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Newsnight and Newsnight Review - Friday 27 Nov 2009

Verity Murphy | 17:32 UK time, Friday, 27 November 2009


Richard Watson has uncovered significant new information on this week's Muslim schools funding row, which he will be revealing tonight.

We will also be looking at the Dubai debt problems, which have sparked instability in global stock markets.

Tonight, Paul Mason will be asking if this is a natural aftershock from the global credit crunch, which has the power to shake markets, but not send them crashing down, or if what we are seeing is a much more serious second stage to the crisis.

Also, we have a very powerful film by Steve Rosenberg ahead of the Demjanjuk trial on Monday.

John Demjanjuk is due to stand trial in Germany accused of helping to murder more than 27,000 Jews at the Nazi death camp of Sobibor in eastern Poland.

Steve Rosenburg has been talking to a man who survived the camp's horrors.


And then on Review David Aaronovitch, Bonnie Greer, Michael Gove and Haleh Afshar go rogue!

We'll be discussing what Sarah Palin's runaway success memoir/manifesto Going Rogue says about heartland America, the American media, and whether this is a new kind of launchpad for the White House.

The Coen Brothers have turned the spotlight on their upbringing in A Serious Man, set in 1967 in a brand new Midwestern suburb, where Judaism comes first and foremost in the Kopnik family.

The hapless patriarch Larry, finds his life unravelling in a darkly humorous way - his children disrespect him, and his lovely son is in a pot haze, his health is troublesome, students blackmail him, his wife wants to divorce him and he looks to three cryptic rabbis for answers.

And then the unique cartoon journalist Joe Sacco is pulled back to Gaza for his new oral history dramatisation of two almost forgotten events in the Palestinian - Israeli conflict. Does Footnotes in Gaza serve history well?

I hope you will join us, Kirsty.


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  • Comment number 1.

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

  • Comment number 2.

    iraq inquiry is great tv.

    although they might add the caption

    'based on a true story'.

    is tony watching?

  • Comment number 3.

    "John Demjanjuk is due to stand trial in Germany accused of helping to murder more than 27,000 Jews at the Nazi death camp of Sobibor in eastern Poland"

    Where's Go1? Perhaps he's in Germany, as he often wrote about their history and mentioned how keen he was to encourage other bloggers to attend the trial and present their evidence?

    Just to anticipate his response, I should mention that from age 11, I delivered newspapers and remember always stopping to gape with my immature fascination at the regular newspaper pictures of Belsen, Buchenwald and other concentration camps. Perhaps upbringing in the Blitz had hardened us, for I have related in my memoirs how my Jewish schoolmate and I played on some waste ground, catching grasshoppers which we placed in matchboxes and put them on a fire. So I'm no Holocaust denier, except that I take some exception to the exclusivity that seems to be attributed to this horrific episode of war, by the publicity of unique title. 'The Holocaust'? Was there not other mass extermination of innocent civilian life? I remember being equally fascinated by newspaper pictures of the aftermath of the 2 atomic bombs on Japan and the carpet bombing of Germany. Are we continually reminded of these events, and the millions of victims?

  • Comment number 4.

    #3 Indy 2

    I think about 40,000 children die everyday just because of lack of water or water related disease.

    Uncontrolled capitalism will very soon collapse the planets ecological life support systems and we will have 6 billion dead, with no one to maintain nuclear reactors, nuclear and toxic dumps poisoning the biosphere all higher life forms will be made extinct for 100 million years,

    To paraphrase Crocodile Dundee "That's what I call a holocaust".

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 5.

    #3 Indy2

    Iraqi Civilians

    From 2006 CNN, Guardian etc seemed to be quoting 650,000 plus. Others sources for 2009 put the figure at over 1,000,000.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 6.

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

  • Comment number 7.

    How twisted can things get. First I'm accused of being mad for leaving St George's at 55. Then they, in particular 3 men from my distant past, manipulate everybody and everything to make me angry and all 'worked up' which led to my outspoken opposition to the game, and then they whizz me off to a mental institution. My defence is successful. I come out, prove what a glider and twirler I am, and now 'they' claim it is all thanks to them and that my gliding and twirling belongs to them and that they can make lots of dosh out of it. And now with my dittying, although not quite officially recognised, I've added even more quality to my existence and the possibility of making even more dosh, they constantly buzz around me like mad drones, once again making me feel like running away from this country where real quality gets constantly undermined by intellectual and emotional primitivism.

    Shouldn't it be obvious that I shall not be watching tonight's Newsnight nor Newsnight Review? Why then buzz around all day for nothing? Is the BBC itself coughing all the money for nothing? Just to satisfy mad whims by deluded nutters?

    Madam Mim

  • Comment number 8.

    And as it is a 'culture' night I'd like to describe another story, this time to do with my ditty that goes as follows:

    Madam Mim likes sharing her thoughts
    Madam Mim likes sharing her heart
    She's prepared to do all that for nothing.
    But Madam Mim does not like sharing her bed
    Madam Mim for that likes only one man.
    One and only one man, that's final
    And that's for Madam Mim's vital.
    Madam Mim for nothing has advised this world’s Presidents and Premiers
    Not expecting a penny for that
    But Madam Mim would not share with them her bed.

    And then some bloke answers saying that he is a descendant of Napoleon and Madame Walewska and that he is ready to share Madam Mim's bed. I bet it is one of the 3 mad drones, the one with the moustache who cannot see and comprehend his own madness and self-delusion.

  • Comment number 9.

