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Tuesday 25 May 2010

Sarah McDermott | 12:13 UK time, Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Here's Emily with more details on tonight's edition of the programme:

Hats off Strangers,

As he left his West London home this morning, awaiting reporters called out to David Cameron "Are there any surprises, prime minister?"

This was the 56th time the Queen has opened parliament - but her first time ever with a coalition government. The surprise - essentially - was seeing this new parliament in all its tangible, panoplied glory.

Lord Chancellor Ken Clarke eschewing hush puppies for judge's wig, the chiselled jaws of Cameron and Clegg, side by side, whose very head movements have now started to mimic each other. The new ministers - coupled by their Labour counterparts - now in opposition.

We have spent two weeks getting used to the theory, but this is what it will look like in the flesh. So what's on the menu?

A wholesale reform of schools, a shake up of the welfare system and measures to tackle the budget deficit are at the heart of the first 18-month programme. And (for those seeking a unifying ideology) this - public services reshaped to encourage individual and social responsibility.

Tonight we will be analysing the measures in full, asking the coalition government and Ed Balls for Labour if this 'political pre-nup' will ensure a strong marriage.

World stock markets have fallen sharply over fears about the crisis in the eurozone and a Korean black swan. In Spain four banks are rumoured to have merged, and the Dow is on high alert.

In the UK the FTSE has lost ten percent in the last month. How will the economics of the real world play into the politics of parliament? Paul Mason is on the case.

Join us tonight at 10.30pm on BBC Two.

From earlier today:

Major plans to reform schools, police, welfare and Britain's political system are at the heart of the coalition government's first Queen's Speech.

But the Queen said cutting the budget deficit and restoring growth would be the new government's "first priority".

The 22 Bills set out in detail what Prime Minister David Cameron hopes to achieve over the next 18 months.

The programme reflects compromises reached by the Conservatives and Lib Dems when they agreed to share power.

Tonight we'll be examining it all in detail, and our political panel of Olly Grender, Danny Finkelstein and Peter Hyman will be giving us their analysis.

More details later.


  • Comment number 1.

    I gather the US House Armed Services Committee has not allocated the funds to allow Guantanamo to be closed and prisoners relocated to the Illinois.

    It may be a temporary setback but the way things are going in the States I keep expecting to hear Sarah Palin has seized control of the country and Obama is on trial for witchcraft Crucible style.

    Al Qaeda are very, very dangerous people but for all of our failings we don't get as hysterical as the US right do about trying them and then locking them up.

    They are just people and the US is better than Guantanamo.

  • Comment number 2.

    I tend to the view that a greater majority of people are satisfied by the coalition than would have been by a minority government with the Lib Dems in pious isolation achieving nothing for the country.

    So I wonder what the polls will say in a few weeks and whether as I had hoped the two party monopoly of power enshrined in first past the post is permanently ruptured.

    The neigh sayers tend to be Labour people claiming that 110% of Lib Dem supporters are now sweeping into their arms and they are poised to become as a consequence the mots popular opposition party in history and will be looking for early elections to save the country from Tory economic mismanagement.

    A cynic may say that their record on all things and the economy in particular is very poor after so long in power and that the country won't be putting them back into power any time soon.

  • Comment number 3.

    Another factor of the coalition government must be that as both parties need to make it work and the country needs it to work the notion that a coalition is inherently weak is refuted.

    If the majority of the country favour a party then there should be a majority and there is no need or reason to try and use an outdated voting system that is largely rejected around the world to try and skew the votes to favour geographical concentrations.

    By contrast where seats relate closely to percentage of votes the politicians must win via the power of their ideas and the power of their tribe.

  • Comment number 4.

    Prescott wants to be the Labour Party Treasurer and to help change the party electoral machine.

    Does this mean that the sweeping changes and widespread debate expected will just result in a few faces swapping seats?

    Will Alistair Campbell harness his "45 minutes" fame to ensure the new leader can deploy any argument he or she see's fit to do anything they may want on a whim as with Iraq?

    Will we see Damian McBride rehabilitated?

    In the end did "clever politics" win the public around in the long term or simply alienate them?

