BBC BLOGS - Newsnight: From the web team
« Previous | Main | Next »

Thursday 1 July 2010

Sarah McDermott | 11:25 UK time, Thursday, 1 July 2010

Here are some more details about tonight's programme:

How safe are European banks? Over the last two days, they've borrowed 243 billion euros from the European Central Bank. That's less than some expected but a couple of hundred banks are still on life support.

Our Economics Editor Paul Mason is in Frankfurt to assess how healthy the European banking system is and what the consequences are for the future of the euro and the world economy.

Our Science editor Susan Watts is taking a look at the independent review into the UK's strategic response to last year's swine flu pandemic. The review's author, Dame Deirdre Hine, has outlined 28 recommendations that aim to enhance the proportionality of a future response, strengthen the development and handling of scientific advice, and improve how the government communicates with the public.

We'll be joined live by the Health Secretary at the time of the pandemic, Andy Burnham.

The Foreign Secretary, William Hague says the government wants to increase the country's influence in the European Union and strengthen ties with developing countries like Brazil, India and China. He said the UK must extend its "global reach and influence" or face decline in a fast-changing world.

Our Diplomatic editor Mark Urban will be considering how we re-assert ourselves as a foreign power and we'll discuss Britain's role in the world with the former Foreign Office Minister, Mark Malloch Brown and the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma.

And on the day that the government set up a new website asking the public to suggest laws and regulations they would like to see abolished we'll be talking to some early contributors to the debate and ask whether such efforts at public engagement achieve anything.

Do join Gavin at 10.30pm.

Earlier today

Here's what we are looking at for tonight's Newsnight:

Foreign Secretary William Hague is setting out how he intends to make British foreign policy more "clear, focused and effective". In his first major speech in the role, he said the UK must extend its "global reach and influence" or face decline in a fast-changing world. Our Diplomatic editor Mark Urban will be considering how we re-assert ourselves as a foreign power.

Meanwhile, Paul Mason, our Economics editor, is in Frankfurt to assess what shape Europe's banks are in. If Europe's banking system is in trouble what impact might it have on ours?

Our Science editor Susan Watts is taking a look at the independent review into the UK's strategic response to last year's swine flu pandemic which has just been published. The review's author, Dame Deirdre Hine, has outlined 28 recommendations that aim to enhance the proportionality of a future response, strengthen the development and handling of scientific advice, and improve how the government communicates with the public.

And we're juggling lots more ideas and possible guests - we'll bring you more details later.


  • Comment number 1.

    On swine flu I am not that worried about a disproportional response as it was always indicated that it could become a huge problem but may not. If they improve the mechanisms so that safety is retained but costs and public inconvenience is reduced all well and good.

    Personally I was more concerned that in a future pandemic that may be deadly each country does not have its own vaccine production centres. I am sure countries would probably honour their commitments but if they had people dying and not enough vaccine ...

  • Comment number 2.

    #48 addendum

    that was supposed to contain something agaimst unhealthy and absurd competition

    The thing is life/nature themselves seem to endow individuals with that or that structure, talent or knack, or whatever. There is mo way, for example, I could ever become either Brigitte Bardot, Claudia Schiffer, Bob Dylan or Serge Gainsbourg, etc. It boils down really to knowing how to live within one's limits, at whatever level they may be/lie.


  • Comment number 3.

    Personally on the diplomatic front I would like to see the UK stay committed to humanitarian principles and so on but be far more softly softly in winning friends that are the best route to influence for constructive activities.

    Take David Miliband some little time back talking about being "tough with Russia" an attitude endorsed by the HoC Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

    Now Obama has hit the reset button and there is far more dialogue and cooperation.

    It has not stopped him permitting Russian spy networks to be rolled up so security has not been affected and Patriots have been deployed in Poland and so on - in a defensive manner.

    But that is surely a model that Britain should adopt. If you can be constructive and not give up on your principles that's great.

    If as friends we are concerned about the impact of human rights abuses in China on internal and external relationships then we should also remember to be respectful and to be aware that it is a fine line between principled comment and making belligerent noises and interfering in their internal affairs.

  • Comment number 4.

