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Thursday 6 August 2009

Sarah McDermott | 18:13 UK time, Thursday, 6 August 2009

Just as we all thought the economic weather was improving with a string
of indicators today suggesting signs of recovery, the Bank of England
comes along and rains on the parade. What they've seen of the economy
has led them to decide to continue with the policy of Quantitative
Easing - pouring in another £50bn to shore up Britain's economy. So just
where are we in the recession? We'll be speaking to experts here, and
we'll be joined live from Paris by the President of the European Central
Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet.

The police have been told to make immediate changes to the way they
control public protests after it emerged that officers refused to allow
a woman who was bleeding to leave a cordoned area for five hours. The
incident took place during the G20 demonstration in London four months
ago. A report from the Independent Police Complaints Commission says
doctors believe the woman may have suffered a miscarriage. Tonight the
woman in question - who cannot be identified - has given her only
interview to Newsnight about the events at the protests in April in the
City of London. Watch a clip here.

It's been Labour Deputy Leader Harriet Harman's turn to step into Gordon
Brown's shoes this week, while he's on holiday. Her outspoken comments
about rape, women in politics and bank bonuses have led to vitriolic
attacks from some sections of the press. Why does Harriet Harman always
attract such criticism? Our political editor Michael Crick's been
finding out.

Plus, what ever happened to Woolies? After 99 years of trading on the
British high street, the company went into administration last year and
Woolworths stores across the country closed their doors. Graham Satchell
has travelled across the UK to find out what, if anything, has replaced
the pic 'n' mix, and what the fate of old Woolies stores tells us about
where we live. We'll be showing on air some of the many photos you've
sent in of former Woolworths premises, and we've made a photo gallery of a selection of them too.

Do join Gavin Esler at 10.30pm on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.

    In case anyone is reading, bit of a word break issue for this post on the home page.

    On my browser, at least.

  • Comment number 2.

    '...we all thought the economic weather was improving..

    Spot the possible problem right there. There's 'us' and there's 'them', but when the mood suits, and the story requires, there is always the royal 'we'.

    Some of us live, and many no longer are finding work so easily in highstreets where others have 'made a photo gallery of a selection of them too.'

    Like such as ITV, whose travails have preoccupied many a headline, not all business models enjoy unique funding in the tougher times, which is why some senior executives in corporations that do may stray in defensive moments into referring to those not employed so profitably and securely in the bosom of the state/quango sector as different by merely being 'normal' and 'ordinary' with understandable, if not terribly engaging lack of tact.

  • Comment number 3.

    Yeah Sarah looks like the maintenance folk may have messed up your layout style.

  • Comment number 4.


    cant we do something about the 'Arnie' like syndrome that some coppers have? they are bringing the force into disrepute and losing the confidence of the people paying your salary is never a good idea?

    -knock knock, who's there

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaH! about to be terminated on this PC, back later, hopefully

  • Comment number 5.

    ARE YOU SURE THAT'S NOT 'EDGY'? (#1 - 3)

    At least it is common viewing to all visiting this site, and not just 'where YOU are'. I was under the impression the BBC had shed staff and intend to raise the licence fee. But in recent months we have had music added to all radio trails and now 'art' has come to the blog WHERE YOU ARE. And that is without the cost of 'son et lumiere' video walls in the NN studio.

    I suppose this is what you get when Media Studies come home to roost? I just wish licence-payers did not have to be directly under the perch.

  • Comment number 6.

    #5 And that is without the cost of 'son et lumiere' video walls in the NN studio.

    Barrie they're just showing off their PowerPoint skills! ; ) But I must agree the NN lighshow makes you feel you're watching Panarama or Horizon which have both gone the same way. NN has yet to have the load bangs and whosshes of Horizon fame yet.

    I suppose this is what you get when Media Studies come home to roost? I just wish licence-payers did not have to be directly under the perch.

    Hear, hear, I know realise why all my kids friends were doing Media Studies, they've all got jobs at the BBC ; )

  • Comment number 7.

