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Wednesday 7 December 2011

Verity Murphy | 13:51 UK time, Wednesday, 7 December 2011

David Cameron has come under increased pressure from his own party to promise a referendum on any new EU Treaty designed to save the euro.

The prime minister said he would fight for the UK national interest at a summit in Brussels this week.

On tonight's programme we look at Mr Cameron's stance towards Europe, and the Conservative party's rocky history with the issue.

Also, our Economics editor Paul Mason asks what contingency plans the UK should have to deal with any worsening of the crisis.

Plus, in the light of a survey which suggests that Britons are less willing than ever to pay higher taxes to support the National Health Service, schools or the environment, is the UK moving more towards an attitude of individual responsibility?

All that and more with Jeremy at the slightly later time of 2240.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    AND NO MENTION OF ERROR BANDS WILL ACCOMPANY TINY PERCENTAGES

    Though the irritating musack, behind the artfart camerawork, and floating geometry, might actually be played by one!

    Carry on NewsyNighty.

  • Comment number 2.

    "DAVID CAMERON'S STANCE TOWARDS EUROPE"

    The same as his stance towards everything and everyone - especially poor Nick. You could try: arrogant, pompous, supercilious, dismissive, truculent, for a start, and then see how it goes . . .

  • Comment number 3.

    "Plus, in the light of a survey which suggests that Britons are less willing than ever to pay higher taxes to support the National Health Service, schools or the environment, is the UK moving more towards an attitude of individual responsibility?"

    ++
    We are to blame? 3rd highest tax in world & don't want to pay any higher taxes - Whatever is the matter with us all?

    Sales tax also on top - 20% vat is above the operating profit margins of many businesses in the UK?

    I know - Perhaps the govt could increase VAT?

    Perhaps BBC/Guardian thinks that raising taxes & spending & borrowing more will solve things?

  • Comment number 4.

    barriesingleton wrote: "AND NO MENTION OF ERROR BANDS WILL ACCOMPANY TINY PERCENTAGES"

    MPs asked Osborne this in (the broadcast) Treasury Committee session today so you could look it up on ParliamentTV. Of course, he didn't answer it. He's a politician, not a statistician. If Newsnight covered this issue in detail lots of people would just switch off. They don't want to understand this and they don't really care I suspect. Most will just want to be entertained so that's what the Production Team delivers.

    They will have done their homework. Remember the twiddly-boxes one of their experts used to use? If you want to see politicians asking and answering questions, watch ParliamentTV or read Hansard. Not that you (or I) will come away much the wiser, as they rarely do and don't have to, answer any of the questions clearly. They are just not allowed to LIE. Like lawyers, they are adept at emitting non-lying behaviour. It is a necessary skill to get on, in fact. That is why Libertarian politics probably is NOT the best form of democracy - Democratic Centralism is.
    But, to make THAT work one has to ring-fence your nation state to keep Libertarians out and prevent some of your population running off with state assets, and you have to "ring-fence" your own natural Libertarians in Special Zones too. People eh? Who'd have them?

  • Comment number 5.

    It is fascinating watching the Westminster Village, mainly the BBC it seems, wet itself with excitement at the emerging Tory chasm over Europe.

    Why anyone is surprised is beyond me as surely, as soon as the Tories got back into power, they were destined to inevitably begin squabbling and self-destructing over Europe.

    Time changes - the Tories do not.

    Alas, the BBC News Channel today has been so excited at the growing Tory divisions that the real news is being ignored IMPO - Credit Crunch II is here!

    Inter-bank lending is freezing up. Rumours of at least one major Euro bank supposedly hours away from running out of money last week - others say it was up to 20 EU banks.

    Unprecedented intervention by central banks and the BOE Governor issuing a dire warning unheard of in the Bank of England's history about what is to come re rising mortgage rates and hinting at worse. What is worse???

    On the UK High Street big name chains, such as Comet and Blacks, are going bust. Others are discounting like mad as they know, come Boxing Day, what little money the Public has to spend will have already been spent. In Credit Crunch I retailers went bust AFTER Christmas - now they are going bust BEFORE Christmas.

    And millions of Brits are taking out short high percentage loans because they do not have enough money each month.

    It is dire. The Tory side-show is just that - a side-show.

    Oh well, I suppose all the above was worth it in order to create the biggest housing bubble ponzi scheme in British history! The UK economy has been wrecked, and millions plunged into debt and stress, just so they can boast that their priced their own children out of ever owning a home!

    Has the brain drain begun yet?

  • Comment number 6.

    3. At 15:44 7th Dec 2011, nautonier wrote:
    "Plus, in the light of a survey which suggests that Britons are less willing than ever to pay higher taxes to support the National Health Service, schools or the environment, is the UK moving more towards an attitude of individual responsibility?"


    Of course, there are other ways to look at things...

    http://www.thecommentator.com/article/713/bbc_misrepresents_national_social_survey

    This one is also by a Prof., like the one t'other night from the LSE. Guessing his expert opinion is less expert, or something, should he not be invited in to opine with fellow 'analysts' wot fink fings?

    I guess it's all in the way they tell it.

  • Comment number 7.

    BUT IF 'EDGY' IS WHAT THE PUBLIC ARE CRYING OUT FOR - BBC MUST SUPPLY (#6 link)

    And I have no doubt some think tank has heard that cry.

    I recall that Gadaffi was found COWERING IN A SEWER - once the Edgitors had done their dirtiest.

    Or is the direction from elsewhere? i.e. Dodgy Dave's Westminster? Is the BBC only obeying orders?

  • Comment number 8.

    6. At 17:14 7th Dec 2011, JunkkMale wrote:

    Facts can very often be difficult & virtually impossible to discern/establish & if we proceed along the lines that most things in print are suspect - then we shouldn't be far wrong - & so BBC as professionals are, IMO, guilty of writing supposition & opinion as 'fact'. I am not a professional journalist and many of us do this when we write as is more of a style of writing than trying to mislead - although is useful for stirring up the opposition & enabling a response.

