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Tuesday 2 February 2010

Verity Murphy | 11:31 UK time, Tuesday, 2 February 2010

KIRSTY'S UPDATE ON TONIGHT'S PROGRAMME:

Tonight Newsnight exposes the problems besetting the very pinnacle of climate change science. Are the warnings about global warming trustworthy or not? Are climate scientists eroding our trust with a series of mistakes, false predictions, and possibly dodgy science?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is meant to be the gold standard - subject to rigorous peer review and based on hard scientific data, and yet it has made a series of blunders. The IPCC assertion that there is a very high likelihood glaciers in the Himalayas will disappear by 2035 is unsubstantiated by science, and wrong.

The IPCC have now admitted it was "a lapse in standards". But this follows a number of other assertions about the impact of natural disasters and the future of the Amazonian rainforest that now turn out to be controversial. Add to that the now infamous hacked email exchange between scientists about disputed climate change statistics and the failure to deliver a global agreement at Copenhagen, and are we entitled to feel bewildered?

Susan Watts reports on the growing pressure on the IPCC. We'll be discussing it all live with Professor Chris Field of the IPCC - a man at the centre of the storm - and a leading climate scientist with strong criticisms of the IPCC.

And if there are persistent doubts over global warming how does that play into the promises to reduce CO2 emissions? Justin Rowlatt sees the plans for what could be the world's leading Carbon Capture Plant, due to be sited in Yorkshire.

Today Gordon Brown announced plans for a referendum on constitutional change. Today is also officially Groundhog Day. Dear viewer I ask you, are these two things linked? We'll discuss whether the government's plans for a switch to voting for a list of candidates, rather than first past the post, is an election strategy or, after 13 years in power, Gordon Brown's lightbulb moment?

And it's Oscar-tastic with ten films in contention for the big prize rather than five for the first time since 1943 - and what a mix it is! From the Hurt Locker, to Avatar, to Inglourious Basterds.

Watch to see the contenders. 10.30pm on BBC Two.

Kirsty

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

FROM 11:31

Here is what we are lining up for tonight's programme:

Susan Watts is looking into the growing pressure on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) after recent claims that some leading scientists exaggerated the melting of the Himalayan glaciers.

At the centre of the controversy is the IPCC's Working Group 2 - whose job it is to assess the impact of human induced climate change.

In fact, according to its own website, Working Group 2 "assesses the scientific, technical, environmental, economic and social aspects of the vulnerability (sensitivity and adaptability) to climate change of, and the negative and positive consequences for, ecological systems, socio-economic sectors and human health, with an emphasis on regional sectoral and cross-sectoral issues".

Tonight, Chris Field, the head of Working Group 2, will be on programme.

We are also looking at Labour's plans to scrap Britain's "first past the post" voting system if it wins the General Election.

And we have a very powerful film from Tim Whewell about homosexuality in Uganda.

Also we will be across the Oscars nominations when they are announced at lunchtime.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

  • Comment number 2.

    HIDING THE EVIDENCE

    I've got a good tip for the IPCC's Working Group 2...don't eat yellow snow!

  • Comment number 3.

    the gays in Uganda.....do they need a Pope?

  • Comment number 4.

    iraq inquiry

    Chief of the General Staff, 2001 – Feb 2003
    Chief of the Defence Staff, May 2003 – April 2006

    Lord Walker of Aldringham evidence

    he says [82mins in] that the uk has no nation building capacity, Nato has no nation building capacity and in his opinion after experience of 4 or 5 liberal interventionist conflicts it is beyond the wit of man to do it. He said there was something set up to deal with this called the post conflict reconstruction unit that degenerated into a talking shop. He says this is why 'nation building' in afghanistan can't get off the ground.

    he says the uk hasn't learnt the nation building lessons of the balkans never mind iraq.

    he slams the 'vice regal reign' of Bremmmer that in those first 6 months 'set the scene' for iraq 'from which we never recovered'.

    having tried to investigate it myself i have found there is no such thing as post conflict nation building science or capacity. so why do the political class think liberal interventionism is a good thing when the key capacity they wish to project into another country does not and never has existed. Its pure fantasy on their part. Worse, a pure fantasy which they ask others to risk their lives for whom quite literally will be dying for nothing because the proposed dream of 'nation building' isn't going to happen.

    are not our political class like cowboy builders that despite having no competence in the skills and science of house building will take on the job of reconstructing a house, like taking out partition walls not knowing if a wall is structural or not and then when the house becomes unsafe start blaming others or do a runner.

    cowboy builders we call criminals because they knowingly take on work they are unsuitable and unsafe to do. tv has programmes about them.

    So once again lions led by donkeys. what political arrogance. what political vanity. what political greed.

    the war crime against the blair govt of aggression stands in my view.

  • Comment number 5.

    2.

    there's bloke called Ganja Jim who lives in a camper van down by the canal. he says the climate is changing. maybe the IPCC should include his statements as evidence?

  • Comment number 6.

    I suspect there is going to be a sharp rise in audience figures tonight!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1247951/Kirsty-Wark-does-revealing-little-black-dress-slashed-thigh-edition-Newsnight.html

    Kirsty you are both stunning and intelligent. Don't change for anyone.

  • Comment number 7.

    'We are also looking at Labour's plans to scrap Britain's "first past the post" voting system if it wins the General Election.

    Oh for an Ernest Bevin or so in Government, rather than this lamentable Morrisonesque crowd.

    It's worth a read.

  • Comment number 8.

    MATILDA TOLD SUCH DREADFUL LIES.....
    (anyone remember the end of this Hilaire Belloc Gem?)


    ".....Are climate scientists eroding our trust with a series of mistakes, false predictions, and possibly dodgy science? "

    For me, this is the crux of all the fuss. The determination to uphold the status of individuals and organisations against uncertainties, doubts and varied opinions damages all and serves no useful purpose long term.

    Few to my mind are foolish enough to think that there is no need for mankind to find more sustainable ways to live on our finite planet - but growing cynicism and mistrust will mean selling the right arguments for the right reasons just gets harder.


    When we are sold lies, damn lies and statistics for the sake of saving face or being seen to be right when there simply IS NO RIGHT, is the thin end of the wedge.

