BBC BLOGS - Newsnight: From the web team

Archives for June 2009

Tuesday 30 June 2009

Verity Murphy | 17:28 UK time, Tuesday, 30 June 2009

From the web team:

The row between the government and the Conservatives over spending and cuts has just intensified.

Shadow Chancellor George Osborne has told the BBC that Prime Minister Gordon Brown is denying the Conservatives information they need in order to decide how to cut public spending.

The Conservatives say a request they made for access to the detailed spending information available to ministers has been turned down.

We are trying to speak to the Conservatives, and we are asking the government to respond to Mr Osborne's comments.

Michael Crick will be reporting from Norwich North, where Labour today issued the writ for a by-election, which will take place on 23 July.

Our political editor has spoken to the MP Ian Gibson - whose resignation sparked the by-election - about how he feels badly let down by Labour.

We have a new episode of Politics Pen, in which hopefuls pitch their ideas on cutting public spending in Dragon's Den-style. This week the candidates take aim at inheritance tax and defence budgets.

And we will have Arianna Huffington, founder of the influential Huffington Post, here in the studio to talk to Jeremy Paxman about how the story of Iran's traumatic election has been driven - often controversially - by the internet.

Monday 29 June 2009

Verity Murphy | 17:06 UK time, Monday, 29 June 2009

What's coming up on the programme, from the web team:

Tonight we have a special report on the Mumbai terror attacks of November 2008 in which more than 170 people, including nine gunmen, died.

Newsnight reporter Richard Watson has had detailed access to the Mumbai police investigation into the attacks.

The information he has uncovered includes startling CCTV footage from inside the Taj Mahal Palace hotel and intercepted telephone exchanges between the gunmen on the ground and their handlers, believed to be in Pakistan.

These recordings, in which the voices of gunmen and handlers can be heard, shed new light on how the events unfolded and raise new questions about who was involved.

Also tonight, Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been setting out his policy plans for the next year, seen by some as an early election manifesto.

Tory leader David Cameron called it a "relaunch without a spending tag" and accused ministers of "dishonesty" after Lord Mandelson said that the Comprehensive Spending Review would not happen until after the election - a statement that appears to have taken the Treasury by surprise.

We will be joined by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and a senior Shadow Cabinet Minister to discuss the plan and whether Britain can afford it
.
Plus Paxman plays Glastonbury... well sort of.

Keep watching at the end of the programme to see how Dizzee Rascal's Glastonbury set opened with an homage to our very own Jeremy Paxman... a preview is available here.

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Friday 26 June 2009

Sarah McDermott | 13:36 UK time, Friday, 26 June 2009

From the web team:

The pop star Michael Jackson has died aged 50. Tonight, on Newsnight and a specially scheduled Newsnight Review we'll be looking back at the man, the music and the madness and examining the global reaction to the news of his death. We'll be joined by those that knew him including fellow musician Robin Gibb of The Bee Gees, who paid tribute to Jackson earlier today.

And in a special Newsnight Review at 11pm Kirsty Wark will be joined by guests including Paul Morley and Miranda Sawyer to assess Jackson's life and death, and his influence on pop - from motown to rap. The scheduled Glastonbury coverage will now begin at 11.20pm.

Tomorrow watch out for grime star Dizzee Rascal's Glastonbury set - we've been tipped off that Newsnight might get some kind of mention! For those of you that missed it, you can watch Dizzee's first Newsnight appearance below - when Jeremy Paxman asked him how he felt about Barack Obama being elected as the first black president of the United States.

Do join Kirsty for a thriller of a Newsnight and Newsnight Review from 10.30pm tonight on BBC Two.

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Thursday 25 June 2009

Verity Murphy | 21:30 UK time, Thursday, 25 June 2009

Here is Kirsty Wark with what is coming up on tonight's programme:

Today is rush to transparency day (kind of)

The Director General of the BBC, Mark Thompson, today revealed that the corporation paid more than £2,000 to fly his family back from a holiday in Sicily in the wake of the Ross/Brand affair.

Why did his family need to come home too? The BBC said it was due to "safety considerations".

That is just one of the many details about top executives' expenses revealed by the BBC today, as Mark Thompson announced that in future the BBC would release expenses claims made by the 50 highest earning executives... we hope to be speaking to him.

And yet more on expenses. Conservative MPs are to pay back a further £125,000 they received in Parliamentary expenses - on top of the £130,000 already paid.

