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Thursday 8 April 2010

Verity Murphy | 12:09 UK time, Thursday, 8 April 2010

Here are some more details on what is planned for this evening's programme:
Labour have attempted to fight-back in the row over National Insurance today with a claim that Conservative plans have been drawn up on the "back of an envelope" and would endanger the recovery.

Meanwhile, 13 more business leaders have backed the Tory proposal to scrap NICs.

Central to the Conservative case is that this tax rise can be avoided by efficiency savings in government.

Tonight we examine how credible the claims are from all parties that they can make billions of pounds in savings through "efficiencies?.

Paul Mason will analyse the claims and counter claims, and David Grossman will assess the political impact from Plymouth. Plus we will be joined by senior politicians and business people.

Also tonight, Justin Rowlatt will be investigating how it can be that all of the main political parties say the NHS is safe with them, but also say they can make substantial efficiency savings there too.

How can this be done without compromising patient care?

We will be joined by Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, his conservative shadow Andrew Lansley, and Liberal Democrat health spokesman, Norman Lamb.

Join Jeremy at 10.30pm on BBC Two.

From earlier today:

Credibility is the focus tonight as we ask which of the parties have it and which don't - particularly over the paramount issue of the economy.

Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling have dubbed Tory plans "not credible" and drawn up on the "back of an envelope".

The Tories have been boosted by more business leaders publicly supporting their promise to curb Labour's planned National Insurance rise - something they say is a "tax on jobs" that would "kill the recovery".

So who do we believe?

David Grossman will be drilling down into who the electorate trust, Paul Mason will be crunching the numbers, and in the studio we hope to be talking to senior politicians and business leaders.

Plus we have Justin Rowlatt's latest Pop-Up Politics - in which you the audience tell us what stories we should be covering.

Justin is looking at another trust issue - the NHS. All of the main political parties say the NHS is safe with them, but all of them also want to make substantial efficiency savings. How can this be done without compromising patient care?

More details later.


  • Comment number 1.

    What happened to immigration and integration? Can anyone imagine what would happen if the larger indigenous group of 'oppressors' were to behave anything like this or (just how blind can people be?) this? Here, I suggest, we see youth training in the subtle strategy of settlement plus paranoid asylum-philia fostering/binding endogamy/nepotism, par excellence.

    Is this not the most blatant racism one could imagine from the most notoriously vociferous anti-racists of all?

    When a people are a massive bundle of contradictions - 'anything goes' :-(

  • Comment number 2.

    someone tried to explain to me that the reason to vote labour is because they are 'for the workers'. then someone else chipped in 'no they're not their for the voters on benefits'.

  • Comment number 3.

    First of all we'd have to suspend all judgement, ignore all previous evidence and try to trust Newsnight. Its a tall order.

  • Comment number 4.

    more on our new afghanistan 'Churchill’s choice' secret u turn policy.

    out goes democracy, human rights and in comes the tribal system

    funny no big FO press announcement on the new 'dump democracy and human rights' nation building policy? Is Milliband not proud of it?

  • Comment number 5.

    Now that the true colours of the BNP are seen (where the Hitler admiring Collett was allegedly trying to take "direct" action against Griffin) I wonder how its members will react to Collett leaking information and "lies" to anti-BNP websites.

    Other factions will no doubt be unhappy that Griffin, "twice democratically elected" went to the police " after "serious allegations" came to light affecting the "personal safety" of the BNP leader and James Dowson, its senior fundraiser" and that he has been unable to field a substantial defence to the EHRC legal requirement over membership rules.

    Collett said "I'm not someone who goes running to the press when I've got problems. I'm not going to say anything more, even about if I've been arrested."

    The Independent said "The British National Party has been thrown into pre-election chaos after a senior party official was arrested on suspicion of threatening to kill its leader, Nick Griffin".

    So the voters of Stoke and Barking must likely be considering amending their view about how well the BNP would function in the council in partnership with the police in terms of tackling anti-social behaviour and more serious crimes.

    Hopefully most will already have gleaned that the BNP are not a healthy democratic party. This is what they are like with their friends.

  • Comment number 6.

    Many became 'sceptical' of Gordon Brown on the economy when he promised
    to 'abolish boom and bust' - an odd statement from any 'historian' ....

    But his 'credibility' died for me at the New Deal launch in Dundee back
    in January 1998. As unemployment's back this anecdote remains pertinent.

    For some, of course, including those over-25 year olds in the Wellgate
    Job Centre in Dundee that day in 1998 unemployment never went away ...

    There were three Labour Ministers present including Gordon Brown when
    a group of underemployed journalists asked to see the vacancy register.

    'Where is the Executive and Professional Job Vacancies register?' we asked Donald Dewar .... then Brian Wilson .... as Brown stood over in
    the corner giving a telly interview about 'Labour's Flagship policy'.

    A senior civil servant from Department of Employment then jumps in before the Secretary of State for Scotland could splutter a reply:

    'He's referring to the old Executive and Professional Vacancies Register,
    Minister, which Department of Employment used to maintain for the upper
    end of the labour market .... But it was privatised in 1984 and ceased
    to exist in 1988.'

    The intrepid Dundee hack then asks the civil servant: 'And who do you report to as Head of the Employment Service in Scotland? Mr Dewar here?'

    Civil servant reddens: 'Um no ... I report to Mr Blunkett'. We all then clamber on the New Deal battle-bus - journalists and unemployed - and go
    with Dewar, Wilson and Rt Hon Gordon Brown, Chancellor of The Exchequer
    and Chairman of the G8 Finance Ministers, down to Discovery Quay for the
    speeches ....

    But are accosted en route by an angry delegation from the Dundee and Tayside Chamber of Commerce wondering why they have not been invited.

