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Wednesday 9 December 2009 - in more detail

Verity Murphy | 16:46 UK time, Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Here's Kirsty Wark with what is coming up on tonight's programme:

If Alistair Darling didn't have to countenance an election within six months would his Pre-Budget Report have looked very different?

He kept banging on about fairness, so is it fair? And fair or not is it the right PBR to get us out of the doldrums?

Tonight we'll be deciphering it all with our editors Michael Crick and Paul Mason, senior politicians - Liam Byrne, Phillip Hammond and Vince Cable - and our Newsnight political panel.

The headline grabber was the attempt to cut off bankers' bonuses at the knees, levying a one off tax of 50% on awards over £25,000, payable by the banks - the chancellor promised there could be no avoidance.

Is he right to be so sure? And how can he assert it will garner half a billion for the unemployed when we have no idea whether the bonuses will be paid or not?

And how does this PBR really help the lower paid when there's to be a cap of 1% on public sector pay rises for two years from 2011 AND a doubling of the planned increase in National Insurance, and how does it encourage aspiration when the Inheritance Tax threshold is now to remain the same?

And then there is the massive deficit - £178bn (double the amount that drove Denis Healey to the IMF cap in hand) - an upward revision from £175bn, which Mr Darling forecast would be cut to £82bn in four years.

But he is refusing to make targeted spending cuts until 2011, and indeed benefits are to rise - both the state pension and child and disability benefits.

The shadow chancellor George Osborne insists that public spending needs to be cut now - and we'll be trying to get to the bottom of how they'll fill the hole .

And then there's the nod to the environment, including a scrappage scheme to replace 125,000 home boilers - yes that's a whole 125,000!!

So it's all about bankers and boilers. A May election anyone?


  • Comment number 1.

    A tad-late response to Monday's programme:

    I have often wondered why it has failed to occur to people how easy it would be to wipe out Labour - electorally, at least. Following the report on Gordon's 'efficiency savings', it should have become abundantly clear, to most, what a piece of cake it would be, though I haven’t heard or read any such revelations.

    Imagine the scenario: you wake up, one morning, trudge downstairs and discover some kind soul had sent you a copy of David Craig's (one of Monday's interviewees) and Matthew Elliot's "Fleeced!" Lying on the mat you find a devastating excoriation of Labour's waste and mis-management. Imagine the effect that would have on politics. It almost doesn't bear imagining, if you're a Labour-ite.

    Imagine that very same Father Christmas was to follow it with every N.A.O. report, 'select committee' report, 'think tank' report, book, newspaper investigation, blog and T.V. and radio report he and his elves thought we should be aware of. What if this became a quarterly event?

    Imagine me and the rest of my law-abiding and hard-working compatriots being told what our lovely government has been up to. Just imagine.

    Given how labour has comprehensively wrecked the country, it beggars belief that a hung parliament could be a possibility. I think someone, somewhere needs to pull their finger out and get on with it.

  • Comment number 2. does it encourage aspiration when the Inheritance Tax threshold is now to remain the same?

    what? is that your only motivation? the Inheritance Tax threshold ?

    Still no use of the word 'banking' before the word deficit? which puts 'the blame' onto the uk public. it makes them look like they have been living the dubai life and now have to pay. when most haven't.

    there should have been an election about a year ago. its very selfish to have dragged it out.

    none of these are vote winners

    carbon trading [climate justice leftism]
    no financial regulation [market fundamentalism]
    tobin tax [lefty nonsense]
    various unwinnable wars and war on terror narrative [middle eastern country agenda]

  • Comment number 3.


    Bright YANG Thing

    I'm not sure why you're doing this, i.e. why you're saying what you're saying at #61. You seem to be contradicting your own chosen name, with YANG standing for all us, men and women, to a higher or lesser degree, to have interchangeable characteristics in terms of the higher functions of the brain.

    It seems to me that you may be provoking us into contradicting and perhaps more closely defining the meaning of YANG, with you as a woman choosing after all the masculine aspect of the yin-yang being in constant flux.