An internal panel - set up by party leader David Cameron - has been examining all Tory expense claims. Mr Cameron says he wants to restore public faith in the system.

Political correspondent David Grossman will have all the details.

In Iran the main opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi is continuing to defy the country's Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, following the news on his website that 70 academics who visited the opposition leader yesterday had been arrested.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meanwhile is calling on President Barack Obama to apologise for his condemnation earlier this week of the violence in the country.

We will be hearing from Tehran about the crackdown and from the US State Department about what the international community can do.

From the web team: Buzz Aldrin interview:

Here is something else you should know about:

On Thursday 2 July 2009 Newsnight will have an interview with Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin and we want your suggestions of what questions we should ask him.

Forty years on from the Apollo 11 mission what do you want to know from the man who joined Neil Armstrong on that historic first landing on the surface of the Moon?

Send your question suggestions to newsnight@bbc.co.uk

Put Buzz in the subject heading.

We will select the best ones and put them to Buzz Aldrin at the interview which will be broadcast on Newsnight on Thursday 2 July 2009 at 10.30pm on BBC Two, then made available for international viewers on the Newsnight website.


Wednesday 24 June 2009

Sarah McDermott | 18:29 UK time, Wednesday, 24 June 2009

From the web team:

Bank of England Governor Mervyn King has called for more government action to keep the UK's "extraordinary" budget deficit under control.

Appearing before the Treasury Select Committee, Mr King voiced concern about how quickly the British economy may recover from the global financial crisis and said that plans set out in the Budget to cut deficits were not "clear enough".

Tonight we ask when will Gordon Brown say what he plans to cut - and are there divisions in the cabinet over Brown's strategy?

Also tonight, we have the finale to Justin Rowlatt's Reborn in the USA, in which our Ethical Man makes a 6,500 mile journey in search of solutions to global warming.

It has been an action-packed trip in which we have seen Justin recycle his own excrement, round up rattle snakes and check out Daryl Hannah's hemp oil-fuelled car. You can watch a sneak preview of tonight's film here, and flick through a photo gallery of Justin's adventures by clicking here.

Tonight we ask how the US is tackling the challenge of climate change and whether Mr Obama is delivering as was hoped. We will be discussing with - among others - the former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, The Secretary of State for the environment Ed Miliband and, of course, the Ethical Man himself.

Plus, we will be taking a look at the burqa debate - and ask whether British politicians would be able to have the same debate here as President Sarkozy has in France. We'll be speaking to Bernard-Henri Levy.

Do join Jeremy for all that at 22:30.

Tuesday 23 June 2009

Sarah McDermott | 17:56 UK time, Tuesday, 23 June 2009

From the web team, news of what's happening this evening on the programme:

On the day the government introduced a bill to clean up the system that allowed the MPs' expenses scandal - we have the first detailed interview with one of the men who helped reveal the abuse of the system.

Gordon Brown today told the BBC he will not rest until there is "root and branch" reform of Parliament.

The prime minister made the comment ahead of the unveiling of proposed new laws on MPs' conduct, which include appointing an external regulator to authorise all future expenses claims and criminal sanctions for MPs who break the rules.

Mr Brown said that the measures, which he claims amount to the biggest ever reform of Parliament, were a response to "public anger" over the expenses scandal.

Tonight we will be talking to one of the people who lifted the lid on that scandal - the American PR consultant Henry Gewanter, who approached the Daily Telegraph about the discs containing the uncensored MPs' expenses documents.

For the first time on Newsnight tonight Mr Gewanter will give a detailed account of what happened.

Plus, we have a report from Pakistan on efforts to curb Islamic extremism by someone who has spent years fighting on both sides of the war on terror.

It was on Newsnight in 2007 that Maajid Nawaz very publicly renounced his membership in the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Since then he has been on a mission of moderation.

Newsnight's Tim Whewell has had exclusive access to Mr Nawaz's UK government-backed tour of Pakistani universities in which the former extremist has set about challenging extremist thinking. Watch a sneak preview in which Tim visits an Islamabad madrassa here.

Gordon Brown also announced today that Britain is to expel two Iranian diplomats following the expulsion of two British envoys from Tehran.

We will have the latest on that story, and also the first interview during the recent crisis with Roxana Saberi - the American-Iranian journalist who was accused of spying by the Iranian authorities earlier this year, imprisoned and recently released.

