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Wednesday 23 February 2011

Verity Murphy | 14:42 UK time, Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Here is what we are planning for tonight's programme presented by Kirsty Wark:

Pressure has mounted on isolated Libyan ruler Colonel Muammar Gaddafi after a chorus of international condemnation and resignations by top officials.

Tonight, we look at how much of the country remains under Col Gadaffi's control and what resources are available to him.

Plus we examine the West's game plan and whether intervention should be stepped up.

We also look at confusion over what the government means when promising to protect "front-line" policing staff from cuts, after the Commons home affairs committee said today that there would be "significantly" fewer officers in England and Wales due to budget reductions of 20% by 2014-15.

And ahead of tomorrow's Davies report looking at why so few women hold positions on the boards of listed companies we will be asking whether a quota should be introduced.


  • Comment number 1.

    And ahead of tomorrow's Davies report looking at why so few women hold positions on the boards of listed companies we will be asking whether a quota should be introduced.

    While you're covering the more topical, vital interest, in no way socially meddling stuff, could you check how those miners in Chile are doing? Or was in NZ? Anyway, I am sure something has happened outside the production meetings within the M25.

  • Comment number 2.

    #1 Junk

    I see what you are getting at, but I beg to differ on examples given. Such current 'news' and updates are surely for the mainstream news bulletins. I wish NN and other such programmes would focus MORE rather than less on issues that directly affect us here at home.

    If I need to stay awake and alert long enough I need something more meaty that I can't find elsewhere.

    ".....And ahead of tomorrow's Davies report looking at why so few women hold positions on the boards of listed companies we will be asking whether a quota should be introduced."

    Eeerrr, let me consider that idea for a nano second. That'll be a no then. Quota's that falsely manipulate situations are almost invariable more divisive than the current imbalance - assuming that is that everyone agrees that it is an imbalance or in some way bad. Can we have some percentages please? Numbers of men applying/obtaining these positions and the numbers of women the same, rather than all emotive whinging 'it's not fair, I'm as good as them....'. I'm sure it exists. I'm sure it's unfair on a personal level, but aren't there children dying of poverty on the streets somewhere?

    Transparency in perhaps a better aim, but then we can all see through those sorts of schemes can't we?

  • Comment number 3.

    Looks like Saudi Arabia is next.....

    On the issue of quotas - if they are introduced, it will mean a grim day for businesses, as talent will no longer be relevant, only their chromosomes will count :p

  • Comment number 4.

    ...and as a sweetner, the Saudi King is giving out US$37billion in handouts to its citizens........

  • Comment number 5.

    re: libya

    Having just come from Tripoli there are a number of things that do not seem to be addressed in the news. The first is that the libyan people are mostly unarmed. Potesters are going out and throwing stones not molotov cocktails. A friend reported that there was a peaceful protest in Green Square on Sunday night. After dark, some cars drove straight into the protesters and started shooting randomly into the crowd including on children. In other parts of the country, planes and helicopters are being used to machine gun peaceful protesters in squares. There are also reports that soldiers are going into hospitals and killing wounded protesters.

    There are many reports that Gaddafi is using mercenaries from other countries to deploy against his people. There really needs to be more action on finding ways to protect civilians. Surely the use of mercenaries to quell internal protests means that the affair is no longer strictly an "internal matter" to be resolved by the country itself. The use of mercenaries as a way of population control must surely raise a lot of worries. What if this practice were to spread? Would we not hope that the international community would try to do a little more to help protect civil society from rule by imported death squads?

    Also, if the European union hopes to have good relations with Libya in the future (even if cynically only because it needs oil and gas from Libya), it should do as much as possible to help the population now, as otherwise they will rightly remember that the world merely stood by, watched and tutted as they were being massacred. The Libyans I have met are very friendlt, peaceful people who are not at all anti-West but I think any country would have difficulty forgiving those who do nothing when you, your family and children are being massacred.

