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Newsnight & Newsnight Review: Friday, 3 April, 2009

Sarah McDermott | 16:37 UK time, Friday, 3 April 2009

Here's Kirsty with what's on in this evening's programmes:
Tonight on Newsnight: top of the agenda at the Nato summit (celebrating its 60th anniversary) is Afghanistan and how European leaders will respond to President Obama's decision to commit more troops to the country. Gordon Brown has just offered to send more British troops to Afghanistan to help with security before the presidential election in August.  
But should Britain be sending more troops to support an Afghan President who has reportedly signed off a law passed by his parliament which would legalise rape in marriage and bar women from seeking work, education or medical treatment without their husband's agreement? Nato Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has suggested that European countries may be deterred from contributing more as a result. Mr Scheffer told the BBC: "How can I defend this, and how can the British defend this, when our boys and girls are dying there in defence of universal values, and here is a law that fundamentally violates human rights?" 
We'll discuss this and Nato's wider role on the programme tonight. 
Edinburgh is the setting for the RBS shareholders meeting today. The UKIF, the major shareholder on behalf of the public, has already made it clear it has voted against the pension payout for the former Chief Executive Sir Fred Goodwin. He apparently is considering whether to give some of it back, but the present Chairman Sir Philip Hampton has called for an end to the "public flogging" of the beleaguered bank, echoing the sentiment of Peter Mandelson earlier in the week. So is it time to love not loathe bankers? 
And then on Review we discuss two new dramas about The Troubles, the lasting impact of Picasso's Guernica as the tapestry version is displayed in London, and the culture of protest, with our guests Kevin Toolis, Janine Di Giovanni, Tristram Hunt and John Bew.

Fifty Dead Men Walking is a new film loosely based on the autobiography of former British agent and IRA man Martin McGartland who is in hiding until this day, while Five Minutes of Heaven is a TV drama starring James Nesbitt and Liam Neeson about a real life UVF killing. It imagines a fictional reconciliation between the killer and his victim's younger brother, 34 years after the event. We will review both films and debate the value of drama in reflecting the motivations and impact of The Troubles through a long line of films from Cal to Hunger.
Versions of Picasso's Guernica appeared on walls in Belfast during The Troubles amongst all the guerrilla art. Now the tapestry version of the painting is the centrepiece of a new exhibition in London's Whitechapel Art Gallery, more than sixty years after the original hung there for a fortnight to raise money for and awareness of the Republican cause during the Spanish Civil War. The tapestry was commissioned by Nelson Rockefeller and normally hangs in the UN, where it was covered up during Colin Powell's speech in 2003 making the case for war in Iraq. In the newly revamped Whitechapel the tapestry presides over a UN style debating table, free to anyone who wishes to hire the room for discussion, and the first debate was about the role of art in protest. We will be discussing the exhibition and, after a week of G20 demonstrations, will reflect on the culture of protest from the Tolpuddle martyrs to climate change.
I hope we can entertain you and stimulate discussion round your own debating table... wherever and whatever that may be!



  • Comment number 1.

    NO! a thousand times NO! not in my name. All the women should be rescued and brought to (relative) civilization as political refugees. Such a law is barbaric and horrendous. I am a woman and I am very afraid that there are people in Europe and Britain today who would support such a law - Newsnight could find out for us if it dare!

    PS Newsnight last Wednesday was excellent on G20 with Mark Thomas making it clear for us. Can we have more like him on Newsnight etc in future?

  • Comment number 2.

    These people should not be geting the support of the british armed forces.
    This is not about religen but about holding absulet power.
    There is not a single word in the Holy Koran about what these people are doing in the name of religen.

  • Comment number 3.

  • Comment number 4.

    "But should Britain be sending more troops to support an Afghan President who has reportedly signed off a law passed by his parliament which would legalise rape in marriage and bar women from seeking work, education or medical treatment without their husband's agreement?"

    I sense some of those edgy Walkisms here:

    1) In Islamic marriage, what is the contract regarding sex? Can a wife refuse her husband sex?

    2) In Islam/Afghanistan, what law bars women from seeking work? Is it all women, or is it just married women? If it is law in Afghanistan, what right have we to interfere? I though we were chasing Alki Ada etc.

    3) As to education and medical treatment, who pays? If it is the husband as the sole earner, would he not have to agree given it was his bank account?

    There are all sorts of technical issues of international law which have to be covered here rather than just ethnocentrically/imperially imposing our own poitics/values/systems upon a culture which is traditionally different to ours in practice. Otherwise it amounts to a war of aggression to impose a political system upon the country surely? Would that be tantamount to colonisation?

    Surely that is not what we are there for ;-)

  • Comment number 5.

    We were talking about Picasso's Guernica
    in Dundee last month when an economist
    from Guernica came over as part of the
    Basque delegation advising Dundee's
    strategy to attract the V&A to Tayside:

    Mention of Guernica at this 'Dundee V&A:
    Making It Happen' conference reminded
    delegates of how immediately after the
    bombing of Guernica Dundee mobilised
    to accept refugee children from Bilbao.