    Apparently HM Treasury forgot .... One local wholesaler - MD of C&J
    Lang supplying Spar shops all over Scotland from his HQ in Dundee is
    particularly incensed that Tesco has been invited by Whitehall but he
    is not on the list for the reception despite having jobs to offer ...

    'I don't want to meet Gordon Brown anymore anyway' he greets as the
    press and the unemployed punters take him away in tears - and try to
    make sure that someone in authority gets his firm on their database.

    And then Brown speaks .... in the Terra Nuova room ... a rousing call to action to end the scourge of unemployment for ever along with boom and bust ... but checking the version of the speech handed out by the lady
    up from London with the clip-board against the delivery in Dundee wa
    notice late amendments ....

    A vague promise has been inserted following an article in that morning's Guardian criticising New Deal's then focus solely on the 18-25 cohort -
    and pointing out that given the demographics this was then the easy bit.

    Labour still hasn't sorted that of course .... but even back in 1998 the
    big problem was still 'older workers' - a point Brown half-concedes. But
    does he add: 'And on the basis of this morning's discovery at the burroo
    in Dundee we must definitely restore the old Executive and Professional
    vacancies register?' Of course he doesn't because he doesn't listen ...

    Job Centre Plus only starts being revamped on a rolling basis to give a promise of a personlised service for the 'middle class professionals' a
    decade plus three years later when boom turns to bust and elections loom.

    Credibility? It dies in Dundee that day in 1998! But would the Tories be any better? Well, on job search probably yes. Teresa May is impressive -
    and sensible. And it was Maurice Macmillan (Supermac's son) who with a bit of help from D of E civil servant Bernard Ingham invented the Job
    Shop in the early 1970's under Edward Heath. And it was of course the
    Liberal MP for Dundee Winston Churchill who invented Labour Exchanges.

  • Comment number 7.

    None of the parties have really convinced me that they have a comprehensive plan that, given presumed international cooperation, will prevent such a fiasco happening again.

    Breaking up the banks must help but there still need to be changes to regulation (the FED and the SEC were in Lehmans six months before it went down and detected noting and it transpires it was almost a lone clique of six that took the bank down) nor about intruments and gearings to real money (CDS and suchlike) nor about fraud and accounting laws that permitted the Repo 105 shenanigans.

    Ideally the regulation would be right touch not light or heavy - but ultimately we want the banks to play Russian Roulette with their money and not with ours.

    Will Greece utlimately take out the Euro whilst Geithner talks to China about the yuan and the balance of trade.

    It ain't over yet and I remain happiest with Vince and the Lib Dems and thats probably why their vote looks unlikely to be broken down by the two party squeeze. End the smug two party complacency and create genuine competition of ideas.

  • Comment number 8.

    Can David take in the issue of trust amongst activists?

    I wonder whether the gearing of party activists is as it always was or whether disillusionment has meant that the ratio of the footsoldiers has changed in a way that may actually pull out floating voters for one party or another?

  • Comment number 9.

    On the NHS I don't find it credible that sickness rates are going to save these many millions that Liam Byrnne claims.

    I assume the clever people at the Beeb will keep an eye on infection rates and mistakes if people with severe flu are wondering about.

    If they mean that people who get sick a lot are fakers and will get sacked I wonder whether that is not just a toothpaste tube solution where you squeeze budget problems into JSA areas instead?

    It also probably might mean unfair dismissals and on this one I think the unions would get a lot of public support.

  • Comment number 10.

    On National Insurance I think if you can avoid raising NI straight away thats a good thing but I think that if the argument is won and it does emerge that one party is right and the others wrong the public will react strongly against those who may have sought party political interest rather than national interest.

    I think there is a good chance that the Tories or more probably Labour could see their vote collapse if they are seen to be trying a business-as-usual approach at what the public rightly sees as a crisis election.

    But overall I just can't see how the tax burden can not rise when there is a debt mountain like Everest - even allowing for trying to ensure we do partially grow our way out of this mess.

  • Comment number 11.

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

  • Comment number 12.

    2. jauntycyclist 'someone tried to explain to me that the reason to vote labour is because they are 'for the workers'. then someone else chipped in 'no they're not their for the voters on benefits'.'

    Has it ever been suggested that you may be prone to listening to the wrong people?

    New Labour was for 'the speculators' in The City and 'the profiteers' in retail sector etc.

    Who else produced their economic miracle?

  • Comment number 13.

    on trust and so on what is the word on the street Newsnight with regard to the post-McBride attack dogs and "leakers" and so on.

    Will any of the parties dare let these creatures of the night off the leash in this public mood?

  • Comment number 14.

    :o) I look forward to tonight's edition, because with Jeremy & Co at the helm, we will get all the facts and not the fiction.

  • Comment number 15.

    'Justin is looking at another trust issue - the NHS. All of the main political parties say the NHS is safe with them, but all of them also want to make substantial efficiency savings. How can this be done without compromising patient care?'

    Justin should be tasked with looking at the changing demographics. a) The differential birth rate. b) The below replacement level birth-rate. c) The differences in birth rates between ethnic groups. d) The different prevalence of disorders by group. These are all technical issues/terms, and they have costs implications.

  • Comment number 16.


    Knowing who to believe is death to edgy news presentation. You BBC turkeys are not going to vote for my Christmas, are you?

    Just in case the Bird Flue is back in a mutation that returns service to broadcasting, I suggest (again, again) you regularly analyse political utterances with a neutral psychologist, language analyst and even a philosopher in the studio. THEN WE WOULD KNOW WHO TO BELIEVE.

  • Comment number 17.

    16. barriesingleton 'I suggest (again, again) you regularly analyse political utterances with a neutral psychologist, language analyst and even a philosopher in the studio. THEN WE WOULD KNOW WHO TO BELIEVE.'