  • Comment number 5.

    On the disciplinary hearing over the BNP teacher:

    "The teacher's trade union representative, Patrick Harrington, told the hearing that Mr Walker did not accept his postings were racist, claiming that assumptions had been made about the teacher's views because of his membership of the BNP."

    Is it not a factor that membership of the BNP still does not, I understand, comply with the law and therefore inherently his views must be racist as he explicitly would have been a member when it was prohibited for people of other races to be members of the BNP?

    Still it is better than Barnbrook who if I recall was cited by his council for alleging local murders that never happened and explained that it was all due to a combination of "church bells and dyslexia".

    I am still baffled by the fact that the BNP lost many seats and got hammered in the Parliamentary races yet their web site "got more hits than all of the other parties combined".

    Sometimes I wonder whether they are that truthful given they are "modern and progressive" and are "not a Nazi Party".

  • Comment number 6.


    It was all there, BBC - right in front of your 'eyes' - the root-abscess of the British Malaise. The 'LIE' (Vaclav Havel) inside which we are all living, in a mythical state of FAIRNESS, FREEDOM and RESPONSIBILITY.

    Meanwhile I am addressing the political lie, used to extract votes from the gullible in Newbury. So far, in my quest, Fairness and (official) Responsibility, are notably absent. As for Freedom - HURRAH! - I live in a free society - I am free to say what I care to (up to a point) and 'THEY' ARE FREE TO IGNORE ME.


    Nick'll fix it?

    PS A kind lady at one government agency did express sorrow that 'it is nothing to do with them' - I thanked her. Small mercies eh?

  • Comment number 7.

    Go1 wrote monday:
    "Some may say that we are too lenient and allow poisonous elements of society to use free speech as a freedom to lie."

    The whole point of freedom of speech is just that; freedom of speech, not selective free speech.
    Enshrined in the US constitution for example is the first amendment: the right to religion and free expression. Polite speech does not need protecting. The whole point for the first amendment was to protect speech that could/would offend others and western democracies go with that model - the prototype being the Magna Carta.

    Looking forward to your Belfast, British solders, songs and stones comment.

  • Comment number 8.

    Hats off to Lyse Doucet for showing the sufferings of the Afghan children in their true yet touching colours. Afghans need to see some benefit from the presence of international troops. The US is spending $4 billion a month to keep its troops in Afghanistan, but the country remains one of the poorest on earth, and even in the capital most residents don’t have running water or electricity.

    United Nations former envoy to Afghanistan Kai Eide argued that there were insufficient incentives that were provided to young people who are trained by the Afghan government to ensure that they would then also work for the government. Those who come from the provinces and districts should be incentivised, he said, to return to their provinces and districts.
    “Today,” he lamented, “the district governors earn 70 dollars per month, half of them have no dedicated office, and an operation budget of 15 dollars per month. The contrast is not just stark it reamins very sad.

  • Comment number 9.

    Your regular political panelist members are becoming very repetative in analysis of political events. Fresh faces please!

  • Comment number 10.

    :o) Peter Lilley still rocks!

  • Comment number 11.

    thegangofone...does your name allude to a self fulfilling prophecy as far as this blog-site is concerned?

  • Comment number 12.

    #7 kevseywevsey

    "The whole point of freedom of speech is just that; freedom of speech, not selective free speech."

    So you argue that people should be allowed to lie and I don't in very specific circumstances of Holocaust Denial.

    I don't see any great threat to German democracy but it would be better if we did not have to go down that road - people should not lie about such tragedy.

    "Looking forward to your Belfast, British solders, songs and stones comment."

    Hey you would be the boaster that brought on your English Nationalist background with such stories not me. It just seems typically "nationalist" to express your admiration for the armed forces by bottles and songs but then that is just me and the odd 99.9% of the public I suppose.

    So I assume Kirsty Wark is about to leave her hubby and head off to Cannes or somewhere with her new apple blonde feller after your hints?

    Perhaps on reflection she will settle for the status quo.

  • Comment number 13.

