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Tuesday, 21 April, 2009

Sarah McDermott | 18:13 UK time, Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Here's David Grossman with a look ahead to tonight's programme:

Gordon Brown has called for a Commons vote as early as next week on plans for a reform of MPs' expenses. The Prime Minister wants to abolish the controversial second homes allowance, which has led to a series of corruption allegations against senior politicians, and make expenses "simpler and less generous". He made the surprise announcement on the Downing Street website. Under the plans, the second homes allowance would be replaced with a payment for daily attendance while MPs' staff would be employed directly by the House of Commons instead of by the MPs themselves. The Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg fears a daily payment could mean giving MPs a cheque simply for turning up. And the Conservative leader, David Cameron, says he'll push for further changes.

We'll be asking could this mean MPs will now get £20,000 for just turning up to work? And we'll be speaking to the Chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Sir Christopher Kelly.

Meanwhile, they are hunkered down inside the Treasury, with just a few hours to go before the Budget. Our Economics Editor, Paul Mason, will give us the latest on what the main challenges are for the Chancellor tomorrow.

And when one man's graffiti is another man's art. The world renowned aerosol artist, who uses the Koran as part of his art, shows us his award-winning work.

Join us tonight, at 10.30pm, on BBC Two.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    No doubt tomorrow's budget will be all about enhancing the emerging welfare state for the stock market parasites whilst holding a knife at the throat of potentially expanding small businesses ?

  • Comment number 2.

    VENAL EXPOLITATION

    What interested viewers (and Newsnight researchers ideally) should do, I suggest, is link:

    a) high low skilled immigration into USA/UK from Mexico/S. Asia/Africa (and elsewhere) along with the shifting demographics of NYC/London and associated mean group IQ differences effects on hegemony, and all sorts of deregulation over the past 30 years (but especially financial since 1999 in the USA and 2000 here) b) whilst keeping a contemporaneous eye on the phenomenal rise in political correctness/equalities which made almost everyone blind to the predatory financial exloitation which was really being engineered on a massive, cynical, scale given these group differences in cognitive ability to see exactly what was venally going on whilst appealing to their victims' childlike vanity/ego/aspirations.

  • Comment number 3.

    erratum EXPLOITATION

    And because the media won't expose this for what it is, it will, of course, just continue, and in the end, the predators, rather like drug pushers which they are all but in name, will exclaim "look! It's what the customers want.... we're just providing a service"

  • Comment number 4.

    Oh the Budget

    Let's hope they don't do this car scrappage nonsense.

    Most of the energy resource, pollution cost of a car is in it's manufacture. Keeping one on the road as long as possible reduces it's environmental burden year after year.

    To take a good car off the road means we throw away that portion of embedded energy, resource left in it's usable life.

    The replacement new car still has an environmental burden in it's manufacture.

    Even if it is more efficient per mile. It is only the difference in efficiencies that can be used to pay off the environmental costs lost in throwing away a good car and the costs in producing another.

    The scheme is worse for the environment.

    We all have to subsidise as taxpayers people degrading our environment if they take advantage of the scheme.

    We also lose all the jobs in small garages, body shops, parts suppliers that keep older cars on the road.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 5.

    The 'decisive action' that most tricoteuses
    want to see is axing Smith and Hoon and
    McNulty and all these other freeloaders in
    The Cabinet ..... and then a June election?

  • Comment number 6.

    My personal views -

    MP's Expenses

    Transparency is working , why take it away when the full list of MP's expenses has not been officially published yet ?

    Who's going to vote for a MP who abuses the system ?

    Parliament should have a web site with full disclosure , with graphs of each years claims for comparison, with the MP explanation of why they consider a particular claim as a valid one.

    We are the MP's employers , so at the end of the day it's up to us to decide if they have been abusing the taxpayer or not, and at a election will decide either to retain their services or not.

    Oh, and I am not so keen on MP's staff being employees of the state , MP's constituents have to be able to trust their MP's staff just as much as the MP themselves. Back to the drawing board on that idea I think.

