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Wednesday 21 September 2011

Sarah McDermott | 11:07 UK time, Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Tonight Iain Watson is doing our lead story on growth and will be asking if the government is wobbling on Plan A, and if the governor of the Bank of England and other central bankers might ride to the rescue.

Then we have an update on an investigation from last month which uncovered evidence that the Ethiopian government is using billions of dollars of development aid as a tool for political oppression. You can read more about our initial investigation here. Now Newsnight has heard from members of the Ethiopian diaspora that there's been a concerted government backlash. We'll be hearing from the International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell.

Prime Minister David Cameron has written to the National Trust to try to reassure its members who are campaigning against proposed changes to planning laws - the biggest reforms of the rules since the 1930s. Tim Whewell reports from rural Northamptonshire for us tonight, where a German-owned electricity firm has proposed building seven 410-foot (125m) wind turbines. And we'll be joined by leading businessman and peer Lord Wolfson.

Join Jeremy for all that and more at 22:30 on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.

    Talking of nothing put spin, some who held this country dear must be doing so in their graves...

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    How... is this man still in any position of power, and still indulged by too many media who seem incapable of divorcing their commitment to certain policies from clear evidence of being unfit for purpose across the board.

    Does being a climate change minister confer some 'get out of j..everything free' aura?

    Seemed to work with Mili.E, too.

  • Comment number 2.

    Unfortunately, most aid money/some money raised by charitable organisations does NOT go to the needy, but goes to the corrupt people in charge, and then that money is used either as political oppression/lining their own pockets/funding their private militia. Nothing surprising there.......
    I feel sorry for the people of Winnick, and wish them well in their battle against the proposed wind turbines :o(

  • Comment number 3.

    FM Lieberman reportedly called for annulment of Oslo Accords, annexation of settlement blocs and halt to PA funds if UN recognized Palestinian statehood.

    Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday denied reports that he threatened to dismantle Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition govenrment if Israel did not “punish” the Palestinians for requesting United Nations recognition of statehood.

  • Comment number 4.


    Westminster is populated by politicians. The skills and attributes of politicians are the antithesis of those most admired in the real world. Does a nice girl bring the boyfriend to meet Mummy and Daddy, and announce that he lies with consummate ease, and can avoid ANY question put to him?

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 5.

    @1 There it was, gone!

    I have very little time for Guido: he is often too much of a kettle observing a pot; but I see no reason not to discuss the issue.

    I certainly don't like Huhne, but "....... because the potential for harm if the test is used or administered incorrectly is considerable, Hare argues that the test should only be considered valid if administered by a suitably qualified and experienced clinician under controlled and licensed conditions."

    I wasn't aware that Guido satisfied any of these conditions.

    Nor did Guido publish the actual test, he published the list of conclusions with tickboxes MASQUERADING as the test, and asked his far from neutral audience to apply their subjective judgements to it.

    Now, I personally think that ALL candidate for high office, or positions of authority should be subject to psychological testing. However what Guido was doing was quackery masquerading as science. I'd trust him no more than I'd trust Huhne, even if his thesis were correct.

  • Comment number 6.

    Wow, quick, but, guys, if you are going to do this...


    ‘Unfortunately we’ve had to edit the content below because it contravened one of our House Rules.

    Your comment was considered to have broken the following House Rule:

    “We reserve the right to fail comments which…

    Contain links to other websites which break our Editorial Guidelines.”


    Might be best not to do it with the country's most widely read political blog too often.

    That might smack of shaping the narrative.

  • Comment number 7.

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

  • Comment number 8.

  • Comment number 9.

    George warned us about you lot...I'll censor it for you moddy

    Newsnighty wrote.."the Ethiopian government is using billions of dollars of development aid as a tool for political oppression."

    Yeah, we're ahead on the curve on that one. I think you'll find that African aid -most aid in fact - is just a racket. Its like the **** ****** foundation for aid in Africa, its dressed up as vaccination programme but is in actual fact a slow-**** op with sterilisation as a bonus..a population number reduction programme.

