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Wednesday 8 July 2009

Sarah McDermott | 15:19 UK time, Wednesday, 8 July 2009

From Emily Maitlis:

The task ahead of us tonight, viewers, is to get through the programme without using the phrase 'macro-prudential regulation'. In fact, we are providing an office swear box. 5p goes in every time it slips from the lips. And as you can imagine, it already feels heavy enough to bail out a small building society.

But enough of that. I have just returned from Number 11 Downing Street where I have been interviewing the chancellor. We talked about his plans to stop 'kamikaze bankers' and a future market crash, and what he really made of that £9.6m RBS bonus. As we discussed financial regulation, I also asked him about that other curious 'tripartite system' - Brown/Balls/Mandelson - which appears to be trying to make decisions without him. Watch a clip here, and if you'd like to read our Economics Editor Paul Mason's reaction to today's banking White Paper click here.

The full interview with Alistair Darling will be in tonight's programme, when we'll also be asking the head of the OECD what he makes of the economic position Britain is in.

As yet another major company, this time IBM, announces that they plan to close their final salary pension scheme to existing members, we discuss whether we are witnessing the death of retirement. Will we have to work until we drop? What are the cultural implications of an army of young working to support the elderly and infirm? And should we be looking at an entirely radical new way to work and save?

And it's 25 years since Bob Geldof sent Band Aid to the top of the charts in the name of famine relief. But what has actually changed in Ethiopia since then? Can aid ever cure a country? As the G8 pledges to put Africa high on the agenda this week, we have an indepth report from Ethiopia. Read more about it here.

Join us at 10.30pm on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.

    Geldof, G8s, Africa

    This was Monday's thread

    Then Neil Robertson, Mimpromptu, JJ. NN even seems to be 2days behind it's own blog.

    It could have been done far better. But as Einstein said, you can't solve a problem at the same level of consciousness that caused it.

    Geldof you had the chance.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 2.

    "And it's 25 years since Bob Geldof sent Band Aid to the top of the charts in the name of famine relief. But what has actually changed in Ethiopia since then? Can aid ever cure a country?"

    As with the Taliban correcting wayward women in Afghanistan, most people in Britain don't care because they're probably too busy correcting their own wayward women, or have even more pressing things to worry about like wayward children. This is something which Mr Brown and friends (as well as the NN team) really needs to grasp - seriously. We know you all like your jollies, but please, do it at your own expense not the public's.

    What we need in this country is a government which does something instead of abrogating responsibility to others whilst wrrecking the place/state.

  • Comment number 3.

    why does NN employ airheads terrified of concepts like macro-prudential regulation? Is it not public service to explain it?

    i even remember paxo chastising steffi pre credit crunch when he winned 'not another chart'. No wonder NN missed it.

    what is this financial illiteracy culture in the media?

    apparently from a report on daily politics a couple of days ago uk meedja laugh at usa media for being 'boring' but at least they don't talk down to their audience and try and dumb everything down.

    still, lets watch the gold chained yapparrazzi mumble through till they can get back to real stuff and their comfort zone like duck islands and jacko and fashion and bevis and butthead smut jokes.

    financial journalism is at the cutting edge of discovery where the real power lies? if not? what is?

  • Comment number 4.

    From the top deck. No. 17. 08.7.09.

    EHCR .....

    .... releases a report - - and Lo and behold everything is hunky dory (aka an obese fish(?) ) ...... Not!

    A previous post states that HMG is not being vocal enough on the issue of immigration, alternatively its policies are being sidelined by the media (?)

    Then the EHCR tells us that 2 per cent this, 5 per cent that, 17 per cent something else and the problem of - ITO - inaccurate GBP perception is supposedly no longer a factor. .... Not!

    If X per cent buy their own houses upon residence in the UK that then equates to Y per cent fewer houses with those remaining at higher purchase prices. Those living in rented accommodation inevitably reduce the stock available and push the price up. If the asylum seeker is not eligible for social housing until granted refugee status how rapidly does the then refugee, and family move up the housing waiting list?

