22/09/2013 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate.

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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. Ed Miliband and the


rest of the Labour clan are in Brighton for their party conference


this weekend. He's promised policies galore. But as a Sunday Politics


poll finds a third of his own councillors don't think he's doing a


good job, will that be enough to steady the Labour ship?


partying like it's 2006, as Damian McBride's memoirs re-ignite the


Blair-Brown wars. Alastair Campbell will tell us why he is sickened by


the former Brown spin doctor. And speaking of political


infighting, Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps will give his


response to the rampant Tory-bashing at the Lib Dem Conference And with


Coming up in Northern Ireland: me, as always, the best


Coming up in Northern Ireland: Westminster wants to give free


school meals to young children but are there better ways for


school meals to young children but over the two thirds


school meals to young children but are there better ways for storm want


school meals to young children but over the two thirds of


are there better ways for storm want to spend the education


are there better ways for storm want over the two thirds of the ethnic


are there better ways for storm want to spend the education budget?


over the two thirds of the ethnic minority vote but now stands accused


of institutional racism. Are they right? With me, the best and the


brightest political panel in the business. Isabel Hardman, Janan


Ganesh and Steve Richards. They'll be tweeting like demented Damians


throughout the programme. First today, scrapping the bedroom tax.


Universal childcare for primary school kids. More apprenticeships.


Labour Conference only begins in earnest today, but the policy and


spending commitments are coming thick and fast. Not before time,


according to the Labour leader's critics. He's been out and about


this morning and told Andrew Marr that he knew it was going to be a


tough fight in the run up to 2015. It is about a party that lost office


three years ago. We are trying to be a one term opposition. That is


tough. I believe it is a fight that we can win and I am up for that


fight. The stakes are so high for young people who want a job, for


people whose living standards are being squeezed. For people who think


that this is not good enough for Britain. So what do key Labour Party


activists - its councillors - think about the direction Mr Miliband is


taking their party? Adam Fleming is in Brighton at the Party Conference


with all the details of our latest exclusive Sunday Politics survey.


Labour have unwrapped their conference set. Let us unwrap them.


With the help of an opinion poll we surveyed 1350 Labour councillors


across England and Wales. We wanted to find out what they think as


Labour gathers for its conference. The Labour leader warmed up for the


week by taking to his soap box in Brighton city centre. It is great


week by taking to his soap box in be here. In our survey 31% of


councillors said they did not think Ed Miliband was doing a good job as


leader. 30% said they thought the party would have a better chance if


someone else was in charge at the next election. You will see more of


Ed Miliband as we run-up to general election. He has been in the job for


three years! Now it is crunch time. The other Ed, Ed Balls, was disliked


by roughly one third of the party as well. Ed Balls is not a pop your


man. He says things and he speaks his mind. -- not a popular man.


Sometimes he is not the most diplomatic. Sadly Ed Balls did not


seem to be that bothered about our survey. Over at a conference centre


the exhibitors were starting up. When it comes to relations with


trade unions, the majority of Labour councillors thought things were


absolutely fine. Just 9% thought things with the unions were a little


bit too close. Tricky because Ed Miliband want to loosen the link.


The shadow environment secretary arrived in Brighton ride bicycle


from London to raise money for charity. When we as Labour


councillors what they would do if the next election results in a hung


parliament, just over half said they would tell the lid Dems to get on


their bikes. We would never say no to going into coalition. It gives us


the chance to be in government and prepare some of the damage of the


last three years. So are you going to start being nice about the Lib


Dems? I always treat them with courtesy. And the parties admitted


that perhaps they had opened the door to too many immigrants. It in


our survey Labour councillors of warming the felt that immigration


had been positive for the UK. We're now joined by the Shadow Chief


Secretary to the Treasury, Rachel Reeves. Good morning. Let us start


with Ed Miliband. Is it true that the team insisted that he be called


the leader? I just call him Ed and I think the rest of the Shadow Cabinet


do. Do you welcome working for a leader that says he is winning back


socialism? We are a democratic socialist party. We make no


apologies for that. The most important thing is that we have the


apologies for that. The most policies that will improve people 's


lives and tackle the cost of living crisis facing so many families.


Policies like expanding childcare, offering more apprenticeships, all


policies that I think the country are calling out for after three


years of a flat-lining economy and seeing prices rise faster than wages


for 38 out of the 39 months but David Cameron has been Prime


Minister. I think that is the most important thing. So it is OK now to


risk their to the Labour Party again as the Socialist party? The clue is


in the name, we stand up for working people. You are socialist party


according to the leader. We have always been the Labour Party, that


is our name and we stand up for working people, not the privileged


few like this government with their tax cuts for millionaires. Those are


policies that help just the privileged few. The Labour Party is


about helping everyone in Britain, all families. Interesting that your


run don't use the word socialist. In our survey one third of Labour


councillors said Ed Miliband was not doing a good job as leader. If he


cannot convince his own councillors, who can he convince?


Well you could say that two thirds of councillors think that he is the


right leader. But these are Labour councillors. The overall majority of


Labour councillors think that he is doing a good job. What matters is


the results on election day. Two thirds of councillors think that he


is doing a good job. That us see what they say at the end of this


week. Because I think the policies he is announcing will go down well


week. Because I think the policies with Labour Party people and will


also resonate with the British public. Policies like expanding


apprenticeships, giving a break to hard-working families who are


struggling. I think people will see what kind of a leader that he is.