    We are also ahead of the curve with the inevitable globel economic implosion - think Argentina 2001..but on a bigger scale - wasn't that fun eh. We are also ahead of you on the ***** telepromter President phenomenom (did I spell that right?) We also know who George ***** is and what he does..we know about the Rocker**** foundation and what that gets up to, same with the *****child banking family, we know about the Council on foreign relations, The Club of Rome and all the other elite clubs. We know about the international monetary fund, the bank of England and the Federal Reserve and what is really happening there..same with the global warming ***** syndicate..we know all this. So considering the BBC news people gets a load of money from us in finding out stuff...can you tell us something we don't already know.

    Now if that don't get passed the moderation folk..I'll know we are doomed...and I'll not need a report from newsnight to confim it either as I'm already ahead of the curve on that one!

  • Comment number 10.


    Might Justice be better served by judges who - sort of - er - EXPECT such characteristics to manifest, above the mean, in those capable of murder?

    Could it be that judges are another walk of life where we tend to GET OURSELVES ANOTHER ONE? Age of Perversity?

  • Comment number 11.

    '8. At 13:39 21st Sep 2011, museV wrote:
    This one's a cracker

    Huhne Checklist'

    You'll never guess what got my post 'editted':)

    Obviously a better kind of linker than I.

  • Comment number 12.

    The Hunhnatics are clearly in charge of the asylum.

    (Also in Westminster).

  • Comment number 13.

    Dear mods, now you've allowed the link to the expletive deleted form, can you please allow my earlier comments on it please? :-(

  • Comment number 14.

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

  • Comment number 15.

    @14 "We reserve the right to fail comments which...

    Are considered likely to disrupt, provoke, attack or offend others
    Are racist, sexist, homophobic, sexually explicit, abusive or otherwise objectionable
    Contain swear words or other language likely to offend" "

    You have got to be kidding!

    "Retired Teacher Made To Feel Like Naughty Schoolboy!" Grrrr!

  • Comment number 16.

    if you get the missus to carry the can, imagine what you can do to the country....?

  • Comment number 17.

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

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    "DON'T WAIT - FIX IT FAST" (more Noble Nick)

    Clegg says (among other guff) "Media corrupted by phone-hacking". YOU CAN-NOT BE SERIOUS MAN!

    Our flagship broadcaster is corrupted by SELECTIVITY IN REPORTING. But who is applying the pressure to producers; producers DENIED EDGY CONTENTIOUS ISSUES that, in a FREE COUNTRY, would be irresistible?


  • Comment number 20.

    HOW TIRESOME (#18 adjusted)

    500 DAYS OF XXXXXXXXX (upon listening to Crafted Clegg)

    In Newbury 2010, the Conservatives increased their majority over the Lib-Dems. The Conservatives employed a 'Xxxx Flyer', falsely claiming that they HAD TO WIN OR BOGEY BROWN WOULD RETURN. (The flyer, a generic 'false instrument' from Con HQ, was also distributed in Cheltenham - where the Lib-Dems increased their majority OVER THE CONS! No Brown.)

    Does ANYONE reading this post, believe that when Noble Nick went into coalition with Dastardly Dave, CLEGG HAD NO KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUE NATURE OF THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY? I can tell you that Clegg, and a variety of LibDem MPs, WERE INFORMED BY ME of the Xxxx Flyer - 'strangely' they did not reply.

    THERE IS THE TRUE NATURE OF NICK CLEGG, AND THE LIB-DEM CABAL. All this high-minded rhetoric – ‘the party of integrity’ - is GROUNDLESS. Souls have been sold and supporters have been SOLD DOWN THE RIVER.


    Prepare the tar and feathers.

    PS: Who wrote the speech?

  • Comment number 21.


    You can tell 'a man who loses' (aka)
    By the company he chooses.
    Voter-pigs got up and slowly walked away.

  • Comment number 22.

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

  • Comment number 23.

    Hmm Israel is on the wrong end of international opinion at the moment and wriggle room is getting v limited now for them with distractions elsewhere in the middle east now on the wane combined with the arab spring and American economic decline.

    I wonder, with a certain sense of dread, what may be in the pipeline to try to rectify that state of affairs.

    There have been afew stories drip fed into the collective conciousness via the media about nukes in Iran recently I note.

  • Comment number 24.


    The CIA will organise a 'real and present danger' to Israel from Iran, whereupon Israel will deliver a nuking. This will be YET ANOTHER 'Pearl Harbour' it will serve to eclipse 9/11. ("Oh, you are not still going on about THAT when nuclear war is about to break out - are you?)