    If then (state funded ) rented or social housing is allocated according to whom are Q ..... those in more serious need .....unQ which applicant is going to get the rented stroke LA stroke HA accommodation first? The couple, without children, whom are in Lurve or the Lithuanian single mother of seven.

    Whilst public perception is, in part, the arbiter of society - hence 2 BNP EMPs - it is insufficient to say as per EHCR Here is our version, so modify yours! as so many of these organisations are want to say. HMG has acknowledged, belatedly, that affordable social housing has not been built at a rate that replaces those sold under the disastrous tory attempt to conservatise the electorate. HMG, at last, also plans to up the number of new properties to come but sadly the inevitable conflict with the nimbys and the consequent interminable and expensive Public Enquiries are unlikely to allow 150k (extra) houses within the proposed timescale. (And would proposed increase survive tory cost cutting?) Most notably in PMQs today Ms Harmon pointedly on a couple of occasions chose to redact local.... for local(s) ... instead saying affordable blah, blah.

    HMG, the media, the suited socialists and the isolated intellectuals must get to grip with, and act upon, the issue that most forms top deck perception ..... Numbers!

    Incidentally, is the EHCR a - self perpetuating - quango? Otherwise definable as a body that has to find something to go on about so as to continually justify its existence for the purpose of maintaining ongoing funding?

    Breasts 2 .....

    An obsession ..... with the Italian media? Please, please, please .... Get a life!

    Having breasts is not, repeat ... is not an impediment to ability.

    A very well known british actress, and now media proposed prospective PM, appeared topless in a low budget 60s British comedy film, media blitterati go on about if one brit actress has ever made a film where she hasnt left her wonder-bra in the trailer, a well respected - not IMO though - writer has exposed a lot more than her baby feeders and, assuming proper recall, one (only????) HMP has had no qualms as to whom sees what!

    If the media, query being fed by the left wing bleaters and or spurned spouse, must go on about ex-beauty queens and ex-topless models then at least would the GB media pre-empt this tosh with lists of qualifications held, or not, by these We want them as ... Untouchables.

    G20 protesters .....

    .... being addressed at future events .... I say ol boy, I really would appreciate it if you didnt do anything naughty and if you possibly wouldnt mind not smashing those windows, the camera noise is so deafening? Apologies, young Sir, did my shin getting in the way of your foot, would you like to sue? Heavens, are you late for your tutorial because Im in your way? I hope it wont affect your degree? Would you like a lift?

    Oh. Just one more thing ..... Would you mind just hanging on a minute until our Chinese reinforcements get here?

    Google OS .....

    So ..... Google Earth was a internet version of the invasion of Poland! Or was it a statement of intent?

    Photography, automobiles, broadcasting, aviation ...

    All changed the way of the world ......

    But none had the power to control it!

    Lady Em .....

    Continue saying it as it is! Nice One!

    NN in the 21st century! Even if only for several nano-seconds. Dont let them consign you to the Bannockburn regional bulletin .... Please! If an excuse is needed - probably because one person complained that good looking women shouldnt use such language - blame it on jet-lag!

    However ...... ironically ......

    Were one to attempt a post discussing an individual person of a specified ethnic group engaging in pro-creational acts ..... would it get past this sites moderator?

    Get a life! Request No. 2.

    Mr David Davis .....You resigned from the shadow front bench to do what!

    Free Degrees .....

    In view of the contemporary pronounced colloquialism being used is one to assume that this is a discussion about Prince Charles favourite all girl singing group?

    Assuming that it is not? .... Does the - excellent - idea discriminate against low income earners?

    The Political Pen ....

    Rumours persist .... Please! ...... that the second run has been cancelled and is to be replaced by a series called Peoples Politics Present.!


    Man Made sperm ....

