BBC BLOGS - Newsnight: From the web team
« Previous | Main | Next »

Wednesday, 26 November, 2008

Ian Lacey | 18:12 UK time, Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Jeremy presents tonight. Our programme producer is Kavita Puri - here's her outline of what's on.

MFI store with 70% off signNightmare on the High Street
MFI are to file for administration and the board of Woolworths are meeting imminently to consider the same. Many thousands of jobs are to be lost. Retail drove our economy in the boom times. But we've spoken to one expert who says 12 major high street chains may go by next year. So are we seeing the end of the High Street as we know it, and what will the impact be on our economy? Tonight we'll be speaking to the heads of some of the High Street's top chains.

During a recession do we need a higher level of immigration or less? The Labour Government has been sounding more trenchant on immigration. Tim Whewell has been to Peterborough to see if attitudes have changed. And we'll be speaking to the Immigration Minister Phil Woolas who'll meet some of his critics.

Gulf rich nations are ploughing money into Sudan - using their fertile land to grow food for their people. This at a time when the people of Darfur are starving and relying on handouts from the international community.

Poet Laureate
across the wires the electric message came:
he is no better. He is much the same.

So wrote Alfred Austin Poet Laureate writing on the death of Prince William in the early twentieth century. Culture Secretary Andy Burnham has started looking for the next Laureate - and wants the public to have a say. But what role has the Poet Laureate today in embodying the spirit of the nation?


  • Comment number 1.

    Wild guess, but for the BBC news team I suppose this is all just part of the dynamic 'getting on with the job' super heroes' 'cunning plan', right?

    I think a quick backstreet briefing might be in order to get a restive populace (I actually know two guys who work(ed) in our local Woolies) back where they need to understand they should be.

    ps (or is that PL): I'm applying....

    There once was a party called Labour,
    Called 'Nu so it enjoyed such a boost,
    Supported whatever,
    By Aunty and t'never-never,
    'Tis a pity the crows came home so early to roost.

    I 'sank ewe.

  • Comment number 2.

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

  • Comment number 3.

    looks like a job for Barrie

  • Comment number 4.

    My wife and I watched last night's Newsnight and were, as Senior Citizens, a bit confused by the item about prostitutes. Which one was the leader of the prostitutes' union and which represented the WI? Was it the blonde or the one who looked like a Tory shadow cabinet minister? Please enlighten us. Life is getting very confusing for old people. Regards, Nigel Clarke.

  • Comment number 5.

    In Scotland we have a 'Scots Makar' who is the wonderful Edwin Morgan - rather than a
    Poet Laureate though he is also Glasgow's
    Poet Laureate.

    We also have a Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh which is well worth a visit:

    And in 2009 we will be celebrating Burns:

    So what should England be doing to try and catch us up? Surely there is only one person
    equal to that task as a 'Poetess Laureate'?

  • Comment number 6.

    How could a Scottish Labour Chancellor get the whisky tax so wrong? Giftwrapped for
    the SNP! But is this the record for a U-turn?

  • Comment number 7.

    Why don't you ring Pam Ayres up for a quick 'Ode To The Demise of Woolies'?

    NB Sure she could knock that off in
    time for transmission in 2hrs time!!

  • Comment number 8.

    Oh ha ha ha Nigelcl @#4! Your posting made me laugh!!! The blonde was the WI rep, and the brown haired one represented the prostitutes union.

  • Comment number 9.


    How did 76 get that past the Blogdog?

    I's the woy you tell 'em Mory Poppinge.

  • Comment number 10.


    "using their (Third World) fertile land to grow food for their people."

    Isn't that called the 'British model'?

  • Comment number 11.

    The news about Woolworths and MFI sounds terrible, and appears to confirm the damaging effects of the recession, or does it? In fact both of these organisations have been on life support for several years. In both cases they had lost their way. The market had moved on and they had found no answer to the new challenges. TWith their managements plumbing new depths in incompetence, they were walking dead long before the credit crunch. I have no doubt that there are a number of other chains which have similarly been kept alive beyond their time, and the credit crunch will have signalled their end.

    There will, no doubt, be genuine casualties of the recession to come, but we must beware of looking for bad news everywhere.

    Perhaps the same comment should apply to politicians. The Tories forced today's 3 hour debate, yet they seem to have got nothing out of it. They didn't dent the government's story, not least because (unusually for politicians) Labour had actually told the truth. At the same time it exposed the Tories' dearth of their own solutions. But it added to the store of bad news stories which help nobody.

  • Comment number 12.


    As the post is a Poisonous Chalice
    I would give this advice to the Palace:
    "Give McMillan the job
    With his motorised gob
    And watch him get lumbered with Alice."

  • Comment number 13.

    --#11 "Perhaps the same comment should apply to politicians. The Tories forced today's 3 hour debate, yet they seem to have got nothing out of it"

    Except Ozzie was able to listen to Vince Cable...and find out what he should be talking about!

    --#4 I was confused at first. I was disappointed when I realised.

  • Comment number 14.

    Kavita Puri

    It doesn't matter about the economy. This is the only important thing.

    We have over 6 billion people to look after and probably over 60 million species of animal and plant to care for.

    Retail didn't drive our economy. It was just a consumer of worlds. The economy is just something abstract some people talk about when they don't understand what is real.

    The economy isn't life. It isn't love. It isn't the sound of children laughing while they play. It isn't a sunset, or early morning mist in the valley.

    It isn't golden fields of barley, it isn't migrating birds overhead. It isn't happiness or a 1000 people dancing. It isn't the flower or the visiting insect.

    It isn't friendship or trust. It isn't the oceans or a dolphin playing in them. You cannot eat the economy or wrap it round you to keep warm on a winters day.

    The economy isn't many things, just focus on the things that are. Let the past go and concentrate on what is now and will be in the future.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 15.