    That is what a blog is for, IMO, to test statements, analysis, points of view - very little is rarely, just as we think it is.

    I also read into the BBC/Newsnight reference (which was limited & probably not intended to mislead anyone) - a political message/inference that taxes should be higher?

    However, I do agree with the BBC in the sense that the UK is generally becoming more uncaring & judgemental & lacking empathy - hence my references recently on narcissists & psychopathy as thought to be much more common that ordinarily appreciated?

    Bankers bonuses - a good example of deep rooted socialogical & psychological problems in the Corporate world as demonstrating a maxiumum lack of empathy/self aggrandisement?

  • Comment number 9.

    @3 "3rd highest tax in the world" Where does that figure come from? (and I mean a real source not a newspaper.)

    It could come from a table like the following:

    http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/GC.TAX.TOTL.GD.ZS

    Take one comparison: "Tax revenue (compulsory transfers to the central government for public purposes (% of GDP) )" in 2009: Germany 12%, UK 26%

    Looks bad doesn't it? BUT, although "most social security contributions are excluded", as well as federal taxes, Germany also has local taxes, and compulsory insurances for health and elderly nursing care for example.

    Also, some central UK tax revenue is spent on local government, instead of levying more local taxes.

    So, quoiting a figure like that above is meaningless without the source and the context. "The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth" is not so easy to ascertain.

  • Comment number 10.

    @9 addendum, by "local taxes" I mean state taxes for Bavaria, Saxony Brandenburg etc.

  • Comment number 11.

    JunkkMale wrote: "Of course, there are other ways to look at things."..

    Indeed, choose your favourite Think Tank. Just be sure you know what their policy line is:-

    "The IEA is the UK's original free-market think-tank, founded in 1955."

    http://www.iea.org.uk/

    As one reads (intensional) the article closely, it's worth noting
    (intensional) the intensioonal verbs of propositional attitude, Bear in mind it's a survey, and note that "motivated by" is an inference which is dramatic/creative (i.e. made up). Finally, this is a Libertarian Think Tank so "selfish" - what does that "mean"? (intensional).

    What we have to measure is the money and where it goes, National income may refer to collected tax revenues and borrowing, or it could refer to the assets held by UK companies or households, NPISH etc. One can rarely tell what anyone is using as a reference class here. That is why so many are confused. It's how this egregious game is played on people. They are bamboozled for their opinions (future votes).

  • Comment number 12.

    As the centre right meet to discuss the future of the Euro - i.e. the European Peoples' Party - Cameron finds himself locked out because he decided he didn't agree with that bunch of pinkos about reforming the EU in a reasonable way, so took the Tories over to the loonytune neofascists instead. He also doesn't get to join in the Euro members' debates because we're not in the Euro.

    Marginalised, paying the bill for EU membership, but having no effective influence at the key meetings - if he even gets invited.

    Cameron has tried to deftly play the eurosceptic card to keep his rightwing on side, mouthing platitudes to the LibDem europhiles whilst quietly hoping we'll stay in the EU by avoiding a referendum because he knows what would happen if the UK did vote to leave it. Now the chickens have all come home to roost - all he can do is to make empty threats which everyone knows he can't afford to carry through - and risk a rebellion on the rightwing of his own party.

    Meanwhile the sharp fall in manufacturing output today shows there is now a very real chance that the UK will slip into recession on Q4 2011 and the meltdown in jobs, output and the ballooning of the deficit is now about to hit, as retailers can see the worst Christmas in decades is in prospect and the slaughter of jobs which will follow in the new year in virtually every sector.

    And the OBR predicted - ONLY LAST WEEK - that the UK would completely avoid recession and return to 3% growth by the next election - this political fig leaf is now completely and utterly discredited - time for Mr Choate to fall on his sword, I'd say...

    If there is a Credit Crunch II, the UK banks will rapidly become insolvent - the PIIGS will default and the UK will be the next in the firing line, as we find our debt is no longer serviceable. At this point it is game over for Cameron, the Tories and the LibDems.

    The only question then is will UKIP clean up their vote - or will Labour be put back into power - and if so, what will they do about the Stelring crisis, the default crisis and the collapse in the UK economy?

    Time to stock up on tined food, fuel, liquidate cash assets and head for the hills.

    Forget your pension - forget your savings - forget welfare payments - forget civilised society - the libertarian anarchists are close to total victory - the end of the state and the dog-eat-dog world will be with us shortly.

    How do you apply for a gun license?

  • Comment number 13.

    "YOU ARE GOING TO SEE WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO SEE" (BD Tues #53 link)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INu7AH8dJ0o (around 30 secs in)

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 14.

    AND LOOK HOW 'DEFTLY' CAMERON HAS KEPT CLEGG ONSIDE! (#12)

    Have you watched poor Nick at PMQs Richard? When a man, with much to lose, JUST CAN'T PRETEND ANY MORE, you know the rift is visceral. And small wonder - after that gratuitous vilification, during the AV referendum farce.

    WE GOT OURSELVES ANOTHER ONE (AND THE OTHER ONE)

  • Comment number 15.

    This is taken from the end of the "Introduction" to the (attitude) survey (and these all do have their methodological flaws as they are based on self-reports, would you take seriously the proposition that the moon was made of cheese if 80% of the population believed it was?) .But aside from that important point, based on what the authors actually wrote in their report, and given this is a direct quote from their introduction, can the BBC be truthfully said to have misreported them? I suggest not. What is actually the case in Britain is another matter note. It is important to note there is a difference between what the authors write, what the survey "reveals" and what is the case as these are not all the same.

    What does that say about the Libertarian Think Tank? Sadly, in my experience this is all too much the rule rather than exception.

