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Monday, 26 January, 2009

Ian Lacey | 17:41 UK time, Monday, 26 January 2009

Here's Michael Crick with details of tonight's top story.

"When I was a teenage politics student I'd often go up to the Lords gallery because it was much easier to get in than the Commons.

Nowadays I don't often get in there as often as I'd like.

But today all focus was on the upper chamber as peers expressed disquiet and anger at the revelations against four of their colleagues in the Sunday Times - and two of them stood up to apologise if they'd brought the House into disrepute, but insisted they hadn't.

Tonight I'll explain why the Lords has become an increasing target for the lobbying industry, and ask whether the chamber's rules are too weak to tackle peers if they break the rules on business interests.



  • Comment number 1.

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

  • Comment number 2.

    Anything tonight on the BBC's refusal to show the DEC's appeal for Humanitarian aid in Gaza? Was any lobbying involved? Surely Newsnight can investigate....

  • Comment number 3.

    Why bother lobbying someone who has been a Lord for ages, when you can influence the introduction of someone like Paul 'Powderject' Drayson who already has the schmoozing skill hard wired into their DNA ??

    Or indeed, why bother inducing someone to break the rules, when lobbying for BAe comes with a Government 'Stamp Of Approval' these days ?

    Or what about the 'missing link' between Lords Sainsbury and Lamont and that Blago chappie in the States ??

    Also it is a bit 'below stairs' to allegedly offer these 4 Lords some dosh or consultancy fees, if you prefer, when someone like Lord Soley can quite legally, because it is all declared and above board, be taking money from 'Future Heathrow'.

    And the payback, now that a 'Third Runway' has been agreed in principle makes it look a very shrewd, and profitable, investment.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of the Lords and believe it has more right with it than is wrong with it - but don't let's pretend that it is a shining beacon of moral rectitude.

    It is peopled by human beings after all, and even a Baroness can be fallible..

  • Comment number 4.

    just imagine working at Corus and hearing your job has gone and hearing an already privilidged Peer saying 'you will have to wet my appetite to get me on board' What a disgrace to our so-called democracy. The great British public will have to watch in the coming weeks the laughable charade of members apologising and walking away scot free, because that is what will happen, they will not have the Corus experience in fact they will think that we have a cheek daring to question their right to put their noses in the trough and take bungs galore. The whole experience of parliamentary democracy has been trashed, it was already tarnished. Public life has been demeaned even further with the BBC, our own BBC standing in the dock alongside that other pillion of democracy...Sky News, we do live in interesting times.

  • Comment number 5.

    Why does Michael Crick feel the need to explain to the audience how the House of Lords operates, especially when these critical matters have already been covered in the mainstream news today and over the weekend? What some of us would like is further critical insight and analysis/news. Apolgies to Michael if he does in fact do this, but I sometimes get the impression that Newsnight has tasked itself with doing 'Sesame Street' for semi-educated adults. It's not like the old days. Why?

  • Comment number 6.

    Oh please, please get Melanie Phillips on to tell you how you 'got this decision right'..

  • Comment number 7.

    Oh dear but we need better rules for both Chambers.

    Where I get confused is why is anyone allowed to earn anything at all or work even unpaid for any organisation they see fit.

    They should do their jobs - and that is that.

    Here are my completely draconian rules for MPs - that they would never vote for, self serving bunch the lot of them:

    1. An MP may have no paid employment other than the job of MP as paid for through the UK Parliament.

    2. An MP may not be a consultant, representative, agent of any company or organisation, columnist, writer, TV or Radio presenter or any other vocation that is not covered by their employment as an MP

    3. An MP can only put forward issues that have been discussed in the environment of an official meeting, and not some chat out the back of a Pub!

    4. An MP may not accept gifts or have interests of any sort that may conflict with his or her role as an MP

    5. On becoming an MP he or she must resign any other employment, must resign all chairmanships or seats on the boards of businesses and organisations whether paid or unpaid. They may no longer run their own company.

    6. An MP may not employ any member of their direct family or pay them any remuneration or expenses for any voluntary work.

    7. An MP must mothball any investments in companies or sell them and put the money in a saving fund in which they can have no direct influence.

    8. An MP may stay as a guest of any private individual, but must register all such arrangements

    9. Ministers may not stay as guests overnight at anyone who's interest may conflict with the ministerial position. In practice, outside of job related accommodation, they may only stay with family. Otherwise it is cheap hotel.