    I hope as much pressure as possible can be put on the european union and the UN to put some sort of peacekeeping force into Libya to protect unarmed civilians. It needs to be done quickly as the death toll is rising rapidly.

  • Comment number 6.

    2. At 5:49pm on 23 Feb 2011, BrightYangThing wrote:
    #1 Junkk

    I see what you are getting at, but I beg to differ on examples given.

    As is your right entirely.

    Maybe, beyond noting Newsnight's brief to be pretty established as international in scope, I should amplify that those examples given were chosen for a reason.

    The BBC news team invested a fair bit - time and money - on a bunch of blokes down an 'ole. To the extent that the budget was apparently blown.

    Subsequently, more folks in a similar situation, in NZ, were not so lucky, sadly, to enjoy the licence fee's largesse in covering their tragic story.

    Now, even more, and of perhaps more domestic relevance to here through familial links than Chile's circus, there are some currently in the grips of a natural and human tragedy in Christchurch, whilst NN seems to find itself too minor to mention, being uninterested, distracted, looking the wrong way or ever keen to tell me how to think on stuff with a too often curious notion on what and who constitutes the scope of available viewpoints. Like yesterday's media spectacular.

    We can, I think, agree on the relative heft tonight of another rigged positive discrimination outing in the great scheme of things.

    But this is one of the few remaining 'news' mechanisms that exists, and I find their choices of topic to be covered, and those dropped at their expense, less than stellar.

    Meanwhile, for more essential domestic fare of note recently in this precious airtime, we have indeed been privileged to savour:

    ' can see Jeremy Paxman - tonight's presenter - getting a lesson in the art of remixing from Jamie.'

    Which, I would humbly submit, I could get from the plethora of yoof music programmes the licence fee also stretches to cover.

  • Comment number 7.


    An unelected leader (allegedly) deploys mercenary foreign troops against his own people.

    A quasi-elected leader, backed by an unelected monarch, deploys his own mercenaries, in a foreign land, against its people.

    I'm fuzzy about the whole good/bad thing. (Ghost Busters.)

  • Comment number 8.

    #5 " Castro: US ready to order Libya invasion ... Fidel Castro says the US has no interest in seeing peace in Libya but is solely concerned with the country's oil reserves. " bbc news

    hope that makes everyone easier in their beds tonight

  • Comment number 9.


    Completely off-topic but is Susan likely to go here?

    If you poke round on the web you will find the suggestion that both white-collar crime, and paedophilia, are predictors of higher incidence of certain brain configurations. (Note the way round I have put that.)

    Our courts still run on the principle that there are good people and bad people (and Nanny State, who institutionalises us all, through schooling, IS NEVER CALLED TO THE STAND). If all courtrooms had a scanner - let's scan the jurors too - the whole good/bad thing would fall apart.

    Shall we scan Gaddafi, before Dave and Billy the Spud piously pronounce further? Better still - SCAN TONY. We might find the God Spot.

    The Ape Confused by Language is further confounded by Science, and lacks the wisdom to realise any of it.

    Send a gunboat.

  • Comment number 10.


    He's sharp that Castro!

    But with our Special Relationship, Barack will see Dave OK for oil. . .

  • Comment number 11.

    END OF DAYS or not?

    China's security tsar warns over 'jasmine revolution'... official in charge of the state security apparatus has warned of the need to find new ways to defuse unrest... officials to improve "social management" and "detect conflicts and problems early on"... Leading human rights activists and lawyers were taken into police custody in the hours before the protests were due to begin.
    But the call for mass participation in the demonstrations went largely unheeded...The conditions did not yet exist here for such a mass movement to succeed, they said. The controls on the internet, and out on the streets were too strong." bbc

    ukgov think-tank required for like minded research? that'l be money well spent!

  • Comment number 12.

    barrie #10

    Its funny how the media has totally hushed up what Lord David Owen was saying on BBC News24 late the other night calling for a UN mandate for NATO to enforce a " no fly " zone over Libya ?

