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Tuesday 2 March 2010

Verity Murphy | 17:26 UK time, Tuesday, 2 March 2010


Tonight, BBC Director General Mark Thompson will be joining us live on the programme to discuss his plan of action, which includes closure of 6 Music and the Asian Network as well as half of the websites on BBC online by 2013.

We will also be talking to friends and critics of the corporation about the strategy, the thinking behind it and its impact, and whether it is a good or bad thing.

We also return to the Salford estate which Newsnight has been visiting for the last 11 years to see how its people have fared under Labour.

In January we looked at the issue of housing. This time we look at teen pregnancies and school drop out rates and whether this has changed since the 90s.

Join Jeremy at 10.30pm on BBC Two.


Unforeseen news events aside, tonight's lead will be the BBC shake-up. Director General Mark Thompson has announced that digital radio stations 6 Music and Asian Network face closure and half of the websites on BBC online will close by 2013.

We will be assessing the plan and its impact with big players both inside and outside the BBC.

We also have a report from Salford, a place we have been visiting for 11 years to see how its people have fared under Labour. In this report we look again at the issue of young people dropping out of school, and the high level of teenage pregnancies - has anything changed since the 90s?

More details later.


  • Comment number 1.

    You know Stephanie Flanders on the Daily Politics was waring a button up top, the cut of the collar was just right, beautifully fitted shoulders with an exquisite red hue that was lit correctly. Now I don't know if its the Newsnight lighting but when Kristy wares red (not often but always memorable due to me having to ware shades like last night ) it tends to glare right out at me. Now Ive pronounced on this issue before with regards colour management and the colour temperature calibration of TV's PC's and laptop monitors and the whole nightmare issue of reproducing red on TV and monitors but I cant help feeling Kirsty would look, well, even more beautiful (hope you don't mind that word) with that kind of red hue.

    The rest of you who have contempt for this kind of thing just ignore me I'm being a creep to keep the beeb fuzz off my back.

  • Comment number 2.

    I think the Salford piece will probably try to go beyond party politics but it is worth reflecting that the Labour record has not made things worse but on poverty and social mobility things did not "get better".

    So when Croquet Prescott, the champion of working people, and Alistair "the Rabbit" Campbell start talking up Labour's record its actually not that good.

    The failure to regulate the bankers properly means it won't get better should the country be saddled with a Labour government after the next general election.

    In many ways you would expect Labour to fight this election on the basis of survival in the long run - by losing short term.

    If more dribs and drabs about the Iraq war come out and the analysis of the causes of the economic crisis show it was largely a failure to regulate that's before they start the cutting that will further hit the poor.

    The Tory vote is soft and the Labour vote is softer so I would not be in the least suprised at a very volatile last few days.

    Cameron should have been more open minded about PR and done an electoral deal with the Lib Dems.

  • Comment number 3.

    On BBC web sites I am not that worried about the closures as I think the BBC mission has got a bit fuzzy and being reined in is not a bad idea.

    I realise to the American Republicans that still makes me a communist but then again those like "Yee hah" Boulton like to appear to try and slate all things Democratic.

    Meanwhile to those that read this page I share my comments with that hard core of people who protest they are not the BNP and they are not Nazis - they just like National Socialist tenets instead of democratic ones and will wobble on about race when they clearly don't know what they are talking about. So they will be happy to chirp on as they can read the "Asian" word and they can then rant on about immigration and racialism.

    There is no science behind their ranting and if there was then why did Nick Griffin of the BNP not take this solid "evidence" to court with the EHRC to show why a multi-racial membership policy was right in the face of a law that says it isn't.

    The financial argument is nonsense as they have plenty of European money now.

    If Griffin should get himself elected to parliament then I assume that he (as the BNP is no more than a cult of personality based around a pseudo-Hitler) would actually lose out financially.

  • Comment number 4.

    Whatever happened to Simon Mann?

    I only ask as if he had something useful to say about how this country operates abroad it should be heard.

    As he was not acting on behalf of the state then clearly there can be no National Security issues.

  • Comment number 5.

    Have the Tories backed Michael Mates comments that viewers could form their own judgements about those people that pursued their complaints through the civil courts rather than trust to a nodding dog's system that would have been seen to be nodding and nothing else?

    It really is quite serious in my view as when the Master of the Rolls lays into MI5 (and six?) it is to my knowledge without precedent.

    To then have Home and Foreign Secretaries talking about a judge as though he was some stoned hippy makes you wonder what else besides the odd false prospectus for war is going wrong.

    I do hope the tears and factually incorrect wailing of "vilification" - to fair and legitimate questions - by Alistair Campbell won't deter the balanced investigations of the BBC.

  • Comment number 6.

    Is this the reason why Newsnight has a fanpage on Facebook?

  • Comment number 7.

    the bbc cull is a start. no trimming of executive pay and gold plated pensions?

    bbc only needs 3 tv stations. one for docusoapcelebritydancingonrollerskates trash [even that is debatable as commercial tv does that], one for thinking people and news.