    10. An MP must swear to do their job and ONLY their job as proscribed in a set of guidance called "I am an MP - what does that mean?" which is to be written by a panel of ordinary people randomly selected from the nearest phone book. Press and Media people and pundits are disqualified from the process.

    The Lords is more complicated because it is often (very) part time. But I am sure the public could think of something.

    Oh, and the MPs should not come up with the rules or enforce them - their employers should. That would be us. It is about time they were reminded who really are the bosses and knock the arrogance out of them.

    All consultations when it comes to offering their expertise to companies and individuals as to laws and process has to happen in official government premises, fully minuted and in working ours. They get nothing extra for this one.

    Why so draconian? Well, does anyone honestly believe that either house is trustworthy enough to manage them selves?

    Of course not.

    Joss S

    PS: If any MP or Lord objects in working for us, their paymasters, in this way, they are welcome to seek alternative employment, where upon they will be replaced by someone who's main interest really IS the country and not their own personal development.

  • Comment number 8.

    This is far worse than a few thousand quid in a brown envelope, which the Tories were coruscated for. As for the comment 'I didn't think I was breaking the rules' - words fail me.

  • Comment number 9.

    bond markets are predicting higher interest rates to come.

  • Comment number 10.

    I am amazed that anyone can defend taking money to influence a change in the law. It is, without doubt, the most fundamental breach of the principles of democracy. If this is going on in the house of lords, what is going on in the other house. I saw one of these lords on the news saying he had done nothing wrong, no he had done nothing wrong because there were no regulations or laws stoping him. I hear the same argument over the behaviour of the finance sector regarding the credit crunch, is there no moral standards anymore. Its about time some, if not all, of these people are brought to book, it may not be criminal but its not right.

  • Comment number 11.

    How come both the studio guests invited to comment on the DEC-Gaza-BBC imbroglio were people who supported the BBC decision? So much for the precious BBC impartiality! OK - so you had previously had pre-recorded soundbites from Martin Bell and John Tusa, who both opposed it, and were both more widely criticial of the BBC, but that's not quite the same thing as having people in the studio. Jeremy sounded surprised when Greg Dyke said he would have done the same as Mark Thompson he he still been DG; had J not been following the news and GD's pronouncement on the issue, and had Greg been wheeled on as someone who supposedly opposed the decision?

    Anyway, good to see that you, like News at Ten, managed to screen a good percentage of the appeal in your lite version, including the DEC contact details for contributions.

  • Comment number 12.

    By not broadcasting the Gaza appeal for humanitarian aid the BBC IS paradoxically showing bias. It is, in effect, agreeing with those people who say 1) the aid agencies are not careful/ enough or not in control of how they distribute aid and/or 2) that Israel was justified in its use of excessive force.

  • Comment number 13.

    My main concern in regards to the Gaza appeal story is not the BBC's decision today, I have decided - it is the role of the trust in that decision. I am not even convinced that Thompson actually agrees with it - in his interview this morning he could not have promoted the DEC more had he played the appeal.

    It is the Trist who have changed their minds over the months since Congo and Darfur and issued guidance which I translate here, for those not wishing to read between the lines:

    "We shall make sure we always tread the middle ground, we shall ensure a complete lack of judgement, we shall not allow our output to be intimidated or swayed by anyone who may in the future be critical of us (just in case we shall let the far right take over Have Your Say, just so they leave us alone) and finally and mostly we must ensure that we show no compassion at all and therefore put the British People in a really bad light."

    At least, that is what it feels like they have said.

    Public Relations is about relating to you public.

    I suggest the BBC Trust is in dire need of some!

  • Comment number 14.


    You know, the forthright - tell it like it is - Greg Dyke? He seemed sort of muted.
    When he finally took a side it was iffy butty half-hearted. Didn't he used to be lion hearted? Is he unwell or compromised?

  • Comment number 15.

    I have for most of my life believed in the impartiality of the bbc and it's independance from govenment. That it is not being used as a tool of propoganda by the govenment. This came into question for me with the events that led to the resignation of Greg dyke and al the events surrounding that. I seemed to me that the govenment bullied the bbc and it copitulated. My blief in the bbc was shatterd 18 months ago when during the debate's surrounding what was then the proposed smoking ban. I felt the bbc reporting was biased in favour of the anti smoking loby and that the opposite point of view was never fairly represented. This culminated when on a 'newsnight' progam I witnessed Mr Paxman chairing a debate on this disgaceful ban. Normaly what ever the subject being debated two studio guest, one for and one against, would be grilled and an honest debate would be had. But on this occasion there was only one guest and they were there representing the pro ban position. Thus the other point of view was not represented producing the overwhelming sence that this was govenment sponsored propogander. At the time I senced that Mr Paxman himself was uncomfortable with the situation. So the current furore surrounding the bbc's decision not to show the Gaza appeal for fear of upsetting the Israel comes as no supprise. The bbc is a pale imitation of its former self. Its is a propoganda mouth piece for lobyist and govenment and the directors and govenours should be ashamed of themselves. I am however happy to report that many that work at the bbc do find subtle and surreptitious ways in their editing to undermine this trend and do their best to tell the truth and not give in to this Orwellian onslaught.

