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Thursday, 4 December, 2008

Sarah McDermott | 16:12 UK time, Thursday, 4 December 2008

Kirsty presents tonight. Here's a look ahead to what's coming up in the programme:

Economic Rescue Plans
Another day, another big lever is pulled to try to kick-start business investment, consumer spending and the housing market. The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee today reduced the official bank rate one percentage point to 2% - its lowest for more than half a century. The cost of borrowing has been more than halved since early October, but will the rate cut be passed on by the banks and how can the government enforce lending. Britain's biggest mortgage lender The Halifax has already said it will limit its cut to 1/4%. Tonight with guests including Barack Obama's adviser (who was Bill Clinton's Secretary of Labour) Robert Reich, the chief executive of the advertising agency WPP, Sir Martin Sorrell, and the economist Noreena Hertz, we'll be asking if we are taking the right steps to reverse the slowdown, how long will it take, and if neither fiscal nor monetary measures work, what then?

Shannon Matthews
"Pure evil" is how the police officer who led the case of the disappearance of Shannon Matthews described her mother, Karen Matthews, today found guilty of kidnapping her own daughter, of false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice. "It is difficult to understand what type of mother would subject her own daughter to such a wicked and evil crime." Karen Matthews partner's uncle, Michael Donovan, was also convicted by a unanimous jury. It is believed that both of them gave nine-year old Karen the drug Temazepam and the travel sickness medication Melocozine for as many as 20 months before her abduction. How did such behaviour go undetected and are there people living so far beyond the boundaries of human decency that other children like Shannon are suffering in silence too? Does this case tell us anything about Britain today?

And more on the economy - how the Lebanese banking system is shielding the country's economy from the global financial crisis.

Do join us at 1030pm.


  • Comment number 1.

    Why does the BBC misreport economic and business news so regularly? Talk of "passing on" the interest rate cut is nonsense. Banks etc. can pass on only such things as have been passed to them. The Bank has cut the rate it pays TO banks on deposits, not (one of) the rate(s) at which the banks borrow. What the banks will be able to pass on is any cuts they make in rates paid to savers. It is savers who will end up baling out people who have overstretched THEMSELVES. (probably through trying to get "on the property ladder". How I hate that silly expression!)

    I am not being pedantic here. I am sick of the "tabloidism" so common in BBC economic reporting. (It is not all econ./bus. BBC staff. Some are excellent.) I find it annoying my licence fee is wasted on clowns, when excellent former BBC staff, such as Jenny Scott and Darshini David, are now working elsewhere in PR. What a waste! BBC, pay them more. Please keep the good ones and send out the clowns.

  • Comment number 2.


    "Does this case tell us anything about Britain today?"

    Not in isolation - it is a minor symptom. But if anyone cares to shake of the lie we all live in, and look afresh at how our society now measures value and success, it is clear our culture amounts to psychological crucifixion.
    ALL our young are fodder to Mammon-obsessed governance. They are nailed by career driven mothers, advertising, degrading pastimes and 'entertainment', washed over by an atmosphere of confused sexuality. Expect worse.

  • Comment number 3.

    Again we hear of interest cuts and Banks (those that took the tax payers cash) helping home owners by delaying their massive debts. I am not an economist, (thank goodness) but it seems to me that the government would have been more helpful, if they had paid of the interest on home owners mortgages, instead of funnelling it down a financial drain via the very people who caused the problem by burying their heads in some very mucky sand. I would love some clever person to do the maths and let me know how much that would have cost. By the way, what is wrong with council housing? If they are good enough to buy they should be good enough for local authorities to keep as low rent accommodation.
    Sean (still socialist but despairing)

  • Comment number 4.


    Did a police officer really use those words?
    Did the court pass a verdict in those terms?
    If not, does that lay the speaker open to an accusation of slander?

    In passing: I have noticed, lately, that the police 'pronounce' to the media after completion of high profile cases. Is this some PR initiative, decided at high level, or just spontaneous posing by the odd officer?

  • Comment number 5.


    I had a council mortgage years ago. The lady I arranged it through, KNEW THE HOUSE. At that time utilities were non-profit-making. The council owned the tanker that emptied our septic tank. They also mended the roads (the man next door drove their roller). I could go on.

    Slowly it all changed. Recently I was walking a footpath into Newbury and a sewer was oozing up and puddling. I went into the council offices - waited - only to be told, the instant I reported, "You want Thames Water".

    Of course there were things wrong, but we didn't have to smash it all to make it right.
    Did we?

  • Comment number 6.

    it's worth watching again Adam Curtis 'The Trap' [try vid sites] to see how and why people believed Game Theory and the market will build the better society and take over from govts. Of course its govt that have taken over the banks.

    Why Clinton and Greenspan are the architects of this bust now stands out like the iceberg no one saw.

    it is this same game theory which is being used in UK public services.

    with the credit crunch the whole philosophical basis of the last 20 years of western civilisation has been blown out the water.

    The ancient Greek Paremenides shows how anyone who does not take The Good as the highest idea of the mind ends in nihilism.

    So if we return to sanity, reject failed Game Theory and say The Good is the highest idea of the mind what follows? What model of man and what model of society?

    there are two episode to The Trap.

  • Comment number 7.

    sorry there are more than two episodes.

  • Comment number 8.

    The latest joke by Text

    An Iraeli Doc said medicine in my country is so advanced, we can take a kidney out of one person, put it in another, and have him looking for work in 6 weeks.

    German Doc said Thats nothing we can take a lung from one person, put it in another, and have him looking for work in 4 weeks.

    The English Doc said Hah. we can take an A------- from Scotland, put him in 10 downing street and have half the country looking for work within 24 hours.

    Can you guess the body part?

  • Comment number 9.