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

  • Comment number 10.

    Remind me; why is any state money allowed to go any type of faith-based school?

  • Comment number 11.

    If my point 6 broke house rules , be very afraid of the basis for censorship. Very scary!

  • Comment number 12.


    When government does counterintuitive stuff - chechez les votes.

    1st rule of PARTY politics: gain power. 2nd rule: hold on to power. If your barmy 'think tankers' decide that promoting ethnic this, that, or the other (including faith schools) will help hold on to power (perhaps just long enough to retire to a lucrative 'advisory' role, and a gated community, then it's 'I love ethniks' all the way.

    Think 'evil' and you are half way to an answer.

  • Comment number 13.

    #3 indignantindegene


    ...and how is it in this day and age that eminent historians, that have an opposing view of WWII history, based on sound investigative research that happens to oppose the doctrine of 'victors' history, be subject to criminal proceedings and law?

    1984 arrived in 1948!

  • Comment number 14.

    WE LIVED IN 'OLE IN'T ROAD . . .(#3)

    Pure namby-pamby cowardice, IDG2! We used to go down to the bomb-damage rubble tip, find a frying pan and some lard from some unfortunate's home, and fry woodlice alive - WATCHING THEM DIE. That's what REAL MEN do.

  • Comment number 15.

    Steve Rosenberg's report on Philip Bialowitz (a Sobibor survivor)was incredibly moving, and I shall try to ge the DVD "Escape from Sobibor" asap. We need to be reminded of the Holocaust and make sure it never happens again.

    Excellent report by Richard on HT and also loved Paul's report on Dubai with the immortal lines " I'm an investor, get me out of here!" Ha ha ha...

    I also look forward to the new Coen Brothers film "A Serious Man." :o)

  • Comment number 16.

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

  • Comment number 17.

    Of course Islamic pupils religion suffers in state schools. Yesterday (Friday) was an Eid equivalent to Christmas, if we imagine the Ramadan Eid to be 'Easter'. So they need two religous holidays a year that they can only get by truanting unless the holidays fall at the weekend. This week at the school I work in we are practicing for Christmas without acknowledging Eid in any way. Yes Jesus was a prophet of Islam but not the the exclusion of Mohammed (may his name be praised). I sat on Thursday beside an Islamic pupil visibly upset by having to study an excerpt allegedly written by a pig from that very amusing - to the non Muslim - 'The Pig Scrolls'. At Nursery Piglet and the Three Little Pigs are pretty disgusting for them and would not be studied in an Islamic school. Then there are mealtimes: even my adult Islamic colleague found herself with pig on her plate despite asking the dinnerhall staff who presumably thought her question meant she wanted pork not that she did not want pork. Sorry Newsnight I changed Channels rather than watch you trying to humiliate those media non savvy Islamic guys on one of their two top holidays. How many of you work Christmas Day?

  • Comment number 18.


    With apologies to those who do not wish to see ‘off topic’ ramblings. Bear with me please.

    Mim #16
    Good morning.

    I would not presume to tell you what to do but can say how I feel about placing personal, intimate views of life as I see it in a public domain. I would exercise extreme caution. When we write something down and it leaves our control it gains a life of its own, and sometimes thereby loses its truth, because others place their mis?? understanding on it.

    Recently I was discussing creative writing with a friend and we focussed on the difference between the cathartic exercise of placing your own thoughts and emotions in an order, and the desire or need to make those thoughts public, and the reason for doing so. We decided it depended largely on the content and who could value from it.

    What you are describing perhaps falls into the ‘cathartic’ category. Sometimes in life something or someone causes me distress and I find it useful to vocalise the anger and pain, often poorly constructed and using ‘simple’ language if you understand my meaning. I don’t review or edit. Just let it flow. Then delete it, or perhaps print and then burn.

    The exercise to release the stress or anger has been achieved. Keeping or sharing those thoughts , which either mellow or are proved incorrect later, often only brings more grief and feeds the beast within negatively.

    So, write it, let it do its work for you, then delete it.
    That would be my advice to myself.

    Take care of yourself

  • Comment number 19.

    On The Razors Edge

    Thierry Henry- handball humiliation
    Tiger Woods- mysterious car crash
    Roger Federar- very worried

  • Comment number 20.

    Nos 1 Mim

    Hope you have a better day today and don't feel bothered. BYT- Nos18 I agree with.

    Passed NN as well on sight of what Kirsty was waring - fear of another migraine.

  • Comment number 21.

    the philosophy behind....

    that would make a good series however currently it seems the investigations are one sided?

    social cohesion group- is there a theme in their 'investigations? one subject seems to dominate?

    not one investigation into the philosophy behind the jnf? maybe they are building a big dossier and haven't released it yet? do the policies and speaking tours of the jnf promote social cohesion? if not why are brown blair and cameron patrons?

    micheal gove-

    he wrote- I am particularly indebted to Dean Godson and Nicholas Boles of the think tank Policy Exchange

    those of the forged receipts?

    also he has made 'mistakes' on 'islamic' topics before?

    by flagging up loons like HT is the bbc and others not advertising them on national tv? isn't the best policy to deny them airtime they could never afford? Now there will be a whole load of people looking to see what they say and write and might get sucked into it?

    the social cohesion strategy seems designed to create the opposite effect? do none of them know statecraft?

    also the nn guest list is a bit samey?

  • Comment number 22.

    @Jaunty #21 - The HT were interviewed on the BBC to put forward their side of the story - otherwise it might be perceived as being biased. By giving them airtime people get to see them for what they are and they no longer have any "aura" about them. Don't worry, they are only a fringe party.