    1xtra is catered for that could go.

    actually it could just be a maker of programme and have the programmes hosted elsewhere.

  • Comment number 8.

    isn't that Hazel Blears territory? Twelve years under Labour? Dread to think what twelve years of the Tories would have done to it....must have got a bit better even with Blears...

  • Comment number 9.

    Yellow metal rocket and rising
    as the sunshine beats the winter back
    The gold price hits GBP757
    escape velocity of the human value delusion

  • Comment number 10.


    Yes, Ecolizzy, I did enjoy working with both NHS and private patients and most people I worked with were interesting even if we didn't always see eye to eye. Neurosurgeons and surgeons on the whole are made of sturdy stuff and most of them need to be quite practical rather than wishy washy. All those I worked with had lots of outside interests and hobbies and even if there wasn't all that much time to sit and talk one could actually have quite good conversations with them, etc. And they weren't devoid of a good sense of humour.

    I left of my own volition wanting to concentrate on things I enjoy even more than working as a PA, things that are close to my nature and heart, etc.

    Thank you, Ecolizzy, for taking the trouble to read through my posts and to write back to me.


  • Comment number 11.

    A fable on a foibled hen

    A hen said to a snake
    ‘Please may I also partake?
    The snake being generous by nature
    Agreed to the greedy hen’s venture.

    There is a snag, though, to this story
    The hen couldn’t make it while the snake lived in great glory.


  • Comment number 12.


    Or should have I said chicken?

  • Comment number 13.

    7. jauntycyclist 'the bbc cull is a start. no trimming of executive pay and gold plated pensions?'

    You are right, but if one begins with the presumption (and that's all it is) that everything is a social-construction, is it any wonder that so many of these media people get away with what they do? They sincerely' believe (without grasping that beliefs are often false) that spinning (aka lying) is what it's all about. Those who can come out with the best 'argument' (lies, tales, stories call it what one will) get the big bucks. The reality is that reality is not a social construction, just the entertainment business and marketing is a social construction! The cost to society of having let this gross distortion dominate so much of our lives is now truly nightmarish for many, as you know I suspect.

  • Comment number 14.

    There is only one way out - International Rescue:

  • Comment number 15.

    8. stevie 'isn't that Hazel Blears territory? Twelve years under Labour? Dread to think what twelve years of the Tories would have done to it....must have got a bit better even with Blears...'

    Serious question: what makes you think that they actual do anything (other than talk, and Blears could rabbit!)?

    Their job has been not to get in the way of market-forces and to 'manage public expectations'. Surely you can see that by now? If you want governance you have to sacrifice 'freedom'. It's as simple as that. Even school kids should know that, surely?

    Just because this is stated simply does not make it trivial.

  • Comment number 16.

    Did Serbia and Montenegro try to keep Yugoslavia together? Did NATO/EU have any interest in the Balkanization of Yugoslavia or the USSR? Does the EU/USA have any interest in the Balkanization of the UK?

    What is this former psychiatrist asserting with his dirty trick stories?

    Surely we are the good guys who are only eager to spread freedom and democracy?

  • Comment number 17.

    'Tonight, BBC Director General Mark Thompson will be joining us live on the programme'

    In my view its a mistake to plough money into infrastructure - this will come to be seen as a big mistake.

    The future is high speed broadband and high quality web-cams in the homes of those you interview all the time so they don't have to travel, same for those abroad - cut down on the travel. Of course everyone is angry about the fee's that the Beeb pays to itself and 'talent' in front of camera. But the endgame in my view will be taken out of
    Mark Thompson's hands and anyone else - we have a very bleak situation on the horizon.

    All of a sudden the UK politicians have realised serious really means serious. Think we will see a flick switch of behaviour from them now.

  • Comment number 18.

    7 jauntycyclist - The other thing to bear in mind is that the BBC is the only public (state) broadcaster. A war of attrition against the BBC is just part of the more general war of attrition on the Public Sector. If you look at the private sector broadcasters, are they providing a higher quality, more 'efficient', service to the public, or has it all gone to mush?

    If you look at how the top people operate, they are, as in the NHS and everywhere else in the Public Sector, bought off with pay and/or special private perks like being able to work privately. It's all been part of the liberal-democratic strategy to erode Public Services in pursuit of privatization (profit). Corrupt those at the top, and the rest lose all hope as people look up to those who manage them.

  • Comment number 19.

    14. flicks 'There is only one way out - International Rescue'

    That's what they said back in 1997.... we should have known then that there would be strings attached.

  • Comment number 20.

    bbc to reconsider if there is a protest?

    i remember there was a lot of protest about closing the great debate board [that broke news] but that was still closed.

  • Comment number 21.

