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Friday, 16 November, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 16 Nov 07, 05:52 PM

Tonight's programme is presented by Gavin Esler.

BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD BARGAIN
nr_203.jpgThe Chief Executive of Northern Rock has just resigned, along with four non-executive directors - a bit late now you might think. The question now: Who will buy Northern Rock? And what kind of deal will they demand for taking on what has become the pariah of the High Street? We speak to the former Monetary Policy Committee member Professor Willem Buiter and to the economist, Will Hutton.

CLIMATE CHANGE
We're live in Valencia for the Climate Change conference.

RESPECT
Rather like the Monty Python take on the People's Front of Judaea who were NOT under any circumstances to be confused with the Judean People's Front, George Galloway's party "Respect" is holding its conference this weekend. And so is Respect. Confused? Well, there's a split. Or maybe there isn't. Our political editor Michael Crick will try to find out.

BUSTER CRABB
It was one of the great stories of the Cold War - Russian ships in a British port, a British frogman sent to spy on them underwater - and then his body is found, decapitated. Now the Russian who says he killed Buster Crabb has come forward - we have his TV confession tonight. An amazing tale of the Cold War - but what is the truth?

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LIVE IN VALENCIA DEAD IN A WHILE

Does being "live in Valencia" mean you have flown out a reporter? Oh well - a small shrub ought to do it . . .

  • 2.
  • At 09:50 PM on 16 Nov 2007,
  • Bob Goodall wrote:

Hi Newsnight

perhaps the truth is that there is money to be made from stories from the cold war? true or not

I visited Berlin a year or so ago and there is a whole industry dedicated to this sort of stuff, makes you think it couldn’t have been that bad otherwise people might wish to forget?

Just some questions, wasn’t your guest last night still bound by the official secrets act or doesn’t that sort of thing matter any more?

And perhaps our arrangement for firing nuclear weapons overcame one of the weakness in the system, the politician at the top of the tree?

Say the psychologists of the other side reckoned a politician wouldn’t fire the weapons if it came to it, what then?

Say what you like for Bush everyone knows he would push the trigger which makes the US deterrent far more deadly,

And what if the other side installed one of their lot in number 10, or had a hold over them, so knew for sure that he wouldn’t order the use of the weapon? the whole deterrent falls down.

Back to the issues behind www.vetmps.org.uk, still off line, we doing our best to put it back up again,

Loved the film clips last night, was intended in the way it came across? One of my old time favourites is the Looking Glass War.

best wishes
Bob

  • 3.
  • At 09:54 PM on 16 Nov 2007,
  • Bob Goodall wrote:

Hi Newsnight

perhaps the truth is that there is money to be made from stories from the cold war? true or not

I visited Berlin a year or so ago and there is a whole industry dedicated to this sort of stuff, makes you think it couldn’t have been that bad otherwise people might wish to forget?

Just some questions, wasn’t your guest last night still bound by the official secrets act or doesn’t that sort of thing matter any more?

And perhaps our arrangement for firing nuclear weapons overcame one of the weakness in the system, the politician at the top of the tree?

Say the psychologists of the other side reckoned a politician wouldn’t fire the weapons if it came to it, what then?

Say what you like for Bush everyone knows he would push the trigger which makes the US deterrent far more deadly,

And what if the other side installed one of their lot in number 10, or had a hold over them, so knew for sure that he wouldn’t order the use of the weapon? the whole deterrent falls down.

Back to the issues behind www.vetmps.org.uk, still off line, we doing our best to put it back up again,

Loved the film clips last night, was intended in the way it came across? One of my old time favourites is the Looking Glass War.

best wishes
Bob

  • 4.
  • At 10:21 PM on 16 Nov 2007,
  • Liam Coughlan wrote:

The Government, the Bank of England, Northern Rock executives and nearly all banking spokespersons assured the nation that the problem was temporary liquidity, and not fundamental profitability. We were told that its core assets (UK mortgage portfolio) was "sound" and that it was quite a good and profitable business. If the taxpayer pays a penny to Northern Rock, or its purchaser, then Brown et al should resign, and a criminal case immediately opened. Just today we see a suspended sentence against a lady in her 80s, with a conviction against her husband and son for hoodwinking the experts at UK museums and Christies with fake artefacts. Is it equally likely that a Banking executive will be investigated if it turns out that solemn assurances provided on television turn out to be porkies, designed to stem the panic? I doubt it, as the victims names are Mr, Mrs or Ms Joe or Josephine Public. Remember Farepak last year?