    Just in case a clue to Post 8

    It has a very big hole in the middle of it.

  • Comment number 10.


    A neat trick dAllan169 - you should be in politics. I was laughing so hard I could not click on 'Complain about this post'. But where on earth was the Blogdog?

  • Comment number 11.

    I am recieving telepathetic Questions -

    Was the whole black or brown?

    If you think about it, it could be both.

  • Comment number 12.

    Thanks Barrie, but I take the Billy Big Yin's Theory on politics and politicians, I cant for the life of me remember what he said, but I know exactly what he meant, if that makes any sense. I shall have to dig it out from somewhere, unless anyone on this site can come up with it.

  • Comment number 13.

    So the stock market parasites are suggesting that the BoE start printing false money, perhaps they are foolish enough to do so in the near future. " Quantative Easing is likely to lead to a similar situation to that faced in 1926 Germany, with everyone having to revert to barter to provide their daily needs.

    The experience of Japan in the 1990s must prove that cutting interest rates to zero only makes matters worse. Many people are not spending because they have no idea of the size of their next energy bill and the fall in interest on life savings.

    What we need is a major infrastructure project, Hoon claims that he is increasing spending on roads but the largest sums would appear to have been pledged on ( probably value imported ) Corporate Nazi Average Speed Cameras. Straight road building would have been far better as most of the money ends up back at the government through fuel taxes on construction road haulage. Other useful projects would be to provide a national grid for water paid for by the water companies in order to retain their license. Likewise investment in nuclear paid for by the energy suppliers, perhaps via a windfall tax.

    As for social workers, if they spent less time worrying about whether parents smoke or whether their children are obese, perhaps the population in general would have more confidence in them.

  • Comment number 14.

    #6 Bookhimdano

    Pleased you have brought up Game Theory again. I don't think most people realise how central to the economic crash and the problems of the world it is.

    Some of my posts in the records have disappeared. Someone wrote at start of Nov how disgusted they were at the self interest of bankers, not realising that is how they were supposed to operate.
    Was it you or Neil Robertson who posted the Greenspan evidence re hiss admission of getting 'the theory' wrong.

    One flaw in Nash's work I see is the pursuit of self interest only works with infinite resources. Other wise the system crashes.

    Here's some stuff from another blog last year. Touching on the subject.

    I saw the iceberg in 1991 I have tried to tell the Government, MPs, media etc. No one took any notice of me. JJ and Barrie have contributed to my understanding why. Society living within the lie, and this lacking of scientific conception by political leaders.

    Very important, I have added brackets
    "The ancient Greek Paremenides shows how anyone (or society, culture or civilisation) who does not take The Good as the highest idea of the mind ( and action) ends in nihilism".

    Our social system is a sub system of the planetary ecological system. This is why to fulfill the criteria of your post, I keep banging on about looking after animals and plants etc.

    The more we look after the larger system, the more good floods back to the social system.

    Newsnight what was that economic waste of time you presented.

    1) Noreena Hertz is OK ish, I can listen to her without throwing things at the TV. (Used to keep my dog exercised returning them). She sort of has her heart in the right place, but it is "still within the lie" she just hasn't the courage to go outside.

    But why didn't you let her speak, was Kirsty in awe of or scared of the suits.

    2) What did Professor Reich come out with, did I really hear him say.

    "For those who have trouble converting to dollars......that is a very big amount of money".

    Please someone on this blog reassure me he didn't say that. Surely that was also a paraphrase from Hans Solo in Star Wars.

    If he did say that you are going to have one of those BBC apologises, 'For treating Newsnight viewers with intellectual respect one brain cell up from an amoeba'.

    Absolutely disgraceful, why and where do you get such guests from?

    3) Your whole economic piece from start to finish.

    Keep banging the rocks together.

    Book Him Dano, Let me work on something over the weekend.

    I get ill regularly, once a decade or so, 10 years have come round so I am struggling a bit at the moment. Thanks for the video posts. New Fazer, had 'Power of Nightmare' a couple of days ago.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 15.

    Awful reporting on the economy by Kirsty Wark
    "The fiscal stimulus and the interest rate reductions have not worked".

    The fiscal stimulus is 3 days old and the latest interest reduction is less than 12 hours old, yet Kirsty Wark is confident enough to proclaim they are not working.

    It would be premature to make such a claim after 3 months let alone 3 days in one case and 10 hours in another

    This sort of crass ignorant reporting does not help matters.

    Newsnight is becoming a quality control free zone.

    The don't seem to care, why should they, they get paid anyway and are unaffected by the downturn

  • Comment number 16.

    5 or 6 MILLION DOLLARS (#14)

    Bad news Celtic Lion my furry chum. Here is what the US prat said: "For those of you who cannot easily translate Dollars into Pounds, let me say it's a big, big lot of money.
    I have been calling for more wisdom daily

    Now: this Quantitative Easing - I had heard the banks are sort-of constipated (perhaps due to ingestion of vast sums of real money when used to a diet of the imaginary stuff) but, post 8 notwithstanding, isn't fancy laxative treatment a bit drastic?

    And finally Kirsty. That diction is now beyond a joke. What is the equivalent of an ASBO for overpaid underenunciating presenters? How about a POGO - 'Please Open GOb'? (That would be stick rather than carrot.)

  • Comment number 17.


    The priceless comment about 5 or 6 million Dollars being a 'big, big lot of money' was, of course, redolent of Adam's wonderful quote from 'The Book': (roughly) "Space," it says, "is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly hugely mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space"

    Fiction will never be the same. Thank goodness for American reality!

  • Comment number 18.

