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Wednesday 13 January 2010 - the plan so far

Verity Murphy | 11:54 UK time, Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Here is what we are currently planning for tonight's programme:

We will have the latest on the huge earthquake which has caused death and devastation across Haiti.

Also, the inquest opens tomorrow into the death of David Gray in 2008 after treatment by the German doctor Daniel Ubani. Matt Prodger will report on the case and the wide variations in the quality of out-of-hours care across the UK.

And Peter Taylor, who has been examining the al-Qaeda threat in Yemen as part of his upcoming BBC series Generation Jihad, has a film looking at the Saudi rehabilitation programme for ex-Guantanamo prisoners. He speaks to one man who joined al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the group responsible for the Christmas Day bomb plot.

More details later.


  • Comment number 1.

    Its a pity that the Iraq Inquiry piece did not expand into "leaks" to the media that Blair was now perhaps a liability due to the Iraq War Inquiry and yet another abortive coup attempt against Brown. The adjustment of their feet whilst trying to maintain the same stance on the causes of the war may be revealing.

    Perhaps those that leaked their thoughts about Blair did not appreciate that the public may not know for sure Alistair Campbell was being selective with the truth but that does not mean that they believed him anyway. The smug air of "you ain't got nothing on us Chilcott!" does not really go down well in the post expenses era.

    But then that level of political incompetence is completely in tune with the "clever" politics that meant nobody saw the crash coming that they helped create with feeble banking regulation - yet they claim credit as economic saviour's whilst knowing that they are not believed.

    You do wonder what will happen if somebody now has a crisis of conscience and reveals truths that expose that the answers now indelibly given have been "economical with the actualite".

    Is Goldsmith the impartial figure he once was? Has he commented on the Dutch inquiry?

  • Comment number 2.

    On the Guantanamo piece I am still very keen to hear whether all of the torture and distress aimed at prisoners actually achieved anything other than making the perpetrators feel good. But in practical terms given many proved innocent and some may have been radicalised by the torture they may, apparently, have been just as well advised to shoot their guns in the air and say "yee hah".

    I would have hoped Obama would have looked into this so that no future government could be seduced by the attractions of a knee jerk reaction.

    Its a pity that could not have been contrasted with tonights piece on al Qaeda rehab Saudi as I also don't think may would be keen on seeing terrorists being "ping ponged" (assuming its the previously reported centre) with quality facilities whilst our troops are getting shot up.

    Unless it works but my sceptical nature makes me tend to the view that such tactics will only work on those recently and lightly radicalised.

    Perhaps bin Laden could be tempted by Olympic class equestrian facilities? All he is achieving right now is the death of innocents and there is no prospect of diplomatic, religious or political change beyond the new benchmarks for terrorism.

    But I suspect that would not work either.

  • Comment number 3.

    One thought that I forgot on the Iraq War Inquiry is that with a general election looming are the politicians going to be pressed to explain why such an unsatisfactory charade could not happen again in the future?

    In the same vein I currently see no reason to assume we cannot have a new financial crisis - or a related one - as most of the regulatory changes have been cosmetic. Credit rating agencies valued some instruments as AAA and they were worthless and can large complex banks be left to the competence of the board members when they can take down the economy?

  • Comment number 4.


    With the Solar-system's ELECTOMAGNETIC configuration going through some unusual times, and taking into account mounting evidence that earthquakes may have an electical component, is anyone counting - or even COUNTING DOWN?

  • Comment number 5.

    Somebody onne said that this was a country of shopkeepers. It may have been Victor Hugo. I wonder what I should call it? I have, in fact, have an idea but am not going to tell you.


  • Comment number 6.

    re. Haiti.

    will we, in addition to the heart-rending pictures and the obligatory mention that Haiti is the 'poorest country in the Western hemisphere' get some analysis as to WHY Haiti has remained so poor? will there be information on the continual interference by various western democracies in Haiti's internal affairs? I expect we will not, just the usual emotive stuff.

  • Comment number 7.

    Do they intend to rebuild the devastated Capital on the same site, so close to the fault line? Surely that would be folly and a waste of resources?

    Great to see Obama acting so decisively, a man with the right heart, unlike his predecessor

  • Comment number 8.


    Secret Blogger

    Yeah, there is a huge difference between them.