    Hmmmm I have serious based on empirical evdience. They would have to have to be wearing big badges (and theatrical costumes) clearly broadcasting their professions and credentials. Otherwise, how would any viewer know what to believe? Hmmmmmmm ;-)

    Surely, you wouldn't want them to tell you what to think? ;-)

  • Comment number 18.

    Vote 4 a clown brown clown clown u clown

  • Comment number 19.


    it was an anecdote to demonstrate the level of 'one sentence' political debate on the uk street rather than a demonstration of the 'people i listen to'.


  • Comment number 20.

    With respect to ''who is most credible on the economy''as usual the wrong questions are being asked.

    Everything is relative, at the moment it is like asking if a lemming or an ostritch are the most credible on running the economy. Nobody is asking the rather obvious and more informative question question ''Why are we allowing lemmings and ostritches to run the show''?

  • Comment number 21.

    19. jauntycyclist 'it was an anecdote to demonstrate the level of 'one sentence' political debate on the uk street rather than a demonstration of the 'people i listen to'. :)'

    Maybe, but I fear we live ever more in a society where it's becoming de rigueur for people to substitute the likes of: 'I'll make my own mind up', for what used to be: 'I can't grasp this'. This seems to come from the same school of thought as that which teaches, when asked: 'what does 8 x 6 equal?' to reply either: 'I'm not telling you!' or 'I know, but I don't agree with it!'. This behaviour is allegedly learned at 'the university of life', which is sadly rapidly becoming indistinguishable from our universities these days! :-)

    How anyone (especially barriesingleton) could possibly intimate that something becomes more believable because it's on Newsnight, or because someone had academic medals, is quite disgraceful. It's one of the first things which any good science undergraduate used to learn as an instance of invalid reasoning! Of course, in the arts such behaviour is now all the rage (narcissistism rules in the arts).

    What this shows, I suggest, is how many people crave authority in their lives, whilst simultaneously making out that they don't need it at all.

    This is a fact of life/development. It's not worth arguing with me about it (I know this subject far too well). Most people just don't like learning (being told what to do) as it makes them feel insecure/vulnerable. Good learners are thus rare, and much else follows! :-(

  • Comment number 22.


    What's got into you Jericoa? If you cut any more carp, the world as we know it will fall apart.

    Sarah does a very convincing Ostrich, so presumably Gordon comes under that classification. Strange to recount, among a plethora of lizards, weasel, rats and polecats, I have been struggling to classify Liam Byrne. Now I have it: lemming. That funny round head and the beady eyes - so loyal and on message (any message) - when Brown says 'JUMP' he will.

  • Comment number 23.

    A HUGE congrats to the Newsnight Crew for getting rid of vulture funds :o)

  • Comment number 24.

    "Also tonight, Justin Rowlatt will be investigating how it can be that all of the main political parties say the NHS is safe with them, but also say they can make substantial efficiency savings there too"

    A a management consultant I never came across any situation in several industries and in local and overseas governments where efficiency savings were not obvious following method study and work measurement.

    Many were undertaken in response to senior staff demanding ADDITIONAL staff, sometimes 'empire building',not uncommon in public services, or anywhere where senior salary scales are based on staffing numbers, rather than on incentive bonus schemes (NOT the bank model, but moving average performance).

    Right now my wife is forced to attend 3 days (unpaid)of lectures on basic care practices (manual handling, infection control, and first aid) all of which she has done before in a care career of more than 10 years. All-day lectures that even for new staff could be condensed to 2 hours each.

    Maybe this level of boring repetition is required by non-English speaking care staff, an obsession with Elf & Safty manuals and proceedures which are simple Common Sense, and to support the fiction of 'job creation' in NHS?

    Another area of bureaucratic waste is the need for all care staff (and others) to re-apply for Criminal Records Clearance every time they change employers! The Care Home employing my wife was closed down (allegedly targetted by a demented senior NHS official) due to a minor infringement, causing grief for all the elderly residents and their relatives, and job losses for all staff - who now have to re-apply for CRC again even though already cleared.

    And I cannot close without asking will somebody please do a calculation of the ENTIRE cost of immigration, including the huge costs of legal aid, numerous appeals tribunals, holding centres, and the vast array of community and integration officials and funding to bodies such as EHRC and many 'ethnic minority support groups' etc.

    There must be some vast savings potential here! I'm available for a modest fee and can promise to undercut the massive amounts that this
    (ex)government spends on top price consultants, quangos and focus groups!

  • Comment number 25.

    'Hmmmm I have serious doubts based on empirical evidence' (how do words drop out like that - bloglins??)

  • Comment number 26.

    20. Jericoa 'Everything is relative, at the moment it is like asking if a lemming or an ostritch are the most credible on running the economy. Nobody is asking the rather obvious and more informative question question ''Why are we allowing lemmings and ostritches to run the show''?'

    I am!

    The reason most people don't ask is because they don't look beyond the false choices which they are offered. For istance, China and Vietnam (to name but two) have different systems of government to ours. So, why don't we get the option to vote for their type of system? Why don't we even have coverage of how their systems work in practice if this is such a free society? We only seem to be free to choose different flavours (or is it packaging?) of liberal anarchism. Why is that? If other systems are so bad, how come they are doing so well?


  • Comment number 27.