    Jeremy - this is (most of) the message I left on DG MT's blog earlier today; most of what I feel about his plans about canning R6 were echoed by many of the other posts but to summarise: "I can't understand how you and your mmanagement can square the goal of quality and excellent public service broadcasting "which audiences would never enjoy if the BBC did not exist" with planning to shut down one of the radio stations (R6) that has far more quality and originality about it than all of the other contemporary music offerings on the Beeb or anywhere in the commercial medium put together. Please don't think that the mediocre offering on R2 or anywhere in the local BBC radio could replace this. If you really are wanting to continue to invest in excellence - do so: in R6." I also commented about the plans for the BBC news/web offering, although I will have to read the plans in greater and comment later, for the moment I commented: "BBC News is my 'home page' - it offers what I regard as unbiased top-line and in depth coverage of almost everything I ever wanted to know about. I receive this as part of my pact with the Beeb: I pay the licence fee and you are delivering what I want.I don't regard the whinging from the sidelines about not being able to make money from on-line news (Murdoch) as a valid argument; I can understand they want to make money, but as far as I can see the whinging about free provision of news is one tactic in an overall strategy that is effectively a 'land grab'. If the Beeb ceases to provide it for free, they can charge for their on-line content, and plaster advertising all over it. No thanks - that's not how I want my news". I ended up advising DG MT not to "allow them to 'put tanks on your lawn'!" Jeremy - you have my permission to give DG MT the grilling he deserves! Thanks, Hugh

  • Comment number 22.

    To cut services to save money, is a crime. The BBC, although 'dumbed down' in several aspects still has responsibility as world's premier, and respected media outlet. Surely just by letting Mr Ross go, amounts to improvements in efficiency. To cut the online website content surely is merely penny-wise.

    Will the British Library archive everything for us?

  • Comment number 23.

    Some thoughts on questions for you Mr Paxman Sir for the DG:

    Dont let us down, Mr Snow did a great job on Channel 4.

    1. Exactly where in the commercial sector will 6Music be replicated? The commercial sector does mass market well. It doesn't do quality well.

    2. How with Radio 2 being "50% talk radio" ongoing, where all this displaced 6Music radio is going to end up?

    3. Whether he has something against music generally, given the plans to make R2 50% talk radio, local radio 100% talk radio in drive time leaving the only BBC station broadcasting music, essentially a station for teenagers?

    4. Why is is that 30-50 year olds (under 30's are apparently supposed to listen to R1, over 50's to R2) are not going to be catered for on ANY BBC popular music radio programme? 30-50 year olds pay their licence fee too.

    5. On a cost basis 6Music cost the same per listener hour as local radio. Commercial stations do a good job of local radio. Why not trim a few % off their £109 million annual budget? £7million for 6music is peanuts. Similarly R1 and R2 who both broadcast for the same length of time, with a similar business model cost £73million. Can't 10% of their budgets be cut to keep all 3?

    6. Why did you pick 6Music over 1Xtra - which costs more per listener hour, and doesn't have the growth of audience, or arguments of quality?

    I hope you manage to use one of these.

  • Comment number 24.

    How can Mark Thompson talk about high quality and originality and then axe the radio station that epiomizses this better than any other radio station in the BBC stable. He argues that 6 music threatens commercial competers can he actually name any national or local radio station that delivers the same content and quality that 6 music offers? It is clear that the content on radio 1 and radio 2 is being and can be offered by commercial broadcasters so his arguments are entirley false. How can the BBC stand up and say this strategy is about improving quality and producing more original british products then cut an origninal station like 6 music that is the prime vehicle for new unsigned acts but continue with BBC3 shows like 'hotter than your mother'. Is Mark Thompson also aware that 6 music is the most succesful digital only radio station and the reason many including myself have bought into digital radio technology, with its loss the DAB radio revolution would be in tatters.

  • Comment number 25.


    Mate of mine fished this of the net:- Using The Carbon Twice !

    It may probably have been the case that aformentioned Chlorella power station ( #25 last night ) could not grow all its own fuel, but taking the concept further it could be added to existing coal fired power stations. A Chlorella production unit using waste heat and CO2 could be a relatively simple and cheap method of significantly reducing CO2 in the flue gas from coal fired power stations. Far cheaper and easier to install than compressors etc to pipe CO2 back under the North Sea for instance. The Chlorella produced could be dried using waste heat and added back into the conventional coal supply. I suspect the generating Hydrogen idea is just part of the overall current climate change investmet scam.

    Could algae save the world?
    a.. 17 January 1998 by Peter Hadfield

    A BIOREACTOR that soaks up carbon dioxide has been developed by researchers in Japan, and could eventually be used to cut emissions from power stations as part of the drive to combat global warming.

    Japan's Central Research Institute of the Electric Power Industry has been working on bioreactors for several years, but until now the efficiency of the units has been limited.

    At the heart of the new bioreactor is a tube containing Chlorella algae that winds round the inside of an inverted cone. Carbon dioxide is passed through the tube and the algae fix it and use it in photosynthesis. The helical shape of the tube maximises its surface area and hence the amount of sunlight reaching the algae, making the system almost twice as efficient as previous models.

