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Wednesday, 4 March, 2009

Ian Lacey | 16:32 UK time, Wednesday, 4 March 2009

At the time of writing, Gordon Brown is addressing both houses of Congress. It's being billed as the speech of his career. So far there has been a lot of clapping but Mark Urban will be here at 10.30 to unpick whether the prime minister has sold them his vision for a global solution to the economic downturn. For the moment, if you can decipher this, here's his speech as a tag cloud.

Gordon Brown Congress speech tag cloud (

Matt Prodger writes:
"Doncaster hasn't had much luck with local government. A decade ago 21 councillors were convicted of fraud in the "Donnygate Scandal", the biggest local government corruption case since Poulson in the 1970s. Now Donny is at the heart of another crisis, this time over the deaths of vulnerable children who should have been protected by social services. In a chilling echo of the recent Baby P case, one of those who died was a baby murdered by her father when he snapped her spine. Over the course of a month-long investigation I've discovered that senior managers in Doncaster council were warned four years ago that child protection services were in chaos, yet our whistleblower - a former child protection manager there - says the warnings were ignored. I'll also lift the lid on a local authority at war with itself - an elected mayor at loggerheads with an elected council - and ask if the roots of the child protection crisis lie in a bold experiment in local democracy." You can read more on Matt's investigation, and see a clip of the out whistleblower here.

ITV has announced 600 job losses after reporting a loss of £2.7bn for 2008. Is this the consequence of the multi-channel, multi-format age or just bad business management?

And we hear from the founder of CNN, Ted Turner, on the economy, the environment and the future of television.


  • Comment number 1.


    It had a couple of Blairish straw dogs in it.

    According to James G Brown: "People said (manned moon flight) couldn't be done". By my recollection, his German namesake Werner Von Brown was in no doubt it WOULD be done - that was in the late 40s. Even more bizarrely, James G Brown averred: 'we can conquer FEAR OF THE FUTURE through faith in the future'. Well dang my britches. Fear of the future eh? It might just catch on. What's Latin (or Greek) for 'Fear of the Future'? We could do with a new phobia to bandy around.

    Oh - and he's predicting a doubling of world trade. If his past performance, in matters predictive, is anything to go by, world trade will collapse. (:o)

    Makes you proud to be English.

  • Comment number 2.

    And the American news networks are alive with the news!

    Not! The only story with a British angle is a Knighthood for Ted Kennedy...


  • Comment number 3.

    I am becoming more and more concerned about the health of Gordon Brown - not only does he look tired but the bags are getting bigger under his eyes and his skin has turned into John Major grey. In all seriousness, I hope he has friends who have the sense and courage to tell him he needs to get a check-up.

    As for ITV... I worked for ITV many years ago and I now work as an IPTV Consultant for various blue chips from Silicon Valley to even dreaded City banks (Well, I did with the latter until they went bust). I mention this simply because of all the organisations that I work with that, IMPO, do not understand the Internet and the Digital Age are inevitably the Broadcasting Companies themselves.

    Partly this is because they - the senior execs - do not understand the Internet, partly it is because they do not use the Internet regularly, ("What is a mouse?"), but mainly it is because of Fear, Arrogance and Denial.

    I find these 3 emotions very common in senior management in the UK Broadcasters I have had convsations with. I can go to a major global blue chip, speak directly to their board and the attitude of senior management is "How can IPTV save and make us money?" but when I go to Broadcasters the attitude usually is "How can we make this Internet thing go away!".

    So, from personal experience, whilst TV Execs may wish to use the multi-channel digital age as an excuse for falling viewing figures and advertising revenues the cold, hard truth is that it is simply down to poor management which, IMPO, has little understanding and little vision of what the Internet actually is.

    Oh, and the ruddy poor money they try to pay IPTV Consultants - usually about a quarter of the market rate! Even in this the arrogance continues as the mentality seems to be "You should get down on your hands and knees and kiss our feet for even allowing you to work for us!" whilst bunging vast sums of salary into yesterday's 'talent'.

    There is so much potential and so many US, EU and Asian countries are driving ahead but the UK is being left behind. There is such a lack of vision and understanding. It is often forgotten that British Broadcasting did so well because it was originally the daring and exciting new way of communicating that attracted the brightest and the best. I think it is fair to argue that UK TV had not attracted the brightest and best for years now - the bright boys and girls are working for Internet and Games companies!