    Honesty is seldom exciting, especially when the honest answer is 'We don't know', and there are those who will bay for blood no matter what the story. But honesty brings it's own rewards in regards longer term trust, obedience to and compliance with what seems to be borne out of truth. However vague or distateful.


    .....WHEN AT LAST HER AUNT RETURNED............... MATILDA, AND HER HOUSE, WERE BURNED!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • Comment number 9.

    'Today Gordon Brown announced plans for a referendum on constitutional change. Today is also officially Groundhog Day. Dear viewer I ask you, are these two things linked? We'll discuss whether the government's plans for a switch to voting for a list of candidates, rather than first past the post, is an election strategy or, after 13 years in power, Gordon Brown's lightbulb moment?'

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Yes ...they're linked allright:

    Groundhog Trillionaire!

  • Comment number 10.

    4. jauntycyclist 'so why do the political class think liberal interventionism is a good thing when the key capacity they wish to project into another country does not and never has existed.'

    What I think they have in mind is destruction of the old regime and .....letting nature take its course. Nation building per se would be statism, and that's anathema.

    'The people' have to build their own state, it would seem, albeit, with business services supplied by their 'liberators'. That's the freedom they've had visited upon them. Remember Rumsfeld and the 'looting' (freedom celebrations)? Much the same was visited upon the grateful Germans and Russians (in the 90s) you may recall. Those who get control (through their natural talents) are very grateful, and they show it. Except all too few dare ask... 'who exactly are these people'?

  • Comment number 11.

    Pressure can manifest itself in many ways. From the working (or not) of the IPCC to the CRU.

    A promotion here. A favour there. Or, equally, the threat of 'consequences', subtly alluded to. All powerful ways to ensure some messages prevail whilst others receive scant attention.

    Hence I recalled this in a sister blog the other day:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/dailypolitics/andrewneil/2010/01/the_dam_is_cracking.html

    Now as Al Gore has shown, it is perfectly reasonable to invest in causes you believe in. It is, literally, his business.

    But as a publicly-funded, objective broadcaster, one just has to hope that the pensions commitments of one branch of the BBC are kept very separate from those of editorial.

    Money can talk, especially when it's on a very personal level.

  • Comment number 12.

    THERE MAY BE TROUBLE AHEAD....... for Kirsty (UNDRESS) Wark. (#6)

    I have to disagree M76. It does not matter how good she looks for 55, or who thinks she is intelligent (though I do wish she would moderate her voice – don’t they have voice coaches) or otherwise.

    Last night’s faux pas was unbecoming, unnecessary and unattractive. It’s not about age. An outfit like that is fine to wear at home, at the night club or among friends but it is unacceptable on a serious news programme.

    So, dear Kirsty, when on screen, delivering serious political/current affairs debate to the best of your ability..................... GROW UP and treat us like adults too.

    And that applies also to the cameraman who lingered rather longer than was necessary on Kristy’s charms. There are plenty of other shows/channels on which to be titillated.

    Newsnight used to stand for something. Used to have ‘values’. Now it appears to be more often than not playing to the lowest common denominator.

    And whilst I am in this mood....................

    Please Newsnight, let’s keep the ‘entertainment/celeb type issues to ‘Review’. There are enough programmes pandering to the needs of the celeb culture. Oscars, John Terry et al. I would rather have ten minutes more on issues of REAL value that affect REAL people. We do not need a warm milky drink at the end of the evening. ‘There’s a poodle in Wandsworth that can tap dance’ type stories are best left to Trevor McDonut.

    BRING BACK MORECAMBE AND WISE

  • Comment number 13.

    12. brightyangthing 'Newsnight used to stand for something. Used to have ‘values’. Now it appears to be more often than not playing to the lowest common denominator.'

    Or modal.

    Well said though. Do they pay any attention though? I fear they may be doing populist sampling with the aid of people like Frank L. (and even Simon C.). To some, populism really is democracy.

  • Comment number 14.

    kirsty in a burkha would be news. but over 50's trying to look 16 is as old as the hills?

  • Comment number 15.

    10

    ..The people' have to build their own state, it would seem, albeit, with business services supplied by their 'liberators'...

    yes which is why iraq is recovering in spite of what we did because they have the oil revenues to do it themselves. this is also why kuwait was rebuilt. the balkans was rebuilt with eu money. the afghans don't have oil or any other money except opium. which is why after 8 years afghanistan is not even at base camp.

    which explains the bribe the taliban tactic now employed.

  • Comment number 16.

    SURELY IT IS ESTABLISHED BEYOND DOUBT?

    That life is now given over to 'Mammon' and and truth has no place in His ethos?

    From the moment we wake and turn on the 'mediated' Radio, drive past subversive advertising posters, join an exploited workforce in an exploitative company, go to a subversively organised supermarket with heavily taxed poison on sale at the checkout, eat a lunch that is deviously enhanced, buy freely available petrol on the home journey that we are told is killing the planet, later visit a dedicated intoxicant dispensary, selling heavily taxed inebriant drink, watch degrading/violent/pornographic TV punctuated with massively expensive advertising of things neither wanted nor needed, we are in Great Britain - LIVING WITHIN THE LIE. Why should science be left out of Mammon's loop??

  • Comment number 17.

    'IT'S NOT FAIR FIGHTING'

    Some chap on my radio just told me the Taliban fight unfair, ruthless, bloody war. I can't even bring myself to go on.

  • Comment number 18.

    Why do people vote against their own interests?
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8474611.stm

    "As the saying goes, in politics, when you are explaining, you are losing. And that makes anything as complex or as messy as healthcare reform a very hard sell."

    If only they had JJ over there to explain it to them...for if they did understand...Wall Street would be stormed the following day and the capitalists would be hanging from the lamp-posts.

  • Comment number 19.

    So that we don't get too wrapped up in the U S of A, with Groundhog day.

    In England today is Candlemas Day

    http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/CUSTOMS/year/february.htm

  • Comment number 20.

    16,17 barriesingleton - It does rather sap the will to write.

    18. freemarketanarchy - Bevin would almost certainly be spinning in his grave if he knew what Mandelson and crew have done to this country.

    Will Newsnight will have the vision to invite Short on to discuss the difference between an anarchistic dictatorship and a sofa-politburo?

  • Comment number 21.

