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Monday 4 January 2010 - in more detail

Sarah McDermott | 16:37 UK time, Monday, 4 January 2010

Tightened security measures have come into force for all travellers flying into the United States, following a failed attempt to blow up an American airliner on Christmas Day.

Under the new guidelines, airport staff are carrying out full body-checks on passengers travelling from countries which the US considers a security risk - including Pakistan, Iran, Yemen and Nigeria.

Here Prime Minister Gordon Brown says full body scanners will be introduced at British airports as they are "essential" to tackle the terror threat. But questions have been raised about their cost and effectiveness.

Tonight, Richard Watson will be reporting on the controversial targeting of specific groups of passengers, known as profiling, outlining what measures are already being taken and what are likely to be introduced in the future. We will be discussing the merits and pitfalls of profiling.

Also tonight, the main parties have been stepping up their pre-election campaigning.
The Chancellor Alistair Darling joined the fray this morning publishing a report claiming a £34bn credibility gap in the Conservatives' spending plans. Tory leader David Cameron, dubbed the report "junk" saying he'd spotted £11bn of errors in eleven seconds. He also unveiled the first part of a draft manifesto, which he says puts the NHS at the heart of Tory plans.

Tonight David Grossman will report on how the run up to the election is already hotting up and we'll be speaking to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and his Conservative shadow. Michael Crick will also be looking at the political year ahead and we will be joined in the studio by the Newsnight political panel - Peter Hyman, Olly Grender, and Danny Finkelstein.

Join Jeremy at 10.30pm on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.

    ...A former senior Army commander has called for fresh strategic thinking in Afghanistan..

    Major-General Andrew Mackay, who led the successful British recapture of Musa Qala from the Taliban, said the MoD was "institutionally incapable" of adapting to the rapid changes required to fight modern wars such as that in Afghanistan.

    The paper suggested the Western education system was designed for a previous age and could not adapt to future challenges...

    You Looking at me?
    profiling? everyone does it. has the bbc not profiles the population into 'channels'? or who do they think listens to 1xtra?

    Jihadist Pantomime.
    Theatrics have been banned before if they pose a risk of public disturbance? Or shall the uk become like northern ireland?

  • Comment number 2.

    forget the pointless politics. how about....

    civilian contractors taking over security in afghanistan? translators paid 230k a year? stamping on usa flag? burning effigies?

    Whistleblower exposing Israel nuke program faces court?

    if this was iran....

  • Comment number 3.

    2010 - perhaps we could have a few more stories about the advances in medicine?

    Good story today on the BBC web site about the human genome project and how that has ushered in new treatments.

    Stem Cell therapies have been around for ten years now. Maybe time for
    Newsnight to dip its toe into the water.

    I hope we (the audience) are not going to have to suffer six months of reporters chasing around Westminster shouting, 'Prime Minister ...... have you decided on the date yet'.

    It will drive us all mad.


  • Comment number 4.

    # 3


    Why don"t you dip your own toe and a finger as well to test whether the water is running out of the hot or cold tap?

  • Comment number 5.

    #4 addendum

    you never know, while you're testing your own body reactions you might even get a share in the Nobel Science prize the PM is so keen on...

  • Comment number 6.

    I did tip my toe in the water for Channel Four in the late 90s.
    I edited the programme which broke the news that the Human Genome had been cracked.

    We also made three films about Embryonic Stem Cells. They are the future and have been for a while. Bush held up research Obama has lifted the ban.

    We had a woman in our film who had been in a wheelchair for years.
    After treatment with stem cells she walked again. We also had a cancer patient who had been given two weeks to live. He survived with a breakthrough drug called Glevec.

    It is sad that most journalism now just hunts down the bad stories.
    Good news is no news - that is the constant mantra.

    We gave Channel Four their highest viewing figure for a science programme.

    One final note on the human Genome project.
    We do have to thank Tony Blair for that.

    The Cambridge scientist who researched the project contacted Number Ten because he wanted to offer the results to the worldwide scientific community.

    American companies were hoping to charge researchers to access the Human Genome project but the Brits got there first.

    Blair contacted Clinton. Together they held a press conference.

    The Human Genome project can now be accessed by any researcher for FREE through web sites on the net.

    In a hundred years time no one will give a damn about the day to day petty politics of 2010 but many will be pleased that the DNA code was offered for free to researchers.


    “The announcement of the first draft of the human genome on 26 June 2000 was big news, with a packed press conference at the Wellcome Trust and a video link-up between Tony Blair and Bill Clinton.”

  • Comment number 7.


