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Monday 20 July 2009

Sarah McDermott | 17:57 UK time, Monday, 20 July 2009

This evening James Purnell gives Newsnight his first television interview since he resigned from the cabinet urging Gordon Brown to stand down as leader. He claimed that if Mr Brown remained as prime minister it was more and not less likely that Labour would lose the next election.

It was a rabbit punch that could have knocked the PM out, but in the event no contenders challenged Mr Brown and James Purnell claims he has no desire to return to front-line politics.

However, tonight he launches Open Left a three year project with the think tank Demos, to define what "being on the left" means in the 21st century.   
55,000 cases of swine flu were reported in England last week. A new system in England to deal with swine flu was announced today by the Health Secretary Andy Burnham. A pandemic telephone flu line will manage diagnosis and delivery of anti-virals and will go live at the end of the week. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are not involved as yet. Andy Burnham also announced today that swine flu vaccines will be available from next month.

Our Science Editor Susan Watts has been investigating if the vaccine will be safe and who will get it.
Did you leave your house today? If the answer is yes it is more than likely someone somewhere was watching you. For example two small local authorities in the UK have between them more close circuit TV cameras than the entire San Francisco police department. The government is engaged in consultation to decide whether every CCTV camera should be registered and the sector regulated, especially as it is debatable whether they are actually of value to law enforcement.

Click here to read more about that story.

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


  • Comment number 1.

    Our Science Editor Susan Watts has been investigating if the vaccine will be safe and who will get it.

    And first.

    Ah, guinea pigs to ensure the public is safe. I knew there must be a good reason. As always, unique.

  • Comment number 2.

    If I'm gonna be spied on and snapped on the street I'd want it to be by someone who has got guts and talent like David Brownridge, see his "walk on by" series on flickr. Dare I say he is a street photographer who has moved street photography forward. You feel the presence, its not off-set or observed, its full on - on the move to a moving subject, brilliantly timed, and gets directly at this issue, my view is that its future documentation just as Mitchell and Kenyon filmed directly on the street and gave us an important documentation to a before time, so does David and dare to say I and a small number of others.

    Winogrand didnt quite get the technique right, dare I say we have.

    Guess the mods wont let me link to Davids work here, so you will have to look it up.

  • Comment number 3.

    #40 & #71 from the previous blog
    well said, gangofone! & to add:
    It's not that I'm saying that Celtic Lion doesn't raise some valid points about the dangers our planet may be faced with sooner or later but in his answer to my 'chatting' he revealed himself either as a 'robot engineering' member of some perfidious and devious group or has allowed himself to be manipulated by a 'robot engineering' perfidious and devious group. Talking about infiltration! So many others have already been duped, including presidents and prime ministers. Luckily, I don't think all of them are idiots!

  • Comment number 4.

    Frankly: who cares what flopsy, mopsy or cotton tail thinks of Gordon Brown ....... James Purnell is history. He was useless as Secretary of
    State at DWP [see Thursday's comments on unemployment on this very blog]
    He didn't condescend to take even one small step for the UK's unemployed
    - but made one giant step to privatise the welfare system .........

    As for him being on the Left - not in this photo he isn't .........?!

  • Comment number 5.

    "But even if there are a million fewer cameras than has long been assumed, we still appear to use CCTV much more than other countries".

    Perhaps the citizens of some countries have a greater need for surveillance because their governments encouraged the importation of alien cultures and played a greater part in occupying other countries, thus radicalising immigrants from specific countries?

    The successful uses of CCTV seem to have been in apprehending such criminals (eg knife/gun crime and suicide bombers) so give the authorities the back-up analysis equipment needed to make sure that police and security experts are able to get convictions rather than continuing to spend millions on long court cases, often aborted through inadequate evidence.

  • Comment number 6.

    I suppose George Orwell did predict this .... but Strathclyde Region's pioneering CCTV traffic control system CITRAC (introduced in 1984) is about to be replaced with BIAS ....... Bus Information and Signalling!

    But it still hasn't caught on in Delhi:

  • Comment number 7.

    I wonder if the UK local authorities know that what they have is closed-circuit and not 'close circuit' cameras, whatever that is supposed to mean.

  • Comment number 8.

    BTW NN I'd like to know how this Kautilya Nandan Pruthi was able to so
    powerfully con these people :

    His methods really need to be analysed, maybe it goes to the heart of darkness of capitalism ?

    "At the meetings, held at a City police station, many investors reacted with disbelief as police explained that most of their money could not be traced and they were unlikely to see it again. Some people angrily turned on officers and accused them of provoking the collapse of the fund by freezing assets and making arrests.

    One woman, aged in her late twenties and from North London, asked: How can £80 million just disappear?

  • Comment number 9.

    They shouldn't be using CCTV at all.

