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What do you want in Thursday's programme?

  • Newsnight
  • 1 Nov 07, 10:34 AM

Continuing with our experiment that began yesterday, we're sharing the early thoughts of our production team and asking for your ideas as to what Newsnight should be covering in tonight's programme. Here's today's e-mail from output editor, Carol...

Good morning.

The Local Government Association has said it needs an extra £250 million a year to cope with the additional strain on public service from increased immigration and lack of reliable statistics. Earlier in the week the government had to apologise for having underestimated the immigration figures by 300,000. What angle do you think we should look at?

Hospital Infections
New figures are published this morning by the Health Protection Agency on hospital infections including MRSA and C.Diff. Alan Johnson is due to make a speech later on about hospital cleanliness. Let's look at what the figures tell us.

The Pakistani Supreme Court is considering whether President Musharraf can stand for election as President. Mark Urban will be assessing the impact that a democratic Pakistan could have on the "war on terror". He has been travelling around the country looking at the mood amongst politicians, the army and ordinary people.

We have the first television interview with Joaquim Chissano, former president of Mozambique since he was given a $5 million prize set up by businessman Mo Ibrahim for Achievement in African Leadership. What would you like us to ask him?

And are the any other stories you think we should be covering?

Comments  Post your comment

"And are the any other stories you think we should be covering?"

Yes, how about the increasing prevalence of BBC producers expecting the public to do their jobs for them for free?

  • 2.
  • At 10:53 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Charles Matheus wrote:

A story on how the BBC has already spend over £400k of license payers money fighting the release of Balen report from the public and how that relates with an organisation that uses the FOI as an essential tool for their work.

  • 3.
  • At 10:55 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Peter Babani wrote:

Isn't it time to take a long hard look at the Prime Minister?
He seems to be a tongue-in-cheek Labour politician interested only in the high position he has attained & the kudos it brings with it. For instance he was in full view at the Rugby World Cup Final and looked for all the world like a fish out of water-he realised that he was making a fool of himself by being there-the UK was amply represented by the 2 Princes who at least were seen to be "living the drama"

  • 4.
  • At 10:57 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Peter Osborne wrote:

re deciding the content of Newsnight. I am busy doing my job so I can pay my taxes, so you get decide what goes in the programme. You do your job and I will do mine

I must say I've found Newsnight to be rather poor so far this week.

It is a slow news week or something? Newsnight is at it's best when it's looking at the issues of the day, 'exclusives' about the cotton industry in Uzbekistan, whilst fine - can hardly be inserted into a current affairs programme like it has been this week?

I'm not playing down the importance of the story, but when did Newsnight become

  • 6.
  • At 10:59 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Simon George wrote:

An in depth discussion into the role of news pogramme editors in the internet age.

Does newsnight need them any more?

(The answer is yes - more than ever)

  • 7.
  • At 10:59 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Patrick Hurley wrote:

Immigration statistics - riff on the difficulties of obtaining accurate statistics. An article in this month's Prospect has been the only remotely intelligent piece I've seen in ages on how the problems of incorrect data are caused rather than what to do about them.

Good idea, all this interaction stuff, btw.

  • 8.
  • At 11:00 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Karen Morgan wrote:

It's World Vegan Day today (1st November). Let's have a story about veganism - especially in light of the recent cancer/red meat report.

  • 9.
  • At 11:00 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Tim wrote:

Re: Hospital infections
How accurate are the figures anyway?
My father died (87) in hospital in Swindon infected with C Diff 3 years ago. It wasn't recorded on his death certificate and thus presumably wasn't in the statistics. This is cerianly not an isolated case. Is this another case of completely unreliable stats?

  • 10.
  • At 11:00 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Suzie Woodward wrote:

A programme of Comparisons or Remember when? ......

Remember when Michael Howard was vilified in the press for daring to speak about controlling immigration. What did HE say then? What did Tony Blair say then? And what has happened since and being discussed now.

The same method could be used for many other topics of concern to the public - health, education, policing etc.

It might just reveal that the Conservatives were not that far off the mark as regards their thinking at that time and could also show what a sham Labour are!

  • 11.
  • At 11:02 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • John Murphy wrote:

What can we do to the Human Rights Act to allow us to deport dangerous foreign criminals

  • 12.
  • At 11:02 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Fran Perrow wrote:

In the wake of the abortion debate, can Newsnight move on from endless discussions about time limits to the bigger picture.. why we have 200,000 unwanted pregnancies in the UK every year? What's happening to prevention - why are family planning clinics being closed down and why does sex education in schools remain so patchy and inadequate? Get on the case!

  • 13.
  • At 11:02 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Chris Haine wrote:

For my TV licence fee I listen to approximately 8 hours per day of Radio 3 and watch 1 TV programme - Newsnight. I think the £11 odd a month is generally great value. But please don't start asking me to become a sub-editor for Newsnight. Your production team is paid to filter the news stories of the day and I have the utmost faith in your ablities. Open this up to all and sundry and I might as well spend 50 minutes trawling the web for my news. What a ghastly thought.

  • 14.
  • At 11:03 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Epimethean wrote:

I think Newsnight should concentrate more on English issues as opposed to overseas issues. Political correctness, government and council bullying, greed cameras, recycling etc. Also the lies perpetrated by eco-catastrophists which are being used by the government to raise unfair taxes...

  • 15.
  • At 11:03 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Kim wrote:

Ask Joaquim Chissano what he will use his prize money for, and whether he plans to work with other African Governments to achieve the same step-change as he has managed in Mozambique.

  • 16.
  • At 11:04 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Bruce Sandison wrote:

I would like the Newsnight team to address the issues surrounding salmon farming.

The production of farm salmon in Scotland's West Highlands and Islands has had a devastating impact on wild fish and the freshwater and marine environment.

95% of farm fish come from Norwegian-owned companies and there are serious concerns about quality and production methods.

Time for a quick look?

  • 17.
  • At 11:04 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • David, London wrote:

There is much more to be said on the Government's immigration figures. Liam Byrne has been misleadingly in his figures on Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants to the UK. These have been overcounted - and the calculation for this is very straight forward - to support his political point.

  • 18.
  • At 11:04 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Malcolm Hooson wrote:

As if we do not have enough to worry about,we are now being told what not to eat, what not to drink, and to drive more fuel efficient cars etc.,and not to leave our TVs on standby. So somebody has now cottoned on to the fact that we might conceivably finish up saving a bit of money, which, horror of horrors, we might spend on something that could affect global warming.
What are we to do with all the money we save? Put in under the mattrss?

  • 19.
  • At 11:04 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Bob Milton wrote:

I only wish that we could have much less of the 'what do you think' attitude.
It probably results in political parties organising protests.
I doubt if the comments represent a true picture of what people think, or are even worried about.
let's leave polling to the pollsters who can teat the answers in a proper way. I guess that you may be tempted to say "that sounds like a good story" and subsequently give it more emphasis than it really deserves.

  • 20.
  • At 11:04 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • edwardbenson wrote:

Please, please, please stop this now. I'd far rather Newsnight made its own editorial decisions, instead of going in for this kind of 'audience involvement'. The vast majority of us don't want to be involved. We want you to make the programme and us to watch it. Please stop.

  • 21.
  • At 11:05 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Honor Cox wrote:

Now that nominations for the Liberal Democrat Leadership have closed I would be interested in interviews with the only two candidates - Chris Huhne and Nick Clegg.

  • 22.
  • At 11:05 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Roland wrote:

Immigration - Given that it is the economy i.e. business that is the main beneficiary of immigration, then surely businesses should pay more towards providing the additional social infrastructure - schooling, policing, health, housing, etc. for the newly arrived. Lower wages means more profits and it should mean more business taxes. Let's switch the debate to how to help these people rather than trying to prevent them coming here. The main beneficiaries should pay up.

  • 23.
  • At 11:05 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Grace Jamieson wrote:

Lack of reliable statistics - stress importance of providing/gathering reliable information on all immigrants to this country, for whatever reason, to the official statistics office. They will then provide accurate information to the organisations, agencies, bodies that need to know what the position is to deliver the services necessary.

On MRSA & C.Diff I think you should concentrate on the recent paper in the Lancet which showed that the Government's proposed remedies won't do much good (short sleeves and deep cleaning hospitals). What needs to happen of course is for the Government to let the medical experts make medical decisions, they seem to be using focus groups instead.

If doctors had more say I think we'd see some radical changes in public policy for the good of the country: tax on fattening foods, promotion of cycling/walking, an end to the "war on drugs", greater emphasis on disease prevention instead of treatment..

  • 25.
  • At 11:06 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Sam Stakes wrote:

On the first topic, I would beg you to not make this yet another discussion on immigration.

Instead, let Newsnight focus on whether money needed is directly linked to increased people, or whether this is an attempt to demand more funds for more bureaucracy.

It is possible that some local bodies strapped for cash use the "flavour of the month" topic to beat up the Central Government for higher resource allocations.

  • 26.
  • At 11:06 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Richard Davies wrote:

I'd be interested to see if/how Royal Mail have from the action of a couple of weeks ago.

At work I'm a development manager of a mail-order company, and we're still getting calls and emails from dozens of customers who are still yet to receive consignments sent with Royal Mail before and just-after the strike.

At home I'm in the same position myself, and have seem some retailers like Amazon resort to using alternative couriers.

Our postmen tell us that there is still a mountain of mail in sorting offices across the country.

Also, I was told yesterday that more strike action is on the way - although I've heard little or nothing of this in the news. With Christmas coming up, further Royal Mail strikes could damage the economy in a way that they wouldnt have, prior to the interet becoming such a prevalent way for us to order Christmas presents etc

  • 27.
  • At 11:07 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • carmel harrison wrote:

Re Chissano;

The award is for achievement in African leadership to what extent does he plan to use the money to ensure other African leaders achieve?

Are there certain benchmarks he would like to see others come up to and how will he measure these?

  • 28.
  • At 11:07 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Hezmond tu tu wrote:

Could you look at the military action in eastern Congo on the Rwandan boarder? Nkunda, a rebel leader, is meant to be integrating his militia into the regular Congolese troops but has refused to do so. He claims to be protecting the interests of tutsis in the region. The government are threatening military action and the local populations are inevitably abused by both sides as the battle lines shift. Mining assets in the region make this conflict all the more complicated.

  • 29.
  • At 11:08 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

Immigration ... What angle do you think we should look at?

I think you ought to look at how these immigrants are going to be taking the jobs that an increasingly elderly, illiterate, and alcohol-sodden population can no longer do, and how they're going to be paying the taxes that support the services that are going to keep all these obese, decrepit 'natives' alive and eating well past their sell-by dates.

And then I think you ought to look at why it is that every right-wing, isolationist, xenophobic, neoliberal, pro-business, antidemocratic, crackpot policy that comes out of the US Republican party seems, after a few months to a year, to make its way into either Tory or Labour party policy recommendations.

Immigration - not knowing who is entering the country - isn't that a huge security risk?
Hospital Infections - employ cleaners that actully CLEAN the place and make hospitals have the old fashinoned "disinfectant" smell when you'd know the place was clean!
Chissano - could he use his experience of bringing peace in Mozambique,economic progress, HIV/AIDS awareness and poverty reduction to bringing peace to Darfur? How could he allevaite the situation there?

I think you should consider covering the story about the new shortfall in jobs for junior doctors, as reported yesterday by Channel 4 News -

It might be a tough one to cover, though, as I doubt the government would be terribly willing to talk about it. Though from the C4 report, I'm guessing the Conservatives aren't shying away from the issue!