    In general, the symbol(Yin-Yang), which is irreproducable on the blog, represents the ancient Chinese understanding of how things work. The outer circle represents "everything", while the black and white shapes within the circle represent the interaction of two energies, called "yin" (black) and "yang" (white), which cause everything to happen. They are not completely black or white, just as things in life are not completely black or white, and they cannot exist without each other.

    While "yin" would be dark, passive, downward, cold, contracting, and weak, "yang" would be bright, active, upward, hot, expanding, and strong. The shape of the yin and yang sections of the symbol, actually gives you a sense of the continual movement of these two energies, yin to yang and yang to yin, causing everything to happen: just as things expand and contract, and temperature changes from hot to cold.

    So, in my view, it is not a question of competing with men but rather men and women complementing one another. After all, is a sexual act a competition or is it complementation?

    The same could be applied with men and women working together, for example, in Parliament, not as competing but complementing forces/energies. But then one gets really feminine blokes and butch women. Nothing is clear cut, as I keep repeating, unless one talks about hair cuts, cutting a page in two or cutting a flower away from its stem, etc., something I'm not intending to do to the flowers currently blossoming on one of my plants though I did cut quite a bit of my own hair the other day.


  • Comment number 4.



    'Imagine me and the rest of my law-abiding and hard-working compatriots being told what our lovely government has been up to. Just imagine.' -

    - Personally, I can't wait for the truth to be revealed, about the black hole and all.


  • Comment number 5.

    Poor sound quality but definitely worth sticking with to the end

  • Comment number 6.

    budgets should be banned before an election, they lie most times but before an election they are on speed.....

  • Comment number 7.

    #6 Brossen

    Very interesting again. Don't get dragged too far away from there is a problem with the climate, unfortunately what they are doing in Copenhagen will not fix it.

    One of the sites Monkton is an adviser to, I sent them some of my work and they have asked me for a manuscript for publication, distribution. Very difficult to write because climate does change.

    Bizarrely when I looking around on one of the links you sent Monktons address was on it, I nearly gagged. You've been posting all his links here.

    I saw the post code. Wow. To get to his house from here I have to cross TWO roads, There is a range of hills though, a good days hike. If you go to my site. The header picture, he lives about a mile to the left off the edge of the picture.

  • Comment number 8.

    Thought this an interesting read :

    Nos 3 'yang' could just be meant as slang for 'young' but then maybe she will inform you or maybe she did mean it in your context. Still interesting thoughts you got going there Mim. Hope the hair-do went well.

  • Comment number 9.

    the absence of the existence of a nation building science shows itself that after 7 years in afghanistan it still takes 900 troops to deliver water 6 miles.

    i've looked everywhere for this 'science'. on amazon i found a few books but none could be considered a textbook although some try [like the Rand book-i find Rand a bit spooky].

    shakespeare is pretty good. that the life of a 'king' is ritual. then one has to go back to confucious or plato. ie books regarded as 'sacred texts'.

    so every nation building has a 'sacred text' that may or may not be 'written' be it maoism, west bank settler with their bible, native american 'nations' that have no books as such and americans who do- 'we the people...'

    so the reason they want to kill us in afghanistan is not because they don't want a stable prosperous nation at peace it's because they don't want someone else's sacred text imposed on them.

    so the lesson 1 has to be work with the local sacred text and its rituals.

    if you can't. go home. you will never 'nation' or state build except through extermination.[which is what mongols did in afghanistan-the only people ever to conquer the country].

    anyone who talks of nation building should be challenged to explain what they mean.

  • Comment number 10.

    Paul Mason - anything on Credit Default Swaps or is it still financial nukes are go ?

  • Comment number 11.


    Good mini-dissertation on Yin-Yang Mim. (Is Spike Milligan risen?)
    I would like to add that from the fat end of the Yin tadpole, to the thin end, the span of female principal is represented, thus: THE FULL RANGE OF 'WOMAN'.

