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Friday 2 October 2009

Verity Murphy | 16:48 UK time, Friday, 2 October 2009

Here is Gavin Esler with what is coming up on Newsnight and Newsnight Review:


I'm presenting both Newsnight and Newsnight Review tonight, and so we will one way or another manage to encompass everything from the Olympics and Brazil to Barack Obama, to a bit of Henry VIII, the poet John Clare and the inheritance of modernism.

In tonight's programme - as of writing it is not clear which city will win the 2016 Olympics though, despite the campaigning on behalf of Chicago by Barack and Michelle Obama, the smart money appears to be on Rio.

After the Beijing Olympics and the South African World Cup, is Latin America finally coming of age as a world economic and cultural powerhouse?

Plus, Michelle Obama's speech on behalf of the city of Chicago comes after Sarah Brown's speech at the Labour party conference on behalf of her husband, the prime minister.

Which prompts the thought - do political wives, or partners, make a difference? Discuss.

And - when you think Newsnight, you think grime.

If you don't know what I am talking about then perhaps our item on Tinchy Stryder will open your eyes. And if you do, you'll love it anyway.

Plus in Review: I don't get out much these days. I have been reading the Man Booker Prize shortlist.

The Man Booker winner will be chosen next Tuesday, but tonight three book prize aficionados Rosie Boycott, John Carey and last year's Man Booker chair, Michael Portillo, will review an enticing list of titles - including the latest novels from former winners AS Byatt and JM Coetzee, and the hot favourite Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.

Perhaps they will also explain to me why at least two of the books are so fat I almost developed a hernia trying to lift them.

Oh, yes, and they will also perhaps try to figure out why in the 2009 Man Booker prize none of the six finalists were sufficiently interested in the 21st Century to set any of their novels in our own times. One is set in the 16th Century, two in the 19th Century, and three set between the 1920s and the 1990s.

Yesterday? It's the new today.



  • Comment number 1.

    May I ask why, the BBC having done literally thousands of reports on "scientists say global warming is more serious than previously thought...", you don't consider the news, sweeping the blogsphere, that Stephen McIntyre has, by checking the tree ring data on which the whole Global warming thesis is based, proven statistically that it was not merely wrong but fraudulent.


    Since this proves the entire warming scare, at best, wholly untrue & partly fraudulent, surely this is a matter of greater importance than most reports on the subject.

  • Comment number 2.

    from mimpromptu
    today's really quite old
    with six out of twenty four to go

    and please do not forget to have fun
    shall I send you more jokes in a van?

  • Comment number 3.

    You got Tinchy Stryder on Newsnight? WOW!!!! Can't wait to see him tonight with Stephen Smith :o)

  • Comment number 4.


    Well posted Neil. I would like to add my call for awareness of the electrical nature of space and its effect on this planet.

    But we are trapped. We must live 'within the lie' until it falls apart though self-corrosion.

    I have prompted Susan Watts to no avail.

  • Comment number 5.


    Actually, the report of a 'mindless killing' included, almost as an afterthought: "They had been drinking all day". Alcohol shuts down the 'higher mind' to a state of 'diminished responsibility'. Under the circumstances, one would expect alcohol to be in the dock, alongside the two males - but no. It is part of our culture, supposedly a necessary adjunct to any ritual activity, or enjoyable gathering. This is what we trumpet as CIVILISATION. We are keen to export our civilisation to Muslim lands - along with as many crates of 'Export' as their economy will stand. They will then be able to cease oppressing women and start kicking men's heads in. Result!

    I am back to the Mote and Beam again. I, for one, would feel a lot better if we tackled our own failings, and left others to work through theirs. We have never been god's gift to other parts of the globe; we have always been predatory and puffed up beyond measure. And the brewers were never far behind the preachers.

    For evil to triumph, it is only required that politicians continue to sup with brewers.

  • Comment number 6.

    Another very weak programme.

    How boring! Rio will host the Olympics in seven years time. Do we really care if it was to be Rio, Chicago, Tokyo or Madrid?
    Trying to enhance the storyline by linking it to the well recognised growing importance of non-G8 economies is hardly news.
    And how tenuous and pathetic to link in Sarah Brown's support for Gordon via Barack and Michelle Obama's support for Chicago. Of course the wives support the husbands. All very predictable, and fairly irrelevant.
    And Tinchy Stryder's (who? comments on the current socio-economic problems and a display of his merchandised clothing! Spare us!

