27/10/2013 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With Lord Heseltine and shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint.

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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. Hope you enjoyed


the extra hour in bed, and that you've realised it's not 12:45. It's


11:45! It's getting stormy outside. But they're already battening down


the hatches at Number Ten because coalition splits are back, with


bust-ups over free schools and power bills. We'll speak to the Lib Dems,


and ask Labour who's conning whom over energy.


EU leaders have been meeting in Brussels. But how's David Cameron


getting on with that plan to change our relationship with Europe? We


were there to ask him. Have we got any powers back yet? DS!


Foreign companies own everything from our energy companies to our


And in Northern Ireland we talk to railways. Does it


And in Northern Ireland we talk to the new Shadow Secretary of State,


Ivan Lewis, who's already annoyed the government over allegations it's


becoming complacent about what's going on here. Join me in half an


hour. going on here. Join me in half an


as many daily journeys made by bus than by tube, so why is the


investment in buses not keeping pace?


And with me, three journalists who've bravely agreed to hunker down


in the studio while Britain braces itself for massive storm winds,


tweeting their political forecasts with all the accuracy of Michael


Lewis, Janan Ganesh and Nick Watt. Lewis, Janan Ganesh and Nick Watt.


Now, sometimes coalition splits are over-egged, or dare we say even


occasionally stage-managed. But this week, we've seen what looks like the


genuine article. It turns out Nick Clegg has his doubts about the


coalition's flagship free schools policy. David Cameron doesn't much


like the green levies on our energy bills championed by the Lib Dems.


Neither of them seems to have bothered to tell the other that they


had their doubts. Who better to discuss these flare-ups than Lib Dem


Deputy Leader Simon Hughes? He joins me now. Welcome. Good morning. The


Lib Dems spent three years of sticking up for the coalition when


times were grim. Explain to me the logic of splitting from them when


times look better. We will stick with it for five years. It is


working arrangement, but not surprisingly, where there right


areas on which we disagree over where to go next, we will stand up.


It is going to be hard enough for the Lib Dems to get any credit for


the recovery, what ever it is. It will be even harder if you seem to


be semidetached and picky. The coalition has led on economic


policy, some of which were entirely from our stable. The one you have


heard about most often, a Lib Dem initiative, was to take people on


blowing comes out of tax. The recovery would not have happened,


there would not have been confidence in Britain, had there not been a


coalition government with us in it, making sure the same policies


produced fair outcomes. We are not going to leave the credit for any


growth - and there has been very good news this week. We have played


a part in that, and without us, it would not have happened. Does it not


underline the trust problem you have? You promised to abolish


tuition fees. You oppose nuclear power, now you are cheerleading the


first multi-billion pounds investment in nuclear generation.


You are dying out on your enthusiasm on green levies, and now they are up


for renegotiation. Why should we trust a word you say? In relation to


green levies, as you well know, just under 10% is to do with helping


energy and helping people. Unless there is continuing investment in


renewables, we will not have the British produced energy at cheaper


cost to keep those bills down in the future. At cheaper cost? Explain


that to me. Off-shore energy is twice the market rate. The costs of


renewables will increasingly come down. We have fantastic capacity to


produce the energy and deliver lots of jobs in the process. The parts of


the energy bill that may be up for renegotiation seems to be the part


where we subsidise to help either poor people pay less, or where we do


other things. Too insulated the homes? Are you up to putting that to


general taxation? Wouldn't that be progressive? I would. It would be


progressive. I would like to do for energy bills what the Chancellor has


done for road traffic users, drivers, which is too fuelled motor


fuel -- to freeze new to fall. That would mean there would be an


immediate relief this year, not waiting for the election. So there


is a deal to be done there? Yes. We understand we have to take the


burden off the consumer, and also deal with the energy companies, who


look as if they are not paying all the tax they should be, and the


regulator, which doesn't regulate quickly enough to deal with the


issues coming down the track. We can toughen the regulator, and I hope


that the Chancellor, in the Autumn statement, was signalled that energy


companies will not be allowed to get away with not paying the taxes they


should. And this deal will allow energy prices to come down? Yes. How


could David Laws, one of your ministers, proudly defend the record


of unqualified teachers working in free schools, and then stand


side-by-side with Mr Clegg, as he says he is against them? David Laws


was not proudly defending the fact that it is unqualified teachers. He


said that some of the new, unqualified teachers in free schools


are doing a superb job. But you want to get rid of them? We want to make


sure that everybody coming into a free school ends up being qualified.


Ends up? Goes through a process that means they have qualifications. Just


as we said very clearly at the last election that the manifesto


curriculum in free schools should be the same as other schools. It looks


like Mr Clegg is picking a fight just for the sake of it. Mr Clegg


was taught by people who didn't have teaching qualifications in one of


the greatest schools in the land, if not the world. It didn't seem to do


him any harm. What is the problem? If you pay to go to a school, you


know what you're getting. But that is what a free school is. No, you


don't pay fees. A free school is parents taking the decisions, not


you, the politicians. We believe they would expect to guarantee is,


firstly that the minimum curriculum taught across the country is taught


in the free schools, and secondly, that the teachers there are


qualified. Someone who send their kids to private schools took a


decision to take -- to send their children there, even if the teachers


were unqualified, because they are experts in their field. Someone who


send their kids to free schools is because -- is their decision, not


yours. Because some of the free schools are new, and have never been


there before, parents need a guarantee that there are some basics


in place, whatever sort of school. So they need you to hold their hand?


