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Friday 9 March 2012

Verity Murphy | 18:07 UK time, Friday, 9 March 2012

Allegra Stratton has been despatched to the Liberal Democrat Spring conference in Gateshead where Nick Clegg has told attendees that the bill has been changed "in a thousand ways" since it was first published. Will his audience agree, or will activists grasp their last chance to derail the NHS bill?

One year on from the crisis at Japan's tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant Newsnight debates what should be the future of nuclear power.

And Paul Mason reports on the news that an investigation has been launched into an allegation of attempted fraud against welfare to work company A4e, the Department for Work and Pensions.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    "THE BILL HAS BEEN CHANGED IN A THOUSAND WAYS"

    Is it me?

  • Comment number 2.

    FRAUD? WHO CARES ABOUT FRAUD!

    My MP, in collusion with the Conservative Party, caused a Liar Flyer (FIVE BLATANT LIES, signed by Dave) to be put through my door, May 2010, in a joint attempt to get the Conservatives and Mr Benyon re elected. Both acts were fraud. Police aware. Cameron/Clegg aware. Warsi aware. Electoral Commission aware. Many MPs aware. BBC aware. NewsyNighty - probably lacking awareness . . .

    I am now into month 22 of my integrity quest.

    D MOCK CRASS Y

  • Comment number 3.

    @1 Why did the bill need to be changed "in a thousand ways"? Was it badly drafted, or weren't the coalition partners consulted?

    Which brings us to Barrie @2. Why should anyone believe anything Nick Clegg says anyway? Many voted for him thinking he would keep his promises, including that to "restore trust" in Parliament.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6u8CiyLrpYc
    (I defy anyone to listen to this without reaching for the sick-bag!)

    But pre-election Smeagol quickly turned into post-election Gollum.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B13xYo2SQ2o

    If Mr Clegg signed his pledges without even thinking of what he might do in the event of a Tory plurality but no majority, then he is clearly a fool as well as a knave, and the wrong man for the job.

    I am very glad that, because of the poor local candidate, I did not vote Lib-Dem. Otherwise I might be with the angry millions suffering from post-shaftum tristis*!

    *sadness.

  • Comment number 4.

    It would appear that Ed Davey has been whinging about Poland vetoing the proposed EU 30% cut in carbon emissions by 2020, even the idiot must know in his heart by now that the CO2 driven warming scam is a dead parrot !

  • Comment number 5.

    Shame that tonight’s prog is the shortened TGIF foe version ….

    (Apologies! Not really sure if that’s how you spell ‘faux’ but “faux" is irrelevance anyway!)

    Two of the three items tonight could be humdingers! …. Big HUMDINGERS! (sic)

    Many ……. I say again! …….. many opportunities for some serious ‘classic” Sir J ‘type’ interviews …..

    Let’s hope so?


    What with last night’s discussion on the ‘classic interview’ on “This Week” and David Frost resurfacing ….

    Are we about to see a resurgence stroke revival of ‘integrity and impartiality’ in - what passes in this day and age as - serious political journalism?

    I say again ….

    “Let’s hope so?”

  • Comment number 6.

  • Comment number 7.

    Hopes dashed again!!!!!

    Maybe, just maybe .....

    The resurrection will be upon us!

    One day .....

    Soon?

  • Comment number 8.

    It would appear that the warmists are engaged in a civil war over nuclear and quite clearly George seems to have decided to go down with the CO2 driven climate scam ship by claiming that a 2 degree increase is still on the cards. Its quite clear that if energy security is so important that even French technology is ruled out the only true option we have is shale gas and coal. No miners need die if we use open cast where practical and underground gasification for the rest, we have potentially hundreds of years supply, including seams far too deep for conventional mining.

  • Comment number 9.

    ATHEIST NICK BEHAVES JUST LIKE A CHRISTIAN (#3)

    Hi Sasha. I have a file called: "SPOIL PARTY GAMES" your two links will be added to it. Nick’s ambition (need) can know no bounds, for him have sold his soul so readily.

    I have made "Clegg aware" (of the Liar flyer) more than once (#2). Being honourable, HE DOES NOT REPLY. While Dodgy Dave, at the foot of that False Instrument, REITERATED THE LIES AND SIGNED THE FLYER!!