Well he has a mountain to climb among all voters. Let me ask the


question. Just 12% see him as a Prime Minister in waiting, just 2%


see him as a natural leader. Why? If Prime Minister in waiting, just 2%


you look at the overall opinion polls, we are consistently ahead in


those polls. It is hard being leader of the opposition, you cannot


demonstrate how you would be Prime Minister. By nature you are in


opposition. But he has taken on Rupert Murdoch and the press barons.


That is strong leadership, standing up to the vast majority. If you look


at his reforms to our relationship with the trade unions, strengthening


ties with individual members. I think that he is a strong leader


making the right decisions. If that is the case, why has the Labour lead


gone from 14 points one year ago to at most four points now. What went


wrong? Well we are six or eight points ahead in the polls today. We


are six or eight points ahead in the polls today. We're still


consistently ahead. It looks as if we would get an overall majority if


there was an election tomorrow. But we have more work to do to convince


more people to vote for Labour. But this is a historic challenge, to be


a one term Labour opposition. I believe that Ed Miliband will be the


next Labour Prime Minister and will be an excellent Prime Minister. The


big policy announcement today is the guaranteed childcare for all primary


school children. How much will that cost? When Labour were in


government, they ring fenced money to provide after-school --


after-school and breakfast clubs. We think that money should be ring


fenced again. How much will it cost? We are saying that schools


within their budgets should be able to provide that. At the moment they


can charge for children to come to their first clubs. But this is a


policy that does not involve additional money. As it was under


the last Labour government it will be about ring fencing money because


we think that this is a priority. This is something that the schools


should do. You cannot ring fenced money you do not have. You saying


you could provide wraparound childcare for every family


schoolchild from eight o'clock in the morning until six o'clock at


night and it will not cost any more money? Well we did ring fence that


money in the last Labour government. That money is gone! It has not gone.


It is about priorities and we are saying that it should be a priority


to provide that wraparound care. So where is the money being spent now


that you would take it from? If we look at some of the things that this


government is doing, building free schools in areas where there are


already enough. That is capital spending. We are ring fencing that


many. Again, it is different priorities. We had the ring fence


when we were in government. It would be reintroduced so that schools had


to offer that wraparound care. Of course schools can charge a small


to offer that wraparound care. Of fee for their breakfast clubs and


after-school DVDs. But the important thing is that provision is there for


parents going out to work. Ed Balls and Ed Miliband are at the heart of


the Brown project. Damien Wright was the hit man. Is it not inconceivable


that they did not know what he was the hit man. Is it not inconceivable


up to. It is inconceivable that they did not -- Damian McBride. I am


asking about Damian McBride. What I'm saying is that I was not there.


I was not there under the last Labour government. But I do know


that these things are not happening under the leadership of Ed Miliband.


He has led by example. There is not that backstabbing going on. There is


no plotting against Ed Balls going on? I do not see that. And anyone


who briefed against colleagues should be sacked, I agree with that.


Nick Clegg's conference speech made it clear he was repaired to work


with Ed Miliband in the event of a hung parliament. Are you excited by


that prospect or is it just boring? That is very generous of Nick Clegg


to say that. With his poll ratings of 9%. I think it is up to the


general public to decide who they want to form a government. We are


campaigning for an overall Labour government at the next election. Are


you excited by the prospect, or is that just boring boring? I want to


serve in a Labour government is not a coalition government. That is what


we are campaigning for. Thank you for joining us. Steve Richards, what


has Ed Miliband got to do this week? He has got to start to win the


argument about the economy. I think they will be quite clever on that in


terms of saying that the recovery has begun but it is not going to


benefit many of the voters. Unlike previous economic recoveries. That


is a strong line and they need to make that again and again. The


recovery has barely started. The make that again and again. The


interesting thing, Isabel, they want to make a living standards the issue


now because growth has returned, let's return to living standards


which have been squeezed. The polls show that twice as many people blame


Labour for the living standards than the Conservatives. It is a great


scene for them to mine, and it is the only one before they announce


big policies, but they have not gained the trust of voters on the


economy, so the Conservatives can say they are finishing the job of


fixing the recovery now and then we'll focus on living standards,


whereas Labour is trying to say, you cannot quite trust us with the


economy but we will talk about living standards. Ed Miliband's main


job this week is to begin elucidating policies and not just


themes, and that makes elucidating policies and not just


incredibly vulnerable. The only thing worse than not having a policy


for an opposition leader is to have a policy. It gives the opposition


something to attack, the media something to scrutinise and it makes


you bold rubble and you can see that coming through already before the


conference has started. You have sketchy ideas on child, --


childcare. Spigot can he provide wraparound childcare for free? --


can he provide wraparound childcare for free? I don't even know what it


is. Opposition is emphatically an art form, and the art form, and the


artform for them at the moment is to announce policies without spending


any money and it is very difficult to do. You gave an illustration of


how difficult it is. They are under huge pressure, for the last year, to


announce policies and they announce one on childcare and you immediately


say, how do you paper it? And she immediately says, we will not spend


a penny on it, because they are terrified of spending anything. This


is where it an artform. The tax suspension before and election is


crazy, because they will find money one way or another, but in another


way, they cannot say we will spend money on this. It is a real problem.


