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Monday 10 October 2011

Sarah McDermott | 11:11 UK time, Monday, 10 October 2011

Defence Secretary Liam Fox has told MPs that he met his friend Adam Werritty 22 times at the Ministry of Defence and 18 times on foreign trips. Mr Fox also said that Mr Werritty, who has no government role or national security clearance, had not been involved in defence procurement issues. Tonight, we'll examine whether the Defence Secretary is guilty of impropriety or simply made some minor errors of judgement.

Following the violence which killed twenty-four people at a rally of Coptic Christians in Cairo at the weekend, Tim Whewell will ask if attacks against Christians in Egypt are becoming worse in post-revolutionary Egypt, and if so why. You can watch one of Tim's previous reports on this from Cairo here.

And Rory Cellan Jones has a fascinating film about whether the education system in England and Wales is failing to produce enough polymaths and top flight computer programmers who could one day emulate the likes of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. Watch a preview clip here. We'll also be joined by the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey.

Join us at 2230 on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.

    Looking at the latest news, I'm put in mind of a quote from the BBC dramatisation of Robert-Louis Stevenson's last novel, 'Weir Of Hermiston'.

    "There'll be no lynchings here: he'll get a fair trial, and then be hangèd!"

  • Comment number 2.

    'Tim Whewell will be asking if the attacks against Christians in Egypt are becoming worse in post-revolutionary Egypt'

    Worse in terms of number and violence, or worse in terms of selling the Arab Spring in terms that some media seemed keen to propagate from their hotel balconies?

  • Comment number 3.

    Show us an MP of any Party that does not have one or more commercial or even more interesting 'hangers on'?

    Show us an MP that keeps their 'hanger(s) on' as visible as Mr Fox - after all, he wasn't exactly hiding the man in a closet.

    Show us an MP who's commercial hanger on has not benefitted commercially from 'hanging on' under the guise of 'legitimate business'.

    Me thinks there is better news elsewhere including the illegal leaks to newspapers on the story.

    Tory witch hunt in progress - if the opposition/media had gone after a Labour scalp on every 'hanger on' situation the Labour govt would have been snuffed out by AD 1998

    Bit naive the general media coverage on this - hounding MP's for their 'hangers on' was classed as opportunism & bigotry under the last Labour govt

    Let's hope that NN can do a lot better

  • Comment number 4.

    "For the first time [the Christians] are not being attacked by Muslim extremists or police security forces, but by the army. We don't understand why the army resorted to such measures."

  • Comment number 5.

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

  • Comment number 6.

    given the oustanding climate predictions of Piers Corbyn who says weather is driven by the sun not co2 will the bbc cover climate fools day this month at westminster?

    Piers predicted the sept/oct heat spell months ago.

    how long must we live under the tyranny of climate changers 'science'?

  • Comment number 7.

    @3 "Me thinks there is better news elsewhere including the illegal leaks to newspapers on the story."

    So, corruption is ok, but reporting it should be stamped upon?

    "Show us an MP of any Party that does not have one or more commercial or even more interesting 'hangers on'?"

    I do not endorse the politics of any of these individuals.

    If I had an MP whose activities seemed to be corrupt, I would not say "well, they're all at it"; I would be demanding their resignation!

  • Comment number 8.

    Sasha 67 fri wrote:

    "The question is which people? To call US society schizophrenic is an understatement. There is frighteningly little common ground, even in mainstream politics. Religion plays such a big part in much US politics, that it has infected every area of debate. Faith matters, and facts are despised if they don't fit a simplistic worldview.

    You may have your view of America due to the way its reported via our media. The Southern Baptist belt is not the whole of the USA, but granted is loud. The reality is somewhat different. There are States that view Christianity as irrelevent..the way in which we view it over here. And those are the States in the East, the west and the north.

    I don't even know why the Fox story is making headlines..but we appear to be getting wrapped up in it..well I ain't...because its a non-story.

  • Comment number 9.