    The majority of crime hasn't changed in decades and can be solved without CCTV, as it was in the past, and crimes of a type not seen until fifteen or twenty years ago, can also be solved without CCTV, as FOREIGN forces ably demonstrate. No other nation's police force has access to or relies on ever more expensive technology to do their job for them and yet most solve proportionately more crime. Go figure.

    It's an irony, lost on many, in my brief experience, that the explosion of street crime, since Labour came to power, has occurred in front of the very explosion of cameras supposed to prevent it, solve it and protect the public from it.

    As with child protection, our leaders cannot grasp that if no other country deems it necessary to follow our lead, perhaps WE are doing something wrong, not them.

    I am not a criminal and should not be filmed.

  • Comment number 10.

    mimpromptu (#3) "Talking about infiltration! So many others have already been duped, including presidents and prime ministers. Luckily, I don't think all of them are idiots!"

    If behaviours are largely inherited, and groups are highly endogamous (i.e mate wihin the group preferentially) groups must surely differ in prevalence rates of those behaviours. What will happen as those groups grow/change in size? Will people not accurately see group differences?

    What accounts for stereotypes if not higher than chance frequencies of stereotypical behaviours?

  • Comment number 11.


    Well at least it is out in the open there is pre-arranged agreement between the media and politics. I've always maitained it is no more than a scripted soap.

  • Comment number 12.

    James Purnell is so lacking in passion about policies for left living and so clearly ambitious about his own career. I am just still about a labour party member and he leaves me like cold and shuddering, if he is seen as the future for the labour party.

  • Comment number 13.

    Hattersly called Purnell a smart young man, its a relative statement. I see Purnell as very much upper sixth and Woy hattersley likes to think he himself a political heavyweight...when he is clearly not, just a bitter socialist who has yet to form an original idea in all his time in politics. Labour has no talent or ideas and Purnell comes out of the talk nonsense stable that belongs only in the lower office line manager playing buzzword bingo to his new recruits at induction...and yet he gets to strut his weak credentials and 'ideas' on newsnight...i've met smarter office cleaners.

  • Comment number 14.

    james purnel (twit clown delete as applicAble)

    nulabour left Fizzing with Ideas.

    So am I, heres one Beachy Head, nulabour JUMP.

    Swine Flu, Tis A Dream, Pandemic breaking out in parliment amongst the Swine Therein.

  • Comment number 15.

    When will we get a media that is actually interested in engaging in new ideas about politics? Tonight we were once again forced to suffer one dimensional lines of questioning by Kirsty Young focussing on personality and headlines rather than stimulating a more meaningful debate about politics. Interviewers on Newsnight seem more interested in shallow outdated political analysis and have become as meaningless as the people they interview. Can we start asking new questions and searching for new ideas or is the bbc inteligensia as stale and irrelevant as the mainstream parties?

  • Comment number 16.

    school boys/girls straight 2 poliTics (very annoying)from school, their wise dom is never there and never will be. (they No Nufing)

  • Comment number 17.

    The big idea that James Purnell is trying to promote is "Equality of Capability". Mumbo-jumbo. No-one on the programme knew what it meant, and neither, I suspect, did 99.99% of the audience. Kirsty totally failed to get Purnell to properly explain, and the subsequent panel discussion with Mr Finkelstein, the blond haired woman, and the other bloke, was a damp squib.

    If Jeremy Paxman was on, he'd have forced Purnell to come clean, and explain precisely what he means by his strange concept "Equality of Capability". I believe it has been taken from Indian economist Amartya Sen in the 1970's though what it means, if it means anything at all, remains unclear.

    What Labour should be concentrating on, something that every potential voter can understand, is the widening wealth gap between rich and poor. This is a natural and accepted concept. They should be trying to narrow the gap in income, by curtailing the excesses of the rich, and making companies share out their profits more equally amongst the workforce. If they can't or won't do that, then the party might as well shut down.

  • Comment number 18.

    #15 I think Kirsty was right to push the point, if you're going to diss your party leader, you should have a very good explanation for it, as he's still a left leaning socialist. Fizzying with ideas, I haven't heard any sense out of the man. I think he thought it would bring him fame and fortune to walk out of the government.

  • Comment number 19.

    Young Kirsty's long walk past the crushed Purnell as he unplugged his earpiece and she linked into a panel discussion/post mortem was cruel
    ........ but appropriate! We then opted out in Scotland as 'Newsnicht'
    fielded not one but two snippy Labourite political commentators to do
    a spit-roast job on the SNP candidate in the Glasgow N East byelection.

    How his former colleagues must have relished that - or was it opus dei?!
    Anyway: the gloves can now come off ........ it's going to be a cracker.

  • Comment number 20.

    #17 But Hattie which poor? Our indigenous poor or the ones we are importing from around the world. I thought the labour party wanted all these immigrants to keep the wages down, hence creating more poor. Mind you the bonus culture makes me pretty sick as well.

  • Comment number 21.

    #16 Allan completely agree. Once upon a time a politician had lived a life before coming into politics. Now they're taught "how to be an MP" and don't know nufin!

