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Friday 9 October 2009

Sarah McDermott | 16:46 UK time, Friday, 9 October 2009

Here's Kirsty with news of tonight's programmes:

Tonight it is all about fantasy and reality in Newsnight and Newsnight Review.

Stranger than fiction...

President Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize. It has been met, in the main, by shock and incredulity. As one US political commentator said, "Perhaps next they'll start giving Oscars not to the people who have made the best movies of last year, but to the people who have the best chance of making the best movies next year."

Mr Obama says he is "humbled" by the award given by the committee for giving America "hope for a better future."

Does he deserve it? Is he a peacemaker - yet? Has he made the weather in Iran, the Middle East, Russia, North Korea, Afghanistan? Our Diplomatic Editor, Mark Urban will be looking at his record so far.

Today President Obama holds the fourth of five summits to plan the next stage in Afghanistan - whether to send more troops of not. And we will be speaking to the author of the book which is said to have the answers to the Afghan problem - read by everyone in the White House, and to PJ Crowley, assistant secretary at the State Department.

Also tonight, will we have the energy or the money to keep the lights on in 2020? Today Ofgem issued a stark warning about energy prices, saying there is a "high likelihood" of increased energy bills, citing a combination of the need to establish energy security, clean coal technology, investment in new energy sources, and further technological advances to deal with climate change. Bills could rise by as much as twenty-five per cent. Paul Mason will analyse why this has happened and what needs to be done.

And we'll be asking the government minister responsible whether they are to blame and what they intend to do to sort it out.

And then on Review at 11pm: welcome to the fantasy factory!

On the thirtieth anniversary of Douglas Adams' best selling book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy we examine how far sci-fi and fantasy have come, and why.

From the geeky fringes of a counter culture, straight into the mainstream, to multi-million dollar Hollywood deals for the best directors and writers. Is the phenomenal success of a series like Flash Forward pure escapism, or a way of holding a mirror up to our dark times, when little of supposed reality makes sense?

We also examine the appeal of the hit film District 9, a mockumentary set in Johannesburg, in which aliens suffer a new apartheid, and are exploited by the city's violent gang culture.

I'll be joined by uber-geek turned Mr Hollywood cool, director Kevin Smith; comic genius Mark Millar - with his new geek turned superhero, Kick Ass; Eoin Colfer who has inhabited the interplanetary homemade weird-world of Hitchhiker's to write the sequel; writer and self confessed geek Natalie Haynes (minus the spots and specs); and award winning author Jeanette Winterson, who loves science, in fiction.

Together we'll discuss our voracious appetite for fantasy.

Do join us.


Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    It is good news, that President Obama of the United States won the Nobel *Peace* Prize..

    =Dennis Junior=

  • Comment number 2.

    "Tonight it is all about fantasy and reality in Newsnight and Newsnight Review.

    Stranger than fiction..."

    Tell us/me about it Kirsty, go on.... ;-)

  • Comment number 3.

    Examining all the circumstantial evidence it is pretty clear that the only reason why were are in the current threat of power cuts and massive increases in energy bills is almost all down to successive governments appeasing the eco-fascist lobby.

    The eco-fascists have long conspired with the UK energy producers cartel to prevent the introduction potentially cheap sources of electricity like the Severn Barrage and energy from waste incineration. The Severn Barrage could provide 5% of our energy base load, likewise the widespread introduction of waste incineration could provide at least 10% of our electricity base load. Waste incineration could transform the indoctrinated theoretical problem of excess packaging into a positive asset, likewise current fly tip problems like scrap tyres. The Severn Barrage ( and not forgetting Morecambe Bay ) plus widespread waste incineration could cut the cost of energy in the UK, the corporate multinational energy cartel do not want that, the eco-fascists are simply their propaganda arm, likewise on Nuclear.

    It is not a state secret that the Isle of Man generate 10% of their electricity base load from waste incineration, yet the the Tories never mentioned it once in their alleged conference future of energy and climate debate at Manchester this week. Building incinerators in rural areas would allow any waste heat to be used for greenhouses to grow food plants currently imported by air freight, away from housing any potential smell problem would be almost eradicated. They never specifically mentioned the Severn Barrage either, perhaps hardly surprising to see that the hall was half empty, perhaps due to delegates being sick to death of hearing about useless wind farms.

  • Comment number 4.


    "Let me be clear: I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations."

    Well if that isn't pure eight-letter-appendages, in the school of meaningless claptrap, epitomised by Tony the Great, tell me what is. It is also reminiscent of Arthur and Ford, trying to bamboozle Prostetnik Vogon Jeltz, from throwing them off the ship into deep space.

    In the words of Anthony Aloysius Hancock: "You've all gone ravin' mad."

  • Comment number 5.

    #63 from mimpromptu
    I'd be much more interested in knowing what your relative castigated you for rather than your answer to my question about gold, in fact, as I've never dreamt of being very, very rich although, I must admit, I wouldn't mind living in more luxury with enough dosh to be able to concentrate on my favourite activities and which, I'm sure, could potentially lead to earning my living in other ways rather than hard and repetitive slog I've had to do in all my previous jobs. I might as well add, Streetphotobeing, that I could never marry for money and the guy I did marry in the end was one of the most financially hopeless men I've ever known although originally he came from a rather wealthy family with private education, including the French Lycee, and all that.
    As for the traitors, well, these days I approach people I'm prepared to cooperate with, or simply help, with prepared caution and once betrayed turn my back to them. I'm not speaking here, however, of male/female affairs. That's a different story altogether. I don't see how I could possibly impose conditions of this sort on a person I might love. No human being really belongs to another, not even children belong to their parents once they begin to think for themselves. It's wonderful when a man and a woman commit themselves to each other and are happy to stick together for life but how often does it happen in reality? Ultimately, in my view, freedom and happiness of the person one loves are more important, however difficult it may be to live through. A relationship either works or it doesn't.
    I hope you too have a good evening, Streetphotobeing

  • Comment number 6.

    barrie (#4) But Obama just utters lines surely? Someone else writes them do they not? Politics is nearly all theatrics. Obama and his Grey Cardinals don't care about prizes, their audiences care about prizes. So what did the award of this prize really mean? Is it 'don't bomb Iran'?