    The road to Hell is DAVED with false intentions. And the signs to escape routes have been NICKED for scrap.

    Dunces all - we are MOCKED by these CRASS ciphers, and will be so mocked, until we ask in one voice: "Y?"

    D MOCK CRASS Y.

  • Comment number 10.

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

  • Comment number 11.

    Is it me?

  • Comment number 12.

    LOOKS LIKE IT JOE - I SEEM TO BE AMBROSIAL RIGHT NOW(:o)

    "It's YOU" (as that original gold-fingered FALSE INSTRUMENT lottery ad used to say).

  • Comment number 13.

    Thought the interview on energy production was very poorly conducted. G.E allowed the female guest (didn't catch her name) to continually interrupt.

    Always suspicious of the strength of an argument when someone wants to interrupt or speak over another person's point of view. It appeared she thought anyone who didn't agree with her should be quiet. What an edifying discussion.

    And I still don't know what is combined heat and power energy. Gavin didn't ask her to explain it. Come to think of it, he didn't ask her to explain any of her alternative ideas to nuclear and carbon intensive energy production. Was there some unspoken panacea we will never know?

    Maybe it's because of NN's shortened Friday version and everything has to be rushed. In which case, what's the point?

  • Comment number 14.

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

  • Comment number 15.

    '13. At 23:58 9th Mar 2012, restassured wrote:
    Maybe it's because of NN's shortened Friday version and everything has to be rushed. In which case, what's the point?'


    To squeeze into Timepoorerati iPhones? Never mind the quality, look how well it (appears to) fit(s).

  • Comment number 16.

    A view from a foreign country we can look down upon?

    " “It’s entirely legitimate for donors to claim public contracts, to recover money they invested in the party,” said Robert Fico in 2010 after receiving financial support from five corporate sponsors of his party. "

    http://www.presseurop.eu/en/content/article/1598091-vote-best-and-worst

    .....or is it just honesty in dishonesty?

    Since 1979, various companies have invested heavily in British politicians and political parties. The private sector has always been partly dependant upon the public purse, but now it's ever more dependent upon patronage and incestuous "revolving door" relationships too. To appease the legal worries of blogdog I shan't mention names, but any longstanding reader of Private Eye will be able to mention plenty!

  • Comment number 17.

    Paul Mason commented on the nuclear burden on taxpayers, which are paying for the NDA's decommissioning and waste management of the past programmes. Nuclear Liabilities Financing Assurance Board NLFAB was set up to recommend a system whereby the liabilities from new build would be covered. It has presumably reported and its findings rejected so that EdF is now requested to come up with its own system.

    NNBGenco has been set up to build Hinkley Point C as a UK subsidiary, owned ca. 68% by the French state, 20% by Centrica, the rest by EdF's shareholders. It could simply be liquidated to avoid its liabilities unless a bond is raised and held by the Treasury. The magnitude of this bond needs defining by an actuary and is presumably too much of a disincentive for EdF.

  • Comment number 18.

  • Comment number 19.

    Why are the Italians so upset. Are their egos dinted any.. most probably. I think they should sit down and be quiet, I'm not aware they were doing anything in trying to free the hostages. They should save their indignation for the horrors of one of their own murdered by a band of men who follow a particular religious sect.

  • Comment number 20.

    If I was Italian I would be very p.......d off with the Brits, surely a warning of some description that something was 'on' would get everyone off the hook. The real reason is that the Foreign office thought the Italians would 'blab' and it would go haywire something our lot could do very well on their own, what a shambles and two precious lives lost.....

  • Comment number 21.

    re: 13.

    Combined heat & power is when fuel is burned to create electricity via a motor + dynamo, then the heat which would normally be wasted is captured and used to heat buildings, or in an industrial process.

    It can be on a large scale - the old Battersea Power station used to heat a large council estate across the river - or on a domestic scale - e.g. installing a CHP boiler to replace the typical gas boiler in a house, which also produces electricity, whilst still running your radiators & hot water.

    As to the energy debate, no one seems to think about two key factors around nuclear energy:

    1. Vast quantities of steel, concrete and other energy-intensive materials are needed to build a nuclear power station. If you work out how much CO2 is created to make those thousands of tons of concrete, it's pretty clear that any new nuclear plant will contribute a large amount of CO2 during its construction, and a reasonable estimate of this would mean that it would take YEARS of power generation to "save" the same amount of CO2 - perhaps as much as a decade. So the argument that nuclear helps reduce global warming is in reality pretty suspect.