    "Foreign Secretary William Hague is setting out how he intends to make British foreign policy more "clear, focused and effective". "

    The first thing he needs to do is scrap the bloated, useless British Council which is venally corrupt and ineffective - but what does he
    do instead? Praises them!

    Could this perhaps be connected with the fact that Ffion Hague used to be on the Board of Trustees of this self-serving cultural Leviathan? Or
    could this be perhaps because Hotcourses - the private company of Tory Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt - is a business partner of British Council and their 'Education UK' and was making financial contributions to Hunt's parliamentary office and staffing costs at Westminster prior to the election (according to the Register of Interest)? I think we should be told ....

    A much better idea would be to 'focus' this bloatedd Quango's neck on the proverbial chopping block- and leave cultural diplomacy to people
    who are properly at 'arm's length' from Government and have real talent.

    In Scotland, for example, the new body called Creative Scotland opens up for business with a specific remit that includes promoting Scotland and its creative industries internationally as well as domestically. That is 'focus' - and they have hired a team to do it which interesting now includes Vena Dhupa who tried unsuccessfully to clean up British Council and was forced out for her trouble .....

  • Comment number 5.

    On the banks I hope Paul Mason is going to basically lie and tell us it is all going great and the increase in the Libor rate is nothing to worry about as the news has been bleak and perhaps it could get bleaker.

    But there we are you can't put your head in the sand as Labour used to do so we have to bolster out resolve and face up to the facts.

    I suppose that betrays that I don't have a good feeling about things as if there is to be a substantial sovereign debt wave then we are still in an early period in its passage. Therefore my perception is that if we are going to start getting bad signals this early then things are not looking good.

    The other day I read that the Goldmans of the world were looking to throw money into emerging economies. All well and good but if they nearly sank us with the sub-prime crash and related derivative chaos and then we may up with a another tsunami in the form of sovereign debt would anybody be confident about a third wave? Does the financial system then collapse semi-permananetly?

    On the other hand I suppose that markets are well known to be very intelligent gurus on one day and frightened sheep on another so perhaps this is an expression of the latter.

  • Comment number 6.


    Please do not tell me that you consider ALL of those you mention as RATS, Brightyangthing, or do you? Rats are considered scavengers living in dirt. You have me all upset, especially with regard to one of the individuals you mention.

    Mind you, there are also:

  • Comment number 7.

    I see that Prevent made the news the other day and whilst I respect the coalition have only been in power for weeks I would hope that they are developing ideas to constructively harness the vital resource of the total and component communities in the fight against al Qaeda.

    Of course its not only the minority religious extermists we have to worry about as there has been a long tradition of far right extremists. Some were ex-BNP like Lewington and more recently there has been a spate of Aryan Strike Force activists jailed for, amongst other things, possessing ricin, inciting racial hatred and acts preparing for terrorism and so on.

    But of course I mentioned the BNP and they themselves have not been faced with such charges. Collett was arrested for alleged threats to kill Griffin his party leader. A sometime American Friend of the BNP Von Bruun still awaits trial (I believe) for the killing of a security guard at a US Holocaust Memorial. Roberto Fiore an Italian friend of the BNP was once cited (not convicted) over the Bologna train station bombing. The Klu Klux Klan whom Griffin has shared platforms recently had a leader confess to the killing of a recruit "who wanted out".

    The thing about al Qaeda and far right extermists and any extremist is that they have no way of conceiving that they could be wrong due to their indoctrination.

    Democarcy is self correcting but extremist ideologies tend to be self deceiving.

    For instance any regular reader of this page will recall that when challenged to expand on their claims of "Jewish hegemony" and so on they provide totally inane and incomplete explanations.

    They are right because they are right because they are right. Everybody else is an "anarchist and Trotskyite".

  • Comment number 8.

  • Comment number 9.


    We have a new government. Suddenly a sub-set of the same Westminster bunch KNOW HOW TO RUN A COUNTRY. Not just that, but THEY CAN DO IT VERY EFFICIENTLY!

    Did they do a two week course?

    Relax everyone - it's all going awfully well.

  • Comment number 10.

