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Tuesday, 14th October, 2008

ADMIN USE ONLY | 16:28 UK time, Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Here's Jon Sopel with what's coming up tonight:

So, the one day you get to do Newsnight and sit in the big chair you want the news agenda to be fizzing. But as luck would have it the sun appears to be shining, storm clouds would appear to have scudded off in all directions, and all seems well with the world. What use is that?

But hang on. If it hadn't been for the utter turmoil and exceptional events of the past few days, today would be considered - in that hackneyed phrase - another grim day for the government. Inflation's gone up to over 5%. The housing market is going through the floor (you almost begin to feel the estate agents' pain...), retail sales are in the basement - the bargain basement, presumably.

So, if last night's programme was the trial on who was responsible for the mess, tonight we'll be looking at what sort of stretch we've all been sentenced to as the economy slows down.

Tomorrow, our superhero Gordon Brown (that's how European journalists dubbed him today after the UK recovery plan was adopted around the world) is off to the European Council. How much more needs to be done in terms of regulation? We'll be joined by Paul Rasmussen MEP, President of the Party of European socialists.

And our reporter Liz Mackean is starting a European sojourn to find out how other countries are dealing with the financial crisis. She's in Germany tonight.

There are 21 days to go before the US elections (in case it had escaped your notice). It's normal at this stage to say 'it's been one of the dirtiest campaigns ever'. But is the reality that it's been one of the cleanest? When you have the Bush administration partially nationalising the banks who needs to sling mud? There are enough real issues to attack each other on. But with John McCain trailing badly, is his best hope now to go negative? Peter Marshall is in Washington for us.

Do join us tonight at 10.30 on BBC2.


  • Comment number 1.

    Never thought I'd hear it... A super hero?
    "Never a frown with Gordon Brown" sounds like a song to me.
    Never took rocket science to realise purchasing controlling shares in banks would have that effect. It's just no-one else has the power.

    Will he now, whilst he is in anti-'Nationalisation Taboo' mode, please grab back controlling chunks of the oil and gas industry; and then if still in a frenzy of power, perhaps retake our water, and electricity, and as a final act of care for the country, could he retain the nuclear industry, to stop the French having the right to bury their nuclear waste on our sites. If we need their expertise, then just contract out those particular jobs we are incompetant at , like building the reactor...
    Golden Brown if youv'e done all of the above; finish off by grabbing back the cream of the post office, to rejoin the crud that was left behind after the part selloffs ...

  • Comment number 2.

    Welcome, Mr Sopel. It will be good to see you in a less predominantly purple environment, fizzing or not. Though whether all is well in the world probably depends quite a lot on who you happen to be.

    John McCain doesn't have a best hope. He does have a choice about the way he conducts the rest of this, his final campaign. Perhaps he'll spend the time he's got left behaving with honour, but that's seldom the popular option.

  • Comment number 3.

    One factor that seems to have been sadly missed in the reporting of the headline inflation figure the is the fact that the increase in food and energy prices which are the main causes of the big rise, actually act to deflate the economy. commodities which are essential to life and have to be purchased by consumers as a bigger proportion of their income, work in the same way as taxation to decrease demand for other commodities. It is only when there is significant power in the hands of wage earners to demand big wage increases that inflation becomes a reality in the economy. Currently, with the demise of union power and general insecurity of employment, there is little power in the hands of ordinary people to increase their buying power. As a result, what appears to be inflation in the headline figure is actually a bigger squeeze on the economy. Bank of England economists are not seeing the bigger picture and as a result are keeping interest rates at artificially high levels. Interest rates should currently be running at around 2 to 3%to prevent a serious slump. The government and the bank of England's obsession with inflation is destroying what hope is there is for our economy to stay above water. This is at a time when it is essential that we have economic growth to pay for the huge sums of money required to deal with the Bank's previous inability to see the big picture in relation to the credit bubble.

    It is a sad fact, that the industrialisation of the banking system leading to the niche specialisation of individuals in control of the bank mean that they are often incapable of seeing the bigger picture because it requires a conceptual view which is clouded by their technical focus.

    we are not living in the 1970s, this is a different era and requires different ways of seeing the economic landscape.

  • Comment number 4.

    ' luck would have it the sun appears to be shining, storm clouds would appear to have scudded off in all directions, and all seems well with the world.'

    I was about to say, looking at what I now own, and owe... 'if you say so,' but then read on...

    ' would be considered - in that hackneyed phrase - another grim day for the government'.

    But for, at least, it seems... not all! Because we have...

    '...our (I am sure you have a good basis for this all-inclusive term) superhero Gordon Brown.

    Nice to be told via the BBC by Euro journos what one really thinks of our Dear Leader. Unlike other know-nothings closer to home.

