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Prospects for Tuesday, 8 July, 2008

Ian Lacey | 10:47 UK time, Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Richard Pattinson is in the hot seat as programme producer for tonight and he's keen to follow last night's exclusive report on the murder of Alexander Litvinenko.

"Good morning everyone.

litvinenko203.jpgHow can we move on Mark's superb reporting from last night? Will the Russians be saying anything? Gordon Brown also may comment. Who should we talk to?

A raft of further bad news for the economy, including today's survey by the British Chamber of Commerce warning any correction period is likely to be longer and nastier than anticipated. Rather than moaning about all the doom and gloom, let's look at what could be done about it.

The G8 have committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050. A real target maybe, but does one that's 42 years away mean anything at all?

We've a film from the Kenyan anti-corruption campaigner John Githongo on aid in Africa - what effect is it really having on the ground?

Other stuff - the Witness Anonymity Bill is going through Parliament today in a hurry; and 42 day legislation gets its second reading in the Lords - some big names expected to speak out against.

Plus Christopher Hitchens on waterboarding.

What else would you like to see us cover?



  • Comment number 1.

    Chris Hitchens still on the scene with his waterboard ? who cares ?

    He's been doing the rounds with this story in the press for over a week now so it's hardly News ??

  • Comment number 2.

    Mark could find out why Berezovsky was granted asylum in this country when he already had a safe haven in Israel; why he was not declared persona non grata and extradited to Russia to face charges of fraud, embezzlement, etc; why the British government is willing to sacrifice good relations with Russia for the sake of crooks who've swindled the Russian people out of billions; why the BBC accepts so readily the line that Berezovsky is innocent/Russia is guilty when there is no evidence to support it; what are the motives of the renegade MI5 officer who has been blabbing his mouth off to Urban and Berezovsky ; has the reappearance of this story got anything to do with mysterious illness that has put Alex Allen into a coma; who is Alex Allen's deputy; who has decided resurrect this story and for what purpose; why does Newsnight think its viewers should believe anything Berezovsky says; why does Newsnight think its viewers should believe the word of an unnamed. and possibly fictitious, MI5 officer; which political figures/governments is Berezovsky currently plotting to overthrow.

  • Comment number 3.

    ...The BBC has defended pay rises of up to £107,000 each for executive directors saying it must offer competitive salaries for top jobs.

    Director general Mark Thompson said the levels of BBC pay and bonuses were "in many cases, a tiny patch on what other broadcasters are paying". ..

    you mean there are other public funded broadcasters we don't know about with whom the bbc must outbid?

    Or does he mean he is comparing public funded broadcasting with commercial companies who take risk and seek funding from advertising? Clearly in his mind there is no difference between the two. That they are interchangable. Given the BBC charter says otherwise is that rational?

  • Comment number 4.

    On the nuclear waste disposal issue how about somebody asking Gordon Brown if he is going to be encouraging storage in his constituency, or say Glasgow East?

    On knife crime how about approaching Searchlight anti-fascist magazine and see if they have any new perspective? They have been infiltrating the far right where guns and knives are present and the people are behaving as they are and not for the camera.

    On Litvinenko how about identifying what happened to the 120 kilos of FSB documents that Berishovsky had? If this is a change of strategy - to liquidate opponents abroad - are there targets in the US and how will the US respond?

    How come its only the UK and Chechnya? Is Chechnya the key?

    This isn't a distraction to counter any Mosely fallout?

  • Comment number 5.

    Scrap Chris Hitchens and have Mark Thompson on defending the news about the BBC Exec pay bonus's when the year was one of huge "bad performance" that forced Peter Fincham to stand down - BBC should address the licence fee payer on this decision when Alistair Darling said we had to take four per cent why are they getting seven per cent ??

    That's News !!

  • Comment number 6.


    yes defending oligarchs is hardly noble. And he has openly said he wants to overthrow the russian state. but you know how the uk system works. Who pays the most in political funding becomes 'an establishment friend'?

    Rather than the cloak and dagger stuff if i was russia and wanted something i would offer the uk cheap gas to help the pensioners in the winter or something. And i'm sure a 'good friend' like that would be listened to and problems that were problems would now not be problems?

  • Comment number 7.

    YES! YES! YES!

    Interview Mark Thompson (#5) but be sure to semi-obscure with pillars, plants, dangling NHS drip-bags and a swatch of 'Crick-railings' (geddit?) while playing mood music. Better still do an interview in the Square Mile for MONEY redolence and have so much traffic noise I can't hear a word of it. Money well spent I say.

  • Comment number 8.

    I think the Dinner @ Mansion House in June covered by Newsnight when Alistair Darling told "us" to accept lower pay increases ?