    #42 & #56
    I sent those postings earlier today from my iphone when out in town. While doing so, I realised that my blogging name was being constantly changed from impromptu to you, then from you to impromptu and then again from impromptu back to you. It's happened again in the last few minutes or so.
    Well, I'm not sure who's doing it but would like to suggest some possibilities:
    1. NN itself, but then why should they want to lose a viewer?
    2. Someone from another part of the BBC.
    3. A spooky person having fun.
    Whoever it is, there must be something seriously wrong with them and I would imagine it would be in NN's interest to stop this nonsense once and for all.
    Meanwhile, I need more time anyway as I've started a new poem. This time about Copernicus which I'm entitling 'Oh, what a Pole! A Journey through Time'. I'm not sure when I'll be back apart from intending to respond to streetphotobeing who kindly said at one point that he liked my poems and suggested I send in more.

  • Comment number 8.

    #54 from previous page
    Oh, in real life, streetphotobeing. We wouldn't like spooky fingers pointing at us, would we?

  • Comment number 9.


    Night and day, YOU is more fun (3. 'A spooky person having FUN'. #7) only YOU beneath the moon ('This time about Copernicus' #7) and under the sun. . .

    But more to the point, before the Blogdog has your Muse for breakfast, Madame Mim, why not post on the 'Write Out Loud' website? (qv)

  • Comment number 10.


    You've both touched off a raw nerve there. I have been irritated of late trying to hear speech above 'background' music on most programmes from movies to documentaries, including news bulletins.

    I realise that I was brought up in an earlier civilisation; news readers
    - not 'anchormen'- with clear diction like John Snagge, Alvar Lidell, and maybe I should make more use of my NHS ear-trumpet; but why must we have 'apropriate' songs playing to attune us to the 'mood'? And why must the music be many decibels higher than the speech?

    Ironically, this may be the combined effect of 'dumbing down' for the lowest common denominator of our de-generation, together with the lowering of academic qualifications - how many more will graduate from universities in the soft option as BSc Media Studies and inflict this rubbish on us?

    I'm switching to SkyArts 2 channel for some serious intellectual music ..Oh No!... there's Mick Jagger's 1969 Concert on ...perhaps he started it?

  • Comment number 11.

    Go away for 2 days and completely lose the plot of what's happening. What's it all about?

  • Comment number 12.

    This Biggs anecdote might not get past the blog dog but a bloke I once worked with was a Fireman at Saltley shed ( Birmingham ) back in the 1960s. It would appear that said robbed train driver actually cooperated with the train robbers, their gang driver only able to drive steam locomotives. Said robbed train driver actually drove the new EE Type 4 Diesel Electric locomotive from the signal where they stopped it to the bridge where they unloaded the loot. It is alleged that said robbed train driver was " roughed over " voluntarily AFTER driving said train to bridge to prevent the police suspecting him as a collaborator with the train robbers. Perhaps those involved in the beating did too good a job ?

  • Comment number 13.

    KCL the lunatics are running the asylum, without JJ cracking the whip! ; )

  • Comment number 14.

    If you wish to protest in the capital and not come to any harm or discomfort from our boys in blue...dress up as a Muslim, The coppers will give you a wide birth... as illustrated in this video.

  • Comment number 15.

    Some truths are difficult for certain types of media the BBC.

  • Comment number 16.

    Fantastic to see Nick Cohen on Newsnight tonight - much more of him please!

  • Comment number 17.

    On the QE injection - all day and in the course of the interview the 25 billion became fifty billion.

    Why the discrepancy?

  • Comment number 18.

    #9 barriesingelton

    Previously you have said you were 72 and your brother was in hell.

    Sometimes I believe you.

  • Comment number 19.

    #6 ecolizzy

    "#5 And that is without the cost of 'son et lumiere' video walls in the NN studio"

    As you have proclaimed before that you are a BNP supporter and are alienated by the racial mix in London I assume that you would have preferred Hitler entering Paris?

    The trouble is most people would not like it and the Nuremburg thing is really passe as most people have clocked democracy is better than tyranny.

  • Comment number 20.

    Continuation of #7
    I always thought the DG, i.e. Mark Thomson, was involved in all of this.
    Have a read and tell me what you think about the link:

  • Comment number 21.

    I thought that just in case I ought to, really, make a slight adjustment to the text above, i.e. I shouldn't have used NN when talking of Newsnight as it is just possible that some of the bloggers may be using NN as a symbol for names like Brossen99,etc. One never knows what clever tricks spooky minds are trying to invent.

  • Comment number 22.