    2. The reserves of nuclear fuel are known to be close to running out - there are perhaps 20 years left and without uranium, the reactors won't run.

    Obviously beyond these factors there is the safety dimension - Japan has taught us not to believe the technocrats on this. Then there's security - for a terrorist organisation to get even a small amount of nuclear fuel, then construct a "dirty bomb" not to create a nuclear explosion, but simply to coat a large area in radioactive dust, which would be hugely damaging.

    We know what decommissioning costs are likely to be because we have already picked up the huge bill for the old Magnox reactors, so building a new generation of french PWRs is storing up a huge cost for the future.

    So what should we do?

    The short term answer is under your feet - coal - 400 years' worth - but it could only be used if we could capture the CO2 and lock it up. Sequestration is a possible solution - capture and compress the CO2, then inject it into depleted oil/gas fields in the N. Sea. This would have several economic advantages: firstly it would eliminate a lot of fuel imports, secondly it would create a lot of jobs and thirdly it would buy us time to develop new energy technologies.

    For example we could use electricity to electrolyse water to create hydrogen, which when liquified is an excellent way

  • Comment number 22.

    20. At 14:19 10th Mar 2012, stevie - what a shambles and two precious lives lost.....

    I'm still waiting something approaching sensible facts to emerge, which today's 24/7 scoop & opine media seem unable to resist.

    Tend to agree on the heads up, if only to avoid what is now happening, with pompous armchair generals and news anchors suddenly deciding the Italians are our bestest buds and using them seeking to get well and truly offended to wind them up even more on how offended they are.

    Which in turn serves to bash those not favoured politically with the failure. Shambles as yet to be confirmed, though if so I doubt with any accountability in case of genuine lack of skill or integrity.

    In a hostage situation, especially with charmers who seem to like killing and are primed to do so at any trip point, those lives were, at best, not yet restored as frankly in such a situation they were pretty much lost the moment they were taken.

    Though it does seem the Italians have a reputation for survival that might not have extended to those from other countries firmer on not rewarding terrorism or kidnapping.

    In this case it did indeed work out very badly. I am simply glad I was not one faced with a decision, even if it was 'move now or they are dead for sure', and especially not one of those put in harm's way to try and save others. If the situation was at a watershed (I don't know if it was as yet), faffing about while one bunch decide to procrastinate further may not always be the best option.

    It seems odd how all these factors seem so easily forgotten by some who like to use tragedy to make petty points.

  • Comment number 23.

  • Comment number 24.

    tinopener climate change

    given the model of climate that does work and predict weather which is based on the earths relationship to the sun points to a new ice age one wonders how all that climate munbo doesn't get challenged.

    if the 'final word' goes to the monbiot mindset then we are all going to be nailed up on pointless climate change crosses.

    bbc seems happy to have the global warming narrative unchallenged which is why they had no one to challenge that 'settled science' belief system?

    the elephant in the co2 room http://iceagenow.info/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Sun-Earth-comparison.jpg

  • Comment number 25.

  • Comment number 26.

  • Comment number 27.

    IS POST 21 A SPOOF RICHARD?

    You always come over as rational; Nolly has been posting the demise of the CO2 fetish almost daily; you can NOT be serious man. Any day now Monbiot will realise we need all the CO2 we can get to grow the food for 7 bilion +.

    Genuinely puzzled.

  • Comment number 28.

    MEDIA CONFORMITY ODD (#26)

    Much CO2 wittering on Any Quesitons - unopposed. Had I been in the audience, I would have spontaneously combusted. But then 9/11 was done by a bunch of lucky Arabs, who went on to scoop every state lottery on the planet. No dissent to that tacit assertion either. What a charade.

  • Comment number 29.

    @27 Barrie - there's too much group-think on this blog. Just because somebody posts daily, doesn't mean they know what they are talking about, or that the post and links have any value. Trawling the web to find sites which agree with your prejudices isn't research. Nor does regularly calling something a scam or a fetish make it so. It's just arguing by insult.

