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Friday 17 December 2010

Verity Murphy | 12:58 UK time, Friday, 17 December 2010

Here's some more detail on tonight's programme:

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has issued a warning to banks over excessive bonuses, saying in an interview with the Financial Times "The banks should not be under any illusion, this government cannot stand idly by".

Chancellor George Osborne is currently in New York banging the drum for British business. Tonight, David Grossman, who is also there, will be seeking clarification from him on what the coalition government intends to do if banks refuse to comply.

And in the studio we will be discussing whether limiting bank bonuses is do-able, or indeed desirable.

Senior GPs have said today that they are "deeply concerned" that Britain is facing a major flu crisis this winter fewer people in at-risk groups have received the seasonal flu jab.

We will be talking to one of the country's foremost experts on respiratory diseases.

Plus, Stephen Smith reports on how some councils in England have been wielding the axe this holiday season - but it is not budgets which are being cut down, but Christmas trees.

So just how much have councils been spending on decorations this Christmas? And how will Newsnight's Christmas decorations compare?

Find out on our last programme of 2010 at 10.30pm on BBC Two.

PS We are back on air on Tuesday 4 January 2011 - hope to see you then.


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  • Comment number 1.


    Leave the thread open - unmoderated - and we will form a coalition to design a Britain-worthy format for NN for the New Year.

    You know it makes sense.

  • Comment number 2.

    :p Surely people buy their Christmas decorations the year before in the sales?

  • Comment number 3.

    2 heavy rock chick in leathers

    remember they live in a waitrose primrose hill culture not a morthern aldi estate :)

  • Comment number 4.

    No Heating oil-Uk's lack of civil robustness

    germany and france have a 100 days or more reserves of fuel [ie a winters worth] yet the uk is already on rationing and at the mercy of temporary price spikes.

    the Govt hayekist philosophy says only the market is wise and if the market hasn't created 100 days fuel reserves then that is the best wisdom. Yes the market is wise in extracting profit from people with no reserves and who must submit to doubling of price or freeze.

    the govt do not have a society building science they have a profit extracting science. we are not in this together. you are on your own. like gladiator slaves in a circus fighting to the death for oligarchs entertainment and profit.

  • Comment number 5.

    This is real panto; with all that has happened this year, surely a review of 2010 would be appropriate, but no, it's how much yer baubles cost. Ghastly.

    Cleggie's warning to bankers; if they don't co-operate willingly, he'll make them sign a solemn pledge to do so.

    The return of piggy sniffles; stay in your homes!

    Happy bacchanalia!!

  • Comment number 6.


    Delusions of grandeur - ending in crucifixion. Very seasonal.

  • Comment number 7.


    Even under Slugger Brown, it was abundantly evident that our government can bring no pressure to bear on 'our' banks.
    Fool or knave Nick, is being led by the nose yet again. If he has any followers left, he should prepare to shed them now - in shed-loads.
    I didn't think things could get any more farcical, after having the Clegg Protocol (of the rescindable signature) disingenuously explained by the Honourable Cable, twice nightly.

    It beggars belief (or some similar word).

  • Comment number 8.


    given even the head of state has to ask permission to enter the city of london the pecking order is there for all to see?

    banks with masses undeclared losses are making 'profits' that are then paid out to shareholders and as bonuses.

    we are not in this together. we are funding their winter trips to vegas.

  • Comment number 9.


    Only a politician with a shameless shape-shifter head, could come out with such a blatant falsehood. What a lizard.

    When children won't go to sleep on Christmas Eve, we should say: "THE DAVE LIZARD WILL COME AND RE-MODEL YOUR HEAD if you don't go to sleep."
    Then show them the pictures. It sure as hell scares me.

    Do have nightmares.

  • Comment number 10.

    1. At 1:38pm on 17 Dec 2010, barriesingleton wrote:
    Leave the thread open - unmoderated - and we will form a coalition to design a Britain-worthy format for NN for the New Year. You know it makes sense.

    Must be awful, what with the cuts 'n all, that a 24/7, 365/365 international news medium can't really manage much more than Dad's Army re-runs for a few weeks while the entire staff buzz off on school hols. Usually carbonifically far, too (Ethical Man's blog is fast approaching its anniversary since he went 'off duty'). Hope the inclement weather won't spoil things. Good job other service industries, less uniquely funded, and possibly not to the tune of £3B+, still seem to manage a bit more than skeleton staff. Imagine if anything actually happened in the worlds of politics, environment, etc? Or both? Say, a Gov. Minister not so coherently getting to grips with weather now and climate soonish. Some less able to scrape by on a public sector index-linked pension may not have been quite so thrilled at James Cameron of Climate Change Capital (oddly conveniently connected -'s-james-cameron-joins-the-prime-minister's-business-advisory-group.aspx) hitting the airwaves (alone, by invitation of the national broadcaster?) to 'explain' in that famously impartial manner that the BBC so treasures that it's not really so much a matter of spending more... but getting used to using less. Wonder how many government and quango buildings will glow brightly over the next few weeks as the inhabitants are not quite so responsible for the bills as a few folk perhaps already feeling the pinch... and chill? - closed - closed - closed - closed - really closed

    At least Mr. Crick is flying the flag... sources never sleep! But maybe it's possible just to automate getting inbound press releases from trusted IP addresses up and out as 'news'?

    This entry might soon be closed for comments... ho, ho ho!

  • Comment number 11.

    'Stephen Smith taking a look at the cost of Christmas decorations.'

    Should the preceding not make it, possibly due to the wrong kind of snow job - let me just say how much this issue has been a burning one in our household.

  • Comment number 12.

    Whilst, on occasion, there have been jousts between us, I must on this occasion commend the mods, who seem to be not only on station when few are, but also on the ball. Kudos.