  • Comment number 7.

    from mimpromptu to Streetphotobeing again
    Oh, and I wonder how jj is feeling tonight, still funky or desperate?

  • Comment number 8.

    WAR AND PEACE (#6)

    I think you reinforce the parallel JJ. Your decoding valid; then again, it might read 'don't shoot Barack'.

    Moving to the Blair presence in St Pauls, to comemmorate war, I wonder which of his income streams paid his expenses.

    How silly can British cultural comedy get before it falls apart?

  • Comment number 9.

    In the next few years the alleged eco-fascist inspired science ( on which the man made CO2 link to climate change ship is based ) could be fatally holed below the waterline and slowly sink into oblivion. Now the tree ring experts are challenging the quasi religious science, perhaps Eon has delayed the construction of the new Kingsnorth coal plant as a result. Perhaps if they wait a few years the whole green stock market parasite investment scam on things like carbon capture will be exposed. That is not to say that we should not make more environmentally friendly use of the planet's natural resources, but the current policy direction is sheer lunacy.

  • Comment number 10.

    STOP THAT BARRAK-ING (it's Oh-Balma to our ears)
    "Other nominees included Adolf Hitler (in 1939: later retracted) Joseph Stalin and Benito Mussolini. Since nomination requires only support from one qualified person, all nominations do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Nobel committee itself. Unlike the other Nobel Prizes, which recognize completed scientific or literary accomplishment, the Nobel Peace Prize may be awarded to persons or organizations that are in the process of resolving a conflict or creating peace." (Wikepedia)

    There you go, you cynics; it was he who declaimed 'Yes We Can' thus meeting the above criterion.

    Next year it may be Dave Cameraon's turn to win with "We're all in this together", in which case we should all get a share of the prize pietza.

  • Comment number 11.


    I thought only politicos change a question to provide the answer they want

    feel strongly President Obama deserves the Nobel peace prize, a preliminary sketch by someone who knows what they are doing is worth vastly more than a finished art work by someone who doesnt,

    President Obama has started the work, and is turning the US back to what it used to, after the nightmare of the Bush years, talking to the despots rather than bombing their people will win hands down,

    it is up to the Nobel committee who they award this honour to and why,

    re the price hikes in energy, the same now famous radio show with Victoria Derbyshire has also featured (unless it was Nicky Campbells earlier show !) a call from a Postie warning of what would lie ahead for us it the privateers get their way, jam today, and less post at higher prices later,

    the Utilities should be brought back into public ownership, as a mate said to me, who was Thatcher to sell back to us what we already owned,

    as flawed as her decision to withdraw the protection vessel off the Falklands that gave exactly the wrong message to the Junta...

  • Comment number 12.


    You might be able to guess where I come from getting castigated by the relative.

    My mate Anna from Accrington is a bit of a genius. I'm thinking to help her little makume gane and etching in gold fetish endeavours.

    Mim something rather problematic has happened to you which may well make the future difficult. I remember what you said about the advice from the doc on the money front. Its in my view a good way to go at least in the short term.

    A battle on land starts with a battle won in the mind even if the physical battle is lost. The Persians were defeated a year or so later at the Battle of Plataea.

    Do hope I haven't offended you.

  • Comment number 13.

    FAO: Streetphotobeing
    I haven't quite yet understood your #12 message but am sending a ditty I've come up on waking up:
    Streetphotobeing, I have just had my snooze
    Dreaming of ways of how not to lose
    My longstanding struggle for justice, freedom and peace
    Tonight I am wearing my black coloured fleece.

    During the day it was my blue
    Delighted to see the same colour hue
    Mr Obama wore for his tie
    Oh, what a sport he is, this American guy.

    P.S. I don't think you're likely to offend me, Streetphotobeing, as just having you as my electronic friend I can communicate and share my thoughts and rhyming emotions with is infinitely delightful.

  • Comment number 14.

    Do you think there's any chance of our government bringing in such regulations?

  • Comment number 15.

    #13 continuation from mimpromptu
    I have now done some thinking about your message but unfortunately cannot remember what I said about the doc. I'm quite happy about the way my mind is working both at the intellectual/logical and creative level and am absolutely over the moon to have been tapping into its taste for not only rhythm & rhyme but also for the nonsense, humour & absurd. I'm also over the moon the way my physical body is doing, what with all the gliding and twirling at Queen's /to a fantastically rhythmical Spanish musical piece this afternoon/.
    Plus, I have just watched Kirsty talking to Newsnight's American guests and wanted to say that as far as Afghanistan goes I don't have any firm ideas on how the international troops should be guided. It seems obvious they need to stay in the area for the time being and that they should be supported in the best possible way but otherwise I wouldn't like to pretend to have any prescriptions or even suggestions. It is simply not my area of expertise.
    Thank you again, Streetphotobeing, for all the attention you've been giving me.

  • Comment number 16.

    Cycling Casualties

    Its a long time ( 1993 ) since I was a wagon driver now but I would like to publicize some of my experiences with particularly the lycra clad toe clip professional ( fully paid up eco-fascist leaning type ) cyclists. One favourite trick was to come up level with the tractor unit drive axle ( right in your impossible blind spot ) and then cling onto the tautliner straps to save taking their feet out of their toe clips. You could only see them once you had moved off, themselves wobbling as they let go after an initial tow as far as they dare. It should be unlawful to overtake a goods vehicle on the nearside like it was in Australia back in 1987 when I was out there. Trailers were clearly make " no overtaking " on the nearside, anybody who got squashed undertaking was laughed at by the traffic police. Its all about education really, I would always get as close as possible to the nearside kerb to prevent any cyclist sneaking up your nearside and trying to race you. Now they are theoretically given a green light to do this potentially dangerous practice with some cycle lanes at traffic lights.

    Another favourite trick of the lycra uniformed potential eco-fascists was to race you to the narrow bit, then relax and slow down at least 5 Mph. This causes unnecessary fuel wastage and the resultant extra pollution from all HGV's and buses, perhaps to a point where the alleged eco-friendly cyclist actually generates more pollution on his journey than what he would have personally emitted had he caught the bus instead.