    The internet is full of propaganda, much of it misinformation and misquoting people out of context. Anyone who proclaims triumphantly "The sun drives the climate" doesn't understand the science or the debate. Nobody has ever suggested differently: Without the sun we would be close to absolute zero (-273°C) But the greenhouse effect is real AND GOOD. Without it the earth would be uninhabitable by us (in our present form). All gases are greenhouse gases, but some like CO2 and CH4 and water vapour are considerably better than others like N2 and O2. All other things being equal, the historical increase in CO2 would be very significant. And indeed, the climate in some parts of the world, especially near the poles is changing in an unprecedented way. However, all other things are not equal, and dynamic equilibria are governed, at least to an extent, by le Chatelier's principle. And of course the activity of the sun has changed before and will undoubtedly change again, not to speak of the unpredictable effects of volcanic eruptions etc. The question is, what is likely to happen in the next 100 years or so?

    Climate is a complex system which I'm not qualified to come to conclusions about. Nor, to my knowledge, is any other contributor to this blog. However, I am qualified and experienced enough to know the difference between science and propaganda. What is going on out there is a well financed propaganda war, but much of it fought by unpaid expendable foot soldiers who repeat soundbites manufactured for them, but who really haven't got a clue. (And Monbiot falls into that category too.)

    Looking around at the world, I think there are legitimate concerns about the climate, but my main concerns are unsustainable and wasteful consumption of the world's resources by an out-of-control human population, and also the class war being fought by the rich against the poor. I suspect that depopulation caused by famine and war might well solve any potential climate problem for those unfortunate enough to survive amongst the ruins.

    Sweet Dreams! :-(

  • Comment number 30.

    '29. At 00:37 11th Mar 2012, Sasha Clarkson -
    Just because somebody posts daily, doesn't mean they know what they are talking about, or that the post and links have any value.


    So true. Mind you, some seem to ignore (inconveniently) that one person's derided group is another's peer-reviewed, science-settled, 'see I'm right'... other group.

    'Anyone who proclaims triumphantly "The sun drives the climate" doesn't understand the science or the debate. Nobody has ever suggested differently.

    It is interesting how much of 'the debate' on climate seems to depend on proclaiming, despite few suggesting differently, that some think the climate isn't changing. And whilst conceding the complexity, I have to say that for things to change that needs energy, and I simply wonder where it comes from.

    'Climate is a complex system which I'm not qualified to come to conclusions about.'

    Few, if any, are, by virtue of no one 'knowing' anything for sure, self-evidently. Making it odd that many feel they are more qualified than others, especially in the world of media, to selectively bring forward (or push back) various views according more to dogma than anything else.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/globalwarming/8656765/Steve-Jones-tells-the-BBC-dont-give-denialists-so-much-air-time.html

    Whatever else, my dreams are disturbed by propaganda and censorship at establishment level over and above any others that one needs to wade through.

  • Comment number 31.

  • Comment number 32.

    It would appear that there are lots of people out there who are deniers about anything which challenges the possibility that they have been to university and think they know more about everything than everyone else. The thing about a university education is that people learn more and more about less and less and any up knowing nothing useful about anything worthwhile. Most of what has come out of especially UK universities in the last 40 years is pure quasi-religion designed to keep graduates in cushy overpaid jobs whilst our children's overall education suffers as a result.

  • Comment number 33.

    Note how this story gets top billing...

    Dispatch: Syrians flee Assad's helicopter gunships
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/nick-meo/9136336/Dispatch-Syrians-flee-Assads-helicopter-gunships.html


    Yet this story wasn’t even mentioned in passing on any mainstream TV news channels yesterday…

    IDF strike in Gaza kills leader of Popular Resistance Committees
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/idf-strike-in-gaza-kills-leader-of-popular-resistance-committees-1.417578

    Netanyahu: Israel has dealt strong blow to Gaza terrorist groups
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/idf-strike-in-gaza-kills-leader-of-popular-resistance-committees-1.417578


    In the words of barrie..."Is it me?"

  • Comment number 34.

    #32 NollyPrott wrote:

    "It would appear that there are lots of people out there who are deniers about anything which challenges the possibility that they have been to university and think they know more about everything than everyone else. The thing about a university education is that people learn more and more about less and less and any up knowing nothing useful about anything worthwhile. Most of what has come out of especially UK universities in the last 40 years is pure quasi-religion designed to keep graduates in cushy overpaid jobs whilst our children's overall education suffers as a result."