    They ended up billetted in Montrose:

  • Comment number 6.

    pithywriter (#1) I take it you do not subscribe to 'love honour and obey'? Maybe 'I'll do what I ****ing like, when I ****ing like, and you can do all your own ****ing ironing too!'?

    It doesn't work you know. See TFR figures. :-(

  • Comment number 7.

    If the reports are true about the recent law signed off in Afghanistan by their President, then President Obama needs to read him his fortune.

    Karzai was always a Bush puppet, whose brother and extended family are persistently alleged to have strong links with the poppy growers; Obama has little need to prolong the pretence and maybe this squalid law passing will provide the evidence for pressure for regime change - if he wants to.

    My guess is he will work the backrooms and the law - if proved to be what people say it is - will never be actioned; and in max two years' time, NATO and US will be gone from Afghanistan, apart from trainers and Secret Service.

    Pakistan and its Tribal Areas are the keys to calming the Taliban, not Afghanistan.

    Pakistan will come under increasing pressure, and receive increasing assistance, to sort out its own backyard.

    Pardon me, but there is a difference between RBS as an organisation and the elite few "bankers" who made a complete pig's ear of "running it". If the whipping continues , it should follow the board members like McKillop and Fred. The folk in the branches ain't done much wrong, I suspect.

    Who ARE this present Review collection? And who are THEY to edify us on Picasso's Guernica? Sounds like the Review's nadir - or perhaps next week Graham Norton, Simon Cowell and Mylene will explain Baudelaire for us cloddish lumpen?

  • Comment number 8.

    bbc [aka the public] pay 150k finey winey for mr bookie wookie and some other 'talent' for their 'art'.

    why is the bbc still paying big football style wages when the claim the 'talent' could go to the commercial sector [which was always dubious] looks laughable now?

    given all this expensive talent why is the bbc on its knees? importing drama from the usa that everyone sees is superior and replaced investigative journalism [as seen on usa public service like Frontline] with game shows and daytime pap. Panorama has had a lobotomy One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest style. All it needs now are primary colour pyjamas to safely pad around the ward in.

    bbc executive attitudes and pay are up there with the bankers as an example of overblown excess? and with the imperialist plan to try a blitzkrieg and 'licence fee' the web with jedi mind trick arguments its not clear those high and mighty attitudes have gone away?

  • Comment number 9.

    kashibeyaz (#7) "Pakistan and its Tribal Areas are the keys to calming the Taliban, not Afghanistan."

    What makes you think that anyone is interested in calming down the Taliban? Surely they're just an excuse to have some US (and any other NATO forces that can be roped in) to the East of Iran? Now they have regime change in Pakistan watch the pressure mount on behalf of Israel (he might have to go though..).

    Incidentally, have you noticed how everyone isn't being repossessed, and businesses aren't all being boarded up? Not long ago banks were complaining, saying that they were lending as much, if not more, than they were last year, so.... what's really going on? Why has a lot of money been taken out of the markets? Why are we being told that the problem is really an Anglo-Saxon problem?

    Is the idea to get money for PPP/PFI from somewhere else given our demographic projections perhaps?

  • Comment number 10.

    Shame on Des Browne MP - a former children's rights activist! - for trying
    to argue that it was 'comparatively
    recently' that Britain outlawed rape
    in marriage.

    It was 27 YEARS AGO (1982) that
    Scotland finally got round to this -
    it was England who did it in 1991
    (and that is now 18 YEARS AGO).

    Scotland should pull its troops out
    perhaps if Karzai signs this law off.

  • Comment number 11.

    I am I the only one embarrassed at the British police requiring fluorescent-yellow uniforms to go about their business - something the police force of no other nation deems necessary - and how unprofessional and naff it looks?

    Also, why do the British police require such a plethora of uniforms (mainly garishly fluorescent yellow, of course) and variety of insignia and hats.

    Even outside the "HM Treasury" building (note Labour's lack of punctuation), the security guard often wears an ill-fitting fluorescent-yellow coat. Given Britain's increased profile on the international stage, it would be nice if the government cared about the appearance of Britain, to foreigners, if not how we think.

    I'm sure the foreign heads of state and journalists, at the "G20" conference, must have noticed how well-organised and professional it was, compared to the usual incompetence they see in evidence in Great Britain. If only Gordon Brown could see what can be achieved without layers of bureaucracy. I dread 2012.

  • Comment number 12.

    Listening to Kirsty Walk on Newsnight tonight, as I suspected, we just heard how Neo-Liberal 'Human Rights' are being used in order to politically undermine Islam and other non Liberal-Democratic politics, just as they were used by NGOs to try to undermine Iran, the USSR, the PRC etc. All highly emotional, no detaiuled coverage of the law etc, so no rational coverage by Newsnight staff at all - definitely no rational 'debate'.

    Anyone disagree?

    Des Brown, at least, tried to talk some sense to Kirsty.......

