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JOHN HUMPRHYS: Good afternoon. They're
on the march in London... but are they wasting their time? MPs will be
back in London on Tuesday to debate Iraq... but are those opposed to a
war wasting THEIR time? We'll be looking at all that and talking to the
leader of the Conservative Party Iain Duncan Smith. I'll be asking the
leader of the Scottish Nationalists, John Swinney, why they're making so
little headway. And I'll be talking to the Northern Ireland First Minister,
David Trimble, about the latest crisis facing the peace process. That's
after the news read by Darren Jordon.
HUMPHRYS: They're marching to save
the foxhounds - and the countryside - but Labour MPs want to ban their
sport and they won't let the government off the hook.
GRAHAM ALLEN: "There should be an outright
ban on hunting with hounds and anything less than that will be a misreading
of the House of Commons."
HUMPHRYS: With his party in the doldrums,
does the Scottish Nationalist leader have any reason to celebrate? .
And David Trimble
has survived another threat to his leadership of the Ulster Unionist Party.
But at what price to the Northern Ireland peace process.
And I'll also be
talking to the Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith.
But first, are we going
to war? On Tuesday MPs return to Westminster to debate Iraq. Many of
them will do their damnedest to stop Britain joining in a war. The Cabinet
meets tomorrow and some of THEM also have serious misgivings about Tony
Blair's support for America. But will their voices be heard? Well, that
depends perhaps on how many speak out. If a British prime minister decides
to go to war there is nothing to stop him - unless, of course, he fails
to carry his party with him. Then it becomes difficult. Terry Dignan
TERRY DIGNAN: The spectre of war looms
again over the Middle East. The armed forces of the United States are on
the move. Eleven years ago America and her allies called a halt once the
Iraqis had been ejected from Kuwait. This time they may go all the way
- to Baghdad - with British troops risking their lives alongside them.
Over Kosovo and Afghanistan
Tony Blair didn't flinch from deploying our troops in support of what he
regarded as just causes. But Iraq is a bigger test. Many Labour members
and voters along with much of the European Union and Arab and Muslim worlds,
oppose United States' plans to go to war with Saddam Hussain. Mr Blair,
though, remains determined to stand alongside President George Bush even
at the risk of splitting his party and isolating Britain internationally.
MALCOLM SAVIDGE MP: There's a danger that Britain
could be colluding in policies that I think the vast majority of people
in Britain would feel very worried - might be dangerous and even evil policies.
And I'm thinking of policies like pre-emptive, pre-emptive wars against
countries who have not attacked us.
ERIC JOYCE MP; I think we have to have
resolve and if military action's what's required or at least a threat at
this stage of military action, and I think it is required - that threat
- then I think we should follow through with the threat.
DIGNAN; Ministers and civil servants
within Whitehall have been co-ordinating Britain's response to the Iraq
crisis. They have been compiling evidence for a dossier which is meant
to support American claims that Saddam has the potential to use weapons
of mass destruction. Tony Blair will present it to cabinet tomorrow and
MPs on Tuesday. It's aimed at those who believe the Iraqi leader is no
more of a threat today than he has been at any time in recent years.
DOUG HENDERSON: I don't think there's any greater
threat from Saddam Hussein today than there was four years ago - it's just
that the international political situation's changed in the aftermath of
September last year and that the Americans are much more gung-ho.
DIGNAN: Hostility to military action
stretches beyond those who routinely criticise Tony Blair. More than a
hundred and thirty Labour MPs have signed a motion expressing deep unease
at possible British government support for war against Iraq. They want
the UN to find a solution. Even two cabinet members, Claire Short and Robin
Cook, are said to share these sentiments.
SAVIDGE: I think it's very important
to recognise that concern in Parliament spreads right across the Parliamentary
Labour Party - it's not just the usual suspects or the people who in the
past opposed military action, it's people like myself who have supported
previous military action.
PRESIDENT BUSH: I welcome the prime minister
back to Camp David ........
DIGNAN: At meetings with Bush,
Blair has argued for UN support for military action. Iraq has reacted by
allowing back UN weapons inspectors - an offer scorned by Blair and Bush,
understandably say some former inspectors.
TIM TREVAN: Generally speaking, Iraq was
happy to make inspectors look foolish. So if they knew that a site had
nothing then they would happily allow the inspectors to enter. If they
knew the site was something which would embarrass the inspectors, they
were even more happy to let them go in. For example, if the inspectors
turned up at a place which turned out to be a chicken farm because of some
error of map reading or a nursery school or something like that, but on
the other hand, if the inspectors got close to a site which actually contains
something they were trying to hide, then they would block physically the
inspectors from entering.
DIGNAN; So, the Americans fear
that UN inspectors would again be obstructed. Plans for a war against Saddam
would have to be put on hold. And that worries Washington because if there
is to be an attack on Iraq, the Administration may want it launched before
the summer heat returns to the Middle East.
DR ROSEMARY HOLLIS: Time is the problem, the American
timetable requires that if they are going to war they have to do it before
the weather changes and that means doing it in the early New Year. They
anticipate that the armed forces are going to have to equip for the potential
use of biological and chemical weaponry. That is not a possibility in the
middle of summer, and as soon as you get off the timetable, the political
timetable of this year, you get into the run-up to the next presidential
elections. So I believe that the hawks in Washington see this year as the
optimum year to press home their quest for regime change in Baghdad.
DIGNAN: Bush, backed by Blair,
has responded to Saddam's offer by calling on the UN Security Council to
set tough new conditions for the return of weapons inspectors. They should
go anywhere they want including Saddam's presidential palaces and there'd
be no room for negotiation. The Iraqis would face an ultimatum - co-operate
or the countdown to war commences. But this weekend Saddam has vowed to
defy any new UN resolution whose terms he says have been dictated by the
HOLLIS: The Iraqi government would
have to be feeling very desperate and frightened indeed to change its habitual
attitude on this issue of weapons inspectors so completely that they could
go anywhere in the country that they wanted, they could investigate any
site that they wanted, with or without notice and so on.
JOYCE; Saddam Hussein has ignored
all the resolutions passed up till now; he is a well known liar and murderer
and there's no reason we should accept his word at this stage, in fact
there's every reason we should not and back it up with a clear, concrete
statement of the resolve of the international community so I think it has
to be toughly worded and we have to be prepared to back it up swiftly with
DIGNAN: So far only two of the
five permanent members of the UN security council - the US and UK - want
to threaten Saddam with dire consequences if he doesn't co-operate. France,
Russia and China have yet to be won over. But the Americans warn they'll
block the return of the inspectors unless the threat of force is held in
TREVAN: The inspections don't have
much hope of success unless Iraq believes there are serious consequences
of not complying with the inspections. Clearly Russia, China and France
are very reluctant to mention the military threat so you're sending in
inspectors without the military threat behind them, which means that Iraq
is very unlikely to do anything beyond the minimal to allow them to come
into the country and wander around and make fools of themselves.