    @5 Reappeared*

    As a teacher I watched it happen. We had an honest education system until the introduction of GCSE in 1986/88. The National Curriculum was introduced around the same time. It could have led to improvements in standards, but was undermined by bureaucratic box-ticking and the inflation in exam grades from 1988, accelerating during the nineties and the first part of the naughties. Around the same time, the "expansion" of "higher education" began. However, "market principles" ensured that "pretend courses" like media studies expanded, whilst traditional courses at centres of excellence, like chemistry at KCL and Swansea were closed.

    Now there is no time in sixth forms for excellent courses like the old JMB 'General Studies', which aimed to give breadth as well as depth. Instead students and teachers waste time on 'study skills' classes instead. No doubt we won't be allowed to breathe without a "respiration competence" certificate soon.

    I do sometimes wonder whether all this was a result of stupidity, or deliberate sabotage by those in charge.

    If I sound bitter, it's because I am.


  • Comment number 10.

    @8 "You may have your view of America due to the way its reported via our media."

    I have my view of America from reading THEIR media, and from friends and relatives in the US. The divide is within families too.

  • Comment number 11.

    Fox, like Huhne, deserves fair reporting, but not tribal obsession, on the basis of competence.

    4. At 12:40 10th Oct 2011, Sasha Clarkson - We don't understand why the army resorted to such measures."

    Maybe that 'peace' flotilla and its celeb crews that were diverted that way a while ago may be called upon to answer?

  • Comment number 12.


    The perverse idea of 'divide and rule' politics (adversarial decision-taking) is only held dear by Westminster governance. It does not pertain in serious stewardship of other great enterprises. What kind of mentality is attracted? Yeah right.

    The parties PRE-SELECT the candidates that dumb voters MAY, thereafter, choose between, at election. Parties choose for CRASS political potential, not proven real-world competence, and aptitude. Voter choice is a MOCKERY.

    (Odd that Dave is down on arranged marriages, he is not slow to arrange such things as truth, reality and photo-ops – and elections.)

    While stewardship of Britain remains in the hands of Westminster Creatures (the PM being a quintessential DISTILLATION of that terrible mass) this nation will suffer misery and indignity of increasingly destructive nature. HOW CAN IT BE OTHERWISE? Take issue with me if you can. I would love to be wrong.

    Why do none of the NewsyNighty Gurus discuss the above?


  • Comment number 13.


    Always thought provoking to read you Sasha.

    Did Blair's demons 'get out' into his 'Education Eduction Education' drive? I have posted before on just how much damage ONE Ape-Confused-by-Language can do. Tony's relationship with education/authority was ambivalent - cause and effect?

    I constantly point out that: 'Westminster draws its own' and becomes ever darker. Might 'Education' draw a similarly perverse subset of humanity by virtue of its 'damaged psyche'?

    Oh help - now I am wondering about the NHS.

    We have a problem.

  • Comment number 14.

    from fridays thread.. posted abit late

    #67 Sasha

    Excellent post, very perceptive, been on very good form I note recently Sasha.

    #66 John constable

    ''should have got the allotment when I had the chance''

    Lots of people who can are voting with their feet now, everywhere I look in the ranks of the useful professions with whom I interact daily (primarily engineers of all types and some academics as well) they are leaving in droves to Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, South Africa plus some other destinations.

    Most of them would not do so if they felt there were some viable alternative in the UK which would offer a vision to which they could positively contribute towards. The 'big society' does not cut the mustard it would seem.

    I must report that I will be joining them, come January I will be Sydney bound with my family.

    I have tried to raise awareness as best I could within my means since 2008 but there comes a point when it is obvious that it is too late now for that and there will be a physical correction to the crisis not an intellectual one which is unlikely to be pretty.

    If I were still a student or if my daughters were grown up and independent it would be different but as a married man with two young daughters I figure the best I can do is preserve that sanctuary of beauty, stability and dynamic 'reason' I try to nurture as best I can as a living positive inheritance for the future.

    I don't have an allotment either.

  • Comment number 15.