    Not a great job any time of the year. But especially lonely now. The effort is appreciated.

  • Comment number 13.


    A vast amount of snow (H2O) currently sits, in full view, on the northern hemisphere. It fell very quickly having, shortly before, been IN THE ATMOSPHERE AS A GREENHOUSE GAS. Why is it so cold? (:o)

  • Comment number 14.


    Will Prezza have earned himself a new epithet by his return?


  • Comment number 15.

    # 13 barrie

    Its the wobble in the Jet Stream caused by radiation from the sun interacting between the earth's and moon's magnetic fields causing the wind to come in from the north.

  • Comment number 16.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 17.

    AH SO (#15)

    As I recall, the same thing happened in Punxsutawney. The rest is all a load of Corbyn to me.

  • Comment number 18.

    BAH HUMBUG (#16)

    I don't.

  • Comment number 19.

    The forthcoming Oldham East & Saddleworth by-election campaign could prove interesting !!

  • Comment number 20.

    A LITTLE HELP? (#19)

    Hey Bro - I am too dumb to spot the connection between the by election and climate-con.

    In passing, I do hope I can get some interest in the Conservative 'liar flyer' on the back of the Old & Sad liar flyer. It is truly bizarre that, in a country stuffed with offices and ombudsmen, to whom we can appeal when evildoers impinge, THERE IS NOT ONE FOR ELECTION EVILDOING. That is a police matter, or 'shove off sonny'. How's that for a Parliamentary democracy? When the power-elite 'don't want to know', they make damned sure they can't hear you. But I have 4+ years to change all that. . .

  • Comment number 21.

    ...The idea that wholly electing the Lords makes our system more democratic is dangerous ideological ignorance...

    more monarchist propaganda on the bbc?

    do they buy it by the meter?

  • Comment number 22.

    if our taxes were high enough we could have stopped all this snow altogether?

  • Comment number 23.


    By the end of this winter, vast numbers of ordinary folk will be in unrepayable debt to energy companies. Will the government just hang them out to dry as bankruots, or bail them out? No prizes.

  • Comment number 24.

  • Comment number 25.


    British lives drown in an Acoholic Culture - so fundamental to all aspects of life is that 'Ambiguous Molecule' (Griffith Edwards). The typical Briton is a user; all celebration and pageantry is fuelled with it, and the greater part of violent crime also.

    Ironically, though living in the post-Enlightenment, scientific age, we have turned science into another religion, with politicians as high priests. The Climate fiasco is born of this. No doubt the believers are drinking themselves silly in Cancun.

    The common factor is state corruption of minds - with alcohol and with true lies. There is your toast for this Christmas, all you users, "TRUE LIES".

  • Comment number 26.

    Re yesterday’s page .....

    Re No 57, 58, 68 .... Excellent comment.

    No 59 ..... Well said!

    No 71 ..... The focus must be on, and for, women, they are the subjugated. What would the outcry be if gays or the handicapped were oppressed in a similar manner?

    No’s 78, 79 and 81 ... Good stuff! tabble would be stroke is proud!

    Sadly a fair amount of the other comment was just the usual biased diatribe stroke waffle..

    The Qu’ran does not require a place of worship.

    The minaret must tower above all.

    (Anyone spot the contradiction?)

    Interestingly no one mentioned ‘No go’ areas during the discussion.

    (The whole thing just got ‘interesting’ when the bell went! Intended perhaps?)

    Religion is ‘reely grate ‘innit? Believe it for that’s what we is tellin’ ya, innit!


    All religions enslave the intellect of the weak to those that seek to exercise selfish power.

    Discuss ....

    Yet again Nn just had to cover exactly what everybody else was covering! .......

    Nn ..... Don’t follow the ‘agenda ........

    Set it!

    And .... Oh yes! .....

    In the spirit of Sir Andrew on last night’s “This week” .......

    What defines 2010? ......

    “ ....... but no-one was available.”

    What will define 2011? .....

    Oldham, the May elections, the U-turns and ......

    The Number One Lib Dim’s mental health!

    And .... Oh yes! .....

    A thought for ‘this time of year’ ......

    May you be with your family, and your family be with you.

    And all be content.

  • Comment number 27.

    Merry Christmas + A Happy New Year to All :o)

  • Comment number 28.

  • Comment number 29.

    Mark you don't say!!!! Who'd have guessed the beeb was biased.

    I'm always looking for more news/programmes on what's happening in Europe, it's virtually non existent on the BBC. Endless news on Americas view of the world, and if the muslims states aren't mentioned in every news bulletin it's most unusual.

  • Comment number 30.


    Yuletide Yo Lizzy!

    Why do I get the feeling that it is Mark Thompson's BBC - and that his views (and agenda) count too much?

    It is all too redolent the way British democracy is really Dave's democracy. (How's that for an oxymoron!)

    Maybe we need to SPOIL BBC GAMES before we can SPOLIPARTYGAMES?

  • Comment number 31.

    #29 ecolizzy's link:

    'He (BBC chief) admitted it should not be the corporation’s role to start ‘censoring the public debate’ and said the BBC would give space for ‘extreme and radical perspectives’.

    He could start with a New Year resolution to pay attention to NN blogs (those of the public, not the BBC team's). I have never known a NN programme to quote from or directly respond to any issue on which we have called for more analysis and debate, nor to contact any of the regular bloggers for further details or to join a studio discussion.

    This morning I listened to a Common's Committee debate on the bid to set up super dairies or 'factory farming' of milk production and the supermarkets' profiteering on the sale of milk, which is driving small dairy farmers out of business: another example of the unacceptable face of (foreign)capitalism wrecking our agriculture section and way of life for the profit of the few.

    This issues of animal welfare, inappropriate use of sites and the effect on jobs and the environment were all sensibly discussed by several MPs, but stopping this development poses many problems.