    It's an exhaustive explanation Mr Taylor. It's just the way you presented your idea at #3 that got my back up but I won't go here into any details why.

    I have also reread your posts from the end of November and beginning of December, which I remembered reading with interest. Apologies if I've offended you.


  • Comment number 8.

    Airport scanners are what security professionals call "Security Theatre" giving the appearance of security while actually not providing that security. Profiling is much the same unless you have actual intelligence to back it up, like knowing that a bomber is a Nigerian traveling from Yemen, that profile, if used could have caught that terrorist, of course it wasn't, just like the intelligence on the 9/11 hijackers wasn't, I'm beginning to think the whole of UK/US intelligence are clones of Homer Simpson either that or Mr. Burns, rubbing their hands together in glee while muttering "excellent" at the thought of more money and power after this failed bombers attempt.

    As for the joke of the numbers put about by all the politicians we are being warned again that we could face a major crisis -

    And a little quote to end on -

    "There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved." Human Action, Ludwig von Mises, 1949 , the complete 1st and 4th editions can be found here-

  • Comment number 9.

    I've been listening to J S Bach today on a CD which was produced by NAXOS. On the cover they give a quote from Baker's 'Biographical Dictionary of Music' that states that Bach was/is a 'Supreme lawgiver of music, a master comparable in stature with Aristotle in philosophy and Leonardo da Vinci in art'.

    But I remembered that Aristotle did have an ambivalent attitude to music so I checked up on that and it turns out that he was not in favour of boys or men engaging actively in music as it could turn them effeminate.

    So, it seems somewhat ironic that Bach, a man who produced quite a number of offspring, should be compared to Aristotle. I'm not sure, however, whether Aristotle was as successful as Bach in terms of kids making.


  • Comment number 10.

    I watched BBC news at 10. Nearly every news report was about Muslims, Islam, Islamic terrorist and Islamic countries. Then Newsnights Opener was about Islamic terrorism and airport security and profiling passengers to aid counter-terrorism

    The general Election cannot come soon enough.


  • Comment number 11.

    I wish we could produce T.V. like Nurse Jackie, instead of the excrement such as Paradox and Wallander.

    Incidentally, critical praise of the latter makes me question the sanity of critics. How can they laud Mad Men (now that's television) andWallander It's, surely, one or the other - beautiful writing versus the televisual equivalent of paint drying.

  • Comment number 12.

    Liam Byrne is a Rothschilds muppet. I pray fervently every day that this man is trounced at the next general election. He is a slime of a man, he really really is.

  • Comment number 13.

    #10 Hhhhmmm cookie I watched the same, even the two muslims on NN kept talking over each other. Why don't muslims own up, and state we are a political party, our intention is to wipe other parties around the world out. WHY do we have to hear so much about Islam, to my mind another fantasy just like any other religion.

    I gave up on NN tonight, more argueing and childlike carry on with Liam Byrne and Hammond, how childish can you get, my cuts are bigger than your cuts etc.etc.etc. Jez get a grip! Although you did try

  • Comment number 14.

    Fabulous to see Jeremy & Co back on our screens particularly with my favourite trio of Danny/Olly/Peter :o)
    Olly made me laugh when she stated that the focus group who had approved the new Conservative poster must have been picked from Dad's Army and that they thought "we would all be doomed." Ha ha ha ha.

    @ Cookieducker #10 - it's not just the BBC who've been focusing on Islam/Muslims/Islamic Terrorists etc - all the other news channels have been same :o(

    :p I also note that Qinetic's share price has gone up......

  • Comment number 15.

    1 out of 2 ain't bad, eh mod.

    Crick may have missed one particular senario: The Tories+UKIP and the BNP. Its a Michael Crick nightmare! The Liberials will be killed off and labour is put into the political wilderness...another 18-20 yrs. And Paxman does a 'Network' a couple of weeks before the election. How's that for a prediction.

  • Comment number 16.

    Newsnight is, by and large, careful of the sensibilities of minority or underpriveleged groups. It's very hard to imagine a NN presenter speaking offensively about a black person or a disabled person for example. But they seem to have a blind spot about ageism. First (a while ago) I remember Gavin Estler falling about with mirth at the description of somebody who made an unpopular decision as being 'senile', and now, tonight, Jeremy Paxman first referred very patronisingly to 'grannies' and then talked about fortune tellers usually being thought of as 'raddled old crones' - it might not have been raddled, I've lost the exact words, it might have been 'wrinkled' or 'dried up' but whatever it was I didn't like it and wish all the male NN presenters would go on an ageism awareness course. People don't stop having feelings just because they're old.
    Happy New Year.

