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Wednesday 27 May 2009

Sarah McDermott | 19:19 UK time, Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Here's a look at what's coming up on the programme tonight.

From the web team:

"I am no Mother Theresa but all my stuff is out there." So says David Van Day, erstwhile member of 80s pop duo Dollar, and now a man considering running for parliament in the wake of the MPs' expenses scandal.

And Mr Van Day is not alone, as the aftershocks of the expenses row continue to rumble, a number of would-be independent MPs have been clambering out of the cracks, among them TV presenter Esther Rantzen and Daily Telegraph associate editor Simon Heffer.

On the day that the Labour disciplinary panel, the star chamber, meets to discuss whether MPs under fire for expenses claims can seek re-election we will take a closer look at the rise of the independent candidate. Are they the answer to parliament's problems and what are their chances for success?

Also, Justin Rowlatt's American odyssey takes him to Texas. The world's large-scale oil industry began in Texas, and the Lone Star state still styles itself as the powerhouse of America. But as Justin finds, as well as being the most polluting state in the Union, Texas has been quietly building a world-beating green energy industry right alongside its pump jacks and pipelines.

Join Kirsty Wark at 10.30pm on BBC Two for all that and more.

And finally, a message for all budding Shakespeare's out there...

As part of BBC Two's poetry season, Newsnight Review will be running a poetry special on Friday 29 May, looking at how relevant poetry is to modern day life and whether poets can still bring about change through the power of verse.

Could you compose a poem to sum up the mood of the nation? There's only one way to find out... send us your poetry on the burning issues of the day via the review website now.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    (Opportunistic) Independent Candidates have no place standing as a result of the current Westminster quagmire.

    Perhaps another addition to the possible solutions currently being bandied around - including my own ... Compulsory Voting - is that ALL Prospective Parliamentary Candidates must be geographically resident (Not just on the Electoral Roll!) for a period of five years in the Electoral Constituency in which they are seeking the seat.

  • Comment number 2.

    ......It was not until 1917 that the formal study of English was approved at Cambridge....As a Professor of English at Oxford put it in his inaugural lecture early in the 20th century, the study of literature not only delights and instructs but above all it has "to save our souls and heal the state." This fundamental shift is well reflected in the prestige our society now accords to novelists and the prominence given in our newspapers to reviews and literary prizes compared to the space given over to serious discussion of religion....Rt Rev Lord Harries of Pentregarth gives a lecture.


    http://www.gresham.ac.uk/event.asp?PageId=4&EventId=783

    so the function [art] of literature is to save our souls and heal the state? which exposes the mountain of dross that is there just to enrich people?
    what examples can we find of literature that 'heals the state'? ie something that really is art?

  • Comment number 3.

    Abu Hamza sons admit £1m car scam?

    what would the islamic punishment be?

  • Comment number 4.

    Your poetry link doesn't work so I'll post my verse here.

    So MP's,
    You filled your boots,
    Now you're getting a kicking,
    From ours.

  • Comment number 5.

    Im all for these details being published. But Im beginning to feel a bit uncomfortable that we dont seem to be distinguishing between levels of severity here. For example, whatever else she may have done, Im not sure that Julie Kirkbride is really doing anything wrong by employing a family member who lives 100 miles away, not in this age of electronic communication. My MP here in Newcastle has a secretary up here when he works in London, and he has for years. And so what? Even if they are employing family members - so what, if they are doing the work?

    Some cases are self-evidently worse than others. Where the law has been broken, prosecute them. Where the rules have been broken, discipline them. But otherwise, publish the details and let the electors decide at the General Election. We are in danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater here I think.

    As for indepedent candidates, I think we should probably have more of them. However, in any parliamentary system of government where the executive is made up of MPs, the vast majority of those MPs have to belong to a political party. Otherwise the system cannot work. So yes, let's have some entertainment, but there have to be limits.

  • Comment number 6.

