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Monday 17 January 2011

Verity Murphy | 12:34 UK time, Monday, 17 January 2011

Here's more detail on Monday's Newsnight, which is being presented by Matt Frei.

Tunisia's prime minister has announced a national unity government, which includes several sitting ministers and some opposition figures, days after President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ousted after two decades in power.

But will the new line-up be enough to satisfy people demanding complete change at the top? And will it cool the temperature on the streets, where there have been more protests today.

Tonight we have a report from the capital Tunis by Lyse Doucet. And in the studio Mark Urban will be asking how the West is likely to respond to the new leadership.

Also, the internet was supposed to help free oppressed people, but has it instead become a tool for stifling dissent?

Tonight we talk to Evgeny Morozov, who questions the idea that the internet is inherently an emancipator in his book The Net Delusion.

Today the US celebrates the life and work of civil right campaigner Martin Luther King. King's I Have a Dream speech, delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, is often cited as one of the best speeches of the 20th Century.

And this week sees the 50th anniversary of another great speech from that era - JFK's inauguration address in which he famously urged Americans to "ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country".

Tonight, we discuss what makes a great speech with Tony Blair advisor Alastair Campbell, George W Bush speechwriter David Frum, and, fresh from the Golden Globes where Colin Firth won the best actor award for The King's Speech, the film's director Tom Hooper.

Join Matt Frei at 10.30pm on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.


    No 'Mote and Beam' carp for Destiny Dave. He has seen the future, viewed from the top of the most fetid pile of corruption, this side of the Blair Foundation, AND IT WORKS!

    The Westminster Citadel stands unreformed and unreformable. AV won't do it, nor boundary tinkering - it is a matter of CORRUPT CULTURE.


  • Comment number 2.


    From birth to 'launch' into the world, our young get (what my Scots oppo used to call) a 'snow job' in MAMMONISATION. Schooled into DOING for GNP.

    Until our 'leaders' are drawn from those who understand the value of competent BEING as a basis for worthwhile LIVING, before any concern with doing, the future that I can see, DOES NOT WORK.

    "Over here Dave - Big Society Member No 63,395,002 - you're wrong mate."

  • Comment number 3.


    Probably both!


    BTW - Who gave the best speech?

    What a silly question....why, an actor did, of course.

    Cameron is a good actor, but can only dream of being as good as Blair...and in turn, Blair can only dream of being as good as Obama.

    I have a dream!....

  • Comment number 4. I alone in thinking that Lyse Doucet sounds worryingly like a spokesperson for Washington? How have western governments overlooked this previous regime for so long if it was so awful...or does oil not figure in this equation?

    My guess is that this is about the rising cost (and increasing scarcity) of food.....but let`s not analyse that ....or ask which religious orders are behind the exponentialgrowth in our human population!

    We are into regime change territory again...anyone seen George Soros or the CIA?

  • Comment number 5.


    All three are, indeed, actors. Obama is a 'method actor': when elevated and provided with an autocue, you'll believe a man can fly. When grounded and confronted with normality - he dies like a fly lawyer with a bad brief.

    Blair is a blagger. Unless surprised by an irate 'NHS casualty' (or in debate with Christopher Hitchens) he can hit the ground cunning, and make utter tripe sound eloquent - until you read the transcript.

    Dave has that British public school quality of 'innate greatness' without any justification. But he is crippled by budgerigar looks and the cadences of magistrate mummy, shaping his delivery.

    None of them is wise or honourable. Speeches are for the satisfaction of the speaker; the manipulation of the listener. They are a triumph of style over substance. Very suited to politics: 'The art of self-deception, wrapped in the craft of deceiving others for their own good.'

  • Comment number 6.

    Lyse Duocet has been around for years, very informative and the BBC have used her for years in the middle east and Africa, never thought of her as being a tool of the CIA, but there y' go....takes all kinds...

  • Comment number 7.

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

  • Comment number 8.

    Claire Rayner promised to come back and haunt him if David Cameron gets his NHS reforms wrong

  • Comment number 9.

    6...Thanks stevie...but most of us can divine the house opinions and objectives of the BBC without assistance.

  • Comment number 10.

    I know for a fact that Claire Rayner used to visit a private hospital in NW London to offer comfort to persons completely unkown to long as they were from a certain ethnic group.

    You guess which group.

  • Comment number 11.

    10...DJ...though I have serious reservations about our multicultural society and the activities of all our so called "victimised" minorities I did meet Claire Rayner nearly forty years ago ....and to suggest that she was a racist or insincere is a cowardly and disgraceful accusation.
    Rather than set the censoious Blogdog on you I call on you to apologise.

  • Comment number 12.

