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Monday 5 March 2012

Verity Murphy | 12:55 UK time, Monday, 5 March 2012

As the UK government says it is re-considering its plan to axe child benefit for higher rate taxpayers we ask whether any change can be made to the benefits system without a coalition-rocking public outcry.

Vladimir Putin has won the Russian presidential election, but was his victory fair? Tim Whewell reports on less than transparent behaviour at the ballot box.

And we will be discussing Mr Putin's win with former foreign secretary David Miliband and Sergey Markov, a Putin election representative.

Also, President Barack Obama and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu are meeting in the US, with Iran's nuclear ambition lurking in the diplomatic shadows. Israel may need US support for an attack on Iran and support for Israel is of huge political importance in the US, so Mark Urban will be paying close attention to the tone of their press conference.

And Stephen Smith asks whether London really will benefit from the Olympics as the organisers claim.


  • Comment number 1.

    Oo, back on. Nifty.

    'And to digest all things international, former foreign secretary David Miliband will be in the studio.'

    Him being an objective 'expert' 'n all?

    At heat over light, he does seem qualified.

    Mind you, I am still digesting the notion the BBC is promoting that my 15-year-olds are raging bundles of poorly-restrained testosterone on par with BMW-driving 'older boyfriends' in parts other (55secs in):

    Meanwhile, over lunch was presented with one of the spawning infesations of hundred-k harridans from our stoppit industry.

    This clueless harpie was on about her commission and preventing women from getting murdered the first time they hit eHarmony, by blowing every data protection law in the book out of the window. Plus getting the fuzz to act as a well-meaning (if powerless, and restricted) shoulder should some single mother seem inclined to move in with her brood to the boyfriend's crib despite the notches on the bedpost.

    All the interviewer, on our behalf, was trying to get at was how it would work, and with what aim.

    All this clueless ninnie could do was intone how long and how much she was going to be spending having meetings on 'it', whatever 'it' was.

    Why do I get the feeling she will be up with Harperson and Penny later to be fed easy balls from the Wark on just how awful men are and... no, that will about do it.

    ps: There was a sensible woman on too (BBC please try one day) who pointed out that existing laws on abuse were fine, but if useless plod is useless there won't be much change. If I was a woman in danger of domestic abuse I'd feel even more worried if this is the calibre of brainpower being brought to bear to your protection. Plus how it gets held to account in 'reporting'.

  • Comment number 2.


    Show me a politician whose victory was fair, and I'll give you a free ticket back to reality - if you care to go.

    When the UK government is done axing some child benefit payments, perhaps it will attend to unfair victories at home?

    Iran is ripe for deserved attack: they stubbornly refuse to send mothers to work and 2 year olds to school. Such wilful backwardness has to be beaten (sorry - that should read 'bombed') out of them, the way we made Britain (and Empire) great.

    I can't think of anything ironic to say about David Miliband. If he ousts his brother, we will GET OURSELVES ANOTHER ONE!

  • Comment number 3.

  • Comment number 4.

  • Comment number 5.


    Tehran Pushes to Ditch the US Dollar

    The official line from the United States and the European Union is that Tehran must be punished for continuing its efforts to develop a nuclear weapon. The punishment: sanctions on Iran's oil exports, which are meant to isolate Iran and depress the value of its currency to such a point that the country crumbles. But that line doesn't make sense, and the sanctions will not achieve their goals. Iran is far from isolated and its friends – like Russia, China and India – will stand by the oil-producing nation until the US either backs down or acknowledges the real matter at hand. That matter is the American dollar and its role as the global reserve currency.

  • Comment number 6.

    '4. At 16:29 5th Mar 2012, NollyPrott wrote:

    When I was a Civ. Eng, there was some noble stuff about shaping nature to the benefit of mankind, but the 'unofficial' motto was 'An Engineer can do for a shilling what any other [pejorative] would take a £'. ROI, or in my more eco-case enviROI, are matters of numbers not too tricky to estimate given various known factors, as opposed to the mickey mouse aspirational con-job ones still spouted in 'could power half of Scotland' versions our bestest science correspondents are happy to retype from the PR to news fax machine.

    Now, as far as I can gather, the only Engineers asked, were those keener on being asked if they would like to be a Sir or a Lord, and we're heading not only for massive costs going in that could have been better applied elsewhere, but in stumping up for subsidies (and hence bonus cuts to lobbyists, etc) for decades to come keeping them upright and (sort of) working, before mores costs to take 'em away when busted.