    I wish I'd looked after me Woolies
    I could'a bought more string and stuff!
    And some small plastic bags to keep rain off me fags
    When I turn up too late for the bus.
    I always enjoyed an encounter
    With counter-girls straight out of school
    And the bloke in the mac who stood right up me back
    And was clearly a failed trainee-ghoul.
    Yes I wish I'd looked after me Woolies
    Cos now, as I stand in the rain
    I can't buy just one pencil - an alphabet stencil;
    We'll not see that likeness again.

  • Comment number 16.


    Don't worry about the planet, BBC Breakfast were running " Corporate Nazi " propaganda about what a good idea it would be to introduce pay as you throw BIN TAX to get us all to recycle more this morning before 8. Ask a leading question in a survey of a selected minority with a loaded question and claim that everybody is in favor of it. Its just another over complicated IT scheme for the stock market " tech sector " to parasite on, more false economic growth which increases the gap between rich and poor.

    In a real poll recently ( Billington and Old Langho, Ribble Valley BC ) the Tories won a former long term Lib-Demmic seat with a pledge of NO BIN TAX by 350 votes to 180, Lab 42. The seat contains both working class council estates and many new large houses for the more affluent, a broad cross section of the population not just ten bob fat cats selectively selected by the pollsters. Turnout at the local by-election was pretty high despite the atrocious weather on the day.

    I blame Corporate Nazi ideas like Bin tax on the universities. It would appear that anybody who goes there comes out like a clone of professor Marcos in the Ealing comedy the Lady-killers. It would appear that they all believe that its OK to steal £10,000 in an armed robbery because its only a farthing on all the policies. Likewise charging people to get rid of their rubbish without caring about ability to pay. The technology to do it has proved unreliable so perhaps this BBC propaganda push is all about stock market parasites shoring up share prices.

    I was reading in the Times online environment section that the bottom has fallen out of the market for recycled waste. Local authorities are now faced with the prospect of having to pay to indefinitely store the waste they collect in the name of recycling.

    Its not rocket science but it must be obvious to any reasonable person that the generation of electricity from waste incineration is the true future.

  • Comment number 17.


    I would reckon we have just the right level of 'immigration' (those instantly identified in the male, animal, brain - especially fuelled with alcohol - as OTHER) to engender mayhem of a high order, should a serious recession bite.

    Civilisation only 'works', at all, when men are under a degree of control (Zimbardo) and 'multicultural civilisation' is a myth, waiting to come apart. This is what happens when politicians are left to select themselves. How many philosophers and psychologists are involved in government?

    Money (gainful employment) does not secure happiness, but lack of it, sure as little green apples, will blow the lid of British Utopia.

  • Comment number 18.

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

  • Comment number 19.


    barrie (#17) "Civilisation only 'works', at all, when men are under a degree of control (Zimbardo) and 'multicultural civilisation' is a myth, waiting to come apart. This is what happens when politicians are left to select themselves. How many philosophers and psychologists are involved in government?"

    Wekk, I am reliably informed that the government (really the Civil Service) does indeed employ psychologists (mainly females as he profession is 80% female these days), but that ever since the Thatcher demolition mob moved into Westminster, the cunning plan appears to have been to drive out any which might risk doing any 'good' (as that might strengthen rather than weaken the state) whilst recruiting hoards of unwitting Lysenkoist cognitivists guaranteed to make the Civil Service 'not fit for purpose'.

    It becomes a funny old world when the state's recruitment and retention policy is orientated to undermining its own existence - but that's what the free-market required.

  • Comment number 20.


    "charging people to get rid of their rubbish without caring about ability to pay. "

    Same when I go for fish and chips. They never ask whether I can really afford them.

    There are costs associated with getting rid of rubbish. Someone MUST pay (there is no such thing as an unpaid cost). Why shouldn't the people who use more of the service pay more for it, just like if I ask for large chips? If they don't, someone else will have to pick up the tab.

    Using rubbish to generate electricity may be sensible but there are many factors to be taken into account (pollution, costs relative to quantity of electricity, the marginal cost of other sources and probably many more.

  • Comment number 21.



    The whole 'corporate environment' thing worries me. I completely agree with you on the "more false economic growth".

    Its like carbon taxes or cap and trade. This starts as an idea to stop climate change. Then manages to become part of the false economy of stocks, futures and international trading. People selling carbon 'licences to pollute', who then make vast amounts of money. I thought the goal was to reduce pollution, not legalise it.

    I am told to turn my TV off standby, but also told to buy more of them to re inflate the economy, to do my bit to pay the £ 1,000,000,000,000 the Government borrowed, without asking me.

    I am told to buy low energy bulbs, so someone else can fly B52s half way round the world to drop bombs on children.

    I am told by 'celebrities' not to use carrier bags, so they can fly to £20,000 a night hotels in Dubai.

    Have I been given the messy end of the stick?

    I am not sure about the electricity from waste though. If we do, do we become reliant on producing waste to produce electricity, when we should be reducing waste in the first place.

    That the price for waste has dropped tells me the supply demand ratio has screwed up. Must be all the packaging from the new TVs we have to buy to re inflate the economy.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 22.

    barrie - The Charmandari et. al. (2004) paper is available on the web as a pdf, was equivocal/inconclusive, but intriguing/fascinating nonetheless. Maria New has published an excellent, comprehensive review of NCAH which is also worth a look. It has to be something along these lines I reckon and I say this with no ill-will.

  • Comment number 23.

    13thman #20

    Collecting rubbish is not the same as buying fish and chips but you have to admit that if you order a large chips the price is less per chip because you only use the same amount of wrapping paper.

    Rubbish collection is an essential social service and whether your bin is half full or overflowing it costs about the same to collect it from your house. I am reminded about a late old person I knew opining on water meters, she didn't mind paying a flat bill even though her consumption was low because when she was bringing up her kids she didn't have to pay any extra. The exact same principle applies to rubbish collections

    It would appear that you have been brainwashed by the eco-fascists when it comes to the pollution aspect. Modern plants emit very little pollution especially when compared to the prospect of people burning things like plastic packaging on a open fire to avoid the charges.