    The first is my 'favourite nag' of TALC (Tolerance, Apathy, Lethargy and Complacency)-

    - by the public being prepared to buy milk from most supermarkets, knowing that they are causing (deliberately) this situation by bankrupting all but the biggest dairy farmers; and

    - by the government allowing imports from Europe of foods (Pork, Lamb, Chicken and Calf meats) produced under factory farming methods that have been BANNED in UK!

    The conclusion is that if we refuse bids for the proposed huge indoor herds of dairy cattle - bred to (over)produce massive yeilds of milk - our dairy farmers will still be made redundant by the importation of such 'cheap' milk from Europe, where animal welfare is not a consideration.

    Surely we must put a stop to UK's loss of control to EU of everything from our legal system, crime, immigration and farming policy. What else is there to lose before we have a Big Debate on the evils of EU membership?

    Time for the BBC chief's proposal to provide 'space for extreme and radical perspectives'

  • Comment number 32.

    Profiteering aside. How many pensioners have or will freeze to death this winter curtesy of the lies/misinformation churned out by the 'man made global warming' business and by supposedly knowledgable politicians seeking a platform ( Milibands et al ) causing the price of fuel to rise beyond many pensioners means?

  • Comment number 33.

    20. At 7:54pm on 17 Dec 2010, barriesingleton

    PLEASE stop confusing climate and weather.

  • Comment number 34.

    21. At 7:54pm on 17 Dec 2010, jauntycyclist wrote:
    ...The idea that wholly electing the Lords makes our system more democratic is dangerous ideological ignorance...

    I support a proportion of the chamber to be selected at random as per jury system.

    It will never happen.

  • Comment number 35.

    33. At 12:34pm on 18 Dec 2010, Kit Green wrote:
    20. At 7:54pm on 17 Dec 2010, barriesingleton

    PLEASE stop confusing climate and weather.

    Given that over 1000 top international scientists now dispute any significant global warming due to CO2 it would appear that anyone who still supports the current Climate Change Scam is either evil or completely ignorant.

    The Real Green Agenda !

  • Comment number 36.

    DOUBLE BLUFF? (#33)

    Unless you are pulling my wishbone Kit, it would appear you need 'a little help' more than I.

    What are we going to do if the Sun just keeps on going at solstice?

    In passing: it is rude to tell the over-70s not to be confused. It infringes our Human Rights.

  • Comment number 37.

  • Comment number 38.


    'Give to Caesar' perhaps? The problem is, I am confused as to which is Caesar and which is God. In a good light, Al Gore does have a 'godhead' look, so Piers Corbyn will just have to be Caesar. He doesn't need laurels - the hair will suffice.

    The climate battle certainly belongs in the Middle Ages along with 'angels on a pin'. Now that all the pillars of science are wobbling, for anyone to claim absolute rightness in this derived field, is to relinquish any claim to be taken seriously. Whatever happened to the working hypothesis?

  • Comment number 39.

    bankers leaving

    its clear the bankers are fair weather friends. they are happy till they trash the place then bug out in a childish strop still thinking they are masters of the universe when people ask them to clear up the mess?

    spontaneous smithy tree looked dead to start with?

  • Comment number 40.


    And Didactic Dave (have you noticed how he leans to the right, when doing his talk-down teacher routine?) says he is right behind Nick . . .

    GOD HELP US - WE GOT OURSELVES A BOGOF! And what a pair. No previous experience, straight to the top in short order. Government 'initiatives' coming faster than even 'Spew Labour' could manage, with slogans and sound-bites to die for (old people in cold weather - rejoice) and we continue to bomb Johnnie Foreigner 'above our means' while giving birth to Aircraft Carriers like an asylum seeker on benefit.

    Oh it's all going awfully well.

  • Comment number 41.

    Newsnight Review

    don't ask me what it was about as i didn't understand it but can it be in 3D?

  • Comment number 42.

    Thoughts on .....

    29. At 09:06am on 18 Dec 2010, ecolizzy:

    It is a great shame that so many of the opinions on the link centre on ‘blaming’ the BBC although, in one sense, it is not really surprising as the Corporation is a ‘mainstream’ news organisation. Yes, they bear a very large part of the responsibility for the dour coverage of what were, and will increasingly be, serious concerns to a large part of the british public. i.e. most noticeably immigration control, community integration and - to a lesser extent - the EU. But they, the BBC, are not the only guilty party!

    If there is a ‘most guilty’ cause for the decline of british national identity then the bulk of the responsibility must surely be with those lobbyists that took most advantage of the evolving culture of the day. In effect this refers to those that had the most to gain from shouting the loudest. For example, it is very hard to seek funding for a charity that claims to ‘fight‘ racism if there is no ‘obvious‘ racist behaviour.

    The sad thing is that those individual, agencies and communities that did ‘trumpet’ were readily ‘grabbed’ by all facets of the media! The media needed airtime and column inches, what could be better than championing a worthy cause and getting on the bandwagon before anyone else? The outcome being that the defensive aspect of certain issues became a political and social ‘snowball’ which few - of any political bent or profession - dared to oppose for fear of being ‘publicly executed’ by the hysterical baying crowd!

    Political Correctness became Political Obsession which required Public Crucifixion.

    (Andrew Neil - as mentioned in the posts in the link - deserves fair credit for trying to buck the trend but his Daily Politics’ ‘sidekick’s’ interview sic of one party during the Election run-up was an embarrassing disgrace!)

    Why did everything get so out of control to the point that merely trying to raise issues such as overcrowding, insufficient and inadequate social services, lack of integration, misogynic religious and cultural beliefs and inter-community tensions immediately invoke claims of racism?