Do join Jeremy for all that at 10.30pm on BBC Two.

Monday 22 June 2009

Sarah McDermott | 17:30 UK time, Monday, 22 June 2009

Here's Emily Maitlis with news of what's happening on tonight's Newsnight:

SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE
If a Martian landed in the Commons this afternoon to listen to hustings for Speaker of the House (and was not immediately expelled under anti-terror legislation) he would have heard one candidate arguing she'd be great for the job because she wouldn't be in it for long. And another seeking to reassure voters he was not too mentally agile, and another re-iterating he was the perfect choice because he'd once played rugby against the Springboks. It has been, in essence, a curious afternoon and as I write, it is far from over. But by the time we go on air we hope to have a new Speaker of the House and we will be asking them what will actually change now.

And don't forget to watch David Grossman's latest Village People film. This week he traces the seismic shifts of Speakership candidate John Bercow's career.

IRAN UNREST
Also, the foreign office is evacuating families of staff based in Iran amid continued violence. Our own bureau there is down to one man - following the ejection of our Tehran correspondent at the weekend. Despite that, we will endeavour to put together a flavour of what is actually going on there and who is in charge - and we will be speaking to John Simpson in the studio - fresh back from the streets of Iran.

EUROPEAN CONSERVATIVES
Plus, when your new bedfellows are called things like PIS and ODS you may have some explaining to do to the electorate. Nonetheless, the Tories have followed through their pledge to take the Conservatives out of the federalist EPP grouping of the European Parliament. They now have a new party consisting of 55 MEPs from eight countries. But do they hold any real power in Europe? And what makes them so different now to the Eurosceptic grouping in which UKIP sits? We'll be asking Shadow Europe minister Mark Francois and Nigel Farage of UKIP.

POLITICS PEN
This is (the words of my producer) a "rip off of Dragons' Den". Just for anyone who didn't pick that up from the name. We've been asking four luminaries - Greg Dyke amongst them - to listen to policies on taxation and spending cuts and judge which of them could actually work. Thus, Newsnight boldly goes where politicians have so far refused to step. Watch a sneak preview of tonight's film in which Day of the Jackal author Frederick Forsyth faces our political animals to make the case for scrapping the national ID card scheme.

Do join us at 10:30pm tonight on BBC2.

Emily

Friday 19 June 2009

Verity Murphy | 18:31 UK time, Friday, 19 June 2009

What's coming up on Newsnight and Newsnight Review:


From the web team:

Scotland Yard will launch an investigation into the alleged misuse of expenses by a small number of MPs and peers, the BBC has learned.

It follows a public outcry about the way many MPs had been using their second homes expenses.

Rather than abating that outcry has continued after parliament published MPs' expenses claims online yesterday.

The censoring of the documents sparked widespread criticism - but even with vast tracts of information blacked out still the revelations keep coming, particularly over petty cash payments, which do not require a receipt.

Eagle-eyed members of the Newsnight audience have been playing their part in flagging up things noteworthy items in the documents - and if you spot something interesting you can drop us a line via our website bbc.co.uk/newsnight

We will have the latest news on that story tonight.

Also, we will be assessing a speech by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in which Iran's supreme leader denied that the presidential result was rigged.

The ayatollah demanded that the demonstrations cease and warned that political leaders will be held responsible for any future violence.

What will Mir Hossein Mousavi's next move will be in the wake of that warning, and how will British officials respond to the ayatollah's denunciation of Britain as the "the most evil" of Iran's enemies?

Plus, tonight we will be hearing from former Guantanamo detainee Omar Deghayes.

Four years ago Newsnight established that Omar was in the US detention facility because of a case of mistaken identity.

Now he is free, he talks to Peter Marshall about his long years in the prison and the shifting political sands which mean his accusers have become his allies.

Here is Kirsty Wark with what is coming up on Newsnight Review:

And then on Review we look at how migration and displacement is reflected in culture - with Ekow Eshun, Marina Lewycka (author of A Brief History of Tractors in Ukrainian) and Peter Whittle.

Outcasts United is the moving true story of the fortunes of a disparate group of asylum seekers - who are settled in the small town of Clarkson, Atlanta.

An inspirational young woman, Luma Mufleh forges a group of teenage boys into a football team which changes the local people's perceptions of the incomers and vice versa.