  • Comment number 22.

    21 LiZZ Yes Mate, the trouble with idiot politicians IS They Dont Think/They Think We Know Nufin. (I No Nufin/It wasnt Me Guv)

  • Comment number 23.


    Purnell is so ambitious, I suspect he 'even sows'. But he is no actor, so cannot hide his ambition - as Blair did.

    Anyone spot when Kirsty reduced the word 'editor' to one syllable, devoid of consonants? How much is she paid, again?

  • Comment number 24.

    Why Oh Why must you persist in forever bringing on Huff Puff Hattersley he's yesterdays man and he wasn't up to much even then.

  • Comment number 25.

    not a reflection on Newsnight itself, but I thought some of what I was watching was a little strange,I want to post something positive about those who aspire to lead us, and the sort of place our country is turning into, but I can't.

  • Comment number 26.

    #25 bubblegumTriffid

    Agree. I would have to check the director etc. But with just Purnell at the table very often they chose a distant and wide camera angle. It gave to me an impression of emptiness isolation, distance etc.

    Hattersley was the opposite he appeared in the studio on the large monitor in a strange angle, but more in close up like a screen from 1984.

    Neil picked up #19 above some sort of strange atmosphere.

  • Comment number 27.

    Hattie #17 mentions Amartya Sen. He discusses 'Rights and Capabilities' in an essay with that title written in the early 1980's and reprinted
    as Chapter 13 of the second volume of his Collected Essays - the ones
    on 'Resources, Values and Development'. This begins with a quote from
    William James's 'Principles of Psychology' to the effect that 'The art
    of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.' Perhaps Purnell
    should have skipped that chapter like the other Blairite on the panel?

    Sen continues: 'The dog that does not bark provides the clue' ........
    Skimming on past the para on p314 which asks "Should one be under an obligation to save the person who has been pushed into the river but not the person who has fallen into it?" (sic!) the great philosopher king of modern economics finally gets to the kernel (or is it the husk?) of this new 'Capabilities' approach: 'Consider a good, e.g. rice. The utilitarian will be concerned with the fact that the good in question creates utility through its consumption. And indeed, so it does. But that is not the only thing it does. It can also give the person nutrition. Owning [in italics] some rice gives the person the capability [italics] of meeting some of his or her nutritional requirements."

    Like Hattie I am not quite sure where that takes New Labour ....... but later on Sen writes: 'The other issue concerns the special attention that freedom has to pay to the possibilities [in italics] open to a person as opposed to the particular one he or she happens to choose.
    It could be the case that an illiterate person, had he been literate, would have still chosen not to read anything .......' ... mmmmm ....

    Sen expanded on some of these ideas in a lecture in Amsterdam back in 1982 which Oxford India Paperbacks published in 1999 under the title
    'Commodities and Capabilities'. This is even tougher stuff alas; but
    a helpful half-sentence on the blurb tells us that 'The argument presented focuses on the capability to function, i.e. what a person can do or can be ...' and presumably as he was lecturing in Holland on p 7 he begins to illustrate with bicycling analogies ........ "In judging the well-being of a person, it would be premature to limit the analysis to the characteristics of the good possessed. We have to consider the 'functionings' of persons. While the ownership of commodities is a personal matter, and thus command over the characteristics of goofs owned is also a personal matter, the quantification of characteristics does not vary with the personal features of the individual possessing the goods. A bicycle is treated as having the characteristic of 'transportation', and this is the case whether or not the particular person happening to possess the bike is able-bodied or crippled. In getting an idea of the well-being of the person, we clearly need to move on to 'functionings', to wit, what the person succeeds in doing with the commodities and characteristics at his or her command. For example, we must take note that a disabled person may not be able to do many things an able-bodied individual can, with the same bundle of goods."

    That much I get ...... but surely Norman 'on yer bike' Tebbit had got
    as far as that during the Thatcher years ... a man of some compassion
    even before he became a carer, even Tebbit didn't kick the long term
    sick and disabled or dock their benefit did he? That was left to Mr
    Purnell and his New Labour colleagues in the 21st Century ........?

  • Comment number 28.

    In my comment #27 'goofs' should of course read 'goods' ..... At DWP they probably call that a 'David Freudian mistake'?!

  • Comment number 29.

    hattie (#17) "The big idea that James Purnell is trying to promote is "Equality of Capability". Mumbo-jumbo. No-one on the programme knew what it meant, and neither, I suspect, did 99.99% of the audience. Kirsty totally failed to get Purnell to properly explain, and the subsequent panel discussion with Mr Finkelstein, the blond haired woman, and the other bloke, was a damp squib."

    This issue has been discussed in these blogs for a couple of years now, and in the context of the economy too. Yet the Newsnight teams just ignores it all (see request that Flanders goes and interviews Lynn and Murray above).