    One of the problems of the public rant and rave blog in the face of those who hold power over you is paranoia, as found out some months ago. I mentioned meeting old dodgy school friends on here, two days later I'm barred from Friends Reunited. I post up some links to music, days later I get a number of emails from an amateur wannabe band asking me to post up links to their stuff on youtube - immdiately delete my flickr account, thinking thats how they found me. About the same time I get *iffy* phone calls. By now Im even waring my shades and hat to bed and planning an off road route to a long holiday in Devon - passpoort in one hand and wades of cash in the other ready to escape the *spooks*

  • Comment number 23.

    #14 & 15 Yes thecookieducker I've seen some of these films, and isn't it strange it's never mentioned anywhere in the media. I see this group Hizb ut-Tahrir, a very right on islamist group, are planning a protest at the Turkish embassy tomorrow in London, I wonder if that will be shown with the police doing their usual duty, kettling.

  • Comment number 24.


    The phrase for the age has to be: "You couldn't make it up."

    We are way past 1984/Animal Farm, and now live in 'The Age of Pratchett'.

    We procreate to feed Mammon. We 'educate' for stupid compliance. Our infantry are 'extreme paintballers', fighting myths. Our 'inverse culture' espouses all that is unsustainable. We routinely elevate delusional obsessives to high office. (Every ninny may vote.) Poppies must not grow in Afghanistan, but Tobacco is subsidised in Europe. (A Europe where Israel is sometimes to be found - but not Palestine.)

    Even Terry couldn't make it up.

  • Comment number 25.

    60. At 00:00am on 05 Aug 2009, KingCelticLion wrote:

    Thanks very much KCL, I've always asked the awkward questions! ; ) My eldest son said I made him question and think about everything. I get so bloody angry that presenters these days never ask the question I'm shouting at the radio or TV. It's there right in the middle of the discussion, but they skirt around it. I with the likes of Robin Day were still around, JP tries, but he just gets tied up with repeating himself. And look at the awkward questions Richard Dimbleby, John Freeman, Peter Ustinov or Anthony Clare asked, they were never afraid to probe. What interesting minds, now TV is all dross.

    But conversely I'm always being told by my kids, you can't ask that, you can't say that! As several other posters have pointed out, we are not allowed to say anything these days, without being modded whether it's in blogs or real life. : ( I somehow missed the '80s, as I've mentioned before, and never learnt how to be PC

  • Comment number 26.

    Barrie generally, I always read your posts with great interest and hardly ever comment, sorry! I find them very insightful, (hhmm is that an american word?!) and often agree with them, #24 being one example.

  • Comment number 27.

    #25 Addenda Sorry I'm ranting a bit, just to add, I read across all genres, I don't settle myself into any particular rut. That's why I read any link people put up, and then a bit more. For example it never occured to me to look at the BNP site, but Gangofone, kept accusing me of being fascist, so I went and had a look, and now occassionaly I read that one as well. How can you get any idea of what people think if you don't look across a wide section, of class, intelligence, race, and wealth. Go to the BBC country profiles, they often have newspapers up, often in english, or get a rough translation on Google, and you find out even more.

  • Comment number 28.

    Ooohhh and how could I forget the wonderful Joan Bakewell, a brilliant interviewer, now she does ask the awkward questions. Has anybody heard her in her role as championer of old people? She's really getting into that one, and asking why they, (we) are all ignored.

    And a correction to typo #25 "I wish the likes of Robin etc"

    I think I'm showing my age this morning, who else knows all these people?!

  • Comment number 29.

    5. At 7:41pm on 06 Aug 2009, barriesingleton wrote:

    Too much son et not enough lumiere?

    But glimmers beckon...

    Something interesting has happened in the BBC blogosphere.

    A fixture has gone on hols (like MPs, many in the state broadcaster seem to get the same as my kids), and the substitute is scoring well.

    It has been noticed.

    But I have been moved to offer a cautionary note:

  • Comment number 30.

    What's all this support for Nick Cohen.

    He was writing on the Dome but not covering our proposal. So contacted him, still have his mobile number on my other phone.

    Nick Cohen knew there was a £50 billion project for the Dome (2003). Without it the UK economy would collapse. As a journalist he decided not to cover a major story,

    Had Cohen while reporting other Dome stories exhibited balance and covered the major one. Then the present UK economic crash would probably never happened.

    If the Observer closes they only brought it on themselves, by selectively not reporting important stories.

    Think how much coverage has been given over the last year to the economic crisis. The Observer knew it would happen in 2003, the magnitude and how to prevent it. Nick Cohen decided it wasn't important.