    Is this the final chance for Newsnight to get to the bottom of the 'settled' Global Warming 'made by man' farce?
    The whole event has been a tax raising scam, with a bunch of people at the top making money from strategically placed green investments.
    The only truth, is the rising CO2. This is hardly surprising as everyone is cutting down trees; be it rain forrest, or trees in our back garden, that buildings insurance co.s have taken an irrational disliking to.

    There has been no discernable rise in sea level in the strategically placed Atlantic...
    Well not according to the fishermen of West Cork anyhow, and they should know, launching their boats from the shoreline daily.

    When is someone going to recognise that my 1987 Passat diesel estate that does 62mpg on a run, and can carry oodles of luggage, is greener than a 2 seater 'Smart' car, or the 5 other cars that have not replaced it in the last 20 years?
    Give me free road tax...

  • Comment number 22.

    IMBOLC

    Ho Lizzy! So you have abandoned the indigenous Celts and thrown in your lot with the invader/usurper Christians? Shame on you - Candlemas indeed. The Snowdrops are opening as Mother earth re-awakens to the returning Sun. Her man is coming home to warm her up a bit.

    A joyful Imbolc! (:o)

  • Comment number 23.

    iraq inquiry

    claire short gives it both barrels.

    there was a shambolic dysfunctional government with inter governmental reporting structures locked down that gave a presidential style of government. the machinery of govt has broken down. when you add secrecy and deceit to that then it becomes positively dangerous.

    the military criticisms of dfid were just whinging looking for scapegoats for failure.
    the military failed to fulfil their geneva convention responsibilities in not keeping order.
    the military failed in their duty to tell blair they were not ready.

    tony/jack saying the french would never sign up to a resolution was 'a lie'. she read chiracs speech and it was clear he was not saying never.

    there was no emergency. there was no need for rush.

    the americans began to smear blix.

    the uk plan was to get the UN to take the lead and so take all the costs. Koffe said he would not 'bluewash' the iraq invasion.

    blair was unable to use his leverage on the road map when he had it.
    by the end the uk had no leverage.
    blair was sincere and was prepared to be deceitful because he really believed it.

    the role of the attorney general has proved to be unsafe.
    we need a serious debate about the special relationship. do we [the uk] have a bottom line?

    claire got a rare inquiry round of applause from the gallery.

    ...............
    i see some press reports are giving incomplete accounts and trying to joke it off.

  • Comment number 24.

    Is Kirsty Wark incapable of shutting up? Throughout tonight's edition of Newsnight she has scarcely allowed the interviewees to finish a sentence without butting in. She would do well to listen to Eddie Mair at 1700 each day and find out what good interviewing is all about. Tonight's Newsnight has been a shambles.

  • Comment number 25.

    Hey Newsnight, you're famous for big picture big issue news. So why the micro subject about IPCC content. Isn't the "big" issue whether or not the scientific community will support the (continually revised)evidence? Shouldn't we be seeing more about the credentials and evidence of the climate naysayers?

    Also, in passing, the item about voting systems was probably the best example of why people are really disillusioned with politicians and their obsessive self-interest and desperation to grab/hold power at any cost!

  • Comment number 26.

    #8

    BYT

    Something like that though I'm not exactly sure what you mean by the last couple of lines in capitals. Will have to think further about that one.

    mim

  • Comment number 27.

    THE SHEER VOGONITY OF JAMES GORDON BROWN

    "As a confirmed reformer, and long-standing SUPPORTER OF CHANGE"

    How does his brain manage to come up with such a crass piece of gobbledegook? How can anyone be a 'SUPPORTER OF CHANGE', as a goal IN ITSELF? The fact poor wee Jimmie would support such change as 'DUFF PMs TO GREATNESS' or even 'BASE METAL INTO (FLOGGED OFF) GOLD', comes as no surprise, but CHANGE FOR ITS OWN SAKE? The whole concept is worthy of a Douglas Adams character. A man who 'Supports Change' really knows where his towel is.

  • Comment number 28.

    #12

    BYT

    What an excellent idea, the Morecambe & Wise one.

    mim

  • Comment number 29.

    This is for Justin's news item on Carbon Capture & Storage. CCS is still a nascent techology - forget the billions required for the the "on surface" facilities like pipelines, compressors, CO2 strippers etc - there is doubts about the capacity of the reservoirs that are supposed to store the CO2 - a recent study (Ref: Society of Petroelum Engineers Paper SPE124430) casts doubt on the reservoir capacities and estimates that we would require 5-20 times the reservoir capacity to store CO2 than previously envisaged. So while the surface facilties technology is developing and we are learning more on it, the sub-surface uncertainties are not understood even to possibly 1/10th of that(Oil & Gas geologists still are uncertain about reservoir characteristics even after 100 years of knowledge). We don't know how supercritical liquid CO2 injected into the reservoirs will be stored? We are not sure how much CO2 we can inject and store in the depleted reservoirs. So how can CCS be the touted as an answer to CO2 emission issues - I fear that politicians, green activists and other special interest groups will use CCS as a "magic pill" for our CO2 emissions problems and diverting our focus from other means to control emissions. What would happen if CCS does not perform to its potential??

  • Comment number 30.

    WHAT CHILCOT HAS ALREADY ESTABLISHED BEYOND DOUBT

    Chilcot has shown just how much was being kept from us by the previous (rhymes with devious) enquiries. Once again the truth is inescapable: Britain is corrupt. 'Independent' enquiries, by unimpeachable (!) senior figures, are corrupt - ABSOLUTELY. And Great Architect Blair, has proved himself corrupt beyond all imagining.

    The mother-mother of Parliaments, the 'Westminster ethos', MADE THIS ALL POSSIBLE. The solution is self evident. It lies in our hands not those of the liars.

  • Comment number 31.

    I think it is now months, not weeks that my wife and I have hung on to our loyalty to Newsnight as we felt it slowly went down hill and further down hill... The 10 o'clock news is thin enough and we have always hoped for a little bit more from Newsnight... Tonight, we again gave up with the news (with that dreadful woman whose name I refuse to remember because I cannot listen to her arbitrary presentational emphasis upon inapproprate words in her sentences) and shifted to a movie, coming back to the final parts of Newsnight, unfortunately catching Kirtsy Walker's interview – the egocentric end of all we can bear as she held the poor sod who was the script-writer of Hurt Locker in her grip. This has become dreadfully bad TV, with the most excruciating attempt at 'entertaining' video graphics, badly dressed and egocentric interviewers like Kirsty who are desperate to hold centre stage. Sad. Back to radio ....or something. We give up.