    I am in no doubt that women in Parliament are an EXTREME SUB-SET of the female - many falling into my Ambigue category. Westminster is an extreme Yang pit - surely, mainstream Yin cannot but find it ANATHEMA.

  • Comment number 12.


    is it sees men like Liam Byrne as political assets - close, but no cigar.

    Byrne ADVERTISES his inner being all over his face. We simple citizens read him just as we do - for example - Mandelson. But Westminster (sub-set New Labour) see only his ability to dance to the Devil's best tunes.

    This is the malaise of Westminster. Britain is sick at heart; if only there were a god to help us.

  • Comment number 13.

    Celtic #7

    Its pretty clear the the blunderbuss approach of carbon cap and trade as proposed at Copenhagen is not a very efficient way of protecting the future of our environment. What we really need is a Lee Enfield .303 sniper rifle to target the areas where we can collectively do the most good.

    Perhaps Panda's boiler scrappage scheme is a positive start, trouble is that new alleged efficient boilers are only expected to last ten years. I believe that some of them can be put out of action by a simple power cut, need to buy a new printed circuit board at a rip-off cost plus fitting. Our boiler is 25 years old and still going, just needs a new thermocouple occasionally but we will be up for any replacement subsidy.

    The same is true of fridges, we are currently using a early 1970s fridge which originally belonged to my grandma. It was in storage for almost 20 years but its still going strong with its metal shelves. I have heard bat reports about new fridges, especially the ones that claim to be environmentally friendly, break down as soon as they are out of warranty.

    Its always the same with the modern stuff, the plastic bits break ( including the shelves ) and you have to buy a new one even if the fridge bit is still working. We had quite a good 1980s fridge for 20 years until my dad put a knife though the element trying to cheat and save time at defrosting.

    Perhaps the key would be to force manufacturers to produce products that could ( with maintenance ) last you a lifetime. The sniper rifle approach would be to not allow any form of credit on anything not not capable of lasting 30 years. That is not to say that you could not trade it in for refurbishment a couple of times during its life, just so long as it doesn't end up on the scrap heap. I suppose a perhaps more ten bob fat cat acceptable alternative approach would be to heavily tax credit on anything not capable of lasting 30 years. The trouble is the Corporate Nazi's in positions of power would never go for anything like that.

  • Comment number 14.

    Mim #3
    Will get back to you on this fascinating subject (Most definitely mean Yang as in Yin/yang - for SPB) after the weekend. Heading to Leeds area early tomorrow for funeral.

    Take care.

  • Comment number 15.



    I have been complimented on my new hairstyle by a few ice-skating instructors, including one that seems to have a problem with me but will not mention her name.



    Ah, to be yin yang young and white
    and have the same problems like did have the black

    time to go, may develop this into a spoofy ditty later

  • Comment number 16.

    Thank goodness you are raising the standard of Newsnight debate from last night's low; not least by bringing in Vince Cable to bring some sanity to the economic debate.

    The main gain, though, is the recognition that this is a debate about politics, and - unlike normal budgets - not about a mixture of financial/economic policies and politics. Now it is pure politics.

    It is too easy to portray this as the ultimate in cynicism; and, with politicians facing an election at the heart of the debate, there must be a great deal of such jockeying for position. However, that is to miss the point of what is happening across the world. The tipping point of the London meeting of the G20 was not just an almost universal consensus about a move back to Keynes, albeit that there have been a wide range of national interpretations of what this means, but was the accompanying return to the political and social values implicit in this. To put it crudely, there was a lurch to the left - even by 'Conservative' administrations (except the putative one in the UK).

    In fact the left/right split no longer means much; where control of the centre (or from left of centre to right of centre) is what matters. It is crucial, therefore, that the debate revolves - as your programme tonight promises - around the political outcomes. In the UK this seems to be starker than elsewhere (apart from the rabid Republicans in the US) and may be much more serious for those of us who have no choice but to live here.