How do you measure the state of the coalition after the Liberal Democrat


conference? The Liberal Democrats were in a very strong position after


their conference, Nick Clegg had faced and activists on some issues,


including fracking, which they supported, which seem to be the most


important part of the conference. In terms of the coalition, the Tories


have had to sit and watch as Vince Cable, Nick Clegg and Coe have


basically criticised them and said they are evil and only the Lib Dems


can make sure the Government is fair and works properly. So in terms of


how the coalition works, you can expect to see some revenge at the


Tory conference. The Lib Dems, Nick Clegg's followers, they had their


revenge. Mister Clegg may have convinced his own activists to stay


behind him, but he has a bigger challenge, which is called


convincing the British people. There is some interesting polling they


have done privately that suggests there is a market of about 25% of


the electorate which is plausibly open to them, and all they have to


do is target policies remorselessly at that group, rather than the


broader public, in order to do well enough at the next election to hold


the balance of power. That is why policies that seem weird to us, like


free school meals regardless of income, may perversely make sense to


them. Because it appeals to their demographic. It is a strange


political world we are in, the Labour strategists think they can


win with 35%, the Lib Dems are going to concentrate on 25. The Tories


have seized to be a national party any more. We haven't been used to it


for a long time. In the 80s, one party dominated, the Tories. In the


90s into the 21st century, the policy matter delayed the Labour


Party dominated. -- the Labour party dominated. We are now here but we


have other parties hoping that 36% will give them a small overall


majority and it is the best they can get. It is a very odd situation


where the main two parties feel they can lose and the Lib Dems are openly


targeting only 25%. They have gotten rid of 75% already and it is a long


way from the policies of last couple of decades Nick Clegg talked about


all of the policies he had locked. There is a real opportunity for the


Conservatives to say that he is blocking all of the things that


voters outside of our bays are interested in, top immigration


policy, human rights reform, that sort of thing. David Cameron can say


that in Manchester next week. One thing was quite clear, it came out


of this awayday, and and this is this, that when you look at Mister


Miller band's polls, the Tories are going to make this a presidential


election -- Ed Miliband's polls. Which is why I am curious why they


are not more keen on TV debates. When the strength of your party is


the visibility of your leader against his opponents, why not have


him or her juxtaposed against them in 90 minutes three times a week.


Let's turn now to the coalition. The past week has given us inklings of


how the yellow half of the Government is planning on fighting


how the yellow half of the the General Election.


When the Lib Dems gathered for their annual shindig in Glasgow, some


ministers were non-too complimentary about their blue blood fellows. --


bedfellows. Vince Cable led the way in stick in the boot in, saying the


Tories had reverted to type as a nasty party and describe their


politics as ugly, cynical, callous and prejudice. Nick Clegg did not


restrict himself to policies that and prejudice. Nick Clegg did not


the Lib Dems had champion, such as and prejudice. Nick Clegg did not


increasing the amount you can earn before paying tax. The Deputy Prime


Minister proudly listed all of the things he had stopped the Tories


from doing. Speak of scrapping housing benefit the young people,


no. No to ditching the human rights act. No to weakening the protections


in the equalities act. So how much of a break have the yellow brigade


being on Conservative ambitions question mark in the two leaders


shake hands again after the 20 15th election, what policies were David


Cameron insist on. -- 2015? No matter how many times Nick Clegg


says no? matter how many times Nick Clegg


And Grant Shapps joins me the Sunday Interview.


Grant Shapps, good morning. Nick Clegg, Doctor Know himself,


self-styled. He boasted to his conference that he had stopped the


Tories from going ahead with 16 policies in government. Is this


accurate? I don't know but what I can tell you, as your commentator


Isabel said, some of the policies that we wanted them if we were a


majority government sent out to be very popular things, like reforming


the human rights act and some of the problems that provides when it comes


to sending people who have no right to be in this country back. So there


may be some things we could have made progress on. You are in


government, did he stop the inheritance tax cut? I don't know


the details, but I think it is absolutely true to say that


coalitions are a process of negotiation and sometimes you can't


get everything you want, and we had done the best, given where the


electoral maths left us. That is why 70 people in this country say they


would rather see a single party running the country -- why so many


people. I have to say I agree. They are not sure which single party.


Give me a couple of major policies that you would introduce if you had


had a majority in 2010 and were not held back by the Lib Dems. Speaking


the one I just mentioned would be the Human Rights Act. In This


Country, we have had 1,000 years of developing the law and we are more


than capable of putting in place sensible laws. you would have left


the European Court of human rights. We have already started the process


of negotiation. There was some progress, but limited, and we would


like to move further. Let me give you one other. I think this country


has a great future but we can only grasp that country if we make


ourselves the best place in the world to come and set up a business.


ourselves the best place in the If we make ourselves the best place


in Europe to develop jobs and entrepreneurship and I think there


are a host of things we could do to go further on cutting back red tape.


And the Lib Dems have stopped you? I think that is the case. In what


ways, if any, have the Lib Dems improved the coalition process? It


has been a stable government. No one talks about when the next election


will come, we know it is in May 2015 but that is in part being in a


coalition. The Tories wouldn't have done that? It wasn't the plan of any


party to go from... In the old days, there would have been speculation.


