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Monday, 20 October, 2008

Ian Lacey | 17:48 UK time, Monday, 20 October 2008

Tonight's programme is presented by Jeremy Paxman.

As political parties scramble to offer solutions for a recession they didn't predict and blame each other for causing, they're all reaching for their copy of Keynes for inspiration on how to stimulate the economy. Figures published today show government borrowing has risen sharply - but can we really spend our way out of a recession? We'll be asking the Conservative's spokesman for de-regulation, John Redwood, who joins us live.

Tonight we launch a new series of films ahead of the US presidential election. Newsnight's four specialist editors have all been to the US to contemplate the consequences of a new President for the worlds of science, diplomacy and politics.

First our Economics Editor Paul Mason kicks off the series with his take on how the collapse of the US economy might impact on the American Dream. You can watch Paul's film right now - here - and leave your thoughts on his blog - here.

And down on the ground Peter Marshall asks if John McCain can still snatch victory when most of the polls and the pundits are saying he's done for.

That and more on Newsnight, 10.30pm BBC TWO


  • Comment number 1.

    keynes is a red herring.

    remember if someone is selling you a loan check to see if they are getting a salesman cut?

    Things like a feed in tariff that has proven to create 100,000s of jobs and billions in income is the way forward. But HMG resolutely refuses such new industry which is a wicked thing to do . Their mental tramlines only thinks in terms of debt and more debt. Not innovation with proven methods of job creation like a feed in tariff. why is the uk one of the few countries to keep killing the bill trying to introduce a feed in tariff? Which lobby is at work?

    talking of lobbying there is a political fallout. see- AIG to Halt Lobbying Efforts- article on bloomberg.

    'The financial-services giant has also cancelled about 160 events scheduled for coming months, that were to cost a total of $80 million,'

    On Tues 360 billion dollar cds is due on Lehman and someone has to pay up. Which is a debt elephant that could trigger many more 100s of billions of cdu on defaulters?

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    Paul Mason's film equates the 'American Dream' with Starbucks.
    I always though the American Dream was that any lad (or lass) in USA could aspire to becoming President: once considered to be the world's leader. Maybe Obama will succeed in achieving that dream, although USA no longer leads the world in a direction that most of us would wish to emulate. One exception might be in that nation's enormous patriotic zeal (as shown in Stephen Fry's recent series).

    Looking back over 75 years my 'English Dream' would be less 'Starbucks' more 'Joe Lyon's Tea Shops' at the time of my youth, when the population of UK was a comfortable (and perfectly adequate) 45 million, so I don't have any enthusiasm for the recent government statement that they will limit it to 70 million by restricting immigration.

    In reality the dream (after 60 years of work)has turned out to be sitting in an unheated house wearing at least 4 layers of clothing.

    Why would I need Gordon's generous offer of more roof lagging and cavity wall filling (in lieu of the previous £200 winter fuel payment) when there is no heat to conserve - unless I am willing to pay more money than ever before to the super-rich oil and gas moguls? If my savings every regain some of their massive loss on the FTSE, I'll be able to join my son and grandchildren in Australia.

    And forget about 'growth' and Balanced Migration, there's no need to replace me with another costly immigrant: I'll be back again when the population returns to normal comfort levels.

    Meanwhile, I'm off to the local library where I'm told we will soon be able to enjoy music and chatter, and probably cups of coffee. Might as well get some benefit for my higher Council Taxes.

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi Newsnight and fellow posters.

    I just got around to watching last Monday's Special. It was worth watching but there was too much inaccesible, Bla Bla, BBC news style, language used. Will Hutton was relatively good as was Gillian Tett - but the debate used convoluted terms, 'inlanguage' , jargon, euphamisms - especially the 'accuser' guy in the big wheel!

    So, I wonder if fellow posters? will join in asking for another such Special as soon as possible (and why not a weekly one ) but with people like Bird and Fortune, Rory Bremner, Will Self, Andrew Gilligan, Joe Brand etc? ( make your suggestions) - and why not invite on some good 'posters' on this site to put the questions to some of the ?crooks? and ?Fraudsters?, using ordinary pithy, terminology so that we licence paying viewers can get a grasp on both the enormity of the crime and SIMPLICITY of the crime. (simple = the more complicated it is made to look the more 'they'can get away with)!

    My take on it all is as follows: it was not Reds under the Beds or Alkieda terrorists who have brought down capitalism it is Banking Directors and their boards, misappropriating our (depositors) money and pensions in league with Thatcher, Reagan, Blair, Brown and Bush.
    Put simply it is the biggest swindle on ordinary people ever ? the best example of legalised robbery ever!! Yet most people I speak to are like rabbits caught in headlights in not being able to grasp Brown? and Bushes culpability in the ?crime? ? for wasn?t it Brown (Bush?s chief Trojen Horse in Europe) who only last year vetoed EU attempts to bring in regulation? We need to hear more about this as Brown is speciously parading now as the chief saviour 0f the system, so that it can go back to business as usual and two fingers to taxpayers. I believe that any regulation now planned will not be genuine and effective Brown has anything to do with drawing up new rules!

