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Tuesday 17 November 2009

Verity Murphy | 18:21 UK time, Tuesday, 17 November 2009

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

The 21st Century has been dubbed the Asian Century - the era in which Western domination will end and the countries of Asia, particularly China, will grow in strategic, political and economic power.

Tonight, we will be looking at the challenge the West faces and our Economics Editor Paul Mason will be explaining how the Toyota Prius - the world's first mass-produced hybrid car - could be key.

At the heart of the hybrid is a rechargeable battery, and at the heart battery is a metal - one of 17 so-called Rare Earths which are at the heart of so many of the world's new technologies that they have the potential to bring about a shift in global power.

Plus, the other day Jeremy Paxman asks Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan whether he "fancied" Herman Van Rompuy.

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He was of course asking if the Belgian prime minister would be suitable for the EU presidency.

Tonight, David Grossman will be taking a closer look at the man who is in the running to become the most powerful man in Europe, and assessing whether we should all be fancying his chances.

Also tonight, a second group of Newsnight viewers face the panel in our Politics Pen.

Last week, three intrepid members of the audience went up against the political animals pitching their ideas for easing the public finances - but all to no avail, as all of their suggestions were roundly rejected.

How will the next three fare?


  • Comment number 1.

    HHHmmm I'm thinking of becoming an economic migrant, to China. What was that I read, they've bought an entire copper mountain in south america?

  • Comment number 2.

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

  • Comment number 3.

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

  • Comment number 4.

    Yeah every ones getting into metals - India brought half of the IMF total gold reserve which will no doubt be paid out to us when we go bankrupt. No one wants paper money. Moggie was even talking about bring back the gold standard other day. The scrap iron blokes come round here all the time but now they have a taped loud speaker shouting - SCRAP IRON.

  • Comment number 5.

    The lithium ion battery is not the long term answer either. It will just be another exhausted resource. How long do/will they/make them last ? All recharge batteries require careful management to keep them performing and temperature is important - heat kills a battery. And then there is the cost - believe me its sky high to use a lithium ion to power a car.

  • Comment number 6.

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

  • Comment number 7.

    So what's this THURSDAY 17th November

    Is it some sort of time relocation exercise or I've found the deliberate error I claim my Nodding Jeremy.

    Hope the research for the prog is more accurate than the date.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 8.

    Oh it's a rechargeable Prius. So where does the electricity come from to power this planet destroying abomination.

    Look oil, come out of the ground when burnt emits CO2. If that a problem reforest the globe and absorb it. Simple.

    heavy metals, 17 rare earths. Destruction of the planets ecology to find, mine and refine them. The unregulated greed of a few to ensure the extinction of all.

    And the populations just do nothing apart from await their death as part of the next unregulated consumer scam.

    Challenge the politicians and they say it is for the good of the economy. What about life and love and happiness and ....?

  • Comment number 9.

    Rompuy is pronounced Romp-oeil (as in Trompe-oeil but without the "T") ...

  • Comment number 10.


    So you come up with a mad scheme called scrappage a false flag green scam and get perfectly good internal combustion cars off the road.

    Then replace them with some of the most ecologically destructive, in full environmental audit assessment, monsters concievable. Which use nickel.

  • Comment number 11.

    From the above intro

    "At the heart of the hybrid is a rechargeable battery, and at the heart battery is a metal - one of 17 so-called Rare Earths which are at the heart of so many of the world's new technologies that they have the potential to bring about a shift in global power."

    Is this some sort of competition to use heart the most times in one sentence? This was funny last night on Family Guy when the news reader got his nephew to write his scripts. But NN? If you can't do it without help, get a thesaurus. £3 billion in licence money and not one proof reader?

  • Comment number 12.


    I approve of putting even the most negative to good use!


  • Comment number 13.

    TalkTalk does it as well. When I complained they said if I wanted to find another provider they would wave the 70GBP leaving fee and the calls would stop after a month - THEY DIDNT.

    Yeah I think Verity is having a bad head day, still I can talk, my manglish is appalling.

    Hope you have a good evening Mim and nothing bothers you in the early hours.

  • Comment number 14.