You turned it into a national debate, you changed the British


constitution in a fundamental way and nobody got a say. It was debated


on the floor of the Has, as all constitutional changes are and there


was a lot of agreement -- of the House. Nobody has ever said to me


that it is a problem that we now have a fixed term parliament. Here


it is, every five years. This is what it has done, it has provided


stability in an incredibly uncertain economic time and that has been good


for the economy. we will chalk that up to delete -- Lib Dem. What about


taking people out of tax, the Lib Dems did that question mark it is a


great policy. It is a conservative led government, it is a Conservative


government massively Chancellor. This is a screen grab from your


party's website, income tax cut to 25 million people. You are taking


the credit for it, it wouldn't have happened without the Lib Dems. It


certainly came about because of the coalition and we put it in the


coalition agreement. It could not have happened without a Conservative


Chancellor making it happen. It is right, 25 million people taken out


of tax. Another 17 by this April will not be paying tax at all. you


didn't want to do it. Look at what David Cameron told Nick Clegg during


the leaders debate in 2010. What Nick Clegg is promising is a


£17 billion tax cut. We are saying, stop the waste of 6 billion to stop


the national insurance rise. I would love to take everyone out of their


first £10,000 of income tax, it is a love to take everyone out of their


beautiful idea but we cannot afford it. It wasn't in your manifesto.


Mister Cameron said it was unaffordable and now you are taking


the credit for it. I feel like it is having a three year afterwards


argument, and we got into coalition because the British people put us


there and we agreed to make the best of it. And as it happens, if you


want to hear a confession, I absolutely think it is the right


thing to take as many people out of tax entirely as possible. Two points


7 million people pay no tax at all because of this rise in the


threshold. -- 2.7 million. I'm pleased it worked out. What are the


most important thing is a majority Tory government would do after 2015,


unencumbered by the Lib Dems? I think produce even more jobs when


unemployment goes down, because we think produce even more jobs when


are the most entrepreneurial place to set up a business. Are more


free-market economy? We make our money because we are out global


trading economy. That is why it is so important that we have to make


sure it is easy to trade around the world. One simple example, it is


crazy in my view that we have global tariffs that prevent some of the


hardest other countries in the world, in developing parts of the


world, from exporting to us and vice versa. I'm giving you a platform of


things that I think we would be more interested in progressing in. It


sounds like you are talking about even more Thatcherite, market led


agendas. I think that you did a huge amount to show this country that if


you want to help the least well off people in society, and the least


well off people in the world, around the globe, the way to do it is to


trade, and I think we should have an economy which is much more open to


free trade. If there is another hung parliament, and the poll suggest


there might be, at the moment it is all to play for on both sides, what


would your non-negotiable Red Line speak? We are still two years away


from that, it is a long way away, but there is a lot we want to lay


out. What we are going to be saying to this country is most people want


a single party running the country, they think it is clean and clear and


you don't end up with negotiation after an election. We will be


setting out a very clear platform which will be for hard-working


people in this country who want to work hard and get on in life. We


would, I think, want to see the welfare state that we have got into,


where it is no longer about helping those most in need but became a


situation where you are better off not working than in worker, I think


we plan to ensure that this is an incredibly fair place to go out and


do a day's work and get the money at the end of the day rather than


thinking there is an alternative. you have promised a referendum on UK


membership of the EU in 2017, that must be your first Red Line? We are


clear, we want to see a referendum, a reform European Union. So no


poll... ? I should remind viewers that there is an act of Parliament,


a bill going through Parliament right now, for a referendum on the


EU, which comes back to the House. It is past the report stage and


comes back in November and we will be discussing it. The Lib Dems,


Labour, will have an opportunity to support what the British people


want. Lots may have changed. But it would be a Red Line for any future


coalition government question mark we are clear that it is time to have


a say. You will know from our manifesto. What is wrong with yes or


no? I cannot write the manifesto for 2015. You are asking me to project


beyond that and see in advance the election result and carry out the


negotiations that are yet to come. I'm just trying to work out how


much... I know you are committed but she won't tell me. Let's move on.


Your party has been described as nasty and blinkered. What do you


feel when he says that? We are interested in helping the most


vulnerable people in society. I think we're doing all that and more.