    Looking @ Eurobanks, we need to get a firmer assessment of the impact of their problems on:

    1. Exchange rates - will our terms of trade continue to deteriorate as the £ rises against the Euro - and what impact will this have on our exports to EuroLand? Is the ConDem plan of major export growth a complete turkey, or just a fig leaf to hide behind?

    2. Interest rates in the UK v s. EuroLand - will our rates have to rise as well as those in EuroLand due to overall market sentiment, or if they don't are we now stuffed in terms of competitiveness because there is no scope to cut our rates to bring the exchange rate down against the Euro?

    3. Cross-contamination - will restructuring of Greek/Spanish/Portuguese/Italian/etc debt spark EuroBank failures - and if this does happen, which UK banks hold foreign gilts - will HMG be able to bail them out - again - and if not, should we all be taking our money out now as there will be no alternative but to let them go down?

    4. If the ECB facility is overwhelmed, will the Euro break up - or will the hardcore stay together and eject the dogy countries to sink or swim on their own with new/old national currencies? If so, will my collection of a billion old lire notes become legal currency again?

    5. Plan B - if there is armageddon and sovereign defaults and widespread banking collapse, what's plan B? Could EuroLand restructure as a whole and simply default on all its debts to each other and the rest of the world, then set up a new currency - what about a new joint £/$/Euro global currency under a single monetary authority that controls the overall money supply? An end to sovereign debt, an end to currency speculation and long term stability?

    6. Fortress Europe - lack of employment, import dependency and lack of growth are key issues - could imposing import taxes on non EU goods would force companies to invest in EU capacity and so kick start the developed world economies, but holing China etc below the waterline? The love that dare not speak its name - PROTECTIONISM!

  • Comment number 11.


    No need to worry Mim

    My Rats comment was tongue in cheek but referring to the two most recently seen jumping ship.

  • Comment number 12.

    lets er on the side of caution over spending monmey on a virus threat as the next one might be THE ONE,.....

  • Comment number 13.

    It looks like my #7 may not make it so I will try to reword though given AS OFTEN HAPPENS I am only citing public domain facts it should not be necessary.

    I'll try to keep it short so as not to duplicate.

    Prevent made the news the other day as it has caused a certain amount of alienation amongst Muslims and for instance similar measures and activities had not been used against far right extremist populations. That had been corrected.

    But I was hoping that as violent extremists of any type are a pronblem and the biggest resource for our security is the community both as a whole and the component communities.

    Therefore having links and conduits and good faith with communities whilst ensuring nobody is tarred with a brush of suspicion would be an essential step forward and I hope the coalition are taking steps in that regard.

    There is a commonality of self deception with extremists that binds them to their beliefs even when the facts are against them.

    I cited as an example those who have promoted the notion of a Jewish "hegemony" cannot adequately explain their core belief when challenged. Yet their belief persists.

  • Comment number 14.

  • Comment number 15.

    just heard that Goldsmith had big reservations about the legitamacy of the Iraq invasion....well, blow me down as we on the left had always warned, as all the millions who marched, as even now all the anger and handwringing from the Milli's etc., and what about the deaths, the hundreds of thousands of innocents, the cost...who picks up that tab? How can Blair and Bush not appear before a war crimes commission at the Hague especially after this revelation. I do hope NN give this a full programme and not a ten second segment as too many people want it covered.....give it to Robert Fiske

  • Comment number 16.

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

  • Comment number 17.

    the philosophy of slavery

    ..But the best way to secure any country’s industrial heritage is to put it into the hands of someone who really wants it...

    Market Fundamentalism believes the market is the best arranger of a nations affairs. So lets give our utilities, defence, telecoms and electronic industries to those who 'really want it' ie russia, china and a rag bag of other sovereign backed 'firms' who in turn would never dream of letting strategic industries be owned by foreign states.

    look at the price of gas and electricity. the bottom fell out the market and did prices return to where they were before? no. cheap uk summer gas is stored in europe then sold back to us as the higher winter prices. the swindle of the century upon the british people. germant france etc have a minimum of 100 days storage. we have 13.

    tate and lyle is hardly strategic industry but the philosophy that underpins market fundamentalism has been demonstrated to be poisonous and harmful to those states who smoke it .

    market fundamentalism and its prophet adam smith who, unworthily, is on the new £20 note to act as a reminder whose philosophy of 'self interest as the only regulator' was behind the credit crunch, can only perpetuate their tricks upon a guardian class who think philosophy is for eggheads?