  • Comment number 7.

    BIG MISTAKE (#6)

    I was studying the video-wall, and wondering what it cost to install and to run. The Olympic flame was about as hackneyed as it gets, but the subtle hint that the whole damned studio was on fire, I found distinctly edgy (award winning stuff). The upshot was, I didn't hear a word of 'news'. Sorry Gavin - never perform with children, animals or video-walls . . .

  • Comment number 8.

    barrie (#4) "But we are trapped. We must live 'within the lie' until it falls apart though self-corrosion."

    I sometimes think they have a policy of ignoring stuff unless it's really unimportant.

    For example, why hasn't Jerusalem come clean?

    And, how come, after so many hints, many moons before ETS picked up on it, why didn't NN cover what was really driving the 'credit crunch'?

    Maybe you've got to be a celebrity or something? ;-)

  • Comment number 9.


    'President of Europe', is far short of Messiah or even Emperor of the World ('Emperor Without Clothes' - of course). We are turning into a satire on ourselves. I can imagine some alien race watching Planet Earth as a sort of Big Brother House, and saying: "That would never happen - it's rigged" as, of course, it is.

  • Comment number 10.

    Mr McShane (originally had a Polish name) was on the news tonight saying how great it would be if Mr Blair could be President of the EU if EIRE voted 'Yes'. Remember that 'cash for honours' stuff a while back? No? Remember who the funders of Mr Blair and Mr Brown were? No? Remember where the Credit Crunch hailed from? No? remeber the greatest Ponzi scheme in human history was and who the early feeder funds were? No? Noticed anything about that nice Mr Obama from Chicago and his crew? No?

    Why not?

  • Comment number 11.


    Was Jesus the black sheep of the family? The god of the Jews does seem to allow a lot of stuff that his son told us appeasing-Christians was not kosher. This being the case, Israel is never going to bow to a bunch of goyim telling them what to do, now, are they?! Any chance Andrew Marr could ask Sachs if he, and his herd, are a cut above the Gentiles? Not quite on a par with Gordon's ills and pills, but good television nevertheless.

  • Comment number 12.


    Shirl says most MPs are decent people wanting to improve life for all. Why then did they passively witness the strangulation and emasculation of Parliament, without raising any audible protest? Sorry Shirl, I don't remember you denouncing any of the chicanery that passes for protocol in that smelly chamber. I won't tell you why, but given such a chance as wittering your wisdom on Radio 4 presents, you might just have told me! Instead, you come out with the same, manifestly false and indefensible tosh that they all do. I must add my voice to those of whom you were heard to complain, because they say: "You are all the same."

  • Comment number 13.


    barie (#11) Never suggest to a narcissist that there may have anything imperfect about them. 'Hell hath no fury....'

  • Comment number 14.

    from mimpromptu re: The Eve of the National Poetry Day - 7.10.09

    The poem to be revealed that we’re still stitching
    On Wednesday will be unveiled at the British Library,
    11 am with cameras present. So come and join in
    The national event to poetry celebratory.

  • Comment number 15.

    #12 from mimpromptu
    Mark who's speaking at #13 -
    self-projection by any chance?

  • Comment number 16.

    from mimpromptu
    Happy snapping, Streetphotobeing if that's you're planning for today
    I may report on the events as they unfold during the course of the day. If not, I'm bound to be in touch later. Cannot be helped. It's lovely to have a friend who's prepared to take and to give, to share in other words.

  • Comment number 17.

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

  • Comment number 18.

    Imagine one type of human being which boringly and painstakingly looks at and listens to the world, measures it, notes the measures and their relations, looks for errors, invites others to correct their measures, constantly tests by building and predicting etc, vs another type, which strings words together to make stories which look/sound good regardless of wheter what they say or write is true. The first invites criticism because that helps them to do what they do. The latter avoids criticism becaue that impairs what they do.

    The first I call builders. The second wreckers.

    Are you a builder or a wrecker?

  • Comment number 19.


