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Monday 21 June 2010

Len Freeman | 11:48 UK time, Monday, 21 June 2010

Here is what we are planning for tonight:

The number of UK service personnel killed as a result of the Afghanistan conflict since 2001 has reached 300, after a wounded marine died from his injuries in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. The prime minister said it was a moment for the whole country to reflect on the sacrifices the armed forces make and that "we should keep asking why we're there and how long we must be there".

Tonight our Diplomatic editor Mark Urban will be considering what has been achieved over the past nine years in Afghanistan and what our future strategy should be. The Armed Forces minister will join us live to debate our mission there.

The coalition government has been warned against making "deep" and "senseless" cuts in Tuesday's Budget as it seeks to reduce the deficit.

Chancellor George Osborne has warned Britain will be "on the road to ruin" unless borrowing is reduced, and denied his plans are driven by ideology. Our Economics editor Paul Mason will be giving us his pre-Budget analysis this evening and asking if possible cuts to middle class benefits may damage the universal concept of the welfare state.

And as we enjoy the sunshine on the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, parliament will be hearing evidence from campaigners who are urging the government to keep British Summer Time (BST) all year round. The Cambridge academic Dr Elizabeth Garnsey says that not putting clocks back would save carbon emissions and lives... Could it really work?

Do join Jeremy Paxman at 10.30pm on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.

    On Afghanistan I am hoping Mark Urban has the time to consider whether the military have a good grasp of their enemy in terms of recent LSE allegations of fuller ISI cooperation in Pakistan (that I doubt) and how the elements of al Qaeda and the Talibs fit together.

    Personally I reject the notions of this war being like Vietnam because the security issues are totally different.

    But managing a huge US war machine must make it very easy for people to run around shooting their guns without really achieving much.

    I was also stunned by the McChrystal analysis that the majority of Afghans killed were not a threat.

  • Comment number 2.

    I am sure Paul Masons report will be full and fair but I would think the majority of people can see that when there is a need for cuts they need to be fair. Therefore if you can raise money by not giving tax credits to wealthy families that would seem to be sensible.

  • Comment number 3.

    (Guardian) 'The Spanish dictator, General Francisco Franco, whose apologists usually claim that he protected Jews, ordered his officials to draw up a list of some 6,000 Jews living in Spain and include them in a secret Jewish archive.

    That list was handed over to the Nazi architect of the so-called "final solution", the German SS chief Heinrich Himmler, as the two countries negotiated Spain's possible incorporation into the group of Axis powers that included Italy, according to the El País newspaper today.'

    I know that some people seem to get upset if I slate the BNP and historically the Nazis so given the fact that these people never seem to complain when, for instance, somebody starts ranting on about a "Jewish hegemony" ..... who cares!

    My thought for the day is that nobody of an educated and democratic background will be surprised by the news mentioned but it still stuns me that seventy years after such events there are people who will try to "explicate" that there was no Holocaust and attempt to denigrate the Jews on the basis of no credible evidence.

    You could take the views of Von Bruun, a one time American Friend of the BNP, who went off and murdered a security guard at a US Holocaust Memorial. They are rabidly white supremacist.

    In this country there have been many would be bombers in recent years. People like Lewington (ex-BNP) and his tennis ball bombs and the recent Aryan Strike Force people and their jars of deadly ricin coupled with encouragement of others to terrorism show this is no time for complacency. Sentencing has stopped treating them like eccentric old uncles with a chemistry set but I certainly hope there will be a proportionate strategy to all terrorism under the coalition that will reduce Muslim alienation and keep the far right targeted.

    As yet I believe nobody really knows who runs the English Defence League but all of the footage and violence and racial abuse at their gatherings must remain a concern.

  • Comment number 4.


    Will someone please tell Dave that his jingoistic rhetoric gets more hollow with every misguided death.

    Armed forces DO THE JOB THEY LOVE (except for those tricked by government advertising or sufficiently air-headed to believe Johnnie Foreigner is a threat OVER THERE.)

    I say again: Dave voted for the war because IDS said he should (in feudal parties, loyalty leads to advancement). Now he must decide between honour and survival - no contest.

    New Politics is SOOOOOO like 'Whiter than White' politics, and even Brown politics. In truth, it is all WESTMINSTER POLITICS.