    The concentration of CO2 used in the experiment was roughly the same as that in the exhaust gases of a typical power station. The algae soaked up 10 per cent of the gas.

    The next step in the institute's research is to make a larger working
    prototype of the system by linking together several cones with a
    60-centimetre diameter.

  • Comment number 26.

    The big question for the BBC is this:

    Is it everything to everyone, in which case it should continue to expand unchecked? OR

    Does it exist to do what other broadcasters wouldn't do?

    With the exception of the likes of China, public broadcasters the world over do the LATTER. Commercial, pay and voluntarily funded non-commercial broadcasting should be allowed to thrive, and not face the BBC filling gaps which could easily be filled elsewhere. It is a misnomer to assume the alternative to the BBC is fully commercial broadcasting, for example.

    The BBC should do TV programming that reflects Britain, that is not commercially viable and which contributes to a wide range of public debate and discourse that is genuinely balanced. It should not be aping reality TV shows, bidding for commercially popular sports, sustaining commercial viable soaps (e.g. Eastenders could be sold). It can be a launching pad for programming that may prove viable and then be sold, but it shouldn't duplicate the other channels. Indeed it could even offer high end pay tv.

    On radio it is easier to identify. Radio 1, 1xtra, 2, 3, 5 live and all local stations do programming easily identifiable with commercial stations that already exist. 4,6 and 7 all do something quite distinct and should be retained.

    The policy justification for state funded and owned broadcasting is to do something different, this isn't maintained by the BBC being a replication of the grand state broadcasters of authoritarian states.

  • Comment number 27.

    I'm much happier paying the TV License fee than income tax, which needs cutting?

  • Comment number 28.

    The fat greying editor from the Sun brings up the ageing argument of the BBC license fee and cites his (rather boring) list of programs as if the nation agrees with his viewing choices.

    If he wants to live in a world of 20 minutes of adverts in a 30 minute program and cheap american reruns then he's welcome to it. I'll take an interesting and diverse lineup of programs uninterrupted by adverts and a world class online presence for my £144.50 thank you.

    Also why is this a bad choice of how to spend my money when a base sky package would cost me £325 in the first year?

  • Comment number 29.

    I realise that Newsnight needs to show that it can interrogate its own executives robustly and impartially. Jeremy Paxman certainly managed that with Mark Thompson. What was less explicable was his positively cuddly, very chummy interview with the BBC's invited critics. If you're going to do impartiality, at least have the gumption to expose the utterly fallacious reasoning behind someone like Kelvin MacKenzie's criticism of the BBC on behalf of his Murdoch superiors. Neither Dawn Airey nor MacKenzie have anything like the track record of the BBC when it comes to high calibre broadcasting, majoring as they both have done in lowest common denominator broadcasting, but to hear Paxman soft-ball them tonight you'd be forgiven for thinking they were some sort of rarefied media gurus. It was excruciating. Perhaps Mr. Paxman was auditioning for a new Sky show?

  • Comment number 30.

    Keep the wolves away from the BBC. The very best television comes from the BBC and the lack of adverts alone is worth the license fee. If they keep making outstanding TV this license payer will be happy.

  • Comment number 31.

    Dear me, Jeremy seemed a bit off-form tonight. Maybe interviewing the DG threw him a bit? It must be awkward challenging your boss...

  • Comment number 32.

    C-c-c-changes at th BBC:
    Bottom line its about saving money. Good work from Paxman. I don't know how Paxman does it, I really don't. He had DG Mark Thompson touching the ropes, looked a bit nurvy did Thompson.
    If the Beeb wants to save some money, get rid of Yentob..that would be a good start because the Beeb would save an absolute fortune with him gone. Give Mackenzie his own show like the way Sky gave littlejohn a slot, popular talent and he's cheap as a polish plumber, the viewing figures would sky rocket. There you go, ideas already laid down for you Beeb chaps and all for need for those expensive 'down-size specialist' consultants you normally lunch with; I'll do it for £10 per hour, because like Mackenzie, I'm also cheap.

  • Comment number 33.

    The BBC has produced a number of good products and services in the past years it has engaged with its audience and has produced new technologies like, project Kanvas,Dirac Codecs ,Iplayer and DAB. As the way we consume media changes the BBC unlike SKY and ITV have pushed content via the web and mobile devices it continues uses new technology to deliver new services to the masses and it also enriches learning with services like Cebeeies and Bytesize. I hope whoever wins the next election, looks at the BBC as an innovator not a vote winner.

  • Comment number 34.

    A weak interview on Newsnight on the BBC and a shoddy piece of journalism. Sucking up again. What has happened to straight questioning.

  • Comment number 35.

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

  • Comment number 36.

    BBC newsnight interview on future of BBC - a poor piece of journalism.

  • Comment number 37.