    #8 factsearcher

    "Hats off to Lyse Doucet for showing the sufferings of the Afghan children in their true yet touching colours. "

    I totally agree and I am not that squeamish but I had to walk away at one point. It was very tough and honest and showed strengths and weaknesses of people.

    I fervently hope that the war in Afghanistan does bring people there, and here of course, peace and stability.

    But one big criticism is that there has to be some way to reduce the growth of opium production that causes such social problems and feeds the Talibs with fighters due to financial considerations.

  • Comment number 14.

    Max Keiser has Jim Rickards in the second part of his show explaining the importance of Merkel's actions. The question is - will the French follow and what will Osborne do here? Really almost everything else is a 'falling away' compared to the importance of this stuff:-

    Looks like the Greek public wise up and get into British gold sovereigns :-

    That's a good photograph of a sovereign - a ring flash helps with coins.

  • Comment number 15.

    LILLEY ROCKS 76? (#10)

    You mean he is unstable?

    More to the point: does he approve of lying for votes?

  • Comment number 16.

    7 Kev

    We don't even need to go to the American constitution.

    Our 'non one' is loosely on the work of J S Mill, try a google for him even adding minority.


    Whats with NN asking viewers to join them on Facebook, are they trying to bypass the blog.

  • Comment number 17.

    "the US is better than Guantanamo."
    sadly the evidence suggests that the usa is not.

    according to a newly released report states that the usa is planning to expand its secret military operations across the middle east, central asia and east africa - the joint unconventional warfare task force execute which is not under full supervision by the administration nor does it report to congress is seeking to permit secret efforts that would prepare for potential future attacks by usa forces in those nations.

    "I fervently hope that the war in Afghanistan does bring people there, and here of course, peace and stability."
    if you are seeking peace and stability .. demand our troops home now.

  • Comment number 18.

    @ Barrie #15 - I'm sure he is more than perfectly stable! No, the reason I wrote that Peter Lilley still rocks was because of his really witty speech today at the State Opening of Parliament. Even you would have laughed Barrie ;o)

    More here:

  • Comment number 19.


    nothing about TRUTH, HONESTY or JUSTICE i note , along with the uk broadcast media very little about israels nukes and yet the condems leader of a western democracy wants to 'ratchet up' pressure on iran whilst he claims that the 'timetable is short' - why is timetable short? short for what?

    whilst ignoring all of the evidence that details israels nuke stockpiles he says 'all the evidence points in the same direction -that iran is intent on developing nuclear weapons,' . i wonder what evidence he has that the NAM and IAEA and the rest of the world doesnt yet have.

    maybe the nn team can disclose this evidence for us and the world.

    also - will newsnight be covering in detail the humanitarian mission of the gaza flotilla which israel has said it will block. anyway why would a western style democracy want to maintain a blockade that has existed for 3 years. (maybe its something about western style democracies that needs to be investigated).

  • Comment number 20.

    what a strange debate...I actually laughed out loud, more please

  • Comment number 21.


    I feel more and more that I am in 'The Truman Show' wendyman. Or perhaps under the arm of a Vogon Guard. "Resistance is useless."

  • Comment number 22.

    Emily Maitlis should be sacked.

  • Comment number 23.

    For GO1 to chew over.

    I see the BNP school teacher BBC report was sandwiched between two interesting reports: The Jamaican drug baron story and the black south african racist report. A couple of days ago Hackney MP Diana Abbot - who threw her hat in the leadership ring - was exposed as a bigot on Sky news.

    Bigot: a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.

    As for the Kirsty comments..Eyes wide shut. When you've had a good half dozen girlfriends, then finally got married -with children- for a number of I said, eyes wide shut. You'll understand that when your skate board is gathering dust in the basement alongside your old Action men.. and there usage are only a distant memory, then you'll understand.
    Assuming you do grow up that is.

  • Comment number 24.

    'Funny' that, I was having a nap while Barack Obama sent me a photo with the President of Italy, Mr Giorgio Napolitano.

    A poor joke, I know, but then I'm not a billionaire, or am I?


    P.S. Whether I am or whether I'm not, I can surely glide and twirl like nobody's business (^_^)!!!!!!!