    Say that to your doctor when they next help/treat one of your kith and kin!

    You have clearly learned to prize arguing more than researching. There is a very important difference. One (research) is about building and testing, the other is about construction and destruction with words alone. Your behaviour on here tells me that you are not professionally trained in science or engineering and that, to be fair, puts you amongst the 'creative' majority. Whether that puts you in good company or not is quite another matter, and it's something, along with your disrespect for those who try to helpfully enlighten you, speaks volumes about where we are collectively headed.

    What you have failed to notice/learn is the point of these people, who have attended university acquiring these 'prejudices' (as you point out they have). These were acquired through objective training and research as scientists and professionals. They are called skills. People discover things after years of learning their discipline. That is how research works.

    Whilst there are no keepers of ABSOLUTE truth, there are those who strive to improve what we can practically. These are called scientists and professionals, and I think we should all do our bit by respecting their education and efforts - don't you?

    I strongly urge you to watch the Dimbleby lecture recently given by Prof. Sir Paul Nurse to understand the collective challenges that we face. You can still watch it on BBC i-player.

  • Comment number 35.

    The dirty war on WikiLeaks
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/09/julian-assange-wikileaks

    'To the chagrin of many in authority and the media, WikiLeaks has torn down the facade behind which rapacious western power and journalism collude. This was an enduring taboo; the BBC could claim impartiality and expect people to believe it. Today, war by media is increasingly understood by the public, as is the trial by media of WikiLeaks' founder and editor Julian Assange.'

  • Comment number 36.

    Third link in #33 should have been

    Netanyahu: Israel has dealt strong blow to Gaza terrorist groups
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/netanyahu-israel-has-dealt-strong-blow-to-gaza-terrorist-groups-1.417815

  • Comment number 37.

    THE PARADIGM SHIFT IS DARKEST BEFORE THE DAWN (various posts above)

    An electrically driven universe, of which the Sun is an 'arc', is about to oust the gravity-dominated *(nucular - sic) model. Gravitational high priests discount the Sun's electro-magnetic influence, WHICH SEEMS NOT TO VARY IN DIRECT RELATION TO OUTPUT IN 'LIGHT' FREQUENCIES. http://www.holoscience.com/news.php?article=ah63dzac

    Discussion predicated on different paradigms is not fruitful - unless we first discuss the paradigms.

    Anyone seen the Higgs Boso yet?

  • Comment number 38.

    museV #34

    I have said it to to the doctors my then 86 year old father was told he had early stage bladder cancer and that he would have to go to Preston for radio therapy or die. He declined because he remembered what radio therapy did to his brother in law and I backed him up against the doctor all the way. My dad is now a relatively fit 89 year old still driving and going out socially 4 nights a week, every six months or so he goes into hospital to be reamed out, out of social action for a week. It is almost certain that he would be dead now if he had gone for the radio therapy even his own GP pressured him to go for, not just the hospital consultant. Alleged experts DO NOT always know what's best !

  • Comment number 39.

    'Your behaviour on here tells me that you are not professionally trained in science or engineering'

    Blimey, I wish I could tell such things from 'behaviour'.

    Meanwhile some persons' professional scientist could well be another's grasping aspirant Sir or Lord who will say or do anything to get the gong from those who dispense such things so long as lines are toed. It don't know if that is well-behaved or not.

    I wonder what else one might find on BBC iPlayer, and that alone, that is all ever needed to explain everything. Plus Life and the Universe too (this being the anniversary that would be Douglas Adams' 60th, I think he would appreciate some of his wildest satirical fantasies have, for some, become po-faced reality).

    The wagging finger wags, but having wagged, if alone, and ignored, may only be attached to Shrodinger's cat. Or is it beavers felling trees unheard? Who can tell? Who knows? And who knows better, or best, than another?

    Seems there's truth, absolute truth, and iPlayer. As it were.

  • Comment number 40.