  • Comment number 4.

    sad day for television if ITV fails we all need the competition......

  • Comment number 5.

    The Brown Address = Up A certain creek/crack without a paddle.

    Speak Brown your Through.
    Flushing you off 2 parliment as we speak.
    Tattie buy

  • Comment number 6.

    barrie #1

    I suspect that Browns favorite Corporate Nazi spin doctors ( inherited from Blair ) wrote his speeches to the US congress. It would appear that the whole object of the exercise was to please the stock market parasites, and it looks as though it has done the trick. Massive gains on both FTSE and Dow despite yet more bad economic news. Perhaps the stock market parasites think that their puppet politicians will let them off the hook lightly with any future international financial regulation.

  • Comment number 7.

    Michael Grade rather gave the impression on interview by John Humphreys on this morning's today programme.....that he is not the person to lead ITV into the sunlit uplands he described. He sounded like a relic from another age. The microphone seemed to pick up just what a dinosaur has been in charge of ITV these past couple of years. Time to fall on your sword Michael.

  • Comment number 8.

    By the way with the whole world being de-leveraged when can we expect same from Jeremy Paxman. A million quid a year is ridiculous. Far too grand to file a blog and far too rude to land a decent front line politics interview anymore. What the hell are we paying for other than Jeremy's agent's upward only rent review for his star client.

    When Paxo came to the Edinburgh Festival he got on stage clearly well refreshed from a good lunch; was completely unprepared and the peddaled the most terrible old rubbish about how much he admired the Royal Family.

    Time this monster ego was de-leveraged along with Carol Voderman and Richard and Judy. I'm sure that there will be a good billet for Paxo on the Living Channel if he doesn't fancy doing a Voderman and getting by on £200k a year than a cool million. This money was agented up in the good old days when bankers were filling their boots. Now that their boots are emptying by the day so too should those of dear, darling Jeremy

  • Comment number 9.


    Listening to the rhetoric of Harriet Harman and William Hague as to who had done the most to deregulate (PM's Questions), Brown's persistent talk of 'globalism' (in the wake of it being central to the securitization/deregulation mess), Mandelson sounding like a 6th former at Mansion House, and seemingly outrage that gunmen are targeting cricket teams (didn't we recently see celebrity cricketers being paid small fortunes in poverty ridden countries, not to mention patronage by at least one dodgy businesman) - it..all should make one .....wonder........

    They all think they're in 'Hollywood'...

  • Comment number 10.

    Paxo did a good job on Mandelson but ...

    If the economic crisis was due to an unexpected global phenomenon then how could a move from light touch regulation to right touch regulation help?

    Mandelson praised the New labour efforts as they did not pass on the other side of the road(!?). So the banks go bust and Gordon would have looked at the TV cameras and UK workers and said "I'm off to read a book on Carnegie, ha ha !".

    He wants to avoid US protectionism after saying "British jobs for British workers!".

    Somebody (ITV or Channel 4) said Brown was running out of road. And How!

    But the goose steppers won't get the road.

  • Comment number 11.

    Newsnight - many of your reporters appear to have missed their vocation in the dramatic arts. Too many seem driven to make everything into theatre. Does the BBC have a special wailing and emoting training department or is it just an essential part of the job description these days? It gets quite wearing.

  • Comment number 12.


    We have been thrown Sir Fred to slow us down. Might it be that we are distracting ourselves, even by concentrating on monetary reform?

    The truth is it is man, himself, that is 'over leveraged'. With each new complexity, we take ourselves farther away from ability to survive a challenge - be it cosmic, microbial, climatic of psychological (general sanity).

    Ironically, Prince Mandelson referred to the need to be configured to meet the unforeseen; but he was just talking money.
    Until we all talk natural sustainability (not J Gordon's wittering about doubling global trade as the ENGINE OF PROSPERITY) we shall simply bring on another crisis.

    The idea that America and Britain hold the key to the future, when the most evident cultural keys we jauntily jingle are to prisons, that hold all the sad dross our joint Brave New World has engendered, is manifestly false. Again, again, again, we two posturally Christian countries neglect the parable of Moat and Beam. May any available god - help us all.

