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Monday, 8 September, 2008

ADMIN USE ONLY | 16:33 UK time, Monday, 8 September 2008

Here's Simon again with more details of tonight's programme:

Good evening viewers

Airline bomb plot

The prosecution said they planned to kill 3000 people in the biggest plot since 9/11. Today a jury found 3 men guilty of conspiracy to murder but couldn't reach a verdict on whether they and 4 others were planning to blow up aeroplanes. One other man was found not guilty. We'll have the latest on the programme.

Also tonight:

The London stock market computers crashed today - frustrating for traders desperate to correct positions after the news that the US government has moved in to bail out the two mortgage provider giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Stock markets around the world have reacted with glee. The traders perhaps think this multi-trillion dollar bail-out means the beginning of the end of the credit crunch. But is it just the end of the beginning? We assemble celebrants and Jeremiahs to work out which, presided over by Jeremy Paxman and Paul Mason.

Is having your weekly staff meeting 100 miles from the office clever politics or just a bit silly? Today the cabinet upped sticks to Birmingham for their weekly meeting, though whether this affected the quality of their musings will remain a thirty year secret. How did the folk of the Midlands react to this unique honour? David Grossman is on the case.

And the legendary Higgs Boson - an elusive particle theorised for over 40 years but never actually witnessed - is allegedly about to be tracked to its lair by CERN's atom smasher the Large Hadron Collider. What if after all that it isn't there? Is it so crucial to our understanding of modern physics that we'll need a mass bonfire of the textbooks? Susan Watts meets the eponymous Peter Higgs who may be about to look very clever - or not.

Join Jeremy at 10.30,

Simon Enright

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Will Jeremy notice he's presiding over the wrong Fannie ..check your spelling team

  • Comment number 2.

    "But after more than 50 hours of deliberations, the jury did not find any of the defendants guilty of conspiring to target aircraft." - the then home secretary Charles Clarke called the plot "carnage on unimaginable scale", which was most unfortunately repeated by the police in public. I vote that parliament should pass a law prohibiting public officials from using adjectives, especially those inciting general fear.

  • Comment number 3.

    I thought a huge spider was straddling Liverpool. Seems I'm wrong, it's crawling around Birmingham!

  • Comment number 4.

    Okay let us have some facts, in the original story the bombers were supposed to create TATP explosives on airplanes and blow them up see here -

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/08/17/flying_toilet_terror_labs/print.html

    In the trial the prosecution said the explosive was supposed to be premade from hydrogen peroxide and a soft drink called Tang which mixed together is not explosive at all, yet they show some video of an explosive in a bottle being detonated, but do not say what it is made of, I can tell you it certainly wasnt H2O2 and Tang, so now in the absence of any viable explosive recipe let alone actual explosive these people have been convicted of conspiriacy to murder? These people, the supposed terrorists, the police and prosecution are all complete fantasists to think there was any chance this working, yet the rest of us are prevented from taking a bottle of soft drink on a flight because of this nonsense.

  • Comment number 5.

    Hurray....Jeremy's back!

  • Comment number 6.

    The Dundee Courier and Advertiser whose circulation also covers Brown's "backyard "
    in Fife and Glenrothes where there is an impending by-election put the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac story on the front page today under the banner headline: "US takes charge in mortgage turmoil'. The
    City of Dundee knows a bit about US
    mortgages - Flemings Bank originated
    in Dundee from jute profits invested in
    land mortgages in the Texas panhandle
    - so The Courier line is well informed ....

    But this was their leader which ends with rather chilling statistics from Glenrothes:

    "Fannie and Freddie

    Land of the free it may be, but the US is also where those who are not free of the sub prime housing crisis wonder what the next development will be.

    Yesterday's federal takeover of the two mortgage institutions known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shows how desperate the government is to stop the rot. In July officials let it be known that the Bush administration did not feel a dramatice intervention was called for: there must have been a big change of heart.

    The price of the "conservatorship" status that has been imposed is that taxpayers have been lumbered with a potentially huge bill, perhaps billions of dollars. In addition, dividend payments have been stopped so shareholders, including big banks, are hit that way.

    Despite both disadvantages, the administration says the plan is the lesser of two evils. Such is the scale of the two mortgage companies that their failure would send shockwaves round the world, and that would be worse than letting taxpayers bail them out, according to the Treasury Secretary.

    It sounds like a severe case of what Donald Rumsfeld memorably called the known unknowns.

    As the companies own or guarantee £2.83 trillion in home loans, the overriding aim is to preserve the idea of business as usual while market confidence is weak. It is the sort of thing that President Franklin Roosevelt went in for in the 1930's, and for which he was equally lauded and excoriated.

    With so many senior officials and bankers breaking sweat, an old saying comes to mind: owe the bank £1000 and you lose sleep; owe the bank £1,000,000 and it's the bankers who can't sleep.

    Two forces have been at work in America: improvident lending and a tax system that offers incentives for home ownership rather than renting.

    How does that compare to what we have here? Mortgage tac relief on interest payments has gone, it is true, but there are tax disincentives still around, and there was a long period when lenders were handing out mortgages with little heed to whether they could be afforded by the new homeowners. An inquiry into housing chaired by the Duke of Edinburgh warned six years ago that low income remained the source of mortgage payment difficulties.

    That, the inquiry found, led in turn to homelessness. How much more true is that today? The number of repossessions is climbing. Homelessness, which the Scottish Government is pledged to remove by 2012, is stubbornly entrenched in our national life.

    Sometimes homelessness is the direct consequence of lifestyle choices: unstable families, early motherhood etc. But it can be unintentional as well.

