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Prospects: Monday, January 14, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 14 Jan 08, 11:32 AM

Simon Enright is today's programme producer. Here is his early email to the team.

It's January 14th - my wife's birthday. Can I just make it clear that she asked for the garden waste incinerator... so why was she so upset? Ideas of what I buy to get myself out from under her opprobrium gratefully received.

hain203_140108.jpgIdeas also welcome for what we should put in the rest of the programme. I still don't feel Peter Hain has properly explained why he needed a Think Tank to channel money to him. Maybe if he gave an interview he could explain… If he can't/won't give any reasons should we give some for him? And why does Gordon Brown think it is all out of his hands (The Sun pg 2)? Is he not the PM? Can't he sack him if he wants?

The Northern Rock shareholders are meeting tomorrow to decide what to do with their bank. Their bank? What chance it is nationalised, who would benefit and how would it work?

We also have film about traffic lights from Martin Cassini - would the world be a better and safer place without them?

bin150.jpgBut we defo need one more story…..Should we do

- The end of Bio-fuels. The reality we showed in our film nearly a year ago - watch it here - is that they are not a viable option. The EU is now rethinking its policy

- Paul Burrell appears at the Diana Inquest today. Is this a story Newsnight should do and how?

- And no special ceremony for the Golden Globes… Should this be the future of award ceremonies?

All ideas - especially to rescue my tumbling stock on the home front - gratefully received.

All the best


Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 11:54 AM on 14 Jan 2008,
  • Nick Thornsby wrote:


"What else should we cover?" -- the introduction of biometric visas for foreigners which began today to much fanfare by the Borders and Immmigration Agency and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The gave it to be understood that all foreigners would be subject to the new procedures. No. They don't apply to EEA citizens or any non-visa countries, e.g. Australians. So what is the point?

They rely on biometrics to identify people, specifically a technology called "flat print fingerprinting". This is different from the traditional rolled print technology. It is not admissible as evidence in court. Not least because it is unreliable -- about 20% of people cannot be identified by their flat prints.

This is the first outing for the government's eBorders initiative. eBorders are electronic borders, not national borders. They can be anywhere the government says they are. Remember Gordon Brown talking about searching our hand luggage at railway stations and making us answer 53 questions about our reasons for travel -- you could be crossing an eBorder when you take the train from London to Manchester.

Meanwhile, before that happens, perhaps BIA and the FCO could explain why:

(a) Tony Blair said in his November 2006 Daily Telegraph article that 1,400 visa applicants had already been rejected thanks to biometric data

(b) then Liam Byrne and Lord Triesman said in their eBorders document in March 2007 that 2,700 applicants had been rejected and then

(c) this morning, the same Liam Byrne, said only 500 had been rejected.

Can they count?

OMG Simon, you are SO in the dog house! I can't believe you actually bought your wife a waste incinereator!!!!!The only way you can even HOPE to get back into her good books is to but her something expensive - jewellery - preferably in diamond, grovel a lot, and then take her out to her favourite place. Oh and grovel a lot.
What's wrong with covering Paul Burrell's appearence anyway? Would it be too late to have an interview with him?
Good luck with tonight Simon!;-)

  • 4.
  • At 12:51 PM on 14 Jan 2008,
  • Joseph wrote:

Oh dear Simon!, practical presents are a no-no, I made the same mistake at Christmas, my punishment was a huge extra portion of Brussell Sprouts (an acquired taste, one I have yet to acquire after 35 years)!.

Mr Hain should be the main focus of tonight's programme, and for our Scottish cousins why not give us an update on Wendy Alexander and her identical problems in Scotland?.

Finally......Good luck on the home front.

  • 5.
  • At 12:57 PM on 14 Jan 2008,
  • neil robertson wrote:

Marina Vaizey (Ed's mother) has taken up cudgels against British
Council in today's Guardian; but
does she know that they are also
closing their British libraries in India as well as their art dept in
London? Let's just hope the books
are not going in any incinerators
along with Tracey Emin's bedlinen.

Talking about bio-fuels, back in the early 1990s Perkins had a small diesel engine running on dried powder fast growing Chinese pond slime called Chlorella. It was also alleged to be a health food for which its promoter Gary Quelch ran a small business, but he had big ideas for power stations which used the CO2 they produced. The diesel engine was featured on Tomorrow's World, and although it was not practical to control the engine speed, it could have been used in transport with an electric transmission. The original diesel engines were designed to run on pulverized coal so pond slime was not really revolutionary. Unfortunately Gary was always was always skint so he sold out the fuel idea to Shell and it was never heard of again.

