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Thursday, 28 August, 2008

Stuart Denman | 17:50 UK time, Thursday, 28 August 2008

Our series on immigration continues tonight as does the Democratic convention. With more, here's Kirsty.


We kick off with the second film in our Immigration Game series. Last night the award-winning independent journalist Sorious Samura explored the routes that illegal immigrants take to get into the country. Tonight, he investigates one of the ways they find work - by cloning other people's identities. He manages to secure employment using someone else's papers. It's worth watching.

You can watch his first film online - click here.


Russia has been told it could face sanctions from the EU over its actions in Georgia. There is still a Russian military presence in Georgia - beyond South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Today the Georgian President said that Georgians in the two provinces were being pushed out by the Russians. I'll be speaking to the Georgian President Saakashvili and asking him why he started a war he could not win.


Last night Bill Clinton gave his wholehearted backing to the man who knocked his wife out of the race to be Democratic nominee. Tonight the cavalcade moves from the convention centre to the huge stadium a mile away - the home of the Denver Broncos - where Barack Obama will accept the nomination in front of 75,000 people - and make American history. But what does he have to do in the next 11 weeks to reach the White House? Gavin and David Grossman will be live at the stadium with a stellar line-up of guests.


And finally: cut price Titians - on offer to Scotland and England at the knock down price of £100 million - a third of what they would be expected to reach on the open market. The seller, the Duke of Sutherland, wants the National Galleries of Scotland and England to share the two masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance - Diana and Actaeon and Diana and Callisto. They have both been on loan to the National Galleries of Scotland since 1945. Should some of the money come from the public purse or, in these times of economic stringency, can we not afford to keep them on public display? We'll be discussing that live with a well-known British artist. Do let us know what you think via our website or if you have any ideas on who could be persuaded to cough up for the paintings on behalf of the state!



  • Comment number 1.

    ....The Sutherland statue is seen by many Scots, particularly in the North, as a symbol of power, greed, oppression and heartless evictions. It represents a family, a ruling class, and a period in history which split communities and sent families to the far corners of the earth in search of livelihood denied them on their own soil.

    Many see it as a monument to the greed and vanity of the Sutherland family, the toadyism of their hirelings, and the efficient extortion racket which squeesed contributions from unwilling tenants.....

    given where the wealth came from to buy the pictures in the first place one might think it a little cheeky that the scots should pay for it twice?

  • Comment number 2.

    I agree with the previous post, and dream of the day when people in this country start to have a long hard look at the wealth of the descendents of 'William the Bastard and his armed banditti', as Tom Paine put it so neatly! And I hope this isn't going to be a rerun of the 'Madonna of the Pinks' business - not only was public money spent buying this second rate picture from its filthy rich owner, but we also lost the millions in tax we'd have got had the picture been sold to the Getty Museum. This last issue was overlooked in the reporting of the 'Madonna' sale.
    While I'm at it, I don't think we should subsidise sport so much, either...the olympic money is just obscene.

  • Comment number 3.

    How to pay for the Titians?

    Idea Number 1: Windfall tax on cleared estates in Sutherland.

    Idea Number 2: Damien Hurst to knock
    up 100 miniatures of Dolly the cloned
    sheep - to be sold to highest bidder.

    Idea Number 3: Revive the proposal
    made by Sir Donald Mackay back in
    the 1970's to cream off the windfall
    profits from North Sea oil to buy up
    Old Masters for Scotland's National
    Gallery. (NB requires HM Treasury
    approval or Scottish independence).
    {Medvedev and The Hermitage to be
    contacted to mediate the transaction).

    Idea Number 4: Dangle a passport
    outside Harrods - for any rich taker
    prepared to buy Diana for the nation

    Idea Number 5: Find a friendly Russian oligarch topposed to Medvede and The
    Hermitage o buy 'Diana and Callisto' who
    was turned into a bear by Jupiter's
    jealous wife Juno; the other one
    was metamorphosed into a stag
    (so rattle cans round Estonia and
    Dublin focussing on stag weekend
    parties interested in naked women)

    Idea Number 6: Replace Diana
    and Actaeon with the replica that
    National Gallery of Scotland used
    a couple of years back to illustrate
    how to fake a Titian and see if any
    bodyapart from Tracey Emin or the
    Duke of Sutherland notices ......