    I guess we will be told that only a WORLD CURRENCY will keep us safe. All old money will be confirmed as worthless.

    Al Gore will get even richer. Dave will tour the world explaining how to run a successful democracy. Nick will be told to go and fetch the kids.

  • Comment number 25.

    23.At 01:11 21st Sep 2011, restassured wrote:
    #14 & 15 nautonier and Kit Green

    There are some answers here about the flapping flag

    In the end you believe what you want to believe. Amazing how many people put their faith in a Youtube video as 'proof'. Perhaps there's one of God. Be interested to see what he/she/it looks like. On the other hand.


    On the other hand the remainder/all of the lunar flag flapping videos - have apparently not been released by NASA & are not available on Utube.
    Having watched the original lunar landings on TV, I do not doubt the validity of what I thought I saw the astronauts doing on the moon.

    The issue of incomplete footage of the flags & some flag waving footage not now being publicly available after the earliest queries on the issue - is only likely to fuel the speculation on the issue until NASA releases all available material & not just the chosen metal wire flag information.

    There were other shots available, at one time, I recall, with a flag waving & none of the astronauts touching or anywhere near the flag.

    Perhaps it was just the aliens and Clangers fooling around in the sand bucket?

  • Comment number 26.


    Has electric charge been considered? Might the foil flag, in the 'vacuum' of space, act in the manner of an electroscope when an astronaut (charged-up by walking in dust?) comes near?

  • Comment number 27.

    26.At 19:54 21st Sep 2011, barriesingleton wrote:

    Well it seems to me to be a damn lot more interesting than what most of our politicians are doing i.e. 'nothing' combined with lots of 'solar wind'

  • Comment number 28.

    Re my censored post @14. I'll try again.

    Guido writes: "The clinically accepted Hare psychopathy checklist ....... Print out the test below and score Huhne for yourself:"

    This is not compatible with Hare's own view that "....the test should only be considered valid if administered by a suitably qualified and experienced clinician under controlled and licensed conditions."

    And what Gudo printed was NOT the test itself, but the summative result sheet for the person who administered the test.

    Therefore, either Guido was intending to mislead, or his knowledge and understanding of his subject are sadly lacking.

    Is he trying to understand and explain politicians and the political process? Or is he a partisan "attack dog", albeit a privateer with political letters of marque rather than an official member of the forces of his political friends.

    Guido's conclusions about Mr Huhne may be true, but is he any better than his target?

  • Comment number 29.

    And another thing. The word "psychopath" should be used with great care, as most people don't understand the difference between psychopathy and psychosis.

    Ironically, people suffering from the latter may be more dangerous to the people around them, but also may be rather nicer human beings as well.

  • Comment number 30.


    In my naivete, I thought Guido was a fighter for right. I sent him the Liar Fliar info and he wished me luck.

    At least he replied!

  • Comment number 31.


    Netanyahu to Obama: Palestinian UN bid will not succeed

    At joint press conference, PM thanks U.S. president for speaking out against any UN bid to declare Palestinian statehood in his speech to UN General Assembly earlier.

    Watch how China and Russia vote.

  • Comment number 32.


    Since researching 9/11 and being compelled by evidence to come to the awful conclusion that, as a minimum, it was 'allowed to happen', it pulls back the screen to reveal a putrid rats nest of new avenues of depraved possibilities any moral being can barely gaze upon.

    It is not a nice place to be, with an absence of 'faith in the good of human nature', cast out by the above described epiphany I find myself thinking thoughts I would not previously entertain.

    Y'know like Palestinian nationhood rejected by power of US veto, an amount of flag burning and the like follows with heavy news coverage laying down the foundations of public sentiment, then some nasty 'terrorist' event sponsored by some 'terrorist nation with womd' for example .. next thing you know the world is up to its armpits in financial crises and gore. The Palestinian question suddenly seems like the least of our worries (again) certain interests get large contracts and the global 'eternal growth' based model gets 'reset' to year zero via conflict driven chaos so they can start all over again.

    Meanwhile this is all watched at a safe distance as 'entertainment' , from the safety of a tax haven, much as the aristocracy used to turn up on the battlefields of old complete with wine, servants, court jesters and friends with food a plenty to watch the 'show' they scripted in the name of some god or nation or because they lost a bet on the price of wheat with a neighbour leaving people hungry.