  • 5.
  • At 10:46 PM on 16 Nov 2007,
  • Liam Coughlan wrote:

The Government, the Bank of England, Northern Rock executives and nearly all banking spokespersons assured the nation that the problem was temporary liquidity, and not fundamental profitability. We were told that its core assets (UK mortgage portfolio) was "sound" and that it was quite a good and profitable business. If the taxpayer pays a penny to Northern Rock, or its purchaser, then Brown et al should resign, and a criminal case immediately opened. Just today we see a suspended sentence against a lady in her 80s, with a conviction against her husband and son for hoodwinking the experts at UK museums and Christies with fake artefacts. Is it equally likely that a Banking executive will be investigated if it turns out that solemn assurances provided on television turn out to be porkies, designed to stem the panic? I doubt it, as the victims names are Mr, Mrs or Ms Joe or Josephine Public. Remember Farepak last year?

  • 6.
  • At 10:56 PM on 16 Nov 2007,
  • Oli Tuhey wrote:

Isn't the best course of action for the Bank of England to buy Northern Rock outright, nationalise it?

GALLOWAY MESSIAH

George is NOT the Messiah - he's a very naughty boy.

IF CLIMATE IS CHAOTIC PREDICTION SHOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE.

I suppose these scientists will soon turn up in some court giving the sort of expert opinion that imprisons people; just as their current pontificating imprisons the gullible in the belief that we can know the future of climate.

IF CLIMATE IS CHAOTIC PREDICTION SHOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE.

I suppose these scientists will soon turn up in some court giving the sort of expert opinion that imprisons people; just as their current pontificating imprisons the gullible in the belief that we can know the future of climate.

  • 10.
  • At 01:27 AM on 17 Nov 2007,
  • John Hilley wrote:

Dear Peter Barron,

Michael Crick's Newsnight 'report' (16 November 2007) on the split within Respect was a disgraceful piece of shallow, biased 'journalism'.

We had the usual and expected cheap jibes and trivialities (Life of Brian-type factionalisms and that well-worn footage of Galloway in his Big Brother attire.) But, we also had offensive, insulting commentary from Crick on those who form part of this movement.

I'd like you to consider very seriously the propriety of a so-called investigative reporter talking in sneering tones of the (former) Respect coalition as “Muslims, Marxists and a ragbag of others on the left.”

I actually count myself as a supportive part of that “ragbag” left tradition. Are people who have contributed as activists, academics and in other socially-progressive ways just to be dismissed in such derisory terms? And why the implied assumption of Muslims, Marxists and the “ragbag” as somehow distinct? Can't a Muslim also be a Marxist – or part of the “ragbag”?

Is it remotely possible to report earnestly, analytically and, dare I say it, intellectually, on such matters? Or does Gavin Esler's own sneering laugh at the end of the piece represent the true nature of Newsnight's approach to covering the left? I strongly suspect so.

You should really be embarrassed by Crick's puerile output. It's no more qualitative than that expected of the Sun.

Regards,
John

  • 11.
  • At 01:29 AM on 17 Nov 2007,
  • John Hilley wrote:

Dear Peter Barron,

Michael Crick's Newsnight 'report' (16 November 2007) on the split within Respect was a disgraceful piece of shallow, biased 'journalism'.

We had the usual and expected cheap jibes and trivialities (Life of Brian-type factionalisms and that well-worn footage of Galloway in his Big Brother attire.) But, we also had offensive, insulting commentary from Crick on those who form part of this movement.

I'd like you to consider very seriously the propriety of a so-called investigative reporter talking in sneering tones of the (former) Respect coalition as “Muslims, Marxists and a ragbag of others on the left.”