    Our Liberal-Democratic, very modern, values, are driving us towards short-term hedonism/consumerism at the expense of population replacement.

    Do people such as Kirsty Walk really not see the modus operandi and its dire consequences? If not, can someone please take her aside and spell these out to her?

  • Comment number 13.

    neilrobertson (#10) "Shame on Des Browne MP - a former children's rights activist! - for trying to argue that it was 'comparatively recently' that Britain outlawed rape in marriage."

    This is a little more complex surely? At one time, these were called conjugal rights. Rape was not possible as a consequence. What has really happened since the change in law is that men have had their rights withdrawn in marriage. There is no equality here, as males and females have different needs in that females do not need to 'get rid of' eggs' at the same rate. What the change in law will have done, I suggest, is make marriage even less of a commitment, and will have further encouraged infidelity, deceit, the illicit sex industry, and ultimately, contributed towards the break down of the nuclear family and lowering of the birth-rate.

    In the end, our neo-liberal human rights are self-defeating.

  • Comment number 14.


    I had to stop listening.

    Thanks Neil - I went looking for the repeal of conjugal rights legislation, but could not make sense of what I found. Your data exactly what I wanted dear, affronted, Kirsty to know.

    To cover my embarrassment, I would add the repeal of the Witchcraft Act - 1945, if memory serves - (and APPLIED to some poor BRITISH WOMAN during WWII).

    Of course, we also bomb women and children - but not our own.

  • Comment number 15.

    I thought it was absolutely disgraceful that Des Browne should try to defend Afghanistan's new proposed law to legalise rape in marriage on the grounds that rape in marriage was legal until recently in this country. Why does the fact that one legal system abolished an outrageous piece of behaviour comparatively - and shamefully - recently make it OK for another system to legalise it now? I just hope that Mrs Des Browne has a few well-chosen words for him when he gets home. I am sick and tired of the way women are constantly wronged and abused and some people aren't fair-minded enough to protest.

  • Comment number 16.

    I share Kirsty's outrage on this one ..... 27
    years is nearly a generation even if Britain
    was slower than the rest of Europe to get
    round to sorting out the law in this area!!

    The law on conjugal rape was repealed in Scotland before most of the squaddies we
    are sending out to Afghanistan were born.

    And Des Brown should be affronted if the law in Afghanistan allows child brides too
    as the Afghani woman guest suggested!


    The witchcraft law was repealed in 1951
    but was indeed used to prosecute the
    Dundee housewife Helen Duncan. She
    escaped the gallows because charges
    of conspiracy were dropped ...............
    But not quite sure why that is relevant.

  • Comment number 17.

    What is also worth noting perhaps is that
    Afghanistan signed the UN Convention on
    the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in 1980 - and ratified that
    UN Convention in 2003. So this proposed
    law appears to being going backwards??

    This is Article 16 of that UN Convention :

    Article 16
    1. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations and in particular shall ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women:
    (a) The same right to enter into marriage;
    (b) The same right freely to choose a spouse and to enter into marriage only with their free and full consent;

    (c) The same rights and responsibilities during marriage and at its dissolution;

    (d) The same rights and responsibilities as parents, irrespective of their marital status, in matters relating to their children; in all cases the interests of the children shall be paramount;

    (e) The same rights to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and to have access to the information, education and means to enable them to exercise these rights;

    (f) The same rights and responsibilities with regard to guardianship, wardship, trusteeship and adoption of children, or similar institutions where these concepts exist in national legislation; in all cases the interests of the children shall be paramount;

    (g) The same personal rights as husband and wife, including the right to choose a family name, a profession and an occupation;

    (h) The same rights for both spouses in respect of the ownership, acquisition, management, administration, enjoyment and disposition of property, whether free of charge or for a valuable consideration.

    2. The betrothal and the marriage of a child shall have no legal effect, and all necessary action, including legislation, shall be taken to specify a minimum age for marriage and to make the registration of marriages in an official registry compulsory.

  • Comment number 18.

    neilrobertson (#16) "The witchcraft law was repealed in 1951
    but was indeed used to prosecute the
    Dundee housewife Helen Duncan. She
    escaped the gallows because charges
    of conspiracy were dropped"

    Duncan was in a South coast naval port giving classified information to relatives of saliors after ships went 'missing' - she was prosecuted under the act because it was hard to get her to be quiet under anything else given the sensitive circumstances. When we repealed the Witchcraft Act with the False Mediums Act in 1951 the problem was that it had to be proved that the offenders (frauds) were making money out of their deception. Now, many of these 'misguided'? people are saying it's for entertainment in small print. Look into how pervasive this irrationality and self-deception has become as it has in fact extended into the professions!

    There is far more to this than meets the eye I suggest. What we see promoted as Human Rights (as opposed to duty) is in practice Liberal-Democratic, i.e. anarchistic, free-market politics (political correctness) being sibversively imposed by stealth upon countries where duty to others still comes first. Those countries have traditionally been Democrcatic-Centralists (USSR, PRC etc).