    Is it too much to expect all school children to spend at least half a term learning basic programming on *** FREE *** learn-to-program resources on the web such as YOUSRC? The costs would be zero, yet many children would see how easy creating code can be, and we can stop the current slide into "app consumption" rather than creativity. Hundreds of children are now getting more technical computing exposure through resources such as this, so why can't they all? Let's ignite the imagination of the next generation of computing professionals.

  • Comment number 16.

    On tonights programme Rory Cellan Jones will trying to find out why the UK is not producing enough polymaths and top flight computer programmers.

    It did occur to this blogger, given the demise of Steve Jobs, that America has produced some outstanding people, in the sense of being able to leverage IT to produce world class information systems.

    For example:

    Jobs (Apple), Ellison (Oracle), Gates (Microsoft), Page and Brin (Google), Bezos (Amazon), Dimon (JPMC), Palmisano (IBM) Omidyar (eBay) and last but certainly not least Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia).

    These people have created enormous wealth for the USA and other countries.

    We English have typically underpinned the whole thing, with Tim Berners-Lee invention (this medium) but not really profited from it - which is an old story.

  • Comment number 17.

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

  • Comment number 18.

    Disappeared @ 17

    You ask ....why are we not bottom of the financial basket making class below Italy, Greece and Albania?

    Italy has Carla (Bruni), Greece -Ouzo and Albania - Wisdom (Norman).

    A little humour can go a long way.

  • Comment number 19.

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

  • Comment number 20.

    Jaunty #6

    " The Sun's influence on modern-day global warming may have been overestimated, a study suggests." ( headline from BBC Science / Environment web page article )

    The warmists at the BBC look increasingly desperate to stop the idea that it is that big yellow thing in the daylight sky ( namely the SUN ) which controls our climate and is directly responsible for any warming or cooling of our planet.

    ( No prizes for guessing who wrote it )

  • Comment number 21.

    I suspect that it is pretty easy to mislead a generation of people brought up in houses with central heating and no radiant fire in their living room like in the old days. It is pretty easy for anyone brought up with a coal or gas fire in the front room to get their head around the fact that Venus will be far hotter than Earth, yet the warmists attempt to portray that it would be inhabitable if it was not for the high concentration of CO2 in its atmosphere. Like everything the warmists attempt to portray they are intellectually dishonest and use their university qualifications as a mask to deceive the general population for corporate financial benefit.

  • Comment number 22.

    :o) Jeremy was on today's Start The Week on Radio 4. Fantastic!

  • Comment number 23.

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

  • Comment number 24.

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

  • Comment number 25.

    17.At 15:20 10th Oct 2011, Disappeared wrote:

    The question must be asked.....why are we not bottom of the financial basket making class below Italy,Greece and Albania?


    Don't worry - we're well on our way down there now!

    3rd world here we come - Yee-haaaaaaoooooowwww!

  • Comment number 26.

    The BBC closed the comment thread on this story (below) very quickly, I wonder why they do that?

    Sometimes they are happy to let us comment away to our hearts content.

    Other times the comments are barely opened before they are closed again.

    Of course it would be nothing to do with the popularity of certain comments on there'


    Cameron's idea of a 'decisive step' is to print another 75 billion (£1,250 for everyone in Britain) and give it to the banks via 'asset purchases' (read toxic asset or our own gilts) the banks are then 'supposed' to then lend our own money to us so we can generate growth by getting into more debt....


    Just give taxpayers £1250 if you want growth, who does DC really work for?


    QE £275 Billion = £4,500 each approx.

    If every taxpayer would have received this amount with a few basic rules applied. Must be spent within 12 months, can be used to repay debt (credit cards, loans or mortgage), purchase goods or services and must be used in the UK.

    Paying off debt would have made the banks solvent, the purchase of goods and services would have stimulated the economy.

    Both of which shot up the popularity charts despite not being in pole position.

    Cant have such ideas going viral now can we BBC...