    Salt water, cold and high wind... what was the worst that could happen to thin steel sail (with all consequent leverage issues) structures in the middle of nowhere with complex gear mechanisms atop?

    I think I might ensure my two are well briefed on just who sanctioned all this, from pols to media, so when they are stumping up to keep the latter in their index-linked pensions as the lights flicker, they fully appreciate who gets full credit.

    Starting with Messrs. Miliband, Cameron, Clegg & Huhne.

  • Comment number 7.

    #3 NollyPrott posted:

    I have advocated civil disobedience in response to blogs that keep focusing on problems but never proposing practical solutions. For me, there is a great deal of sense in protesting during the London Olympics as I am no follower of competitive sports, having preferred the challenges of nature and my own spirit and skills (scuba-diving, sailing, flying, hanggliding) and decrying the indecent amounts of money poured into say football or golf, which seem to generate poor role models.

    Also the whole charade of choosing Olympic venues has been shown to be influenced by ‘bungs’; and I dislike the unfair competition between countries with large populations and money to throw at sport, compared to the smaller nations that don’t stand a chance of getting any medals. The idea of awarding a knight/dame-hood to somebody because they crossed a line a bare millisecond ahead of others is, to me, laughable.

    I had no wish to apply for tickets and will watch a very few events on the large screen in the comfort of my home, but wonder if others support the link, and if so, how? If the scorn that is poured daily on our nation by us bloggers is any indication, then such a key opportunity to show disobedience should be followed. But I doubt it.

  • Comment number 8.

    Just watching the Jobs & Growth in a Low Carbon Economy debate and it would appear that everybody seems to be living on a different planet given the latest developments in Germany. At least the quasi-religious idiot alleged to be in charge accepts that jobs are going to be driven to India and China, despite interventions from enviro loonies like Joan Ruddock. It is interesting to note that there are very few MP's in the chamber, especially Labour and perhaps the rats are deserting the rapidly sinking CO2 Climate Scam ship.

  • Comment number 9.

    I think you'll find that Newsnight, in common with the rest of the BBC, probably isn't very happy with the Russians because the Russian people have made the big mistake of voting for who THEY want rather than doing what they were told by British journalists and Russian/Israeli oligarchs.
    (If you want to fling around accusations of rigged elections, I'd have thought there were enough in this country to be going on with?)

    I'm not sure I understand why Malcom "I used to be Foreign Secretary" Rifkind (for 1yr 10 months) or David "I used to be Foreign Secretary" Miliband (for 2yrs 11 months) are assumed by you to have special authority in matters of foreign affairs. Wouldn't it be kinder to encourage them to move on?

  • Comment number 10.


    So sad it should come to this. Hosting the games is now a KUDOS CHIP at the Globopoly Table, where only the surface scum of Westminster may sit.

    Other chips are: nucular (sic) weapons - global military reach - top end GDP - banking hub, airline hub and (wish list) high speed rail. Ironically, a stable, contented, competent, population COUNTS FOR NAUGHT.

  • Comment number 11.

    7. "...... For me, there is a great deal of sense in protesting during the London Olympics as I am no follower of competitive sports...."

    How staggeringly totalitarian of you.

  • Comment number 12.

    #6 Junkk

    Perhaps the standard of practical engineering these day's is more than amply demonstrated to be rock bottom considering the fact that the idiots made and fitted stainless steel bearing on stainless steel hip joints. Anyone who has ever worked with stainless steel nuts and bolts knows that there is a high posibility that the nut wil sieze on the bolt before its properly tight as it picks up on itself. I remember the original cast stainless ball and plastic socket hip joints which doctors were loathe to fit to younger people because they knew full well they would eventually wear out. That said it is probably the case that the original design was far better from a practical angle than any of the alleged improvements since, just looking at the bearing area of the joints featured in last weeks programe would tell any practical engineer they were totally useless.

  • Comment number 13.

  • Comment number 14.

    #11 MaggieL wrote of my #7 ‘How staggeringly totalitarian of you.’

