Talk about Newsnight

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Friday, 1 September, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 1 Sep 06, 05:38 PM

molly_ap203.jpgIs the story of 12-year-old Molly Campbell's "abduction" a parable for our times? Was there ever any real evidence that she had been abducted, or was it an assumption people were all too keen to make in the present climate where Muslims are being prejudged, just because they are Muslim?

Also, the forgotten plight of Gaza - a donors' conference in Stockholm is discussing what to do about the crisis in the Palestinian territories, alongside its discussions on reconstruction in Lebanon, but is it all hot air?

And Tony Blair's loyal MPs. Just how loyal are they?

We welcome your thoughts on the programme.

Comments  Post your comment

Is Kirsty looking hot tonight or is it just me? Woo Hoo!!

  • 2.
  • At 10:58 PM on 01 Sep 2006,
  • Richard Bonny wrote:

Your interview of the two commentators regarding Molly Campbell this evening was absolutely absurd. Despite your ardent attempts to put words into their mouths this has nothing to do with Islamophobia. The point is the girl has been abducted from her legal guardian. How can you be an apologist for this kind of behaviour? Are UK Court rulings to be tossed aside on the basis that they might offend one party or the other? Do you really think its alright because the girl says it is? How do you know what kind of emotional blackmail has been applied to her? None of these issues was even considered. The interview was absolute rubbish, even the commentators seemed completely lost by your line of questioning.

  • 3.
  • At 11:00 PM on 01 Sep 2006,
  • Rob wrote:


I have never seen such an inane piece of news.

'Of course you're a sikh'.

Haw haw haw haw haw haw.

Jesus wept. Spare us from such tomfoolery, gies peace, leave these people alone.

All media is tabloid, thanks for the proof Kirsty.

  • 4.
  • At 11:02 PM on 01 Sep 2006,
  • Edward Chewtoy wrote:

Will Kirsty ever get the pronounciation of Le Corbusier right? Probably not. It's Cor-bu-ZYAY (3 syllables), not Cor-BOO-si-ay.

  • 5.
  • At 11:21 PM on 01 Sep 2006,
  • Keith Donaldson wrote:

Rightly discussing fundamental issues not just for Britain, but for the world, such as perceived Islamophobia, and the awful plight of Palestinians in Gaza just minutes after we hear on the 10 o' clock news about potentially thousands of British Muslims being driven down a path towards fundamentalism. And all that the British political class seems interested in is when Tony's going to name the day. Is it just me or have some people got their priorities totally mixed up?

  • 6.
  • At 11:33 PM on 01 Sep 2006,
  • John Lowton wrote:

Re: Molly Campbell.
I'm surprised and confused to see Kirsty has misplaced her teeth tonight - is it BBC policy or her own judgement to back off in the face of a ridiculous and invalid argument proposed by the asian -descent gentleman in this interview - I missed his name or I would refer specifically to him - not derogatory
Tell her to remind him that 'Newspapers go after everyone if it will generate sales, however sometimes this may include British Muslims or British people of Foreign descent - mostly longstanding old Englishfolk - not specifically the former'! -

Child kidnap for marriage etc - is not a problem in our multi-faith and multi-ethnic society - outside a certain section! Why not be honest and ask how many outside this are in the frame for this!

Backing off as she did only serves to polarise the views of certain elements within multicultural/faith Britain

Sad and puzzled - I have no issue with individual race, creed or colour - just poor judgement.


  • 7.
  • At 11:33 PM on 01 Sep 2006,
  • Rob wrote:

Too offensive earlier on then?? Maybe I forgot my e-mail, just in case we'll try again.

I pay my licensce fee etc. etc.

Frothing at the mouth, Musselburgh.

  • 8.
  • At 02:14 AM on 02 Sep 2006,
  • Ryan wrote:

Islamophobia? Excuse me? How ridiculous!

Fact: A minor was taken -- against the will of her mother and guardian.

Fact: That is kidnapping.

Fact: That is a criminal offence in Pakistan and Britian.

This man, her biological father, broke the law. His race is irrelevant. Instead we must feel great sympathy and raise the spectre of Islamophobia?

How was she "alledgedly snatched" if she was taken, against the wishes of her guardian. There's no allegedly about it.

Rather than wasting time drumming up Islamophobia why not ask why her mother has sole custody in the first place? Hmm....

The man needs to be arrested. The girl needs to be returned to Britian.

Forget race, forget issues of arranged marriages. Deal with the facts.

Very very poor agenda-lead journalism Newsnight!

