22/06/2014 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


Mark Carruthers looks at the political developments of the week and questions policy makers on the key issues.

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Welfare reform is one of the government's most popular policies.


So Labour says it would be even tougher than the Tories.


We'll be asking the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary if she's got


Even Labour supporters worry that Ed Miliband hasn't got what it takes


Labour grandees are increasingly vocal about their concerns.


Over 50% of Labour voters think they'd do better with a new leader.


And what of this leader? He's apparently "toxic" on the doorstep.


And coming up here - Sammy Wilson and Alex Attwood


What impact will it have in stopping racism here?


And we look back at the life of Gerry Conlon who died yesterday.


promised an electric car revolution, why so little progress?


Nick Watt, Helen Lewis and Janan Ganesh, the toxic tweeters


First, the deepening crisis in Iraq, where Sunni Islamists are now


largely in control of the Syrian-Iraq border, which means


they can now re-supply their forces in Iraq from their Syrian bases.


Rather than moving on Baghdad, they are for the moment consolidating


their grip on the towns and cities they've already taken.


They also seem to be in effective control of Iraq's


biggest oil refinery, which supplies the capital.


And there are reports they might now have taken the power


Iraqi politicians are now admitting that ISIS,


far more battle-hardened than the US-trained Iraqi army fighting it.


Which leaves the fate of Baghdad increasingly in the hands


No good news coming out of there, Janan. No good news and no good


options either. The West's best strategy is to decide how much


support to give to the Iraqi government. The US is sending over


about 275 military personnel. Do they go further and contemplate


their support? General Petraeus argued against it as it might be


seen as the US serving as the force of Shia Iraqis -- continue their


support. Do we contemplate breaking up Iraq? It won't be easy. The Sunni


and Shia Muslim populations don't live in clearly bordered areas, but


in the longer term, do we deal with it in the same way we dealt with the


break-up of the Ottoman empire over 100 years ago? In the short-term and


long-term, completely confounding. Quite humiliating. If ISIS take


Baghdad I can't think of a bigger ignominy for foreign policy since


Suez. If Iraq is partitioned, it won't be up to us. It will be what


is happening because of what is happening on the ground. Everything


does point to partition, and that border, which ISIS control, between


Syria and Iraq, that has been there since it was drawn during the First


World War. That is gone as well. An astonishingly humbling situation the


West, and you can see the Kurds in the North think this is a charge --


chance for authority. They think this is the chance to get the


autonomy they felt they deserved a long time. Janan is right. We can't


do much in the long term, but we have to decide on the engagement.


And the other people wish you'd be talking turkey, because if there is


some blowback and the fighters come back, they are likely to come back


from Turkey. Where is Iran in all of this? There were reports last week


that the Revolutionary guard, the head of it, he was already in


Baghdad with 67 advisers and there might have been some brigades that


have gone there as well. Where are they? What has happened? I'm pretty


sure the Prime Minister of Iraq is putting more faith in Iran than the


White House and the British. I think they are running the show, in


technical terms. John Kerry is flying into Cairo this morning, and


what is his message? It is twofold. One is to Arab countries, do more to


encourage an inclusive government in Iraq, mainly Sunni Muslims in the


government, and the Arab Gulf states should stop funding insurgents in


Iraq. You think, Iraq, it's potentially going to break up, so


this sounds a bit late in the day and a bit weak. It gets


fundamentally to the problem, what can we do? Niall Ferguson has a big


piece in the Sunday Times asking if this is place where we cannot doing


anything. He doesn't want to do anything. By the way, that is what


most Americans think. That is what opinion polls are showing. You have


George Osborne Michael Gold who would love to get involved but they


cannot because of the vote in parliament on Syria lasted -- George


Osborne and Michael Gove. This government does not have the stomach


for military intervention. We will see how events unfold on the ground.


All parties are agreed that Britain's 60-year old multi-billion


The Tory side of the Coalition think their reforms are necessary


and popular, though they haven't always gone to time or to plan.


In the eight months she's had since she became Shadow Secretary of State


for Work and Pensions, Rachel Reeves has talked the talk about getting


people off benefits, into work and lowering the overall welfare bill.


her first interview in the job she threatened "We would


But Labour has opposed just about every change the Coalition


has proposed to cut the cost and change the culture of welfare.


Child benefit, housing benefit, the ?26,000 benefit cap -


They've been lukewarm about the government's flagship Universal


Credit scheme - which rolls six benefit payments into one - and


And Labour has set out only two modest welfare cuts.


This week, Labour said young people must have skills or be in training


That will save ?65 million, says Labour, though the cost


And cutting winter fuel payments for richer pensioners which will


Not a lot in a total welfare bill of around ?200 billion.


And with welfare cuts popular among even Labour voters, they will soon


have to start spelling out exactly what Labour welfare reform means.


Welcome. Good morning. Why do you want to be tougher than the Tories?


We want to be tough in getting the welfare bill down. Under this


government, the bill will be ?13 million more than the government set


out in 2010 and I don't think that is acceptable. We should try to


control the cost of Social Security. But the welfare bill under the next


Labour government will fall? It will be smaller when you end the first


parliament than when you started? We signed up to the capping welfare but


that doesn't see social security costs ball, it sees them go up in


line with with inflation or average earnings -- costs fall. So where


flair will rise? We have signed up to the cap -- welfare will rise? We


have signed up to the cap. We will get the costs under control and they


haven't managed to achieve it. The government is spending ?13 billion


more on Social Security and the reason they are doing it is because


the minimum wage has not kept pace with the cost of living so people


are reliant on tax credits. They are not building


are reliant on tax credits. They are relying on housing benefit.


are reliant on tax credits. They are a record number of people on zero


hours contracts. I'm a record number of people on zero


if you will cut welfare if you get in power. Nobody is saying that the


cost of welfare is going to fall. The welfare cap sees that


cost of welfare is going to fall. gradually. That is a Tory cap.