DIGNAN: In 1991 George Bush senior
had United Nations' backing for a war against Iraq. His son is warning
that he may take on Saddam regardless of the UN. That's what many Labour
MPs fear. Even worse from their point of view is their worry that Tony
Blair will ignore international opinion, commit Britain's armed forces
to the conflict and cause a split in his party.
HENDERSON: I think if Britain gives unconditional
backing to the US it weakens our position as a broker between for instance
European Union countries and the United States. It puts our own Prime Minister
on the spot if on the one hand he's saying to the UN you must try and build
a coalition, you must look at the question of inspections and at the same
time he's saying well if you don't, we're going to go ahead anyway.
JOYCE; When I look back and I think
about Kosovo, I don't accept that it is absolutely essential that the UN
give its full OK, I think at the end of the day what we need to do is to
remove this threat and if it has to be done without the UN, the full UN
backing, then so be it.
DIGNAN: The prospect of the US
deciding unilaterally to go to war may leave the UN looking weak, marginalised
and humiliated. It's argued that many member-states are so appalled at
the thought that they may decide to give America their backing. In theory
this should make it easier for Tony Blair to win round those Labour MPs
who say that without UN approval, war against Iraq is unacceptable.
HOLLIS: They've been playing a
game of bluff by threatening to go it alone if they don't get the necessary
co-operation, that does corner the UN, they need to legitimise whatever
the Americans do, otherwise it vindicates the idea that power might is
SAVIDGE: I think it is very worrying
to me that there are clearly a number of members of the Bush Administration
who want war almost whatever happens, irrespective of inspections, irrespective
of disarmament, they wish just to go for a regime change, and I don't want
to see the United Nations simply used as a cover for pursuing a belligerent
militaristic objective which is driven by the ideology of the US hard right.
DIGNAN: But in Whitehall the plan
appears to be to support Bush's strategy. That's what many Labour MPs believe.
Which means Britain may be heading for war - with or without UN approval.
It's a gamble - perhaps the severest test yet of the prime minister's leadership
SAVIDGE: Before we start talking
about the possible sacrifice of civilian lives or the lives of our armed
forces, we should be very careful about saying that we're prepared to pay
a blood price for the special relationship between our Prime Minister and
this particular President.
JOYCE: It does cause unease amongst
some people within the Labour Party and elsewhere, but we have to be careful
we don't define our response simply because the Americans are involved.
Some people seem not to like our response to the Iraq problem simply because
we're on the same side as the Americans.
DIGNAN: Not so long from now our
screens may again be filled with images of war. Tony Blair believes the
use of force may ultimately be the only way of ensuring that Saddam Hussain
is prevented from developing and unleashing chemical, biological and nuclear
weapons. Proving this to his Cabinet and to his MPs this week will be a
HUMPHRYS: Terry Dignan reporting
Well I'll be talking about
Iraq to Iain Duncan Smith in a few minutes. As we speak he is marching
through London with all the others. Our own reporter David Grossman is
with them. David....
DAVID GROSSMAN: As you can see there are many thousands
of people streaming down Whitehall and we're told there are many more thousands
waiting to start the procession. What's brought them here is a range of
issues, around the central theme that Government is just ignoring the needs
of rural people.
But there is also a core
grievance and that's to do with hunting with hounds. Indeed, the organisers
were very specific about that point, they said that if you don't oppose
a ban on hunting with hounds, please just don't bother turning up today.
They wanted all these people to speak with one voice to Government, with
one message about hunting and the Government is at the ...in the process
of drawing up its hunting legislation. So, how can the Government possibly
hope to keep all these people happy and the large number of MPs who are
equally passionate, but passionate that hunting should be banned.
I've been to Oxfordshire
to try to find out if there is a way for the Government to square that
very awkward looking circle.
DAVID GROSSMAN: A change could be coming to the
Bicester hunt - whilst the hounds can only smell breakfast on the morning
breeze their huntsman Patrick Martin is a worried man. A ban on hunting
would he says needlessly devastate his livelihood and the life of this
part of Oxfordshire. He's told the government's inquiry that the case
against hunting is a mess of unsubstantiated prejudice, in short a dog's
PATRICK MARTIN: I think it will completely
destroy the countryside. I think people will feel they had been picked
on and I think anybody can understand a reason for something being stopped
if there is justification and good evidence for it being stopped. It is
not animal welfare, it is personal prejudice.
GROSSMAN: The Labour party though
has long cherished the idea of banning hunting with hounds - it was one
of the few old Labour ideas that survived into the new era.
TONY BLAIR: "It will be banned, I mean
we'll get the vote to ban it as soon as we possibly can and we are looking
now at ways of bringing it forward in a future session and allow people
to have a vote and actually carry it through."
GROSSMAN: Tradition is a big part
of the appeal of hunting. Nineteenth century clothes long since abandoned
in urban Britain are cherished here. But five years into the Labour government,
Patrick Martin is still able to put on his stock and boots and go hunting
is resented by many Labour MPs. Instead of going for an outright ban straight
away the government spent time canvassing the views of MPs who overwhelmingly
supported an outright ban. The government is, say its critics, guilty of
weakness and dither.
GRAHAM ALLEN MP: I think many people in the country
and in parliament are absolutely baffled as to why Number Ten have played
this issue in the way that they have, this issue, issue was around some
four years ago with decisive leadership it could have been dealt with at
that point and it would now be history, but by dragging this along in the
way that the leadership have, what has happened is that it has become a
far bigger issue than it deserved to be and of course many people are weary
of it in all parts of the House. Many people would like to see the back
GROSSMAN: No hunting for the hounds
today, instead a trip to the county show. You don't need an acute nose
to detect that the government's still looking for a compromise on this
issue, something short of an outright ban. The formula they are thinking
about for their hunting bill expected this autumn , measures utility against
cruelty, so hunting would be allowed perhaps under licence where it was
the most effective and least cruel form of pest control. Ministers are
extremely aware of the problems an outright ban could cause in the countryside,
where there are dire threats of widespread civil disobedience.
MARTIN: Fury is a good word, people
will erupt, we have been fair, we have been peaceful we have done everything
that is asked of us and at the end of the day if they turn round and say
sorry we are going to ban you anyway that will not wash and they can face
GROSSMAN: And the consequences
could be what?