    KingCelticLion # 21

    Nobody is suggesting relying on waste to generate the bulk of our electricity but if the IoM is anything to go by we could get 10% from it. Generating electricity from waste could reduce demand on fossil fuel resources like gas which are frankly better used for other things. Being green should be all about making the world's resources last longer, plastic comes from a fraction of oil which as no other practical use apart from burning in furnaces. Its a sin to put it in landfill and perhaps in 100 years time the Corporate Nazi's will be encouraging companies to excavate old landfill sites to recover the energy from non degradable plastic.

    If there was ever a parasitic pointless overpaid job it would be in " Emissions Trading "

  • Comment number 24.


    13thman (#20) "Same when I go for fish and chips. They never ask whether I can really afford them."

    Heartless capitalists eh? All they want is our money, and they'll say/do anything to get it....

    Maybe the WI can sort this out?

  • Comment number 25.


    I have always felt PW "lacked credibility". Tonight he spoke of the free market system based on a points system. He mentioned tiers 2, 3 and 5. Or were they tears? Because Jesus wept!

  • Comment number 26.

    The loss of Woolies and MFI just enters the long line of those firms which we all grew up with and now have long gone. There will be more.
    John Collier " the Widow to watch" as the TV advert went; The Fifty "bob" tailors as we called it; George Henry Lees; Burtons the tailors; Do It All; Blacklers (Liverpool) Redmonds; various shoe shops such as Dolcis; no doubt our "regulars" could add more.

    It's a bad day for all those who work there and I wonder from where all the "new" jobs will come. Plus the ending of the QE2 just adds that we are coming to an end of an era.

    As the High street has vastly changed from that of the beginning of the 20th.Century no doubt by the end of this century it will bear no relation to what we have now probably some all singing and dancing Super Super Hypermarket, probably under the name of TESCO?

    The news item that put all this in perspective was that on Mugabi's regime and cholera. Why the West or even African States supports this monster is beyond belief. To my mind he is as bad as Hitler and Stalin. He should be got rid of. Stick him in some cave in Afghanistan plus oil and we may have done something about it.

  • Comment number 27.

    KingCeliticLion (#21) "I am told to turn my TV off standby, but also told to buy more of them to re inflate the economy, to do my bit to pay the ? 1,000,000,000,000 the Government borrowed, without asking me."

    See #22. This is more apposite than Deep Thought which is a little more healthily open across the pond.

    It's just politics.

  • Comment number 28.

    Recruitment consultants, Newsnight journalists, politicians - none have a clue why local people will not do the unskilled jobs available and they trot out the usual "British people don't want to to these jobs" etc etc.

    The real reason is that when you are on the dole any temporary work is impossible to take. You lose your benefit and it takes weeks to sign on again once the job has finished. So what are you supposed to live on in the meantime? People on the dole are not stupid, or lazy, just aware of how vulnerable they are if they do the right thing.

    Unless you get a permanent job then going to work can make you homeless.

    Why doesn't anyone else recognise this - or at least a few politicians who can do something about it. I've tried to raise the issue with my MP and others but no one seems to care.

  • Comment number 29.

    Yet more killing. It has been brewing for a few days. I think in Indonesia Muslims were told not to do yoga because it had links to the Hindu religion. Multiculturalism?

    When I produced the terrorism/ climate change risk assessment in2002 eventually many world leaders used it. Unfortunately many only used it as a soundbite, something which slipped glibly off the tongue, without exploring the substance behind it.

    This is partly the fault of the BBC, who though they acknowledge I was the original author, as I wasn't a celebrity I wasn't suitable to talk on the subject.

    Once you start from the original risk assessment, the next step is to explain climate change is only an example and symptom of the impending collapse of global ecological systems.

    That is the collapse of OUR planet. WE must all work together as one global culture to prevent all our deaths.

    Whatever sub cultures or religions people have within that, on the planetary level we are all one.

    We cannot afford war, conflict, terrorism or any other of the negatives between us if we are to survive.

    Together we must look after each other and the animals and plants we share this journey of life with.

    Understandable really why the BBC will only have other people to discuss my work.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 30.

    Why don't some of the posters on here say what they really think instead of being so obtuse.

    They really are so timid. Very, very timid. Barely literate. Unable to express themselves.

  • Comment number 31.


    I find all the complicated stuff fascinating (JJ - none taken) well-as far as I can take it in. But where male strife is concerned, I don't think it is complicated at all. My view:

    MALE UNSPOKEN 'CREDO': the less 'he' is like me, the more likely we are to fight. The larger the identity-group, the stronger the urge to fight, and the weaker the inhibition from possibility of getting caught. The more alcohol I/we have drunk, the more valid the above two assertions. I held this view long before reading Zimbardo's Prison Experiment. It, and various real-life events, seem to confirm.

    So much of man's approach to life is simply animal. Even highly cerebral scientists exhibit a range of animal traits that frequently interfere with high minded goals.

    I am dismayed at the refusal of our culture to admit to the animal imperatives running through society. The current, crass squabble over prostitution is a good example. Let's put a few high-minded male politicians into scanners, then say 'prostitute', and some other choice words to them, while all the man-hating female politicians and WI well-meaners look on. THEN let's have that debate about prostitution.

    I don't want a fight with anyone (might allow myself a small prick . . .) It's a personal view, sincerely held, from long observation and deduction. Incidentally, the same O and D that underpinned a successful business for decades.

  • Comment number 32.

    SERIOUS ISSUE (28 - MrStraightUp)

    Oh Newsnight. Tonight you had a chap with a poem to read. How much more worthwhile to have interviewed this guy, and perhaps his local MP? I suggest a juicy can of worms lies behind that one post.

  • Comment number 33.

    "The news item that put all this in perspective was that on Mugabi's regime and cholera. Why the West or even African States supports this monster is beyond belief. To my mind he is as bad as Hitler and Stalin. He should be got rid of. Stick him in some cave in Afghanistan plus oil and we may have done something about it."

    This surprised me. I thought you were Old Labour (aka quasi Webbian/Stalinist/PRC). The Trots aka 'Free-Marketeers' have been making things a bit difficult for him have they not? One has to be realistic about the Zimbabwe demographics if one is at all humanistic, and one has to do so benevolently/objectively (see prior links).