  • Comment number 17.

    Looked like a good start to 2010, Newsnight Team!


  • Comment number 18.



    How does one respond to constant childishness as displayed by Labour or meddling individuals whereby nothing seems to get through to them. Neither serious and constructive criticism, irony or direct protestations?

    What do you mean by saying that you gave up on Newsnight and yet you seem to know what was said, etc.

    Not that I expect an answer from you as you haven't bothered to respond to my invitation to exchange ideas even on issues that seemed to me going beyond any specific individuals.


  • Comment number 19.

    Who were the first woman and man
    And how many offspring did they beget?
    Christianity tells us it was Adam and Eve
    But we don’t know how many kids they managed to have.

    Who were the second couple and what were their names
    We’ll never know and so the mystery remains
    Forever locked up in the big great unknown
    With researchers powerless to reveal it anon.

    Nor will they have luck with couples 3 and then 4
    Or where they lived and whether they spoke.
    One thing is certain, they never drank ‘Coke’.


  • Comment number 20.

    Good Morning
    and here's the ditty
    on numbers and digits:

    1, 2 and 3. Who could this be?
    An interpreter, a prof. or former MP,
    Though in the reverse order,
    Unwelcome acquaintances of mine quite improper.

    Or maybe it’s my two brothers and me
    With the youngest dying when baby?
    We were all named as Ms
    A lot of my Mum’s sadness for it I blame.

    1, 2 and 3. What could this be?
    The number of houses in a short avenue
    In the middle of nowhere in Russia
    Put under a lot of pressure
    By weather conditions extreme?
    That’s what could mean 1. 2 and 3.

    These digits have become of such an importance
    For the interpreter, the prof, and former MP
    They’ve lost sight of how real to be
    Wanting to gain mountains of gold out of me.

    But let us now move to numbers rather than digits
    And think for example of what 22 could mean.
    The Poetry Society is at 22
    Double 11 or male twins 2 and 2?

    And how about the number of 30?
    In Queensway at 30 there is what’s called Queen’s Court
    Just to the left of Queen’s Ice Rink if one looks from the opposite
    Side of the street but to the right if one stands right by it.

    One of the things I liked about The Queen’s Christmas Message
    Was the stress on the practical rather than simply symbolic
    Existence and working together of the Commonwealth Nations
    For whom most of the Heads she counts as Friends Living
    Rather than ‘dead’ but hiding away
    Insisting on playing a nonsensical game.


  • Comment number 21.

    I have also managed to come up this morning with a ditty on 'hormones', the physical basis of which I've taken from Wikipedia:

    A hormone is a chemical released by one or more cells
    As it travels and spreads
    Affecting their colleagues inhabiting some other parts of the body
    In animals their passage is quite frequently ‘bloody’.

    Apparently all multicellular organisms produce these active chemicals
    Though the plantar ones are prefixed by ‘phyto’
    Of which for example are selenium and carotene-beta
    But I’ve changed the order in the last of these words.

    The mechanics of the process is that
    Cells respond to a hormone when then they express
    A specific receptor resulting in proteins and signal transduction
    Which also works in offspring production.

    In animals there are two types of hormone molecules
    ‘Endocrine’ secreted directly into the bloodstream
    While ‘exocrine’ ones secreted directly into a duct
    And then joining the bloodstream or are simply diffused.

    But, as I said in my yesterday’s ditty, mechanical action is not quite the same
    As engagement of higher brain functions, as far as I am concerned.
    Higher brain functions evolve as we grow and mature
    And are not solely dependent on physical nature.


  • Comment number 22.


    According to this morning’s BBC Homepage
    ‘Men love with their eyes
    While women with ears’.

    That men get turned on easily by females
    With beautiful bodies is obviously undeniable
    But do they automatically fall in love with them?

    And would a female be turned on by bubbles
    And hearing water dripping from taps,
    Never mind falling in love
    With a chap obsessed with such
    Ridiculous imaginings and nonsensical notions?


  • Comment number 23.

    Nos 3 - Totally agree

    This :-

    is why we need to address this :-

    To pay for things like this :-

    'Their figures (retrieved in June 2009) show that a single Gleevec 400mg pill costs between $110 and $130.'

    What is the point of treatments that none but the rich can afford? its something that only serves to aid their case for tax evasion. And its why we need to get real on the costs of the BBC and other stuff we don't really need - Do you want to live longer or watch Paxman and pay over 100,000 a year to 375 BBC employees and the even more highly paid preening presenters? We need to tell our leaders its NOT ON and we want change. Slogans are meaningless in the age of the internet. People are very switched on, boned up on the issues.