you've accepted it. You're being the same as the Tories, not to. If


you've accepted it. You're being the had a welfare


you've accepted it. You're being the breached it in every year of the


parliament. Social Security will be higher than the government set out


because higher than the government set out


You read the polls, and the party does lots of its own polling,


You read the polls, and the party you're scared of being seen as the


welfare party. You don't really believe all of this anti-welfare


stuff? We are the party of work, not welfare. The Labour Party was set up


in the first place because we believe in the dignity of work and


we believe that work should pay wages can afford to live on. I make


no apologies for being the party of work. We are not the welfare party,


we are the party of work. Even your confidential strategy document


admits that voters don't trust you on immigration, the economy, this is


your own people, and welfare. You are not trusted on it. The most


recent poll showed Labour slightly ahead of the Conservative Party on


Social Security, probably because they have seen the incompetence and


chaos at the Department for Work and Pensions under Iain Duncan Smith.


Your own internal document means that


Your own internal document means welfare reform. That is why we have


shown some of this tough things we will do like the announcement that


Ed Miliband made earlier this week, that young people without basic


qualifications won't be entitled to just sign on for benefits, they have


to sign up for training in order to receive support. That is the right


thing to do by that group of young people, because they need skills to


progress. We will, once that. -- we will, onto that. You say you


criticise the government that it had a cap and wouldn't have met it, but


every money-saving welfare reform, you voted against it. How is that


being tougher? The most recent bout was the cap on overall welfare


expenditure, and we went through the lobbies and voted for the Tories.


You voted against the benefit cap, welfare rating, you voted against,


child benefit schemes, you voted against. You can't say we voted


against everything when we voted with the Conservatives in the most


recent bill with a cap on Social Security. It's just not correct to


say. The last time we voted, we walked through the lobby with them.


You voted on the principle of the cap. You voted on every step that


would allow the cap to be met. Every single one. The most recent vote was


not on the principle of the cap, it was on a cap of Social Security in


the next Parliament and we signed up for that. It was Ed Miliband who


called her that earlier on. Which welfare reform did you vote for? We


voted for the cap. Other than that? We have supported universal credit.


You voted against it in the third reading. We voted against some of


the specifics. If you look at universal credit, they have had to


write off nearly ?900 million of spending. I'm not on the rights and


wrongs, I'm trying to work out what you voted for. Some of the things we


are going to go further than the government with. For example,


cutting benefits for young people who don't sign of the training. The


government had introduced that. For example, saying that the richest


pensioners should not get the winter fuel allowance, that is something


the government haven't signed up. You would get that under Labour and


this government haven't signed up for it. ?100 million on the winter


fuel allowance and ?65 million on youth training. ?165 million. How


big is the welfare budget? The cap would apply to ?120 billion. And


you've saved 125 -- 165 million? Those are cuts that we said we would


do in government. If you look at the real prize from the changes Ed


Miliband announced in the youth allowance, it's not the short-term


savings, it's the fact that each of these young people, who are


currently on unemployment benefits without the skills we know they need


to succeed in life, they will cost the taxpayer ?2000 per year. I will


come onto that. You mentioned universal credit, which the


government regards as the flagship reform. It's had lots of troubles


with it and it merges six benefits into one. You voted against it in


the third reading and given lukewarm support in the past. We have not


said he would abandon it, but now you say you are for it. You are all


over the place. We set up the rescue committee in autumn of last year


because we have seen from the National Audit Office and the Public


Accounts Committee, report after report showing that the project is


massively overbudget and is not going to be delivered according to


the government timetable. We set up the committee because we believe in


the principle of universal credit and think it is the right thing to


do. Can you tell us now if you will keep it or not? Because there is no


transparency and we have no idea. We are awash with information. We are


not. The government, in the most recent National audit Forest --


National Audit Office statement said it was a reset project. This is


really important. This is a flagship government programme, and it's going


to cost ?12.8 billion to deliver, and we don't know what sort of state


it is in, so we have said that if we win at the next election, we will


pause that for three months and calling... Will you stop the pilots?


We don't know what status they will have. We would stop the build of the


system for three months, calling the National Audit Office to do awards


and all report. The government don't need to do this until the next


general election, they could do it today. Stop throwing good money


after bad and get a grip of this incredibly important programme. You


said you don't know enough to a view now. So when you were invited to a


job centre where universal credit is being rolled out to see how it was


working, you refused to go. Why? We asked were a meeting with Iain


Duncan Smith and he cancelled the meeting is three times. I'm talking


about the visit when you were offered to go to a job centre and


you refused. We had an appointment to meet Iain Duncan Smith at the


Department for Work and Pensions and said he cancelled and was not


available, but he wanted us to go to the job centre. We wanted to talk to


him and his officials, which she did. Would it be more useful to go


to the job centre and find out how it was working. He's going to tell


you it's working fine. Advice Bureau in Hammersmith, they


are working to help the people trying to claim universal credit.


Iain Duncan Smith cancelled three meetings. That is another issue, I


was asking about the job centre. It is not another issue because Iain


Duncan Smith fogged us off. This week you said that jobless


youngsters who won't take training will lose their welfare payments.