    Last night I wanted to watch the BBC programme about him but unfortunately, due to tiredness, missed it.


  • Comment number 9.

    #5 correction

    The phrase of 'the nation of shopkeepers' was coined by Adam Smith although is commonly attributed to Napoleon who, as history tells us, was eventually defeated at Waterloo which, for the time being at least, would not stop me from thinking what I'm thinking.

    But, please, let no one think that I'm taking myself for either Adam Smith or Napoleon.


  • Comment number 10.

    "Incompetent E.U. Doctors."

    I don't think the traitors who run this country, with their craven subservience to anything 'Brussels', realise we should either opt out of the E.U. legislation preventing proper checks and stick two fingers up at the bleating of the 'Euro' fanatics or leave the E.U.

    Neither will happen, of course.

    In other words, try not to become ill at night, if you can.

    13 years of Labour, eh? Was it worth it?

  • Comment number 11.

    Strugglingtostaycalm #10.

    "13 years of Labour, eh? Was it worth it?"

    - minimum wage
    - disability rights commission
    - paternity leave for fathers
    - improved employment rights

    there were some others too but I think it's safe to say that the Tories wouldn't have prioritised stuff like this.

    (not to be read as endorsing ANY of the mainstream parties)

  • Comment number 12.


    One of the interviewees, prior to the pointless exchange with Obrien, made clear that 'for us, the war is over' - and lost. As a result, 'all EU doctors are equal'. SO WHY DID PAXO NOT PUT THAT TP OBRIEN?

    Obrien cited 'Rule 62B': 'English must be spoken' - yeah, right.

  • Comment number 13.


    Such poignancy that we are in a frenzy of 'saving even one life' in Haiti, but in other arenas, having bombed, we just fly away. The rubble is the same, and kills as surely.

    Earthquakes are SO UNJUST - unlike war.

  • Comment number 14.


    Mr Singleton

    May I wish you a happy and enjoyable flight to some other land
    or a town on these isles?!


  • Comment number 15.

    A ditty dedicated to those who thought I was mad wanting to take up skating at the age of 55:

    It’s coming up to midnight and I’m ready to rhyme
    To keep my brain working and well occupied
    Before night becomes light with the rise of the sun
    On ice earlier today I did have quite a bit of fun,
    Skating to all sorts pieces and songs
    Why the hell in April they were trying to prevent me from so?
    Now they’ve realised they have been mistaken
    Still want to hold me under total control
    Whatever happens they will have to let go though I don’t mind them enjoying the show
    But that’s just about it as far as I am concerned
    Whatever happens, pages will turn.


  • Comment number 16.

    In the middle of last year I attended an 'out of hours' doctor who simply could not understand me, nor I him. He was both rude and arrogant (presumably to cover for his poor English language skills), and after 20 frustrating minutes I left and went to the A & E department of my local hospital. What a waste of time.

  • Comment number 17.

    I’m about to do something different in a few moments
    I’ve never done it before but I am hoping for
    A bit of relaxation and improvement in sentiment
    Before eventually dozing off
    Waiting for the light to shine on again
    On this green and pleasant (?) land.


  • Comment number 18.

    OOH doctors and the EU

    I found Mr Paxman's interview questions rather puerile. Mr O'Brien's answers seemed to me to be highly sensible. Now it may be that his views that the PCTs have to be responsible for the proper checking of doctors is inappropriate, but to me it makes sense. Localising such activities is surely the most effective means of implementing them. But to simply gamesay the view that central government isn't doing this is, frankly, stupid.

    If it isn't stupid then the issues around it should have been explored. Now it may well be the case that the approach that Mr O'Brien was describing has significant flaws. But we never found out -- Mr Paxman was continually intent on persistent interruptions, and seemed unwilling or unable to pursue more of the issues.

    He may have had some agenda for this, such as a belief that this approach is 'buck passing' and therefore ineffective. But if so he should have exposed this more by providing more questions of content explaining this.

    To me Mr Paxman looked an idiot and Mr O'Brien looked like someone who was talking sense, but was being harassed.

    Mr Paxman can be a good interviewer, but all too often he seems to want to argue, rather than discuss, with his guests. Is this policy pressure from the Newsnight production team, I wonder, wanting to create 'good entertainment?' If so, I don't approve.