    In the AGE OF CHANGE nothing has! And it won't till we SPOILPARTYGAMES.

    Oh - it's all going terribly well.

  • Comment number 5.


    Whatever happened to the ASA? I have just watched the latest Army Ad. They didn't show the small print:

    Past life is no indication of life hereafter. Number of limbs can 'go up' as well as down. Contract may be terminated without notice. This contract does not affect your statutory rights - in the final analysis, you have none.

    Complain about this comment

  • Comment number 6.

    Personally I tend to take the talk of cuts now and later more lightly than the political rhetoric suggests that I should as I believe when all of the ranting is done there is not really that much difference between the scale of Labour cuts and the coalition.

    However one thing does occur to me and that is the coalition have relied on the Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King. Clearly he is not a politician - nor should he be - and would expect the government to move their feet quickly as economic events unfold like perhaps turmoil in Spain.

    But his reputation would be under severe strain if it becomes clear that the coalition strategy of making a clear indication to the markets that efforts would be made to dent the debt Everest, that we have all been saddled with by New Labour, has not worked.

    So a query, Newsnight, is does that mean that some way down the line in this uncertain time he would have to resign if it becomes clear he and the BoE got it wrong? Would Geithner have to go in the US as well?

    Personally, I should add, I have confidence in King and the coalition policies.

    I will be super happy once somebody can say we could not get a repeat of the economic fiasco because all of the angles from derivative regulation to accountancy (repo 105) rules and fraud laws and breaking up the banks have reduced risk down to a much more acceptable level.

    In the end I suppose it is down to the voters though and whether they will let New Labour, or plain Labour these days, loose again with the credit card in the future.

    Given they have only ever acknowledged how incredibly able they were in the economic arena my gut instinct is that will not be for some considerable time.

  • Comment number 7.

    #4 barriesingleton

    "Will someone please tell Dave that his jingoistic rhetoric gets more hollow with every misguided death."

    You have often praised the views of jaded_jean (just last week for instance) who used to describe Hitler as a "peace lover". That does not mean you hold identical views of course but I seem to recall many "philosophical" exchanges between you both.

    Now call me Mr. Nitpicker but if we were to look at the policies and actions of Hitler and compare them to the genuine security concerns that led to the Afghanistan war there could be a bit of a discrepancy.

    Oh and you don't actually offer any evidence of any kind that there is any "jingoism".

    "sufficiently air-headed to believe Johnnie Foreigner is a threat OVER THERE" - Well actually given the al Qaeda training camps and organisation gave us 9/11 and so on that actually is why we are there. Not to kill people.

    Could there be a better way? As ever there is no suggestion except the notion that we all come home and the Talibs and al Qaeda put the tea on and live peacefully ever after with us.

    Given their use of dates for bombings (9/11 anniversay of Battle of Vienna and the attempted Chritsmas Day bombing) and their attitude to other Muslim sects there is not much chance of that happening I venture.

  • Comment number 8.

    OH - IF I MUST (#7)

    You are 'My Nitpicker'. Will that do?

    9/11 was not an attack planned in, or launched from Afghanistan. The proof is on the web - if you have the logic and open-mindedness to access it.

    No Hitlers were harmed - nor indeed mentioned - in this post.

  • Comment number 9.


    In today's Britain, each new generation will be less content, and less competent, than the previous one. In short: we are driving ourselves mad.

    Only competent people have concern for the greater good (except those whose madness presents as obsession).

    Whatever time the clock says that it is, cuckoo is still cuckoo. Who, in Westminster, is competent to address this fundamental issue? Not Quiet Man and Squinty - that's for sure.

    Oh - it's all going very well.

  • Comment number 10.


    I have an innovative idea. Why don't we change the key hours of working/schooling day!

    Farmers, drivers and night workers will complain loudest but let's face it, in mid winter it is still dark at 8:30 am and dark again by just after 3:30 pm. Anything that cannot be achieved in 7 hours will be affected by daylight or lack of. Thus travelling to and from work, getting dressed, eating, socialising, relaxing, sport etc will be affected.

    NOTHING gives us more hours of daylight - it is merely at different times in the day.

    Some of the statements are nonsensical.