  • Comment number 18.

    #9 barriesingleton

    "Suddenly a sub-set of the same Westminster bunch KNOW HOW TO RUN A COUNTRY."

    Thankfully we will never know what chaos people like your old pal jaded_jean would have brought to the country with their notions of National Socialism!

    You could REFUTE THEM in a lot less TIME than TWO WEEKS and then write it up USING CAPITAL LETTERS!

  • Comment number 19.

    BOXER REVOLT (#14 link)

    How depressing Bro. Ms Boxer AND the poor guy appears to know nothing of the Electrical nature of the Sun, and its relevnce.

  • Comment number 20.

    "Proportionality" isn't a correct word.

    Like all new words, expressions and ways of speaking, this example of bastardising an adjective, to create a noun, originated in the U.S., where they constantly strive to simplify the incredibly-difficult-to-master English language.

    It should be "proportional-nature", as in "conditional-nature" (not "conditionality") or "religious-nature" (not "religiosity").

    Incidentally, a person "travels" somewhere, not "journeys"; is "charged" with a job, not "tasked" (although maybe "given the responsibility to" is even better); and "serves" food, not "plates up".

    I've heard some blinders, on Newsnight and Channel 4 News, over the years: "monumentality", "grandiosity", "threatricality", "automaticity", "falsity", "worrysome", "troublesome", "impactful" (from "impact", the media's current favourite; "Migration Impact Forum"), "carbon-footprinting", "messaged", "privileging", "trending-up", "the storied biography" (your guess is as good as mine), "was gifted a goal" and "he bested the other competitor".

    You'd think correct English would be a journalist's stock-in-trade.

  • Comment number 21.

    european banks "are in trouble"?? ***OURS*** are still holding more £Tns in bad debt than our entire GDP! We need, probably just like the rest of Europe, newly capitalised banks with clean sheets. How will the Euro-crisis affect this? By both diverting the news onto Euro problems, whilst also adding to the woes our unregulated monstrosities are already having.

    as for "swine flu" - how about some research into the area it appeared in, and also finding out which pharmaceutical company had already been researching into this area. New viruses need testing, you see. As well as testing of Social Control mechanisms which came on the heels of the outbreak.

    i have a strong suspicion that some carefull research will uncover that those UN WHO officials and others who cropped up so quickly to warn us of "WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIEEEE!!!!!" - unless we gave them all the powers they wanted, would discover links between them. There was talk of "a unified medical records" scheme over all the EU, there was talk of handing totalitarian control over population movements to the various States affected.

    the US closed ENTIRE SCHOOL DISTRICTS, forcing children home, and using incredible amounts of deliberate fear-mongering to scare the population. Again, its worth re-watching the 'Bowling for Columbine' documentary, to see some of those forces at work.

    swine-flu, a terrible tragedy for those families who lost loved ones, but a far greater warning about how the State can grant itself emergency powers.

    note that the UK Govt not only purchased vast quantities of tamiflu from a private Corporation, which for many the side-effects were worse than the actual flu, but then went on to grant a license to the largely untested 'flu-vaccine', granting distribution across the country - and putting children on top of the list, EVEN THOUGH it had NEVER been tested upon children!!

    there are many outstanding questions about this "swine-flu epidemic" that need answering.


    #6: Rats are nice!! :o

    and generally quite clean, if given the right conditions.

    #8: yes, its one of the Qoranic injunctions - music 'maddens the soul, turning it away from quiet contemplation' etc. Just think what its like when during a quiet time on the beach or woods, someone walks past with a radio blaring. Although, frankly, personally i think its one of the sillier injunctions in general (maybe the Prophet had a hang-over when he wrote it??*), the vast majority of Muslims take as much notice of it as Christians do being allowed to rape their wives.

    *...expects a Fatwah in the post for that one lol. >=]

  • Comment number 22.

