- 12 Mar 08, 06:17 PM
From 10 to 19 March before Newsnight each night BBC Two is showing a series of mini-films dramatising the build up to the start of the Iraq war.
Editor Peter Barron explained why Newsnight has supported these dramas on his blog. The lead up to war in Iraq is one of the most requested stories Newsnight receives and we've covered it extensively over the last five years.
Through drama we get an opportunity to focus on stories that otherwise we could do not either because cameras were not present or key people in the events do not want to be appear directly. Drama is also a way to reach an audience that would not normally watch the documentaries or news programmes.
We're keen to hear what you think of 10 Days to War. The purpose to the stories is to explore how we went to war, not why. Have you found them gripping? Have you discovered something new? Have you wanted to find out more or watch them again online? Can you not wait for the next one? Or perhaps you've hated them. Tell us here.
We want to know what you think of the dramas, please - not the decision to go to war.
- 12 Mar 08, 05:20 PM
Much has been made of the warning that Alistair Darling was not going to incite a quickening of the pulse with today's budget. The chancellor was probably delighted. The more we called him “grey”, “dull” and “flat”, the easier his job became - like a football manager downplaying his team's chances before a cup final.
In the end, he didn’t need to blind us with brilliance. He just sought to reassure us that things weren't about to go really badly wrong. Although he downgraded economic growth forecasts, they still seem pretty optimistic. Although he upped borrowing to £43bn - sailing perilously close to his own rules on debt - he still seemed to tell us all would shortly be well in the economy.
How so? Can he confidently predict the country won't see a recession? Or is he just shutting his eyes and hoping the problem will go away? David Cameron has accused the government of a 'credibility crunch'.
Tonight, after we've “toothcombed” the red book to see what all the detail really amounts to, we'll be talking to the three main parties to ask if the chancellor has emerged today with his credibility in tact, or if this budget is merely storing up trouble for a later date.
More on the budget from BBC News.
Ten Days to War
Our film tonight revisits the argument over post-war planning in Iraq. Clare Short, the International Development Secretary of the time, is one of the characters in the film. She will then appear in the studio alongside Major General Tim Cross - played by Stephen Rea in the drama - whose task was to re-build Iraq after the war. We'll be asking where the planning went wrong.
Watch the first two episodes and read more about the series on the website.
- Michael Crick
- 12 Mar 08, 02:42 PM
A few weeks ago Newsnight approached the film director Ken Loach for an interview for one of my films about the split inside George Galloway's Respect party - Loach himself is a keen Galloway supporter.
But Loach was reluctant to be interviewed by me, described me to my producer as "The Oscar Wilde of Television Centre" - quite complimentary in some ways, though friends find it hard to see what Loach was getting at.
In response, my daughter Catherine couldn't resist drawing this cartoon...
- 12 Mar 08, 10:54 AM
Robert Morgan is tonight's programme producer. Here's his early email to the team.
Good morning everyone,
It's Alistair Darling's first Budget day. Can he rescue his reputation after the bad reception he received for his pre-budget report and Northern Rock? The BBC's learned that an increase in tax on fuel won't be imposed next month. The Chancellor had been planning to confirm the two pence rise when he delivers his first budget at lunchtime, but has now shelved the idea for six months because of the rising price of crude oil. Will he go for green taxes and higher duties on alcohol? How will he help reduce child poverty, as Gordon Brown has promised? What will be the effect of the credit crunch and the recent nationalisation of Northern Rock on government spending?
The Budget is at 12.30pm (full details here). Ideas on how to do the story are welcome.
10 Days to War
We have a disco set up between Clare Short and Major General Tim Cross following tonight's really strong film on problems with post-war planning in Iraq.