    They are largely 'children' (one can titrate IQ and age.)

  • Comment number 34.


    "whether your bin is half full or overflowing it costs about the same to collect it from your house."

    Clearly the collection cost is not directly proportional to the quantity of rubbish (much like fish and chips). Nor are transport (and disposal?) costs. The charging scheme could reflect that. The advantage of charging people the costs they cause is the incentive to use resources wisely. Most people (ab)use services when they do not bear the cost of their use. Were that not true there would be no congestion charges. It is difficult to see how people can know how to decide resonable usage of services if they are not fully aware of the costs of so doing. It is hard to imagine people caring if they did not bear the cost themselves (as you imply by your comment about people burning plastic to avoid charges).

    "It would appear that you have been brainwashed by the eco-fascists when it comes to the pollution aspect. Modern plants emit very little pollution especially when compared to the prospect of people burning things like plastic packaging on a open fire to avoid the charges."

    How bizarre! I merely pointed out there might be other factors; it should be clear I do not know just what they are but recognise there will be other factors.

    Disposing of waste in a low polluting way is a separate matter from using waste to generate electricity (though it could be that neither was worthwhile on its own but combined they were. NOTE I said "could be"; I don't have enough info to reach a conclusion, so I won't.)

  • Comment number 35.

    13th man and Brossen99

    I'm not getting into the debate on waste.

    My friend is running a campaign against an incinerator. He has a website, action group and newsletters.

    When I find anything interesting I forward it to him.

    There is so much info different views etc. I can't make a definitive point on the subject.

    I would do it as work, but its far too much for a blog post.

    Like the parasitic analogy. If there is a clear transparency on jobs, how work/jobs related to the planet etc, society would be shock up a bit. It's entrenched values would be questioned.

    At least we have got a clearer view of Obama policy. He seems to be (it didn't work last time) taking the hard line traditional approach. So I assume under the Monty Python test he is just a very naughty boy.

  • Comment number 36.

    KingCeltic *35 just a quick point on Incinerators. They seem to have one working well in the IOM just outside Douglas. Perhaps they are not bad things after all.

    Somebody from there may differ? Land-fill nearly gone and recycling we read that piles of it is not being used, what is the solution? Usually comes with a NIMBY campaign.
    In the good old days we had a fire??

    As to whether I am "Old Labour" or New, (JadedJean *33) even I haven't made my mind up on that. Perhaps I am the incarnation of the "Vicar of Bray"/

  • Comment number 37.

    Just watched a short, not very sweet slot on BBC Midlands Today.

    Seems an NHS dentist has won a case whereby his employer may not dismiss him without reason.

    Seems fair enough.

    However, the reason for the story is that his employer, the Government, is fighting this with an appeal.

    Some folk's job security more equal than others?

    I fear the multiplicity of standards that prevail today are rather hard to comprehend.

  • Comment number 38.

    Waste not, want not.

    Seems to me that the only real solution to waste reduction is to charge (i.e. tax, oh no that dirty word) at the point of consumption. Total pollution is (give or take) proportional to the extent of consumption. Some people may claim that some things pollute more than others, but this is just a diversion (all the time, effort and money spent in try to measure and convince us of the opposite is waste compounded on waste - more of the wretched stuff!).

    Tax or trading schemes at the point of production are futile (see #21), and charging at the point of disposal will just result in rubbish on the streets and rivers.

    Our only hope is:
    Reduce: don't buy so much tat in the first place
    Recycle: encourage easier and more widespread recycling facilities
    Re-use: think of ways in which the packaging etc. can be re-used about your home

    Alas, we seem to be losing that Blue Peter spirit that was so much a part of my childhood.

    Heaven help us if we have an all-out war these days. Don't think we can melt down plastic bags and turn them into Spitfires.

  • Comment number 39.


    Let us warn every Frank, Goth and Vandal
    To a Spitfire they can't hold a candle!
    But there might be some snags -
    Made of old Tesco bags:

  • Comment number 40.

    My Personal Views -

    PBR 3 Hour Emergency Debate

    Future Vat rise to 18.5% ? -

    The Chancellor said the Treasury was still looking at proposals to Raise Vat on the same day they announced to Lower Vat, that's why the Treasury notice of Raising Vat was signed by a Minister but was dismissed by the start of the PBR at 3pm on the same day.

    Call me a cynic, but I find that hard to believe and I suspect if Labour win the next General Election they would increase VAT to pay for their Pre General Election VAT reduction and give away.

    Whisky Error -

    After 36 hours the Chancellor has admitted the Spirit duty increase was an error. This is only part of the story though.
    Because VAT was reduced on Whisky, Mr Darling is putting up Duty to cancel out the effects of the VAT reduction, but when the VAT is returned to 17.5% or higher, is the Duty going to be cut back to what it previously was ? I think not , so it's a permanent stealth tax rise on Whisky.
    This stealth tax rise also effects Beer,Tobacco and Petrol.

    Banks Lending -

    Again the Conservatives and Lib Dems asked the Government to get lending for UK Business moving , via State loan guarantees , thus neutralizing the banks fears of risk (not quite direct BofE lending as I stated yesterday, my error).
    Strangely the Chancellor did not answer this request, though later he did say the Conservatives did not have any plans for dealing with the World Downturn and the effects it's having on the citizens of this country.

    I would of thought keeping business trading and their employees earning and spending and paying taxes is far better than letting business fail and the employees joining the Dole queue and stop spending and paying taxes, but hay what do I know.

    Public Sector Pensions -

    Mr Cable astounded me by saying Public Sector Pensions were unsustainable, this takes courage as the Conservatives and Labour don't want to go there.

    I agree with Mr Cable, the country can not afford these gold plated pensions any more and they have lost touch with the realities of the Private Sector Pensions schemes.

    I take my hat off to Mr Cable for having the fortitude to raise this issue.