  • 32.
  • At 11:08 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • terrance Chapman wrote:

My suggestion about the CPRE and new homes was to go with the immigrant's story about by the way.

Hospital Infections. This is an incredibly bad piece of news for a country with a health service it should be proud of (but is not keeping up with demand - link to item above?). Should we look at how cleaning staff are trained and paid (link to immigration story again) or should we try to reduce the administrator/care deliverer ratio?

Pakistan. Whizz bang wallop, what an election! One minute it was up to the courts to decide if it was NOW no longer OK for Misharraf to be head of both teams, then, bingo the election is history and Misharraf won. We haven't seen such a news blackout since...I dunno but it happened again when Isreal bombed an Syrian alleged nuclear facility. We are now used to international election observers being in the frame and reporting on the probity of what went on - not this time. Personally I can't see the problem, HRH is head of both teams and GB and Pakistan are both members of the Commonwealth (I think Pakistan is back?)

Chissano? Yep, how are you going to spend the money? At the big table, guys who get prizes know in advance and have already selected the charity/good cause. Don't wait any longer. BTW well done.

  • 33.
  • At 11:10 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Geoff F wrote:

have politicians lost the ability to tell the truth - would be a good debate as well as politicians defining what the word "truth" really means to the current political farce we call Westimnster

  • 34.
  • At 11:10 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • William Murdoch wrote:

Jake White, the Springbok rugby coach has just resigned??!! It hasn't even been 2 weeks since he lead South Africa to Rugby World Cup victory and was named Coach of the Year at the IRB awards. Why would one of the most sought after coaches in world rugby, take the decision to leave his post, before he was pushed ? His name has been mentioned with regards to the coaching position in Australia, England and Wales, yet his own country don't value him, even after he brought home the highest possible prize in world rugby!! Why ??

  • 35.
  • At 11:11 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Stephen wrote:

Criminal Records.

It has just been announced that four police forces have been ordered to destroy details of criminal records on four criminals who complained to the Information Commissioner.

It is absolutely scandalous that the Information Commissioner is willing to defend the "rights" of criminals when persistently refusing to take any comparable action in favour of law abiding citizens who complain of breaches of their rights under the Data Protection and Freedom of Information Acts.

Perhaps you could interview Mr Thomas to ask him why his office normally trot out the "It is likely that there has been a breach of the Data Protection Act in this case, however the Information Commissioner does not intend to take any action" when it is a complaint from an ordinary person, but orders criminal records to be destroyed when criminals complain.

The lack of proportionate, proper and appropriate enforcement by his office is farcical and needs to be stopped before it gets any worse, but of course whenever anyone complains or tries to bring it to the attention of the media, they are never willing to follow it up.

  • 36.
  • At 11:12 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Paul Shields wrote:

Can there be more discussion about not only the question of Scottish devolution but the fact that it is diluting the strength of the UK, and causing disaffection with English voters , who rightly feel aggrieved that Scottish MPs can vote on their affairs and not vice versa.
What are the future consequences of htis and what do they propose to do to remedy the situation?

  • 37.
  • At 11:13 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Mick Fenner wrote:


Pure and simple, religous discusions with all faiths welcome, say once a week.
Go to the BBC religion and ethics boards and see just what is being said.
Where can you go for discussions viewed by possibly millions and yet it has such a bearing on society.
Bring it out in the open.


  • 38.
  • At 11:15 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • HW wrote:

Climate Change Special: This week alone has brought -> Oxfam's Biofuels Report, Oil heading for $100, ICount's Polar Bears at No.10 (or perhaps you are waiting until after the Queen's speach, or the rally on 8th Dec?)

I would like to hear a serious examination of what the business case is for immigration. Should we always accept that all business is good business?
Should we examine our domestic education/training situation?
Lastly! is our emigration less than our immigration?

  • 40.
  • At 11:18 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Iain, Edinburgh wrote:

How about a piece looking into the validity of stark allegations - not new to some of us - by Jim Holt in a recent 'London Review of Books' article claiming that the US are quite happy with the chaos in Iraq and the master plan was after all to sit on the oil for as long as it takes to extract it. Five huge US bases now built or being built, one is currently the busiest on the planet next to London Heathrow. Estimated worth of Iraqi oil still in the ground ~ $30 Trillion. Estimated cost of US operation so far ~ $1 Trillion. The deal is looking good for the oilmen, if the human cost is ignored, which it is..

  • 41.
  • At 11:18 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Brian Nathan wrote:

As we have just gone back to Greenwich Mean Time I would like a discussion on keeping the hour forward thereby being in time with most of Europe and having light until later in the day. The main reason we don't do that seems to be the case of Scottish children and farmers. As Scotland wishes to have autonomy on so many issues and England and Wales alone have it on so few I do not see why we should give way on this issue. Scotland could either go along with it or keep to the present arrangement. We all manage to live with the hour difference with Europe so it would not be such a hardship if that was changed to an hour difference with Scotland.
I remember double summertime in the last World War and it was very enjoyable and exhilirating. Wouldn't it be pleasant to have this to look forward to?

  • 42.
  • At 11:19 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Alex Young wrote:

Good morning,

In order of billing...

Immigration - the future and how to protect it. Stories like this aren't going to fade, in fact rather the opposite. Even when working at its optimum, the immigration system will only ever be a process of filtration rather than a barrier. That compelling combination of push and pull factors that currently makes this rather tiny collection of islands the promised land for so many who live elsewhere in poverty and/or oppression equally aren't about to melt away. So where does this leave us? What are the projections for the future? And if one accepts that the UK population is going to grow at a rate far in excess of its birth rate, what pressures does that put on the already strained balance between multicultural tolerance and civil liberties...?

Pakistan - Mark Urban's a giant, he'll do a fine job without interference...

Chissano - wish I knew more about this, but look forward to the interview...

  • 43.
  • At 11:20 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Dominik wrote:

I refer the honourable ladies & gentlemen to the comments made by my learned friend Jason above. WE, the license fee payers, pay YOUR wages. How about earning them?

  • 44.
  • At 11:20 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • George wrote:

Revisit the Burma story. This must not be allowed to be dropped from worldwide publicity.

  • 45.
  • At 11:20 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Puzzled wrote:

The immigration 'debate' is very confusing. The various steps into the EU have been taken by Conservative governments. David Cameron claims there are 'too many immigrants' but can't say what too many means or what would be the right number. Somebody is employing them. Have they no responsibilty? Why is it claimed the Eastern European immigrants are harder working and better educated if they were in the dreaded USSR? This does not match what we were told about the USSR economy.
Why are house prices dropping one day and increasing on another?
We have such a proliferation of conflicting 'information' that it's increasiingly difficult to make sense of anything. Surely if Newsnight has a purpose at all it's to clarify the meanings behind the political equivalent of soap adverts in a competitive market. Selling a product is not the same as informing voters

  • 46.
  • At 11:22 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Steve Davison wrote:

Reaction to Labour's apparent suggestion to cancel Christmas - or is it just being taken wrongly.

  • 47.
  • At 11:23 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • H Roth wrote:

Why not talk about the ludicrous rollovers on the National Lottery.

With a jackpot this week of £17million which is an obscene amount for one person to receive, surely this rollover could be abolished. Instead when there is no winner, let the money be paid to 10 leading medical charities.
I have written several times to the National Lottery suggesting this to no avail.
Because you hsve far more influence than any individual perhaps you could throw down the gauntlet to them.


Talking to people to find stories has always been part of a producer's job, but now that process has started to be opened up to anyone (well, anyone who can comment here).

it will probably be more work in some ways, but it could result in better news.

  • 49.
  • At 11:23 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Tim wrote:

With regards to the discussion on immigration, please relate this to the issue of housing stock. Recently we have had lots of reports regarding shortage of housing and lots of reports about immigration but no reports which look at the relationship between the two. Surely their should be an audit of housing stock in the UK and immigration policy should relate directly to the capacity we have for housing within the UK. This could be illustrated using a hotel analogy. A hotel wouldn't let 500 families into a hotel with 300 rooms. Only exception would be for those fleeing from disasters when hotel would do everything it could to assist with extra shelter, bedding, food etc.

  • 50.
  • At 11:24 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Eddy Joyce wrote:

The article in yesterdays paper on the banning of Christian Christmas [ In the U.K ] To apease other religions, as suggested by someone [ not named ] in the Labour party, I suggest needs investigating. Sounds like someone is pushing for votes at any cost. Have you noticed that in these suggestions being put forward there is never a name quoted as to who the originator is. !!!!!!!

  • 51.
  • At 11:25 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Michael J Lavous wrote:

What about the extraordinary behaviour of our child Foreign Secretary. Paternity Leave to attend the birth of a surrogate child for adoption? How absurd. Not to mention avoiding his ministerial duty.

ex-President Chissano

I would like to ask him what advice he can give the West on how we can assist Africa without encouraging the corruption which seems more serious and pervasive in Africa than other parts of the world.

  • 53.
  • At 11:27 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Willy Van Damme wrote:

Dear Editor,

What about Berezovsky and how he goth so rich, his relationship with the Americans and MI6 and what role they all played behind the scenes in the fighting for control over Chechnya and the region around it. And what plans all of them had with splitting Russia further in tens of pieces. And why this failed? I'm looking forward to it.

  • 54.
  • At 11:27 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Nicholas wrote:

TAPER Relief
49% of the UK's GDP comes from small business (source Times, yesterday).

The Chancellor announced yesterday that he will give tax relief of 100,000 to those small businessmen who sell up at retirement age.

Given that most entrepeneurs start a lot of businesses during their life and that a major reason is so that they can sell those businesses over their lifetime once they have grown into a valuable asset, the government by taking this action is completely disincentivising 49% of the country's GDP.

Given the statistics above, how much damage will the removal of TAPER relief damage the UK economy? Massively, I wager.

N. (27, entrepreneur)

  • 55.
  • At 11:28 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Iain, Edinburgh wrote:

How about a piece looking into the validity of stark allegations - not new to some of us - by Jim Holt in a recent 'London Review of Books' article claiming that the US are quite happy with the chaos in Iraq and the master plan was after all to sit on the oil for as long as it takes to extract it. Five huge US bases now built or being built, one is currently the busiest on the planet next to London Heathrow. Estimated worth of Iraqi oil still in the ground ~ $30 Trillion. Estimated cost of US operation so far ~ $1 Trillion. The deal is looking good for the oilmen, if the human cost is ignored, which it is..

what's going on with genetically modified crops at the moment? French pres has said something recently, and there may be another push commencing for commercial planting. meanwhile it does seem to be in animal feed, and we now have a report that associates food with cancer.

  • 57.
  • At 11:34 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Dave Wright wrote:

A Middlesbrough man was recently arrested for running the file-sharing tracker Oink! which had nearly 200,000 members, many of them British. He claims he is only providing the same service as search engines such as Google.

This has huge ramifications for peer-to-peer networks, especially in Europe and the US, and is the subject of much debate in many online forums. Already other trackers have been set up to replace the material lost when Oink! was shut down - much is made of the 'hydra' principle, where each time a site is closed, several others spring up to take its place.

It's a fascinating story of how the music business is evolving online - big business vs audiophiles - and has been generally reported superficially and inaccurately by the main media (including the BBC). Surprisingly some artists who might be expected to object to their work being freely distributed without payment are fully supportive of file-sharing as being in the true spirit of music and ultimately good for the industry.