    As to the rest... can't wait. I feel so well served, publically.

  • Comment number 5.

    And the Booker is coming too, or has the Credit Crunch/US Election extravaganza knocked it off?

  • Comment number 6.

    Ah, good to see Mr Sopel presenting- one of the good ones from news 24 (oh, sorry the BBC news channel). In fact, come to think of it, Newsnight has stolen most of the good ones- Esler, Maitlis...

  • Comment number 7.

    it's not all bad....inflation is 5% but because we all face Carey Street it will be down to zero % in a year or so. It won't be ration books and black market nylons and spivs on corners....actually I prefer spivs on corners to working in the let us brace ourselves to the task ahead and return to the sunlit uplands and re-nationalise the commanding heights of the economy like banks, er, sorry we,ve done that one, shipbuilding, er, sorry we'v floggd that one, transport, I think that was sold as well, busses?...that's gone except for London..what about land? The farmers will kick up...well, that's it.

  • Comment number 8.

    "Superhero"? Who are 'European
    journalists' kidding? This is the
    plan that both the US and UK
    now seem to be implementing:

    Dr Calomiris is a Greek-American.

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Balls who drew up the 1997
    FSA bank 'regulation' regime
    with Brown on the back of a
    fag packet - with disastrous
    results - now faces another
    humiliating U-turn over SATS.

    We need to get these 'novices'
    out of Whitehall - asap .........

  • Comment number 9.

    I look forward to watching Jon Sopel on Newsnight - I've watched him on The Politics Show a few times (it's on so early!) and I was impressed and have recently caught him on BBC News as well.

  • Comment number 10.


    The man who coined the utterance: "Mr Hague - you are SPEAKING IN CODE". (Where 'Hague' can be replaced by any of the usual suspects, without affecting the veracity.) For the avoidance of doubt, it means: 'you devious politician - you'.

  • Comment number 11.


    Sorry about the name thing Jon.

  • Comment number 12.


    Superman didn't bite his nails. Batman was not heard stutter (OK, Brains did but he never got to fly a Thunderbird). I know Desperate Dan had a funny jaw, but it didn't do funny movements. Come on Euro-hacks - that's no super hero, that's wee J Gordon Broon - pretending.

  • Comment number 13.

    It's quite interesting to follow up the hyperlink references given by The Telegraph's correspondent in Berlin under 'European Superhero'

    Note that neither Le Monde nor Der Spiegel used the word at all.

    The Telegraph story appears to have been based on a feature
    in an American comic-book by
    a graphic artist who confessed
    to being a little sorry for Brown
    and who wanted to give him a
    PR boost - before this week's
    decisions on the bank bailout?,-Space-Warrior.html

    Spin is back ......

  • Comment number 14.

    "Now is not the time for party political comments" intones
    Brown in this BBC interview
    - and then tries to put the
    boot into the SNP ..........?

    Sadly for his Labour's Secretary of State for Scotland Jim Murphy was spinning the same line the day before yesterday in Fife on the eve of the announcement on RBS and HBOS. Sadly too Murphy chose to focus his comparisons
    on not just Ireland and Iceland but Norway ... which ... um ....
    is actually doing rather well??

  • Comment number 15.

    Oh my God!

    Yvette Cooper does not seem to understand how securitisation and the asset backed market resulted in the granting of credit, especially in the mortgage market in 2007.

    We are in for some serious problems. Also they do not seem to realise that the way help was offered to ailing banks have set them for their share prices to fall while, okay, market would face a period of stabilisation tht I hope will be enduring. The government should be now facing losses on their balance sheet as a result of falling price s of the shares of the banks that ANNOUNCED that they are taking up part nationalisation - a good idea but it should have been implicit and more quietly executed.

    Did a previous Finnish PM, not to mention some past Swedish initiatives not put out similar bit better calibrated pans in line with their economies for that time?

  • Comment number 16.

    Gordon browns a supper hero!
    This is like parsing an Architect whose skyscraper has collapsed, for personally shovelling the rubble into a Skip!

  • Comment number 17.

    Newsnights interview tonight was a pure 'party political broadcast' on behalf of the 'Gordon Brown Appreciation Club'. Two night on the trot, last night it was Brian Taylor's chance. This a BBC step too far !!

  • Comment number 18.


    Is anyone else at all suspicious that we may just be getting a dose of pseudo-socialist PR from the EU-26 in an effort to sweeten the bitter pill that the Lisbon Treaty aims to institutionalise the worst of unbridled free-market Liberal-Democratic capitalism (which has just taken a bit of a hit)?

  • Comment number 19.

    I'm beginning to think that Newsnight, the BBC Negative News 24 as well as the TV news media in general are intent on talking down the economy of this country for the sake of 'dramatic' news stories.