    5 or 6 MILLION DOLLARS (#14)

    Bad news Celtic Lion my furry chum. Here is what the US REDACTED said: "For those of you who cannot easily translate Dollars into Pounds, let me say it's a big, big lot of money.
    I have been calling for more wisdom daily

    Now: this Quantitative Easing - I had heard the banks are sort-of REDACTED (perhaps due to ingestion of vast sums of real money when used to a diet of the imaginary stuff) but, post 8 notwithstanding, isn't fancy REDACTED treatment a bit drastic?

    And finally REDACTED That diction is now beyond a joke. What is the equivalent of an ASBO for overpaid underenunciating REDACTEDs? How about a POGO - 'Please Open REDACTED'? (That would be stick rather than carrot.)

  • Comment number 19.

    #13 "What we need is a major infrastructure project,"

    Up to the point there are spare infrastructure builders available. Beyond that it would just increase the prices of building. We would just as well drop money from helicopters.

    #13 "Other useful projects would be to provide a national grid for water paid for by the water companies in order to retain their license. Likewise investment in nuclear paid for by the energy suppliers, perhaps via a windfall tax."

    Water companies and energy suppliers never have and never will pay for anything; because that is an impossibility. Only people pay; because only people can. Why? Because companies are not real, they are legal fictions. To pay for one thing means to sacrifice consumption of something else. Only consumers (people) can sacrifice consumption because only people are consumers. (OK, cats, dogs and budgies are consumers. I don't count them important, in context). I find it utterly bizarre that you think otherwise. It is a flat earth view. Works OK on a simple day to day basis, just like thinking carrots come from the supermarket It is equally nonsensical. (I don't say it would not be beneficial to build a grid and invest in nuclear,I don't know, but all costs will be incurred by people, not companies.).

  • Comment number 20.

    JJ, this may interest you.

    How would you take samples to provide evidence of suitability for ministerial roles?

  • Comment number 21.

    The lebanon banking model appears to resemble the British banking system of
    about 25 yrs ago and something tells me that model of banking may re-appear again in our high streets, maybe sooner than we think.

    I am puzzled why the Govt assumes that banks are going to be lending, if not at the pre-crunch levels, at least around half way; face it, it ain't going to happen. The almost tabloid chorus of " we've bailed you out now start lending!!" will be falling on ears reluctant to these demands. Banks are like people and the first dynamic in any organisation/ organism is to survive.

    The near death experience with of some of our banks coupled with the death of long established banks in the US, and the collective sudden realisation that we have overstretched ourselves beyond a debt only 10yrs ago would have been unimaginable - personally and globally - its like the fat belching and farting couch potato pizza eating alcoholic 40 a day lazy slob who clutches his chest with a massive heart attack, who only then realises intensive care, (bailout) diet and keeping fit is the only way forward...he ain't gonna continue with his bad habits, if he has any sense, nor will the banks.

    It really is wishful thinking that the fiscal stimulus, recent and in the last couple of months will have any effect on the faltering economy, although its too early to call if it far as i see just wont. But one thing i was always certain of and that was higher levels of debt - more riskier and more complex banking - was always going to end pointy-bits-up, though not for some bankers whose bonus levels was always eye watering, but that was just the selfish gene operating and apparently we all have that particular gene.

  • Comment number 22.

    Chaotic families

    I very much wanted to hear what Beatrix Campbell had to say but Kirsty had her own blatantly prejudiced (and wrt social work, lay) opinions that she foisted on us instead.

    It' the NNR style - very attacking, very egocentric, and very enjoyable for a jolly sparring about works of art, but not suitable for a calm discussion of seriously disturbing social problems

    If Kirsty had sat back and taken in what the two other women were saying she may have gone some way to dispelling her prejudices about poverty and mental illness

    If mothers like KM and baby P's mother are social services cases, then surely the social services are co-creators of these chaotic families? at the end of the visit, if no further monitoring is to be taken, then what other message is the social worker sending other than 'carry on the good work'? - in the case of KM that message carried on through the birth of 7 children, some of whom were being taken into care.

    We have to start accepting that the under belly of our society is as much a reflection of the way other class-cultures carry on as it is a reflection of individual failure and wrong-doing - in other words there are good and bad people in all class cultures and we should not prejudge people on the basis of their income - in the KM case it sounds as if the social workers did not engage with the community who were in fact acting proactively and responsibly in sharing their concerns, despite the lack of resources in their lives.

  • Comment number 23.

    13th Man #20

    Very droll :-)

    Reading the article you recommend I find "an unrelated study of the quality of men’s sperm." As opposed to women's sperm I suppose.

    The Spar shop in the village here has a notice in its window, "Open 7 days a week. Including Sunday."

    I despair, JJ you are utterly vindicated.

  • Comment number 24.

    if one searches Gordon Brown or New Labour with terms like game theory, Isaiah Berlin etc then one comes up with some interesting information and confirmation of Isaiah Berlin at the root of New Labour and Gordon Brown.

    Yet The Trap show where ever Game theory and associated ideas have been implemented huge financial and social disaster follows. It was implemented in russia it happened in Iraq and now it has happened to us.

    All due to the political class love of game theory. Where the Good including common sense is seen as the enemy because it imposes discipline.

    the reason why they have got away with it is because no one has been questioning them on game theory. Our media is interested in tittle tattle and are not really up to dealing with ideas even though game theory is and has proven to be a weapon of mass destruction. A WMD our political class is using on us.

    so unless game theory is flagged up and discredited all we are going to get is more disasters.

    trouble is game theory is alive and well and still at work in uk politics.

  • Comment number 25.


    doctormisswest (#22) "If mothers like KM and baby P's mother are social services cases, then surely the social services are co-creators of these chaotic families?"

    And if our behaviour is largely gene driven and the contribution of environment is merely to further cause physical damage through negligence, all that others can do is try to prevent what would have happened otherwise. Is that the same as saying "social services are co-creators of these chaotic families?". I don't think so, especially when so many of these parents/families treat them as agents of an intrusive 'nanny/fascist state'.