    IMF Speaks

    Sounds like someone complained about the politically sensitive timing to me rather than a typo.But hay I am only speculating.

    Street Artist

    I like street art ,as long as permission is given by the owner of the wall first.
    I particularly liked the idea of involving members of the public to do a bit , that allows for a wider ownership of the work.

    A Good Day For A Bad Announcement

    So the government has decided to privatise the Royal Mint ?
    I particularly like the timing of the announcement , late tonight. I presume it will not get a lot of media scrutiny over the next few days with the Budget en'all.

    I am guessing this is another underhanded ploy to disenfranchise the British people of their Pound Sterling and put the euro fanatics closer to their utopian enema (sorry for the strong wording , but it's what I think).

    I wonder who will end up owning it ?

    No wonder the Lib Dem's and Labour party were close to a political union in 1997, they think alike.

  • Comment number 7.

    We'll soon have a zomby government tackling zomby banks - with a virtual chancellor silent in the wings. How should our favourite news programme respond?

    Its common sense to point out that today's chancellor just might not be in power next year, so is less inclined to detail painful plans to pay off debt. The markets know this too. The next guy, the tory chancellor, faces exactly the same critical job and so is virtually in power today. He also has to set out plans to pay down government debt (the absence of a reasonable consensus weakens the pound and raises everyones borrowing costs).

    But I hear nothing.

    There will be a bill to pay for a mute virtual chancellor. His silence will push up the bill for servicing the PSBR beyond where it needs to be, mortgage rates will rise too, further throttling any recovery.

    Editors need equal focus on the 'Virtual Chancellor' now because the virtual chancellor already has responsibilities: what he says impacts the price of debt and affects the pound. He doesn't need to be in power to acquire these responsibilities, he simply needs to be an aspiring, promising candidate.

    Such editorial pragmatism will strengthen Newsnight's hand combating Tory politicians who's point scoring depends on repeated requests for 'today's' chancellor to show “clearer plans to pay down the debt”.

    Being 'between chancellors' is an obvious void that Newsnight need not fall into. Needs balls though. Government types wont like you being so hard headed - you'll face accusations about picking winners and stuff but Newsnight should focus on whatever effects the state of the pound. Thats the bottom line.

  • Comment number 8.

    And when one man's graffiti is another man's art.

    Or, indeed, another's ASBO.

    In keeping with the freedom of spirit of our enlightened age, a local artist, who seems to be a follower of the 'Kev Rools!' religion, is expressing his uniquely mulicultural, inclusive talents round here.

    No awards as yet, but such police as not answering questions elsewhere on dealing with other mechanisms of free expression are on the case.

    If only s/he'd decided on being a Jedi. Most of us still think they're cool.

    I guess these days it's not so much who you know, but who you follow that gets you the full media rose-tinted treatment.

  • Comment number 9.

    "Ah you're just a cheerful chap to have around" - Jeremy on Paul's doom & gloom on the economy! Excellent stuff :o)

    Also loved Stephen's report on Mohammed Ali's aerosol art - it's a lot like a semi-religious/political version of Banksy.

  • Comment number 10.

    THE SINGER NOT THE SONG

    I make no apology for saying again: James G Brown, on that video, reveals so clearly his dysfunctional nature, that one might reasonably expect these threads to be heavy with - at least - dismay, if not fear.

    WOULD YOU BUY A USED NUCLEAR BUTTON FROM THIS MAN?

    As wee Jimmie Brown gets more desperate (and feels Bounder Blair laughing at him from his lofty/lucrative perch) there is nothing he might not do. Do we just WAIT?

    PS I finally defined the resemblance in the clip. It is MAX HEADROOM. Be afraid - please?

  • Comment number 11.

    Steve-London (#6)

    "..Parliament should have a web site with full disclosure , with graphs of each years claims for comparison, with the MP explanation of why they consider a particular claim as a valid one.

    We are the MP's employers , so at the end of the day it's up to us to decide if they have been abusing the taxpayer or not, and at a election will decide either to retain their services or not."