How many young people are not in work training or education? There


are 140,000 young people claiming benefits at the moment, but 850,000


young people who are not in work at the moment. This applies to around


100,000 young people. There are actually 975,000, 16-24 -year-olds,


not in work, training or education. Your proposal only applies to


100,000 of them, why? This is applying to young people who are


signing on for benefits rather than signing up for training. We want to


make sure that all young people... Why only 100,000? They


currently getting job-seeker's allowance. We are saying you


currently getting job-seeker's just sign up to... Can I get you


currently getting job-seeker's respond to this, the number of


people not in work, training respond to this, the number of


than you are respond to this, the number of


turn -- long-term unemployment is an entrenched problem... This issue


about an entrenched group of young people. Young people who haven't got


skills and are not in training we know are much less likely to get a


job so there are 140,018-24 -year-olds signing onto benefits at


the moment. This is about trying -year-olds signing onto benefits at


address that problem to make sure all young people have the skills


is to take away part of the dole is to take away part of the dole


unless young unemployed people agree to study for level


qualifications, the equivalent of an AS-level or an NVQ but 40% of these


people have the literary skills of a nine-year-old. After all that failed


education, how are you going to train them to a level standard? We


are saying that anyone who doesn't have that a level or equivalent


qualification will be required to go back to college. We are not saying


that within a year they have to get up to that level but these are


exactly the sorts of people... These people have been failed by your


exactly the sorts of people... These education system. These people are,


for the last four years, have been educated under a Conservative


government. 18 - 21-year-olds, most of them have their education under a


Labour government during which 300,000 people left with no GCSEs


whatsoever. I don't understand how training for one year can do what 11


years in school did not. We are not saying that within one year


everybody will get up to a level three qualifications, but if you are


one of those people who enters the Labour market age 18 with the


reading skills of a nine-year-old, they are the sorts of people that


should not the left languishing. I went to college in Hackney if you


you are -- a few weeks ago and there was a dyslexic boy studying painting


and decorating. In school they decided he was a troublemaker and


that he didn't want to learn. He went back to college because he


wanted to get the skills. He said that it wasn't until he went back to


college that he could pick up a newspaper and read it, it made a


huge difference but too many people are let down by the system. I am


wondering how the training will make up for an education system that


failed them but let's move on to your leader. Look at this graph of


Ed Miliband's popularity. This is the net satisfaction with him, it is


dreadful. The trend continues to climb since he became leader of the


Labour Party, why? What you have seen is another 2300 Labour


councillors since Ed Miliband became the leader of the Labour Party. You


saw in the elections a month ago that... Why is the satisfaction rate


falling? We can look at polls or actual election results and the fact


that we have got another 2000 Labour councillors, more people voting


Labour, the opinion polls today show that if there was a general election


today we would have a majority of more than 40, he must be doing


something right. Why do almost 50% of voters want to replace him as


leader? Why do 50% and more think that he is not up to the job? The


more people see Ed Miliband, the less impressed they are. The British


people seem to like him less. The election strategy I suggest that


follows from that is that you should keep Ed Miliband under wraps until


the election. Let's look at actually what happens when people get a


chance to vote, when they get that opportunity we have seen more Labour


councillors, more Labour members of the European Parliament...


Oppositions always get more. The opinion polls today, one of them


shows Labour four points ahead. You have not done that well in local


government elections or European elections. Why don't people like


him? I think we have done incredibly well in elections. People must like


a lot of the things Labour and Ed Miliband are doing because we are


winning back support across the country. We won local councils in


places like Hammersmith and Fulham, Crawley, Hastings, key places that


Labour need to win back at the general election next year. Even you


have said traditional Labour supporters are abandoning the party.


That is what Ed Miliband has said as well. We have got this real concern


about what has happened. If you look at the elections in May, 60% of


people didn't even bother going to vote. That is a profound issue not


just for Labour. You said traditional voters who perhaps at


times we took for granted are now being offered an alternative. Why


did you take them for granted? This is what Ed Miliband said. I am not


saying anything Ed Miliband himself has not said. When he ran for the


leadership he said that we took too many people for granted and we


needed to give people positive reasons to vote Labour, he has been


doing that. He has been there for four years and you are saying you


still take them for granted. Why? I am saying that for too long we have


taken them for granted. We are on track to win the general election


next year and that will defy all the odds. You are going to win... Ed


Miliband will win next year and make a great Prime Minister.


Now to the Liberal Democrats, at the risk of intruding into private


grief. The party is still smarting from dire results in the European


and Local Elections. The only poll Nick Clegg has won in recent times


is to be voted the most unpopular leader of a party in modern British


history. No surprise there have been calls for him to go, though that


still looks unlikely. Here's Eleanor.


Liberal Democrats celebrating, something we haven't seen for a


while. This victory back in 1998 led to a decade of power for the Lib


Dems in Liverpool. What a contrast to the city's political landscape


today. At its height the party had 69 local councillors, now down to


just three. The scale of the challenge facing Nick Clegg and the


Lib Dems is growing. The party is rock bottom in the polls,


consistently in single figures. It was wiped out in the European


elections losing all but one of its 12 MEPs and in the local elections


it lost 42% of the seats that it was defending. But on Merseyside, Nick


Clegg was putting on a brave face. We did badly in Liverpool,


Manchester and London in particular, we did well in other places. But you


are right, we did badly in some of those big cities and I have


initiated a review, those big cities and I have


naturally, to understand what went wrong, what went right. As Lib Dems


across the country get on with some serious soul-searching, there is an


admission that his is the leader of the party who is failing to hit the


right notes. Knocking on doors in Liverpool, I have to tell you that


Nick Clegg is not a popular person. Some might use the word toxic and I


find this very difficult because I know Nick very well and I see a


principal person who passionately believes in what he is doing and he


is a nice guy. As a result of his popularity, what has happened to the


core vote? In parts of the country, we are down to just three


councillors like Liverpool for example. You also lose the


deliverers and fundraisers and the organisers and the members of course


so all of that will have to be rebuilt. As they start fermenting


process, local parties across the country and here in Liverpool have


been voting on whether there should be a leadership contest. We had two


choices to flush out and have a go at Nick Clegg or to positively


decide we would sharpen up the campaign and get back on the


streets, and by four to one ratio we decided to get back on the streets.