    I have a lot of respect for the aspirations of many in the helping professions, but I'm also painfully aware of the empirical evidence for their low efficiacy. I have been suggesting why this is the case. I fear the main reason this sober, evidence driven advice is not heeded is that it radically challenges much that those in the helping professions take (prejudicially) for granted. Which in a word is Lysenkoist.

    This is not an 'armchair' or 'ivory tower' post. No6t that that will make much difference alas. What I hear in the exchange with Kirsty was more fitting for Newsnight Review.

  • Comment number 26.

    #19 13thMan

    It is pretty clear that unless the utilities are significantly regulated to invest in the future they will eventually end up like Railtrack. Projects like a barrage for the Severn and Morecambe bay could provide work for the masses as workers are easily trained. Likewise all you need is stone out of the ground (not in short supply ) cement ( currently running 20% below capacity ) plus the engineering jobs to produce the turbines. As with road building the government get most of the investment back in tax ( forgot to mention aggregate tax in original post )

    There is nothing " flat earth " about it, and who pays, shareholders would see a cut in dividends, but if we had a true market share prices should rise to reflect the extra infrastructure.

  • Comment number 27.


    bookhimdano (#24) I wasn't much impressed by 'The Trap' (although I looked forward to it having thought 'The Power of Nightmares' made some good points). Anyone with a background in psychology in the 60s (and 70s especially) would have imbibed some 'Game Theory', as for a while it served as a core model in Social Psychology given that this starts with dyadic interaction.

    However, rather than 'Game Theory', I suggest those interested in what's been driving predatory lending and much else in recent economic times are the findings from Behavioural Economics (cf. 'The Hyperbolic Discounting Function' and 'The Matching Law') which come from a completely different area - initially it was based on rat/pigeon (andall other animal) Operant Conditioning (Herrnstein, Chung, Rachlin and many others) although it was later (much later) translated/cogitivised by Tversky and Kahneman (the latter getting the Nobel in economics for 'his' work). It's what 'Cognitvists' do. They 'translate', they rarely originate.

    It's no coincidence that Herrnstein coauthored 'The Bell Curve'.........But Prospect Theory and Cognitive Psychology 'neatly' (egregiously) sidesteps Differential Psychology (The Psychology of Individual Differences which has becomne non PC) by only dealing in mean effect sizes.....

  • Comment number 28.

    The overriding problem with the FIRE economy, (Finance, Insurance & Real Estate), is that no one seems to remember that we are supposed to live in a capital based society. When Prof. Robert Reich stated "consumers have run out of money" everyone, including the professor, assumes, (in today's world, quite naturally), that the answer is to increase access to credit. Ergo "Quantitative Easing". But the underlying problem is in fact caused by a complete lack of new investment at the grass roots level of society. Citizens running out of money really means that they do not earn enough.

    If we look back to the period between the end of WW2 and the late sixties, consumers incomes were the ultimate driving force beneath the increase in general prosperity. But that prosperity was not caused by access to credit, it was caused by access to more employment through massive increases in the investment of savings as equity capital into new industry.

    Citizens income increased because investment of savings also increased. And that simple fact carries the lesson for the future. The sooner that is again recognised, the faster this crisis will be replaced with new prosperity. Moreover, real prosperity, not driven by vapour ware and false credit.

  • Comment number 29.

    27 JJ

    what is clear that they will use and prefer any system that is not based on the idea of the Good as the highest idea of the mind. They hate the idea of the Good. For them the highest idea of the mind is chemistry or genetics or some other fashionable term.

    Whatever idea is taken as the highest idea of the mind then one has to ask what follows.

    In the case of the Rand and Buchanan etc they took self interest as the highest ideal and look what follows. They wrapped it up and called it 'freedom'. Then exported it. Thatcher brought in and New labour followed. The NHS and public services have been in crisis ever since

    the Trap was made before we ourselves became victims of this Buchanan Freedom but when we were imposing it on Russia and Iraq. So parts two and three of the Trap are better.

    No doubt that line of thought has moved on and people now have new religions based on some on other lesser term than the Good.

    The absence of the Good [by preferring something else] is what leads to the bad.

  • Comment number 30.

    ChrisColes (#28) Sensible stuff, but given that industry now comprises such a small part of our now, largely 'feminised', Service Sector economy, how are we to reverse this? As I see it it, decades of equalities and other free-market orientated legislation (now to be further enforced via the EU courts regardless of the 'red lines' as we keep seeing in the news), makes this slow self-destruct of Western economies all but a fait accompli. It doesn't really matter whether this has been done by conspiracy or cockup. In fact, if it was the result of a conspiracy that would have been better as something could then have been done to arrest and even reverse it.

  • Comment number 31.

    bookhimdano (#29) "In the case of the Rand and Buchanan etc they took self interest as the highest ideal and look what follows."

    I don't disagree with your overall view, but I think the focus on sef-interest was more a matter of political (Cold War) capitulation rather than reverence, as attempts to control self-interest were deemed to lead to police-states i.e totalitarianism (cf Hayek et al.) but see the PRC today.

    The problem is that all this ignored individual differences, ie that behaviour is normally distributed (a function of gene mutation, flows and barriers) and even the parameters of this distribution (mean, SDs, skew etc) can change as a function of breeding and other demographic factors, hence my remarks on anti-eugenics, i.e dysgenesis.

    My point throughout has been that we should not be blinded by the impoverished methodology of so much of the social sciences which has in the main tended to be driven by limited use of measures of Central Tendency, mean differences and Null Hypothesis testing to identify variables. The work I'm referring to as important has since the late 60s been rendered as politically incorrect as the work on genetics and IQ, and I think that is because it highlights/exposes what has been egregiously done elsewhere in pursuit of self-interest for a minority. The characterisation of statism as inevitably leading to totalitarian police states which persecute their people, is, I suggest, largely free-market, fear-mongering, propaganda (references some other time perhaps). The USA still locks up more people than most, and it does so disproportionately when one looks at ethnicity. One should ask why.