    Get thee behind me JJ! Where is the room for overt perversity in that declaration? I may have the body of a weak and feeble man, but I have the head of a confused septugenarian and the heart of a failed transplant.

    Neither a builder nor a wrecker be. (Fred Dibnah.)

  • Comment number 20.

    fell asleep again, did I miss anything?

  • Comment number 21.

    "Which prompts the thought - do political wives, or partners, make a difference? Discuss."

    Discussion is usually rational. Rational analysis and discussion does not always appear to be encouraged in BBC blogs these days so I guess we get the celebritism/narcissism, and hypocrisy that we deserve as 'politics'?

    Reason doesn't come into it much as far as I can tell.

    Over to you Mimpromptu, Streetphotobeing and thegangofone etc.

  • Comment number 22.

    City of God.

    anyone who hosts the Olympics after the UK is bound to look good? olympics has become a byword for excess, vanity and squander never mind drugs.

    energy companies refuse to lower bills and the 'regulator' says they can do nothing about it. this is the greatest extraction of wealth by foreign owned multinationals ever inflicted upon the british people since the danegeld?

  • Comment number 23.


    With you there Bookhim. I posted recently that the world is excessively Yang, with MALE measures of value and success taken as absolute. When I see the extreme male end of the 'genitally female', clearly obsessively trained, straining for some brute physical goal, I cannot help thinking: "Thank god for Page Three".

    I am given to understand that sexual coupling is encouraged by 'releasers' in the physical form. A fine specimen, male athlete, can be presumed to stir the female of the species, more than a little. The opposite cannot be said of the 'female' athlete. Her releaser factors (releasing male response) depend much on the strategic disposition of fat (see P3 (:o) if his interest is to be aroused, but the honed 'female' athlete has no fat to dispose!

    So the Olympics now stand (not unlike the elevation of Emperor Blair) as a monument to human folly, much of which you document above. Nero is way out-fiddled, and the whole damned planet is due to combust.

    If they want to compete in male activities, let them compete against the men. Let's, rather, celebrate sexual dimorphism - long live Page Three. Lads: let the Bell Curve be your inspiration - La Belle Curve indeed!

  • Comment number 24.

    POLITICAL WIVES OF THE VERY ODD (That might be axiomatic?)

    I had had an image of Sarah Brown floating in my mind's eye. Something was not right. I studied every repeat showing. It was body language - particularly the eyes. They did not seem to be seeing, even though they looked.

    While driving, a penny dropped.

    To me, Sarah Brown on stage, looked like someone anticipating attack from behind, while putting on a calm front. I can't put it any other way. Or is it to do with not cracking one's makeup? I dunno.

  • Comment number 25.


    someone in NN thinks the demographic for NN is young rappers? How funny. How sad. Steve Smith will be out spray painting the tube trains tonight?

  • Comment number 26.

    I watched the Tinchy Stryder interview by Stephen Smith this morning on BBCi Player - and it was excellent :o) MORE PLEASE.

  • Comment number 27.

    barrie (#24) Is it worth trying to work out...?

    "After leaving university, she worked at the brand consultancy Wolff Olins. When she was 30, she went into partnership with her old school friend, Julia Hobsbawm, starting the Hobsbawm Macaulay public relations firm together."

  • Comment number 28.



    Will a united Ireland go in as a whole NUT? Regional Development Agencies and a Balkanized Britain. Is this what all the socio-economic commotion in Britain has been about over the past few years? Still, with no real difference between the main parties, the BNP just eliciting major hissy fits, and Old Labour being no more is there any point protesting the inevitable (and then, there's the Checks and error Poles)

  • Comment number 29.

    errata (#28) 'Checks and error Poles'??? You know, those Ex Eastern Block places who wanted their independence.

  • Comment number 30.

    NN spent a long time on the olympic bid thing, I mean do we really care? I am glad it went south as we northern hemisphere types always seem to get it and I'm glad the Yanks didn't get it as they have everything and know the value of zilch, so OK, but was far too long on the subject.....

  • Comment number 31.

    #10 JJ

    Another one that wants to hide their Jewish background!

    'Mahmoud Ahmadinejad revealed to have Jewish past'

  • Comment number 32.