    The bandwagon of clamour to suppress the - often - legitimate concerns of the british people created a climate of fear that expanded beyond comprehension. Words, practices and long held beliefs suddenly became horrendous crimes against humanity. Sadly all the main political parties could only see votes to be gained - aka power - from being holier than the massed minions. We needed the immigration! We needed the multiculturalism! The ‘punishments’ being meted out for minor indiscretions became more extreme almost inviting stroke insisting that there was ‘money to be made’ for anyone whom could demonstrate a slightly bruised ego, identity or culture.( Strangely it was only ever a one way street! ) The mutilation stroke castration on ‘offer’ for anyone going against the grain turned many a profession into professional marionettes.

    Then, of course, it became endemic. Communities assumed that as everyone was saying that entire minorities were being picked upon then that must surely be the case. Rarely did anyone stop to think that maybe - just maybe - there was a problem coming on the horizon and there were genuine concerns.

    Nope, everybody was - according to every righteous ‘right’ person - simply racist!

    Unless - Shock, horror, probe! - they were born somewhere other than the UK!

    The fact is that in a sensible, sane, non litigious, non manipulated environment the Great British Public’s issues would have clearly been seen as a subjects for necessary - time sensitive - debate.

    That that sanity did not prevail should not prevent the perceived reality of the future.

    We can talk about ‘it’ forever ....

    But that shouldn’t prevent something being done!

    Much of the above is just repetition on my part ....

    But - now, with the recent ‘admission’ - it just might be taken on board as having some weight!

    Or not!

    And .... Oh yes! ....

    Thoughts on ....

    31. At 12:03pm on 18 Dec 2010, indignantindegene:

    First two paragraphs .... Right on!

    However it does beg the question ....

    Why are these posts ignored?

    Answers on a Yuletide card to .......

  • Comment number 43.

  • Comment number 44.


    The Germans have given an award for charity to Prince William - a charity in his own right. And we say they have no sense of humour!

    Will they give Clegg one for political achievement?

  • Comment number 45.


    Cameron should stick to waving (to the world on his unending trips) as his forays into reality threaten to see him drowning.

    Stay out of 'Energy' Dave. Your grasp of technology was demonstrated when you wanted to put a Mickey Mouse turbine on your house. It was pathetic PR, by a pathetic PR man.

    Renewables are good - especially tidal power (we are an island Dave). But as AGW is a myth (please talk to the RIGHT people Dave) we can use carbon-based fuels UNTIL WAVE POWER SEES THEM OFF, without harm to the planet.

    Stick to PR Dave - prancing and rhetoric. And let Huhne fly back to the money tree before he lays any more eggs.

  • Comment number 46.

    And they are attempting to portray that 2010 is one of the warmest years ever. One bloke on the telly been stuck on the runway at Heathrow was telling how cold it was in Florida. Their temperature recording is suspect anyway, reckon up to 7C heat island effect to all the urban areas where they measure, large part of the planet not covered and made up anyway. NASA now saying that the global temp will only go up 1.64C if CO2 is doubled to 780ppm, its time the CO2 warmists were metaphorically lined up against a wall and shot.

  • Comment number 47.


    Hi Bro. I am taking a rest from the 'liar flyer' project (very telling how MPs of all parties will not engage) and getting my head round Credit Reference Agencies (Equifax, Experien, Callcredit) who, when shown to have erroneous IDENTITY data on their files, will not disclose or correct, unless money is paid over, or a delayed DD signed into (entrapment).

    Looks like a clear breach of Human Rights to me. The question arises: how amny of their files are duff, and how many £2 subs are they collecting FOR DOING A BAD JOB? They have annoyed the wrong man.

  • Comment number 48.

    There`s an irreconcilable conflict between the philosophies and practices of environmentalists and those underpinning capitalist societies like ours.

    Capitalists don`t "do" sensible community action based around the horrid "socialist" concept of the "common good" fact exploiting wage slaves ....and migrants ...and creating scarcities... and dividing societies between the rich and the poor ...are fundemental to the way global capitalism works....despite all the hot air about freedom and democracy....and "we are all in this together" from the mouths of millionairs!

    The climate change deniers have a vast armoury of support and encouragement behind them ....but are they right... or just in denial in a way that suits the powerful?

    Come on folks....the scandinavian model of social democracy takes a lot of beating..let`s get a global peace and reconciliation process going to organise our world into adopting civilised social democratic political and economic principles ..because we will never save humanity by privatising and speculating and exploiting and booming and busting and warring we have done for the past one hundred years.

    It`s "broke"....let`s fix it!

  • Comment number 49.


    As I have posted before - megalomaniacs HAVE TO rule/run/own the KNOWN WORLD - this is the downside of having photo's from the moon!

    But small is not only beautiful - it is manageable. Only if we re-instate the British Isles as independent; chase off the Blairs, Thatchers, Nick-n-Daves et al, installing wisdom and integrity, can we downsize to a pragmatic state, and have any chance of 'doing a Scandinavia'. In time the world might want to 'do a Britain', with good reason.

    I am hoping to see tidal power establish itself as the dominant (moon driven) reliable 'renewable'. An injection of energy at a sane and sustainable cost, will also 'chase off' the carbon-based crooks and subsidised wind wallers.

  • Comment number 50.

  • Comment number 51.

    barrie #49

    Are you not overlooking one major detail in your quest to power the UK with the moon, the simple fact that the only real practical tidal project for the UK has been ruled out. Huhne ruled out the Severn barrage earlier this year and he is probably so pig headed that he doesn't even know where they other potential site Morecambe Bay is. Using pump storage systems to the nearby hills both sites could have given us instant " free " extra power at the flick of a switch to meet sudden demand. It just goes to show how short sighted the government is on energy policy, the primary objective at present being to manufacture a stock market parasite investment scam, nothing to do with saving the planet.

  • Comment number 52.


