Monday 8 February 2010
UPDATE - MORE DETAILS ON TONIGHT'S PROGRAMME:
I'm wondering how the world of showbiz feels about David Cameron's claim that politics under Labour has become "a demented branch of the entertainment industry". Is there a Strictly Remortgage show to be done? Not any more, perhaps...
Today, David Cameron laid the blame for the failure of politics firmly at the feet of Gordon Brown, accusing him of "government by initiative, press release, and media management". And, moreover, he pledged we would see it no more under a Cameron government. That'll be worth watching then.
The gloves, at any rate are clearly off. And tonight - as all parties pledge to rid politics of the sleaze of the expenses scandal - we ask why things have suddenly got so personal and if the spirit of politics really can change.
In Afghanistan they are preparing for what is being billed as a major offensive against the Taliban. Our Diplomatic editor Mark Urban will take us through exactly what the surge strategy there will mean. We'll ask what kind of role the British troops hope the Afghans themselves will be playing and why - on the day two more British troops are killed there - the big pre-announcement is not asking for trouble from the insurgents.
The Tories are back with their Swedish models. They want the "free school" system to work here in the UK - which basically means anyone can start a school and run it - and it has to be free and accessible to all. Could it work here? Does it really work in Scandinavia? Michael Gove will be with me in the studio.
The bloggers have already dubbed him Alistair "weepy" Campbell after yesterday's emotional interview with the BBC. But this is the man who said "the only communication that works now really is when people are being utterly authentic". What did he mean by that? Has the stiff upper
lip gone for good. And is authentic the same as truthful?
We'll tread carefully here, but we'll be debating this on the programme tonight.
Join me at 10.30pm on BBC Two.
PS From the web team: We have launched a new Facebook page. Check it out for updates, best content and previews of what's to come on the programme. If you'd like to give us feedback, or there's anything else you want to see on our page, we want to hear from you at www.facebook.com/bbcnewsnight.
ENTRY FROM 11.54GMT
Michael Crick will be reporting on the three Labour MPs and one Conservative peer who are facing criminal charges over their expenses. David Cameron says the law must be changed to stop them using parliamentary privilege to "evade justice".
Liz MacKean has been to Sweden to visit schools run independently of local council control, a scheme which the Conservatives hope to introduce in England if they win the next election. We'll be asking the shadow secretary of state for children, schools and families, Michael Gove, if they are really such a good idea.
And Mark Urban will be reporting on Operation Moshtarak - an offensive involving thousands of coalition troops designed to force Taliban militants from an area surrounding the town of Marja in Afghanistan's Helmand province. The defence secretary Bob Ainsworth has already warned of likely UK casualties.
More details later.