    Humans take turns to live and die. In between they 'do stuff'. On a cosmic scale, what they do - individually and collectively - does not amount to anything. If we all die together, and stop the process - what is lost? Clearly there is a perverse tendency to 'complicated arrangements', in this universe, that inexorably lead to OUR kind of awareness. This, in turn, leads us to feel special. Yet look at how useless we are at harmonious living! In truth, we are only obeying orders - orders from the Periodic Table - an agent of whatever fundamental theory you care to believe in. We are a sort of super-robot-vacuum-cleaner - most of us jammed under the sofa of our own aberrant imagining.

  • Comment number 15.

    4. India brought half of the IMF total gold reserve

    what they didn't tell you

    Gld ETF Warning, Tungsten Filled Fake Gold Bars

    Roughly 15 years ago – during the Clinton Administration [think Robert Rubin, Sir Alan Greenspan and Lawrence Summers] – between 1.3 and 1.5 million 400 oz tungsten blanks were allegedly manufactured by a very high-end, sophisticated refiner in the USA [more than 16 Thousand metric tonnes]. Subsequently, 640,000 of these tungsten blanks received their gold plating and WERE shipped to Ft. Knox and remain there to this day.

    The balance of this 1.3 million – 1.5 million 400 oz tungsten cache was also plated and then allegedly “sold” into the international market.

    Apparently, the global market is literally “stuffed full of 400 oz salted bars”.

    Makes one wonder if the Indians were smart enough to assay their 200 tonne haul from the IMF?

  • Comment number 16.

    There has been talk about good, bad and human. As opposed to Mr Singleton, I don't need any explenation.

    Why wasnt Jacques Brel mentioned tonight among the famous Belgians? I should imagine he has become themost well known avd admired Belgian reverberating these days!

    Madam Mim

  • Comment number 17.

    #14 Barrie


    That's because we are different. You like the phrase SPOIL PARTY GAMES. Something I would never come up with. What is the alternative? What supersedes the mess we are in? That is what I strive for.

    The Universe is one and one alone. But cannot see itself. We are the self reflective consciousness of the universe. We are the mirror which if were polished and clear would see the beauty of our creator. Would continue the task of creation.

    But our collective mirror is dull and tarnished. It does not reflect the integrity of the the universe which created us.

    We can be special we can be Gods to continue the work of this creation. If you want to cower under the sofa from the infinite majesty of another reality, that is your prerogative. You are the hooligan that runs on to the field because they don't like the game. Pitch invasions don't take much imagination. Creating an alternative does.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 18.

    Thank goodness for Newsnight, why can't all journalism be like this?

    I really enjoyed tonights programme. I learnt some things, I thought more deeply about aspects of things I already knew and I even laughed out loud a couple of times.

    Maybe you newsnight editors and producers should update the format a bit and add some of the 'Top Gear' factor to it and go prime time, it could work y'know.

  • Comment number 19.


    Could you expand on the 'pitch invasion' v 'creating an alternative' point? Also - isn't imagination cheating? I might imagine pitch invasion as the highest a man can aspire to.

    Still fuzzy. (:o)

  • Comment number 20.

    Wow Jaunty @#15 - how fascinating - FAKE gold being stored in Fort Knox! Who knows, maybe that's why Britain's gold reserves were sold off so cheaply.......... :p

    Back to Newsnight - excellent debate by Jeremy and Koo/Tang/Soderberg on China becoming a world leader :o) and interesting report by Paul and David too.

  • Comment number 21.

    @ Jericoa #18 - actually that isn't a bad idea having a "Top Gear" style format......

  • Comment number 22.


    Better still: do the whole thing in sung rhyme, full fancy dress and with spot-quizzes, randomly inserted, by a computer called Percy.

    There is SO much scope . . .

  • Comment number 23.

    I'm not at all disappointed with today's developments and although in disagreement with quite a lot of what was being said tonight by this or that person, I did not get angry and instead have enjoyed the deeper aspects of some of the messages conveyed.

    It was good to see Barack Obama speaking again in defence of human rights and freedom but this time in direct conversation with the Chinese leaders which was televised and transmitted all over the globe!

    It would be good to see more freedom and peace loving leaders mastering up the courage to stand up against abuse of power and violence inflicted on 'ordinary' folk be it in China, or Africa or Asia or South America or Europe or wherever else.