    My dictionary defines totalitarian: ‘of a political system in which only one political system and party and no rival loyalties are permitted e.g. Germany under Hitler’

    My statement begins with “For me…” and “…wonders whether others support the link and if so how?” Surely egalitarian not totalitarian as, like most bloggers I dislike the increasing inequalities in our society, but try to seek Ways to protest, other than just Words. I also favour Freedom of Speech, so welcome all comment, particularly proposals for action.

  • Comment number 15.

    We English are so disinterested in politics that Vladimir Putin recently was perfectly able, and justified, in giving us a lecture on democracy.

    Mr. Putin pointed out that Tony Blair not only reneged upon a promise to serve a full Parliamentary term but also his successor, Gordon Brown was simply installed without any sort of public election taking place, which Putin pointed out could not happen in Russia.

    It is a very poor show when we English have to accept this - but that is the price we pay for political apathy.

  • Comment number 16.

  • Comment number 17.

    Arrrggghhhh Twitter isn't working :o(
    Interesting discussion with Lilley et al on child benefits.... it's pointless giving those who are better off £ :p

  • Comment number 18.

    Phew, Twitter is back!

  • Comment number 19.

    "Hilary Clinton is paying all these people to protest in the streets" - David Miliband quoting Putin.
    "There's a 50% chance he won't get a second term" - DM on Putin
    Maybe, just maybe, the Russians actually wanted does happen......and what happened to all the webcams at the polling booths anyway?

  • Comment number 20.

    :p The Russians have military bases in Syria, therefore the probability of a Libya style takeover is nil.

  • Comment number 21.

    North Korea tested Iranian warhead or “dirty bomb” in 2010 for $55m

  • Comment number 22.

  • Comment number 23.


    Anyone else reckon that Bibi had this one lined up all along?....

    "For them, you're the Great Satan, we're the Little Satan," he said. "For them, we are you, and you are us".

    Israel must remain 'master of its fate', Benjamin Netanyahu tells Barack Obama

    He turned an insult into a rally call of the useful that's chutzpah!

  • Comment number 24.

    According to this article 77% think Child Benefit should be Axed for rich people.

    No doubt the question was loaded but many of the people commenting want it scrapped altogether.

    The Government just want to make it administratively complex and expensive when they could achieve what they want simply and cheaply.

    Idiot politicians voted in by an idiot population to carry out idiotic policies just because they are 'popular', it's no wonder this country is going down the pan.

  • Comment number 25.

    Jeremy's interview with Daniel Taub is the best interview of the night :o) Excellent.

  • Comment number 26.


    To calibrate a lie detector, you ask the subject questions like: "What is your name".

    Might it be a good idea to ask poll-fodder a few 'calibrating questions'?

    1) Do the unconceived have a right to life or a right to remain as they are?

    2) What defines a rogue state?

    3) Would privatised government cost less and be more effective?

    4) Add your own.

    They could then be assigned a "gormless loading", and their answers to questions about Child Benefit for the rich, discounted accordingly.

  • Comment number 27.


    Muslims killing muslims. Statistically muslims are mustard at this. A horror repeated often eh. What I want to know is, where our the usual fanatics when their "brothers and sisters" are getting killed? Do they only get upset and rant when its the infidel crusaders doing the killing? This slaughter reminds me of my reading of history, our history. The quashing of rebellion by the English in the 14th century of the Scots and the welsh.
    No surprise that John McCain is calling for intervention...he always calls for intervention but as pointed out by your guest David Miliband -who was very good tonight, even if he is still a socialist - intervention will only increase the bloodbath. Still, its very difficult to hear of the atrocities, highly emotive, and a collective western inertia, add to that, war weariness, and the west not wanting to light any fuse; the fear of greater wars etc means we all stand back, do nothing other than watch, and just hoping behind the scenes some strong worded dialogue is taking place.

    Meanwhile, Israel is getting twitchy with the Hitler of Iran developing new fireworks. Not helped any with a Corporate owned Marxist like Obama in the whitehouse either. (no mention from the lame stream of Obama's biggest critic dropping dead hours before the planned release of some interesting video) I'm no fan of Israel but they have good reason to be worried and twitchy.

    Putin and dodgy polling:
    Reminds me of our own recent voting fraud in Cities and towns such as Bradford.

    Labour people: you picked the wrong brother..yeah, you know it.

  • Comment number 28.