    Kirsty's tracitic is to keep saying Newsnight is running out of time whenever the legal and political issues don't go her way, either that, or she resorts to emotional heckling.

    Like it or not, (and many women don't after a few years of marriage) men used to get married for sex and progeny. They supported their wives in exchange. Once wives could have the support (or their own financial independence) without the duty of providing sex, the contract of 'love honour and obey' started to break down, and with that, the integrity of the nuclear family and birth rate etc.

    My point here, as ever, is that it is the Liberal-Democracies which have got this wrong, and this now shows up in their very below replacement level TFRs. Please think this though as it may be strategic.

    Men and women are different biologically, and Islamic law still recognises this (see the Hamas Charter, Orthodox Jews practice the same incidnetally). One has to ask why Liberal-Democratic law does not. Has it been subverted politically? It's much better to reduce a population in numbers and strength through self-induced demographic warfare (dysgenic and differnetial fertility via neo-liberal political correctness) than it is through nuclear weapons or other WMDs from an advrsary. From the data, I suggest that is what has been done to the Liberal-Democracies. The Cold War may seem to be over to some, but the PRC was more Stalinist than the USSR after 1953 and it still is.

    See Golistsyn for more on the basic theme which I am elaborating.

  • Comment number 19.


    "Men and women are different biologically"

    But what might we find if we put some of those long-sought and hard-won 'female' politicians in a scanner, and compare what goes on in their heads to the patterns of 'archetypal mum'? I suspect 'female' maternal circuits have been re-configured for political points-scoring, in the business of triggering reward centres.

    I suggest that women and 'women' are biologically different also!

    Should not the (coming) identity cards have a set of brain scan images encoded, along with all the other data? In this wonderful world of ultimate fairness, simple 'Male and Female' is - well - discriminatory!

    PS Thanks for gentle corrections to my date error above (Neil and JJ) - I am glad I added a caveat!

  • Comment number 20.

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

  • Comment number 21.

    Barrie (#21) "I suggest that women and 'women' are biologically different also!"

    You are right of course. Despite it's name, sexual di-morphism is not dichotomous, and that's what makes this so difficult, if not impossible politically given most people's willingness to look at the details. Like so much else, it all comes down to classes and class membership (extensionality). We know that male and female brains are subtly different and that this is driven by genes and hormones. It shows up in scans as differences in sizes of key nuclei in the brain. But there are, as you say, individual differences. The bottom line is that Natural Selection has arranged it so that oinly females can bear children, and only females can be sure that they contribute 50% of their progeny's genetic make-up. Males can not be sure of this, and so curb the freedom/behaviour of females. Many females close ther eyes/ears to this point. I suggest people try it, and see what happens...

    Find a workable solution to this biological inequality and one finds a solution to many of our political problems I suggest as at root they come down to a battle of the sexes.

    I'm not holding my breath. Thousands of years of social and biological evolution arrived at a compromise solution by giving males some extra genes on the Y whilst disabling most of the genes on the second X in females. Males and females are genetically different, in every cell in their bodies and it has been designed this way by evolution along with differences in height, strength and even, I'm afraid to say again, intelligence and its subscales.

    So why, I ask, do we see, and hear, so much said to the contrary these days, and to what cost?

    See birth-rate.

  • Comment number 22.

    I don't know what the facts are with regards this Afghan law buts let me take it that what was said on Newsnight was the case.

    In my view any law that allows a man to have sex with a women without her consent, restricts her movement on permission of the "husband" and then gives control to him of their children amounts to a sex slave law.

    Is that what we are fighting for and our men and women being killed for? Come on, pending the facts on this, its a total disgrace.

  • Comment number 23.

    human rights-

    the uk establishment has never been for human rights for all.

    how can brown blair and cameron square the idea of human rights for all and being patrons of the jnf whose policies discriminate on race? A 'charity' with policies that would be illegal in the uk

    its a national scandal. yet no one challenges them on it.

    banks in stocks

    divert away from the govt responsibility. which is why the dead horse flogging will go on?

  • Comment number 24.

    Followup: It is very depressing these days to see and hear people arrogantly/confidently marshall their personal views/opinions when really what they're doing is just stating what they know which is often uninfomed by what is objectively known. It is so aversive that it drives informed people away and just leaves the uninromed as highly salient.

    Now a heuristic question: Am I one of the informed or uninformed?...and...given your first response to that prompt, a second question: How did you decide?

  • Comment number 25.

    streetphotobeing (#22) A lot was said on Newsnight. You are citing the rhetoric, not the law or what was said by the experts. Think it through.

    If you watch TV today you will see protests in Strasbourg, contrat that with Obama talking to 'children' yesterday (they are our fuiture - i.e the taxpayers, bailers-out of this 'credit crunch' now that private capital (smart money) has pulled out of the markets). They are the target of heavy duty propaganda.