We are bruised and battered but we are still here, the orange flag is


We are bruised and battered but we still flying and one day it will fly


over this building again, Liverpool town hall. But do people want the


Lib Dems back in charge in this city? I certainly wouldn't vote for


them. Their performance in Government and the way they have


left their promises down, I could not vote for them again. I voted Lib


Dem in the last election because of the university tuition fees and I


would never vote for them again because they broke their promise.


The Lib Dems are awful, broken promises and


The Lib Dems are awful, broken wouldn't vote for them. This is the


declaration of the results for the Northwest... Last month, as other


party celebrated in the north-west, the Lib Dems here lost their only


MEP, Chris Davies. Now there is concern the party doesn't know how


to turn its fortunes around. We don't have an answer to that, if we


did we would be grasping it with both hands. We will do our best to


hold onto the places where we still have seats but as for the rest of


the country where we have been hollowed out, we don't know how to


start again until the next general election is out of the way. After


their disastrous performance in the European elections, pressure is


growing for the party to shift its stance. I think there has to be a


lancing of the wound, there should in a referendum and the Liberal


Democrats should be calling it. The rest of Europe once this because


they are fed up with Britain being unable to make up its mind. The Lib


Dems are now suffering the effects of being in Government. The party's


problem, choosing the right course to regain political credibility.


We can now speak to form a Lib Dems leader Ming Campbell. Welcome back


to the Sunday Politics. Even your own activists say that Nick Clegg is


toxic. How will that change between now and the election? When you have


had disappointing results, but you have to do is to rebuild. You pick


yourself up and start all over again, and the reason why the


Liberal Democrats got 57, 56 seats in the House of Commons now is


because we picked ourselves up, we took every opportunity and we have


rebuilt from the bottom up. least popular leader in modern


history and more unpopular than your mate Gordon Brown. You are running


out of time. No one believes that being the leader of a modern


political party in the UK is an easy job. Both Ed Miliband and David


Cameron must have had cause to think, over breakfast this morning,


when they saw the headlines in some of the Sunday papers. Of course it


is a difficult job but it was pointed out a moment or two ago that


Nick Clegg is a man of principle and enormous resilience if you consider


what he had to put up with, and in my view, he is quite clearly the


person best qualified to lead the party between now and the general


election and through the election campaign, and beyond. So why don't


people like him? We have had to take some pretty difficult decisions,


and, of course, people didn't expect that. If you look back to the rather


heady days of the rose garden behind ten Downing St, people thought it


was all going to be sweetness and light, but the fact is, we didn't


know then what we know now, about the extent of the economic crisis we


win, and a lot of difficult decisions have had to be taken in


order to restore economic stability. Look around you. You will see we are


not there yet but we are a long way better off than in 2010. You are not


getting the credit for it, the Tories are. We will be a little more


assertive about taking the credit. For example, the fact that 23


million people have had a tax cut of ?800 per year and we have taken 2


million people out of paying tax altogether. Ming Campbell, your


people say that on every programme like this. Because it is true. That


might be the case, but you are at seven or 8% in the polls, and nobody


is listening, or they don't believe it. Once


is listening, or they don't believe doubt that what we have achieved


will be much more easily recognised, and there is no doubt,


for example, in some of the recent polls, like the Ashcroft Pole,


something like 30% of those polled said that as a result at the next


something like 30% of those polled general election, they would prepare


their to be a coalition involving the Liberal Democrats. So there is


no question that the whole notion of coalition is still very much a live


one, and one which we have made work in the public interest. The problem


is people don't think that. People see you trying to have your cake and


eat it. On the one hand you want to get your share of the credit for the


turnaround in the economy, on the other hand you can't stop yourself


from distancing yourself from the Tories and things that you did not


like happening. You are trying to face both ways at once. If you


remember our fellow Scotsman famously said you cannot ride both


remember our fellow Scotsman to the terms -- terms of the


remember our fellow Scotsman coalition agreement, which is what


we signed up to in 2010. In addition, in furtherance of that


agreement, we have created things like the pupil premium and the


others I mentioned and you were rather dismissive. I'm not


dismissive, I'm just saying they don't make a difference to what


people think of you. We will do everything in our power to change


that between now and May 2015. The interesting thing is, going back to


the Ashcroft result, it demonstrated clearly that in constituencies where


we have MPs and we are well dug in, we are doing everything that the


public expects of us, and we are doing very well indeed. You aren't


sure fellow Lib Dems have been saying this for you -- you and your


fellow Liberal Dems have been saying this for a year or 18 months, and


since then you have lost all of your MEPs apart from one, you lost your


deposit in a by-election, you lost 310 councillor, including everyone


in Manchester or Islington. Mr Clegg leading you into the next general


election will be the equivalent of the charge of the light Brigade. I


doubt that very much. The implication behind that lit you


rehearsed is that we should pack our tents in the night and steal away.


-- that litany. And if you heard in that piece that preceded the


discussion, people were saying, look we have to start from the bottom and


have to rebuild. That is exactly what we will do. Nine months is


have to rebuild. That is exactly what we will do. Nine months is a


period of gestation. As you well know. I wouldn't dismiss it quite so


easily as that. I'm not here to say we had a wonderful result or


anything like it, but what I do say is that the party is determined to


turn it round, and that Nick Clegg is the person best qualified to do


it. Should your party adopt a referendum about in or out on


Europe? No, we should stick to the coalition agreement. If there is any


transfer of power from Westminster to Brussels, that will be subject to


a referendum. No change. And finally, as a Lib Dem, you must be


glad you are not fighting the next election yourself? I've fought every


election since 1974, so I've had a few experiences, some good, some


bad, but the one thing I have done and the one thing a lot of other


people have done is that they have stuck to the task, and that is what


will happen in May 2015. Ming Campbell, thank you for joining us.


It's just gone 11.35am, you're watching the Sunday Politics.


We say goodbye to viewers in Scotland who leave us now


Hello and welcome to Sunday Politics in Northern Ireland.