  • Comment number 27.


    e.g. Where do MPs derive the right to participate in 'free votes' when they are, almost all, only present by attaching a party rosette to their mundane cipherness; hence having no personal mandate?

    Why are political parties permitted to have NO EXISTENCE IN LAW, while playing such a major role in D MOCK CRASS Y, including lying for votes?

    Why does the BBC not champion the people in matters such as the above? Whatever happened to "YOUR BBC" - ever on the lips of Terry Wogan?

  • Comment number 28.

    '26. At 17:41 10th Oct 2011, Jericoa wrote:
    The BBC closed the comment thread on this story (below) very quickly, I wonder why they do that? '

    As a few others had noticed, I pointed out to the BBC that the comments on this thread seemed to have stalled in 1st:

    Got back a rather snotty dismissal (may gave opined that when it comes to early or odd closings, there's a lot of it about) that it hadn't.

    Still getting the spinning balls of oblivion here. Anyone else? Maybe just a Mac thing.

    If just me, mea culpa. If them... what can one do again?

    Feeling a bit like William Shatner looking out of a aircraft porthole these days.

  • Comment number 29.


    I can tell Mr Obama: my small corner of this foreign field, has been scared, ever since he started roaring - from very expensive platforms - "YES WE CAN".

    I feel like William Shatner realising there is no future in advertising Bran.

  • Comment number 30.

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

  • Comment number 31.

    It would appear that Ch4 Dispatches can no longer be relied upon for the integrity of reporting when tonight's Dispatches on household rubbish was pure eco-fascist propaganda, not one single mention of generating electricity from incineration as the way for a true " zero waste " system in the future !

  • Comment number 32.


    you might like Climate Fools Day 2010

    it is astounding that all the climate changers models are trash and failed in their predictions yet the guy who proves his model works by long range predicting them is ignored.

    anyone who researches for themselves what piers and others say and does not simply believe the handouts must also be astounded at the sheer everest of misinformation that is shoved at the public just to extract money from them.

  • Comment number 33.


    did you see this about the pro climate ad campaign by richard curtis?

  • Comment number 34.

    I posted the Piers Corbyn link on Fridays blog, been following him for over 9 months now, he has been more or less spot on from what he said six months ago, he keeps posting on his personal site just to rub it all in to the Met Office. Unfortunately he is perhaps deliberately not telling the general public what the coming winter is going to be like, he wants people to subscribe to his service, and its not that cheap either !

  • Comment number 35.


    yes he plays into the hands of the carbon cult with that one.

    however if people took on the idea that the sun was responsible then research should be able to discover the same correlations between sun cycles, spots and weather on earth. But that will never happen because they would have dismantle the carbon nonsense [that the bbc brainwashed a generation with] first and admit it was was nonsense.

    he says we are entering a mini ice age that will last until 2030.

  • Comment number 36.

    I can't help speculating that Piers has simply re-discovered what was known to ancient man, perhaps even before the Bronze age, and that's what all the stone circles are all about. Perhaps the ancient Egyptians were not so foolish for worshipping the sun ?

  • Comment number 37.


    are the bookies still taking his bets? They probably rub their hands if anyone bets from the met office models :)

    lets hope he is not the only keeper of the knowledge given the billions behind the carbon nonsense that would find it cheap to silence anyone poking holes in their hallucinations.

    now the uk govt has proposals to put a floor to the carbon price and raise it to £30 a ton. [Average house uses 12 tons a year]. ie £360 x no of houses in uk = a lot of motivation to silence lone voices?

  • Comment number 38.

    If they bring in the Carbon floor price 2 million will lose their jobs, just shut a bottled soap manufacturer at Burnley, expanding their Middleton operations, nearer to the Motorway hub and easier to do London area and back in the driving day. The 7p a litre allegedly going on road fuel in January was probably the final straw that broke the once excellent economics.

  • Comment number 39.

    I am going to say "I told you so" re: The Arab Spring and the so called "freedom." Epic fail.

  • Comment number 40.

    I have Egyptian friends who are Coptic Christians, and attacks on them have increased many fold since the "Arab Spring."