MARTIN: The consequences could
be outright civil war, people in this countryside will not take this lying
GROSSMAN: The Thame and Oxfordshire
county show looks peaceful enough but below the surface is a mood of angry
defiance at the threat of a hunting ban. The home secretary David Blunkett
is personally opposed to an outright ban - he's said to fear it would needlessly
jeopardise his fight against crime.
KATE HOEY MP: People living in areas where
there is huge amounts of crime do not want to see police resources wasted,
it would be absolutely ludicrous when we are so short of police and when
crime is on the increase that we want to make criminals out of decent law
abiding citizens and that we want to use police resources to go off and
try and catch those kinds of people. It is farcical and I think the Prime
Minister must know that.
GROSSMAN: In hunting as in politics
the whips are there to encourage the awkward and the reluctant to think
of the team. But when the government does publish its hunting bill it's
made it clear it'll be a free vote, there won't be any whipping. MPs will
be free to follow their conscience. And that means that even if the bill
does start life as a compromise that allows hunting to continue in some
form - when the large number of anti-hunting MPs get their teeth in it,
it could easily be amended into an outright ban.
ALLEN: I think putting some form
of botched compromise together in front of the House of Commons would be
a severe and profound misreading of the House of Commons at this point
and would result in more distress. Frankly the House of Commons has made
its position clear on numerous occasions, there should be an outright ban
on hunting with hounds and anything less than that will be a misreading
of the House of Commons and if the leadership feel that they can get away
with something like that I think they will be making a very severe mistake
and I think if someone puts forward a compromise it will be smashed aside
by the massive majority in the House of Commons
GROSSMAN: At the countryside alliance
stall they're concentrating on spreading the word about today's march.
If MPs do vote for a ban it will put them in conflict with The Lords where
the last time a ban was suggested it was massively defeated. The only
way out of this stalemate is for the government to invoke the parliament
act - a piece of legislation that in effect allows the Commons to ignore
the upper house - and the government has made it clear they are prepared
to use it.
ALUN MICHAEL MP: I am absolutely clear that if
the Government introduces a Bill which is amended in the House of Commons,
our promise in relation to allowing the Parliament Act to obtain would
apply. It would be a matter for the Commons and I think I can't underline
enough the important words "This would be a matter for the House of Commons."
GROSSMAN: Baroness Mallalieu is
a Labour Peer and president of the countryside alliance - she promises
that if the government uses the parliament act would trigger legislative
BARONESS MALLALIEU: If the government were to use
the parliament act on an issue such as this then the opposition in the
Lords, not just to the legislation itself but to the governments tactics
would be widespread and throughout all parties and I have very little doubt
that it would mean because in the Lords it is possible to delay legislation
with very few people, no guillotines, no timetabling, if that were to happen
the government would almost inevitably lose major pieces of legislation
and be unable to fulfil the promises it made at the last election.
HOEY: I'd have thought the last
thing that the Prime Minister needs at the moment is full scale anger in
the countryside, a row in parliament, time being spent on, on this when
he is very, very busy at the moment with dealing with problems in the Middle
East and the question of Iraq and also of course the pending referendum
on our, on whether we would go into the European, join into the European
GROSSMAN: The horn competition
isn't perhaps everyone's idea of a pleasing sound - it is after all designed
to excite hounds not delight music lovers. What most Labour MP's now seem
to agree on is that for a way to be found out of the stalemate - the government
needs to shrug off it's neutrality and show leadership.
ALLEN: I think there are two ways
forward, one is that this is allowed to run on and that a compromise is
put to the House of Commons, is massively defeated, a ban is massively
supported and then we invoke the parliament acts to ensure that we push
this through over many years and making a big issue out of it. The other
way to do it is for the Prime Minister to get off the fence and be very
clear indeed that this is going to happen, he will help with the government
majority to push this through quickly and by showing leadership in this
situation I think that would kill off a lot of the opposition. The reason
this has become a big issue is because there is perceived weakness.
GROSSMAN: After all the preparation,
Patrick Martin and the Bicester hunt take to the show ring. For how many
more years is up to parliament. The issue of hunting promises to tie up
both houses for years threatening the government's legislative programme.
Then there would be the inevitable legal challenges that would follow any
ban. In Scotland where a new law came in in August that process has already
started. The government's in a very difficult position, for an administration
that likes to build consensus, on hunting at least they know they can't
JOHN HUMPHRYS: David Grossman reporting
on an issue that's causing big problems for the government. As for the
Tories... well, they will also obviously have a free vote when fox hunting
comes back to the Commons. But their leader has made his position perfectly
clear. Otherwise he'd hardly be out there today on the march. Is that
wise... identifying himself with a cause that has only minority support
in the nation as a whole and most of THOSE are natural Tory supporters
anyway. It's NEW supporters he needs if he's going to drag the party out
of its torpor. It's still languishing in the polls and shows no sign of
recovery. Well, Mr Duncan Smith has left the march in Parliament Square
and he is in our Westminster studio now.
Good Afternoon Mr Duncan
IAIN DUNCAN SMITH; Good Afternoon John.
HUMPHRYS: Lovely day for a march,
DUNCAN SMITH: It is a nice day. I thought
I'd expect to see you out there...small farmer yourself.
HUMPHRYS: Ah well, I'm busy in
here as you know. The problem for you though is that even people in your
own party think it is a mistake, some of them, think it is a mistake to
identify so publicly, to identify yourself and the party so publicly with
a cause that's inherently unpopular in the country as a whole.
DUNCAN SMITH: Look, I'm an urban MP. I
don't have a rural constituency, and I've always made my position clear
on this. This is a free vote issue. I'm not going to dragoon anybody
into the lobbies on my side. I say I take this view personally. What
I've simply said is I think it's wrong with all the problems that exist
in the countryside at the moment, and you know them as much as anybody
else, you know the rural shops are closing, the schools are in difficulty,
we've got problems with rising crime, and the farm incomes are falling.
I think it was something like fifty thousand farmers last year were actually
on incomes below what the government has set as the national minimum wage.
So these are huge crises and problems following foot and mouth, and what
I say is wrong is that the government should give government time, that's
the key, to a Bill which will ultimately make criminals out of a large
section of the British public and I don't think that's right. So I'm doing
it because, or marching today because I feel to do the right thing is important,
not to make gestures, not to pretend as though I could hide my opinions
behind somebody. As far as I'm concerned I've always said to everybody
I will do the right thing, and I will lead rather than follow.
HUMPHRYS: But when that Bill comes
to Parliament, as come it will, for months on end perhaps, Tories, Tory
peers perhaps, will be fighting a battle that is going to be unpopular
with a great deal of people. And also, just let me make this point if
I may, you will be therefore, not just identified with a cause that is
unpopular with a lot of people, but you will be reinforcing an image that
is out of date in the eyes of many people.