    An oxymoron .... Yea or nay?

    Currently one of the concerns of HMG is the number of single mums (?) So where is the funding coming from for this project?

    Todays suggestion for a slot on NN:

    Why does the media, and its luvvies, have such a negative attitude toward baldness.

    Q ..... .....unQ

  • Comment number 5.

    afghanistan blood price.

    so we must sacrifice. on which altar? to whose god?

    given all 'terrorism' ends in a political solution where is that coming from. all we see is a pointless military strategy of throwing brits into someone else's war.

    notice we are never ever told the wounded numbers. with 7 dead there might be 70 wounded? a huge attrition?

  • Comment number 6.

    Well Ms Slippery Lips its good to see your hair is now under control.

    Was a 'tripartite' Light-touch regulation stylist system used or did it lead to briefings behind backs and hence a jealous oversight of the aggregated style effect therefore having to be brought under central Emily control?

  • Comment number 7.


    Bob says people are saying the Afghanistan thing is "too difficult". No Bob - you made that up. What people are saying is the whole thing is

    Blasting a land-locked, primitive country, 3500 miles away, TO DEFEND THESE ISLANDS (that means: 'entirely surrounded by water' Bob) would only ever make sense to a couple of delusional, megalomaniac, religious extremists. Fool or knave time Bob. Either you haven't a clue - or you know, but are prepared to watch 'further sacrifice' for your career.

  • Comment number 8.


    nice one barry

  • Comment number 9.

    #4 "A previous post states that HMG is not being vocal enough on the issue of immigration, alternatively its policies are being sidelined by the media (?)...HMG, the media, the suited socialists and the isolated intellectuals must get to grip with, and act upon, the issue that most forms top deck perception ..... Numbers! "

    It may be obvious that most of my 'indignant' posts are on the subject of immigration, not anti-race, but against Numbers - the overcrowding of our small island (although I also object to the importation of cultures that are completely alien to my upbringing).

    My indignation was again aroused by last night's NN, in which a Rwandan was interviewed at some length on his alleged involvement in the 1994 genocide in his country. His involvement or otherwise was not for NN to determine and will(hopefully) be decided under the change in legal process announced. What I wanted to hear questioned was why he was given sanctuary in this country and British citizenship, plus other benefits (including a conveniently anglicised name!)

    It is a huge enough burden that we seem to be responsible for allowing free access to an ever-increasing population of EU, together with an apparently permanent obligation to citizens of all Commonwealth countries(what exactly is that common wealth for UK?); but Rwanda was under German control and never part of the British Empire, so why was this man not required to seek sanctuary in Germany?

    Even more sensible would be for migrants, political or economic, to be given refuge in adjacent countries with a culture, value system, lifestyle and level of development more similar to that of their own country. The contrast would be less of a shock for all parties.

    I witnessed this when working on an aid-funded project in Malawi, which although themselves poor, provided a safe haven and facilities for hundreds of thousands of citizens from neighbouring Mozambique, displaced by the long war there: most of whom returned when it was safe to do so. By such means a reasonable improvement in family security and wellbeing will be achieved globally over time, whereas a huge leap from absolute poverty to the bounties and benefits of a country such as UK has built (by generations of industrious and patriotic citizen) can only ever be provided to a very lucky (or artful)few, despite all the charitable over-tolerance of those who care little about the decline in our society through overcrowding and importation of alien cultures.

  • Comment number 10.

    Celtic Lion
    If nothing else, it looks like, even if not officially recognised, we may be exerting some kind of impact at least.
    Geldof was not the only one who had the chance.

  • Comment number 11.

    If NN later go on about Gordon Brown's 'Historic' (he's at it again) agreement on climate change. Please just ignore it.

    Barrie: did you watch this?

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 12.


    That looks like the right spelling (on NN) as it reminds one of Basil Fawlty or Basil Brush (boom boom) rather than Basle Switzerland.