After years of delay, the Executive has finally published


its Racial Equality Strategy, although it comes at a time


when the First Minister finds himself at the centre


So will the strategy have any impact in stemming the rising tide


We'll hear shortly from the SDLP's Alex Attwood


Plus, the marching season is upon us - but now the talking's stopped


what chance is there of agreement over parading in North Belfast?


The talks have been postponed because people are reassessing their


position. and more are the columnist


Newton Emerson and Dearbhail McDonnell


from the Irish Independent. But first, today,


tributes have been paid Mr Conlon was wrongly convicted of


the 1974 Guildford IRA pub bombings he became a prominent campaigner


for justice. His family said he had


"forced the world's closed eyes The images were powerful, the motion


of a wronged man clearly visible as The images were powerful, the motion


Gerry Conlon walked from the Old Bailey in 1989 to address the


waiting media. I have been in prison for 15 years. For something I did


not do. For something I did not know anything about. Gerry Conlon and


three co-accused had been wrong to convicted of the 1974 IRA pub on


things in Guildford that killed five people and injured 64 others. It was


to be 15 years before those convictions were overturned either


Court of Appeal. -- by the Court of Appeal. Who is this? Gerry Conlon.


Do you have anything to say? I have cleared my conscience, I advise you


to do the same. Their story was the subject of and Oscar-winning film


starring Daniel Day-Lewis was a bit of the story of how Giuseppe Conlon


had been caught up in it went he tried to help his son. He died while


serving his sentence. His conviction was later quashed as well. It still


haunts us that the British judiciary could get this so wrong and no for


so long that innocent people went to prison. In recent years, Mr Conlon


had taken interest in cases both internationally and at home where


there have been claims of injustice. Including several involving


dissident republicans. He did not cry about his own situation, you


opened up the whole public mind in many ways, not just in Northern


Ireland but Britain as well to the times when justice is not done.


The SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell on the death of Gerry Conlon.


Alex Attwood, you were a friend Mr Conlon's.


He'd been a supporter of the SDLP and had addressed the party


Yes, he did support Irish democracy and hated injustice anywhere, like


anyone who met Gerry Conlon, he was very bright, he was funny, he raged


against injustice and miscarriages of justice wherever they were.


What was his contribution in the past 25 years?


I think that he Guildford case and what Jerry and others did, both


inside prison and outside the prison, because a spotlight on the


abuses of the state and, having done so, I think they opened up that


issue of the many other miscarriages of justice, not just in respect of


the conflict here but in other parts of the world. He also never wavered


from support for Irish democracy. He raged against injustice and he


defended democracy wherever it he thought it needed defending.


the British justice system let Gerry Conlon down?


I did not know him. I don't know a great deal about his story but it is


quite clear that the justice system at the end of the day recognised


that he had been wrongly imprisoned and he spent 15 years in prison for


something he had not done, that must have a dramatic impact on an


individual. Most people watching the programme today will say there has


been another injustice and that is where people have been guilty of


crimes and victims find no closure or no justice for those crimes.


People who had relatives murdered, they will feel the same sense of


injustice as Gerry Conlon must have felt.


Nobody who has not committed a crime should not be good prison. No, we


need to make sure that does not happen. I am sure that anyone who


knows the story would accept that for someone to be behind bars for 15


years for something they did not do must eat away like a cancer inside


them. We will leave it there. We will hear from you again later.


It's been seven years in the making, but finally this week


the Executive published its Racial Equality Strategy.


It came in a week when a Nigerian man, Michael Abiona,


had to abandon plans to move into a house in the east of the city


after residents staged a protest,


demanding what they called "local housing for local people".


Peter Robinson suggested the protest hadn't necessarily been motivated


by racism, but could have been down to local pressure on housing.


Here's what he told our Political Editor, Mark Devenport.


I am not sure that this can be described as racism in terms of what


the intention of the local people was. There is mass of concern, and


local indie stands means very local. You might not have the same reaction


if someone upcountry was moving in in regions where they are not able


to get houses. Do you really think that will have been the case if they


saw someone with white skin moving into the area? I know it has


happened elsewhere. This is not a new phenomenon, there are people who


have being brought up on housing estates or their lives, their


children grew up on that area and they cannot get them housed in that


area. There is a resentment that people from outside their local area


are getting houses and they cannot get their children housed close to


them. That has to be dealt with by the Housing Executive. It is not to


do with those who apply and are granted accommodation in an area. I


don't seek to have any justification in any way for that because that is


what the rules and regulations are. I want to make it very clear that I


oppose anything that suggests that people are unwelcome in Northern


Ireland because of their racial background or because of the colour


of their skin. Peter Robinson talking to


Mark Devenport last week. Sammy Wilson


and Alex Attwood are still here. Sammy Wilson - why didn't the


First Minister come out and condemn the campaign against


Mr Abiona as straightforward racism? At the end of the interview, I think


that Peter Robinson has been unfairly criticised for this. At the


end of the interview, he made it clear, in unequivocal terms that no


one should have that kind of treatment meted out to them because


of their race or colour. He was also unsure that it was racist. If you


look at the full interview, he said that the police came to that case --


that if the police came to that conclusion, they should look into it


further. As far as he is concerned, no one should be subject to that


kind of treatment because of where they come from, because of their


ethnic Akram, because of their colour, their creed or anything like


that. -- debt ethnic background. Why did he leave


room for interpretation I don't think the fact were known at


that stage. The next day, once it was clear how the police and Housing


Executive were treated, he himself reinforced what he had said on the


first day that it happened by the statement that he issued. I think it


is unfair to say that he was in any way condoning any racist abuse of


the particular individual, he wasn't, he made that clear from the


start that that is wrong. It should not happen in Northern Ireland,


Northern Ireland wants to be a welcoming place for individuals.


In this case and in the Pastor McConnell case,


he had to re-visit the issue to clarify what he meant. Why?