    But you did air this topic, so top marks for that!

  • Comment number 19.

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

  • Comment number 20.

    Wow! newsnight sends you an email when they pull your post, thats very nice of them. I was going to put up a link of a picture of some fluffy kittens..but instead I'm gonna try and water-down my orignal post. Lets see if this meets with the mods approval then.

    Labour should be banned as a political party and socialism should be taught in the schools as a warning to the next generation of the terrors that it brings...third rate hacks passing the buck whilst telling them how to run their lives. We are reminded yet again with all the bureaucracy in place and at great cost, they could never and still can't regulate - regardless of how many "gates" are in place to filter out incompetent and non/poor-English speaking doctors. Lets get out of Europe, tear up whatever treaty we need to tear up and be done with this federal superstate project.

    And another thing, as well as abolishing paternity leave, maternity leave should be abolished too, employers and taxpayers should not have to be burdened with that. You want childern, fund this family growth enterprise yourself...and to think a man needs time off work because his woman has had another baby.

    Obama is going to rein the banks in, really! he who is surrounded by wallstreet bankers who advise him. Does anybody do any research at newsnight. Obama is a wallstreet huggie bear. You'll have to be aware of the 70s US TV show Starsky and Hutch to get that reference.

    There you go mod, only me and you know the edit/removal/clean-up that I've just done. Thank yee

  • Comment number 21.

    kevseywevsey #20.

    ".and to think a man needs time off work because his woman has had another baby."

    what a 'fine' partner you would make.

  • Comment number 22.

    21. I have five daughters, I dont need and never needed time off work, what! because she needed me to change a nappy - which i did often mind you. Tax payers should not fund family life. If you can't afford children, or can't afford the time off work. don't have any. Why should the employer/taxpayer be burdened with the costs. Its lazy-good-for nothings who want it all for free, usually socialist and free loaders. Don't take that wrong... Anyhow, thank you for your input.

  • Comment number 23.

    As we can see from some of the above posts, one can never please everybody. Jeremy was right about questioning Mr O'Brien about some of the healthcare policies that the Government introduced or has agreed too willingly with the EU a few years ago regarding for example the quality of English by doctors coming here to work.

    The Neurosurgery Department at St George's, London, has a very longstanding exchange scheme with a Neurosciences Hospital in Seattle. A few years ago, as if out of the blue, a new rule came in about the American Registrars, born, bred and educated in the USA forcing them to sit an English language test. While, as highlighted by the tragic case of Mr Gray, the rule about English does not apply. It is fair enough to delegate responsibilities further down to local health authorities as long as the policies are clear beyond any doubt. In this case it is to do with English. The rules are made in Westminster and the Authorities have to be instructed precisely how to apply them.

    It must be said, however, that Mr O'Brien was not at the time of the introduction of those rules the Minister for Health and in some way he seems to realise that things need to change and that ultimately it is the Government's responsibility to make sure that the doctors treating British Citizens are honest, SAFE, properly qualified and that they stick to the oath they make before they are allowed to practice.

    I thought Mr O'Brien responded quite well to Jeremy's challenging questioning. He didn't start to throw slogans at him but rather seemed to think about the issues at stake.


  • Comment number 24.

    #23 stylistic correction to the last phrase

    Rather than me saying that Mr O'Brien 'seemed to think about the issues at stake' I should have said 'seemed to take on board the issues at stake'.


  • Comment number 25.

    There is more and more talk about the need for the BBC to undergo a fundamental overhaul and here's a link suggesting one of the solutions that are now bound to start coming to the fore:


  • Comment number 26.

    Dawn musings on 14 January 2010

    The light has come though it is still dawn
    Some folk are happy while others forlorn
    Some folk are young ready to go
    While others are sick, caught up in disaster
    Or by now so old that they cannot muster
    To look after themselves and so needing help
    From those devoted to them or lending their hand.
    This is the story of all living creatures
    We come and we go, disappearing forever
    It’s only a question of sooner or later.
    That’s the story of nature, no need for dictators
    Who themselves end up in coffins or are burnt to dust
    And from this world disappearing thus.
    All this should be taken into account
    Trying to prevent them acting on lust,
    For money and power, fame and promised land
    I was born in Poland but am now in England.