    Excellent grilling by Jeremy of Mark Thompson tonight, who seemed very ruffled :o)

    Since the BBC is funded by the general public, shouldn't the general public be consulted about radio station and website closures? Does the public really want to see the radio stations fade away? From tonight's report it was pointed out that there were 80,000 people campaigning to save Radio 6. Does the public want to see the BBC's website service reduced by 25%? I certainly don't!

    Since the BBC is supposed to be about culture/education/current affairs etc, and not just mass entertainment (ie, not relying on viewing figures) but making progamming which is distinctive from commercial stations, isn't the axing of two radio stations plus the websites the complete opposite of this?

    How long will it be before ALL BBC websites are transferred to facebook?

  • Comment number 38.

    Looked in with interest not only as a regular viewer but as a passionate music lover. A good grilling by JP of the hapless DG but a poor choice of guests. Kelvin MacKenzie like the equally obnoxious Anjem Choudary, just seems to be all over the networks for no justifiable reason. Dawn Airey even said 6music was in direct competition with commercial stations. She obviously doesn't know what she's talking about when it comes to either radio or music. Poorly done Newsnight, sorry.

  • Comment number 39.


    'the lack of adverts alone'

    Trouble is, with the internet no one can concentrate any more for more than 10 mins so the breaks where we turn the sound off make a cuppa, go to the loo, check the email or blog become a welcome. Where as any Beeb program over an hour is an itchy affair.

    Thank you beeb mods or deleting my post on Cricks blog - was getting increasingly ashamed. However when you are personally affected directly by Mr Browns policy and can prove it online. When I say affected I mean loosing almost every single penny guess one looses ones mind every so often of late.

  • Comment number 40.

    usa wants uk/argentina talks over falklands sovereignty? doesn't sound 'neutral' to me but playing up to their south american brothers?

    bring the troops home. looks like we ight need them. lets show usa what 'neutral' means. where is all that 'you are either with us or against us' talk now?

    international alliances are fickle and spin on a penny. anyone who relies on them for national security is going to be let down.

  • Comment number 41.

    Isn't it about time that Kelvin Mackenzie was realised as the small minded bigot that he is and not invited back on any Newsnight show.

  • Comment number 42.

    The problem is that too many unsophisticated people are in or close to power these days. Brown is one and Thompson another, both of whom have primitive supporters who run like headless chicken and blog on these pages. Unless things change, too much money is going to continue to be spent on silly 'little' boys' games while one would have thought that first and foremost it is the tax/licence payer who should be given priority.


  • Comment number 43.

    Over night gold holds at about GBP757 and the $ played catch up. It will be interesting to see what happens today, tomorrow and next week.

    All of a sudden the politicians have seen how their struggle for power and dirty tricks smearing is affecting the markets attitude and becoming antagonistic to their planned aims and ends. At this point no one cares about a funders tax status. Its their future condition and the fact your not saying reassuring things but talking over the heads of the public - bully boy stories and tax status = alienation and intense frustration. People care about their financial welfare to pay bills, a roof over their head and health. But they glimpse the truth in nothing - the vacant details.

  • Comment number 44.

    Watching Simon Baron-Cohen ('Ali-G''s cousin) interviewed on BBC Breakfast this morning (right after an astute parent of autistic boys asked (I paraphrase) 'but what does this new legislation really mean, it's such a complex wide scope disorder?', it struck me that what our media does, which is a such a great dis-service to the public, is to give disproportionate amounts of attention to issues which are in reality rather low frequency in the population, be this acts of terrorism, disabilities, or the slings and arrows affecting 'celebrities'. This distorts reality and distracts from what what should inform and educate.

    In the interview last night, Paxman asked Thompson if he knew what was on BBC FOUR last night, reeling off the rubbish about Skippy and 'Paws and Claws'. However, BBC FOUR also showed the series 'The Great Offices of State' and 'Getting Our Way', and as ecolizzy said, at least in the case of 'The great Offices of State', those who wanted to be informed would have been if they watched this. How many appreciate the extent to which The Treasury (a bastion of Keynesian statists traditionally) was effectively purged under The Conservatives and New Labour? Much the same was done to the Home Office.

    The general public really doesn't see how phrases like 'very clever but completely out of touch with reality' really means, 'at odds with anarchistic objectives of wrecking the state in pursuit of short-term profit'. Anyone in the Civil Service/public sector who got in the way of this anarchistic new broom just got the boot.

    Really. That's why life is the way it is in this country. No governance, just spin.

  • Comment number 45.

    for me the main thing that comes out of the Frontline/Channel 4 'Behind Taliban Lines' film is that Pakistan has one of the worst education systems in the world. no wonder a violent ignorance breeds among the people?

  • Comment number 46.

    43. flicks ' talking over the heads of the public - bully boy stories and tax status = alienation and intense frustration. People care about their financial welfare to pay bills, a roof over their head and health. But they glimpse the truth in nothing - the vacant details.'