    GPs are people - they range from excellent to those of dubious competence - some will be wonderful in procurement - others hopeless - so it will be with the NHS reforms at a local level - some great - some dreadful.

    What is clear is that a lot of management expertise will go in the cull of PCTs and GP time & effort currently spent on treating patients will be diverted into taking over and managing patient services.

    Will this be outweighed by the benefits? At a time of acute financial pressure, it's hard to believe GPs will get themselves up the learning curve and deliver large savings and better treatment in the short term.

    The other issue is what happens in the future? If price becomes the driving factor in procurement and the private sector steps in and undercuts NHS services, then the only treatments left to be provided by the public sector will be those the private sector can't provide cost-effectively, so NHS treatment will become the repository for all the difficult, complex and expensive illnesses - i.e. the end of the NHS.

    By any objective measure of health spending and value for money, the NHS costs the government around $3,200 per head and covers the entire population, whereas in the US the federal government spends around $3,700 per capita and yet covers less than a third of the population. Adjust to make the comparision on the same basis, that works out as $5,000 for every American in the private system – almost $2,000 a year more than the NHS costs.

    So if the NHS is SO MUCH MORE efficient than American healthcare already, why are we making a huge, fundamental change in the way it is organised - AGAIN - and why do we think there are large savings to be made anywat, with health inflation much higher than in the rest of the economy?

    And why are we moving to the "GP decides" model as in the USA, when we know it is hugely wasteful of resources?

    Cameron promised repeatedly that the NHS is "safe in his hands".

    How can it be safe, if he's prepared to gamble with it in this way for ideological reasons - the international comparisions show this can be the only reason why they are doing this because the figures speak for themselves?

    Public = BAD

    Economy of scale saves money - failing to plan is planning to fail - standards are necessary to avoid post code lotteries - being good at medicine does not mean someone is good at management.

    These are all logical, rational insights into the human condition unless of course you are part of the New Maoist Revolution - the "Blue Guard", complete with their "Little Blue Book" - Hayek's "Road to Serfdom".

    None of this reform was in their manifesto - indeed they promised not to engage in yet another massive reorganisation, when pressed during the election.

    However this is the last throw of the dice for the libertarians - screw this one up and it will end the argument for good, so Lansbury's brave new world of GP power had better work.

  • Comment number 13.

    Libertarians or Scroogist barbarians? They have knowm for decades that privatisation wrecks services and rips off the public..the evidence is all over the USA where the daft idea was born....but year after year since Thatcher`s conversion to Neo Liberalism in 1980... we have been dished up the same bowl of tripe by ALL the electable parties.

    Why ...because if there`s no profit in it for a multinational it doesn`t happen.And what`s much wose is that however bad it gets the politicians bail it out quietly with our money.Read Private Eye instead of the mainstream capitalist media.

    We owned most of what now costs us far more than it did when we owned it! Look at our railways and buses...always underfunded in public ownership they now cost us even more in "private enrterprise" ownership......and Labour did NOTHING to reverse that process.

    At what point can a people call on the UN for help in bringing about regime change....because I`m up to here with spivs and liars and conmen ripping my nation off!!!

  • Comment number 14.


    Perhaps my perception is subjective, but I am unaware of any RESOUNDING TRIUMPHS of human nurture emanating from Westminster.

    I suggest that the more an individual is drawn to - and suitable for - and pleasing to - the Westminster Ethos, the less they are suited to matters of social organisation. Ironically, Westminster often turns its attention to the business of 'bad parenting' (I think there is some parenting 'initiative out there right now?) but fails to recognise that governance is akin to parenting ('nanny state' is a clue) and that Westminster has the wrong mentality (ethos) to parent (govern) with sensitivity.

    A decade or two ago, is was realised that some airliners crashed in emergency situations, because of the MENTALITY of the pilots. Pilot selection and training was changed. I am suggesting that the party-political mind, pre-selected by party-selection committees, even BEFORE WE GET TO VOTE, are maintaining a Westminster that is made up of THE WRONG STUFF.

    Might that be why the 'plane' keeps 'crashing'?


  • Comment number 15.

    Perhaps the only thing that really needs to be sorted with our NHS is the PFI scams for new hospitals which are bleeding NHS funds to death. Perhaps any competent government with the alleged " true interest " of our NHS at its heart would end all PFI contracts for a reasonable fixed sum up front or threaten to default on the payments.

  • Comment number 16.


    Listening to Dave, carefully referring ONLY to banker bonus POOLS, when individual bonus limitation is on the agenda, I must assume he will not meet the PFI issue, either, incredibly fair-and-square, going forward.