    By the way, I did, as promised, skated in honour of the great occasion of the State Opening of Parliament and hope that I did Justice to her Majesty The Queen and her Consort, Prince Philip, The Coldstream Guards and the new coalition government. Apologies if it wasn't up to scratch.

  • Comment number 25.



    Emily ready for the 'chop'?:

    She should have worked out by now what's what and who's who.
    But, perhaps, there is still time for redemption for the pretty and after all quite an intelligent lady as long as she abandons her 'advisers'!?


  • Comment number 26.

    So what's changed?
    We still have the state opening of parliament circa 1500 AD.
    A 'rejuvenated' old boys club, celebrating the new school term with strands of tinsel wit draped over the bickering.
    And the same old Newsnight with the usual 'suits' expounding their usual opinions.

  • Comment number 27.


    Does it not occur to the Harperson, and her ilk, that (by analogy) the human body is viable by limiting growth. 'Growth' is another term for cancer. Nuff sed.

    Governments are like early colonials - hook the primitives with beads, then rob them blind. Masters and serfs - nothing changes.

    Growth is the new beads.

  • Comment number 28.


    All turns to dust, all whithers eventually, singie

  • Comment number 29.

    I notice that feminist Emily Maitlis was wearing a very short skirt tonight.

    But all the men on the programme were wearing suits.

    What does Emily think that this tells us about which gender is really the more 'oppressed' and 'restricted'?

    I'd love to know.

  • Comment number 30.


    I can't see a politician coming to the studio for an interview in shorts but how about the 'essential aqua adviser'? After all he frequently promotes himself as a clown, either under the name of Charlie or Mario, or whatever. Isn't it time for his identity to be revealed?


  • Comment number 31.

    #30 addendum

    I've just checked whether there were any clowns with the name of Henry and it turns out that there are. One of them has Russian connections.


  • Comment number 32.


    I knew a Henry once. He rides a folding up bike with small wheels and coincidence would have it that he also has a Charlie for a friend. (;_;)


    P.S. It must be where the 'seduction' comes from and the difficulty of dealing with it.

  • Comment number 33.

    The corners of the world are 4
    East, West, South and North.
    I am still quite poor
    But I do often LOL.


  • Comment number 34.

    NUMBER 44

    One of the greatest Polish bards, if not the greatest, Adam Mickiewicz is also considered as a national poet by Lithuania and Byelorussia.

    In one of his epic poems he writes the number 44:

    In late 1830 Polish military officers launched the November Uprising, an attempt to throw off Russian control of Poland. The rebellion lasted for several months, but by the time Mickiewicz could return north the Russians were back in control. Rather than attempting to cross a Russian-guarded border in Prussia, he joined a flood of Polish refugees in Dresden. There he wrote the third part of Dziady , a work both revolutionary and mystical that likened the suffering of Poland to Christ's Passion and featured references to a future savior, known by the mysterious name of "44."

    Prophetic? Is the 44th President of the USA, Mr Barack Obama, going to turn out to be the mysterious saviour/restorer of sanity on the current world stage?


    P.S. It's not that I would expect him to solve all the problems on our planet, or end all wars or anything as idealistic as that.

  • Comment number 35.

    Not a hint of humility from Francis Maude last night in Newsnight in their segment with Ed Balls on the proposed new schools legislation. Not much sign of moderation from the presenter either, as Maude was allowed to make lengthy triumphalist and sneering comments and worse, talk over Balls as he was making his replies. A bit disappointing from Newsnight in these times; we need the media to challenge and question this minority government at every step to ensure they remain at the centre of accountable public scrutiny for their actions. Not looking good!

  • Comment number 36.


    Succinct and telling CHW. Might Emily have misconstrued the age of Freedom, Fairness and Responsibility?

    Nick'll fix it.

  • Comment number 37.

    I've just had a look at last night's edition on iPlayer, and found that Emily is ALSO wearing a suit (beige) which is just over the knee. Since when has that been classified as short? That's a normal professional length skirt. She isn't wearing a low cut blouse either. Her interview with Maude & Balls was also very good, as well as with Young. Also loved my favourite trio of Danny/Olly/Peter too. Ha ha @ rearranging furniture for the debate :p

  • Comment number 38.