    This is a weird country Bro - all the posturing and bombing JF, but back home nothing is regulated except the easy stuff.

    When I was in chemical processing, if a Factory Inspector called and his eyes hurt in the factory you would be sampled and given a hard time. Yet, at the same time, you could not see across a pub or club, your eyes hurt with the hundreds of complex chemicals from tobacco smoke, and the Inspector dropped in for a pint!

    A bit on TV about a policeman killed ten years ago doing drinking checks on drivers. Not a word about Britain's state sponsored mind-numbing culture.

    *Threshold Vapour Limits.

  • Comment number 53.


    I’m a tidal STREAM supporter Bro. Everyone knows that if you interfere with the land/water boundary, the Kraken will wake and destroy all marginal life. Only when London is notionally under water, will waders be reluctantly dispossessed.

    I take heart from the fact that nice-little-earner turbines, of considerable ingenuity and variety, will soon be harnessing moon power more widely, but still in a small way, and the forces of greed will be punching numbers into their calculators and salivating. We just have to hope they don't sound like females on heat, to any aquatic species!

    I don't see our government (any colour) as a cure for anything. But if we get all this free expression and relaxed regulation - however briefly - there might be enough electricity 'coming ashore' to make its mark on the market as above. As for Huhne: I doubt he believes a word of what he is saying. That isn't how democracy works, I gather. Politicians, like lawyers, earn kudos by ‘swaying the jury’ not by facilitating just outcomes through integrity.

  • Comment number 54.

    barrie #53

    I see where you are coming from but your neat little or even not so little submerged propeller devices will be less than efficient. The problem is that the crafty water will simply avoid them with decreasing efficiency as the speed of the flow increases. The only true efficient way to do tidal is to build a barrage with the turbines encased, not only can you generate from the tidal flow but also the opposing weight of the water itself. Then there is the question of maintaining the equipment, far easier in a barrage than independent device just dumped on the sea floor, also you have to take into consideration of the hostile salt water environment on a totally submerged generating unit. Its likely to get encrusted in barnacles like a ship which will also reduce efficiency over time.

    Whilst individual devices for tidal remain under development there are already barrages in operation like the one in France, which despite eco-fascist protestations has not damaged the overall ecology of the estuary. Similarly, a barrage can form the basis of new short cut transport links, for instance the economy of Barrow in Furness would benefit greatly from a short cut road across Morecambe Bay. If they had built the Severn barrage 20 years ago perhaps there would have been no true need for the expensive new second bridge. That is not to say that smaller scale individual devices do not have a roll to play, for example they could be of much benefit off the north coast of Scotland for instance. However, both the Severn and Morecambe areas already have national grid connections close by so the overall infrastructure costs will be minimal.

  • Comment number 55.

  • Comment number 56.


    It's not my field Bro - I wish it were. I understand some devices have been running for long enough to support or negate your points. I presume the current efforts are well informed.

    I have no problem with loss of habitat - man created much of what we see as 'natural' as you know. So barrages are OK.

    I could add a lot more detail to rebut some of your objections, but it won't improve the situation.

    What will be will be.

  • Comment number 57.

    # barrie

    Fished this of Google, if their claims are true they do not need any form of subsidy but what I said above applies. Rolls-Royce in on another company but web site not up and running proper yet, if they can't make a go of it nobody can.

  • Comment number 58.

  • Comment number 59.

  • Comment number 60.

    I was very sorry to read this this morning...

    ...and this last night

    I really liked some of these old style journalists.

  • Comment number 61.

    OPENHYDRO (#58)

    All the world's a scam. You have to look beyond the subsidies, lining the pockets of political chums.

    At least the technology is being de-bugged and refined. And should it turn out that some dream like 'Zero Point Energy' or a Cold Fusion reactor in every back-yard, comes real, then there will be a lot of scrap metal on the sea bed for future archaeologists to label a 'religious object'.

    The OpenHydro turbine has been 'installed' in the sea for about 5 years. It could easily win the Turner Prize, and might just generate electricity!

  • Comment number 62.

    I share your sadness Ecolizzie...Howard and Hanrahan were part of political and journalistic world in which I really felt at home as a humble consumer...but then along came Thatcher and Blair ..and the PR men ...and a load of failed recycled economic and political tripe and nonsense from across the pond ....and our "new" one party state took over.

  • Comment number 63.


    Oh dear, I was afraid of that. Reminds me of The Navy Lark where a dim sounding voice would say: "This is Intelligence speaking".

    Now we wait to see what evidence is found, and how many are quietly released, with no media reporting.

    Would 'they' lie to us, to keep us scared and to appear to be ahead of the game? Such effrontery on my part. I'll be suggesting 'they' might put tanks on the Heathrow lawn, next.

  • Comment number 64.

  • Comment number 65.

    Ten Predictions for 2011:

    1. LibDems decimated in May local elections - several LibDem MPs cross the floor to join Labour - Clegg faces full scale revolt @ Party Conference.
    2. Bankers still get huge bonuses - Ministers claim they are powerless in the face of major banks threatening to leave UK
    3. Bailouts of Spain, Portugal and Italy - ECB @ limit of confidence - UK comes under pressure too
    4. UK unemployment rises sharply due to public sector and construction industry job loses
    5. ScotNats turn up the heat on independence referendum - polls show it's a close call
    6. UK economy slips back into recession in the autumn - fall off in tax revenue and rise in benefits claims drives government borrowing even higher
    7. Universities report a big fall off in applications for 2012
    8. House prices fall sharply as confidence evaporates with first time buyers frozen out
    9. The USA gives up on persuasion and introduces wideranging import taxes on Chinese goods citing "abuse" of currency markets
    10. Plans to give GPs control over NHS funding backfire as GPs fail to participate in the face of mounting criticism from oter healthcare professionals

    What are your predictions?