It is not about holding hands, it is about having a minimum guarantee.


Our party made clear at our conference that this is a priority


for us. Nick Clegg reflects the view of the party, and I believe it is an


entirely rational thing to do. Nick Clegg complained that the Prime


Minister gave him only 30 minutes notice on the Prime Minister Buzz 's


U-turn on green levies. That is almost as little time as Nick Clegg


gave the Prime Minister on his U-turn on free schools. Aren't you


supposed to be partners? Green levies were under discussion in the


ministerial group before Wednesday, because we identified this as an


issue. We do that in a practical way. Sometimes there is only half an


hour's notice. We had even less than half an hour this morning! Simon


Hughes, thank you. So the price of energy is the big


battle ground in politics at the moment. 72% of people say that high


bills will influence the way they vote at the next election. Ed


Miliband has promised a price freeze after the next election, but will


the coalition turned the tables on Labour, with its proposal to roll


back green levies. Caroline Flint joins us from Sheffield. It looks


like the coalition will be able to take ?50 of energy bills, by


removing green levies. It is quite clear that different parts of the


government are running round waking up to the fact that the public feel


that this government has not done enough to listen to their concerns.


Last week, there was a classic case of the Prime Minister making up


policy literally at the dispatch box. Let's see what they say in the


autumn statement. The truth is, whatever the debate around green


levies, and I have always said we should look at value for money at


those green levies. Our argument is about acknowledging there is


something wrong with the way the market works, and the way those


companies are regulated. Behind our freeze for 20 months is a package of


proposals to reform this market. I understand that, but you cannot tell


as the details about that. I can. You cannot give us the details about


reforming the market. We are going to do three things, and I think I


said this last time I was on the programme. First, we are going to


separate out the generation side from the supply side within the big


six. Secondly, we will have a energy pool, or power exchange, where all


energy will have to be traded in that pool. Thirdly, we will


establish a tougher regulator, because Ofgem is increasingly being


seen as not doing the job right. I notice that you didn't mention any


reform of the current green and social taxes on the energy bill. Is


it Labour's policy to maintain the existing green levies? In 2011, the


government chose to get rid of warm front, which was the publicly funded


through tracks a scheme to support new installation. When they got rid


of that, it was the first time we had a government since the 70s that


didn't have such a policy. What is your policy? We voted against that


because we believe it is wrong. We believe that the eco-scheme, a


government intervention which is ?47 of the ?112 on our bills each year,


is expensive, bureaucratic and isn't going to the fuel poor. I am up for


a debate on these issues. I am up for a discussion on what the


government should do and what these energy companies should do. We


cannot let Cameron all the energy companies off the hook from the way


in which they organise their businesses, and expect us to pay


ever increasing rises in our bills. There is ?112 of green levies on our


bills at the moment. Did you vote against any of them? We didn't, but


what I would say ease these were government imposed levies. When they


got rid of the government funded programme, Warm Front, they


introduced the eco-scheme. The eco-project is one of the ones where


the energy companies are saying, it's too bureaucratic, and it is


proving more expensive than government estimates, apparently


doubled the amount the government thought. These things are all worth


looking at, but don't go to the heart of the issue. According to


official figures, on current plans, which you support, which you voted


for, households will be paying 41% more per unit of electricity by


2030. It puts your temporary freeze as just a blip. You support a 41%


rise in our bills. I support making sure we secure for the future access


to energy that we can grow here in the UK, whether it is through


nuclear, wind or solar, or other technologies yet to be developed. We


should protect ourselves against energy costs we cannot control. The


truth is, it is every fair for you to put that point across, and I


accept that, but we need to hear the other side about the cost for bill


payers if we didn't invest in new, indigenous sources of energy supply


for the future, which, in the long run, will be cheaper and more


secure, and create the jobs we need. I think it is important to


have a debate about these issues, but they have to be seen in the


right context. If we stay stuck in the past, we will pay more and we


will not create jobs. How can you criticise the coalition's plans for


a new nuclear station, when jeering 13 years of a Labour government, you


did not invest in a single nuclear plant? You sold off all our nuclear


technology to foreign companies. Energy provision was put out to


private hands and there has been no obstacle in British law against


ownership outside the UK. Part of this is looking ahead. Because your


previous track record is so bad? What we did decide under the


previous government, we came to the view, and there were discussions in


our party about this, that we did need to support a nuclear future.


At the time of that, David Cameron was one of those saying that


nuclear power should be a last resort. And as you said, the


Liberals did not support it. We stood up for that. We set in train


the green light of 10 sites, including Hinkley Point, for


nuclear development. I am glad to see that is making progress and we


should make more progress over the years ahead. We took a tough


decision when other governments had not done. You did not build a new


nuclear station. When you get back into power, will you build HS2?