  • Comment number 32.

    LEGALISED FRAUD: The True Story of Le Credit Crunch
    I'm a newsnight regular and I'm quite disappointed that to date you have not yet started to do the sort of investigative reporting that you really ought to be doing, RE: Le Credit Crunch. Yesterday night you had WPP Boss Martin Sorrell, Obama Adviser, Robert Reich and economist, Noreena Hertz, the discussion was quite good, nothing different from what we’ve been hearing over the last few weeks. But when it was actually about to get interesting you actually had to end the discussion albeit abruptly, when Noreena asked the question most of Britain and the World is currently asking, WHEN ARE THE BANKERS (CROOKS) who actually engineered this crash going to be brought to book. And do not think I have used the wrong word, engineered, cos I haven’t. YES it was engineered, do I have proof? Of course NOT, but it’s plain to see if you took out a loan or mortgage in the last 10-15 years. At some point during that time period, there was a eureka moment for these bankers as they realised they could “fraudulently” offload credit facilities while paying themselves big bonuses, salaries, commissions, etc in the name of trading.
    Martin Sorrell, apologies for not using “Sir” (Does he really deserve it??? Don’t think so), did not seem to like Noreena’s suggestions because he knows it’s the truth. He started to get defensive, WHY??? Because he wines and dines with these bankers, they’re all cronies. He gets all his business from them. But that is not my point.
    My point is this, in the early 2000’s, I was a victim of the Internet bubble created by ENRON, and I can remember very well during that period CNNs’ Lou Dobbs, started a daily countdown to when the ENRON bosses were going to be prosecuted for their crimes (which at the time was not obvious), they were eventually prosecuted and found guilty of committing one of the greatest corporate frauds of all time.
    Now, I think it is time for you (The BBC) to do the same, because then Justice will be served if these bankers are taken to account for their actions. In economics 101, what the banks did is known as MORAL HARZARD, and they all knew that the government will come to their aid.
    Imaging some coming to knock on your door offering you a £100m loan of which he will take a 30% commission, even though he knows that you cannot afford to pay back that loan. But hey! He doesn’t care because he gets paid regardless and leaves you with the burden of paying back the loan. When the bank fails, the government bails the bank out with my money (Taxes), while he retains his “LOOT” in some offshore account. Meanwhile, the man on the street that has been suckered is left with depression, a messed up credit file, repossession fears, the list is endless, but I guess some of you, who have never been out of work or has never had to worry about a debt or their credit file being illegally and fraudulently messed up so that you can continue to pay whatever high interest rate you’re on with your creditor, would never be able to understand what this means.
    WOW, I should have trained as a banker, this is legalised “FRAUD” and we’re allowing these guys to get away with it, by finding fancy names to describe the events. This is the same exact reason why the rich will continue to get richer and the poor poorer, because these guys must be really feeling cool with themselves right now. ‘Cos I would if I were a banker.

  • Comment number 33.

    why didn't kirsty ask the american guest who as part of the Clinton era that brought in Game theory [he is interviewed in the Trap supporting the idea] into politics if he still believes in game theory as the basis for Govt policy?

    given he was so wrong then why ask his opinion now?

  • Comment number 34.


    IQ endows cleverness. Cleverness feeds on current idioms (and is caught up in magnifying/masking dysfunction).
    Only wisdom affords BOTH freedom and restraint INSIDE each individual. From such individuals, viable society MIGHT be forthcoming.

    We need a wise hero.

  • Comment number 35.

    barrie (#34) You are right of course. However, as I have said a number of times, it is not just IQ which has heritability, it is (albeit to a lesser extent) personality traits. The only thing I can say which might interest you as a proxy for 'wisdom' is some configuration/weighting of The Big Five factors, although personally I'm not to keen on self-report personality inventories because of validity/reliability issues. Instead I'd go for ratings by professionals of other genetically driven behaviours such as impulsivity, risk taking etc, which tends to be how many do recruitment (via Assessment Centres) these. Sadly, they are often run by amateurs in our egalitarian times and I am appaled at the faith many put in popular constructions like Myers-Briggs which belongs with Angel-Reading, Brain-Gym and the like in my view.

    But that's the free-market for you. I am close to despair given how bad things currently are.

  • Comment number 36.

    #32 Desnake

    My point 1) post 14. Noreena I think is on the extreme of Newsnights acceptable cosy, establishment, conservative world view. Even she could push the envelope too far for Newsnight if she wasn't reigned in.

    #33 Book Him Dano

    I don't think enough people realise how pervasive the flawed Game Theory and associated ideas are. Not until they step out of the paradigm.

    Perhaps Newsnight didn't want to ask for fear of upsetting their cosy relationship or perhaps they didn't understand the question themselves. Perhaps they could reply.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 37.

    I am Not an Economist or a Banker or anything to do with those sectors !

    These Are All My Personal Views -

    Economic Rescue Plans

    At what point should there be a Vote Of No Confidence in our Government ?

    As I see it, there has been a string of failings in the West, including in the UK.
    I am a citizen of the UK not of the West, so I want some accountability here in the UK, not the same people digging a even deeper hole for us all to climb out of in 18+ months time.

    All this talk of spending our way out of recession I think is fools gold, the only way this recession could have been substantially eased for people and the taxpayer would had been action taken 3-5 years ago, this was not done because 'Boom and Bust had been irradiated', apparently.

    We are not America with the Dollar (the Oil currency), nor is the Euro (but the Euro is not our problem, thank god).