I actually count myself as a supportive part of that “ragbag” left tradition. Are people who have contributed as activists, academics and in other socially-progressive ways just to be dismissed in such derisory terms? And why the implied assumption of Muslims, Marxists and the “ragbag” as somehow distinct? Can't a Muslim also be a Marxist – or part of the “ragbag”?

Is it remotely possible to report earnestly, analytically and, dare I say it, intellectually, on such matters? Or does Gavin Esler's own sneering laugh at the end of the piece represent the true nature of Newsnight's approach to covering the left? I strongly suspect so.

You should really be embarrassed by Crick's puerile output. It's no more qualitative than that expected of the Sun.

Regards,
John

  • 12.
  • At 08:42 AM on 17 Nov 2007,
  • steve wrote:

Sir, Why are they having a go at Michael Crick? He's a good Man U supporter who gets under the noses of lying politicians, I can forgive him the Man U bit but he does miss afew open goals when he has them on the ropes but overall he's a valued part of the Newsnight team and always watchable, how many can you say that about, the science lady makes me drop off and I just about catch Jeremy's paper review, but I'm just picky.

  • 13.
  • At 08:43 AM on 17 Nov 2007,
  • steve wrote:

Sir, Why are they having a go at Michael Crick? He's a good Man U supporter who gets under the noses of lying politicians, I can forgive him the Man U bit but he does miss afew open goals when he has them on the ropes but overall he's a valued part of the Newsnight team and always watchable, how many can you say that about, the science lady Susan Watts makes me drop off and I just about catch Jeremy's paper review, but I'm just picky.

  • 14.
  • At 08:52 AM on 17 Nov 2007,
  • steve wrote:

Sir, Why are they having a go at Michael Crick? He's a good Man U supporter who gets under the noses of lying politicians, I can forgive him the Man U bit but he does miss afew open goals when he has them on the ropes but overall he's a valued part of the Newsnight team and always watchable, how many can you say that about, the science lady Susan Watts makes me drop off and I just about catch Jeremy's paper review, but I'm just picky.

Seems the world's about to collapse. And now, on a lighter note, remember that sketch... (at least this critical piece wasn't truncated by '... and that's all we have time for, because here's a skateboarding turtle'. Oh... but wait... there IS another).

I just woke up to the Breakfast News coverage of the IPCC report. So Climate Change IS down to man and we are on the verge of a catastrophe. And this time is for sure. Well, more than the last. Not as much as the next, maybe. Odd then that it was not top priority in the national newscaster's morning report (not figuring too high in the national papers either. Pity the Spice Girls reformed on the same day as Children in Need.... as the world goes down the tube).

Anyway, watching Newsnight's coverage of the next big thing I mainly discover the Green Elite and their media caravans are off from Valencia to Bali (will we getting the same selection of ladies and gents to stand in front of the same building to say the same thing? Nice use of money, not to mention footprint example) to doubtless issue yet another 'this is the one' (Couldn't they all stay in one place, and where most are already... say... New York?) .

Ironically in the same breakfast show there was a Newswatch about a piece where a hotel in Las Vegas was covered live as it was demolished by explosion. So we waited... and waited... and almost gave up. And then it exploded, but only as many had given up waiting despite being told it was coming. Not really the BBC's fault as they had been told the time and it didn't happen as and when advised. But that's the problem with relying on uncertainties to issue endless warnings.

I am just not sure how many such 'outings' can be engaged upon, at least in this manner, before people begin to 'drift'. And such is my weariness with the assault, and lack of faith in their commitment to balanced science, despite the fact that it is clearly stated that it IS, NOW, man-made, I simply am not able to believe it and will continue to concede only man-worsened. I also rather suspect there are others who feel the same, or are even more dubious. Which all distracts from just getting on and DOING tangible things to engage with the general public rather than wittering on, going on jollies ('because our job requires it even if we're saying yours shouldn't') and giving sceptics ever more ammo.

Then we go on to learn by way of major advances in mitigation that Coke is 'thinking' of popping its carbon footprint on its cans, as have Walkers on its packs. No one had a clue what it was all about. So at least the BBC had a slight sense that this aspect was a bandwagon that was out of control. Shame they can't make the connection with the main... er.. almost main... piece. It is not up to the consumer to wade through all this, with the endless proliferation of hugely funded 'awareness' campaigns from pointless quangos we are being bombarded with... to little effect, evidently (see above, below, sideways). Or our national media.