That has not had a blank cheque from the Labour Party. I am in


favour of good infrastructure. Are you in favour of?, answer the


question? I have answered the question. It does not have a blank


cheque. If the prices are too high, we will review the decision when we


come back to vote on it. We will be looking at it closely. We have to


look for value for money and how it benefits the country. Have you


stocked up on jumpers this winter? I am perfectly all right with my


clothing. What is important, it is ridiculous for the Government to


suggest that the answer to the loss of trust in the energy companies is


to put on another jumper. The coalition has taken a long time


to come up with anything that can trump Ed Miliband's simple freezing


energy prices, vote for us. Are they on the brink of doing so? I do


not think so. They have had a problem that has dominated the


debate, talking about GDP, the figures came out on Friday and said,


well, and went back to talking about energy. My problem with what


David Cameron proposes is he agrees with the analysis that the Big Six


make too many profits. He wants to move the green levies into general


taxation, so that he looks like he is protecting the profits of the


energy companies. If the coalition can say they will take money off


the bills, does that change the game? I do not think the Liberal


Democrats are an obstacle to unwinding the green levies. I think


Nick Clegg is open to doing a deal, but the real obstacle is the carbon


reduction targets that we signed up to during the boom years. They were


ambitious I thought at the time. From that we have the taxes and


clocking up of the supply-side of the economy. Unless he will revise


that, and build from first principles a new strategy, he


cannot do more than put a dent into green levies. He might say as I


have got to ?50 now and if you voters in in an overall majority, I


will look up what we have done in the better times and give you more.


I am sure he will do that. It might be ?50 of the Bill, but it will be


?50 on your general taxation bill, which would be more progressive.


They will find it. We will never see it in general taxation. The


problem for the Coalition on what Ed Miliband has done is that it is


five weeks since he made that speech and it is all we are talking


about. David Cameron spent those five weeks trying to work out


whether Ed Miliband is a Marxist or whether he is connected to Middle


Britain. That is why Ed Miliband set the agenda. The coalition are


squabbling among themselves, looking petulant, on energy, and on


schools. Nobody is taking notice of the fact the economy is under way,


the recovery is under way. Ed Miliband has made the weather on


this. It UK has a relaxed attitude about


selling off assets based -- to companies based abroad. But this


week we have seen the Swiss owner of one of Scotland's largest


industrial sites, Grangemouth, come within a whisker of closing part of


it down. So should we care whether British assets have foreign owners?


Britain might be a nation of homeowners, but we appear to have


lost our taste for owning some of our biggest businesses. These are


among the crown jewels sold off in the past three decades to companies


based abroad. Roughly half of Britain's essential services have


overseas owners. The airport owner, British Airports Authority, is


owned by a Spanish company. Britain's largest water company,


Thames, is owned by a consortium led by an Australian bank. Four out


of six of Britain's biggest energy companies are owned by overseas


giants, and one of these, EDF Energy, which is owned by the


French state, is building Britain's first nuclear power plant in a


generation, backed by Chinese investors. It's a similar story for


train operator Arriva, bought by a company owned by the German state.


So part of the railways privatised by the British government was


effectively re-nationalised by the German government. But does it


matter who owns these companies, as long as the lights stay on, the


trains run on time, and we can still eat Cadbury's Dairy Milk?


We are joined by the general secretary of the RMT, Bob Crow, and


by venture capitalist Julie Meyer. They go head to head.


Have we seen the consequences of relying for essential services to


be foreign-owned? Four of the Big Six energy companies, Grangemouth,


owned by a tax exile in Switzerland. It is not good. I do not think


there is a cause and effect relationship between foreign


ownership and consumer prices. That is not the right comparison. We


need to be concerned about businesses represented the future,


businesses we are good at innovating for example in financial


services and the UK has a history of building businesses, such as


Monotypes. If we were not creating businesses here -- Monotise. Like


so many businesses creating products and services and creating


the shareholders. Should we allow hour essential services to be in


foreign ownership? It was demonstrated this week at


Grangemouth. If you do not own the industry, you do not own it. The


MPs of this country and the politicians in Scotland have no say,


they were consultants. Multinationals decide whether to


shut a company down. If that had been Unite union, they are the ones


who saved the jobs. They capitulated. They will come back,


like they have for the past 150 years, and capture again what they


lost. If it had closed, they would have lost their jobs for ever. If


the union had called the members up without a ballot for strike action,


there would have been uproar. This person in Switzerland can decide to


shut the entire industry down. The coalition, the Labour Party, as


well, when Labour was in government, they played a role of allowing


industries to go abroad, and it should be returned to public


ownership. Nestor. It has demonstrated that the Net comes


from new businesses. We must not be... When Daly motion was stopped


by the French government to be sold, it was an arrow to the heart of


French entrepreneurs. We must not create that culture in the UK.


Every train running in France is built in France. 90% of the trains


running in Germany are built in Germany. In Japan, it has to be


built in that country, and now an energy company in France is


reducing its nuclear capability in its own country and wants to make


profits out of the British industry to put back into it state industry.