    Madam Mim


  • Comment number 24.



    My response:

    The human meaning of chats

    It's five thirty and I'm already happy
    And so might compose a ditty
    That's entirely happy and chitty.

    'Cos there is deep value to chats
    Which are quite different to cats
    'Cos cats don't even talk
    While chats are exclusive to folk.

    'Cos cats scratch on the surface
    While folk go deeper to places
    While giving a meaning to them
    And sometimes achieving big fame

    For giving expression and form
    Even when London streets they just roam
    Snapping their lights or Sun's enlightening warmth
    While holding hands from hence moving forth.

    It looks like the sun will show its face down here in London today, but what's the forecast for where you are, Brightyangthing?

    Whatever the weather
    Have a good day
    And don't forget to play


  • Comment number 25.

  • Comment number 26.

    Looks like I missed some good stuff. iplayer when work allows I think.

    #14, 17 and 19 especially worth picking up on.

  • Comment number 27.

    #21 M76

    Hmmmm. JP on a TG style NN??????? Can't see it myself.

    TG is pure entertainment (and very good it is too) but pretty scant on information or education.

    A different brief.

    Where does that leave in depth news and reporting?

  • Comment number 28.

    The Scottish village of Pennan in the news (again) this morning.

    Huge crack in cliffs above village.

    Lovely place. (Anyone who’s seen 'Local Hero' will recognise it.

    Problem. If you live at the bottom of a cliff, sooner or later, nature, one way or another is gonna get you.

    Especially if due to your notoriety and THAT phone box, they allow tourist coaches down the steep winding road into the place.

    Fame costs. Who pays?????????????

  • Comment number 29.

    Mim #24

    Nice linking lines. You remind me of years gone by. I miss my occasional night time WALKIE TALKIES with friends through London.

    Weather here..... Cool (2 deg overnight) light breeze but staying dry. Which Is good as I have three meetings back to back, one of which involves site tour at seaside.

    Have fun. Keep well and happy.

  • Comment number 30.


    Your #29 is not available yet but before reacting to your #26-28 posts I'd like to address the UK's Security Forces and the humans:

    I really feel for Her Majesty the Queen today for having to go through the farce of the State Opening of Parliament that the current Labour leadership has probably cooked up for the occasion. I should imagine it is going to be one of the most unpleasant occasions that Her Majesty the Queen will have to go through.

    I would stay to watch it later on but unfortunately do not feel that I could stomach the occasion and so am planning to go and do some gliding and twirling at Queen's Ice Rink at Queensway instead. Should they decide to show the transmission on their screens I would consider watching it, but only from there with my ice skates on.

    Madam Mim

  • Comment number 31.

    who's cinderella? not mim, surely mim does not have step sisters; mim has never been an orphan and mim does not consider herself poor;
    oh, it's an innocent joke that mim is waiting for her prince; all mim is waiting for is love; the rest is only circumstancial!

    Hope I've made myself clear, mademoiselle

    Madam Mim

    P.S. are you jealous of Dalai Lama
    and are you jealous of Barack Obama?

  • Comment number 32.



    Quite right although I'm not sure about education as such for Newsnight to be involved in. It's a programme late at night so kids should be in bed by then. Older teenagers who may be up and watching Newsnight? Well, I'm sure many of them are actually brighter than many an adult and they can, I'm pretty sure, form their own opinions without the concept of 'education' being poured down their throats.

    Hope you don't find it offensive for disagreeing with you on this point, Brightyangthing


  • Comment number 33.

    Alas, more often than not it is the famous themselves who pay the highest price for being famous but it all depends how the fame has been achieved. As I do not want to be too delayed this morning, I might expand on that later.


  • Comment number 34.



    I was going to use the iPlayer to hear Jeremy talking about 'pooh' again just to consider whether he was talking about pooh pooh or Winnie the Pooh but I can't be bothered. I think I know what was meant by that. Big deal!? - dismissed.


    As far as picking on is concerned methinks I may have done it already this morning via a roundabout way.

  • Comment number 35.



    Hope you have lovely tours today

    I'm looking forward to the next 24 hours


  • Comment number 36.