    Was that a naughty noddy I spied from Mr Crick? oh dear.

  • Comment number 24.

    #23 SPBMK2


    We COULD pour the entire GNP of the UK into the provision of health services, since technologically and scientifically we CAN do more than we can afford to do.

    Another discussion entirely is the morality of ANYONE making profit from medicine. It’s our ‘everything comes down to feeding that invisible machine called ‘the economy’ mantra again.

    It’s Jurassic Park again. Just because we CAN, doesn’t mean we SHOULD!

    After Cancer is ‘cured/prevented by science (much of which is reportedly/allegedly preventable through lifestyle choices), what next? Aids? Another largely ‘preventable’ plague. Then what?

    Perhaps we are NOT getting the message – that three score and ten really SHOULD be our outer limit.

    Seems we all WANT to be virtually immortal – but then we complain about being expected to work/contribute to society for a few years longer.

    We need to make our minds up and then accept the facts accordingly.

    What I believe we really need is :

    1. Open and honest information/discussions involving the public (for this, top class presenters/journalists may be require) in which true (lifetime) costs vs unbiased scientifically based outcome of a wide variety of life saving and life enhancing treatments/drugs can be assessed and prioritised.

    2. Then we mandate a highly ethical, moral, honourable and unbiased task force to make and publish decisions (a HIT List?) based on need/outcome/spend of illnesses/injuries/ PLAYING GOD if you like.

    3. Then, we ACCEPT what is decided, even if it hurts us as individuals.

    For example: (these are NOT qualified figures)
    1 1 heart transplant vs 100 hip replacements for example
    2 1 rare genetic disorder in a child treated vs cancer (curing?) drugs for 30 child rearing women
    3 1 boob job vs 10 cataract ops

    The article may have been written by a ‘top’ scientist/medic in his field but it was very poorly constructed (take this for example – “have either had it or have been treated for it” – pure nonsense) and highlights a basic problem of this form of ‘reporting’. That ALL doctors/scientists will have their own ‘specialties that they will push to gain funding for. AT the cost of ALL others and other needs for funding.

  • Comment number 25.

    See what a can of worms Joanna Lumley has opened, why doesn't she pay for their welfare?

    Around where I live there are many Ghurka soldiers and their wives, most have 3 or 4 children with them, they will all become british citizens, has anybody looked at how they will swell our population. And by the way no longer Nepalese, or to become Ghurkas, anybody thought of that one?

    I find this Ghurka question a big problem, they have fought and died for us, and deserve excellent treatment, but has anyone thought of the knock on effect of them remaining to live here? Especially the old and unwell, all now entitled to hospital care and the right to live in a care home, with the local council paying.

    Joanna just went for the the easy emotional side, no practicality at all. The soldiers pensions went a long way in Nepal, that won't even pay their rent here. So what will happen about this situation, will the army eventually stop recruiting the Nepalese, it's a very difficult situation. We cannot sustain the whole wolds poor, we are broke, but no one mentions that.

  • Comment number 26.



    we're are broke because of meddlers pretending they want communist type equality for all and gordon's gullibility and inability to deal with them

    do you remember jj saying that the current 'leaders' were chosen only because they were idiots?


  • Comment number 27.

    Last evenings programme (4th jan) made my blood boil. Yet again the BBC had as a "terrorism expert" Col Richard Kemp, this time describing him as "Intelligence Advisor to the Cabinet". Col Kemp was and never has been part of the intelligence community. He was a member of the JIC, Joint Intellice Commitee. Col Kemps role was to collate and produce strategic Inteligence assessments. The title attributed to Col Kemp implies he was inclusive in the intelligence community, he was not; nor is it the role of the JIC to direct intelligence operations. In additon to producing assessment the JIC does produce a list of requirements for the Intelligence agencies for them to collect information to fulfil those requirements. It is amazing watching someone like Kemp get increasing exposure, and as they do their stated role expands in proportion to their ego. P.S When he was commander UK forces in Afganistan, yet another grandiose title he parades on, he commnanded 400 troops and their was no insurgency in country. BBC, if you want a comment from an intelligence expert, please recruit someone who has actually served in the community.

  • Comment number 28.



    What you suggest sounds like a good idea but it would only be possible once the veil is taken off the public eyes regarding the meddlers I've just written about to Lizzy.