    Today we reprot on the situation in Glenrothes, where the letting pool is under intense pressure. The average waiting time in temporary accommodation is 47 weeks. There are local factors, but the basic problem is familiar: demand outstrips
    supply.

    That is difficult enough to resolve - whether it's in the rented sector of to do with ownership - without importing extra credit problems from the US. For that reason it is in all our interests for the rescue of Fannie and Freddie to work out."

    The Courier Monday Sept 8, 2008.

    http://www.thecourier.co.uk/output/2008/09/08/newsstory11928759t0.asp for report
    headlined "Homelessness [in Glenrothes]
    Acute". NB A by-election in Fife is pending.

  • Comment number 7.

    "Go and have the cheapest glass of wine known to man" - Jeremy (who else!!).

  • Comment number 8.

    SCIENCE AND SCIENTISTS (no apology for second posting)

    Science is about pure enquiry. Scientists are about impure motives such as: fame, beating the other guy, being right (even when wrong) refusing to consider challenging data, hiding errors, fiddling results and, more recently, caving in to funding. Those who know some science but do not 'know' scientists and the history of scientific failings and deceptions, accept orthodoxy. This is why the man-made (CO2) model for climate change holds such sway. This is why dodgy drugs get to the market. And so on.
    Below, from #9 on the other thread, you can find all you need to throw entirely new light on CERN et al. I emailed Susan Watts, and other BBC scientific types a while back - no reply. So Newsnight, there it is, a far bigger story than CERN. Are you going to take a look?

    BANGING ON BUT NOT SO BIG

    CERN is a wonderful icon for HALF the available science in the area of high energy physics and cosmology.

    There is 50+ years of brilliant science – boasting the odd Nobel Laureate – that runs counter to Big Bang, Dark Matter et al.

    As the orthodox model stumbles daily, and has to apply ever-more bizarre sticking plaster to its wounds, the Plasma (Electric) Universe with associated, self-consistent physical constructs, goes from strength to strength. It is a massive body of knowledge, that branches into rock art, mythology and mans emergence. A media feast.

    BBC – the alternative truth is out there. Your listeners and viewers deserve acquaintance with its wonders.

    ‘Plasma Universe’ http://www.plasma-universe.com/index.php/Plasma-Universe.com

    ‘Electric Universe’ http://www.holoscience.com/synopsis.php

    ‘Electric Gravity’ http://www.holoscience.com/news.php?article=89xdcmfs

  • Comment number 9.

    I gather Jeremy is back (#5). I confess I hadn't noticed he'd been gone. I'm not that regular a viewer. But what a brilliant episode to return for. Brilliant and of course flawed.

    First, why bother with a report from Birmingham with three other items of genuine interest and importance? Because the government spin machine would have been so upset if you hadn't? Better just to mention the historic fact of a cabinet meeting in Brum (which slightly rebellious gesture did more to make me vote Brown next time than anything for a while) and have as much time as possible left for the good stuff.

    1. Convictions - and not - in the (alleged) multiple plane plot. Watson did a fine job describing the double bind intelligence services are in - pull 'em in too early and you don't enough evidence to convict, do it too late and you have a real atrocity on your hands. All crucial background for understanding why a US arrest in Pakistan upset the balance. Newsnight at its best. Mercer was good on film, as conduit for the anger of our guys towards the yanks, but weak in the studio afterwards I thought. Of course any kind of conspiracy - a deliberate sabotage, for example - was not mentioned. Some such theorists exist in the more paranoid parts of MI5/6 I'm sure. More uncertainty - a strength of the programme later - would not go amiss in such areas. In fact, in such areas more than any other, given all of our life and limb at stake.

    2. Fanny and Freddy (fonetic). The point made by the Supercapitalism guy was at least in view. The super-rich get all the upside, then plead for a tax-payer bail-out when there's prospect of real pain. The deeper story would go back to Bernanke soon after his appointment being quizzed by Ron Paul in the Congress monetary committee - moral hazard and how the poor always suffer the most from such shenanigans. But the uncertainty on display in Will Hutton as he debated strongly on the subject was much to be applauded - and well done to Jeremy for letting such important debate happen without too much interruption.

    3. Large Hadron Collider. Brilliant to allow the ineptness of Peter Higgs in explaining his as-yet-unfalsified boson to stand. The tiresome interrupt on global warming from Sir David King was, well, tiresome, as phoney an exercise as having to pretend it was interesting watching the cabinet doing momentary good works in the Midlands. If one wants to question the colossal expense of the LHC, much better for UK science and general enlightenment to compare it with the results from far cheaper efforts like the £2m Boulby project in Cleveland. But still very enjoyable irony from Jeremy before and after (facial expression enough).

    Thanks to a new editor and old presenter for a stirring effort all round. Pity you couldn't afford one shot of (or by) Andy Murray before his grand-slam dreams imploded for now.

  • Comment number 10.

    Plots

    The difference btwn the USA and the UK is the usa see it as a war. The uk see it as some form of anti social behaviour that can be dealt with through the courts. Although we do not follow that policy in afghanistan? SO we can only assume its some form of political correctness not to use the SAS in the UK for the same people they are used for outside the uk? Its a psychological fault line. Not accepting its a war. with war rules. People playing for kingdoms.

    we love wasting millions on trials that collapse. why? If you can't get them on one charge get them on something else that puts them away for years. why does everything have to be gold plated? Capone was put away for tax. Our CPS would still be trying to get a murder charge.


    given the billions the uk are spending in many ways for all public events then a small band are winning. They can play the rules of war then use the rules of law against the people. The reason they are winning is we are playing two different games with two different rules.

 

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