    There is talk today of lack of social mobility, i.e too many people from wealthy backgrounds going into professions like law and medicine. But if ability is, as the evidence now clearly shows, largely genetic, and if people asssortively mate (as they do), that explains this finding, and nothing is going to change this.

    There is, sadly, no point asking why Newsnight doesn't deal with reality - it appears to have drifted into becoming a populist entertainment programme in order to 'capture market share'. It is sowing the seeds of its own demise I fear.

  • Comment number 30.

    I came across this , not sure if its true. I find these interviews and debates rather remote, but the newsnight panel afterwards did make me laugh. These people just cannot stop spewing their apparatchik jargon.

  • Comment number 31.

    In this morning's Guardian the debate on capability seems to have moved on to 'the Berlusconi bedroom tapes' - and Polly Toynbee discusses Alan
    Milburn ...... But one other intriguing question that the "tongue-tied"
    Purnell didn't expand on in last night's interview was his claim in The
    Guardian to have been offered the Education portfolio in that reshuffle
    and to have indicated acceptance before he wrote his resignation letter:

    "The discomfort turned to decision as late as 11.30am on the Thursday voters were going to the polls. Only the day before, those running Labour's reshuffle had rung Purnell to ask whether he would like the health or education brief. He opted for education" was how The Guardian
    reported this part of their 'Exclusive' interview with James Purnell MP:

    But was there a vacancy at Education? Only perhaps if Ed Balls was being moved to be Chancellor of The Exchequer at that stage of No10's plotting.

  • Comment number 32.

    Mimpromptu #3

    At #55 in Friday's thread you said:

    Celtic Lion
    You do what you want, keep shouting, provocating, try and make people and governments react, I can't stop you nor would I want to bother. You have simply disqualified yourself from me making any further attempts to carry on chats with, i.e. another 'wild boy' down the drain.

    I was going to reply, "Never mind Mimpromptu, you just flounce off and do a bit of twirling.  You'll soon feel better.  There are many sites offering chat rooms if that's what you want.  There used to be serious analysis attempted here once upon a dream."

    But it seemed a little harsh at the time so I did not. However now I do think it needs saying because today you post:

    So many others have already been duped, including presidents and prime ministers. Luckily, I don't think all of them are idiots!

    Come on Impromptu, it's time to wake up and smell the ordure. It's YOU who have been duped by those who seek to take advantage of you. And yes, many presidents/prime ministers ARE idiots, the 'useful idiots' put in place by those same people who have taken you for a ride.

  • Comment number 33.

    I know this is totally off topic, but, just wanted to mention that Jeremy has been caricatured for a new book supporting the Cystic Fibrosis Trust called the "People of Day 4" where all profits go to charity. 'Paxman told the publisher: "I hope you raise lots of money - but you had better give the caricature greyer hair." '


  • Comment number 34.

    Purnell resigned because he was setting himself up to become leader. he completely missread the situation and thought others would back hime... they didn't and he is out in the cold where he deserves. For him to say he was not dis loyal is ridiculous. No Prime Minister would be popular right now but at least we have a Prime Minister who is interested in all the people of the UK.

    When david Cameron said at a conservatibve party conference interview "lets face it we all have mortgages" he showed clearly that he is only interested in representing the interests of the well off and is out of touch with the many people in the UK who can only dream of home ownership.

  • Comment number 35.

    Mistress76uk (#33) You appear to be very taken with celebrity.


    Is not 'the cult of personality', i.e worship of graven images, a sad sign of our corrupt, narcissistic times?

  • Comment number 36.

    Oh JJ, I'm not taken with celebrity! I just think that The Cystic Fibrosis Trust is a very worthy cause, and if it can get more publicity ( in this case, a book for charity) then it is a good thing.

    I was unaware the Cystic Fibrosis is " UK's most common life-threatening inherited disease" (source: There still isn't a cure for the condition, but one small mercy is that instead of a child dying at 6 years old (as in 1964), about 50% of people with the condition can expect to live up to 35 years old.

  • Comment number 37.

    Let's have more slogans, empty phrases and rhetoric. It's time for change, afterall.

    Words are more important than actions.

    If you choose the right words you can hide the fact you haven't got an in-depth understanding of the subject. Cool.....

    You can stay in power for years, until a crash eventually happens and you're found out. But don't worry, you get to keep all your earnings and guaranteed pension. Nice.......

  • Comment number 38.

    british public will never vote for someone who stabs other people in the back at crucial types. they would see it as a character flaw.

    given his judgement was wrong on that why should it be correct on anything else?

    anyone who still believes, and it is a belief, the market is the best determiner of the national state affairs has to be in dogmatic tram lines?

  • Comment number 39.