  • Comment number 23.

    "Mark Urban will be considering how (the UK) re-asserts itself as a foreign power..."

    1) How can the UK functionally 're-assert itself world-wide' while the govt & MoD departments & structures responsible for STRATEGIC PLANNING of the parts of the country's miltary- such as the Royal Navy- that most 'project UK power and presence' world-wide remain in the dangerous, intellectually dishonest 'facade- mode' prevalent during the previous 12-years??

    A good example of the continuing for-appearances-only mentality among high level members of the MoD & govt departments is the recently announced 're-fit' of HMS Illustrious:

    "Super carrier care", 23_06-2010:

    Due to the previous Labour govt's enormously unethical, short sighted Defence funding policies 1998-2010, Illustrious and her sister ships HMS Ark Royal and HMS Invincible have entirely unessessarily been MADE AND LEFT DEFENCELESS TO KNOWN & WIDELY PROLIFERATED TYPES OF AIRBORNE-THREATS FOR OVER 12-YEARS:


    2) Does not having anti airborne threat missile systems put the RN's aircraft carriers, their service personnel and the UK's interests generally- at high risk?

    3) Why are the aircraft carriers of other countries' navy's- such as the US, France, Italy, Japan, India and EVEN BRAZIL fitted at build-completion and/or re-fitted with technologically up-to-date anti airborne threat missile systems?:

    "Refitted Sao Paulo returns to sea": -

    ..."(As a result of the refit, the Sao Paulo has) three new twin-Mistral surface-to-air missile launchers "... :

    "... These (US Navy Nimitz class supercarriers) were completed with Kevlar armour over their vital areas and have improved hull protection arrangements...

    "The Kevlar armour has been retrofitted to the earlier carriers, as have many of the advanced systems built into the newer ships..." :

    "... The Hyuga... will carry an Aegis-type air defense system, with the U.S.-developed AN/SPY-1 multi-function radar; her principal "weapons" armament will be 64 advanced ESSM-type missiles... "

    "... She will also be fitted with two 20-mm Phalanx (radar guided) "Gatling" guns for close-in defense against anti-ship missiles, and she will have six tubes for anti-submarine torpedoes...." -

    "... Hyuga is equipped with 16 Mk41 VLS (Vertical Launch System) cells (each cell carries and can launch 4 ESSM-type missiles- rvl) for anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles and accommodates two 20mm Phalanx (radar guided) anti-missile cannon and two triple 12.75-inch torpedo mounts for self defense...."

    4) what are the dangers posed to surface combatants such as aircraft carriers by modern anti-ship cruise missiles (such as the widely marketed SS-N-27 'sizzler' and its clones) as well as moderately up-to-date and the newest aircraft??

    - "Soviet/Russian Cruise Missiles":

    "Argentina gets first Russian defense deal", 26_04-2010:

    "The deal also comes amid designs by Russia and Argentina to bolster relations in nuclear power development... and share use of the Russian Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS)"... (in case the US ever cuts off Argentina access to the GPS system?????)

    5) Considering that ALL of the UK's currently in-service Frigates and Destroyers are either fitted with

    a) obsolescent/not-technologically-capable anti airborne threat missile systems (Type-22 and Type-23 Frigates, and Type-42 Destroyers) ; or

    b) are fitted with non-working anti airborne threat systems (Type-45 Destroyers)- why don't the UK's current aircraft carriers have any anti airborne threat missile systems: :

    "... The navy is planning to put (25-year-old, used) old weapons onto its new destroyers as it struggles to get them ready, The News can reveal..."


    6) Why were the obsolescent Sea Dart anti airborne threat missile systems not replaced with up-to-date systems when the Sea Dart systems were removed from the Royal Navy's (then 3, now only 2) aircraft carriers in the late 1990's- a time when the existence and highly lethal capabilities of the then new Russian SS-N-27 'sizzler' (and other nations' variants) Anti-ship Cruise Missiles (ASCMs) were well known among senior MoD and govt officials??

    7) Why haven't the obsolescent Sea Dart anti airborne threat missile systems that were removed from the RN's aircraft carriers in the late 1990's been replaced with technologically up-to-date systems 2000-2010??