  • 9.
  • At 05:47 AM on 02 Sep 2006,
  • Jack Maclean wrote:

Dear Newsnight,
What is going on at Newsnight? Is it losing it's conceptual marbles over things Islamic?Islam has been around for a while and know a thing or two Paradigmatic blindness?
Well, what do we do about the achy achy
compassionate heart? Not the girls dug in up to their necks,well prepared for the tender stoning - not too small so that the terror won't let go, or too rough hewn so that it will - too quickly.
And our gays,what of them,turkey necked on the nasty hook? And then,the teens under the blows of mothers,fathers,brothers, cousins...
"So what are we gonna do then? Well, we've got our hands on the means of inculcation,right? So lets lay out our comfort taboo zone, and don't stint on the 'Islamophobias' (what a corker of seemantik skulduggery)and no one will dare go there,right,no questions,no do gooders no questions right? The old 'emperors clothes' malarky.

  • 10.
  • At 09:00 AM on 02 Sep 2006,
  • Brian Kelly wrote:

Smooth transitions, coronation, when , where , how, will they , won't they!it's really sick making...Who the hell gives a damn! Politically, & opposition-wise Blair should stay in place...he's losing NL voters each time he opens his mouth.....& should it arise? Gordaq will do worse!hee! hee!.
Thus making it easier for a "smooth" transition to the Conservatives taking office.BUT meanwhile UK plc needs good, responsible , governance from NL..Try your best .., until the next( very early?I hope.) GEs.

  • 11.
  • At 10:08 AM on 02 Sep 2006,
  • chris wrote:

It maywell be the case that this girl is suffering from argument and isolation due to her mother, however it doesnt mean that she will ultimately be better off with her father. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for this person.

With regards Kirsty's pronunciation its getting to the point where its just bullying. Those who have an issue why dont you offer your services to Newsnight and see how you get on with your nerves presenting to the magification of camera with millions of people on the other end.

  • 12.
  • At 10:28 AM on 02 Sep 2006,
  • Rick B wrote:

Was the Molly Campbell story Islamophobic? I don't know, it depends on how many children go missing every day and how many become headline news?

There is definitley an Islamophobic agenda pushed forward by Blair and any little story that can be pushed to show how bad muslims are seems to feed into it. Not that muslim people don't do bad things but if there is a disproportionate focus on muslims then that will just feed into the prejudice.

  • 13.
  • At 02:48 PM on 02 Sep 2006,
  • youssef khlat wrote:

Re: Gaza report.

Robin Denzelow's report was excellent and timely

  • 14.
  • At 03:17 PM on 02 Sep 2006,
  • Lindy Greenwell wrote:

re Molly Campbell

On Friday evening I watched the news item (ie not Newsnight itself)on Molly Campbell, from the Western Isles, with incredulity. There was an happy 12 year old, obviously excited by the novelty of being in a foreign country, animated by the prospect of a new life, amongst her extended family. Her bashful but untroubled smiles seemed to contrast sharply with the emotional shock and distress of her mother.

And then the expert was called in. We were told that, whilst the courts will see the ‘best interest of the child’ as paramount, Molly’s expressed desire, to live with her father, could take precedence over her mother’s wishes This is because, said the expert, children from the age of 9 or 10 are considered mature enough in law to be able to make clear judgements about what is best for them. The net effect of this is that, from the age of 9 upwards, what the child says they want is often what the child gets.

Is family law completely mad? In what other circumstance do we let children from the age of 9 get what they want? No one is eligible to vote until the age of 18, presumably because the law has decided anyone younger is not mature enough to do so. We do not let children decide whether or not they can go to school, and we do not let them quit a subject just because they don’t like the teacher. Imagine the scene:

Child, aged 11: I hate my English teacher, she’s really strict. I don’t want to do English any more.

Parent: That’s OK, darling, you do what you want, you know what’s best.

And what motivates a child to make decisions about what is best? Children, as any parent knows, like to have their own way. They are motivated by staying up late, neglecting homework, spending money, and having lots of good things to eat (burgers, chips, biscuits, sweets; anything nice).

Children need boundaries, and routine, and yet these are the very things children resist. The role of the parents is to guide their child to learn to make good judgements, and to learn to integrate their own needs with the demands of the society in which they live. Allowing children to make decisions about where and with whom they live deprives the child of crucial learning experiences.

The equation of ‘the best interests of the child’ with ‘what the child says they want’ also ignores a phenomenon which pops up in other guises in the news with disturbing regularity. It is the ability of an adult to persuade another person to act in a way which is against their own best interest, and perhaps against the best interests of society. It has many names, from brainwashing and cult membership, to Stockholm Syndrome and traumatic bonding. When it is applied to a child caught up in parental separation it is known as Parental Alienation Syndrome which, because of its devastating effects on the child, is seen as a form of emotional abuse.

Ignoring all this, English family law clings to the concept that ‘what the child wants’ is the panacea to meeting the child’s needs. It certainly relieves the law of the responsibility of finding a more constructive and genuinely supportive solution for the child caught up in the mess of parental separation.