    I admit, I have been disadvantaged over the years by the 'proud dupers' and very perfidiously so. You must know, of course, what they are really after as you are one of them. You even may be JJ himself, for all I know. He's been posing as all kinds celebreties, ranging from Stalin via Hitler via Lech Walesa via Marcello Mastroiani to one of the wild boys in one of Celtic Lion's musical quotations.
    If my blogging is worthless chatting, why do you bother to respond to it. There is plenty of space here for everybody. It's really up to Newsnight to decide whether my chats qualify or not. Newsnight could even contact me via e-mail, phone or by post /as I have previously supplied them with the details/ and suggest for me to stop. Anyway, I shall not be responding further to your attention seeking and envious blogs so I would suggest you don't bother again.

    Thank you for bringing up the issue of cystic fibrosis and Jeremy Paxman's contribution to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Some of your postings are absolutely priceless.

  • Comment number 40.

    In fact, Mistress76uk, it's thanks to you that I found out about Jeremy's Annual Outstanding Achievement Award from the Media Society. I followed this up, went to the Gala itself and wasn't disappointed. Since then I've also attended an excellent evening with Steve Richards at the Groucho Club and have been accepted as a Media Society member. Duped or not duped? - this is the question.

  • Comment number 41.

    Mistress76UK (#36) "Oh JJ, I'm not taken with celebrity!"

    Then stop posting as if you are as it just makes you look silly, which will not help your cause one bit.

    Instead, consider what odious nonsense Milburn and Civitas are peddling today with respect to the professions and 'elitism'.

    Govt publications on SATs distributions for Maintained Schools vs Indepdendent Schools (a number do do SATs), show the two distributions to be disjoint. Independent Schools comprise 10% of our schools. They select some of the best pupils in the country, and as IQ is largely inherited, the more intellectually demanding professions are bound to disproportionately draw on these schools for their intakes. Not only does Milburn misused the term 'meritocracy' (coined by Michael Young who a) drafted the 195 Labour manifesto and b) bitterly complaiend about Blair's misappropriation and abuse of the term as Young made a very good point about this in the 50s, one which Herrnstein picked up on in the 1970s), whilst the very people who use it properly (Herrnstein and Murray) are ignored or vilified! The effect of Milburn and friends will be to lower standards in the professions, which in wil turn lower standards of service in UK society, which just reinforces anarchism.

    These are the sorts of issues which Newsnight should be investigating/covering in all our interests, as what New Labour has been up to is not at all what it seems to the naive. Their agenda is, I suggest, to break up the state in the interest of private interests.

    Many charities are just in it for the salaries or other agendas. Look into where the money goes for 'research'. In fact, look closely at the recent Charities Act and what now qualifies as a charity!

  • Comment number 42.

    :o) Thanks Mimpromtu. Very happy to see that you went to the Gala, and became a member of the Media Society.

    JJ - I agree with you about Milburn et al - they are peddling c**p. Maybe Newsnight is covering the topic tonight - I have no idea!

  • Comment number 43.

    No.41. JadedJean wrote:
    "The effect of Milburn and friends will be to lower standards in the professions, which in wil turn lower standards of service in UK society, which just reinforces anarchism."

    But wait, I've just been offered a plumb job, playing for Manchester United on GBP100k a week.

    I can't kick a football, but this new anti-elitism approach has helped to boost my earnings no end. I'm all for it. And it will be good for Manchester United too, as the "diversity" of their "talent" has been "widened" by having me in the squad.

    Good things come to those who wait.......

  • Comment number 44.

    Is this think-tank of Purnells going to cost the tax-payer more money.?
    and will it be any use.
    P.S why three years, why not just go down the Jobcentre and ask people.

  • Comment number 45.

    #20,27,29,37 etc.

    "promote Equality of Capability"
    James Purnell (quoting Amartal Sen?)

    "My idea of society is that while we are born equal,
    meaning that we have a right to equal opportunity,
    all have not the same capacity"
    Mahatma Gandhi (as quoted in 'Modern Science Writing'
    by Richard Dawkins).

    Take your pick!

    I'm not bothered by the 'Open Left' fantasy, but I am very concerned about nuLabour's proposed Equality legislation.

    Presumably that will somehow force us all to be equal, irrespective of capability or capacity? Just as legislation on UNFAIR discrimination has since legally attempted to criminalise any form of discrimination - most of which is normal and natural throughout all life forms.


    I keep hearing reports of the number of cases of swine flu in UK.

    Now that the attempted 'control' phase has finished, reported cases are no longer analysed by laboratories, and the advice is to phone your GP or NHS online. How are the authorities able to distinguishing between cases of swine flu(H1N1) v other seasonal flu cases reported by phone, without which no firm conclusions can be reached on the spread of swine flu cmpared with 'normal' flu cases?

  • Comment number 46.

    I forgot to add Churchill to JJ's list of impersonifications, awfully sorry!

  • Comment number 47.

    MrTweedy (#43 Nicely put!

  • Comment number 48.

    Mistress76uk (#42) "JJ - I agree with you about Milburn et al - they are peddling c**p. Maybe Newsnight is covering the topic tonight - I have no idea!"

