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Friday 11 June 2010

Sarah McDermott | 11:32 UK time, Friday, 11 June 2010

More details on this evening's programme:

Estimates of the scale of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have been constantly changing. The US Geological Survey says twice as much oil as previously thought - 40,000 barrels (1.7 million gallons) per day - might have been gushing out since the explosion in April. That's equivalent to an Exxon Valdez type spill every week.

Sharp criticism from the US about the way the company is handling the disaster has been described by some UK politicians as anti-British rhetoric. But should we bother defending the company after the devastating environmental damage they have unleashed? We'll be debating that question in the studio.

And it can't have escaped your notice that the 2010 World Cup in South Africa is now under way. The spectacular opening ceremony took place earlier at the 94,000-capacity Soccer City in Johannesburg, followed by the first game of the tournament which resulted in a draw between the hosts and Group A rivals Mexico.

Tonight Gavin will be joined by the former French international David Ginola and advertising executive Martin Sorrell to ask whether marketing and money are now overshadowing the simplicity of the beautiful game.

Do join us for this evening's Newsnight at 10.30pm on BBC Two.

As many as 40,000 barrels (1.7 million gallons) of oil a day may have been gushing out from a blown-out Gulf of Mexico well, doubling many estimates.

The US Geological Survey says that flow rate could have been reached before a cap was put on the well on 3 June.

Sharp criticism from the US about the way the company is handling the disaster has been described by some UK politicians as anti-British rhetoric.

But should we bother defending the company after the environmental damage they have unleashed?

A host of celebrities from the world of politics, business and sport will attend the opening ceremony of the World Cup at Soweto's Soccer City stadium later today, before the competition's opening game between South Africa and Mexico.

We'll be joined by the former French international David Ginola and English businessman Martin Sorrell to debate if marketing and money are now overshadowing the simplicity of the beautiful game.

It's Gavin presenting tonight and we'll bring you more details later.


  • Comment number 1.

    Well I won't kick off with slating the BNP:

    'Two men "made it their life's work" to spread racist messages and encourage others to help them achieve their goal of "the eradication of ethnic minorities from Britain", a court heard today.

    Andrew Edis QC, prosecuting said: "Each of these men is proud to call himself a National Socialist, or a neo-Nazi in other language.

    "Each is a member of an organisation called the Aryan Strike Force, whose goal it is to clear the country of all ethnic minorities, as they say, whatever it takes." '

    Incredible isn't it in this day and age when its clear that there is no basis in science or philosophy whatever for racism that there are those who would post messages inciting hatred of others and allegedly inciting murder.

    That is the visible end but clearly there are others who are subtler and more ambiguous but still perhaps as dangerous.

    So anyways I started off with the Aryan Strike Force today so moving on to the BNP who are "not a Nazi Party" lets remind ourselves of Collett recently arrested over alleged threats to kill his party leader the odious Griffin:

    '". Collett's role as leader of the Young BNP was thwarted by an undercover documentary in 2002, in which he spoke of his admiration for Adolf Hitler and the UDA terrorist Johnny Adair. He was recorded saying that Aids was a "friendly disease, because blacks and drug users and gays have it'

    So you can see how the BNP are keen to use historical images of Spitfires and so on on their literature when said heroes fought the Nazis.

    I just know that nobody on this page is going to mind me pointing out the realities of the National Socialists.

  • Comment number 2.

    On the oil flow there are a number of points that come to mind.

    Has the Tea Party/Palin/Fox News/Glen Beck crew been more than a freak show and shifted the political centre so that the McCarthyite hysteria kicks in during this crisis where the "communist" Europeans who have NHS institution's and are simultaneously ex-imperialist oppressors become easy targets?

    You doubt that Obama would get sucked into that with his civil rights background but clearly this spill could jeapordize his re-election. So if he felt BP had been less than forthcoming and were going to try and use their expensive lobbyists to downplay the damage that would not play well. Nor would their safety record that is apparently the worst of the oil companies by far.