    Based on their planned topics I gave NN a miss for a couple of nights and instead settled down on Thursday evening to watch what I expected to be a science-based documentary 'The Secret Life of Twins - part 2' on BBC1, having missed part 1 last week.

    I found the programme completely unwatchable and inaudible due to the cacophonous sounds (certainly not music) that dominated every frame.
    What is happening to BBC? Is this the new intake of Media Studies graduates? or a cost-cutting attempt to take their charter objectives "to Enlighten, Inform and Entertain" and merge them in every programme, irrespective of subject matter?

    How I long for the good old days, when scientists (eg Sir Mortimer Wheeler, Professor Joad) presented science content in a factual manner and in clearly enunceated English, with a total absence of razamataz.

    But that was in the days before Docu-Drama, which attempts to fit all audiences, but probably suits few.

  • Comment number 33.

    #32 I agree entirely with your sentiments indignantindegene, I watched that programme, I loath the Docu-drama, and agree I can't hear a thing the people are saying, I think that's where Media students are taking us!

    I watched a programme tonight about the Pre Raphaelites, (Docu Drama) and couldn't stand the so called music on there, what's Gilbert and Sullivan got to do with them?!

    And I've just watched Ghandi, but the ruddy Docu Drama has to flash in between the photos, and again the endless noise, all electronic I believe, why not Ravi Shankar?!

    Did I learn much, not really, the noise and simplicity of it all, plus all these theories, are they true, or are they myths woven around famous names?!

  • Comment number 34.

    For twins, look up the Minnesota Twins Study. There are a number of these across the world now. I agree, it's getting very hard to watch TV these days. Like so many in behavioural genetics, the researchers are a bit sensitive as there are some very people about ;-)

  • Comment number 35.


    'Western' culture is self-destructing; in this 'endeavour', alcoholic Britain leads the charge. Whatever the plot is, and regardless of who is doing the plotting, the cry: 'the centre cannot hold' was never more relevant.

    Cleverness is king, from manipulation of money to subversion of all things natural. The word 'Wisdom' is slipping from the English language.

    The machines for robot wars are well advanced; all casualties will soon be civilian. Yet fighting, which when man fought man served nature, will henceforth serve only to kill indiscriminately (spare unconducively) and to maim the planet. Only a minority of aberrant egos will be enhanced.

    If we had leaders of stature, this would be addressed and reversed. That it is inexorably advanced, without even an anguished word, shows the impoverished state of leadership. Blair is typical, and Obama is almost his clone. It appears we must go into the melting pot and be refashioned. Let us hope that the Cosmos will deliver a more viable New World Order than the hubristic 'Americans' ever could.

    We humans were never going to get it right anyway.

  • Comment number 36.

    #33 ecolizzy


    I thought that deep rumbling noise was my TV on the blink, but now realise it is some BBC electronic 'effect' or affectation.
    Maybe a carrier wave of electronic subliminal input?

    I suppose it all adds up to today's methods of thought control and manipulation. Once the common herd were controlled by the priest class with their weird awe-inspiring robes, incense-soaked environment and threats of a doomed after-life. Now we are manipulated by the marketers who have entered our living rooms via the TV, not just to push their products on us, but also to influence our opinions and beliefs.

    I enjoy documentaries but just want the facts, unadorned and unpackaged, so that I can form my own conclusions and opinions, detesting the use of 'mood music' and other contrived attempts to determine what emotion I should feel towards presented material.

    When I wish to be moved by music I prefer to choose the time and channel-such as just starting on SkyArts2 with Brahms and Wagner, and recently Daniel Barenboim and others with the enormous talent to perform a hugh repertoire of classical works from memory.

    All of which reinforces my own personal view against growing media attempts to persuade me that we are all equal...

    "My idea of society is that while we are all born equal, meaning that we have a right to equal opportunity, all have not the same capacity"
    And Gandhi's other response when asked what he thought of Western civilisation, replied "I think it would be a good idea!"

  • Comment number 37.

    from mimpromptu and not from 'you':
    I overslept the midnight hour
    And now it is 2.24
    Of the next day from the one before.

    I am so sorry to let you down
    Although that day we may have won.
    When I came back my friends were supping
    So I announced my victory happy.