DUNCAN SMITH: Well John, I think there
are two important points to make on that. The first is, this is not just
a Conservative issue. I met Kate Hoey out there on the march. You've
just had pictures of Ann Mallalieu. There are others too, there are some
Liberal Democrats on there, although Charles Kennedy is opposed, although
he says at the same time he supports the issues on the march but is opposed
to the march. It's rather bizarre that, but nonetheless, you have a number
of others in the parties in both Houses that do actually believe that to
ban hunting, to make criminals of them is wrong. So it's not just a Conservative
issue. The second point to make about this is, of course public opinion
as you see it says in the last polls that I saw were marginally in favour
of something being done about hunting, but the truth when you ask them,
do you want to make criminals of people that hunt, you see the polls change
quite dramatically because I don't think the majority of the public actually
thinks this is an item that is really, really important. The items for
them that are important. The things I talked about, you know, the Toynbee
Hall speech about the real five giants of child poverty, the problems in
old age, poor health care, poor education and rising crime, those are the
real issues that the public both in urban constituencies and in rural constituencies
they all know that those are important, not this. And I'm saying by all
means leave it as a Private Member's Bill, but not do giver government
time, because you complain at the same time you haven't got time to do
stuff on education and hospitals, that's the key.
HUMPHRYS: And yet if you were to
form a future government you would give time to repealing and ban on hunting
wouldn't you, so where is your sense of priorities.
DUNCAN SMITH: Well, my priorities are set
here by this government What I'm saying is, if you don't give them government
time, if you leave the Private Member's Bill to see if it can make progress
itself, as has always been the case, because there are people on all sides
of the House that share views and differ with people, then my answer is,
then we will leave it like that. But if you go ahead and do something
which has not been done before, which to make government time, in other
words take time away from education, health, from law and order, take that
away and give it to a ban to make criminals of people who hunt, then the
only thing you can say in balance and fairness is that when we return to
government we will simply say we will give the same time to those if it
is the case, who wish to repeal it, that's all.
HUMPHRYS: But according to an internal
Conservative Party document that would be and I quote 'a lunatic sense
of priorities on your part'.
DUNCAN SMITH: Well, listen, there are going
to be people who are in favour of hunting and people that are opposed to
it. I'm simply saying that if the government proceeds down this road,
it is this government that is about to break the practice of all of the
past years, that you don't give government time to a ban on hunting, in
other words making criminals of people. I simply say it's unfair so you
need to balance that on the other side to give those an opportunity if
they want to, to repeal the legislation. It won't be a whipped vote, it
is a free vote, it will always in my book remain a free vote. I'm simply
saying do the right thing, be fair. I don't hunt, I just simply believe
this is not right, and I don't think my constituents at the end of the
day really think this is a number one ranking issue. The issues that bother
them are the ones I spoke about before, those issues of health, education,
crime and drugs. Those are the key issues and the government seems to
think this is a higher priority.
HUMPHRYS: Alright, well, let's
turn to another number one ranking issue that absolutely clearly is that
and that is Iraq, parliament going to be recalled on Tuesday, you'll be
debating it then and you will have the dossier that the government is going
to produce, but you won't have that until shortly before that session of
parliament begins. What do you make of that?
DUNCAN SMITH: Well I, you know, on your
programme, I said that the government, they should bring this dossier forward
well over a week ago and get it in the public domain. Now clearly the government
has some difficulties in doing that, I don't know what those are, they're
probably a lot to do with intelligence gathering and trying to figure out
what they can present, I recognise that, but as long as it's in everyone's
hands so that at least they've got something to debate during the debate,
it's not the only information, let's be honest about this, I don't think
there's going to be a sort of 'golden bullet' sitting in this, this dossier,
that says 'look, this is the final bit that says absolutely bang to rights
these are the amount of weapons he's got.' I don't think that's the case.
The ISS, The Institute of Strategic Studies, produced a very comprehensive
document based on what had been said by the arms inspectors three or four
years ago as well as up until about a year ago, and that shows comprehensively
that he has been developing biological, chemical and even nuclear...
HUMPHRYS: ...no, no, not, not the
latter, they said they'd done nothing more in that than...
DUNCAN SMITH: ...no...
HUMPHRYS: ...they have done for
the last ten years.
DUNCAN SMITH: No, no, if you look at it,
what they're saying is, the procedures, the scientists and everything else
are there and established, what they lack is the fissile material, and
with that they could take anything from a couple of months to a year to
make a warhead for one of their missiles, that's what they're saying.
HUMPHRYS: Well, they, they made
the point very clearly, they were no further advanced with that now than
they were ten years ago...
DUNCAN SMITH: ...because they haven't got
the fissile material John, that's all I'm saying...
BOTH SPEAKING TOGETHER
HUMPHRYS: ...there's no reason
why they should get the fissile material is the point that they're making.
DUNCAN SMITH: ...but that's what their
belief is, but we don't know for certain, that's all I'm saying, but they
do have, clearly do have biological weapons, they have improved missiles
with improved range, it'll cover most of the targets in the Middle East
even if not stretching as far as some parts of south-west Europe, so all
the evidence is there - those who don't want to accept to any of it, well
it doesn't matter how much more is produced.
HUMPHRYS: So, so it doesn't matter
what's in the dossier then, you're...
DUNCAN SMITH: ...it does...
HUMPHRYS: ...well, from the point
of view of your mind being made up, it really doesn't make any difference
does it? You're determined that it should go ahead, an attack should go
DUNCAN SMITH: I believe that we face a
serious and growing danger from Iraq, and the whole of the Middle East
does, if we don't now deal with Saddam Hussein. In two to three years time,
if he gets the fissile material for a nuclear weapon, then that could change
everything, and it will be too late then to say, oh well, I wish we did
something about him. So what is happening is right at the moment, is that
United Nations is now under pressure quite rightly to pass a resolution
that says to Saddam Hussein once and for all, you must now comply with
all those resolutions that say you get rid of your weapons, you obviously
allow the inspectors in, you put a time scale to get rid of those weapons
and you then show that those weapons and the programmes and the scientists
involved are no longer working on them and that's the key bit.
HUMPHRYS: But in the same way that
you would countenance, you would support an attack without any new evidence
in that dossier, you would also, as I understand it, support an attack
without a specific United Nations resolution.
DUNCAN SMITH: No, we've said all along
that we want that resolution, but the only way you'll have it...
HUMPHRYS: ...yes, you'd like it...
DUNCAN SMITH: ...yes, well I believe that
the only way...
HUMPHRYS: ...it's not essential?