  • Comment number 13.

    DEVELOPING PATTERN (Sri Lankan team attack)

    Listening to the protestations of delayed and absent protective force, at the incident in Pakistan, one could be forgiven for thinking it was an old report replay on the Mumbai attack. Further, anyone who has looked at detailed reports on 9/11, will know that the same resonances are there too (e.g. where were the fighter planes?). When the next such 'surgical strike' occurs, watch for the strange delays and failings.

    We live in interesting times.

  • Comment number 14.


    "Makes you proud to be English."
    Makes me ashamed that he's Scottish.
  • Comment number 15.

    Not exactly a room-filler!

    Talk about two-faced. When he's there, he's America's biggest fan, but when he's here, it's all the fault of American sub-prime lending...


  • Comment number 16.

    Ian Lacey:

    I think that all of the taglines are important!!!


    Is this the consequence of the multi-channel, multi-format age or just bad business management?

    I think it is part of both....


    I hope that the interview is interesting ....

    ~Dennis Junior~

  • Comment number 17.


    barrie (#13) The same conspiratorial 'flag' popped up for me when I saw the footage and hard the report.

  • Comment number 18.

    Pure platinum Jeremy with Lord Mandelson. Old Mandy was trying to spin his answers but failed miserably! Also loved the Ted Turner interview, who stated that nuclear weapons were for dummies. Grief.

  • Comment number 19.


    Germany did have a major birth-rate problem in the 1930s - possibly the worst in Europe. It's a well known problem today too, as it is for Europe in general, so we should seriously reconsider the drivers behind post war anti-German (vindictive and highly political) propaganda

    By focusing on the family at the micro and macro level, see what happened to Germany? One sure way of make political change is to do so demographically through prima facie well meaning socio-economic policies, including equalities legislation and (effectively) unrestricted immigration.

    Question: 1 Could these policies not also be seen as subversive?

    Question 2: Is the rest that's covered by Newsnight just consequences?

  • Comment number 20.

    I managed to stay awake long enough to watch Mandy's precious mouthings of the usual rhetoric while Paxo sat and pulled faces at him. All pretty childish. A bit like this blog which is pre-moderated as are all BBC children's blogs.

    Hey Blogdog! Here boy! We're still waiting...

    37. At 8:37pm on 03 Mar 2009, ecolizzy
    This comment is awaiting moderation. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    As the British watch the country collapse and change completely around them, I'm not surprised about this!

    Ha,ha, NewFazer I must now have the longest unmoderated blog in history! ; )

    And it was only an Eureka moment about Barries views!

  • Comment number 22.


    The blending of 'newed-up' news and showbiz, now the hallmark of the BBC, and quintessentially Newsnight, has reached the Newbury Weekly News. An individual who received misdirected text messages of a sexual nature, is photographed (posed) looking with 'some concern' at the mobile screen.

    Can't you just 'see' that declining Roman, grimacing at an offensive scroll, as they go fro the complete fall?

    PS Hi Fazer. I sense the birth of the 'ECOLIZZIE' meaning a blog post that never matures.

  • Comment number 23.

    #19 Jean, I feel that our low TFR, (you see I'm learning ; ) ), is probably more economic than personal choice.

    I find within my family, both my sons would like to start a family, but economics stop them. They both have sizable mortgages, and now their houses are probably worth less than their mortgage, through no fault of their own. If their partner stops work, for say five years, as they would like to actually bring up their own children, they will end up in debt. Both women have degrees, and would try to work from home, or fit in work when my sons are home, but look at the physical and mental strain on them all.

    My eldest son is also very concerned about the climate and our affect on it. He really only wants one child, so how many people here feel the same as him.

    How would you suggest a government can help Europeans to have more children? Higher family allowance? Paying women to have children? Encouraging people not to move around so much, so that they have a family network to babysit?! Why do immigrants have more children than us? Is it cultural, or perhaps they think it's much easier here than where they come from. Or are we blind to our high quality of life here?

  • Comment number 24.


    "The Liberal Democrats, which obtained the figures, said there needed to be a greater focus on older drinkers." (Ecolizzie's link.)

    But no focus on our CULTURE OF MIND ALTERING itself.

    "Hello. My name's Whatever, and I am an ALTERHOLIC."

