Thursday, 26 February, 2009
Here's Paul Mason with news of tonight's programme:
"A bit nonplussed" is how one city banking analyst described his mood today, after RBS announced the biggest ever corporate loss. The reason? Well, corporate losses you can understand: "B-shares", insurance schemes and financial toxic waste are things most bankers have never seen before, let alone government. But what we've had today is the government's last throw of the dice. We the taxpayer will insure £325bn worth of RBS bad loans, and if they all go bad we could lose £305bn. If we lose it we will end up paying it out in cash, which will be inconvenient, as the sum is more than a quarter of the UK's national output. RBS will pay a fee of £6.5bn for this, but it will pay in shares. Meanwhile, the government injects £13bn in new capital and ends up owning 85% of RBS. This complex arrangement looks to many analysts like an "anything but nationalisation" strategy. The question is... will it work? The answer is RBS doesn't know, Alistair Darling doesn't know, and I don't know. We'll be speaking to politicians and experts and trying to get beyond the nonplussed stage.
Also on the programme, the first war crimes verdicts are delivered by the International Criminal tribunal for crimes committed in Kosovo. Amongst those convicted are men close to the former Yugoslav President Milosevic, three generals, the chief of police and the Vice President. John Sweeney gave evidence against them in the Hague after witnessing the aftermath of a massacre. Tonight he'll give his reaction to the verdicts. Read John's article here.
We'll be interviewing Muhammad Yunus the pioneer of micro-finance on the credit crunch and how it's affecting the third world.
And following tonight's drama Margaret on BBC2, we'll be discussing whether 30 years after she became Prime Minister, the current economic situation is making us re-evaluate Thatcher's legacy. We'll be talking to three veteran politicians.
Find out what the Newsnight Review panel thought of Margaret by clicking play below.
And do join Gavin at 10.50pm.