    "Last year we reported that continuing concern about the gap between rich and poor wasn’t matched by support for welfare and redistribution. This year that trend is confirmed. The democratic and religious ties that used to bind continue to creak.We’re living in a society where a sceptical public appear unconvinced by our current collective responses to key social issues like welfare, inequality, housing or the environment. And although people do see child poverty as something for government to tackle, it is seen as rooted in poor parenting. Less engaged or willing to make sacrifices for the common good during challenging times, the British public perhaps increasingly sees it as the responsibility of the individual to get through. If that’s true, what hope for the Big Society?"

    http://ir2.flife.de/data/natcen-social-research/igb_html/index.php

  • Comment number 16.

    Richard bunning wrote: "Cameron has tried to deftly play the eurosceptic card to keep his rightwing on side, mouthing platitudes to the LibDem europhiles whilst quietly hoping we'll stay in the EU by avoiding a referendum because he knows what would happen if the UK "

    When the EU Project began after WWII as a part of The Marshall Plan, and right through to 1989, Europe was a USA bulwark against statism in the guise of the USSR and Warsaw Pact. It was Libertarian project. Even so, European nations had far more mixed economies in the 60s through 80s than today. Now it has members of the Warsaw Pact as members, and since 1989 it seems to have moved increasingly towards an ever more rapacious Libertarianism which now threatens to destroy it much as it seems to have economically and socially destroyed the USA.. Either that or it's been a very elaborate contrivance.

    If the ECB is used to establish fiscal union it is hard to see how matters can possibly get any better as it will surely just become even more like the USA, and probably worse. Is the USA economically and socially improving? Is it still respected across the world? No. Why would Europe improve under the same system? is it not more likely that Europe's resources would just be siphoned off to the USA, thus making Europe even less competitive? Does anyone believe that those in the USA have Europe's interests at heart? They just seem to cares about their own interests, that's in the nature of Libertarianism surely?

  • Comment number 17.

    9. At 17:48 7th Dec 2011, Sasha Clarkson wrote:

    @3 "3rd highest tax in the world" Where does that figure come from? (and I mean a real source not a newspaper.)

    ++

    My accountant - the wicked no nothing numptie - she says that the UK ranking was provided to her on a presentation she attended and as given recently by one of the 'big 6' and that there are no definitive figures on overall personal taxation as is what I'm looking at & as with all international analyses are estimates & while UK does not look too bad on e.g 2009/10 figures on eg marginal taxation - it is the UK 'stealth taxes' & indirect taxes like VAT, Council tax, fuel duty, stamp duty, alchohol, tobacco etc etc etc that push UK up the rankings with UK now 3rd overall - and possibly higher - in terms of overall UK position on international personal taxation comparison.

    We're taxed to death literally & then some - hence all the dodgy tax stuff & loopholes for the super rich & non doms as put in place, retained & amended - probably by govt chancellor(s) who is/are national expert(s) on tax loopholes & having personally dealt with the matter while UK Chancellor with secret meetings with tax specialists & mandarins etc as do all UK Chancellors.

    Bear in mind that many exceptions to this 3rd ranking - resident /non-resident/non dom etc etc - who escape paying largest amounts of tax with loopholes - so while UK high tax for most e.g. 90% + people - for those who are transient & extremely wealthy - UK is very attractive, indeed. with many juicy tax loopholes.

    Tax isn't really my field but if I can't believe what my accountant is telling me I'm 'up the creek without a paddle', anyway.

    UK govt not likely to tell us any of this anyway - someone has to be 'in the know' to get access to these figures and which are, always, 'estimates', at best.

  • Comment number 18.

    barriesingleton wrote: ""YOU ARE GOING TO SEE WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO SEE"
    (BD Tues #53 link)"

    Yes, but what you have to take on board is that they are cold predators.
    It is very important to grasp that they take FROM others, but GIVE nothing (except to secure something at other people's expense). They are acquisitive. They are not benevolent. They don't help others (there is nothing in it for them).

    This is why the parallel with corporations as soulless 'computing'
    machines is very useful in the current context as most people in corporations won't see this as they will think about themselves not the posts they fill and the work they do. This is about corporate policy.
    *business*. It was why these entrepreneurial behaviours were classed as crimes against the people in the former USSR.

    Behavioural psychologists can *seem* to some like psychopaths because of the way they work, but they aren't.

  • Comment number 19.

    @17 Thanks for that :) But I'm very sceptical for the reasons outilned above. Basically it's just hearsay from a biassed source selling you a service to minimise your personal tax. The more aggrieved you feel, the more willing you'll be to pay for her services?

    Is it the ame source who told you that the NHS was "too expensive" the other day (@95 Friday)? Because that isn't true either. The World Bank (hardly a bastion of socialism) figures show that quite clearly:

    http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.XPD.TOTL.ZS

    Undoubtedly it doesn't get everything right, but overall it performs fairly well it seems:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8877412/NHS-among-best-health-care-systems-in-the-world.html

  • Comment number 20.

    WORLD BANK? (#19)

    I would trust my (lady) financial adviser, orders of magnitude, over the WB.

    Why isn't it called the INDEPENDENT World Bank? See what I mean?

  • Comment number 21.

    BERKSHIRE - NHS BLACK SPOT? (#19)

    I suspect that a survey of helpless relatives and friends, doomed to suffer the indignities (1) of the patient - by proxy, and (2) themselves, by OBSERVATION, would yield a very different satisfaction rating. I cannot help feeling - after following my abused, neglected and damaged brother, back and forth between three hospitals - that I was not that I was LOOKING FOR TROUBLE, indeed, I spent a lot of time LOOKING FOR DEDICATED CARING. Anyone! His death was a mercy.

    Was it me?

  • Comment number 22.

  • Comment number 23.

    @20 Barrie I agree, BUT, IF the world bank is massaging data, it won't be massaging it in a way that encourages higher taxation of the wealthy or of big business:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_B._Zoellick

  • Comment number 24.