    When one is friends one can explain
    And then move forward on from therein
    But when confronted by daily pain
    One’s looking forward to root cause slain
    By brave St George, the English hero
    Much different though to cruel Nero.

    The stitching project is near completion,
    Am looking forward to give recognition
    To its creators, Judith and all.
    Signed – Madam Mim, born as a Pole.

  • Comment number 38.

    an end of western civilisation? - depends how many of us take it upon ourselves to criticise the fabric of western civilisation and how constructive the criticism is, some on here could bring about an early demise i'm sure.

    gandhi? - i prefer ricky gervais' take on the great man, in 'politics', coincidentally shown last night.

    jewish conspiracy? - not really, just a bunch of clever people who get into top positions

    race realism - undoubtedly but that doesn't conflict with the progress of egalitarianism or liberalism, different but equal - and rapidly becoming less different

    westernisation is merely modernisation. the lad in africa with his windmill says less about climate change than it does about cultural change - to apply knowledge, to use trial and error, and pursue a project in the face of overwhelming lack of support amongst the community - these are the attributes of pioneers and engineers and entrepreneers, upon which civilisation is modernised. no amount of money handed over to leaders who lack these evolutionary drives to use science and technology to create new conditions for existence, will lead to 'development'. development is contigent upon innovation.

  • Comment number 39.

    from mimpromptu in response to:
    #31. At 5:15pm on 03 Oct 2009, BankSlickerminustheR wrote:
    #10 JJ
    Another one that wants to hide their Jewish background!
    'Mahmoud Ahmadinejad revealed to have Jewish past'.
    About 23 years I was told by one of jj's colleagues about his past as being partly ukrainian in origin, so I assumed it was jewish ukrainian, but then I was also told by the same person about some of jj's italian roots as well...

  • Comment number 40.

    7+3=10; 8+2=10 - DIFFERENT BUT EQUAL

    wappaho (#38) "jewish conspiracy? - not really, just a bunch of clever people who get into top positions

    race realism - undoubtedly but that doesn't conflict with the progress of egalitarianism or liberalism, different but equal - and rapidly becoming less different"

    It would be good if that were true but I fear it isn't. 'Conspiracy' is a legal term. If laws/regulations are removed to prevent discrimination against groups, be that racial or business conglomerates, might one not inadvertently licence nepotism and racism favouring minorities? The assumption has always been that affirmative action might be acceptable if it just served to help the already disadvantaged, but what if the monority group is already advantaged?

    I suggest this comprises far more subtle, egregious politics than you and many others appreciate.

    Incidentally, do you remember this?

    Same, different and equal are very tricky words which lie at the heart of logic and identity. Natural Language is not up to dealing with these issues, yet we entrust our politicians to manage using these terms. Why?

  • Comment number 41.


    Isn't Darwin's idea that environmental change selects for those who can cope with it - they then breed? If a cosmic encounter stripped a significant amount of the Oxygen from Earth (let's say) only a few 'anomalous' births would survive. Survival might amount to a larger brain (able to cope with massive damage) which, should the Oxygen level rise again, can get into limitless thought: religion, science, general madness, etc.

    Just a suggestion: We might well have 'evolved' to an untenable state.

  • Comment number 42.

    barrie (#41) "We might well have 'evolved' to an untenable state."

    I blame the parents ;-)

  • Comment number 43.


    We live in times where everyone is equal. Everyone of voting age can vote for the party of their choice. It's as if we were to let kids choose whatever subjects they liked at school and the teachers all had to do a song and dance act to get custom.......... ;-)

  • Comment number 44.

    RUSK WARS (#43)

    What right has anyone to set a voting age anyway? I'd be in favour of votes for sperm, but would be accused of sexism. Also, the count might take a long time.

  • Comment number 45.

  • Comment number 46.

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

  • Comment number 47.

    Yep bye bye Tracy you and the art kings who gave financial value to you did a good con job now go con some other country with the other 'made' con 'artists'.

    Seriously when is someone/body going to investigate the art con of the now time and not just no power mouth Ben Lewis Im talking about something like the FSA with balls attached.

  • Comment number 48.


    When the thoughts come and if you think they may need double checking before they go anywhere else go ahead and check. Im sure you check a lot when skating.

    Have a fine day/evening mim.

  • Comment number 49.