    Maybe News Night could do a program about this issue, naturally if they can get the politicians to agree what a pension is first (reference to the “What is Debt” farce last week ).

    45p Tax Rate -

    Apparently the IFS said this will raise zero new money unless the tax loop holes are closed, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems agreed.
    The IFS also said if the loop holes were closed, then it will only raise £600 million a year, one twentieth the cost of the VAT reduction for a year, £12 billion. The Conservatives agreed , the Lib Dems disagreed and Labour were in total denial of it all.

    I enjoyed the debate !

  • Comment number 41.

    My Personal views -

    Government Grants to Local Authorities Statement Yesterday

    Did I hear correctly that the Government is saying Council Tax can rise by 5% each year for the next 3 years without being considered for being capped ?

    Did I also hear the Minister say that an average group D property would see their council tax rise by £85 next year, if the local authority can make enough efficiency savings ?

    Isn't this all strange when we are told inflation is set to come down from the high of 5.2% seen this year and we might even get deflation ?

    Could it be that the Government is cutting local authority grants, thus forcing council's to rise council tax as yet another stealth tax ?

  • Comment number 42.

    My Personal Views -

    Nightmare on the High Street

    It's a sad day when such icons of the British high street are in trouble, I think News Night should get an interview of these companies Finance Directors.

    Did they try and restructure, could they find the money to do it , or what ?

    As News Night said, the FT headline seemed to say Banks pulled the plug.

    Immigration, Migrant Workers

    The British worker don't want low paid jobs ?
    Was that the upshot the your piece ?

    Let's face it, migrant workers keep wage demands down, hence the growing need for the minimum wage Law.
    The minimum wage is not enough to claim your Human Rights of having a family life due to the shortage of council housing (hence the waiting lists) or buying a house due to inflated House prices.

    Rightly people get upset at this, specially with higher priority cases jumping the queues.

    Then in a recession there are even less above minimum wage jobs around and more people trying to get them, add in the benefit trap to the mix and I think it speaks for itself.

    Is the Governments new point system viable ?

    Maybe you should of asked Migration Watch for their views, they seem to understand this Government figures better than the Government itself.

  • Comment number 43.

    38. At 08:53am on 27 Nov 2008, Hawkeye_Pierce wrote:
    Waste not, want not.

    Well put.

    Might I share an exchange I had from another site that I just had to add to this...

    They - '...this "empowerment" is a growing trend. Doing it yourself whilst the people that you pay to deliver a 'service' spend all their time "incentivising you" with chip and bin fines, cameras and ASBOS..'

    [This] horrifying bin scheme is a manifestation of this "empowerment" - nonsense of course and the worst of all worlds. You pay for the service, do it yourself and have to endure bullying from the state.'

    One can feel the frustration, and empathise with it.

    Me: 'As pithy a summary as I have seen of how these new 'initiatives' can be concocted, mis-promoted and, if history is judge, will be more effective at generating money than helping my kids' planetary futures.

    I have to put my hand up and say I am a believer in some sort of incentive-based schemes that are, effectively, pay as you go/throw. But only if this contribution by the consumer/rate payer in money and effort is rewarded with consequent reductions in related areas.

    Mind you, I was a young home owner who thought the Poll Tax seemed relatively fair. But I guess that was 'different'.

    How times have changed, and changed views.'

    Reduce: don't buy so much tat in the first place - Agree, though being told to spend like there's no tomorrow is a wee bit contradictory at the 'mo.

    Recycle: encourage easier and more widespread recycling facilities - Agree. Plus much better national connectivity, from logistics to communications. It doesn't help that I am hearing that recyclate is deemed to still count on EU targets as 'recycling' even if its quality is useless to those seeking to make something of it. Or see budgets of multimillion £'s being sunk in Charlotte St or SoHo to create 'awareness' levels that tick boxes and add to the bonuses of the quango directors and Ministers who commission them. This seems a direct conflict of interest.

    Re-use: think of ways in which the packaging etc. can be re-used about your home Agree. Especially if it can be designed-in to be second used. I might suggest that one, a namesake, exists already:

    There are others of course, though mainly in the area of redirecting away from the landfill. Hence well of value. These are linked here:


    Alas, we seem to be losing that Blue Peter spirit that was so much a part of my childhood.

    FWIW, has been described as 'Blue Peter on steroids'

    With luck, by getting back to fun and reward over guilt, thread, nanny and fine, the general public may yet see merit, and profit, in getting back to make and mend. Especially in these crunchier, more eco-concerned times.

    And maybe business will follow too. Who knows, the government and its various organs of efficiency might get on board, too.

  • Comment number 44.

    Poet Laureate. It needs snappy couplets that kids can remember.

    I'm the King of the Castlel.
    And you're the dirty rascal.

    It's great to be a Lord.
    But 'I'm just so bored.

    It's very funny
    to have lots of money.

    I'm just an ordinary bloke
    ordained to wear an ermine cloak.

    I don't like your face
    Do you know your place?

  • Comment number 45.

    Re Barrie's comment

    There is nothing mythical about multi-culturalism. Multiculturalism is a socially constructed reality born out of a paradigm shift amongst social 'scientists', from modernism to postmodernism,

    and adopted by the political sphere out of pressure from the intelligentsia and possibly as a convenient means to divide and conquer - in Brussels' speak - 'autonomous communities'.

    What the postmodernist philosophy hopes to achieve is:
    1) a consensus in the public sphere on rules of conduct, perhaps by leaving out cultural idiosyncracies and focusing instead on shared rules, and
    2) freedom of individual cultural expression in the private sphere.

    But, since the premise of postmodernism is that every cultural perspective is equally valid, and this is now enshrined in legislation, what is actually happening is that cultures lobby for control of the public rules of conduct. This has two corollaries -

    first, if it is deemed unfair to offend someone's cultural sensibilities then it stands to reason that the culture with most sensibilities will dominate ideologically, since everyone has to respect the sensibility in law, if not in belief, and

    second, in a democracy, cultural lobbying is a number and resources game, the outcome of which will be determined by a mixture of which culture is largest, and which culture manages to get most members into powerful positions - legal and financial.