    If they do, it would be a first if they confronted him with someone like Murray or Lynn... if I was aware of evdience to substantiate what Milburn etc peddle I would be overjoyed. It's the fact that what they say is so at odds with what research shows that annoys me.

    Mimpromptu (#39) You're wrong about NewFazer, and much else besides. You really do need to follow the links to the evidence in order to better appreciate what's true from what is false. You have it all the wrong way round, and that can't be making you a happy bunny.

  • Comment number 49.

    A Few Questions

    If a person is in a minimum wage job , what effect does the high cost of living within the UK have on their end of week spending power ?

    If a person finds themselves unskilled and in a low waged job, what effect does the high cost of living within the UK have on their ability to save up to re-educate themselves for better career opportunities ?

    What effects does the high cost of living within the UK have on a pensioner on a fixed income ?

    If a group of UniGrads (say) cant find employment and so decide to start their own small business , what effects does the high cost of living within the UK have on that start up enterprise ?

    What effect does the high cost of living within the UK have on the affordability of our vital public services ?

    What effects does the high cost of living within the UK have on our nations ability to beneficially trade in the global market place to earn foreign wealth ?

    These are some of the questions I would like answered !

  • Comment number 50.

    not on the bbc site and quickly pulled from google

    More than 150 UK casualties in a week in Helmand

    a report in the telegraph a while back worked out casualties among front line troops is 10%. the rate in ww2 was 11%.

  • Comment number 51.

    He's on again! This time the BBC had a recent graduate and then a 'think tank' representative who I presume had a hand in the production of the report for Milburn. The BBC actually asked the graduate (in accountancy and finance) what he thought accounted for his behaviour.. This is essentially the same as asking patients what they think makes them diseased.

    BBC, you really do have to wake up to how silly this is. One can't go around asking the man-in-the-street or even some self-appointed 'CEO' of a 'think-tank' what they think, as they generally aren't qualifield most of the time. What people 'think' is what they have learned, and unless they're highly experienced experts in the field in which they are being questioned about, it just isn't worth reporting.

    And please, don't ask them how they 'feel' either.

  • Comment number 52.

    In the Guardian:

    'A meeting to consider whether Richard Barnbrook, one of the most senior elected members of the British National party, had brought his office into disrepute was cut short today after he failed to turn up on stress grounds.

    Barnbrook, who is both a London assembly member and sits on Barking and Dagenham council, could be suspended amid charges that he brought his office into disrepute by falsely claiming three murders had taken place over a three-week period in the Barking and Dagenham area.

    But the meeting was cut short after Barnbrook telephoned just before his hearing was due to begin to say that he had been signed off for stress for two weeks by his GP'

    Firstly this is yet more adolescent behaviour from these people who pretend not to be National Socialists.

    But it does remind me of the incident a year or so ago where I think Michael Crick reported on the BNP man in Stoke who had been killed in a dispute with his neighbour - but the BNP claimed that it was a race attack as the neighbour was Asian.

    Also I more vaguely remember there were the "race rapes" in Oxford Street - that apparently never were.

    Only last night I was watching "Auschwitz and the Final Solution" they showed how people were indoctrinated into hatred via propaganda. The example used by an SS Officer who shot Jews in Russia was that "Jewish grocers robbed their clients".

    So naturally you shoot people in Russia - say because they also had the same eye colour? He shot people without compassion - because they were Jews.

    Voltaire said "If you can make people believe absurdities you can make them commit atrocities".

    Is it time for some kind of a piece along those lines to help educate people to the tactics that these non-democratic

  • Comment number 53.


    My apologies if you have taken offence at my views. But would it be right to change my views, an extrapolation of who 'I am' to appease a conceptualisation of me that you have, that would sit more comfortably with your own psyche.

    This is a mainstream news and political blog. So many of the views here are related to the mainstream establishment political and economic perspective of the world.

    I have been fully open and admitted my perspective is more from ecology, philosophically deep ecology,

    engineering, project management, Zen and Jainism, science etc.

    Sometimes posters here refer to a normal distribution curve, the one that looks like a bell side on. The centre, the highest point, is the greatest number that share a particular trait, property or idea. Relating to the environment or circumstances around them.

    Surprisingly it is those properties at the very edge, the lip of the bell, those small numbers, those on the extreme edges, which are the most important to the future of the population.

    These peripheries give the whole population the in built, capacity to respond to changes in circumstances or environment. This is why variation and bio-diversity are very important. They are reservoir for response to change.

    As someone who is closer to the middle of the distribution curve of philosophy for this blog I can understand how you can empathise with Go1. Me, I would be closer to the middle of a bell shaped curve for ecologists, traditional native American Indians, Celtic, Anglo Saxon and other pre organised Christian British culture.

    Go1 did not disagree with my assessment that 40,000 children's deaths every day could be prevented. Go1 did not disagree with my assessments of the destruction and pollution of the planet. The difference is Go1 though accepting these things happen, accepts that the political system needs some time to get to grips with these situations.