    Thank's Junk #39

    If anyone is interested I started working part time in the local haulage garage when I was 13 then left school and became an apprentice HGV fitter and went to tech and studied the Technicians course. I got distinctions in all the exams, dropped out of the final corporate brainwashing non technical final year as it conflicted with my sound business education in real life. I have kept up with all science and frequently watched the OU when it was on the telly, expanded on my basic training in chemistry and physics. I proved all the motion science we did at tech by practical experience flying articulated HGV's, and as a hobby I studied railway locomotive engineering history. It would appear that self educated people like me are a major threat to university boffins with no practical experience in life whatsoever !

  • Comment number 41.

    RESPECT NOLLY (#40)

    Barrie

  • Comment number 42.

    REPEAT OF POST LOST IN CYBERSPACE (#39)

    Understated and hilarious Junkk - your hallmark.

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 43.

  • Comment number 44.

    YET ANOTHER INDICATION THAT POLITICIANS ARE NOT THE BRIGHTEST (#43)

    If only the mass of people would realise that a typical politician is a blagger. Blaggers never feel the need to become competent at anything - THEY JUST BLAG THEIR WAY THROUGH LIFE, making expensive cock-ups that they call governance! Tony was a prize example.

    DISMANTLE WESTMINSTER - SPOIL PARTY-GAMES - EXPOSE MENDACIOUS PUPPETS

  • Comment number 45.

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

  • Comment number 46.

    Oh, and by way, on the 'only good link is my link basis' of 'disrespect for those who try to helpfully enlighten you', here's what I suspect is a naughty stepper, which I stumbled across by reading outside the Truman Show bubble boundaries...

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2012/03/paul-nurses-dimblby-lecture.html

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120382/quotes

    'Marlon: [Emotional almost to the point of tears] The point is, I would gladly step in front of traffic for you Truman. And the last thing I would ever do to you...
    Christof: [Feeding Marlon his lines] ... is lie to you.
    Marlon: ...is lie to you.'


    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2010/09/impartiality_is_in_our_genes.html

  • Comment number 47.

    'ASK NOT' WHAT YOUR LICENSE FEE BUYS JUNKK - AGE OF PERVERSITY (#45 and 46)

    YES - it always comes back to the Truman show.

    Sir Paul Nurse induces in me feeling of doing "Science by Numbers". As the link says: "simplistic". All part of the 'A of P' I suppose.

  • Comment number 48.

    '47. At 10:21 12th Mar 2012, barriesingleton wrote:
    'ASK NOT' WHAT YOUR LICENSE FEE BUYS JUNKK - AGE OF PERVERSITY (#45..)


    I'm shocked I tell you, shocked.

    Not.

    Seems the rules were broken, but only when others came along to tell those not qualified that they had been.

    Perverse indeed. I may seek a discount for.. breach of trust?

  • Comment number 49.

    The housing initiatives:

    When she heard the peasants didn't have any bread, the french queen Marie Antoinette said "let them eat cake!"

    Today young couples can't afford to rent a home to start a family or get access to social housing because it's being sold off to buy votes for the government.

    The government's answer to the housing crisis is classic Marie Antoinette - "let them BUY a house instead!"

    The problem is as with the starving french peasants in soon-to-be revolutionary France that they simply don't have the resources to afford it and prices are beyond their reach.

    You'd think after the sub-prime meltdown the whole idea of getting low paid people to take on debt they can't afford would have been consigned to the dustbin of history, but no - here we go again! The taxpayer is to underwrite these new loans to thd tune of £54 Bn.

    It would save a lot of effort if we renamed RBS & Lloyds TSB mortage departments as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, then when interest rates go up and there is a tidal wave of defaults, repossessions and vast amounts of taxpayers' money wasted, we can simply cut & paste from stories about precisely the same disasterous housing policy as was followed in the USA.

    The problem is that wages are too low and that house prices are too high.

    Nothing is being done to address either of these problems - indeed, virtually all economic "reforms" are further cutting the living standards of ordinary people, so compounding the problem - and to then throw vast sums of money away on subsidising the sale of social housing makes it even worse by reducing the supply of affordable homes for rental by bribing council tenants yet again to vote Tory, as Mrs Thatcher did.

    Marie Anoinette's fate may seem harsh to us today - but she and her aristocratic class were responsible for the repression and exploitation of the vast majority of the french people and their suffering - people who in the end rose up and wiped them from the face of the earth.