At the beginning of the book the journalist author Warren St John quotes a moving passage from "The Middle of Everywhere", the book written by Mary Pipher about refugees who were settled in Nebraska:

"The refugee experience of dislocation, cultural bereavement confusion and constant change will soon be all of our experience. As the world becomes globalised, we'll all be searching for home."

That is the strong impression left by the extraordinary film La Forteresse.

The director Fernand Melgar spends 60 days inside a Swiss Detention Centre (the maximum time an asylum seeker can be held there) with incredible access to the professionals struggling to process families from all over the world.

Cockroach is Rawi Hage's novel about an Arab petty thief who is granted asylum in Canada and who is given the opportunity to redeem his past wrongs in a most dramatic way. Will he take it?

Sugar is a movie about another side of migration - the dream of young baseball players in the Dominican Republic to get signed in America, and earn their passport to a better life and sporting greatness.

Sugar is a star player, but when he gets to the US he encounters not just small kindnesses but the harsh realities of racism.

And what about displacement closer to home? Caravan is an award-winning play built on the testimonials of people all over England who were evacuated from their homes during the floods of 2007, to live in caravans for many months.

The audience (a maximum of eight people) enter a caravan much the same as the ones families were moved to, and experience drama close up as the actors take on the roles of flood victims young and old, rich and poor.

And Lionel Shriver has made a film for us arguing that we are only ever interested in one side of the migration story - and not on the impact of it on settled communities wherever they might be.

I hope you'll be watching, Kirsty


Thursday 18 June 2009

Len Freeman | 17:53 UK time, Thursday, 18 June 2009

Here's Kirsty Wark with details of Thursday's Newsnight

Publish and be damned!

MPs' expenses have finally gone online, but with a thick black line through most of the tantalising detail - and David Cameron coincidentally paid back £947 for repairs and mortgage payments today.

But MPs hadn't reckoned with David Grossman's x-ray eyes! Tonight he will be taking a peek at the files.

Plus, Downing Street has been forced to concede that some of the Iraq Inquiry could now be conducted in open session after all. Who knows what other changes the chairman Sir John Chilcot might institute now that the government appears to be saying that the conduct of the Inquiry is entirely in his hands?

The turmoil in Iran goes on and tonight we will have the latest from inside the country from our Tehran Correspondent. We will also have a fascinating insight into the powerplay in the country from two prominent Iranians - is Mir Hossein Mousavi simply a pawn in the power struggle between Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Iran's spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei?

And now here is the weather for 2080.
The UK Climate Projections Report suggests summer temperatures could rise by up to 6C and there could be a fifth less rainfall. We'll be talking to the Environment Secretary Hilary Benn, but it seems to me a good argument for moving to Scotland...

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Len Freeman | 17:48 UK time, Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Here's Gavin Esler with detalis of Wednesday's Newsnight

"They are the devil's vegetable" - Royal Navy Captain Wayne Keble, who has
reportedly banned Brussels sprouts aboard HMS Bulwark.

In tonight's programme:

In his formal Mansion House speech tonight the Chancellor of the Exchequer will address the issue of British banking culture and regulation.

Ahead of the speech - and therefore subject to correction - Newsnight understands Mr Darling is expected to say that the current regulatory system is not to blame for the economic downturn and that banks' own boards are the first line of defence to prevent another crisis.

Is that good enough? We'll try to find out.

All that plus the latest from Iran - we'll be speaking to Henry Kissinger about the diplomatic response.

And we have the second in Paul Mason's films from his road trip around China examining their response to the economic crisis.

It's an extraordinary film.

Do join me at 10:30.

Gavin

Tuesday 16 June 2009

Verity Murphy | 18:12 UK time, Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Here's what is coming up on tonight's programme:


Iran's powerful Guardian Council has said it is ready to recount disputed votes from Friday's presidential poll in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner.

The decision follows massive rallies in Iran's major cities in support of Mir Hossein Mousavi and other candidates.

Seven people are reported to have died in a Tehran rally on Monday, but despite this, witnesses have told the BBC that thousands of Mousavi supporters are out on the capital's streets again this evening.

Tonight, we will be looking at the strength of their opposition in the wake of the bloody police and militia clampdown.

The photographs emerging from Tehran may be reminiscent of images from the 1979 revolution, but do they really have the power to shake the Islamic regime?

Or will they peter out like the street clashes which erupted in Tehran in July 1999 and June 2003?