    8) Why is Illustrious's refit not including instalation of technologically-capable anti airborne threat missile system(s) and the radars required to operate these weapons??

    9) Can anyone say for sure where Illustrious- and her sister ships-Invincible and Ark Royal- and HMS Ocean- may be assigned duties during the coming six to 10-years??

    Roderick V. Louis,
    Vancouver, BC, Canada

  • Comment number 24.

    How can the UK functionally 're-assert itself world-wide' while the govt & MoD departments & structures responsible for STRATEGIC PLANNING of the parts of the country's miltary- such as the Royal Navy- that most 'project UK power and presence' world-wide remain in the dangerous, intellectually dishonest 'facade- mode' prevalent during the previous 12-years??

    PART 2

    10) why are the UK's new 'big deck' aircraft carriers designed and being constructed without anti airborne threat missile systems and the types of radars required to operate these weapons??

    11) considering that anti airborne threat missile systems are integral to aircraft carriers belonging to ALL other countries' navy's world-wide, why are the UK's new carriers not being fitted with these weapons and the (costly) radars required to operate them?




    (a) the above Aster-15 missile test firing was from France's Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier; AND

    (b) the UK's presently in-service aircraft carriers were stripped of their obsolescent 'Sea Dart' anti airborne threat (AAW) missile systems in the late 1990's; AND

    (c) the UK Labour govt refused to fund a replacement AAW system to be fitted 1998-2010; AND

    (d)in order to save money, the planned aircraft carriers won't have any anti airborne threat missile systems whatsoever...

    12) why are the UK's new 'big deck' aircraft carriers designed and being built without aircraft-launch catapults??

    13) why are the UK's new 'big deck' aircraft carriers designed and being built WITHOUT ARMOUR and WITHOUT ARMOURED BULKHEADS?


    Catapults are necessary for aircraft carriers to be able to embark, launch & recover a variety of the most versatile & capable types of fixed-wing aircraft, such as Airborne Early Warning & Control (AWACS) types:

    E-2D Hawkeye: The (U.S.) Navy's New AWACS-

    The RN's new 'big deck' aircraft carriers will be restricted to Harrier type (short/vertical take off & land) fixed-wing aircraft & helicopters- that can not duplicate even remotely the function of modern, fixed-wing AWACS... :

    "... In 1982 the Falklands conflict provided a stark reminder of the vulnerability of surface forces operating in a hostile air environment without (AWACS) AEW support... The absence of such a capability in the face of sustained air attack gave the UK Royal Navy (RN) insufficient warning to counter threats at long range, & directly contributed to the loss of several ships...." :

    "... Money has also been saved in side armour protection, though Knight insists this was a strategic rather than a budgetary issue. The CVF's first line of defence is the frigates and the new Type 45 destroyers around us,' he adds. 'Our only self-defence is close-in weapons systems and small guns.

    "Instead, what you have on the ship is 36 of the most lethal aircraft*** ever made.'..."

    *** aircraft whose designed-capabilities DO NOT include protecting warships from incoming anti-ship missiles... :

    ".... A number of protective measures such as side armour and armoured bulkheads proposed by industrial bid teams have been deleted from the design in order to comply with cost limitations...."

    14) Should tax-payer funds go towards the building of and re-fitting of aircraft carriers, Destroyers and other classes of front-line surface and subsurface combatants and support vessels for the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary that are fitted and equipped to operate as impotent, incompetent, grievously vulnerable duds, in effect- tax-payer-funded 'make-work-project' schemes'??... or

    15) should tax-payer funds go towards the building of and re-fitting of aircraft carriers, Destroyers and other classes of front-line surface and subsurface combatants and support vessels for the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary that are fitted and equipped in such a manner to enable the vessels' competent performance against modern types of known and to-be-expected types of threats and to enable the RN and the UK to continue its/their leading, respected roles on the world stage in the coming decades??

    Roderick V. Louis,
    Vancouver, BC, Canada

  • Comment number 25.


    And so was my response, Brightyangthing, a bit of a twisty spiral, or should I say twisty serpentine, for the sake of the malinformed????