  • Comment number 41.

  • Comment number 42.

  • Comment number 43.


    Does government want minimal crime? What would criminals, courts, lawyers, prison staff, probation workers and police do for employment?

    Does government want us physically healthy? What would surgeons, doctors, nurses, support staff and drug company staff do for employment?

    Does government want us cerebrally proficient? How would they get away with smoke and mirrors chicanery? What would all those politicians do for employment, they can only do politics.

    Does government want us psychologically stable? More loss to BigPharma and employees. More support workers looking for work.

    Does 'big society', run by amateurs, simply defeat the ideal state? As Schumacher said (and titled his book) "Small is beautiful."

    Meanwhile, I can't help but suspect tax-take wins out over well and contented citizens.

  • Comment number 44.

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

  • Comment number 45.

    I SUSPECT A RUSE (#42)

    Far more likely there is fear among the non-specific garden ornaments of Brussels, that the juxtaposition of Christmass (an inflamatory festival, like Orange marching) COUPLED WITH the notion of "BLOWING UP", is seen as offensive to the non-Christian cohort.

  • Comment number 46.

    The main stream went whoop dee doo with the Arab uprising with the twitter crowd all in big support for the "revolution" in Egypt -well they would would'nt they, they're young. It was a given what was gonna come next down the road for the freedom wanting democracy loving masses of Egypt. I'm sure there is enough written history - not the offical written history -of revolutions to know what normally follows after the standard issue uprising. I'm an idiot clown but I know whats going on, children raised by wild wolves know it...wolves know it! So pray tell, how a massive news gathering media corporation such as the BBC haven't a clue whats really going on?

    I'll give you a clue: the Islamists/the Muslim Brotherhood. And a non-Islamic country with loads of debt.

    The Fox story is a non story ..but go on, carry on with it.

  • Comment number 47.

    Violence in Egypt

    Very good points made above by several bloggers, but of course revolutions are not just happening in Egypt as a result of the Arab Springs. They are happening in Europe (Greece, Italy), they happened on the streets of London this summer, and they are happening right now in the US with occupywallstreet. We are living in troubled times. I think there are complicated reasons behind the rise of Arab Springs - it is not just a bunch of hot blooded young people organising on social media in the hopes of overthrowing theirs dictators and replacing it with democracy. People are suffering due to massive unemployment and uncertainties with their future, and they want a change of political leadership to take them out of it. Will it make a difference? Perhaps yes perhaps no, but if you ask any young people today, I think they will agree that keeping the status quo is not an option. There is just too much corruption and moral hazard inherent in our economic and political system. I can understand where those protestors are coming from.

    Having said that, I don’t think democracy always works. People who say or imply that some Arab countries are better off with a dictator may have a point there. If EU were a totalitarian regime, Merkel or that Trichet guy can order tomorrow to print money centrally, nationalise the banks and chuck a few weak economies out of the euro (at least for now), and we will all be done watching the slow motion car crash happening in Europe now.

    P.S. I am a little baffled by the idea of Israel and CIA behind the riots in Egypt, given that it is the Muslim Brotherhood that has emerged as the winner in all this?

  • Comment number 48.

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

  • Comment number 49.

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

  • Comment number 50.


    This is not what Nature would do. The world is going mad.

    I strongly suspect that AVERAGE INDIVIDUAL MATURITY, across the globe, is declining. Just taking the UK: 60+ million population, of progressively immature individuals, yields 600+ perverse extract in Westminster, who in turn distil the quintessential INSTITUTIONALISED, DEMON-DRIVEN, JUVENILE PM to a position of exquisite incompetence, and near-absolute power. (Mental age 6?)

    This might explain one or two points in previous posts?

    Paradoxically, we not only make smart bombs and war machines, but smart kit that can SHOW OURSELVES HOW DUMB WE ARE; we also have some smart analysts of our plight. But a wise, contented nation, AS A GOAL, cannot compete, in the Prime Minister Mind, with glorious slaughter of Johnnie Foreigner and ‘FAMOUS VICTORY’. Prime Ministers are FAR TOO PRIMITIVE (see above).