    The constant competition we're experiencing in all sorts of ways is a good recipe for alienation. Those who lose their jobs are maintained by the much-maligned public sector which is financed by fellow citizens.. The private sector claims to hate waste but people on the scrapheap and abandoned buildings seem pretty wasteful. Living for today and having no longterm prospects even with a job is just the same qualification as for criminality.
    There is not just a worker, employer split but a supplier, retailer split and small business is very different from multinational.
    As was once said about the Sabbath the economy was made by and for man not man for the economy.

  • Comment number 25.

    @21 - Pembrokeshire and West Wales are pretty good on the whole, having, mostly on behalf of close friends, made at least 30 hospital trips over the last year. (The nearest General Hospital requires a 40 mile round trip) The average age of my choir is nearer 70 than 60, and there is plenty of favourable anecdotal evidence there too. However, I would concede that in itself that proves nothing about the bigger picture.

  • Comment number 26.

    19. At 21:20 7th Dec 2011, Sasha Clarkson wrote:

    @17 Thanks for that :) But I'm very sceptical for the reasons outilned above. Basically it's just hearsay from a biassed source selling you a service to minimise your personal tax. The more aggrieved you feel, the more willing you'll be to pay for her services?

    ++

    Be sceptical that is healthy - but I expect that you will not be able to prove me wrong - that is the critical aspect! You're welcome to try!

    Otherwise, the high taxes are a major reason why UK economy is not likely to grow -we're squeezed - this means years & years of stagnation in UK economy - and high debts & high taxes are the salient conditions here - no one is really talking about this - but this why not many trying to invest in UK - they don't see any growth or margins why - banks not lending - but high -over taxation is a massive issue for UK which no one is talking about - (but we are)

    ......
    Is it the ame source who told you that the NHS was "too expensive" the other day (@95 Friday)? Because that isn't true either. The World Bank (hardly a bastion of socialism) figures show that quite clearly:

    http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.XPD.TOTL.ZS

    Undoubtedly it doesn't get everything right, but overall it performs fairly well it seems:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8877412/NHS-among-best-health-care-systems-in-the-world.html

    ++
    My views are taken from various newspapers - as plenty here in the public domain.

    Otherwise - Come off it - NHS costing a minimum of £200 billion quid a year (non-capital) and as a high number of immigrants/health tourists - the point you have missed - no matter how well it is performing - we can't afford it now as a Global Health Serice as we're broke & and some studies that you have quoted will probably reflect data from when 2006? 2008? 2009? at best & not taking into account liabilities & population growth & new infrastructure required - the service is creaking with some PFI disasters - ask anyone who has been into hospital - ask the staff who work in the NHS why some wards shut on certain days a week- ask the patients in hospital - most studies now out of date/biased & incomplete as to what is happening now.

    The point is we can't afford NHS as it is! It is a good service in many ways & performing well in some ways but the tone of the articles is misleading - There is a major problem here with UK budget deficit - affordability, customer demand rising too fast - expectations etc

    There is always another take on what is happening to NHS.

    If you don't like or agree with what I post may I suggest you ignore it - at the end of the day I'm sorry but I don't really care what you think - if you have something to post on it great - let's have a look.

    You see I rarely post saying someone else is wrong as making personal attacks on them - but some on here seem to think it is their domain to do just that - I just read what I want to read & take in what I want to take in - I put a few stats out there to promote the discussion especially the stats that we don't otherwise get - you have responded which is well & good

    BUT

    neither of us is any wiser of what the absolute true accurate position is on the matters at issue, as a result of either of our posts & I dare say no one really knows the answers to these intriguing questions & issues - and if they do they're probably never going to reveal that information in a meaningful form, in public.

    The whole world is full of misinformation and half-truths - How do you think politicians get elected? Or a banker calculates his or her 'bonus'? Or the CPS prosecute anyone in court?

    Articles in newspapers are mainly opinion - it is the easiest thing in the world for newspapers /BBC get hold of some sort of study & put a slant on it - we saw it the other day with a BBC/Guardian sourced immigration study as ripped apart on here/other BBC blogs.

    So please don't pick on me as everyone else and you included does this as not much we see & hear han't been misrepresented, reproduced, reinterpreted, edited or slanted etc in some way, shape or form.

    Cheers

  • Comment number 27.

    And finally (before kickoff) "Britons are less willing than ever to pay higher taxes ...... is the UK moving more towards an attitude of individual responsibility?"

    I doubt it unfortunately. A problem of democracy is that people are quite free to vote for a square circle. And unreasonable behaviour by some begets bloody mindedness by others. We have seen massive losses by private banks being borne by the state. We see a 50% rise in Footsie CEO salaries*. We have seen huge rewards for failure underwritten by the taxpayer (yes - Sir Shred again). People think " "breed with" it - why should I pay more when these people whose parents weren't married get away with murder?" And all David Cameron wants to do in Brussels is protect the economic malignancy that is the City of London/financial service sector: well he would wouldn't he?

    The days of my youth, when life was simpler, and all taxes were higher: 33% basic rate and 19/6 super tax, seem idyllic by comparison.

    * http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/oct/29/ftse-boardroom-pay-soars
    http://news.sky.com/home/business/article/16097985

  • Comment number 28.

    @26 "Articles in newspapers are mainly opinion - it is the easiest thing in the world for newspapers /BBC get hold of some sort of study & put a slant on it "

    Yes - I agree there! :-) Sorry you felt picked on!

  • Comment number 29.

    words2say wrote: "The constant competition we're experiencing in all sorts of ways is a good recipe for alienation. Those who lose their jobs are maintained by the much-maligned public sector which is financed by fellow citizens.."

    It's even more unfair than many make out, as not only do Public Sector workers HAVE TO pay their Income Tax and National Insurance (which some in the Private Sector can evade or avoid), but Private Sector Corporation Tax is a relatively small contribution to the national revenue (under 50 billion, compared to about £140 billion in Income Tax).