    However, I do not think that any appointed body could possibly decide once and for all about which particular treatment is more important than any other, apart from boob jobs, although I understand that boobs which are enormous can cause health hazards, etc

    I am all for private medical practice as long as there are clear guidelines provided by Parliament. From my hands on experience as a previous medsec it is in need of reform but I have no complaints about my recent treatment in a private hospital as I was aware of the costs involved.

    We need excellent journalists with integrity and honesty as much as we need medics though definitely not the medics or scientists who experiment on human beings without their agreement.
    I consider such 'enterprises' as criminal and I'm sure that many people would agree with me on this 100% if they knew what's going on.

    Have a good day


  • Comment number 29.

  • Comment number 30.

    27. At 09:38am on 05 Jan 2010, sir humphrey

    BBC, if you want a comment from [ ], please recruit someone who has actually served in the community.

    Nice notion. Maybe it could be made a new year's resolution. Even if embraced, it would sadly soon falter, I fear.

    I think qualifications for 'expert' 'objective' commentary don't actually include those two descriptors, while being on a producer/researcher's iPhone speed dial probably does. How one gets so synergise being another, if interesting, issue.

    Speaking of which, is it true that the BBC used the spouse of a senior party member to 'comment' on the actions of their rivals whilst failing to mention that this might result in a possible conflict of interest?

    If so, how... unique.

  • Comment number 31.

    #24 & #28 continuation

    Re: lifestyle and nutrition


    Lifestyle and nutrition, I am sure, play a very important part in our health. However, what is the reason, for example, for a young child brought up in a healthily living family developing a brain tumour, for example? Or a young, happy mother who is a vegetarian, does not smoke and does not indulge in too much alcohol dying because of lung cancer?

    As with most issues in life and ideas, there are no clear cut solutions or preventative methods against all disease.

    Apologies for talking about myself again but what is the reason for my fitness? Is it because I always loved vegetables and fruit and drank milk, quite frequently straight from cows as my Grandpa worked for an Institute of Polish Soiences where they raised them on fresh grass?

    When my Mum or my Grandparents made bouillon soup with veg I would always eat them all up, that's how tasty I've always found them ever since I remember. And they also had their own garden so whenever possible, season permitting, we would also have fresh salads. You named them, they seemed to grow them all, as well as fruit, again in ample quantities.

    But then, perhaps my fitness is due to the DNA I was born with having inherited it from one side of the family where longevity has always been the case. However, one never knows, I may be struck by some illness preventing me from reaching the age of 100. So again, no clear cut evidence of what it is that keeps me fit apart from regular cycling around and exercising and dancing that surely must help keep my muscles supple.


  • Comment number 32.

    Fatuous TV

    Maybes, ifs, hopes...

    Labour now claiming they are financial experts?

  • Comment number 33.


    That lady with the Tax Scams speech is excellent.



    This drug is used in the NHS and widely used.
    I live in the NW. The hospital up here uses Glevec.

    You can never satisfy everyone.
    As old diseases are cured new ones come along ie AIDS.

    Some Cancers are not helped by lifestyle but it is not always clear cut.
    In the mid 80s the EEC asked and paid for the BBC to make a programme about cancers in Europe, to compare lifestyle/diet differences.

    French farmers, who every morning drank Calvados in their coffee and smoked at the same time, tended to get throat cancer.

    The farmers who only drank did not. Equally the ones who smoked but did not drink did not get cancer. The research seemed to suggest that something happened when you put the two activirties together.

    In the future I suspect there will be insurance required for self inflected diseases. But where do you draw the line?

    The few teenagers who do get drunk every Saturday night on a bottle of vodka before they even leave the house could make themselves healthier and less of a drain on the NHS.

    If you are in a car accident you pay through your insurance.
    When an ambulance attends a road accident the NHS does charge for that.
    The insurance company pays - which means the drivers.

    Re our Stem Cell film for Channel Four -

    the White house think tank which had been set up to look into the consequences of people living and working longer believe we are all in for a shock. The planet cannot sustain an ever increasing population. In the past world wars kept the populations down. Now all wars are insurgency driven. We don't loose 60-90 million.

    The White House tended to feel the next problem which could cause a world war will be the lack of drinking WATER not politics.


  • Comment number 34.


    Would it come over just TOO trite if I suggest it is a lack of wisdom that will ultimately bring us down? There is a great deal of water on this planet, and solutions to the energy problem are out there.

    The only real problem we have is 6 billion clever juveniles, all Apes Confused by Language. The solution is wisdom, but paradox holds sway - we much prefer clever to wise. And god is no help - whatever his name is.


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