    1) Nick Cohen is not a very good journalist, with respect to being able to prioritise stories in the public interest.

    2) The Observer is just reaping the results of it's indifference to important news stories. It had no interest 6 years ago in reporting or stopping the present recession. So it's financial troubles are of no surprise.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 31.

    "Just as we all thought the economic weather was improving"

    Think that proves NN don't read the blog's. First the use of the inclusive 'we'.

    Then the total disregard of the present financial strategy will collapse Earth systems amd wipe out the economy with it. NN seemed to have ignored the obvious.

  • Comment number 32.


    "PARANOIA LAGGING BEHIND REALITY" To begin with, have to admit - yes

    "We routinely elevate delusional obsessives to high office" - yes

    "Every ninny may vote" yes and they should

    "Even Terry couldn't make it up" sadly not now

  • Comment number 33.

    20 - 20 WEB SIGHT (#26)

    I'm always hoping to incite some thought with the odd(!) insight Eco. That'll do nicely.

  • Comment number 34.

    In the Guardian Saakashvili says:

    "A year ago today, Russia's 58th Army crossed over Georgia's internationally recognised borders. Thus began what the evidence shows was a long-planned invasion aimed at toppling my government and increasing Moscow's control over our region. A year later, the results are not what the Kremlin expected."

    This appears to be based on zero evidence and Nato has not provided any satellite imagery that would show that the Russians had moved up forces ready for an invasion. Alternatively I have read reports that now there are large groups built up by the border.

    The ambush of Russia's advance units, reported by Newsnight later, suggests there was no kind of detailed plan.

    He also says nothing of any artillery bombardment of civilians.

    To me the blatant failure of the West to identify justly the true causes of the war means that there is still an ongoing risk of adventurism that could suck in Nato.

    If Miliband does perceive Russia as such a threat then its odd that Mandelson should be exposing himself to such risks on holidaying on Russian yachts.

    Have we rewarded Saakashvili for recklessly attacking civilians?

    I hope Joe Biden or Hilary Clinton is working behind the scenes.

  • Comment number 35.

    #31 kingcelticlion
    "Then the total disregard of the present financial strategy will collapse Earth systems amd wipe out the economy with it. NN seemed to have ignored the obvious."

    The amount of detail that you provide to back up your arguments goes a long way to supporting your claim that two Nobels are based on your work - but wait a minute there is no detail.

    Are you still getting over to Belfast?

  • Comment number 36.

    #27 ecolizzy

    "That's why I read any link people put up, and then a bit more. For example it never occured to me to look at the BNP site, but Gangofone, kept accusing me of being fascist, so I went and had a look, and now occassionaly I read that one as well."

    Given your clear overt support to the views expressed by Jaded_Jean that Hitler was a pace lover, there should be planned economies and the other elements of National Socialism, Holocaust "agnosticism", race "realism", eugenics and so on I suspect you have always been BNP.

    But you must be very weak willed.

    I am always told by the BNP posters that I am an "anarchist and Trotskyite" but I don't go off and start booking up on Leon.

    You said previously you would not visit London due to the racial mix and whilst I can't speak for every Londoner I am sure the great majority appreciate your absence.

  • Comment number 37.


    re all of the above, and mention of a bloggers club, why dont we all meet somewhere?

    alone we are one voice, but I have learned its numbers that get you noticed,

    perhaps there might be somewhere in the metropolis we could all meet? any suggestions?, we seem to be a very interesting crowd of independent minded people,

    re the spooks stuff, I fear there are too many spooks on the payroll, and not enough 'threats' so what easier to 'create' a threat, something safe, on your home ground, to justify your salary and perks,

    when we meet, I will arrive late and do a 'walk by' the see who is around

    best wishes

    United, we will never be defeated!

  • Comment number 38.

    'There are growing indications that Pakistan's most wanted man, Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, has been killed by a US missile.

    A Mehsud aide reportedly confirmed that he had died when a drone attacked the house where he was staying. '

    Why does Pakistan - who must know that democracy as they know it would end if the Taliban win - refuse to allow the US to "snatch" Taliban leaders.

    There would be less risk of civilian deaths and possible intelligence gains. Its not US boots on the ground as such.

    Also what are the noises on the Mumbai "controller" whose voice was recorded. Is there any prospect of identifying him? Did the gunman provide a sketch?

  • Comment number 39.