    Respectful disagreement is never a cause for offense Mim. It is in fact one of the best ways for us all to expand our minds and review our understandings of the world nad its peoples.

    However, my use of teh word Education was broad and generic and assuming that we all learn (or should) all our lives long - so perhaps not so out of place on NN.

    I am about to embark on an OU course and I am over 35. JUST!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't ask my 21 year old son how much?? He's still trying to do the Math!

  • Comment number 37.


    There are advantages to me sitting on the floor by my entrance/exit door. Luckily I heard the bell going so I went downstairs and it turned out to be a pleasant gentleman delivering the CD that I had only requested from Amazon yesterday, i.e. Victoria de los Angeles singing Heitor Villa-Lobos the Bachianas Brasileiras. Can't wait now to listen to it.

    Thank you so much for recommending it. I have downloaded two other versions of the 'transcendental' tune onto my iPhone already and it'll be interesting to compare them.


  • Comment number 38.



    Seen in this context I do share your opinion on education via Newsnight though perhaps another word would be more suitable but can't think of one now. Will try while making my way to Queen's and if I've found it, I'll get back to you on that.


  • Comment number 39.


    The normally fatally-fluid Mandelson, now punctuates his steamroller delivery with the agonizing 'dry swallows' of the terrified.

    But of what?

  • Comment number 40.


    I haven't had the chance yet to look for the Dispatches you talked about but it is certainly disappointing to learn that the Israelis have opted for even more expansion and construction of 900 new abodes.

    How they can expect peace in the region I do not understand.


  • Comment number 41.

    If I had the possibility of voting for the new President of the EU I would definitely vote for Mrs Vaira Vike-Freiberga. Not so much because she is a woman, although it would be good to see women play more prominent roles in the EU, but she has already proved herself to be a formidable politician and has the 8-year experience of serving as the President of Latvia.

    Madam Mim

  • Comment number 42.

    #22 barriesingleton

    "Better still: do the whole thing in sung rhyme, full fancy dress and with spot-quizzes, randomly inserted, by a computer called Percy."

    I suppose though your ultimate format would be somebody like your pal jaded_Jean, whom you have said you admire so often, banging on about National Socialism in a uniform and letting all of the anarchists, Trotskyites?

    At least though your yourself are simply tangential and toothless as you need the uber-posters to excite you with their theories of eugenics and so on.

    They don't seem to be around so much since Channel 4 ran their excellent series on race and science and shot away many of the ludicrous claims that these people make.

    The Holocaust was made up to put people off statists after the war was already effectively won!

    The sum total of their "scientific" rationale for eugenics seemed to reside in some comments by James Watson that he later recanted on and would appear to have been non-science.

    Certainly Rageh Omars Race and Intelligence and the BBC's "Incredible Human Journey" confirmed the current understanding that genetic variation is greater within a race than between races.

    So aren't you going to find your mentors?

  • Comment number 43.

    #1 ecolizzy

    "HHHmmm I'm thinking of becoming an economic migrant, to China. "

    So lets get this straight you have said in the past that you don't like to visit London due to the racial mix but you would like to become an economic migrant to China.

    You have also said that you agreed with the "fact attitude" of jaded_jean who thought Hitler was a good chap, was into eugenics, wanted National Socialism to replace democracy and claimed the Holocaust was made up to put people off "statists".

    So do you think China would want you?

  • Comment number 44.

    #11 roger thomas

    "s this some sort of competition to use heart the most times in one sentence? This was funny last night on Family Guy when the news reader got his nephew to write his scripts."

    Perhaps its the effect of the tear in the space time continuum based around the Millenium Dome that also causes the huge majority of the scientists to disagree with you on the pressing need to reduce carbon rather than sit around chewing the cud with Roger Thomas - whom I am sure they are all very familiar with?

    That same tear probably explains how Al Gore got the Nobel and you didn't.

    The papers are reporting some scientists talking about a 6C rise in temperature by the end of the century.

    Personally I couldn't care less if the scientists and those that report them have a thesaurus or not.

  • Comment number 45.

    It ain't easy being green...

    Electric cars likely to lead to more CO2 because of EU legal loopholes

    What's a boy to think? Especially come Copenhagen's 'deals'.