  • Comment number 16.

    What utter rubbish - the BBC is NOT a propoganda tool for the government at all! The BBC (and Sky) did not broadcast the commercial as it is impartial - and that's how news should be. The viewer can make up his/her own mind. Brilliant debate by Jeremy with Martin Bell, Janet Daly et al. Also excellent report by Michael on the HoL mess!

  • Comment number 17.

    For what its worth I agree with the BBC and Sky. If people want to give money to the cause whether its on the BBC or Sky would make one think that they must be living as some hermit in some obscure cave not to be aware that Gaza needs help.

    It is just another excuse for those to have another "go" at the BBC. Funny nobody has mentioned the license fee? They will!!

    As to the Lords are you surprised this goes on? I am not.
    I wonder how the self righteous Lords would feel if part of any new guidelines forbade the holding of any Directorships, consultancy fees or legal work?

    Watch the rush to the exits or judging by me watching some leave the Upper Chamber, the stagger on sticks!
    As someone blogged above far more serious issues on job losses such as Corus.

    Am I alone in thinking that some firms are making the current crisis an excuse just to get rid of staff- a re-rationalisation of their workforces. It makes one wonder???

  • Comment number 18.


    The BBC was right not to broadcast the DEC appeal given the delicate cease-fire and Israel's two key conditions (especially after the attacks on UNRWA facilities). The BBC was wrong not to black-out coverage of the appeal in their news. In the end it's behaviour ensured more publicity than if it had broadcast the DEC appeal. It just made Thompson, and others in senior management appear disingenuous (as did the apologies for corrupt behaviour last year). This may be an attack by others on the BBC, but the BBC's senior management has not helped matters, in fact, through not blacking out the DEC issue it has aided and abetted.

  • Comment number 19.

    There is an easy answer to the problem of BBC impartiality in broadcasting the DEC appeal on behalf of the Palestinians who have suffered so badly in the Gaza conflict. Simply broadcast an equal and opposite appeal on behalf of all the Israelis who have suffered in the same action. (is there a 'smily' for tongue-in-cheek?)

  • Comment number 20.

    Billbradbury (#17) "Am I alone in thinking that some firms are making the current crisis an excuse just to get rid of staff- a re-rationalisation of their workforces. It makes one wonder???"

    You're not alone. 65 consecutive quarters of growth averaging 2.5% a year followed by a contraction of a couple of points may be a recession but it's got to be seen in that context of continuous growth for 16 years surely? It's an ideal opportunity to cut costs (many of the high street vendors have been going online, Dixons, Curry's etc) and blame store closures and layoffs on the downturn. Automation will be responsible for a lot of unemployment in time. Wher are the Ludddites where one needs them - another reason why the burgeoning underclass is a bad idea for all but revolutionaries ;-)

  • Comment number 21.


    The demographics at #5) speak for themselves, but this may help those who struggle with numeracy, or at least make some chuckle at the chutzpah/scotoma. On the other hand, it really is gallows humour given the failure to reduce the attainment gap reported by all researchers from Murray to ETS, and given the demographic trend in the USA and Europe. It's being done to London too - Hoards of well meaning, but ill-educated themselves, educationalists think they can change lead into gold - and they are predominantly female - perhaps a function of science aversion? Yet almost everyone ignores this, or criticises those who keep drawing attention to the costs. It's a sad case of frogs in a water - if one warms them up very slowly, they don't jump out of the pan.

  • Comment number 22.

    Oops - 'hordes. Speaking of which, California is worth a look too.

  • Comment number 23.

    Speaking of Michael Crick's 'Top Story', is it linking to the right one?

    And I could have sworn he had the latest slot in this blog roll this morning with this:

    Spelman Decision Soon?

    But now it seems to have gone, not just from here, but his won page too.

    Which may explain the odd linking, but otherwise has me a tad confused.

  • Comment number 24.

    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

    I am reminded of a conversation I had recently with a public service employee who had attended a regular two weekly management meeting for two years, then went on sabbatical for one year, returned and found that at the next one of these meetings he attended, the same topics were being discussed as three years ago.