That happened with the railway industry. They want to make money


at the expense of their own state companies. We sold off energy


production. How did we end up in a position where our nuclear capacity


will be built by a company owned by a socialist date, France, and


funded by a communist one, China, for vital infrastructure? I am not


suggesting that is in the national interest. I am saying we can pick


any one example and say it is a shame. The simple matter of the


fact is the owners are having to make decisions. Not just


Grangemouth, businesses are making decisions about what is the common


good. Not just in the shareholders' interest. For employees, customers.


What is in the common good when prices go up by 10% and the reason


is that 20 years ago they shut every coal pit down in this country,


the Germans kept theirs open and subsidised it and now we have the


Germans doing away with nuclear power and they have coal. Under the


Labour government, in 2008, the climate change Act was passed. Well


before that, and you know yourself, they shut down the coal mines to


smash the National Union of Mineworkers because they dared to


stand up for people in their community. Even if we wanted to


reopen the coalmines, it would be pointless. Under the 2008 Act, we


are not meant to burn more coal. The can, as if you spent some of


the profits, you could have carbon catch up. That does not exist on a


massive scale. You are arguing the case, Julie Meyer, for


entrepreneurs to come to this country. Even Bob Crow is not


against that. We are trying to argue, should essential services be


in foreign hands? Not those in Silicon round about doing start-ups.


I am trying to draw a broader principle than just energy.


Something like broadband services, also important to the functioning


of the economy. I believe in the UK's ability to innovate. When we


have businesses that play off broadband companies to get the best


prices for consumers. These new businesses and business models are


the best way. Not to control, but to influence. It will be a disaster.


Prices will go up and up as a result. Nissan in Sunderland, a


Japanese factory, some of the best cars and productivity. You want


that to be nationalised and bring it down to the standard of British


Leyland? It is not bring it down to the standard. The car manufacturing


base in this country has been wrecked. We make more cars now for


20 years -- than in 20 years. Ford's Dagenham produced some of


the best cars in the world. Did you buy one? I cannot drive. They moved


their plants to other countries, where it was cheaper labour. Would


you nationalise Nissan? There should be one car industry that


produces cars for people. This week the EU summit was about Angela


Merkel's mobile phone being tapped, they call it a handy. We sent Adam


to Brussels and told him to ignore the business about phone-tapping


and investigate the Prime Minister's policy on Europe instead.


I have come to my first EU summit to see how David Cameron is getting on


with his strategy to claim power was back from Brussels. Got any powers


back yet? Yes! Which ones? Sadly, his fellow leaders were not as


forthcoming. Chancellor, are you going to give any powers back to


Britain? Has David Cameron asked you for any powers back? The president


of the commission just laughed, and listen to the Lithuanian President.


How is David Cameron's renegotiation strategy going? What's that? He


wants powers back for Britain. No one knows what powers David Cameron


actually wants. Even our usual allies, like Sweden, are bit


baffled. We actually don't know yet what is going through the UK


membership. We will await the finalisation of that first. You


should ask him, and then tell us! Here is someone who must know, the


Dutch Prime Minister, he is doing what we are doing, carrying out a


review of the EU powers, known as competencies in the jargon, before


negotiating to get some back. Have you had any negotiations with David


Cameron over what powers you can bring back from Brussels? That is


not on the agenda of this summit. Have you talked to him about it?


This is not on the schedule for this summit.


David Cameron's advises tummy it is because he is playing the long game.


-- David Cameron's advisers tell me. At this summit, there was a task


force discussing how to cut EU red tape. Just how long this game is was


explained to me outside the summit, by the leader of the Conservatives


in the European Parliament. I think the behind-the-scenes negotiations


will start happening when the new commissioner is appointed later next


year. I think the detailed negotiations will start to happen


bubbly after the UK general election. That is when we will start


getting all of the detail of the horse trading, and real, Lake night


negotiations. Angela Merkel seems keen to rewrite the EU's main


treaties to deal with changes in the Eurozone, and that is the mechanism


David Cameron would use to renegotiate our membership. Everyone


here says his relationship with the German Chancellor is strong. So


after days in this building, here is how it looks. David Cameron has a


mountain to climb. It is climbable, but he isn't even in the foothills


yet. Has he even started packing his bags for the trip?