    Of course the pollution aspect has vastly increased since the introduction of " traffic calming " measures like pedestrian refuge islands, build outs from the kerb on a once wide road perfectly safe for cyclists except the potential hazard of parked cars. If anyone had deliberately set out to design death traps for cyclist it is doubtful that they could have made a better job than traffic calming.

    Its the lycra uniformed eco-fascists who cause the bulk of potential danger on our urban roads, civilian pleasure cyclists are hardly ever a problem. Likewise on fast trunk roads, all cyclists should be allowed to use the almost totally deserted footpaths for safety and promoting smooth traffic flow. In towns specific cycle routes running virtually parallel to main routes should be cleared of parked cars on at least one side of the road. It wont be popular with residents but it will save both lives and pollution.

  • Comment number 17.


    The Poet Laureate wrote a poem for the Today program, on the 2009 theme: 'Heroes and Heroines'. Carol Ann Duffy, wrote a poem entitled: "Atlas" but in Kirsty's piece above, I see no mention. It must fall to me, therefore, to tell you, it is a mess. It has all the signs of being written without enthusiasm. What is more, Atlas was not a hero (as Duffy tells us, three times over, he was a 'very naughty boy' whom Zeus condemns to hold on his shoulders - not the Earth - as Duffy and many others believe, but the Heavens (while kneeling on the earth). Lists of creatures, rivers, mountains and more creatures, make one think this is a transcript of 'Just a Minute'. Surely 'Review' could have had some sport with this?

  • Comment number 18.

    from mimpromptu
    And to finish off, Streetphotobeing, before further snoozing, I'd like to say that I discovered yesterday that considering all the disadvantages I have to deal with, my financial position is still rather good so I should be fine carrying on with my favourite activities at present while looking for new opportunities in the future.
    Have a good weekend, Streetphotobeing, but I should imagine I shall be dittying to you again throughout its duration.

  • Comment number 19.

    I was president of Hull Uni's "Sci-fi & fantasy appreciation society" for two years, I consider myself a geek. And the best thing i've ever heard is this by Isaac Asimov: "Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today—but the core of science fiction, its essence ... has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all. "

  • Comment number 20.

    He may be president, Nobel Prize winner, superman, deity etc.

    But Newsnight still can't spell his name right on a graphics package...pathetic.

  • Comment number 21.

    #17 from mimpromptu
    It is indeed more than regrettable that no mention was made by the Newsnight Review of the National Poetry Day. In fact, I consider it shameful.
    But I should imagine you realise why - Newsnight is largely 'driven' by geeks, that's why, and one of them is jj on a rampage of his little private obsessions. If I were Kirsty I would have put my foot down in protest but then again Kirsty is not Madam Mim, is she? Although they did end last night's Newsnight with T. S. Eliot reciting the following lines:
    Who then devised the torment? Love.
    Love is the unfamiliar Name
    Behind the hands that wove
    The intolerable shirt of flame
    Which human power cannot remove.
    We only live, only suspire
    Consumed by either fire or fire.

    Have a good weekend, Barrie

  • Comment number 22.

    from mimpromptu
    What did I say? More ditties. What I think I might do is to keep sending more stanzas of a longer entity revolving around our most recent correspondence and the shenanigans going on at Newsnight as and when they are ready so that I don't feel restrained time wise.
    Some of them I might just post to you without any textual explanation.
    By the way, I'm quite happy about the message from Barack Obama for the time being and should I have any specific suggestions about one thing or another I'll let him know.
    Kind regards
    Streetphotobeing, I keep rereading your relative message
    And now understand the one on the doc.
    There is absolutely no way I could possibly agree
    To live for much longer immersed in the foliage
    Dead long ago, rotten to boot
    Playing his game ‘Oh, what a hoot!’.

    I’ll have to find alternative ways
    Of getting more rest away from the geeks
    And have a few ideas already in place,
    More independent from politics we face.

  • Comment number 23.

    from mimpromptu
    Streetphotobeing, have you read the last of Brossen’s reports
    On his and those of jj’s illuminating cohorts?
    What breadth of vision of how to proceed
    And how to further pursue their bodily needs!

  • Comment number 24.

    from mimpromptu to Streetphotobeing:
    One thing, you know, I don’t need much praise
    For what I’m up to, how I paraphrase
    Or how I glide or twirl, whatever I do.
    I do have in my attic a rather nice loo.

  • Comment number 25.

    mimpromptu (#21) "But I should imagine you realise why - Newsnight is largely 'driven' by geeks, that's why, and one of them is jj on a rampage of his little private obsessions. If I were Kirsty I would have put my foot down in protest but then again Kirsty is not Madam Mim, is she?"

    Maybe if you spent less time ego-centrically twirling and a little more allocentrically following Current Events, you'd be less surprised by the quite unremarkable similarities between what I cover in my posts and material being produced by the Newsnight Team and other sources.

    Taking a few cues here might help you get a better sense of balance. What I've been offering here has been benevolent. What you offer in return is not, and isn't a sound strategy for improving your peace of mind.

    I suggest you put your learning instead of twirling cap on, and that you choose your online friends more carefully.

  • Comment number 26.

    To be fair to Obama, it seems he did not seek, or know (but... was the shortlist secret?) about his gong. Hmnn.

    Not sure tying to 'rig' US foreign policy is very smart.

  • Comment number 27.

    from mimpromptu

    Streetphotobeing, it is quite amazing
    How much learning can be done by twirling
    And how much twirling can be done by learning.
    Sturdy balance is required and the head clear
    Not to bump into those who are standing near.

    It’s just an example, Streetphotobeing,
    How amazing learning by twirling can be,
    Or the other way round.
    In the UK we still have a pound.


  • Comment number 28.


    There was a really engaging piece (package?) on 'Today' where two 'otherish' blokes discussed a word of recent - once removed - televisual offence (allegedly).

    I was struck by the Manglish used by one of them. He was using the 'clamped jaw' version of English, albeit with a full command of grammar and syntax, plus an extensive vocabulary. On the Kirsty Scale, he scored quite low (10 is incoherent) but I had to concentrate somewhat, nevertheless.

    If an ethnik speaking Manglish applies for a job in - say - fire or police service, where instant communication can save life, with tribunals looming, how should the selection panel decide? By extension, how many of the many 'accidents' in the building trade are 'communication mediated'? Would anyone dare say?