    Next you see Jade Goody's funeral. A woman who made her name and fortune by being offensive and vulgar, sending a message to the world that you just have to be crude and vulgar (if not violent) in Liberal-Democracies in order to make money and fame.

    Then consider all the 'Equalities' impact - where disabled people and largely women, 'present' on TV for the world to see - the impact is the opposite of what one might think. Our birth-rates are falling, our economies are collapsing and our crime rates are rising. The message to the rest of the world is: 'don't get like that' and I suggest it is being engineered by those who want that to happen from within our Liberal-Democracies using 'useful idiots'

    The Cold War is not, I suggest, over. It just morphed to demographic/psychological warfare. China was always the greatest of the Marxist nations, both in size, commitment to Stalinism, and in intelligence.

    Just look at the population figures over time, start with East Europe. That is the real effect of Liberal-Democracy.

  • Comment number 26.


    Naming no names: anyone moved to criticise foreigners for any aspect of their behaviour, has not looked deeply enough into what passes for civilised behaviour in Britain. In ignorance and arrogance we rogered much of the world through Christian self-belief and 'industrial thinking'. Today our culture is rotten in every fibre - aid does not buy integrity. 'They' have a long way to sink before reaching our level.

    OAK GALL (Prediction: Dec. 06)

    The rotten oak stands proud replete with fruit;
    denying heart’s decay – each cup is full.
    Enthusiastic branches bow that trunk
    in structured homage to its patronage.

    Once backbone’s true-grain majesty held sway
    but now corrupt, dark process feeds a shell;
    that core, long since bereft of virtue’s ring;
    usurped, degraded, meeting falsehoods needs.

    So stands Great Britain: posturing the World
    while cant, hypocrisy and turpitude -
    it’s Rotten Boroughs - make up Parliament
    where talk is cheap; truth economical.

    On Trade and Trident British pomp stands tall
    but with the Oak, core-rotten, we shall fall.

  • Comment number 27.

    To the Newsnight team. Can you get an accurate translation of this law and I mean word for word accurate, and post it up so we can get at the facts of this.

  • Comment number 28.

    I was surprised that the Review panel dismissed modern demonstrators as a bunch of middle class kids. Don't they know their history? They may not like it - not very romantic - but most of the revolutionary leaders of the last few hundred years have been middle class kids, including Tristram Hunt's beloved Levellers Lilburne and Rainsborough.

    On Picasso's 'Guernica' - maybe I'd have more respect for this painting if its painter hadn't spent WW1 in the French countryside, and the Spanish Civil War and WW2 living the life of Riley in Paris. Cowardly bastard.

  • Comment number 29.

    #25 jaded_jean

    "They are the target of heavy duty propaganda."

    You jest? People throughout the world would queue to hear Obama "propaganda" - that is in fact not hyped.

    You by contrast rarely wear your beliefs openly. You say you aren't a Nazi or the BNP but are a race "realist"; you like eugenics; planned economies Hitler style; hazy about the Holocaust etc etc.

    So when the Newsnight Lady Haw Haw starts talking about the "heavy propaganda" of democrats - and you aren't even a democrat - it is stretching credibility a tad.

    Just to remind you genetic variation is greater within a race than between races and your bizarre claims to scientific truth live only in your mind.

  • Comment number 30.

    On a serious note I wonder whether there is enough thought being given to how we will come out of the recession. The false dawn of a housing price blip means it probably will be at least another year and possibly a lot longer if G20 words don't convert into action.

    There have already been thoughts about re-balancing of the economy as with the Newsnight Chamber of Commerce speaker the other day.

    What about when or if housing recovers, apologies if I have missed the analysis but ...

    Buy to let has gone West.

    That was a lot of peoples retirement strategy.

    A lot of other people have lost packets via the crash.

    So aren't we going to have a lot of older people in fifteen to twenty years ( as with established demographics and I am not seeking hideous neo-Nazi views on eugenics and which particular list they have drawn up) who have a paltry pension and nowhere to live further down the line.

    If public sector workers found it hard to get a mortgage before the crash whats it like now - impossible?

    Is the crash the end of Thatcherism and perhaps also the rebirth of the council house?

  • Comment number 31.

    #23 bookhimdano

    "human rights"

    I thought the far right took the view that collateral damage from say a B52 bomb intended for an enemy was not really any different to putting people up against a wall and shooting them - as the Nazis did quite a lot.

    So when people are hazy about the Holocaust, neither being for nor against it, you have to suspect that if they had the chance human rights would not really be high up on their agenda of activities.

    Of course they never will have the chance.

  • Comment number 32.

    #26 barriesingleton

    "but with the Oak, core-rotten, we shall fall."

    Whereas if we had Hitler style planned economies; eugenics and race "realism" we would be doing great?

    You people fortunately have no idea whatever as to why the far right is so unpopular.

    How did you manage to lose your deposit when you stood for Parliament - albeit on a vague "End of Party Games" platform?

    You have often complained that the public are not "cerebrally aware" - stand as a more genuine Holocaust Agnostic against Democracy and Climate Change Science and check out the response!