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

  • Comment number 50.

    from mimpromptu
    Streetphotobeing, thanks for advice
    Last night for supper I had some rice
    Tonight - some salad and mango ice cream
    Do you at times work with a team?
    For lunch tomorrow some French bread sliced.

    As for myself, I like with others or just alone
    But hardly ever with mobile phone.
    For lunch tomorrow I’ll have some bread
    Followed by stitching with blue coloured thread
    And some ice cream served in a cone.

    Hope you have an interesting and satisfying day, Streetphotobeing

  • Comment number 51.

    from mimpromptu
    Should anyone, a man or a woman, wish to contribute a couple of stitches to the stitching project you can find us at the Poetry Society address.

  • Comment number 52.

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

  • Comment number 53.

    from mimpromptu
    As per our previous correspondence via flickr I should imagine you’re following the events in Manchester. Here’s what I’ve come for them this morning:
    I hope some humour the Tories display
    When serious policies they later debate.
    Mancunian humour!? I hope it is catching
    To deal with Gordon and Pete’s apparatchiks.
    Until later

  • Comment number 54.

    Vladamir Bukovsky on Lisbon etc. Is it like the early (1920s) or later USSR? Is it more like Stalinist (Old Labour) China or anarchistic/Trotskyite USSR (New Labour)? Is the anarchism we have seen in recent decades just a transition stage, or is it the final objective?

    Is discussion of this preferable to other issues which have, in recent times come to make this board more like narcissistic twitter or worse, than a topical news discussion forum? If not, why not? Moderators, if issues covered pertain to the wider political-economic context of the news, is such discussion not relevant? I fail to see how some of the posts here are relevant to anything except the posters' idiosyncractic personal lives. Is that an unfair/unkind/offensive/self-centred comment?

  • Comment number 55.

    streetphotobeing (#47) Have you been following the links e.g. #40 or not?

  • Comment number 56.

    Now I've heard it all! Apparently the Louve is going to have a McDonalds.......

  • Comment number 57.

    from mimpromptu
    Bloggers, on Jeremy Paxman's Google images I found out that doesn't seem to fit. It displays Stalin pointing his right index seemingly saying 'YOU'. Is this why some of you talk of me as 'you'? As for the origin of the image you can check it for yourselves. It 'normally' appears under no. 28.

  • Comment number 58.

    If you intend to raise the subject of the Lisbon Treaty again will you please also provide proof for your opinion that Conservative views on theTreaty are what interests the voting public more than anything else in the whole world.

    And instead of saying A is for the Treaty and B is against the Treaty perhaps you might consider giving us a few examples of what you so like about the Treaty and what you think Conservatives don't like about it.
    Or are you not allowed to discuss the content of the Treaty?

  • Comment number 59.


    What could be more telling than Bukovsky's words! Too late for the Irish, but we are not quite sunk. Let's be British Isles again, the Heart of Europe tends to pollute our beaches.

    PS Note to Newsnight: This blog could also be an island of gravitas, as Jaded Jean is urging.

  • Comment number 60.

    #57 from mimpromptu
    Correction, the first line should read: Bloggers, on Jeremy Paxman's Google images I found one that doesn't seem to fit.

  • Comment number 61.

    barrie (#59) Who was telling the truth?

    I suggest the only way one can answer such questions is by studying the demographic and statistical data. One must look at population base-rates and proportional representation. A start on that can be made by looking at the demographics of NYC and representation in the unelected House of Lords bearing in mind the low (non-existent) British Chinese HoL representation, and yet the highest academic attainment level of British Chinese along with their equal population representation to the aforementioned group. How is that to be explained is my root question. Furthermore, why do people complain about alleged 'oppression' of minority groups by White people but not the gross over-representation of Black people against White people (and Black people) in violent crimes against the person in both the USA and UK?

    These data are indicative of marked deviations from expected rates given population proportionality are they not? The collective pattern demands explanation scientifically, or are we to abandon all of the core principles of scientific inquiry - i.e that when observed-expected frequency is statistically significant, one has probably has a functional, i.e lawful statistical process at work. What is the lawful process here?