  • Comment number 13.

    "Union unrest is spreading through the mid-western US, as labour activists in at least three states protest against pending anti-union legislation.
    Thousands of protesters gathered in Ohio and Indiana and, for the second week in a row, Wisconsin.
    Republican-led governments there have argued the moves are needed to balance state budgets wracked by deficits.
    But Democratic-leaning unions say fiscal woes are being used as an excuse to erode collective bargaining rights.
    It had been expected to pass the legislature last week, but in a move intended to stall the bill's passage and force its backers to negotiate, Senate opposition Democrats left the capitol, denying the Senate a quorum needed for a vote." bbc

    better red than dead

  • Comment number 14.


    Here come the United States of Emergency.

    Fellow Americans. The external threat to America is SO GREAT that we cannot - WE MUST NOT - be deflected by internal distractions. It is, therefore, necessary to bear down on any burdensome individual - have them pay any price (in terms of personal freedom and justice) to secure the Homeland from the Invisible, yet omnipresent, Terror Threat (that our good, Manichean friend Tony, has identified so clearly).


  • Comment number 15.

    intervention by the West will only mean further violence down the road, as these protesters will then have to overthrow whatever new dictatorship the West would put in the place of Qaddafi.

    any 'peace-keeping force' should come from African countries, perhaps South Arican troops, paid for by Japan who is surely worried about the consequenes of the loss of Libyan oil, and neither have any direct stake in these conflicts? Or maybe Cuban troops, if the Regime there can risk sending troops out right now... :)

    what should NN report on NZ? That there has been a terrible earthquake, and help is needed? I agree with BYT #2.

    #13: cool to see the American People rise up against their own repression and exploitation, isn't it?

    different topic, but the emotions are the same. Lets hope Obama-USA has better ears tan his predecessor.

  • Comment number 16.

    Tories "Labour Councils are making politically motivated cuts" - kettle, black, anyone?

  • Comment number 17.

    Why has there been no help from the British government to rescue British subjects? Is it because there are no bankers there?

  • Comment number 18.


    All part of the Age of Perversity Mork.

    While the Westminster Citadel 'stands' so will this Age endure.

  • Comment number 19.

    positive-discrimination - a tough call.

    on one hand, the notions behind the concept are quite problematic, on the other, embedded archaic notions, such as "women can't handle such roles", are called into question when all-male boardrooms have to work alongside such individuals. The same was true of racial positive-discrimination in the police forces in urban areas.

    the shame is that such measures are even considered to be necessary in our Society.

  • Comment number 20.

    #17 I would think its the fault of the previous govt and the huge debt....

  • Comment number 21.

    Interesting tonight Kirsty Wark giving a Governent minister a hard time about the failed evacuation of British citizens from Tripoli. I do not in any way support this government but....
    A lot of these people are ex-pats working in a country known to be unstable and probably not paying any UK taxes yet they complain that the government has not supplied them with free(?) transport home. I have lived abroad and would not expect the government to help me as of a right.

  • Comment number 22.

    Vas I think You Will Find It Was His Mothers Fault

    By Him Some Flowers He Can Stick It In His Vas

  • Comment number 23.

    When confronted with a crisis you either ‘deal with it’, ‘walk away’ or ‘talk about it’!

    He might once have been the Juvenile Young Thing at the Big Con’s conference but he’s still in short trousers!

    Still. he’ll get a well paid job in the burgeoning private sector when all the damage done!

    Oh yes! .... Excellent ‘job’ - re Libyan situ - by ‘Lady K’!

    Evidently a bit more ‘leading than following’ tonight?

  • Comment number 24.

    Pass Me The Red Tape Rosie

  • Comment number 25.

    Libya evac: why shouldn't the Minister talk in Public about the measures they are going to take to get our citizens back? Are there "national security" issues involved? Highly unlikely.

    unbelievable the UK cannot scramble ONE military plane when it is desperately needed - for OVER A WEEK!!