    It's worth taking an objective look at the Webbs' book on Soviet communism (whilst taking the likes of Nick Cohen with a large pinch of salt), as those infamous 'purges' in the USSR and PRC were mor elikely basically just removal of ineffectual or corrupt party members.

    Over the years it's been almost impossible to read Western accounts of non Liberal-Democratic regimes which don't depict them as led by psychotic baby-eaters who like nothing more than a bit of murder before breakfast and mass-deporting of innocents/dissidents later in the day.

    New Labour wanted an end to elitism, deference and an increase in transparency.... presumably thinking that would apply more to the opposition parties?

    It's a pity they didn't do something more constructive with their time. But then...I guess they were busy helping their sponsors?

  • Comment number 12.

    Are Quangos an area where we could not only save money but get improved government?

    Dr. Boston on the SATS fiasco:

    "...claimed that this "placed a protective fence around DCSF and ministers, focused the spotlight on QCA and ETS, and prevented some of the major causes of the failure from being identified".

    Quangos are seemingly often a way for the taxpayer providing politicians with a firewall.

  • Comment number 13.

    #11 Jaded_Jean

    "
    Over the years it's been almost impossible to read Western accounts of non Liberal-Democratic regimes which don't depict them as led by psychotic baby-eaters who like nothing more than a bit of murder before breakfast and mass-deporting of innocents/dissidents later in the day."

    You have said you would like a Hitler style planned economy etc etc.

    You have provided ridiculous Stats (as for Friday) purporting to show that due to 1930's Jewish survival rates there was barely a Jew killed by design and you are agnostic on the Holocaust. They are ridiculous as there were no reliable base census figures and there have been hordes of trials, confessions, documents the camps themselves and the testimony of those in the camps and those who found them.

    As regards "psychotic baby-eaters" in the last year or so we have seen people who enthused about the Nazis jailed: the wannabe paedophile nail bomber; the wannabe "SS Manual" Lowestoft train station bomber; the Baby P batterer and the Twickenham Green murderer.


    Hmmmm......

    On a serious note, Newsnight, with the Djemjanjuk maybe going to go to trail why not ask a Holocaust Denier like Irving, or an agnostic, if they are going to give evidence at the trial as if there was no Holocaust there could have been no crime.

    I have never heard of any such evidence ever being given.

  • Comment number 14.

    MP's Expenses

    I welcome our great leader’s policy announcement on YouTube, albeit perhaps the timing is a little cynical. His call to curb MP’s expenses has to be a step in the right direction, which is why I was angry after hearing the responses made by the ministers and civil servants last night, trying to rubbish and undermine the whole proposal. What is so complicated about stopping London MPs from claiming allowances on second homes, or employing nanny to do “administrative work” on government salary? This bull**** talk of the need to conduct a “comprehensive independent inquiry” sounds like a stalling mechanism to stop the relevant policies from going through, so that the civil servants in question can continue to ride the gravy train at taxpayer’s expense. Oh, doesn’t Sir Christopher remind you of Sir Humpie Appleby in the old drama “Yes, Minister”?

    “The transport secretary rented out what he called his main home, claimed for a second home and lived rent free at taxpayer’s funded accommodation at a third.”- How creative! I hope he is as good at doing his ministerial job as he is managing his own assets.

    Steve-London: I agree it is not ideal to make MP’s staff employees of the House of Commons, but it can prevent future MPs from employing their family relatives to (not) work in their own constituencies. On balance, I think it is the lesser evil of the two ; )

    p.s. “....end of boom and bust, golden rule, and all that. It’s bad, very bad.” - Excellent quote, Jeremy. ^^

  • Comment number 15.

    #10 Barrie.. I love this film...

    THE SINGER NOT THE SONG

    A message for King Celtic Lion.....

    I will not be replacing my aged 14 year old escort, with 48,000 on the clock, even with the 2,000 pounds offer. I do understand the polution created every time a new car is made. I am aware that we will run out of resources rapidly if we keep making every little thing we fancy we want to have and buy. And no I'm not sure what's causing climate change, but I know there's a finite level of raw materials.