Cleveland Police's Organised Crime Unit have been criticised for the way they have appeared to work at the behest of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and also over their sense of proportion in pursuing a 24-year old geek (who may have committed no crime) under the grand name of 'Operation Ark Royal' and involving Interpol. Are file-sharers criminals, or is it just an extension of the cassette swapping that went on in the 70s and 80s and, as some would argue, brought artists' music to a much wider audience.

A worthy subject for a Newsnight report.

  • 58.
  • At 11:35 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Gerard wrote:

Is the editor going on a "blogging conference" the best use of your reduced budget?

  • 59.
  • At 11:36 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

I would like a PROPER discussion about the role of the newspapers - particularly the redtops - and their reporting of Heather Mills. I do not want particularly to discuss the gory details of her circumstances. But if she is a 'gold digger' then so what. It is NOT against the law and very many women and of course some men, also marry with the consideration of the lifestyle they might acquire.
Should these awful newspapers be restricted in some way from the horrible attitude to someone like Heather Mills who, as far as I know, has done nothing illegal or against the public interest.
They have damaged this woman and gold digger or otherwise, she surely does not deserve to be so pilloried.

Please discuss. Ian.

  • 60.
  • At 11:39 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • alex wrote:

How about an INTELLEGENT discussion on the economy for a change.

The Dollar is at a record Low, the credit crunch is still here, government and consumer borrowing is at all time high, house prices are looking vulnerable in most developed countries and the price of Oil and Gold is going through the roof - is the global economy about to hit the buffers ?

This type of subject is poorly covered by the Beeb and is usually attempted in a overly simplistic and patronising way. It should be perfect material for the folk of Newsnight.

Have a read of this if you want some ideas

  • 61.
  • At 11:39 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • billiejoeremarkable wrote:

Someone you know once said that the BBC was "hideously white". I assume that has or is being addressed. How's that working out for Newnight?

Immigration: the next census is not due for four years. Should we have a halfway census? Alternatively, to assist local authorities under the most pressure to measure their needs the electoral registration forms recently sent out could be adapted for a mini-census.

  • 63.
  • At 11:42 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • shabbir bhalloo wrote:

i have not understood properly the motive behind MO IBRAHIM favouring
leaders to receive the money.

this is just a thought, why MO EBRAHIM does not collectivly on annual basis, he uses this wealth byspending to the most needy in this AFRICAN CONTINENT. in this way it will look scenic even the western world will be slightly releived of this burden.

  • 64.
  • At 11:42 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Joe Rigby wrote:

Immigration angle - I am a Londoner who has just had a weeks break in Dublin. Ireland is currently experience a large influx of foreign nationals. Everyother Irish person I spoke to wanted to know my thoughts on the social effects of mass immigration in London. Everyone could see the economic benefits but seemed to be weighing this up against the social effects. What have we got right? What could Ireland learn from the way we have done it here? Is the economic benefit only felt by fat cats?

  • 65.
  • At 11:45 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Bedd Gelert wrote:

Yikes ! Slightly short notice, folks, but I think it is time for a feature and interview with James Lovelock about his book 'The Revenge of Gaia'.

And despite one earlier correspondent saying Newsnight should concentrate on 'English' news instead of 'Foreign' it would be great if you could spare a minute at the end of the programme for a brief tribute to Ray Gravell, a gentle giant of a man who will be sadly missed by the world of rugby and broadcasting.

Invite someone in to talk about the admission* that house prices are not going to become affordable simply by building a few more. Suggest to them that there should be a national debate on whether owning one's own home is a good thing (for society).

Put it to them that whoever decided to let the investors in, thus driving up prices, made a big mistake.


  • 67.
  • At 11:46 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • T Powell wrote:

Hospital Infections

Looking at statistics as a means of judging whether we are being successful or not (for example, in cutting hospital infections) is an obsession of this government. It is shallow and frequently meangingless, yet it is rolled out to measure success in Education, Crime, you name it.

The issues should not be 'have we met the reduction target'. The issue should be 'How clean can we make our hospitals?' 'What more can we do to make them as clean as possible?'

Let the professionals tell you what needs doing, based on systems, experience and best practice. Put that in order of priority, and allocate the money accordingly. Then we might have something on which we can have confidence.

  • 68.
  • At 11:46 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Harriet Hamster Hampstead wrote:

*Immigration* is now turning out to be similar to the *phone-in scams* the numbers seem to be plucked out the air then fed back to us,we in turn then have to believe what we are told because it comes in a document that killed atree to print.
So I challenge a Borugh like Brent or even Barnet (both hugely populated by legal and illegal immigrants) to Identify the process they employ to audit Immigration when they produce their stats each month.
To hell with rubbish collecting debates- I think it's high time MP's started to earn their keep and be accountable for the evr rising council tax,because for all the Immigrants we hold here rest assured Council tax is funding their stay with Social Housing,NHS and endless Interpreters because they don't even have to learn English now to obtain any of our generous benefits.

  • 69.
  • At 11:49 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Nathan Eakins wrote:

Re: Suggested immigration angle: Competency of Government, should all day breakfast sandwiches be delivered with NI cards?

Hospital cleanliness, death camps for the over 80s?

Is the military dictatorship model the best way forward for the UK?

Question for Joaquim Chissano:

Arguably, if they want power, Governments are judged on their ability to deliver safety and security for all (including minority groups) and find ways to encourage prosperity for the general population.

Out of the following, which regime do you believe has struck the best balance:

Zimbabwe, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Burma, Uzbekistan or the current US administration?

  • 70.
  • At 11:49 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Akpan wrote:

Fm: Abuja-Nigeria

Today is 01/11/07, i stop at Wuse market to picked up some text books for my son who is in junior secondary school class one, i asked the shop keeper for a dictionary and other books in the course of our discussion a boy of about 13 years walk in to the shop he was telling me that is the right book for junior class 1, out of curiosity i asked him why are you not in school he said nothing, i paid for the books i was about to leave the shop on the second thought i asked the shop keeper who the boy is ,he said the boy is learning a trade in the shop, i was so close to tears i stop and said what trade will a boy of this age be able to learn rather being in school, i sugested to him rather the boy should continue in school then come to the shop after school.He said the arrangement is between his master and the boy's father, that the father could'nt cope since other sibling are still in school so so the master accept the boy to be learning trade as kind of help to the boys father. I wish i could help in anyway i would have love the boy returned to school, but i can't being that i myself lost my Bank job some months back. "my heart bleeds for the boy"

  • 71.
  • At 11:50 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Matthew Cole wrote:

Today is world vegan day - how about some coverage, e.g. in relation to climate change debates (see FAO report 'livestock's long shadow'), health impacts of diets high in animal fats (linked to cost to NHS, obesity etc), or, for a real change, a report on the routine brutal treatment of farmed animals in this country, for the sake of the animals themselves?

  • 72.
  • At 11:50 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Sue wrote:

The question that never seems to get asked is this: Irrespective of whether you are in support or not of the immigration situation; how could such a fundamental and irreversible change to our national make up have happened without at any stage the public being asked if such a change was wanted? It's difficult to think of a more relevant subject for a referendum (or is this concept now officially extinct?)
Re the new interaction - thumbs up from me.

  • 73.
  • At 11:52 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Adrian Roberts wrote:

It was almost 'When shall we three meet again' with the warm up men for dracula himself. The amiable troika of Clarke, Hattersley and Kennedy came forth to provide closure on the election that never was. Paxo seemed in his element.
'When the battels lost and won' they might have said.
This was great TV, relaxed, good natured and perceptive.

  • 74.
  • At 11:53 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Malcolm A Wainwright wrote:

£250million sounds a modest sum in view of the huge problems it will need to alleviate.

As in the hospital infections problem we are dealing with figures and statistics with a shocking history of unreliable and misleading conclusions. I think this inaccuracy needs to be tackled starting from a fundamental base of realism applied to need i.e. how many immigrants are there? Reprehensibly, the government doesn't know.

Personally I do not think a Pakistan Democracy is going have any beneficial effect on the "war on terror"; the western demomocracies are just as ineffective.

I would like to ask him about the widespread governmental corruption in Africa and what he thinks should be done about that country's benfactors who keep pouring money into it with very little benefit to the people

  • 75.
  • At 11:54 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Mark Mercer wrote:

Just keep working on the real news and don't be tempted to waste our time on sport, strictly dancing or any of the other other frivolous entertainment material, fine in its proper place, that the News so often inappropriately prioritises.

  • 76.
  • At 11:57 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Amy Davies wrote:

What about aspects on Welsh devolution?....Newsnight and the UK general public are missing out on the poltical revolution that is happening this side of the border.

  • 77.
  • At 11:59 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • de castro wrote:

ok so you wish to be topical
immigration statistics !

Should minorities issues be discussed on prime time tv.

why politicians pick on minority issues when majority issues are where their minds should be focused....
It seems the underdogs have the public sympathies now and our political elite will certainly take advantage of this.
Most/majority play to win but if the public sympathies are encouraged it would be "fashionable" to loose....where the ? are we going..backward !
Hitler certainly focused his attention on his "minorities"
and look what happened to him.
He may have had the right idea just went about it the wrong way.
Tax minorities higher and they will either leave or not come to UK in excessive numbers. After 5 years they then have equal rights.
thats fair !
peace and love
compton of CHERIN in UK

  • 78.
  • At 11:59 AM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Adrian Falconer wrote:

With regards to Joaquim Chissano, I would be interested to know what he intends to do with the money! I imagine that this is a large sum on money in Mozambique terms.

Also, the Government are currently making out that there are taking control of the climate change issue with the new climate bill that is due to be passed soon. However, there seems to be little in the way of action that would enable the bill to succeed i.e. halting airport expansion, regulations on the house building to make new constructions more energy efficient, reducing road building and promoting public transport etc. I have recently had a letter from my MP Sadiq Khan stating that the government has reduced carbon emissions over recent times (?)and that it intends to make further reductions by taxing businesses amongst a few other measures. Will this work? I'm not convinced and as such, I would like to know if current Labour policies as they stand are robust enough to actually meet any of the targets we are currently trying to meet or, is this a way of putting off any assessment of how well we are doing at the moment?

  • 79.
  • At 12:02 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Robin Kenworthy wrote:

Interesting to speculate what we might have been watching following tonight's edition as the results come in for the virtual election,

Seriously though The Health and Social Care Bill has received the Royal ascent. Throughout Nov and Dec there will be a series of meetings on the how to implement issues these could perhaps be pulled together to make a 'special' The important issue will be to inform the general public as quickly as possible how the new system will work and if it is to work we need the Media on our side!

Secondly the deaths at MTW hospitals are of course regretable but following yet more statistics the truth needs to be uncovered contact KCC Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

I do wish there was a spell check on this window

  • 80.
  • At 12:02 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Dermott John wrote:

I'd like Newsnight to discuss the falling standards in News reporting.

I personally don't need news reporters adding their opinions, I really just want the facts, I 'll work out the rest.

  • 81.
  • At 12:03 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Richard Harris wrote:

No, no, no! You decide. You have some excellent journos on the Newsnight team. Use them to tell us what is really happening out there in our world.

I don't want the show to become a vox pop soap.

  • 82.
  • At 12:05 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Peter Walker wrote:

Re: Immigration.

Why not examine the reason we need such a high level of immigration in the first place. We have X million economically inactive, whether on Incapacity Benefit or whatever other benefit, and yet we seem to be incapable of motivating these people back into the vacancies that the immigrants are needed to fill.