    So one leaves for some sun for a few days, returns and reads this blog to find that yet again, the usual suspects engineer the discussion to concentrate on their own pet obsessions.

    We must act on this. Yes we can!

  • Comment number 25.

    kashibeyaz #24

    "We must act on this. Yes we can!"

    Meaning - muzzle what you don't 'like'? What you are not 'comfortable' with? In favour of what? More spin? More delusion? More 'liberal' behaviour? More anarchy?

  • Comment number 26.

    kashibeyaz (#24) So we see.

    But you might like to ponder who you have in mind when you use the pronoun 'we'?

  • Comment number 27.

    Lording it Up.

    The german word for the place where politics is made is called the Rathause.


    it is enough for civilisations to fall when good people do nothing? and also prevent others from doing good?

    see how the ectoplasm of fear haunts the uk including the bbc.

    What is the antidote to fear?

    War Crimes

    Any language that derives its source from racial definitions leads to outcomes different from a language based on human rights for all.

  • Comment number 28.


    I might have mentioned - somewhere - that I see us as an animal, doing all the usual animal stuff, with an ANOMALOUS cerebral 'facility', that might well be a consequence of selection for more material brain, rather than more processing power. The former, I surmise, a natural reaction of the human organism to global cataclysm.
    Whatever - courtesy of cerebral quirks, every individual is at war with themselves, and humanity as a whole, likewise.
    The above notwithstanding, we do now have a VAST store of cerebrally generated know-how (anyone heard of wise-how? - another story) which, were we not predominantly, unreconstructed apes, we could apply to establish a sustainable future.

    Individuals unfortunate enough to 'catch on', feel frustrated and - I suggest - become OBSESSED with trying to 'put it right'. It can't be done of course, but trying is fun; though it does lead, inexorably, to REPETITION - that is the nature of futile endeavour. It must be very annoying to the reader. Unreserved apologies kashibeyaz.

    Oh - by the way - no we can't. (:o)

  • Comment number 29.

    bookhimdano (#27) "What is the antidote to fear?"

    Opiates it would seem (endogenous or exogenous - they all work on the same genetically expressed receptors). Religion, alcohol and faith have always been favourites, but today, it's the cult of celbritism/crass stupidity?

    Kate Winslet's a bit of a disappointment. Is she being ironic at these awards? I find it hard to tell when she's acting. Perhaps she'd make a good politician?

  • Comment number 30.

    Forget the Gaza appeal story - ancient history being whipped up now by the
    organised lobbyists .........................

    What we now want from the BBC is
    on the spot objective reporting from
    Gaza (where trouble seems to have
    flared up again).

    And ongoing coverage of the crisis
    in Israeli politics perhaps as well?
    Including the war crimes worries.

    Mark Urban is probably the man.

    The other major story is The Lords
    corruption enquiry. That is massive.

  • Comment number 31.

    I feel it only fair to point out that despite my 'title' I am not being paid for my contributions..

    Of course, that could change. I have my principles. And if you don't like them, I have others. And every man has his price...

  • Comment number 32.

    29...Opiates it would seem...

    It seems the common self medication? Pharmacutical-ising human emotions is based on a narrow view of humanity?

    as they say in rehab. the first step to recovery is admitting there is a problem and willing to talk about it in an openminded way.

    that ones actions are controlled by a pathalogos that can lead to irrational fears.

    otherwise the unexamined life ends in a life of sedation.

  • Comment number 33.

    30 Mark Urban is probably the man.

    probably not. [for various reasons]

    use locals. give them cameras and a website they can upload to.

    Al jazeera have no problems.

  • Comment number 34.


    Bravo your Lordship! My personal credo is: "Everyone has their price; I hope I am never offered mine."

    Any chance you could get me into the cellars? I'd let you know before . . .

  • Comment number 35.

    ANOTHER CREDO (# 32)

    The unlived life is worth considering.

  • Comment number 36.

    #29 , JadedJean

    You should know all about "crass stupidity".

    Genetic variation is greater within a race than between races. This is probably due to the fact that humanity was nearly wiped out (not by your chum Hitler but by nature) a few hundred thousand years ago - so we are all descended from a surprisingly few individuals.

    You will dispute that and no doubt take the time to mention that mainstream scientists and Nobel Prize winners are "all Jews". Nod. nod, wink, wink (but nods and winks aren't science).

    IQ does not relate to race, but probably does to education systems and social stability.