    Time to dust off the tumbrils, sharpen the guillotines and assemble the sans cullottes!

    Death to the aristos!

    Particularly any who went to Eton. (BTW, this is not a call commit murder - it's a joke, Moderator!)

    But I'm being a little unfair - there are profound differences between Grant Shaps & Marie Antoinette - a big wig, facepaint and a large dress - and that's all - both were and are aa removed from the reality of real peoples' lives as it is possible to be.

  • Comment number 50.

    Marie Antionette never said....'let them eat cake'

  • Comment number 51.

    'it's a joke, Moderator!'

    Nice to see senses of humour and common sense and free speech prevail... when it suits. Or, maybe, there's a secret handshake? There are some from certain schools (inc. of thought) I feel could benefit from serious censure, but doubt my list would make it even, as my kids used to try when nailed, claiming.. 'Just jokin' Dad, honest!'.

    Meanwhile over at Facebook, which the BBC now seeks to embed itself with - http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2012/03/bbc_news_facebook_app.html , I am less sure things are as benign, or sensible...

    http://www.facebook.com/worldhaveyoursay

    Maybe one should be grateful for relative mercies?

  • Comment number 52.

    '50. At 13:52 12th Mar 2012, stevie wrote:
    Marie Antionette never said....'let them eat cake'


    Shush... it's a revised version, based on real events, to reflect today's social environment more accurately.

    Sort of a Cruel Pond meets W!@£$ing Heights... en Francais, so they'll allow it.

    Douce.

  • Comment number 53.

    LET THEM EAT EU SPECIFICATION: '666Z' - CAKELIKE PERMITTED COMPOUND (#52)

    After tax-relief, subsidy, allowances and VAT exemption IT IS CHEAPER THAN BREAD!

  • Comment number 54.

    Grant Shapps/chaps, whatever is name is? Reminds me of that bloke who thinks hes' a comedian. That Russell Howard bloke. He epitomises how middle class people think they can just chose to do something (like being a comic or MP/housing minister), and as long as they quack like a duck, waddle like a duck, look like a duck...they think it makes them funny.

    Rise up and dismantle....yer shed!

  • Comment number 55.

    50.

    You may well be right about Marie Antoinette - but the Sans Cullottes hated her and called her "Madam Deficit" and blamed her for the collapse of the French economy, whilst it was Rousseau actually started the allegation about telling starving breadless peasants to eat cake (or Brioche as it more properly was referred to).

    At this distance it's like saying Hercules didn't really do his labours, or Sampson didn't really get his strength from his long hair - all that matter is that these stories are woven into the fabric of our mythology.

    in popular culture, King Canute is thought to have been sufficiently arrogant to have tried to order the sea to hold back by telling it to when in reality commentary from nearer the time explains this action as being because he ordered the throne placed in the way of the waves and got a good soaking to show his demanding courtiers that there were limits on his ability to satisfy their demands.

    The Rubicon of Roman fame, where to cross it is perceived to be a really big effort was in reality a pretty small ditch of symbolic meaning that a small child could easily traverse.

    Which all goes to show that the truth never got in the way of a good story and its what we think something means which matters - hence the endless attempts to "spin" everything in politics.

    Grant Shapps is self-serving - he has ambitions of an illustrious political career and the power and status this would confer, and being seen to be robust, uncompromising and a true believer in the neoclassical economic dogma is exactly what we would expect.

    Marrie Antoinette, Canute or the Roman Senate would all have seen him right away for what he is - let's hope the electorate do as well.

  • Comment number 56.

    The British electorate...

    http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5245/5340551286_1a60b9e6aa_z.jpg

    'I see no Shapps... or Milibands... or Barkers... I simply see rosettes (h/t B. Singleton) I am told to support... or decry'.

  • Comment number 57.

    HOW DID DAVE BECOME AN EXPERT ON EVERYTHING? HE'S ONLY A POLITICIAN.

    Every day I hear Dave waxing certain on anything from an American squaddie gone berserk, to Arab cultural matters and the mentality of the UK poor. How did he become so able? He was not chosen for ability, any more than Tony or 'Gordon' before him. He was chosen as a performer. Is he pretending? Is it a good thing to elevated individuals of mediocre talent, to a position of exulted power? What might be the result for this nation and its people? Might the team be looking into this Westminster Charade? No? Thought not.