    All this chattering is fine and healthy but it won't change anything!
    What most accept is that we need change, but don't know how to go about it.
    I say that a good place to start would be to give us (the electorate) ballot papers on which every canditate for parliament must list three policy measures that the party they represent intends to implement in the next parliament, on which the candidate feel most strongly.
    They should then be held accountable for ensuring that those three measures are past within the first 18 months (is that reasonable?)and if at least two of them are not, then we should have the right to call that member to account in a by-election.
    This would not only give the less aware voter a few clues on polling day, but ensure political promises are not seen by politicians as carrots to guide donkeys.
    We are supposed know and to have a say in what our MP's do, so we should know them much better than most of us presently do, before voting them into a well paid job from which they cannot easily be removed except by there party chiefs, whom they are presently expected to serve before us.

    What do you think?

  • Comment number 28.

    My last comment was a bit like voting.
    I did it, but there is nothing to show for having taken the trouble!

  • Comment number 29.

    'Labour have attempted to fight-back in the row over National Insurance today with a claim that Conservative plans have been drawn up on the "back of an envelope" and would endanger the recovery.'

    Recovery to what?

    We had 65 consecutive quarters of growth which was essentially based on securitized suspect loans. During which, we became even further dependent on the Service Sector, and continued to cripple our Public Services via bad recruitment and retention policies, along with threats of privatisation.

    What is going to fuel a 'recovery' which isn't a return to these extremely damaging practices when the monthly payments on borrowed money just adds to the national debt?

    Whilst the silence is deafening, the real drivers are ignored, and those explaining them (repeatedly) are regularly abused (here at least)!!

    We get what we deserve?

  • Comment number 30.

    Meanwhile, 13 more business leaders have backed the Tory proposal to scrap NICs.'

    Where have the Conservatives said they would 'scrap NICs'?

    According to your own BBC report, New Labour says it would raise NICs by 1%.....So why the above statement?

    See last night's exchange with Mistress76uk on 'translation'. What's going on please?

  • Comment number 31.

    24. indignantindegene You appear to be accurately describing some of the ineffciencies which plague the Public Sector. But this has been created. This has been engineered to reduce the efficiency of the Public Sector. This has been done largely via recruitment and retention policies which have driven out good practices. Some such policies include recruitment of BME groups propostional to local population frequencies regardless of abilities - that's how equality legislation (which applies to Public Sector bodies) has worked. Now, why would any free-market loving government ever do such a thing?...

  • Comment number 32.


    maybe it pleases some to think what they think about is an elite sport but the majority recognises the good when they see it.

    otherwise, for example, there would be no mass migration into the uk etc. which is a choice about 'the good' even an illiterate could think about and make.

    any system of thought that regards 99.9% of people as thick isn't a system worth bothering with as it can't have any good in it.

    the most used weapon is the kalashnikov designed to be used by anyone in the harshest of conditions. everyone recognises the good [philosophy] when they see it.

    the govt has to bribe people to use digital [which shows it has little good [philosophy] in it except for the govt] but who bribed anyone to get a playstation or mp3 player?

  • Comment number 33.


    Are you newly arrived ET? I have been posting my thoughts on PRACTICAL ways to make a difference (shortly to be put into action, again, in Newbury).

    I try never to challenge a situation unless I have given thought to a viable way of tackling it. If you care to google my name, you will get to my website and from there you can reach a blog dedicated to this election. The short answer is:


  • Comment number 34.

    Hello,for a realistic understanding will someone please tell me what % of overall govt spending is being proposed to be cut an a per annum basis over the next 3 years by labour & tories only then surely can it be understood as being realistic or not xxx

  • Comment number 35.

    #15 Statist

    Hear, hear!

    But will Newsnight ever grow the cajones to grasp the nettle? (ouch!)

    I fear that a clever minority have implemented a "group evolutionary strategy" for editorial control of the programme.

    Maybe the programme title should more appropriately begin with a J instead of an N? (double ouch!)

  • Comment number 36.

    Hi Newsnight Team,

    Here's a nice little quote you may like to bear in mind when interviewing the politicians:

    “Eventually, I as demobbed and sent back to ‘civvy street’ to seek a living. Seek a living – what an understatement! I walked the streets of London for months: according to the Establishment we were again in a financial crisis. Marvellous! I am 62 years young, and I cannot remember any year that the government of the day did not declare some sort of financial crisis. It amazes me: our universities turn out as many economists as Walls turn out sausages – but after all, what can you expect? It is the economics of capitalism that are taught, doomed to failure by reason of capitalism’s lack of a central planned economy, creating slump-boom-slump periods; it is the economics of the jungle"

    Taken from the autobiography of Jack Dash, (1906-1989). Written in 1967.

    Does the above ring any bells? What on earth is the ‘change’ the prospective PMs think they are going to make?

  • Comment number 37.

    Perhaps we should call it the 'Tiger Woods Strategy'. First expose some disgraceful behaviour on the part of a highly paid person. Give him or her a public roasting. Next, after a suitable period, all is forgiven. In the process they made a lot of money (usually out of other people), said 'sorry', and got to go back to making lots of money again.

    The Austrian School call it 'The Business Cycle' Bulls and Bears...I call it organizational psychopathy at the expense of mugs.

    What group did Fred Goodwin come from? Where did he go? Who now cares?

  • Comment number 38.

    27. ElectricTonybrooke 'All this chattering is fine and healthy but it won't change anything!...What do you think?'

    I think you're chattering too much instead of listening.

    What do you think? ;-)

  • Comment number 39.

    Just watching HIGNFY...

    Never mind Jeremy Paxman tonight....I'd rather see 'Geordie Pantsman' interviewing some politicians on the programme.

    Nothing to lose really ;o)

  • Comment number 40.

    Why do Finland's schools get the best results?

    “Last year more than 100 foreign delegations and governments visited Helsinki, hoping to learn the secret of their schools' success.
    The Finnish philosophy with education is that everyone has something to contribute and those who struggle in certain subjects should not be left behind.”

    Now, this surely backs up a point made many, many times by some-or-other poster, somewhere on these blogs! just who was it?...hmmmm! (no prize for me...maybe I just know my place!)