    - In Britain 450 serious injuries and 104 deaths annually could be prevented on the roads, saving the NHS 200 million pounds a year in treatment costs.
    (We could try teaching people to use their lights properly and drive with caution at dusk and dawn - the most dangerous 2 hours of any 24 hr period.)

    - Decrease in crime and greater safety for the elderly.
    (Real or perceived. Most retired/elderly of my acquaintance plan to stay in when it is dark, whatever time is on the clock. They have 7 hours of daylight every day in the worst month to accomplish needs and desires).
    I repeat - we do not have MORE daylight - just different times. Time is an artificial (if useful) measurement.

    - Average of 55 minutes increase in extra daylight for outdoor activities.
    (TO REPEAT TO THE POINT OF NAUSEA - IT IS LIGHT AT A DIFFERENT TIME. To add a personal perspective, If I run before or after work in October - March I will have to do so in the dark. Floodlights are on tennis at 8 am OR 8 pm..... The swimming pool is open the same hours. People have to adapt.)

    - One billion pounds boost to economy as sightseeing opportunities
    increase for tourists.
    (NO THEY DON'T. The CORE hours for activity - 10 am to 4pm - are pretty well light!!!!!!! )
    - Improved conditions for trade with Europe as clocks synchronise.
    (Possibly - BUT most big industry/business operate core hours for workers.)

    - Darker morning for those in far north of UK counterbalanced by more light in early evening - peak period on roads and for energy use.
    (ROADS - According to this, everyone travels one way whilst dark (ie before 08:30 but never back after 3:45 pm for the ONE MONTH when this is the limit of daylight hours. Never realised that.
    ENERGY - Maybe everyone could combine the loss of hours for sport and need for early evening energy by using exercise bikes to power the tv and kettle!!!)


    Here in Northern Scotland, on the longest day of the year, regardless of the official sunrise/sunset times, on a clear bright day it will scarcely be dark.

    We 'lose' approximately 2.25 mins per day from now on (that's approx 15 mins per week/1 hr per month)

    Even in summer, many farmers are in fields way after dark with massive lights on tractors. Postal delivery workers in rural areas (no street lights) could forego their three breaks in the delivery day and finish earlier.

  • Comment number 11.


    You can post all you like BYT - I, for one, want the extra daylight to grow my lettuces! You can't fool a lettuce.

  • Comment number 12.

    I like having an extra hour in bed in the Autumn/Winter :p I say keep the existing system!
    (If you really want to save on carbon emmisions, get rid of speed humps.)

  • Comment number 13.



    They say time can be the healer but it can also be rather ruthless, in fact, it is - dust and all that. So we kind of back to the notion of catching the fleeting moments, even if they can amount to days or years, remaining, however, fleeting in cosmic terms.

    The other day I wrote about meeting three trainees in the White City which I enjoyed a lot while this afternoon I had a talk with a gentleman probably quite a few years older than me which again I enjoyed enormously. I adore chatting away with open minded people not afraid to tackle any subject under the sun. Age, and so in some ways time, can be totally insignificant when it comes to chats, including with those who are still learning to put their sentences together.


    P.S. A brilliant idea about bike exercises and kettles but the energy that I 'produce' is not meant for everybody.

  • Comment number 14.


    My grandparents, singie, used to grow lettuce, spring onions, garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, artichokes, strawberries, blackcurrents, reducrrents, raspberries, rhubarb, apples, pears, apricotes, cherries and a wonderful array of flowers. And the garden wasn't that big, they just knew how to do it. But, we knew how to straight talk about all the subjects under the sun, including love and sex, rather than resorting to using numbers and never ending symbols that have lost their meanings and significance ages ago.

  • Comment number 15.


    I forgot pumpkins, big pumpkins on top of that

  • Comment number 16.

    #15 addendum

    symbols and envoys

    Each time I went to hear Jeremy speak there was a moustachio man hanging around, twice, after the first one at the Ely Cathedral and the last at the Tate, with a walking stick. I could see what was going on. The one at the Tate had a smirk on his face as well.

  • Comment number 17.

    My memory tells me that back in the 1960s when the world and I were both young, they kept permanent BST for a few years. It worked very well, in fact it was wonderful, for we lucky southerners but the Scots complained vociferously because their children were going to school in the dark and the status quo was eventually restored. I hope I didn't dream this. Nobody ever refers to it. Do any other oldies out there remember it?

  • Comment number 18.