    You are always such a hoot! Such "intelligence".

  • Comment number 33.

    #25 Jaded_jean

    "I suggest it is being engineered by those who want that to happen from within our Liberal-Democracies using 'useful idiots' "

    I assume this is your usual anti-Jewish (International Jewish Conspiracy nonsense) rant that to date seems to be caused solely by the fact that Stalin ejected anarchists and Trotskyites some of whom were were Jewish.

    You don't like people who "paint Hitler as darkly as possible".

    Come clean you aren't a Democrat so you don't really care about "our" Liberal-Democracies.

    Also if you are going to call people "idiots" as has been suggested before you want to think about your strategy.

    You are trying to drum up support for your views in a society that 99.9% rejects race "realists".

    People who disagree with you are "Trots" - I vote Lib Dem by the way. You have hinted as to what you would like to do with "Trots" and you would not say condemn Hitler for shooting Brown Shirts who presumably were not Trots.

    So even if there was a grain of science or truth or fact in your views who would ever support you?

  • Comment number 34.

    Go1, #34, #35, #39 on Thursday's thread.

    #29, #30, #31, #32 on this thread.

    Can I quote to you regarding house rules?

    "We reserve the right to fail messages which

    Are considered likely to disrupt, provoke, attack or offend others."

  • Comment number 35.

    NATO has just confirmed Rasmussen as the next Secretary General. So Karzai will have
    to argue his case with the Danish feminists.

    Maybe we need a Newsnight roundtable
    'round two' discussion of this with Asne
    Seierstad, Kirsty and Marjane Satrapi in
    conversation with some Afghan women?
    A copy of the proposed law would help.

  • Comment number 36.

    neilrobertson (#10) "Shame on Des Browne MP - a former children's rights activist! - for trying to argue that it was 'comparatively recently' that Britain outlawed rape in marriage."

    Shame? Why?

    He wasn't arguing, he was stating a legal fact. One of the other interviewees made it clear that the laws were legitimately produced by Afghanistan's democratically elected Parliament and that the Presidential signing off laws was a formality akin to the Queen giving Royal Assent when our laws go onto the Statute Book(s). What one has to accept is that this is the process of (Parliamentary) democracy and that just because it does not always result in laws which other democracies want we have no right to object. This is just democracy at work, just as it was when Hamas was elected in Palestine, and, believe it or not, when Hitler was elected in Germany n the 1930s, and when the Chinese elect their leaders in their Democratic-Centrailist system. Why do we have the right to dictate to them and they not to us?

  • Comment number 37.

    neilrobertson (#35) "Maybe we need a Newsnight roundtable 'round two' discussion of this with Asne Seierstad, Kirsty and Marjane Satrapi in conversation with some Afghan women? A copy of the proposed law would help."

    The point I'm trying to make here is that every time we come across another country (Iran for example) which has laws which differ from ours, (sometimes clearly poliitically hostile to ours), programmes like Newsnight at home and NGOs abroad, bring out a few activists who, in their own counries would be treated as behaving illegally if they were undermining the laws of the land which had been passed legally.

    This is what causes diplomatic incidents. It is ethnocentric and ultimately narcissistic, even racist.

    It would be academically interesting to see the terms of this law, but what right do we, as non-citizens of Afghanistan, and what right do minority objectors from these countries, have to defy their laws because they don't approve of them if the majority do? I suggest they are being used, or are using us, unethically if not illegally.

  • Comment number 38.


    As I posted at #19: "But what might we find if we put some of those long-sought and hard-won 'female' politicians in a scanner, and compare what goes on in their heads to the patterns of 'archetypal mum'? I suspect 'female' maternal circuits have been re-configured for political points-scoring, in the business of triggering reward centres."

    Any chance the feminists can be put through the scanner to see just what is 'turning them on' before any debate of Afghan angst takes place? All this 'reasoned' debate might front a very different agenda.

    We don't beat our women with straps in the street; we beat them with male goals and values, in the schools.

    It might seem less of a crime, but take a look at the consequences.

  • Comment number 39.


    thegangofone (various posts) Has it ever dawned on you that if 95% of the population did not agree with something they heard it might possibly be related to the fact that until relatively recently, only 5% of the population were considered able enough to benefit from a university education, and within that percentage, a much smaller percentage still obtained good degrees and went on to do post-graduate courses and research?

    All that's happened in recent times is that education has been devalued, so now, qualifications don't have the value they once did.

    Do you understand?

  • Comment number 40.


    We really are a philosophy-free zone, JJ. But how can institutional schools dare to encourage philosophical enquiry in their inmates? The two are inimical. Only philosophical insight can expose the righteous zealots to themselves. Impasse.

    I wonder if Ed Balls (where's he gone?) would understand any of the foregoing - let alone see the worth of it.

  • Comment number 41.