    Mr Darling told Emily (looking ever so serious, not like she was talking to a live Michael Jackson at all) that the RBS chap is worth all those millions in bonuses in order to ensure that we get our money back from RBS. Otherwise, presumably, he's been told that we won't get it back and they'll do it all again? That's a small price to pay for protection I guess - an offer he couldn't refuse.

  • Comment number 13.


    Just sampled it Celtic - heavy. I more-or-less watch it every day. Does it feature a narsissistic social worker with a lobotomised persona? My brother has been tapping 'SOS', with anything handy. He is still in Hell.

  • Comment number 14.

    #10 mompromptu

    Thanks you are right. It is just the screaming frustration. The 2005 G8 agenda was from the foundation of my work. Then Geldof did his Live8. I was more than capable of being creative director.He had the bands, the sound system, the lights, projection system and the media exposure.

    They just seemed to go for 'all the eggs in one basket' and act as an assessor or referee of the politicians. Even if the politicians did what they said they would do. It still wouldn't work, it still would not address the problem.

    L8 had the potential to illuminate an alternative path to the future. L8 didn't have the creative direction to find the path and light the way. L8 nailed it's colours so tightly to the mainstream, establishment, political ship. If it sunk, L8 could offer no workable alternative.

    Look at Africa and the world today. Chaos, darkness and failure.

    They couldn't sort out one continent. Now Gordon believes he has saved the planet.

    Anyway as mimpromptu has counselled me. Thank you Newsnight for the unofficial acknowledgement. We will get there.

    As NN switches to Scotland I miss half of it. Now they don't even run it in parallel on the web. So there is now no option if NN Scotland is getting too parochial- HBOS, RBS, SNP, HBOS, RBS, SNP, HBOS.. etc, of watching NN main national.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 15.

    KCL (#14) "Look at Africa and the world today. Chaos, darkness and failure."

    Are you sure it isn't just because we haven't given them enough money, or is it education? Maybe if they stayed on at school longer? Surely they just need a better environment? Maybe if we invited more of them to come over here? Maybe they'd like Scotland?

  • Comment number 16.


    Is Mr Miliband and the FCO going to tell the Chinese they're 'quite unacceptable' soon as they appear to be getting a bit stern like the Iranian government. Maybe our forces in Afghanistan could try regulating the Taliban like Mr Darling proposes regulating The City? In fact, why not extend this idea to The Home Office and Ministry of Justice/NOMS? All potential offenders need is a bit more self-regulaton.

  • Comment number 17.

    It would be funny if it wasn't so serious.

    For those who have not been following let me take tonights programme apart piece by piece.

    The Basel banking regulations changed Reserve requirements to Capital requirements, that means that they used to hold cash (or equivalents) reserves against what they lent, now they hold Capital, which is a much looser definition, so a MBS (Mortgaged Backed Security) bond rated AAA by one of the ratings agencies (the "best" category) can now go towards the Capital, now what happens if the mortgages underlying that bond start defaulting and house prices crash, ah, but the Banksters have a solution, they call the asset "Level 3", that is, they say it isn't traded enough to have a known market value, so they make up a value, usually par (100% of the face value), of course this is not just nonesense, it is a fraud, the whole banking system becomes another Enron, with similar, and more importantly approved accounting standards. Does anyone see a problem with this? Could the entire banking system be insolvent? (answer: yes)

    Now I will turn my attention to Mr. Darling, this whole business of who regulates the financial system is rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic. The banking system is insolvent, the question is whether the banks take down the government as well, given the possible losses it is quite possible, if not yet certain that the amount of Gilts (government bonds) the Treasury has to issue to make the banking system whole again will either push interest rates on those Gilts to a level that sucks all the life out of the economy in interest payments or that no one will buy them, forcing an immediate collapse in government funding and therefore we become a "Failed State". The government is already having to create money out of thin air to buy Gilts in order to prop up the market just like Zimbabwe, if they have to do much more be could see a collapse of the Pound. In other words there is no way out at this point, the only question is what gets destroyed first, the Pound, the banking system or the government?