    19 bars in Westminster and an unshakeable belief in 'social drinking' (with a side dish of Brewery power and tax revenue). Yet alcohol is the (freely available) drug of "JUST SAY YES" - to anything.

    It was said long ago, that if alcohol were discovered today, it would be a listed poison. Our cultural tolerance of it, and its OBSCENE RAVAGES, is primitive and uncivilised. Another marker for the TRUE STATE OF THIS LAND. Just what do we have left, that is not corrosive of mind and body? Spirit must surely follow? Will someone explain to stratospheric James G Brown - if he ever comes down?

  • Comment number 25.

    Brownzzzzzzzzzzz speech.

    he likes usa. let him stay there.

    mandy's full calm answer on whos to blame for financial regulation failure is on uk

    elected mayor.

    another brilliant blair idea. didn't blair get rewarded for short term headlines and not for long term success? looks like the worst PM in 100 years?


    the canary for all TV?

    Doom and Gloom?

    only if one focusses on what happens to industries with no growth potential? feed in tariff not even mentioned. even though it has proven to create 100,000s of jobs and generate billions in revenue. But govt prefers french nuclear and one way grids. So they say we don't need the jobs or the revenue nor any of the other benefits.

  • Comment number 26.


    No language - no complex culture - no TFR problem.

    I deposit my valise.

    We are a synapse too far. Only wisdom can counteract such 'error' but cleverness is more fun.

    Decline and fall. A whole new meaning to 'Pitting our Wits'!

  • Comment number 27.

    Ecolizzy (#23) "Jean, I feel that our low TFR, (you see I'm learning ; ) ), is probably more economic than personal choice."

    I've never suggested otherwise (what you say in your post is a good example of exactly what I've said before most bright, older, females think and grapple with, but who said it would be easy?). 'Choice' is just a descriptor for one rate of behaviour over another in my book (which is operant) and that's controlled by schedules of reinforcement (these are all very concrete descriptive terms, don't be put off). But one also has to consider individual differences and these are genetic. Changing our schedules of reinforcement means changing our political economy (see Beyond Freedom and Dignity and even Walden II). Skinner reckoned China might be the place for the latter, and Walden II was written long ago (not a good read in my view). Herrnstein did the solid, serious, work on Behavioural Economics. Kahneman translated it into something else in my view. They do that.

    With all due respect to Barrie (who talks much sense), whilst language is just a class of behaviour, as humans we are stuck with it - where we have problems is where we have low literacy (verbal and numeric), and there we have high high TFRs but low GDPs/poor infratructure. Hence my repeated links to ETS and Leitch. For clues as to what government can do (and I mean government, not the light touch, hands-off, Trots/anarchistic rhetoricians we have here) see the People's Republic of China and their 1995 legislation/constitution. They have a mean IQ of about 108. That legislation is proscribed by our Lisbon Treaty alas (see the paradoxical Steve Jones link to on Article 2 of the EU Human Rights charter provided elsewhere).

    Why do sensible academics (see Richard Lynn, Andrew Green, David Coleman) get such a tough time? They end up getting very frustrated and angry, and don't derserve to. Newsnight should get Lynn on with Coleman. Eysenck got a tough ride in the 70s, so did Herrnstein and Jensen, so did Cattell - the free-market 'Trots' know where what they say leads, i.e. it threatens their 'freedom' and hegemony.

  • Comment number 28.

    barrie (#26) "No language - no complex culture - no TFR problem."

    You're pretty much describing Sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Comment number 29.


    Make Blogdog redundant, send him to his bed! One way round being treated like this (inordinate delays between post and appearance, PRE-moderation, over zealous moderation etc) is to agree a mass migration to 'another place'. Somewhere you can say what you like in whatever way you like. If you want to call someone a (expletive deleted) bigot, you can. If you want to discuss 'taboo' subjects, you can. Mind you, the regular inhabitants of a certain motorcycle blog might be a little surprised at the sudden shift in topic.

  • Comment number 30.