    PITHY SUCCINCT APPOSITE CONCISE (#4)

    Thanks Simon. I am struggling with our wonderful NHS right now (just returned from being treated with contempt by imported labour) so helpless laughter was just what I needed.

    Have a Laurel.

  • Comment number 7.

    David van Day

    Is Newsnight finally reading the comments on this blog?

    67. At 12:20pm on 26 May 2009, KingCelticLion wrote:
    #60 Barrie

    WHICH DAVE?

    David Van Day ex of pop group Dollar and Celebrity Jungle cohabitant of Ester is potentially to stand against the above mentioned Nadine Dorris, don't understand the significance. Perhaps political analysts here will explain.

    As for Ester. Well if I check by my comments some way back I have already had a Rant at her. Appearing on Question Time she lectured that us, (yes Barrie that all inclusive "I know I speak for everyone")

    OH MY GOD she has just appeared on TV as I write this in an advert for ambulance chasers.

    Well Ester who had just flown to Australia and back to sit in a jungle (hotel car park) lectured me to do more on climate change. Then extolled the virtues of her bloody Toyota Prius. The car that has a full life cycle analysis that does more harm to the environment than a V8 Land Rover Discovery.

    Anyway all is not lost if we have a GOTCH'ALL (Government of the celebs having a luvvie laugh) then I am going to apply for the job as Chief Scientific Advisor.

    Hold on you say. Weren't you one of the scientists who set up the new generation of UK climate models. Didn't you produce the only accurate model of the outcome of FMD in March 2001. Didn't Al Gore quote your work on climate change, weren't you responsible for the foundation of the agenda for the 2005G8. Didn't you run R&D projects for the MOD at the age of 19.

    So where is your credibility to advise a GOTCH'ALL?

    Ha Ha when I was showing young bands in the north west how to organise gigs, some unknown band from manchester called Simply Red wanted me to be their technical and tour manager. I even advise Greenpeace how to stage live concerts before they took over the co-promotion of Glastonbury Music Festival in 1990. See I am qualified.

    Now we can get rid of that dreadful, The Only Way is Up by D-REAM we have our new anthem. BNP take note.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXX-iA-UQIQ

    Barrie, see what you have started.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 8.

    JAperson (#1) "(Opportunistic) Independent Candidates have no place standing as a result of the current Westminster quagmire."

    Lights, cameras, narcissist - Parliament is a becoming a magnet for them these days. But as much of the practical work of politicians is legislative or Committee based scrutiny of evidence, is this what media craving Independents would have much time for? When one hears an MP say 'I'm not a lawyer but...' as a Bill goes through the Houses or a witness is questioned in a Committee, it's often a signal that they have little, if anytning, to contribute. Most of the talk on TV etc could be done by a spokesperson from the Civil Service.

    Jack Straw - is he introducing Troikas?

  • Comment number 9.

    Newsnight

    I take back my last comment.

    Having seen your opening.

    You are still discussing the lie, with those who have lived within the lie.

    Are you just being obstinate, or do you simply just not understand?

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 10.

    Kirsty...You could accuse Roy Hattersley of sanctomonious utterences.

  • Comment number 11.

    I am really am sorry but I do not understand.

    An MP sells one house for £1.3 million. The buys another one and claims the doing up costs as expenses. This includes the cost of the accomodation for his gardener and wife.

    Surely in the real world someone doing up a house would do it from the money from the sale of the last one.

    As I only contributed to 2 Nobel Prizes in 2007 as my ecological contribution to climate models, I earn most of my money doing gardening. My gardening is fairly good but a bit eccentric, I give people nice gardens but my priority is earthworms and birds etc.

    If I gardened for an MP he could claim expenses for providing me with accomodation, after getting More than a £ million for the last house.

    One good thing is I have bought a £80 angle grinder so I think I can get tax relief on that over the next 3 years.

    Stick your £1,3 million house I am happy with my earthworms. I also appreciate decent conversation.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 12.