    Carry on.

  • Comment number 58.

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

  • Comment number 59.

    16 years ago, Government by Hallucinating Mob

    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/4.09/netizen_pr.html

  • Comment number 60.

    #58 museV

    'lack of a Y'

    I find that both sexist and offensive, it was a good job you posted it on the tolerant (ignorant) BBC rather than facebook or you could have found youself in custody quicker than the man who shouts at cars.

  • Comment number 61.

    Speaking of referring...

    '58. At 20:09 12th Mar 2012, museV'

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

    Or not.

    Seems the BBC mods can indeed be tolerant. When they choose.

    Or not.

  • Comment number 62.

    THE TV AS 'ALPHA' IN THE HOME GROUP (#60)

    Interesting link Bob - thanks. I have long held the view that the TV, around which 'the group' gathers - ALL WITH THE SAME FOCUS - impacts on the animal mind (Ape) as ALPHA. Its banal, destructive content is probably ABSORBED WITHOUT FILTERING as a template for behaviour. Much follows that is unconducive to civilised life.

  • Comment number 63.

    MONDAY NEWSYNIGHTY: CO2 BROUGHT DOWN THE TWIN TOWERS AND DAVID COPPERFIELD 'DID' BUILDING 7

    It distresses me that while BBC announces itself as having balance in its DNA, NewsyNighty still looks the other way regarding 9/11. I suppose I must accept that even if Susan Watts has real scientific nous with which to think outside the orthodox straight jacket, she will not be allowed to comment on the obvious lies of 9/11.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6WSDxErgBE

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkCrZZvfCEw&feature=related

    And while the myth continues that the "attacks" on the Twin Towers (that caused Tower 7 to fall in sympathy) were "launched" from Afghanistan, reality must wait.

    The Emperor still struts in his new clothes (he has been made Emperor for life) and the boy who pointed out his nakedness, is in Guantanamo, deemed a threat to global security.

    AND WE HAVE GOT OURSELVES ANOTHER ONE - BUT JUST WHAT DOES HE KNOW?

  • Comment number 64.

    MONDAY NEWSYNIGHTY: COMPARATIVE TYRANNY - SPOT THE ROGUE STATE

    In Syria, the tyrannical regime invokes semi-bogus Terror, and then kills selected Syrians to 'counter' it. It is a political ploy.

    In England, the tyrannical regime invokes semi-bogus Terror, and then kills selected JOHNNIE FOREIGNER (who cannot match might) to 'counter' it. It is what civilised states do.

    Is it me?

  • Comment number 65.

    MONDAY NEWSYNIGHTY

    There was one then?

    Darn cuts.

    Or maybe it's this feedback lark to the broadcast process that they are tiring of?

    http://cache2.artprintimages.com/lrg/27/2776/KSMTD00Z.jpg

  • Comment number 66.

    This one's a classic...

    Sayeeda Order of Nonsense
    http://order-order.com/2012/03/12/a-sayeeda-order-of-nonsense/

    And these are the sort of people who "run" the country.

  • Comment number 67.

    JUST THE TIP OF THE VEGGIEBURGER MUSE-V (#66)

    I have challenged Baroness Warsi a number of times over the Conservative Liar Flyer: an administrative misdemeanour that broke Election Law. In a fair, all-in-this-together, democracy, she would at least acknowledge.

    These are INDEED the sort of people who "run" the country (Westminster Creatures) and the quintessential Creature becomes PM - Puppet Master. Now we must watch Dave wallowing in pomp, believing he is GREAT, while simply being an over-hyped, demon-driven juvenile.

    WE GOT OURSELVES ANOTHER ONE

  • Comment number 68.

    WHEN DAVE MEETS BARACK

    Will they discuss how to minimise further misery to the population of Afghanistan?

    Or will they combine to minimise loss of face, and to maximise political advantage?

    Yeah right - all their expertise lies in the latter field.

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 69.

    #67 barrie wrote:

    "Now we must watch Dave wallowing in pomp, believing he is GREAT, while simply being an over-hyped, demon-driven juvenile."

    Just watch the BBC (British Brainwashing Corporation) maximise the propaganda from this US jaunt on NN over the next few days.

 

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