    I think what has really riled us in Scotland
    Jean is that is that the Afghan mission was
    sold to us as a human rights mission - and
    now we have a former member of SCOLAG
    like Des Brown of Kilmarnock (Kirsty Wark's
    home town) coming on 'Newsnight' to tell
    Kilmarnock women that this "barbaric law"
    as Ian Bell in The Herald today describes
    it really doesn't matter all that much cos
    it is only 27 years ago that the male legal
    establishment in Britain woke up to this
    themselves as a human rights matter -
    incidentally two years after Afghanistan
    itself signed the UN Convention Against
    All Forms of Discimination Against Women.

    This was the 'casus belli' for Afghanistan
    that is why the NATO man is so worried.

  • Comment number 42.

    Its all very well worrying about human rights in Afghanistan, and I for one am not impressed by the way Muslins treat their women in the UK when they can get away with it due to the police being too PC to intervene. However, if one takes a broader insight of what's going on as regards to human rights in the UK in general a subtle trend towards corporate enslavement is under way.

    Employment agencies are the epitome of mass slavery to the Corporate Nazi's, it is virtually impossible to get a job in any large organization without going through an employment agency. Furthermore, it costs public bodies like local councils and the NHS a fortune when they could take on employees at less than agency cost price.

    Employment agencies can use post code information to any potential employees to engage in a form of corporate ethnic cleansing. It suspect that people could be driven from any estate property speculators and developers have desires on. Then they blame some people for being on the dole for years, not having the option to move out to another higher priced area. Its all about rigging the property market causing massive house price inflation in some areas whilst councils are forced to virtually give their council house assets to bogus charity housing associations for the stock market parasites to borrow against. Against assurances to tenants voting for " privatisation " rents have increased at rates well above that of inflation, now there are reports of funds not being available for " regeneration " even though the target property is already effectively ethnically cleansed, if not economically cleansed.

    Things look particularly bleak if you are currently classified " disabled ", new more strict tests will ensure that many will be forced onto JSA with no realistic prospect of ever even being considered for any job they could actually do. A report out today states that people on state benefits can no longer afford to eat properly whatever the government rhetoric on healthy eating. Most of them probably spent last winter freezing to death because the couldn't afford the energy bill, ours was 835 quid quarter to February, only an average modernized house if ancient. Porrit let the cat out of the bag when he could not deny that the eco-fascists had plans to reduce the UK population to 30 million. That probably includes most of the " poor " people who can simply not afford to live here anymore due to " green " taxes etc.

    It would appear that there is to be no welfare state provision for those which fail the virtual corporate compatibility test now used by employment agencies. It is proposed that after a year claimants will be forced to " work " for their benefits. Perhaps many councils and large companies will start employing these ( private agency ) dole slaves for menial tasks instead of giving people a secure full time job with benefits other workers in that company / authority currently enjoy. It would appear that perks like company pensions are no longer economic to support, perhaps they were only ever there in the first place as a bribe to the electorate not to vote for parties sympathetic to the former Soviet block, or any form of nationalization, that corporate justification ended long ago now with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    Brown preaches fiscal stimulus, but he has just put another 3p a litre on road fuel, in addition to that put on to compensate for a cut in VAT last December. Despite the rhetoric, this must indicate an overall tax increase despite the alleged VAT cut, and fuel costs all add to inflation for 90% of the " economically active ". All this reduces our global competitiveness, it looks like transport costs finally got Verison a car part company with one " main " plant in Northern Ireland, transport costs probably killed Woolworths over Christmas. It looks like the DUP 500 million Corporate Multinational Cartel sponsored bribe to vote for 42 days detention has spectacularly fallen through with the announcement of nearly a thousand job cuts at Bombardier.

    Perhaps the only way to preserve what freedom we have left is to keep the stock market parasites skint, even so far as crashing the entire global financial market. Perhaps then we could concentrate on funding the real economy of our country and at least put our infrastructure back into the relatively well maintained condition it was 40 years ago.

  • Comment number 43.


    I gather the world is only viable, if trade is global. But what if the globe turns out to be TOO SMALL? It's all we have. I don't think J Gordon is bright enough to deal with it, and Vince can hardly make the planet larger - bright as he is.

    Or are we being sold another pack of lies?

  • Comment number 44.


    neilrobertson (#41) "Des Brown of Kilmarnock (Kirsty Wark's home town) coming on 'Newsnight' to tell Kilmarnock women that this "barbaric law" as Ian Bell in The Herald today describes it really doesn't matter all that much cos
    it is only 27 years ago that the male legal establishment in Britain woke up to this themselves as a human rights matter"

    I'm note sure that's what he was saying at all. All he was saying was that it is very recent in our history that we took this line and we claim to be an advanced Liberal-Democracy. As I say above, personally, I think this change may have been a mistake, although clearly rape per se, as an assault is another matter, and should rightly be an offence if it is assault.

    For what it's worse, I suspect the real reasons we're in Iraq and Afghanistan is a) to protect Israel b) put pressure on Iran and c) most important of all, expand our free-markets.