    As for worries about pensions, even if the current economic death spiral wasn't upon us by the time I am of retirement age there will be little if any oil left, crashing our industrial agriculture system which is dependent on plentiful and cheap oil, this is generally termed the "die off" period where the human population will drop somewhere in the 90% range.

    Oh and for anyone who says I am a "doom and gloomer", I am an optimist, I am fully prepared for what is coming, perhaps you should be to.

  • Comment number 18.

    #13 Barrie

    seems very different here (as long as you keep away from Dundee) Perth Royal Infirmary is still small for a major hospital. Perth has a population of 65,000 ish.

    But the towns have cottage hospitals. Partly it's the distances as well. My favourite road sign is on the road coming out of Perth. No parking for 128 miles.

    But it's reflected in the attitudes. The NHS is here is still very 'peoplely and cosy'. Though you can see it is trying to defend itself from the creeping management culture, it is still very Scottish.

    So you get good medical care. But you have long dark winters. The roller coaster of the seasons takes adjustment. Then there are the distances between places.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 19.

    The reporter in the retirement piece described retirement as a "historical quirk". No! Retirement pensions are a hard won right.
    The three contributors in the discussion that followed were all singing from the same hymn sheet.
    No mention of Brown's disgraceful £5bn per year tax raid that not only robs pension funds when they need it most, but also destroys people's confidence in saving for retirement - knowing someone like Brown can come along and help himself to your retirement savings.
    No union person in the discussion to point out that the attack on pensions has been going on long before this recession - even when companies were making record profits.
    The fat cats and ruling elite want an even bigger piece of the cake and see workers pension rights as fair game. Pensions are an easy target because, let's be honest, many people are apathetic about the subject; maybe they feel they will never grow old!

  • Comment number 20.

    #17 Turbojerry

    I know what's coming. Your scenario is just part of it. Your die off assessment is correct. But worse. With the decrease in numbers and break down of social systems etc. Nobody to maintain toxic dumps, nuclear installations. We have the potential poisoning the biosphere to the extent we could have 100% die off of all higher life forms.

    The climate change agreements for 2050 are complete useless rubbish. Ecological life support collapse will occur far earlier than that. You mention oil. I think without checking earthworms alone are worth 750 million to the Irish economy.

    Oil in terms of management ecology, is regarded as an energy subsidy to the agricultural production system. If we collapse global ecosystems, production will decrease anyway. So we need more subsidy to maintain production at existing levels. As you say without oil they will crash anyway. Once we add ecological instability. The scenario is twice as rapid as you originally outlined.

    Die off is the final phase of overshoot. This is just a diagram to illustrate your point so people can see it graphically.

    or just Google Celtic lion overshoot.

    I like you know what will happen, how it will and when. I don't understand how you think you can fully prepare. Whatever we do everyone else will just drag us down with them. We are all in the same boat or rather on the same spaceship.

    The most incredible thing is that the media and most of the public is quite happy to allow themselves and their families to die, to make extinct all higher life on this planet by following the psychopathic instructions of the political and economic elite.

    We need to illuminate another path to the future away from the dark abyss of extinction we are presently heading. We have 3-4 years and the majority of people aren't really bothered.

    40 months of Enders, Gordon Brown, Big Brother, David Cameron, fiscal stimulus and the rest of the tat the media peddle as meaningful reality. Then take themselves for a self imposed Logan's Run.

    It would be unbelievable if it wasn't actually happening.

    Celtic Lion

    #15 JJ none of them

  • Comment number 21.

    Earthworms and Irish Economy

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 22.