  • Comment number 32.

    WE NEED A RICHARD BRANSON OF TIDAL ENERGY (#29)

    I have a distinct feeling that our dodgy government are deliberately (seeming to) back energy sources that will fall short, or fail. This being analogous to 'efforts' to remove tobacco and constrain alcohol-use by the populace.

    If only Richard Branson had seen tidal power as a 'nice littler earner' instead of frivolous space junkets.

    Is energy, a 'set up to fail' part of the insidious 'New World Order' scam?

  • Comment number 33.

    #22 Oh Barrie I was being edgy!

  • Comment number 34.

    #32 Is energy, a 'set up to fail' part of the insidious 'New World Order' scam?

    Something I came across Barrie. We will need all the cabling produced in the world for the next twenty years to bring the electricity to shore from the huge proposed wind farm in the north sea. Not a lot of people know that! ; )

    Watch copper prices, and invest.

  • Comment number 35.

    DAMN - OUTPLAYED (:o)

    I yield Lizzy.

    The cabling info sits well with my surmise . . .

  • Comment number 36.

    I’ve had an interesting couple of days
    Cycling around and looking for ways
    Of how to get to the Media Society do
    With Peter York and Lord Bell who
    Talked about his life as well as work.
    I made it luckily and it was quite insightful
    Packed with all kinds of people and things
    To ponder about what and who is dong what
    Or has done in the past, is dong now
    Or what the future might bring
    With the election looming in spring.

    mim

  • Comment number 37.

    I know that for JJ 36 just stands for him
    But is there just one JJ with the initials like that
    And associated with 3?
    Methinks not with him in a knot
    Of symbols, numbers and colours
    Completing forgetting the soul
    While ‘weaving’ his full of ‘dreams’ palette.

    mim

  • Comment number 38.

    Speaking of investing, as has been seen before, it can't hurt if, for simple reasons on self-interest, the media 'assist' with either enthusiastic promotion or, in the case of unwelcome developments, become very keen on 'watertight oversight' to the point of shut down.

    11. At 5:42pm on 02 Feb 2010,

    But as a publicly-funded, objective broadcaster, one just has to hope that the pensions commitments of one branch of the BBC are kept very separate from those of editorial.


    Following just a few links on therefore does not reassure greatly (if as stated):

    Helen Boaden, who is the overall boss of the BBC's news and current affairs operation, was appointed to the trust in 2008. So the woman who tells environment reporters such as Roger Harrabin and Richard Black that the science is settled also works to maximise the returns of the pension fund with Peter Dunscombe.

    One can only imagine how high Mr. Paxman's eyebrow would be if confronted with a politician making decisions of policy that are so intimately connected with the potential performance of investments. Indeed, when such as Justin Rowlatt or Andrew Neill share counter-views, the mood in the canteen must be frosty indeed.

    When I am hearing discussions on generic issues of (A)GW or even specifics such as wind farms or electric cars, I'd prefer to think the editorial was factual and not designed more to support an investment in a money making scheme... that may not actually help my kids' futures one jot..


  • Comment number 39.

    I’ve watched ‘The Thick of It’ earlier this morning
    About infighting, rapists and scheming,
    Murders and plotting.
    Brilliantly acted and well full of insights
    Of how the government behaves, plans and fights.

    mim

  • Comment number 40.

    #38 correction

    The last line should read:

    Of how the government behaves, blackmails and fights.

    mim

  • Comment number 41.

    30

    yes televising the iraq inquiry means if everyone sees the main evidence then it will be harder to make the final report a whitewash and even if it is most of the evidence is there for people to make up their own minds.

    given the revelations one must wonder about Hutton etc. If those had been televised it seems highly unlikely they could have got away with the jesuitical point making they indulged in?

    all inquiries should be televised on the internet. not only to ensure the health of the enquiry but to extend democratic oversight and public participation.

    indeed some of the revelations are a shock. The secretive and deceitful presidential blair style that closed down normal government reporting and discussion, petty vendettas that prevented co operation between departments in time of war, a military staff that failed in their geneva convention duties of keeping order by agreeing to the 'minimum force' idea of the Pentagon, a military staff that refused to stand up to blair and just say no, an attorney general whose legal judgements were more like a spinning top-if its thursday then its legal- the use of deceit to promote the war [45mins weapons claim that was never corrected, the false claim that the french said 'never' etc].

    blair must be the worst prime minister the uk has ever had. he left it with two unwinable wars, a market fundamentalism that produced PFI that is a huge 'off the books' debt and has locked the nation for years into paying for deals often that no longer exist, created the 'light touch regulation' conditions for the credit crunch to wipe out the uk finances for a generation and if he was still in power he would be tub thumping for another war on muslims this time in iran.

    the welfare of the british people looks very low on his list. and it is that by which the guardian class is to be judged.

  • Comment number 42.

    31

    there is an attempt to make NN into a 'top gear' where its more about 'attitude' than news or investigation and explanation. which is why there have been attitudinal pieces like politics pen that generate more heat than light, justin's 'mr bean' persona, where the presenters become the story and an increasingly daily mail/daytime tv sofa topic choices.

    they tried it with gardeners world and it failed. they have gone back to the old format. it seems the shinning eyed belief at NN still is strong? Regime change anyone?

  • Comment number 43.

    32

    yes. they are being perverse.
    the govt have set the feed in tarriff as something only rich people will benefit from while the poor pay for it. they did not choose the german model that brought it to everyone and promoted a revolution. their choice of offshore rather than factory roof space and indusrial estates is another example of the govt not being a force for good.

    the amount of hidden taxes they are piling into energy bills its soon going to be like petrol or beer. 90% taxes.

  • Comment number 44.

    Ah well, as my 38 pondering the nature of editorial influences continues to exercise the mods for some reason, let's simply restrict oneself to something purely coincidental in complement:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7128624/BBC-criticised-for-scientific-cheap-sensationalism.html

    The BBC has been accused of "exaggerating" the threat of global warming to the oceans in a documentary.



  • Comment number 45.