    Maybe Finland has a free-market lovin' government????

  • Comment number 41.


    Because the finish what they have started. (Was it a trick question?)

    Go and stand in the corner DJ.

  • Comment number 42.


    Thank you, Mistress76uk, for drawing it out to us.

    This can definitely be counted as a real achievement!


    P.W. #14 A bit of fantasy and manifestation of imagination by the team, on top of all the facts, etc, never go amiss, as far as I'm concerned

  • Comment number 43.

    Worth a read!

    Malcolm McLaren 1946-2010

    ...especially considering one of his protégé bands included the line ‘I am an anarchist’ in one of their songs!

    I bet they didn’t 'geddit' at the time!

  • Comment number 44.

    Cuts and savings - This will be done after the election, by the elected government, in conjunction with Civil Servants in the Treasury and other Departments.

    In the meantime, no manifesto - no comment, we'll just get lots of wild speculation in the meantime. Cheap news?

  • Comment number 45.

    Newsnight, why do you insist in always having that Rothschild glove puppet on..AKA Liam Byrne? ..WHY?????

  • Comment number 46.

    41 barriesingleton

    (Was it a trick question?) Go and stand in the corner DJ.


    No sir...yes sir!

    (now if I was a tad narcissistic I'd reply...YOU GO STAND IN THE CORNER!...I'VE DONE NOTHING WRONG!)

  • Comment number 47.

    43. DebtJuggler What's odd is that anyone is surprised by any of this. They don't get it because it's been made a taboo, and it's been made a taboo as a veil for exploitation.

    It should be obvious by looking at the statistics. How many do that? In the absence of doing so, what are they basing their judgement upon? Are they rational, or are they a little mad?

  • Comment number 48.

    In the last financial year, my local NHS trust spent nearly £360 000 on translators/interpreters - what a waste of money! This is where cuts can & should be made in the NHS - I say no money to be spent on this.

  • Comment number 49.

    Doesn't Justin's piece just show that Liberal-Democratic populism is daft? What's the point of asking people what they think about issues which they clearly know nothing about? It just encourages people to have views about matters which they know nothing about. It makes people think they should have views about matters they know nothing about. Why should they? How could they? Isn't this a daft way to govern (or to do anyhing in fact)?

    Think about this.

  • Comment number 50.

    Staff sickness rates go up when people feel they are being reorganised all the time, usually in pursuit of privatisation via improved 'efficiency'. It's been done for years.

    There should be a sign up: Anarchists at work.

  • Comment number 51.

    The Whittington is my local hospital. I have been to the public meetings against cutting it. The NHS needs to save money BUT 1) UCH and Royal Free are geographically near but not in terms of travel time and they are not near Wray Crescent in NE Islington where my cricket club plays and when players have been injured we have been able to get them to the Whittington quickly but it would take an hour to get to Royal Free or UCH 2) the polyclinics plan is not up and running 3) the opening hours of the replacement services are not long enough.

  • Comment number 52.

    Whenever people talk about the efficiency of public-facing services (such as casualty closures/centralisation etc), they never seem to take into account all the stakeholders. Yes, it may prove most efficient for the NHS to have a small number of centralised emergency departments. However, what about the efficiency with respect to customers (i.e. the public)? A small number of centralised departments mean larger journey times for customers (e.g. parents taking their children to the ER), which could cost (or be perceived to cost) more to the tax payer than the efficiency savings would provide.

  • Comment number 53.

    Can you please - please - please interview one politician at a time? With everyone sqauking, butting in, and Paxman trying to keep control and a telephone ringing as well, it make the programme intolerable to listen too and achieves nothing - I've turned it off !! I can see better manners and behaviour in school!

  • Comment number 54.

    This is absolutely bizzare!...

    I have just watched a programme on TV tonight on which Sharon Osbourne starred...

    I've just looked her up on Wiki and her nee surname is 'Levy'.
    She is the '25th richest woman in the Britain'.

    Now considering that the Jewish population represents only 0.5% of the UK population, the Jews seem incredibly over represented in the asset/power owning classes within the UK.

    Yet, we are supposed to have lived in a world of equality and equal opportunities for quite sometime surely something has gone seriously awry within the socio-economic system in the UK?

    I just don't understand!

  • Comment number 55.

    The electorate are slowly becoming bogged down in petty squabbles amongst the three parties. What bothers me is the fact that for the last 13 years Labour have been on a spend spend mission and clearly have not kept a record of the accounts. If they had, would it not be reasonable to assume that our current debts and overspends would have been managed better. I manage my accounts and have difficulty keeping savings for any length of time before government taxation swallows it up. Labour have made an absolute mess, and whichever way we look at things everyone is going to pay very dearly. I am not a worrier but am extremely concerned for my extended family's future.

  • Comment number 56.

    Malcolm McLaren, 'raised by his grandmother, Rose Corre Isaacs, the formerly wealthy daughter of Portuguese Sephardic Jewish diamond dealers'


  • Comment number 57.

    Intentional or not, almost an entire programme dedicated to making the Tories look extremely foolish on both the economy and health. It looks as though the Tories are aiming their entire campaign at the brain dead ten bob fat cats. Why don't Labour just tell it straight on the National Insurance question, if you are on less than 400 quid a week you won't pay any extra. I hadn't bothered to work it out myself but if its only going to cost employers on average 15 quid a month extra, in most cases the effect of the extra fuel duty they pay could exceed that. For my position on the the health debate check out my last nights post #38

  • Comment number 58.

    :o( RIP Malcolm McLaren..........if it wasn't for his genius we would never have had good music.