    We need to debate on a Special What will it mean to have our taxes tied up in the propping up of this huge FRAUD ? Will it mean that we Brits now will never be able to catch up to European standards in pensions, hospitals, good schools,care of the elderly etc etc? This needs debating as I don?t believe that our tax will ever be paid back!
    Can we have relevant people in from Europe on the Special too to give other perspectives asI find it frustrating that BBC news is always reported in an Island mentality BBC insular bubble.

    The poll was a bit misleading. I wanted to vote for Government and Banking CEOs equally. Also my vote was for Governments as in UK and America ? as I believe other Governments wanted regulation but were stymied in this by Brown. We need this debated as Brown is out there trying to deflect the blame by making out to the confused electorate that all are equally to blame, ?it wasn't me gov?!

    One more BIG question that no one is asking: where are the rich hiding their wealth - can we ask the Banking CEOs with their bonuses, and Brown - and Mandalson, where has he stashed his recently acquired Million (tax payers money again) i wonder? Have they got it in gold bars in a secret vault in Treadneedle street? Well, we have the right to know given that we poor taxpayers are being forced to replace it.

  • Comment number 5.


    If you have not watched these or read the report, I suggest you do so. ETS has been handling the USA SATs for decades and knows what it's talking about. Other researchers have been warning about this for decades and have been irrationally vilified for simply stating it as it is. This doesn't seem to be sinking in however, probably because people don't understand that research now strongly suggests that the environmentalist assumption (that education raises attainment/intelligence) upon which The America Dream is premised, is empirically highly dubious, to say the least.

    That is, this assumption is so widely held by most of those in the West (especially those in education and training) that the message (that it is selection of innate ability not enrichment) simply does not sink in. If one imports and/or breeds low-skilled people, expect your culture/economy to go down hill.

  • Comment number 6.

    "they're all reaching for their copy of Keynes for inspiration on how to stimulate the economy"

    which volume of the Collected Works would that be then Ian?

    As for 'Keynes is a red herring'
    I think you should get Salmond
    on to comment as a former RBS oil economist and Government
    Fisheries economist on the odds of a new cod war between New
    Labour v the SNP and Iceland
    now that the IMF has bailed
    out our independent friends in
    the North?

    I blame that other Red - Harry (Dexter White) who set up the
    IMF at Bretton Woods with JMK.

    As the IMF said on July 4 when taking time out from partying:

    "The Icelandic economy is prosperous and flexible" -
    and an independent IMF
    member entitled to cash!

  • Comment number 7.

    Long live Article 4 - and aquavit!

    NB first line says indeed: 'The icelandic economy is prosperous and flexible' - like credit cards?!

  • Comment number 8.

    Hmm, wasn't encouraging people to get into debt and spend beyond their means the whole cause of the credit crunch in the first place? So Gordon Brown's answer to the credit crunch is to get Britain into more debt?

    US Elections
    Will the American broadcasters be giving British elections saturation coverage, or is it a legal obligation of the "special relationship" that the UK state broadcaster has to give obedient poodle coverage to US elections, whilst the US broadcasters don't have to reciprocate?

    Mark Easton has done a blog post that is right up your street:

    "I don't have any enthusiasm for the recent government statement that they will limit it to 70 million by restricting immigration."

    The government won't be limiting immigration afterall, Phil Woolas has backtracked on that statement, it was just more Labour spin. Here's how it works: Make a big statement to make it seem as though you are addressing voter concerns, give it lots of media coverage, then once people like Hillsideboy have believed it, quietly backtrack on it and hope that Hillsideboy didn't notice the backtrack.

    Phil Woolas ‘backtracks’ on immigration

  • Comment number 9.

    John Redwood you superstar! At last someone has told a government apologist (Robertson) to "Stop lying! Please..."

    More of the same, I hope.

  • Comment number 10.


    Though Colin's extollin'
    The Charmer Obama.
    His judgement's baloney
    He rated our Tony!

  • Comment number 11.

    ClownsRunTheTowns wrote:
    Hmm, wasn't encouraging people to get into debt and spend beyond their means the whole cause of the credit crunch in the first place? So Gordon Brown's answer to the credit crunch is to get Britain into more debt?

    Indeed .. but can you not see his long term thinking ?

    Very unlikely to win the next election, he is little bothered, as he is going to leave the Tory party to deal with the results of his rash borrowing and spending actions.

    A country drowning in national debt and totally dependent on other countries who now own and control our oil, gas, water and nuclear power supplies. Those lucky enough to still have employment will be overburdened with paying for all this with our taxes for decades. A complete shambles !

    In the same way as Blair deserted the sinking ship … Brown will no doubt retire to write his memoirs, take up a variety of high paid ‘consultancy positions’ and live a life of ease, apparently with a clear conscience !

  • Comment number 12.

    If Newsnight ran a piece on "is the Moon made of cheese?" there are posters here who would bang on about immigration and Jews are to blame for the weather n'all.

    I am reasonably well educated and knew that people would "shoot up" on heroin and cocaine but its only whenI started looking at the Newsnight blog that I found out about the far right and Senekot.