Plus, we have the first part of Paul Mason's journey across northern China assessing the effects of the global financial crisis on what is the third biggest economy in the world.

Our Economics editor gets off the beaten track in the arid Helan Shan mountains, and enjoys a surprising meeting with some Chinese bikers.

Also tonight, the digital revolution.

The government has published its Digital Britain report which includes a levy on all fixed telephone lines to establish a national fund for next generation broadband and a call for the BBC to be stripped of some of its licence fee money to fund local news provided by other organisations.

Tonight we will take a closer look at the proposals and ask if we should all have to pay the price to turn Britain's broadband not-spots into hot-spots, and whether the plan is likely to turn Britain into the "digital capital" the government claims.

We speak to the author of the report, Lord Carter.

Monday 15 June 2009

Verity Murphy | 17:05 UK time, Monday, 15 June 2009

Here is Kirsty with what is coming up on tonight's programme:

From Kirsty Wark:

We are watching the pictures of demonstrators - thousands of men and women - in Tehran protesting at the outcome of the presidential election - and waiting for their man Mir Hossein Mousavi to address them.

They are on the streets despite the threat of a clampdown by the various police forces of the victorious President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

And despite efforts to block pictures from the country we can see the turmoil on all kinds of media - including mobile phones and Facebook - as many of the younger generation try to keep the pressure up in support of the defeated Mr Mousavi.

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He has appealed to Iran's Guardian Council to annul the result which he described as a "dangerous charade".

Tonight we report from Iran, and explore the power of new media to tell the world what is happening in Tehran, and we hear from Mr Mousavi's spokesman in Europe about whether fresh elections are just a pipedream.

Also tonight: They're off! Eleven MPs who want to fill a job which dates from the 14th Century are out of the stalls.

The vacancy for Speaker of the House of Commons - following the first forcible ejection for 300 years, when Michael Martin "stood down" - has resulted in a variety of candidates - from Ann Widdecombe to Margaret Beckett, to John Bercow - the Tory who's Labour's favoured man - to the Liberal Democrat's Alan Beith.

Who would be best at restoring the respect for Westminster, modernising the role, and stamping their authority on over 600 MPs?

Watch Newsnight tonight and make your mind up - at least six of the 11 will be in the studio to take part on our Speaker's hustings.

Plus, on the eve of Lord Stephen Carter's long awaited report on Digital Britain, we focus on one area of the media which is in steep decline and which will face an even tougher battle for survival if Lord Carter announces money to boost local TV News - local newspapers.

Once the voice of towns all over the UK, and now, losing millions.

Do we want local newspapers?

Do comment on our website and join us tonight at 10.30pm on BBC Two.

Friday 12 June 2009

Verity Murphy | 19:02 UK time, Friday, 12 June 2009

Here's what is coming up on Newsnight and Newsnight Review:

From Kirsty Wark:

It was the apology of the week.

Today the former Communities Secretary Hazel Blears said a big sorry for the manner and timing of her resignation from the government last week on the eve of the European Elections - and for wearing THAT witty brooch with the words Rocking The Boat.

Is this all too embarrassing? So what has brought this on? Was she under pressure? Is her political career over?

All this and more - and perhaps even Hazel Blears herself (in a manner of speaking) - on Newsnight.

Ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's major foreign policy speech on Sunday we look at a key area highlighted by President Barack Obama in his Cairo speech - the settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The US president says Israel must stop building settlements, but now the settlers are trying something new.

They are taking over large areas of land and planting vineyards. We will be previewing the speech and our reporter Tim Franks has been visiting the new wine-growing area.

And it has been an extraordinary presidential election in Iran, with televised debates and outspoken views about women's rights.

This afternoon the polling was extended by an hour with the Interior Ministry predicting the turnout to top 70% as hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad faces fierce competition from amongst others the moderate former PM Mir Hossein Mousavi.

We hope to be live in Tehran with the BBC World Affairs editor John Simpson.

Do join Kirsty for all that at 10.30pm on BBC Two.

From Martha Kearney:

Could anything have been more dramatic than the political events of recent weeks? Tonight we'll be discussing how art, theatre, literature and polemicists have portrayed crises of leadership and democracy itself.

We begin with the great master of hubris and nemesis, Shakespeare. So many of his speeches seem to suit the current crisis:

"There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries."

I wonder if David Miliband will ever regret not standing?