  • Comment number 16.

    thegangofone (#12)

    Dr. Boston on the SATS fiasco:

    "...claimed that this "placed a protective fence around DCSF and ministers, focused the spotlight on QCA and ETS, and prevented some of the major causes of the failure from being identified".


    Is he suggesting that New Labour abused ETS/QCA in order to discredit the KS3 SATs?

    Possibly because what they reveal is so contrary to what New Labour would like the public to believe.

    Those impartially interested should look at what happened to our detailed PISA data (excluded from final report by OECD) and the Northern Ireland report which examined SATs and dumbing down.......All quite aside form the plateauing in England.

    Have they been able to improve attainment as promised?

    What purpose did mass immigration serve apart from inceasing the market for sub-prime and CDOs?

  • Comment number 17.

    thegangofone (#13) "You have said you would like a Hitler style planned economy etc etc."

    What you call a 'Hitler style' planned economy, I call Old Labour style (more) planned economy as an alternative to the naked free-market anarcho-capitalism we have endured for the past 30 years. Old Labour was largely Keynesian. Keynes thought 'The General Theory' would be best implemented in a totalitarian country like Germany in 1936. Schact did quite a good job, he even named Iran (which might give you pause for thought, although, from past responses, it may not).

    See 1945 Old Labour manifesto which brought us the Welfare State. At that time, Stalin was our friend and allie. The GOSPLAN which I am in favour of is what used to be our world famous Civil Service which actually runs the country (MPs do not) before it was fragemented ,and either privatised, given to The Third Sector, or crammed full of incompetents to facilitate its demise in favour of the markets!

    Now do you realise why I refer to our sort of behaviour as anarchistic/Trotskyite?

    Please watch the cartoon and see how you have been duped by Thatcher who once banged one of Hayek's books down saying "this is what we believe!!" (along with Popper's 'Open Society and Its Enemies') - Both were refugees from Austria/Germany .......

    Do you ever consider whether you have been played?

    Hayek and Popper became more popular in the 70s. So did Friedman and the Chicago Boyz (see Neocons).

    By vilifying Hitler you hasten the demise of your country to the free-market anarchism - that, I have suggested, is what the Collective Guilt Campaign has really been all about - but most people are not supposed to grasp this for it to work.

    Capice?

  • Comment number 18.

    thegangofone (#13) "there have been hordes of trials, confessions, documents the camps themselves and the testimony of those in the camps and those who found them."

    Look closely at the serious history of these trials (and those in the USSR). They were political show trials and they were not run according to standard US/UK rules of evidence. Much that was done in these trials was done for political rather than strictly judicial reasons. That does not mean that crimes were not committed (by all sides) during the war, and that the international laws passed after the war were not in the right direction. It's just unfortunate that neither the USA nor Israel are signed up to them!

    You really do need to look into all of this far more critically, as you really do risk 'shooting yourself in the foot'/'cutting off your nose to spite your face' etc by doing what you are currently doing.

    The world will not collapse if you question your beliefs, you may just become more discerning....

  • Comment number 19.

    JP words Fail Me, If you need 2 borrow a Machine Gun give me A shout, Grenades and the like a tad longer but they are about.
    Think of the saving 2 the uk TAXpayer. Forget the few think/stink of the Many.

  • Comment number 20.

    Go 2 Work and Pay 4 mp's wages/pensions

    NOT ON UR NELLIE

    CUT MY HEAD OFF NOW

  • Comment number 21.

    As A Scotsman I shall B OFF soon 2 purchase A ST Georges Flag and MASKing Tape it 2 the back of me head there on I shall wander/wonder aboot lookin 4 the ODD Dragon/flagon 2 Slay Fire breathin or tother Wise.

    punchthis= As serious as your life-four tet

    Morris Men Irish Men (shallaly) Welsh Men (long bow) Scotsmen (skene dhu) report 2 the hoose and mag 2 grid

    easy init

 

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