    As a footnote, however, it will surely be the Tories (and specifically the Shadow Chancellor) who define the extreme positions about to be taken. It is their response, and whether they can muster the popular vote behind their ideas; a popular decision which is not yet set in stone, and indeed may be their undoing where elections are lost not won; as Kinnock in 1992 showed). Indeed all is still there to be lost. Who will the electorate trust, Labour fairness or Conservative reductions in government spending? Or, more likely, who will make the most damaging fumbles in the run up to the election?

  • Comment number 17.

    Well I thought Kirsty looked pretty hot tonight.

    "Darling, public sector deficit, can he get it down"

    if only she had asked "Darling, economic growth,...."

    NN scripts by Carry on Chancellor

  • Comment number 18.


    Yes I know.

    Vince Cable. Please, I know he has a NN fan club. But he hasn't a clue, he just explains why he hasn't a clue in a nicer way.

    It's 11pm. I am listening to a bunch of comedians who can't agree how to run an economy. Their mates have just gone on a junket to Copenhagen to pretend they know how to run a planet.

  • Comment number 19.


    I didn't realise than yang in slang meant young and thought she meant yang as I indicated earlier but whatever the name there has been a definite shift in the way she speaks and things she says as if she was trying to bot to somebody's demands. I'm not sure whether this is the right way to go about things unless making me speak my mind up


  • Comment number 20.

    There was nothing too exciting or promising coming out of Newsnight tonight apart from the subtlest of indications that the election might in fact be imminent!?

    I hope this comes true for I find the whole thing too annoying for words.

  • Comment number 21.

     How bad can NN get?
    Quoting the Sun. Yeah Gods.
    Shouldn't the word 'allegedly' been used
    while you were taking  a swipe at Tiger?

    Too many  pundits and not enough businessmen.

    Of course, selling BBC Worldwide for £500m + was not
     mentioned. That would be an easy way to bring in  cash.

    So, a few %ankers might leave? Good.
    Where will they go? NY? Less money than London.
    You have to admire them thinking that having failed miserably to run their investment businesses in London they think they can up sticks and work elsewhere.

    China is the only place with cash but I suspect British %ankers
    don't even know what   你好  means.

    The Guardian also has a story about bankers telling Barclays they have to 
    "take it on the chin".
    But that wouldn't have fitted in with
    a mash up of a discussion which only moaned about Darling.

    How appropriate to have a game of balls following NN.

  • Comment number 22.


    Crick et al were commenting on the lack of definition between the parties.

    That would be WITHIN WESTMINSTER. On the outside, the difference between the ethical ethos of 'decent hard working families' and indecent time serving, Westminster MPs, is daily more apparent. Westminster is the enemy. We need an 'ABSTAIN' box on the voting slip. (You will remember my disgraceful, local cipher (Benyon) told me he would not support an abstention option - I SHOULD BE COUNTED AS A SPOILED PAPER.) That says all you need to know of the Westminster MP mentality. Democracy eh?

  • Comment number 23.



    Thank you for the explanation. I'm glad I got this one right. Have a safe journey tomorrow.

    Will I not be hearing from you until after the weekend then?


  • Comment number 24.



    Are you sure you, yourself, are not one of the most sick amongst the sick?

  • Comment number 25.


    Personally, I find it so hard to tell, Mim.

  • Comment number 26.

    While you do it all the time with premeditated wicked purpose, the only difference being in your 'hiding' your wicked message why I normally call a spade a spade.

  • Comment number 27.


    "We're putting amateurs into really, really important positions."

    Funny how our heroic military become cowardly when they attain high office (and risk loss of high pensions). If I heard rightly, for the want of a courageous whistle blower, personnel ACTUALLY DIED. Will Brown be mentioning 'cowardice in the line of moral duty', at PMQs? Will we remember this for ever?

  • Comment number 28.


    The only whistle blower I could possibly respect would be one who would come forward revealing his true identity.