    I had some difficulty with your report on the MP financial scandals. No one has yet reported that the people organising Julie Kirkbride's(sp?) petition to go seem to be part of the Respect Party. Why not?? My other problem was with your panel. Must we wheel out Mr Hattersley? He is quite clearly biased and you already had a Labour supporter. And of course we had Hattersley telling us that 'we expect the Tories to behave like this not the Lbour Party' Really? Obviously he doesn't know much about his own party- in particular the shenanigans of Scottish Labour over the years. Please stop this - it puts me off terribly and no-one does pious posturing better than Labour - old or new.

  • Comment number 13.

    Justin Rowlatt pops up on "Newsnight", so it's time to switch off.

    Can anyone tell me why Kirsty Wark and Mark Urban have adopted the U.S. pronunciation of "Fiat"? Does "Newsnight" now take its presentation and pronunciation cues form America's 'CBS News' ('Sky News') and 'ABC World News' ('BBC News' channel)?

  • Comment number 14.

    I have a few comments on the expenses claims but I would rather offer solutions and see what everyone thinks so here goes:
    The British public need to act as one not as a party but as a group who control the destiny of the MP's in this country. Obama got in because the American's got fed up with being dictated to about who they should have as president now it's our turn. Due to our different political system we can now threaten the main parties that if they don't get their act in gear they will not be in power come the next election, i believe the ideas I have put below could be used.

    1. In the European elections due to it being about similar parties from each country in the EU getting together then don't waste your vote on the bnp or ukip when not supporting the main 3 parties vote green or libertase. neither may have the greatest policies overall but the green ones that count may help the environment or libertase may sort out eu expenses and give Labour, Conservative and liberal parties a very bloody nose. More importantly it will show that the British public can shout with one voice and threaten the political process in the future.
    2 When the new Speaker is voted in he must, backed by the 3 main party leaders and by motions of the 3 party whips, issue warrants for the issue for a writ for the new members to take over from the MP's who have resigned or been excluded by their parties at that point and any future one's so leaving after their expenses have been disclosed and indicated to be immoral. This would allow for by-elections across the country allowing the MP's who have done wrong to be dumped by their voters. The parties to fight for their lives in the by-election and give these new members some time in the commons prior to a general election.

    3. The Government to set a date now for an election in June next year. This gives them all 12 months to convince us both at by-elections and in how they run the country and act in opposition over that time why we should vote for them. A quick election is usually how we get conned into voting for the wrong parties and it will give time for the new parties getting set up to set their stall out.

    I also believe a clock similar to the millennium countdown one should be on all breakfast tv shows so we can watch the countdown and the MP's can know how long they have left to sort themselves out
    4. The issue of expenses to be put out to a third party headed by possible ex police commissioner or police officer involved in fraud so we the public can feel safe that we can trust the observations made by this outside commission. The involvement of ex-tax inspectors should also be involved.

    5. A public body be set up with members of the public running it to oversee MP's moral issue's and have direct contact with the Speaker and have the ability to ask for MP's to be investigated by him whichever party is voted in.

    6. The Speaker to have direct authority to discipline or sack MP's found to have deviated from the moral attitude expected of them by the public.

    7. Finally the union jack should be reclaimed from the BNP by the British people through a group set up to act on peoples opinions and backed by the government of the day and it can give opinion to the body working with the speaker to watch MP's moral behaviour using the union Jack as it's symbol..

    I hope you are interested in the above and can help me get the ideas across to other people who will listen.

    All the best

    Steve

  • Comment number 15.

    On tonight's Newsnight debate Roy Hattersley reminded us that we have always had buffoons in parliament, even at senior level. His desperate attempts to make party political issues out of the expenses farce typified both old and new labour - party first, parliament and the country last!

  • Comment number 16.