DUNCAN SMITH: Well it's not essential strictly
speaking in legal terms. I mean David Hannay on your Today programme, the
other programme you do, made it clear a couple of weeks ago that strictly
speaking, and he was the ex-ambassador to the UN, he said strictly speaking,
legally those resolutions themselves, are enforceable. But what clearly
the President of the United States, and I hope the Prime Minister and believe
the Prime Minister as well, and others are trying to do, is to strive to
get the United Nations now to give an overall mandate to say 'look, if
you don't comply with any of those, then military action will take place.'
And you know, Saddam Hussein, what - four days ago, suddenly seemed to
me to be panicked, he then suddenly said, 'I'll let the inspectors back
in.' Now do we honestly think that he'd have allowed to talk, or would
have started talking about that, if he hadn't begun to realise that they
were serious about military action. It's the threat of military action
that is forcing him to comply with those resolutions.
HUMPHRYS: Yes, but the interesting
thing about that was even though he said it, the response from Washington
was to say, it doesn't matter, we're going to attack anyway, we want regime
change. That was the effect of it. And you, this morning, seem to be saying
very much the same thing, doesn't matter about the dossier, that's to say
whether there's new evidence, doesn't matter whether there is a specific
United Nations resolution...
DUNCAN SMITH: ...no, I didn't say it didn't
matter about the dossier, I said...
HUMPHRYS: ...you said it would
make no difference to your basic decision as to whether there was new information.
DUNCAN SMITH: ...no, I said, I said those
who expect there to be some final absolute proof would build it up to be
more than it is. My belief in discussions with government is that the dossier
will add to the sum total of knowledge out there...
HUMPHRYS: ...but if it doesn't?
DUNCAN SMITH: ...there isn't one single
bit that actually...
DUNCAN SMITH: ...that actually changes,
suddenly, you know, a revelation to somebody.
HUMPHRYS: Alright. Well let's be
quite clear about this then, even if there is no specific new evidence
in addition to that which we already know, the stuff that came out of the
ISS, and all the rest of it, even without that, your position is quite
clear, we should attack Saddam Hussein?
DUNCAN SMITH: I believe, quite rightly,
that the threat of military action from the allies is the only way to deal
with Saddam Husseim...
DUNCAN SMITH: ...either, and I believe
this is a very strong chance that he finally is forced to comply completely
with those resolutions and get rid of those weapons, which is after all
what we want, and that's what he was told to do ten years ago, and he hasn't
done it, and I thought very importantly David Hannay, again, on your programme,
the other programme, said that you know, when South Africa said they would
end their nuclear and biological programmes, it took one year, because
they actually agreed and worked with the inspectorate. They don't have
them any more. In Iraq's case, they stopped, blocked the inspectorate at
all places, and they were not able to get rid of those weapons, so we need
them to be got rid of, and it's interesting John, it's very important because
the public I think do need to know this, all the inspectors have said that
those weapons were being developed and he continued to make stockpiles
of them whilst they were there, every one of them has said that, from the
head of UNSCOM Richard Butler, right the way through to all the inspectors.
HUMPHRYS: Well, let's look to the
future and not for the moment to the past, though obviously the past has
to inform the future quite clearly, but nonetheless, your position is,
that whatever Saddam Hussein now says, you believe there should be, to
use the American expression, regime change in Iraq? That is your position?
DUNCAN SMITH: My position has been quite
clear, I have said, if that is what is necessary, and if it the only thing
we can do, then regime change would have to take place, but if however
Saddam Hussein, as I am absolutely clear about this, if Saddam Hussein
agrees to comply with the total resolutions within a time scale under a
new resolution from the United Nations, then that is clearly preferable,
but my point is, he'll only do that if he recognises that there is a threat
if he doesn't comply. That's where the pressure comes, that's where the
compression comes, so what we want is the end of those weapons, the eradication
of the programmes, the dispersal of the scientists, at that point, Saddam
Hussein, or whoever ends up being in charge of that country, is more than
likely to be a peaceful neighbour and not threaten all the other countries
HUMPHRYS: One of your predecessors,
John Major, has said, there would be a great price to be paid in terms
of the war on terrorism, in terms of the International World Order, if
there were to be an attack on Iraq without a specific United Nations resolution.
DUNCAN SMITH: Well that's we're asking
for, that's what I have worked for, that's what I have been saying, that
there must be now a clear United Nations line on this, and the reason why
John, you know I've been on this thing since 1995, I've tried to warn endlessly,
year in, year out, that he is going on producing these weapons and the
west is hiding its head, pretending that he's not. At last we are facing
up to it, and it is important this, I think this is a test for the United
Nations, they have an opportunity now to send a very strong signal to all
those other countries and would-be dictators around the world, that they're
not prepared to put up with this sort of action.
HUMPHRYS: Right. But, if there
is not a United Nations resolution, you would not support an attack on
Iraq? I'm slightly puzzled you see, as to your position here. Are you saying,
that in the absence of a United Nations resolution, there should be no
attack on Iraq? Is that what you're saying?
DUNCAN SMITH: No, I haven't said that.
I have said that I want the United Nations to complete this mandate, and
give the mandate to the allies, that if he doesn't comply with those resolutions
which are already legally binding on him, and to which action is available,
I mean to the sense that after his failure...
HUMPHRYS: ...but, but without that
there should be an attack anyway?
DUNCAN SMITH: I'm saying that military
action is the only way to do it if the United Nations now however steps
up to the mark, which I believe they will do, I don't believe they are
going to shirk this, look Saddam Hussein is somebody who is a threat to
all those people - in the dossier by the way John, something you ought
to know, there will be published some of the most graphic pictures I believe,
of what he has done to his own people using chemical and biological weapons,
civilians he has attacked, and the Iranians, and also the Saudis, the point
HUMPHRYS: We've seen those pictures.
DUNCAN SMITH: ...well you might have seen
HUMPHRYS: ...no the world has seen
them, there are pictures in the newspapers this morning showing that...
DUNCAN SMITH: ...but many in the public
are not aware, honestly, you know, I think it is the role as well of the
media to say who this man really is...
HUMPHRYS: ...well, alright, I...
DUNCAN SMITH: ...he is a serious threat
HUMPHRYS: ...I believe we've saying
that for a very, very long time. But let me, let me turn to some, a couple
of quick questions about your own party. We saw the resignation of Dominic
Cummings this past week, you've now lost, I'm doing a quick count, you've
now lost your Chairman, you've lost your Chief of Staff and you've last
your Director of Staff...
DUNCAN SMITH: ...I haven't lost them at
HUMPHRYS: ...well they've, they
have, they are no longer in their positions, they...