    The Holocaust happened. Fantasy stats on 1930's survival rates of Jews are no kind of evidence whatever - but you know that.

    You could witter on about your poor "race "realist" scientist friends whom nobody wants to employ - probably on grounds of competence and the fact that nobody should be expected to work with racist pariahs.

    You have truly vile views and you relish sharing them with decent people, a characteristic I despise.

  • Comment number 37.

    NewFazer, the Blessed Barrie Singleton, (patron saint of inmates and Guardian of the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch) and Her Eugenic Nibness JadedJean Memsahib;

    I think it was Einstein - one of your schoolchums, Barrie?- who said that to keep doing the same thing - repetition - and expect a different result was a sign of madness.

    Soft restraints, please, nurse!

    thegangofone; I know it can be dangerous sometimes to underestimate these people, but seriously, this particular crew are not worth getting angry about; they're just a bit confused.

    House of Lords?
    An elected second chamber is required.
    Time also for a written Constitution.
    This woolly system of evolved "traditions" has passed its "use by" date . Would the fights and struggles to gain the vote across the years have been necessary, if at some time, probably in the late eighteenth century, a break had been made with the Old Order and a Republican Constitution been promulgated?

    Can we do it now?

    Yes we can.

  • Comment number 38.

    Will Gordon Brown "Saviour of the World" share a MacMillan like relationship with the youthful President due to his economic wisdom ...... not!

    In fairness I am not sure the US has ever used the phrase "special relationship" it was all Churchill (the chap who saw off Hitler JJ).

    The spin on the economy is giving way to reality (it could never have been spun and it was madness to try) and his poll numbers fall daily. The end of boom and bust - as things are going the end of all economic activity completely! Credibility will be damaged and later I would anticipate a long time in the wilderness as the fallout lands over the years and they have a "toxic" past.

    £12 billion wasted on the NHS IT. PFI for hospitals is looking like the really bad idea people always said it was. Data is lost by the government daily ( though it has been days if not weeks since the last event) and that undermines their ID cards. Brown will have to square a circle to agree with Obama on Iraq - a war he wanted. We will have aircraft carriers and not be able to afford the crew. Trident and nowhere to put it if Scotland becomes independent. Nationalist votes are rising in Wales and Scotland. If the UK breaks up are all of the green renewable energy initiatives properly spread out? The "reforms" to the House of Lords - what reforms and its sleazy Labour peers making the news if I may " 'umbly" say. Improving social mobility seems to have consisted off Blair and Campbell getting pally with Princess Diana (not her fault - she had a troubled life). Wildly overstretched military resources. Poverty - well lets see if Brownville's of homeless people start to emerge in the next year.

    If Clegg and Cameron did a deal an electoral deal on PR (Cameron probably is more open to it) then Labour would be wiped out at the next election.

    We need 3 R's: Republic and constitutional reform, Renewable energy, Rebalanced economy.

  • Comment number 39.

    LOGIC (#37)

    Hi Kashi. Judging by the competence of the House of Commons (you must have noticed?) I suggest the last thing we should seek is ANOTHER elected chamber. How about a lottery-based membership? Lotteries are very popular in civilised, Brown Britain.

    Only if we first institute a Certificate of Voting Competence would I support any vote-based 'improvement'.

    PS Hilarious attack, but hard to take seriously. You're not a closet MP are you?

  • Comment number 40.

    thegangofone (#36)

    "You should know all about "crass stupidity".

    I most certainly do - with statements from you like the following, after having provided you repeatedly with links to expert summaries by field leaders, along with no end of explanations as to why you are wrong, you serve as an excellent example of a person who is clearly unable to learn from experience.

    "IQ does not relate to race, but probably does to education systems and social stability."

    We have no evidence for that. If we did, we would have done something to have changed the attainment gap difference by now. Great efforts have been made over thelast 30 years or so to do just that, and it has not happened. That is why I am sayng what I am. YOu clearly have not grasped this.

    "Genetic variation is greater within a race than between races. This is probably due to the fact that humanity was nearly wiped out (not by your chum Hitler but by nature) a few hundred thousand years ago - so we are all descended from a surprisingly few individuals."

    Whilst it is true that, as a species, we probably originated in Africa we probably also evolved from sea creatures even longer ago, but we are different from whales and dophins (some Jewish people seem to think they were created about 5000 years ago, are they correct?). Whilst it is probably true that groups left Africa at least 30,000 years ago, not all did, and many Black people in the USA and Europe were bought from Africa against their will as slaves. Have you noticed how we are not all black? Have you also noticed that a higher frequency of Scandinavians have fair skin and hair? They also do quite well in PISA, as do East Asians. Why don't Black pupils do very well academically anywhere?