    This is a view which is consistent with being near the centre line of the bell, for this blog. Myself because of my background I am on the extreme. My influences are Cousteau, the space programme and the consequent implications of that such as:

    If the Earth was actually a large spaceship alone on a journey through space with a crew of 6 billion and all other life involved in some intricate weave of mutual life support, things would be done different.

    If 40,000 of the crew were dying needlessly, immediate action would be taken to prevent this. If the life support systems were being destroyed, life support systems on which all life on the ship depended. Immediate action would be taken to prevent this.

    When managing a project or a ship. A different philosophy applies. It is about the love of the project or ship. It is about ensuring the safety of the members or crew of the project or the ship. It is about ensuring the best for every member in the continuation of that successful voyage.

    As you probably note from the news today. Nearly £ 1 trillion has been found in the UK to do with bankers. The USA has found $24,000,000,000,000 (trillion) for the same economic mess, immediately.

    Priorities are different for ecologists and project managers, we put life, and the compassion for all life driven by love as the immediate priority.

    Many of the posters here have been critical of the political system being devoid of ideas and without direction, or taking 3 years to find something out.

    It is a good job these political and economic leaders are not in charge of a spaceship alone in the void of space. Or else all the crew would be dead very shortly.

    That is why my views are extreme, because they have different motivations from the mainstream political-economic management of the planet. But J S Mill said in a democracy the voice of the minority must be heard. In case it is correct.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 54.

    Mr Tweedy #37

    Welcome to the thread. I've been following your posts on Stiffy's blog for some time, it'll be good to have a little more serious discussion round here to counter the idle chatter.

  • Comment number 55.

    #39 mimpromptu

    Remember the odious far right will always try to hack you off so they can claim a free propaganda spot on the BBC site without anybody to indicate what their genuine beliefs are.

    When they respond to posts thats what it is about - there is no genuine communication it is all quite robotic.

    Between themselves they are cult-like and hierarchical though from the outside its not always quite clear what that hierarchy is but that is probably a psychological ploy to try and create peer pressure on other posters.

    Reasonably most people would rather not talk with those whose ideology is dominated by an utterly illogical ideological position on race. Hitler is "revered" and was a peace lover.

    Take their views on Jews - to date Jaded_Jean has come up with Stalin ejecting Jews from the Soviet Union in the 1930's. Therefore they were the Jewish Communist International. Therefore they should be hated.

    To these people that is all quite logical.

  • Comment number 56.

    #36 Mistress76uk

    Jaded_Jean not only reveres Hitler and believes in race "realism" but also eugenics and probably euthanasia because if Hitler did it then it must be right.

    But I am sure you can take care of yourself but bear in mind the mindset of many of the posters who try to dominate this page.

  • Comment number 57.

    On the US economy poor old Obama who seems to have a major crisis on almost every front has got to get it right.

    Afpak won't work with the cash to support it. Mexico is looking increasingly like the next BIG problem. There are trivial crises like the swine flu pandemic (that may hit the economy) and evolving new opportunities diplomatically with Russia and China that will hopefully increase stability and cooperation.

    But I always wonder with economics how much is "magic" and how much science. But if the indicators are that things aren't working properly I think he will respond quickly as his actions are not dominated by ego and mindless ideology.

    The worry for me though is that he may "burn out" temporarily and his decision making suffer due to the continued stress that became apparent, I think, in the Kennedy handling of Cuba.

    One big problem is enough for most people.

    But Obama is not afraid to aspire and therefore he may achieve what many others would not even attempt.

  • Comment number 58.


    Plus Thunderbirds. I like Thunderbirds.

  • Comment number 59.

    #50 Thank you bookhimdano for putting that link up about Afganistan casualties. I've kept ponding on that question myself. I've never heard it mentioned on the BBC, yes they say another man has died, but not the ten mutilated for life men that happened at the same time. Wasn't it the bodybags coming back from Vietnam that finally made the american people turn against the war there. Presumably we are not told the figures loudly enough, so we don't start objecting as well against our wars.

  • Comment number 60.

    there is something about Purnell that a life sentence wouldn't be all that long.........if you get my drift

  • Comment number 61.

    thegangofone (#52) "Firstly this is yet more adolescent behaviour from these people who pretend not to be National Socialists."

    Please tell us all, very simply, what you think is so wrong with being a national socialist. Old Labour after the war was essentially a national socialist party. It had the same objectives as the USSR (see teh Fabians and Webbs). The USSR was a national socialist party after the Comintern was purged and closed down.

    You simply do not appear to understand what national socialism is. It is socialism in one country, in contrast to international socialism, aka Trotskyism. A national socialist party is not an organization of baby-bashing criminals. That's just propaganda...