And it is a shame that that language was used because we have made so


much progress together. Are you getting to the end of your tether


with Mr King? I do not think it is terribly helpful for any Cabinet


minister to make comments like that. What I would say is that Nick Clegg


minister to make comments like that. is the leader of the Lib Dems and


entitled to have a view on it himself. Look at these figures on


party membership. Why has your party lost half of its members since Mr


party membership. Why has your party Cameron became leader? I would like


it to be more. But I think the world has changed. People do not rush out


and join political parties as they used to. Instead they support you in


different ways. If I released the number of people who give to the


party in different ways, through donations for example, through


friend memberships. If you include that that figure goes back up. But


your membership has fallen by 50% at a time when UKIP has doubled. I do


not want to to misinterpret what I want to say. It is important to gain


members. I think we will have done that by the time of the next


election. But one statistic of interest, in the last election I had


a 17,000 majority in my own constituency. The difference was I


had 1000 people helping me to deliver leaflets and knock on the


doors. The Conservative party has changed. We now have an army of


people, volunteers who are not necessarily traditional members. The


days when you expect people to give you £25, before you accept their


support, those days have passed. You spoke about your most vulnerable


marginal seats. This is a poll from Michael Ashcroft. The 40 most


marginal seats that you will be defending. Labour is way up, you are


way down and UKIP is also up. What is happening, the Lib Dem Mo -- both


are moving to Labour. And disillusioned Conservatives are


moving to UKIP. If these figures came at an election he would lose 32


of these 40 seats. The point about any opinion poll is that it is


perhaps accurate at the moment it is taken. We are now in a position


where the economy has turned the corner. The right thing to do was to


deal with the deficit. The people being asked about these things, they


will be interested in their own standard of living. Their mortgage


payments. Why are you doing worse in the marginal seats? National League


you are kind of nip and tuck with Labour. Well if that is the pick to


come 2015, people will see that this government has stuck to its guns. It


did not go for more borrowing and spending. And the record


demonstrates that the last thing you want to do is give the car keys back


to the people who crashed it in the first place. Lynton Crosby at this


away day of Conservative MPs, his one message was to go all out and


attack Ed Miliband. It is going to be a nasty election. That is


actually not true. We are going to focus on his policies, if he finally


announces some. Everything we have seen so far suggests it would mean


more borrowing and spending. The shadow chancellor said we would be


ruthless, just a few months later, 27.9 pounds of extra spending


committed by Labour. These are your figures. I will speak to you about


that during the Tory conference. It's just after 11:30. You're


watching the Sunday Politics. Coming up in just over 20 minutes. Alastair


Campbell gives us his not-too-positive review of Damian


McBride's memoirs. Until then, the Sunday Politics


Hello, And Welcome To Sunday Politics In Northern Ireland.


Should Stormont Follow The Lead Of Westminster And Give Free School


Meals To All Children In Primaries One To Three? Or Is There A Better


Way Of Spending The Dinner Money? We'll Hear From The Chair Of The


Education Committee, Mervyn Storey, And Sinn Fein's Chris Hazzard. And


Another Saturday Loyalist Protest In Belfast City Centre. Just How


Damaging Are The Demonstrations For Local Businesses?


And Joining Me To Reflect On Another Busy Week In Politics Here, I'm


Joined By The Director Of Include Youth, Koulla Yiasouma And


Journalist Steven Mccaffrey. Our Politicians Have Been Getting


Themselves Into A Bit Of Stew This Week Over How An Extra Allocation Of


Cash From Westminster Should Be Spent. Around £20 Million Is


Expected To Be On Its Way To Stormont After The Deputy Prime


Minister, Nick Clegg, Announced That All Children In Primaries One To


Three In England Are To Get Free All Children In Primaries One To


School Meals. But As Our Education Correspondent, Maggie Taggart,


Reports, Not Everyone Thinks The Policy Is A Good Idea.


If We Get The Same Deal As In England, The Number Of Young


Children Coming Here Could Double. At The Moment, Most Children Take A


Packed Lunch And Half Get A Dinner. What Do Parents Here Think Of The


Plan To Give Out Free Meals? It Is An Excellent Idea. They Should All


Be Treated The Same Way. I do not know if the government could sustain


the cost. If children's families are entitled to school meals, they


should get them. Initially our frustration is this is a top-down


should get them. Initially our government imposed initiative.


Sometimes we think it is better asking schools what are the key


priorities? There is also a worry that a free offer might mean a lot


of food wasted. The younger the children they tend to have a couple


of scoops and the way. The older children are keen on seconds and


thirds. White it is understood Northern Ireland could get about 20


million. But before parents give up making packed lunches we are told


the money would not be ring fenced and the executive should decide


whether it should go towards food or the Department of education. There


was evidence children who eat well known well. Universal free meals


improved performance. There is some evidence of attainment games but


they were not significant for the least affluent. What they did not


compare to those other interventions like one to one tuition. The money


will be formally approved in the next few weeks but will not be


available until this time next year. In the meantime, the assembly will


be chewing over how it will be spent.


Maggie Taggart reporting. I'm joined by two members of the Education


Committee, its Chair, Mervyn Storey, and Sinn Fein's Chris Hazzard. You


are Sinn Fein's education spokesman. Do you think John O'Dowd will want


to follow the English example? I am sure John will want to get his money


in the hands first to decide how it will be spent. There are a suite of


measures we could invest in, free school meals is one. We have seen


John extends the criteria so no doubt he will want to get the money


first to see what the benefits could be. Is it your position that free


school meals is an instrument which could help educational attainment


for children of all backgrounds? The health and financial benefits of


without a doubt. It all leads into a culture that needs to academic


success. Is it a blunt instrument in your view, Mervyn? There is evidence


that this is a very blunt instrument. If we separate the menu


in relation to this issue, the then set of free school meals, that is a


very desirable and beneficial outcome. However, if free school


meals are used as a trigger mechanism to ensure that more


funding goes schools, therein lies mechanism to ensure that more


the major disparity and the major problem because a child could be in


receipt of free school meals but problem because a child could be in


could not have access to speak and language and let's remember, what


has been described as the working poor. There are many families who


struggle who do not fall within the threshold and they cannot understand


that every time that it seems working families are penalised.