I am fed up with hearing 'immigrants do the jobs the British won't do'. The question is, why won't the British? We get inactive people back to work, they come off benefits and pay tax - it's a double whammy so obvious that it would make the economic benefits of immigration look like peanuts, and reduce pressure on housing, utilities, councils schools etc etc etc .

Perhaps Evan Davies can apply his capacious mind to this one and come up with the economic case for LESS immigration.

  • 83.
  • At 12:06 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Colleen Blankenship wrote:

Would like to see more stories from the reporter embedded with the 101st Airborne in Iraq.

His story and videos on the website are quite interesting and it gives us at home an idea of what is really happening over there now.

I feel sort of like the astronauts family from Apollo 13. Media saturation in the beginning of the space program seemed to cause disinterest in the space program by the time 13 went up....but for those who had family on that mission,they still wanted and needed news of what was happening....there are still many many families that depend on the media to keep us posted on what is happening over there...for most of us, it is our only way of keeping up with what is happening with our loved ones that are still there.

  • 84.
  • At 12:06 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Bob Goodall wrote:

Dear Newsnight

I think this is a great innovation and recognises that the nation taken as a whole have the ideas needed to tackle the problems we face.

People taken as a whole know what is happening across the nation, in their towns and cities, their workplace etc. People also have skills and training in different fields that can overcome these problems.

Your innovation of asking viewers for ideas on stories to run, is both empowering to us but more importantly perhaps recognises that the answers to the problems we have as a nation lie in the people of the nation as a whole and are not the domain of the few.

Together we can solve the issues of the day, and we need to move away from a situation where a few of the top (have the personal psychological need perhaps ) to impose their limited views and ideas on the rest of us,

Well done Newsnight, this is the future,

hopefully you will look through the ideas sent in yesterday,

one thought I sent a week or to ago, looking at the background of hospital infections,. I believe Cleaners and other low paid staff in hospitals need to be paid a lot more, and powerful groups like doctors reined in, and if necessary paid less.

We need better, perhaps more, managers perhaps recruited from the private sector (not less). Your report a couple of months ago featuring I think the ex Granada boss, on management in the NHS was excellent.

(would be possible to podcast this report on your site today as it is relevant to what you may be covering in tonight’s programme?)

• we do not need to cut managerial staff by getting medical staff to do these jobs,

• better, tougher managers might stand up more effectively to powerful groups like the doctors while protecting others, vital to the running of the NHS like cleaners.

Also to stand up better to their counterparts in the Pharmaceutical companies who seem to manage to get away with charging the UK more more drugs than they charge other European nations. Better managers in the NHS, if necessary recruited from the private sector could save a huge amount of money in this area alone.

(Cleaners need their pay tripled, also technicians who take blood samples and quite a few other groups,)

• we need to think whether we want hospitals so accessible to the public,

• we need separate wards for men and women,

• we need the elderly and those not able to defend themselves to have someone of a high management grade in the hospital whose sole job it is to protect the interests of such people and their access to the best medical care,

• we need fit staff whose job it is to lift patients,

• we need other staff to carry out jobs like feeding the patients, while nurses stick to the medical side,

• we need a dedicated police force (like the transport police, looking after staff in hospitals and so on..

.why isn’t any of this being done?, whose in charge of all this?

Perhaps also Newsnight could also check out the person who made millions out of the privatisation of cleaning services in the NHS?

Best wishes

  • 85.
  • At 12:09 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Jamie Brown wrote:

Since Global Warming is discused ad nauseam, and the contstant discussion on renewables, i feel that Newsnight should feature people who oppose wind farms but call themselves 'eco-warriers' I am all for windmills and wave machines but i can't stand people who moan about city/town folk in cars not doing enough for the planet, but they oppose windmills!!! Total hypocrites!!! You should feature topics like this on Newsnight, i find the programme very interesting, but switch off when i hear Iraq! How much more can be reported from that region!

  • 86.
  • At 12:10 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • ann senior wrote:


Newsnight needs to get out onto the streets more to uncover the potential impact and polarization caused by uncontrolled mass immigration on some communities in Britain, rather than just sitting around talking figures. Lets see some real evidence of how immigration affects our society and culture, maybe it is improving it. How are the indigenous population dealing with it, do they resent immigrants or embrace them? Are the Government encouraging integration? How is the nation dealing with immigration? So far its all figures and politically correct speil.

Newsnight could contrast a couple of areas in Britain to find out how each community integrates with an influx of immigrants. Take a day trip to Margate, a place of high unemployment and dense immigration, to find a divided community in freefall.

It is a huge subject which could divide the country if some politician doesn't pull it together and give the people some direction on this.

  • 87.
  • At 12:11 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Frank MILES wrote:

As a television journalist myself I am appalled that you feel so uncertain of yourselves that you now need us, the viewers, to run your programmes for you. It is sad that you should find it necessary to copy Sky News who are now asking for viewers to report stories for them. What on earth is the problem? Television journalism is a skilled profession and you ashould be up to it - or quit and leave it to those who are.

  • 88.
  • At 12:15 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • nick ruddock wrote:

Immigration: throughout the ten years the Government spokesperson, especially the past Home Office Minister, Barbara Steele, used prevarication and counter accusation of racism to block criticism from all opposing parliamentary collegues and/or journalists; consequentially, eyes were taken off the ball of massive increased immigration. Especially European entrants who can enter with ease and then seek work on the black economy. You may observe them at traffic lights offering screen wash. The Tories are correct, the Government, and the previous ones dating back possible thirty years; these Governments have lost control of our borders. It was always particularly noticeable when leaving or returning on the ferries at Dover and Folkestone. No checks on passports and walk-through customs & excise. Personally I think the Govt developed the policy as an adjunct to put pressure on increased wage inflation. These mechanisms have been antidemocratic in effect, by shielding penetration from critics.

C-difficule, MRSA, etc:
I believe the media should focus on the other EU members approach to prevention. Did you not post a short clip on the Dutch successful system in Hospitals. How do these organisms develop, grow, feed; what slows their progress. Do the public carry in these 'bugs' into hospital when visiting Outpatients, or or Inpatients.

Chissano: Would he enlighten us visa vee the behaviour of African Governments in educating their citizens over AIDS. Let us include the massive contradiction, (from my perspective and experience), between very active religious involvement through worship etc, mostly Christian; and the African peoples, their licentious behaviours, manifest in the statistics of active HIV infection. We are led to believe this is over 50% of the population. I in no way wish to insult or embarrass this guest; but I think the dichotomy may throw some light on these contradictions. Also, there lives somewhere in Africa, possibly Kenya, female prostitutes, who appear to have immunity from aids or hiv. What knowledge and research has been conducted with these persons.

Hi Karen (10) - thanks for the nudge about World Vegan Day. Not sure yet if anything will make it into the programme tonight but we've taken the opportunity to put up Ethical Man's film from earlier in the year - he went vegan for a month as an experiment.

You can watch it here:


  • 90.
  • At 12:26 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Barrie Hall wrote:

I suspect the simple task of securing our borders has not been done to deliberately create this problem over the number of immigrants in the country. Soon the government will use this to persuade the public how useful ID cards will be to control the 'enemy within'.

  • 91.
  • At 12:28 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Bill wrote:

Two things:
Would you consider asking Chissano about Mugabe and/or Zimbabwe? His leadership has been recognized by the Mo Prize; will he speak up on another African leader or will we get waffle that will reveal shallow leadership, unwothy of Mo Ibrahim.
Secondly, as an avid reader of the online Newsnight and fairly freuent viewer of the online 'cast, you have got something here - an innovation that can be up to the minute and topical. Go for it.
P.S. What's happened to the jokes fit for 8/9/11 year olds? I liked them.

Richard (83), and others. No, no, no - we certainly don't want it to be a vox pop soap, that's not the purpose of this experiment. We want to know what our viewers would like us to point ourselves at today and the kind of questions you'd like us to ask on your behalf. And indeed if viewers out there know the answer to the questions we are asking - after all some of you will be for example economists with expertise in migrant labour whereas we are just journalists - then let us know that too.

This is not a glorified phone-in.


  • 93.
  • At 12:33 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Peter Hughes wrote:

I am fed up with hearing commentators endlessly repeat immigration statistics. I would much rather listen to an informed and intelligent discussion about the changing demographics of ecomically-developed and -developing states, about the desirability or otherwise of doing anything about the changing demographics, about an ethical analysis of migration (refugees, asylum seekers, poor people wanting a better life), about the pros and cons of classic nationhood in this globalised world, and about the ways in which the news media and political parties address, or fail to address, these issues.

  • 94.
  • At 12:37 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Fran Pitt-Pladdy wrote:

What a good idea!

Please can we have more science stories. The current Space Station problems and their resolution are a great example of countries working together and there are some terrific pictures too.

  • 95.
  • At 12:38 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • john kelly wrote:

On the immigration issue which everyone accepts is the one of greatest concern to the public, may I suggest you expand this to examine the role of the local councils and more importantly, the unelected regional assemblies? These were supposed to be abolished and yet they have statutory planning powers which will be crucial to the effort involved in building more and more houses and infrastructure to cope with the effects of immigrants.

There is an EU influence at play here as the Maastricht and Nice treaties commit the government to deliver a system of elected regional government, and yet we have no knowledge of what is or will happen. Brown has appointed 8 English regional ministers, which together with the "devolution" of the other 4 regions plus London, completes the set required, but nothing has emerged on the 8 regions following the defeat of the referendum in the NE when 78% said "NO" to regional government.

This would be fertile territory for examining and exposing what is happening to the UK region of the EU.

  • 96.
  • At 12:39 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • csharp wrote:

my line up would be

1. Ex MI6 Chief speaks. 'The conjunction of events relating to Iraq was highly unusual'. We look into this 'astronomy'.

2. Why 50% of solar panel applications are being turned down. We speak to the planning priesthood.

3. The shooting of rare birds. Are you down to 5 a day?

4. PFI. Trick or treat?

5.Japan ends Afghanistan mission. Time to rethink the strategy? Is this a war where money to pay people off might be the best 'troops'?

  • 97.
  • At 12:40 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Mufumba Henry wrote:

Dear newsnight,
Thanks for the great work done for making us know what is happening round the world.
But my major request is that you also endeavour to update us about the Common Wealth Head of Government Meeting (CHOGM) due this November in the African country of Uganda.
We love to hear about how her Majesty the Queen is prepared to Visit us.


  • 98.
  • At 12:44 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Eltee wrote:

Packaging please! Why do Morrisons individually plastic-wrap peppers? They don't do it to apples etc. And what about those awful plastic hooks they use on bananas. I have asked them but they did not reply. And it is not just Morrisons............I think some of these supermarket chiefs need the sort of robust interviewing that politicians get. Please consider it!

  • 99.
  • At 12:45 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Situmbaeto Lubinda wrote:

As the world is struggling to have peace especially in the Middle east,i fill the double standard for America wont help.
How can they be providing secret information to Turkey to enable it bomb PKK sites in Irag when these people are just the same really do you think Kurds in Irag will be happy we need to discuss this.

  • 100.
  • At 12:51 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • jean wrote:

Hospital cleanliness.

My partner spent over five weeks in hospital in Sevilla this year and I stayed with him. Neither of us had any infections.
Every time a patient left the bed would be stripped and the frame and mattress cleaned with bleach, as was all the furniture used, including inside drawers and cupboards. It took only a few minutes.
Hands were washed and gloves worn.
Food trays were covered.