    #43 Yes jaunty the governments choice of offshore looks a non starter, without tons and tons of cabling, it's just not gonna happen. So why keep pushing a myth, to make us agree to any form of energy, and the cost, and the taxes, all by stealth.

    Did you hear on the news, in the next ten years many of us here won't be able to afford energy at all. They actually said that the privitisation model hadn't worked in keeping prices down, in fact it had failed to deliver! And it might yet have to be nationalised! And how much will we pay again for that.

  • Comment number 46.

    23. jauntycyclist 'there was a shambolic dysfunctional government with inter governmental reporting structures locked down that gave a presidential style of government.'

    I wonder... was it shambolic/dysfunctional, or was it 'Organized Chaos' (Ludwig Von Mises, 1947)? At the time, he was attacking what he said was socialism, but from what position is the question? He wrote of socialism as a strong state at a time when 'socialists' were very divided (and some were wolves in sheep's clothing too). I fear people are all too easily taken in by names.

    I suggest many have been (willingly) duped.

    It appears I'm not the only one having read the history of this blog. What exactly is the New Labour's constitution and the party's long term agenda if not the devolution/destruction of the UK and GB?? Surely we should judge them by their action/history, not their rhetoric?

  • Comment number 47.

    45. At 08:49am on 03 Feb 2010, ecolizzy

    There is so much I, and I suspect most of us, don't know, which is why we have to depend upon, and trust various better resourced, hopefully objective reporting to try and get to grips with the issues.

    I was... am.. a convert to many renewable options, as much for energy independence as carbon reduction.

    However, if the ROI and even enviROI's of some are looking iffy, questions have to be asked. I have long since realised that painting something 'green' does not necessarily make it better in either regard. And the competencies of most vocal advocates, especially with accurate, verifiable numbers, much less worthwhile projections, is hardly encouraging. Is there a single engineer worth a damn in Government, or if so not tainted by lobby affiliations, patronage, debt, sinecure or some other Sir Humphryesque means to be persuaded that black is, in fact white (or , maybe, red is actually deep green)?

    Hence me also cranking eyebrows when it transpires ( http://www.iigcc.org/steering_com.aspx / [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]) that representatives of quite supportive advocates of an 'AGW empathetic' slant from the objective MSM also seem to also have influence in pension funds that depend on the success of renewable schemes, which in turn are promoted at legislative levels by carbon targets. And vice versa.

    It would take near saints to remain above concerns that any contrary reporting might be tending to impact one's own pocket in later years. Which surely cannot be healthy.

  • Comment number 48.

    AND THERE ARE 'UNKNOWN' KNOWNS - THINGS IGNORED THAT WE COULD WELL KNOW!

    I still want Britain, Chilcot et al, to wake up to the simple equation:
    SHOCK + AWE = TERROR. Shock and Awe was NAMED IN TERMS OF ITS INTENT. It characterised the whole sorry charade.

    WE partnered the GREAT SATAN in the application of MEGA-TERROR in a fight against trumped-up-terror. Coalition terrorism emerged, orders of magnitude more terrifying and destructive, HOLDING THE LIFE OF JOHNNIE FOREIGNER AS CHEAP AS SHIT (just like always). My simple equation, blows to bloody bits any pretence that we are the Good Guys. In America, Get-the-Coal-in Powell wobbled, while in Britain, Robin Cook rebelled and Clare Short reluctantly backed away - 3 dissenters out of best part of 2 million? Oh - and the odd million in the streets, but they didn't count did they.

    SHOCK AND AWE - hello Britain? Is there no comprehension left in our addled governance? IT'S TERROR YOU NINNIES! We are, indeed, the LITTLE SATAN and by inference have ambitions to try for the TOP TERRORIST POSITION.

    I repeat: ALL THIS CAME ABOUT BECAUSE WE HAVE INSTALLED, AND CULTURED, A TOXIC GOVERNMENTAL STRUCTURE. Brown wants to chuck us a stupid little bone - a bit of fiddling while his pants burn. He doesn't want anything changed while he dreams his boyish dreams of be globally great. (How in hells name did we let this happen?)

    Nothing less that a fundamental re-think and re-jig of governance will get us out of this mess. To begin;

    SPOIL PARTY GAMES.

  • Comment number 49.

    Just to state the obvious: the major parties are all competing on how much they will cut the Public Sector, and the electorate has been persuaded to abandon the most basic precepts of ideology as if that (ignorance) was a good thing... and some wonder why there's no domestic national building - just decades of debt to pay off the banks and PFI projects!

  • Comment number 50.

    45

    the market is designed to deliver profits not service. the belief in market fundamentalism is that the market is the best and most efficient mechanism for using resources. this has proven to be a false. yet the govt stick to it. State ownership results in stagnation and bureaucracy. the model they could use is the 'john lewis' model as the model for national strategic services.

    the claim by ofgem that we have a 'competitive energy market' sounds like a blairism.

  • Comment number 51.

    46. Oops. That should have been 'Planned Chaos'

  • Comment number 52.

    50. jauntycyclist 'the model they could use is the 'john lewis' model as the model for national strategic services.'

    As you probably know, the John Lewis model was originally conceived as an alternative to communism. However, as can be seen from this article on bonuses, there's nothing to stop this (in my view equally dubious) system from being abused just as it was to drive profits/bonuses at Goldman Sachs etc - i.e by their accountants securitizing risk (be that for behind the scenes liars' loans, or for produce which could not readily be sold at set prices without a loss). I have no idea if Waitrose does/did face that problem, but they certainly don't seem to be discounting as much as they used to during the credit boom period, nor are their shelves as well stocked today.

    Bottom line - be careful what you wish for - as we may have had lots of it already! in the Tesco, M&S, Sainsbury etc model.

  • Comment number 53.

    SUSAN WATTS - ACE ROVING REPORTER (#12)

    There she was, the Tin Tin of Science Reporting, wandering the grounds of a stately pile (whose significance was lost on me) imparting supposed gravitas from a platform of vacuousness. That way sadness lies.

    But where was topical 'Snowy'. An edgy trick missed - surely?

  • Comment number 54.

    WHAT IF WE OPTIMISE WISDOM BEFORE TRAINING FOR MAMMON? (#52)

    Yo Statist! Does history speak of any culture of 'Optimised Wisdom' - anywhere?