Given what you have just said, are there more effective ways of using


this money, assuming it comes to education? I think their race. If


you look at the way money is squandered, the issue is not the


amount of money it is the way they spend it. We have seen a fiasco in


relation to levels of progression and they have all been expensive


blunders and failures on the part of the department and I would be


worried about giving the Department of education, given its current


track record, an additional £20 million. It touches on a serious


point. People are wondering why you would use public money to pay for


meals for children whose parents can already pay for those meals. It is


meals for children whose parents can about the culture of schools. Our


children are very acute social and tonight. It is about how the canteen


can become a hub where teachers and all the children sit down, there is


no cars and them, table manners are improved, everything improves. Our


education system, the most fundamental flaw is the poverty


floor and we have to address this. Table manners, if eating together


helps from a social point of view, children who come from socially


deprived backgrounds, their meals would be paid for, they will sit


alongside children whose parents are paying for meals, that is a red


herring. It does not have to be the stereotypical tray with big


lunches. It could be an extension of breakfast clubs but the conversation


lunches. It could be an extension of has started. It is making sure we


address the poverty floor. It is about meeting the needs of children


and this is the difficulty. What is the primary need of children in our


classrooms? It is to ensure their educational needs are met and


clearly we have one in four children leaving primary schools with major


issues. Despite millions of pounds, going back to 1999 when the


Department of education squandered 40 million, we have still not


address that need and it is about need and feed. In that film, Tony


Gallagher was making the point there that there are other areas where the


money could be spent, for example tuition, early years intervention.


Without a doubt. Free school meals is not a silver bullet that will


Without a doubt. Free school meals cause achievement to go up at if you


look at the case of children in low income families, they are 100% less


likely to achieve than those from more affluent families. Why are we


now in a situation when the education Minister, he said he had


no intention, the focus had to be on early years intervention. Now he had


made the announcement he when extended to post primary, so clearly


I think the focus needs to go back to those early years because we have


not and early years policy ten years after what was promised and those


not and early years policy ten years are the heart for delivering the


needs of our children. Just to be clear, will you be recommending your


party colleagues that this £20 million goes in the first instance


to the Department of education and then they soaked up spending should


be eight conversation on how it should be best spent? The current


education minister has refused to enter into the process in relation


to the savings and delivery plans because he believes he is spending


his money well. It is a perverse sense of thinking about it. Have a


case where five or six years ago, 24% of kids in low income families


were achieving good GCSEs. It is now up 10%. Free school meals we will


see 79% of our schools losing out in funding. That is the real reason why


the department is using free school meals.


Mervyn Storey and Chris Hazzard, thank you. With me are Koulla


Yiasouma, Director of Include Youth, and the journalist Steven McCaffery.


You are in the business of advocating for young people, where


the use stand on the school free meals debate? The debate this


morning and the piece demonstrates this is quite complicated. Northern


Ireland has a good education system and then it gets worse as children


get older so free school meals is not the panacea. Free school meals


is only good as the uptake of them. Nutrition benefits young children's


ability to learn and poor ritual during do less well. 34% of children


in time to to free school meals get during do less well. 34% of children


good GCSEs. There is a huge gap. There is a number of initiatives we


need. Free school meals is part of the issue but not the whole answer.


Is that how you see it? It is a very the issue but not the whole answer.


serious issue. The Lib Dems were the issue but not the whole answer.


accused of trying to score political points and attract votes and IM not


suggesting the two main parties are not taking this seriously but you


would be surprised and old enough to remember when Margaret Thatcher took


would be surprised and old enough to away the milk from kids. Is there a


little bit of politics? Again, perish the thought that politicians


would be like that. I am in no doubt the elections are playing a part. It


is enormously complicated and there is no guarantee that this money will


go to education in the first instance. We have priorities in


government but I really think there are bottomless pits. If this money


is done for education, it should go to the Department of education. It


is them and the schools and parents and families need to say what is the


best way to spend this money? How can we bridge the gap? Chris


Hazzard, do you think there may be some truth in DD UPI looking over


their shoulder? I sit in studios and committee rooms and we talk about


the need to tackle underachievement, especially in low income


communities. Here is an example of the best way to do it. Let everyone


step up to the plate and say let's go forward. That is the reason this


has been done. However, if it is about convincing the electorate that


this has been a good news story, let's see free school meals being


used for political reasons. A very interesting debate. Thank you very


much for joining us. Let's take a look back at the political week in


60 seconds. US diplomats Richard Harris and


Megan O'Sullivan begin the attempt to resolve the issues flags,


protests and the past. The fact that this process was created by the


leadership of Northern Ireland suggests to me there is well. Martin


McGuinness remembers the past and next to the future with some but not


all went -- bewilderment. As an investigation begins into child


exportation, one MLA reveals why she abandoned the bill to clamp down on


abuse. They taught me that this was not an issue and what I was


proposing was criminalise young people in care. Free school meals


for all infant pupils in England but will be assembly go for it? And the


new finance minister starts with a smile.


Gareth Gordon reporting. Another Saturday, another loyalist


demonstration. It's now nine months since Belfast City Council voted to


fly the union flag only on designated days. But the protests


continue with an estimated 1,000 people marching from City Hall at


lunchtime yesterday just as traders might have been expecting peak


business. With me now is Ian Coulter, the


business. Chair of the CBI here.