  • Comment number 27.

    "13 years of Labour, eh? Was it worth it?"

    Improvements in employees rights and benefits came with many costs.
    One man's advantage is another's disadvantage. The indulgences of the minimum wage and maternity/paternity paid leave were bourne by employers and increased taxation, pushing jobs overseas (manufacturing, call centres, IT work, etc).

    Our benefits system is a paradise for the workshy and single mothers, has encouraged two-parent families to both pursue paid employment and consumerism, rather than focus on raising and nurturing their children, and has made UK a magnet for the world's unskilled migrants, especially those whose main activity is breeding.

    #22 kev
    "Tax payers should not fund family life. If you can't afford children, or can't afford the time off work. don't have any. Why should the employer/taxpayer be burdened with the costs?"

    I agree, having started work (6-day week) at age 16 and raised my kids without state assistance, I am becoming increasingly radicalised by the way in which the tax on my pensions is being squandered, particularly on those who seek to change our society having made little or no contribution to it.

  • Comment number 28.

    Indignat: I Thank God I'm not the only one with these thoughts. All I want is less Govt, less tax and an Island with less people on it. We already have enough to worry about regarding the state of the banking system and what may come from it.

  • Comment number 29.


    I tried to 'refuse'my Child Benefit. NOT possible apparently. So for 21 years, a chosen charity has benefitted.

    Though not rich, when, deciding to get married and hopefully eventually have a family, we actually worked out how much we needed in savings and hopeful earnings over several years to enable us to do so and support my career choice of 'Motherhood'. Until then, I followed Doctors orders and 'just kept taking the tablets'. Or as a friend put it, sowing the seed (HE said wiild oats!) but praying for a crop failure.

    Clinical perhaps. Success NOT guaranteed, but we PLANNED our family. The family that WE COULD afford and WOULD raise as we saw fit.

    2 was enough. Never wanted to be a bus driver!
    I consider the results a blessing, a privilege but NOT a right. At ANY cost.

  • Comment number 30.

    So #s 22 Kev 27 Indi and 29 BYT how did we end up in this parlous state! What made us responsible with planned families, and wanting to pay for and support and love our children. Back in the '80s when Thatcher was King, child benefit was so low, it almost didn't matter, it withered away, but still people had children.

    Now we give huge amounts at the drop of a hat to anyone deemed "poor" why are they poor, because of the ridiculous minimum wage. If wages had been allowed to just percolate, I reckon it would be around £7 an hour now, just by natural progression. So apparently for the last 10 years here, there has been a shortage of labour, these people were needed, if they had been paid a decent wage, they wouldn't have found ways of being on the dole, they would work.

    And when we speak of the poor, who do we mean these days. Is it the millions of immigrants all on very low wages and/or unemployed, or is it our home grown dole mongers. How do you decide who to give our generous benefits to. As read in the Express, our benefits including future pensions, are now being paid out to europe, particularly the eastern block. Now these people are used to communist bureaucracy so are very good at spotting a good deal when they see one.

    Was it our parents who set the example to us, so why didn't we set the same example to our children. Present company excepted, I'm talking in the general "we".

  • Comment number 31.

  • Comment number 32.

    #31 Mademoiselle did you see post 16 on Wed. "in detail"? A hospital doctors comment on how well UK doctors are examined and checked for qualifications.

    What I found amazing from the report, was that Germany doesn't check out it's doctors qualifications very well at all, fancy them being so inefficient, I couldn't quite believe it. This doctor actually seems to be a cosmetic "surgeon", so how did he get GP status here.

    I hope some heads will roll, but then if they do, the departing will have to be heavily compensated and pensions paid in full. Just like the delightful Rose Gibb But she's appealing, doesn't matter under her watch over 90 people died unnecessarily.

  • Comment number 33.


  • Comment number 34.

    #32 Oh no I wasn't implying you meant they were underchecked. I was just pointing out this doctor and how the doctors were checked thoroughly. From what O'Brian was saying, the PCT is supposed to check them all out, but it doesn't always get done, which I think was the point JP was trying to make. It did sound like passing the buck, wouldn't it be nice to hear a politician own up to something, hhhmmm and pigs might fly!


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