    Everytime there's a sign of any recovery the news teams appear to desperately seek out negative opinions.

    Mostly the negative opinions come from news people, becoming more and more opinionated as to how they see the future rather than just concentrating neutrally, as was once the case, on the facts.

    I think the BBC's obsession with 'personality' reporting and ratings has overcome its objectivity with factual reporting.

    In tonight's Newsnight programme on the housing market, Jon Sopel was shouting his questions like a raving lunatic - not unlike Radio 4s John Humphries.

    I suggest he goes into a darkened room and lies down for a while. Obviously the situation is getting to him and I hope he recovers soon.

    In the meantime the rest of us will have to get on with it in an everday way.

    Incidentally, why is Paxman featured so little on Newsnight these days. Is he fed up with the continual stream of negativity too?

    Please bring him back.

  • Comment number 20.

    Simply excellent! More Jon Sopel please :-)

  • Comment number 21.

    A short note to say thanks to Jon Sopel for such a balanced, refreshing and witty turn helming the good ship Newsnight!

    Hopefully the powers that be will deem him worthy to step into the breach once more in the future.

  • Comment number 22.

    Well Yvette Cooper was spouting rubbish as normal , but the interview was a good push and shove so it worked well. Then we got an interview with the housing industry, and not a single point was challenged, not a single hard question was asked, just what was that about????

    "Stamp duty should rise as flats are often now over 175K", that 8 times uk average salary for a flat!!!!! ...and so the propaganda continued....roll on 20% per year rises, £1 million for a bedsit here we come!!

    Life long debt, the British way of life.

  • Comment number 23.


    SATs: They provide clear population level evidence of ethnic and sex grouping differences which have not changed their ordinal or parametrc characteristics for years. There has been a politically correct campaign on both sides of the Atlantic to obfuscate. For both the free-marketeers and naive environmentalists it doesn't help that the data show that there are important individual differences in ability which can not be changed through education. For the free-marketeers wider appreciation of this risks driving public opinion towards demanding further regulation in an effort to curtail predatory lending and immigration, and for the environmental enrichment crowd, the absence of long term improvements in the trend data or any change in the ordinal positioning of groups risks making it clearer to the underclass that all the government's talk about choice, freedom, democracy, parent-power, social mobility etc, i.e. better prospects for their progeny is just spin for votes in the inner-cities.

    Property experts: Well said puppet-head (#22)

    Yvette Cooper: Like so many politicians these days, she seems to be a great believer in the principle that to stay ahead of one's interlocutor one must answer as quickly and banally as possible, thus giving the appearance of having given as little thought to the question as possible - inducing a weary 'why bother?'

  • Comment number 24.

    Pedants' corner: The Jon Sopel fan club seems to be out in such force, would it be possible for the i-Player to note the fact it is him and not Gavin presenting? Ta.

  • Comment number 25.

    Quite right to cover housing where policy is utterly muddled. But where's the new Housing Minister, Margaret Beckett no less ? Not on the front bench for any of the bank crisis statements. Has she been spotted anywhere ?

  • Comment number 26.


    ...Simply excellent! More Jon Sopel please :-)...

    you two timer! ;)

  • Comment number 27.

    Oh ha ha @bookhimdano :p
    Jeremy is still the best, and irreplacable - and I'm missing the fact he hasn't been on for the past 2 weeks. He may well be filming or on holiday.

    However, Jon Sopel is seriously talented [Political Journalist of the Year 2007, News 24 (as it was called then)'s Chief Political Correspondant, and also in Afghanistan in 2001 and in Iraq back in 2003 to name but a few] - and I'm not the only one with that opinion! I think the vast majority of viewers would like to see Jon being a more permanent member of the Newsnight team and not just once in a blue moon locum.

  • Comment number 28.

    I have never had a high opinion of the Republicans but even I find it hard to believe that they would stoop to terrorist smears.

    If McCain wins and Palin becomes President by (sad) default she could make Dubya look like a hero.

    As ever I post on here despite the presence of the rambling far right.

    I thought with the economic crisis they would be polishing their boots and dusting off the armbands.

  • Comment number 29.

    In light of received wisdom in some quarters on certain global superheroes:

    James Cagney in White Heat - Top of the World

    Just had my latest gas bill, too.

  • Comment number 30.


    thegangofone (#28) Have a look at the legislation which started this economic mess, why it was enacted, and what further exacerbated matters.

  • Comment number 31.


    thegangofone (#28) Have a look at the legislation which started this economic mess, why it was enacted, and what further exacerbated matters. Look at the USA's demographics.

  • Comment number 32.

    As a matter of interest, is it possible to refer a comment by the blog thread originator to the moderators?


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