    And finally: I want something done about the 'G' word (geek). From now on I suggest they be called: Bell Curve Terminators (BCTs) - much more edgy.

  • Comment number 29.


    This, I suggest, requires careful, and critical reading. take none it at face value, but look into all of the assertions critically, and fairly. Look for points which may be just a little economical with the truth, and ask whether it is just conceivable that this may be a way of proscribing statism, i.e economic regulation. Remember, the right-wing is free-market libertarianism not fascism/nazism (they were left-wing). Libertarianism of the Austrian, Frankfurt and Chicago School is another term for anarchism believe it or not. Statism, i.e a planned, command economy, nationally, is, on the other hand Socialism in One Country as Stalin called it. It is in fact, National Socialism. This is what Old Labour strove to build in Britain after WWII as the Welfare State. What demonstrably happens when the markets are deregulated?

    Now, ask yourself, why might the EU (Poland and the Czech Republic are the last two EU-27 states still to ratify the Lisbon Treaty and the Czech Republic still has a quibble) be so eager to proscribe national socialism (think Old Labour not baby gassers)? Why does the BNP elicit such hissy-fits from all three main British parties when many of its polices are remarkably like those of Old Labour?

    What do articles like that provided off the title of this post really seek to reinforce, and why? What were the 'allies' really trying to do after WWII, and what is 'freedom and dignity' if the diversity in our behaviour, our interests etc is largely driven by the proteins expressed by our genes?

  • Comment number 30.

    barrie (#28) "And finally: I want something done about the 'G' word (geek). From now on I suggest they be called: Bell Curve Terminators (BCTs) - much more edgy."

    Sadly, the cosmopolitan anarchists have already expropriated that role!

  • Comment number 31.

    from mimpromptu
    My imagination is running wild, Streetphotobeing.
    There must be magic out there.
    Oh, what shall I wear, what shall I wear?

  • Comment number 32.

    And Barrie what about the five and half thousand deaths and serious injuries in the NHS, are they due to Manglish?

  • Comment number 33.

    Also Barrie have you ever heard of this site?

  • Comment number 34.

    Why do we promote/ecourage advertising for charities for children in need in Africa etc when their TFRs are way above replacement level, and ours are way below replacement level! It's stupid! It's like paying for rods for our own backs if not biological extinction. It's a case of primitive brain functions over-ruling higher brain functions aka stupidity.

  • Comment number 35.

    I have been a newsnight junkie for years. Ms Wark's interview on the power problem was by far the worst I have ever heard (and there is competition)The subject is significant for all of us and the usual good intro Paul Mason (he's a gem) was then wrecked by getting two politicians into the studio and not even attempting to listen to what they had to say. Interruption interruption interruption seems to be the motto. KW's views are of no interest at all and her persistent attempts to put words into the chaps' mouths spoilt the whole thing. And it might have been a good idea to have an impartial expert like the man from the regulator who had been on he news earlier. Or is it that a genuine expert wouldn't want to waste his time?

  • Comment number 36.


    A while back I quoted David Miliband verbatim who said at the Labour Party Conference that the starting of New Labour's politics was that all men and women were created equal. But the fact is, that isn't Old Labour's starting point at all. That's Trotskyite/Anarchist. They were sent into Russia in 1917 to wreck the country, by the Germans! What is New Labour doing?

    This nonsense is why Michael Young (who drafted the famous 1945 Labour Party manifesto which created what we came to know as the Welfare state) was so critical of Tony Blair's misappropriation, and misuse of the term meritocracy which he coined in the 1950s! Old Labour begins with the understanding that people are not born equal, but that a place in society can and should be found From each according to his ability, to each according to his need". Marx understood Darwin!

    It is anarchists or Trotskyites who make out that everyone is the same or equal and these are deregulators/wreckers states, not builders. That everyone is equal or the same simply is not true, as anyone who can use a ruler or their eyes (are these going to be banned soon as discriminatory/biased?) should know!

    Why are we being harassed by peculiar people like Harriet Harman who does not appear to understand the nature of diversity and yet is Minister for Equality?

    Are they on drugs?

  • Comment number 37.

    hallatrow (#35) Kirsty is from that inspired but lost generation which was misled by anarchists into believing that truth could be pursued via 'argument'. In fact, argument just causes confusion and error.

    Today BBC news reports of a demonstration in Manchester against Islamic Extremists. Meanwhile, DATELINE with Gavin Esler covered, amongst other issues, our enemy The Taliban. The problem is that the Taliban are fighting off what they consider to be Satanic Liberal-Democracy. It is the Liberal-Democracies which went on Jihad to Iraq and Afghanistan and which now threaten Iran! It is Liberal-Democracy which is slowly killing off its own people via chronic, below replacement level, fertility rates. Check out all Liberal Democracies and their TFRs! The only attacks upon the Liberal-Democracies is when their forces go on Jihad to other countries in order to spread their economic anarchism in the name of 'freedom' or blow-back domestically in the wake of Liberal-Democratic Jihad! What sort of freedom is demographic self-extinction?

    People need to wake up to who is peddling this anarchism. It was done in 1917, it was done to Russia in the 1990s and it is now being done again to the USA and EU - it shows up through a cursory examination of statistics assuming population base rates. Anarchism may be an alien concept to some - but it is in fact Libertarianism.

  • Comment number 38.


    Plenty of cause for weeping there JJ. I have read 'The Blank Slate' - after watching Pinker on the web. I must re-read the chapter on m/f, as Murray prompts - especially as I could not help feeling Pinker has an underlying agenda that bends his stance here and there?

    Will such insight EVER mediate British governance? Can anyone imagine grabbing the attention of Brown, Straw, Miliband (either) Benn, et al, with scholarship that urges SELF-INSPECTION? Quick - let's bomb someone to take our minds off it.

  • Comment number 39.

    energy is a privatise the profit socialise the 'investment' game.

    the energy regulator is a joke. despite a collapse in energy prices there has been no pressure to stop the exploitation of the british people.

    it was gordon who blocked every bill to bring a feed in tariff. so almost uniquely the uk is near the bottom of the league.

  • Comment number 40.


    What a can of worms Lizzie - it almost doesn't bear thinking about. Your link smelt fishy to me - did you get this far?