  • Comment number 23.

    lest we foregt what the policy exchange row was the details are here

    as for Douglas Murray of the centre for social cohesion

    in 2003 he wrote about those opposing war in iraq

    ...They are mainly ignorant (by choice or chance) of the machinations of international weapons inspections, oil and the rest of it, but if they want to pretend to be experts, fine.....

    he wrote a book in 2005 called Neoconservatism: Why We Need It.

    and seems to think Europe on the verge of being outbred by Muslims?

    ...It is late in the day, but Europe still has time to turn around the demographic time-bomb which will soon see a number of our largest cities fall to Muslim majorities. It has to. All immigration into Europe from Muslim countries must stop.Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board....

    this is clearly a shocking attitude.

    On foreign policy he has stated that the war on terrorism must be extended to “remind the malignant that this war and this era will be dictated on our terms - on the terms of the strong and the right, not the weak and the wrong.”

    and talks of the heroic' work of Geert Wilders.

    yet none of this was flagged up to NN viewers ? an innocent person might think something with social cohesion in the title might reflect some balanced opinion about multiculturalism perhaps funded by the state? how wrong they would be?

    so anything from 'the centre for social cohesion' is bound to reflect its director's beliefs about muslims?

    so why does NN give it [and its like minded set] the time of day?

    given the web of well funded agendas and networks like the stockholm network maybe guests should have their interest flagged up in a caption under their name? does the bbc not have duty of care to those less informed viewers?

  • Comment number 24.

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

  • Comment number 25.


    And this is a man 'of the Manse', who learned Presbyterian right and wrong at the straightest parental knee in all of Scotland! His 'Mote', most assuredly, needs a clean-out, and his 'Beam' is seriously short of illuminating Watts. God help him - the man is a laughing stock.

  • Comment number 26.

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

  • Comment number 27.

    #23 "an innocent person might think something with social cohesion in the title might reflect some balanced opinion about multiculturalism perhaps funded by the state? how wrong they would be?"

    The less innocent might wish that social cohesion (of the type that the true British society demonstrated during two world wars, floods and other catastrophies) may imply a return to those days of lost content, before multiculturalism unbalanced communities. Sadly they also would be wrong as we have passed the tipping point.

    During the past 3 months whilst my car has been garaged I have made frequent use of bus transport. The degeneration in society is vividly played out here, with schoolkids mouthing off obsceneties and their young (single?) mothers not attempting to chastise them, being busy asserting their Human Rights as they jostle people with their pushchairs and also gossip loud and crude on their phones. Both groups occupy the seats specifically provided for the aged and infirm whose attitudes show that they are afraid to complain for fear of abuse and violence.

    I could list the factors that I believe have contributed to this deterioration in our society, and would wish that the religious tenets of some of the new-British might act as a catalyst to improve society.
    However, it would seem that the main group of newcomers wish to change society in rather more cynical ways, imposing their own laws and primitive beliefs. The ambivalent of government and their feeble attempts to integrate such totally different sets of values and cultures may even be one of the causes of social disintegration.

  • Comment number 28.


    I know what you mean by 'primitive' IDG2. But in those terms ALL religion is, surely, 'primitive' - uninspected (adherents don't dare/don't know how, to inspect?)

    Religion ANY RELIGION can only thrive in absence of true wisdom/maturity. Religions get into the mind early and then the double whammy of arrested development, and dogmatic control, take root.

    IT NEED NOT BE SO. Indeed, with the 'revelations' of what a dogmatically celibate clergy can do, I suggest the Catholic Church (for a start) might be subsumed into the handy term 'Terror' (as in 'War On') and proscribed forthwith. I am sure those 'preyed' upon (prayed upon?) knew TERROR.

    Then we can start on the other denominations.

    SERIOUSLY: only by immunising the very young with philosophy and psychology - even explaining to them about 'faith', to illustrate their vulnerability - can we disempower the continuation of religion in all its forms.


  • Comment number 29.

    #14 barrie EEEH YOU WERE LUCKY
    ".....fry woodlice alive - WATCHING THEM DIE. That's what REAL MEN do".

    We used to place 5amp fuse wire on spiders' webs and pull on the power switch in our dad's garage when the hairy beast came out (the spider, not our dad!).

    But I bow to your greater bravery in tackling massed Armadillidium vulgare! Wow, and I still suffer from arachnophobia!

  • Comment number 30.


    A current cry is that men attack 'significant others' all to frequently (and vice versa, less so) BUT RELIGION HAS PRESIDED OVER EVERY POSSIBLE FORM OF IRRATIONAL ATTACK since mythical Adam was a mythical boy. Religion brings everything from genital mutilation (AND THAT INCLUDES RITUAL CIRCUMCISION) to all-out war, with unspeakable atrocity in the name of any god you care to invoke.

    The EVIL done in the name of religion FAR EXCEEDS that done in the name of male dominance. If our 'leaders' were not so faddy and short-termist in their immaturity, they would tackle THE GOD-DAMNED RELIGIOUS CLAPTRAP, that so damns poor simple HomSap.

    RELIGIONS ARE A CURSE. Positive philosophies liberate.


  • Comment number 31.


    LUXURY! But I'm not clear on how you make the circuit - can you post a wiring diagram, or full description IDG2? You don't have to solder a wire on the spider do you? You could get a Nobel for that!