    What's new about 2 jumping ship anyway? Ultimate betrayal, if not perverse pretemce. Going, or being blown by the wind, it's called, or something like that. No real spine, etc. Just to get to the troff. Sickening, isn't it?


  • Comment number 26.

    #20 S2SC: did you miss the recent NN report where it was stated that 'living languages' are so because they are still evolving?

    lols, anyway the quicker the US develops its own language, the quicker English can become *our* language again! ;P

  • Comment number 27.


    Haguar the Horrible coined 'networked world' in his speech (well - his speechwriter did).

    I have visions of Ena Sharples - the Globe in a hair net.

  • Comment number 28.

  • Comment number 29.


    With you, Brightyangthing, things happen lightly whereas with others straining so muxh in an unconsented way, it is awfully tedious and boring,


  • Comment number 30.


    Others might use Englishness as a rallying call to cyically boost their chances of being leader. Miliband D is above all that.

    Remembering the recent link, on this blog, to a list of 'swamped' towns, Miliband D must surely have worked out how to restore England to the English. He wouldn't just say that - would he?

  • Comment number 31.


    Even Mili's way of expressing the idea yiu mention, Lizzie, is bound to go down with the Scots like a ton of bricks.


  • Comment number 32.

    #31 a spelling mistake

    it should be 'like a tonne of bricks'

  • Comment number 33.


    Your post to me on your angle om googlimg the other day has managed somehow to keep me going relatovely high spirited through the last few days despite the road traffic accident I had on Sunday morning which has left me in a bit of physical pain and extra discomfort.

    Thank you


  • Comment number 34.


    In clipped Archer-like tones, David Miliband explained on Radio 4's 'Today', that he knows how to fix Afghanistan.

    Has he found the switch to an alternative universe; has he got a magic painting in his attic? Or is he just the typical Westminster politician, in a leadership competition, strutting his stuff, using all the tools of his dark Trade?

    POLITICS: The art of self deception, wrapped in the craft of deceiving others for 'their own good'.

    Oh - it's all going awfully well.

  • Comment number 35.

    Ha,ha, you men here's a new programme just for you!

    I bet you'll just love it! ; )

    I wouldn't describe Jenni as matronly, I would say she can be very outspoken and blunt, wasn't she on NN as I remember, but as she got a bit plump did they ditch her, or did she chose to go?

  • Comment number 36.

    #34 singie

    dark trade, indeed, and dirty as well, not that you don't/haven't dabble/d in it yourself

  • Comment number 37.

    #34 Yup I heard him sounding very statesmanlike this morning Barrie. Could it be he was sounding more and more like god, omnipotent, I can fix all etc.etc.etc. I have the answers, but isn't it labour who made the god awful mess we're left in?

  • Comment number 38.

    .. Lord Mogg, chairman of energy regulator Ofgem, £214,999.

    That salary is for a three-day working week...

    given the style of regulation [in favour of the companies rather than the public]quangos just look like jobs for the establishment inner circle? How can monitoring energy regulation be a three day week and require such high expenses?

  • Comment number 39.

  • Comment number 40.

    QUASI? (#38)

    The wisdom of Francis Maude FoK. (Fool or Knave):

    "If you know what you earn is going to be disclosed you think very carefully about how it's going to look," he told the BBC News Channel.

    That is called shame or embarrassment Mr M. Westminster doesn't do either - why should anyone else?

    Maude said HE HOPED Quangos would be restrained. Deja vu? Didn't Labour do a lot of HOPING that bankers would restrain bonuses, and would lend to cash-starved businesses? Hope springs infernal.

    It seems to me quangos are simply AUTONOMOUS. No 'QUASI' about it.

    Governments appear to have 'no go areas' just like law-enforcement. What is it that they fear?

  • Comment number 41.


    Oh joy! Radio4 'You and Yours', wittering on about the World Cup, just played '633 Squadron'.

    I forget the score - but we won.

    For you Tommy, ze Fussball is over.

  • Comment number 42.

    Sorry to hear you were involved in an accident on Sunday. Hoping you are mending well. Very Best Wishes xx CS


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.