    Escobar: Putin not part of NWO, labelled evil by elites

    Vladimir Putin has won the presidential race to become Russia’s leader for a third term. Official results have given him almost 64 per cent of the vote. Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar in Thailand says that despite the Russian people making their choice clear, the U.S. is still on a mission to vilify the country…

  • Comment number 29.


    What I register, Kev, is the intense focus of THE GOOD PEOPLE'S MEDIA on 'manner of death'; with description of boots, knives, screams etc; in a word: TABLOID.

    Were the GOOD PEOPLE, in this ‘caring’ democracy, living blameless home-lives, and interacting in social harmony, with no oppression, squalor and violence, engendered by incompetence, would they really want all that distressing detail?

    In truth (not a useful media tool) a country that uses abuse, torture, degradation, humiliation, nihilism, violence and - indeed - bloody warfare, AS HOME ENTERTAINMENT, is in no position to bring goodness (especially illusory goodness of the Tony/Dave kind) to culturally distant lands.

    What is the point of being a Christian country (notionally) if the magnificently simple parable of MOAT AND BEAM goes unheeded? I suggest an ironic law requiring M&B repetition, BEFORE EACH SESSION OF PARLIAMENT, repeated twice for Cabinet sittings, as minsters are even less competent; AND ITS INTONATION AS A CONSTANT BACKGROUND MANTRA, AT THE GLOBOPOLY TABLE!


  • Comment number 30.


    Have you not read your Zimbardo yet Kev? "The Lucifer Effect". It sits well with the parable of Mote and Beam. Circumstances bring forth the man; indeed the men. Beware circumstances . . .

    With Westminster a proven, if covert, Tyranny - routinely breaking its own laws - despot led; you surely know where to look? Terrorism is mostly top-down.

  • Comment number 31.

    Loving the missed irony of this..

    Force women into positions of high power? Interesting.

    Especially as I read this from one of the over-promoted 'we are imaprtial 'cos it says so right here where I wrote it' market rates in BBC senior management:


  • Comment number 32.

    NICE! (#31 link 1)

    "In pretty much every position I have ever held, for 30 years, my immediate line manager or the boss most important to the way I did my job has been a woman."


  • Comment number 33.

    #27 kev

    Oh kev!…I don’t know where to begin with this post of yours.

    Let’s start with...

    >>> “Muslims killing muslims. Statistically muslims are mustard at this.”
    I seem to remember the Northern Irish were pretty good at this too not so long ago.

    >>> “David Miliband -who was very good tonight, even if he is still a socialist”
    If you honestly believe that any of the Milibands (The father, The Son or the Holy Ghost) are real socialists then please provide the proof/evidence. They are Trotskyists. Trotskyist are not real socialists, they are “International Socialists”.

    >>> “Meanwhile, Israel is getting twitchy with the Hitler of Iran developing new fireworks.”
    I seem to remember you answering thus to Ahmadinejad’s last speech at the UN posted on here back in September of last year..

    >>> “Not helped any with a Corporate owned Marxist like Obama in the whitehouse either.”
    You make the same mistake as Alex Jones (on purpose?) as others in assuming that Obama is a Marxist or owned by Marxists. He IS owned by far-right libertarian anarchists. i.e. Wall St. and the banksters. Don’t be fooled by the right vs left….GOP vs liberal charade that takes place over there. It’s all just bread and circuses for the dupes and sheeple. It’s all about keeping statism at bay (think China and the Muslim Middle/Far East), yet deceiving the rest that democracy is best.

    And lastly…

    >>> “Labour people: you picked the wrong brother..yeah, you know it.”
    As stated above, both brothers are libertarian, free-market anarchists, just like their father was. They are cosmopolitans and International Socialists (look up the SI on Wiki). They are far right shills. They are “Israel Firsters”. Both received their libertarian training studying PPE at Oxford and subsequent free-market programming during stints in the US. Both DO what is best for business and their kind, DISGUISED under the banner of “Socialism”. Think of them as Manchurian Candidates in “opposition” to the Tories.

    Is it your intention to deliberately deceive others on this blog-site?

  • Comment number 34.

    "isn't there something stupid about giving tax money to rich people"

    yes and doubly stupid to keep giving millionaire landowners 4 billion a year merely for owning land. why is it ring fenced?

    how can it be more politically acceptable to cut child benefits than land benefit to millionaires?
    shows who really is in control?

    why are people without kids forced to hand over cash to people who CHOOSE to have kids?