    Can we not have an automatic 'weasel word' spotter, in the studio? A box with flashing lights and a Klaxon will do - preferably with s quick-witted satirist crouched inside holding the switch.

    Perhaps a real-time phone-in vote, with the indicator behind the weasel politician? Oh joy!

  • Comment number 17.

    Get rid of all the bureaucracy in the NHS - ie, the PCTs, the NHS Managers(do we really need Assistant Bed Managers?), and the vast majority of clerical workers in the NHS, who are just a waste of money. Put the savings into nurses pay and into training more doctors and opening new wards. The GP deciding on treatments for patients is of course fundamental - a non-medical person is not qualified to decide what treatment a person should undergo. Britain really is bankrupt, and, cannot keep on borrowing. Perhaps even adopt the Tesco principle, where a Tesco in a certain part of Britain spent £6million on building a police station near the store. Why not let private companies (like Tescos etc) build NHS hospitals so there is less burden on the public purse?

  • Comment number 18.

    15...No brossen...that`s messing with the deckchairs on the Titanic...we have to confront the depressing truth that our entire political class are in league with global financiers .....and that our politics are a cosmetic and fraud that deliver us no say whatsoever in the behaviour of "our" governments.

    What mystifies me is how any sane person can go out canvassing in a sink estate today without realising they are risking life and limb.

    Downing Street is like a fortress...we are told because of terrorists...but I think it`s to keep the Browns and Duffys well clear of each other!

    And still the expenses saga rumbles on as though it was a little misunderstanding....try telling the police that if you are guilty of fraud!

  • Comment number 19.

    17..We`ve trained zillions of doctors and nurses but they can`t get jobs they go free to the USA and Australasia!

    Could we investigate why we carry on importing dodgy foreign health peronnel..when we haven`t jobs for people trained here? ..Of course not..that would be racist and anti-competitive and discriminatory!!!!!

    Tesco`s will only build anything if they can make a lot of money out of`s called capitalism...and in some areas of society it has a lot to commend it....but we`ve been down this path before and there`s very little rational reason to think it will ever end well.

    Capitalism is about maximising bottom lines in far off business HQ`s where they don`t give a toss about service delivery or standards of care.

    But look at the Worcester Hospital PFI scheme (that I said all along would be a disaster) if you want more evidence....and beware "socialists" in flash cars who say it`s all going to be so different this time!

  • Comment number 20.

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

  • Comment number 21.

    now i see who your guest list is it explains why the mods are twitchy? Given the history should one view them as propagandists rather than speech writers?

  • Comment number 22.


    Or was it a bluff to make Campbell look a Wally?

    When Tony delivered his 'Hand of History' horror - looking for all the world like Lisa Simpson being coy, anyone with an ounce of savvy, KNEW HE HAD MADE A PRAT OF HIMSELF. What is more: Blair bottled the self aggrandisement he so craved, i.e. to say "hand of history on MY shoulder" and weakly employed 'OUR shoulder' to escape ridicule - not just clunky, but without impact. As for Campbell, reading his diary, if I heard him correctly, he recorded 'MY shoulder' and 'saw that it was good'. That pair deserved one another.

    Blair's finest speech, beyond doubt, was the one that took us into an unjustified war on an utterly false premise. Your move Chilcot.

  • Comment number 23.


    I will not apologise for I saw it with my own eyes.

  • Comment number 24.


    During his first appearance in front of Chilcot, Teflon Tony employed 'a form of words' carefully rehearsed and carefully delivered, regarding equipping front line soldiers on his watch.

    Now that Blair is to be recalled AND IS PRE-WARNED OF GOLDSMITH'S DISCOMFORT over Tony's use of his advice. Blair must be in a frantic huddle, with his weasel-wordsmiths, to concoct the 'form of words to end all forms' as only a condemned man, appealing for his life, can.

    I shall be on full alert and combing the transcript. Whatever he comes out with will be worthy of Screwtape himself.

    "Mr Blair will deal with this . . . when he gives evidence on Friday." (a spokesman)

  • Comment number 25.


    Clegg - having a lawyer-wife who looks twice the man he is - is pontificating on mat/pat-ernity leave. No one asked a baby - no one showed respect for Mother Nature. The political mind is supreme.


  • Comment number 26.


    Meanwhile Dave is faced with the bonus problem, weaseling his words and buying time. What is the deal?

  • Comment number 27.

    23...Then I must apologise to you DJ...and accept that the impression I formed was either wrong or accurate at the time....which was the early seventies! Tempus Fugit and Sic Transit Gloria Mundi!

  • Comment number 28.