    HATTERLEY SAYS "BEWARE OF INDIVIDUALS BEARING PRINCIPLES"

    As if Shiny-Boy-Dave were not enough to suffer, with his cry that an election (and Tory win) will herald in the Second Coming (and more) we have Hattersley ('Brown is brilliant, and Labour the natural choice') telling us that Independent candidates are rubbish. NOW WHY WOULD HE TROUBLE TO SAY THAT?
    As for his reasoning: well - for Hattersley it was pretty cogent; for anyone else . . .
    In his 'Independent simper' he cried: "Vote for me because of what I stand for" and declared this to be the 'great arrogance of the Independent'. With political nous like that behind them, Labour will walk it. When the electorate realise that what we need is a bunch of rosette stands - who stand for nothing - it will be a Labour landslide - won't it? "Hole in one Roy! Now see if you can shoot the other foot!"

  • Comment number 17.

    The poetry link still doesn't work. Is this a metaphor?

  • Comment number 18.

    ROSETTE-STAND HATTERSLEY. (#16 addition)

    I should have added that if Hattersley thinks he would have been elected, other than as a rosette stand, i.e. on the basis of his charisma, oratory, clarity of judgement, or even ability to walk with a hole in his foot, he is as deluded as a Tony Blair hearing that voice.

    If only 'Our BBC' yielded us 'Our Newsnight' - I would suggest EVERY MP who appears be asked: "Who did your constituents vote for, you or your rosette?" Then they can go home and continue beating their wives - or insignificant others.

  • Comment number 19.

    At 11:28pm on 27 May 2009, mimpromptu wrote:
    #55 ChaosMagick
    I would sign up to most of the points you make about the need for reform. The only one I'm not sure about is your proposal of the introduction of primaries as I have not had enough possibility to examine the subject.

  • Comment number 20.

    KIRSTY: BUTTERFILL WOULDN'T MELT IN HER MOUTH

    Anyone else note that the Kirsty-Butterfill exchange had Kirsty 'Marianne' Wark desperately scrambling for some honey at one stage? Her interviewing of the aristocrat/miscreant Butterfill reminded me of a scene from French Revolution at times - (knit-knit).

    The closing comments by Patel and Hattersley on arrogance of 'vote for me' Independents were good.

    Credit to 'Marianne' for bringing in the unwritten salary 'top up' issue with respect to expenses - and I guess it' obvious for legal reasons why it didn't go anywhere, so no need to ask why there has been no coverage of why Nadine Dorries' blog (now back but edited?) was down over the weekend after her Friday post.........

  • Comment number 21.

    INDEPENDENCE IS AS INDEPENDENCE DOES?

    Not a lot of people know that when standing as oneself, in a General Election, the default label if one is not a party (of one) is 'independent'. I tried hard to find a way round this in 2005 - and failed.

    In every-day life, people of independent thought and being, routinely compromise to achieve some greater good. Individuals need not be individualistic.

    To be mature is to be self-sufficient while both socially-aware and competent. To promote IMMATURE independents to governance, is no smarter than electing dumb rosette stands, as now. But a governing body of MATURE individuals with as near a full set of abilities as the adult mind can accrue, would surely benefit this country beyond measure?

    The FOI allowances/expenses revelations show how unable to resist temptation the typical Westminster MP is - this is a clear mark of immaturity. Further: they neither snitch-on nor challenge their chums 'in the dorm'.

    I suggest the case is made. The Westminster party-charade is, in every aspect, no way to manage anything. If international companies can be managed successfully, why not a small country? Both are dependent on motivated individuals organised into a viable whole.

    The prerequisite of good governance is to SPOIL PARTY GAMES.

  • Comment number 22.

    ROSETTES VS PERSONAILITY

    barrie (#16)

    The dilemma surely is that people are justifiably confused. It's all too complicated. Are people to vote for a set of policies which will be implemented by their MPs on their behalf, or are they to vote for a personality incapable in the present system of implementing anything?

