Newsnight & Newsnight Review: Friday, 24 April, 2009
Here's Kirsty with what's on tonight's programme:
The latest official figures suggest the recession is biting harder than anyone expected. The economy shrank by 1.9% in the first three months of this year - that's even worse than the previous quarter. This undermines Chancellor Alistair Darling's forecasts in the Budget that the economy would have declined by 3.5% by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the government has been facing mounting criticism over the Budget with opposition parties accusing the chancellor of failing to spell out the true extent of cuts in public spending.
But what are the prime candidates for the chop? Sure Start? Aircraft carriers? The cap on university fees? Crossrail? The winter fuel allowance? Will Alistair Darling cut a swathe through projects or make a thousand tiny - or not so tiny - cuts?
Is this now officially the Age of Make Do and Mend? Or the Age of Austerity mark II? David Kynaston, the social historian, wrote The Age of Austerity, an analysis of post-war behaviour, how people made the most of very little.
Tonight he, along with Kirstie Allsopp, who has a new show about living on the cheap will be discussing with a leading psychologist how behaviour is changing in reaction to the harsh economic climate.
What chance of a truce in Sri Lanka? Indian envoys have today been attempting to persuade Sri Lanka's president, Mahinda Rajapaska. The UN Security Council, the US and others have been demanding that Sri Lanka stop the offensive against the Tamil Tiger rebels, as thousands of refugees still await transport away from the battlezone. According to a UN document seen by the Reuters agency nearly 6,500 civilians have been killed and 14,000 wounded in fighting since the end of January. Both sides accuse the other of firing on civilians. We'll be speaking to Catherine Bragg, Assistant Secretary-General at the UN.
And then on Review we concentrate for the most part on the rich variety of new film, TV, music, drama and literature about Afghanistan with my guests Michael Gove, Julie Myerson, Johann Hari and Saira Shah. The Great Game is the London Tricycle Theatre's Festival of drama, talks, music, and film about the country's turbulent cultural and political history, including 16 new plays by writers including Abi Morgan, David Greig and David Edgar. Director Nicholas Kent's aim is to spark a debate about the West's involvement in Afghanistan - we hope to have that debate tonight!
Afghan Star is an amazing documentary about a TV talent show of the same name, along the lines of Pop Idol, which has captivated Afghanis. Eleven million people voted in the final, and the contestants - particularly the women - risked their lives to take part in defiance of the Taleban, who issued death threats.
Books based in Afghanistan, such as The Kite Runner, and The Bookseller of Kabul, have proved remarkably popular. Perhaps that's why Born Under A Million Shadows attracted a whopping advance for first-time author Andrea Busfield, who fell in love with the country when based there as a reporter. Her semi-autobiographical story is about a young boy in Kabul who befriends an English woman and her Western colleagues.
And then we are back on home turf with a new low budget urban thriller Shifty about a crack cocaine dealer of the same name, and his friend who returns after an absence of four years and walks into drugs battle. It's the first feature from the writer/director Eran Creevy, and was made in just 18 days with a budget of £100,000 as part of the BBC's Microwave scheme. A film for the credit crunch!
I hope you'll be watching, Kirsty