  • Comment number 66.


    Heinz Kiosk only missed out on the Nobel Prize for Wisdom, by being a fictional character. His contribution to elevated gravitas was beyond measure. That Monkton invokes this guru of gurus, lends credence to his stance on climate.

  • Comment number 67.

    :o( RIP Hanrahan & Howard.

  • Comment number 68.

    ONLY TEN? (#65)

    No one will be concerned that we elect our MPs for reasons that do not translate to organisational competence.

    No one will be concerned that the 'interfering professions' attract a disproportionate percentage of the 'strangely motivated'.

    No one will be concerned that Westminster embraces, and connives at, a range of behaviours, not approved of in society.

    No one will be concerned that 'entertainment' is now aggressive, demeaning, bullying, attacking and nihilistic.

    No one will be concerned that whilst GBH and killing are heavily punished at home, they are lauded when applied abroad.

    No one will be concerned that alcohol is implicated in much of society's instability and decline.

    No one will be concerned that our court system, notionally, eschews emotion, but convicts as a consequence of its skilled manipulation.

    No one will be concerned that our culture is devoid of intangibles such as honour, integrity, humility, dignity and virtue.

    No one will be concerned that gestation, birth, mothering and parenting, are all reduced to 'applied technologies'.

    No one will be concerned that news reporting is now an art form, with edgy 'visuals', and mood-music, to rival Hollywood.

  • Comment number 69.

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

  • Comment number 70.

    Direct quote from British Airways website re Terminal 5

    ‘Enjoy a seamless journey through the airport, whether you’re transferring flights or starting your trip. With stylish shops and restaurants, and luxurious Galleries lounges, Terminal 5 will change the way you fly, forever.’

  • Comment number 71.


    Having not flown for decades, I took myself to Basel (where the airport has 3 names - one with two pronunciations - but that's not important right now). Having got to Heathrow middle-bit, to get to Terminal 5, I needed the 'Heathrow Express', so I followed the signs saying 'Heathrow Express'! It worked perfectly! However, coming back, while still in Terminal 5, I could find no signs to 'Heathrow Express' only ones saying 'Fast Trains to London' and the last thing I wanted was to whizz off to London non-stop. You can guess the rest. When I asked the reason, a staff member muttered something about 'ownership of rights to the name'. It sounded plausible . . .

  • Comment number 72.

    Heathrow is owned by a spanish firm that borrowed heavily to buy it so all the money goes on debt repayment rather than investment. Another hayekist success story where the market has all 'wisdom' and it alone makes the 'best' choices for the uk.

    hayekism is making the uk a third world colony where foreign firms extract wealth rather than put it in.

  • Comment number 73.


    Do the Spanish own BA too? The undercarriage hydraulics on my return flight, let out such a ferocious howl, that all conversation was drowned. Though I am not a hydraulic engineer, I have encountered many kinds of pump, and excess noise is not usually a design parameter. I would have said nothing, but I was last off, and the Pilot looked very pleased with himself. I commented on his kit, and he replied it was ONLY the hydraulics. To which I countered: "Yes - but if my car made a racket like that, I wouldn't take it out of the garage." I am a fatalistic flyer; god knows what a fearful one made of it. I would have appreciated the views of the chap who designed the pump. do they still have a windy-windy handle, if the hydraulics fail?

  • Comment number 74.

    More proof, if proof were needed!

    "The cage-fighter, 35, even confessed he dreads going home to her every day because he feels bullied and lonely."

  • Comment number 75.


    Happy Yuletide one and all, from now on the daylight gets longer each day! : )

    Did anyone see the eclipse of the moon? Too cloudy for me to see.

  • Comment number 76.


    That would be a 'good day to un-bury tidal power' Lizzy! (What a frightful opportunist I am.)

    I didn't see the eclipse - my nose was cold enough without going moon-hunting.

    Good Yuletidings to you too Lizzy. Always makes more sense to me that 'the Sun is coming back', rather than that I am helping Joseph out, over being cuckolded, by espousing a disjointed fable.

  • Comment number 77.

    Definition of a bailout.

    This may not be new to you, but it was to me, so there, and likely to be more common in 2011.

    A German tourist approaches the reception desk of a small country hotel in Ireland.

    "I'd like to reserve a room please; I can't view the room just now but will return this evening and if I do not like the room I will not stay. In the meantime, please accept this 100 euro note as a deposit."

    The hotel owner, who was manning reception at the time, thanks the German tourist and makes a call to his food wholesaler, tells him he can pay last month's bill now; the wholesaler turns up and receives the 100 euros.

    The wholesaler drives round the corner to the local garage and pays off his diesel account with the 100 Euro note.

    The garage owner strolls down to the pub, smacks the hundred euro note on the counter and says to the publican "that should clear me tab, Barney!"

    At closing time, the publican slips off to visit his lady friend whom he pays by the hour and hands over the 100 euro note for services rendered.

    The lady of the night then goes off to the hotel to pay her bill for the room she hires for her and her clients' use; this amounts to 100 euros for the week.

    The hotel owner thanks her profusely and is just about to place the 100 euro note in the cash register when the German tourist comes down the stairs and approaches the desk.

    "I am afraid the room is not to my liking; may I please have my 100 euros back?"

    The hotel owner opens the register, hands over the 100 euro note, follows the tourist to the door and puts up the "closed" sign in the window.

    Mutlu yilar!

  • Comment number 78.


    So at the outset, his creditors matched his debtors - he was trading solvent - in Ireland.


  • Comment number 79.

    Is the End Game of Wikileaks Internet Censorship?

  • Comment number 80.