We will also be looking at Hogarth's corrupt elections cycle, Anthony Trollope's masterpiece and two great TV dramas - A Very British Coup and House of Cards with their authors Chris Mullin and Michael Dobbs.

Do join Germaine Greer, Andrew Roberts and Tristram Hunt for tonight's Review.

Thursday 11 June 2009

Verity Murphy | 16:49 UK time, Thursday, 11 June 2009

Here's what is coming up on tonight's programme:

From the web team:

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a swine flu pandemic - the first global flu epidemic in 41 years - amid climbing infection rates in the US, Europe, Australia and South America.

The WHO has ratcheted up its threat level because swine flu virus is spreading in at least two regions of the world.

However, experts have been keen to stress that the move does not necessarily indicate that the virus is causing more severe illness or more deaths.

The UK government's chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson has told the BBC that a pandemic declaration would not significantly change the way the UK is dealing with swine flu.

So what does the declaration mean? What practical measures will result from this decision? And how worried should we be?

Our Science editor Susan Watts is in Geneva, where the WHO crisis talks have been taking place, to find out.

Also, we have an interview with Bill Gates.

In June 2008 Mr Gates stepped down from his full time role at computer giant Microsoft - the company he founded - in order to concentrate on his philanthropic work.

Kirsty has spoken to him about that work, the importance of maintaining foreign aid in a recession and Gordon Brown's future prospects.

And talking of Gordon Brown, a focus group from Reading have been telling us what they think of his premiership and how other senior Labour figures compare.

Are they right when they declare Lord Mandelson "the Arthur Daley of politics"?

Join Kirsty for all that and more at 10.30pm on BBC Two.

Wednesday 10 June 2009

Sarah McDermott | 17:04 UK time, Wednesday, 10 June 2009

From the web team:

Forget duck houses, moats and even plots against the Prime Minister, today the issue of spending cuts gatecrashed the political debate at Westminster. Conservative Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley may have made the classic political mistake of simply telling the truth when he said that a very tough spending cut of around 10 per cent may be required in all government departments except health, schools and foreign aid, but his words have provoked a furious response from all sides.

So tonight let the real debate begin about recession, the public finances and how much any future Government will have to cut back on spending to maintain economic stability.

Also tonight, our Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban has an exclusive report from Washington on US concerns about the location and production of nuclear weapons in Pakistan - weapons that it is feared could fall into the hands of the Taliban.

And our Ethical Man Justin Rowlatt reaches California on his 6,500 mile, low-carbon journey around the States. This week he meets one of Nevada's leading food recyclers - a farmer who collects the food waste from the extravagant buffets laid on by Las Vegas hotels and then cooks it up and feeds it to his pigs. Watch a sneak preview of tonight's film here.

Do join Gavin for all that at 10.30pm on BBC Two.

Tuesday 9 June 2009

Sarah McDermott | 16:15 UK time, Tuesday, 9 June 2009

From the web team:

Today, Gordon Brown's reshuffled cabinet met for the first time after a week of speculation about his future as prime minister. Mr Brown seems to have survived a series of plots to oust him, despite the Labour party's disastrous 15% vote share in the European elections, having been applauded at a Parliamentary Labour Party meeting last night. In the end the consensus is that it was Mr Brown's former leadership rival Peter Mandelson who saved his political skin, urging MPs not to back calls for Mr Brown's resignation. Lord Mandelson now has a job title to rival the Grand Pooh-Bah, but has he, like the Mikado character, become Lord High Everything Else - do we in reality now have a Mandelson-controlled government? And if he orchestrated the shoring up of Gordon Brown's position, what role will he have in the project - supposedly now underway - to renew and re-shape government policy?

We also have a film on the high stakes in the pipeline "war" between Russia and the European Union over gas supplies, a competition being described as a new "Great Game".

Plus, the countdown to the millionth English-language word, which an online language tracker say will be created at precisely 10.22BST on Wednesday. We will debate the contenders for the new word and the validity of the claim that the millionth word is about to appear. And of course we want to hear your favourite neologisms too - click here to leave your ideas.

Join Jeremy for all that at 10.30pm on BBC Two.

Newsnight neologisms needed

Verity Murphy | 14:48 UK time, Tuesday, 9 June 2009

At 10.22 BST on Wednesday 10 June logophiles everywhere will be celebrating the creation of the millionth English-language word - that's according to online language website Global Language Monitor, which tracks additions to our vocabulary.

wordle2withcredit.jpg

In order to make it onto the GLM list a word has to have at least 25,000 citations across a wide range of global media sources - something which the group's chief word analyst Paul Payack says happens about every hour and a half.