The message our family law system gives to children is that they are in control. Parental authority is undermined as children can simply walk from one parent to another when they chose. This is turn reduces parental respect, producing a generation who have learnt they need have no respect for authority.

And what of parental rights? No doubt Molly’s father felt deprived of his parental rights, and the act of taking his daughter may have been an expression of this. Surely both Molly’s parents should have the right to have a say in decisions about their child’s welfare? Surely they should have a right to parent their child without fear of loss or retaliation, and a right to be treated with compassion? There are no easy answers, but relying on the child to find the solution really isn’t fair.

As the idealism of ‘what the child wants’ predominates in courts, more and more children are being subjected to persuasive tactics by unscrupulous parents, of both sexes, so polarising their perception of their own parenting needs. Mothers and fathers are being lost in this war of words.

The law does not give Molly the opportunity to have both her parents in her life (eg a Scottish base with frequent holidays to Pakistan, with both parental relationships legally protected) and so she must choose, with devastating consequences.

In recent years laws have been passed supporting the rights of many groups in society; including the disabled, the elderly, young people and carers. There is also an idea that the amount of distress caused to the victims of crime should contribute to considerations when sentencing criminals. The distress of Louise Campbell is no less than any parent whose child is suddenly and forcibly removed from their life (usually by homicide, but the effect for the parent is the same). If Molly remains in Pakistan, that loss is effectively a death to her mother.

Parents have their own emotional needs; to see, to hold, to talk to, to share life with, their child. The need to nurture one’s child is instinctive, and part of what it is to be human. Yet when a parent becomes entangled in family law they seem to have no rights. The door in shut on humanity.

Instead, the child rules, and with it the opportunity for manipulation, retaliation, defiance, loss, guilt and, above all, abuse. Abuse of the child, as they are robbed of a parent, their childhood, and all the opportunities of emotional growth and security that go with that.

What a surprise... last night you report, what was it, a third of Labour MPs want Blair out now? Then today there's a new batch of terror arrests and once more fear is stealing the headlines.

Interesting Blog.

  • 17.
  • At 08:05 PM on 02 Sep 2006,
  • Ian Wright wrote:

Watching this report and the two studio guests, discussing the media furore over this story, and the arranged marriages. It does seem that whenever a new story hits the headlines, which concerns the muslim community. We see the ubiquitous experts come out, and we see the victim mentality in full flow. It seems that nowadays many muslims talk about them being the victims. This is supposedly to make we non-muslims feel guilty about any critical thoughts we may have about the news topics. Why is it that we see many lobby groups for so many different sections of the ethnic communities. yet we see very little of any groups in support of just plain brits whatever ethnic background.

  • 18.
  • At 04:21 AM on 03 Sep 2006,
  • easyE wrote:

Was there Islamaphobia in perceptions? Probably yes for some, probably no for others, but, a quick point to the people posting above

Look them up in the dictionary.

There was no violence or force. She went of her own free will.
Yes she should have talked to her mother, but it is not kidnapping or abduction. She has merely run away.

How many children run away in Britain every day? Can't recall many other cases being reported.

SO the people (above, #2, #6, #8, not to mention the media) who suggest otherwise, despite all the facts being out, either don't know their own language, or are consciously or subconsciously misrepresenting the truth - you have to admit it looks like Islamaphobia to anyone reading your posts

I do feel for Misbas mother - it must be terrible, and I hope they can sort it out. A child really should have both parents

  • 19.
  • At 10:24 AM on 03 Sep 2006,
  • Ryan wrote:

easyE (#17) you miss the point completely. Whether she is a runaway, kidnaped or abducted (definitions below for your edification), she should be returned to her legal guardian. Newsnight was wrong to raise Islamophobia.


adj : (of persons) seized and detained unlawfully, often for ransom; "the father restored the kidnapped (or abducted) child to the mother" [syn: kidnapped, kidnaped]


tr.v. kid·napped, or kid·naped kid·nap·ping, or kid·nap·ing kid·naps or kid·naps : seize and detain unlawfully and usually for ransom.


v : take away to an undisclosed location against their will and usually in order to extract a ransom; "The industrialist's son was kidnapped" [syn: nobble, abduct, snatch]

  • 20.
  • At 11:32 AM on 03 Sep 2006,
  • Marc wrote:

Wonder why you "censored" (refused to post) my comments posted yesterday, pointing out the hypocrisy of BBC Newsnight - by comparing the "partial" way you covered the Monarch airline passenger story with the "partial" (Islamophobic) way you seemed to be implying that some sections of the media covered the Molly Campbell story??