    PASTED FROM SITE: "Like lots of web sites the basic service is free. But it turns out that hospitals and primary care trusts and lots of other organisations are happy to pay a modest annual subscription to make using Patient Opinion even easier. Doing this means that it becomes very easy for them to post a response and they can direct stores to 'just the right manager' in the organisation. Subscribers can compare how they are doing and generate reports.

    Having contracts with many different NHS and private sector providers means that Patient Opinion can remain financially independent of any particular organisation."

    It looks a bit Weasely to me. I think 'cherchez la quango' is in order.
    I 'sampled' 'PALS' when John was beiNg ill-used by the NHS, and did not feel they were MY troops. I get fed up with mediators and fudges.

    I hope the above jaundice is not offensive - none intended.

  • Comment number 41.


    Westminster game-playing elevates nutters. Looking at the last few decades, this can not be in any doubt. By my observations, and those of Chris Mullin (that seem to confirm) Brown is a Jekyll and Hyde split (hence his reported warmth in personal matters and surly, raging, Machiavellian 'joy', in matters political).

    Once at the top in a hierarchical system, absolute power over the careers of those below (who are rising spawn of the same system anyway) controls their behaviour. Attempted coups are very risky.



  • Comment number 42.

    in a post christian west, in the search for the sacred, the role of the novel is to save the soul and heal the state.

    kirsty, the famous website slayer, seemed to enjoy saying geeks too much? but then the yapparrazzi often do use words like bullets fired from trench clearing machine guns?

  • Comment number 43.

    barrie (#38) "Will such insight EVER mediate British governance? Can anyone imagine grabbing the attention of Brown, Straw, Miliband (either) Benn, et al, with scholarship that urges SELF-INSPECTION? Quick - let's bomb someone to take our minds off it."

    They know it only too well, they must do. Murray is not low profile amongst politicos. They just ignore it as it is a most inconvenient truth for Liberal-Democracy, i.e the New Left Anarchism aka free-market libertarianism which has ruled our waves for decades.

    I'm just hoping that a few (naive?) readers hear will see how and why this is definitely the case. Surely some can see how their state has been sold off as 'inefficient' whilst be rendered so through bad recruitment and retention? Surely they hear the promises to sell off assets which are 'not needed'? It's all spun so craftily well, and, like the doctors who were effectively paid off in the NHS to keep them quiet, so are those in HMG and its opposition(s).

    It's quick sickening. If you bring up race you are vilified, even if you are doing so to highlight how minorities are abused in this predatory game........

  • Comment number 44.

    erratum (#43) "readers here will see how and why

    For the modus operandi of how some of our public sector agencies (e.g Probation) have been 'sabotaged', look into how recruitment quotas/targets were made a function of local ethnic minority population rates. That is, targets were set so that if it were the case that the local area (e.g. London) was X% of a group, then ethnic minority recruitment was to reflect this. That assumes that mean IQ of all ethnic groups is the same, and of course, it isn't. The consequence was/is dumbed down public services - i.e inefficiency which can them be privatised or otherwise got rid of...

  • Comment number 45.


    Recruitment as described by JJ, only makes some sort of sense (though a sort that doesn't stand scrutiny) if an 'ethnicity assessment' is done before engagement.

    Suppose a fight breaks out in a pub between three types of ethnik, a lesbian and a man in a gorilla suit . . . The fact that the local police have, brilliantly, hired relevant officers, does not make them available for any one incident. And that is before we get onto the IQ of the 'gorilla'.

  • Comment number 46.

    #40 from mimpromptu
    Barrie, when I worked at St George's I thought PALS were doing rather well with keeping on the side of the patient. The messages from the Chief Executive, especially in the last few months that I was there, always emphasised good care of the patient well and above governmental instructions. I e-mailed him just before leaving to thank him for his support and he very kindly responded wishing me all the best for the future which I thought was rather lovely. He obviously didn't feel too grand to communicate with me.

  • Comment number 47.

    #41 from mimpromptu
    Although I understand completely what you mean by SPOIL PARTY GAMES /in fact, I'm probably best 'qualified' to understand, what with the raging gorilla, etc/ I'm still resisting going as far as that hoping that Gordon and Pete crack up soon enough giving way to a rethought form of democracy in this country. Your idea about as many independents as possible sounds quite good but I wouldn't recommend total abandonment of party divisions as I'm sure that would lead to complete chaos. There is no way, anyway, of avoiding the greedy and power hungry whatever walk of life one is engaged in.

  • Comment number 48.

    from mimpromptu
    My imagination was still running wild this afternoon. When sitting at the tables opposite the ice rink I thought I saw Leonard Cohen driving along Queensway but he never appeared so I must have been mistaken. In fact, although there were quite a few people on ice when I got there I did manage to move around his 'Villanelle For Our Time', 'There For You', 'Lady Midnight' and 'The Partisan'. I was going to stay after 2 pm to do more but it was too crowded.

  • Comment number 49.

    from mimpromptu
    Unless the gorilla is stopped I'm not going to play any active part in politics from now on. I'm sure they'll carry on trying to use me but I'm going to put quite a bit of resistance to their attempts.

  • Comment number 50.

    from mimpromptu to Barrie and Streetphotobeing
    I've just posted some of our most recent correspondence to Barack Obama and David Cameron boiling down really to there being limits to everything.

  • Comment number 51.


    barrie (#45) Here's some evidence from one area, just in case you have nothing better to do. Those who have been keeping an eye on the Home Office at the time may wince a bit, given the 'unfit for purpose' saga, but the same was the case across other departments I suggest. New Labour has not been all it seems to some perhaps?

  • Comment number 52.


    Perhaps today's revalations about " tears in his retina " are a signal that Gordon Brown himself is putting the country first by seeking an excuse to resign without forcing an early general election ?

  • Comment number 53.


    But it could explain why, with all his monetary wizardry, and close connections stateside, he didn't see the crash coming.

    Most likely his Weasel Tank has computed he can get some popularity advantage through this announcement. The Captain has super-glued himself to the wheel. Steady as she goes. The ship is in stoic hands. Set course for the White Cliffs. Etc.

  • Comment number 54.


    Oh JJ! That is exactly the sort of data that fuse my brain. I could see it, but it meant little to me. Put it down to IQ . . .