    What drives people away from grasping sound analysis, is that it is hard work, and lower cognitive ability seems to covary with emotionality (although emotional rhetoric can be, and clealry is, tactically deployed by politicians - see all the false outrage). As higher ability is also rarer (a Gaussian function), it's a minority 'elitist' position, so it doesn't carry much weight in the Liberal/Anarchistic-Democracies.. :-(

  • Comment number 62.

    Postscript (#61) Do the police oppress offenders? Do teachers 'fail' those who 'underachieve' (the term 'underachieve' is loaded note). It's all Lysenkoist/anarchistic spin when you look at the evidence. Is there truly a history of persectution of one particular minority group, or did it get some of its members get up to no good in large numbers as a consequence of higher criminogenic risk fcators?

  • Comment number 63.


    Of some relevance: When I 'failed' to get into the Grammar school, I was relieved to escape languages and - as a natural artisan - looked forward to crafts. Then the system dragged me into the Grammar anyway, and I found an intellectual side of me that deserved some nurture. My 'finishing school' was technical college, where my ability to do pure study (when more suited to apprenticeship) was sorely tried. I scraped an ONC Chemistry and ran for freedom. It was almost pre-ordained I would end up working for myself - as I did.

    The 'system' was incapable of registering and constructively developing my particular bag of talents - I was educated by default. At no time did I feel a failure, but I was acutely aware that 'they' were oppressing me and, further, I was in no doubt that many of my oppressors were overt failures! "Those who can, do - those who can't, teach!"

    To my mind, some who FEEL like failures, regardless of actual ability, seek status and adulation. In such realms, they expend their talents on obtaining MORE power/status/adulation rather than on worthwhile works in the interests of the less exalted. Westminster seems built on this premise and designed to endure in terms of it. Hence we do not get competent governance but intensely focused Westminstering, with governance by default - not unlike my education.

  • Comment number 64.


    barrie (#63) Wasn't the original three school system (Grammar, Technical and Secondary Modern) supposed to cater for all classes of service in a society. One for administrators/managers, one for scientists/engineers etc and another for plumbers, builders, mechanics, nurses etc? The idea was that we need all three, not that people are inferior/superior. My point has long been that we lost sight of this long ago. We have become unbalanced. This, essentially, was Michael Young's point, and it was Herrnstein's and Murray's too. For it to work though, you need a planned economy - a Soviet/PRC/Old Labour style system as I see it.

  • Comment number 65.

    By way of a change....

    sound familiar?

  • Comment number 66.


    "I fail to see how some of the posts here are relevant to anything except the posters' idiosyncractic personal lives. Is that an unfair/unkind/offensive/self-centred comment?"

    Might be explained by Maslow's heirarchy of needs. Twitterers may be stuck at the 'D' level, needing posters who boost their self-esteem.
    Similarly, not to post at all would represent the self-transcendence level, so I'm off to do my TM and immerse myself in music.

    To hell with Lisbon, global warming and bugger Bukovsky!

  • Comment number 67.

    A LOT OF SENSE HERE (#64 & 65)

    I was unaware of that tri-partite ethos, JJ (being, at the time, inside the system and simply surviving). Thanks.

    Ho Lizzie. I see the Spartans were "doing the job they love". Now where have I heard that before?

    I really don't think we can hack it - wisdom is still not on the National Curriculum - certainly not on the minds of (let alone underlying) any typical politician.

  • Comment number 68.

    From mim

    After some emotions expressed on Queen's ice
    With possibly some curious onlooking eyes
    I'm back at the poets'
    Covent Garden headquarters

  • Comment number 69.


    Shame on you IDG2 for not reading this - in your transmogrified state.
    I don't remember Maslow saying anything about people who need to be seen to be elsewhere! As for me, I am only reading this blog for the sport . . .

  • Comment number 70.

    Barrie (#69) Abraham
    Maslow was born in Brooklyn, NYC.

    Are you getting the big picture?...;-)

  • Comment number 71.

    Why no Monday the fifth blog yet as advertised or are the thought police trying to stifle any serious pre programme debate on proposed Tory Welfare Reforms ?

  • Comment number 72.

    Verity (Gavin)

    After the Beijing Olympics and the South African World Cup, is Latin America finally coming of age as a world economic and cultural powerhouse?

    Yes, to the question that you are asking...

    ~Dennis Junior~



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