  • 21.
  • At 03:39 PM on 03 Sep 2006,
  • Hugh Waldock wrote:

I´m probably well renown on here for my personal rather than objective viewpoints but that of Molly is a very tricky one. In 1986 my parents split and at the time I was fonder of my father than my mother. I in no way blame my mother for trying to hold onto me, but it was so that I was not just asked for my opinion (nicely). A social worker visited me 5 times four times in which I expressed a wish to be with my father and after harrassing a nine year old boy for five hours, I EVENTUALLY SAID I wasn´t sure, which was the viewpoint they used in my custody case.

These things are very very tricky especially as was said that she was allowed no contact at all with her father or siblings.

I don´t blame Molly for what she did, beucase she is obviously intelligent and has a lot of courage, after only seeing dad every two weeks and crying every time he brought me home, my father Greg died of cancer in 1993. On balence it probably would have been better if I´d seen more of him then, because there are certain things that a mother can´t give a son
that a father can. Many daughters idolise their fathers at 12 so no wonder it happened.

Islamophobia? Well I suppose it can be seen that way becuase of the language and cultural references that were apparent in the articles.

I think the Isrealis should at least stop bombing the Gaza power stations and allow Palestinians to fish!! How does fishing comprimise Isreali security if it´s monitored. That is just sheer spite and it has to stop.

Blair, well I just think he´s far too right wing for my liking.

  • 22.
  • At 04:17 PM on 03 Sep 2006,
  • Hugh Waldock wrote:

I wish to say I´m not saying that mothers should not do everything they can to hold onto their kids, the motherly bond is renown as being particularly strong, however, and I feel this is exactly the same case here as with my father, that there is a certain degree of "dirty" fighting going on. Mothers and grandmothers are often paranoid at least in my case of losing their children becuase they love them so much and will resort to anything including a complete deconstruction of a father´s personality in order to win the case. This is not only disonhourable and incredibly psychologically damaging to a father, these things are what children remember for the rest of their lives, I am 28 and I still remember very clearly the arguements that were put forward against my father, most of them total and utter predudice, some of them still held by my grandmother even now.

The important thing is that there are
3 parties in a marriage and one of them is the children. Their opinions are important too, and they are sometimes quite clear and independent of their parents, especially at 12. I am glad that Molly has shown the courage to get HER agenda on the table, and express an opinion for what SHE wants independent of her father and mother, to fly to Pakistan this shows an immense courage for a girl of 12 and I´m sure she wouldn´t have done it without having her doubts, even if she doesn´t get to stay with her father, her mother will have to respect her views more with respect to access in the future. Well done Molly, I´m proud of you!!

  • 23.
  • At 05:55 PM on 03 Sep 2006,
  • Hugh Waldock wrote:

Lindy Greenwell´s comments on children´s
psychology are absolute psychobabble.

It might be academically sound, of that I am not sure becuase I am not well read on the subject academically but it certainly doesn´t account for the damage it does to a child´s pschology to be totally denied access to one of their parents.

We are not talking about not being allowed a bag of crisps, Molly´s mother is wanting to distance herself from her former life and is denying Molly access to an entire part of her identity!

Molly IS the product of two cultures and she can use both sides of her personality and identity later on to be successful in life. She has lived in Scotland and now she wants to get to know her Pakistani side. This is only natural, it is not just a desire it has nothing to do with a behavourist model of children it is much much deeper than that, it is relevent to the
"deep question of identity" inate in every human being to know his or her origins and use them to build a stable view of his or her world!!

What she learns at her age will still influence the rest of her life and that´s worth a lot more to someone of any age than a Mars bar!!

  • 24.
  • At 05:55 PM on 03 Sep 2006,
  • JPseudonym wrote:

Marc writes:-

"Wonder why you "censored" (refused to post) my comments posted yesterday, pointing out the hypocrisy of BBC Newsnight - by comparing the "partial" way you covered the Monarch airline passenger story with the "partial" (Islamophobic) way you seemed to be implying that some sections of the media covered the Molly Campbell story??"

I too wonder why my post about the 'Islamophobia Myth' (Google the phrase) never made it.

I think there is a pattern here.

  • 25.
  • At 05:03 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Kate wrote:

I personally feel Kirsty was far too EASY on the muslim expert. He tried to behave as though butter wouldn't melt.

This BBC liberal nonsense has and will prevent any reasonable and genuine debates being raised in future cases, for fear of being labelled islamophobic or racist. Job well done.

I would ask the BBC to go back to asking hard and direct questions. kirsty was all over the joint not to mention clumsily putting words into the muslim mans mouth. If I wanted PC reporting I would buy the Guardian. I'm having trouble detecting the difference these days.

  • 26.
  • At 05:49 PM on 05 Sep 2006,
  • Stephen Jones - Penarth, UK wrote:

Kirsty was not too easy on Muslim expert. She got it just right.

  • 27.
  • At 03:32 AM on 12 Sep 2006,
  • Reza wrote:

I think that the rule of law must be obeyed, but with increasing international marriages, such problems are bound to occur.

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  • 31.
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  • chris wrote:

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