    The dividends issue does seem an unwise confrontation as so long as BP pays what it owes for the spill in a timely fashion the dividends should be none of the governments business.

    Is there really the widespread anti-British feeling - you doubt it.

    Should we respond aggressively - probably not.

    Are both countries getting their asses shot off as they fight another evil enemy?


    Sometimes as with the oil platforms you have to vent a little hot gas but you have to keep it under control.

  • Comment number 3.

    On the football I am more concerned over the seemingly imperial Blatter and Platini than the money side.

    But there is a problem in that too many football clubs seem to run a bad business model with a high risk of failure on the basis of rewards and success they may achieve.

    Could it be time in the UK to insist on bonds and funds set aside so that we don't suddenly have two or three clubs who go bust in mid season and then upset the whole apple cart.

    The other big concern is that football is generally a social good in many ways as it is a social leveler, its fun and keeps people healthy and is a passion.

    True there are hooligans though few in number. True it is a sad fact that domestic violence will increase during the world cup and there is no excuse for that - but little most people can do but condemn it.

    So to potentially ruin such a vibrant contributor to society and sport over greedy excess would not be forgiven.

  • Comment number 4.

    I am not an economist and so don't fully understand how closely related the property bubble was to the credit crunch. There was the toxic debt of US sub-prime mortgages that were picked up by global banks but I assume that it was the derivatives drawn from the "real money" that caused most of the problems.

    But today I read:

    "Average house prices fell for the third month in a row during May, according to the Acadametrics index, the only measure which uses actual prices for every property transacted in England and Wales rather than valuation estimates or asking prices.

    The scrapping of home information packs (Hips) and fears over a steep rise in capital gains tax (CGT) on second homes and buy-to-let properties propelled more homes on to the market, driving down prices for the third successive month."

    Has there been any analysis that suggest the government should control the housing market differently to the past in the same way that we are now looking at financial regulatory changes?

  • Comment number 5.

    Lawyers, BP oil spill, Barry Obama and diversity in the USA:

  • Comment number 6.

    over 40% of BP is owned by usa. BP houstan office is full of americans.

    BP management is incompetent for not role gaming this scenario. why should incompetence be 'defended'?

    BP is about as british as the utility companies.

  • Comment number 7.

    I'm not sure whether I survive till 10.30 this evening to see Gavin talking to D. Gin and Mr Martini. The real people, hopefully, will not take offence about my little jibe, unless, of course, they know what's going on. OK?

    small in height, huge on impact

  • Comment number 8.


    Thank you kindly for your response, Ecolizzy. There has been a log buying and selling going on and I was hoping it would have been ended by now but let's not lose hope. More and more smart hats are working on it and as long as youth is fine we should be able to fight off the consequences of the stupidity, and I would suggest illegality and criminality, of the previous government and their cronies.


  • Comment number 9.

    Push back from Britain on criticism of BP seems to be increasing. First from the City in live interviews bemoaning the potential postponement of BP dividends, then from Nick Clegg who is rupted to not like us so much anyway, and now perhaps from BBC itself. I am a devoted listener/watcher but I do think you have to be careful not to defend bad behavior even indirectly. And BP has behaved very badly. It broke rules to save money,it lied over and over again about flow rates, damage to the coast, and promises to take corrective action. Worst of all they have spent tens of millions of dollars to trying to manage the news including blocking media access to the damaged coastal areas.

    Listening to BBC World radio broadcast this morning there was an interview with a fellow from the British Oceanographic something or other. During the entire interview he downplayed the spill ("its a big ocean") and ended up saying that just a few weeks after the flow ends, fishing will be back to normal as has happened in other places in the past. Sounds like Tony Haywood wrote some talking points for him. This is so patently false that it boarders on propaganda. Most every tech expert has completely disagreed and common sense would tell you that if the spawning grounds, which are the wetland marshes, are decimated then there will be few fish until the marshes return. That will be years, not weeks. The fact the interviewer did not challenge the statement leads listeners around the world to believe that the spill is not really all that important. The British people and the American people I think are both appalled at the incident and at BP's behavior at the moment. However, if people are fed the kind of misinformation I heard today, BBC will have contributed to real animus between the two nations. Brits will be lead to believe we are just whining. Americans will think Brits callus and unsympathetic.