    Outstanding Jeremy yet again tonight particularly the debate on the NHS cuts with Burnham/Lansley/Lib Dem guy. Jeremy was amazed (as were the viewers, no doubt) that although 70%-80% of the NHS budget was spent on wages, there was no mention of job cuts.......

  • Comment number 59.

    For heaven's sake Jeremy please moderate the discussions - Today's discussion on NHS by the 3 parties was a complete mess - couldn't understand or hear who is saying what? Good that Andy Burnham was sitting quietly while others were arguing on top of each other. At times you also joined in talking over them. When the election campaign is on, each party rep will try to get more airtime so please moderate the discussion properly, otherwise you would switch off your viewers just like I did after a while. Hope for a better performance from you Jeremy next time.

  • Comment number 60.

    Question by Jeremy re: cutting down amount of sickness among NHS staff
    My answer would be give no sick pay. I bet you it would be down by 80%
    overnight. M.V.

  • Comment number 61.

    During the NHS debate Andy Burnham was constantly interupted by both the opposition spokesmen and by Jeremy. When the opposition spokesmen talked over him they were allowed to continue and he was cut off. Guests who are not in the studio should not be sidelined because they are not present in person.
    Come on Jeremy, it's bad enough that we have a month of this without having debates turning into noise.

  • Comment number 62.


    The employment of the term 'DEMANDS' in the paragraph below, to characterise the needs and requirements of constituents, is to my mind, DELIBERATELY CHOSEN to attach an ‘unreasonable’ quality thereto. This is so very typical of the Westminster Ethos. A more respectful credo is long overdue. There is another document of similar ilk.

    House of Commons Information Office
    You and Your MP


    “Your MP will generally do everything he or she can to help constituents, but will not feel able to support every cause, nor will he or she be able to get the desired solution to every individual problem. Members may not be able to support one constituent if in doing so they will deprive another. At times a constituent's DEMANDS may conflict with party policy and your MP will have to decide where their first loyalty should lie. The Member may think that, in any case, a majority of constituents would support party policy - after all that is likely to be one of the reasons why they elected him or her.”

  • Comment number 63.

    Am I mistaken?

    It seems that large numbers of people (including the Newsnight Production Team) treat what they can't/don't grasp as not true.....

    When they get a glimpse, it's quite shocking. Offensive even. No doubt some even complain. Why? Can that make it less true?

    Again, more than just a (clever?) linguistic point perhaps?

  • Comment number 64.

    The NHS:
    My plan to save money.
    Since the NHS was born from the Ideals of socialism. Pay the Doctors the same as bin men. I call it the cuban method.
    Ban the use of microwaves as they kill any nutrients in an already poor nutrient content processed food. Improve the eating habits of the prols, cutting out burgers and all the other chemical junk foods that are, at present the normal diet for yourself a fortune over the long term.

    Spend less time teaching doctors how to treat symptoms and educate them more on the importance of nutrition and movement.i.e getting off the couch.

    Stop buying drugs that don't work - there's loads of them - and refuse the 1000x mark-up price from these drug cartels.

    Ban the use of chemo and radiation as they only kill patients. There are dirt cheap methods of treating even the most advanced cancers.

    Stop the use of antibiotics unless really nesessary and introduce collodial silver as an alternative, kills all known bacteria, pathagens etc 600+ and its dirt cheap unlike the antibiotics which is made specific to about only10 -15 bacteria etc.

    The govt needs to renegotiate the price of drugs they buy, the ones that work - and there aint that many that do. Failing that the govt needs to buy generic. Gaviscon needs to be poured down the drain and never to be purchased again. And the Govt need to stop buying into the latest new 'wonder drug'..they don't work and never have done; stop being hoodwinked by the big Pharma cartels, cut that one out, yeah.

    Employ managers that can spot lazy good-for-nothing nurses/Doctors etc and let them have the power to get rid..the NHS is full of them. That needs to be said by the way.
    There you go, straight off the bat...£60 billion saved, and I told you that all for free.

  • Comment number 65.

    46. DebtJuggler 'now if I was a tad narcissistic I'd reply...YOU GO STAND IN THE CORNER!...I'VE DONE NOTHING WRONG!'

    Barriesingleton has confessed his narcissism, so perhaps thinks it's OK to continue? Maybe Barriesingleton doesn't like the idea of losing limelight? It's a Liberal-Democratic populist thing.

    Cruelty to a friend? - Only to be kind - as it's propositions not personalities which matter, always. Fail to endorse this and one can kiss science, rationality and ultimately civilization, goodbye. We're getting there, very slowly. For previews, see Nigeria, Pakistan etc. For drivers - see as elsewhere :-(

  • Comment number 66.

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

  • Comment number 67.


    Perhaps the most easy cut to achieve is in the number of sick people?

    One of Paxo's panel commented on better home care for the old/sick, being known to reduce emergency admissions. Being 72, I 'move in such circles' and get the impression that that is correct. However, there are factors in the DELIVERY of that care, that will prove hard to improve - I'll say no more. . .

    More generally, a survey of people like me, who have plenty of 'diseases of old age', but take no prescription drugs (often in themselves the cause of doctor/hospital visits) could show another way to reduce NHS costs. But that would be far to pragmatic to implement.

  • Comment number 68.

    48. spaniel-lover 'In the last financial year, my local NHS trust spent nearly £360 000 on translators/interpreters - what a waste of money! This is where cuts can & should be made in the NHS - I say no money to be spent on this.'

    Do you understand why foreign nurses/carers etc are being imported? No matter how many times the cause is explained, many just w/don't get it.


  • Comment number 69.

    54. DebtJuggler Some people are just more equal than others. It's the same people who are entitled to more rights than others. Anyone who complains about this is discriminating, and discrimination is verboten, unless you're one of the above, where it's your right, if not duty, and this is protected by law.