    The banks should not lower their saving rates, if they do savers will start moving their saving out of the banks and that will cause even more problems for them, no doubt leading to even more taxpayers money going into the banks, maybe Labour's plan ?

    The Bankers are not the cause of this problem, they played the game by the rules (as far as I know), who managed their rules ? it was our Government !

    I just received a statement from a well known building society, I have sub £10,000 in a saving account there, apparently I got charged 20% tax on the interest it earned ?
    This Governments anti-saving attitude is one of the reasons we are in this mess in the first place !

    Phew , what a rant :)

  • Comment number 38.

    Correction to #37 -

    All this talk of spending our way out of recession I think is fools gold, the only way this recession could have been substantially eased for people and the taxpayer would had been action taken 3-5 years ago, this was not done because 'Boom and Bust had been eradicated' apparently.

    Oops !

  • Comment number 39.

    Book Him Dano

    Let me try and give you an analogy of how I see newsnight is trying to deal with the situation.

    I don't know how 'highbrow' Newsnight viewers/bloggers are. There is a film called Armageddon with Bruce Willis. An Asteroid is heading to Earth.

    Billie Bob Thornton from NASA(Newsnight) has this team of 'experts' coming in with these crazy, barmpot solutions. These are the guests and all the other ideas (eg fiscal stimulus, Quantitative Easing ad infinitum) Newsnight roll out every night).

    What the viewers don't see is Paxman, off camera, shouting to a producer.

    "Can we have someone who's drunk a little less coffee please".

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 40.

    Steve-London (#37) "I am a citizen of the UK not of the West, so I want some accountability here in the UK, not the same people digging a even deeper hole for us all to climb out of in 18+ months time."

    What irks me is a recurrent image of Bill Clinton as favoured guest at a Labour Party conference many years ago lecturing the not-so-faithful that Globalism was coming whether they liked it or not. As members of the Socialist International, New Labour clearly is not national socialist (Socialism in One Country') but more akin to Trotskyite, yet when it has all begun to unravel (if one can't regulate small, how can one do it larger?), they tacitly lay the blame on Globalism saying there is little they can do.

    "All this talk of spending our way out of recession I think is fools gold"

    It's certainly another way of leeching money out of the general public. What are people supposed to spend their savings on? They save so they can eat, and keep warm etc in the future don't they?

    The Peston thread 'Why Punish Savers' is a worth a look for anyone who hasn't had a look.

  • Comment number 41.

    I have not had the details of the explosion at the Shia site in Pakistan.

    But given the pressure must be immense on Pakistan to flush out any al Qaeda mole(s) after Mumbai is this a sign that the moles realise their days are numbered and they are "cashing in their chips" and there may be more outrages?

  • Comment number 42.

    Delighted to hear Tutu suggesting removal of the racist Mugabe. Tutu is so intelligent and eloquent unlike many of the prejudiced posters on this site.

  • Comment number 43.


    Now that Speaker (Batman) Martin has proved himself unreliable and unworthy, would it not be a good idea to demote him back to his constituency, and take the opportunity to put one of my People's Heroes in the chair - tasked with holding the whole damnable charade to account, to fight our corner, on behalf of the British people?
    As it is only a part-time job, I wondered if the Dalai Lama might take it? Failing that, maybe the Man in the White Suit?

    Don't despair JJ (35) save it - it will get a lot worse yet.

  • Comment number 44.


    I LOVE the analogy! A Newsnight Special from 'an asteroid near us'. Paxo, eyebrows permanently at Mach 5 (exasperation) arms folded; foot on faulty nuke; haranguing the drilling crew with: "Why don't you just admit you don't know how to drill!"
    Then back to the son-et-lumiere, video-wall studio, to watch the whole expedition go 'foom' and 'boil away into space'. Oh I wish.

  • Comment number 45.


    I venture you might find the Archbishop more than a tad prejudiced, himself, gango.
    Granted he seems like a nice chap, but he does go round in a purple dress. Bit of a give-away?

  • Comment number 46.


    thegangofone (#42) Eloquent? You don't think it may just be that Rice and Tutu are ideologically committed to 'regime change' wherever they see Stalinism?

    As to why, perhaps the last 'Fact' here, in the Conclusion to The Venona Secrets may help some who don't know the history, better appreciate why.

  • Comment number 47.

    Re #42, #45

    I met the good Bishop at my daughter's graduation. A long time ago of course and in our short conversation he did show a leaning toward some odd notions. As Barrie says, an amusing fellow but who would look for moral guidance from a chap wearing a dress?

    As far as prejudice goes a phrase comes to mind concerning pots and kettles.

  • Comment number 48.

    #46 Page 450 but see the chapter on 'Rats and Polecats'. It's worth pointing out that a communist inside the USSR after 1928 was rarely the same as a communist outside the USSR (much changed after 1956).

    Here's another perspective to prompt a little healthy scepticism in anyone who might be interested. Here's another.

  • Comment number 49.

    Economic Rescue Plan

    Had a cold shiver run down my spine when I heard Martin Sorrell's allude to the fact that the Saudis will demand a political price for any money they provide the UK government . Left me musing on just what Brown might have really been up to when he went of to the Gulf States recently. And more importantly what price he is prepared to pay to his Islamic bankers. I think Sorrell's point deserved exploration and was rather disappointed that it was left hanging by Kirsty Wark. I think this is going to become an even bigger issue if, as the Telegraph reports today, the Chinese are not going to be too interested in lending more to the West.

    One other point, a technical one, relates to a comment made regarding the re-capitaization efforts to date. I think it was one of the Bankers interviewed who was rather dismissive about efforts to improve liquidity and said it was being used for repurchasing. As that was also not explained I am left wondering what point he was trying to make ! Any ideas ?

  • Comment number 50.