    In the first case one might as well have a One-Party system as in the USSR/PRC/N Korea/Vietnam etc where candidates are party-members elected at local level, who then elect their regional leaders, and so on, with a GOSPLAN and GOSBANK ensuring the factories make the right number of tootbrushes and the transport system distributes them to constituents with limited 'choice' for pragmatic reasons. On the other, the system appears to inevitably degenerate into theatre, where constituents can't tell much difference between entertaining, narcissistic, divas and politicians.

    In the end, I reckon Lenin, Stalin and Mao had it more or less right. So did we in the UK when we had a working 'elitist' Old Labour headed Civil Service. I don't really think there used to be all that much difference between Britain's system and the USSR's if one looked behind the theatrics. Lenin, Stalin etc used to meet in London and modelled what they strove for upon our system. It was vilified by those who wanted to break our system up, which may not have been Stalin or Hitler who would probably have just made it more robust I suspect.

    It has all changed now though, and much for the worse. Politics really is, as most can see every day, just like Hollywood. It's tacky, narcissistic, inconsequential, irreal and fundamentally not true to life - except with respect to corruption ;-)

  • Comment number 23.

    who are the people in the fees office giving out this wonderful financial advice? any names? pictures? interviews? all the mps say they took their advice yet we have no idea who they are? or what financial qualifications they have? why the news blackout?

    JR. do we really need a mr bean film?

  • Comment number 24.

    #10 cookieducker

    "Kirsty...You could accuse Roy Hattersley of sanctomonious utterences."

    The public would probably pay for "sanctomonious utterences" rather than have far right (your left) fanatics producing their vile analysis. By far right I mean people who can say they revere Hitler and not laugh.

  • Comment number 25.

    #18 barriesingleton

    "If only 'Our BBC' yielded us 'Our Newsnight'"

    Yes....

    For those that don't know "Our Newsnight" means BNP night with hysterical reverence for Hitler (the chap with the niece and the "drink" problem); race "realism"; eugenics;a planned economy and probably a large dose of Holocaust Agnosticism.

    When I think of the diverse fabric of our democracy I don't think of any of that and neither does the great majority - hence the BNP gets a very small vote.

    Most people would be sick at the thought of the propaganda that would be unleashed.

    If you said "if only there could be a slot for the Cult of the Latter Day Haw Haws" then people would at least know what you were on about.

    By the way referring back to a previous post where you complained about a sadistic homosexual teacher (obviously a big factor in your life) I compared him to the gay Rohm. He was shot by Hitler as an ideological rival, not as a gay, so I suppose "BNP Newsnight" content would be governed by Griffin rather than risk a conflict. Tyndall probably wouldn't be asked to contribute.

    Also Himmler had furniture made from human body parts. Thats nor explicitly sadistic but does show a certain bent of mind. So "BNP Newsnight" might need to be after midnight.

    You could also have:

    Watch with Mother - "Goose Step with Mother"
    Question Time - "We Will Ask the Questions"
    etc.

    Hitler chewed carpet in a rage according to some. I am not surprised.

  • Comment number 26.

    I am not so angry at the revelations themselves, which I feel were bound to result from such a cosy self-made, self-regulated arrangement, as I am worried by the fact that the MPs apparently were unable to foresee the inevitability of it. If they cannot predict something as simple and obvious as that, are they fit to make the laws which govern the vast complexities of society in general?

  • Comment number 27.

    #8 Jaded_Jean

    "Lights, cameras, narcissist - Parliament is a becoming a magnet for them these days."

    Neutral readers note that the solution for some of the hideous far right posters on this page is is Hitler-ite policies with a ludicrous gesture at respectability. For instance the BNP election literature has a Spitfire on it and not a dive bombing Stuka. Race "realists" who are "agnostic" on the Holocaust.

    People who will talk about how many Jews survived WWII on the basis of infantile statistics - that they have never taken to a trial such as the upcoming Djemjanjuk trial.

    People who cannot grasp that genetic variation is greater within a race than between races and that hence there is no basis in science for their race "realism".