    Is there a complete vacuum between Tim " nice but dim "'s ears ?

  • Comment number 19.

    It's always toe-curling when newsnight and paxman stray from their political home turf. If you knew anything about football you'd know England are in as embarrassing a hole as the French, and the puddle deep 'analysis' of it by tedious self-publicising rentaquote PY.Gerbeau a waste of time.

  • Comment number 20.

  • Comment number 21.

    According to Professor Frank Fenner, the human race will be wiped out within 100 years anyway!


    Back to tonight, excellent discussion by Jeremy on tomorrow's forthcoming budget particularly with Dr Rev Brown et al. After all, do Wayne & Colleen Rooney really need child benefit?

    :oD Hillarious interview by Jeremy with the French guy on their football team's antics. :p Yet another country not happy with its Manager!!!

  • Comment number 22.

    Altering the clocks is fundamentally dishonest. A clock is, after all, a scientific instrument. Some people would like to lose weight; but you can't kid yourself that you are lighter by altering the screw on the bathroom scales to alter the readout.

    The language used by the campaigners is often suspect. Over and over again they give the impression that extra daylight can be conjured out of nothing and only reluctantly (it appears to me) do they admit that the mornings will be darker. I also very much dislike their assumption that lack of daylight in the morning does not matter. When the previous experiment happened, in 1968, there were calls for its immediate termination as soon as the mornings became really dark.

    What we should be doing, perhaps, is looking carefully at the time certain activities are done. Many schools did this years ago, by moving from a 9 o'clock start to 8.30 am, finishing at around 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Perhaps other sectors should do the same; some may need make adjustments, others may not.

  • Comment number 23.

    ' A state in which everyone puts in and everyone draws out' is in no way an outdated philosophy. It is, on the contrary -what works - to more people's benefit than if welfare is limited to only those in the direst straits: The warnings on Newsnight of seriously fracturing the welfare state if the middle classes lose entitlement to benefits is a warning that should be heeded. Many Britons found it hard to comprehend the USA's resistance to supporting some form of national health service. The reason for the lack of support, largely, had a lot to do with one essential proposition - the fact that many Americans felt that they had no stake in a publicly funded health system. 'Why should I pay for them'? was the outcry. It wasn't as if there was any kind of feeling of society - of beneficence. It didn't exist. The idea of some sort of social glue that bound all people together was completely alien. That is what will happen here if the props are pulled out for all but those in extreme forms of poverty. That kind of alienation and lack of a sense of social cohesion is precisely what is fostered, as one of Newsnight's guests strongly suggested, when you devise a system 'only for the poor'. Eventually the welfare system erodes because 'the poor' are seen more and more by those who do not derive any benefit from the same system personally as a source of resentment. Public funding for public programmes are seen as a thing designed for a class of people to look down on, which 'other people' should not be 'forced' to subsidise.

    The less that is demanded from the state by the great majority of people, the less the latter will be seen as a significant force whose needs must be considered. The banks, financial institutions and other well-heeled lobbies will not cease demanding more privileges. The more quiescent the general public, the less they will be seen as having rights and needs that exist separately from the demands of big financialised institutions and the extremely wealthy.

  • Comment number 24.


    total, absolute and unredeemable

  • Comment number 25.


    I'm sorry but I do not agree with you. The English football kickers are not on strike but are doing all they can to motivate themselves within the team and take heed of advice as well motivation from outside.

  • Comment number 26.

    #25 addendum

    PerhaP we should all have hot cross buns for breakfast tomorrow and on Wednesday, as a sign of support, though I'm not sure about the time difference and what time the match is on Wednesday.

  • Comment number 27.



    I thought the other 3 chaps had more to say than the Rev. I can't even remember what he said but otherwise I enjoyed the programme quite a bit.


  • Comment number 28.

  • Comment number 29.


    Considering that I quite often reflect newsy things on ice, I hope that the Mods will let me say a bit more about how it all happens.

    For instance, I may preplan ice skating to 'God Save the Queen' but I do not sit down and think how to do it but rather it kind of happens once I start and each time it's different although with some movements which seem fitting a given piece repeated.

    The same with let's say 'Moonlight Sonata' or whatever so far has not been deliberately set out in advance but I do reflect certain sensations or feelings that I might have been experiencing.