    If one has a party which is nationalistic, it has to contrast itself with other non-nationals. That is where the 'race' idea comes in. It's really very simple, and basically innocuous. It is those who want to undermine nation states through mass immigration that you should be worried about as that's how they bring about international 'socialism', which in fact comes down to anarchism, as there's nobody left to regulate anything (e.g. banks) nationally - just one great uncontrolable, ebbing and flowing free-market. This is why some countries have isolated themselves from the so called 'international community' in the past. It's a con, wake up. Coca-cola just wants to make money, not have everyone singing..

  • Comment number 62.

    Nos 23

    She can get a bit sonorant but I think its to do with being under pressure to keep to a specific time. She did well last night.

    The BBC payments for the *chosen* (usually oxbridge) are truely sickening, agreed there.

    Purnell = pretty much a meaningless past.

    Need to put pressure on *Dave* for the FACTS of what he is going/planning to do.

    Think I have this swine flu but dont feel that ill and having trouble staying in, been a week so far with my neighbour getting my food. Very boring! but the thought that my slight illness could kill someone makes me stay in.

  • Comment number 63.

    thegangofone (#55) "to date Jaded_Jean has come up with Stalin ejecting Jews from the Soviet Union in the 1930's."

    He purged the original Bolsheviks, many of whom were internationalists and Jewish. That is well documented historical fact. That the original Bolsheviks were sent into Russia like a phial of typhoid or cholera to topple the Tsar and were largely Jewish, is also well documented in Hansard and elsewhere - you've been provided with the links before, so why do you persist wit this abuse? Those who would have you and others believe otherwise are either ill-informed or just telling lies. This group was hated for their behaviour, not because they were devout Jews - they murdered a relative of the British monarchy, we effectively went to war against them (although war was not declared). You appear to have no grasp of the facts even when they are provided for you from auhoritative sources (here it was Churchill!).

    I also believe that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, that water boils at 100 degrees C at normal pressure, and that London is the capital of England. These are not my 'views'.

    Your posts are truly bizarre.

  • Comment number 64.

    Hopefully Newsnight will focus on this tonight.. just how are we ever going to pay it all back. Or do we just print more money?

    We have another unforseen bill loaming as well, general world health welfare...

    Although the Sun put it at a million and counting...

  • Comment number 65.

    #52 Go1 said

    "Voltaire said "If you can make people believe absurdities you can make them commit atrocities"."

    So if you can make people believe the reason for life, the universe and everything. So if you can make people believe that the sole point of existence. So if you can make people believe the over riding goal and priority of everyone on this planet:

    is to make ever increasing economic growth.

    What was the second part of Voltaire's sentence?

  • Comment number 66.

    #53 KCL
    "If the Earth was actually a large spaceship alone on a journey through space with a crew of 6 billion and all other life involved in some intricate weave of mutual life support, things would be done different."

    Analogies are useful in discussion, but not always comprehensive.

    If the 6 billion population were all 'crew members'(in your imaginary space ship) then each would have a specific and vital role in the journey. But if a further 3 billion people were to jump on board as passengers it would crash. That, I suggest, is what is forcast to happen to space ship Mother Earth. Surely Deep Ecology would support the view that humans are causing damaging imbalance on our shared home?

    Should we not try to avoid exceeding the carrying capacity of our planet by some acceptable means of slowing human birth rate, bearing in mind that (as you have before commented) the exponential increases, both in numbers and in demands for more 'equality' - higher standards of living (consumption of resources)particularly by all the world's poor - are unsustainable.

    Some solutions are radical: following the death of one of the world's religious leaders, amongst all the paeans of praise and eulogies elsewhere, the front cover of one prominent and respected publication suggested that he had been responsible for more deaths (in Africa) than prostitution and the trucking industry combined! True or false, we must find a softer dialogue. I worked in an African country that banished a politician for simply mentioning the existence of 'bar girls' and would not allow discussion of AIDS or birth control. I was happy to attend that dictator's funeral, but the replacement is not much better, except that the term 'child spacing' is now allowed, but still frowned on by the church elders.

    As churches (in UK) are losing their congregations, they should try holding occasional services devoted to the worship of Mother Earth, with sermons and discussion addressing critical issues of the environment (such as overpopulation). Worship of our planet is surely a better outlet for human faith and belief than any one of several dieties.

    Some scope for cutting back on our benefits and allowances sytems that encourages procreation would also help.

    This is one area in which there is some scope for Equality of Capability.

  • Comment number 67.

    #66 indignantindegene

    My thanks for taking your time to read my post. I appreciate as someone who could be labelled by society a 'deep ecologist' I am a stranger in a strange land posting in a mainstream UK political and news blog.

    As such I could be considered an ideological immigrant here, and be subject to critique for my extreme views, compared to, and which are not of the political/mass media mainstream indigenous 'thought scape'.

    As to your reply I find it thoughtful and constructive, in addressing some of the deeper issues we face. Issues which do not seem to be represented in the superficial gloss of contemporary news and political debate.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 68.

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


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