  • Comment number 35.

    Claiming the Moral High Ground.

    bibi must think we are kuku to believe that doodoo.

    they would send death squads against us if we stood up for human rights for all?

    when will cameron ask for a list of uk citizens in the idf so they can be prosecuted? when will those in the uk misleading british subjects into that law breaking be arrested?

  • Comment number 36.

    Musev wrote (regarding me):

    "Is it your intention to deliberately deceive others on this blog-site?"

    In answer to your question ...yes.

    Barrie: forgive my ignorance, of which is on regular display, so no debate there. You point me to zimbardo..I shall seek via google and see where it takes me.

    Musev..chill dude

  • Comment number 37.

    '36. At 13:31 6th Mar 2012, kevseywevsey wrote:
    Musev wrote (regarding me):
    "Is it your intention to deliberately deceive others on this blog-site?"
    In answer to your question ...yes.

    Ah, well, points for honesty at least.

    Better maybe than those who seek to deceive yet deny it. Worse yet, write posts on how undeniable they are. Or choose to lecture on mistakes made, when it's just possibly not a mistake but another point of view.

    Can happen too.

    And there are a lot of them about.

  • Comment number 38.

    Started badly, and is now turning into an awesome hole digger.

    The BBC is going to be all over this like a rash. Empire-building. Unaccountable funding. Racism...

    No, really.

    Ok, how about this...

  • Comment number 39.


    "The more we are the stronger we are." (Motto of the Global Order of Destruction GOD)

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 40.


    Although it is an obvious self-indulgence, and an easy saving for the Beeb.

  • Comment number 41.


    What Vince Cable has sensed, but not decoded, is that Crass Cameron is not IN THIS TOGETHER, but for himself. A demon driven boy, Cameron does not ask what he can do for this country, but what the position of PM can do for him. Of course, having no competence in self-awareness, he fails to realise that personal demons can only be dislodged by FACING THEM IN ONESELF! This being so – poor mocked Dave will just rush from one high profile platform (physical or metaphorical) to another, ever seeking an end to the pain of being Dave.


  • Comment number 42.

    When you travel to somewhere new, what do you see?

    I guess you see what you want to see.

    For example, about twelve years ago, I loaded up my motorcycle and headed down south and ended up travelling around Cornwall.

    I saw many things but one item literally stood out - a slightly ominous looking flag, a white cross on a black background, which I saw being displayed from houses and gardens. Subsequently, I discovered that this is the flag of Cornwall - St. Piran's flag and from conversations with locals in the pubs, I discovered that the people of Cornwall consider themselves to be a separate people from the English, and historically, that is actually the case.

    Thus when our contributor Sasha Clarkson mentioned a possible Balkanisation of England, post Scottish independence, then I was able to draw upon this knowledge in my reply and state that yes, that might happen in the case of Cornwall.

    However, when David Cameron travels to Cornwall for his holidays, somehow, all of this passes him by and so a recent petition signed by more than 10% of the people in Cornwall calling for a referendum on self-government in Cornwall did not even receive the courtesy of a reply from No. 10.

    Whatever Cameron does or does not do -let me make a prediction - in twenty years time, not only will Scotland and Wales be fully independent of the Westmonster Brits, but Cornwall will also have its own 'Sons of Cornwall' Assembly.

    The Westminster Brits will be swept away on the tide of political history and our England will be England again.

  • Comment number 43.

    Almost 6pm and.. 'we don't like Mondays'?

    Guessing the BBC will be keener on the Pesto-Cable scoop than 'analysing' Mr. Miliband's latest speaking with/to/for the nation.

    We'll see. Or, maybe, 'we' won't:)

  • Comment number 44.

    42. John Constable

    Unless they discover oil, there's not much hope that Cornwall would ever be able to support all those benefit claimants. I got plenty of emails yesterday wishing me "Lowen Dydh sen Pyran!" but none from anyone who's working.

  • Comment number 45.


    The denizens of self-serving Westminster know little of cutting-edge, maverick science - in some cases refusing to look, as they have a vested interest in the current paradigm being sustained. Wind and CO2 are current examples.

    A viable new source of energy, will throw the tectonic plates of power all over the place, and a New World Order undreamed of (and unprepared for) by Westminster and Illuminati alike, will bring havoc for good or ill.

    If the Cornish get to be Cornish again - hurrah!



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