    I just remembered that in my first lab job, we dried a lot of samples to very low water content in 'desiccators', all-glass vessels (half lid) that could be evacuated with a pump or high pressure water-venturi device. In the far end lab of our hut - where the REAL lads were - they would put a fly in the desiccator and . . .

    Not sure I really wanted to remember that. (:o)

  • Comment number 32.


    My oldest son (a tender 21) USED TO stand on the tails of slugs until their heads popped out of their bodies.

    He possibly 'danced on their graves singing hallelujah' as well. I think I am a bad mother!

    '....RELIGIONS ARE A CURSE. Positive philosophies liberate.'


    DO YOU BELIEVE IN LIFE AFTER ............?

    When does a belief system (philosophy) become a religion? Are all belief systems BAD? I am not convinced.

    And what do you do with/for all of those people who NEED something to believe in, to lean on, to give their lives deeper meaning.

    The growth of systems like Alpha seem to play on a growing 'need' for something deeper in our 'everything can be bought/nothing needs to be earned' society. A deep malaise, a gaping chasm that 'spirituality’ seeks to fill.

    But Alpha and other doctrination systems are deeply flawed. They are frightening to see in action, especially when intelligent, well educated (I question how GOOD that really is?) middle class professionals are falling, street bible, badge wearing and hand raising praise band, under its spell.

    It's that old chestnut, the adversarial system at work again. The FACTS they present are ONLY the ones the current proponent/incumbent WANTS you to hear about. Great if you are an analytical seeker not scared to 'Rock the Boat'. But it's all too easy and sweet. And it plays right into the hands of many middle class middle managers who see a place where they can be a 'leader' (or politician?) very quickly and easily. Truly frightening.

    The whole process is a bit like the pyramid selling schemes of the late 70's/early 80's.

    The people selling the system are NOT clever. They are not infallible. Their arguments are weak. They hug and empower superficially; they proudly (SIN????) serve the poor (to keep them poor) and preach to the weak (to keep them subservient) and they promulgate the myth of a good and loving God, who wants everything beautiful for his creation. The creation to whom he gave intelligence and free will, and then demanded that they give ALL THE GLORY to HIM!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have I think said before that I see the greatest issues arise when any one group (belief system) proclaim and teach that they have found THE Truth, The whole(Some) truth, and the one and only TRUTH. That way madness/Badness lies.

  • Comment number 33.

    #17 So Mr LMHendry, are you saying that we as a british society should stop reading our own story books, ignore christianity, not eat pork, follow muslim holidays, and only follow islam?

    I believe there are many other countries in the world that follow islam and mohammed, so why don't muslims go and live there?

  • Comment number 34.


    The Today program love asking people what colour their socks are and who was the first person they spoke to today. Let's get them to ask, men and women alike, 'what is the most vile thing you did as a child'. Two things will accrue (three if you expect the Inquision) 1/ a set of unspeakable descriptions, will demonstrate why men should never go to war unsupervised 2/ women will be shown up for the pathetic creatures they are in a man's world.


    When Noah beat-up Mrs Noah
    (Oh - let's name her Elsie for now)
    He verbally abused her
    He called her his 'third bloody cow'.
    He clubbed her with an Aadvark
    And vowed an alphabet
    Then struck her with an Anteater
    And mouthed the Antelope threat.
    Poor Elsie was defenceless
    Nowhere to hide on a boat
    She would have prayed to god above
    But knew him to be remote.
    And jealous and a misogynist
    Who with women had had no luck
    He'd messed up in the Garden of Eden
    Through not realising they'd REDACTED
    He thought they would just float round naked
    With no consequences at all
    I suppose that He should be forgiven
    He'd never experienced a Fall.
    I digress - let's get back to our Elsie
    As blows from baboons gave her pain.
    She happened to look out a porthole
    Cried: "Noah you wally _ no rain!"
    She quickly had words with a Lion
    Who chewed off old Noah's right arm
    Henceforth, though he still roundly cursed her
    His armlessness did her no harm.
    Thus 'twas, when the water subsided
    Two boys grew up - brother with brother
    In there genes they were truly barbaric
    One soon beat the life out the other.
    And we, dear reader, descended
    From the brutaler one of the pair
    So try not to be so offended
    When some bloke beats the shit out his mare.

  • Comment number 35.

    #28 barrie
    I used the word 'primitive' after reading a booklet from a particular faith that does not deny it has 'a code of criminal laws prescribing punishments for certain crimes' (eg cut off the hand of a thief; stone the adulterer; veil the woman.) How primitive can you get? Well, five centuries ago England was primitive, passing a law for criminals to be hung, drawn and quartered - and that they must be conscious throughout!

    I agree that all religions are perpetuated by rooting in the fertile minds of the young, and Professor Dawkins makes the point that there is no such being as a catholic child or a muslim child, only the children of catholic or muslim parents, as the child has not yet reached any belief independently.

    Questioning the legitimacy of faith schools usually takes the form of criticising the effect they have on integration of society, and the use of taxpayer funding. It ignores the bigger question of whether it can be right to 'brainwash' the young into a set of unproven beliefs.

    I think a start should be made at primary level by banning the teaching of Creationism, and substituting teaching of 'Nature and Planet Earth' in place of any form of religious instruction; not the pc approach of attempting to teach children about all manner of faiths.

    We lived very close to our Junior School and several times my dad complained to the Headmaster that he sent his 3 sons to school to learn the 3R's, not to sing hymns for an hour every morning. We were not even aware then that our mum was a catholic; dad's wore the trousers in those days and so we escaped the fire and brimstone (and other form of abuse) by not being sent to Sunday School.