  • Comment number 10.

    I think Obama does have a point, a strong one!!!!

  • Comment number 11.


    I 've had a lovlely afternoon taking snaps of many an elephant, including a whole elephant avenue by Buckingham Palace.

    How about you? Did you have a good day?

    Oh, I've also taken a photo of Duke Wellington' monument and a.few of his Arch. A memorable time!!!!


  • Comment number 12.

    did anyone else notice last night that the rent-an-opinion yank claimed that "few americans are aware that BP used to be British Petroleum"?? Which was utterly laughable (not in a good way), whe EVERY time BP was mentioned on the show by the various Americans they ALL used the term "British Petroleum" EVERY time, instead of "BP". Its one thing to be lied and smirked to by professional lairs/smirkers, its quite another when they fondly imagine that the viewers don't spot it.

    on the spill - this is catastrophic, on every level. The obvious environmental aspect, the UK pension funds being stiffed this year, plus any minor international irritation. On the horizon, this proposed "break-up" of BP is even more worrying - what's to betting the pension funds are left with BPs debt, and the nice assets get lifted off into an entirely US corporation?

    the only benefit from this has been that further oil exploitation is now going to have *much* stronger regulations, and the current management of BP have LEARNED (well, we can only hope) that there are REASONS for environmental safety regulations!!

  • Comment number 13.

  • Comment number 14.

    don't the Americans run the rigs? Surely they have SOME responsibility..

  • Comment number 15.

    #13: brossen, that is *incredible* news, and one certanily likely to bring down the US President.

    it is truly flabbergasting, and it can only be imagined the consternation in the White House right now.

    one question (took a while) arose though: why was this released ***NOW**??

    to ground my question, before i get accused of 'conspiracy-mongering', let me ask three further questions:

    1. Who is next in line to the Imperial Throne in Washington?
    2. What is his position regarding Zionism, and his religious alignments regarding Fundamentalist Christianity movements?
    3. Would removing Obama from office at such an important juncture for a war directed at Iran to be replaced by Biden effect... finish it for yourself.

    politics is ugly. Biden's hands will remain clean throughout. My guess is that President Obama Barak Hussein has become luke-warm about continuing towards war with Iran, and coincidentally, NOW this news-item finds it way out.

    its a 'palace coup', pure and simple.

    --answers to the above questions can be found:

  • Comment number 16.

    #15: also worth bearing in mind that if the Democrats fall, then the only two choices left are the 'Tea-Party' loons under Palin, or else the US Greens/Nader.

    whilst the latter would certainly be nice...

    *if* that report was accurate. Which is a fair sized *if*.

  • Comment number 17.

    'But should we bother defending the company after the devastating environmental damage they have unleashed?

    An interesting way of putting things, all things considered, especially in repetition.

    Yet again I am moved to wonder who this 'we' is that I often see conjured up.

    As far as any professional, objective broadcast reporting entity is concerned, I'd prefer well-researched facts to be presented free of all the rest that now seems almost obligatory to add, from the selection of guests to comment (usually based on extremity of viewpoint) to what can get left on the cutting room floor (OK, edit suite trash icon) for not serving the narrative.

    Currently I have been exposed by the MSM to way too much heat over way too little light, and it is a disgrace.

  • Comment number 18.


    Are you talking about the 'black hole'?

  • Comment number 19.


    you're still bidding for the 'Queen' then?

    I wonder what she has to say about such aspirations and is she willing?

  • Comment number 20.

    Re: Mr Cameron's & Mr Obama's forthcoming telephone chat: -

    I'm just wondering whether they're going to discuss Nina Simone's legacy?