    Was it not ever so?

  • Comment number 33.

    Just watched the follow-on report by Tim Whewell of how the changes to planning laws will stimulate growth. Watching the usual spouting of just how wonderful wind power is from a very windswept David Farrier of E.On the camera angle changes with the wind still blowing strongly ..... to show a beautiful set of wind turbines on the hillside that are not moving one inch in the wind.

    I think we've all heard enough of the 'enough energy to fuel 10,000 homes' statements when all this is theoretical as the wind turbines spend much of the time locked off even when plenty of wind .... while the gas power stations keep running. Let's have some real figures i.e. wind farm X has a capacity to provide enough energy to fuel 10,000 homes but on average last year it actually spent so long deliberately switched off it generated enough for 3,000 homes etc

    By the way, doesn't just apply to UK .... next time your car is being blown all over the road with some nice wind as you drive through France, Holland and Belgium just look and see how many of the wind turbines are locked off and not turning a single revolution!

    Wind power is brilliant but you have to actually generate it to use it - unlock those turbines we already have before building more.

  • Comment number 34.

    Excellent interview by Jeremy with Andrew Mitchell on the allegations of misuse of aid in Ethiopia :)

  • Comment number 35.

    Hhhhmmm now why didn't any goverment see these two failures coming 'eh?!

    Utterly ridiculous, just like our governments in the country

  • Comment number 36.

    #33 TimR wrote:

    "By the way, doesn't just apply to UK .... next time your car is being blown all over the road with some nice wind as you drive through France, Holland and Belgium just look and see how many of the wind turbines are locked off and not turning a single revolution!"

    Makes me wonder why cars just don't have wind turbines mounted on their roofs (or is it rooves?).

    That would surely save a lot of energy!

    Wouldn't it?

  • Comment number 37.

    "It is not a nice place to be, with an absence of 'faith in the good of human nature', cast out by the above described epiphany I find myself thinking thoughts I would not previously entertain."

    Wake up and smell the coffee. We are not all born the same. statist told us as much.

    Some (most at the top in fact) are born psychopaths. THEY couldn't give two figs for you or what you think, or your compassion.

    Get used to it....and get used t it fast.

  • Comment number 38.

    Jeremy's question to Andrew Mitchell whether he investigated the allegation of the aid money being used by the Meles regime in Ethiopia forced the DFID secretary to give an inaccurate answer, where he said his team have checked it on the ground. Human Rights Watch has done a thorough investigation on the field and exposed the denial of the Western diplomats (British included), by stating the so called 'investigation' was actually conducted from an office desk without setting foot on the ground.
    The second justification he was trying to make by saying that the money is not given directly to the regime's budget is also deceiving as it is well known they have full control of the country's adminstration up to a village level and they do manipulate the money by using it to fulfill their own dirty plan.
    One wonders why consecutive British governments have to go an extra length to justify their appaling practice of double standard of being a lifeline to one of the most dispicable tyrant in the region.

  • Comment number 39.

    I expect with David Cameron's avowed love of the countryside he'll be urging his Transport Minister, Philip Hammond, to cancel the High Speed 2 rail project, which will destroy homes and vast swathes of countryside from London to Birmingham at a mere starting cost of £32 billion. A price us taxpayers can well afford in these times.

    I wonder if Dave has seen any flying pigs on his trips to the countryside lately. If not, they're all possibly gathered in their corporate pens waiting for their troughs to be filled with taxpayers money. Pigs will eat almost anything.

  • Comment number 40.

    #26 & 27

    Electric charge combined with solar wind might create a new magnetic force sadly lacking in our politicians. But come to think of it, Dr Frankenstein came unstuck meddling with nature and we've got quite enough strange creations lurking around in our political system at present.

    A gigantic wind turbine situated in the House of Commons would probably provide all of our country's energy needs.

  • Comment number 41.

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

  • Comment number 42.

    '33. At 23:06 21st Sep 2011, TimR -
    I think we've all heard enough of the 'enough energy to fuel 10,000 homes' statements when all this is theoretical'

    The dishonesty of claims made, and worse faithfully trotted out by complicit and now (in)credible media, are getting worse, so we'd best get used to it.