    I keep hearing that quantitative easing is being used to pump money into the (real ?) economy , but is it ?

    Who's debts (i-o-u's) is the BofE buying ?
    What percentage of the previous £125 billion has been spent on buying government debt (gilts) ?

    The whole sales pitch for QE (debasing Sterling) was to force down lending rates for companies to borrow at, but if the QE is manly being used to make up for the governments short fall in tax revenue, which I fear could be the case, taxpayers should be told this.

    You might also like to ask “The people that matter in Britain“ the £175 billion (so far) question, how are they going to take this extra money out of circulation when the time is judged right to do so ?

    I guess what I am getting at is this , what is the quality of the BofE QE loan book ?

    NN lead in piece mentioned £25 billion , should the figure have been an extra £50 billion (from 125 - 175 billion ) ?

  • Comment number 40.

    If on the economy liquidity issues are resolved by QE, loans and part nationalisations then why isn't lending to small businesses going up?

    Independent: 'The bank's comments come after Bank of England figures this week showed a £14.7 billion fall in loans to businesses between April and June.'

    Is it that reputable businesses with a good record are being starved of money due to fear or that as, I think, the mighty Vince Cable suggested the banks are trying to make a quick buck?

    But if so then the financial sector leadership issues are not anywhere near resolved and the regulation issues identified by the BoE can't wait until the next election and a new government. The whole country does rely on these people making the right decisions in a timely fashion.

    Brown tried to cover himself in glory by catching the economy falling - but he tripped it anyway.

    Darling actually gained real credit by steady, modest and honest actions.

    Does he not have to take a firm stand in the autumn for progressive regulatory change or risk being remembered as somebody who tried to apply a sticking plaster to a missing limb?

  • Comment number 41.

  • Comment number 42.

    "Her outspoken comments about rape, women in politics and bank bonuses have led to vitriolic attacks from some sections of the press. Why does Harriet Harman always attract such criticism?"

    Well perhaps because what the BBC highlight as her remarks about banks were actually rematks about how dreadful men are - all that testosterone apparently making us incapable of the sort of sensible financial decisions that would have made her such a wonderful proficient at banking if she had ever learned. Basically her answer to every problem is that men are to blame & she, being the logical woman candidate, should get more power. How, particularly when discussing rape this matches with things she has supported in government which the BBC will not let us discuss is a different question.

  • Comment number 43.

    Here's another way to get rid of the indigenous people of England... It makes more room for those labour voting immigrants. : (

  • Comment number 44.



    Thanks , that would be a logical explanation (eg only a extra £25 billion QE) , but it was widely reported as a £50 billion increase by SkyNews and by the BBC yesterday.

    Maybe it was easer to report the increase as £50 billion , rather than two sets of £25 billion increases.

    I don't know if you ever follow Mr Pestons blogs , but his latest post is interesting.

  • Comment number 45.


    There is another way of looking at the warning contained in the link you supplied.

    I have freqently mentioned my conviction (belief?) that nature attempts to take care of imbalances and weaknesses in all species; homosap alone has the brain to outwit natural selection - most of the time - leading to over-population and all the strife this causes ecologically and politically.

    Perhaps nature regards 'neets' (not in education, employment or training) as a weak link in the homsap species, and therefore expendable?

    I'm not actualy stating I take comfort from this, although it could be argued along Darwinian lines that 'Neets' are often a product of poor upbringing, neglect and/or not 'fit' enough to survive and integrate into the environment in which they find themselves.

    Whether this is the fault of equally 'unfit' parents, or social engineering that encouraged them to become of a culture in which they are not able to suceed is debatable. Just a thought.

  • Comment number 46.

    #45 indignantindegene yes you have made a very good point and I'm inclined to agree with you. When listening to these kids conversations, they do seem rather lacking in something, again like you I'm not sure why either. In some ways youngsters here don't seem interested in striving anymore, or having any ambition, they settle for less, I also don't understand that either. Unless they are totally burnt out by life in general. Perhaps they're all secrect hippies! ; )

    And your #10 also relating to #5 & 6, there is also something else I hate on BBC programmes. I've just been watching Blues on the BBC, and they kindly put up subtitles explaining who the groups are and what's happened to them. Well they might do, but this OAP or elderly citizen doesn't get time to read it all, it's so frustrating. Instead of youngsters setting all these things up, why don't they get an old codger who realises as you get older you can't read so fast! : (

  • Comment number 47.


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