    Western ideology, being permissive, stands to lose a great deal from this arrangement and with dwindling resources in the West, there is also a diminution in power to put forward the case for Western ideology.

  • Comment number 46.


    Hawkeye, don't you start with your make do and mend, WW2 spirit, bloody Blue Peter generation rubbish.

    It's people like you who have ruined this country. Well its got to stop!

    The old team of Brown, Bono and Geldof has reformed to challenge the views of your like.

    "We have a crisis and it is a crisis of our making. We need to raise £1000,000,000,000. Buy, Buy, Buy.

    Give us your ****** money"

    Mood established the chosen one addresses the crowd. Darkness punctuated by 1000s holding aloft lighters. 10 for 97.86 pence from the 97.86 pence shop. (other brands are available)

    "Everytime a Christmas decoration is made from an old coathanger a shop closes.

    Everytime I clap my hands a retail chain goes into administration."

    From the shadows of the wings a tear appears in in the supreme leaders eye, overcome by emotion he turns.

    "Well Bob we sorted out the open sore of Africa together, let us now hope we have the same success with our own debt problem".

    On stage the chosen one goes into anthemic mode.

    Sshh you know who

  • Comment number 47.


    My use of 'mythical' was sloppy - I meant to imply 'insubstantial', such that when the whirlwind blows, born of our current wind-sowing, the multicultural society will have no cohesion.

    Are you SURE the 'bananas' EU central mentality has enough acumen to be THAT constructive (in the subversive sense)?
    Isn't it more likely that, failed ape that we are, when not fighting for our lives (one way or another) we sort of flap about and become prey to self-inspection, doubt and guilt?

  • Comment number 48.

    Meanwhile, at an atrocity near you...

    Just wondering if editorialising to the extent of using the word 'audacious' as a description was really appropriate.

    My dictionary would beg to differ.

    The BBC is not a plucky terrorist cheerleading team. Or, at least, should not be. IMHO.

  • Comment number 49.


    "That is the collapse of OUR planet. WE must all work together as one global culture to prevent all our deaths."

    We cannot prevent death, merely delay it. We cannot prevent the end of human life on earth*, merely delay it.

    (* I care about the planet as the life support system for people; it is people I care about, not the planet per se. When we start to think about the planet there is a risk we shall lose sight of the importance of people...and all people are alive right now. Since we cannot expect any people to survive more than about 120 years, we need not worry about the planet beyond then.)

  • Comment number 50.

    13th Man #49

    I find your post slightly contradictory. You say the only important thing on this planet is the people, but go on to say that, as the current life span cannot exceed 120 years, the planet isn't relevant after that time. So you only care for the people alive now? You care not about your (or others) descendants? What an extraordinary viewpoint!

    For myself, I think that people are about the most expendable and least valuable resource the planet has. There are far too many of us, if the 'people burden' could be reduced to about 10% of its current value it would do the rest of the planet no end of good. It shows an astounding conceit to think that we are any more important to the scheme of things than any one of the many species now endangered through our selfish behaviours.

    In my view, 'intelligence' is just a mutation, a possible survival trait tried out by mother nature in the same way as massive teeth, the ability to run very fast or acute hearing. I think it has just about proven itself to have failed resoundingly and we are due to be phased out quite soon. Leaving the planet to something less destructive.

  • Comment number 51.


    If the Earth reverts to its natural state, all man's structures returned to dust: WHERE WILL NEWSNIGHT FIND A WINDY, NOISY HIGH-STREET TO FILM THEIR INTERVIEWS IN? The centre will just HAVE TO hold, for the sake of journalism. Sobvious.

  • Comment number 52.

    I would just point out the rest of the world - the non goose steppers - know very well there is no basis for racial superiority as expressed by intelligence or any other attribute.

    Visitors to the site may wish to know that many of the posters (probably actually only one or two people) above use democracy and freedom as dirty words. They dislike anti-fascists (and the feeling is very mutual). They like planned economies 30's style. They don't hold a position on the holocaust but do like to quote dubious unprovable statistics about Jewish survival rates from the 30's. They are race "realists" - or racists to the non pretentious.

  • Comment number 53.

    Barrie #51

    I'm not over keen on the deserted planet scenario (although maybe we won't have much say in the matter). More I should like to think of a planet peopled by responsible folk who would care for their habitat and respect their fellow travelers. A place of peace perhaps.

    I'll get me saffron robe...

  • Comment number 54.

    My poetry effort I'm afraid is ...

    Only FAIR

    Brown only finds it funny
    When PMQs about the money,
    Other topics leave his smile just pasted on.
    And his twitchy fingers itch
    To play the three-card Monte switch
    With a stimulating Tax, VAT, Duty con.

    Though Ali Darling fronts this game,
    He has perhaps a sense of shame
    When the adding and subtracting is made clear.
    So when a Minister has to show
    It's gobby Cooper claims to know
    Much more than any other financier.

    In-vested with this crew
    Are the man-hating two
    Who dream the oldest game will soon be beat.
    Though they voted for a war,
    They cannot bear a whore
    Should have any protection from the street.

    The politics of those above?
    An exercise in self-love,
    As their ideas we should, of course, admire.
    But if one of us points out
    An evidence driven doubt
    It's the evidence that will go on the fire.

    Ideology, you see,
    Doesn't mean a lot to me
    But to them it matters more than what is real.
    They'll decide what should be legal
    Until we are all equal
    With them on top. An all around FAIR deal!

  • Comment number 55.

    thegangofone (#52) Thanks for the heads up - I'll increase my vigilence.

  • Comment number 56.


    Contrary to what the nice Mr Pike says, it is more likely that today's population of school children are less able to cope for reasons given many times now.

    *Differential fertility

  • Comment number 57.


    I am a university student in my final year and I will be graduating in the Summer. As a graduating student I am very worried about the jobs available to myself and other students once we graduate.