    Dear/expenSIVE guardian newspaper change your Nappys they STINK

  • Comment number 23.

    m pee vase/full of ........ he who blames his mother I do 2

  • Comment number 24.

    they must take resPonCEAbility for their ACTIONS. (prescott)taking a leaf out of your book then

  • Comment number 25.

    genicide ILL maniacs welcome 2 the UK, the uk taxpayers will pay for your Lawiers.

    thanks bbc blair brown cambell (remind me 2 pay your wages/pensions)

  • Comment number 26.

    Am I to understand that we will be using coded metaphor to regulate banks:

    Macro-Prudential Regulation = pushing against the wind

    Yes but where are the ratings for all the other locations
    caught up in some mixed metaphor ???????

    Phone tapping happy back slapping

    Why are you suprised, I would have guessed it was wide spread and those doing it were *maybe* the fuzz or former fuzz making some dosh on the side hence no one knew about it.

  • Comment number 27.


    So far - SO FAR - Aids is (arguably) the most insidious affront 'Nature' has challenged OUR over-complex world with. Is not the most likely collapse going to come from a long-incubation disease, that infects sufficient numbers to disrupt medical-defences, power-supply, food-supply, waste-disposal etc, worldwide? Nuclear pollution will, inevitably, follow as a 'bonus'.

    No doubt a few survivors will remain, with some very odd mythology. They might even hang on to taboos about the diabolical wheel, and non-espousal of all things un-natural. But it won't last . . . We'll be back! Will God smile in welcome?

  • Comment number 28.


    People's pension funds, and their contributions to them have been damanged by the exploitative governance of this country, so now we hear silly people arguing that they shouldn't expect a pension? Let me put some of this into perspective:

    According to the New York Archives (links provided elsewhere) and the US Census, the population of NYC is about 8 million, which breaks down as 2.9 million Non Hispanic Whites, 2.4 million Black Americans, 2.3 Million Hispanic Americans and about 0.95 million Asian Amaecians. The New York Archives says that New York City has a Jewish population of 2 million. This makes non Jewish White Amercians a minorty group along with the Asian Amercians. In terms of US academic tests (and the pattern is repeated in the UK, the rank ordering in ability is probably East Asian and Jewish Americans first, then White non Hispanic Americans, then Hispanic Americans, then Black Amercians. The mean difference between the top group and the bottom group will be in the range of 1.5 Standard deviations, i.e about 23 IQ points.

    When the sea receded in teh Credit Crunch and Bernie Madoff's pozi scheme was left exposed as a 50 billion dollar scam, the feeder funds of his scheme read like the Whos Who of Jewish philanthropy (in the words of Newsnight recently). The monthly return oin their investments, which had been going on for decades, was in the order of 1% per month. That is a very gopod return. There were obviously many other feeder funds which were not Jewish, bnut the point is that the Jewish population of the USA is under 3% of the entire population. By pleading guilty, the full scale of the Madoff scam avoided greater media coverage. What should be remembered is that this scam was operating for years and there were many beneficiaries. The anger now is just becuase it was exposed and there. 1% a month over 10 years is a very nice return at later feeders' expense is it not? Is this why racism is taboo, i.e so that people don't forensically look at data by racial grouping/behaviour and see differentials?

    Elsewhere I have also also drawn attention to the prevalence of breast cancer amongst the Ashkenazi which can be attributed to polymorphisms of the BRCA1 and BRAC2 genes. The point here is that the risk factors for teh Ashkenzim are very high, 56%, relative to the rest of the population (about 12%). Given the enormous difference in populaton base rate, i.e non Jewish is 97.x% of the population, campaigning for funding for breast cancer massively benefits the Ashkenazim.

    This is what I am talking about throughout. This is how minority groups benefit from other groups, whilst proscribing forensic analysis via political correctness. No doubt some do this unwittingly. This does not mean it does not happen. If the statistics justify the case, that should be all that matters. What people think, or believe is secondary.

  • Comment number 29.