    Perhaps not narcissist - just vile.

  • Comment number 28.

    #10 cookieducker

    As a member of the Cult of the Latter Day Haw Haws who referred to Pink Floyd the other day:

    'Musicians from bands including Blur and Pink Floyd have launched a campaign demanding that the British National party stop selling their music to raise campaign funds.

    The BNP is selling folk albums on its website featuring artists who claim they have no control over the fact that the far-right party is using their songs.'

    Guardian


    So given that Jaded_Jean is considered by you to be "high end" I infer you are "low end" and therefore you may need to ask about if its smart to sell music (a "corrupting influence") when it leads to publicity showing that the musicians reject you hideous views.

    Ha ha!

  • Comment number 29.

    DESCRIPTIVE PRACTICALITIES

    barrie (#21) As most of the productive work of elected MPs is serving on Committees and painstaking work on legislation which is the prerequiste to anything legally being changed, what is the electorate voting for if not the ability to do precisely that, and what could Independents do?

    How could they individually have policies or a manifesto? They would be powerless would they not? Hattersley was just saying it as it is in a Parliamentary Democracy surely? Independents can only stand if all candidates are members of a one-party state system and there is a clear national political agenda. 'Freedom' in the West (and its Eastern post WWII puppets) is really just anti-statism, i.e anarchism, where politicans stop anything from systematically gettting in the way of 'free', i.e predatory, enterprise. Surely anyone who has lived through the last 4 decades or so can see the way this works under the subterfuge of 'freedom'? In the current system, we elect people not to govern. When it all goes pear shaped, people's appeals for something to be done are therefore hopeless, and those really in power start pretending to worry about bogey's like the BNP as harginers of credible socialist parties which they would prefer not to attention to. The BNP is OK as it is not credible. I'm even prepared to believe that it's designed to be so. Even the CPGB was not credible. Old Labour was credible, that's why it was destroyed.

  • Comment number 30.

    #21 PLANNING?

    Not being a politician/economist or having any interest in political philosophy etc, I am confused by Go1 constant referral to 'planned economies'.

    If as an individual I ran out of money at the weekend, it would be said I was at fault because I hadn't 'planned'.

    As you point out international companies are managed, this involves planning.

    Why does Go1 object to the same decision making process, that is expected to apply to the individual or other organisational structure.

    Go1 objection seems to rely on the contentment and happiness derived from that if ecological systems collapsed in a few years and world food supplies diminished and billions starved or were killed in the associated social unrest. This would be OK and fine because planning of the economy to avoid such events was undesirable.

    Please could Go1 or somebody else please explain to someone without knowledge of political philosophy why planning for a better future for a planet is an undesirable trait.

    A trait which is considered desirable in all other sub units of organisational structure.

    We as individuals, a nation or as a planet as a whole always seem to standing on the edge of an abyss, it being undesirable to plan the bridge to cross it to a better future.

    Why is this undesirable to some of the posters on this site?

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 31.

    #21 barriesingleton

    "The prerequisite of good governance is to SPOIL PARTY GAMES"

    When you aren't shouting for the BNP I gather you stood on that platform for Parliament and lost your deposit.

    The voters probably did not even know about the race "realism" and Holocaust Agnosticism.

    That tells you a lot.

    You are a voice crying in the wilderness. But you are actually too close to civilization.

    Go much further out. Way out.

  • Comment number 32.

    FOI (#21)

    That was a slip. Well, it was sort of 'people's FOI!'

    FILCHED - OBTAINED - ITEMISED

  • Comment number 33.

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

  • Comment number 34.

    NOTE TO THEGANGOFONE AND OTHER NAIVE 'EQUALITARIANS'

    The price of anti-race realism is blindness to epidemiological and other empirical facts. Blindness to such empirical facts costs and/or blights lives.

  • Comment number 35.