    Have you noticed any other variation in human groups? Hair colour, eye colour, eye shape etc?

    That you are proud of your impoverished ability to tell differences between people, groups etc, is perhaps illustrative of your difficulties elsewhere, as discrimination learning is essential to intelligent behaviour. Censuring discrimination sometimes amounts to censuring intelligent behaviour. Do you appreciate the dangers inherent in that?

    As you revel in irrationality and fallacy, here is some free therapeutic help.

    Please note, you risk doing other people a great diservice by peddling untruths. This is why I am so critical of your behaviour.

  • Comment number 41.

    Good Grief, is this website always like this?

    I'm sure I intended to make a sensible point on our dire economic troubles, but it's been lost as I've read through these comments.

    However: kashibeyaz, you sound like a good egg, pleased to know you. I sincerely agree with your diagnosis of the "eccentrics" who appear to abound here. Do they never go away?

    thegangofone: Ditto. I agree with you on PFI, both hospital and school building programmes are already grinding to a halt, having been a terrible idea all along. Local authorities will not be able to carry the can for these projects. Secondary schools particularly will be in severe trouble in the next couple of years. This news is bound to break before the next election; maybe it is time for PR. Off-balance sheet activities are inevitably a bad idea.

  • Comment number 42.


    Gango's reference above to Churchill seeing off Hitler, reminded me of the TV's 'The Real Dad's Army'. Apparently Churchill set up a 'last ditch' (well, hidden excavation) defence strategy, whose volunteers had a maximum life expectancy of around two weeks. They also had poison pills in case captured.

    It would appear that even the civilised British are prepared to go to certain death to defend the land they regard as theirs by right.

    It's all so complicated.

  • Comment number 43.

    Go1 #36

    (kashibeyaz, you might check these figures and their sources too.)

    How often do you need telling where those "fantasy" stats come from? Why don't you listen? They are from the Jewish Library and you don't get more kosher than that. Look for yourself. Get your head out of the sand.

    Why do you never provide sources for evidence of your statements? On the subject of the Holocaust, would you care to comment on the changing numbers on the Auschwitz plaque?
    (I asked you this yesterday and you have not responded.)

    I would welcome from you (or anyone) evidence (and source) for your claims and would pay proper attention to them. However, it still seems odd to me that you and the Jewish people as a whole prefer to think of 6 million of their fellows dying in 'death camps' rather than explore the idea that such a tragedy just might not have happened on that scale. Can you tell me why this is?

  • Comment number 44.

    POST OF THE DAY (#41)

    Looks bad doesn't it RPE? You should print out Obama's inauguration speech and read it a couple of times - now that really DOES warrant 'good grief' if not 'ay caramba'!


  • Comment number 45.


    In the last day or two, a man killed and injured children in a school in Belgium. If he had succeeded in wiping them out, would not the problem to be addressed be; not 'how many' but 'how it was possible'?

    Surely Hitler was one, of many over the years' who demonstrated the extreme expression of Zimbardo's thesis that men REGARDLESS OF ETHNIC AND RELIGIOUS ORIGINS can be utterly vile?

    Unless we are ALL prepared to admit this, investigate what makes a Hitler, and apply the knowledge in avoidance strategies, it will happen again. And we will only have our squabbling selves to blame.

    The awful truth would seem to be that Western nurture and 'education' is far more damaging than 'primitive' ways. There are probably many more Hitlers brooding among us than we know, waiting for social breakdown to permit application of their talents.

  • Comment number 46.

    thegangofone (#38) "it was all Churchill (the chap who saw off Hitler JJ)."

    Actually, it was largely Stalin who did that, and why he did it is still a bit of an enigma to some historians given Hitler and Stalin essentially shared the same left wing ideology of National Socialism/Socialism in One Country. Britain certainly didn't win the war (it lost a couple of hundred thousand troops sadly), was left bankrupt and lost its empire. thanks largely to the USA. Britain probably would have fared fsr better if it had taken up Germany's original offer of an alliance.

    Personally, I would be interested to hear a more palatable explanation that mere 'paranoia' and persecution etc for the profound hostility expressed by both Hitler and Stalin as sometimes, it does seem that whilst some Jewish people appear to believe that they can do no wrong, or are a 'chosen people', a very long history appears to record others believing otherwise. Perhaps some narcisisitic people just find criticism very difficult to take? I have suggested a rational, biological basis for why this may be so, and this is not meant to be offensive. In fact, if it (the NCAH CYP21 hypothesis) proved to be correct, it could end the problem as it would just require pharmacological stress management. That to my mind would be a good thing for all, unless of course, the polymorphism confers a social advantage.