My mpther spent weeks in a Bristol hospital following a hip operation as she ws infected, the ward would close, she would be moved to another ward and . . . . .so on


  • 101.
  • At 12:52 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Alan Benson wrote:

The big issue of the day is surely immigration. It’s the main topic of conversation down at my pub. Not as a racial issue but because of the overcrowding of our part of the world. The world’s population must have a limit for sustainability.
All we get is “the problem lies with China” but China is less densely populated than the UK. (136 people per sq km compared to 247 in the UK) UK is twice the European average. ( 115 /sq km). In the next 50 years we will have to grow as much food as has been grown in the last 10,000 years. The UK population is not sustainable into the future. There was very little coverage in the news of the recent world population conference in Iceland.
It is the increasing population that is putting the pressure on our services, roads, education and health service

  • 102.
  • At 12:53 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • jean wrote:


If you live in this area (Sevilla) you either make your way as best you can in Spansih or employ an interpreter. This applies to all everythin from health to residence permits.

The "foreigners" office where one goes for the latter (and what's wrong with ID cards? Great idea; we have had to carry ours for years)is full of people of all nationalities and all the notices, signs and info is only in the laguageg of the country yet we hear that the UK tax payers pay something like three billion a year for interpreters and all information is supplied in almost any language. How ridiculous!


  • 103.
  • At 12:55 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Tom Gill wrote:

Had there been a General Election today then according to the polls the Tories would have won. It is fair to assume that this victory would include the following: No Tories elected in Scotland - No Tories elected in N. Ireland, and a few elected in Wales. The North & the Midlands of England I suggest would be 60-40 in favour of labour, with the Tories winning the majority of the South.
Cameron would in all probability feel obliged to take on Scotland over-ruling its devolved policies, hence, the Tories would be the instigators of the breaking up of the kingdom, as the reaction from Scotland would be for full blown independance without a doubt.
Isn't it strange how in politics things change? Where once the Tories were the Unionists, now the Labour Party seem to be the ones with the strongest sticking plaster.

This is great. Thanks for all your suggestions. Lots of ideas on immigration and particularly about the difficulties with the statistics -we'll have a look at this. And some useful thoughts on Chissano.

Carol Rubra
Programme Producer

  • 105.
  • At 01:13 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Brian Kelly wrote:

Immigration is very high on our list , the government seems impotent when dealing with stats' & the truth . We cannot wait 2 yrs before the next election for the Tories put their measures in place, albeit they do not go far enough to contain the surge coming from Europe then our infrastructures will be damaged beyond repair.
The NHS ? have just announced that infections have come down? How can you measure the stats' unless its a like for like comparison... sounds very dodgy to me ..reminiscent of the cock-up with immigration figures!!

  • 106.
  • At 01:14 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • David Nettleton wrote:

I'm tempted to ask why 91 Newsnight viewers were not working this morning: I've just arrived home for a short break before a visit to my GP.

Question instead why the British fear Johnny Foreigner. Is it because the British Isles is surrounded by water? How about history? The Romans; The Normans; Hermann Goering; or some other irrational fear?

Walking around Bury St Edmunds town centre I hear a lot more languages spoken than a few years ago but as a local borough councillor I'm happy just so long as newcomers pay their Council Tax and don't smash the place up on a Saturday night.

  • 107.
  • At 01:14 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • D McDErmott wrote:

Firstly please excuse any errors that get through the software as I have dyslexia.
Living in the North West, I always find it fascinating why the audience for the BBC is so regionalised and class driven. As a very small indication of this, being that only around 500 votes where cast last time I looked in your election item, 50% where for conservatives and labour and lib dem are level at around 17%. This is from past experience was what I would expect and I feel is a good indication of the makeup of an average BBC audience, especially one such as newsnight.
The question I would like newsnight to investigate, is the old chicken and egg one, of, is the BBC output and spin attractive to such an audience, who then watch it, or knowing the type of audience who watch the BBC, do they aim its output to fit this audience?

  • 108.
  • At 01:20 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • kevin wrote:

How about chroncling the loss of civil liberties and freedom in the UK and the rest of the western world?

How about some exposure over the Ron Paul Revolution in the US?

Show us you care for freedom, Newsnight. It's getting somewhat pathetic now, you see.

  • 109.
  • At 01:22 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • David Symes wrote:

Re Hospital Infections.

I have had a post operative infection that requires daily dressing and antibiotic cover. It is not MRSA nor C.Difficile just a plain ordinary Hospital Acquired Infection. As such it is probably "off the radar".

There appears to be no pressure on hospitals to monitor the level of these infections as they attract neither media attention nor are they subject to centralised targets.

What I find really annoying is that the cost of coping with the poor quality of hospital care passes to the PCT the patient and their family.

Why should not the payment by results formula include sums that are retained for 6 months and 1 year pending a review by the patient's G.P.

Unless hospitals feel it in their pockets they will continue to shift the costs of their failures while pocketing the cash without any realistic accounting for quality.

  • 110.
  • At 01:40 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Oliver Williams wrote:

It's one thing to invite informed comments, and questions, on subjects deserving air-time on Newsnight. It's another to ask viewers what they would like any day's programme to be about. I don't pay my licence fee in order to have a right to decide the programme's agenda, I want a team of competent, alert broadcasters to present a programme I can take or leave.

  • 111.
  • At 01:53 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Peter T wrote:

Your email was timed on my PC as arriving at 10.53 yet your first response was timed at 10.51. Hmmmm.

Seriously though, I think that on at least one day a week you should step back from the immediacy of events and consider an issue that is not in the news but is nevertheless important to a lot of people. In a word, trends.
For instance, is crime getting worse in this country? What are the most desirable qualifications for university entrance? What has been the effect of the reduction in apprencticeships? C P Snow's Two Nations paper - is it still applicable? Should the market control the number and destinations of airplane flights from this country?.

And I realise that all your staff live and work in and around London, but a helluva lot of don't. So why not look into life in other regions of the country and contrast and compare them with London?

Very nice idea to allow viewers to influence stories and running order.
Re Chissano:
Perhaps ask him:
1. What steps are you taking to prevent Mozambiqans fleeing into South Africa seeking work?
2. To what extent has Frelimo eliminated opposition in Mozambique?

Re: Congo #30

Newsnight recently covered the rising tension in Eastern Congo. We reported on allegations of human rights abuses and interviewed war-lord General Laurent Nkunda. We put to him many of the questions raised in your post.

Watch it here:

Warwick Harrington, Newsnight producer

Here's a radical idea. In 2006, a poll of the British public found that "81 per cent of those who took a view said President George W Bush hypocritically championed democracy as a cover for the pursuit of American self-interests." Maybe the BBC could see its way to raising the possibility that this might be true, rather than simply assuming the opposite (see link below), on the basis of ... well, nothing. Stranger things have happened, I suppose. But not often.

  • 115.
  • At 02:07 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Adrienne wrote:

What's the point of talking further about immigration? We see the figures and we see what we see and hear (languages) on the streets, and the figures and observations don't match.

The FCHR in the EU Reform Treaty will become law (to the extent that it is not already), and then we'll see even less in the way racial or any other form of 'discriminatory' statistics, as collection of country of origin or ethnicity data has to be officially justified. Note, even the births registrations only records country of mother's birth, not ethnicity or nationality.

As Frattini is saying we need more legal immigration from outside of the EU (i.e. mainly Africa and S Asia) officials are surely likely to look the other way on that score too are they not?

Not much of it makes sense unless you see it as intentional. The survey which the DWP bases its estimates on must leave many immigrtants untapped, and if there were 700,000 Poles just in London eligible to vote in the recent Polish election, logically, how can only half the 1.1 or 1.5 million foreign 'workers' be European when there are 7 other 2004 East European EU accession states (apart from Poland, Romania and Bulgaria) and 16 other EU states? There can't be that many students can there?

If one asks the government, they'll just keep giving you apologetic replies and refer to surveys which the public has access to as well, so what's the point of asking them when they'll just respond with hand waving/wringing variants of "we don't know", whilst making out that things are all in hand to get a better grip on matters......?

Better to look into all the money that's being wasted on useless programmes which promise to do the impossible in mental health, education and criminal justice I suspect. At least that money (and there's lots of it) could be spent on something more useful (although that would have to be judged against all the snake-oil sales-persons who would be put out of work and go on benefits).

  • 116.
  • At 02:16 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Jay wrote:

I would most like to learn about what the government intends to do once Iraq is handed back to it's people, and what this might mean in terms of Oil Importing into this country.
If the current policies of Iran are such an afffront to NATO and the Nuclear proliferation treaty, then what exactly are we proposing to do about it?
Although Gordon Brown has visited Iraq and British troops there what exactly does he propose to do, once British troops have left, ie to secure energy resources for the coming 20 years or so?
As it seems that was what the war was about in the first place.

  • 117.
  • At 02:37 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Katie W wrote:

Wow - no pleasing some people. I'm guessing those who say they wish Newsnight producers would do this are the same as those who'd be the first to complain if you opened with the 'wrong' story..

Anyway, someone's said it above, but I'd like to re-iterate: please cover the fact that we now have two formal contenders for the Lib Dem leadership race. If this were Tories/Labour we'd have endless profiles and interviews, and it would be interesting to get into some of the things the candidates propose - shared maternity/paternity leave from Clegg, the slightly web 2.0 "people's veto" from Huhne. Obviously this may run contrary to the "aren't they alike" angle that has been run with to date, but one of them will be leader so it would be nice to show some interest in this.

  • 118.
  • At 02:41 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Harriet Hamster Hampstead wrote:

Sir Ian Blair out ?

Hugh Orde OBE in ?

Interesting thought ?

  • 119.
  • At 02:51 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Mario Lanza wrote:

Do you want us to do the presenting for you also?

At some point maybe you should investigate the National Union of Journalists, which has taken leave of its senses and is mounting a multi-pronged attack on the internet / 'Web 2.0' / folks who choose to leave the NUJ (eg Roy Greenslade).

Truly bizarre and highly damaging. It clearly has no clue about how the media industry is evolving.

Does the NUJ have anything left to offer its members, other than scaremongering?

  • 121.
  • At 03:05 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Ant wrote:

Why not give the EU government a mention? You could point out how we pay it so much that we cannot afford to deal with the problems that it brings:
Immigration? We cannot control it, it's compulsory.
MRSA? Would we have it if we weren't under pressure to privatise everything?
Is it, anyway, helping to bring about the demise of our NHS because neither we nor the EU government can be having only us with such a system!

Insert these into the time vacated by not bothering with African presidents - interesting but not as much as the hidden work being performed by the EU government!

Katie (119) and others - The Lib Dem leadership contest is definitely something we'll be covering over the next few weeks, but until then do check out Michael Crick's recent film - we set him the task of trying to spot the differences between Huhne and Clegg.

You can watch it here:


For future Newsnights:

1. Abortion: discuss whether the foetus viability test is valid and relevant (it isn't, but almost all the commentators take it for granted that it is) and what are the medium-term consequences of continuing to use it (see

2. Tory proposal for an English Grand Committee of the house of commons, and alternative solutions to the West Lothian Question -- such as a whole-hog federation of the four UK nations (see Guardian letters, 1 Nov. 07, at,,2202658,00.html%29.

  • 124.
  • At 03:52 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Robin McKay wrote:

A brave experiment my friends. Pity the persons who trawl through these messages.

That said, my suggestion is for future programmes:

"Is poverty really the fault of the poor?"

A small question that involves multiple strands, but a definitive and modern synopsis may well be appreciated by some Newsnight viewers.