    Human Rights, is, I fear, just a means to subvert other countries' resistance to our economic, free-market, interests. They pitch the reason to the public depending on what will sell best to a) the Americans (9/11) and b) Europeans (Human Rights guff) because to date the 'terror' attacks here have been rather light relative to the 9/11 spectacle.

    In all, I think Meacher was right in saying the 'war on terror' is bogus. Now they have a new terror to peddle, the global financial credit-crunch and melt-down....:-(

  • Comment number 45.

    I thought the Newsnight Review discussion of the G20 protests was extremely uninformed and failed to explore almost anything about the protests that was interesting or important.

    None of the contributors seemed to have any real knowledge about what went on and why people were protesting, instead relying on stereotypes of '20 year old protestors' or the 'leisure classes' to dismiss the whole event.

    There were quite a number of erroneous 'facts' stated. Tristram Hunt said that no trade unions had been involved when, in fact, loads of unions had supported the 'Put people first' demonstration on 28 March.

    I resent this rather self-satisfied but uninformed bunch condemning people who got out on the streets to voice their very real concerns, concerns which are shared by many people all over the country. I can think of a number of Review regulars who would have had far more informed and interesting things to say.

  • Comment number 46.

    There was a very interesting analysis of the G20 figures by Chris Giles of the Financial Times on Friday April 3 after 'Trillion Dollar
    Man' had gone home for his tea ...... Giles
    writes: "Figures at the end of any international summit need to be examined closely, particularly those presented by the UK prime minister. His reputation for numerical inflation, repeat announcements and double counting precedes him." The
    FT man concludes: "When all the sums are added together, rather than $1,100 bn, the new commitments appear to be below $100bn and most of those were in train without the G20 summit." But hey: obama got to meet Naomi Campbell and sit next
    to JK Rowling as well as buddying up to
    Lula, Medvedev, Sarko, Angela and Hu -
    so maybe it was worth all the hoopla?!

    The FT on Friday had a useful pie-chart!,Authorised=false.html?

  • Comment number 47.

    43. At 6:50pm on 04 Apr 2009, barriesingleton
    Or are we being sold another pack of lies?

    Look at the messengers. And the medium.

  • Comment number 48.


    The Quilliam Foundation - who do they think they're kidding? Look beyond all the bluster about 'jihad' to what this is really all about - i.e. the anarchistic free-market, consumerism, and most of all......... money and the opportunity to make it at the expense of others.

    N Korea launches a satellite and BBC shows N Korean soldiers goose-stepping. Japan launches a satellite by rocket and err... we hear about the science.

    Don't you just love human beings and their transparency?

  • Comment number 49.


    OBAMA (orating): "Rules must be binding" (on N Korea, not USA).

    HOON: "I've broken no rules."

    KEN CLARKE: I see rules as aspirations - cigarette?

    YATES OF THE YARD: On your way Tony son.

    ISRAEL: Rules what rules?

  • Comment number 50.

    #48 Jaded_Jean

    "Look beyond all the bluster about 'jihad' to what this is really all about - i.e. the anarchistic free-market, consumerism..."


    You and the others who are NOT the BNP or Nazis never talk about Jihad.

    Some have described the Nazis as politico-religious cult with Hitler at the head - and he loved war.

    He is the chap you don't like to have "painted as darkly as possible".

    But I doubt that Hitler would have relied upon people who could not keep a caravan upright and have a bouncy castle at their party conference - as with the "BNP Wives" on Sky.

    Could you imagine Hitler and Himmler and the other war criminals queuing up for the bouncy castle?

    Perhaps on the other hand though we would have had a different world if they had had bouncy castles in the 1930's?

    Probably not.

  • Comment number 51.

    #43 Barriesingleton

    "Or are we being sold another pack of lies?"

    More irony.

    Why shouldn't people listen to you:

    Race "realists" who are too timid and coy to express their genuine feelings about Hitler? People who like eugenics and planned economies and dislike democracy and freedom.

    Tsch its tough to work out how come you people are such a microscopic pimple on the political landscape.

    If it helps the endless "Lord Haw Haw" messages would appear to be falling on deaf ears?

    But I doubt that you people are cerebrally aware enough to take that in.

  • Comment number 52.

    #43 barriesiingelton

    R&D helped you develop the very factual gut feeling that global warming is a myth because the scientists "could have it wrong".

    They also do not support your race "realist" ideas and the scientists have it wrong again.

    The public are 99.9% against your ideology - that you never name - and you decide to seek out an audience that predominantly despises your views for some obscure purpose.

    Now you have discovered that the planet could be "too small".

    You were surprised you lost your deposit when you stood for Parliament.

    Serial stupidity.

  • Comment number 53.


    ". . . you lost your deposit when you stood for Parliament."

    Oh Gango. Oh Gango. I gained something IMMEASURABLY more valuable than 500 dirty British pounds, when I stood (to be counted) for my principles.

    Give it a go.

  • Comment number 54.

    This BBC site is rather good on "Guernica":


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