    True, but despite what they may say for essentially reasons of social-desirability, most of those in employed in the media have very good verbal/communication skills, and, in the socially constructed world within which they work (and want to work), they can, and will, blag their way into anything. It's a closed world, far more so than most working in it appreciate. It's an ephemeral, and vacuous social-construction in the final analysis - i.e. here today, gone tomorrow. That's why it attracts some of the worst of society I reckon. We will be better off without a lot of it.

  • Comment number 47.

    if anyone wants to know what tony has been doing while in exile he has been giving several lectures at yale.

  • Comment number 48.

    45. jauntycyclist 'for me the main thing that comes out of the Frontline/Channel 4 'Behind Taliban Lines' film is that Pakistan has one of the worst education systems in the world. no wonder a violent ignorance breeds among the people?'

    Muslim countries do themselves no favours by their cosanguineous marriages (marrying cousins and uncles etc). The consequences show up in the SEN figure in our schools too, and this must, at least in part, contribute to their low position in the SATs league tables. It can do nothing for their economic status either.

    Political correctness blinds many of us from helping people to do what is in their best long term interests. Tolerance and liberalism often just makes matters worse by sustaining/reinforcing the status quo. It's much easier not to care (i.e let it be) so long as it does not affect oneself directly. 'Freedom' eh?

  • Comment number 49.

    40. jauntycyclist 'usa wants uk/argentina talks over falklands sovereignty? doesn't sound 'neutral' to me but playing up to their south american brothers?'

    Nothing in it (Falklands vs Argentina) for Israel or Wall Street, except maybe support from Argentina against Venuzuela etc? But yes, we're being used and abused by 'our' FCO.

  • Comment number 50.


    I am half way through his 20 minutes of vacuous, stumbling on everything and nothing. Are there NO aware minds in Yale?

    What a marker for a man world.

  • Comment number 51.

    MAD MAN (#50)

    Final comment should read: "What a marker for a mad world." But the sense is the same.

  • Comment number 52.

    50. barriesingleton - I clicked on the link, and then...wondering why I'd bothered (before watching) hit 'back'!

    Why do we do this? Just say NO! Same applies to the incumbents and the other pretenders.

    Look for statists only.

  • Comment number 53.


    i've watched a fair few of tony's vids now.

    it actually explains what he was doing in government but could never explain to the british people in those terms because the atheist press would have 'crucified' him.

    As Tony points out in one of the talks faith only matters to 30% of people in the uk while its 60% in the USA and over 90% in many other places. So in the uk anyone talking about faith is working with a tough unsympathetic audience. So when JP on NN asked Blair about 'does faith matter' the real answer we get is in the Yale 'talks'. Which explains why Campbell said 'we don't do God' when the reality with Tony it was nothing but God.

    the model of society he outlines in the talks explains his polices of mass unlimited migration etc

    he claims religious people should respect others who hold different views. which is not what we are doing with Tony's wars of bringing his open pluralistic [christian] model of democracy through military means upon homogeneous people happy with their preferred mono cultural islamic model of government.

    he endlessly praises the written constitution of the usa and says because of it the usa copes much better with his ideals of an 'open society' than the uk does. So why didn't he bring in a written constitution for the UK?

    this is a better link with 'more' vids .[i did a search with the name Blair]

  • Comment number 54.


    for me it is of interest because tony is sowing dragons teeth from which will come the dragons of the future.

    spain tried for 300 years to do what tony is talking about. ie maintain Christian liberal supremacy government over a population committed to different ideals. it didn't work. no state can survive latent domestic civil war [what we call 'terrorism'] burning, like an underground fire in a peat moor where the fire regularly surfaces, for 300 years no matter how 'liberal' you are.

  • Comment number 55.

    #50 & #51


    Assuming that I may be wrong, BUT

    my impression is /was at the time/ that Tony Blair played a positive role with regard to my job, etc, despite the fact that I had been rather critical and even sarcastic about them getting into power in the first place.

    It's since the time when Gordon Brown dislodged him that the interferences in the job as a PA in Neurosurgery at St George's got worse and worse and played a part in my decision to quit, or at least much quicker than I'd originally planned.

    Anybody who tells me that Gordon Brown is a nice man is obviously unaware what a vile and unkind creature he can be. He can protest his innocence but why has he given to manipulation? By giving in he is an accomplice in you know what.


  • Comment number 56.

    Today, the BBC 'discloses' that possibly 5% of the Ethiopia ('give us your money') Live Aid funds went to help the starving, leaving lots and lots to fund weapon purchases for Cold War warriors.

    Now, here's a salutary message for those willing to pay attention to such charity work - paying attention requires lots of effort and brain cells, but these, alas, are not equally/fairly distributed.

    So what are we to do?

    Given that Mr 'larger than life' Jacob Zuma is coming to town many coloured non-racists will be looking to Mr Zuma to make South Africa an example for the rest of the African sub-continent, perhaps just like liberal expect Israel to set an example for the Middle East?