    Otherwise, I would call him a coward, the creepiest coward amongst the cowards, especially if he hides in a black hole, as per PMQT and even more so if hiding additionally his transmissions in a female's entrails.

    Could such a creep could ever be called a 'man' deserving the female's attention? Methinks not.

    mim - full identity available to be revealed on request

  • Comment number 29.


    As I mentioned yesterday, or was it the day before yesterday, most of my current ditties are dedicated to a friend who I call Lol. The one below muses around the Prime Minister's Question Time, the Pre-Budget Report and the Shadow Chancellor's response:

    8 December @ 11 am

    Lol, I was going to go out
    But have just remembered
    That it's PMQ time this afternoon
    Which I may watch at noon
    To see what they've cooked up for us
    The whole Westminster en masse.

    What kind of drinks are to be served?
    Will it be tea or will it be wine
    And if it's brew of what sort of kind?
    Broadside or Sharpe’s, or more aqua crass?

    Or was it your head that caused you the pain
    One of the MPs did mention a man
    That came from the country we know as Spain
    Rhyming with rain or was it a train?

    9 December @ 4 am

    I have now re-listened to what exactly was said:
    'That the s-pain in Spain is mainly in its brain'.
    The House had a laugh at Robert Neill's apt rhyme
    And the questions continued in the PMQ's time.

    That was a good start, as far as I'm concerned,
    With more bits coming later from George Osborne’s mouth
    Appropriately mentioning ducks and later the black hole
    Having been ring fenced by labour to be in future prized
    By the Noble people who award the winners
    For having gained great achievements
    In such areas as Literature, Science or Peace.
    That, however, Lol, remains to be seen.
    On that I’m certainly not keen.

    I am pleased for Obama, though, that I must say
    Who appreciates contributions that we may have made
    To him being awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.
    I have bought for myself a warm, navy fleece!


  • Comment number 30.



    As per my promise last night, I have now composed something of a spoof of Nina Simone's 'To be Young, Gifted and Black' although in no way is it meant to riduclise one of her greatest and most powerful songs. It's just, I suppose, a transpolation /I couldn't find a definition of the word in any dictionnary and yet it does get used/, meaning transformation really. I've written it as a reflection of my struggle for official recognition of what I'm about and of what I stand for while also trying to reflect what other individuals may have encountered/may be encountering in their lives, and I don't necessarily refer here to just the people I know personally:

    Ah, to be yin yang young and white
    and have the same problems as did/do have the black
    Oh what a lovely and precious dream
    Open your heart to what I mean

    If you are yin young gifted blac//white
    There's a great truth that you should know
    When you’re yin yang young gifted white/black
    Your sou'’s intact

    Oh but my joy of today
    Is that we can all be proud to say
    To be yin yang young gifted black/white
    Is where it's at


  • Comment number 31.

    #30 correction

    The sixth line from the bottom should read:

    'soul's intact'

  • Comment number 32.

    Nos 21 - 'Of course, selling BBC Worldwide for £500m + was not
    mentioned. That would be an easy way to bring in cash.'

    Yes but then they are still doing slow motion shots that take two years to complete and producing docu's on it to demonstrate to us how out of touch they are with what the rest of us are going through. I wounder how much that single shot cost - two years pay for those involved. Plant growth - how lovely.

    Nos 17 - 'Well I thought Kirsty looked pretty hot tonight.'

    Yes, and you know what, I bet barrie secretly agrees but don't tell anyone.

    Looks like you were correct on the yang thing, him to Mim. Did you see they were using an ice rink to illustrate stuff on the 'pre budget' which was shown on BBC News 24. Do you know where that was? - I thought there was only one ice rink in London.

    The budget stuff - mostly reflecting Nu Labour 12 year hell upon us. And Brown had the bare faced gall to blame the American banks when faced with his appalling financial non-regulation. Just take a look at the FSA press releases over the last 10 years and compare to the most recent.