  • Comment number 47.

    RadiantPoachedEgg (#41) "both hospital and school building programmes are already grinding to a halt, having been a terrible idea all along. Local authorities will not be able to carry the can for these projects. Secondary schools particularly will be in severe trouble in the next couple of years."

    So, where will funds come from in future for what is left of this welfare state given that neither New Labour nor the Conservatives are fans of statism funded by higher taxes?

  • Comment number 48.

    There's a bloke on BBC News who's a Professor of Automotive Management!!

  • Comment number 49.

    Why is Monday night's top story Friday night's Anorak's Corner?

    I am/am I missing the connection?

  • Comment number 50.

    This is important

    "THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think the most important thing is for the United States to get engaged right away. And George Mitchell is somebody of enormous stature. He is one of the few people who have international experience brokering peace deals.

    And so what I told him is start by listening, because all too often the
    United States starts by dictating -- in the past on some of these issues --and we don't always know all the factors that are involved. So let's listen....."
    Namaste -ed
    "XXIII. We must not again allow public emotion or the public media to caricature our enemies. If our enemies are now to be some nations of Islam, then we should undertake to know those enemies. Our schools should begin to teach the histories, cultures, arts, and language of the Islamic nations. And our leaders should have the humility and the wisdom to ask the reasons some of those people have for hating us."

  • Comment number 51.

    kashibeyaz (#24), RadiantPoachedEgg (#41)

    Smears, ignorant, classic narcissistic remarks like those from thegangofone and an absence of rational contributions - exactly the sort of nihilistic behaviour which has contributed towards taking this country and the USA down the drain for years. See Ross, Brand and countless others of the same anarchistic ilk. Warning: it usually ends in depression when the supplies run out.

  • Comment number 52.


    Well pardon me all over the place. I'd forgotten that orders have to be obeyed at all times.


    09/04/43- Himmler to Kaltenbrunner, head of Security Police; "I have received the Inspector of Statistics' report on the Final Solution of the Jewish Question. [correct title"The Final Solution of the European Jewish Question" by Richard Korherr].

    I consider this Report well executed for purposes of camouflage and potentially useful for later times".

    Himmler asked his Adjutant Brandt to tell Korherr to change some of the terminology, however; in particular, Korherr's use of "Sonderbehandlung"- "special treatment", which Himmler felt was insufficiently innocuous;

    Brandt's letter to Korherr of 10/4/43 refers.

    11/3/42; Goebbels diary entry; "...the Jews are now being the East. The procedure, not to be described here, is pretty barbaric; there won't be much left of the Jews. In general, one can say that only 40% can be put to work; 60% of them will have to be liquidated. The former Gauleiter of Vienna (Globocnik)... is doing his best to make the procedure as inconspicuous as possible"

    28/7/42; Under Secretary of State for Transport Ganzenmuller to Himmler's Adjutant Brandt; "ref. our telephone conversation of 16/7 I am able to inform you that since 22/7 one train a day with 5,000 Jews is going from Warsaw via Malkinia to Treblinka; and also two trains a week with 5,000 Jews from Przemysyl to Belsec."

    Treblinka, Belsec, Chelmno and Sobibor were the death camps where from December 1941 to Christmas 1942 one million men women and children were killed .

    Auschwitz was more a labour camp but via disease, starvation and ZyklonB, let's accept the new number.

    In Russia, official statistics from Reinhard Heydrich's department show that by 1941 end, more than 1 million had been shot by the Sonderkommandos; by winter 1942, an additional 375 thousand had been shot.

    Back to the statistician Korherr; according to his report mentioned above, there were 10.5 million Jews in Continental Europe and
    Goebbels talks in his diary of about 60% of them to be "liquidated".

    In Korherr's report of January '43 he talks of 1, 786, 356 Jews already dealt with via Sonderbehandlung - this was before Himmler baulked at the use of the word.

    You can run, but you can't hide from primary sources of evidence.

  • Comment number 53.

    kashibeyaz (#52) You are incredibly naive (and arrogant). Even the BBC recently covered in 'Behind Closed Doors' how the Soviets invested great efforts in the fabrication of evidence in order to incriminate the Germans at Nuremberg for Katyn which the NKVD were responsible for. There was a major collusion between the allies to de-nazify Germany (part of which was the IMT in lieu of mass executions of up to 100,000 German officers as originally suggested by Stalin in 1943 at the Tehran Conference - normal rulesof evdience did not apply).