    On top of that, (and like those working in the Private Sector), part of the salaries of those in Public Sector workers also go on VAT, fuel tax and other taxes which go straight back into the revenue.

    There's a lot of black propaganda put out there about the Public Sector, and this is really quite peculiar behaviour given it's actually an attack on the nation's own people and state, which provides them with services!

  • Comment number 30.

    nautonier wrote: "So please don't pick on me as everyone else and you included does this as not much we see & hear han't been misrepresented, reproduced, reinterpreted, edited or slanted etc in some way, shape or form."

    One of the problems in recent decades is that people have been misled into NOT being critical (and self-critical) enough. That's made it easier for some to take advantage of the vulnerable.

    The idea is not to be hurtful, but to be helpful - protective in fact..

    In good science, observations (and their conjunctions) are tested to destruction. It is not the person who is criticised but the Observation Sentences and Observation Categoricals. If these remain standing, they are relied upon as useful and predictive. It is the way that physical scientists are trained. Without them, the world would be a far less safe place. Those who peddle half-truths tend to make the world a more dangerous, unpredictable, place. Good scientists seek out criticism for this reason. Science and knowledge are basically the same thing.

  • Comment number 31.

    One of the sadnesses is that there has never been a global accounting of the whole costs of business and the casualties, super rewards at the top, advertising, PR, and the costs (always being attacked) of the public sector which doesn't advertise but picks up the broken pieces of lives. Clearly this does not refer to business activity other than the public services which try to ensure that the machine of society runs for the benefit of everyone such as roads, health, general wellbeing. That really is a big society where we all try to co-operate for mutual benefit. It is the theoretical basis of insurance after all. The cause of general wellbeing is something tangible to rally round rather than a piece of coloured cloth up a flagpole. Older generations warned against debt. They were right. They expected to pay board to their parents and help generally - the domestic version of taxes. It was called family.

  • Comment number 32.

    Excellent debate by Jeremy with Rifkind & Dorries on the Euro. About time we had a Referendum on the whole thing. I tend to side with Wolf from the FT.....

  • Comment number 33.

    :p "No-one can define the Higgs-Boson particle"

  • Comment number 34.

    Once there were many more (percentage wise) local small businesses paying rates and taxes in their own country, many more working people doing the same and far smaller numbers without work. If we've lost mining, shipbuilding and steel while office numbers have been reduced by computers and many more countries have joined the competitive scene with lower wages and some automation and much work here is less well paid then it is a very different scenario. There was also a time when snow clearing and farm work were labour intensive and many more low skilled jobs were in existence. If people with jobs are less secure in every way they are less likely to feel generously towards those with benefits which look to them more secure. It doesn't take a lot of working out. It's not poetics it's psychology.

  • Comment number 35.

    DID THE "COMMUNITY ORGANISER" GO ON THE WRONG COURSE?

    He seemed bemused.

    In passing: Is NewsyNighty saving money on Embellishment Operatives? The ‘January 2012’ storyboard was poor and the choreography embarrassing. If you must waste our money - waste it well.

  • Comment number 36.

    FOR 76uk

    TIME PORTAL
    (The Hadron Collider meets its nemesis)

    I stood upon the good, wood deck
    Aways off the Azores
    On high high-seas with a saucy breeze
    And the lubbers on all fours.
    When St Elmo flared and ‘gulfed the Poop
    And me ‘ead was like to burst
    And I found meself way underground
    With me protons all reversed.
    They stared at me in unbelief
    As their shiny kit pulsated
    And backed away in some affray
    Like my ma with the Devil had mated.
    At last one quizzed, in half my tongue
    My name, and whence I come.
    To which, roared I, from my score-stone mass:
    “Know ye! I am Higgs – Boatswain!”

  • Comment number 37.

    30.
    At 23:03 7th Dec 2011, brown-dog wrote:

    The idea is not to be hurtful, but to be helpful - protective in fact..

    In good science, observations (and their conjunctions) are tested to destruction. It is not the person who is criticised but the Observation Sentences and Observation Categoricals. If these remain standing, they are relied upon as useful and predictive. It is the way that physical scientists are trained. Without them, the world would be a far less safe place. Those who peddle half-truths tend to make the world a more dangerous, unpredictable, place. Good scientists seek out criticism for this reason. Science and knowledge are basically the same thing.

    ++

    and now for something completely different:

    1) is UK personal taxation the 3rd highest in the world?

    2) is the NHS now too expensive?

    Can you actually add anything of real benefit to the basic blog discussion or are you just going to keep sniping with your pseudo scientific edicts & lecturing from the sidelines?

  • Comment number 38.

    28.
    At 22:34 7th Dec 2011, Sasha Clarkson wrote:


    @26 "Articles in newspapers are mainly opinion - it is the easiest thing in the world for newspapers /BBC get hold of some sort of study & put a slant on it "

    Yes - I agree there! :-) Sorry you felt picked on!

    ++

    I didn't - I just like generating sympathy!

  • Comment number 39.

    ...and on tonight's NN...

    Malcolm Rifkind
    Martin Wolf
    Margaret Hodge

    Just what are the odds of having three guests (out of six) on NN all with names beginning with the same letter and being from the same religion?

  • Comment number 40.

    @38 LOL! - honesty appreciated - off to bed with a smile! :-D

  • Comment number 41.

    The Marshall Plan (officially the European Reconstruction Plan) was probably the most generous act of charity in the history of the world.

    Between 1945 and 1952 the USA gave, yes, gave, Europe $25Bn in aid to promote reconstruction of war shattered countries. The Soviet Union and its allies were also offered the aid but refused it.

    I write this as this forum seen quite a lot written about the Marshall Plan - most of it negative in the sense of it being alleged to be part of some great idealogical conspiracy.