Joining us now, a man who knows a thing or two about the difficulties


Prime Minister 's face in Europe. Former Deputy Prime Minister,


Michael Heseltine. We are nine months from David Cameron's defining


speech on EU renegotiation. Can you think of one area of progress? I


don't know. And you don't know. And that's a good thing. Why is it a


good thing? Because the real progress goes on behind closed


doors. And only the most naive, because the real progress goes on


behind closed doors. Because, in this weary world, you and I, Andrew,


know full well that the moment you say, I making progress, people say,


where? And the machine goes to work to show that the progress isn't


enough. So you are much better off making progress as best you can in


the privacy of private diplomacy. It is a long journey ahead. In this


long journey, do you have a clear sense of the destination? Do you


have a clear sense of what powers Mr Cameron wants to negotiate? I have a


clear sense of the destination, which is a victory for the campaign


that he will win to stay inside the European community. That is the


agenda, and I have total support for that. I understand that, but if he


is incapable of getting any tangible sign of renegotiation, if he is able


only to do what Wilson did in 1975, which was to get a couple of token


changes to our membership status, he goes into that referendum without


much to argue for. He has everything to argue for. He's got Britain's


vital role as a major contributor to the community. He's got Britain's


self interest as a major beneficiary, and Britain's vital


role in the City of London. He's got everything to argue for. He could


argue for that now. He could have a referendum now. He doesn't want one


now. I haven't any doubt that he will come back with something to


talk about. But it may be slightly different to what his critics, the


UK isolationist party people, want. He may, for example, have found that


allies within the community want change as well, and he may secure


changes in the way the community works, which would be a significant


argument within the referendum campaign. Let me give you an


example. I think it is a scandal that the European Commission don't


secure the auditing of some of the accounts. Perhaps that could be on


the agenda. He might find a lot of accounts. Perhaps that could be on


contributing countries, like Germany, like Colin and, would be


very keen. -- like Holland. David vetoed the increase in the European


budgets the other day, and he had a lot of allies. So working within


Europe on the things that people paying the European bills want is


fertile ground. Is John Major right to call for a windfall tax on the


energy companies? John is a very cautious fellow. He doesn't say


things without thinking them out. So I was surprised that he went for a


windfall tax. First of all, it is retrospective, and secondly, it is


difficult to predict what the consequences will be. I am, myself,


more interested in the other part of his speech, which was talking about


the need for the Conservative Party to seek a wider horizon, to


recognise what is happening to the Conservative Party in the way in


which its membership is shrinking into a southeastern enclave. Are you


in favour of a windfall tax? I am not in favour of increasing any


taxes. Do you share Iain Duncan Smith's point of view on welfare


reform? I think Iain Duncan Smith is right. It is extremely difficult to


do, but he is right to try. I think public opinion is behind him, but it


isn't easy, because on the fringe of these issues there are genuine hard


luck stories, and they are the ones that become the focus of attention


the moment you introduce change. It requires a lot of political skill to


negotiate your way through that. But isn't Iain Duncan Smith right to


invoke the beverage principle, that you should be expected to make a


contribution for the welfare you depend on? Yes, he is. I will let


you get your Sunday lunch. Thanks for joining us.


Coming up in just over 20 minutes, I will be looking


Hello and welcome to Sunday Politics in Northern Ireland. He has warned


the Tories they are being complacent with their policy here. They say he


is parroting the rubbish of his predecessor. The news shadow


Secretary of State, Ivan Lewis, joins me live from Manchester. --


the new. Also, is the Exploris Aquarium about to sink or can


politicians when the will and the money to save it? To make sense of


all that, I am joined by the Irish News journalist Allison Morris and


Professor Pete Shirlow from Queen's University.