    Anyone would think ticking boxes and meeting targets was the aim of some, and their either very trusting, or complicit supporters.

  • Comment number 46.

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

  • Comment number 47.

    It will be interesting to see how Obama responds to the Israeli announcement of more settler homes.

    Will there be sanctions and will the Republicans in the US take the domestic imperative and ignore the outrage or the broader international need to try and bring genuine peace to the Middle East before all parties are armed with nuclear weapons and have become immune to each others arguments?

    Clearly the Republicans have Sarah Palin who may run in 2012 and who has also read several newspapers.

    Could they run their own initiative and dispatch her to bring some common sense to the table?

    Of course they would need to get her a wardrobe that would be suited to the climate and I don't know how their finances are.

  • Comment number 48.

    #8 roger thomas

    Look oil, come out of the ground when burnt emits CO2. If that a problem reforest the globe and absorb it. Simple."

    So do you think where the trees are and the location and scale of the pollution could be problematic?

    Trees will absorb an amount of carbon but methinks the problem is a tad more complicated than that.

  • Comment number 49.

    I have A Dream

    It envolves skinning an Idiot called skinner and chucking him downt pit
    and building a Public Toilet over the top of it.

    Its just A Dream, We still are allowed 2 Dream arnt WE Auntie?

  • Comment number 50.

    go1 wrote:

    "Certainly Rageh Omars Race and Intelligence and the BBC's "Incredible Human Journey" confirmed the current understanding that genetic variation is greater within a race than between races."

    really!...well the rest of us must have been watching the other channel 4 versions...because your conclusion wasn't in it.

  • Comment number 51.


    Thanks for the link and the ones the other day. Followed them all and read up on the background Harrabin emails etc. The whole lot is a mess.

    Your link above is a natural follow on from those. I tried to simplify things for Go1. If CO2 alone is a problem then it is a case of the concentrations being in a dynamic equilibrium between emission and absorption. Somehow all the carbon trading has become an overly complex smoke and mirrors strategy. Which doesn't solve a problem but creates a market for profiteering.

    This is just on carbon alone, when we look at total environmental audits and life cycle analysis eg nickel and rare earths as apart of the resource costs of building complex hybrids etc, we enter a situation where 'green' policy is actually doing more harm to the planet than without it.

    Somehow people with knowledge of ecological systems are branded as deniers if they oppose false flag environmental policy or black propaganda, which is being implemented to satisfy and present an opportunity for market capitalism rather than protect the ecological systems on which our lives depend.

  • Comment number 52.

    RE 51

    Just by coincidence this was the first report on changing climate I read after above post

    "Global temperatures are on a path to rise by an average of 6C by the end of the century as CO2 emissions increase and the Earth's natural ability to absorb the gas declines, according to a major new study."

    The report specifically looks at absorption of CO2. The politicians have been concentrating on the legal discussions of emissions.

    This is an important area that needs to be concentrated on. But not allowing the 'carbon only' monoculture appraoch of corporate philosophy, rather the multiple goal increasing of ecosystem biodiversity.

  • Comment number 53.

    52 the multiple goal increasing of ecosystem biodiversity.

    does that indicate a need to shift towards organic agriculture or vegetarianism/veganism/fruitarianism?

    what about the bees and the earth worms, how do we get them back?

  • Comment number 54.

    #53 wappaho

    Right lines, it needs a revaluation of purpose and motivation etc. At present everything is directed by the politicians as being 'good for the economy'. Not people or life or planet or any other non economic goal.

    Not ruling anything out or in. It's about getting the best fit between all the factors,

    Google: Celtic Lion SD

    This is part of some work DEFRA recommended me to Cabinet Office to undertake. Looking at Regulatory Impact Assessment, that basis for UK legislation.

    What is being presented in the media and by politicians re flooding is not true. Local authorities and police forces knew about the 2007 floods more than 10 years before they occurred. All the flooding you will hear about in the media over the next few days could have been presented.

    The work is from 2002. Police had shut down the project to prevent UK flooding. So I used part of the prevention strategy as an example to change legislation. Part of which is in the legislation in the Queens speech. Unfortunately it is being implemented reactively rather than proactively.