    Humans, eh?

  • Comment number 42.

    I got to NN late this evening (it is not complusive viewing for this blogger) but the interview with the German chap who started his own business and now employs fifty people, clearly highlighted their view of how you should grow a business - organically from its profits and not by borrowing from financially precarious institutions such as banks (that might sound counterintuitive but if Times business editor Patrick Hosking says so, who am I to argue?).

    Personally, as a self-employed small business person in England, this is how I too view business - it should try to bootstrap itself if at all possible and if that option is not feasible e.g. a lot of development capital is required, then business 'angels' should be sought and banks should be the very last resort. Unfortunately, England has not got enough business angels in that way that say the USA has.

    Meanwhile, the ECB edges towards turing the taps on and later (maybe 12 months plus) when the situation has stabilised, then the eurobonds will begin to appear as the PIIGS wil has been bought into line - and as the American contributor said - will be kept away from the sharp pencils.

  • Comment number 43.

    The survey which suggests that people in Britain who believe people on benefits recieve too much is propoganda preparing us for when this government reduce job seekers allowance.At a time when even those who have known full employment such as myself, for most of their lives, find themselves out of work, the politicians are up to their age old tactics of divide and rule.Turn the working classes attention from banks such as RBS who took our money to save their institution and still had the indecency to allow executives to walk off with huge bonuses that they and their children will not live long enough to spend,since they are such vast sums.All the while focusing on the most vunerable and blaming them for being lazy and greedy. I'd like to see Cameron try and survive on job seekers for a year.Too much ! what an insulting joke ! It isn't that job seekers is too low it is that minimum wage isn't high enough.Stop spending our money on surveys politicians and stop blaming the least influential people for the ills of this society.90% of the worlds wealth belongs to 10% of the worlds population.Our model of capitalism clearly does not work since it is based on explotation not ethics and co operation.It is not rocket science, could not the government have made it a legal contract condition of the loan to RBS that they recieve it only if no bonuses are paid out.Working class peole who turn on other working class people really need to wise up.Our future is in production and engineering for the green economy, but sadly much of our future talent will not be able to afford the education to partake of these opportunities thanks to tuition fees. We are seriously damaging our ability to compete in future trade by not keeping fees to a minimum and cherishing education. Britain is in a big mess and the politicians are making it worse.I suggest a survey that asks working people who think benefits too high, wether they would be prepared to work a shorter week, so providing a job for an unemployed person .Also ask them wether or not they would buy a used car from a politician. I know I wouldn't

  • Comment number 44.

    Sasha Clarkson wrote "And all David Cameron wants to do in Brussels is protect the economic malignancy that is the City of London/financial service sector: well he would wouldn't he?"

    When Osborne was giving an account of matters to the Treasury Committee today he was asked what was being done to strengthen the British economy. Someone might have expected him to say something interesting about what Britain was going to produce for export. Instead he just talked about Northern Rock and Virgin Money creating the impression that Mother Hubbard's cupboard is bare. Hence Cameron's behaviour one suspects. Mr Mandelson's lot didn't do "metal bashing", nor did Keith Joseph's. THAT was what the famous signs at the entrance to concentration camps was about, it really was an old warning (1873), from way before the National Socialists took power about the risks of making money lending and fraud a source of income. "Work makes you free" meant just that, an industrial economy is preferable. Unknown to many they were trying to get the people/country out of a debt based, service sector, economy. What IF some sub-populations were genetically more brain-feminised and they could not, as a consequence, take to industrial work? We HAVE learned a lot about genes and behaviour since early in the 20th, and though we ARE now more understanding and tolerant of diversity, we STILL have a long way to go towards better managing it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbeit_macht_frei

  • Comment number 45.

    I see Wall St agent Geithner...err, I mean US Treasury Secretary Geithner is back in Europe again to make sure Germany and France perform what is expected of them...with poodle Cameron firmly on leash.

    Arbeit Macht Frei...

    Someone else on here has commented on the cure...

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/fromthewebteam/2011/09/monday_26_september_2011.html?postId=110384051#comment_110384051


    Have you taken the brain gender test?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/sex/add_user.shtml

    It takes only takes around 20 mins to complete.

    (PS - I did notice Jeffrey Sachs on NN the other night clasped his hands together indicating left brain dominance i.e. suggesting his brain is more masculine than feminine - but I guess that is only one part of the test.)

  • Comment number 46.

    26. At 22:22 7th Dec 2011, nautonier

     Credit to you for letting the irony of this pass so easily in the spirit of exchange...

    '...just hearsay from a biassed source selling you a service'

    There are, indeed, a plethora of sources, all with finely tuned editorial selectivity (as I demonstrate, cut and pasting, deleting and highlighting) so navigation to an informed view is ever more tricky to achieve.

    'I rarely post saying someone else is wrong as making personal attacks on them - but some on here seem to think it is their domain to do just that'

    Applauding you, and the mods for when they get it right with those others, if wondering on occasion what makes some exceptional.

    'The whole world is full of misinformation and half-truths'

    Ne'er a truer word.

    'Articles in newspapers are mainly opinion'

    Ditto.

    I find it interesting how often, in terms of media, 'print' is treated so differently to and by broadcast, often as some weird one degree of separation tool where the broadcaster's focus-group-selected-as-trustworthy talking head cites a paper saying what they themselves seem unwilling to be committed to directly. Like that makes it 'independent', when the very selection process shows that is not the case. It's cute if not dangerous how inherent subjectivity is breezily washed over, or often concealed, to suit in a delusion of objectivity.

    'Polls' and 'reports' too. Hence the discussion here, based on how a medium has responded to a report in a certain way, often enhanced or detracted from by use of other media and their headline attitudes.

    Such choices can vary depending on personal preference. I have seen The Guardian and Telegraph deployed here often when their more traditional stances have been belied by articles that have suited as counter-intuitive 'evidence'.