    Time and again I have asked politicians and so-called 'science' or 'enviro' correspondents questions on what is meant by such as installed capacity and life cycle claims, and when not met by total blanking the answers have been, frankly, silly.

    Life, especially in engineering, is not defined by what 'could' be, but what 'is'. In terms of ROI especially, and climatically enviROI too.

    Non turning blades do not power towns, and may struggle to deliver to potential even with 100% efficient storage systems coming on line once invented. Gearboxes do not thrive in aggressive salt water environments and need maintenance access and repair.

    36. At 23:51 21st Sep 2011, museV -
    Makes me wonder why cars just don't have wind turbines mounted on their roofs
    That would surely save a lot of energy!
    Wouldn't it?

    My kids once hung a propellor outside the car window and, thanks to the promotion of energy from wind (which can be very positive, if thought through and actioned sensibly) designed a vehicle whose forward motion and consequent passage through air generated the power to... cause the forward motion.

    Sadly, with moving cars such a closed system cannot work. You are attempting to use energy to create energy, less 'losses' (friction, air resistance) on top. Result: unhappiness, as Dickens would coin.

    Wind turbines of course take energy coming elsewhere from atmospheric consequences of the energy falling on the Earth externally from the sun.

    Solar is vastly promising, but again where it can be generated is sadly seldom where it is used, getting back to storage, distribution and control issues with ROI and even political complications for sure. enviROI less so.

    All worth looking at. But so far the wrong people are looking at it all, and their conclusions in face of legitimate concerns being pushed and often protected is a disgrace.

  • Comment number 43.

    41. At 07:20 22nd Sep 2011, You wrote:
    Your comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules.

    As they are designed to allow that interpretation no matter what, there's a surprise.

    It was a mix of calm discussion, answering good questions and added fair commentary. No wonder the BBC couldn't have that.

    Sasha (and others), get used to it. While it lasts.

    I'd like to discuss sensibly various incendiary historically-inspired characters with you, but not in yet another rigged and hampered forum.

    It's gone beyond silly. It's now sinister.

  • Comment number 44.

    "GET USED TO IT" (#37)

    That's an interesting philosophy MuseV. How widely might it be applied?

    Stone in shoe? House on fire? Tsunami coming? Westminster Ethos? Dave as PM?

    Whatever happened to Statist? He'd know.

  • Comment number 45.

    What is playing out in Greece at the moment is the first real manifestation of a power struggle between the people and the ruling elite, likely to be repeated in other nations so how the precedent set as it unfolds will be very important for both sides.

    I am starting to see its importance now in much broader terms than economics.

    Default is inevitable now for Greece, that much is clear, the austerity required to avoid it will not be accepted by the Greek people, they simply will not pay the tax or generate the revenues with the level of disruption on-going in Greece. It is simply not going to happen .. end of....anybody can see that.

    Politically Germany will neither admit it benefits from such turmoil keeping the euro low and helping their exports or guarantee Greek debt.

    So.. I conclude, Greece will default and leave the euro within 6 months any other prediction is well into the 99th percentile probability I would suggest.

    What will then happen to the Greek political system, the current leadership would either, at that point, effectively become a de-facto dictatorship or resign en-mass leaving space for a fringe party to grow into.

    Which way that goes could have implication for us all and our children long into the future. There are certain parallels with the Spanish civil war here.

    How long before we see non Greek volunteers entering the country to support the rebel cause?

    Who externally will support the existing regime and who will support the rebels?

    To use a Barryism.

    I'll go and get my coat...

  • Comment number 46.

    NN keeps saying the world economy is in trouble. no its not. Only the west is in trouble. Last months China's trade surplus says the wealth transfer from west to east is going well. They have factories that look like palaces.

    wind generation

    end the 4billion a year subsidy to landowners and the countryside will change. Each district should have a legal obligation to generate locally the power they use rather than dumping the consequences of their usage on people in other districts.

  • Comment number 47.

    sorry, but China needs the west to sell stuff we are all in it, matey....

  • Comment number 48.


    some are more in it than others. as demonstrated a while ago the chinese and the west have a divergence of views on the purpose of 'free markets'. given they have trillions in reserves and we have trillions in debt we will go bust before they will. they also have a huge untapped domestic market. we don't.


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