GLM announced their list of contenders for the millionth word title at the end of May - they include words from Hindi and Chinese, which thanks to globalisation have become popular with English speakers, words related to the economic crisis, latest fashion trends, and news stories.

Check out just a few of them here:

Zombie Banks - banks that would be dead if not for government intervention and cash infusion;

Jai Ho! - from the Hindi for "it is accomplished", achieved English-language popularity through the multi-Oscar winning film Slumdog Millionaire;

Recessionista - a fashion conscious person who uses the global economic restructuring to their financial benefit;

E-vampire - appliances and machines on standby-mode, which continually use electrical energy while they "sleep";

Wonderstar - as in Britain's Got Talent finalist Susan Boyle, an overnight sensation, exceeding all reasonable expectations.

But we want to hear what new words you think deserve a mention. Leave your ideas below...

Monday 8 June 2009

Verity Murphy | 17:57 UK time, Monday, 8 June 2009

Here's what is coming up on the programme:

From the web team:

Voters in European polls have delivered a damning verdict on Labour, with the party suffering its worst post-war election result and getting beaten into third place by UKIP.

The poll also saw the BNP gain two MEPs - the first time the anti-immigration party has won seats at national elections.

Labour's dismal showing, in which its vote share was just 15.3%, has triggered more calls for Prime Minister Gordon Brown to step down and cost him another minister.

Jane Kennedy resigned as environment minister saying that she was unable to continue to support Mr Brown and was fed up with "the bullying, the threats and the intimidation" being orchestrated by Number 10.

Tonight, Mr Brown will be trying to rally support at a make-or-break meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party. Michael Crick will be bringing us reaction from there.

And David Grossman will be looking into Ms Kennedy's claims about the dark arts employed by Number 10.

And we return to the housing estates in Salford we first visited in the formative days of the New Labour government.

To what extent has the government delivered on their promises to turnaround some of the most deprived areas in the country. And how has the recent political turmoil impacted on their standing with these key heartland voters?

Join Jeremy Paxman for all that and more at 10.30pm on BBC Two.

Saturday 6 June 2009

Verity Murphy | 15:10 UK time, Saturday, 6 June 2009

What is coming up on our special Saturday edition of Newsnight tonight at 7.30pm on BBC Two.

From the web team:

It has been an extraordinary week in politics - six ministers quit, forcing Prime Minister Gordon Brown to conduct one of the one of the most chaotic Cabinet reshuffles in recent political history, Labour lost key heartland local authorities in a battering at the polls and Mr Brown faced attempts to oust him from a so-called "peasants' revolt" of MPs.

And that is just what has been happening in the Labour party.

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.

So, in a change to TV schedules, there will be a special Saturday edition of Newsnight at 7.30pm tonight on BBC Two.

Our political editor Michael Crick will be looking back at the events of the last week, analysing what has happened and what we can expect next.

Our correspondent David Grossman will be looking at the origins of the "peasants' revolt" and how much of it is due to ongoing rivalries between supporters of Mr Brown and those of former PM Tony Blair.

Gavin Esler will be speaking to those involved and political grandees including Charles Kennedy and Roy Hattersley.

Do join Gavin at 7.30pm on BBC Two.

Friday 5 June 2009

Sarah McDermott | 16:20 UK time, Friday, 5 June 2009

Here's Kirsty with details of what's coming up in tonight's Newsnight and Newsnight Review:

Meet the new Cabinet, almost the same as the old Cabinet. Has the resignation of James Purnell ironically shored up Gordon Brown's position, but at the cost of the PM's authority?

Just 48 hours ago the Chancellor Alistair Darling was speaking of his job in the past tense, but having hinted that he would decline any other Cabinet post, he remains as Chancellor. The PM has not moved David Miliband either, and Ed Balls remains at Education. There is a promotion though for Alan Johnson to the Home Office, he had been tipped by many as a possible replacement for Mr Brown.

By tonight we will know the full Cabinet and we will have heard from Gordon Brown. Michael Crick and David Grossman will bring us the inside story from Westminster, and we are assembling a battalion of senior political figures to ask whether Gordon Brown has bought himself some time, and what happens now to the Labour rebellion?