    $2tn debt crisis threatens to bring down 100 US cities

    Meredith Whitney, the US research analyst who correctly predicted the global credit crunch, described local and state debt as the biggest problem facing the US economy, and one that could derail its recovery. "Next to housing this is the single most important issue in the US and certainly the biggest threat to the US economy," Whitney told the CBS 60 Minutes programme on Sunday night. "There's not a doubt on my mind that you will see a spate of municipal bond defaults. You can see fifty to a hundred sizeable defaults – more. This will amount to hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of defaults."

  • Comment number 81.


    Another cable has been leaked - Vince Cable. The nuke he has detonated was, metaphorically, under the table at No 10 where Rupert Murdoch so often sits. Officially, Vince is not supposed - even - to blow the bloody coalition doors off. As things now stand, he might just have blown it apart - EXACTLY AS HE SAID HE COULD.

    Hell hath no fury like a Murdoch nuked!

  • Comment number 82.

  • Comment number 83.


    Damage to America from Wikileaks activity is presented to the gullible, as proof that they are under attack by others. Since 9/11 the protocol of pre-emptive strike is in place (a Bush/Blair initiative). 3000 died on 9/11, how many this time?

    How many times can these immature individuals 'kick the cat', before the world realises that they have no INVISIBLE PSYCHOPATHIC 'FRIEND' who did it?

  • Comment number 84.


    Now I know he is the right man for London.

    (I bet Boris will be the first to commiserate with poor Vince after being duped by a couple of giggly young women.)

  • Comment number 85.


    I can only assume we are going to buy job-lots of JENNY FOREIGNER MUMS - who still know how to, and import them!

    Nothing new there. We have an established pattern of imported foreign labour - TO DO THE JOBS WE ARE NOT PREPARED TO DO.

    Weep Britain.

  • Comment number 86.

    Is it just coincidence that yesterday all the talk was about whether the time was right for the return to the front bench of a ‘sacked’ expenses miscreant?

    Now a ( conscious? ) hari kari attempt may leave a vacancy of equal weight to the one lost by the subject of yesterdays ‘conjecture'!

    And of course one side effect of all these shenanigans is that a ex-pat ‘roo may just get an easier ride as a result!

    And the left wing would get no long term benefit whatsoever!

    So would the right?

    Whom needs wicked leaks with all this going on?

    Just another ‘grassy knoll’ day in the good ol’ UK!

  • Comment number 87.


    A regular guy, who just happened to call himself the 'Crossbow Cannibal' do a bit of homicide, has been told he is bad rather than mad, by a learned judge.

    It comes as a relief to see the bar set high in Britain, otherwise we would become ungovernable . . .

  • Comment number 88.

  • Comment number 89.


    I am reaching the point of 'conspiracy fatigue' where if anyone says 'there is more to it than that' I believe them. Are we MEANT to spot the deceit? Does that lead us AWAY from something worse?

    The way things are going, to discover shape-shifter lizards are among us, WOULD BE A RELIEF.

    Is even the Christmas Story of virgin birth and a great star, a lie? If so, then people will believe anything . . .

  • Comment number 90.

    I have just seen that idiot former government scientific adviser Sir David King on Channel 4 News attempting to portray that the current cold snap could have been foreseen by the warmists if they had a new mega expensive powerful European super computer. Obviously this could be construed that the current computer models the warmist camp put so much faith in are in fact totally useless. From this it must be obvious that the whole of global warming theory has no serious scientific basis whatsoever. Just checked David King out on wiki, as it turns out he's a chemist and in truth no more qualified to comment on climate science than any of the posters here on the Newsnight blog.

  • Comment number 91.


    I have applied my R and D skills to finding cures for problems my Doctor declared incurable. Should I stop using them because I am not suitably qualified?

    Don't forget: Those who can - do. Those who can't - teach. And those who haven't a creative synapse in their heads - advise government. The rest 'act out politics'.* (Did you see the Nick n Dave show today?)

    (*That is one reason to question IQ as a measure of cerebral excellence.)

  • Comment number 92.

    Echo's of the Global Warming Scam ?

  • Comment number 93.

  • Comment number 94.


    Once again, an MP comes out with: "The Government's first duty is to protect the public". And, of course, this allows a lot of oppressive ploys, on a whim.

    After a moment's thought, it occurs to me that the public might well put RESPECT first, rather than the current contempt. But 'protecting' us is high profile headline-grabbing stuff; so much more to the liking of our politicians. We can whistle for respect - until they ban it because they can't hear the Terrorists coming.

  • Comment number 95.

    Cable Miaos...

    Mao started the "Cultural Revolution" in the 1960s, which was an anti-intellectual, grassroots purge of authority at all levels. It was based on the ancient Chinese concept of "hegemony" - the complete domination of society's political and social agenda by a single model of how the world is - and the role of the state - in this case, as defined in Mao's little "Red Book".

    Maoism therefore had a strong anarchic vision based on direct local action by indoctrinated cadres of activists, who would infiltrate local organisations and structures, then act in concert to pull down the "corrupt" system from within, backed up by central control of the mass media. Sound familiar?

    If you trace Libertarian entryism into the Tory Party in the late 70s, their rise to power under Mrs Thatcher and the way that certain local authorities like Wandsworth, Westminster and Bradford become test beds for privatisation, service cuts and workfare experiments, there are striking parallels to the way the Libertarians and Maoists operate politically - and they even have Hayek's little book too: "the Road to Serfdom", in which he argued that warned of the danger of tyranny that inevitably results from government control of economic decision-making through central planning, and in which he argues that the abandonment of individualism, liberalism, and freedom inevitably leads to socialist or fascist oppression and tyranny and the serfdom of the individual.

    Interestingly, Goeorge Orwell, that great whistleblower on the risks of tyranny comments:"A return to 'free' competition means for the great mass of people a tyranny probably worse, because it is even more irresponsible, than that of the state."