    But mainly, yes, one tends to find The Guardian and its employees used as such 'evidence', if not a counter, on the BBC, and this seems surely to place it in an advocacy camp not really where it should be?

    So, just for fun, and maybe to keep the pot bubbling, here's yet another way of looking at a headline topic from a high ABC public readership-rated tabloid, not perhaps best respected in many quarters, but by voluntary purchase evidently 'speaking for' a fair few:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2070912/Britain-turns-conservative-values-recession-bites.html

    It's... simply... another interpretation to this...

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16064988

    ... which, I note, closed for comments. Only open between 7TH DECEMBER 2011 - 8:36 & 15:27, when almost all the UK public who may be keen to chip in are at work or not free to do so.

    The Editor's 'favourites?' have even 'picked'. No word on criteria. No way now to ask.

    And while I have gleaned information and maybe education from the Guardian and Telegraph and maybe even Daily Mail links above, it's interesting it was all for free.

    Only one other discussed carried a cost. The concern remains at what price.

  • Comment number 47.

    Malcolm Rifkind - "Some would be aghast if UK demanded repatriation of powers at a time of EZ crisis ... asking for repatriation of eg - 'fishing' "

    I was aghast at his comments - perhaps a few MP's with ghost-town ex-fishing community remnants in their constituencies could invite him out on a boat-ride to show just how many foreign fishing vessels there are actually cruising around our coastal waters & indisicriminately netting what is left of our depleted fish stocks - pushing the price of fresh UK fish into stag-flation territory?

    This isn't a time for feebleness and worrying about what Eurocrats think - all EU countries are getting what they can - when they can & wherever they can - and that kind of feeble attitude from UK politicians will mean UK will miss the boat on this once in a life-time opportunity to set out the UK shopping list, in full, for repatriation of EU powers.

    Cameron doesn't have to agree anything for Britain this week all he needs to do is to advise the EU that anything he agrees is subject to a vote in UK house of Commons.

    Mr Cameron's patient approach towards Euro crisis is commendable - but if he sells UK down the river on ridding the UK of its EU straightjacket and failing to repatriate a full basket of UK sovereign powers then I think that he and all & sundry will soon be regretting it.

  • Comment number 48.

    JohnConstable wrote: "The Marshall Plan (officially the European Reconstruction Plan) was probably the most generous act of charity in the history of the world.

    Between 1945 and 1952 the USA gave, yes, gave, Europe $25Bn in aid to promote reconstruction of war shattered countries. The Soviet Union and its allies were also offered the aid but refused it.

    I write this as this forum seen quite a lot written about the Marshall Plan - most of it negative in the sense of it being alleged to be part of some great idealogical conspiracy."

    As we are back on "you know vs I know" which intensional I am going to suggest that those interested do some research into the history of the Morgenthau vs Marshall Plan including what Bretton Woods and the World Bank/IMF were all about..

    To understand how The Marshall Plan (and OECD and EU Project) came about one has to know what the relationship between was between the USA State Department and Treasury at the end of WWII, and that whilst the USSR was an erstwhile ally of the USA, France and Britain, The Morgenthau Plan was the first draconian policy towards Germany and essentially amounted to economically bombing it into a cabbage patch. The architect was Harry Dexter White (a Soviet agent) so the historical record has it (although see the CIA official account on White too)..

    Look into how Dexter-White was allegedly working with the Soviets to drive West Germany and the rest of Europe into the Soviet sphere by de-industrialising it (making it much like Thatcher was to render Britain and Mandelson etc afterwards in fact). A good source is "The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet influence on American postwar policy" By John Dietrich which is available on Google Books.

    The Marshall Plan was a US State Department volte face when they woke up to what the Soviets were up to according to Dietrich. There was nothing charitable about it at all. Economic union was a big part of the overall strategy of the World Bank/IMF and Bretton Woods - there should be no surprise that the USSR would not be part of this. There's a lot of history here, and this is probably not the place to go into it in detail (Paul Mason also covered some of the Dexter-White issue in one of his early blogs post Crunch, but it has been covered in dribs and drabs in these pages over many years.. Here are two pointers.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/paulmason/2008/10/a_new_bretton_woods_where_is_k.html

    http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v09/v09p287_Kubek.html

    Just bear in mind all the Libertarian Political Correctness over extent decades, and just look at how our EU economies and Britain's have almost been turned in to "cabbage patch economies".. Little "metal bashing", erosion of armed forces etc. Does this remind you of anything? It should. Does any group figure in this at rates which directly reject the statistical Null Hypothesis?

    Is everything and anything which is personally unfamiliar a "conspiracy theory" or "weird" i.e "strange" - worse still "wrong"?

  • Comment number 49.

    nautonier commented on Malcolm Rifkind's behaviour last night "I was aghast at his comments"

    What was most notable, was that it was almost as if he was a member of another political party which was trying to stop his female colleague from making too much of the point that if the EU-17 established fiscal union it would effectively be a single nation state FOR THE FIRST TIME, and that THAT entity might be a serious, hostile economic competitor to the UK economy.

    Politicians play such partisan games in order to broadcast their messages to the electorate, and whilst Newsnight is no doubt their platform, as Paul Mason said at the beginning of the programme, it still isn't clear who or what anyone is really up to. It's all very unsettling, that's for sure.

    As to some of your other questions, I suggest you just look them up for yourself, as it doesn't seem to make much difference what anyone tells you - if you don't like the answers, you become abusive. That way you only ever get to hear what you want to hear, which is the same thing as saying you don't learn much (despite what some people falsely assert, learning is never fun, as it always flags up a failure)..

  • Comment number 50.