What's going on? A crisp maker puts a label that means nothing to anyone and can be compared with nothing, yet get a load of publicity.... again. Newsnight covered this a while ago!

http://junkk.blogspot.com/2007/09/black-stuff.html

And this on the day the IPCC report features second after an ongoing historical murder investigation. Shame the Spice Girls and Comic Relief got in on the act to distract from mankind's cat-astrophe, too. Or is that why we also got Sgt. Podge, the 4x4 hitching moggy? Is everything now totally driven by PR luvvies and their speed dial chums who only look at ratings before jumping?

No wonder no one is taking much seriously!

Why have you taken down the recording for copyright reasons?

Nobody cares about the ludicrous James Bond frogman story, which I presume is the problem, but could you please at least restore the Northern Rock section. I'm very keen to watch it.

Thank you

  • 17.
  • At 04:58 PM on 17 Nov 2007,
  • J Eccles NW London wrote:

Great to see Ken Loach established film making on the BBC a very talented man indeed.

  • 18.
  • At 08:26 PM on 17 Nov 2007,
  • Adrienne wrote:

RESPECT: Stalinists/Trotskyites split:- it's Old/New Labour in microcosm. The SWP will go nowhere as their cousins already rule the roost, and George's Old Labour pals don't stand much of a chance either as Cameron will poach on their turf.

Still not enough people dare ask who has the most to gain through fostering Islamophobia. Why?

http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2007/11/encouragement_o.html

  • 19.
  • At 08:51 PM on 17 Nov 2007,
  • Adrienne wrote:

Despite several requests for the Newsnight team to look into the disconnect between what the research says and what New Labour politicians say viz SureStart, Aiming High, and SEAL (which seem to amount to little more than pumping large amounts of public money into deprived (largely inner city) areas so that it can be pumped out again to snake-oil salespersons and their organisations, nobody seems too bothered...

For an example of remarkably puzzling spin, look into what Ed Balls said about the SEAL programme and compare with what the Primary School research he was clearly basing his remarks upon (there is no other) actually reported (it's referenced on the blog some time back).

When it comes to Marxists, it's New Labour and the rest of the Socialist International that people should be worried about (although Cameron's Anarcho-Capitalists are no better - they're all neocons now).

Given the potential scale of our looming (but evident) social problems (which operate across the Atlantic too), there been little or no UK media coverage of the USA ETS report released back in February 2007 (see the Leitch Report too).

If it isn't global warming we should be worrying about, it's certainly national (if not global) dimming.

We're breeding differentially - just how stupid can we get or are we past noticing?

http://www.ets.org/perfectstorm/video


John Hilley’s points are worth responding to. I produced Michael Crick’s report on the split in Respect – and indeed the previous one on September 21st which broke the news that Respect was about to split. I also produced the Newsnight investigation into vote fixing in Birmingham by Labour which included an interview with a former Respect councillor who alleged that he'd been told that Laobour had spent £10,000 buying votes in his ward. More recently on Thursday night I produced the Newsnight investigation into the security of Britain’s nuclear weapons which revealed that Britain is the only country which does not have a fail safe to prevent its nuclear submarine commanders launching a nuclear war and that until 1998 the RAF's nuclear bombs were armed with bicycle lock keys.

I’m sorry that John thinks we’re shallow and that Michael isn’t as dull as John would like – we’ll try to make Michael report in a more tedious way in future. The fact is that when we revealed back in September the depth of the divisions in the “Unity Coalition” no mainstream media had covered this and more importantly Socialist Worker and the Respect website were also silent - pretending to their memberships that John Rees and George and George Galloway were dancing the hokey-cokey together while in reality the leading characters were carving eachother up in crisis meetings. We exposed this and in recent weeks we have been encouraged by Respect members to return to the subject.