    Obama doesn't seem to remember those Rights he just talked about when it comes to the Palestinians. I guess there are hierarchies of those with Rights.

    the Minister talking about Libya with Kirsty and the Libyan guy - he was VERY good, mainly completely correct.

    "Frontline" - just a political football between the Party clowns.

    Tory policing minister - whey-hey!!! Back to "efficiency savings" instead of cuts. God the coalition make me ill.

    why didn't we actually have a senior police/NHS staff instead of the laughable "opposition", where were planning to say almost EXACTLY the same lines as the coalition are saying if they had won?

    oh wow, even the 'opposition' spokesman claimed "efficiency savings" in the services. Aren't we supposed to be hearing from OPPOSING views, rather than people who agree with 99% of the policies???

    this is like hearing Tory wets arguing against Tory hawks.

    both Patties would have give the Banks our money, and both Parties would be cutting now. They make me sick.

    #21: you might have if where you were started having a civil war.

    positive discrimination: what would help more would be equal rights in parenting - paid paternity leave as well as maternity, as well as mandated crèches in workplaces and Govt support for child-care.

  • Comment number 26.

    21st You Don't Need Rescue Neither Do Aye

    You Go Somewhere "Unstable" 1st Things 1st You Need An Escape Plan/Fire Exit

    Easy Init

  • Comment number 27.

    22 A Red Rose With Loads Of Thorns I Trust Auntie

    is your Love like a Red Rose

  • Comment number 28.


    It is very apparent that our womenfolk are wiser - on average - than 'dumb male'. Whilst men generally divide into indolent and competitive, the latter led by the nose into pointless toil, for petty points, women are permitted to see the folly (except rabid feminists) and to eschew striving for pathetic positions.

    Sadly, the Age of Perversity has given us the TOTAL MYTH of equality - burying the far more worthwhile culture of equivalence (man and woman, as with suits and brickies).

    In passing: what could be more perverse than NewsyNighty paying someone to false-colour Gaddafi's image? Is there no end to it? What was gained?

  • Comment number 29.

    in cooperatives, people would be elected to the Board by their fellow workers. Successful business would no longer then "need" quotas, it would be more upon ability. We certainly do not need boardrooms to be mandated "parity". Will we also mandate "parity" for ethnic groups, for various disabilities, for various sub-cultures? - How many Goths should sit on each board?

    the way forward is to remove hereditary privileges, remove the practical difficulties for those who want families, and let ability come forward.

    the laws are required when meritocracy is blocked in some ways. But such laws are not meritocratic in themselves.

  • Comment number 30.

    Sorry I Missed The Bit About Lady Bosses

    My Boss Is A Real Lady

    I Was Preoccupied By Broken Promises And Vases

  • Comment number 31.


    Kirsty is not an impressive bully. She should leave the practise of that disgraceful art to Jeremy.

    Ladies of maturity usually have had time to develop more subtle strategies, especially in the defeat of men. Perhaps my post #28 obliquely refers?

  • Comment number 32.

    Re: 23.

    Oops! It should have read ......

    Still, he’ll get a well paid job in the burgeoning private sector when all the damage is done!

    Also .........

    Quotas inevitably lead to people being promoted beyond their payscale. Three immediately spring to mind having been promoted directly as a result of ‘obligatory’ adherence to the pc ideology.

    Worse still, their - the three - performance sic gives unspoken ‘permission’ for some colleagues to formulate a flawed prejudice!

    And what good does that do?

  • Comment number 33.