    At the conclusion of the recent Darwin TV documentary Professor Dawkins got acceptance from his group of teenage students that evolution had triumphed over creationism; yet most of them would not or could not deny their beliefs, nor attempt to explain this paradox. It was obviously brainwashing from birth. Wise Up The Very Young by teaching Love of Nature, then philosophy and psychology will have a sound foundation.

  • Comment number 36.

    does Michael Gove get overtime?

  • Comment number 37.


    I am sure I can find a way of putting a crafty philosophical gloss on that. (:o) Main thing is to do positive empowering stuff not negative (guilt and sin) enslavement. Agreed?

  • Comment number 38.


    We learned about it at school in Geography, but didn't then realise how wide it really was, nor that we would be expected to accommodate it in later life. However many Community specialists we appoint at central and local government levels, or taxpayer funds we throw at it, it will not close the huge chasm in multicultural norms, beliefs ar customs (I hope).

  • Comment number 39.

    II #35

    Two points to come back on

    1. Surely 'primitive' relates much more broadly to the culture (mediaeval in most cases) not exclusively the religion or belief system.

    2. 'all religions are perpetuated by rooting in the fertile minds of the young, '

    I also think the above statement is WAY too simplistic. Where it does apply, it is a sad accuracy, but I know many religious fanatics of various flavours who came to the TRUTH in later life. Some having lapsed from other faiths/denominations others doing so for the very reason that they were given nothing to believe in. The seeking generation!

    Otherwise, concur broadly.

  • Comment number 40.

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

  • Comment number 41.


    unlikely but he did get expenses for house flipping and £500 he claimed for nights staying at the Garrick club in London.

    i'm still trying to get my head round NN running a report by the CFSC that says HT has extremist views.

    The words pot and kettle come to mind?

    neocons are just as much an ideological threat to the uk as anything HT might propose?

    i am no longer surprised that cameron ran with it. if the bnp rather than a Geert Wilders fan club did 'reports' about muslims would he run with them too?

    for some 'social cohesion' means a hysteria that has never ending war abroad and stirring up war at home?

    the wiki definition of social cohesion makes the point

    ...It is sometimes also used as a euphemism for the state of race relations....

  • Comment number 42.

    #32 byt
    "And what do you do with/for all of those people who NEED something to believe in, to lean on, to give their lives deeper meaning."

    As an agnostic, with a catholic wife and a teenage daughter who is finding her own way, it's not easy. But life wasn't meant to be, as all of nature of which we are part, is a battle of adversity, a food chain, red in tooth and claw. So I try to focus on what an absolute privilege it is just to have been born and lived; even a miracle, but without any need for a diety or ancient prophet to thank for my life.

    We seem hard-wired to have faith and belief, but surely the existence of a mystical universe and our good fortune and the long odds to have been conceived and survived (out of the astronomic numbers of unsuccessful eggs/sperms) itself is big enough blessing. And to have been born in (or now living)in this country makes us even more blessed, compared to the billions struggling to survive hardship and starvation elsewhere.

    I've lived in village mud-huts and been amazed at the natural happiness of those with virtually nothing, so I'm intending to swap my habitat soon, but not sure I can make that adjustment after so much comfort. Also I have no belief back-up system, or worship of pope's, chiefs, or other 'big men' as they do in less developed countries (which is perhaps why they are less-developed). Access to, and the ability to appreciate, great literature and music can take the place of belief, but that does depend on education of the right kind and facilities.

    It just isn't possible to lift 6 billion+ homsaps to our 'civilised' level of life, so the focus should be on population control to allow a lesser number to rise above the need for the bromide and slavery of religion.

    With our western shift away from religion, we now treat death of our loved one's more as a celebration of their lives, so we are beginning to lose the need for worship at times of need. As one smart-ass said in an acceptance speech 'I would like to thank Dad for not wearing a condom, and Mum for not having a headache!' I would extend those thanks all of my ancestors for the same reasons.

  • Comment number 43.


    if the highest idea of the mind is the idea of the good what follows?

    that is the question at the beginning of philosophical inquiry.

    everything else is an extension of that debate.

    in brief we usually have false beliefs [as you say programmed, brainwashed etc] about what is the good which is why we are unhappy. some identify the good with equality or justice or love or race or nation or monarch or some other term or collection of terms. all of these have good in them but none are the good which is greater than any idea you can have about it. all these terms are a mixture which is why they can all be good and bad at the same time.

    happiness is a condition of the mind rather than the body. things of the body can be bought. things of the mind cannot. the dalai lama gave the example of going into a shop and asking for some 'peace of mind' or for happiness etc. it cannot be done.

    so happiness is a mental condition that can be cultivated. but it needs work which we do not want to do. but like dogs chasing our tails we prefer to buy happiness and so go nowhere.

    we can find the highest term of the mind we hold by asking what are prepared to lie cheat fight or die for. we can then free ourselves from that and the false beliefs it generates.

  • Comment number 44.

    Hhhhmmm some very philosophical arguments for a Saturday evening! ; ) I thought Saturday night was party night! ; )

    Don't you think religion, hellfire and damnation are used to control the masses? Fear has always been the driving force of any religion. Any god will make your life a misery, or some religious person will make sure it does!

    We appear to have a comment from a practicing muslim, we have commented on his views, now why doesn't he reply to them, no muslim that has posted their views here ever comes back again!