  • Comment number 55.

    from mimpromptu
    I find it difficult to explain but Queensway's was swarming with men endowed with moustaches today, round every corner, right, left and centre. They were there in force. On one of the chairs opposite the ice rink when I arrived. Then I looked right, another one was sitting outside 'Waffles' followed by several cars with number plates including no 52 and driven by more men with moustaches. And inside the rink, of course, that's 'normal', standing there probably waiting for Madam Mim to skate up to 'him' and give him a pat or a kiss, something like that anyway. On Friday when David Cameron was delivering his speech a moustacho man had a camera in his hands filming and a roundish young man whose name begins with j. ostensibly pulled out a small bottle of water making sure I noticed, and so and so forth. Week after week, day after day sprinkled with boys/men with blondish hair wearing glasses, and so on and so forth. Week after week, day after day. Gordon and Pete found themselves very able and attractive spokesmen. Bravo! And it's been going on for years now. If not in one place than another.

  • Comment number 56.

    from mimpromptu and not you

    Madam Mim has a feeling in her bones

    Madam Mim is feeling
    An evolutionary chain skipping
    It’s a secret, however, how
    She’ll deal with the cow.

    It’s useful to her to be called sacred
    When dealing with the hatred
    That’s entered her DNA
    With visits to the V&A.

  • Comment number 57.

    from mimpromptu to Streetphotobeing
    It used to be gremlins and now it is geeks,
    They all like to display the well nuded Greeks.
    Madam Mim does not find it exciting
    Be they bronze or in marble it is not enticing
    To awake in Madam Mim’s any real feelings
    And it is not for Madam Mim anything revealing.

    A doubt has crept in into her soul
    Whether this is it, Streetphotobeing,
    With yet one more down who’s to her appealing.

    I know it’s not jj who is in fact you
    He’s led by the nose being made a fool
    But for how long is it going to last?
    Madam Mim’s changing, she is changing fast.

    Madam Mim never liked the game
    The whole thing to her is far too much tame
    She’s been playing along to make someone well
    Now the job is done she bids her farewell.

    Unless she is confronted direct and outright
    The time may have come for another flight.
    It is just possible she may never catch
    A man who really is a real match.

  • Comment number 58.

    barrie (#53) "Most likely his Weasel Tank has computed he can get some popularity advantage through this announcement."

    Yes, that seems likely - still when your party's wrecking ('deconstructing') the nation, it's hard to think how else he could secure any brownie points.

    As to my example of how things were awry not just in health-care but elsewhere, see the 'snapshot' Workforce Profile Report Issue 3 of the demographic profile of the NPS workforce as at 31 December 2005
    and look at the first page on the targets as well as the gauges on page 12/35.

    Bear in mind that in the USA, the Black American IQ mean is 85 and that of East Asians is about 105 relative to White Europeans/Americans with mean of 100). Hispanic Americans (high and breeding fast as they are Catholics, in California, USA's first failed state?) is between that of White Americans/Europeans and Black Americans. If one assumes that 100 is the mean and that probation work is professional, a group mean of 85 means that only about 16% of such a group will have an IQ above 100, and only about 2.5% will be above 115. Just for balance, Indian Britons do better in tests and school SATs, than White Britons (although this population is a selective elite which migrated to the UK as doctors, business-people etc after India's independence and Uganda's problems in the 70s. This was not the case with respect to the other two South Asia groups migration, who came mainly from poor areas of Bangladesh and Pakistan).

    As I see it, minorities and targets (see above) have been used to clobber Public Services in the interest of free-market anarchism (state-wrecking), and anyone who points to the realities, be that about the dire effect on health-care, criminal justice or education delivery etc is made to feel guilty for just pointing out what are the facts and logic, namely, that groups are not equal in their parameters of cognitive ability and ignorance of this impacts on work, Public Service efficacy and safety, not to mention the economy (GDP etc) :-(

  • Comment number 59.

    from mimpromptu
    Madam Mim would like to confirm that her IQ ranges between 50 and 55.

  • Comment number 60.

    Mimpromptu (#55) Are you a fan of The Village People and/or TinTin media? Are you getting enough sleep? Maybe you are twirling too fast?

  • Comment number 61.

    from mimpromptu
    I'm ready for more twirling and may I write to you again from Queensway.
    Hope you have a good day

  • Comment number 62.

    it's not actually about education - it's about personality.
    corporations do not need language proficiency - it is now quite frowned on in the corporate sector to be pedantic about spelling and grammar.
    and corporations certainly do not need 'knowledge'.
    corporations do need technical skills but this is overshadowed by the need for 'account managers' etc. who grease the wheels of 'trade' and the merely perfunctionary data handlers.
    the end result is the same, but the divide between global elite and local servile communities (autonomous communities in Brussels terminology) will not be about IQ but about emotional intelligence, communication skills, etc. ....unless the current explosion in broad-spectrum autism can effect a cultural revolution - mim's well on the way!

  • Comment number 63.


    wappaho (#62) "unless the current explosion in broad-spectrum autism can effect a cultural revolution"

    Methinks that's how high verbal (feminized-brain?) folk like Simon Baron-Cohen would like to pathologize real scientists and other male-brained persons (aka geeks!) Anyone who disagrees, well, just remember what those evil statist Germans and other gentiles got up to through their love of technology and order! ;-)

  • Comment number 64.

    From mimpromptu
    kill me now then jj
    what are you waiting for?

  • Comment number 65.

    mimpromptu (#64) Is that a Roberta Flack line? ;-)

    I'm not very good at the metaphysical stuff, barrie's the one who's good at that, although I fear if you keep it up, you may serve as a potent conditional inhibitor on that front ;-)

  • Comment number 66.

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

  • Comment number 67.

  • Comment number 68.

    I'm outside Queen's waiting
    For the ice to be resurfaced
    Before further engaging
    In gliding and twirling

  • Comment number 69.

    i was thinking more of the neurodiversity movement which posits the re-emergence of pre-patrifocal traits

  • Comment number 70.

    Has newsnight been good this week? I've missed alot of Camaron Prime Minister now.