DUNCAN SMITH: ...well that's because I
took decisions about them.
HUMPHRYS: ...ah, well alright then,
you've sacked them, you've got rid of them, they've gone, whatever, they
are no longer there. It rather suggests a leadership in some disarray?
DUNCAN SMITH: Not at all. You are looking,
do I look like I'm in disarray? I can tell you now, I know exactly where
we are going, and our programme John has not changed. I mean you yourself
know, because we talked about my Toynbee Hall speech, identified the five
giants, that followed from the Hackney speech I made, and the Harrogate
speech I made back in the Spring, what I am saying, that the party, and
anybody who disagrees with this will just have to follow, because what
we are about to do is to explain to the British people that the Conservative
Party believes that they key objectives, the priorities for us as a returning
government are solving the crisis in the Health Service, improving the
quality of our schools, getting more policemen onto the streets, and improving
the quality of the policing so that we have less crime, less violent crime.
These are the key three priorities which will help with the other two,
which is to improve the lot of children who are in poverty, and the elderly
now who I think are, many are in crisis, facing serious problems across
the board from the lack of care homes to their poor pensions. Now, those
are our priorities, those are not going to change, and you'll see that
again at the conference John and I promise you, at conference you will
see us begin to flesh out policy initiatives, that will show the direction
of how we will deal with these and why the government...
HUMPHRYS: And what you will have
to persuade the conference of, at least many people at that conference
is that you truly are modernising the party, you're not the old Conservative
Party, and we've talked about this before as well, but Michael Portillo
got into this subject himself yesterday and that is this touchstone issue
of Section Twenty-eight, and he said, 'it's time to get rid of it, it has
completely served its day' and again, the problem is you don't seem to
be giving clear leadership on this, it isn't absolutely clear quite whether
you go along with the Portillo line who is a moderniser or you go along
with a traditionalist line.
DUNCAN SMITH: Well with respect John, I
don't think I should be defined by another person. I was...
HUMPHRYS: ...no, an issue......
DUNCAN SMITH: No I was elected John on
the programme that I put forward at the time of the leadership election
and I made it clear then that all of our policies that we had must be under
review so that we can decide whether they're right for where we want Britain
to go. Section Twenty-eight is part of that, what I said to you on your
programme as you recall was that I believe the principle behind Section
Twenty-eight, which should run right the way through the education system,
is that children who are under the authority of adults who are not clearly
their parents, they must be protected in case adults beyond those teachers
have particular desires or views and...
HUMPHRYS: ...right, and it needs
Section Twenty-eight to do that?
DUNCAN SMITH: ...well it may or may not.
DUNCAN SMITH: My point has been that we
will look at this and decide how best to do that so that it covers a whole
range of activities rather than just perhaps necessarily a narrow one.
HUMPHRYS: Right. Iain Duncan Smith,
thanks very much indeed, you can go back to the march now.
DUNCAN SMITH: Pleasure.
HUMPHRYS: The Conference season, we talked
about the Conservative Conference there, the conference season is well
under way. The Liberal Democrats' start today and the Scottish National
Party a couple of days later. Not a very happy time for them, given that
the elections for the Scottish Parliament are less than a year away and,
like the Tories here, they're struggling in the polls. I'll be talking
to their leader John Swinney after this report from Gloria De Piero.
GLORIA DE PIERO: This is the future home
of the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Nationalists had hoped that devolution
could become the foundation stone of an independent nation. But all the
indications are that when members take their seats here some time after
next year's Scottish elections, the SNP will remain in Opposition. The
Party is losing the battle with Labour.
PETER JONES: The SNP went into the last
elections in 1999 at the same sort of period before the elections as we
are now - about ten points ahead of the Labour Party. But now since the
election the Lab.., the SNP have essentially stuck around about you know
between five and ten points behind the Labour Party.
DE PIERO: And they only have eight
months to go till the Scottish elections to improve their position. John
Swinney was elected as leader of the SNP to reach beyond the minority of
Scottish voters who regard independence as a priority. Two years into his
leadership and the Party has failed to make the expected breakthrough in
the polls. Instead of being a Braveheart, has he turned into a faint heart
when it comes to standing up to the die-hard supporters of independence
within his own ranks?
John Swinney's election victory was supposed to herald a new era of Party
modernisation, but critics now claim he hasn't delivered. They say his
failure to talk more about public services and less about independence
has cost him dearly.
JONES: Independence is at most
supported by about a third of the population and that's a big problem because
you know if the SNP go into the next election talking about domestic agendas
- you know, poverty and the health service and the opposition parties
will drag it back to the question of independence, they'll talk about splits,
divorces, the expense etc.
DE PIERO: Photo opportunities in
a hospital may not be enough to convince the Scottish people that the SNP
will put public services first, particularly when limited resources would
be stretched by the process of moving to independence.
JONES: There are a lot of costs
associated with independence. Some of them are, can be dealt with, others
are more difficult, such as the uncertainty costs that would be created
by the process of moving to independence. So the SNP is always vulnerable
to the charge that just the single act of moving towards independence will
cause such disruption that people will think it not worthwhile.
DE PIERO: If the SNP is ever to
have any hope of building an independent Scotland they need to get control
of this place first. But by giving independence such a high priority, the
Scottish Nationalists may never be able to get the votes they need to close
the gap with Labour.
HUMPHRYS: Gloria De Piero reporting
JOHN HUMPHRYS: Well the leader John Swinney
is our Dundee studio. Mr Swinney your problem is that you are putting
too much emphasis on independence, and most people in Scotland don't want
JOHN SWINNEY: Well, sometimes I get criticised
for not putting enough emphasis on independence. I'm glad that we've registered
that independence remains the central purpose of the Scottish National
Party. What our election strategy is about is saying to people in Scotland
an SNP administration in the Scottish parliament will use the powers of
the Scottish parliament effectively to create a better Scotland. But if
we want to create Scotland as the best country that can be we must have
the normal powers of independence, because what we're finding just now,
is there are many limitations of the powers of the Scottish parliament
and what we're about is completing those powers and making sure we can
tackle many of the social and economic problems that still exist within
HUMPHRYS: Well, but the real reason
you're doing it is it not, that your party is on your back. You can't
do anything else. Given a choice you wouldn't choose to put this degree
of emphasis on an unpopular issue.
SWINNEY: Well, I came into politics
to win Scottish independence and my leadership, when I became leader of
the SNP I made it quite clear I was determined to win Scottish independence
so the fact that I'm fighting, and going to fight at the elections in May
of next year a campaign that will set out to people exactly why independence
is relevant to their lives should be no surprise to anybody at all. Now
what I'll do in that process is illustrate why there are some things we
can do within devolution, but in tackling many of the major problems in
Scotland such as the fact that our economic growth trails the rest of the
United Kingdom, or the fact that one in three children are still living
in poverty within Scotland, the fact that we can only tackle these issues
if we have the normal powers of independence, so it's about giving people
a meaningful solution to the problems that exist in their daily lives,
and in my view, having the full powers of a normal independent parliament
is the route to do that.