If you take on this challenge, I wish you all the best....

  • 125.
  • At 03:55 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Karen Price wrote:

A neurologist just told me his theory about MRSA.

Community Acquired Methicillin Resistant Stapholococcus Aureus has evolved because of our corporations in the profit driven meat market giving antibiotics to animals until slaughter.

This overuse of medicines has allowed the evolution of a resistant strain to gain ascendancy.

Market forces have to be contained by uniform basic legal protections of the consumer and the laborer or else the need to compete will force a very unhealthy "race to the bottom." A threat to us all.

As I'm sure you'd expect, we've had to change our running order to cover the verdict in the trial of the Metropolitan Police over the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes. So we're having to lose our interview with Joaquim Chissano. Hopefully we'll be able to talk to him at some point in the future instead.
Carol Rubra
Programme Producer

  • 127.
  • At 04:03 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • mitchell robertson wrote:

EU referendum- what are local MPs doing to push for one, especially tory MPs?

private property now brownfield sites- an infringement of liberty?

education-yet more dumbing down of education with the gradual phasing out of 'A' levels to be replaced by diplomas

education again-wildly varying standards within our schools blithely accepted by government. instead of the postcode lottery why is nothing done to raise teaching standards across all areas.

education again-if there are to be no more grammar schools introduced how will government ensure today's youth have access to a similar standard of education they had and no doubt that their children enjoy

Scotland-when is anyone going to consult the English about whether they want to Union broken up. It shouldn't just be the Scots decision.

See main site:

These is a lack of freedom and little liberty in living in grinding poverty, living under illusions, in having false beliefs and fancies by being subject to irrational passions and compulsions. Freedom is positive, it is an intellectual and emotional achievement not just something freely given by “our creator”. The republic depended on elites – less than 3% who actually knew what is going on. Our current problems are the corruption of the ruling class by crude materialism and modern marketing techniques when money can buy votes.

Jefferson knew that but was making the point that the people are sovereign and are citizens not subjects. BUT the civic culture must support rational (educated) and moral citizens. If the nation is ruled by “the mob” democracy will be a disaster. Therefore all the checks and balances – the founding fathers were very skeptical of the masses and wanted a limited republic not a democracy. They were elitist masons, creditors, property owners and history showed democracies would forgive debts and redistribute wealth with a radical popularism. You can fool most of the people most of the time and some of the people all of the time – but if protected the minority not fooled all of the time survive the contempt of the masses and Rush Limbaugh.
Case the Iraq illusion: (the war has nothing to do with terrorism, democracy, WMD or Husain but OIL and Israel)
There is a lot of oil in Iraq. (A lot at a potential of 5 mbd up from 2.2 mbd)
In order to exploit this resource and maintain the worlds energy supply over the short term (five to 25 years) billons (lots of billions) need to be invested over years. In order to assure the investment the presence of American Bases must be there for decades – and they are being built accordingly. The rest of the war is only a side show and not very important. The billions invested will have a high ROI (return on investment) and secure Israel and the Persian (Arabian) gulf. The West needs at least 25 years to shift off oil. It is reality to protect oil for several decades to assure the life style we have become accustomed. We need to do both - protect oil and find alternatives, cap and trade, hard targets, clean coal, atomic power, wind, tide, currents, thermal, H made in remote high energy places (lots of water and wind in Alaska) etc.
As oil is near $100 a barrel GAS $3.00 plus - the market will adjust - smaller cars - hybrids, more efficient energy use, GAS in Europe is twice as much $6.00 or $1.50 a liter one Euro (7 per 100 k) almost half of all automobiles sold in Europe in 2003 were fitted with diesel engines So get ready America, and keep an open mind. The diesel revolution starts soon with clean air technology -

Chalabi back in action in Iraq
If Mark L. Gillem has anything to say about it, then yes. In "America Town: Building the Outposts of Empire" (University of Minnesota Press), Gillem details the suburbanization of America's military bases, the facilities political scientist Chalmers Johnson has trenchantly called "America's version of the colony." Footprints Of Our Empire
(German: real ("realistic", "practical" or "actual") and Politik ("politics") refers to politics or diplomacy based primarily on practical considerations, rather than ideological notions. The term realpolitik is often used pejoratively to imply politics that are coercive, amoral, or Machiavellian.

These is a lack of freedom and little liberty in living in grinding poverty, living under illusions, in having false beliefs and fancies by being subject to irrational passions and compulsions. Freedom is positive, it is an intellectual and emotional achievement not just something freely given by “our creator”. The republic depended on elites – less than 3% who actually knew what is going on. Our current problems are the corruption of the ruling class by crude materialism and modern marketing techniques when money can buy votes.

Jefferson knew that but was making the point that the people are sovereign and are citizens not subjects. BUT the civic culture must support rational (educated) and moral citizens. If the nation is ruled by “the mob” democracy will be a disaster. Therefore all the checks and balances – the founding fathers were very skeptical of the masses and wanted a limited republic not a democracy. They were elitist masons, creditors, property owners and history showed democracies would forgive debts and redistribute wealth with a radical popularism. You can fool most of the people most of the time and some of the people all of the time – but if protected the minority not fooled all of the time survive the contempt of the masses and Rush Limbaugh.

The national interest, often referred to by the French term raison d'État, is a country's goals and ambitions whether economic, military, or cultural. The notion is an important one in international relations where pursuit of the national interest is the foundation of the realist school.

The national interest of a state is multi faceted. Primary is the state's survival and security. Also important is the pursuit of wealth and economic growth and power. Many states, especially in modern times, regard the preservation of the nation's culture as of great importance. Realism, also known as political realism, in the context of international relations, encompasses a variety of theories and approaches, all of which share a belief that states are primarily motivated by the desire for military and economic power or security, rather than ideals or ethics. This term is often synonymous with power politics.
The term realism can, instead of referring to the broad family of realist theories, refer specifically to classical realism, the common ancestor and original form of realism v. idealism.
In international relations, defensive realism is a variant of realism. Like realism, defensive realism looks at states as rational players who are the primary actors in world affairs. Defense realism predicts that anarchy on the world stage causes states to become obsessed with security. This results in security dilemmas where one state's drive to increase its security can, because security is viewed as a zero-sum game, result in greater instability as its opponent(s) respond to their resulting reductions in security.
There are several versions of defensive realism, including Offense-Defensive theory which states that there is an inherent balance in technology or doctrine that favors either the attacker or defender in battle. To be theoretically useful this balance must both exist and be measurable. Offense-Defense theory explains the First World War as a situation in which all sides believed the balance favored the offense but were mistaken.
The most famous German advocate of Realpolitik was Otto von Bismarck, Kingdom of Prussia First Chancellor (1862-1870) to Wilhelm I. Bismarck used Realpolitik to achieve Prussian dominance in Germany, as he manipulated political issues such as Schleswig-Holstein and the Hohenzollern candidature to antagonise other countries and possibly with the intention of war. Characteristic of Bismarck's political action was an almost Machiavellian policy; he acted with little regard to ethics, morals or legalities. Prussia's seemingly illogical move of not demanding territory from a defeated Austria, a move that later lead to the unification of Germany, is one of the often-cited examples of Realpolitik.

  • 129.
  • At 04:19 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • J. Birch wrote:

The Government is planning a change in the UK coinage next year, gone will be the traditional design, why?
Will this be Browns first step to making our coinage compatable with that in Europe, ie the Euro by the back door, his favourite entry for his ideas?

  • 130.
  • At 04:24 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • mark storey wrote:

I think its a good idea

  • 131.
  • At 04:27 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Hezmond tu tu wrote:

for future programs:

The sham of University 'education'.

I've just graduated from Leeds and was appalled by the value for money. In my final year my tuition fees bought me 2 hours of lectures per week and one hour of tuition every other week. This was supposedly a full time course. Throughout the three years we were often tested using multiple choice tests, most of which were identical to the practice test and given feedback on essays just once. How can universities expect to get more money out of students yet continue to provide such a shocking service?

p.s. I am, of course, incredibly employable. Please give me a job.

  • 132.
  • At 04:48 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Heather wrote:

You did a powerful story last night about the Birmingham voting scandal which the government then just fobbed off with an anodyne statement. Why don't you persist until you get a minister on to answer these allegations? And was it really a good idea to let Michael Crick muddy the waters with his 'they're all as bad as each other' shtick?

  • 133.
  • At 04:55 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Matt Brown wrote:

Ditto on number 3!

Also, apologies if you've covered this already but following on from the Princess Diana court case and Heather Mills outburst on GMTV, should the press be restricted how they pursue their subjects? Every day we see a horde of reporters or photographers descending upon one news victim or another, is it time this behaviour should be checked?

  • 134.
  • At 04:59 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Angel Bacon wrote:

Because a married couple whom had been his friends were killed by a hospital bug but a few short weeks ago , today someone I know is shelling out a staggering £500+ per night for a private room that he can ill-afford at St Mary's paddington for the next fortnight, whilst undergoing and receiving post-op care after a cancer operation .

Apparently, staff mentioned the room will be noisy because maintenance are running repairs to the floor above( no offer of a reduced rate).

Newsnight might get a rough figure as to how much the NHS cream in via this opportunist profiteering ?

Perhaps NHS hospital staff would be helped to focus if they were instead to receive cancer op funding on a
simple no win no fee basis ?

The BBC are fully aware of the disgusting state of NHS hospitals ; why not devote an entire weeks programming to naming and shaming every last criminal responsible , inc sultans of spin , for this modern horror story ?

On a brighter note , everybody knows someone : my Grandmother is a happy 101 years old and has eaten liberal amounts of bacon cooked in butter ( albeit organically produced ) all her slim and elegant tennis playing life. Perhaps only the non-organic meat & dairy kills ?

  • 135.
  • At 05:20 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Guy Adams wrote:

I wish you would stop telling stories on your programme. It tends suggest it is just your story and not the whole story and contains an element of fiction.

A news report or item suggests an honest account of events and can lead to debate or the expression of an opinion on current issues or affairs.

The principal dictionary definition of story, defines it as an account told for entertainment.

I would really prefer that you inform and contribute to a healthy debate, rather than merely entertain.

  • 136.
  • At 05:21 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • victor coker wrote:

this week as been the issue of immegration were in they say that the population of the migrants is becoming an issue in the country,the prblem with the politician in this UK is that they alays @ the negative side of things and forgetting the fact that there is alwaystwo ide of the coin I.E. tail & head or apparently the pro & cons of any any issues that is to be raised ok!
now this migrant has contributed immensely towards the developments of this great nation and more over the pay there TAXES and the so called NATIONAL ISSURANCE contribution be it legal migrant or illegal migrant and withoutthis peoples contribution the country will bnothing as the so called politcian think, if you check inside this parliament it is interesting tha almost 75%(percent) are immegrant, i mean either their parents/fore fathers came here before the other immegrants now that they are in poltical Arena they wants the others to go back and all the do is to se the media and talkabout them which is not fair though, for goodness sake we are all human and what`s wrong to stay in another country inorder to survive or for ends to meet? please i beg them in the name of our lord the creator of heaven nd the earth to let them go alon they haven`t done any thing to use then like the are alians from another planet you know its not fair. Without them life in the UK is nothing believe it or take it if it is not true check around you andtell me how migrant you have in the BBC? lfe goes on.
power, power,power it is not good to be in power cos you tend not to opperate ion the rightway but just for your own good and the party you represent thats all which means any loop hole you see you blast it for others to see that you are a good leader but inside you is negative!!!