  • 7.
  • At 02:05 PM on 14 Jan 2008,
  • KL wrote:

Peter Hain has a lot more explaining to do, and has to do it in a spirit of humility. Otherwise he has to go.

My suggestion for righting the wrong of the incinerator would be a) a love letter b) some serious housework c) cook her a meal - she will love once more. Nothing you can buy for money will do here.

  • 8.
  • At 03:29 PM on 14 Jan 2008,
  • csharp wrote:

if biofuels is no good why do the police have a special unit to detect cars using it? And why did gordon put the duty up to make it more expensive than diesel?
And when the price of crops has risen why are do the farmers get a £4 billion a year subsidy to grow nothing? And why are up to 50% of solar planning being turned down? To make the change in society all the govt has to do is stop preventing people from doing it.

the Govt plan is to keep people locked into the national grid and national energy networks at all costs. In whose interest is that? The national power companies?

  • 9.
  • At 03:40 PM on 14 Jan 2008,
  • clive page wrote:

Traffic lights,the perma tanned Peter Hain and Northern Rock.
Is the theme Amber alert for those who cannot keep track of their money.PS
I think you should be tackling the govts latest immigration measures.

  • 10.
  • At 04:45 PM on 14 Jan 2008,
  • Mills wrote:

Simon - Buy her the matching composter - that should see things right.


Ambition is written all over Peter Hain and will bring him down. Blair had the same problem but he had a coat of Teflon charisma that Hain lacks. Ambition still took him “a bridge too far” as we all know. The underlying problem is that Westminster is for politicians before it is for us. Politicians rate ambition highly, as it brings conformance to dogma and obedience to the Great Leader. Normal folk are wary of ambition and VERY wary of unbridled ambition of the political stripe. If Hain goes, another will take his place, and another, and another. Politics selects Hains, promotes Hains and we end up governed by the likes of Hain. If you would have Hain-free politics: Spoil Party Games and move closer to democracy – government by the people.

  • 12.
  • At 02:03 AM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • tgriffiths wrote:

I'd like an exploration of the quality of ministers' thinking.I get the impression that the lawyer's habit of taking up a position (deciding on a policy) then using thinking to back up that position is endemic in government. Thinking which is genuinely explorative and creative seems wholly absent. The consequences are policies which omit consideration of undesirable consequences (see the trip to Sweden - taken not to explore the issue of sex trafficking but to gather information supportive to a policy already decided on. See also the decision to invade Iraq) and which mean policies that overlap on the ground contradict each other. For example, the decision to allow unfettered immigration in order to supply cheap, educated, flexible labour to Business is taken at a time when a fair portion of our indigenous labour force is becomming increasingly unemployable and when the housing stock is already under immense strain. Or was the decision taken to maintain the housing shortage so that house price inflation could be sustained for a while longer.
I'd like to see more effort taken to winkle out the unspoken motive and strategies behind policy.

  • 13.
  • At 09:46 AM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • stevie wrote:

You know the game is up for ministers when they cannot be contacted, they go into ministerial hibernation until Gordon says it's safe to come out. Peter was caught at Cardiff station, I recognised it because of the fine architecture and the blood on the walls. To canvass the votes of the left and to behave like a sleazebag juntabug is his epitaph. When will we know the truth.

  • 14.
  • At 10:15 AM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Adrienne wrote:


There appear to have been one or two deletions to the blog of 9th January. If there are good reasons for this which the NN moderators can rationally explain, all well and good, if it the posts have offended someone, please bear in mind that 'taking offence' can just be a very effective tactic to censor public awareness ;-)

Here is the cached version (it won't be there for long):,+9+January,+2008&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=uk

and here is the present version:

Censorship undr such circumstances does not, I suggest, reflect well upon NN as it amounts to selective reporting. It's surely far better to respond to controversial publications either with an evidence based counter publication/refutation or with healthy constructive criticism rather than just surreptitiously removing posts days after the event? Challenging the acceptance of hallowed conventions may sometimes offend, but that doesn't render what is said false. The Soviet counter-intelligence units were very active in the months/years at the end of the war, and the USA, UK and USSR all had a major propaganda programmme running aganst Germany and National Socialism at the end of the war. Looking at TV today, it's hard to believe sometimes that it isn't still runnning, and this serves to bias politics in the West to the left.

Surely possibilities should be published if only so they can be more widely considered?

The present numbers do not stack up.

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