HUMPHRYS: A vote for the
SNP then is a vote for Scottish independence. It's as simple as that is
SWINNEY: To go back to what I said
to you in my first answer what I will do at the elections next year, is
set out to people what the SNP will do within the existing powers of the
Scottish parliament but I'll...
HUMPHRYS: You are not answering
my question are you?
SWINNEY: I'll come to that in a
SWINNEY: But there are limitations
to what the parliament can do, and I believe the solution to many of the
problems in Scotland can only come from the normality of independence,
so that's the message I'll give to people in the election. And as part
of that independence message I will say to them that once the SNP leads
Scotland, we will give the people in a referendum the simple choice of
deciding if our country should become an independent country, so the issue,
the hard issue of whether Scotland becomes an independent country comes
from the referendum that we put forward to the public once we're running
HUMPHRYS: Indeed, but if people
do not want independence or indeed they don't want to vote on it, which
amounts to the same thing of course because otherwise we have the status
quo, we don't have to have a referendum to keep the status quo do we.
If they do not want independence they should not vote for the SNP.
SWINNEY: Well, I want people to
vote for the Scottish National Party for whatever motivation they happen
to have. I've set out exactly why we'll put the independence message centre
stage in our election campaign next year because it gives us the chance
to address the real problems that exist in people's lives and to set out
a vision of how we can make Scotland a prosperous, a socially just and
a sustainable country. And that's what our election message will be all
about, and it will be set out to people in a persuasive way and a way that
excites them about the ambitions that we have for Scotland and the ambitions
that they should have for their country as well.
HUMPHRYS: Well I don't know whether
it will excite them or not, to know as we've been told quite clearly today
and on many many other occasions that if you have independence you have
less money to spend. The Scottish parliament in an independent Scotland,
a Scottish government would have less money to spend so therefore this
makes nonsense of your other basic claim doesn't it, the big claim which
is - vote for us and you have better public services, vote for you, get
independence one way or the other and there would be less money to spend
on the public services.
SWINNEY: Well you see, if you look
back at the facts about this John, you'll find that over the last twenty-five
years Scotland has contributed more to the United Kingdom than we have
had back in return, and you don't need to take my view for that, that's
the official conclusion of Her Majesty's Treasury in parliamentary answers
that Scotland's actually subsidised the rest of the United Kingdom over
the last twenty-five years.
HUMPHRYS: What about the Constitution
Unit and what it says?
SWINNEY: Well, the Constitution
Unit confirms that point that I've just made.
HUMPHRYS: It says that you'd have
between five hundred million and one-point-five billion less to spend.
That's what it says.
SWINNEY: Well, the Constitution
Unit says that. It also confirms what I've just said to you that Scotland
has paid more to the UK than we've had back, and also the Constitution
Unit says that Scotland would be entitled to what they characterised as
an independence dividend of over eight billion pounds in resources. Now
what that tells me is that Scotland is getting short-changed within the
United Kingdom because there's a concentration of government activity and
government headquarters and government spending in and around London and
the South-east of England, a well proven fact, and once Scotland becomes
an independent country, we'll have access to that independence dividend
that we don't currently have so when you look at the accounting systems
of all of that, it shows definitely that Scotland has prosperity at its
fingertips with independence and the challenge for us is to persuade enough
people to support that, and then to create a dynamic economy as a result
HUMPHRYS: Well you've been trying
to persuade people to support that notion for a very, very long time, and
the fact is you have been less rather than more successful. Only thirty
per cent want independence if we are to believe the polls of course, and
they've been pretty accurate on this issue over the years. You're not
getting anywhere, you're going in the wrong direction.
SWINNEY: Well, not at all. People
in Scotland are canny. They wanted to see what a bit of government would
be like and they've now got that through devolution. And the challenge
for the SNP now is to complete that argument, to set out a positive and
a powerful case as to why we should have the normal powers of independence
at our disposal. That's exactly what we'll do in the elections next May
and I'm very buoyant about our prospects as we go into those elections,
and our position just now is we are higher in the opinion polls than we
achieved in the 1999 elections and I'm determined to make sure over the
next seven to eight months that we close the gap in the Labour Party and
win political leadership in Scotland and that is what we're focussed on.
HUMPHRYS: But let's be realistic,
you're obviously because of the PR system in part, you're obviously not
going to get a majority in the next parliament. You therefore would need
a coalition. You cannot form a coalition with anybody because nobody else
supports your independence.
SWINNEY: Well let's just see what
the electoral arithmetic shows up after the elections next year. I'm very
optimistic about the SNP's prospects, I'm going to lead the SNP into a
campaign that's going to be concentrated on presenting the relevance of
independence to people in their daily lives and demonstrating how on health,
on education, on crime, on issues of jobs, the SNP has the right answers
and why taking responsibility for these issues within Scotland will deliver
the type of quality public services and prosperity that we are entitled
to. That's the beast of the election and that's why I think we'll win it.
HUMPHRYS: John Swinney, many thanks.
SWINNEY: Thank you.
JOHN HUMPHRYS: Another beleaguered
party leader is David Trimble, the Ulster Unionist leader and Northern
Ireland First Minister. He survived yet another threat to his leadership
yesterday but only by reaching a compromise with those in his party who
are opposed to the peace process. The opposition is led by Geoffrey Donaldson
whom many would prefer to see as leader. Mr Trimble has now set a deadline
of January the eighteenth for the IRA to show that they are ending all
terrorist activity. But that could put the whole peace process in jeopardy.
Mr Trimble is in our Belfast studio. Good afternoon Mr Trimble.
DAVID TRIMBLE: Good day.
HUMPHRYS: You've actually given
in haven't you, given in to those in your party who never supported the
Good Friday Agreement, and in effect, Geoffrey Donaldson is now in control
of the party, isn't he?