To a certain extent, what he said and how it was interpreted was maybe


sometimes beyond his control. I don't think that... He wrote his own


script. At least you shall behold -- you showed the whole interview this


time. He made it clear that it was not acceptable behaviour and that is


the position that has always been the position and in light of the way


it was interpreted, he reinforce that issue. It is the first point


that everyone should be making, especially Peter Robinson,


especially given the events of the last few weeks. There should be no


doubt that is what Peter Robinson should have said first and should


have said last. The fact that he left things hanging in the air in


that interview and the fact that he had to come back the following day,


I think tells the true story of what happened in those interviews. The


point is, there is no ambiguity. Has been clarified. You should be happy.


If people get on the right side of this argument, however long it


takes, I welcome that. Peter Robinson got on the wrong side of


the argument in that interview. Given what had happened to that


family and given what happened over the last three or four weeks, and


nobody should the on the wrong side of this argument, given what has


happened over the last three or four weeks. At least Peter got on the


right side of the ultimate. -- the right side of the argument. It is


more than your party has done, not supporting the National Crime


Agency, which would help to deal with some of the worst racial abuse,


namely the trafficking of vulnerable people into Northern Ireland for


exploitation. You got on the wrong side of the argument and you have


never apologised for it. Let us do with one of those issues. I


recognise my party recognises that we got on the wrong side of the


argument in the respect of Clay Park, we recognise that, but there


is a pattern of behaviour from Peter Robinson and I saw it around the


executive table where his default position or his first position tends


to be one of intolerance. You still can't apologise for it and you still


can't apologise to the people who were hurt by it. That is the


difference. Peter Robinson did apologise, your party... It is a bit


rich. I want to go about the racial equality strategy, with its six


approaches to tackling equality. Will it make a difference? It is


difficult for any strategy or policy to change mindsets. I suppose it


does take a long time through education, through other things that


can be done, good to nudity relations programmes and so on --


good community relations programmes. I think the executive has to at


least respond to some of the issues that exist. Will it make any


difference? It will make some difference but everybody knows that


this is too little after the events of recent times and it is too late,


given that this has come seven years after it was promised. What should


we do? We should learn from how we best change behaviour in Northern


Ireland over the years and what was that? It was tough law, it was hard


enforcement. That is what we did when it came to policing, that is


what we did with human rights and equality. Tough law, hard


enforcement is the way to deal with these critical issues, including


sectarianism and racism. That strategy does not do either of them.


Maybe it should have come out quicker, seven years! It is too


little, too late. Thank you. Listening to that


are commentator Newton Emerson and Dearbhail McDonald


from the Irish Independent. Newton, you wrote this week


about the "staggering sense "of entitlement this subject


provokes in Northern Ireland". Housing and racism, the two issues


have been bound inextricably recently. They are in extra to be


bound. -- in extremely bound. Immigrants have simply expose the


hypocrisy we have all taken on board. Alex Attwood was talking


about rights and equality and how outrageous this was, but his party


was welcoming a report that called for the building of single identity


areas in city centres rather than mixed areas. When you tell people


they have a right to housing and that is their to nudity that has the


right, of course you will get these -- community, of course you get


these attitudes. Seeing Peter Robinson, the most benign


interpretation you can have is that he had an extraordinary lapse of


judgement on a consistent basis. I think the ambiguity that he promoted


was actually to placate or to appease the people of East Belfast.


He is on a different message because she is essentially reassuring them


-- he is essentially reassuring them. I wonder if that is why he


created that ambiguity. He is the First Minister of this entire


jurisdiction and there is no room for racism at all.


The DUP MP Nigel Dodds has accused the Parades' Commission of being


characterised by weakness and caving in to the threat of violence.


He made his comments over the continuing row about


an Orange Order parade in North Belfast.


The Commission has prevented Ligoniel Orangemen from,


as they see it, completing last year's Twelfth Of July parade.


Even though local talks have been postponed, there are still hopes


that a last-minute agreement could be found.


Here's our Political Reporter, Stephen Walker.


What happens on the streets in the coming weeks may define Northern


Ireland's summer. The issue of parading is at the top of the


political agenda and the differences between the parties are as wide as


ever. For nearly 350 days, there has been a protest at this camp over a


ban to allow the order to complete their march. Some loyalists think


nationalists are being unreasonable. Although want to do is take and they


don't want any Orange feet on that land. We have been here for 37


years. I have used those shops on a daily basis. The local discussions


have now been put on ice. The talks have been postponed it is


have now been put on ice. The talks reassessing their position. When you


talk, the Republicans seem to have a veto on the parades. Gerry Kelly was


also involved in talks aimed at brokering a deal. What the residents


have done is they have presented their view. We have not been able to


crack it yet. Have we made progress, yes we have. The best solution would


be if the Parades' Commission on the ground that they established last


year and the parameters of an acceptable compromise of the


afternoon parade not taking place because it has provoked a reaction


over a number of years, I think if the Parades' Commission was to stand


that ground, they would gain credibility for being consistent.


The DUP's Nigel Dodds says worries over violence have clearly


influenced the commission's thinking. What happened was we had


nationalist and republican politicians predicting a catastrophe


and we had people on the public and side -- on the Republican side...


That sends a bad message. Whatever the decisions are, the only issue is


around the Parades' Commission. I will disagree with at times but


there will be nothing else in place before the marching season. 12


months on, there are hopes that last year's violent scenes will not be


repeated. We have proved that we are for peaceful protest. A year on, the


protest camp remains as does the key question, can politicians, the


Orange Order and residents find a compromise before the 4th of July?