    Don't try to make any sense of any of this.

  • Comment number 57.

    53. jauntycyclist 'the usa copes much better with his ideals of an 'open society' than the uk does'

    Popper's 'The Open Society and its Enemies' being Thatcher's other favorite text after Hayek's anarchistic manual. The enemy, of course, is the state - i.e. socialism, or just governance per se. A genration of two of social scientists spend their lives questioning everything because of Popper, 'and think that is the right thing to do'...(one of my old mentors once said 'he's a very arrogant man'.....)

    People should obey the law, do as they're told in school, drive safely and eat their greens. The problem is, people don't do what they 'should', and Mr Blair's attack on elitism and deference didn't help on that score one bit.

    Still, he's a jolly religious chap, a man of the people, and so deserves lots of money and 'respect'.......

    True....innit? The people....we are so stupid.

  • Comment number 58.

    GODLINESS IS AS GODILNESS DOES (The Blair phenomenon.)

    My observation and study of Blair, is summed up in two words

    If transcripts of his ramblings about multifaith were available for analysis, his confusion would be writ large.

    If 'Top Trumps' ever do 'FAITHS', Christianity will score highest - for it is, when all is said and done, FOUNDED BY THE SON OF GOD. By comparison, all the Jews have to claim is CHOSENNESS, and God-granted land. They score high - but not SO high. Then the Muslims - they even have a different book! ('Top Holy Books' would place The Bible TOP.) Of course the Buddhists, Shinto, Daoists etc, might have some valid claim - but they are too laid back to get into an unseemly contest. (:o) However, in his own mind, one stands above all - TONY HIMSELF. Needs must.

    Westminster draws the needy. Party politics elevates the needy. Blair is the epitome of Westminster 'success'. (God grant I may never be so successful!) Global Blair is rich, famous, lauded and elevated (to world platforms galore) and UTTERLY WITHOUT HONOUR, HUMILITY, OR INTEGRITY. For the latter attributes, he even has a gold medal from the Devil's Disciple no less. Fools gold, affirming what fools WE all are.

    Blair (and many of his ilk) affirm the need to INSPECT THE PERSON BEFORE ELEVATION. It is axiomatic that ANYONE chosen by a political party is unsuited to INTEGRITY IN GOVERNMENT. This is why it is vital to choose local candidates and press them into serving their community. ONE PRESSED CANDIDATE IS WORTH A THOUSAND VOLUNTEERS. And, what is more, it will:


  • Comment number 59.

    Thank you Jeremy for pointing out about BBC 4 and 3 what so many have said - they are nothing more than repeat channels.

    115 million for BBC3???? Wow!

    I am not sure if anyone has sat down and counted the number of original, non-repeated programmes out put on the 4 non-news channels, but I have a gut feeling that it is no more, and perhaps even less, than was produced when there was only BBC1 and 2 to play around with. Even Thompson, when saying about cutting edge comedy, accidentally admitted that they end up on BBC1 anyway.

    AS more and more channels are rolled out across our TVs, both the presentation and production quality is falling. On commercial stations, adverts now chop in half way through some character's speech (which would have NEVER happened a few years ago), on BBC Stations, the audio and picture quality is often below standard because it was shot on some semi-pro handy cam, and programmes on all stations are just cycled and recycled endlessly.

    On the commercial networks, anyone like to guess how many times Love Actually has been screened in the last year or so? It must be 30 or 40 times.

    Broadcast companies are so desperate to be trendy and not be criticised for not following each other like sheep that they are just thining out and the product to spread it over so many outlets.

    It is about time the BBC got OFF the bandwagon and started being a sensible, high quality PSB once again.

  • Comment number 60.

    if irish resident Bowie is concerned about 6 then let him fund an outlet?

    more yap?

    we get 30 mins of leadership talk every wednesday? increasingly the media is trying to replace parliament as the correct forum for debate.

  • Comment number 61.


    Hi Monika. If you follow Blair from routinely caned schoolboy, via wannabe Mick Jagger - any stage will do - 'Lord Justice Blair' aspirant, and finally, safe-seat parachuted MP aka 'rosette stand', you will not find a lot of 'service' evident, just a needy wish to be SOMEBODY - by whatever route.

    I am of the view that any good done to you - or anyone else during his reign, was a secondary - even unintended - consequence of the INTENDED rise and rise of Anthony Charles Lynton Blair.

  • Comment number 62.

    Meanwhile, makes one wonder exactly what's going in such trials, as the below extract suggests, to me at least, that yes, bad things do happen in camps, and whilst it is the duty of those supervising people in their custody to protect them from harm, that criminal acts do happen, is not the same thing as those supervising intending such acts to happen.

    Useful context: legislation was debated not long ago in Parliament about holding our own Prison Governors criminally responsible if persons died (even at their own hand) whilst in custody, there being a duty of care. Something to think about?