    9. At 10:15pm on 08 Jul 2009, indignantindegene wrote:

    Nice one, here's hoping someone listens?

  • Comment number 30.

    Notice the move away from climate change and focus on (ecological) life support systems.

    One phrase which may start appearing is 'new development model'. It was used in an article of mine and 5 days later someone who read it used it in a NN studio discussion.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 31.


    "It may be obvious that most of my 'indignant' posts are on the subject of immigration, not anti-race, but against Numbers - the overcrowding of our small island (although I also object to the importation of cultures that are completely alien to my upbringing)."

    It is indeed about numbers, but perhaps not as you state it? The European populations are all below replacement level which means they are falling in numbers (or will be soon). That is one reason for mass immigration, i.e. to replace bodies not being produced here, bodies which are required as labour/consumers/tax payers (call it what one likes).

    The problem however is that not all people are equal in genetic ability and the nature of abilities means that one can not use educaton to inculcate skills which are not innately there to be shaped up/selected/directed. People do not understand behaviour and what controls it, and for decades have been brainwashed by a false ideology which makes out that education is like a great cow which feeds hungry 'minds' if only it is made available to them. There is no evidence for this at all 'great cow theory'. So long as we import low skilled people we will continue to slowly turn this country into a Third World nation like those we now import people from, as this is where the birth rate will be high and a country is just the sum of its people.

    The mean IQ of professionals from some of these countries is only around the average level for the indigenous population here. One has to remember that tests are normed on national populations. Lower ability peopel do not see that they are low ability, it's part of their being lower ability.

    See earlier postings for the facts.

  • Comment number 32.

    bob ainsworth and other Blair/Brown policemen of the world would soon baulk at the prospect of further troop employment if it was their own nineteen or twenty year olds being in the front line, not one politician either in the UK or the USA has ever answered this wonder

  • Comment number 33.

    #27 Barrie

    Barrie disease is part of the mix. All these factors interacting to throw off a parasitic human population as Odum would say in an ecological backlash. Though about Feral Swine the author does give a good introduction to Odum in the first 3 paragraphs.

    Remember disease can take mankind out by proxy. Bees, earthworms and nitrifying bacteria are all essential to the ecological web which supports us. Start taking one or more of them out and watch human populations tumble.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 34.

    leftieoddbod (#32) I haven't heard of any IDF (Israeli Defence Force) resources being deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Mind you, I haven't heard of any Chinese or Russian troops being deployed there either. It keeps bothering me a bit that Afghanistan and Iraq flank Iran, but then again, perhaps I'm just a bit paranoid. Our troops can't possibly be doig anything to the benefit to Israel can they, surely if they were, the IDF would be helping in a big way? The 'War of Terror' doesn't have anything at all to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict, does it? It's so easy to get confused these days.

  • Comment number 35.

    On the hacking situation is it time for there to be some kind of Parliamentary punishment for those parties who allow their spin doctors to go too far.

    Coulson does not appear to have done anything illegal whilst with the Tories - but should go for what he oversaw before.

    McBride would have done something highly unethical and that should be before the HoC. If it was not for the Prescott phone I would suspect Coulson surfaced due to McBride.

    Campbell took sofa politics too far with the intelligence services and the Iraq war.

    There needs to be highly defined "rules of engagement" and some suitable punishment that brings probably more of a political cost than a financial one.

  • Comment number 36.

    Hmm the "flexible" people on the far right who revere Hitler now seem to be endorsing the inescapable fact that there is climate change due to human impact. Is that good - probably makes no difference as they are politically insignificant.

    But then Jaded_Jean says:

    "Is this why racism is taboo, i.e so that people don't forensically look at data by racial grouping/behaviour and see differentials?" and uses duff "science" that really is just trying to avoid the fact that genetic variation is greater within a race than between races and there is no scientific basis for the so-called race "realism" or racism of the far right.

    But the true colours of the far right show through when Griffin wants to sink illegal immigrants ships.