    It'll be fixed in no time at all now, singie.


  • Comment number 39.

    In the Commons last night (26th May 2010) Sir Christopher Cope Tory MP lead a 2 hour debate on the 55% rule. The government gave the following answers to some of his questions. They told him that they are still working out how the 55% rule would work ( how could they say 55% if the did not know the detail he replied). It also stated that it intends to apply this plan to the current parliament. On a no confidence vote (based on 50% + one vote) it would expect the government to resign but did not confirm that the PM would resign. Then parliament would be given a short time to try to form a new government. If parliament fails to do this then it would automatically be desolved and an election called! Hence they said that the Queen would loses Her right, and our safeguard, to desolve government!(when did we vote for that!)Treason?? Have we missed the point are they trying to remove power from the Queen?? So in theory the condems could fall but the Torys could get back in power with a coalition from the 29 MP's who are not Labour!!!! Hence why in the past an election has been called to allow us the people to decide.

  • Comment number 40.

    Toadies lackies and skivvies

    the monarchy role gamers insist on insulting everyone by calling them among other things 'common'. suppose everyone went around addressing people who work in a high camp affected voice as 'what does the robot want?'. sadly some people like playing the robot and consent to be abused by others.

    The monarchist role gamers ideology is to lock people into a pattern of subservient behaviour through an imprisoning language of humiliation.

    Cuts and Buts.

    its funny to watch labour people talk as if they had a nation building plan when they have demonstrated they do not.

    return to Dickens and all that

    who has the time or competence to run their own school hospital etc? it might appeal to the leisured trustafarians and the equestrians. there is already a private sector for those who do not wish to be victims of the lowest common denominator 'fairness' ideology that demands human sacrifice. would it not be simpler and fairer to dump the lowest common denominator 'fairness' that dominates state schools that are more child care centres where any education happens by accident and despite the state nihilism? then people might be happy to send their kids there?

    free schools. free from what? state ideology that destroys education and learning through lowest common denominator 'fairness'.


    suppose iran had torpedoed a ship. would not the usual iran tub thumpers be queuing to come on and rant? no grilling of the chinese [who could stop this?]?

  • Comment number 41.

    #34 mim
    “One of the greatest Polish bards, if not the greatest, Adam Mickiewicz is also considered as a national poet by Lithuania and Byelorussia.”

    Chopin’s 4 Ballades were influenced by Mickiewicz but I have been unable to find a translation of the poems and themes of Mickiewicz that inspired Chopin's beautiful piano works. I am particularly fond of Ballades Nos 1 and 4 although I am far from note-perfect in their performance. My Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne is edited by Ignacy J Paderewski, himself a brilliant pianist (and one-time Poland’s Prime Minister) and I also have an ancient 78rpm gramophone record of him playing Chopin’s Etude Opus 25 No 1, another of my favourites.

    I’m sure that all three pieces mentioned would help to inspire you to even greater performance on the ice rink mim.

    Ballade No4 according to John Ogdon “ the most exalted, intense and sublimely powerful of all Chopin’s compositions... It is unbelievable that it lasts only twelve minutes, for it contains the experience of a lifetime”

    or the men might prefer to watch:

  • Comment number 42.

    #41 Ah, Indi I think you might have your links the wrong way round! ; )

    I prefer Zimmermans playing, very subtle, gentle, lyrical and just perfect!

  • Comment number 43.


    Apologies IDG2 - me lowbrow.

    In passing: I have discovered that the Advertising Standards 'advised all the main parties' to keep their printed ads 'legal, decent, honest and truthful.' NOW WHY WOULD THEY FEEL THE NEED TO DO THAT? However, it is confirmed, that they can do nothing about the politicians who practise to deceive.

    Oh - it all went awfully well.

  • Comment number 44.

    #42liz Oh dear, you're right, and me living in Brighton! That's the sort of mistake I should avoid!
    #43barrie - as one with the rare knack to compose stanzas full of classical allusions you can't be serious about challenged eyebrow elevation!


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