    It seems to me that individuals who have a good grounding in 'self and other' might have some degree of immunity to Mammon's innate contagions. And is there not likely to be a threshold level for such competence to grow into a cultural norm - stronger than the sum of its parts?

    In other words, are we doomed to fail WHATEVER the structure, or does failure arise from the needy, clawing their way to power over the incompetent, and inexorably screwing them? viz Blair Brown.

  • Comment number 55.

    YOU’RE HIRED!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8493132.stm

    Having acted as chief invigilator for a number of years I found this report interesting. Experience would tell me that at least three or four times the number discovered cheating actually got away with it.

    I could tell some very ingenious methods deployed - those just the ones we found. But then I WOULD have to shoot you - all! Alan Sugar would for certain HIRE some of those candidates.

    And as 'mobile' and micro chip technology grows and improves it will get worse rather than better.

    NOW, we take all mobiles and mini computers off them on entry. What when these devices are in their watches. I can also state it is impossible to check 100 personal calculators to ensure they are NOT computers, 100 language dictionaries to ensure there are no insertions when you have 15 minutes turnaround and 12 venues a cross a school to deliver those numbers.

    Then this. ".....Schools are being sold detection equipment to trace devices being used secretly in exam rooms."

    Quel surprise! Someone waiting to jump on the band wagon and remove even more money from Education to periphery services. Exam administration costs a ridiculous amount of money per head. (I will try and look up figures later) that shuld be spend teaching/learning/equipping for life.

    It makes me wonder about the need for exams and testing in such old fashioned ways in today's world. We need to know people's suitability for life, not what they can remember, when all that and more will only ever be a click away in their working lives.

    To paraphrase Barriesingleton, we need to know if they will build their houses on sand, or run out of oil at a crucial moment, rather than if they can recall the periodic table, the date of the battle of Hastings or what a certain religion purports to be 'the truth, the whole truth and nothing but a ...............fairy story.

    A cramped exam room in a set time is not in my view a good way to test their mettle . It tests the ability of their teachers to teach/impart information but we shuld STOP using students/pupils as litmus for this outcome. A strong, wise head teacher SHOULD know that and be empowered to deal with it as any business leader would. Warning, reprimand, final warning, Pick a window.............

    What we need to know is their ability to sort the wheat from the chaff, to determine what is real and worthwhile, to see how they apply what they know, even if what they know is rather less than the chap next door.

    That way we will fit the right person in the right hole. We may even find out what the right hole is.


  • Comment number 56.

    NEVER KNOWINGLY UNDER ???????????????

    #52 Statist

    "....or for produce which could not readily be sold at set prices without a loss)."

    To the best of my knowledge (at least it used to be - I recall Original Trivial Pursuit a case in point), under the extended title as above, JL have a bottom line/profit base below which they will not sell an item.

    I believe Waitrose have recently gone into contract products in food (like Jonelle in store) through which they control the production costs, therefore selling 'own brand' at lower prices.

    Branded goods, if local price drops indicate losses against their buy in/profit margin price, will simple be removed from shelves rather than sold at a loss or as loss leaders.

  • Comment number 57.

    I suppose on the one hand at least the far right posters on here are getting so bland and vague that they are meaningless.

    Bu then that's probably because there is an election coming and the BNP will lay down heavier smoke to disguise the true nature of the party.

  • Comment number 58.

    54. barriesingleton 'Does history speak of any culture of 'Optimised Wisdom' - anywhere?'

    I think so, but you'll be hard pressed to read about or see/hear that in the 'democracies' these days, as the party line appears to be to rubbish (invade, sanction, regime change, denigrate - see Catholic priests etc) all such states, and to depict their rulers as sad, old, ie senile, and oddly, predominantly men...

    To illustrate my point: you'll be hard pressed to watch the news today without being told that with age comes dementia, not wisdom....

    Now why is that? Why no mention of those without dementia, ie. those who have experience/wisdom? A bit of a bias there ?

    In fact, even the those with dementia sometimes comes out with an oddly painful truth or two.

    One of the regulars here often laments our loss of 'The Good' (and in a veiled way, at the hands of the bad). He isn't wrong IMHO.

  • Comment number 59.

    #48 barriesingleton

    "I repeat: ALL THIS CAME ABOUT BECAUSE WE HAVE INSTALLED, AND CULTURED, A TOXIC GOVERNMENTAL STRUCTURE."

    But what is the alternative to democracy and party politics?

    Hey, didn't your old pal Jaded_jean - who is probably no relation to to Statist - used to suggest National Socialism and the policies of Hitler? Jewish "hegemony" and wails about the "de-Nazification" of the UK since WWII? Race "realism" n'all?

    Perhaps it doesn't ring any bells.

    "TOXIC GOVERNMENTAL STRUCTURE"

    Quite amusing really.

  • Comment number 60.

    So now the BNP are in a mess with the EHRC over membership are we see them actually produce the science that they claim exists to justify their existing crackpot membership policy in court?

    They claim there is evidence that the races differ in intellectual capacity.

    I think they must actually know there isn't or they couldn't get to court fast enough.

  • Comment number 61.

    On the climate change fiasco the Newsnight piece was much better balanced about concerns that the climate change scientists have had their mindsets affected by the big business spin campaigns and the fact that the underlying science remains unchanged.

    There has been a trend of increased temperature since the 1950's that can only be explained by CO2 and human impact.

    The results of the Jones experiments has been replicated via other data sets.

    Thousands of scientists are still in agreement that climate change is occurring due to human impact and the balance of CO2 in historical records where climate change occurred and does show that it is a greenhouse gas and will affect the climate.

    So why Channel 4 wanted to pair off Nigel Lawson who is incredibly pompous and does not really actually challenge the science with a scientist is beyond me.

    That said you don't want to have a "Holy Grail" model that starts to present reasoned guesses about future trends based on science as anything other than what they are.


  • Comment number 62.

    55. brightyangthing 'It makes me wonder about the need for exams and testing in such old fashioned ways in today's world. We need to know people's suitability for life, not what they can remember, when all that and more will only ever be a click away in their working lives.'

    Wise words, but ...isn't the (evil) necessity of exams or tests (e.g. SATs) that one needs external standardisation (i.e the normative) as an impartial process not subject to the pressures and vested interests which induce even teachers to teach to the test? I appreciate there is a paradox if not contradiction there, but it's an imperfect system. If continuous assessment could be externally moderated, maybe that would be a solution. But how could that practically be done?