    IndignantI have a friend who lives in a central american country, strongly catholic, but he says that they and the local indians do celebrate peoples lives and think the person is going to a better place and that is a good and happy thing. Much like us westerners, without the happy place! ; ) I really like your idea of children studying nature for the early years, and no religion, until they can have some understanding of philosphy. : )

  • Comment number 45.

    II #42

    '....we now treat death of our loved one's more as a celebration of their lives, so we are beginning to lose the need for worship at times of need.'

    I see where you are coming from here, in the move away from black and silent being sacrosanct. But one of the side effects of perhaps there being no significant 'belief' system especially in end of life situations, is the ever growing over overwhelming incidence of non acceptance of that self same 'end of life. NO accidents must ever happen, everyone MUST have every medical intervention/drug known to mankind to extend even the worst quality of life available to them, no-flesh may be tampered with after life has been pronounced extinct without specific permission.

    Actually, what we do is continue to 'worship' the deceased, almost as if they are still among us, rather than give them over to some deity, or the ground, or the eternal flame.

    I am not sure that is progress.

    '.... 'I would like to thank Dad for not wearing a condom, and Mum for not having a headache!''

    That's brilliant. Hope it's copyrighted. (or do I mean NOT!)

  • Comment number 46.

    This is interesting...

    But note what this woman Kinana Rukbi says, Ms Rukbi wants secular Syrians to engage with the masses just like the Qubaisiat have done, "not to stay distanced from them".

    And as BYT said leave a vacuum and someone will fill it!

  • Comment number 47.

    Jaunty #43

    I find separating the physical definition of 'happiness' into the spiritual, internal one of 'Joy' can be useful. Happiness can be fulfilled when the heart is empty but the stomach and wallet are full; Joy the exact opposite. And it is Joy that should be cultivated in the mind, happiness a transient delight.

    '.... but it needs work which we do not want to do. '
    Ain't that the truth!

    '..... asking what are prepared to lie cheat fight or die for. we can then free ourselves from that and the false beliefs'

    Problem is, how many can do that honestly? The rest need to be told what happiness is, and they get that by and large from the media. Even John Paul Getty (I think) reputedly insisted that to be truly happy one needed just a little more than one already had.

  • Comment number 48.

    Totally OFF topic but the bee in my bonnet right now.

    Charity appeals that come with a gift.

    Clever marketing or Blackmail?

  • Comment number 49.


    This universe has a set of elements that cannot help but combine to a set of rules. Carbon permits extreme complexity and this gives rise to replication and consciousness. By far the greater mass of elements in the universe will play no part in consciousness.

    Do they regret?

    Let us exchange the elements of our body for an equivalent set, mined across the universe.

    Do they rejoice?

    'If a universe is replete with elements, but none combine to the point of consciousness, will any loss be registered?'

    Come on in; the combination of Hydrogen and Oxygen is 'lovely'.

    I took the Blogdog for a walk earlier - threw him a bone - then realised it was one of mine!

  • Comment number 50.


    John Paul Needy should have worked on increasing the number of things he could cheerfully do without - his CI.

    Trying not to play with words: does not CONTENTMENT remove the need/wish for joy or happiness, while leaving the door open for their arrival?

    I'll get me coat.

  • Comment number 51.


    #50 CONTENTMENT ....
    .... Is indeed a pretty good place to hang your hat (and coat - do stay!)

    How amazing it would be if a more people could find, recognise and be HAPPY with a state of JOYFUL contentment! (Sorry - red rag to a bull)

    No but seriously........ Perfection is not only illusive, it's probably hell to live with. Believe me I've tried!!!!!!!!!!!

    A waiting room. (thumbs up)

  • Comment number 52.

    er what's this? do they pay a licence fee?

  • Comment number 53.


    There will be executives going on necessary jollies, involved.

  • Comment number 54.

    Anybody watch this this evening?

    It follows some of the philosphy here earlier this evening. Beauty as a spiritual thing, rather than religion?

    What do you think?

  • Comment number 55.

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

  • Comment number 56.

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

  • Comment number 57.

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

  • Comment number 58.

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

  • Comment number 59.

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

  • Comment number 60.

  • Comment number 61.

    oops did susan know too?

    The BBC and Climategate: was a reporter put under pressure to ignore the story?

    is there a climate cult?

  • Comment number 62.


    Cheers Blogdog! Clearly you are more Collie than Boxer after all! (:o)

  • Comment number 63.


    Just listening to Douglas Alexander pronouncing the name-END of a well known terrorist group: 'ADA', when we all know that individuals from the relevant area, rhyme it with '(Hadron) 'COLLI'DER'. Might he do this to be close to his leader? Perish the thought.

    Reminds one of how many Labour ninnies took to the 'Blair Glottal'. Indeed, it is still clung on to by super-ninny Hilary Benn.

    Juveniles all.

  • Comment number 64.

    #60 brossen

    Good link!

    #61 Jaunty

    JunkkMale has been posting some good links re this story. As one of the scientists invited to the setting up of the present climate models. The funders did specifically want to find the link between CO2 and climate change.

    Re Flooding another area where truth is not coming out. Local authorities, police forces and Government all new in advance of the flood risk. The Environment Agency flood models are dubious. It is not just a question of climate it is what the water experiences when it lands. Changes in land use, building on flood plains etc. UK flooding should have as much conspiracy theory as 9/11. It is just being better managed.

  • Comment number 65.

    #34 Interesting ditty

    Timely and topical too.

    '....She quickly had words with a Lion
    Who chewed off old Noah's right arm

    I await the verse about the Tiger.........