    Look at all those financial wide boys they hit who wouldn't have been there if they did the job properly in the past 10 years, wonder why they didn't Mr Brown ?

    Labour are going to go for a long time. I did wonder if the Conservatives would leave the solar panel input to the grid for up to 900 GBP a year intact - where do I find the specifics on that ? Some how I think I will be disappointed on the initial out-lay and the amount of power having to be put-in, in relation to how much is paid out. Kinda says it all really.

  • Comment number 33.

    18. At 11:03pm on 09 Dec 2009, Roger Thomas wrote:

    It's 11pm. I am listening to a bunch of comedians who can't agree how to run an economy. Their mates have just gone on a junket to Copenhagen to pretend they know how to run a planet.


    ps: Interesting to note the moderators have again shown that standards can be maintained, if not doubled, especially when it comes to being both off topic and with the odd topping of personal abuse thrown in for good measure.

    Must be the new era of tolerance and watertight oversight I have heard so much about.

  • Comment number 34.

    Street @32

    BBC Worldwide does not make prgrammes.
    It is the commercial arm of the Corp.
    They do the selling to USA etc.

    About those time lapse shots. They are cheap to make.
    They are cameras with a timing device. No one is there
    for two years apart from the camera.

  • Comment number 35.


    I didn't see that - I only heard.

  • Comment number 36.


    I don't watch News 24 and it doesn't make any difference to me which ice rink they used. There is one in Chrystal Palace and one in Hackney apparently and in Streatham and maybe others. It's absolutely of no relevance to me how many there are.

    I only skate at Queen's and there would be no point measuring my twirling as it's the impact that it may have on the fellow human beings that counts. I know I can't twirl for 20 minutes or so without a break or maybe even half an hour. If pushed possibly for longer. With breaks I can do it on and on and on and on and on and on and on -

  • Comment number 37.

    Nos 34 - BBC - all the same to me.

    'No one is there
    for two years apart from the camera.'

    So where did they go and who pockets all the dosh ?

    I want an investigation !!!

    Nos 35 - Not bad yam yam barrie, practice makes perfect.

    Thanks for the ditties Mim I do appreciate your efforts.

    'it's the impact that it may have on the fellow human beings that counts'

    I do agree.

  • Comment number 38.

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

  • Comment number 39.

    #38 addendum

    To the above I'd like to add that if I didn't have such a strong disposition as well as, vitally, I hadn't been so lucky as to come across a few individuals who have stuck with me through thick and thin, the competition between those 2 academics would have probably finished me off by now. A few times they were very very close to it.

  • Comment number 40.

    An Admittance of Economic Failure

    So with current government debt at the end Oct 2009 standing at a massive £ 829 billion (ONS figure), the government now says it's prudent to borrow another £ 611 billion over the next five years and never mind actually paying off any of the debt.

    It's going to take us twenty years to pay off NuLabours debt folly !

  • Comment number 41.

    How Many People Can The Earth Support?
    Last night's Panorama (repeat tonight 12.10 a.m.)

    Just when I was beginning to think that ecoliz and I were the only people on Planet Earth who see population control as the major priority - suddenly on the Horizon appears a white knight Sir David (Attenborough)leading our charge. It was well worth missing NN for as he explored all aspects of human population growth, previous attempts to limit growth in China and India, the affect on the ecology and our own future, with barely a mention of carbon.

    No magic formula only the combination of Stop Consuming Resources; Changes in Technolgy; and Reduce Population Growth.

    However, the calculation of how Earth's resources are presently unevenly shared out was a good attempt to show that there is no way that the 'less-developed' billions can aspire to the standards 'enjoyed' by the 'developed' nations. Using a concept of Global Hectares(GH) to represent the available resources gave the availability of an average of 2GH's per person, but the present uneven allocations of GH's are calculated as:
    Africa 1.3; India 2.00; Europe 4.45; UK 5.33; USA 9.42

    This information, however imprecise, confirms what I have always held to be The Inconvenient Truth: that trying to alleviate poverty, lower child mortality rates, raise life expectancy rates, and raise living standards worldwide to those of the west is just NOT POSSIBLE given the Earth's finite resources and population growth. In theory we all need to 'downsize' to the average living standards of India, AND stop population growth.