    The ICJ presented its judgment in Bosnian Genocide Case on 26 February 2007, in which it had examined atrocities committed in detention camps, including Trnopolje, in relation to Article II (b) of the Genocide Convention. The Court stated in its judgment:

    "Having carefully examined the evidence presented before it, and taken note of that presented to the ICTY, the Court considers that it has been established by fully conclusive evidence that members of the protected group were systematically victims of massive mistreatment, beatings, rape and torture causing serious bodily and mental harm during the conflict and, in particular, in the detention camps. The requirements of the material element, as defined by Article II (b) of the Convention are thus fulfilled. The Court finds, however, on the basis of evidence before it, that it has not been conclusively established that those atrocities, although they too may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, were committed with the specific intent (dolus specialis) to destroy the protected group, in whole or in part, required for a finding that genocide has been perpetrated."

    The Judgement of the ICJ

  • Comment number 63.


    I seem to recall a few years back possibly on the topic of tv output, our very own JP remarking something about paying peanuts and getting monkeys.

    Problem seems to me, we now pay gold leaf coated pistachios and brazils yet we STILL have the same old same old monkeys.

    CUT websites and forums.
    CUT reality tv and dismal soaps
    CUT Non english broadcasting to the English speaking nations
    CUT repeats - even the good stuff should be repeated only on substantial demand and even then perhaps at a price.
    CUT BBC3 and 4. IF you need a third tv channel - it should be for top quality sport.
    BUT CUT the umber of pointless whinning 'pundits' and commentators.
    CUT Radio 1 (others do it better)
    CUT using senior presenters (Panorama for example) doing 2 sentence openings and 2 sentence closings
    CUT glossy, sofa based celeb and promotion based news (Breakfast)
    CUT sending reporters by the dozen all over the country/world to report on NON NEWS!
    LEARN from Blackadder, Fawlty Towers and others to STOP on a high

    MOREand BETTER: News and current affairs, Home grown Drama, Documentary, Comedy, Arts.....

  • Comment number 64.

    61. barriesingleton The problem is... I fear you don't see that this preoccupation with bad character has another side to it, just as the ad hominem does.

    If one looks carefully to what many anarchists rail against, it's almost always grey, faceless, bureaucrats (either in our 'stuffy' Civil Service of old, or in foreign evil empires). At the same time, the celebrity culture has mushroomed has it not?

    My point is that good administrators, who do their jobs 'by filling posts', do not crave recognition. In fact it's never been seen as good form. Yet these impersonal structures are the very things which we have been induced to dispose of in recent decades.

    For what?

  • Comment number 65.


    Not sure if that will put the price of nuts up or down BYT.

    Sadly the BBC situation is like Westminster. The whole thing needs gutting, steam-cleaning and sand-blasting. Then re-stocking with integrity and dedication. But 'edgy fun' sticks like Kirsty's thigh to a designer couch. They are digging in, in the certainty that they are right and we who pay and 'consume' are wrong. After all - are we experts in the field? What do we know about what we want or should have?

    One thing I reckon I DO know: If that ginger fuzz on Mark Thompson pleases him, when he looks in the mirror, his scanning-coils are all to cock. I would not buy a used telly from this man.

  • Comment number 66.

    65. barriesingleton 'After all - are we experts in the field? What do we know about what we want or should have?'

    Of coure we don't, silly... they have Frank Luntz to tell them that!

  • Comment number 67.

    #25 Thanks brossen99, that all sounds very interesting, so why isn't it plastered everywhere in the media. Ah I know it wouldn't fit in with the current madness for windmills, something of the Don Quixote in our Mr Brown I feel.

    With the rate at which algae grows, I would have thought it would be very good source of energy in the future. There must be money to made in it as well, after all it's got to be fed and produced etc. We constantly hear of being "green" (a phrase Roger Thomas detested) and how we should fiddle around re-cycling and saving energy, and then something like this appears to be completely ignored, except for the odd person here and there working on it.

    Did you see Barries post on Monday?

    47. At 11:59pm on 01 Mar 2010, barriesingleton wrote:

  • Comment number 68.

    In his comments on the TV schedule for BBC4, Jeremy Paxman came to the film "The lives of others" (Das Leben der Anderen) and simply said imported film. This film in fact won the oscar for best foreign language film in 2007.

    Were it not for BBC4 there wouldn't be any foreign language films on the BBC. There would still be imported films on the BBC of course, just American ones. The showing of just English language films is severely limiting in people's understanding of other cultures.

    As someone who, mainly thanks to the BBC, grew up watching the likes of Bunuel, Traffaut and Fellini and being introduced to many leading European actors whose careers I have followed since it is a pity that foreign language films are often treated as being of little interest to viewers. You only have to read comments on IMDB to see that many people find it refreshing to watch a film not made in Hollywood. In the arts you don't generally restrict yourselves to one nation's output, why is this the case with films?


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