  • Comment number 21.

    given BP is a retirement home for ex MI6 officers is it any wonder its big on rhetoric and bile and small on effect? it is incompetent not to have role gamed this scenario.

  • Comment number 22.

    what's that story about the RAF taking part in practice aerial strikes on iran?

  • Comment number 23.

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

  • Comment number 24.

  • Comment number 25.


    are you planning to 'buy me off' once I retire from 'prostitution'?

    has Clare Balding been 'bought off' in the meantime?

    Re: some BBC journalists -

    don't they have eyes and ears? where is their journalistic independence and neutrality at least? they shouldn't be engaging in picking the winners or losers anyway in the 'game' for my body and soul? it's fair enough if journalists show their empathy or understanding of the situation in a subtle way but agreeing to playing envoys to the abusers is not only offensive but clearly breaking the BBC code of practice.


  • Comment number 26.


    Thank you for recognising my plight!!!! Much obliged!!!!

    Hope you have a good weekend, whether you're at work or out in the Sun.


  • Comment number 27.


    Did you see Trooping The Colour this morning? It was excellent, I thought, and the weather was perfect, sunny but breezy to keep the horses and the humans happy.

    Happy Birthday to Her Majesty and Many Happy Returns!!!!

    mim xxxx

  • Comment number 28.

  • Comment number 29.

  • Comment number 30.

  • Comment number 31.

  • Comment number 32.

    Does anyone agree with Miriam?

    I stopped watching Countryfile when all these kids turned up, with their "activities in the countryside. What was once a news programme and informative, became like Blue Peter! : (

  • Comment number 33.


    Thanks for that, Ecolizzy.

    I couldn't agree more with Miriam and I wish her best of luck with her plight. Injustices should always be challenged rather than swept under the carpet, both for the sake of the particular person and all the others that might find themselves in similar positions.

    Despite all its greatness, etc., there is something unhealthy going on within the BBC with quantity and silly razmatazz as against quality and lifelike reflection of reality. And if one actually looks at the viewers' reaction in such cases, the vast majority of people are far more interested in quality rather than silly games and 'youthful' prancing around.

    In fact, I share the ice at Queen's with youth all the time and they are not stupid and are perfectly capable and keen to recognise quality of ice skating as against, let's say, badly and not all that well positioned number of jumps or spins performed by people their age or not that much older.

    A lot of journalists have been unhappy about these types of problems and my hope is that the unhealthy 'culture' going on within the BBC will undergo fundamental changes in the not too distant future.


  • Comment number 34.

    #33 Yes mim I think the beeb has got it all wrong. Young people on the whole do not watch TV, it's us oldies that having nothing better to do that watch the most! ; )

    I play a little game with myself. When a grey haired, wrinkled, or not very attractive older man is on TV, try in your mind to substitute an older woman with grey hair and wrinkles. Do you spot any, I don't! So what's more sexist than that!

    Ok I know the men all appreciate a pretty, young woman to read their news, but isn't that sexist and ageist against older women? : (

  • Comment number 35.

    @ Ecolizzy #34 - in all seriousness, TV is just showbusiness, and if the demand isn't there, then there is no point. Although Al Pacino is 70 years old, he is still hot in Hollywood, whereas I don't see many 70 year old women being called hot in Hollywood.It isn't sexism, it's the way of the world.

  • Comment number 36.



    Of course it's sexist but on the other hand men can be extremely attracted to women, let's say in their 50-ties for all kinds of reasons really. Because they can be sexy, or both intelligent and sexy and add to it a bit of sense of humour and energy, you can have a recipe for an obsession. They can also be attracted to fatty women and not necessarily that 'well kept' in terms of dress and make up, etc. Quite often it's the personality that counts more than the actual age although artificially yes, they do get turned on very easily by pretty young ladies but do not necessarily fall in love with each one that comes into their view, probably more than women falling for handsome young men at the drop of a hat.