    I am sure KingCelticLions top science friends - including Nobels - are impressed.

    For those that won't follow links from the far right names of articles and journals and scientists help.

  • Comment number 37.

    thegangofone (#35) "Coulson does not appear to have done anything illegal whilst with the Tories - but should go for what he oversaw before."

    He's obviously been doing an excellent job for libertarians (anarchists), reducing the oppressive power of the state, rolling back oppression, freeing up the economy etc. Come next year, life will surely become ever freer and happiness will reign in Britain again. New Labour were clearly no match for depth of love which Conservatives hold for the oppressed British people.

  • Comment number 38.

    Regulation Take Two

    Sorry I don't understand why giving control of some or all of our Banking Regulation to the EU will benefit us.

    I am thinking of the EUs previous alleged success stories of the common fisheries policy or the common agricultural policy to name a few.

    NN , you could have pressed the Chancellor a bit on this question , even if it was just on the democratic accountability of doing this , after all it's the UK taxpayers who have to pay for any mess up in the UK !

    Gas Bill

    I just got a gas bill in (not news worthy usually), but this bill explains the the average cost of gas as -

    44% Wholesale Gas
    20% UK Gas Production Tax
    19% Delivery To Home
    8% Operating Costs
    5% Vat
    2% Government obligation to help the environment
    2% Profit

    Information is power !

    Who said that ?

  • Comment number 39.

    thegangofone (#36) "But the true colours of the far right show through when Griffin wants to sink illegal immigrants ships."

    Did he not say he would throw them a life-raft/ring?

    A reminder: 'the far right' are libertarians aka anarchists.

  • Comment number 40.

    At the end of the discussion last night with Emily Maitlis (Wednesday 9th July), the Pensions Minister (Angela Eagle) made the amazing statement that ISA's are "risk free". They are only "risk free" if invested in cash (which is strictly limited) but the majority of an ISA is normally invested in equities which are certainly not "risk free". Was her statement an honest mistake or does she not understand?

  • Comment number 41.

    Steve_London (#38) "NN , you could have pressed the Chancellor a bit on this question , even if it was just on the democratic accountability of doing this , after all it's the UK taxpayers who have to pay for any mess up in the UK !"

    How much of what Emily asked was Emily asking direct questions, and how much of it was just Emily presenting what she had scripted for her having agreed it all with Darling before the filming and acting accordingly? These are just opportunities to present are they not, with both interviewer and interviewee behaving as skilled performers. Real (unprepared/rehearsed) people just don't behave/talk like this .... do they?

  • Comment number 42.

    mfjulien (#40) Share ISAs are a great opportunity for the fund managers to do what they like with ISA holders' assets as I understand it :-(. They are held in nominee accounts, meaning that they are, to all intents and purposes, owned by the fund manager/bank as their assets giving them voting rights etc. So when we hear of M&S shareholders voting for Stuart Rose, who are the shareholders? This is also great for short-selling and commissions for fund managers, thus bonuses.

    I'd be more than glad to be corrected here, as I see all this as a venal wheeze, as was The Big Bang. See how the stock market took off with gambling of other people's money from the mid 80s when it all went electronic/nominee and how it gies up and down like the proverbials as stocks are 'churned', and guess who bails out these banks when they get cost with their pants down for too long?

  • Comment number 43.

    #11 I said yesterday Brown's 'historic' agreement was rubbish and ignore it.

    Seems like the UN and others now think so too.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 44.

    erratum (#42) 'and how it goes up and down like the proverbials as stocks are 'churned', and guess who bails out these banks when they get caught with their pants down for too long?'

    And, look into who most of the older feeder funds of the Madoff Ponzi Scheme were, and how well they profited before they claimed that they'd made losses. How and why was the scheme so selective? Who were the later investors feeding the earlier scheme beneficiaries? Were these two groups randomly distributed across all groups? This is a statistical question.


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