    Apologise? APOLOGISE? What good would that do?
    Mandelson and all the other criminals responsible for the financial mess KNOW that it is one of the major responsibilities of an elected government to establish effective regulatory regimes for a whole host of activities. When the regulation of an industry fails as it has in telecoms, energy and now banking it means that those in power have failed to do their jobs. It implies incompetence. It implies corruption. For the vast majority of us, this kind of failure would result in being dismissed, sacked, fired - with loss of all benefits. But there they all are, swaning around, taking massive payoffs, telling us that through their extensive experience, they are the best placed to resolve the mess! That's like the mafia telling us that because they are the most experienced criminals, they are the best placed to deal with issues of crime!

    Which industry is next? How many other fat cats have effectively bribed their regulators to turn a blind eye? Check out which company made donations to which political party and you'll get an idea. Oh dear - it's all collapsed. Never mind we'll just use tax revenues to build it all up and get the money flowing into our pockets again. This is criminal activity by elected governments. As I've said before, the Africanisation of western politics.

    Here's a message for you who know no culpability - we KNOW that you don't want to properly address the problems because the system suits you and your absolute greed. Politicians become regulators who become lobbyists who become senior managers in the regulated industries, who become lords, who become directors on the boards of regulated companies who go back to politics etc etc - it's a huge merry go round of jobs for the boys. And oodles of money. Other peoples money. Money that should be going to resolve REAL issues like social services, transport etc. Every penny stolen by these parasites has to be replaced by taking even more from the hard pressed tax payers.

    This is not just a case of corruption - it is a system of unbridled corruption through and through.

  • Comment number 31.


    If there is a marginal seat in easy reach, go high-profile in the town centre with Westminster's collective failure to govern without endemic corruption and individual MPs connivance. They don't like it up 'em.

  • Comment number 32.


    imwriteagain (#30) One of the tragedies here is that when one explains behaviour to people most think that people either have 100% insight into the consequences of their actions or that unless they intend to do x, y or z, then they aren't really doing x, y and z. Yet if one explains that even viruses behave as if they have strategies, they will quite happily accept that. Describe the same behaviours in humans and you'll get howls of complaint or even ridicule about 'conspiracy theory' etc.

    Good post though. They shouldn't be allowed to get away with it under the pretext of being yet another 'hands-off' (aka incompetent) government.

  • Comment number 33.

    imwriteagain #30

    Well said sir! Hear-hear.

  • Comment number 34.

    My Personal Views -

    Mr browns visit to the USA

    How embarrassing , it's this type of thing that gave Russian democracy (democ-crapy) such a bad name with the Russian people.

    Labour should call a General Election ASAP.

    Mr Mandelson is in champaign socialist denial , like most of the cabinet, nothing a dose of taking away their gold plated pensions wouldn't correct I am sure.

    The court of public opinion may be seated !

  • Comment number 35.

    Brown's speech to Congress contained the interesting passage:

    "So should we succumb to a race to the bottom and a protectionism that history tells us that, in the end, protects no-one? No. We should have the confidence that we can seize the opportunities ahead and make the future work for us."
    One would have hoped that "two brains" Brown would know that the "race to the bottom" is a phenomenon directly resulting from an unregulated "free" market (an absence of 'protectionism') in which there are no barriers to trade, and thus corporations are free to seek the cheapest, most unprotected and exploited labour and least environmentally regulated areas of manufacture...
    "the term "race to the bottom":
    “ ...has for some time served as an important metaphor to illustrate that the United States federal system--and every federal system for that matter--is vulnerable to interstate competition. The "race to the bottom" implies that the states compete with each other as each tries to underbid the others in lowering taxes, spending, as to make itself more attractive to outside financial interests or unattractive to unwanted outsiders. It can be opposed to the alternative metaphor of "laboratories of democracy." The laboratory metaphor implies a more sanguine federalism in which [states] use their authority and discretion to develop innovative and creative solutions to common problems which can be then adopted by other states."[3]"

    So Broon is effectively asking if we want maximum exploitation or maximum exploitation - and this from the best speech writers available! Talk about getting one's metaphors mixed up!

    The real choice is actually between open unregulated markets, complete with the resulting race to the bottom and the alternative of a well-regulated set of interdependent local markets which protect the interests of their local labour force and the environment in which their great grandchildren will hope to live.

    I know which I choose.
  • Comment number 36.

    @ #8 Thatotherguy2, for your information, Jeremy has had a 25% pay cut, as has Jeremy Clarkson et al at the BBC. :p


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