    Last night, I was watching Newsnight and was somewhat unhappy at the idea of bringing in more immigrants to fill gaps in different sectors that are lacking in Professionals. Am I the only one to think that University students should be seeked out to fill in those positions that require Professionals? If University students were in a sense "head hunted" then that would lead to Gordan Brown's idea of 'Jobs for Britons'.

    Also, why do we need to allow immigrants to come in and take on jobs that are usually not a Britons first choice such as picking fruit, plucking chickens etc? With the credit crunch many people are losing their jobs and their homes are under threat, so why not give them the opportunity to make ends meet with these less attractive jobs so they can provide for their families?

    I am tired of the Government not giving priority to what really matters!

    At this present moment, I do not see that it is necessary to illustrate schemes such as providing Poorer Families with computers for their homes considering that their homes maybe reprocessed. Schools/Universities have these facilities whether they have ICT classrooms, Libraries, or IT Learning Centres. School's do not usually ask students to type up their coursework until they get to College and University. It is good to provide the less fortunate with such items but again why do they need these facilities as we have been told time and time again that there is a connection between computer's and obesity? Computer's do not necessarily mean console's since you can play games on a PC.

  • Comment number 58.


    GradStudent1 (#57) It would be better to describe it as The Non-Government as they are not nationalists but internationalists. This makes it easier for them to abrogate responsibility for governance. That's what free-market liberal-democracy is all about, and whilst there have been those who know their stuff who have warned of the likely consequences, few listen.

  • Comment number 59.

    #57 Grad Student 1

    I could write loads on immigrants and fruit picking etc.

    One reason is the jobs are simply not advertised in the UK. Another reason is legal. Most of the jobs are on a short term seasonal contract.

    You are only contracted 1 days work. This is to cover growers in case of bad weather etc. They do not then have to pay 200 plus people for doing nothing.

    The fruit picking season is during the summer. Students come over pick the fruit, then go back to college at the end of the season.The jobs are not long term. Lots of people during a short period in the summer.

    Another reason may be profitability. When overseas students work they tend to stay in accommodation provided by the farm at around a fiver a day.

    5x 7 days x 250 people = growing caravans.

    Sadly though I don't like to admit it the truth is British teenagers and 20s are not very fit. I am in my late 40's but am finding many young people are not as fit as me. They are not work 'hardened'. I remember when I was around 13 I would be working on the farms in the summer. Lifting bales of hay with a pikele layers high onto the back of the trailer.

    Physical hard work hurts while you do it. Now it seems many young people don't realise that work does hurt, and don't want to do it. I love getting hot or cold, working to exhaustion or whatever.

    Now people pay to do it, in a gym or fitness centre, instead of actually being paid to do it.

    'Work' is a skill that our British culture is losing. To work all day requires rhythms, pace, goals, teams, banter.

    Listen to the media, radio, news programmes etc. They talk about watercooler moments, the say when "'we' are in the office".

    The doozers, grafters, labourers are now excluded from mainstream society. To not work as an account manager in an office plastic plant distribution centre or call centre is to now be branded as a failure.

    We don't have any skills. We might be able to build water treatment plants, hospitals, roads etc. We might be able to plant, tend and harvest food. We might be able to put a roof on a house or weld and mend a car.

    But we don't have any real skills which we can contribute to society, which are of any real value. I have never had a water cooler moment and I will probably die without ever having experienced one.

    I can't string two words together, I can't use a computer, I don't know what IE7 is, is www2 another war? I can't build my own website. I thought internet was something you throw fish into.

    That's why I do these "less attractive jobs" you refer to.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 60.

    I hope I have not offended anyone by saying that picking fruit, plucking chickens etc are "less attractive jobs" because I know that there are many people who make their ends meet through this way.

    I understand why people accept these jobs and I agree with TheRealKCL (#59) that young people including those of my age are less hard working than our elders.

    It does again come back to the way we are brought up, the level of education we receive and our location. My father is very hard working and I admire him as he has provided for his family and given his children the concept of hard work and respect. He explained to me when I went on work experience that it is not about the money but the work that you do and what u achieve. I think that today's children are very lazy and looking to make money with "a blink of an eye".

    My point of fewer immigrants to come to do these “unskilled” jobs is merely to give Britons the first refusal. Yes, some of the jobs are seasonal but surely ‘Every Penny Counts?’ I would say that it would mean more to Britons to have this option without it being given straight to immigrants.

    Sometimes it would be good to think small to achieve big. I realise that the government need to show that they have some status in the world but at the end of the day it should not be at the expense of the taxpayers!!!

  • Comment number 61.


    GradStudent1 (#60) have you watched it? Beware of narcissistic spin-doctors and their hangers-on. Think wizards when it comes to governments in Liberal-Democracies.

    Why isn't KingCelticLion (more) insecure...?

  • Comment number 62.

    #GradStudent 1

    First refusal of jobs is not given to British people for many reasons. Some of which have been outlined.

    You must remember the optimum goals of a business or employer are not the same or within that of the country or state.

    Remember that if you pay British person minimum wage for a 40 hour week. They will take home 170-180 a week.

    That is proper gruelling, back breaking and even soul destroying work. Once you have paid basic living costs, you have nothing left. Nothing. You start deducting £70 rent or mortgage, £20 community charge, water, gas electric and food. There is nothing left.

    You live to work, work to live. End of story.

    The exchange rate has changed slightly this year. Last year if a Polish person came to the UK the money they earned, if spent in Poland was the equivalent of 5 times as much.

    So Polish people come here, save all the money or send it home.

    Let us look at the comparable rates of pay. A british person earns 10,000 a year.

    The Polish person earns 10,000. They send it to Poland. When they return home, it was worth 50,000. They buy houses cash, no mortgage.

    or if they want a top of the range Mercedes they buy it cash.

    They will not spend in the UK. They will only buy Tesco value, and live a subsistence life style.

    Remember if they spend money in the UK, they are paying the equivalent of 5 times as much. So they don't spend. They will spend the money in Poland.

    The situation becomes more complicated with students when they are tax exempt and pay lower NI.