    Look back through archived posts. What matters here was a) the changes in borders of Poland, b) the fact that the camps ended up in the USSR, c) that the Soviets had a plan to make the Germans hate the Western allies to bring more of Germany into its sphere of influence, d) the high number of Jews in the world today given European low TFRs and the number of Jews in 1933 and e) Abbas' PhD undertaken in Moscow. Look into it.

  • Comment number 54.

    kashibeyaz (#52) You clearly have absolutely no idea (or personal experience it would seem), despite what you must now know about Iraq, of the Machiavellian lengths to which governments go in order to secure their political objectives.

    Look into the Morgenthau Plan and how that was the work of two Jews, one of whom, Dexter-White was almost definitely a Soviet agent. Then account or the number of Jews in the world in 1933 and the number today given European below replacement level TFRs and an alleged holocaust. It's far more likely that large numbers of Jews moved into USSR territory and were no longer counted. You've ignored all that's been said in posts to this blog and cited old material which could easily have been fabricated given that it was furnished by the Soviets and Americans who we know didn't allow normal rules of evidence in the post war trials. They were run as political show trials with a clear political agenda. It appears to me that you won't have any of that. Instead, you want there to have been a holocaust. Why? Rational discourse strives to falsify, it's how we train our brighter students.

  • Comment number 55.

    monday night 26.01.09, newsnight, i figured that maybe the inarticulate commentators in that studio that night who were unable to offer any form of intelligent opinion about the BBC's decision not to screen the DEC Gaza appeal might be part of some conspiracy. Jeremy paxman was quite right to draw comparisons with the modern day NHS where complex, ethical decisions are influenced by management who have some damage limitation, litigation avoiding mindset and not by the professionals working in the field. The bbc's decision not to screen the appeal seems to me to be a far more partisan and politicised decision than screening it, and that we have to suffer substandard panellists, agreeing with each other, unable to discuss sensibly their position, from a programme who typically have informed and educational guests. please give the subject the weight and informed attention it deserves.

  • Comment number 56.

    kashibeyaz (#52) Work with the thesis that the horror stories after the war (largely resurrected in 1967 during the 6 day war) were used by the Soviets and the Western allies for different propaganda purposes. For the Soviets it was to weaken the will of Germany, and for the Western allies it was to reinforce free-market capitalism and erode statism in Europe. The Jews were largely beneficiaries all round, the Zionists also got Israel (even though Marshall was opposed to this).

  • Comment number 57.

    Strike a light.

    JadedJean, have you by any chance just been welcomed back into the Roman Catholic church?

    You have very bad manners, my dear, to be so rude to kashibeyaz. That, it would seem is just the tip of the iceberg, however.

    You should really find a new hobby.

  • Comment number 58.


    Oh dear - I promised myself not to get caught up in the numbers game; I am far more concerned with the emergence of New Hitlers, Stalins, etc., waiting in the wings*

    BUT. I was fool enough to catch up on the posts, and would now like to enquire, from a neutral position, the provenance and reliability of the kashibeyaz letters and phone calls. Anyone?

    * Note that we recently had a democratically installed prime minister, with delusions, who drew to himself a bunch of very strange, adoring acolytes, went to war on a fabricated pretext, and announced a New Age. Remind you of anyone? If we had not been embroiled in the EU adventure, I think a terror alert, followed by special powers, was well on the cards. Who can say what might have followed?

  • Comment number 59.

    barrie (#58) You ask for evdience which is very difficult to provide in this forum. What I urge you to consider is the following.

    Given the choice between acquiesing to Stalin's demand that 50-100,000 German officers were executed, and reduce Germany to a market garden economy OR use extreme psychological warfare to induce mass guilt in the German population to weaken them and eradicate a highly threatening economic system, what would you opt for? Our present day concerns with 'equalities' in spite of refuting evidence has many of its roots in the massive post-war de-nazification programme.

    One has to look a) the number of and definition of 'survivors' of the holocaust b) the role which celbritism currently plays in our lives and how it is used to sell and spread propaganda c) a continued vested interest in preserving hegemony and the status quo for those who most benefited as a modern elite (which may or may not have been an unforseen incidental consequence of the decisions made towards the end of WWII).

    Personally, I think the consequences have been a disaster and it is time to look into the evidence critically, and to do that one has to look at statistical base-rates and departures from what one would expect by chance ceteris paribus. That is how science operates. That is how rationality operates.


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