Friday was supposed to be the eve of the “Unity Coalition”. Instead there was open war with rival conventions meeting on opposite sides of London, allegations of McCarthyism, intimidation and violence. That was worth reporting. Last time neither faction would do an interview with Newsnight – this time they both put up two of their leading members to do down the other side.

As to the cheap jibes. It was Nick Wrack who mentioned Life of Brian to us before the interview began and played along enthusiastically on screen “They’re over there…” As for trivialities like Big Brother – correct me if I’m wrong but it wasn’t Michael Crick who volunteered to dress up in a leotard and prance around. When we ran our first film on September 21st George Galloway wasn’t available for interview about Respect but he had spent the week appearing on another reality TV show falling off toff’s horses and doing a jobswop with a would-be Tara Palmer-Tomkinson. And you’re asking Michael Crick to behave “earnestly, analytically and, dare I say it, intellectually”. As Michael said in Friday's report there is a serious space to the left of New Labour for a political party of the disillusioned but Respect is showing little sign this weekend of being that party or indeed of being a party at all.

That said where else on TV but Newsnight would you see the likes of Ken Loach, John Rees, Nick Wrack and Oliur Rahman interviewed on the eve of the Respect conference, sorry, conferences.

Meirion

VIVA ADRIENNE (again)

So glad you are banging on about differential breeding (lovely term).
Can I join in and point out with reference to "racial prejudice" (stupid term) that Mother Nature intended all the different sorts to STAY isolated or she would not have made them SO different yet SO intolerant of difference?

Barrie (21),

"Banging on" is right, but of what relevance is it in a world bursting at the seams? We can no more (and pprobably far less) support a world ofm nine billion Mensas than nine billion Delta-minuses.

Cleverness got us into this mess in the first place. What is needed is wisdom, and it is fra more likely to come from the nurture side than the other.

The 'clever' folk are among the least likely to know how to make or grow all the things they so totally depend upon the less clever to provide for them. Think about it.

Salaam/Shalom/Shanthi/Dorood/Peace
Namaste -ed

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith.
-- Paul Tillich, German theologian.

Barrie (21),

"Banging on" is right, but of what relevance is it in a world bursting at the seams? We can no more (and pprobably far less) support a world ofm nine billion Mensas than nine billion Delta-minuses.

Cleverness got us into this mess in the first place. What is needed is wisdom, and that's far more likely to come from nurture than Nature.

The 'clever' folk are among the least likely to know how to make or grow all the things they so totally depend upon the less clever to provide for them. Think about it.

Salaam/Shalom/Shanthi/Dorood/Peace
Namaste -ed

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith.
-- Paul Tillich, German theologian.

  • 24.
  • At 10:29 PM on 18 Nov 2007,
  • Adrienne wrote:

Ed, each time I've drawn attention to the (now surely obvious?) fact that a) developed world indigenous populations are not only well below replacement level and therefore in negative population growth, but are also b) showing signs of differential fertility with respect to cognitive ability and that c) elsewhere, less able/accomplished populations have positive population growth but d) even steeper differential fertility, you appear to think that a) & b) are less of a problem than c) & d).

I don't understand why.

My point here is:- who is going to get to grips with c) & d) in the future if a) & b) continues as it is?

If planning and self-control are positive functions of cognitive ability, surely a) & b) critically matter as there will soon be less competent people to manage their own and other people's behaviours?

The People's Republic of China (PRC) could save the day, but even if they do, it won't be through compliance with EU Reform Treaty's or UN Fundamental Charter of Human Rights, as this proscribes the PRC's 1995 'eugenics' legislataion as I've remarked before. I don't see the PRC looking favourably upon what remains of the EU/UN in the future if it ever tries to put pressure upon the PRC in this area. Quite the opposite in fact. Note how Russia and the PRC tend to veto the free-democratic world's 'imperialism' as it is.

The wise. Is that a reference to a white minority group which like the Muslims, still sustains traditional gender roles (although few criticise *them* as sexist).