    'To paraphrase Barriesingleton, we need to know if they will build their houses on sand, or run out of oil at a crucial moment, rather than if they can recall the periodic table, the date of the battle of Hastings or what a certain religion purports to be 'the truth, the whole truth and nothing but a ...............fairy story.'

    True. But how can the alternative be done, fairly? The National Curriculum did establish a degree of standardisation/fairness in my view. In my experience, most experienced teachers would agree, whilst also agreeing with your points.

    FWIW I think ability is selected. You've either got it or you haven't, but there are all sorts of skills and all sorts of needs by society. Education and employment should (does?) select skills and route them IMHO.

  • Comment number 63.

    If the NAME fits...........THE GANG OF ONE?????????


    #57

    "....I suppose on the one hand at least the far right posters on here are getting so bland and vague that they are meaningless"

    Whereas the blinkered horse pulling the broken down cart remains in the same rut.

    I can see why.

  • Comment number 64.

    I assume the "clever" Labour politicians let Croquet Prescott loose last week to present as the "bad cop".

    Then the "good cops" last night (Hain) lure the naive Lib Dems into some level of support for the derisory offer of AV.

    Then when it comes time to deliver after the election I suppose the "bad cops" reemerge and reneges on the deal.

    If only the Tories would sit back and think about whether first past the post IS the best system when they need 44,000 votes for a seat and Labour 35000. Of course if they win then the situation changes and the pendulum swings continue disproportionately to the votes cast.

    Dislocation of the political classes from the electorate can only be reduced by a fairer voting system.

    All of the spin about coalition government shows the arrogance of the existing elite.

    If there is coalition it is because that is the will of the people and that should be respected.

    It is of course much better if there is clear and coherent government where one party wins a significant majority through the power of their arguments as opposed to their control of boundaries and their nasty little smearing spin doctors and so on.

    Let every vote count.

  • Comment number 65.

    Is Chilcott not going to look at the Iraq reconstruction tendering process where Panorama identified serious concerns regarding Cheney and so on?

    If projects and tenders were for the Basra area under UK control were we complicit in ripping off the Iraqis?

    I assume in the US the investigations into those tenders have been kicked into the long grass?

  • Comment number 66.

    Thank you for un-referring me.

    In the spirit of 'you can't please everyone all the time', I now have to express a certain amount of sympathy with Newsnight having come across this:

    Our licence fees pay for climate denial
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/feb/03/bbc-climate-change-denier

    For the life of me I can't see why care for the planet and concern for its future needs to be a 'wing/ist/zi' tribal rallying cry for anyone, but certain extremes do seem to enjoy trying to drive daft wedges where none exist.

    I initially decided not to go anyway near that thread with a bargepole, any more than I would one from Richard Black, at least to try to discuss things with the baying, dogma-driven, book-end hordes that inhabit them rationally.

    In part because I recognise the BBC has many fine lines to walk, and lord knows few are easy ones.

    But that such as this is the result in an MSM outlet for the temerity of another acknowledging certain questions do exist, and deserve to be aired, suggests the ride will be long, and bumpy, a while yet.

    Which makes make being above any appearance of having a pre-ordained view, guided by any motivations other than the pursuit of factual truth (and not crowd-pleasing, ratings fuelling swings between 'sides'), all the more critical.

    Having read on, I actually take solace in the great deal of balance and sense I read from many commenters, who often surprise by being less slavish to the party line one might expect. Reading the responses to one exhibiting a very less than sunny disposition, I think Newsnight be reassured too.

    I may even chip in myself, but the author seems to have hired a JCB for the hole he has already dug, and it may be worth leaving him to ripen a tad longer.

  • Comment number 67.

    #62 Statist

    LITTLE BOXES.......

    We are on a fave topic here but I have a deadline (work) so cannot come back in full right now. If I have anything to add, I will do so later (much) on the Tuesday Blog.

    Main point, I think we agree, is "...but it's an imperfect system." Far from it. To over simplify, I think the whole education system/examination system/world is far too set on 'standardisation'. E are testing the wrong people, in the wrong way, for the wrong reasons on the wrong things. Why? To turn out standard automatons who will not have found their own special skills and talents but will fit the ‘little boxes’ model of society. Sheeples.

    Teaching is a prime example. Teachers MUST teach to tests, because tests are a way of providing a standard. ON which to judge all. I see dispirited teachers whose ability to inspire in all sorts of ways stifled under paperwork, standardisation.

    You mention “....but there are all sorts of skills and all sorts of needs by society. Education and employment should (does?) select skills and route them”

    And of course, it SHOULD. But in my opinion and experience, it simply doesn’t. Due to too much standardisation across the country, across curriculum, across local authority directives. And everyone is too scared to apply any individual skills or talents to teaching/selecting/routing. It’s all about getting as many candidates in front of the exam paper they WILL pass in order to maintain place in league tables. There is even a cut off time to remove a candidate who will not pass – after a certain date, a no show becomes a fail. It’s a sick system but I wouldn’t send it to the NHS. Would you?

    It comes back to wisdom and discrimination.

    If wise bosses were able to select on instinct and interview? But with all the discrimination THAT infers, PLUS had their hands less tied by standardisation needs so could 'move people on' if not suited, perhaps we could find ways of accommodating those not standardised but of a standard.

    But that would require enough 'Wisdom' in the right places, empowered to act (and applying such wisdom is surely more time consuming but more rewarding) and given the tools and powers to make it work with the right PERSON. Not the right woman, the right disabled quotient , the right ethnic minority balance. Discrimination need NOT be unfair.

    I select first and foremost (friends, colleague, committee members etc) on ATTITUDE, then on aptitude, which can be taught/instilled much more easily than a bad attitude. Usually works.

  • Comment number 68.

    iBrightyanthing

    I've said it before on these pages, but only man has ever told me he loved me directly in my face and as I love him too, there is absolutely no way I could possibly be unfaithful to him whatever the difficulties and whatever the consequences.

    mim

  • Comment number 69.

    #68 continuation

    And rather than constantly teasing me out of my wits, he's been permanently supportive giving me space and respecting my independence and wishes just as Leonard Cohen's song 'Always' whereby one of the lines goes as follows: 'When the thing you've planned needs my helping hand, I will understand always' and that's how I feel too about him, not only in return showing my gratefulness but right from the beginning.

    mim

  • Comment number 70.