Labour has a new man looking after the Northern Ireland portfolio, and


ruffle a few feathers. He has ruffle a few feathers. He has


already accused the government of being complacent about what is going


on here. But even though he may have annoyed the Secretary of State with


the comment, he insists he is wedded to a bipartisan approach to the


peace process. Mr Lewis joins me now from Salford studio. In no time you


were criticising the government for being complacent. Not at all. The


basis on which I made these comments are made on the conversations I have


made with senior politicians in Northern Ireland. There is a general


view that the UK government is disengaged, is semidetached and


politicians in Northern Ireland want them to take on a far more hands-on


role. I have made it clear when it comes to supporting issues, we will


share our bipartisan report should. -- approach. Where is the evidence


for that? You are only in the job, you cannot have done a meaningful


sampling of opinion? Many agree that my predecessor was highly respected


and was in touch with what was going on. It was his view that he did his


job for two years. In all the conversations I have had over the


last two weeks, they have made the same point. When I made this point


in a debate on Wednesday I got a lot of support with Westminster -based


Northern Ireland politicians. Theresa Villiers not particularly


pleased with you. She says, with virtually no knowledge, you were


parroting the rubbish of your predecessor. It is not a very


harmonious start? On the vast majority of issues we will seek a


bipartisan approach, I have made that very, very clear. Where there


is a general view which affects the situation in Northern Ireland, the


engagement of the UK government, the UK's Secretary of State is very


important. You talk about the Haas talks, surely they should be part of


the bipartisan than approach? Exactly. Haas is supporting, has a


lot of credibility in terms of the disturbances we have seen a Northern


Ireland this year, his work is important. In terms of the outcome


of the macro to process, -- Haas process, the role of the UK


government and the Republic of government and the Republic of


Ireland government is going to be incredibly important. I welcome that


Haas met with the Prime Minister last week, that ongoing engagement


is incredibly important. How many times have you been here? I have


been privileged to visit last weekend. I attended the annual


awards of the retail sector. I addressed the Ulster Unionist Party


at their annual conference. I have visited once previously when Peter


Mandelson was the Secretary of State on a fact-finding mission. I am not


an expert in Northern Ireland. I am going to listen and learn and then


on the issues were the opposition can make a difference, provide some


leadership. That is what people will expect. People will expect you to be


an expert and get up to speed quickly. Does it feel to you at this


stage like a place apart? I will tell you how it feels, the people I


speak to, what stands out for me is the frankness and blindness of the


people I speak to. Whether it be representatives of the business


community or civil communities. Alongside that there is massive


goodwill to support me in my role and my party. We are incredibly


proud of the part the Labour Party played in delivering the peace party


process along with the people in part is of Northern Ireland. --


parties. We have an ongoing responsibility and we feel that very


passionately. For the benefit of people watching is that on that do


not know much about you and are interested in what you have to say,


not know much about you and are what is the key difference in what


your approach would be if you work Secretary of State? I would spend a


lot more time getting to know ordinary people as well as


politicians, community groups, grassroots organisations, spending


time in constituencies. I would have a more proactive approach in terms


of supporting the Northern Ireland executive and assembly on jobs and


growth. I welcome the conference that took place last week, but


getting involved in bringing that inward investment into the country


is crucial. We would not pursue some of the welfare reform policies which


are pernicious, the bedroom tax, and which would cost if I -- a


significant amount of money. We are about jobs and growth, about welfare


and reform and general engagement. Thank you very much for joining us


on the programme this morning. I am joined by Allison Morris and


Professor Pete Shirlow. It is interesting to get the news shadow


Secretary of State to list out his approach. There was not sense of --


a sense of that. Theresa Villiers has been very important in terms of


the fact that she has stopped enquiries, there are things the


Secretary of State can do but the rule is very limited. There is


nothing there to suggest that there would be a departure from that role.


Any differences that strike you? The rule has been watered down. He has


come out with some controversial statement early on to try and make a


mark in to try and show there was some kind of difference. Theresa


accused of things over the summer. accused of things over the summer.


The current Secretary of State is a cool character, she would not be the


type of person who would get her hands dirty and get to know people.


He did not he has only ever been here twice. An MP for Vauxhall from


Northern Ireland, issued a direct use of advice for home which was,


meet communities, get down on the ground. If he does that, that would


be very interesting. Does it seem to you that is what he needs to do and


that is what the current Secretary of State is not doing? It does bring


faith into political institutions and makes people think that


politicians care. Although the role is limited, it is still an important


role. Any engagement would be crucial. We don't have an opposition


here in Northern Ireland, do we need a shadow Secretary of State to be an


effective voice of opposition? The secretary of state does not have any


political powers. He could make statements because we do not have an


opposition here, are local politicians might be scared. It is


interesting, I think he will be an interesting character to watch. He


did I am self to a lot of local politicians here. But as Peter said,


it is not a role with any effect. It was interesting to hear what he had


to say. We will see if we comes back to Northern Ireland for his third


visit. The Enterprise Trade and Investment


Committee made a fact-finding visit to the ex-Lotus aquarium in


Portaferry this week. Nothing odd about that, you might think, but


some have queried why Ards Borough Council didn't ask the Department


itself, which has responsibility for tourism, of course - for help in


saving the aquarium. Sinn Fein claims the decision not to contact


DETI was politically motivated. So what are the issues threatening the


aquarium's survival? He was mark since. The politicians came to see


aquarium's survival? He was mark the fish and also to hear the


arguments in favour of keeping open the aquarium. Campaigners say that


Northern Ireland couldn't afford to lose a vital visitor attraction.


They are coming here because it is special, it is different. They can


see a Sea life centre anywhere in the world, there is only one


Exploris. But the problem is the aquarium is costing the council more


than ?500,000 a year. It is not just in aquarium water seals actually


helping those injured to recover in safe surroundings. In the past the


council has taken turtles washed up on the shore to the Bahamas. I


wouldn't say that it has to be specifically somewhere, it may be


difficult for us to get them be honed but that is what we would have


to do. But is there a chance of a last-minute reprieve for Exploris? I


hope it will be saved. It is a great facility. For anyone to allow this


to go down the drain as madness. Exploris has no shortage of


supporters but what it really needs is more money and there is no sign


yet that it is going to get it. Mark Simpson reporting. To discuss


the uncertain for two -- future for Exploris is Philip Smith and Phil


Flanagan. Thanks for joining us. Why precisely did the council not


contact DETI for support? I am delighted to be able to ask DETI for


support. Every time I talk about this either they are on my list as


support for Exploris. It is not about going to a list of executive


departments but about the Executive taken a holistic view here. I do not


know -- care what department comes forward to support, I want the


Executive to take the lead here. It is important that the realise it is


not just a local facility but regional facility. Your council


contacted three departments asking for support. Not enterprise trade


and investment. The council did not contact that department and I am


asking you why not. And the motion was -- a motion was put for words to


do this. We have done that and as I said before, I do not care which


department comes forward, as long as they do collectively, up with a


solution. Do you have an explanation why your colleagues did not help?