    Now that Newsnight (Monday 17th) is on iPlayer, ALL can see that Blair's pet fawn GOT THE HAND OF HISTORY quote wrong! And it is clear that I heard Blair correctly, (as did Matt Frei?) even though AC did a Freudian stumble - saying 'upon my soldier'. What a deeply unprofessional mess!

    That The mighty Alastair Campbell, once feared in every news studio in the land, then went on to COMPOUND his error, with an obsequious: "HELL OF A SOUND-BITE" flourish, rather sets the seal on the man. How are the mighty fallen! WHAT ELSE WAS HE WRONG ABOUT, WHILE DAZZLED IN THE BLAIR-GLARE?

    I shall send this 'direct' to Newsnight. Will they make, for ME, the sort of correction the mighty Campbell was wont to command? We shall see. But let us all view his diaries in this new light - the unreliable adulation of a sycophantic worshipper.

  • Comment number 29.

    more matt frei and steffi

    if social media is cutting edge then legacy media is just a retailer that packages stuff they get from the social media wholesale market?

    notice the monarchist symbols in cameron's speech? All he needs is an ermine robe?

  • Comment number 30.


    He's a right little leader isn't he Jaunty. But just remember, all that matters is POLICY; politics is nothing to do with PERSONALITY.


  • Comment number 31.

    30 Speak for yourself Barrie..."we" are not authors of our own political fate these days...if we ever really were!

    Dave came floating towards us unbidden...and it seems like only yesterday that psephologists were claiming that the Tories were out for the final count....and then despite winning no election at all ..hey presto...up jumps the successor to Tory Blair and bungling Brown....ANOTHER protege of American global capitalism!

    No swallow that one if you care to..but I don`t accept that we live in a democracy ...and no amount of spin and smoke and mirrors will change my cynical mind!

  • Comment number 32.

    when asked how he won round the doctors and other vested interests Nye Bevan replied...'it was easy...I stuffed their mouths with gold' and so it has been ever since 1948 always appeasing the vested interests of the Harley street brigade, always make sure that they have their three days for their private consultancy work and of course their gold freebies, never can a group of so called 'workers' be so indulged as to merit their staying within our shores. Now as Cameron takes the N out NHS they will be free to plunder all the 'best bits' the hip replacements, the hernias etc., in the private consultancies with lucrative kickbacks whilst the rest of us lanquish for days on trolleys in a corridor three blocks down from the main building. Surely we cannot let this happen...can we? They took their lead from that other man of the people Tony Blair who 'did not see it through' and had the 'scars on his back' in his fights with the unions. This will be the rock that Cameron will perish on as the horror stories emerge and health professionals wade in with their stories of patient neglect, always a tabloid winner, and the LibDems bottle it and run for the hills or into the arms of Labour, Vince being the first to will never happen....could it? Nah...

  • Comment number 33.


    You know - like '42'.

  • Comment number 34.


    the way to break the medieval closed shop is to flood the uk with doctors and dentists. ie stop the artificial cap on student numbers that is designed to restrict supply. the uk should be exporting doctors and dentists. not importing them. There is no shortage of people wanting to do it.

  • Comment number 35.


    After all - He has form in that area.

    Genesis 11: 1-9

    "And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and THIS they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

    Go to, let us go down, and there CONFOUND THEIR LANGUAGE, that they may not understand one another's speech.

    I encountered an Indian doctor who mispronounced 'allergy', confusing my brother. There are some pretty challenging words in medicine.

    Confoundation hospitals - a great advance?

    It is daunting enough trying to enact some minor business with Johnnie Manglander, in a call-centre. When scared, and in pain, we need OUR OWN to tend us.

  • Comment number 36.


    In a word: IMMATURITY. In fact, as our emphasis on schooling for Mammon bites deeper (and shallower at the same time) so the intangibles of integrity, honour and, where Blair worshippers are concerned - simple perception - seem to atrophy.

    Peston just did his hour on 'the bankers', and the parallel with the proverbial 'boy in a sweetshop' was written larger than Fred's take, all over the action. Then the news of Gus O'Donnell's 'gratitude' to Tony was repeated, on the News, and I am, once again, left marvelling at the childlike adulation and loyalty he drew from his acolytes.

  • Comment number 37.

    #35 Barrie you obviously know all about the inner workings of the NHS! ; )

    #34 the uk should be exporting doctors and dentists. not importing them. JC we already do spend hundreds of thousands training each doctor and then they immediately leave the UK to go to some lucrative job overseas, why do you think we import so many?

    In my practice there are 5 foreign doctors ten years ago they were all english male, they come here for the enormously high wages, and the kudos, we already have a very good doctor patient density, look at Africa and India, where most of our doctors come from, we should be very ashamed of taking them away from the poor.


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