About 1000 people took part in the Chair of the CBI here.


parade and there were several thousands supporting them on the


way. What is your verdict on what happened yesterday? I would like to


take a step back and comment on the specific. Over the last 12 months


there has been an explosion of the numbers of parades not just in


Belfast but across Northern Ireland. If you look at the retail city


centre figures, they have dropped by 10% which is a massive figure. Zero


all to do with the protest. Is not at all but it is a major


contributory factor. Your organisation has said that the


protests this year is £15 million. That is an estimate but if you look


at the figure, that is £55 million. This is the effect of things in the


city centre but there is a hidden cost. All these protests and


parades, be it whatever community, just adds up an extra layer of


uncertainty as to where we are at the moment. Yesterday's parade was


entirely peaceful. I accept that but you have one office and you put them


all together... All of these discussions and business tends to be


quite slow, where the rights for the business people? -- where are the


right? How do you communicate that? You represent the business


community, you talk to the politicians. How do you communicate


with them and the people participating in organising these


protests that it is not good for Belfast plc for that situation to


continue? What we are calling on is restraint. The media plays a role in


this. Yesterday, one of the retailers said the way the media pro


trade yesterday 's events properly contributed as much to the lack of


trade as to anything else. How is that the case? You simply report the


fact it is happening. A retailer confirmed that the media coverage on


Friday and Saturday did as much harm. You should talk about it but


do not exaggerate it. Give me an example. There was an e-mail that


was sent on Friday that there were going to be five or 600 participants


or possibly up to 1000 maximum and on Saturday morning, other reports


were of 3-4000 people. There is a need for restraint on all sides. We


can deal with specifics but I would move back a bit. What we need to do


is we need to find a way that for people who have got businesses in


Belfast and businesses that are trying to grow internationally, how


do you break the cycle and get the numbers of these parades and


protests down to a manageable level? There is a challenge here to


square that circle between people knowing what is happening and that


square that circle between people being effectively reported but not


exaggerating it in advance and not hyping it up for a people want to


break the law. The media have to take their share of responsibility


but weeks ago, we had a riot on Royal Avenue so I do not think the


media can necessarily be blamed for causing public concern around


yesterday 's parade. If people stayed away they stayed away because


of what has been happening over the last year but the media have to play


a careful role. How concerned are you at the potential impact of


continuing parades on businesses to employ local people who depend on


those jobs to continue running their families? Sometimes I think people


forget the connections. We are based in Belfast city centre and I just


forget the connections. We are based want to make a quick comparison. On


Friday, we had culture night where 30,000 people thronged the streets.


There was a march parade in the middle of Belfast in the afternoon.


There was no e-mails saying be careful, so we do need to be


careful. We need people protected. I want to see people marching because


of property and to protect their rights. Generally they do not result


in the destruction of property and we need to be careful as to how we


manage this. The other issue is Richard Haas and the political


developments. You went in with others to speak to Richard on


Friday. Were you impressed with his handle on where we are? Greatly


impressed. His team was very well briefed. Got to the issues


immediately. I think they have the right team to help here and it bodes


well. Is that the kind of noise you have been picking up as well? One


feature of the talks process that has not caught the public emotion


nation is the degree to which Washington is watching. Joe Biden


could be visiting here so we need to get this right. BR the story of the


week which is Safeguarding Children Board. We need to get better, let's


remember we have been protecting children, we need to do it better


together across all agencies. Thank Blackman and Sadiq Khan, thanks very


much. Leafing through the papers the Blackman and Sadiq Khan, thanks very


last few days has taken me back to my youth. The halcyon days of the


2000s, when the warring Blairite and Brownite tribes fought over who


should run the Labour Party. Gordon Brown's chief spin doctor Damian


McBride - McPoison, or worse, to his enemies - has published his memoirs,


timed for maximum impact in the week of Labour's Conference. They detail


how Mr McBride briefed against colleagues, brought down Cabinet


Ministers - Labour Cabinet Ministers, that is - and fought


tooth and nail to promote the man he called "the greatest man he ever


met" - Gordon Brown. Joining us now is Tony Blair's former Director of


Communications, Alastair Campbell. You are angry about what he has done


in this book. Why is that. It is partly the fact that he has done it


in a way that will be -- will be damaging to the Labour Party at this


time. But also because of the lies that he told at the time that he now


confirms. I was director of communications and trying to hold


the thing together, build the team. There was also Charlie Whelan and


others. And that job was made more difficult than it should have been.


I used to challenge Gordon Brown about it. And there came a stage


where I said if Whelan does not go, I will go. And when Damian McBride


was on the scene I was clear that I was not going to have anything to do


with him. Because of what he is now admitting to, I think they played


quite a significant part in pushing Labour out of power. Because the


public were being fed by them, this narrative, the whole time. That


Blair was useless, Charles Clarke was useless. And I think that we


where the government and had very good ministers trying to do big


things for the country. I said this morning it was like being a foot


tall team were on the pitch you had your own players kicking the star


players. That is why I am angry about it because I think they helped


usher in a conservative government. If we had all stuck together I think


we would still be there. The If we had all stuck together I think


did not win the last election, that is a reasonable point. But surely


they were only doing that to undermine Tony Blair and to promote


their man, Gordon Brown. It is inconceivable then that Gordon Brown


did not know about it. Well in spite of everything I always had a


reasonably good relationship with Gordon Brown. I used to challenge


him a lot about what Whelan was doing. He would always say, I will


sort it out. Another thing that annoys me is this sense put forward


by the right wing media that there was this sense of equivalence.