    Good old Townswomens Guild, at least they can see the wood from the trees.

    http://www.balancedmigration.com/

  • Comment number 71.

    67. brightyangthing 'I select first and foremost (friends, colleague, committee members etc) on ATTITUDE, then on aptitude, which can be taught/instilled much more easily than a bad attitude. Usually works.'

    You may do this fairly, and accurately, but is it a fair process, and one which can be applied or even taught generally? Surely the Holy Grail in ability assessment (or personnel) should be to match the right people to the right jobs? That's what the professions serving this task used to focus upon, yet we appear to have lost sight of all that, and now justify all sorts of subjective judgements on dubious grounds which fly in the face of research. With no disprespect to yourself, taken at face value, what you say above could be used by some to justify nepotism/cronyism rather than meritocracy. In some cases I'm sure it is.

  • Comment number 72.

    ON THE WISDOM TRAIL (#71)

    Is it not a defining feature of mature Homo Sapiens, that a totally new situation can be assessed and addressed - to advantage? Assuming an individual is at peace with their own being, and has experienced life, would they not judge ATTITUDE intuitively and APTITUDE by observation, without contamination NECESSARILY impinging? (I stress 'necessarily'.)

    Is this not a better state of affairs than instructing the 'poor in spirit' in a PROCESS of judgement, and expecting them to function competently - by the book?

  • Comment number 73.

    72. barriesingleton - My point is quite a mundane one. With age comes experience/wisdom. These days, a lot of that experience/wisdom is codified in rules or algorithms within professions - i.e it's computerised or otherwise automated via tools/machines. It is still the case that those with more experience are more likely to know how to apply said rules or algorithms effectively however, simply because those who are older tend to have more experience. There are always exceptions of course, but I think more experienced i.e wiser, people tend to explain how and why they make their decisions by external references, i.e via reference to the external rules or (physical) laws. The most obvious examples are in medicine and engineering. These are exemplary. This is of course an argument for technocracy, but do we really have any rational alternative?

    I don't think 'climateology' sets a good example, I hasten to add.

  • Comment number 74.

    Kirty Shows a bit of leg and I miss it. I have seen a shot of the incident. Whats all the fuss about? Its not like it was a side boob showing...cumon! So she happens to be 55yrs old; I had her down as mid- 40s meself. I like the Wark on account shes rather smart, most women I know can't string three syllables together without tripping over their stilettos. (Barry may have something to say about that) so in comparison to the fairer sex that I know, shes a genius. Must try and watch Mondays episode on catch-up. Theres bombs going off but I just want to see a thigh...I'm a very shallow human-being.

    Good to see Newsnight finally scratching the surface of the man made global warming nonsense. Yer man you had on, via link, is a total nut case, check his history. Interesting how he was unable to answer a difficult question because of the break in transmission. Call me a conspiracy theroist if you like but it would not surprise me if the plug was pulled on him because Kirsty's question was too dangerous for this mad new religion. There is too much at stake riding on this bogus science...not to mention Al Gores personal investments.

  • Comment number 75.

    ANN CLEWYD IS PLEASED TO REPORT HER SUCCESS IN HELPING IRAQI WOMEN TO BE MORE LIKE BRITISH WOMEN.

    Well done Ann. If that hasn't sown the seeds of destruction, in the 'Cradle of Civilisation', on a far greater scale than the war itself, you should go back and open a house of ill repute. The men will, beyond doubt, turn to drink.

    A triumph of civilising.

  • Comment number 76.

    COGENT ERUDITE WOMEN (#74)

    I know a whole bunch Kev. But I didn't find them in the pub.

  • Comment number 77.

    gang of one wrote:

    "There has been a trend of increased temperature since the 1950's that can only be explained by CO2 and human impact."

    What utter nonsense!


    He also wrote:

    "Thousands of scientists are still in agreement that climate change is occurring due to human impact and the balance of CO2 in historical records where climate change occurred and does show that it is a greenhouse gas and will affect the climate."

    That list of 2500 Scientist which i think you refer to. The term 'scientist' gets used rather too freely for my liking. And what scientist are climate scientist on that list can you hazard a guess? I wont bore you with the details but to make the numbers up on this list...margerete the cleaner got here name added on it.

    Gand of one. do you get all your information and knowledge from the tube?

  • Comment number 78.

    RISE OF THE SIZOTS

    I went to Uni with a guy called Frank who eventually became a man of the cloth.

    Frank was one of those students who, having attended a lecture on Existentialism, was full of it; that was how the world worked.

    The following week, after an economics lecture, Frank knew it all anew; THAT was how the world worked.

    He eventually ran out of energy before a theology lecture, hence his present situation.

    Too many people these days are SIZOTS; SINGLE ISSUE ZEALOTS.

    Blair and Bin Laden are opposite sides of the same coin, while "scientists" pickle data to prove their own particular theory.

    And as for the "God delusionist"; even more fundamentalist than my pal Frank.

    What happened to the balanced big picture?

  • Comment number 79.

  • Comment number 80.

    78. kashibeyaz - Able people tend to specialize. They're encouraged to do so. Some describe that as obsessional (it isn't, most good scientists are incredibly focused), others even get branded 'autistic' (they rarely are, just seem very odd to 'normal ie. average people, who make up the bulk of the population the world over). Some people don't know what they're good at. Are they more 'balanced'? Knocking he elite tends to backfire for many.

    For all I know, OBL and his chums could still be funded by the CIA/MI6 etc just as the latter were when the Soviets were in Afghanistan. 'They seek him, here, they seek him there' seems a pretty good way to move your forces round to me - it reminds me of line from an old Brian Eno track....'oh oh, nothing there this time'.

    Adam Curtis' series ('The Power of Nightmares') was good on that dark theme, but it clearly hasn't left an impression for many?

  • Comment number 81.

    It is said that the distance between the two front-benches in the HoC is that of two swordsmen. Legal battles are fought adversarially, where both advocates know that their job is not to make the other sides case (i.e not be balanced). Balance is for the judge and jury to ascertain. Much the same happens in science. This extremism may be why the greatest (and worst) things done by mankind have been done by men 'in battle'.

 

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