  • 137.
  • At 05:29 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Adrienne wrote:

#133 If we now send over 40% of a cohort to university (more females than males), and New Labour say it is not enough, either genetic intelligence has magically risen over the past three decades, or the entry requirements for university have fallen dramatically. This means that university staff can't have a very rewarding time.

As I have said *repeatedly*, this is something which Newsnight should look into as sending more of the (genetically) brighter half of the population's females into the workplace can only serve to further lower the future generations' mean IQ if a) IQ has a high heritability (the estimate is 0.5-0.8) and education and entering the workforce serves to both delay motherhood and reduce the birth rate in this group relative to those who are less educable.

Result, continued differential fertility, skewing of intelligence in the population, a poverty of able people to run society's infrastructure effectively, and a third world like culture and economy in terms of corruption, crime (this is why it is ring is it not?), and all the other indices/consequences of lowering IQ/dumbing down.

Now surely that's worth getting a Newsnight investigation on. It opens a whole can of worms, but there are one or two ageing researchers you could interview if you dare.

Look up 'dysgenics' Newsnight team.

  • 138.
  • At 05:34 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Nigel Blake wrote:

I agree that it has certainly seemed like a 'slow news' week (overlong repeat of the cotton story, futile chat with Hatto, Clark and Kennedy), so maybe that explains the timing of your experiment in interaction. However, it's hard not to suspect that this innovation (spare us) may be in part a reaction to the threat (the certainty?) of staff cuts to the programme. (I strongly disapprove of all cuts to BBC News Services, both TV and radio - the most important and valuable part of what you do.)

Some of the contributions above show that there are people out here with genuinely useful suggestions to make. Others ...

But surely it should be possible to carry on cultivating the more thoughtful feedback and using it, without formalising it as a (cost-cutting?) 'feature'? What's important to remember is that part of the value of your good news team is that they are in a position to notice some things that need to be asked that most of us lack the background to realise. That's an important reason why their expert input is valuable. For goodness sake don't forget this, otherwise the value of what you do will soon decline.

  • 139.
  • At 05:42 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Ciaran wrote:

So are you going to ask the question; How can the trigger happy Met get back to keeping the peace and not breaking it?

  • 140.
  • At 05:50 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Adrienne wrote:

Supplement: In the past, haven't revolutions often been far worse for the elite than the proletariat/peasantry, and might this not explain both the ongoing assault on higher education (and future mean IQ) as well as the 'compensatory' (really exacerbating) flood of low skilled immigration? It doesn't matter what colour they are, it's a skills, innate ability issue).

In the long run, it produces a population which is easier to sell goods and ideas too, i.e. to dupe, especially at electoral time, and this is much easier if the parties are all really variants of the same type of 'democratic' party as enshrined in the EU Reform Treaty's Fundamental Charter of Human Rights, all keen to please the drivers of the 'free market'.

Just another angle to the suggested Newsnight investigation offered earlier.

  • 141.
  • At 05:50 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Bob Goodall wrote:

Dear Newsnight

re your lead story, there may be an issue here of where national goverment decisions generate extra spending locally, that central Government pays literally for its decisions and not hopes for the best ostrich style, that the problems ie for extra social housing will go away, or even worse that responsibility for decisions made at a local level are met by sometimes the most vulnerable of our society who may find that the local authority no longer has enough housing stock, to provide them with a home, as well as an influx of people coming in as a result of migration policies made at a national level,

Central Government must take responsibility for the decisions it makes and fund local authorities acordingly,

hope this is helpful
best wishes

this is not a slight on migrants, my mother is from overseas, and we are lucky to have some of the brightest people in Europe and elsewhere wanting to come here. But they need housing and looking after as part of the bargain and central government needs to provide funding for this.

housing new arrivals for example must not be at the expense of vulerable people already here of all backgrounds, races and colours and previous migrants who are not able to look after their own interests

  • 142.
  • At 07:09 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • tony lowe wrote:

All of the legal immigrants (e.g. those form EU)pay income tax, National Insurance, VAT etc. - more than enough to cover the expense the state incurs for health and so on. For those who don't pay tax - blame their corrupt British employers and our nonsensical immigration laws. The most serious tax dodgers are the very rich (e.g. Rupert Murdoch). All the talk along the lines of "We can't afford these immigrants is pointless. If the birth rate went up and the 'indigenous' population increased by several hundred thousand, 'alarm bells' would not be ringing. Politicians locally and nationally would simply allocate extra funding to areas of need. These scares are inherently xenophobic. because the real intent is scapegoating of people based purely on their nationality.

  • 143.
  • At 07:15 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Robert Garrison wrote:

As an American viewer, I'd like to see more political coverage, specifically what goes on in Parliament; what laws are being passed and such things as that. I like to watch Prime Minister's Questions aired on C-SPAN-2 here in the U.S. and when they go back and forth in Parliament, it seems scripted in advance. I'd like to know about more of the differences between Labour and the Tories and to see balanced coverage of viewpoints in order to let the viewers decide for themselves. In short, more politics please! Thank-you!
Robert Garrison

  • 144.
  • At 08:12 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Owais Rajput wrote:

Poor is poor and rich is richer in Pakistan. Poverty, lack of education less employment and on top of that Pakistan facing series of threats from terrorists including those trans-national groups who belongs to organised criminal gangs. Only solution to current situation in Pakistan is democratically elected government and to get a true democratically elected government BBC and other International monitoring bodies can play positive role to make sure future elections in Pakistan will be fair otherwise more problems in Pakistan and in the region. A strong democratically elected Government in Pakistan will be fruitful for International security and streets of Britain.

  • 145.
  • At 08:44 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Greg Hiller wrote:

I think your idea/experiment is an excellent initiative. It certainly doesn't deserve the critisism of several of the writers here.
People aren't obliged in any way to contribute if they feel it not to be their place to do so..

My ideas and suggestions:

Take quite a lot of your attention away from places further afield; a good current example being this 'Mozambique story,' and to a lesser extent Pakistan, and focus much, much, more on our domestic situation.

The reason for this request being the undisputable fact that the current situation in the UK requires a huge amount of attention from the serious news-media. More and more frequently one hears the term 'Third World Country' used, both from serious sources like judges etc., and in World and European rank lists for all sorts of things. Our country seems to have honestly and truly gone to the dogs on many extremely important issues, such as:-

Immigration; education; the police service; crime;(no longer being punished anywhere near sufficiently to deter re-offending) high prices;(for everything; absurdly and inexplicably so, compared to the rest of the EU/Europe)

One must add to this list the undeniable fact that UK govenments, at all levels, can no longer be trusted. This is very serious indeed.
The number one point I feel that 'Newsnight' should be concentrating on at the present time, and very, very, frequently; is our new Prime Minister promising the electorate a clean slate, less spin, and more honesty and truthfulness, just a short while ago; and yet starting off by refusing to keep his government's firm 'pledge' about holding a referendum on the European Treaty or Convention.

I don't doubt for a moment that this is the consequence of some (secret) agreement made amongst the EU top at their meeting recently. One can see the same absolute refusal to even consider a referendum in the Netherlands, one having been promised also at the recent Dutch general election. They(Holland) did have one the last time round, as we were to have had. However this is no excuse for Mr. Brown to break the solemn promise his government made, and to sell out much of our remaining independance.

The more attention Newsnight gives to this abomination, the better. It's an immensely important issue for us all, even if the vast majority of us don't realise this. Furthermore, it is in no way a political question: It is a simple choice between more consolidation towards the U.S. of Europe, and retaining the limited independance we still have.

  • 146.
  • At 09:00 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • femi aderemi wrote:


I am not surprised that local authorities are asking for more money and politicians are so untruthful about the real challenge facing this country. The non-EU countries are not responsible for the pressure on social amenities in this country because the U.K for over five years have reduced the numbers of visitors entering the UK (See: FCO VISA ENTRY REPORT). The new citizens of EU like the Polish are flocking into the UK in their thousands and everyone is blaming the non-EU countries for nothing. The UK public need to be educated to know that if you are a visitor, you are not entitled to medical or any other social services, so blame your EU brothers and sisters, and stop pointing the fingers at the wrong people.Also, the conservatives have no idea what they are talking about when they suggest capping the number of people coming from abroad. The problem is with "Undocumented Migrants" already in the country contributing over £10 million a week to the treasury through unclaimed tax money, if you cut that source of fund, where will the UK get an alternative to cope with public services...the system will collapse. There are few things that need to be changed to change if we want to limit migration into the UK. First, the law need to be changed about the seven year rule and 14 years rule, that grant people opportunity to seek discretionary leave. if that is removed, it would make Britian an hostile environment and many will not come over if there is no way to regularise their stay. second, we need to make it compulsory like in the states for visitors to purchase health insurance before applying for the UK Visa, in that way, they safe the NHS the burden. Finally, regularised the undocumented migrant in the UK for a maximum of four years and use that approach to identify how many people exist in the UK and then decide who to keep after the four years and who needs to leave the counry

  • 147.
  • At 09:36 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Hey, I'm out all day slaving to make a living while you have nothing to do except watch the wire services to see what's happening. You think it's easy getting those sausages in those casings? Try it sometime, you'll see just how hard it is. So it is YOUR job to tell us what's important in the news that we ought to be discussing. If I have to take time out of my busy day to do it for you, I might just as well go down to that Bush House and do the whole blog myself too while I'm at it. Then you can come here and do the sausages.

  • 148.
  • At 09:45 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Arthur Williams wrote:


Too late for today's programme, but like the idea, providing you can display at some stage that you have taken on board some of the comments.
How about the key EU Constitution Referendum ...
Immigration limits..the West Lothian MP problem....the Human Rights Act....these are the things which will bring down our new PM.

  • 150.
  • At 10:21 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Harriet Hamster Hampstead wrote:

Great Blog Pierre
You see what happens when you and your team interact ?
I rest my case.

Tony and Ian Blair maybe could be the new "Chuckle Brothers"

From me to you ?

  • 151.
  • At 10:45 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Adrienne wrote:

If we are lucky to have many of the brightest from overseas come and work/live over here, what does one think that portends for their home countries given that Eastern European states have birth rates even further below replacement level than the UK's (which is artificially inflated by high S Asian and other non EU birth rates in the UK)? Even so, all that's measured for births is country of mothers' birth, not mothers' ethnicity.

Oddly, if one looks closely at the recent July IND figures (remember, because of the 'war on terror', the IND, like the police concentrate on likely Muslim 'terrorists' at the expense of much else), whilst it's widely asserted that many East Europeans are graduates, looking at the IND statistics in the July lined report below, does it not at least seem paradoxical that most migrants (from EU countries) seem to be doing low skilled jobs? How much of what they say can be relied upon (most of social science does not trust self-report, so why does the government?).

In addition, if the UK takes lots of the brighter Africans and S Asians (as Mr Frattini and Mr Sarkozy suggest), how can that POSSIBLY be good for Africa or S Asia given that their mean national IQs are reportedly much lower to begin with (by -1 or -2 SDs, i.e mean IQs of ~85 or ~70)? Surely these lower mean IQs of those countries mean that they're going to be rather short of people at the higher end of the ability distribution, i.e. short of the very people they need to run their own economies?

Don't be surprised if that surprises you, it isn't widely appreciated.

What almost everyone seems to be missing is that the root of the UK's problems lies in a) its low birth rate and b) its high differential (i.e skewed to the lower ability group) fertility.