    The 'other half' phoned me up the other day to tell me: the fella I watch on the tube has just walked into the building; apparently she said "hello Jeremy"..and he gave her a smile back. She told me Jeremy is very handsome. I told her thats because he went to Cambridge, she was somewhat puzzeled so i explained to her if Boris Johnson had not gone to Eton but to the local comprehensive, Boris would be collecting trollies at the local tescos (an easy image to imagine) This puzzled her even more. I said "Jeremy could so easily have been a drunken bum and not so handsome but for the good fortune of a top-end education". There was a long pause...I told her to remember to feed the fish and then hung up.

  • Comment number 71.

    wappaho (#69) I had a look at the link. It's nuts. Trust me.

    Genes make proteins which make bodies. That's what diversity is about:- polymorphisms and their expressions. Some groups have more than their fair share of some polymorphisms (from BRCA1 & BRCA2 to CYP21), a result of inbreeding aka endogamy - a gene-barrier. This shows up in a higher frequency/prevalence of some behaviours (traits) and disorders in some groups. We call these stereotypes sometimes.

  • Comment number 72.

    well, that's a vote in favour of high quality education, then? but if you saw JP's 'who do you think etc.' you'd see that he is descended from quite strong moral fibre - his great grandmother had the choice of being a bum (actually a prostitute) or joining the sally army and she chose the latter, rose high in the ranks too.

  • Comment number 73.

    wappaho (#72) "well, that's a vote in favour of high quality education, then?"

    Can you expand on that a little? I don't follow.

  • Comment number 74.

    from mimpromptu
    quite a lady, she was, JP's grandmother
    he must be proud of her
    and his grandad from the other side of his family, if I remember correctly

  • Comment number 75.

  • Comment number 76.

    #65 jj
    Do you mean the one accompanied by water pipes and a humming nose/moan from the cool place?

  • Comment number 77.

    ecolizzy (#75) Although the EU Lisbon 53 Article FCHR is 'red-lined' by Britain, who knows what will happen once Lisbon is finally ratified by the Czech Republic as the 1998 HRA only has 18 Articles and we derogate from some.

    Some are also trying to swing this. It's not what it seems I suggest. To some it's a way of making the tenets of liberal-democratic libertarianism next to impossible to challenge. Many will not see how alas.

    The right to run a (big) business hides a multitude of sins, as we all should have seen long, long ago, not just in recent times. :-(

  • Comment number 78.

    correction to #76
    I meant to say noise
    besides, ('60) I thought my ditties were worthless, my twirling too fast and my female IQ not good enough? I'm afraid there are too many differences between us. How about finding another girl? Have you checked whether Madonna is free to do some pole dancing for you?

  • Comment number 79.

    impromptu (#76) Nope. I am not literally referring to that stuff one puts in one's central heating system to get rid of odd noises! I am referring to social/peer pressures - e.g. political correctness. That is, the sorts of noises emitted by the likes of thegangofone and Harriet Harman etc.

    Come to think of it, maybe there is a similarity to that stuff which causes noises in central heating systems!

  • Comment number 80.

    from mimpromptu
    Streetphotobeing, I am just listening
    To a passionate singer who came from Brussels
    Jacques Brel was his name used to composing
    His own music as well as his verse.

  • Comment number 81.

    #81 jj
    you've been revealing quite a few secrets about yourself recently

  • Comment number 82.

    mimpromptu (#78) I think you must be confusing me with someone else. I'm not one of those people after you, nor do I have any secrets. I'm just not that way inclined ;-)

  • Comment number 83.


    BBC and ITV are now competing for media ratings via faux-PC issues. We have fake/contrived race/gay Strictly/X-Factor 'controversies'. Wasn't all this sort of thing supposed to be long over?

    The sort of gullible people taken in by The X Factor etc and its obviously contrived/formulaic emoting now appear to be moving into Newsnight territory, sadly :-(

  • Comment number 84.


    Good. Iran is a bit bigger than Gaza (10x population of Israel), so there probably wouldn't be much left of the Israeli military if it ever attacked Iran (alone) one suspects?

  • Comment number 85.

    so why did you say a few weeks ago that I was earning my living by sex?
    what do you mean by 'central heating' rather than water pipes as I called them?
    why and who are you threatening in the paragraph at #63: 'Methinks that's how high verbal (feminized-brain?) folk like Simon Baron-Cohen would like to pathologize real scientists and other male-brained persons (aka geeks!) Anyone who disagrees, well, just remember what those evil statist Germans and other gentiles got up to through their love of technology and order! ;-)'?
    did you have anything to do with Newsnight Review geeks last Friday?
    why do you think Kirsty finished the programme saying 'may the geeks with you'?

  • Comment number 86.

    oh, and why are you so concerned about my sleep pattern? I don't think I've mentioned anything about it on these pages.

  • Comment number 87.

    #85 & #86 continuation of -
    And 3 more questions if I may:
    1. It's sometimes difficult to see whether you are on the right or the left of Britsh politics? Do you have a friend on the right whose initials are DM?
    2. Do you think you are sexy?
    3. Some time ago you were saying something about demographics and your intention to defend it. Was it anything to do with a friend of yours whose initials are JGr? Are you all geeks?

  • Comment number 88.


    "Last month, Peter Hain's cabinet colleague John Denham warned of "parallels" between rightwing groups protesting in Muslim neighbourhoods and Oswald Mosley's incendiary marches through Jewish areas of east London in the 1930s."

    When Mosley and his group marched throught East London, they had communists/anarchists in mind (here Trotskyites not Stalinists), not Jews per se. This Hain line is a classic subterfuge, i.e hiding one political identity behind another, here a coterminus (anarchist and Jewish) membership shared by many (but not all) Jews (see Hansard 1919), Most people have a hard time with classes, and that difficulty is exploited by some....

    Ashley Cole would be classed as Black British by all government departments accoding to the standard HMG 16+1 ethnicity coding scheme.

  • Comment number 89.

    mimpomptu #86 "why are you so concerned about my sleep pattern?"

    I am making some helpful suggestions as to what might account for your bizarre, if not paranoid, posts to this blog.

  • Comment number 90.

    from mimpromptu
    I wonder whether you’ve had a good weekend.
    Today I twirled to Salif Keita, who would be nice to have as friend.
    He is an albino with a golden voice
    His ‘Sosie’ album was my today’s choice.