TRIMBLE: No that's not the case
at all. In fact the proposal to engage in talks over the next three months
and if they are not successful, then to resign was my own proposal and
Mr. Donaldson's proposal was quite different, that was my proposal, and
the reason why I put it forward was exactly for the same reason that throughout
June and July I repeatedly told the Prime Minister that we simply couldn't
go on the way we are at the moment, where the transition, and bear in mind,
we only went into administration with Sinn Fein, the representatives of
the Republican Movement, on the basis that the Republican Movement was
going to abandon violence and commit itself to exclusively peaceful means,
and we did it to facilitate a transition. Now quite clearly, this year,
the transition has stopped and judging by the violence of the summer was
regressing. Now we couldn't, we could not sustain that position. In June
and July I was urging the Prime Minister to get matters sorted out, unfortunately,
come September, the position is no better and with no prospect of it getting
better and we just simply couldn't go on like that, that is why we felt
it was necessary to set, as it were, this very clear position forward,
it may very well cause a crisis, but then it will be a crisis similar to
that caused when I resigned last year, again because of the failure of
the Republican Movement to fulfil its obligations. So in effect, we're
stuck with the same position as we were last year. It's a pity, but it's
a consequence of the failure of Republicans to make progress.
HUMPHRYS: So what has to happen
then to stop you resigning again? When you talk about the transition being
completed this time, what are you talking about? Are you talking in effect
about the disbandment of the IRA.
TRIMBLE: Well that should be the
outcome. I mean if you commit yourself to exclusively peaceful and democratic
means then that necessarily means an absence of paramilitaries. You can't
say that you're committed to exclusively peaceful and democratic means
if you're maintaining a private army and the private army is there, active
operating and maintaining its capability, so it necessarily involves the
agreement, and this is not me talking, this is the Belfast Agreement, which
we entered into four years ago, it necessarily involves an end to paramilitarism
in all its forms. Now we've had four years for this to happen, it's, insofar
as it's happening, it's happening very slowly indeed and we're saying we've
got to be in a position where it's demonstrably clear that we're approaching
the end of the transition. Now, there may be a little bit of flexibility
there, but let's be under no misunderstanding whatsoever, this isn't going
to be sorted by a fudge. This can only be sorted by there being very clear
unambiguous evidence of that transition approaching its end.
HUMPHRYS: And when you say a little
bit of flexibility, again to be absolutely clear about this, should the
IRA, the paramilitaries, be disbanded by January the eighteenth? Is that
what you're saying? If they're not disbanded by January the eighteenth,
you walk out?
TRIMBLE: If there is not a clear
end to paramilitarism. Now, you can have that disbandment in a number of
forms, in the nineteen-twenties, in the republic of what is now the Republic
of Ireland, the old IRA turned itself into a comrades association, it could
be that the people in the IRA move unequivocally into Sinn Fein and you
know, devote themselves to purely democratic activities, and there may
be other ways in which this can be done. I mean, that's what I mean about
a certain amount of flexibility on this, but it's got to be clear, the
agreement promised us a future that would operate by purely peaceful and
democratic means, that's what I want to see, so I want to see the agreement
fully implemented, the problem arises simply because Republicans weren't
implementing the agreement.
HUMPHRYS: So no IRA, therefore
it follows, no weapons in any bunkers, they'd all have to be cleared away
and there would have to be demonstrable evidence of that.
TRIMBLE: That's right, and that's
why we have a decommissioning process, and that decommissioning process
as you know has so far produced very little, because the paramilitaries,
and it's not just the IRA, the other paramilitaries are at fault in this
too, they have only co-operated with the decommissioning process to a very
limited extent. Clearly we want to see that speeded up.
HUMPHRYS: Well you say you want
to see it speeded up? I thought you were telling me a moment ago, correct
me if I'm wrong, that you want to see it completed by January the eighteenth,
completed by January the eighteenth, otherwise you walk out?
TRIMBLE: There's no reason why
that can't be done. There's absolutely no reason why...
TRIMBLE: ...there's no technical
problem with this. The only problem...
HUMPHRYS: ...political problems...
TRIMBLE: ...the only problem has
been a lack of will. The only problem has been that the paramilitaries
haven't been prepared to do it, and if they're prepared to do it, there
isn't a problem, and you can speak to John de Chastelain the Head of the
Decommissioning Commission, and he'll confirm to you that from a point
of view of actually doing it, it only takes, it'll only take a few weeks.
HUMPHRYS: But you're a practical
politician, if above all else, can you seriously see Gerry Adams sitting
down with the man who happens to be running the IRA at the moment and saying,
look old boy, that's it, it's all up now, by January the eighth, we close
it all down, we clear out all the bunkers, we get rid of it, I mean it's
not going to happen is it?
TRIMBLE: Well over the last four
years Mr Adams should have been telling the Republican Movement what they'd
signed up to. Over the last four years Mr Adams should have been preparing
them for the inevitable. And if has, then there isn't a problem, and if
he hasn't, then obviously there's a problem. What is clear, what is absolutely
clear, is that after the violence and the disturbances of the last summer,
this process cannot be sustained as things stand at the moment...
HUMPHRYS: ...beyond January the
eighteenth, so that if there is not complete decommissioning by January
the eighteenth, you walk out of the government, that is your position?
TRIMBLE: John it took quite a bit
of persuasion, to persuade people to give the process this further opportunity
to succeed. The reality is because of the violence, because of the failure
of Republicans, there has been a very serious leaching away of confidence
in the process. People believe they've been fooled. People believe that
there's never going to be change for the better. Now it's up to those who
have been dragging their feet to remedy that and to show that it's going
HUMPHRYS: Right so the answer to
my question is yes, and, and Gerry Adams, when he says this is a wreckers
charter, what he means of course is it wrecks the Good Friday Agreement
in his terms and it's all over. The peace process is effectively then,
this phase, this, this peace process the only one that we have, is at an
end, isn't it?
TRIMBLE: Well Mr Adams and his
friends said that last year before my resignation last year, so let's see
what happens this time.
HUMPHRYS: Yes but you gave in last
time. I mean, when I say, you gave in, there were concessions made last
time, what you're saying this time, is no concessions, either they clear
out all of those weapons or...
TRIMBLE: ...I didn't give in last
time, sorry John, I didn't give in last time, I only went back into Office
after decommissioning began.
HUMPHRYS: Quite. But this time...
TRIMBLE: ...now what has happened,
that, that was a year, nearly a year ago, in the interval between, when
we, we obtained after the first act of decommissioning on the basis that
a decommissioning process had begun, and since then, in the eleven months
since then, what, one further act? And then nothing? Now Mr Adams can't
have that. He knows quite clearly that I resigned last year because of
the failure of paramilitaries to decommission so they start decommissioning
and then when I go back into Office they stop. Well there's only one consequence
to that. I mean, if we're going to have this in/out, in/out process sobeit,
but I would much prefer to see things being properly fixed and that is
the objective we've set.
HUMPHRYS: David Trimble, thank
you very much indeed.
HUMPHRYS: And that's it for this week.
See you at the same time next week. Don't forget about our web-site. Until
then, good afternoon.