-- the 12th of July. A spokesperson from the Parades'


Commission told this programme the Commission "believes that local


accommodation is the best way to "resolve complicated parading issues


and is mindful of the efforts "being made by many individuals


to resolve these matters." Let's hear more now from my guests


of the day, Dearbhail and Newton. Is the success of a recent march


important in your mind? Yes, but we have to be mindful that Robert --


that Republicans will be testing the waters. The hearth process is going


nowhere. What is happening? People are talking past each other rather


than to each other. If we don't have that leadership at a high level, it


does not bode well for the future. Unless you get a Clinton or some


other figure or a good local solution for this chip, we won't. --


for this year. For those of us watching us, it is the cost of this.


?11 million. Imagine if you apply that to housing strategy.


and have a look back at the week in 60 seconds, with Gareth Gordon.


As a move by a Stormont committee to punish Gerry Kelly over this is


blocked by somebody's, there is this reaction. Order! Order! I will


remind members of the language they use in the chamber. But all smiles


here. There is reputational damage because of our past. We want people


to think of Northern Ireland and then think of golf. The police


ombudsman say there was no evidence that the police knew of a plot to


kill Gerry Adams 30 years ago. It is not Brazil, it is Northern Ireland.


They captured the mood for community relations week.


A final thought from Dearbhail and Newton.


and we know the Queen will meet Martin McGuinness again.


These events are really important, they are important but they have to


be supplemented by real political leadership because there is no


substitute for that. These events with the Queen are important but


they are no replacement for proper government. The Queen and Martin


McGuinness into getting along. This one will highlight the fact that it


is a Unionist gesture. That's it from me -


back to Andrew in London. and they will be obliged to tell


you. Thanks for joining us. Andrew, back to you.


think you'd want to. Labour grandees are not queueing up to sing his


praises. Look at this. In my view, he is the leader we have and he is


the leader I support and he is somebody capable of leading the


party to victory. Ed Miliband will leave this to victory, and I believe


he can. If he doesn't, what would happen to the Labour Party? We could


be in the wilderness for 15 years. At the moment he has to convince


people he has the capacity to lead the country. That's not my view, but


people don't believe that. We had a leader of the Labour Party was


publicly embarrassed, because whoever was in charge of press


letting go through a process where we have councillors in Merseyside


resigning. It was a schoolboy error. Having policies without them being


drawn together into a convincing and vivid narrative and with what you do


the people in the country. You have to draw together, connect the


policies, link them back to the leader and give people a real sense


of where you are going. Somehow he has never quite managed to be


himself and create that identity with the public. And we are joined


by the president of you girls, Peter Kellner. Welcome to the Sunday


politics. -- YouGov. The Labour Party is six points ahead in your


poll this morning. So what is the problem? On this basis he will win


the next election. If the election were today and the figures held up,


you would have a Labour government with a narrow overall majority. One


should not forget that. Let me make three points. The first is, in past


parliaments, opposition normally lose ground and governments gain


ground in the final few months. The opposition should be further ahead


than this. I opposition should be further ahead


enough. Secondly, Ed Miliband is opposition should be further ahead


behind David Cameron when people are asked who they want as Prime


Minister and Labour is asked who they want as Prime


Conservatives went people are asked who they trust on the economy. There


have been elections when the party has won by being behind on


leadership and other elections where they have won by being behind on the


economy. No party has ever won an election when it has been clearly


behind on both leadership and the economy. Let me have another go. The


Labour Party brand is a strong brand. The Tory Bramleys


Labour Party brand is a strong Labour brand is stronger. That is a


blast -- the Labour -- the Tory Bramleys week. A lot of the


blast -- the Labour -- the Tory -- the Tory brand is weak. Cant you


win on policies and a strong party brand? If you have those too,


win on policies and a strong party need the third factor which


win on policies and a strong party have what it


win on policies and a strong party skills, determination,


win on policies and a strong party determination, whatever makes to


carry through. determination, whatever makes to


lot of Ed Miliband policies, on determination, whatever makes to


banks, energy prices, Brent controls, people like them.


banks, energy prices, Brent government, would they carry them


banks, energy prices, Brent through? They think they are not up


to it. -- rent controls. If people think you won't deliver what you


say, even if they like it, they were necessarily vote for you. That is


the missing third element. There is a strong Labour brand, but it's not


strong enough to overcome the feeling that the Labour leadership


is not up to it. Nick, you had some senior Labour figure telling you


that if Mr Miliband losing the next election he will have to resign


immediately and cannot fight another election the way Neil Kinnock did


after 1987. What was remarkable to me was that people were even


thinking along these lines, and even more remarkable that they would tell


you they were thinking along these lines? What is the problem? The


problem is, is that Ed Miliband says it would be unprecedented to win the


general election after the second worst result since 1918. They are


concerned about is the start of a script that he would say on the day


after losing the general election. Essentially what the people are


trying to do is get their argument in first and to say, you cannot do


what Neil Kinnock did in 1987. Don't forget that Neil Kinnock in 1987 was


in the middle of a very brave process of modernisation and had one


and fought a very campaign that was professional but he lost again in


1992, and they wanted to get their line in first. What some people are


saying is that this is an election that the Labour Party should be


winning because the coalition is so unpopular. If you don't win, I'm


afraid to say, there is something wrong with you. Don't you find it


remarkable that people are prepared to think along these lines at this


stage, when Labour are ahead in the polls, still the bookies favourite


to win, and you start to speak publicly, or in private to the


public print, but we might have to get rid of him if he doesn't win.