    Time relocation theory linked to Google's search philosophy should throw up additional information. Also look up definitions for ecocentric and technocentric. At present we are going down a misplaced nearly 100% technocentric route.

    Reducing the spectrum of diversity of options available to us to prevent ecological life support system collapse.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 55.


    'Only using the words “future generations” reduces the impact and importance of this issue.'
    Good point - ideology hides in language -

    Can we pursuade government towards Permaculture?

    Is this making any difference do you know? It's been around a while but I don't seem to see/hear it mentioned in climate change discussions.

  • Comment number 56.

    By the Way Celtic, how did you manage the time relocation at 147 13-11-09?

  • Comment number 57.

    WHO NEEDS BEES? (#53)

    This year, the degree of pollination of profuse blossom, on nut/berry/fruit plants of every type, was/is self evident. Round here it wasn't bees what dun it.

  • Comment number 58.

    #55 Wappaho

    I worked with the president of the Permaculture UK on a consultancy report for the UK Government in 2002. We met up at a conference in 2004.

    The report seems to have been buried.

    Even though we are dealing with the fate of 6 billion lives and the possible extinction of all higher life forms. Soundbite media rules.

    Climate change is easy to say and leads in to carbon trading and corporate economic manipulation. The rest of the spectrum of solutions seem to have been pushed out.

    What strategy the Government is pursuing will not work and will make the situation worse. But it is the only one being given coverage in popular media/culture.

    How do you know so much about Permaculture and ecological economics etc then ?

    Time relocation #147 Stevie's poem?

    #57 Barrie

    There are more pollinators than bees. Though some plants may be species specific. Other plants may be adapted for a range.

    What you have to remember is if you take the bees out, then another species does the job. What happens if that species disappears next?

  • Comment number 59.

    How do you know so much about Permaculture and ecological economics etc then ?

    I fell in with a bad crowd!

    I think it was autumn 2006 when David Milliband got hold of the idea of local and within about 6 mnths it was firmly on the agenda.

    Conversely, 'organic' had been around decades, but became sidelined into 'food and health'. So an off-shoot developed promoting 'local'. Unfortunately, as DM spotted:

    local = miles = carbon = trading = policy

    So, by trying to avoid the supermarkets, the organic movement unwittingly sold out to the traders; when the real battle was the science on the farm - and the bigger battle is how to stop schools squeezing the life out of education such that the miracle of the N cycle, amongst other vital concepts, goes unnoticed?

    Permaculture is so sensible! But I ain't using a compost toilet again! A friend has a council house - one of a row of four ecohouses - with solar panels and recycled grey water (and labelled nesting boxes in the garden, which is a bit twee but the kids love them). It's so easy and yet we continue to build resource-guzzling abodes.

    Yes, but you posted before 146 and 145?

    Barrie - you're having more luck than elsewhere - enjoy the blossoms!

    Are you enjoying the Queen's speech? I think there was a note wrong in the processional trumpetry?


  • Comment number 60.


    I used to work with a bloke who whistled a lot - badly. It stopped me from bothering.

    Could it be that bees are not the best pollinators, but that they do a lot of buzzing about and depleting the nectar? Suppose the bee population crashes. Lots of nectar for the (hypothetical) No2 pollinator, who lays lots of eggs, and in a couple of years has a population explosion, leading to high pollination. (Does greater pollination stimulate denser blossom? That is how nature usually works.)

    If it was insecticide that killed the Chinese bees, it possibly did for No2 as well. Or did the Chinese just not wait for NO2 to build up in numbers? Hand pollination presumably puts a stop to nectar production, so no fat, randy No2 pollinators to cause a population explosion.

    I was more interested in the wrangling AFTER the Queen's Speech. A powerful reason to SPOIL PARTY GAMES.

  • Comment number 61.

    #59 Wappaho

    "Yes, but you posted before 146 and 145?"

    You asked about time relocation at 147, so how is this before 146 and 145?

    Some things are possible, but changing comment order is something I haven't bothered about.

  • Comment number 62.


    The last person to comment is a bit 'ecocentric'. Seems to think ecological life support systems are more important that artificial social constructs such as sustainable growth.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 63.