    Not the BBC though it would appear that his comments were not pertaining to them

    Beggars Belief Corporation !

  • Comment number 9.


    The prevalence of worship leads me to two possible conclusions: (a) Gods are made IN THE IMAGE OF MAN (who just can't get enough approval, so projects that attribute onto the Big Guy). (b) Religions have got it wrong (by accident OR DESIGN) and gods DO NOT want worship.
    Why would an immensely powerful entity want some sentient spec of nothing to keep offering pathetically inadequate expressions of approval?
    And let's not accept the 'faith' excuse. It is bad enough that Descartes foisted on a gullible audience his indefensible: 'I think therefore I am' without 'the faithful' getting away with 'I believe therefore I know'.
    Revealed truth - all 57 varieties - must, surely, be looked upon askance by any rational being? TOO MANY BOOKS SPOIL THE TRUTH. To believe without reason, is surely PREJUDICE? Aren't we all against that now? With the advent of Lady-Bishops of all genders, what is and isn't true, divides yet again. Time for fundamental scrutiny and hard questions to adherents, from the warrior angels of TV journalism

  • Comment number 10.

    Chris Hitchens is making a point about the waterboarding techniques used as a "non-torture" torture technique. Of course it should be given coverage in the media.

  • Comment number 11.

    On water-boarding can you get a mention on the status of extraordinary renditions? Are they officially NOT going through our airspace anymore.

    I am centre left but find it amazing that the Tories are still recovering from the "nasty party" image.

    Blair managed to grin his way through Iraq like a recalcitrant schoolboy. The Labour government has studiously looked the other way on extraordinary renditions. The spooks have apparently been present during torture sessions and have directed objectives and the government must have been aware of that.

    So how come Labour is not the "nasty party"?

    My understanding from the media is that the huge majority of intelligence officers are against torture on practical grounds.

  • Comment number 12.


    Philip Zimbardo exposed mans potential for torture in the book named above. I am of the view that the animal we choose to term 'human' is very close to the surface in men. I believe there is 'Conqueror Syndrome' at work at a visceral level in military rape, mutilation, humiliation and degradation. Crusades, My Lai, Abu Ghraib - it is all the same. It would seem that the same dishonourable minds that cheat and lie themselves to political victory, and us to an unwanted war, can readily connive at torture-twice-removed. No surprise really, I suppose. Anyone who is convinced they are worthy of the title 'Honourable' just by carrying a party rosette, is capable of any delusion - as we have seen all too readily in World Saviour Blair. Will no one stop him?

  • Comment number 13.

    thegangofone "So how come Labour is not the "nasty party"?"

    Because they're sugar-coated, invested far more in Politically Correct PR/legislation and are rather good at Orwellian Newspeak (Orwell was a Trot like them don't you know).

    All we can do now is pray for a miracle given all the snake-oil which has been imbibed and then regurgitated c.f. 'Brain Gym', SEAL, and now:

    How many people can see the flaw?

  • Comment number 14.

    Given that both Mark Urban and Pauline Neville-Jones questioned the timing of
    the security service leaks on which the
    Russian story appeared to be based I
    suggest you widen the context after
    Brown's mini-summit with Medvedev
    and seek feedback from all sides and
    on all issues raised if not discussed.

    I was not surprised to see that aides
    of the Russian President advised the
    FT that the British Council issues are
    'an administrative matter'. The really
    big story would be why were these
    issues even on Brown's agenda as
    the British Council court case is as I
    recall still unfinished so the matter
    of their unpaid tax is still sub judice?

    Not that the British seem to care for
    such legal niceties under Gordon B!!
    The interevention by Lord George Robertson on the TNK BP issue is
    also worth reading along with the
    Russian side of the story which is
    in yesterday's FT and which said
    the Russians felt BP treated them
    like 'subjects' and not partners ...

  • Comment number 15.

    Further to post #10: Hitchens is usually good value ....... but you could keep him
    on hold for the full 42 days before he got
    on air to sing?

  • Comment number 16.

    My wife wishes she could use waterboarding to er, motivate, the feckless, disinterested teenagers she has to teach.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    When are you going to approach IRAN?

  • Comment number 19.

    Xie_Ming (#18) That's fighting talk. Keep it up and you'll be rammed down the memory hole.

  • Comment number 20.

    This waterboarding (contracted to one word by Alan Dershowitz no less) video, like C.H's oral makeover/Brazilian self-improvement articles published in Vanity Fair last Autumn, is just another antic like his video ding-dong with 'Stalinist' Galloway. These are like the wrestling matches of the 70s - lots of glitz and make-believe to draw in the punters.

    See his exchange with Hoffman for yet another 'controversial' crowd-puller.

    Only no publicity is bad publicity.


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