    So, it seems a kind of fusion of thought, soulfullness and feelings though never coldly 'schemed out' beforehand and with no instructions from no-one. I do, however, have quite a lot still to learn in terms of technical stuff.

    Hope you have a good day, BYT


  • Comment number 30.


    #22 Plantin

    I tend to agree with the outcome of your proposals, though not perhaps with the journey.

    As has been suggested elsewhere, we, the adaptable intelligent HomoSap should adapt seasonally how they spend their time according to the light, heat, resources - but I suspect that if we have not forgotten how, we are now so used to our own ingenuity 'fixing it' so we can 'Have it all' we could never give up what we have made. A 24/7 maelstrom

    Scales and clocks are indeed very clever scientific instruments of measure. But who decided on what that measure should be and what it should mean? God ????? made light and darkness, then along we come and shatter the peaceful dark with EastEnders and Big Brother, light and dark divided into units, minutes and hours filled with frantic activity and endeavour much of which is in its insignificance about as big a void as the one the maker started with - light turned dark and dark turned light by a flick of a wrist or switch.

    I do sometimes wonder if God should have rested a day earlier.

    Just heard a snippet of Big Yellow Taxi this am. Seems to fit the bill. "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got til it's gone. They paved paradise, put up a parking lot!"

  • Comment number 31.


    #28 Mademoiselle h

    Astute and obvious, if it weren't for our very nature.

    Sadly, I have noted it is in the summer when everyone wants more leisure time, for gardening, sport, BBQ's etc. Nice idea but it would never work. We would never let it.

    Just got me musing about school holidays. Thankfully now out of the mass exodus and super hiked holiday prices (whether you are talking a cottage in Wales, canal boat or a fortnight on a costa) of the 6 week summer break. Another change that would come with huge objections from the service provider in favour of the customer would be to have school mass holidays taken regionally rather than one out all out. The 4 equal/Split term year would benefit surely. Particularly now we are largely a secular country.

    To some extent that happens in Scotland (we break up next week!) but the variations are not broad enough to make a difference.

  • Comment number 32.


    I burst out laughing here on the grass under hot, g
    hot,hot,hot sun in Kensington Gardens when I read 'Plant's', or is it 'Plate's'
    first sentence about the clocks after which I didn't even bother to continue with it.

    I might get back to you later.


  • Comment number 33.


    Since you mentioned confusion I twirled to one sung by youngsters

  • Comment number 34.

    i player is linking to the website not the programme. maybe someone should tell them?

  • Comment number 35.

    #8 barriesingleton

    "9/11 was not an attack planned in, or launched from Afghanistan. The proof is on the web - if you have the logic and open-mindedness to access it.

    No Hitlers were harmed - nor indeed mentioned - in this post."

    Osama bin Laden seemed to be pretty well known to the Talibs and some say he was vagueley connected to 9/11.

    As for internet "evidence" and logic and open mindedness I seem to recall your pal jaded_jean citing the internet on how the Holocaust was refuted. Other posts equally as "funny" suggested it was made up to put people off statism and was done by ... statists of course!

    No Hitlers were mentioned - but when somebody used to take part in "Ladybird Book of National Socialism" philosophy and genetics exchanges with jaded_jean it sticks in the mind.

    So when said person suggests Clegg - related to people who were persecuted by the Nazi's - is a warmonger you tend to see a disparity and a disingenuous nature.

  • Comment number 36.

    caught fake on the beeb last night, nulabour there is no crime in the uk

    right i believe you...............he lied easily

    panarama oil in/on Muddy Waters
    us liars oil in/on Muddy Waters

    conspir i say theory no 1

    liar 2 oil worker i'll give you a pretty doller if you break that useless
    machine, i will take bp 2 the cleaners easy innit

    AB w/end soon I will speak to 2 mates one a bp employee the other A elf n safety oil rig man, they dont like the 2nd he is thorough.

    as for panarama rather one sided, is bp silence an admission of guilt,
    I dont think so

    the yank jury will be out and thumbs down for bp

  • Comment number 37.


    is a marxist jedi mind trick that demands human sacrifice. Notice all the language was about 'fear' which is where the mumbling irrationality lives of those who worship equality and universality that demands [real] human sacrifice.

    time zones

    should change. the current situation is a dogs breakfast.


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