Were they trying to protect the DUP tourism Minister? I believe that


DETI have a role to play here. Do you think it was a mistake not to


formally approached them? It has been done. Has it? The council has


asked for DETI's input. And from the Executive as a whole. That is the


bottom line. I am not concerned about what department it is, as long


as one comes forward with proposals. You have heard the explanation from


the deputy mayor. I think the view of people in Portaferry that I


engage with is that there is a feeling that it has been up for


closure and it has been run down for a number of years because of its


location in Portaferry. Why because of its location? Portaferry is in a


Unionist dominated council area and it is a small nationalist part of


the area. People have felt that many facilities have been run down in the


last few years. Exploris is the latest on the list. The concern of


the people is that is being targeted because of its location in


Portaferry. We have heard some say that it should be located in another


area. So it is sectarian, that is what you are saying? I cannot say


that. It is the view is the views that are being presented to me by


the people of Portaferry. Have you heard that suggestion and how do you


respond to it? I think the accusation of sectarianism is slower


on a council that has an excellent record on relations. -- slur. ?1.8


million was spent in Portaferry. In my own area, we had less money


spent. They are of equal size. If that is sectarian... It is a small


area, the councillor approached three ministers who are all


nationalists. They didn't approach the DETI. We are putting two and two


together. I can always be for my own party. After the decision was made,


it was put to four ministers as well as DETI. We have done our bit, we


have an amendment to the last proposal coming to the assembly in a


week or two, technology this is a regional facility and asking the


Executive to step up to the plate. Let's talk about what the future


might be. You have been to visit it, you have now seen it and talk to


some of the people who work there and visit their and who want to see


it said. Do you see it as a regional facility that need support? The


Executive needs to explore it. One of the problems is that there has


not been a proper market strategy. I had never heard of the place before


it was proposed for closure in the media picked up on it. But certainly


the Executive collectively needs to work with the council and interested


stakeholders to work out how they can keep this excellent facility.


The council may need to dig deeper into its pockets? Absolutely. The


president has already been set here. -- precedent. We will leave it


there. Thank you for joining us on the programme. Let's take a look


back at the political week that was in 60 Seconds with Gareth Gordon.


Permission denied, the new planning Bill stopped at ground level. After


very careful and lengthy consideration, I have decided not to


move the bill onto further consideration stage now or later.


The shank ill bombing is remembered 20 years on. -- Shankill bombing.


The findings in this book came from... The Minister can talk like


she always does. Disgraceful from Mr Flanagan. It is the type of


opportunistic stuff I expect from him. A beauty pageant in Stormont.


Time for a final word from Allison him. A beauty pageant in Stormont.


Morris and Pete Shirlow. The past, systemic collusion in the 1970s. The


book is a remarkable piece of research. It is 15 years worth of


research. It brings together for the first time reports, RUC files from


the time and witness testimonies. It is the first time someone has joined


the dots. We have always thought there was some collusion in the


area. It has left a lot of families there was some collusion in the


with a lot of questions that need and sold. That is across the board,


we also saw the Shankill bombing commemoration. Yes, that is the


other point about remembering the past, were 20 years on from the


Shankill bombing and 20 years of the Greysteel massacre coming up later


this week. What did you make of that book? People went to prison, so we


know there was collusion. What I find difficult about the whole issue


is the way it is partisan and it is finger-pointing. We are now close to


be conciliation. It is now we see some of the families who've lost


members who are taking up cases. We have a process of prosecution, we


have a process of enquiry that is finished, but we still have, taking


place. This constant animosity which is not good for victims. We are a


long way to finding a solution. It is necessary to find a better way to


deal with this. We have the Haas walks -- talks we commencing this


week. What are your thoughts on the prospects of progress? He is here to


discuss how we deal with the past. We still do not have an agreed


definition of victims. We should concentrate on the living and those


left behind. Rather than constantly arguing of the definition of those


who died. It is down to leadership here. It is down to whether people


share their definitions and of the runway.


free school area for into that category. Thank you.


Is Labour about to drop its support category. Thank you.


Is Labour about to drop its support for High Speed 2, a rail line the


party approved while in government? for High Speed 2, a rail line the


these green shoots? These are all questions for The Week Ahead.


So, HS2. Miss Flint wouldn't answer the question. She's in northern MP


too. Ed Balls is comparing it to the Millennium Dome.


too. Ed Balls is comparing it to the minute's silence for HS2? It will


not be quite as crude as that. They will not stand up and say, we


not be quite as crude as that. They senior Labour person said to me it


would be a bit senior Labour person said to me it


that Gordon Brown and Ed Balls set for the euro back in 97. They will


be chucking lots of questions into the air, and the questions will


create doubt, and will create the grounds for Labour to say, at some


point, we think there is a much much better way of spending the money. It


isn't ?42 billion, because that includes a contingency. Let's see


what Peter Mandelson had to say about HS2. He was in the government


when Labour supported it. Frankly, there was too much of the argument


that if everyone else has got a high-speed train, we should have won


too. Regardless of need, regardless of cost, and regardless of


alternatives. As a party, to be frank, we didn't feel like being


trumped by the zeal of the then opposition's support for the


high-speed train. We wanted, if anything, to upstage them. So they


didn't really need it, and we're only talking about ?50 billion. Why


would you take a decision involving ?50 billion in a serious way? For


David Cameron, if it becomes clear Labour is against it, he cannot


proceed. He indicated last week that he wouldn't proceed if the certainty


wasn't there. For Labour, HS2 is really a debate about the deficit by


proxy. They think that if you don't go ahead with HS2, that releases


tens of billions of pounds to spend on other things, such as public


services, without going into boring. I don't think that works because


there was a difference between cancelling something that already


exists to pay for something else, and cancelling something that does


not yet exist and will be paid for over decades to pay for something


here and now. Can Labour do this? I know that the line will be, we are


not going to build this railway because we are going to build


200,000 houses a year. Can they do this without political cost? I think


there will be political costs, but they will play this card of we have


changed our mind. I think Cameron's line has been very clever, saying we


cannot do it without labour. You can put it in two ways. Sorry, we cannot


go ahead with it, but Labour has ruined your chance of prosperity, or


they can tie themselves to it, and then Labour cannot attack it on


great grounds when costs do spire. You can write Labour's script right


great grounds when costs do spire. now. They can say, if we were in


charge, the financial management would be much better. This raises


some really important questions for the government. They have utterly


failed to make the case for HS2. There is a real case to make.