    There are one or two who clearly overdose on a regular basis.

    Clearly inbreeding.

  • Comment number 13.

    Thank goodness Jeremy's back! Loved John Redwood telling Robertson to "stop lying" ha ha ha. However, Jeremy described the pair of them as "point scoring" - how true!

  • Comment number 14.

    John Redwood came across as a deeply unpleasant man when he angrily shouted 'Stop lying!' The Tories are on the back foot, and his charmless display won't help them.

  • Comment number 15.

    ClownsRunTheTowns (#8) Thanks or the link.

  • Comment number 16.

    14. At 09:49am on 21 Oct 2008, CliveJenkins

    Didn't watch so can't comment on the context, but might one enquire if the person to whom the comment was directed was indeed lying? And did the moderator assist the viewer to a conclusion?

    If Mr. Robinson was not economical with the truth then Mr. Redwood's response would indeed reflect poorly upon him.

    However, if the show is merely to allow voice to any old Pol's Porkies without being held to account, then I'd say it is both Mr. Robinson AND the host who need a bit of... um... help.

    Frankly I am wondering what value most on-air interviews have these days when rampant untruths and/or errors of omission and/or selective claims are allowed to be made that demand immediate and total refutation by those who are paid, and should know enough of the actual facts, to put such things squarely in their places.

    And if not at the time for whatever reason, then if demanded there should be follow up. Which is why I like the Ch4 Fact Checker, though 6 and 3/4 folk probably see it vs. the millions who get served a whopper and swallow it thanks to the 'integrity' of the medium it emanates from.

    When it comes to holding those in power to account, I could therefore live with fewer displays of 'charm' if being sold a pup is the alternative consequence.

    Allow a lie to be repeated enough...

  • Comment number 17.

    I see Mandelson is distracting from the economic crisis by talking about helping small businesses plan for the recession - stressing staff training.

    Thats the effect of spin-meisters - you always question their motives.

    Its always good to see training mentioned - usually Britain is pretty poor in that department.

    But I find it amusing that the government that did not apparently see the recession and credit crunch coming should start lecturing on the do's and don'ts of what to do.

    I am sure that those small businesses currently going bust due to a lack of liquidity are really interested in the governments stance. But how will they pay for the staff training? Smarties?

  • Comment number 18.

    Tam Dalyell has just been on the lunchtime news in Scotland with a call for the appeal process to be accelerated in the appeal of Mr Megrahi who was convicted of the Lockerbie bombing. It is now 12 months since the Scottish Criminal Cases Review body -
    after examining new evidence -
    recommended that this case
    go to appeal to determine if
    there had been a miscarriage
    of justice. Mr Megrahi remains
    in Greenock prison and lawyers
    acting for him have announced
    today that he is suffering from
    prostrate cancer. Perhaps this
    item merits coverage by BBC
    Newsnight . If there has been
    a miscarriage of justice, this
    finding will reverberate around the world; but a further delay
    may now result in no appeal
    (which would not be in the
    public interest given the level of concern expressed by Lockerbie
    relatives and others over the
    safety of the original verdict).

  • Comment number 19.


    Hi Junkk. I have begged Radio 4 to play clips of the week's dodgy utterances - factual or structural - with a linguistic expert and a psychologist (neutrals) on hand to comment.
    The de-trousering factor should be quite a ratings boost. No response of course.

    Living within the lie - as ever.

  • Comment number 20.


    I doubt urgency will break out. What is one more UK disgrace anyway?

  • Comment number 21.

    Newsnight has of course been covering Lockerbie for nearly
    20 years. It was the biggest
    mass murder in Scotland with
    270 people killed; it is seven
    years and nine months since
    the conviction and the latest
    review produced a report of
    800 pages and 13 volumes
    of appendices - there were
    15,000 statements on file.

    The review itself cost £1.1m
    so much of the legwork has
    been done presumably? The
    trial took place in Holland -
    at Camp Zeist which had to
    be re-designated as part of
    Scotland to allow a Scottish
    bench to sit; and there were
    UN observers ....................

    So it is quite a big deal - an
    innocent man may be in jail?

  • Comment number 22.

    A public inquiry also began this week into the Marion Ross case
    in Scotland and the handling of
    forensic (fingerprint) evidence
    in that case which remains an
    unsolved murder. The police
    officer who was wrongly charged with perjury in that case on the basis of fingerprint evidence is
    also waiting for answers along
    with the other people affected:

  • Comment number 23.


    When there is a war on, it is only proper that one's government lies to its people in their interest.

    And the war on terror will never end . . .

  • Comment number 24.


    thegangofone (#12) Try and look at the facts. Look at the statistics and try to see that when people refer to groups they do so statistically. Try not to judge everything so emotionally. Look at the demographics of NYC (#5), who the major economists are behind free-market Liberal-Democracy and look into Neoconservatism and its roots.

    Then look into the most heated political issue of recent times - 'the war on terror'. Which group was in the firing line? Why? Which groups have been targetted most for sub-prime loans? How did this come about? There is a long history to this.


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