    Attenborough mentioned that had China not implemented it's 1-child policy there would now be an additional 400 million people in the world (more than that of USA). To be brutally frank and realistic, similar projections could be made for the 8 million sterilized by India, and what if we had not had World Wars I and II, and we manage to prevent loss of human life from volcanos, tsunamis, hurricanes, floods and other man-made and natural catastrophies? Clearly the Earth's carrying capacity would by now have been grossly exceeded.

    The sinister part is the preparations now being made by countries such as China and Saudi-Arabia (and even UK) to buy up land in less-developed nations in order to provide for their own populations' future needs, thus further reducing the resources available to the native populations.

    As Sir David summarised, it's not a happy picture, but if we don't act now our descendants may well accuse us - "you saw this coming, why didn't you do something?" i-player or BBC 2 tonight at 12.10 am.

  • Comment number 42.


    By my analysis, under the 'population problem' lies the triumph of 'immature cleverness' (courtesy of big brain and language) over innate 'wisdom' of the animal: find a niche and don't mess-up.

    Without intervention from a superior power (pick your own) I can see little chance of sustainable future.

  • Comment number 43.

    #41 Indy2

    Watched the programme. As we were posting here last year, when you write to the BBC no one replies.

    So I wrote to Sir David last year with an idea for a programme. He didn't reply. Hope you enjoyed it?

    The problem is far more deeper and serious than the simplistic environment= climate change= CO2= carbon trading the Copenhagen party tries to present.

  • Comment number 44.

    #41 indignantindegene very nice précis of last nights Attenborough programme, but one that most people ignore. Like you I'm quite consumed with population growth, not because I think I'm superior, but because like you I feel our own standard of demands should go down. Perhaps a little higher than India's but one that is sustainable. I think in fact the west would be a lot happier. brossen99 made a very good point the other day. He suggested that all types of equipment should have a life of 30 years instead of the current 3 - 5. Like him I keep everything going for as long as I can, and repair things, which is unheard of these days.

    The only young person I know who buys everything second hand and refuses to get into consuming in extremis is my eldest son, but it's not the way of my other children! But then he studied economics, and learnt 10 years ago that we will run out of resources fairly soon. In fact probably in 3 - 4 years as Roger has suggested.

    Another excellent point was made of educating women, look at the success in Kerala, didn't they all look a healthy happy lot. Women have far too much say in the west and not enough in developing countries, how about the western women helping the less educated, instead of bleating about their rights here! And come to that support the abused foreign women that are living here now. Women seem to ignore their naturally caring role in society these days, they should look on being caring as an asset not a failure.

  • Comment number 45.

    #44 Ecolizzy

    It's not that we run out of resources. Humans use two things energy and resources. The energy being used to manipulate resources from extraction to final consumer product or service.

    What Copenhagen is about is just reducing the CO2 emissions or carbon intensity of the process. They aren't challenging the process itself, which is the most dangerous part.

    Resource use destroys the ecological life support of the planet, so it cannot evolve to the most stable optimum in response to such things as a changing climate.

    Population and resource use/ disposal also creates pollution, which again reduces the effectiveness of the ecological systems to support life.

    This is the fallacy of Copenhagen, which for weeks I have been writing about to fail.

    Copenhagen is not doing anything about the problem, only trying to deliver another way to achieve the same problem. It is consumption which is the problem. Which we all know Government's want to increase. Barking mad!

    Oh and Ecolizzy look at this. Is it black flag propaganda? We all know Scotland is a low level, prone to flooding, densely populated, over run country. But people are posting stuff like this to counter the truth. I assume it is computer generated CGI animation or whatever.