Between London and Birmingham it is about capacity not speed. North of


Birmingham, it is about connectivity. It is a simple case to


make, but it is only in the last month that they have been making


that case. It shows really terrible complacency in the coalition that


they haven't done that. We'll HS2 happen or not? I think it will. For


the reasons that Nick outlined, there is not of a constituency for


it amongst Northern areas. -- there is enough of a constituency for it.


There is private investment as well. It isn't like Heathrow. I say no,


because I think Labour will drop their support for it. Caroline Flint


said she was in favour of the concept of trains generally, but


will it go further than that? It is difficult to see how it will go


ahead if Labour will not support it after setting five tests that it


clearly will not meet. Some will breathe a sigh of relief. Some will


say, even in the 20th century, we cannot build a proper rail network.


The economy was another big story of the week. We had those GDP figures.


There is a video the Tories are releasing. The world premiere is


going to be here. Where's the red carpet? It gives an indication of


how the Tories will hand Mr Miliband and labour in the run-up to the


election. Let's have a look at it. These graphics are even worse than


the ones we use on our show! How on earth would you expect that to go


viral? It did have a strange feel about it. It doesn't understand the


Internet at all. Who is going to read those little screens between


it? Put a dog in it! However, putting that aside, I have no idea


that that is going to go viral. The Tories are now operating - and I say


Tories rather than the coalition - on the assumption that the economy


is improving and will continue to improve, and that that will become


more obvious as 2014 goes on. We just saw their how they will fight


the campaign. Yes, and at the crucial moment, you will reach the


point where wages. To rise at a faster pace than inflation, and then


people will start to, in the words of Harold Macmillan, feel that they


have never had it so good. That is the key moment. If the economy is


growing, there is a rule of thumb that the government should get a


benefit. But it doesn't always work like that. The fundamental point


here is that Ed Miliband has had a great month. He has totally set the


agenda. He has set the agenda with something - freezing energy prices -


that may not work. That video shows that the Conservatives want to get


the debate back to the fundamentals. That this is a party


that told us for three years that this coalition was telling us to --


was taking us to hell on a handcart. That doesn't seem to have happened.


The energy price was a very clever thing, at the party conference


season, which now seems years ago. They saw that the recovery was going


to happen, so they changed the debate to living standards. Some


economists are now privately expecting growth to be 3% next year,


which was inconceivable for five months ago. If growth is 3% next


year, living standards will start to rise again. Where does Labour go


then? I would go further, and say that even though Ed Miliband has


made a small political victory on living standards, it hasn't


registered in the polls. Those polls have been contracted since April --


have been contracting since April. That macro economic story matters


more than the issue of living standards. The interesting thing


about the recovery is it confounds everybody. No one was predicting,


not the Treasury, not the media, not the IMF, not the academics, and the


only people I can think of... I fit -- I thought they knew everything!


The only people I know who did are one adviser who is very close to


George Osborne, and the clever hedge fund is who were buying British


equities back in January. Because the Treasury's record is so


appalling, no one believe them, but they were saying around February,


March this year, that by the end of the summer, the recovery would be


gathering momentum. For once, they turned out to be right! They said


that the economy would be going gang bust is! Where did the new Tory


voters come from? I agree, if the economic recovery continues, the


coalition will be stronger. But where will they get new voters from?


For people who sign up to help to buy, they will be locked into nice


mortgages at a low interest rate, and just as you go into a general


election, if you are getting 3% growth and unemployment is down, the


Bank of England will have to review their interest rates. People who are


getting nice interest rates now may find that it is not like that in a


few months time. The point John Major was making implicitly was that


Mrs Thatcher could speak to people on low incomes. John Major could not


speak to them -- John Major could speak to them. But this coalition


cannot speak to them. This idea about the reshuffle was that David


Cameron wanted more Northern voices, more women, to make it look like it


was not a party of seven men. When David Cameron became leader, John


Major said, I do not speak very often, but when I do, I will help


you, because I think you are good thing and I do not want to be like


Margaret Thatcher. But that speech was clearly a lament for the party


he believed that David Cameron was going to lead and create, but that


isn't happening. And energy prices continue into this coming week. We


have the companies going before a select committee. My information is


they are sending along the secondary division, not the boss. How can they


get along -- get away with that? I got the letter through from British


Gas this week explaining why my bills are going up, and at no point


since this became a story have any of the big companies handled it


well. I will have to leave it there. Make sure you pay your bill! That's


it for today. The Daily Politics is back on BBC Two tomorrow. I will be


back here on BBC One next Sunday. Remember, if it's Sunday, it is The


Sunday Politics.


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