Everything you say about labour in this situation has been said about


the Tories. We wondered whether Boris Johnson would tie himself to


the mask and he is the next leader in waiting if Cameron goes. It's a


mirror image of that. We talk about things being unprecedented. It's


unprecedented for a government to gain seats. All the things you say


about labour, you could say it the Conservatives. That's what makes the


next election so interesting. But in the aftermath of the European


elections and the local government elections, in which the


Conservatives did not do that well, the issue was not Mr Cameron or the


Tories doing well, the issue was the Labour Party and how they had not


done as well as they should have done, and that conversation was


fuelled by the kind of people who have been speaking to nick from the


Labour Party. Rachel Reeves cited their real-life performance in


elections as a reason for optimism. When in fact their performance in


the Europeans and locals was disappointing for an opposition one


year away from a general election. What alarms me about labour is the


way they react to criticisms about Ed Miliband. Two years ago when he


was attacked, they said they were 15 points ahead, and then a year ago


there were saying they were nine or ten ahead, and now they are saying


we are still five or six ahead. The trend is alarming. It points to a


smaller Labour lead. Am I right in detecting a bit of a class war going


on in the Labour Party? There are a lot of northern Labour MPs who think


that Ed Miliband is to north London, and there are too many metropolitan


cronies around him must I think that is right, Andrew. What I think is,


being a pessimist in terms of their prospects, I do think the Labour


Party could win the next election. I just don't think they can as they


are going at the moment. But the positioning for a possible defeat,


what they should be talking about is what do we need to change in the


party and the way Ed Miliband performs in order to secure victory.


That is a debate they could have, and they could make the changes. I


find it odd that they are being so defeatist. Don't go away. Peter is a


boffin when it comes to polls. That is why we have a mod for the


election prediction swings and roundabouts. He is looking for what


he calls the incumbency effect. Don't know what is a back-up -- what


that's about question don't worry, here is an. Being in office is bad


for your health. Political folk wisdom has it that incumbency


favours one party in particular, the Liberal Democrats. That is because


their MPs have a reputation as ferociously good local campaigners


who do really well at holding on to their seats. However, this time


round, several big-name long serving Liberal Democrats like Ming


Campbell, David Heath and Don Foster are standing down. Does that mean


the incumbency effect disappears like a puff of smoke? Then there is


another theory, called the sophomore surge. It might sound like a movie


about US college kids, but it goes like this. New MPs tend to do better


in their second election than they did in their first. That could


favour the Tories because they have lots of first-time MPs. The big


question is, what does this mean for the 7th of May 2015, the date of the


next general election? The answer is, who knows? I know a man who


knows. Peter. What does it all mean? You can go onto your PC now and draw


down programmes which say that these are the voting figures from a


national poll, so what will the seats look like? This is based on


uniform swing. Every seat moving up and down across the country in the


same way. Historically, that's been a pretty good guide. I think that's


going to completely break down next year, because the Lib Dems will


probably hold on to more seats than we predict from the national figures


and I think fewer Tory seats will go to the Labour Party than you would


predict from the national figures. The precise numbers, I'm not going


to be too precise, but I would be surprised, sorry, I would not be


surprised if Labour fell 20 or 25 seats short on what we would expect


on the uniform swing prediction. Next year's election will be tight.


Falling 20 seats short could well mean the difference between victory


and defeat. What you make of that, Helen? I think you're right,


especially taking into account the UKIP effect. We have no idea about


that. The conventional wisdom is that will drain away back to the


Conservatives, but nobody knows, and it makes the next election almost


impossible to call. It means it is a great target the people like Lord


Ashcroft with marginal great target the people like Lord


because people have never been so interested. It is for party politics


and we all assume that UKIP should be well next year, but their vote


went up from 17 up to 27%. Then that 17% went


went up from 17 up to 27%. Then that only be five or 6% in the general


election, so they might not have the threat of depriving Conservatives of


their seats. Where the incumbency thing has an effect


their seats. Where the incumbency Democrats. They have fortress


their seats. Where the incumbency where between 1992 and 1997 Liberal


Democrats seats fell, but their percentage went up. They are losing


the local government base though. True, but having people like Ming


Campbell standing down means they will struggle.


Campbell standing down means they incumbency being an important factor


in American politics. It's hard to get rid of an incumbent unless it is


a primary election, like get rid of an incumbent unless it is


important factor in British politics, that if you own the seat


you're more likely to hold on politics, that if you own the seat


than not? If it is, that's a remarkable thing. It's hard to be a


carpetbagger in America, but it is normal in British Parliamentary


constituencies to be represented normal in British Parliamentary


someone who did not grow up locally. normal in British Parliamentary


It is a special kind of achievement to have an incumbency effect where


you don't have deep roots in the constituency. I was going to ask


about the Lib Dems. If we are wrong, and they collapse in Parliamentary


representation as much as the share in vote collapses, is that not good


news is that the Conservatives? They would


news is that the Conservatives? They majority of existing Lib Dems seats.


For majority of existing Lib Dems seats.


second to the Lib Dems, there are two where the Conservatives are


second. If the Lib Dem representation collapses, that helps


the Conservatives. I'm assuming the Tories will gain about ten seats. If


they gain 20, if they'd had 20 more seats last time, they would have had


a majority government, just about. So 20 seats off the Lib Dem, do the


maths, as they say in America, and they could lose a handful to labour


and still be able to run a one party, minority government. The fate


of the Lib Dems could party, minority government. The fate


the outcome to the politics of light. On the 8th of May, it will be


VE Day and victory in election day as well as Europe. The Lib Dems will


be apoplectic if they lose all of the seats to their coalition


partners. The great quote by Angela Merkel, the little party always gets


crushed. It's a well-established idea that coalition politics. They


can't take credit for the things people like you may get lumbered


with the ones they don't. They have contributed most of this terrible


idea that seized politics where you say it, but you don't deliver it.


Tuition fees is the classic example of this Parliament. Why should you


believe any promise you make? And Ed Miliband is feeling that as well.


But in 1974 the liberal Democrats barely had any MPs but there were


reporters outside Jeremy Thorpe's home because they potentially held


not the balance of power, but were significantly in fourth. Bringing


back memories Jeremy Thorpe, and we will leave it there. Thanks to the


panel. We are tomorrow on BBC Two. At the earlier time of 11am because


of Wimbledon. Yes, it's that time of year again already. I will be back


here at 11 o'clock next week. Remember, if it is Sunday, it is the


Sunday Politics.


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