    As I suggested to a friend recently, perhaps God should have taken his rest a day earlier.

  • Comment number 66.

    ..The Environment Agency flood models are dubious....

    you're telling me. a few years ago i was told my house is now in a flood zone even though this area has never ever flooded.

    my insurance now costs a lot more because of the bogus speculation and make-believe models they call science.

  • Comment number 67.


    Oh no - I mixed up my brothers-biblical! Should have paid more attention in those Bible Classes I never went to . . .

  • Comment number 68.

    This is in today's Daily Telegraph :o) - I can't blame Geoff Boycott at all.

  • Comment number 69.

    Nos 58 - mim

    Well hope not and that you have decent day and feel balanced with yourself.

  • Comment number 70.

  • Comment number 71.

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

  • Comment number 72.

    #66 Jaunty

    Can't think why the flood models are so bad, I mean the Environment Agency is mow being run by Chris Smith who was in charge of the Millennium Dome when he ran DCMS.

    He is an expert on Cumbria flooding because he did his PhD on Wordsworth.

  • Comment number 73.

  • Comment number 74.

    #34 barrie ABLE TO BLAME CAIN!

    Just caught your delayed post (worth waiting for) and reflected upon the significance of:

    "And we, dear reader, descended
    From the brutaler one of the pair"

    It's good to realise that I have somebody to blame for my boyhood evil streak; not just murdering grasshoppers and spiders, but making lethal fireworks from dug-up unexploded incendiary bombs and copper pipe looted from bombed buildings, setting a house and the local woods alight, etc.
    As I mentioned before, 70 years of undetected crime, but now reformed.

    We rarely know which ancestors' genes may be responsible for our inherited traits and characteristics, good or bad. When I ran classes in Family History I insisted on classmembers also producing at least a few episodes from their memoirs, without which family histories usually consist of lots of names and dates, with perhaps a few photos, but telling us nothing of the people - their joys and sorrows, their views of current events, society, etc.

    Obviously those who blog here and elsewhere have plenty of wisdom to share, but I doubt that NN blog archives will be retained for future generations. Why not make a start on jotting down some memoirs? I had mine printed by Daily Mail a few years back, and am adding some more mature reflections from my retirement years, and will use one of the on-line book publishers (e.g.Blurb or Lulu)so watch this space!
    Now we can all leave something of ourselves for our descendants; next best thing to being immortal.

  • Comment number 75.


    'but I doubt that NN blog archives will be retained for future generations.'

    Yes this is an interesting question. The Beeb should archive this stuff in my view. Though the issues of long term storage and decay are not easy.

  • Comment number 76.

    looks like the climate change scam has been blown apart. just in time. it should mean the end of carbon trading that does nothing but transfer wealth from the poor to the rich. if not then we know the oligarchs running the scheme for their profit have got their way again.

    a slice of every person energy bills goes to pay for carbon trading. an act that is based on a false belief that monetising carbon dioxide will 'change things'. its just a tax on existence.

    we read

    ...David Holland, an engineer from Northampton, is one of a number of sceptics who believe the unit has got this process wrong. When he submitted a request for the figures under freedom of information laws he was refused because it was “not in the public interest”. ....

    Others who made similar requests were turned down because they were not academics,....

    A genuine academic, Ross McKitrick, professor of economics at the University of Guelph in Canada, also tried. He said: “I was rejected for an entirely different reason. The [unit] told me they had obtained the data under confidentiality agreements and so could not supply them. This was odd because they had already supplied some of them to other academics, but only those who support the idea of climate change.” ...

    whatever is going on its not science?

    and is the bbc part of 'the problem'?


    ...The so-called medieval warm period of about 1,000 years ago saw Britain covered in vineyards and Viking farmers tending cows in Greenland....

    why was that data excluded from 'the hockey stick' chart? because then it wouldn't be a hockey stick pattern on the chart?

    climate change religion has to be the greatest deception since d day?

  • Comment number 77.

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

  • Comment number 78.

    #77. Correction

    as I do not like making spelling mistakes I'm getting back to say that I should have said safe and not save

  • Comment number 79.

  • Comment number 80.

    Nos 77 - 'save in more than just one place'

    This comes just after their war games and finger wagging at Israel what will the Obama do ? Maybe They sense weakness in his hesitation over Afghan.

  • Comment number 81.

    A Miserable Sunday: time for another moan about the Andrew Marr-ed Show.

    One again a female guest ACTRESS, this tme Samantha Morton, was given the caption 'ACTOR' by BBCpc. She said that she was about to play the role of a Widow, so presumably that would be Widow Twanky?

    I once had difficulty explaining to my (now teenage) daughter why in pantomime the Principal Boy was always a girl and the Ugly Sisters were always men, now it seems all actresses are to be played by actors.

    Samantha (who should henceforth be addressed as 'Sam') informed us that she was irritated by the new trend of texting, and was horrified to see a photography shop spelt Fotoshop. At least that's fonetikly OK, and Andrew is forgiven cos he twice used the correct gender ACTRESS during his program. Moan over.

    ps When our daughter was asked who was in charge in our household, she replied 'Dad kicks arse, Mum wipes arse', preferring street cred to pc creep.

  • Comment number 82.

    The Iraq enquiry and no case for plausable deniabilty from Blair.