    For what it's worth, Nautonier and Barrier Singleton (which I suspect will be very little going by some recent taciturn responses), the nature of "psychopathy" - "pathological narcissism", "criminogenic behaviour" and Anti-Social Personality Disorder, it's currently highly complex and fraught - with some serious legal implications, as it lies at the heart of the prediction and management of offending behaviour, which, as The State is rolled back, and the Private Sector bids for business in probation and prisons etc, is going commercial. To see just how complex, and how controversial this all is, if you are interested, I suggest you look up some of the recent controversy in the professional literature between Hare and Newman vs Cooke.and Skeem, which I hope makes anyone think twice about jumping to any conclusions.

    http://forensicpsychologist.blogspot.com/2010/06/psychopathy-controversy-goes-primetime.html

    Part of the controversy (as I have tried to clearly explain simply and yet clearly with normal examples), lies in the fact that these checklists are based on a multiple correlation technique (a statistical (data reduction) computation) called "Factor Analysis", but as many of the items themselves are intenSional (mentalistic verb based) rather than strictly behavioural (and none are physiological) it is hard to know what is really being reliably measured because of rater variability and reliability (they are TRAINED which begs some questions if you think about it). Factor Analysis itself has its own controversies (both here and in intelligence research), but the assessment of individuals by "experts" with respect to some of the checklist items on the PCL-R is problematic given their intenSional nature and because when used to predict re-offending, the very "Factor" (group of PCL-R checklist items basically) which one might think would be most useful, is in fact not so. As this checklist (and the training to use it professionally) is a key part of diagnostic work in the forensic field, especially across the Atlantic, for some, that can literally be a matter of life or death (in the USA), so this is an important issue.

    Most of the work on the odd physiology (such as the following), tends to suffer (like so much of this type of work with respect to other disorders) from a basic methodological problem of VERY small numbers of subjects drawn from a very low target group in the first place, along with quite a lot of difference in brains as a function of genetic diversity and life-span events (injuries) in the first place. As with climate "science", reliable measurement is a major problem as our people making bold claims for attention and revenue. It happens everywhere.

    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2011/12/06/are-psychopaths-like-hannibal-lecter-brain-damaged/

  • Comment number 51.

    Speaking of the 'free' press, from the even freer (but still to be treated with caution) sector the MSM tut-tut about through lacking professional standards...

    http://order-order.com/2011/12/08/silence-of-the-pink-un/

    The response from a members only club stalwart was interesting...

    @xtophercook Chris Cook
    @GuidoFawkes This is one of those stories that comes out of hibernation every now and then. Our readers will live.


    But they may surely opt out of buying , or even reading, if they can, if they sense the story is not as full as they trusted it to be, on the pages they have frequented?

    Meanwhile, there is what else might not get mentioned in some papers, and hence some broadcasters, and some broadcaster's coverage of some topics... about some papers...

    http://autonomousmind.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/david-leigh-evidence-at-the-leveson-inquiry/

    If there is any factual inaccuracy in what these sources have shared, I am sure their apparently free and open threads will soon be alerted.

  • Comment number 52.

    '50. At 11:09 8th Dec 2011, brown-dog wrote:
    For what it's worth, Nautonier and Barrier Singleton


    Menawhile, 'Applauding ... the mods for when they get it right with those others, if wondering on occasion what makes some exceptional.'

    As a wise man more than once avers... 'Nuff sed.

  • Comment number 53.

    i see the bbc is ramping up the co2 claptrap again with a new 'offensive'.

  • Comment number 54.

    The real irony missed by Paxo et Paul (Paul you disappoint)
    A treaty stopping future left wing governments from spanking the credit card to buy votes should be a gift to every sane eurosceptic. Here we have one. Lets sign up.

  • Comment number 55.

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

  • Comment number 56.

    '53. At 12:14 8th Dec 2011, jauntycyclist'

    Apropros nothing at all, two links that may amuse... or not... depending I suppose on who one deems more agreeable fellow travellers...

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/durban-climate-change-conference-2011

    http://view.mail.guardian.co.uk/?j=ff291678716c&m=fe8a1570706c0d7a72&ls=fe92127275630d7d70&l=ff60157970&s=ff3411757565&jb=ffce15&ju=fec81575716c007c&CMP=&r=0

  • Comment number 57.

    'they are often telling us how people allegedly think - not what actually is the case. How do they know what people "think"?

    Answer = they don't, they make that bit up because they can, and they can get away with it given that as it is a creation in their own mind, nobody can deny it with it, for lack of evidence). Try it on someone, tell them what they are "thinking". It's a (nasty) parlour trick.


    :) and the world :) with you:)

  • Comment number 58.

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

  • Comment number 59.

    jauntycyclist at 53 wrote:

    "i see the bbc is ramping up the co2 claptrap again with a new 'offensive'"

    They just can't help themselves. The problem with lefty Libs - many reside at the beeb - is that they are very suggestible. For some, all it took was one sitting of the Al Gore flick and they were swung.

    I think this easy suggestible nature shown from the lefty Libs is actually recognised as some kind of mental illness. Nick Clegg has a chronic case of it. He believes in the Euro, the European Union and all the other bits that are stuck to it.

  • Comment number 60.

    '58. At 13:00 8th Dec 2011, brown-dog -
    Most here just ...
    appear to comment and debate civilly enough, and have done for a while.

    Others seem more concerned, and vocal with them than what they have to say, and seem curiously indulged in doing so... a lot.

    Next there will be those presuming to tell others not just what 'is', but that is indeed what they must think. Which would be ironic, looking back. Oops - "Most here just describe their mental states (like children) whilst thinking they're doing something else which will be of value to others"... "Try it on someone, tell them what they are "thinking". It's a (nasty) parlour trick."

    It must be frustrating to feel there's a club, and worse one that allows the 'wrong sort' in, but probably best to live and work with that than appearing more and more to be wishing out loud to be the only member (qualified) to be in it.

    That would seem a route to disappointment.

  • Comment number 61.

    THINK ABOUT IT (#60)

    Junkkmale, hereabove the sign-off, appropriate to your post. No charge.

 

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