    The way personal allowances are costed and Ni thresholds are calculated, mean a none student British worker will work all week 5 days. If they work overtime on a Saturday they cross all sorts of thresholds. For they extra day, working 6 days a week, they might take an extra £30.

    Is it really worth it to be away from your family, or doing the things in your life you want to do. The answer is no.

    So we have a situation were a British worker will toil all week and take home 170. The Polish student worker next to them is earning the equivalent of £50,000 a year.

    So who is the most motivated in terms of working the Saturday, The British worker or the tax free Polish student. They work a Saturday. 8 hours at 8.50 send it home at x5, and it becomes over £300 per day.

    The employer will only want foreign workers. Because at no extra cost to them they can pay Polish people 5-10 times the UK rate. Who is the most motivated, who will want the overtime?

    Most high paid graduate jobs in the UK are nothing but parasitic on the Earth system.

    I would rather earn 170 a week doing a as you call a 'less attractive job' putting in sewage pipes in a ditch or growing food. Rather than selling my soul and destroying this planet I love and earning £100,000 or more doing what amounts to nothing and having a pointless existence.

    The eastern European thing is nothing new. Years ago I used to fit out Kebab shops etc. The people I did them for wanted me to do what they were doing. They told me the 'real economics of the world'.

    They would pay me. But they would say see this money we like you. Come with us, take this money and live with us in our village in the mountains of north India. Like like a King for the rest of your life. They found me funny because, when they said my Christian name they could only pronounce it as Raja.

    Before that Chinese.

    When I am in a field with 250 people from Poland. (A tautology for those into linguistics) it makes sense for me to speak Polish.

    When I worked in a Kebab shops it made sense for me to speak some Urdu. Not a lot, just enough to be sincere. because of house rules I don't think I am permitted to write in other languages.

    But I love where I am.

    The ways of the world are complex until you have lived them. I know where some of the £ trillion has gone, it hasn't gone to British workers, or spent here.

    You seem to think British business operate also for the benefit of the British economy.

    A Polish plumber might do a job for half the price of an English plumber. But if the Polish plumber intends to move back to Poland. You may think he has done the job for half the price, but has in fact earned 2.5 times more than the English Plumber.

    Nothing to do with genetics or race, or national abilities or intelligence. Purely and simply the economics of the real world.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 63.

    KingCelticLion (#62) "Nothing to do with genetics or race, or national abilities or intelligence. Purely and simply the economics of the real world."

    Food for thought


  • Comment number 64.

    #63 JJ

    Interesting link that tied many things together. The "Game Play" is a variation on other psychological assessments.

    Together with my own observations having worked in the situation, not a Newsnight talking head who will express an opinion, without both objective and subjective actual experience.

    There is a 'myth' presented in the media. That lazy British people will not work, so 'poor' eastern Europeans have to come over here to do the jobs 'we' won't do.

    They can fly here for £23ish, work for a year, go home with the equivalent of well over £50,000. I know of some extreme cases where with fruit picking 5 days plus overtime at weekends a Polish person can earn £500-600 per week.

    x52 say £28,000 = £140,000 if sent to Poland and spent there instead at last years exchange rates.

    Imagine a couple coming over here for a year wanting to save for deposit on a house in Poland. How many couples in the UK could work for a year and put a £250,000 deposit on a house.

    I can put my pay slips on the blog and it is not difficult to see there is very little incentive (with Tax and NI thresholds) for the British worker to try and earn more than the £170-180 pw.

    Our own media does the British worker down. Contrasting the 'lazy' British with the hardworking 'poor' eastern European.

    Of course it can not be done the other way. If I went to Poland and saved £10,000 in equivalent Polish, if I brought it back here. It would be worth £2,000.

    It has been the same for many years. The poor Asian corner shop owner. No one asks what the 'multiplier' is if the 'meager profits' are sent to India to buy property.

    People are people we all laugh and get on. We all live on the same planet, watch the same sun rise, It is economics which create the divisions.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 65.

    KingCelticLion (#64) "It is economics which create the divisions."

    Or it's genes and gene-barriers.

    You appear to belong to the same school of 'unwitting Marxism/Lysenkoism' as many others 'educated' in the degenerating Liberal-Democracies.

  • Comment number 66.

    #57 I don't know if you'll get this but I really enjoyed your post. I say enjoy because despite the depressing topic, it is a joy to know that young people are coming along with a bit of gumption to question the status quo. I fully concur with your observations and could add examples of my own. I only hope that you make a mark and don't have to return here as a disillusioned reject, over-educated and under-utilised, like the rest of us sad old bloggers.

    Celtic - at the risk of sounding critical, I think one of our main failings is to aggregate huge concepts, such as 'work'. There are many different work cultures with different ideologies, and ideology is carried in language:

    - commerce seems to require talking very fast and using the english language in an extraordinary way with the words obviously, actually and yourself, liberally distributed in all the wrong places

    - the public sector requires much more verbal reticence, measured comments, nuanced language, coded meanings; but a tendency to over-actualise expressions has also crept in

    - the professions echo the public sector with added jargon and increasingly third person speech

    - business requires a langauge of flattery, imvestogation, and something else, which I don't understand

    - trades work involves informal language, jocular and brash, with a plethora of jargon both technical and affectionate

    I digress, great posts on the equivalence of wages. The benefits of a 'homeland' is one of my pet rants. The homeland phenomenon not only provides high income in the first/second country but also trade opportunities arising from connections and networks with the homeland. Someone will right the true history of the dismantling of England one of these days.

    As for genetics, I find it very hard to believe that there are no genetic differences in human groups but it is virtually taboo to discuss them and since socialisation plays such a huge party in developmental outcome, genetics can take a back boiler without too much harm. Maybe east europeans have a different genetic mentality or physical constitution, and I'm not saying they do, but I can't see that it changes the validity of an articulate analysis of wage differentials. Maybe the British work force has lost its ability to work, it would be very interesting to research the ancestry of those who have fallen below social norms, that way we could better understand the relative influence of dependence versus depravation and disillusion


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.