    I always knew that the call for war in Iraq was bogus.. as bogus as the Man made Global warming fraud. The claim that Saddam Hussain had the ability to attack in 45 minutes was laughable. We watched in amazement as Blair troubled the simple minds with the fear mongering he so eloquently put to the House - as eloqent a case that can be given from any trained Lawyer. I never bought into this lie from day one...FROM DAY ONE!!! So the Iraq inquiry really has no surprises in it for me... and I've never been a weapons inpector nor gone to Iraq for a holiday.
    I hear they are already Knocking up the Gallows for the forthcoming public hanging, so as to draw a line under this horrid tale which resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocents. I advocate the death penalty but hanging is so uncivilized. I think the Americans have it about right with a leathal injection...I would not say no to the electric chair, I hear that's a spectacle...and the smell of burnt flesh and ozone is quite a mix. Anyhow, we should send Tony Blair into unprotected exile where he can no longer do any more damage or have any influence on the world stage...send him to Bradford.

    Not much mention on here of the NN review. I thought it was excellent. I can't remember what was reviewed but it was great. Kirsty glowed and looked great in that colourful garment...something hippyish about the blended colours. Oh, I remember the Cohen Bros new film getting a lookin and I wondered why Michael Gove is wasting his talents as an MP.

  • Comment number 83.

    #81 II
    I have no problem with actor/author/teacher/doctor etc being used for professionals without the cumbersome addition of 'ess' or 'lady'.

    Whether we like it or not, language develops to reflect changes in culture (not always for the better) and I see this as less a PC thing than just practical. I was chuffed that one so young stood up for certain standards. Language develops to enable people to understand and be understood. If it does that successfully(sometimes it takes a while), before too long it will find its way into the OED.

    But remove my marital status by referring to me as 'Ms' and I may turn a nasty shade and take up arms (or should that be alms?)

  • Comment number 84.

    I don't have a problem using 'Ms'. With actresses it is an actress but fora doctor, should the situation require it, I would say 'female dr'

  • Comment number 85.

    Moby Dick is on ITV3 if anyone is lost for something to do.

    "It is an evil voyage, I tell thee. If Ahab has his way, neither thee nor me, nor any member of this ship's company will ever see home again. "

    Political comment on the Government

  • Comment number 86.

    From Moby Dick


    A captain who, from private motives, employs his vessel for another purpose from that intended by the owners, is answerable to the charge of usurpation, and his crew is morally and legally entitled to employ forceful means in wresting his command from him.

  • Comment number 87.

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

  • Comment number 88.

    I am alarmed!

    "Iran hits back for IAEA censure by launching proxy military action against US, UK"

  • Comment number 89.


    Is my title hate crime - yet?

    Sorry to tell you, IDG2, that when the Big Solar Flare gets us, your archives are going to fry. But I am in no doubt they will have been of great merit. (:o)

  • Comment number 90.

    Nos 88

    Their just mouthing off but something is going to have to be done soon because Israel don't mouth off and you wouldn't put it past them not to use tactical nukes - and in Pakistan if things go the wrong way fast. Hot heads and nutters every where now.

  • Comment number 91.


    Fresh from reading the Riot Act to Karzai, regarding corruption (like wot we don't) he should now tell Iran about nuclear irresponsibility.

    Oh well - Sarah thinks he's a hero.

  • Comment number 92.

    May join my #87 in the doghouse, although this is on BBC's website:

    Salient points are:
    "Swiss voters have supported a referendum proposal to ban the building of minarets. The referendum was held after the Swiss People's Party (SVP) collected 100,000 signatures from eligible voters within 18 months calling for a vote." A good formula for referenda in a democracy.

    "Official results show more than 57% of voters and 22 out of 26 cantons - or provinces - voted in favour of the ban. The SVP, says minarets are a sign of Islamisation" Can't argue with that, but nulabour would.

    "Switzerland is home to some 400,000 Muslims and has just four minarets." Has anyone got comparable UK figures?

    "The SVP, says minarets are a sign of Islamisation and supporters of a ban claimed that allowing minarets would represent the growth of an ideology and a legal system - Sharia law - which are incompatible with Swiss democracy." Doesn't seem to bother our main political parties.

    "Before the vote, Amnesty International warned that the ban would violate Switzerland's obligations to freedom of religious expression."
    An overworked sub-set of freedom of expression, which is more important.

    "SVP MP Ulrich Schluer said the campaign had helped integration by encouraging debate. He rejected the charge of discrimination."
    Discrimination is normal and natural, not a pejorative expression.

    "In recent years many countries in Europe have been debating their relationship with Islam, and how best to integrate their Muslim populations. France focused on the headscarf, while in Germany there was controversy over plans to build one of Europe's largest mosques in Cologne." In UK it's not seen as a problem needing discussing.

  • Comment number 93.

    #88Mistress76uk from your link-
    "The new law authorizes clandestine Iranian agents to funnel funds directly to "progressive" armed groups willing to directly confront the US and Britain." You might be alarmed, but like I said in #92 in UK we don't see Islamification as being a problem.

  • Comment number 94.

    @ Indignantindegene #92, according to a 2007 article in The Times,
    "The Islamic website Salaam records a total of 1,689 mosques."

    According to
    the "Total Muslim population 1.6 million."

  • Comment number 95.

    #94 Thanks Mistress76uk, I've been meaning to look those figures up all day, in light of the minaret vote, suprising how many isn't it?! There's one and half billion muslims in the world, and almost two billion christians.

    I wonder how many minarets we have. Did you see one church turned into a mosque had all the gravestones crushed and turned into hardstanding! No looking up your relatives graves there then!

  • Comment number 96.

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

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