    After Salif I danced to Brel
    It did feel good. ‘Did it look well?’,
    I wonder to those who saw me gliding,
    Waving my arms as well as twirling?

    One lady told me she did enjoy it.
    It’s good to hear some comments to it.
    I had some pains around my bowels
    And should be careful about my vowels.

  • Comment number 91.

    mimpromptu (#86) "so why did you say a few weeks ago that I was earning my living by sex?"

    I didn't.

    Like so much else that you post, you just misunderstand what you read, and falsely attribute what you imagine to others.

    The rest of your post is more of the same.

  • Comment number 92.

    ah, well, I was hoping you'd answer my questions one by one
    When I used to listen to Europe1 I remember them talking about getting rid of rivals one by one, quite a lot in fact.
    There is an expression in Polish which in direct translation would read as 'to lie into live eyes' but I think it would be better rendered as 'to lie straight into the eyes' or something like that.

  • Comment number 93.

    mim what was it like living under communism in Poland? Or were you a child and don't remember?

  • Comment number 94.

    #93 from mimpromptu
    It was awful and extremely hard. My family always included kids in most of the discussions so we were brought up well aware of everything. There were different factions within the family with some of the younger generation siding with the left while others were church goers, etc, and as usual I was right in the middle of it, torn apart by all that while obviously loving them all. I won't go into all the details here, however. Sometimes I was allowed to go church and sometimes I wasn't and so it went, etc. I learned to adapt to each situation as it arose and that's why perhaps I feel I have an open minded attitude to things but, as you can see for yourself, I've found myself in this country to be put upon by a few individuals trying to change me which is an absolutely hopeless attempt.
    Poland being Poland, despite all the difficulties of everyday living, my blood and extended family didn't allow themselves to be suppressed in being themselves and the Polish spirit was always well & kicking.
    However, it wasn't always easy to deal with institutional establishments and I remember being punished at school for being honest about my family pre-war past, for example.
    I could go on and on about the dreariness of communism, about its predilection for victimisation, etc, etc.
    I love freedom ecolizzy, both for myself and others, especially those I like and respect and do not like putting conditions on my friendships and closer relationships. They either work and they do not, and I've learned to be able to move on from those that don't.
    Thank you for asking,eEcolizzy, but could you just tell me whether you know Jezza personally?

  • Comment number 95.

    from mimpromptu
    Streetphotobeing, it is now Monday
    Neither a Wednesday is it nor Friday
    But it is a new day, it being Monday
    Hoping to meet you one lovely day

    Be it Birmingham or be it London
    Let’s keep preserving our bon ton.

  • Comment number 96.

    I wonder whether you're awake? If you are, perhaps you could answer me at least one question out of all the others that you have avoided so far with your skilfully working brain?
    Do you believe you are sexy?
    And - Are you feeling funky just now?
    After all, it's not much to ask for, is it?

  • Comment number 97.

    #94 continuation from mimpromptu
    It was only my mum and dad that belonged to the workers party in their youth. My dad was a true idealist but really more of a dreamy intellectual than anything else and with his stories he talked my mum into the marriage. I can't remember whether he stopped being a party member or not but I think he did and, whatever, he died a very broken man. I have previously written about him on these pages, I think.
    My mum definitely gave up on the workers party and joined the Solidarity movement. She was very brave indeed when it came to it and I was terribly scared for her while having to deal with all the crap while studying Russian. My position at the University may have been compromised by the fact that my academic reference came from a South African Professor who immigrated with his family to this country and who may have been a 'communist', but I'm not sure. He was a friend of mine's dad. She is now a well known writer and playwright. I met her again at the French Institute a few years ago but she cut me off one evening, probably for talking too much about my French Professor[Personal details removed by Moderator].
    I hope this explains the confusion about my political background. As you're probably aware I used to be a member of the Conservatives in this country but have decided never to join any party ever again but of course do have my own political preferences though they largely depend on the human factor of those who represent this or that movement.
    Right from the beginning I thought I could trust Barack Obama for example and I think my intuition was right. It takes a great man to listen and to draw conclusion from constantly evolving ideas and circumstances. In some ways I've had less direct contact with the Polish Prime Minister, Mr Donald Tusk, but I also trust him. There are a few other political leaders I appreciate and I have mentioned them before anyway. It is the issues that count most rather than this or that political party.
    Hope you have a good day, ecolizzy

  • Comment number 98.

    #97 an anecdote
    When I first went to school at the age of 7, while still living with my parents in Warsaw, I remember an aunt of my dad's giving me 20 zloty to buy a religious textbook so I could attend religious classes run by the Church. My parents confiscated the money and I was not allowed to join the other kids. Sometimes some of them called me a jew.
    When I was with my grandparents we always went to church and what I liked most was being with other people together in a peaceful place singing and listening to sermons given by a lovely priest making me ponder on ethical issues in particular. Those coupled with frequent conversations on ethics with my grandparents have largely formed my ethical outlook. I don't believe in God anymore and my views have evolved since my childhood but the main core of my ethical make up remains untouched.

  • Comment number 99.

    from mim to Streetphotobeing
    5½ hours into this Monday
    Let’s hope it doesn’t turn into a crap day
    Well, to the contrary I hope it is,
    With Madam Mim left in more peace

  • Comment number 100.

    And one more anecdote from mimpromptu
    As it is now so long ago, about 25 years, I think, I suppose I can safely reveal the story behind my reference for SSEES, the University of London.
    I knew my writer friend through another friend. They met up at Dartington, Devon, where they studied Drama. As at the time I didn't know any established intellectuals, I asked my friend's friend whether her dad could kindly write the reference for me. He agreed under the condition that I cook him a nice meal but more on the lean side because he had some problem with digesting fatty foods. And what did I do? I cooked a beef casserole with lots of double cream, wild mushrooms and dill. So, unfortunately, I didn't really conform to his request, which I still feel guilty about, but nevertheless he must have written my reference as I did get accepted to study Russian at SSEES.
    P.S. The Professor and his daughter came along for the meal to [Personal details removed by Moderator]to a flat which I shared with a sculptor John Roberts who used to teach at City & Guilds but who is no longer with us. I still have some photos of his work, among them a sculpture of an angel but I don't think he thought I was one of those saintly creatures.


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