    Welcome to the world of DSM-IV Axis II, Cluster B (ICD-10 F60)
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 70.

    58. Mistress76uk ':o( RIP Malcolm McLaren..........if it wasn't for his genius we would never have had good music.'

    Thank you for that (see post 69), and 40 years of wanton socio-economic destruction.

  • Comment number 71.


    Mr Rees

    That's one of the reasons why Gordon's government should be punished.

    His so-called 'experience' has brought the UK to almost a ruin. We're are bound to be better off without him trying to 'govern' from his bunker.

    Hope you manage to keep your extended family coffers and wellbeing well above water.


  • Comment number 72.

    How many businessmen did the BBC call before finding James Caan, who actually supports the bizarre Government position on the NI issue? And why was there no Conservative to counter the position put by Brown apparatchik Liam Byrne? The same Liam Byrne who was accusing the Tories of "salivating" at the prospect of taking an axe to the public sector - not exactly a dispassionate voice.

    Curious how everything about BBC news and current affairs coverage makes sense when you start reading the Biased BBC blog.

  • Comment number 73.



    I'm sure it would, I've worked there.


  • Comment number 74.

    Oi - stop picking on Jeremy! He tried to stop them squabbling and talking over each other and he succeeded. He even pointed out at one stage that the viewers did not like it when the guests all talked at the same time.

  • Comment number 75.

    My opinion on stopping Labours NI increases.

    - Living the lie or the dream ? -

    Labour and the Lib Dems are just showing their true ideological credentials here, they are pretending they don't understand that by increasing the costs of employers to employ people they are in fact deterring employers from creating more new jobs for people, it is a simple question of economics.

    Example 1 -
    If you can only afford to buy 4 pints of milk, then you find the price of milk has gone up, you end up only being able to afford to buy 3 pints of milk.

    - Growth -
    They are also pretending they don't understand the the economic principle that the more people you have in work and paying taxes the more tax is in fact raised , and as a result, less out of work benefits are being claimed, which, in itself reduces the need for government borrowing (deferred taxes) , which also has the knock on effect of less debt interest payments being required in future.

    Example 2-
    Would you prefer to sell 10 Mars bars at 5p profit each or sell 100 Mars bars at 1p profit each ?
    10x5p = 50p (profit tax @ 20% = 10p)
    100x1p=100p (profit tax @ 20% = 20p)

    For some reason I feel I have to answer this-

    Why can one person sell only 10 Mars bars when the other can sell 100 ?

    See example 1 as a hint.

    - The social effects -

    Is it better for people to have the opportunity to earn their own money or to be dependant on the state for their weekly wage ?

    Which one empowers the person most ?

    Which one instils self esteem ?

    Which one pays the highest wages ?

    Which one is better for your local community ?

    - Summing Up -

    Big government in practice needs clients to serve , otherwise there would be no justification for its expansion nor the costs associated with it.

    Thanks for reading.

  • Comment number 76.



    Yes, he did, and it didn't really get completely out of hand.


  • Comment number 77.

    62. barriesingleton Surely, given that the average MP has tens of thousands (nealry 100,000 in many cases) of constituents, and given that most of them won't have voted for the elected MP anyway (or know much if anything about politics or what is practicable), don't you think you are being just a tad unrealistic? Think of schools and their Parents Evenings where the ratio is much better - even they can't cope with the demands of some/most parents (who ever more have 'rights')...

    Sorry not to agree, but sometimes it just has to be done.

  • Comment number 78.

    74. Mistress76uk 'Oi - stop picking on Jeremy! He tried to stop them squabbling and talking over each other and he succeeded. He even pointed out at one stage that the viewers did not like it when the guests all talked at the same time.'

    'The road to hell is paved with good intentions' - it's outcomes which matter. Imagine a teacher losing control during an OFSTED inspection.

  • Comment number 79.


    Soul above all else, otherwise we, most people, are only human with different needs, or degrees of need, spiritual, bodily, social status, contribution in the service of others, financial, etc.


  • Comment number 80.

    64. kevseywevsey Some good points there, but it does assume that the NHS is still a social service rather than the cash-cow for Private Sector bandits which it has now largely become. Some MPs are duty bound to serve the latter alas. Your pay for doctors is a good point.

  • Comment number 81.

    Beware of settlers bearing services for their business is the creation of needs, and their 'big society' is just a big market of comsumers, the dumber the better.

  • Comment number 82.

    76. mimpromptu 'Mistress76uk

    Yes, he did, and it didn't really get completely out of hand.


    A microcosmic glimpse of the modus operandi of modern anarchism.

    In a 'mother's' world, all her children are equals, and everyone must be nice (...and she'll rant and rave to make it so).

  • Comment number 83.

    What kind of government is it, and that wants to come back to power, which is riddled by constant leaks seeping through about internal disagreements, and in particular between the PM and the Treasury? And in almost all cases Gordon has to back down on his own ideas.


  • Comment number 84.

    Mistress76uk (various) I note that you have assumptions which you do not appear to question. Such dogmatic assumptions are starting positions from which much else flows. When defending your premises (assumptions) do you question how you arrived at them in the first place? What is the point of arguing from unquestioned assumptions? Does it not risk asserting assumptions which are in fact false. What might that amount to in other words? Is it not equivalent to telling untruths in a dictatorial and self-deceiving manner? What if lots of people behaved this way, as a group?

  • Comment number 85.

    The interview with James Caan was a farce. He says £15 per month would not deter him from recruiting someone. Of course it wouldn't. But he should be told that the NI increase applies to ALL existing employees earning over £5700, not just new recruits.

    For every 100 employees the extra cost would be £1500 per month and this might deter him from employing another person.