People like Steve who I have known for years, there is not a single


journalist with the very occasional exception where I lost my temper,


who would honestly be able to tell you that I ever breathed against


ministers. That was my golden rule. So we were presented as being...


People say you were the forerunner. I know it was not the case. One of


the reasons why I do despise what they did, the whole spin thing which


Peter and I are probably most associated with, once I wrote a


piece where I spoke about the journalists as the spin doctors. But


actually within the government, I journalists as the spin doctors. But


had a principle of maximum openness and trust. Anyone could come to the


morning meetings on condition that what was discussed their state as


part of the team. I had to say to Gordon Brown, your people are not


coming. Because I knew where it was coming from. Did you know that the


time but Charles Clarke and others were effectively being destroyed


from within the Labour government? I certainly knew that they thought


that. I did know journalists telling me that that was what was happening.


Ultimately, this is why I never buy this thing that you can blame


leaders, it is ultimately up to the litre. Possibly in a different age


Gordon Brown would have been an amazing Prime Minister. He was a


great chancellor. But he had a flaw, this need for truly horrible


people to be around him doing truly horrible things in politics and


giving him and the Labour Party and politics a bad name. That is why I'm


still angry about Damian McBride. What do you make of it? The current


administration is a contrast. We have rival factions occupying the


same offices but they still get on. The only time they have a row is


when something really big happens. But with that one party in Downing


Street there was fighting the whole time. Did Ed Balls know about this.


I would assume so. I spoke with him about it at the time. He told me at


the time that he had spoken about it with Gordon Brown. So I think there


was a concern from within that camp about some of these activities at


the time. With this myth of equivalence, in life you expect to


see that there is full on both sides. But I do not buy it in this


see that there is full on both case. If you look at the testimonies


see that there is full on both over the years, what you can surmise


about the character of Gordon Brown and of Tony Blair, it was ultimately


driven by Gordon Brown and the people around him. The Blairites did


things but they did then by way of retaliation rather than initiation.


The one-time when I did lose it was the whole psychological force thing.


That came at the end of a period when we were relentlessly being done


in by Charlie Whelan and his gang of journalists. I would go along to


briefings and Stephen and his colleagues would be there and I just


had to sit there and not hit back. Saying I cannot believe Gordon Brown


would have anything to do with this. You get to the stage where your own


credibility is on the line. Coming on the Labour conference. The


promotion of alcohol awareness. But before that the Labour Party, you


never had to deal with this in opposition because you were pretty


far ahead in the polls by midterm. This time that is not the case. It


is surprisingly narrow. What advice would you give to Ed Miliband? To


keep his head out side of this bubble but it's all about him. And


to use this week to really speak to the British people about himself,


about what he believes. And particularly the kind of policy


agenda he is shaping for the future. And start to heart -- start to hit


the Tories hard. They're not pop, they're not competent. They're


screwing up the health service. And yet they are neck and neck. I would


say that the whole Shadow Cabinet and Labour Party has got to


understand that you win elections by wanting to win elections every


minute of every day. There is too much complacency. A small lead now


you have to grow that. You do that with energy and conviction and


policy. Tony Blair had a huge pole bead in the run-up to 1997. We were


winning seat where we had not even campaigned and he was saying, why


celebrate because we have not won yet. You are promoting your alcohol


awareness campaign. Perhaps the party conference is not the best


place to do that! That is one reason why I am doing that. I'm hosting


probably the only alcohol free reception of the week! There is


nothing worse than a convert, I know that. But I travel a lot. I travel


around the world and Britain has a reputation as being the blues


capital of the world. That is something we should be ashamed of.


Why is that, is it cultural? I think it is historical. But I dig David


Cameron was right to go for minimum unit pricing and wrong to do a


reversal. 6% of alcoholics get treatment. I expect that drugs are a


problem but we spent £2 billion on 100,000 problem drug takers and £91


million on 1.6 million problem drinkers. Part of this campaign, you


have written this book about a young drinkers. Part of this campaign, you


alcoholic, a teenager. And it is in the first person. People could think


you are writing about yourself. Why did you choose a teenage girl? Well


partly, I dedicated this to the families of alcoholics. And I


dedicated it to one doctor in Southampton. He told me when he


started his career that his patience was split nine to one, men to women


and it is now 50 - 50. They're getting younger and younger. One


doctor looking after me said I will take you around this hospital and


the problems of alcohol are in every single ward. Not just accident and


emergency. I watched the foot all, just can't the number of


advertisements for gambling and advertising. How have we allowed


this to happen, ? We are just awash with it. What we did I think on


24-hour licensing was a mistake. Availability and price either too


means by which you can bring this down. And the country that has had


the biggest success on this is Russia, bizarrely. Thank you very


much for that. That's all for today. Thanks to all our guests. I'll be


back on BBC Two tomorrow at 11:30am with live coverage of Labour Party


Conference, including the speech from the man who wants to be the


next Chancellor, Ed Balls. Remember if it's Sunday, it's the Sunday




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