    I find the ideology of the Cameron government is pure Hayek - and their policies for local government and the "Big Society" display an ideological fundamentalism that Mao would immediately recognise as a deliberate attempt to gain control of the way we see ourselves and our communities - the rhetoric of "setting people free" is straight out of Hayek and the combination of deregulation and massive spending cuts are ideologocal choices, not pragmatic or practical decisions about what will deliver the best services at the local level.

    To say that the Tories are ideologically motivated and that they use the levers of power to implement their ideology is merely a statement of fact.

    To question the validity of such an ideology as a statement of FAITH - not a reflection of social and economic REALITY - is to begin to address the reason why we find the criticism of "Maoist" worrying, because if this faith is just a dangerous delusion based on the obessive ravings of another old man, it takes us to precisely the same place as every other dogma has done down the ages - up a blind alley - and as with every other zealot-inspired witchhunt, a hell of a lot of innocent and vulnerable people will get hurt in the process.

    Mao may have got through 45,000,000 people who died as a direct result of his policies during his time in power - very few of them were executed - most were victims of famine and disease as chinese society and the economy collapsed.

    Here in the UK the deaths that will flow from this latest dogma will be hidden fronm sight - the elderly who quietly die from neglect, the abused child left to be abused to save money on residential care, the damaged road surface that causes a fatal accident, the cuts in policing that allow violence on our streets.

    If the state equals tyranny, then freedon equals anarchy - both poles are equally repellent - so surely the right balance must lie somewhere in the middle?

    Hayek and Mao represent those poles - I reject both of them - at least Cable seems to agree with me, so there's still time for him to redeem himself to some extent. I hope he sees his role to pull the plug on Cameron once the risk of economic failure which the Tory MP Andrew Tyrie has flagged up today in his criticism of the Government's economic stategy comes home to roost.

  • Comment number 96.

    #95 rb

    a great analysis of the 'maoists' in the conservative party. did these libertarian 'maoists' also infiltrate New Labour too?

    and what about elsewhere in the western world.

    are these 'maoists' international/cosmopolitan?

    how long have these 'maoists' been around?

    who are behind these 'maoists'?

    who fears statism the most?

    where do they originate from?

  • Comment number 97.


    I sometimes 'aphorise' that "Everyone has their price and I hope I am never offered mine". When we ARE offered 'our price', the nature of the transaction (goods/services/currency) can run the gamut. Broadly speaking, politicians such as Vince Cable, want to be 'somebody' - it was audibly apparent that his visitors fed that need. Mr Cable was 'bought'.

    From the wider perspective: the cleverness of modern life has enabled a level of globally generated experience, for which we are ill prepared; the flesh (brain capacity) is willing, but the mind (competence) is weak. Indeed, we are still 'The Ape Confused by Language', who has further compounded his plight, by eschewing wisdom and dispensing with philosophy. Immaturity is endemic.

    It is entirely possible that The Ape and 'Cerebral Civilian' (to go 'a bit Bunyan') ARE INCOMPATIBLE, and the conflict between the two will endure till one or both leaves the field. However, while the current situation prevails, is it not our immaturity, that allows tyrannies to arise?

    How could a wise, philosophical society, ever come to elevate a Blair, Brown or Cameron (desperate, posturing POLITICIANS) to near-absolute power? Why would aware individuals allow PARTIES to pre-select their representatives; how could they, knowingly, vote for a rosette and accrue a (whipped) rosette-stand? Would a competent society stand by, and watch war used as a tool of peace, at the drop of a sound-bite?

    Globally, The Ape Confused by Language is focused on the MECHANICS of DOING, having lost sight of the 'intangibles' of BEING. And the whole unholy mess is laved with religious incongruities and strife. I still 'amuse' myself, railing at it all, and testing my ingenuity in trying to see a way out. Well - it passes the time from uninvited birth to perversely delayed death.


  • Comment number 98.


    I join DJ in approval (no patronizing intent in that word) of your post Richard. Very readable and thought-provoking.

    Such comment is precisely what the edgy Beeb no longer have any interest in (as lamented by others on this forum). The only place I know of, where blogs are used as source material, is a Private Eye spoof (tautology there!)

    Will 2011 see THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF EDGY?

  • Comment number 99.

    Well ........... ?

    Will the morsels of policy input and the tidbits of - nominal - ‘power’ be enough to prevent him from resigning?

    Either he has a very long drive-way which is too far to walk to meet the press or - perhaps - he has something serious to consider?

    One has to wonder if the same ‘sting’ has any ‘We are still capable of independent thought’ comments to come from any Big Con HMP’s?

    Interesting that there seems to be some sort of age gap between those that are ‘unhappy’ with ‘events’ and those that feel that the ‘gaffs’ are of minor consequence and will have little effect on the ‘future’ of, and the intentions of, the Con-alition.

    Oops! Nearly forgot .... ‘Oldham’ beckons.

    It wouldn’t be a good idea if that - media carnival - was only seen as a two horse race!

    Would it?

    Have to ask? .........

    Will there be a space on the Ballot paper for a newly evolving political party?

    The Lemming Dims?

  • Comment number 100.


    "Such comment is precisely what the edgy Beeb no longer have any interest in (as lamented by others on this forum)"

    The BBC Bossman's new charter states:

    Improving the extent to which BBC services resonate with all the UK’s Nations, regions and communities and reflect the devolved nature of the UK and the distinctive character of its constituent parts."

    One might hope this interprets as taking an interest in our blogs, as one of the 'resonating constituent parts.'

    However, as a cynic (second only to yourself) I interpret his statement as - 'the BBC will be even more 'edgy' resonating and reflecting society at large: now at its lowest common denominator, with more sordid scenes from soaps, tits and bums overhanging the threshold, and chasing audiences by reflecting the unsavoury, with even less content that inspires, uplifts and provokes thought.'


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