    WE have a problem

  • Comment number 51.

    Make poverty history .. in England?

    The Government has proposed the Universal Credit which is designed to replace six income-related, work-based benefits, which might go some way towards alleviating poverty in England.

    The problem is that the Governments track record on IT projects is absolutely appalling.

    They always get into bed with those big consulting firms who have lobbied hard for the work and then basically charge huge amounts of money and usually produce poor systems, in every sense.

    This blogger suspects that another Government IT disaster is brewing up and the biggest-mug-of-all time, the English PAYE taxpayer, will be funding it.

  • Comment number 52.

    I heard on the radio this morning that Dr Fox has been on 60-odd foreign trips since becomimg minister for defence only 17 monthas ago.

    Small wonder he would want a friend to be with him some of the time.

    These globe-trotters have a lot to answer for.

  • Comment number 53.


    But Westminster is a Citadel - ramparts towards us - and though it has fashioned all manner of Check-n-Balance weaponry, that we may use; the tips are rubber, the reach is short and, in the case of the Ombudsman, HE RESERVES THE RIGHT TO TURN ON YOU, USING YOUR OWN SUBMISSION OF COMPLAINT AGAINST YOU, AS DEFAMATION.

    As things stand, there is NOTHING we can do. (But I am still looking for that crack to get my jemmy into.) Join me?


  • Comment number 54.

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

  • Comment number 55.

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

  • Comment number 56.

    Arab Fall; how many times does it need to happen before interventionists realize that "undemocratic" regimes control and stifle, so when they disappear, the Pandora's box is opened; in post Soviet Russia, the gangsters took control, in the Balkans, ethnic/nationalist/religious tensions exploded in a rage of "ethnic cleansing" and now in Egypt we see religious tensions boiling over, causing deaths on both sides.

    This jostling for power is inevitable; "democracy" in UK took hundreds of years to evolve, with rebellions, regicides and dictatorships - Lord Protectors, sorry - all happening during the evolution.

    NO-ONE can transplant democracy; but you can REPLACE one regime with another which is more friendly to you and your interests, in which case much "unpleasantness" will be subject to the Three Monkeys doctrine.

    Watch what happens/is happening in Libya.

  • Comment number 57.


    As the denizens of Westminster are resistant to any inspection of the law-breaking in the 2010 election, then one may presume they are unconcerned by the damage 'our' (NATO) intrusion in Libya will do. And a whole lot more.

    By way of illustration, Westminster Creatures (today - Charles Clarke) still speak of Blair as though he were an above average PM. Yet his bizarre behaviour on the world stage, since being ousted by Brown, speaks for itself as to 'what he was'. If Blair is Westminster's finest - what are the rest like? And what is Clarke's agenda?

    Perhaps the Fox disclosures, and his defensive machinations, will illustrate my point?

    650 such Creatures is a daunting problem. Small wonder they get so much wrong, and at such great expense.

  • Comment number 58.

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

  • Comment number 59.


    Bank of England abandons part of QE program after traders make bonds too expensive

    This piece reminds me of the Scorpion and frog story…

  • Comment number 60.

    saw Jeremy on the One show, he looked very ill at ease and up for fight with the presenters, he is not the same outside the confines of the NN studio, strange that. Also tonight can we have a debate on this day of infamy when our cherished NHS is being thrown to the wolves of the free marketeers in their scandalous decision to privatise. The House of Lords can no longer call itself a debating chamber just a doormat for unpopular government policies for people ( a lot of them in the Lords) to make a fast buck....shame shame.....shame..

  • Comment number 61.

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

  • Comment number 62.

    now that my deleted posts have been exhonerated, will they be reinstated? will you be reporting on israeli influence via bicom, aipac and the cia on our elected representatives?
    will you be reporting on all those card carrying "friends of israel" within both parties that tried to whitewash fox/werrity?



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