    # 43 Barrie

    And Master Yoda For Leader of the House?

    Surely The Man in the White Suit

    and Obi Won Kenobi are one and the same?

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 51.


    "Reading the article you recommend I find "an unrelated study of the quality of men?s sperm." As opposed to women's sperm I suppose."

    I.E., not horses.

  • Comment number 52.

    #40 #37

    ""All this talk of spending our way out of recession I think is fools gold"

    It's certainly another way of leeching money out of the general public. What are people supposed to spend their savings on? They save so they can eat, and keep warm etc in the future don't they?"

    But it is matter of fact we can come out of recession only by spending. There are no other ways because:

    Spending = Output (GDP) = Income (wages etc.)

    The "=" signs should be triple bars; they are identities. Income always equals spending. That is is incontrovertible. Not theory or opinion, fact.

    How can we boost incomes in a market economy? Spending must come first, because business will not pay incomes if they cannot sell their output. If spending depends on income and income depends on spending there seems to be a problem. The solution is borrowing money, which the banks create for us.

  • Comment number 53.

    13thMan (#52) I accept that, but my point was that retired people have no source of future income other than their pensions/savings, and that such people generally don't have much that they need to buy now. However, they do plan/calculate for (i.e worry about) what they will need to keep them going for several years into the future. How can they spend their savings?

  • Comment number 54.

    "I am close to despair given how bad things currently are".

    JJ 35

    How bad?

    Take every bad thing you think is getting in society, culture, politics and economics. Sketch them as an increasing exponential graph of badness.

    Then another curve of pollution, loss of biodiversity, collapse of ecological life support systems. Sketch as an increasing exponential graph of badness.

    Add exponential to exponential =?

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 55.

    KingCelticLion (#54) "How bad?"

    You still have to ask? Did you follow up the ETS videos/report? Have you taken on board the significance of universal Liberal-Democratic below replacement level TFRs and especially equalities legislation/Human Rights, and most significantly high differential fertility?

    The current economic 'downturn' has been predicted on the basis of these insidious (to most people) demographic changes for some time, yet we still have people here in denial, or worse, shooting the messengers.
    Unlike some of the other problems, we have clear socio-economic indicators of these trends and yet some are still reinforcing them.

    Even today we have Miliband and Rice arrogantly pressing for regime change in Zimbabwe when both Russia and China know they are not ready for it given their demographics.

    What matters is populations and how they change genetically over generations as this drives collective behaviour. People can not operate outside their gene expression.

    You'll not that neither Miliband nor Rice explain how Liberal-Democracy is going to benefit Zimbabweans. Think Kenya recently.

    Then think what is happening in the USA and soon, in Europe, because of major changes to demographics.

  • Comment number 56.

    #52 13th man

    "But it is matter of fact we can come out of recession only by spending".

    spending=consumption=resource inputs from ecological system=waste and pollution outputs to ecological system=collapse of ecological system=6 billion plus dead

    Please don't go down the spending route, whatever the politicians/economists/bankers tell you.

    We can find a better way to the future, for all our sakes.

    # 49 Huntingdonian

    "Had a cold shiver run down my spine..."

    That will be an echo from the future, when you are searching for scraps of food in a January field. Remember all those pictures of poor eastern pheasants we have seen on our TVs for decades. What goes around comes around?

    I note your final point about liquidity, repurchasing etc. This is something I have observed over the last month or so.

    Massive amounts of finance have been poured onto the banking/financial system, yet little seems to be trickling out.

    Like having a dry sponge on the side of a bath and pouring water on it until it eventually starts to leak out.

    Just how big really are the voids and black holes within the financial system?

    I have a number of views on the subject and related to it, but not sufficiently researched for me to place them on a blog, (it is not my specialist core area) also the amount of material to place as well.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 57.



    "How can we boost incomes in a market economy? Spending must come first, because business will not pay incomes if they cannot sell their output. If spending depends on income and income depends on spending there seems to be a problem. The solution is borrowing money, which the banks create for us."

    Forgive me, that is the bit I don't understand, in previous recessions we needed to export to earn foreign currency so we can start to spend on non essentials again, this time we think we can just 'Charge It !' (borrow it).
    Banks can not make money without devaluing it first, either in the need to pay interest repayments on their borrowing or by the inflationary effect of printing an over supply of paper money.
    There is no such thing as a free lunch, or is there ?

    It is not like the whole world (our global trading partners) are broke , in fact the West's boom years have been very profitable for others, now we should be exporting to them to earn some of our cash back.

    Where am I going wrong ?

    Sorry if I am being a bit slow or dim, but I just don't get it !

  • Comment number 58.


    Thanks for that Peston link , that thread was huge, I read about 40 of the replies, glad to see I am not the only one concerned about savers.

  • Comment number 59.

    I think liberal democracy is not just a political and economic structure but is a natural system for human existence in groups over 200. natural in the sense that it is the only system that not only works but is also appreciated by all. Globalisation is what liberal deomcracy was made for even though it is in danger of being taken over by individual/family interests. other systems can be sustained but only at the expense of some members. liberal democracy reduces suffering to a minimum. liberal democracy is a compromise between dictatorship and anarchy, it is the best we can hope for, it is the middle way. the west is not fully liberal or democratic, but now is not the time to give up on our ideology but to rescue it from its detractors. put TJ's speech on the curriculum in school, teach school kids how to manage credit so the banks at least have informed customers to deal with; there is so much that children would really like to learn about their society, but we deprive them of learning and of reaching their potentials.

  • Comment number 60.


    doctormisswest (#59) " liberal democracy is a compromise between dictatorship and anarchy, it is the best we can hope for,"

    The Liberal-Democracies (Western and Eastern) are biologically unfit. That is, they have below replacement level fertility (TFRs). This means that their populations will, if they are not already, decline. The clearest illustration is Russia.