    They are even pretending the dogs doing the sweeping outruns are bearded collies like Ruskin. See how they bounce over the shrub layer on the runs. Unlike border collies. Some are border collies though.

  • Comment number 46.

    Just listened to a very interesting programme on Radio 4. "Off the Page", subject "Me Time", with the wonderful Oliver James. What did I say about women above?! Even, in the past, extreme feminist Anna Raebourne has changed her mind, and can see, like I do, through all the rubbish in womens magazines and how women are supposed to live up to some ideal. Oh if only you could get young girls to believe in themselves and not need all the consumerism that they are exposed to. And that young mothers would think it was the best thing in the world to bring up their own young children, instead of being berated by the likes of Harperson, that they should all be working, and neglecting their kids.

    And Oliver sensible as usual explained that people should actually live in a natural way. Which is men working, but not to the exclusion of anything else, hobbies etc, and women doing the "caring role", as men try as they may aren't as good at it. Funny how I should write the above and then this programme says the same, hhhhmmm.

  • Comment number 47.

    #46 Ecolizzy

    This is the fundamental problem I have with programmes like NN. They get the politicians on and ask how we can increase economic growth. They come up with things like childcare so women can get back into the work place quicker.

    Politicians come on and talk. But no one asks


    I can't speak for all women, but I know many women don't want to work when they have children.

    Why do women have to go to work to earn money to pay others to look after their children, so they can work to earn money to pay others to look after their children, so they....


  • Comment number 48.

    #47 Why you ask Roger

    The money making merry go round, that is going to be our doom! ; )

    As usual I find a lot of sense in your comments, the youtube is running slow at the mo, I'll look later, thanks.

    It's funny about women looking after their babies there is a gap of seven years between my eldest and youngest. When I had the eldest most mothers stayed at home for the early years at least. By the time I had the youngest I was thought mad for not rushing back to work. What happened in between, Thatcher! More capitilism and spending, and Britain rushing into out depressive state. Oliver James said we had something like 23 percent of population that would suffer depression at some stage in life, the rest of europe was about half that, and the bonny US of A had 25 percent, so who are we following! : (

  • Comment number 49.

    #42. barrie

    "By my analysis, under the 'population problem' lies the triumph of 'immature cleverness' (courtesy of big brain and language) over innate 'wisdom' of the animal: find a niche and don't mess-up"

    Well put. The trouble is that even homsaps with tiny brains and crude language are allowed to mess up, one could almost say encouraged to, by the abused use of benefits and allowances, originally intended only as a safety net. All nature culls the unfit for purpose: homsaps encourage them by banning all discrimination (between good and bad)and deeming all to be 'equal' hence the downward spiral of society.

    "Without intervention from a superior power (pick your own) I can see little chance of sustainable future."

    There's not much choice in UK as in our form of democracy political power = most votes = popular solutions, rather than hard choices. We need a government that does not keep chasing 'growth' and tough laws or taxes against consumerism. Your 'spoil party games' may make some headway with a hung parliament and more independent members.
    Otherwise the 'superior power' will be nature itself, with population growth and greed leading to mass starvation and more human conflict thus reducing and rebalancing the unchecked ascent of man.

  • Comment number 50.

    Once upon a time this was illegal in Britain

    Now it doesn't matter where you live if you're an immigrant, twenty years ago this would never have been allowed. We have a town here with a complete Sandgatte in place. There were planning laws, that don't seem to count any more, unless of course you want to put a porch on the front of your house. Then all hell breaks lose!

  • Comment number 51.

    YUP! (#49)

    A nice contraction from general to particular IDG2.

  • Comment number 52.


    ". . . look at the success in Kerala, didn't they all look a healthy happy lot."

    Oh Lizzie! Look again, with the eyes of a man. They looked both eminently impregnatable AND IMPREGNABLE. You could almost HEAR Mother Nature weeping (and Yaweh singing in his cerebral bath).

    THE ANIMAL/CEREBRAL impasse writ large.

    *Sugar and spice and child-bearing's not nice.


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