    31 I Believe Kirsty Fences Well

    Find The Point You Have Found The Blade

  • Comment number 34.

    the use of mercenaries by dictators is described as logical in the the Republic [Plato]. It even gives a numerical value for how unhappy a dictator is because of his distance from the good.

    the mutter now is for $200 oil. In any oil crisis the uk is only 10 days away from chaos if not starvation. The govt do not think its their job to have reserves [the market has the best wisdom mantra]. Europe keep 1o0 days worth of fuel. the uk 11 days.

    there is a whole generation who do not remember the 1973 oil crisis that set a path of recessions and high inflation that persisted until the early 1980s.

    oo look the BOE was bailing out banks then and blaming lax regulation?

    better get some tins and candles in then?

  • Comment number 35.

    34 Don't Remind Me Don't Mention Labour

    Zane's Top 50 Rock Stars No Arguments There

    Lemmy Kilminster .. The Ace of Spades .. Chase The Lady

    Lead Balloons


    Sabbath .. once or Twice A Month Maybe Definatly

    Rolling Scones

    Are You A Passenger

    Are You A Daft Punk I couldnt possible comment,if I Was Tit was Only for
    2 Seconds

    Can Eye Smell Your/You Rose

    Smells Like Teen/Team Spirit .. NEvermind

    Where's The Watering Hole Gladys .. What ! Definatly Maybe Over There

    It's As Good Now As It Everwas

  • Comment number 36.

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

  • Comment number 37.

    Dirty 6 .. Chicken .. The Mod or Rocker

  • Comment number 38.

    Frampton Comes Alive

    I am an Old Goat/Git with Gout

  • Comment number 39.

    Wont/Can't Argue With Bill Nighy .. Do A Robin Hood

  • Comment number 40.

    '...we examine the West's game plan and whether intervention should be stepped up.

    21. At 10:59pm on 23 Feb 2011, Res Q Rat wrote:
    Interesting tonight Kirsty Wark giving a Governent minister a hard time about the failed evacuation of British citizens from Tripoli.

    Last I knew, Libya's heavy kit military is still under Gadaffi's less than stable control.

    And if memory serves, even in our own country, through the tragic lesson of WPC Yvonne Fletcher, the Libyan 'government' doesn't react well to forces (even unarmed) of other countries getting too close.

    So, currently, until that well-funded UN gets its act together, I'd hazard the UK military has a limit to how far it can go, even if tardy in getting its act together, guided by an FO of whom questions may need to be asked.

    So we can have an entire armada, Dunkirk styly, parked offshore, but it seems to be less than effective if the folk to be evacuated are not near a convenient point. Equally applicable to civilian options.

    Because I just learned via 'the news' that a plane came back less than full.

    Hence the problem would seem to be folk not sunning at resorts but in the middle of nowhere on oil rigs.

    Hence Douglas Alexander, and the majority of British opportunistic media's obsession with how many Monacoan dirigibles arrived on Tuesday to return with 2 folk, seems a tad misplaced.

    Might the world's largest broadcaster perhaps bend its mind, and resources, less to handing mics to pygmy pols (from an entity who can only be pretty high on holding to account... when the time comes... with all (who, what, where, when, how) that is in place or happening in Libya) to spout off a pleasing, if morale-damaging sound bite, and a bit more to helping coordinate getting folk from bad places they chose to be to safer places where the government whose passports they happen to hold can assist... in a hostile, messed-up, but 'still run by the historical regime' country?

    Or are some getting a bit selective on when the troops should go in, or not... again.

  • Comment number 41.

    #19 Mork

    I can almost agree in principle with much of your post

    ".... positive-discrimination - a tough call.

    on one hand, the notions behind the concept are quite problematic, on the other, embedded archaic notions, such as "women can't handle such roles", are called into question when all-male boardrooms have to work alongside such individuals. The same was true of racial positive-discrimination in the police forces in urban areas.

    the shame is that such measures are even considered to be necessary in our Society...."

    Except that I question the need (and who drives it) to mandate ones ability in action.

    I know my capabilities. They are in many spheres quite considerable. In others. woefully inadequate. I tend to keep the extremities to myself where possible. It doesn't do to be known to be clever dicky or dim and ditzy anywhere.