    I am getting increasingly annoyed at the responses some MPs gave after having been caught cheating with their expenses. These so called political elites spoke out on television, indignant as if they had been wronged by the reports in Telegraph, and then gave totally evasive(assisted with convenient forgetfulness at times), implausible or downright preposterous accounts of their actions, expecting voters to buy their BS. They spoke with such dignity and poise that I am starting to wonder if public denunciation ever touched their conscience. I say, call in the police and conduct a proper investigation. If prison places are in scarce supply, one can always transform House of Commons into Wormwood Scrubs II. Meetings of parliament can then resort to video conferencing, no fuss on second home allowance, sounds good?

  • Comment number 36.

    thegangofone (#24) "The public would probably pay for "sanctomonious utterences" rather than have far right (your left) fanatics producing their vile analysis. By far right I mean people who can say they revere Hitler and not laugh."

    Is the above coprolalia?

  • Comment number 37.

    thegangofone (#25) Have you got an ASBO? ;-)

  • Comment number 38.

    #25 Go1

    Again I am having problems with 'planned economies'.

    If someone went on holiday on a cruise, the journey would be planned. There would be enough food and water etc on the ship to supply everyone.

    It would not be taken as random chance that a doctor would be on board in case anyone got ill.

    It would be planned, like everything else. It doesn't stop those on board enjoying themselves.

    Surely planning, the ability for groups to work together to create a strategy for the future is what created and was part of the process of civilisation.

    Are those who oppose planned economies anarchists, who prefer a world of chaos and disorder, as long as they can survive without compassion for other life.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 39.

    KingCelticLion (#30) "Why is this undesirable to some of the posters on this site?"

    Lack of insight? Low cognitive-ability? Multiple screws loose? Gango1 seems adept at substituting quite unrelated words for what other posters write and then disagreeing with his own substitutions. It's quite odd. Perhaps he has a reading or expressive disorder? Unsurprisingly, everyone has found him to be unresponsive to rational engagement. Perhaps this is typical of equivocating Liberal-Democrats?
    Is he trying to smear the Liberal-Democrats?

    When the BBC covers N Korea it tends to show lots of troops marching very neatly. How does N Korean TV depict the West? As a bunch of thieves with their hands in the public purse delighting in duping their electorates? It's pretty good PR for the N Korea I think. Why do we fund sanctions against it? Which terrorists are they allegedly sponsoring? Is there a sponsorship scheme for terrorism?

  • Comment number 40.

    I HAVE A PLAN JJ - LET'S AGREE: THE CHANCES ARE WE ARE BOTH WRONG.

    At least YOU are beg true to yourself, but like Tony, that doesn't confer rightness - sadly. I, on the other hand, am a devout Janus worshipper. While convinced that Homo Sapiens is doomed to self-destruct in all but the simplest and/or demanding of circumstances, I still strive to compute some way to 'do the modern thing' but with less pain.

    As the Angel Gabriel said to Mr Bean: "I am pathetic." (Although, that might have been misreported.)

  • Comment number 41.

    perhaps the damaging part of JR 'green' vids is that any subjects compared by someone who presents themselves as a buffoon are hardly going to be taken seriously? it becomes a matter of association.

    all we need now is someone in a clown outfit to tell us about how renewable energy is a subject worthy of attention. or how mps will reform parliament.

  • Comment number 42.

    roy has morphed into his Sitting Image slobbering person...there is justice after all Julie Kirkbride has GONE!

  • Comment number 43.

    KingCelticLion (#38) "Are those who oppose planned economies anarchists, who prefer a world of chaos and disorder, as long as they can survive without compassion for other life."

