change the politics and move


away from the calf up a type of We are regarded as the least


influential party in the Executive, and that is not helpful to a party


trying to reconnect. Just being in there for one tiny crumb is not


reason enough. You need an identity and message. This is about working


the Systems in Stormont and it is healthy for democracy. How do you


convince them? I have not asked my colleagues for support. I have


taken this message to the party faithful. MLAs' votes can the same.


It is an one member, one Vogue party. That is the message I am


saying to the party -- won a vote party. I want to ask them. This is


a real change. I do not have the party machinery supporting me, I am


committed to taking the argument out to the people and the


membership. Do you think you will win? I would not be better in your


house on it, but I will give it my best shot. Whoever wins has to


behind the leader. Mike Nesbitt suggested that we have a referendum


on changing the style of Stormont. A referendum. You had a referendum


on the Good Friday Agreement. It did not mean everybody accepted it.


You need to make the argument to people. If they agree with it, they


will vote for that. The reason I think our vote has gone, we have


tried been in the Executive as a smaller party. We have had two


ministers and the boat going down to one minister. We are not getting


the credit -- of the vote. You need an alternative. You, as a voter,


have no way of changing the Government. That is not healthy in


democracy. Do you think this idea will win round members who were not


connected to Stormont? The truth is that nobody knows. There has never


been a poll of opinion in the Unionist Party. He was saying


earlier he did not want it just to be a referendum, it is difficult to


see how that is not the main issue. It is possibly a majority, there is


a big chunk of the party, but if it is the most important thing to that


chunk of the party, to take on the DUP from the opposition benches, if


that chunk of the party is big enough and see this as the only way


to get to opposition, John McCallister might do better than


some people think. This is a massive issue. And what happened


with Tom Elliott. Do you think that either candidate can end the


division? Do smack mend. Elliott was a continuity choice.


The key is that something big has to change. A problem I have with


the UUP is I came back from England in 1983 and most had never been to


my door asking me to vote for them. Everybody else has. How do they


mobilise the membership? Others are better at doing it. One of the keys


for the leader is putting energy into the party. If the energy and


commitment is there, you can go anywhere. John, how do you bring


energy back into the party, is it about knocking on doors? Absolutely.


You have to get out. You have to engage with people. And listen to


the good and the bad that people are telling you. I have done


serious can then -- canvassing in my constituency. That does pay off.


It is about giving a central message of what you stand for and


the direction of the party. That would be my job if elected to, to


give the message. We would be in listening mode. We would want to


present ideas to the public and be the alternative at the next


election. Interesting to see how the next two weeks passed out.


If it is over four months to the start of the greatest show on earth.


The London Olympics. Apart from brief training camps, what has


Northern Ireland gained from the games? There are some flashing


images in this report. It is 5:30am. These young swimmers


start a two-hour training session. It takes dedication from the


youngsters, coaches and parents. swimming means my life. I am in


seven times a week. That is all I think about. It is an important


sport. It keeps you fit and it is all I have known. This is where the


swimmers won to be in a few months' time. At the Olympics. Young


hopefuls are training every day in the 50 metre facilities. They will


have a 10 lame of Paul, 50 metres. -- as swimming pool with 10 lanes.


They have testing rooms. They have what you would be looking for Team


G B to have. They get that 24 hours a day. A taking shape on the


outside -- outskirts of Bangor is the new swimming pool. It has been


delayed. It was due to open two years ago. Because of difficulties


with government finance, that date had to be postponed from this


summer. An unavoidable problem in the building work, when beams were


damaged, meant another delay. It will not be open until next


February at the earliest. Despite that, it is regarded as a new dawn


for sport in Northern Ireland, and the minister is due here this week


to name the swimming pool. They have been working flat out and I am


told they are on target. I went down to visit it. If I find out


anything different, I will hold them to account. I will -- am sure


it will be done. The swimming pool will not be delivered in 2012, but


neither it seems will there be a boost for companies tendering for


work. 1500 contracts were handed out worth �5 billion. Most


successful firms were in the south- east of England. In Northern


Ireland, 43 companies have won contracts. Less than 1% of the


total awarded. One of the few local firms to secure work is this one in


Belfast. The company has around �7 million of business, including the


fitter out of the media centre. That was a year and a half of pre-


qualification and interviews and network events. It was hard work.


We were determined there was opportunity in the London region.


We did not succeed as much as we would have liked to have done but


it put a foot in the door and the companies will have that experience.


I have no doubt they will get feedback. They should learn lessons


on what to do next. This Economist says it is disappointing that the


share of the spoils is so minimal for Northern Ireland. The one of


the demonstrated effects of an Olympic Games is that it encourages


people to participate in sport. Over the next few years, I think we


will see more people. That is a social benefit and also benefits us


financially and economically by reducing costs to health and social


services looking after people. You would be forgiven there were no


other political stories this week. But there were other stories making


headlines for a -- headlines. Mary McCardle was jailed for her


role in the murder of a magistrate's daughter. I want to


achieve something for my sister's memory. Claims a former Taoiseach


viewed the murder of soldiers as a political act. MLAs will get a pay


rise. Three men emerged as possible new leaders of the UUP, only for


the favourite to change his mind. Robinson and Martin McGuinness were


quizzed by school children. answered my questions to a


respectable standard. I spend so much time preparing this exciting


speech, and there they are, having a conversation.


People have been vocal about the pay issue this week. When it go


ahead? I think it will go ahead. They have sourced it to this body.


They did not want to vote it through. They did not conceive the


independent body might cut something else. Given the number of


MLAs we have, it is difficult to see how they can reverse that and


Andrew Neil and Tara Mills with the latest political news and debate.

Andrew Neil interviews John Cridland, Chairman of the CBI on what businesses want from Wednesdays Budget. Sir Simon Jenkins, Chairman of the National Trust, and Stephen Hammond MP go head to head over the Government's plans to change planning laws affecting the countryside.

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