    Idea Number 7: Buy the Rembrandt
    self-portrait and auction off the rest;
    lease the Raeburns owned by The
    University of Edinburgh to fill up the
    awkwards gaps left in the collection
    and kill two birds with one stone by
    getting world class Scottish painting
    on world class walls in Scotland while
    easing the financial circumstances of
    the local uni. Keep fingers crossed that
    any prospective buyer can't pay for the
    insurance with the whole of Scotland
    prepared to burn his roof down if he
    refuses to show paintings publicly

    Idea Number 8: Redesignate the Sutherland seat of 'Dunrobin' as
    a Highland croft and block sale of
    the contents by absentee owners
    under the new crofting legislation

    Idea Number 9: Sell Kirsty's Volvo*.
    Good trade for a 'Rolls Royce being
    offered for the price of a Fiat Panda'.

    * still parked on the top floor of The
    National Museum of Scotland next to
    a parking meter showing "Excess"!!

  • Comment number 4.

    Two Titians for 100 mill – given they’re said to be worth 300 mill at auction this could be said to be a knockdown price, then again I’m sure we can all think of things that could be done with that money; it would be from our taxes after all.

    I think there comes a point with art when we have to say no. We still have photographs to refer to; art historians have already studied the originals so if they disappear into a private gallery (or Bill Gates lounge) then so be it. As Titan was Venetian we can hardly claim this is our heritage.
    With luck the paintings will go to a rich museum somewhere in the world and so remain accessible to the public. Titian painted in return for commissions, he’d understand.

  • Comment number 5.

    Idea Number X: frofmarch the Duke of Sutherland halfway up The Mound to
    the new museum of money in The
    Bank of Scotland; show him waht
    a million quid looks like in readies;
    and then ask him why on earth he
    wants to swap these priceless art
    works for 100 of these piles of filthy
    capitalist ucre whne he is very rich?

  • Comment number 6.

    TITIAN COMPETITION (previously out in cold on another thread)

    Is Britain still turning out the finest forgers in the world? If so, there should be a competition with a tempting but sensible prize-money, for replacement paintings.
    Perhaps a TV program hosted by Rolfie: 'Strictly Come Painting'? A room full of British forgers - priceless!
    The originals should be sold, top dollar, and the money used to heat and feed Britain's poor.
    Then, instead of having to look at the work of 'damned foreigners' we can visit the gallery and view honest British forgeries! Twice the value, all the pleasure and - using Gordon Brown maths - half the price.

  • Comment number 7.

    Notice too how the other part of the deal in respect of the other paintings in the Duke of
    Sutherland's collection on loan to the NGS is said to 'safeguard them for a generation'. I thought that meant 'at least thirty years' -
    but it seems that inflation has now cut 'a
    generation' to only twenty one years???!

  • Comment number 8.

    #6 barriesingleton
    LOL. Best idea so far - it could be the start of a nationwide industry.

    #3, #5 & #7 neilrobertson
    Great ideas and LOL but silver medal, I'm afraid

  • Comment number 9.

    The current 'Impressionism and Scotland' exhibition at The National Gallleries of Scotland is excellent incidentally ........

  • Comment number 10.

    Now you're talking. The definite smell of sedition in the air, and people challenging the conventions whereby we're all kept in our place, and the power-elites scoff all the best goodies.
    We'll get exactly what we fight for. I remember when War Criminal Tony was lecturing a couple of hundred Trade Unions at his last Party conference, and thinking how the political system would have been shaken to its core if they'd all stepped onto the platform and given him a serious kicking. They'd certainly have stopped calling the people the Labour party was called into existence to represent, dinosaurs; it wouldn't have taken Brown a week to get his fat a**e to the North of England to view the floods; and we'd have had our referendum on Lisbon.
    These disgusting politicians need to be reminded at every turn, who they're accountable to. Just off to say my prayers for another by-election win for the Sensible Nation Party.

  • Comment number 11.

    Re #6. Great idea Barrie. Decent British forgeries. And for all, not just a few. This is my vision. These are our vol-yous

  • Comment number 12.