And then a tortured soul, oscillating between action and in-action. No, we are not still on politics, we are onto Review with Joe Queenan, Marina Hyde and John Carey.

We will be discussing Jude Law's Hamlet - man against his inner demons and his external enemies. Then man against the undead - the rise of the vampire, blood on the page and on the screen in Guillermo del Toro's book The Strain, and the art-house film Let The Right One In. And then man against machinery in Terminator Salvation starring Christian Bale (behaving in a lot less animated a fashion than on his infamous YouTube on-set outburst).

It will be a rollercoaster ride. And it doesn't end there - don't miss a special edition of Newsnight on Saturday 6 June at 7.30pm on BBC Two when we'll be looking back at all the events of quite a week.

Kirsty

Thursday 4 June 2009

Verity Murphy | 18:33 UK time, Thursday, 4 June 2009

From the web team:

In a special programme tonight - the polls will have just closed in the European and local elections - we will be assessing the importance of this vote and the impact on the parties.

And within a year Gordon Brown will have to name the date of the next election.

We will be launching Newsnight's General Election Countdown and previewing some of the coverage we will be bringing you in the coming year, both on air and online.

Do join Gavin at 10:30pm on BBC Two.

Wednesday 3 June 2009

Verity Murphy | 18:26 UK time, Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Here's Emily Maitlis with what's coming up on tonight's programme:

"Is today the most perfect day to choose to do that? No."

And the prize for understatement goes to Lord Mandelson, commenting on the resignation of the secretary for local government the day before the local elections.

When a cabinet crisis gets even worse, what does it become? Three ministers left yesterday, Hazel Blears is gone today. And Alistair Darling is still looking deeply unsettled after Gordon Brown sidestepped yet another chance to endorse his long term future in the Commons this lunchtime.

Today, more than at any time I can remember, there is a delicious inevitability that whatever I put here will be woefully out of date by the time we broadcast.

Latest reports suggest a reshuffle of sorts is already underway. In an extended programme we'll be looking at this unprecedented round of resignations and asking if Gordon Brown can survive this.

We'll be talking to a senior cabinet minister plus Nick Clegg of the Lib Dems and Nigel Farage of UKIP.

We will also be bringing you the latest from Liz MacKean's special series on young people leaving care. Tonight Jareth turns 18.

Tuesday 2 June 2009

Sarah McDermott | 16:10 UK time, Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Here's what is coming up this evening on Newsnight:

Jacqui Smith is to stand down as Home Secretary in a few days and no fewer than four Labour MPs have said they will stand down at the next election. So is this a Government in crisis, and can Mr Brown really claim to be in control of events? We'll have front bench and back bench reaction on another momentous day at Westminster.

We will also be speaking to Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague and asking him about Tory European policy and his party's position on the Lisbon Treaty.

Plus, our Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban will report from Germany and Hungary about how extreme left and right wing parties could fare in Thursday's European elections.

Do join Jeremy for all that at 10.30pm on BBC Two.

Monday 1 June 2009

Sarah McDermott | 16:45 UK time, Monday, 1 June 2009

Here's what's coming up tonight on the programme:

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has made it plain that he will defy any attempts to drive him from No 10 after Thursday's European and local elections, saying that the public expect him to clean up politics and end the recession before leaving office.

"I think the cleaning up of the political system is best done by someone who has got a clear idea of what needs to be done - and I have," he said this morning.

But of course, his fellow MPs may have other ideas if, as Alan Johnson, the man widely tipped as Mr Brown's likely successor, predicts Labour does indeed suffer the worst local and European election results in its history.

Tonight we will be speaking to deputy Labour leader and leader of the Commons Harriet Harman live on the programme. We will be asking where she stands on calls for Mr Brown to step aside for the good of the party and about the latest expenses revelations, which have seen Chancellor Alistair Darling repaying about £700 of expenses following fresh allegations about his allowances.

But we also want to know what questions you think Mrs Harman should answer. Leave your suggestions below.

Plus, we have been to the marginal seat of Watford to look back across the three weeks of MPs' expenses revelations with a group of ordinary voters. They are disappointed, angry, and unless your name is Vince Cable, not at all impressed.

And we will also have the latest on the disappearance of an Air France plane carrying 228 people which has vanished over the Atlantic and car giant General Motors filing for bankruptcy protection, in what is the biggest industrial failure in US corporate history.

Do join Jeremy at 10.30pm on BBC Two.

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