    Basically yes. If you ask someone who knows about the Austrian School of economics (see teh Von Mises site) they will openly tell you that basically the ideology is anarchistic. Peole find this hard to believe but it is true. The economics of the last three decades is essentially Austrian School or Chicago School. They just present it as 'freedom' or 'liberalism'. In their Neoconservative guise they openly campaign for attacks one Command/Planned Economies. It's why the USSR was in the frame, N Korea today. It's why Old Labour is a pale version of what it once was and why the Public Sector is always being eroded here. The USA is anti-statist, was a great supporter of Thatcher etc.
    Statism, Big Government, is bad for Big Business. Internationalism/free-trade makes Big National Government all but impossible. With what is left of our once semi-planned economy (big Public Sector running the country with nationalised means of production) ever more in retreat, what exactly can MPs supervise? They are all but superfluous. Most of the electorate still doesn't see any of this.

  • Comment number 44.

    NOT A POLITICAL GROUP, JUST A GROUP OF FRIENDS REUNITED?

    People really can be, and really have been, very naive can't/haven't they? Crypto this, entryist that. How might can sort of behaviour have ever annoyed anyone when they've been vociferously told that races don't exist by the very same people?

    Fastest growing growup in the USA = Hispanics.

  • Comment number 45.

    AND NOW THEY QUEUE TO TELL THEIR FINAL INSULTING LIES.

    Departing MP's excuses are pouring from my radio. I have raged on here before over MPs who come out with luminous untruth, which is so insulting by virtue of its lack of any attempt at guile.

    These are deeply unpleasant people in a deeply unpleasant ethos. Blair was quintessential of the breed. Look at his triumphal progress though British politics, and now the world. We are in dire trouble. No party leader sprung from the Westminster decay, like a toadstool masquerading as an edible mushroom, can possibly take us anywhere but down to deeper dark; albeit in a devious spiral.

    Doom

  • Comment number 46.

    KingCelticLion (#38) Addendum:

    "Most of the electorate still doesn't see any of this."

    Do you think it might be because of the typos? ;-)

  • Comment number 47.

    barrie (#40) Nope, can't agree to that. The trouble with Janus that as with Oedipus, when pushed came to shove, it ended in tragedy.

    I really do want to understand how about 650 Indedendents with next to no grasp of what is required in evidence taking and scrutiny of new Bills (because they're elected because of their niceness as with Celebrity Come Dancing etc), could ever work.

    I can see how 'Independents' (i.e. a vanguard of Party Members) within a Democratic-Centralist government with a well staffed professional Civil Service managing the means of production in the electorate's interest could work. That's what Old Labour planned, i.e. a Command Economy like the USSR, PRC, Vietnam, and N Korea etc, except arrived at through Parliamentary reform rather than revolution.

    But a bunch of Independents like Esther Rantzen, David van Day etc I can't envisage at all, especially without that infrastructure above. It would all be, well, pointless. In fact, it would be pretty much like what we have now if you come to think of it ;-)

  • Comment number 48.

    barrie (#45) "These are deeply unpleasant people in a deeply unpleasant ethos.

    Labour was supposed to establish socialism via Parliamentary reform. This wouln't be their Machiavellian way of doing it would it?

  • Comment number 49.

    Ester

    See #7 above

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/fromthewebteam/2009/05/wednesday_27_may_2009.html

    If we have a Government with many independent MPs then they will need a Scientific Advisor, an independent one. So Ester will get a letter next week.

    Sorry to those who disagree but that will include a planned system, if it isn't we will walk into a scenario of death, disorder, chaos, misery and ultimately extinction of all higher life on Earth for 100 million years or more.

    Survival of life on Earth is our priority.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 50.

    Rhyming Slung

    I was at first impressed by Auntie
    when She asked us for our rhymes
    about political disenchantment
    (largely due to MPs crimes).

    But what are we supposed to think
    when She can't make a working link?

    Persevering with a web search
    I found the page to submit
    poetic offerings for Auntie
    cruelly to ignore or edit.

    Is hers a justified selection,
    searching for poetic perfection?

    No! Excluding poems on a whim?
    Aunties cultured claim is bluff
    if she'll only print what She likes
    and ignore our other stuff.

    So much then for diversity.
    Post number 4 - good boot ditty.

 

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