    £100 Million Is a small amount to pay to keep these wonderful Art Treasures in this country, we must hold on to them for the future...

  • Comment number 13.

    £ 100 million is a smalll price to pay to keep these wonderful works of art in Britain..

  • Comment number 14.

    Well done Jeffrey Archer when asked a kids hospital or a couple of paintings ..yes childrens hospital he said but maybe BBC can find the money or donate a few weeks of Paxo who does seem to be absent for all summer

  • Comment number 15.

    So you need a convincing art expert to talk about buying those Titians - who do you call? Jeffrey Archer. No! Not again! It's getting embarrassing Newsnight team. It's like seeing Jim Davidson inviting Jess Conrad onto the Generation Game. Has he just got a bit of time on his hands and needs a favour or what? The Olympics and now Titians. Is there any limit to your perception of his talents?

  • Comment number 16.


    Those whom Newsnight wish to destroy, they first Archerise. Please be informed the clipped military tones of that upstart popinjay lord (that just came to me!) cause me to cut the sound while he speaks, to retain my sanity. Post #5 said it all and yet I am so hacked off I am saying it all again. See what you've done to me?

  • Comment number 17.

    I am disappointed to witness the BBC's apparent collusion in Geoffrey Archer's attempts to present himself as an honest and upright citizen whose opinions the public should respect.
    To invite him to air his views on two Newsnight programmes within days, wearing 'different hats' when there are many far more worthy individuals able to speak on either topic (Olympian medals and great works of art) beggars belief.
    As an avid fan of the programme, it pains me to "say shame on you Newsnight".

  • Comment number 18.

    Why do many people on this website resort to sniping and cheap shots at individuals for whatever reasons they have, rather than keeping to the issues.

    We can all find a better reason on what to spend £millions than a painting but at the end of the day do we flog our heritage at the expense of a cheap playing to the gallery reason why other matters are more important on which to spend our money?

    Just to be extreme I think we should spend the £millions on producing a bigger and better bomb.-- no I am not being serious! I could argue that none of my taxes should be spent on schools as my children are now working. You either like art or you don't, so to those who don't it is a waste of money. We will never agree.

    Those that support art of any form, which I do, are on a no-win situation. Totally indefensible when weighed against other more pressing issues too many to list.

  • Comment number 19.


    athena17 (#17) Sadly, the progeny/initiates of our 'Focus Group eras' just don't understand (share the same beliefs).

  • Comment number 20.


    If these painting are as good as the experts say they are, lets buy them and add them to our nations treasures.

    If the Gov is so broke they can't find £100 million, cut our EU contribution by £100 million to pay for it for a year.

    Surly a Gov thats winning the arguments in Europe could achieve such a little thing ?

  • Comment number 21.

    #18 Billbradbury

    I quite like looking at art and have been to many galleries all over Europe from Leningrad to Lisbon, but like all but a very few would never be able to tell a high-quality copy from the original.

    Why not just copy the things along the lines suggested by barriesingleton or neilrobertson and let them be sold (and taxed!) to whoever wants them? The copies could be displayed in museums all over the British Isles and so be available to everyone rather than the few who see them now.

  • Comment number 22.

    You can do that anyway - good idea; but the originals have a very special 'aura' as
    Walter Benjamin explained (back in 1936)
    'The Work of Art In The Age of Mechanical
    Reproduction'). And Scotland's Galleries
    are for the most part free .... apart from
    special shows like Tracey bloody Emin!!!

  • Comment number 23.

    just don't understand (share the same "...beliefs)."

    Yes, I realize that, JadedJean and what a sad reflection on our society. It’s no wonder that some young people living without hope of escaping their drab and deprived existence choose a life of crime and disruption when law breakers such as GA are paraded before them in the media as role models.

  • Comment number 24.

    Re #18.
    "Why do many people on this site resort to....?" Because it makes us feel better Bill.

  • Comment number 25.

    Re #18 and 24

    And it's all we have Bill.

    PS My shots are not 'cheap' I have honed them with a lifetime of rage. They are beautifully crafted shots - sort of Titianesque.


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