    I do not need to be in the boardroom to know that I could play with the big boys and give them a run for their money. I can achieve more for my community doing what I do from a much 'smaller' place. I do not need validation by others, by title, by status or by earnings.

    That to me is a sad world.

    Signed.......A happily 'kept' woman.

  • Comment number 42.


    Just look at Hague's experience, and proven expertise in the this area. He speaks fluent Politic (17 dialects) and is a management consultant with hands-on, soft drink, front-line action to his credit.

    I salute his indefatigability.

  • Comment number 43.


    Eloquently spoken BYT - I wish I could add 'timely' but time, it seems, is spent.

    And women (the dwindling number who know what is lost) shall weep.

    (For the avoidance of doubt: I am NOT calling Mork perverse or porcine.)

  • Comment number 44.

    '42. At 10:00am on 24 Feb 2011, barriesingleton wrote:

    A less than inspiring pair of hands to be sure.

    But, for now, what we've got.

    Just not sure what is being served by our media 'estate' sniping (sorry about that, in the circumstances) and running with the 'insights', turned into 'criticisms', of one who is pretty much up to his neck in much of what got Libya, the world, us, and the odd highly taxed oil worker in the fix we all seem to be.

    Maybe Kirtsy et Al need one of those famous courses on the appropriate spread of who deserves a hard time, and one embedded, near unaccountable public service might be a wee bit more challenging of others that perform so well no matter who is elected to over see them?

    Then we may be spared this...

    @DAlexanderMP - Given flights fiasco & fact that British workers stranded, why is CoBRA only meeting for 1st time today to co-ordinate response? #R4today

    ... as top of slot, whilst a quick Google , 'Douglas Alexander, Libya' reveals a rather 'patchy' record from this favoured 'critic' over just this last week, it seems designed more for heat at home than help overseas.

    Grow up, UK media. And rediscover professionalism and integrity please. The desire for career boosting priority over public service is putting those you are meant to serve in more danger than necessary.

  • Comment number 45.

    cameron waiting for the big society to help stranded brits? the 'market' has the best wisdom? if the market doesn't get them out then the market makes the right choice?

    how many women in burkhas fronting bbc tv shows? why do muslim presenters have to wear a tie which originally was a symbol of christian victory over muslims?

  • Comment number 46.


    I came across your Newsnight TV programme last evening, the 23rd February 2011, and was disgusted at the aggressive and confrontational manner in which your presenter attacked the Minister during an interview. Admittedly the subject of discussion is emotive and concern to us all. However I do not consider being rude and aggressive in your profession is necessary or indeed called for.

    At all times one needs to consider the feelings of the person we are interviewing and maintain their self esteem - working to get the best out of them. What license do you think you have - to attack and intimidate your guests in such an unprofessional unprovoked and dogmatic manner. Does not impress me, neither does greasy hair.


  • Comment number 47.

    #45 why do muslim presenters have to wear a tie which originally was a symbol of christian victory over muslims?

    JC can you explain how you know this to me please? I've looked on the 'net and can't find any reference to a tie being a christian victory symbol over muslims.

  • Comment number 48.

    I have to agree with others here who don't like the idea of a quota system in favour of women.

    I already feel if I see a woman in high office, who can't quite seem to do the job, that she's only there on some PC whim.

    Surely woman should be the same as men and get their positions on merit.

    Isn't that true equality?

  • Comment number 49.

    "Surely woman should be the same as men and get their positions on merit."

    but Lizzie, just how many 'men' in these positions get there by "merit"? Darn few i think, certainly looking at the State of our Economy and Society.

    the Class system ensures that. The Cooperative model is the antidote.

  • Comment number 50.


    'To bring down an Age, first devalue Mothering'. (Smartart)

    Woe-men trying to be men, is a sure sign of the End of Days. Woe-men persuading women THEY must try to be men, is the Apocalypse.

  • Comment number 51.

    #50: fathering is pretty important too.



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