More immigration is not the answer, but perhaps a thoughtful repeal or re-drafting of some of the Equalities legislation and the abolition of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission may be? Trevor Phillips is at least right in pat in that we can't adopt C20th solutions (like the Aliens Act 1905?) to C21st problems as we are now tied by the EU Reform Treaty and nobody seriously envisages repatriation as it's illegal under EU Treaties.,,2203215,00.html

  • 152.
  • At 10:57 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

I wonder if anyone will read this far down the comments page...?

Anyway, my suggestion: more news from European countries, and less coverage of US news. Anyone would think that we're in NAFTA, not the EU...

  • 153.
  • At 10:59 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Dennis wrote:

i think that there are too many immigrants, it annoys me how people that are born in this country think they are British with immigrant parents. Jesus was born in a stable, that doesn't make him a horse. i hope you read my comment

  • 154.
  • At 11:00 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Lee Slaughter wrote:

In anticipation of another bunch of no nothing panelists pontificating on immigration and its 'POSITIVE' effect on the country lets think back a bit and reflect......
Crime, congestion, schools full of non-English speaking kids, hospitals employing foreign workers - who don't speak good enough English, officially 1.1 million workers, plus there families and dependents, plus illegals, plus asylum seekers, plus the lot they can't count.
Add to that over 200,000 British people who leave to live abroad because of the state of the country.
Who is left to vote, answer foreigners who will vote Labour, so Labour and the liberals and media classes can expunge there consciences and let in more, and more because they are all Scottish or proper socialist with a grievance against Britain and the British.
They will say we need to let in more, but we need to send them all back, before the whole nature of our society and identity is destroyed. But Labour don't want that, the Liberals and the media classes support it and the Tories are too frightened to stand up and say what we all know to be true.
Get out of the EU and Send the foreigners home. No other country relies on immigration for growth, its a lie to say Britain needs it and its a lie to say immigration is a benefit to us.
But lets see what they say

  • 155.
  • At 11:17 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • James Kim wrote:

Immigration issue - it seems it is a just political correctness based arguement. In fact public service strain has been caused mainly by migrants from new EU states in Eastern Europe. Go to St Mary's hospital in London for example. Staff will ask you are a legal resident in UK or not and may even ask you to produce your passport to check NHS entitlement. As a member state of EU, we can't stop migrants from these new EU states now. Conservative is now bringing non-EU migrant control. What a laughable. Real problem is ignored by Conservative - they need a reality check on the situation first. Have you ever imagined what would br house prices now without these workers regardless of legal, illegal? How many of us would be willing to take construction works or dirty, difficult jobs at lower age like what these people are willing to accept? Without them, can we build all the infrastructures, stadium, etc for the Olympic Games in time if not on time? Let's ask ourselves. What about strains caused by British in Southern Spain? Politicians must talk properly in right manner with reality and pro's and con's. Not just political correctness basis. During Newsnight debates, I haven't seen any so called professional on the programme honestly pointing real facts out to debate. It seems those are just useless professionals who try to win their own propaganda arguements without reality checks. I wish Newsnight bring some real quality people to debate rather than pretended professionals who can't bring real points out in debates.

Paul (154) We've all been reading it - great stuff. Thanks very much for all the posts - we're delighted with the high quality of the suggestions and have picked up many ideas for today (I'd no idea it was international vegan day) and the future.


  • 157.
  • At 11:37 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Lee wrote:

When a British worker with a BA and MSc from a reputable red brick uni, working full time as a freelance contractor for corps like the Beeb, can't afford to buy a flat in Finchley but a Polish builder can ... I'd better stop before I get called a racist or fascist or something equally thought-through.

On another note: when political parties all have the same "realistically pragmatic" and un-idealistic approach to selling themselves for power ... how about making the cabinet ministers independently elected? Each should stand for his office in the manner of Mayors or Police Chiefs of major US cities. Of course it would be *very* complicated to print so many names on a piece of paper, but perhaps this may raise the ever-shrinking voting population?

  • 158.
  • At 11:53 PM on 01 Nov 2007,
  • Christopher Slevin wrote:

I think it would be very interesting to learn how many Brits are leaving the UK to reside overseas. I hear horror stories of service industry personnel who cannot speak English.

  • 159.
  • At 01:57 AM on 02 Nov 2007,
  • Amelia wrote:

Hospital infections: I don't think this is getting enough attention. Could you investigate? My relative contracted this within a week in a Kent hospital in mid-2006. The ward doctors actively sought to conceal this and mislead us into believing he spiralled into near death in a week because of his long term condition - even though we were visiting every day and he had been in reasonable health. A week later a nurse whispered "c-diff" to me (I had never heard of it). Within 24 hours I googled it and knew more than any nurse on the ward, who did not know it's spread by spores and killed by bleach. The ward was riddled with it yet people were still installed in filthy rooms to acquire it within days of admission. There was no attempt at barrier nursing. My relative did not die but it turned a hospital stay of a week for dehydration into a nightmare 3 months and left him permanently bed-ridden, requiring 24 hour care, with no quality of life at all left. I am educated and if the wool was pulled over my eyes about this infection for 10 full days, I shudder to think what chance victims with no relatives to snoop around and ask questions have. I am convinced that many more are dying out of sight from this killer while the death certificate says something totally different. Old people and their old relatives not equipped to ask questions stand no chance. This is quite wicked.

And re immigration, with the UK at the second top security level can anyone explain how it is possible there are no passport controls registering who comes in and out of this country and who is here? I fail to understand why this maladministration is not regarded as a total scandal - for security and social and economic reasons.

These points illustrate the alarming incompetence of this 10-yr administration. I don't believe the "official" figures given by ministers on hospital infections or immigration or employment. It seems spin is covering up the grossest incompetence and why serious investigation isn't done on all this I cannot understand.

And then I'd go on to look at the billowing Olympic budget.....

  • 160.
  • At 07:47 AM on 02 Nov 2007,
  • Adrienne wrote:

If the UK's TFR is below replacement level (1.8x) but 99.9% of population growth in London over the next couple of decades will be in BME groups (London Lord Mayor's Office stats), the planned housing expansion programme is surely a consequence of this (and earlier) government's immigration policies, as they can't be for the indigenous population given the indigenous population's below replacement level fertility or is it that many of the young indigenous British population can't afford the current housing stock because of past immigrants with high TFRs and current economic migrants are competing for the existing stock (see Trevor Phillips remarks yesterday and comments from others here).

Pressures on schools, health services, the criminal justice system and local authorities is obvious as is the exodus of the some of the indigenous population from the S.E. cities and even out of the country.

But what are the figures on both of these points?

The worry is that this will, in time, surely create cities like those in any other Third World country, as one creates an infrastructure as a function of the population, and this is the sort of population that we seem to be creating.

It's sadly ironic that many migrating away from poorer economic conditions will, through their high numbers and their high birth rates probability just re-create the very conditions which they were fleeing from.

As part of a series of Newsnight specials on immigration and UK demographics, I'd like to see the responsible minister reassure us that what I have outlined in this series of comments is NOT the case, and I'd like it refuted with empirical evidence, as time after time we're told that they don't have the data, yet what little data we have suggests that what I say is true.

  • 161.
  • At 02:26 PM on 02 Nov 2007,
  • jim wrote:

question what do Sir Ian Blair and soon to be Sir Tony Blair have in common ?

Both were involved with unlawfull killing but refused to resign!

Perhaps the panel could be asked why in days gone by MP's, civil servants and business executives were accountable for their actions and did the honourable thing of resigning yet since "Blair years" these people refuse to assume responsibility.

The attraction of England for immigrants concerns the economic benefits and social services. Other factors are of very little interest to the immigrant. Those from outside of Europe come to a land with a welfare state with its access to housing, health, education and and the possibility of an income if unemployed or unemployable. In the case of Eastern Europeans, the economic attraction is enormous. For instance: the minimum wage of £5.52 per hour would earn a Pole, in England, £220 for a forty hour week. A Polish doctor, for instance, working in Poland, would earn the equivalent of no more than £50 a week. No stretch of the imagination is required to realise that a Pole has - even on the English minimum wage - a tremendous incentive to work like the proverbial "clappers". He or she would have in mind what they could do with that amount of money when taken back to Poland. With this in mind, and in Polish terms, the £5.52 per hour represents something like five times that amount (i.e. £27.60 per hour) or, on the Polish evaluation, something like £60,000 per annum. If Sainsbury's were to offer an English worker the Polish evaluation (£27.60 per hour, £60,000 per annum) for stacking shelves, no stretch of the imagination is require to realise that they would have virtually everyone in England abandoning their job (or state benefits) and queuing up at Sainsbury's to do shelf-stacking.
And by the way: there has been six million abortions in England in the last 30 years. Is it a coincidence that this number represents the population deficit that requires importation of people from abroad. Also, it is somewhat immoral for a badly manage country to plunder other countries of their skill in order to make up for political bad management.
What about the UK having an ethical immigration policy which forbids, for instance, taking skilled medical people from places like Africa - where such people are badly needed.

  • 163.
  • At 12:05 AM on 06 Nov 2007,
  • Ron Clementson wrote:

Having just listened to "JEZZA" complain that only 34 respondents have filed suggestions for what N/N might cover, I find myself here on Nov. 5th. It seems to be the right place, but clearly refers to last week.

I commend the BBC for their attempt to get some positive input into what subjects could be covered in the programme, however, having read a fair few of the posts above, its likely to be a failed experiment. Unfortunately its full of various rants and very few suggestions.

I would like to see an in depth item on the sub prime continuing developments - the Citibank latest, and the apparent continued decline in the Northern Rock situation. Humphries did a major demolition job on Darling this morning, which raised some significant points about how the £40BN will ever be recovered, and how many more UK banks are at risk. I was so looking forward to JEZZA finishing the job tonight, after a decent updated analysis by Stephanie.

  • 164.
  • At 12:17 AM on 06 Nov 2007,
  • john smedley wrote:

I would be genuinely interested to hear about the numbers of economic migrants, asylum seekers, successful applications for asylum and failed applications for asylum in a cross section of other EU countries. I would also be interested to hear about the financial `costs` involved. I would then like to see these figures compared to the situation in within the UK. I suspect that a lot of other peole would as well.

  • 165.
  • At 01:33 PM on 06 Nov 2007,
  • giles bovill wrote:

i would like to see Michael Crick take a look at why there is no ground swell of english nationalism within England demanding self government for England - will david cameroon's proposal or solution to the west loathian question mean a tie up with the scottish nationalists? (jezza's view on the scots policitians are well know - perhaps Kirsty Wark could tackle the interview - the scots defending the english right to self governance, now that would be interesting). I would like to see the government questioned hard regarding the implications and self governance given to the Welsh and Scots but denied to the english. Are the labour party fearful that if the solution proposed was passed that they will never govern England and thus the UK again? they are not truly the party of government for England. Gordon has a problem and he needs to be grilled on this, Kirsty to Gordon, Scot to Scot.

  • 166.
  • At 10:34 PM on 10 Mar 2008,
  • peter r. oakes wrote:

To whom it may concern
Will the bbc be reporting on the meeting at the United Nations on Febuary 12th of this year 2008 were the topic was raised concerning the world wide mass sightings of U.F.O`s.This is a subject that will not go away and sooner or later we will have to face up to it.I refuse to be a conspiracy theorist but if the present trend of the media being deaf and blind to the millions of people world wide who would like the U.F.O situation reporting on.Then I may have to start thinking in that direction.
Yours Sincerely Mr P. R. Oakes
ps.Please do the decent thing and report the real news

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