    Is there a #2 pollinator and if so, why are some scientists so concerned about the loss of bees?

    Rather than a Web, is our continued survival more like a game of Kerplunk ? - some species can be 'pulled out' without the marbles falling, but the extinction of other species leads to a cascade?

    Surely artificial/social constructs are necessary to translate scientific findings into social policy/action? It's just a question of which constructs will be successful - perhaps organic or permaculture or ecological economic models, for instance ?

    There's nothing between an ec0centric and an eccentric? :)


  • Comment number 64.

    51. At 3:00pm on 18 Nov 2009, Roger Thomas wrote:
    Thanks for the link and the ones the other day. Followed them all and read up on the background Harrabin emails etc. The whole lot is a mess.

    Agree. And if this is the best our government and national broadcaster can concoct between them, not sure how the populace is meant to arrive at the best conclusions to plant their X when the time comes.

    Fresh from Ethical Man's kitchen cabinet 'summit', that resulted, eventually, in so many incisive answers to so many questions from our current climate talking head, I have moved on to one soon with yet another, in vain hope of any clarity or common sense over rhetoric from other quarters:

    We'll see.

    I lobbed one in around this as it just arrived:

    It will be interesting which cherries get picked and which straw men tackled, because it is 'the right thing to do'. Doubtless.

    But these are valuable as you can listen and, if so favoured, get in with a slim chance of debating the points with the person rather than only tackling them personally. Something those keen on winning folk over rather than just trying to score points might do well to ponder.

  • Comment number 65.


    Had a request to include earthworms into the thread.

    From July

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 66.

    Earthworms Economic Contribution

  • Comment number 67.

    #54 above

    All the flooding that has happened and is being reported in the media was known about and could have been prevented.

    How could 54 have been written if the flooding which would happen in the future wasn't known about at the time?

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 68.

    RT #67

    Not too much consolation for those trying to salvage their homes, or even come to terms with greater losses.

    My (sweeping) assumption is that the reasons for information NOT being acted upon adequately are myriad and complex. Economic for certain. But also the difficulty of a) imparting scarey information to the public and b) hoping they will understand and act upon the recommendations that may be very hard.

    This just for starters.

    Add to that far too many 'theories', many of which run counter to each other and are merely a trade off.

    I sometimes worry that due to the selfish nature of modern life, authority groups are actually caught between a rock and a hard place.


    Re posted a message on Ruskin's page.

  • Comment number 69.

    #68 BYT

    Thanks for the Ruskin page message. You don't know how close you got to part of the story of Ruskin's life. About a little boy whose father didn't want to know him. Was in trouble at school etc. So I let him train a 14 week bundle of fluff as it were his own.

    10 years later he was killed in a parachute accident after he had been in the Marines, but I didn't grieve at the time. As I had a dog who had all these tricks and affectations I had never taught him. Ruskin would sometimes sit and stare at something none of us could see, then raise his left paw and wave, something I never showed him.

    So when Ruskin went a connection with another life went with him.

  • Comment number 70.


    "Father-of-four Pc Barker, a traffic officer with Cumbria Police, was due to celebrate his 45th birthday tomorrow but instead, his family are coming to terms with the possibility that he may be dead."

    From the Telegraph

  • Comment number 71.

    Lunch time news says a body has been found.

    '....About a little boy whose father didn't want to know him. Was in trouble at school etc. So I let him train a 14 week bundle of fluff as it were his own.'

    The chance to make a difference, however small it may seem and whatever the longer term outcome, to the life of another has got to be the highest ideals of our sorry species.

    I would like to share a bit more about Callum but not sure if this is the place. His family life was the most incredible tangled web. I don't think the end was as simple as seemed.

  • Comment number 72.


    So if The Environment Agency and Hilary Benn say the flood was unprecedented, a 1 in a 1000 year event etc.

    How come 2 days before anyone who read the NN blog knew it would be the story that would dominate the media?

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 73.

    Cumbria Floods Update

    Since last post I have received confirmation from Cumbria County Council that the flooding has been reported to them as a terrorist/criminal offence.

    The reference number has been sent to the Newsnight investigations email address on the NN contact page who will be able to confirm this.


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