    Next time when debating business items I suggest you ask a businessman rather than Mr Caan - what does he do for a living?

  • Comment number 86.

    Why the hell was James Caan lecturing us on tax when he is a leading tax avoider. Total shambles!! What next on newsnight a debate on OAP care with expert guest pundit Harold Shipman??? Shambles.

  • Comment number 87.

    85. Slartibartfarst Mr Caan (aka Nazim Khan, changed to assimilate or be like a movie star?) does a lot of TV work and likes to be noticed, except, perhaps, for the fact that he's a non-dom?

  • Comment number 88.

    #22 and others

    I forgot the peacocks..... inspired by watching prezza on the campaign trail.

    They are like children.

  • Comment number 89.

    'Binyamin Netanyahu has pulled out of next week's 47-country nuclear security conference in Washington.

    The Israeli Prime Minister made the decision after learning that Egypt and Turkey intended to raise the issue of Israel’s assumed nuclear arsenal at the meeting, a senior government official said today.'

    The Times 9 April 2010

    Think back to 1962 when the USA secretly agreed to remove their missiles from Turkey (USSR's back yard) in return for removal of Soviet missiles from Cuba. In effect, the USA just 'moved' weapons further down the road a bit did they not? Look at how the Israelis/Jews have played/exploited this over the years, and at whose cost economically - especially recently through NYC and The City. How about some real world politics Newsnight. Some fair politics? 99.8% of teh world is not Jewish. 99.5% of Britain isn't, and even 98% of the USA isn't. Even Israel is only 75% Jewish.

    Equality - pah! ;-)

  • Comment number 90.

    #72 I guess they chose James Caan because tehy felt he would be pro-tory - as per his press release earlier yesterday regarding the conservatives economic policy.

    He actually made some very good points which I dont feel have been recognised. The NI increase will only affect those earning above £20,000 a year, because of changes in the thresholds at the lower end, most of the retail employees which the likes of Sir Stuart Rose employ earn less than this, and it wont come into force for another 12 months, by which time the economy should be strong enough to withstand it. If it isnt we're all doomed.

    The other thing he mentioned is will a business say "I can't afford to employ someone because it will cost me an extra £15 a month" - obviously no.

    The other point which I dont think has been highlighted is that one of the reasons why the Government chose this tax, is because it can't be avoided - even by non-doms such as Mr. Caan. If he employs someone, he has to pay the tax. Most other taxes have loopholes and allowances allowign the really clever (and rich) to avoid them.

  • Comment number 91.

    90. John Ruddy 'it wont come into force for another 12 months, by which time the economy should be strong enough to withstand it. If it isnt we're all doomed.'

    Standard serious question: What do you think is going to reverse the trend given that the 65 consecutive quarters of growth averaging 2.5% a year was based on Financial 'Services' and securitized debt, and that the recent 'recovery' has based on QE and almost zero interest rates, meaning that there's been nowhere else to go except into the stock market? Do you see any investnet in British industry or just lots of profit taking/bonuses at the public's expense whilst the latter lose their Public Sector to pay for it to boot?

    As I see it this pretty amounts to trying to put fires out with napalm. But then, I keep thinking back to Germany in the 1920s and 1930s (falling birth rate, over-run by a minority group milking the much larger outgroup etc), so what do I know - I just have 'bad' thoughts?

  • Comment number 92.

    Pupils left in tears as mayor falls asleep watching school musical

    Maybe...just maybe...they weren’t very good!

    ...or am I being just a bit to harsh on the young narcissists?

  • Comment number 93.

    :p it's a bit rude to fall asleep in a performance (even if it is a bit boring)

  • Comment number 94.

    93. Mistress76uk Whatever happened to 'the viewing audience is always right?' Kids have to learn that this is what performers have to get used to. They are supposed to be entertainers! The behaviour is called voting with your level of consciousness!

    From the article:

    '"They thought the mayor was bored because their performance wasn't good enough."

    Surely you wouldn't want them to learn falsehoods? That might damage them for life, or is such a strategy part of your 'grand' PC vision for Worhing?

  • Comment number 95.

    There's nothing PC about staying awake for a children's performance.....surely even you must have performed in your school nativity/ Christmas carol concert etc and your parents must have watched (whether they liked it or not) - how would you have felt if they had fallen asleep during your spot?

  • Comment number 96.


    Actually John , NI tax is a two part tax, employers pay NI for each employee they employ and workers pay their own contribution towards NI.

    Conservative NI plans.

    This is how I understand their proposals.

    Employer Contribution -

    Employers would not have to pay Labour NI increase on staff earning £5,700 upwards, with a maximum NI saving of £150 pa (£12.50 pm) per employee.

    Employee Contribution -

    Workers who earn 20k – 35k would also not have to pay their part of Labour NI increases , they would benefit by up to £150 pa or £12.50 pm.

    Maybe I am confused , or have been deceived, but labour , the conservatives and the IFS have all costed it as a saving or cost, depending who you listen too, being of a package worth £6 billion pa.

    Maybe NN could clear the fog of election for us ?

    Also, maybe they could get labour to tell us how much their planned NI rise would cost public services (national and local) ?

  • Comment number 97.

    95. Mistress76uk 'There's nothing PC about staying awake for a children's performance.....surely even you must have performed in your school nativity/ Christmas carol concert etc and your parents must have watched (whether they liked it or not) - how would you have felt if they had fallen asleep during your spot?'

    Do you not see that you are missing the point (again)? You have to look at the bigger picture here, not just the tiny bit which immediately grabs your attention.

  • Comment number 98.

    @ Statist - what's with the name change from Statist to Veritas?

  • Comment number 99.

    #98 huh, I'd just noticed that Mistress. But now it's changed back again! odd.


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