    The problem is the liberalism. Paradoxically, the killer is equalities legislation, and 'education, education, education' only serves to exacerbate the problem.

    Can you see how?

  • Comment number 61.

    Dear Jeremy and team
    re 32 from desnake.
    I agree entirely and have just got around to responding to make the same point.

    It was Noorena Hertz who made sense and she was most definitely shut up by the others including Kirsty ---- why did we not get the chance to hear her properly?
    I too find the BBC coverage (or lack of alternative analysis) really frustrating.


  • Comment number 62.

    no49 huntingdonion Sharia Law of course... I too had same shiver!!

  • Comment number 63.

    Dear Newsnight... discuss:
    The answer lies in the soil....

    Deglobalise, let us become self-sufficient in food production using old methods to protect environment.
    Start up manufacturing again so that we are not sending all our spending power cash (whether low wages or the dole) to fascist/communist China.

    Find alternatives to oil fast.... so that we are not sending the rest of our money to Islamist fascist states. (And just what did happen to North Sea Oil etc? The Danes preserved theirs I believe Gordon)!

    Start up some 'Grands Projets', e.g. decent transport systems in our cities for starters -instead of the highly poisonous (diesel particulates) so called 'iconic' (red) bus

    Unemployed bankers and the rest of the (there are 5 million benefit recipients) 'unemployed' could work a 4 hour day for their dole to get all this up and running...there after a 7 hour day for wages.
    Otherwise, indeed, what has been going around for a long time in ex -colonial 'poor' countries may come around to us !

  • Comment number 64.

    13th Man #51

    The article was about human beings - not horses. The word 'man's' was redundant.

  • Comment number 65.


    I gave up asking the same question. After the demonstration of Newsnight insensitivity, in 'doctoring' the screen image (including fake - badly executed - film scratches) while reporting on child abuse, the proof of BBC collapse is complete.

    I gather skilled use of the internet is about as good as it gets in the search for truth.

    That I still watch Newsnight, has me marked as a masochist, I suspect.

  • Comment number 66.

    barrie (#65) "That I still watch Newsnight, has me marked as a masochist"

    I thought you'd self-diagnosed as a narcissist? ;-)

    Although, masochism and narcissism are sometimes co-morbid - although I wouldn't take this one's word for it!

    Jackboots on:
    Now for a true masochist, see thegangofone ;-).
    Jackboots off:

    'rats and polecats' - One has to laugh.

    (Only kidding thegangofone, I'm pretty sure some folk can't help it - especially if it turns out to be something to do with NCAH and gender bending sex steroids).

  • Comment number 67.

    "GORDON IS AS DESCRIBED IN A POPULAR SONG" (Blogdog does not allow the actual word)

    Oh help. J Gordon Brown, the man who helped Bomber Blair ruin Britain is now in posession of the blueprint for the New World Century. And Shiney-Boy Dave is waving his trusty sword of whatever makes you vote for him. And Clegg? Oh I think he has got a flint in his welly and is obsessed with Nora Batty. And odd politicians are being rude about aspects of the Commons, BUT NOT ONE HAS THE GUTS TO SAY IT IN THAT CHAMBER POT.

    Right on Gordon: "Enough is enough."

  • Comment number 68.


    I just fell foul of the word filter and was able to work round the offending word AS IT WAS INSTANTLY DISPLAYED. What a kind service to us of abrasive tendency. Thank you.

  • Comment number 69.

    humans are biological and social. if TFR is too low then we have to find social policies to cope but nothing is worth doing if we are not liberal in our ideology. great works have been achieved through oppression and inequality and i do not now as in youth begrudge the vast sums spent on the monarchy. i would reduce their budget but i recognise the cultural import of figureheads, ritual and ceremony that celebrate hope, freedom, order and creativity.

    a society is a community of individuals with mixed abilities and mixed preferences. philosophically there is no reason why we should not live peaceably as such but to do so we need to share the same liberal ideology. everyone deserves a chance and everyone deserves help otherwise what happiness is there? and happiness is health so it is the sensible evolutionary strategy to ensure a continuing healthy species.

    the role of social policy therefore is to tackle head on the shortcomings of our biology and thanks to thousands of years of thinking about and trying how best to live, we are now in a position to do it, funding not withstanding.

  • Comment number 70.


    Well said above (#69).

    Philosophy strengthens the individual mind against group humbug.

    It is the only way to reverse the downward spiral of nihilism, currently endured.

    We need a philosopher hero.

  • Comment number 71.

    #69 Doctor Miss West

    What does this mean?

    "we need to share the same liberal ideology".

    Is this something 'political' or is it something greater and philosophical and wise?

    (Above and beyond politics)

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 72.

    doctormisswest (#69) "humans are biological and social. if TFR is too low then we have to find social policies to cope but nothing is worth doing if we are not liberal in our ideology."

    I suggested you dumped the neo-liberal talk for a good reason. If our below replacement level TFRs are the CONSEQUENCE of Liberal-Democratic values? What then of the nice sounding words? The only countries I know of which are NOT victims of this demographic suicide are NON Liberal-Democracies. It's not as if Liberal-Democracies have not tried policies to reverse this for decades either. Look to Singapore. It failed dismally, and Singapore is hardly the most liberal of Liberal-Democracies.

    You need to stop being so glib and look more closely at the figures, the projections, the break down of society, (beginning with the nuclear family perhaps) and recent mass immigration, as the latter is the current Liberal-Democratic 'solution'.

    I'm sure you mean well, but look at what is happening as a consequence of well meaning people who rather than looking to consequences of behaviour to shape what they say, make aspirational noises instead about liberal ideology (and then rage when criticised for being unrealistic if not downright wrong and subversive).



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