Incidentally, Salk, born in NY, was a member of this 'minority' group, but given NYC's past and current demographics (see below), the high achievemements of this group should, I suggest, come as far less of a surprise than they often do, as they are not, it would seem, the minority which many believe them to be (in NYC at least, perhaps the cultural centre of the USA - people often make errors through failing to appreciate that it's usually local base rates which matter).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/2007/09/wednesday_19_september_2007.html

TILLICH

Only a theologian could say that doubt is part of absolute belief! Where would religion be without such logic. (:o)

Barrie,

I'm sure YOU understand the meaning of the statement, but in case not, I reckon it's related to the observation that "The Devil rides on the back of Certainty."

Salaams
ed

  • 27.
  • At 11:52 AM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • Fazer wrote:

Adrienne, Your points are all valid, but why are you fighting it? Isn't it becoming obvious that intelligence is dying out? It was tried as a survival trait but has failed (hence the mess we are now in) so Old Mother Nature is phasing it out. Back to the trees folks!

Adrienne,
Your a) is not a problem in an overcrowded world. Your b) is very minor indeed in comparison to the problems of limitation facing us. Your c) and d) are problems which will solve themselves if the 'clever' folk can finally begin to exhibit their supposed intelligence. The first step is to recognise and confront Hubris, the BIG Problem

Just where is the outstanding record of control and planning resulting from the fact that clever folk are and have been in charge in almost all the world's countries? Where is the wisdom that would abandon the pursuit of continuous growth in finite systems? Where is the humility which earned Socrates the Oracle's praise?

Your arguments in support of increased intelligence ring like the hollow re-election pledges of a party which has overseen centuries of disastrous policies.

So far, the rule of reason and intelligence has accelerated the rape of the Earth's resources and the enrichment of the few at the expense of the many. Is there ANY evidence that this is likely to change?

And, Barrie, I suspect YOU understand Tillich's statement, but in case not, I reckon it's akin to the observation that, "The Devil rides on the back of Certainty".

Salaam/Shalom/Shanthi/Dorood/Peace
Namaste -ed

People who have no faults are terrible; there is no way of taking advantage of them.

  • 29.
  • At 04:15 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • Adrienne wrote:

Ed, it isn't so much a matter of INCREASING national skills/intelligence, it's one of arresting their DECLINE through dysgenesis via policies which are ostensibly supposed to be compensatory, but which may paradoxically be operating as drivers/catalysts.

  • 30.
  • At 04:45 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • Adrienne wrote:

Fazer (#27) One reason it's worth fighting is if it's policy driven.

As things are, we are likely to see progressively more strain put upon schools to attain the impossible (cf. the CVA regression model they are judged by, and which makes 'clever' use of multicolinearity to make them appear like unwitting racists) as teachers are required to achieve unrealistic SAT and GCSE results given the ever lowering ability of their pupil intakes (through dysgenesis and immigration). It puts unfair demands/strains on both staff and pupils, relieved only by a covert lowering of national standards and thus Kafkaesque disconnect between the paper results attained by school leavers and employer's observation of employees abilities. We should also expect more indiscipline and crime.

Now who would welcome any of that?

Adrienne,

Please recognise that nobody is contesting the 'dysgenesis', only its importance or relevance.

We have bigger problems than a marginal decline in mean cognitive ability. FAR BIGGER.

Read some of the Hardin stuff, and you'll have some more useful arguments to make.

Salaam/Shalom/Shanthi/Dorood/Peace
Namaste -ed


You can destroy your now by worrying about tomorrow.
-- Janis Joplin

  • 32.
  • At 05:28 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • Adrienne wrote:

Ed (#30) The UK (England/Regional Assembles) can't (despite the UN) do very much about other countries' problems, as they have their own governments and some have UN vetoes.

Given the ratification of the EU Reform Treaty, it may not be long before we're able to do even less nationally. Is subordination to the EU likely to help future elected governments better manage this problem or render them impotent?

My remarks should be read in this limited, pragmatic context.

The only population over which we have any control is our own (and rightly so), and even there we have very little control.

We would do well (in my opinion) to exercise as much control as possible over population growth by immigration.

It has only to do with numbers, not ethnicity, culture, cognitive ability, skills, or shoe size. That's it, so far as I'm concerned.

Salaam/Shalom/Shanthi/Dorood/Peace
Namaste -ed

Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.
-- Albert Einstein

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