    When I was in my early twenties and lacked confidence about myself as a woman due to hang ups about my body which led to a large extent to lack of confidence in other areas, I remember my aunt pointing to me a friend of hers who was round, not very told, had mousy colour hair hanging down and hardly ever wore much make up but apparently there were so many guys after her, she was spoiled for choice.

    I think the BBC do have it very wrong about this age thing. It's the personality and skills that count much more than mere looks.


  • Comment number 37.

    Re: older women

    It would be interesting to hear/read comments made by male bloggers, whether they actually know any older women with beautiful grey hair who they find attractive.

    I saw one recently, to avoid embarrassment I shall not say where and when, but I thought she looked great, apart from speaking a lot of sense.


  • Comment number 38.

    On the report that the ISI are apparently THE guiding force for the Afghan Talibs:

    'The report, whose findings are based largely on unnamed sources, said Pakistan gives "extensive support to the insurgency in terms of funding, munitions and supplies".

    One Taliban commander said his fighters received $120 per month from Pakistan, while others said the ISI was covering their families' living costs in Pakistan.'

    The report seems to carry some weight but I have queries.

    One is I thought that apparently a lot of the munitions came from Iran and not Pakistan.

    Two is that there appears to be no comments about drug money.

    I had assumed that would generate a lot of local wealth and a good proportion would have been used up on bribes (apparently Karzai's brother is "associated" withe the drug barons) and a good chunk would go to the Talibs and the rest to plain criminals.

    Three its also not clear then why so many Pakistani soldiers and policemen are dying in the struggle against the Talibs in Pakistan nor the alleged role of the ISI in the Bhutto assassination.

    It would seem very likely that elements of the ISI continue unopposed to support terrorists (including Laskar e Taiba).

    But unless the ISI were in favour of potentially a Talib government in Pakistan one day - and that seems unlikely - there would not seem to be a credible strategic basis to said actions.

    Finally if the whole issue really was about Pakistan resisting Indian influence in Afghanistan I am sure all parties would have been open to seeing al Qaeda and LET eliminated in return for India keeping its influence out of Afghanistan and peace and stability breaking out.

  • Comment number 39.

    On BP:

    "BP must identify in the next 48 hours additional leak containment capacity that could be operationalized and expedited to avoid the continued discharge of oil ... Recognizing the complexity of this challenge, every effort must be expended to speed up the process," Watson said in the letter addressed to chief operating officer Doug Suttles"

    So what happens if BP can't think of anything? Nobody seems to be asking.

    My "brilliant" idea would require probably the biggest fine mesh fishing nets of all time to be dropped down like a series of skirts near the "top hat" so that it sieved the oil flow and caught a lot of the waxy oil on the mesh and then attracted more oil to those waxy lumps until they fell down to the sea floor where the goo would be localised and could be dealt with later by sucking it up into supertankers.

    It would still let a lot of oil through and perhaps the weight of the oil would simply tear down the skirts.

    All very Heath Robinson on reflection but if it might save a Brown Pelican ...

  • Comment number 40.

    I've just indulged in a triple shot of Jeremy, as I'd been away earlier in the week. I'm glad I caught up - absolutely loved Jeremy's interview with Diane Abbott, and look forward to the upcoming Tuesday Debate, and also the Lynne Franks interview on the 1980s too. The Star Chamber was a very good idea, as specialists (eg, the lady from Oxfam etc) were able to quiz Redwood et al on where their party stands on cuts to various departments, and why. Very informative. My favourite interview was Jeremy with Douglas Alexander.....totally slaughtered!!! Thank goodness for BBCi Player :o)

  • Comment number 41.

  • Comment number 42.

  • Comment number 43.

    US, UK & Allied forces LOSE in Afghanistan

  • Comment number 44.

    :o) On a lighter note, Jeremy may win Rear of The Year in '11!

  • Comment number 45.



    I'm sure Jeremy would be thrilled to bits to win the award. By the way, have you noticed how many blogging blokes have gone silent? I wonder what they've been up to??


  • Comment number 46.

    They are all busy watching the football and drinking beer.....


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